Technology is now developing at an unprecedented rate as new technologies allow us to develop even more technologies at an exponential rate. Many have wondered whether a world run by increasingly intelligent machines will eventually cause us to become less intelligent.
The age of machines
This wouldn’t be the first time that major advancements in technology resulted in changes in mankind. After the industrial revolution, when the work performed by manual laborers was outsourced to machines, people became less physically active. Many believe that our sedentary lifestyle—and a worldwide obesity epidemic—can be attributed to the industrial revolution.
Of course, the industrial revolution wasn’t all bad. Though it led to poorer physical health, it also likely contributed to greater human intelligence. Because humans were freed from monotonous manual labor, they were free to devote more time to intellectual pursuits. Furthermore, humans needed to be more intelligent to navigate a congested modern city than a small rural town.
The internet age
Now, we are in the internet age where limitless amounts of knowledge are at our fingertips. Anyone with a computer, tablet, or smartphone has access to virtually every bit of information that exists in the world. This has allowed humans to become even more intelligent.
The artificial intelligence age
The artificial intelligence age is still years ahead of us. But already we are beginning to see many early artificial intelligence systems taking over certain tasks. For instance, planes are for the most part flown by automatic pilot systems except during takeoff and landing. The task of handling air traffic at busy airports has become so monumental, that we have turned it over to artificial intelligence systems. Already, artificial intelligence has been able to beat Gary Kasparov, a chess genius, at his own game and Ken Jennings in a game of Jeopardy.
Thanks to Moore’s Law, which states that there will be an exponential increase in electronic processing capacity over time, artificial intelligence machines will be able to do more and more of the thinking for us. Already we have personal assistants like Siri (if you own an Apple device) or Cortana (if you own a Windows device running Windows 10). In the not-too-distant future, these personal assistants can become so advanced that they will automate much of our day-to-day tasks.
The easy life
The real question is whether a future with artificial intelligence will make us smarter or stupider. Just as the industrial revolution automated manual labor and made humans lazier, the artificial intelligence age could automate our thinking and make us stupider. However, also like the industrial revolution, the artificial intelligence age could also automate tasks that make us free to follow intellectual pursuits ultimately making us smarter. Only time will tell exactly how artificial intelligence will affect our day-to-day life.
Source: Huffington Post