( Twenty minute read)
You could not be blamed if ask this question some years ago for thinking that the world is in such a mess that what coming next is beyond description, with climate change, the state of the economy, current wars, and the indifference and lack of world leadership to tackle the obvious inequalities.
You might think that one of the above is going to explode in such a manner that it is going to be the main contributed to the future.
This might to right, but there is a hidden force that is going to plunder the world called Artificial Intelligence, AI for short.
I am no scientist, clairvoyant, prophet, tech guru or loony and to be honest I am not worried by what is next.
I won’t be around by the time any of what next happens.
The future of humanity as an inescapable topic.
But be that as it may, the thesis that liberal democracy (or any other political structure) is the final form of government is consistent with the thesis that the general condition for intelligent Earth-originating life will not remain a human condition for the indefinite future.
Powerful new mind-control technologies could be deployed globally to change people’s motivation, or that an intensive global surveillance system would be put in place and used to manipulate the direction of human development along a predetermined path, one would have to wonder whether these interventions, or their knock-on effects on society, culture, and politics, would not themselves alter the human condition in sufficiently fundamental ways that the resulting condition would qualify as posthuman.
It’s easy for my generation, and the coming up generation to cast off the problems that AI is going to create in the world.
WHERE HUMANS WILL BECOME THE BOTTLENECK TO PRODUCTIVITY AND INNOVATION.
It is hardly reasonable to think of the future of humanity as a topic: it is too big and too diverse to be addressed as a whole in a single essay, monograph, post, or even 100-volume book series.
A sensible forecast of what next in technological innovations in the next 400 years is beyond our imaginations.
All I want to achieve here is to improve the accuracy of our beliefs about the future.
It is relatively rare for humanity’s future to be taken seriously as a subject matter on which it is important to try to have factually correct beliefs.
Thirty years from now, the public will be even dumber tethered to their phones, have even less social skills.
Depending on whom you ask, this moment in technological development is either a crisis for science or a revolution to hold researchers and journals more accountable for flimsy conclusions.
I would love to be able to describe what is currently happening in the revolution at this moment. However, I can’t do that because things are constantly and quickly changing. This continual change is why it is premature to write anything other than a “future history.”
Our moral obligation is to generate possibilities, to discover the infinite ways, however complex and high-dimension, to play the infinite game. While our knowledge is insufficient to narrow down the space of possibilities to one broadly outlined future for humanity, we do know of many relevant arguments and considerations which in combination impose significant constraints on what a plausible view of the future could look like.
Preparation for the future obviously does not require accurate prediction; rather, it requires a foundation of knowledge upon which to base action, a capacity to learn from experience, close attention to what is going on in the present, and healthy and resilient institutions that can effectively respond or adapt to change in a timely manner.
UNFORTUNATELY WE HAVE NO SUCH INSTITUTION, AND BY THE TIME WE HAVE IT WILL BE TOO LATE.
It will take all possible species of intelligence in order for the universe to understand itself.
The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, a not-for-profit created by Microsoft unveiled a search engine it calls Semantic Scholar. It uses machine learning and other AI in an effort to significantly improve the way the academic world searches through the increasingly enormous corpus of published research.
Initially, the new search engine will focus on neuroscience and computer science research, covering over 10 million papers, but the organization plans on expanding into other subjects.
We need realistic pictures of what the future might bring in order to make sound decisions. Increasingly, we need realistic pictures not only of our personal or local near-term futures, but also of remoter global futures. Because of our expanded technological powers, some human activities now have significant global impacts.
However there might be traps that we are walking towards that we could only avoid falling into by means of foresight. There are also opportunities that we could reach much sooner if we could see them farther in advance. And in a strict sense, prediction is always necessary for meaningful decision-making.
Unless the human species lasts literally forever, it will some time cease to exist.
In that case, the long-term future of humanity is easy to describe: extinction.
(An estimated 99.9% of all species that ever existed on Earth are already extinct.) This is surely the case with regard to many aspects of the future of humanity.
There are two different ways in which the human species could become extinct:
The first is obvious blow itself to smithereens, or simply dying out, without any meaningful replacement or continuation. Environmental threats however seem to have displaced nuclear holocaust as the chief specter haunting the public imagination. Current-day pessimists about the future often focus on the environmental problems facing the growing world population, worrying that our wasteful and polluting ways are unsustainable and potentially ruinous to human civilization.
