There’s a book called Inevitable. I’ve only read the “blink” for it. Blinks summarize books for those of us who are busier than the average and I find them helpful to get a taste of what other ideas are out there.
Anyway, it posits that the future is not one of utopia, but one of protopia where each day we will see a small improvement over the next. It’s saying that no invention will be static as it will constantly be improved upon. They base this on trends like how quick we are to delete apps after installing them.
Let’s face it though, some apps just don’t do what they sound like they are capable of doing. Or they create extra work. Anyone try a diet app where you have to put in everything because your sport or the measurements of your food aren’t in there? And hey, the next day you have to enter it again because it didn’t automatically get added to the list of options, meanwhile there are whacked out measurements for things that are obviously from across the globe? Or the financial apps that can’t understand more than 50% of your transactions? So you spend time on configuring, only to have it still not work the way you hoped?
Anyway, I think this all only applies to some nations like North America, the UK, some Asian countries, maybe Russia because there’s a whole lot of the world where children are starving and people are dying of preventable diseases.
So maybe this book predicts what life will be like for those of us living in developed nations, but what cost comes along with it? And when will people get sick enough of the state of the rest of the world to do something about it? Will this mean developed nations will no longer have veterans living in the streets? That there will no longer be a need for breakfast programs?
They also seem to forget that physical books continue to exist despite the advent of e-readers. People like the feel and smell of books. They also like not having to deal with battery issues.
And having AI be in charge of what information we learn seems scary to me. The book suggests that AI will do the majority of the thinking while humans do the touchy feely stuff. Some humans are incapable of empathy or genuine caring. Could you see someone like Tesla consoling a widow or providing companionship for a cancer patient?
It also talks about medical care and things like diagnostics. The AI would gather all the data and the human would diagnose. That’s not really different than now. How do they think blood tests are run today? The thing is, many blood tests are not 100%. You can have Celiac’s disease and have it not show in a blood test. And they don’t know how much gluten needs to be in your system for you to react to it. There are countless other examples of this, especially in the autoimmune realm. The doctor has to make an educated guess at what is going on in your body, but if the AI is the only one with the knowledge and no humans are specialists anymore…
Now, I agree that AI will be useful for parsing through the inordinate amount of data on the internet. It already is. But it might still have issues we see now where what you find depends on what you searched for. Will the AI know everything that relates to a topic and the degree of relevance? It might not understand context.
I really don’t agree that most things that are bought are intangible. We wouldn’t need trucks, trains, boats, and airplanes to deliver food, oil, furniture, books, clothing, plates, appliances, etc if they were intangible. Hey, maybe we’ll just become robots so we won’t need any of those things? The eBook still hasn’t killed paper books, so their point is really not sold to me.
I do see potential in lending libraries for tools and such, but I don’t think everything will work that way. Photographers aren’t going to be sharing their camera equipment with others.
Digital art is cool, but doesn’t have the warmth that paint on canvas has. AI can’t write like a human because it doesn’t feel heart broken, scared to die, etc. It doesn’t have a soul. It’s not driven to create because it feels as if its heart will burst if it doesn’t put words to a page.
While Uber is great, it’s still cheaper for me to own a car than it is to use them for everywhere I need to travel in a week, so I don’t see people ceasing the purchase of cars. That would take a huge disruption in the travel industry. We still have more people using cars running on fossil fuels than electric. Hell, our homes that do run on electric have such high bills it makes it hard for people to afford food.
Currently, our economy is built on money. People care more about this than the environment. The great barrier reef is dead because of this. We probably could’ve stopped it, but that would’ve meant not making money and spending it on the environment instead. They suggest people won’t own anything, even rights to their own creations. Yes, I’m sure I will be fine with spending thousands to put a book out only to have no say in whether people can copy it… That sounds wonderful. It also sounds like a way for me to starve to death.
They talk about virtual reality substituting for real human connection. That might happen if it seems real enough that our bodies can’t tell the difference, but oxytocin is something only produced through touch. I’m not sure VR can overcome that.
They mention that screens have dynamic content and so are open to question while books are static and thus not. All the best books are open to question because the words on the page can be interpreted in multiple ways. Or they say timeless truths about the human condition.
They bring up privacy as something that won’t exist. It already doesn’t. If you are doing something high profile enough, the NSA can get through all the red tape and find you. Many places have CCTV that can be tapped into if you’re important enough. Check out the documentary, “We Live in Public”. And online tracking? Google already knows what you’re interested in. It’s already happened. There’s already breaches of personal data from social insurance numbers to health insurance. The world would need health care equality for this to end.
What do I see in the future? Human organs printed from stem cells that don’t get rejected, for one. A cure for cancer.
What do I wish for? An end to religious and other wars. Humanity uniting to bring everything to an equal footing and then the potential for the human race is limitless.