We have nightmares in which AI as the enemy. The Borg terrorized the Star Trek universe except for seven of nine of course. Cylons nearly destroyed civilization in Battlestar Gallactica. Commander Shepherd fought an AI that likely went rogue on a distant alien civilization. I am still not sure why this story line did not create the new Mass Effect series.
We are at a crossroads of the combination of AI and humanity. Zuckerberg and Musk cannot stop our progress. We may all end up living in a communist society in where AI and machinery do all of our work. We could also end up with a fascist and corporatist society, in the Benito Mussolini sense.
However, we are at a crossroads at which we can choose how we will use AI. It will be used in an attempt to destroy the middle class and likely already is which is why I mention the debate between communism and fascism. However, it also carries with it form. What form that takes is ours to explore and can actually create another golden age.
The form we choose is one option on a wide spectrum. We could rebel against our robot overlords and re-enter the dark ages. We can choose to remain at our current level of enlightenment. We can embrace augmented reality and combine our own creativity with a reduced price tag, allowing another golden age of capitalism before the final and inevitable transformation of society. Finally, we can let the common MBA pervert science with limited foresight and education while creating an enormous wealth gap and limited growth in enlightenment before the inevitable transformation of society.
I highly argue for that middle tier, as does at least one of our evil mega-corporations. Augmented reality combines the entrepreneurial spirit and education with the power and price tag of generic software. The day when companies produced spaghetti code and hired people of limited scope is quickly dying or dead, a fact I hope Generation X will grasp at some point. SAAS and broad off the shelf programs filled with AI are rapidly becoming the new norm. My own company allows researchers, counselors, educators, and project managers to achieve a form of singularity where human intuition, powerful AI, ETL, a fast and scalable yet simple back-end, and hopefully decent design will help non-profits, psychologists, corrections officers, educators, accountants, and more collaborate to achieve more than before using a streamlined tool instead of patching together teams like a jigsaw puzzle.
Imagine one day building a design for a new robot in your local park aided by simulations and artificial intelligence before shipping the design to a manufacturer for a 3D printed prototype. You may even print a small design yourself. Within a week you are presenting to investors on another platform, holding a meeting on the same device on which you built your robot. The investors notice that the function your device performs is profitable due to predictive analytics at large scale and fund production. Now, you have a company. The success of your company depends on your ability to sell and produce at low cost, both aided by AI.
On an even simpler and more realistic scale, you might also imagine a fast food industry where employees take orders over devices while their hands are free to work or command a few robots. This could help offset the cost of wage increases.
The possibilities of mixing humanity with robotics is endless but also requires a strong growth in resource production with a meaningful price tag. If governments and taxpayers can grasp the idea embraced by our forefathers and eschew the bondage of moneyed interests, we can grow beyond our wildest dreams. Otherwise, the last option becomes reality and we throw our destinies at a dystopia reminiscent of the worst science-fiction films.
Of course, we are also running out of resources. None of this will matter once we have depleted our earth to the point where feeding ourselves is a miracle. Humans are, after all, the reason the Terran race exists in StarCraft.