Nine Intimidating Technological Innovations that You May Face in the Future. Part 1
The future will bring brand-new technological advances that may seem scary. Let’s find out whether we should be terrified of the technologically abundant future!
People have always been uncomfortable with the new and unknown. Each industrial revolution has been accompanied by worries and fears that the innovations would not fit into regular people’s everyday lives. Over hundreds of years, people have been scared of the introduction of electrical power, vehicles, planes, and, of course, the internet. It all seemed to be “too much,” “too unrealistic,” and beyond common sense at the time. However, as history shows us, all of these “scary innovations” perfectly found their place in people’s everyday lives within just a few generations.
It’s fair to say that some technologies have brought a lot of harm to humankind, such as guns and other weapons. Some inventions seem harmless, but people with evil intentions manage to use them against humanity. For example, mobile data and internet connections are a means of communication for both regular people and terrorists. But at the end of the day, the good still surpasses the bad.
People may be scared that future innovations could also be used for malicious purposes, and they have reasons for their fears. However, some of these technologies are completely harmless, and there’s no need to resist them. Some are already taking over our reality, so it doesn’t matter anymore whether they terrify us or not.
This article is dedicated to discussing technological advances that may enter our lives soon, and some of them are very much debatable. This information requires you to open your mind, remove mental boundaries, and if any critical thought crosses your mind, remind yourself that it is just a theory.
You may agree or disagree with these theories; you may welcome them or resist them. It’s completely okay because there is no right answer.
It may seem to be more science fiction than a real technological possibility, but cryonics is real. Companies exist that offer to freeze your body straight after its biological death in the hopes that medicine and science will one day advance to a place where they can bring people back to life — you may even buy this service while you are alive.
It’s no joke. Companies like Alcor exist and provide “critical medicine” services. Just one call, and you are immortal. It only takes desire and money.
Sound creepy? Celebrities don’t think so. There are already frozen celebrities waiting for their second lives (e.g., J.H. Williams. J. Bedford) and those who are still alive but wish to use cryonics (Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and Larry King). The future will show whether money can buy you another life. All we have left for now is guesswork.
The system of freezing people to be further unfrozen is still not perfect. We are only the first generation to have access to this once-only-dreamt-of possibility. No one has been unfrozen yet, and no one has been brought back to life, so it’s unclear whether this works at all. However, hundreds of scientists are working on the technology every day, trying to bring it to perfection. And there’s still a lot of work to be done — while we know how to freeze people, we still don’t know how to unfreeze them.
Why Is It Scary?
The decision to freeze yourself isn’t the easiest one to make. People face a lot of judgment from a society that is not used to doing this kind of thing. The idea of freezing yourself after death seems very unrealistic and insane to many people, and those deciding to use cryonics are considered totally deranged.
The most common argument for condemnation is that people are afraid to accept death as a natural termination of life. They are laughed at and called blasphemers for not obeying “God’s will” to end their lives by death.
Should It Scare Us?
We wouldn’t say so.
If we take a closer look at the problem, we can see that we already use similar technologies in medicine to bring people back to life from almost dead. It’s called cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR — an emergency procedure aimed at saving a person’s life after the heartbeat stops. Isn’t it just the same as cryonics but a little faster? No one thinks twice about using CPR when it comes to saving a life.
If you ask us, we think people must do everything they can to postpone death. The only reason to not avoid death is if you’re struggling with a chronic disease that brings a lot of suffering. However, the decision should be well-thought-out because there’s a high possibility that future technological advances could provide you with a cure. Therefore, there’s no good reason to accept death — not for a society of the technologically equipped people of the twenty-first century with high hopes to live forever.
Those who have already died don’t get much choice. They are dead, and that’s it. Of course, cryonics technology may not work. The current technology of freezing people may have some imperfections that could cause irrevocable biological destruction, and the frozen bodies will never be unfrozen again. But the dead and frozen have nothing to lose anyway. People do die, but they can give themselves a minor chance to live again. The choice is evident.
We like to believe that death equals humanity and that the dead are all the same without falling back upon one’s financial status. It has been an axiom for centuries. Today we can say for sure that the rich have a chance for life while the poor die.
Today, death is a part of everyone’s life. People lose family members and friends, and we are all accustomed to the thought that we will all die. What if that changes in the future? What if death isn’t a normal part of our lives, and we have the opportunity to avoid it? When will that happen? It sounds fascinating, but it brings about another problem — the separation of society into the mortal and immortal, which brings humankind back to the days of class division and breaks apart the notion of equality.
2. Personal Decision-Makers
Have you ever felt like you can’t make a decision, and thinking it over for hours doesn’t help at all? Or maybe you have experienced the feeling that the decision you’ve made is not the right one, and you could have benefited more from choosing something different. Or maybe you’ve encountered a situation where you would have preferred someone else made a choice for you? Many of us do. But this problem can soon be solved.
There are already automated decision-makers that you may not have thought about. They are search engines that know you better than you do. They remember your latest requests and give you ads and content and perfectly match your needs.
