Awakening Our Sense of Wonder to Build a Better Future for AI
Thu, April 22, 2021

Awakening Our Sense of Wonder to Build a Better Future for AI

We must move past our optimism to create the best possible future for AI / Photo Credit: metamorworks (via Shutterstock)

 

Growing up during the '80s and '90s, Amir Husain of business news platform Forbes recalled watching early documentaries on AI. His experiences as a software programmer, patent-holding inventor, and successful entrepreneur during the last 30 years were fueled by his youthful optimism. He still draws upon that feeling each day. But now, he encourages us to see past our optimism to create the best possible future for AI, a technology that will revolutionize the world. Husain perceives such blind optimism as nothing but anachronistic. It appears that the price for the world’s societies being connected at machine-speed is a fuller awareness of the human costs that technological advances can impose— that is, if we allow it.

Present technological issues are going to be a lot tougher to address considering that 5G connectivity is increasingly paired with the rising adoption of various kinds of AI. Moreover, social media has gone from a hub for forging bonds to fragmenting societies to win elections and sell online ads. Smartphones, instant messaging, and other forms of instantaneous connectivity “created neurologically-tinged expectations of responsiveness that are a running source of anxiety.” Randomly activated smart speakers, embedded location in our smartphones, and other online tracking technologies fuel our fears of being monitored and tracked by unknown third parties.

Sadly, the more we use digital technologies, the less we are optimistic about such advances. We used to fantasize about seeing our colleagues and collaborators vial real-time video links, allowing us to spend more time with our families and reduce travel stress. With that, it’s time for us to reawaken our inner sense of wonder with regard to AI’s potential. We must accept (not wallow in) our loss of digital innocence and make the necessary adjustments like preparing ourselves on the changing face of employment due to the effects of technological advances.    

There are kids right now who are building workbench robots and block coding on Raspberry Pis and Arduinos. They can still hold on to their digital innocence. If we act, the pitfalls of today would not be experienced by today’s generation. Husain encourages us to think about using technology, AI included, for the good of humanity.