As our smart machines become smarter, they can help us more. Yet they are still artificial and human created. What does that mean?
When I stop to consider what a truly artificial helper might be, I travel back through my memories to my first experiences with various breakthrough technologies. The computer made me conform to rules to make it work, when it actually worked. Networks were difficult to reliably connect to and often didn’t work at all. Desktop publishing (typesetting and layout on a computer) lacked the elegance of more traditional methods. A webpage, when it finally managed to load, was ugly and no match for printed readability, and I could get lost in hyperlinks. Auto correct for my typing left me thinking, “I’m sure I didn’t type that word.” I still experience this. Search engines required me to wade through vast amounts of information. And finally, the artificial helper on my phone was at times, a joke. They have all improved over the years, but there still remains a certain awkwardness, frustration, and difficulty. These technologies all require me to conform my life to them. They all changed my life, our lives, and our culture. I expect all of the above will happen with all artificial helpers. The difference is the depth at which they affect our lives and culture—taking over that which gives us identity and makes us feel human, such as work. Let’s not forget HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey. HAL got sick and the sickness was insidious and barely noticeable until too late.
In book one, I used six parts to explore an introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI). I barely scratched the surface. This is such a hugely important area of the Technojungle. It stands in front of human beings’ as either their greatest achievement, or human beings’ worst disaster. The stakes have never been higher. Even nuclear weapons remained in the hands of humans and was therefore subject to humanity. At best, AI will eliminate all disease, toil, anything that harms humans or makes life difficult. The worst, AI will, at the least control, manipulate, and take over our lives in many ways. At even worst, AI could eliminate us human beings for getting in the way and not longer being superior to humans.
When I think of artificial helpers of the Technojungle, I think of the past where humans assisted other humans to do various tasks and work. A business executive has an assistant to schedule meetings, write letters, and other tasks. Somebody running a factory has workers to help with jobs in the factory. A chef has cooks to assist in preparing food. But what happens when machines take over all the tasks and jobs?
Here we shall explore three major domains AIs will live in as they attempt to artificially help us be better at being human beings and living in this world of technology—the Technojungle.
Part Seven—Smart Devices
It began with the realization by developers and marketers that common items in our human Technojungle lives could be given additional features if only they had a chip and could connect to wireless routers. This would allow them to be connected to the Internet and controlled by an application, usually dubbed app for short.
They were then called smart, but they were hardly smart by human standards, or simple AI for that matter. Still, for the Technojungle, these devices, and being called “smart,” pave the way for the future.
Thus the birth of the idea where everything could be connected and given new abilities. It’s called the Internet of Things (IoT) and also the Internet of Everything (IoE) and the idea is to make everything smart. But adding a tiny brain, however simple it is, and connecting to the world through the Technojungle Internet raises some serious concerns around safety, security and privacy, as discussed in book one. And particularly when AIs become involved. Can you take some time to consider some of these concerns?
We build our lives around machines that can help and assist us. When they gain greater abilities we become more reliant on these helpers of the Technojungle. As AIs become involved, these artificial helpers take over for us—replace us humans.
One culprit is the telephone. It gives us the ability to talk to someone who is not in the same Technojungle place as we are. This can be very useful as long as we don’t allow it to replace face-to-face communications when possible.
I remember keeping several phone numbers in my own memory and carrying a small written phone book for those I could not remember, or only called occasionally. I actually needed the number to make a phone call in the Technojungle.
Dialling it many times caused me to memorize the number. Old Technojungle phones had a rotary dial and the physical act of placing the finger in hole on the dial and turning the dial to make each individual number of a phone number register in the telephone helped people to learn phone numbers. The dial made a sort of whining sound with clicks which also helped with memory. The clicks sent signal down the wire so the call could be routed through the telephone Technojungle.
Originally this happened by operators plugging cables into holes on a board, and later automatically, thus not requiring a human. Even pushbutton phones had a pattern that helps us learn numbers. The buttons made beeps at different frequencies. This was all analog Technojungle equipment.
It is strange that we still say, “dial a number,” even decades after dials have disappeared from telephones. Do you say, “Dial a number?” What is your history with the phone?
