We are scared of what the future might hold where artificial intelligence is concerned. But, maybe we have already unintentionally become artificial intelligence ourselves.
At the World Government Summit in Dubai recently, Elon Musk stated:
“Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence. It’s mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself, particularly output.”
In layman terms, Musk was simply implying that if we cannot beat the machines, we must become them.
However, we are almost halfway there for these reasons:
Artificial intelligence tells us what to do
Not long ago if we wanted to read the weather, we would simply take a look out our windows and make an assessment ourselves. If there are dark clouds to the east, we know it might rain, if the skies are blue on a hot day, we know it will be sunny with chances of afternoon thunderstorms.
Those days are long gone however. We rely on artificial intelligence for everything. To tell us the weather, where to go for lunch, what to buy for a birthday, where to go on a vacation, to diagnose our health problems, and to tell us what to say on a first date.
Our days without technology would leave us feeling uninformed, left behind, and out of the loop. Basically, technology has become a part of us, it controls us.
We are governed not by the White House or lawmakers, but more so by the algorithms that track our shopping habits online, the cameras that track our daily movements on our way to work, and the logging of our daily phone and online conversations by data companies.
Our everyday thoughts and actions are influenced by the things we read on our smartphone notifications, the emails we open and the things we watch.
In essence, we are already robots because without technology and its influences we are lost at sea.
Artificial Intelligence tells us when to do it
In a Psychology Today article entitled How Technology is Changing the Way Children Think & Focus, Jim Taylor Ph.D states:
“There is a growing body of research that technology can be both beneficial and harmful to different ways in which children think. Moreover, this influence isn’t just affecting children on the surface of their thinking. Rather, because their brains are still developing and malleable, frequent exposure by so-called digital natives to technology is actually wiring the brain in ways very different than in previous generations.”
Technology has become one of the primary factors in our decision making. Whether it is to decide where to sell our products or when is the best time to buy a stock, artificial intelligence presides almost autonomously over the thought process leading to that decision.
Our researches are backed by information garnered from the web, our data from stats taken from the web, our demographic polls taken from the internet, our understanding of how people think and what they buy taken from the web.
As mentioned above by Mr. Taylor, our brains are being wired much differently than our ancestors. Our exposure and that of our kids to the immersion of technology and its pros and cons, has made us much more adept in responding to changing times, but has also made us no longer self-reliant.
We have become slaves to artificial intelligence and at this point there is no turning back. It rules over our everyday processes and even makes final decisions for us.
In the article Slavery in the Digital Age, Ray Blanco writes:
“In the future, we’ll all have personal servants. They’ll clean our homes, tend to our gardens, harvest our food, manufacture our goods and fight our battles.
The slaves won’t be human, fortunately, but they will be machines. Every new advance in machine intelligence and electronic sensing, along with other diverse and converging fields of technology, is hastening the adoption of these machine servants.”
I beg to differ however, as we are already on the path to being servile to robots instead of it being the other way around. Us without artificial intelligence at this point in our evolutionary development would be useless.
Our jobs and industries are being overrun by machines and soon we will have to be thinking of policies to govern artificial intelligence just as we do humans. Such as the Universal Basic Income theory highlighted by Elon Musk and the taxation of artificial intelligence as brought up by Bill Gates.
Hence, robots will be no slaves to us, we might just be slaves for them. If we aren’t already.
Artificial intelligence takes the lead and we have to step aside
According to the stats:
Transportation and Warehousing employs 5 million Americans
- There are over 1 million truck drivers in the US, but Uber just bought a self-driving truck company and Europe has already started the roll out. So that number will soon be non-existent.
The restaurant industry employs 14 million people
- Japan started the service industry robot trend and everyone is taking note. The US is catching up with concepts like Eatsa in San Francisco.
Retail salespeople and the cashier industries hires 8 million Americans
- Amazon launched its AmazonGo concept store last year that is almost fully ran by artificial intelligence. A.k.a. no humans needed.
These are just a handful of the industries that are being taken over by artificial intelligence. Soon their will be no more blue collar jobs and millions of people will be unemployed.
The harsh reality is that all of this will more than likely happen in our lifetimes. Donald Trump in his election campaign pledged continuously that he would bring jobs back to America. But, how do you do that when employers are only concerned about their bottom lines.
With robots you never have to worry about them getting sick, calling out, walking off the job, making mistakes, joining unions or decreasing in productivity. Hence, they provide the most lucrative and cost-affordable option for enterprises going forward.
Which means, in the near future we will have to seriously begin considering a universal basic income and taxation of robots along with other policies as stated by technology entrepreneurs and social engineers.
Therefore, every aspect of our lives will be controlled by artificial intelligence, and we will not be able to ignore the effects it has on our societies and our minds anymore.
Technology is revamping the way we design the future and our lives around it. Every decision we make is influenced by the technology around us and the impact it has on our everyday lives.
I can go a little further and even alter Elon’s statement to say that there is already a connection between artificial and biological intelligence. With the takeover of our industries, decision-making capabilities and social constructs, there will be a forced servile relationship between robots and humans.
But, I do not think we will be the ones doing the enslaving, because we are already robots, just not the ones in charge.
Do you think we have become slaves to artificial intelligence?