Can I be rude to Rida, a colleague of mine at Scientia? One might be inclined to say NO, but many are happy to yell out on their juniors in minor routine chores. From my perspective, these people need a virtual assistant for alleviating their burdens; they are tired off. Although pressure can cause a rock to erode and eventually deteriorate, at the same time, it gives human being a chance to reborn and rejuvenate. Maybe its time to distinguish between intent and impact, what does the intent of our actions matter if they have an impact of furthering suppression of our loved ones and those around us.
The time has come when machines are taking over everything. Robotics, AI, automation, and, Big data; all are awning to build the next economic-operating system and framing the future of humanity. Our social norms and lifestyle are gradually integrating with machines. We are hooked up to our smartphones, and most probably, these devices will be a part of our body (in any form) in the next ten to fifteen years. The new generation got addicted to social media, and without cell phones, they feel lonelier, stressed, overwhelmed, sometimes even exhausted and burnt out.
The human brain is the fantastic, wondrous organism that responds to all immediacy of technology and the internet according to its mechanism. Like, all the incoming calls, text messages, emails, and daily updates on the website cause a sweet inside, this sweet dopamine spurts to excite our mind, without whom we get bored quickly; actually, the internet things are making people addicted of technology.
In the last two or three decades, our lifestyle changed dramatically; humans found startling ways to leverage change to their advantages and thrive. The computer age resulted in a slight rise in productivity and created an economy in which one has to work round the clock with no justification of slowing down, much less than shutting down. While AI offers more leisure to our lifestyle, it is somewhat essential for the human being to grow, evolve, and work out for the greater peace of mind rather than higher productivity. While machines give us the advantage of more quantity, we are short on quality, we are having a vast social circle but are more isolated, we are best at leisure; still, relationships are no longer manageable.
More sophisticated technologies like AI moved us into an era where cultural differences fade away, which resulted in an identity crisis among nations. People are struggling hard to find, who they are, and how to fit in an increasingly new world. While people living in advance countries have the luxury of moving into life with fewer problems, people in the third world are still striving for life’s necessities. This dilemma provokes some critical questions like, if technology supposed to diverge our lives more luxurious, effortless, and cozy, why every second person around us is getting depressed, mentally exhausted, and overwhelmed? How can we re-develop our capacity to appreciate life and live joyfully? What is a tradeoff between higher intelligence or super intelligent and loss of humanity?
The answers to such queries lie somewhere within ourselves. In a digital age, limitless information is just a few clicks away; social media is distracting us from our real lives and surroundings. We do need to stay present and fully aware of what is happening inside and around us. Therefore, for greater peace of soul, a short disconnection from digital-social-interactions is necessary to tie up with our inner selves and emotions.
Being human in the digital age has been a debate for decades. A few years ago, Ray Kurzweil, a prominent futurist, argued that the key to advancement in human intelligence is the merging of man and machine. However, this ultimately results in a race of super-intelligent humans, a point where AI systems replicate not only human intelligence processes but also suppress human thinking. The Late physicist Stephen Hawking warned about such perils and extreme form of AI; the slow pace of biological evolution binds humans, merging human intelligence with the machine would be tragically outwitted.
Hence concludes that the answer to this technological overload is not less technology but more humanity.
Saadeqa Khan is a freelance science journalist based in Quetta. She actively contribute with Dawn, Express Tribune, Daily Jang and other Pakistani publications. She’s a science fiction novelist and a skilled interpreter.