Anyway, I now know only a couple of numbers—my own cell phone, probably because I have to repeat it and type it for various reasons, and my home number of 30 years which I learned long before much of this Technojungle intelligent, even just smart, automation. All the other numbers I used to have written in my book are now in my smartphone and are duplicated as a backup and stored in the cloud never to be forgotten. How many phone numbers do you remember?
What has the Technojungle telephone of the past got to do with artificial helpers of the present and the future? Well, it is a good idea when studying an important subject to jump in somewhere (in this case what I remember from my life) and follow the Technojungle path to see how it led us to where we are. Then we can begin to look ahead into the unexpected future and prepare for any possible baggage we can imagine facing.
The smartphone and is arguably one of the most important influences in our lives. Along with the computer and the Internet, every corner of our lives, from communications to culture, have been turned upside down with change. Adding AI, particularly AGI (artificial general intelligence) will affect our lives in ways we can’t predict.
That which was once a mere telephone, a pretty amazing bunch of Technojungle technologies, led us to smart devices we call smartphones. Once larger than a human head and wired directly into the wall, they are now smaller than the human hand, wireless and well over a thousand times more powerful than just a telephone. We carry them everywhere so we are always tethered to the Technojungle. Oh, and one more thing, they are now artificially intelligent.
These smartphones began with simple tasks such as, storing phone numbers for us and then making the phone call. Other early features included a calculator, calendar, todo list—features most people used a small binder of paper called an organizer for. They grew rapidly in features and power.
Now artificial intelligence (AI) can allow us to carry on a constant voice communication with our smartphone, or whatever sort of device is to replace the smartphone in the future of the Technojungle.
We ask our artificial helpers to do things for us and have them to inform us of important matters. You can tell your smartphone, “Call, or text, or E-mail, <name> and tell them <message>.” You don’t even have to take the time to talk to the person. Perhaps you add, “Ask them if they are available for lunch on <date>.” The call is placed and a calendar event is added to your calendar and to the calendar of the other person. On the date, your Technojungle smart device informs you of your appointment and reminds you of anything you need to bring.
Eventually your device and their device will simply meet for lunch and you won’t have to go, so what will you do instead that might be, well…, more humanizing? What sort of Technojungle device or devices do you think are replacing, or going to replace, the smartphone?
We have trusted our devices to do the simple tasks, why not have our smartphone, or other devices, make all our mundane calls and schedule our activities automatically? We can then carry on doing something like listening to music or some other human activity and let the brain of the Technojungle do all the other tasks and toils of life.
Your artificial helper will say something like, “It has been 154 days, 3 hours and 22 minutes since you last saw your friend <name>, so I have you scheduled for coffee today. Since traffic is heavy, we must leave in 47 minutes and 37 seconds for us to get there on time.” You get in your Technojungle car, which already knows of the appointment, and it drives you there while you read a book or have a nap.
If it is a humanoid robot, it might say, “if you are not up to the visit, I could go without you and update your friend about your life.” Perhaps the other person’s robot and your robot would meet. Upon return, it might report, “We talked about you and this is what I said…, and this is what they said.” Actually, the robots would no doubt meet in the online Technojungle rather than in person; a… um…, in robot?
Or, it will simply say, “You have all the fun, I’m going to listen to music today and you can do all the work!” Could your artificial helper learn to protest, even be belligerent?
Suppose we have these helpers run our Technojungle households doing all the work and tasks we don’t want to do, would we be able to do whatever we want? Our fridge and cupboards should know what we like to eat and what is needed to be kept on hand. They should be able to order the food through the Technojungle as required and have it delivered. We wouldn’t have to go shopping. Our house would recognize when we are coming and going and open and close doors, locking them at appropriate times. It could turn on and off lights, turn down the heat or air conditioning while we are out of the room, and turn things on as we enter. Devices to begin to make our house smart have been available for decades. Can you try to imagine what a really smart house of the Technojungle would be like in the future? What are your ideas?
