You know what worries me the most about Artificial Intelligence and robotization?
It’s not the looming possibility that hundreds of thousands, if not millions of jobs will be replaced or made redundant through disruptive automation technology across major industries. It’s the feeling that humans will become increasingly over-reliant on technology across the majority, if not most, touchpoints in their daily lives.
The Laziness Epidemic
My fear is the birth an epidemic in the form of systematic complacency with laziness. This generally consists of humans willfully decreasing their ability to experience things, ranging from the casual to the remarkable, on a first-hand basis. Whether it’s with self-driving cars, online [personal] shopping, or virtual assistants, we are approaching a world where we will become habituated to experiencing things through surrogates.
Some might find this line of thinking as next-level dystopian or Orwellian, which is fine, not everyone views robotization or Artificial Intelligence as an overall down-side for the general population. But think about it, 20 years from now, there will be humans on this planet who will never have experienced, or had the need to experience, driving a car.
The rise of the CGI Social Influencer
The most talked about recent trend in the digital sphere has been the rise of social media influencers: Popular people who have gained a following in the wake of a talent or skill they have excelled at (e.g. usually consists of celebrities), and purport the use of a new product or a service they recently discovered.
But an even newer and more disturbing rising trend is the CGI-based social influencer. These bots attempt to create the look, think, and actions of a real human being, whilst subtlely attempting to provide thought leadership on a variety of topics curated by it’s handlers and their highest bidders.
Lil’ Miquela, arguable Instagram’s most famous CGI-based Influencer, has amassed a cult following of 1.2 Million followers. Her latest feud with a fellow bot influencer called ‘Bermuda’, most notably characterized as a Pro-Trump supporter, eerily mimics real-life Instagram feuds that are all too common on the mainstream media.
This trend is disturbing on a number of levels. What if people lose the ability to see real from fake? Are they really following manufactured advice from a bot-for-sale? What impact does this have on the mental state of followers? If this is possible, what’s next?
It’s disturbing to see that people are starting to follow/evangelize robots. People are making real-life decisions, based on what a computer algorithm is telling them they should be doing.
Unfortunately, things will get even weirder from here. Did you hear about the fashion show in Saudi Arabia that used drones in lieu of runway models to showcase a new line? We’re constantly experimenting new ways that robots can replace humans without much thought into the ramifications on our collective psyche.
- Continue to do the things you don’t like doing yourself, for the sake of experiencing it first-hand.
- Exert some critical thinking around whether the latest AI trend is really good for you, especially in the long-run.
- Seek out human-based interaction, whenever possible, even if there is a digital alternative.
And please don’t listen to a robot that subtlely tells you that you should try a smoothie from the smoothie joint-du-jour. You don’t know: that robot could actually be a 67-year old overly obese man whose idea of a good meal is a bag of Doritos and the Double Baconator at Wendy’s.