Brace yourselves, the FIR is coming!

Kaoutar Bouzari
Dec 30, 2015 · 4 min read
Photo by Franz Steiner

Imagine a world where you wake up to the mesmerizing voice of “Birdy” your beloved smartpet . Your breakfast is being served by “Kamilo”, a very sophisticated high tech housemade robot. Not only does it cook and keep your place tidy and cozy, but it is the perfect companion to have a nice chat with. Later in the day, there you are cheering your favourite team from the “Humebots Champions League”, the annual human versus robot football games. After a day at the office, you go home to the breaking news of a humanoid’s massacre, and authorities are putting humongous resources into finding the culprit . A couple of days later, you find yourself facing a dilemma: would you rather vote for a human or a robot for prime minister ?

You may assume this came straight out of is a sci-fi movie or some kind of unrealistic novel. Let me assure you, some prominent researchers who work in the field believe this is what future will look like.

Nowadays technology is crucial in our lives: we lean on it to accomplish our daily tasks. It enables us to strengthen relationships via virtual world. It also provides opportunities for students all over the world with online education.

This digital revolution allowed us to control, to some extent, our environment, and is opening up limitless possibilities to control our beings.

That dazzling idea offers a fantastic projection of the humanity’s future. At the same time, the thought of it keeps terrifying most of us. Is this the beginning of the end for humanity? And how can we, as individuals, embrace it and live peacefully with it?

We both believe that the fourth industrial revolution resembles a volcano in its dormant state. And the world is a small village at its foot. For centuries, those villagers lived peacefully in their beautiful land and never worried about the humongous volcano. Until one day, the ground started shaking at their feet , thick grey smoke emerged from the sleepy mountain and boiling sounds haunted their sleep. They knew then, the moment has come. Either take their destiny into their hands or let the volcano burn every single one of them to the bones. When the volcano finally erupted, they were ready for it. They built lava proof houses, wore magma proof suits and even thought of ways of using its heat for their benefits. They had the time of their lives skiing on lava with their beloved ones.

This is how we picture the future. With the right preparations and strong infrastructures, people are definitely going to live in harmony with everything the FIR has upon its sleeves. For instance, introducing nanomachines to help cure multiple diseases seems really interesting. One could go even further by imagining replacing all of our failed organs by 3D printed ones, in order to improve our vision, memory or reflexes. In military, the replacement of human soldiers with artificial engines is very tempting. Think of how many lives we can save. Education as well will be revolutionized by the use of holograms and more advanced gadgets, etc.

This wind of change has no borders. It is world wild and is not limited to a specific region. It is simply inevitable. Our country, Morocco, one of the developing countries, is still far behind in many fields. We are still fighting illiteracy, battling for human rights and seeking freedom. These elements are essential to stimulate creativity. Therefore, it’s hard for us to be one of the leading nations in the FIR. We will unfortunately be just consumers since we’re not well equipped to face this progress. People’s mindsets are still not ready for such a huge transition. Traditional jobs are still a big deal, and people are not preparing themselves for the enormous change. So when the time comes and the AI invades our unready society, a tremendous gap will emerge, wilder and greater than ever. Moreover, like most advanced technologies, its high cost will make it only reserved for an elite, and most people will be excluded from the march of human progress.

The following is an anecdote illustrating how far behind is the mentality of certain people in Morocco.

Last week, while in a waiting room, one of us was reading and the other checking her email on our smartphones. A young man sitting nearby kept looking at us with disappointment, then approached us saying: “Your generation is useless, your dependence on technology is alarming, let me give you an advice: turn off your devices and learn from the real world.” We discussed for some time and each one of us tried to convince the other of their point of view. We realized, after a while, this talk was leading nowhere and the man was oblivious to the fast changes of the world, we gave up and returned to our activities. A couple of minutes later, he got upset from all the waiting and asked the responsible why was it taking so long. She replied that her computer froze and she was obliged to wait for the technician. He got even angrier and yelled saying “What is wrong with you people, all obsessed with these engines, for god sake use a paper and a pen.”

We looked at each other and bursted into laughter. If the current situation is bothering this man, we wondered how can he survive the next industrial revolution?

Written by: Bouzari Kaoutar & Zaouad Fatima Ezzahra

Kaoutar Bouzari

Written by

I don't want to be a soldier, who the captain of some sinking ship would stow down below.

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