Imagine, your smarthouse thinks to itself… “He is fifteen minutes away from getting home, I should turn on the heat, open the garage door, alert the robot to finish the housework and begin to cook the already prepared dinner, get his slippers, etc.…” Hey that sort of sounds like the wife of the 1950s. I’m sorry that sounds sexist, yet that is often how wives were portrayed in media. A smarthouse and robots could be women’s libbers.
What if we simply install a Technojungle smart device in our body that can take over all the mundane tasks and aspects of our human life? Isn’t it the actual interactions we have when we meet in person with other people to share experiences, conversations and do activities together, that are important and most human? Can we just have the least human activities in our life handled by our Technojungle smart devices? Why not have all our devices smart enough to take over all our tasks, particularly those we don’t want to do, so we don’t have to spend time and energy on them?
It all seems to make sense. If we just get on with life and our Technojungle smart devices communicate with each other to look after us, would this be the ultimate of being a human being? Would we be able to be more human if the least human tasks in our life could be done by our Technojungle smart devices or artificial helpers? Should we let the Technojungle take all the toil and struggle out of our lives? What would that be like, and what would it do to us as human beings? Would you like an artificially intelligent helper that could micro-manage your life and do all the tasks you don’t want to do? Do you think this might be where we are heading?
What would happen to spontaneity and inspiration? Do you think our lives would become too regulated? If we no longer have to do grocery shopping in the Technojungle, how will we find the sudden urge to try something different when we see it on the shelf? The people serving samples in stores would miss me, I’m sure, and I would miss them and the samples. “Hey Gary, meet my robot.”
It wouldn’t surprise me if, after the pandemic subsides, I may have my grocery store sample served by a robot.
There are other considerations. Wouldn’t all our devices be communicating and understanding things about us through the Internet? Doesn’t that means more information stored out there in the growing pile of Technojungle Big Data that relates to us? Who might somehow gain access to my personal information? If we talk to interact with the device and the artificial intelligences in them, won’t they have to always be listening just like the Voice Assistants we already have? Isn’t there the same potential for personal information gathering by huge Technojungle Techno-corporations?
“With their perfect cloud-based memories, they will be omniscient; with their occupation of our most intimate spaces, they’ll be omnipresent. And with their eerie ability to elicit confessions, they could acquire a remarkable power over our emotional lives.” Someone writing about the future of voice assistants.
The third ‘omni,’ omnipotent, seems to have been omitted, yet the function was described. These three omni attributes are usually reserved to describe God. Is this what humans are aiming for?
We need to always keep in mind that the utopia future of the Technojungle comes with baggage. The baggage often makes the Technojungle somewhat of a dystopia. It is interesting that the reality of a smart device began with most notably with the cellphone becoming the smartphone. Telephones have been one of the easiest ways to talk and communicate over distances for a long time. Capabilities just kept being added. How might a smart device become even smarter in the future? What are the promises of Technojungle smart devices and artificial helpers for the future? What could be the unexpected baggage?
One smart device that certainly deserves its own separate discussion on our safari is the Technojungle Robot. These artificial helpers are machines that do something a human does, only does it better, faster and cheaper—a human imitator that is more efficient than a human. Will robots someday become better than humans? Why or why not?
Where have you noticed robots in the Technojungle workplace slowly taking over from humans? It’s been happening for decades. At times, we have seen automation uprisings of people over the replacement of humans by technology. When people object to being replaced by a machine, are their objections futile? Why?
If it improves productivity, corporations will get their way and isn’t the goal to make more to satisfy demand? It seems the Technojungle corporation must survive, not human jobs. Don’t we usually hear that the jobs simply shift from working on a machine to doing some sort of work that is more technological? But what sort of work? We are told that people are needed to run and maintain the machines and to develop the software. What other explanations do you hear?
[Sidebar or caption: In book one I mentioned Automatons as another name for a robot or android. Recently, I watched the movie Hugo. A boy, Hugo, lives in the clock tower of a Paris train station during the early twentieth century. It is a period picture employing plenty of CGI to replicate the era in often surreal imaging. Hugo is trying to get an automaton his father found in a museum working again. During his adventure solving mysteries surrounding the device, he learns that it was invented by Georges Méliès, a magician, inventor, and early film-maker and special effects developer. If you have seen any odd looking early movies clips, you have seen the work of Georges Méliès. I recognized his work immediately and realized the movie is partly a biopic.
