The year was 2016. The American people bared witness to the most staggering presidential election of all time. The likes of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump rallied the silent majority of Americans who felt it was time to rebel against the establishment. Alas, the country while conflicted, was involved. Millennials and Baby Boomers alike had many questions regarding our nations future. However there was one conversation we never had. We left this issue in the dark, and it came in like a tidal wave.
In a culture that thrives on competition, many of us fear our inability to compete with the advancements of technology. Ever since the industrial revolution we’ve bared witness to machines replacing the hands of humankind. However, in the last two decades the progression of technology has hit a 90 degree spike. Of course the cashiers, phone operators, bank tellers, and drivers will be the first to go. It won’t take long before they take all the sales and accounting jobs. That being said – with our 90 degree spike in mind, how much longer until they replace surgeons? How much longer before they replace teachers? Hell, what happens when they become self-aware? These are the questions we should be asking but aren’t.
At the end of the day, robots are built to be precise, humans by design are flawed. As technology continues to progress it is apparent that they will be able to perform our tasks far more efficiently then us. As a CEO a robot employee is an economic advantage seeing as they wont be dependent on money or commerce. So the CEO who used to ship off jobs to China for pennies will now employ the robot free of charge. This inevitable scenario can lead us down two paths. On one hand we may bare witness to an economic disaster where humans are no longer required to keep society functioning, so the job opportunities will be severely dissolved. On another hand we may see a revolution of the human mind where we will be able to re-focus our energy in other areas. No matter which scenario you’re looking at, we’re looking at the very foundation of society’s structure changing. I find it shocking, that we have not even begun to have this conversation on the political level in 2016.
Throughout all of time, technology has been there hand in hand with our evolution. From the caveman who sharpened a tree branch to spear a fish, to the Uber driver using Google Maps. The difference being, the caveman knew how to create and use the spear. The Uber driver likely hasn’t the slightest clue how to make a smartphone. Wars are fought with technology, our economy thrives under its innovation, our communication is enhanced by it. Man and Technology have been a unified force for as long as history will allow us to look back. Which now begs the question – How much longer until Man and Machine become one? They’ve already begun the development of a chip that will align with your bloodstream. The chip will be capable of telling you if your body has been compromised, be it cancer or a blood clot. Humans often respond to fear, the fear of death being the most potent impulse. Should allowing a chip inside your bloodstream give you survival advantages, it wouldn’t be crazy to think that the masses will submit to such a custom. Again, with technology on such a rapid pace of progression I remain astounded that we are not having this conversation.
I see Artificial Intelligence in much the same way I see nuclear energy, and fractional reserve banking – if used properly, can be used to push prosperity among the people, but if abused could be detrimental to our happiness. The masses need to be educated on this incoming phenomenon. Our education systems should be teaching kids trades and skills that robots are incapable of (at least for now). The sheer fact here is that Artifical Intelligence is knocking on our door. There are those of us who are scared to answer, those of us who are deaf, and the small minority of us who will run to the door in excitement. I place myself along the latter. Mostly because, as I said before – if used correctly, this new phenomenon can be used for prosperity.
Just take my advice, be nice to them.