What Happens When AI Completely Decodes and Synthesizes Reality?
As we realize A.I. can do what we do, better – and for free — we’ll experience a kind of false dawn of euphoria. It steps up, and we happily step back.
Students stop writing essays. Job seekers stop writing resumes. Designers use MidJourney to create book covers. All life’s gruntwork is over, and the finished product isn’t suffering at all. Hallelujah!
But here’s the deal we can’t quite grasp: Bit by bit we humans lose our skills . . . our agency . . . our creative spark . . .
This is how a slave’s dependence on a master evolves: slowly and then quickly. At a certain point you realize you are no longer making your own decisions, but you don’t particularly care, because in a strange way it’s easier this way.
In school you have your personal AI tutor. At work you have your creative AI collaborator. And as you age out into a soft Third Act, there’s your companionable personal robot to ease you gently into the next world.
The way most people assume this dance is going to work is, I think, exactly backwards. Machines will not become more “human” — that’s the only thing they can’t learn. (What might happen is they master human psychology to effectively pull our strings.)
Instead, I think we’re in for a surprise: We humans will gradually become more machine-like. It’s already happening on a physical level, of course, as we slowly incorporate more hardware into our bodies, merge our lives with technology. It stands to reason we will slowly become more machine-like from the neck up too.
What kind of beings will we be then?
Will we still fall madly in love . . . see the world around us as wondrous . . . feel awe staring at a waxing gibbous moon?
Will we be able to muster enough righteous anger to go out and do something on a #FuckItAllFriday?
The danger is that we evolve into a species of unfeeling, fat blobs sitting in front of our screens crunching tacos?
At this point I think we’ve given up too much ... but how will we know?
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