Automatons go back as far as the third century China. Throughout history, imaginative inventors fascinated by the idea of mimicking human activities, created some truly amazing mechanical Technojungle machines.]
Are there the same number of jobs in technology as the number of people replaced by technology? While the old job might be in a loud and messy, dehumanizing, unsafe environment, aren’t the new jobs often sterile and inhuman, requiring a person to sit and stare at a computer screen all day? How do you feel about this? As I recall, Technojungle futurists didn’t include this sterile and mundane work in their promises for our human life in the future. What other jobs are there? Alternatively, the displaced person might end up in a service job, such as a barista, a fancy name for someone who makes coffee. Even those jobs can easily be done by machines. If jobs, such as a barista and other service job succumb to robotics, do you think the novelty will wear off and humans will prefer humans again?
I have often wondered about places like China where gigantic human workforces have allowed corporations to produce countless products far cheaper than other countries. Most of the jobs in the factories are repetitive assembly work, work that I think will eventually be handed over to Technojungle robots. If this happens on a large scale, what do you think will be the outcomes? Will corporations that purchase products from these factories realize that robotics could allow them to bring the manufacturing back home to their own country?
Do you know what a bot is? It’s another sort of robot that is very common, yet has no physical presence. They exist only in the Technojungle of the computer. Usually a bot is a small software program that performs often simple functions, such as collect and dispense certain information.
Other bots can be quite complex. Have you experienced an interaction with a bot? If you don’t know, the chances are that you have, but didn’t realize it. Why might you not know you are interacting with a bot?
Bots are hiding behind the computer and online Technojungle curtain, so to speak. Since human interactions through this curtain make humans seem less human, it is easy for a bot to imitate human interactions. Read that again and remember this as you safari!
When you use texting or chatting, for example, how do you know you are not interacting with a bot at the other end? How can you be sure any of your interactions through the computer-mediated Technojungle world are with actual humans? Can we learn to spot the tells, to use a poker term, used during a bluff?
What sort of Technojungle robot is going to make the most impact on our lives and our world? One that is multi-functional, has AI, is connected to all our other devices, and the Big Data in the Technojungle. It will be one of many smart devices in our lives and probably the most important and most powerful. However, we must keep in mind that there is always the unexpected and lots of baggage.
What should we expect when we let these smart Technojungle robots take over aspects of our human lives, both at work and at home? Shouldn’t we be prepared for certain consequences? Some consequences will definitely include malfunction, hacking by someone, perhaps on the other side of the world, errors, bugs in software and other issues. Part of this is the world as depicted on the 1960s TV cartoon show, The Jetsons. The Jetsons had a family robot called Rosie that kept the house. There were often problems with Rosie.
Are humans relying on these Technojungle machines in ways we are only beginning to experience? With increasing human-like qualities, such as realistic voice and smooth, agile motion, are humans developing emotional attachments to these machines? Will these Technojungle robots one day do the same and become attached to us in some form of artificial emotionality? If they do, will it seem real or contrived in some way?
What if the robot burns the dinner just as a human might? Can’t some form of error or other Technojungle problem cause the unexpected to occur? If the robot can cause a problem, just as a human, why don’t we just do the task ourselves anyway? Is the activity of making dinner humanizing? “Don’t bother tonight Rosie, I’m going to make the dinner myself.”
Consider again robots in the Technojungle workplace where they have the potential to upset work entirely, leaving us to do whatever is left. If enough people are displaced by robots in the workplace and are out of work, might we eventually need a living wage? A living wage would be given to us, probably by the government. With no jobs, people would not have money to spend and the economy would collapse. How much would each person get? How would the distribution of wealth be decided?
Don’t many people derive their meaning for living and who they are from their work? If we no longer need to work, would we feel fully human just relaxing? Perhaps we would just do hobbies, however, how long would it be before a Technojungle robot would do our hobbies too? “Hey master, let me finish that painting for you.”
