In my life I have used printed maps and also used GPS. I have seen days without a landline phone to mobile phones. I have seen days without internet to an internet dependent life. I have seen days of playing games in fields in rainfall to playing games on my laptop. I have seen days of using Kodak films to digital photography. I have seen days of hiring taxi by going to the taxi stand to calling Uber. I have seen days of syringes boiled and sterilized to be used again to disposable syringes. I have seen days of standing in railway booking counters to online purchase of railway tickets. I have seen days of no television to LED 4k televisions. The list can go on for quite a long time. In short I have seen the beginning of the technological innovation period.
The purpose of this technological development phase was to make the life of people easier. Previous to this innovation phase was the invention phase. The invention phase was then molded to innovate and make life easier. Now we are so used to these innovations in our daily life that life is dependent on these technologies. First the purpose of these innovations was to solve problems our daily life, now we are focused on creating problems so that we can provide a technological solution. We have moved from necessity is the mother of invention to innovation is the mother of necessity.
The older generation can still adjust to the pre innovation period but for the generation born after 2000 it will be a very difficult proposition unless forced by a natural calamity or a technological crash. I won’t go into details about how internet, mobile phones, social media, online shopping etc has affected our lives and how we feel incomplete without it, too much has been written about it and everyone knows.
The next generation of this technological innovation is taking us to the realms of AI. In most cases be don’t even understand that how much AI is affecting us in our daily lives. A few small examples from our daily life will give you the picture. The Alexa or Google Assistant is AI, the selection of portrait or landscape mode is AI, the filter to make you look beautiful is AI. The fully automatic cars are driven by AI, the drones dropping you shopping from Amazon etc is AI. If you are addicted to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc then you are subjected to massive dose of AI, all the notification feeds and recommended views is the work of AI. Similar is the case with Netflix, YouTube and Spotify. So is the video games you are addicted to. The online advertisement business worth billions of dollars is the product of AI which tracks your preferences and shows you what you want. The Google maps you are using in Uber are working on AI to select the best mode of transport and the route for you. The banking and financial services heavily use AI to suggest the best financial product to you which you constantly get in your e mail. Customer services of many companies are AI based and most likely you are chatting with an AI. Even security and surveillance systems use AI to monitor the feeds from hundreds of security cameras. This is not the end of the list but the beginning of AI revolution.
With all these technologies to back us up and make our life easier then why are people still sad, unhappy and seem to be missing something. We should be the happiest generation of human beings now. Why does it feel that having all these, we still feel like we are wearing the ‘Emperor’s new clothes’ as in the famous folk tale.
This journey of technological innovation and AI which we have started is a never ending one and an irreversible one. We have started it but we will not be able to bring it to an end, we will only sink deeper into it. A time will come when it will fully dominate our lives but we will still not accept it.
If it makes our life happier and easier then there is nothing better like it. If it is making our life easier but unhappier then there is something wrong on it. If you ask me if I am happier now or then, then I would tilt towards ‘then’. If you ask me if life is easier now or then, then I will tilt towards ‘now’. But my views don’t matter because I have seen both the worlds so I may be biased. It is up to the new generation which has only seen the now to experience and decide how much technological innovation would be enough for them.
A day in future will come when all our organs will be replaceable and we may attain some sort of immortality. We will see a day when we will switch on/off our TV, fridge and all our home appliances just by thinking about it. We will replace our food with pills. We will produce customized babies. We will have virtual sex. We will travel around the world in minutes or bring the virtual world in our rooms. We will build cites underwater and live there. We will have relatives in Mars and moon and visit them on vacations. We will not need transport but teleportation pods. The possibilities are immense and unending. It will just be a matter of choice how much is enough.