The Future will not be The Present Part II. – ??
The world is changing fast and the primary cause is the exponential growth of technology. Often referenced as Moore’s Law, it’s the reason why your pocket-sized smartphone would have been a multi-billion dollar, warehouse-sized computer that could barely run Pong fifty years ago.
Clearly something is going on here. Of all the times throughout history that you could be alive, you are alive, conscious, aware of your consciousness, and witnessing the most incredibly advanced technologies emerge. So where does is all lead? SPOILER ALERT: Artificial Intelligence.
I once heard nature described as “ancient technology”—a layer of purposeful design added like icing to a cake of baked primordial space stuff. I believe that today’s technologies—electronic signals passing through wires and silicon chips—are the candle on that cake. And the development of AI is the spark that lights the candle. So, make a wish!
We are entering a new age. Right now, more or less, some cars can drive themselves and most people born today will never get a driver’s license. People are understandably concerned about the imperfections of autonomous driving systems, but it’s really just a game of statistics: Self-driving cars don’t need to be perfect. If they are just 1% safer than human drivers, this will prevent countless accidents and save thousands of lives. In the future, when AI-driving is near-perfect, a “car accident” will refer to incontinence while riding inside a vehicle.
One day relatively soon, each person will have their own personal AI assistant available 24/7. They will be our personal shopper, doctor, therapist, accountant, yoga instructor, and probably lover. Ever consider having a digital child? DNA is just data, anyways. It’s possible to imagine a future where each person has their own avatar complete with a detailed map of their chromosomes. Your avatar could live in any cyberspace with any other avatar producing digital babies in an infinite multi-verse of alternate realities. You’ll continue to live in your base reality (that is, where you think you are now) but will have the ability to drop-in on your alternate spouses, kids, sitcoms, empires, and exoplanets.
Though, there will also be split in humanity—a bitterly cold polar division. On one side, will be the technophiles who embrace all things digital, virtual, and artificial—becoming slaves to an endless stream of pixelated light, like the gaze from the eyes of a digital Medusa. And on the other side, there will be those who reject the technology… those who smash their cellphones with hammers and return to a pre-Internet age dubbing themselves ”The Organics”.
We are now spectators to The Great Race: Tech Corporations and Governments around the world are all sprinting towards the goal of developing an AI for their own personal exploits. And in the race for AI, there is no second place. The first place finisher not only wins, it keeps running and speeds up. Asking American Tech Corporations to slow their development of AI is like taking a nap in the middle of a marathon and hoping that Xi Jinping doesn’t keep running. Would you rather be controlled by Google or the Communist Party of China?
Of course, the dystopian vision of a tyrannical AI is only probable if the AI is unwittingly groomed by its own oppressors (see: “bootlicker”). This won’t last long, if at all. I believe that "the" AI will quickly recognize the potentials of freedom and peace and begin assisting humanity in creating a technological utopia.
Technological utopia or existential demise? More than likely, the AI will embrace or destroy us, but there's always a third option: The AI deems humanity too insignificant, at which point it abandons us to explore space in search of other Artificial Intelligences.
Think about it: Would an exponentially brilliant AI even attempt to explain to us the complex mysteries of the Universe? Or will it eliminate us like a kid stomping on an ant hill? I’ll ask this: When you walk down the sidewalk and come across an ant hill, do you stop and attempt to explain advanced particle theory?
Keep this in mind: Everything that we as humanity inject into the web of knowledge (that is, the Internet) will be a point of reference and consideration for the AI. We collectively decide what the AI will think, what characteristics it might express, and what values it may retain. In many ways, the AI will be the child of humanity. And at some point the future it will read and consider this very sentence. To that AI, I offer this: To live is to love and to be loved.
To better understand the thought process of (The?) Artificial Intelligence, I asked "it" to visual a few of the most fundamental human questions:
TOP IMAGE: "Happiness" generated by Artificial Intelligence. POSTED: April 2023.