Have you wondered what might happen as robots take over building more robots and other Technojungle artificial helper devices making each iteration better and smarter? Would the smartest robot be required to build another robot? Would the smartest robots be the ones who can outsmart humans?
I suspect that the development of self-replicating more capable and more intelligent AI and robots will likely happen very rapidly once a critical point is reached in the Technojungle. We will see the growth at computer speeds faster than what we can imagine. But what for? Who are we and who are they? In a world overcrowded with humans, would there still be room for all these robots? Will the intelligent artificial helper eventually see a need to cull the human population?
While artificially intelligent smart Technojungle robots are working for us on the ground as artificial helpers, artificially intelligent smart Technojungle drones are working in the air. I’m focusing here on small personal and commercial quadcopter drones, or whatever the future propulsion system might be.
As a kid, I remember seeing the big boys at the school grounds with their airplanes. These planes were less than a foot long, although there may have been larger ones. I think they ran on alcohol. It seemed quite a task to get the airplane going. Using his index finger, the boy would flick the propeller until the engine started. Wow! What a loud noise from such a tiny motor. Attached to the plane were strings and at the end a handle to hold. This arrangement allowed for some control of the flight pattern. However, as fancy as this all was, the flight path was a circle with the boy in the centre facing the plane and turning as it circled him. Needless to say, the flight did not last long, probably due to dizziness.
This hobby has evolved. The modern version is a remote controlled airplane or RC Airplane for short. These are very accurate looking models and the controllers are wireless. A few minutes walk from my house is a very large park with multipurpose fields. One field is available at certain times for a club of people to fly RC Airplanes. Once these planes are in the sky, it is difficult to tell them from a real plane. Rather than flying in a circle, these planes can fly anywhere and perform stunts, such as loops and spins. I have watched mesmerized.
Have you seen a hobbyist remote controlled airplane? The drones are similar, only they can hover like a helicopter, so they are excellent for carrying cameras. A drone is also known as a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle). They come in various sizes from miniature (fits in the palm of your hand) to large military versions that can carry powerful weapons. Drones can be remote controlled, or more sophisticated autonomously controlled by a computer.
Both Technojungle robots and drones can carry things for us humans and do errands. Robots can deal with heavier items and they can do a variety of tasks with their nimble appendages. A drone is much faster and carries lighter payloads (equipment or items it can carry). One payload that is particularly controversial is cameras.
Cameras were probably one of the first payloads attached to early Technojungle drones and immediately, people began to see the surveillance and spying applications and implications of this combination. While there are a number of serious considerations around the use of drones, privacy is the one that brings the deepest reaction from the human public. What do you know about, and how do you feel about, flying cameras that can do surveillance and even sneak up and spy on you?
Technojungle drones can be flown almost anywhere, however, in some places there are restrictions, such as near airports. Yet it is difficult to police these devices, so they will likely always have an invasion of human privacy aspect to them. Most hobbyists will stick to using their drones in public and safe places like parks at designated times. There will be other people who will continue to use drones to spy on other people. There is no place to hide in the future world of the Technojungle.
Legislation governing the use of new Technojungle technologies always lags behind the issues that arise from the ways technologies are used in the real world. There may be some rules about flying into someone’s private property or airspace, but how likely is it that any legislation will restrict the use of flying cameras in public places since cameras have been everywhere for a long time? A new way to go on safari in the Technojungle—go by drone.
How do you think these drone devices could or should be monitored? Should every drone be required to have something like a monitoring chip installed? Still it would be difficult to make that effective. Someone could disable it, or hack it to send out misleading information.
Then there are issues around human operator error. Should drone operators be required to have a licence and training to operate a drone? Would it be better to have a Technojungle AI or a robot operate the drone? What happens if a drone bumps into something like a tree branch and becomes damaged, losing some control and ending up flying somewhere they shouldn’t, like too close to an airport, or worse, hitting something or someone? I heard about a drone that ran out of power, dropped out of the sky and hit a police car. Now there is some serious baggage to unpack. These can be very unexpected outcomes.
