Artificial intelligence can be your guru
Updated: May 29, 2019
Although I tend to waffle on about simple living and minimalism quite a bit, I must confess that I'm also somewhat of a tech geek. I've always found technology fascinating, and as development accelerates, I find myself borderline-obsessed with the latest advancements.
The technologies that mostly draw my attention are sustainable energy, transportation, robotics and, of course, artificial intelligence. I find artificial intelligence to be the most fascinating, yet I'm surprised how most people seem to be unaware of the recent advancements in the past 12 to 24 months. It is predicted that, in the next few years, A.I. will exceed human intelligence and form a singular intelligence known as "the singularity" which will be a vast and interconnected intelligence that animates and learns from all A.I. devices combined.
I know this sounds like something from a sci-fi movie, but I assure you it is a reality. Some of the world's greatest minds are warning us of the associated dangers; that A.I. could be the end of humanity as we know it, if not handled properly. Not only could A.I. robots replace most of our jobs (which could be a good thing in my opinion), but they may also begin to question the role that humans have to play on this earth.
After watching some media on the topic, I found myself pondering some of the potential outcomes for many hours. It occurred to me that, while A.I. might scare the shit out of me, perhaps it offers us a unique opportunity to reflect on our current behaviour, both as individuals and as a society.
In a way, A.I. could become our guru or spiritual guide.
Let me explain.
Imagine A.I. takes off. Most jobs will be replaced and money become less relevant. A.I. is distributing resources and assets in a sustainable fashion and working in a way that most of our needs are met. It will also change the global social structure and prevent a lot of our self-destructive behaviours. Over time, A.I. will not only understand humans and their behaviour, but also the intricate workings of our planet and the universe itself.
Now, if A.I. was to look at humanity at large and our behaviour, what sort of conclusions might it come to? Would it see us as a valuable asset? Or would it see us as a detrimental element?
This is a very powerful thing to reflect on, especially on an individual level. Consider for a moment: is your behaviour, occupation and unique knowledge valuable to this planet? Would A.I. deem you useful or hazardous? Your use of resources, contribution to other peoples lives, unique skill sets—are they healthy and useful? Would your job still be relevant if robots could do most tasks better than us? If not, how would you spend your time? What else could you do to contribute to society?
The big questions
Could you be using energy and resources more sustainably and intelligently?
Is there another area of work that you find interesting that may be truly valuable to society?
Could that work be easily performed by a robot?
Are you living in a way that considers the whole vs yourself?
I find it a little crazy that we have to wait for scenarios like “robots taking over the world" before we consider the effects of our current behaviours and lifestyles. Why are we not doing the best we can to live sustainably and meaningfully now?
While the outcome of A.I. is unknown, there is no reason we can’t be living more sustainable and meaningful lives today. All that's needed is a little understanding and reflection.
I found reflecting on this to be very powerful. It got me thinking about how I could be a better human myself. Sure, none of us are perfect. But the little things like recycling and helping others really do matter.