Where are we headed as human species? How will technology change us? What will technology become when it becomes intelligent and in time self-aware? Will humanity give way to a new artificial intelligent species? If so, what will this species look like? How will it behave? How will it gain consciousness and feel, love, hate, trust, belong, evolve and adapt? And are we not in charge of our own destiny as human beings? Are we not in control of the technology we are building? Is it not up to us to make decisions in the best interest of our species and it’s co-existence with other species that are essential to our survival? What will happen to us? What will happen to the offline technology free relationships we cherish and crave so much? Will they become more valuable to us? And drive us to seek them more and more as technology continues to infect our lives?
I remember the days before the internet, where it use to be about being together and enjoying each other’s company without technology. There was the telephone but it was fixed and you either used it at home or paid for it in a phone booth. It was handy but I did not use it that much. Instead I reached for chances to connect with friends in person all the time. I felt more connected with people then I do today. How can this be in today’s hyper-connected world? How can an abundance of connection lead to a feeling of being disconnected? Does this sound familiar to you? Facebook? Instagram? Snapchat? Twitter? YouTube? And the abundant choice of messengers we spend most of our time in? – oh wait…. not to mention all the platforms I mentioned above are less than a decade old? One decade. In one decade, social media has infected our lives and turned our ability to connect with people through technology into abundance. Such an abundance that disconnecting from the internet all together is becoming a luxury we seek, and often fail to achieve for any worthwhile period of time.
I notice that today many of my relationships are happening via technology. Even with my family, my children. Some of my closest and most cherished relationships are 99% through technology with the occasional moment of actually seeing each other in the physical world… you know, next to each other without a screen separating us. With one of my friends, we call this happening “when the stars align”.
Where are we going as human beings with technology playing an ever-increasing role in the way we live our lives? Technology such as the mobile phone are highly empowering. They allow us to access information, connect with things that help us live our lives, and connect us with our friends and family in very meaningful ways that would be impossible without this technology. But is it enough? Is it healthy? The internet is very young. For most of us it’s only been around for the last 20 years at best. Every teenager today was born into the internet. They will have never seen the before. And with parents denying children technology and access to the internet until they reach at least the ages of 6-8 years old, this brings the age up to mid 20s of the people not having seen the before. These are the people that are going to become our CEOs and decision makers in the decade to come. They are the digital generation that do not know a world without the internet. Their expectations of how life and business should work are completely different than the generations that had to adopt the internet and know a world without it.
What happens when we become fully connected and the internet disappears because it becomes an always on world, like electricity? What happens when artificial intelligence really starts to help us live our lives? Will it/they really be helping us as human beings who crave physical connection, personal attention, flesh and blood? Will they help us in our quest for humanity? We are highly social creatures and crave relationships and the “souls” within our material bodies. Families, friendships, being able to look someone in the eyes and feel their soul and connect is ways machines probably never will. Or will they? In time? Some think that there will be no boundaries as to what machines can achieve once quantum computing becomes mainstream …. and this is expected to happen in the next decade. The first usable quantum computers will arrive in the market in 2017.
Technology and the internet maybe the biggest single event in the history of humanity. I think we will look back in the next 100’s of years at this era where the internet and its ability to connect people and things changed us as a species forever.
We are fortunate to be able to witness such an era and have the power to influence it. All of us today have the unique responsibility to fight for the survival of our species. For humanity and what can mean in a world where we co-exist with technology and machines.
Please excuse any typos. Writing this on mobile while flying without connection 😉