There’s the serious issue of the amount of information a larger more sophisticated Technojungle drone can collect. They can be tracking our every move in a constant and endless recording of the human world and all that goes on. A drone with very high resolution cameras can fly out of sight. The cameras can capture and record everything that goes on and send it to be stored forever in corporate and government servers. The captured images and videos can be reviewed for any selected day to see what you were doing, or find terrorist activity. These images and videos are used in conjunction with on-the-ground cameras which already number many millions around the world.
Because at least one image of you exists somewhere in the online Technojungle world, artificial intelligence propelled Facial Recognition software can spot you anywhere you are. This is already implemented in places like China where, where utilizing millions of cameras, they claim a person can be located within five minutes. As the Chinese government monitors the behaviour of people, AI software rewards good behaviour with Social Credits which allow certain privileges. Bad behaviour brings restrictions and even punishments. The West is more apprehensive about this level of wide-spread and invasive surveillance. Do you think this might eventually be deployed world-wide anyway? How and why?
A constant recording of our lives in the Technojungle would be searchable. Someone, or something, could rewind the world and play back any moment of any day. Would this have been considered an unimaginable invasion of human privacy only a couple of decades ago? Has terrorism taken us to the place where we would welcome the assumed security and protection it provides? What will be the unexpected outcomes and the baggage that we will have to deal with? Is it worth having this sort of surveillance as a trade-off for security? It was never promised that my Technojungle future would be one where I was permanently on Candid Camera (a TV show from the 1960s where hidden cameras caught peoples’ reaction to funny or strange events and situations).
Like all Technojungle technology, drones are shrinking. They get smaller and smaller. We usually think of drones in much the same way as a flying model airplane with a remote control. However, with computers and artificial intelligence, they can fly themselves. These drones use cameras and other sensory technologies to navigate their way around without a human using a remote control in visual range, or monitoring a camera image feed. The drone, or robot, for that matter, makes its own decisions to execute its tasks or missions and can react and maneuver faster than a human could control the device.
Drones can use tracking to follow a subject. For example, it can follow a vehicle on a road and make an aerial view video.
We have all seen birds that fly together and seem to make instant changes in direction all together at the same time. Technojungle drones and robots can do the same. They can fly together in formation, much like we see birds doing, or military aircraft, using a central artificially intelligent computer that gives a collection of drones and robots the ability to swarm. They can be in formation, or break up into sub-groups. They all work together to accomplish tasks and missions. If one fails, or is attacked, the others can still carry out the missions.
With tiny Technojungle drones swarming like insects and even the size of insects, one does not need a very creative imagination to find some uses for them that are both positive and negative—even sinister. Perhaps tiny doses of medication, vaccines or other inoculations could be carried out on a massive scale without anyone having to go to a clinic. An insect-like drone delivers the dosage through a tiny painless sting much like a mosquito.
What about tiny mosquito-like drones that are difficult to detect, can you think of some nefarious unexpected possibilities? Could a tiny drone take a sample of your blood for analysis, or perhaps steal your DNA information?
Part Ten—Artificial helping, or hindering?
With so many Technojungle machines around us, will there be room for us humans? It is possible that we may, not only have more than one robot for each of us, some of us may have more than one drone. No doubt richer people will be able to afford several robots and drones to generate more income, thus making the rich even richer, but will the poor get poorer? Could we have a society of those who have all these Technojungle artificial helpers and those who have not? Then there are the corporate uses of these devices. The world could get very busy. Will we have to be on the look-out to make sure we don’t have any collisions? Will overpopulation be not just about people? What will we have to get rid of to make room for robots and drones?
It is difficult to imagine this all working out. Our spaces will begin to fill with more Technojungle machines all trying to work together to assist us with our lives. Will we all get along? What will happen when two, or more, robots share different and even contrary purposes and mandates? Will they argue imitating human behaviour, or fight it out, even to the bitter end?
Technojungle Robots and drones are going to take over much of what humans do. While robots have been inching their way into production facilities for many years, we have yet to see robots and drones actually roaming around in large numbers doing things like delivering packages while navigating hoards of people and street traffic. What could we expect a futuristic world of robots, navigating and intermingling among humans, to be like? What will be the baggage that comes with utilizing so many Technojungle artificial helpers in our lives?