You might suppose that new kinds of threat (e.g. nuclear holocaust or catastrophic changes in the global environment) or the trend towards globalization and increased interdependence of different parts of the world create a vulnerability to human civilization as a whole.
The other not so obvious, by evolving or developing or transforming into one or more new species or life forms, sufficiently different from what came before so as no longer to count as Homo sapiens.
For example, whether and when Earth-originating life will go extinct, whether it will colonize the galaxy, whether human biology will be fundamentally transformed to make us posthuman, whether machine intelligence will surpass biological intelligence, whether population size will explode, and whether quality of life will radically improve or deteriorate: these are all important fundamental questions about the future of humanity.
There is no question that science and society will continue to co-evolve and that the technologies that will pose these risks will also help us to mitigate some risks.
In decades to come, we will control computers with our minds, not a mouse.
Technological change is in large part responsible for many of the secular trends in such basic parameters of the human condition as the size of the world population, life expectancy, education levels, material standards of living, and the nature of work, communication, health care, war, and the effects of human activities on the natural environment.
One does not have to embrace any strong form of technological determinism to recognize that technological capability – through its complex interactions with individuals, institutions, cultures, and environment – is a key determinant of the ground rules within which the games of human civilization get played out.
Other aspects of society and our individual lives are also influenced by technology in many direct and indirect ways, including governance, entertainment, human relationships, and our views on morality, mind, matter, and our own human nature.
Among the most important potential developments are ones that would enable us to alter our biology directly through technological means. Such interventions could affect us more profoundly than modification of beliefs, habits, culture, and education. If we learn to control the biochemical processes of human senescence, healthy lifespan could be radically prolonged.
The nature of this evolution is the daunting scientific questions of our time.
The first thing to notice is that the longer the time scale we are considering, the less likely it is that technological civilization will remain within the zone we termed “the human condition” throughout.
Virtual reality environments will constitute an expanding fraction of our experience.
New tools of observation and measurement, and the new technologies of knowing, will alter the character of science, even while it retains the old methods. The capability of recording, surveillance, biometrics, and data mining technologies will grow, making it increasingly feasible to keep track of where people go, whom they meet, what they do, and what goes on inside their bodies.
Nanotechnology will have wide-ranging consequences for manufacturing, medicine, and computing.
Machine intelligence, is another potential revolutionary technology.
Deep realtime simulations and hypothesis search will drive data collection.
Pattern-seeking software will be everywhere.
There will be more change in the next 50 years of science than in the last 400 years.
Technology is, in its essence, new ways of thinking.
Scientists will share”zillions” of ideas in the form of data flows sets, videos, 3-d models, software programs, graphs, blog posts, status updates, and comments on all these rich media and these content formats will connect with each other via the hyperlink.
As New informational organizations are layered upon the old. Zillionics will require a new scientific perspective in terms of permissible errors, numbers of unknowns, probable causes, repeatability, and significant signals.
The data volume is growing to such levels of “zillionics” that we can expect science to compile vast combinatorial libraries, to run combinatorial sweeps through possibility space (as Stephen Wolfram has done with cellular automata), and to run multiple competing hypotheses in a matrix.
Because of the unpredictability of the details of the new science and technology that will evolve, the details of social evolution are also unpredictable.
The Internet already is made of one quintillion transistors, a trillion links, a million emails per second, 20 exabytes of memory.
It offers us the first major opportunity to improve collective long-term memory, and to create a collective short-term working memory, a conversational commons for the rapid collaborative development of ideas.
Technological innovation is the main driver of long-term economic growth.
In a world of instant distribution, what happens to peer review?
Are we all going to end up silent, unable to express opinions, other than pressing the like button.
Will this be a world where junk gets published, and no-one will be able to tell whether a particular piece of content is good or bad?
AI is approaching the level of the human brain and is doubling every year, while the brain is not. It is all becoming effectively one machine. And we are the machine.
Here is what our American cousins think when asked about their concerns about the governance of science and technology relating to: the purposes of science; trust; inclusion; speed and direction of innovation; and equity.
When asked for their general views on technology’s long-term impact on life in the future, technological optimists outnumber pessimists by two-to-one.
