It stopped snowing and the sun is shining upon what is a beautiful white landscape. When one could generalize what many from outside of Europe would say Switzerland is, I think many would come up with some image of alpine mountains and snow. That is the image that Mother Nature has presented today.
Shoveling away, I looked overhead and saw a pure white body of Swiss airplane illuminated by the sun against the blue sky. “Wow, that is beautiful.” I admired the image and then went back to shoveling and started to think about the future of airline travel and what will happen when advanced artificial intelligence becomes reality. A time when machines are actually much smarter and faster in many areas than man.
My transhumanist friends like to poke fun at religion and say, “what will happen to religion when the machine is better than mans image that he is a supreme being?”
“I don’t know of any religion that promotes man as some supreme being in the scope of the universe. There is god, and entity that is all powerful, and while I can’t really grasp the enormity or purity of pure love – my faith is that if god was to show up on earth – we would all melt because we simply aren’t all that good. When we are put next to something that is – it actually is embarrassing to man.”
Then I would go on, “the problem and fear I have with advanced artificial intelligence and the coming super machine age is that it is man himself that has not evolved very much. His pride, greed and some of the other problems religion discusses as diseases that slowly kill man are what will do in man with his ideas of being a supreme entity.”
I guess no one wants to really hear that it is man himself that is accountable to him. It is like when someone gives you honest criticism. Yes, you appreciate it, but I don’t know too many that really like hearing about their weaknesses?
So on new years day 2015 – the thoughts are about advanced intelligence and two odd paths that need to change as the example for humanity to actually change.
The first is the airline industry inside the USA since 2001. Much like laws that are enacted, once some successful way to make money is introduced and produces a profit stream, it will never be taken away. Today, I think there is one USA air carrier that you can book a flight, for a fee, and have a normal size seat, get to take one bag on the plane with you (not too many people just commute each day on a plane and have no need for a bag) and while in-flight food was long ago replaced with a bag of peanuts until someone filed a class action lawsuit about allergenic – now you get to look at pictures of peanuts and treats in magazines or with product placements in the in air movies.
Fly most of the world airlines, and you would have to be blind to not realized that for service and quality – I don’t know if a USA carrier would even be in the top 25, perhaps 50?
While the idea of giving people options and choices is a wonderful thing, all we are doing is slowly commodifying humanity into a simply an object or thing. No longer a person, you are a traveler, no longer someone that needs a seat, you simply are a piece of mass that for many defy the human factors and fashion design trends of relabeling the big person dress with a smaller number, or go to some area of the world where the people are smaller for the average height and weight.
It is all clever marketing and merchandising that has me think back to my merchandising days at Feld Entertainment where we would go and think of any way to make an additional revenue stream. They used to joke Mr. Feld was the tightest man in show business. I said, “the man is very smart and had a some smart people around him with his dad and others to glean the skills of making money and having people smile giving it to him.”
I digress. So you have this issue of the commodification of air travelers, and in the west, the idea of great service, is seen as somehow beneath many. In Asia, service is held in esteem, in Europe, the service industry is still a career path you can have, not simply a job you do while you are in college to make a few dollars in tips.
As the snow piles slowly whittled down, I thought about the Wal-Mart Corporation. I would have enjoyed meeting Sam Walton 30 years ago and asking him what he thought the future of his company would be. Did he think it would be so large? Did he ever see the point where the shareholders at the top would become so enormously wealthy – yet – his average worker barely could survive?
The airline and Wal-Mart examples are two simply analogies that had me think, “What will these industries be in the super machine intelligence age when machines are smarter than humans? What will humans really do when many of these mundane jobs people seem to have lost the will do with high quality, will be replaced with machines, robots, and control systems that probably will not have the ability of the human brain to think spatially, but more in a linear path until this issue is resolved over time.
Anything that fits outside the known of the machine will probably get a, “I am sorry, does not compute, go to the nearest unknown station.”
All that i can think of is a time in college when my best friend boom-boom and i were not sure exactly which class we fit into, "seniors here, juniors here, sophomores..." At the end, there was boom-boom and i standing there, "sorry coach, we have no idea what class we are actually in?"
boom and i would be the first in the unknown station. i am sure we would have a bbq grill set up for when everyone else that didn't quite fit in the lines of life's coloring book was sent by the machines.
What would the unknown station be? Perhaps a big room where people are stored until the machines (or some power hungry leader that had a back door to the machines) figured out a way to eliminate the "unknown." The machines would just make bigger rooms to store all the people that don’t fit into the realm of the advanced artificially machine age?
Yes, man will only have to blame himself, as the people who controlled the machines in the first place, never really got past the world of winner takes all, or the need to be #1, or simply do whatever it takes behind the scenes in the shadows to keep some image alive that they are somehow righteous and good.
While I see the coming machine age and the tools and new ideas that will make life for mankind to live longer and see diseases and cures as wonderful. i don't see the distribution element being very equal to mankind.
Another question that keeps resonating in my mind is, “Will man actually live a better quality of life? Or will he just a longer one?”
Will the machines be wise enough to go past the flaws of man in his passions of pride, envy, greed, lust, addiction and hate? and somehow allow for actual justice? or will a few have access to the world with no rules, while the rest have to live in a rulebook type bondage. (sounds a bit like religion can become with legalism, no?)
Will machines be able to learn that love is a better option and have a way for humanity to evolve, not just a few within the overall society?
That was what I thought about shoveling snow this morning.
Guess I am weird? Here is to a great 2015 for all. May you and your families be healthy, prosperous, and have a joyful, safe new year. That is my prayer for each of you.
I don’t think we will ever have a machine that effectively prayers for us, but never underestimate the ideas of man to try to make one.