If anything, you better worry about “Natural Dumbness”!
If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’ve definitely heard about Artificial Intelligence (AI) or machine learning. AI refers to the capability of machines or robots to imitate intelligent human behaviour. You’ve probably also heard arguments on all sides from thought leaders and policy makers about what AI is going to mean for society.
Optimists talk about how AI will eliminate mundane work and make life more enriching for human beings. Doomsday predictors talk about how AI is going to result in machines developing cognitive ability and becoming more intelligent than human beings and eventually taking over the world. Policy makers worry about the need to rapidly re-skill the workforce and make them ready to take on jobs that perhaps do not exist today.
I am not going to foretell how this all will eventually play out. What I do believe is that AI is here to stay and take away jobs. I actually believe we are at the cusp of a larger and more troubling problem.
I would like to illustrate my concerns through a simple graphic.
Humans, I would argue, are born “Naturally Curious”. This natural curiosity has powered innovation. All inventions, on some level, are the marriage of natural human curiosity and necessity. These inventions have generally made life and society better from the humble wheel to a complex space station.
This synergistic collaboration between the curious man and machine now however seems to have reached a point where machines are gradually reducing the cognitive ability of man and also impacting our curiosity. A few day-to-day examples in my own life that seem to be pointers (notwithstanding the fact that these may just be due to my aging!).
Two critical questions come to my mind:
Are we being paranoid? Would love to hear your views on this subject.