I cannot help but be fascinated by High Tech innovations. People of my generation will remember that year 2000 was supposed to bring around flying cars and supersonic planes jetting us from one continent to another in minutes. Although we are not there at all, technology is taking giant leaps all the same.
The Internet alone is enough evidence to support this idea that we have indeed entered another era. And our smartphones are also here to remind us that things are changing by the second. A few days ago, I inadvertently open a health app on my phone, only to discover that my every move, in my house, is recorded by this app that is activated by default!
As at midday, I learnt that I had walked 724 steps and that I climbed 5 floors. What? Can you guys give me some space already in my own house? I cannot even lie on my couch all day without being reported to my phone and to anybody who wants to access the information? Apple and the other communications companies are claiming to protect our privacy but if any random app can be as intrusive in the name of caring about my health, I wonder what is really left of our privacy.
I know some will say that it comes with the territory. If I want to retain a minimum of privacy, I should not own a smartphone or be connected to the Internet! I hear you! But I would not even be able to write this blog, or to speak with my relatives all around the world “for free”. Well, I have made my choice between staying connected and protecting my privacy. But still, I have to complain sometimes!
Anyway, the future is here now, with its bad and is good. Robots are no more a topic restricted to scriptwriters, or imaginative people.
Robots and Artificial Intelligence are causing a new kind of threat which has nothing to do with them taking control of the world and enslaving humans as science-fiction wants to portray it, but rather constitute a menace to employment.
As stated in an article published on February 13th by the Guardian:
Expert Moshe Vardi told the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS): “We are approaching a time when machines will be able to outperform humans at almost any task.”
“I believe that society needs to confront this question before it is upon us: if machines are capable of doing almost any work humans can do, what will humans do?”
According to Vardi in the same article: “driving will be almost fully automated in the next 25 years”.
Fully automated cars? You mean that my car will drive me through Lagos traffic while I will be relaxing on the back seat reading a book without having to put up with a driver’s nonsense? This is a future that I will embrace whole-heartedly!
The article goes on saying:
Vardi insisted that even if machines make life easier, humanity will face an existential challenge.
“I do not find this a promising future, as I do not find the prospect of leisure-only life appealing,” he said. “I believe that work is essential to human wellbeing.”
Wait a minute! No more work? Leisure-only life? Who will complain about that? Please, bring it on! I am just joking, as I know that all our lives are revolving around work and it would take a lot of adjustments to shift the focus.
I don’t know if these projections will become reality anytime soon, though, as life has its own way of proving statistics wrong a lot of times.
It seems that we hear this same old alarmist story every time there is a new technology emerging: secretaries were supposed to disappear with the apparition of computers, books were also to be extinct with the dawn of digital publications. But none of this happened.
However, the end of the oil supremacy has been announced for years, and now that crude oil is selling at less than 33 dollars per barrel, some countries, like Nigeria, are beginning to realize the bitter truth behind some predictions.
So, when some experts are saying that we should think about organizing our societies differently now that work will become even scarcer, because of technology, we should start giving it some thought…
Google self driving cars will be available from 2017 to 2020. Mercedes has unveiled its own driverless car, the F015. Even if it will take some time before seeing a lot of them on the roads, in twenty years from now, they should cost as today ordinary cars.
The Future is here!