2016 Chronicles – a blog about the machines in our lives

B. F. Skinner:

“The real problem is not whether machines think, but whether men do.”

Reading this statement in 2013, it takes a few minutes for me to realize that a few decades ago machines were largely analog. They didn’t ‘think’. Our machines today are vastly different from those of a generation ago. The analog world of machines is now something you have to go to a museum to experience. We have smart machines, smart textiles, and Skinner’s words have become an imperative for humans on this planet.

Today’s machines think. They process, collect, and store data. Machines communicate with us and with other machines. They are aware of their surroundings, and they are becoming more and more autonomous, and more and more ‘intelligent’. In 2011, IBM’s Watson computer defeated the best human Jeopardy contestants in a live broadcast. Google can use your smartphone to know where you parked your car. Amazon is selling a streaming media device with voice input. Wearable technology is advancing rapidly, and the White House is concerned about protecting privacy in the age of Big Data and the Internet of Things.

 

Our world is dominated by our technology. We are racing toward Machine World.

In the next two decades we will venture far into a transition toward Machine World. Will it be a world of plenty? Will humans be replaced by robots and automated machines?  Will our human society survive the transition?

We face a future where half of the jobs we do today could disappear. As humans are replaced in the office, the retail store, the warehouse, the farm, the processing plant, and throughout our economy, trends suggest human employment will decline and with it so will our consumer based economy. Is this the end of capitalism?

This blog is about our journey to Machine World. Welcome to the 2016 Chronicles.