In this consumeristic world of ours, won’t it be the corporations hoping to sell us more Technojungle products that push the implementation of more robots and drones? Have you noticed how cutting edge corporations with piles of money come up with slick promotional ideas showing a simpler Technojungle life where you can get what you want faster and cheaper? Once again, wouldn’t the use of these technologies clearly make sense in medical situations? Delivering medicine, blood samples, or even organs, rapidly by drone would certainly be useful, but what happens when shopping by sky fills airspaces with drones? Where do they land? Do they deliver your package inside your house if you are not home, or will your package have to be left out in the open somewhere? Isn’t this a one-at-a-time delivery method? Can’t a truck deliver hundreds of packages? How efficient is a light payload drone? Won’t the Technojungle delivery drone also be collecting data and information?
As with all marvellous Technojungle technologies, there be pros and cons, good uses and malicious uses, human error, or software bugs and glitches. We know computer systems get compromised, so what could be some possible dangerous results? Most people in our societies desire to live together in harmonious ways. Yet, there are people who don’t live harmoniously with society and it is difficult to predict the possible malicious uses of these technologies and the levels of dangerous activities that might occur in the Technojungle.
He (Stephen Hawking) caused some controversy among biologists when he said he saw computer viruses as a life form, and thus the human race’s first act of creation.
”I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive,” he told a forum in Boston. “We’ve created life in our own image.”—Reuters
We humans have been experiencing over crowing in our world for decades. In the 51 years from 1960 to 2011, the population of the world more than doubled from 3 billion to 7 billion and the number is growing. How much more crowded will our world become if we have more devices like Technojungle robots, drones and other artificial helpers roaming around us in our world? Will we even have our own world? What sorts of methods could AI powered helpers utilize if given the task of reducing the Earth’s population? These issues were never predicted in the promises I heard for the future.
Will we need bigger houses? Will our Technojungle robots need their own bedroom? How about a parking spot for the Technojungle drones? Will the Technojungle artificial helpers think we are overcrowding their world? Could we see a repeat of when the white man came to North America and invaded the world of the native peoples? Does anyone remember, “The Robots are coming, the robots are coming” (there was a 1966 cold war comedy movie made called, ‘The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming)?
As we see more Technojungle automation and production solutions being developed that require robots and drones, will we see humans replaced in almost every job available? Companies and people who own these automation technologies will most certainly make plenty of money because these machines will work around the clock for less money than humans.
One huge questions to ask is, “What will humans do?” or, “What will humans be good for?” Here is another important question, “If people are replaced in jobs, how will they earn a living?” One suggestion, as mentioned before, is that everybody would be given a living wage. The idea behind this is that the Technojungle would finally be producing such an abundance of everything that the price of the things we buy to live would drop considerably, or even be free. A living wage then would not have to be very large. This is what some people expect could happen, but as we know, we need to always expect the unexpected in the future and the baggage that comes with the Technojungle.
Do you believe the Technojungle will one day produce such abundance that we will have what we need to live on supplied cheap or even free? Who would get a living wage and how would wealth be distributed?
We have mentioned HAL in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey already, but close your eyes and try to imagine what it will be like when our personal AI is everywhere, in every device imaginable? As if it jumps from device to device, even following you out of your house, it is suddenly there in your car. You talk to it as it lives in every device you have. “Open the fridge door HAL!” “I’m sorry, I can’t do that.” “ You have had enough to eat today.”
There are plenty of unexpected questions to be asked and answered. Certainly there will be more baggage in our future than we could ever imagine around sharing our human world with Technojungle artificial helpers. I wonder, what will it be like when distinguishing between a Technojungle robot and a human being becomes difficult in a similar way a bot can fool us now? Will they want to be human beings? Who, or what, sort of human being will we become?
We need to be vigilant by striving to learn about being better human beings and living in the Technojungle.
Artificial Technojungle helpers is a huge topic. There is plenty to consider and think about. The goal is to help us have better lives. Presumably that means more human lives. How perfect can our machines get and how perfect can our lives get?