Three days ago, I went to three remote villages. These villages are in the middle of nowhere, void of human pollution and civilization. We used motorbikes to get to the first village and had to walk through very narrow footpaths guided by dense forests to the other villages. The inquisitive, yet melodious chirps, the occasional caresses of the graceful green grass, glimpses of millipedes and centipedes going on about their business, random thoughts of anaconda snakes appearing from nowhere and bush people kidnapping us; it was a daring experience. The villagers were a warm and welcoming bunch. I was truly happy and excited, until it was nighttime and I was told we had to sleep over because it was unsafe to go back to the other village where we could possibly get a motorbike back to town.
I tried making a few phone calls but there was hardly any reception. A few minutes past 7pm, while vaguely listening to the exciting chatter of the villagers, I felt blood oozing out of my nose. Well it wasn’t blood, but that was my first thought as I could not see in the dark. At this point my head was hurting badly and my voice had become coarse. I thought it might have been a common cold but I did not trust my knowledge. So I needed to GOOGLE but I could not as my phones had gone off. I became more frustrated, stressed and the excitement I had earlier had dwindled. I could neither CHAT or PLAY CANDY CRUSH nor BROWSE. I was able to go to sleep with a running nose, a headache and depressed, in a dark room. When I got back home the following morning, the first thing I thought of doing was to charge my phone and go online.
My complete dependency on technology became very clear to me that morning. I realized I am becoming that person whose happiness is tied to technology, who no longer trusts her knowledge, who can no longer make independent decisions without relying on, or wanting to consult google, whose chances of survival in a world void for technology and the internet are very slim. I have become a slave to technology and that scared the hell out of me.
What is Big Data?
Big Data, Internet of things and AIs are the dominant terms in the tech community. Big Data has been defined as data sets whose size and type is beyond the ability of traditional rational databases. It has a very high diversity, volume, and velocity, basically a huge warehouse where everybody’s nudes, snitching conversations, private emails, social media opinions, browsing histories etc., is stored. This information is usually derived from our everyday mobile and computer devices, social media, web, online streaming, log files, apps, digitalized medical records etc., and can be analyzed to show trends, patterns and understand behaviors, especially human behavior.
Having access to such a huge pool of information not a bad thing. In fact, Big Data projects beneficial efficiencies our everyday life; banking, medicine, business, food and nutrition, fashion, etc. Companies can understand their customers better, understand trends, gain better insights and techniques into running their business efficiently, make better decisions and improve on productivity and profits. Medical diagnosis and prescriptions will be more accurate. The digital ecosystem will generally result in increased efficiencies in every aspects of our lives, or so we are made to believe.
Why Big Data, IOT and AI should frighten you
The end of individualism
Individualism is the philosophy that every individual is a self-sufficient, a unique being with ability and freedom to observe his environment and make his own decisions. This capability to make one’s own decisions; freewill to me is the essence of human existence. We have become very dependent on the modern society, and technology. AI algorithms are now used to make decisions on issues such as who gets a bank loan, who gets a job interview, or who gets to be selected. I find myself googling every little thing I should otherwise be able to know. I feel more confident in the intelligence of google than my intelligence. Google understands me more than I understand myself. I am very reliant on my alarm clock, electronic appliances, light, cars etc., and this to an extent is the same with every active user of technology. We have become reliant on technology; the internet of things, AI algorithms and are slowly loosing our independence. We are loosing our uniqueness and our intrinsic nature as humans.
The new gods and religion
To me, Big Data, AI and the internet of things (IOT), are not just technological terms. When combined, they are a being; a god, a very powerful one that we have created. Paradoxically, the creation of AIs makes us demigods, at the same time slaves to our creation; a god that knows our likes, dislikes, fears, deepest secrets, aspirations and has succeeded in gaining our trust. A new god means a new and different religion. Our traditional religions such as christianity teaches us to trust God, to seek him in spirit and reference him. This will not be the case in years to come. Our trust in AIs, our dependency on IOT will become our religion. Morality based on religious laws as we know today will cease to exist. We will trust google to have all the answers we seek. This complete trust and dependency will become the source of power to manipulate and control the human race.
Modern global colonialism and slavery
In the colonial era, land and its resources were the symbol of power. Colonial masters exercised power and control over their colonies, robbing them of what was rightfully theirs and leaving them in shambles. Today, data/information is power; the new gold and those who can access it are the new colonial masters. Modern colonization is however on a global scale. The world has become one vast colony controlled by a few elite; those who have access to Big Data. They will monitor and make decisions for the colony. What this implies is that, individuals, nations, continents will have very little economic, political or social power. It will become almost impossible to break out of this global colony because this means, breaking out of access to health facilities, business and trade, food, and everything else you need to survive in a modern world. The chances of survival become very little on your own. Like any form of colonization, the people become slaves to the elites who control resources and decide fates.
What the future holds
Perhaps the emergence of AI is all part of evolution; from Homo Sapiens Sapiens to AIs. Perhaps humans as we know will cease to exist in a few decades. This is not so farfetched as we are moving away from our traditional gender classifications to several, and body and genetic modifications are becoming more acceptable. Imagine what more could be done with additional research on AI. Some critics have even suggested that in about 200 hundred years or so, humans will probably destroy the earth and when that happens AIs will survive. Perhaps the antichrist is not Donald Trump as everyone thinks but an era, a system; Big Data, IOT, and AI, who knows?