How Will Technology Affect Us In The Future

5 min read

How Will Technology Affect Us In The Future – Amid the damaging effects of climate change, artificial intelligence could replace a livable future with a dystopian one.

Futurism is a simple game: if you’re right, it looks simple; If you’re wrong, you’re like IBM founder Thomas Watson, who said in 1943 that there was room for “perhaps five computers” in the world.

How Will Technology Affect Us In The Future

How Will Technology Affect Us In The Future

David Adams was aware of these dangers when he wrote about the future of technology in the Guardian in 2004 – even citing the same prediction as an example of how it could go wrong. And from our perspective in 2020, Adams has certainly surpassed Watson. As they looked to the present day, they avoided many of the pitfalls of technological predictions: no promise of flying cars or scientific technologies like teleportation or faster-than-light travel.

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But in some ways the forecasts were too pessimistic. In the last 16 years, technology has really come a long way, and nowhere more so than artificial intelligence. “AI cannot handle brain variability and predictability,” Adams wrote, explaining why robots are unlikely to interact with humans anytime soon.

Paul Newman, then and now a robotics expert at Oxford University, told Adams, “In reality, it’s very difficult for a robot to distinguish between a picture of a tree and a real tree.” Fortunately, Newman proved his pessimism wrong: In 2014, he co-founded Oxbotica, a company he hopes will solve the problem he describes, as it helps people around the world with their car problems. helps in and develops and sells driverless car technology to manufacturers. .

If we move away from worrying about the details, the predictions for 2020 fall into two main points: one for technology, the other for society.

“Gadget lovers can use the same keyboard to control their phone, PDA [tablet] and MP3 music player,” Adams wrote, “or combine the outputs of their clock, pager and radio into one speaker.” The idea of ​​greater convergence and connectivity between personal electronics was perfect. But there was one very specific hole in that prediction: the smartphone. After half a century of single-purpose consumer electronics, it was hard to imagine how ubiquitous a single device could become, but just three years after Adams published his work, the iPhone launched and everything changed. Forget carrying a separate MP3 player; In the real 2020, people don’t carry separate cameras, wallets, or even car keys.

How Does Technology Affect Us

The failure to predict the smartphone is a miss in the advancement of technology. But the other missing point is how society will react to a change in power. Forecasts for 2004 are mostly optimistic. Adams writes about biometric medical data being transmitted to your doctor’s computer; About washing machines that arrange service independently based on availability in your “Electronic Organizer”; and about radio frequency identification (RFID) chips on your clothing that trigger customized ads or programs based on your phone. And through it all, there is a sense of confidence: these changes will be good, and the companies implementing them have good intentions.

Jobs are here to stay… Automated production lines in China. Photo: China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

One of Adams’ interlocutors, describing the technology in 2020, acknowledged, “There’s a loss of privacy that’s going to be very difficult for people, and we haven’t figured out how to deal with that.” “But if you explain what it does, how much information it provides and where it goes – and the advantage is that you don’t have to wait in line at the supermarket – then people will accept the deal.” In fact, for the past decade and a half, most people have been given no choice but to compromise, and it is becoming clear that many of them would never do so if they knew what was at stake.

How Will Technology Affect Us In The Future

If the Guardian missed the advent of the smartphone, despite writing just three years before the iPhone’s launch, how can we do better today by looking 10 times ahead? The world of 2050 will be incredibly different in many ways, although we can safely assume that people will have two hands, two legs and bad breath if they don’t wash for long enough.

Here’s What The Future Of The Internet Will Look Like

But some forces are working in our favor. The Internet is far more powerful now than it was in 2004, and while its chaotic impact on our lives shows no signs of slowing down, it is at least predictably unpredictable. Likewise, smartphone penetration in the West is now as high as it seems likely. Although the world will change over the next 30 years, it won’t just be because more Brits or Americans have phones.

Other forecasts may be as simple as following trend lines to their logical conclusion. By 2050, the transition to electric cars will be largely complete, at least in the developed world, but also in developing countries like China that are beginning to prioritize air quality over cheap mechanization.

The “next billion” will be online, primarily through low-cost smartphones that will achieve increasingly ubiquitous cellular connectivity. But what they do on the Internet is more difficult to predict. Two opposing trends are at work in 2020: On the one hand, ISPs, mainly Facebook, are trying to use subsidy deals to push newly connected countries into stripped-down versions of the Internet. If they succeed on a large scale, many of the benefits of the Internet will be stolen from entire countries, leaving them to become passive partners to Facebook and some local media and payment companies.

But in places like India, national regulators and competitors can bypass the carriers and lead new countries to the true Internet. Unless, national regulators move in the other direction, emulating China, Iran, and Russia to keep Facebook out, create a purely nationalistic Internet. He argued that what better way to ensure the benefits of the Internet reach homes than to require its citizens to use domestic services? And if it simplifies the introduction of censorship, that’s another advantage.

No Death And An Enhanced Life: Is The Future Transhuman?

James Bridle, author of the disturbing book The New Dark Age, points out that the debate cannot focus on who the next Arabs really are. “I keep thinking about how the tech industry talks about ‘the next billion users’ without acknowledging that those people will be hot, wet and angry,” he says, “and we’re just pushing the boundaries. ” He’s talking about moving on. Instead of preparing politically, socially, technologically for this reality.

Because if we’re predicting the future from simple trend lines, there’s one more thing we must acknowledge: climate. The specifics of what will change are not for this piece, but the human response is very important.

One possibility is Plan A: Humanity will eventually reach net zero when it comes to emissions. In this scenario, we will live in a world where plant-based proteins replace meat in daily consumption, where electric public transportation networks reach the suburbs and beyond, in a world of video conferencing and remote services that frequent commercial flights. is decreasing, and increasing the temperature. Interior walls of British houses. (Look, not everything can be high-tech.)

How Will Technology Affect Us In The Future

If plan A fails, chances are we’ll turn to plan B. This is a world in which the massive injection of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere turns the sky milky white, and an entire generation has never seen a clear blue sky to reflect so much. Block sunlight and the greenhouse effect. This is where we turn on giant processing plants that pull carbon dioxide from the air and pump it into untapped oil wells underground. This is when entire cities are abandoned and populations turn to avoid dire consequences that we cannot prevent.

Promises And Perils Of Technology’s Future

Holly Jean Buck, author of After Geoengineering, says that Plan B – geoengineering – is neither optimistic nor pessimistic about the future of humanity. “The worst thing would be if we fail with Plan A and Plan B. In the next decade, I think [some form of geoengineering will be attempted].” I think it’s downplayed now because people don’t want to talk about it. We do not have enough knowledge and it will take us 20-30 years to develop it. Around mid-century, that means there will be a tipping point: climate change will become really evident.”

But for Buck, as for Bridle, the really important differences aren’t necessarily technology. “The choice of whether we have a livable future or a dystopian future depends on social attitudes and social change.

“Now we live in an age of stagnation. Before, society knew how to plan for the long term: people built infrastructure for the long term and thought a little ahead. This is no longer the case: we deal with the immediacy of problems. Looking for solutions. We need a. Cultural shift in values ​​to enable us to make more informed decisions.

There is another possibility: this technique actually saves the situation

Harnessing Technology For A Greener Future

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