Human technologies are constantly evolving, along with how we interact with these. Each passing day our lives are more linked to our technology; our devices and us are increasingly more interconnected, interdependent on each other.
And doubtless, technology has brought massive, massive benefits to humankind, eg- cures for diseases, efficiency, unimaginable calculations and discoveries,
Our technological progress goes hand in hand with our capacities as a race, and technology will continue to augment human societies for decades to come
However, along with these new advances come new dilemmas, new questions about the very nature of our relationship with technology, and it is these dilemmas that we’re going to be focusing on.
In particular, what is perhaps the most important question of all for me, until which point are humans willing to be dependent?
Starting with a popular and commonly known example,
How many people virtual reality headsets? These came into the technological spotlight in 2016, they’re headsets that provide virtual reality experiences, and these experiences are getting more and more real with every new headset that comes out.
The line between what we call virtual and what we call reality is ever thinner, and anyone of these days this technology will evolve into, for example, the possibility of creating virtual copies of humans, and this creates massive questions like what is real, what does it mean to be human?
Another example that is on the rise is artificial intelligence, especially robots such as sophia that are defying all odds, being capable of conversation and an apparent conscience. The capacities of these have already left far behind the capacities of the human mind,
Two of facebook’s AI robots had to be shut down after they began talking to each other in their own language that only they understood. -independent.co.uk
Uses of Artificial Intelligence could be infinite, they could solve many of the problems we face in the modern world, but it’s also a scary concept, the power that these machines have and could have over humanity
A stratfor worldview article claims “As computers gain speed and accomplish dazzling feats like defeating the world’s masters at games of chess and Go, some of the planet’s brightest minds (…) warn that we human beings may find ourselves obsolete .”
Will artificial intelligence ever live up completely to humanity? I don’t think so. Because new codes and robots will be developed and new technologies will appear, but every human mind consist of an infinite number of variables that come into play, and infinite number of variables that not even the largest numbers of algorithms will match. No matter how many lines of code are teaching an artificial intelligence to act empathetically, it will never beat the fact that humans are naturally and inevitably empathetic.
No matter how many algorithms go into making a robot able to hold a conversation, it won’t have the value or the worth of a human interaction for the simple reason that there’s two humans holding interdependent value in their interaction for one another, and not just one human holding value while a robot runs thousands of lines of code per second.
However, they are capable of overpowering humanity, to the point where all new progress is made by machines and humans are rendered useless.
There is a movement that is on the rise called neo- luddism, which stands against the massive dependence that humanity has created on technology. Luddism in itself is a very radical concept- hating all technology for the simple fact that it is technology. However, a lot of the time we see these ideas on much smaller scales, through small actions, such as people becoming skeptical of their online security, or of them being against their kids spending too much time on a device.
In an article from the Guardian, Jamie Bartlett describes it as “a society that views tech with a sceptical eye, noting the benefits while recognising that it causes problems, too. And more importantly, thinks that something can be done about it .”
We reach a crossroad here because while the faults of technology are all dilemas toxic to the individual neo-luddism holds back the progress of the human race.
A couple of weeks ago, a close friend and I were talking when he said that as far back as humankind goes, ever since the dawn of civilization, the battle of man has been the battle between subjectivity and objectivity by that point I was like mate, its late, just go to bed alre ady, but I did stay up and think about it that night, about the battle between subjectivity and objectivity, the battle between the benefit of society and the peace of the individual.
I don’t think we should stop progressing because of the fear we have of becoming too dependent on technology, or of technology overpowering humanity. They are, however, things we need to keep increasingly present as we move forward, so that we as humans don’t let our lives become more virtual than real, or our society become more artificial than human.
As this speech comes to an end, I’d like to say that I don’t think any of these dilemmas are anything that humankind is not within the capacity of overcoming as the great cosmologist Stephen Hawking once said, “there should be no boundaries to human endeavour”