If there was ever one universal truth for all mankind this has to be it. This is Newton’s Third Law of Motion but it clearly explains humanity as well. There is no action taken that doesn’t create an equal and opposite reaction. We need to consider this fact in everything we do and yet we continue to function as if it doesn’t exist.
My concern for the inevitable outcome of this truth is our ever increasing reliance on technology. I’ve been reading up on artificial intelligence and the future ramifications of its application. Even some of our foremost thinkers like Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak and Elon Musk are voicing their concerns for the future of mankind if we continue to focus on this technology. I’m not qualified to voice an opinion on their level of expertise so I’m going to stay within my area of experience, the demise of problem solving skills in humans.
As we continue to increase our dependency on smartphones and tablet computers we are chipping away at our innate reasoning process in favor of ready-made answers to every question. The more we rely on our devices to think for us, the less we develop our own problem solving skills. I can foresee a future where the smallest difficulties will be handled by Artificial Intelligence and we will be perfectly happy to relinquish our decision making ability over to this little robot companion. If they make one that looks and acts like a dog, people will be lined up at the Apple Store like never before.
I’m not suggesting we give up our technology. I am stating emphatically that it doesn’t have to own us. I still force myself to do math in my head and I can do simple calculations faster than most people can get to the calculator on their phones. I can still spell better than anyone I know without having to look up an online dictionary or ask Siri. I’m not that smart but I make my brain work as often as possible to keep it alive. I’ll match wits with anybody in a problem solving contest that requires deductive reasoning, not just fact finding. Reason and wisdom are the most valuable parts of our existence and they make us who we are more than any other aspect of our being. Why would we ever want to minimize their importance in favor of AI?
The world of tomorrow is being created today by extremely bright humans who can reason, who can solve problems with tenacious intellect and who can and will inject a healthy dose of humanity into every decision. Artificial Intelligence is just that, it’s artificial and it has a place in our lives but it shouldn’t be given the key to the vault of our collective human experience. Each one of us has the ability to improve the world in ways that no robot could ever imagine. Each one of us has a duty to all of mankind to improve the human race so that all of us can thrive on this planet. Each one of us must act in our own unique way to impact our corner of the universe so that the future is better than today.
By following Newton’s Third Law and sharing these responsibilities equally, we will never have to be afraid of AI and the future will be better than anyone can imagine.