(81%) OF AMERICANS believe that within the next 50 years people needing an organ transplant will have new organs custom-made for them in a lab.
Whether computers will soon match humans when it comes to creating music, novels, paintings, or other important works of art: 51% OF AMERICANS think that this will happen in the next 50 years.
Two in five Americans (39%) think that teleportation will be possible within the next 50 years. That humans of the future will be able to control the weather: just 19% thinks that this will probably happen.
53% of Americans think it would be a bad thing if “most people wear implants or other devices that constantly show them information about the world around them,” just over one-third (37%) think this would be a change for the better.
65% think it would be a change for the worse if robots become the primary caregivers to the elderly and people in poor health.
60% of men and (61% of 18-29 year olds) think it would be a bad thing if commercial and personal drones become much more prevalent in future years.
26% would, 72% would not, interested in getting a brain implant to improve their memory or mental capacity.
20% would eat meat that was grown in a lab.
66% feel that it will be a change for the worse if designer babies became possible.
By 2045, super tall buildings will have artificial intelligence ‘personalities’ and will be able to ‘talk’ to people. Homes and offices will collect and process data from various sensors to flag up when repairs are needed or when the heating needs to be turned on.
Biology, is the domain with the most scientists, the most new results, the most economic value, the most ethical importance.
Computers will keep leading to new ways of science. We want to understand how minds work and we want to understand how to apply what we know in the real world: It is likely that some subtle and difficult-to-replicate phenomena might be existence proofs that tell us something about the first.
AT THE END OF THE DAY, HUMANS FOR THE MOMENT ARE IN THE DRIVE SEAT
ITS UP TO US TO DECIDE WHAT’S NEXT.
IF WE REMAIN SILENT ALGORITHMS WILL RULE OUR LIVES.
THIS BLOG IS A WAKE UP CALL.. REMEMBER NEITHER PEOPLE NOR SOFTWARE WILL BE MUCH USE WITHOUT THE OTHER.
AS TIME GOES BY WE’LL SEE THESE AI SYSTEMS HAVING A IMPACT ON BROADER PROBLEMS IN SOCIETY. SUPPORTING HUMANS IN THE BIG DECISIONS THEY HAVE TO MAKE. WE ARE ALREADY SEEING NEW AI ALGORITHMS TAUGHT BY HUMANS LEARN BEYOND THEIR TRAINING.
RIGHT NOW SOME OF THOSE SYSTEMS RIGHTLY SO SEEM OMINOUS.
WHEN AN ALGORITHM OR WHAT EVER MAKES A DECISION, WE DON’T KNOW WHY IT MADE THAT DECISION. IT’S VERY UNLIKELY THAT THEY WILL BE NO ACCOUNTABLE OR TRANSPARENT OR THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO QUERY THE SYSTEM.
Responsibilities for errors will be hard to pin down.
In economics, it’s been understood for hundreds of years that wealth is created when IT ACHIEVES RELIANCE. GOOGLE.
The way of science depends on cheap non-invasive sensor running continuously for years generating immense streams of data. While ordinary life continues for the subjects, massive amounts of constant data about their lifestyles are drawn and archived. There is no such thing as an objective algorithm.
The vital signs and lifestyle metrics of a hundred thousand people might be recorded in dozens of different ways for 20-years, and then later analysis could find certain variables.
The growth of the Internet of Things ensures that every aspect of our lives, on personal and industrial scales, is trackable and optimizable. This technological evolution represents a huge opportunity for business.
We live in an age of algorithms. Algorithms are the new soldiers of Capitalism.
They are just managing business the way we always have. We are not moving in any new direction.
In effect, smart machines are now collecting information about practically every facet of human activity, on a continual, pervasive and uncontrollable basis, with no option to turn off the activity.
At the core of science’s self-modification is technology it may well create new levels of meaning, but the tools for managing paradox are still undeveloped let’s hope they REMAINS SO.
A new form of decision-making “for us, about us, or with us”
The good news is that there is unconditional convergence for all in the future. The bad news is that this will not be easy to accomplish as advanced technological economies will employed themselves as usual on the way to becoming rich.
If you dont want a future ruled by Twitter, Face Book, Microsoft, Apple, and there like leave a comment.