It’s February and I’m sitting here suffering from what the sports radio guys in Seattle call SSA, “Seahawks Separation Anxiety”. I’m flipping through the Apps on Apple TV looking for something, anything to relieve this malaise. The Weather Channel – 100& chance of rain – Wonderful. SkyNews – There’s a coffee shop called “Dumb Starbucks” in LA – of course there is, Hulu Plus … Hmm… Science fiction – “set in the not-so-distant future”, 2048, “Almost Human” – [CLICK].
Wait one muddy minute. Humans are still driving cars. Now,we all know, the only place humans will be able to actually drive a car in the not-so-distant future will be at an amusement park – [CLICK]
The not-so-distant future in Almost Human looks too good to be true. 2013 is in the rear-view mirror and receding fast. How about 2014, 2016 and beyond. I’m thinking MWA – Machine World Anxiety could be a lot worse and last a lot longer than SSA. Can we exist on this rock for a few more decades? Did we learn anything in 2013?
I suppose you could argue that we learned something about the dimensions of technological unemployment in the decades ahead. The loss of around 50% or more of current jobs to robotics automation and advances in technology should be a big deal. It is a big deal. It’s the whole ball game. Do we care? Where’s the evidence that we give a hoot? Could we already have MWA? (don’t let MWA get you down)
There are stories on the news about the rise of the machines, and robots and drones doing everything from picking fruit to delivering beer. It’s still not real for us. Like reality TV, we can change the channel and watch John Kennex race around a future city fighting crime with his android partner and pretend that we will be dancing and driving hot cars and the androids will be doing all the work in the not-so-distant future.
Who Needs a Map
The machines are on the horizon. They are going to take over those lots of tasks; cleaning, teaching, driving, accounting, doing surgery, writing briefs, doing research, writing code, flying, picking fruit and making our sandwiches. It’s like we have this existential threat out there somewhere down the road, and here we are cruising down the highway of life with no real destination in mind, and an old map. MWA
There have to be benefits for humans in Machine World – Right? We aren’t going to build a future that’s got no place for us – Are we? What about all of the high-tech employment? Kids are learning to program and build robots in elementary school these days, and we are building factories again. The President says manufacturing is returning to our shores. It’s all good man. The Seahawks are champions. It has to be all good.
We Will GO BIG, Go Global and Go Machine
By the end of 2013 there were 1.3 billion smart phones in the world and over a billion computers and we are on the way to having 2 billion computers in 2016. With the explosive growth of tablets and new wearable technology devices, smart TV and the Internet of Things, a day will come when the number of networked, smart devices will surpass the world’s population many times over. Along with this growth of networked machines there will be an explosion of data.
Think about a billion connected devices and all of that data. That’s BIG DATA! The only way to make sense of where we are headed is with machines. We are going to be reliant on machines more than ever to help us manage, control, understand and use these technologies. We have no choice. It’s Machine World Or Bust. It’s all good.
I have just one question. Who’s going to lead, help us find the way, see that we avoid the technological unemployment event horizon and make it right?