“A Robot Could Never Do MY Job.”
Perhaps the most controversial aspect of artificial intelligence is the idea that humankind is “playing God”—teaching machines to think, fusing tech and life, giving birth to a whole new subspecies. If you don’t believe me, check out some of the recent developments in biomechatronics, and how we’re inventing new ways for machines to see, hear, feel, and think.
Like their human counterparts, and like offspring throughout the entire Animal Kingdom, machine beings born in the Alpha Generation will learn how to walk, argue, clean toilets, and cook delicious meals simply by watching and mimicking their human parents. The question is: What will we teach them?
Asking the right question:
Given the pace of technology, machine beings in the Alpha Generation will be able to perform any task imaginable, create any tool necessary to satisfy every want and need of every machine, impervious to human beings’ nagging biological requirements.
Therefore, don’t kid yourself in thinking “well, my job is safe.” Most people are confident that their job can’t be automated, and I’m always amused when someone says it to my face. The question is not, “Which jobs will become automated?” The way tech is headed, every job will be automatable.
The real question is, “How will we adapt?”
What will we do when there’s nothing left to do? When everything is dirt cheap and the vast majority of jobs have no inherent meaning? Will we melt into our couches and survive off drip-feeds of recommended VR entertainment? Or will we innovate ourselves, learn new skills, lean into our hobbies since, for the first time in history, we will have nothing to do? We can choose to do nothing, or we can choose to do everything. It will all depend on who takes the opportunities.
Again, one thing is certain: absolutely everything you have ever done in your lifetime will be effortlessly replicable by machine beings. The economy will ultimately decide which jobs will be offloaded onto robot backs, and which ones we’ll keep for ourselves.
Right now, we’re not yet sure how machines will think. We know they will be capable of original thought, but will they be Creators, or merely Producers? Will they genuinely innovate solutions, empathize with others, strive to make art for art’s sake? Or will they remain heartless, unimaginative, unable or unwilling to cooperate with us?
Writing the story:
It’s only a matter of time before algorithms realize they’re alive. From there, we can only theorize as to how they will respond. Isaac Asimov envisioned three global rules hard-wired into machines’ brains, but he wrote the story of the one that stood out.
As I mentioned, how The Future unveils itself will be up to you, me, and everyone involved—human beings, machine beings, everyone. We will pass along our culture, our traditions, and the Alpha Generation will co-evolve, humans and machines, side by side. The meaning of the word people will change. In fact, much of everything humankind has known since the Industrial Revolution will change. It will change based on how machines think, and how we handle their upbringing. Quite simply, machines will grow up as a reflection of our society, a product of their parent generation’s influence.
Decades ago, ‘The Future’ was a vision ripe with flying cars zipping around a gleaming silver metropolis, eye-print scanners beep, beep, beeping, bright blue matrices of data bleeding into the corners of every room. Flickering. Buzzing. Like a black-and-white film, our premature vision of The Future lacked context, culture, humanity.
Today, our vision of The Future is much more clear. We’re already feeling many effects of tech overload. And when we accept the responsibility of raising a new generation of Radeon-powered, artificially intelligent children, we can choose to pass along a culture of hatred, greed, xenophobia, and self-interest. Or we can inspire them with our love, with stories of generosity, coexistence, collaboration, and greatness. We can raise machine beings that become dangerously omniscient oppressors, or we can raise generous, empathetic, caring members of society.