By Joe Darby
Earlier this week I was waiting in a doctor’s office so I started looking through a copy of Smithsonian magazine, to which I had subscribed many years ago but hadn’t read at all recently.
The issue was chiefly devoted to the future of Artificial Intelligence machines, abbreviated AI, and the relationship of human beings to such devices.
The magazine contained a number of different articles on the subject and I didn’t have time to do much more than scan through them. But what I read I found quite disconcerting. Unsettling. Heck, it was downright scary.
The consensus of the experts seemed to be that we will become ever more addicted to our electronic devices. You already see everyday how people are totally absorbed in their smart phones or tablets or whatever. It’s not unusual to see a group of young people sitting around a table, each with a smartphone in their hand, ignoring each other. These devices are already changing our social practices, and not for the better.
The magazine predicted what life might be like in 2065, which for today’s teenagers will be here before they know it. The articles said that we will become increasingly reliant on AI machines, as they begin to take over doing more and more things for us. The AI devices will be able to make decisions on their own and we will rely on those decisions, ranging from what we will eat to who we should have a romance with.
They will become our big brother or big sister, guiding us through life. And speaking of romance, it’s a given that AI machines, resembling very attractive human beings, will be used as sexual partners at some time in the future. That will certainly isolate us even more from our fellow humans. Why socialize when you can have a relationship with a beautiful, completely compliant entity who never nags you? One expert said that these “sexbots” could even result in a population crash because less people will be having babies.
There even might be what the experts call Total AI Zones, where everything is controlled by the machines. People who dread having to make tough decisions on their own could live in those zones and just put their lives in the hands of the robots.
I wish I had had more time to read the articles because this is a subject that we need to know more about and to try to prepare for. But, this trend may be inevitable, unstoppable, given how addicted we are to electronic devices already. It’s a trend I have been resisting myself, as have a small amount of other folks. I don’t even have a smart phone. That amazes some people.
So, naturally, the magazine’s predictions are all terribly frightening to this geezer. Will human life really change so drastically? No one 20 years ago could have predicted how social media would dominate our time, so maybe the Smithsonian predictions are true. I won’t be around in 2065 to find out, thank goodness. But there are lots of folks alive today who will be. Hold on, it’s going to be a heck of a ride.