One day, the technology could grow to the level where they will be able to make all kinds of decisions for us based on our choices made via computers. Artificial intelligence has every chance to become intelligent enough to make us rest assured that the best decisions will be made for us, whether that is what to eat for breakfast or whom to ask for a date.
Why Is It Scary?
People may not like making decisions, and they may want others to make decisions for them, but at the end of the day, making decisions yourself is the only thing that makes us feel like we have control of our lives. By taking away our choices, we are basically taking away our freedom. But is there freedom in its full sense of the word?
Like it or not, our freedom is limited. We live by certain rules, scenarios, social limitations, and norms that shape our freedom and the decisions we make — many of these decisions are already defined. However, taking away these decisions from us, even though we understand that they are mostly predefined, is associated with serious privacy and personal rights violations, especially when the decision-making instruments are owned by international corporations.
Should It Scare Us?
My bet is that we will soon give up our desire to control every decision. We have already given it up by letting technology so close to our lives. We delegate our decisions to numerous applications and online platforms and feel totally fine.
Of course, we may say that we are the ones who decide whether to watch this video selected by YouTube or read that book offered by Amazon — we decide whether or not to click the button, after all. But would we actually look for this content if the computer didn’t show it to us?
We don’t recognize it — or we simply don’t want to — but large companies already manage our decisions through recommendations. It’s ridiculous to deny that artificial intelligence does its job very well in studying our preferences and deciding what we may or may not like. At the end of the day, who cares a who made the decision if it brings us our fair share of satisfaction? If the AI knows us so well, let’s enjoy it! Even if it happens to make a mistake, it’s not going to be damaging to us, because we don’t tend to regret someone else’s decisions.
Losing control over our decisions doesn’t mean that life will become dull and complicated. Generally, the need to feel in control over everything is no more than a delusion or a peculiarity imposed by one’s cultural background. We don’t need to control everything to be happy. On the contrary, technologies were created to make our lives easier and more enjoyable rather than take away our freedom and satisfaction.
The only thing that we should be afraid of is that someone may use this data against us. With access to our preferences and the ability to manage our decisions, they can control our actions and achieve their goals without us knowing.
Some may argue that it’s never late to take back their control. Some may think that it’s easy to feel manipulated. But it’s not. We get used to things very fast, especially when minimal effort is required. We loosen our grip when we feel comforted and secured by automated systems and refuse to think that the technology can cater to someone’s needs other than our own. But they can.
3. AI in the Arts
Can you believe that this painting was sold for more than $400,000? Can you believe that the painting was drawn by something not human? Well, it doesn’t actually matter whether you believe it or not, because all of it is true.
The painting was created by an artificial intelligence called Generative Adversarial Network (GAN), a machine learning framework that can be considered a fine arts AI instrument. The painting may not be too appealing to somebody personally, but GAN practices more than drawing. It can create ringtones, write articles, and, most of all, create fake people.
The long-term perspective here is that AI will soon replace humans in creating art products. Of course, the basic concept of art is that it has to be created by a person’s mental and spiritual effort — it has to soul in it. But what’s the value of such a concept if it’s hard to tell the difference between pieces of art created by a human or a machine? The mass-market end usually buys the beauty of the art, not its background.
Why Is It Scary?
AI is sneaking up on us in every area of life. It’s taking over our world doing things with much higher proficiency than us — from playing games to diagnosing diseases. And it’s scary that an autonomous system can do everything better than we can and, therefore, can replace many precious experts.
But seriously? AI in arts? Isn’t it too much?
It’s very hard to admit that AI can be better than humans in things like arts. Art is something that comes from a human soul, isn’t it? It’s not subject to mathematical calculations or logical solutions. It comes from the artist’s mind, feelings, emotions, and perceptions. It reflects a person’s spiritual development and philosophical views. What do machines have to do with that?
Art is for those who have a soul. If there were ever something that humans could do better than computers, it is art. If AI takes over art, what else can people be valuable for?
Should It Scare Us?
Probably to an extent. It depends on how people look at it. AI in art can be a very controversial issue.
With AI, art can become better and more qualitative, and the production amounts will rise, which will drive the price down. Good art will be accessible, and more people will have the opportunity to enjoy it.
At the same time, real artists won’t be able to keep up with AI art. They will be less motivated to create something, knowing that mass consumers would rather buy a cheaper piece of art that is produced quickly than wait for an artist to come up with their masterpiece.
Still, there’s a chance that pieces created by humans will acquire additional value as a handmade product. Art created by a person carries a strong meaning, a message to the public that usually hidden and professionally framed in characters or other symbols that transfer this meaning. Will AI produce such detail or create an identical mass-market product?
AI doesn’t have a human experience. It doesn’t have its own point of view on complex problems to make art about. There’s no individuality or personality in AI. AI can transfer a message to the public, but it won’t be colored by individual experience. That is why the human-made art has a chance to survive in this terrifying and uncertain future.
There will always be those who appreciate a personal approach and handmade art over an artificial substitute. Both human-made and AI art can contribute to art as a whole, but the difference will be very distinctive, especially for those who value art for its human nature.
Stay tuned to our Medium to know more!