Michael K. Spencer
May 12, 2018 · 6 min read
Wired — Backchannel

Something changed in our coexistence with artificial intelligence in 2018, and it may never be the same.

Our Sentiment on Artificial Intelligence has Been Altered

Our mood of how to live in a world of hacked algorithms, stolen harvested personal data, human-sounding bots and agile humanoid robots creeped us out. Facebook stocks seem immune to the creepy feeling that has given away our data to developers who have abused that generosity, and Google is not to blame that is has bots that sounds totally human on a phone call. Of course this is in relation to Google Duplex, the augmented Google Assistant capabilities.

How is the reality of crypto related to this? Nvidia Corporation recently revealed the amount of money the company generated from chip sales to the cryptocurrency market, and that the chips would be used for mining cryptocurrency.It’s $289 million related to GPUs for cryptocurrency mining, according to a corporate report. That’s not bad for the company with the market’s leading AI chips.

The idea of coexistence with AI, is like immersion in digital. We know it’s only going to “get worse”. VR could replace apps in where we spend our time, just as AI and smarter robots can contribute significantly to automation with us in the physical world. Just as we know some kind of a utility token economy with cryptocurrencies is a bit inevitable.

The end of money is near. Whether fiat currencies go on the blockchain, or dominant apps become the payment gateways like on the New China internet, or that biometrics like facial recognition is the universal payments, we know many of our old ideas like money and how we use it, will change maybe dramatically.

Our economic uncertainty mirrors the total lack of regulation on artificial intelligence and of technology companies. It’s looking like in North America, big tech will have nearly unlimited free reign. Amazon will herald an era of pet robots, while Google builds an AI-of-everything type utility of convenience embedded in voice-search, spatial intelligence (Google Maps), service booking (Duplex) and making sense of our health data, among other things.

Amazon’s ecosystem is the business model that’s dominant here, with our interactions with bots, AR, video streaming and speedy convenience leading us further down the rabbit hole of inviting smart technologies into our home, that we’ll never “say no” to again, while we spend more on Amazon because of these channels; these endless Alexa upgrades.

There’s no saying no to Bitcoin. Her children, one of them, is bound to get involved in aspects of the sharing and token utility economy that are going to pop up. Facebook may likely start its own cryptocurrency. Because, who would not want to be the paypal of the blockchain?

Coincidentally like social media, smartphone addiction, bringe streaming or any other human behavior alterted by algorithms and tech companies, AI is not bringing us closer together with each other. It’s only providing the illusion that it is, while we remain more immersed than ever as a civilization basically playing with technology. This is a frightening trend, because many of us remain to this day, vulnerable to repetitive behaviors with our devices, with our screens and the tech is designed to ensnare us, it’s not regulated — it’s not designed to protect us.

How far will AI automate a social life for us? All this work of creating Instagram stories about our experiences to share with our peer group, what if there’s just a bot for that? What if soon we’ll live in a world where the majority of the interactions in digital are not with real humans, but with AI agents? Videos, articles, selfie pictures by our pet drone and even phone conversations, only with our “digital and AI” representatives. AI as avatars, layers of personal assistants, just to get to the real person!

This painful negotiation with a world that will become more about AI, than about humans, is already under way. As these firms will profit immensely, there’s no real public debate, poor or non-existent regulations are in place, just a few media articles that get lost in the information overload of our modern era.

All the channels that once mattered to us, are being strippped bare and lost. The media, the voice of people, accountability to collective sentiment, it’s all been taken from us. Technology and the incredible profits of these company has the veto power, and as consumers, we’re being exploited in a bifurcation of profit — via our attention and via our data. There’s literally no end in sight, this is the American model of technological dystopia.

Meanwhile the Chinese are racing to create their own model of how an AI state might look like. In China, the implementation of AI is controlled and regulated by the state, in a very systematic way with a long-term vision in mind. It’s not free reigned capitalism and the whims of the corporations, it’s a system of precise implementation, like a blanket net of facial recognition, E-commerce and accessibility. New China will have its own issues with the AI-human interface, but regulation won’t be among them. In terms of AI regulation, it’s easy to see it’s the better system.

There’s no catharsis point when we were losing perspective on AI, because the future of AI is always one-step more into the future. GenX or Babyboomers can change their lives for the better now, but the entire system of AI that we are entering is the fate of their children and grandchildren, there won’t be any escape from this. You cannot choose to live off such a grid, or not have a smart phone in an era where apps are how you do everything.

This isn’t isn’t just the advent of the robot apocalypse, singularity or AI self-modifications; it’s all three and much much more. We don’t even know, we cannot even fathom the extent that AI will be pervasive in our lives in just ten or twenty years, nevermind a couple of centuries. All we hear about is how big tech has made another “AI-hub” in a city near you or how Alexa and Google Home devices are becoming smarter.

There’s no formula for living, no blueprint for coexisting with a world of AI, robots, altcoins, algorithms and the blockchain — it’s the wild wild west for a very very long time. The state and our institutions have struggled for twenty years with how to adapt to digital, adapting to AI is not something much of these institutions, legacy government structures, or retail chains can cope with.

Just as our young middle class is on assault by wealth inequality, technology will only augment the future impact of that meta-trend, and it could be disastrous for the feedback mechanisms of our economies. The gritty reality of gig economies and people existing outside of the traditional labor force will only increase, while in America the health and education systems are in serious trouble.

Will AI and robotics and their brethren help with the skills-gap epidemic or ballooning costs of healthcare? Or the fact that our young people are reading less, and are less curious about the world than previous generations? Is technology continuing to divorce us from nature, or helping us know ourselves better? The morality of our age is a dystopia of harmful influences, which the state or even our peers is not modulating, it’s business as usual in a world where AI is the weapon that humans use to profit from each other.

Will the robots and personal assistants really be our friends? Or will they be designed to help us spend more and personalize how we consume the world and its “technological gifts” to us? Does Facebook or Google, “care” about its user? Or does it simply want to maintain control over our search, our repetitive feeds, our display of stories, our instinct to affiliate, spy and keep in touch. That we interact more with algorithms while doing this, and not actual humans is pretty significant.

There are guides on how to interact better with Alexa or Google Home, but they are made to make you interact with these products more. There are YouTube guides to educate you to crypto, but they are made to get you to invest more into altcoins. There is no guide to relate to the future of AI, it’s yet to be invented and it will be designed to entrap you, because without consumer entrapment, there is no product.


Futurism articles bent on cultivating an awareness of exponential technologies while exploring the 4th industrial revolution.

Michael K. Spencer

Written by

Blockchain Mark Consultant, tech Futurist, a prolific writer. Always writing. 🌞 DM me on Twitter for quotes: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelkspencer/



Futurism articles bent on cultivating an awareness of exponential technologies while exploring the 4th industrial revolution.

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