We are on the cusp of a technological revolution, the likes of which we have never seen. If you think we’ve seen a lot of change in the past 50 years, with the rise of personal computers, mobile phones, and the internet, what will likely happen between 2020 and 2070 will make all of this seem primitive by comparison.
Artificial Intelligence is still in the very early stages of development. While AI can already outperform humans at a variety of specialized tasks (as you’ll see soon), this is only the beginning, and because of the power of exponential growth, it will grow in capability at a pace we can’t easily understand.
In this piece, we’ll take a brief look at how the rise of AI will impact humanity and the world in the next 50 years.
The Economy and Employment
Humans are hard-wired to detect threats to our survival, so it’s natural that a lot of focus is currently on how AI will impact our economy. After all, our jobs are how we feed ourselves and our families, and how we provide them with the things we need.
AI can already outperform humans at a variety of simple tasks. Just look at the robots building cars in factories around the world. Many assembly line workers have already been replaced by basic AI and robotics.
Yet, AI is undergoing a growth explosion, and we seem to be fast-approaching some sort of tipping point. Baidu’s AI can already recognize and sort images better than humans. It’s easy to see how this can be built upon, and if it can already do this, what else it might surpass us at within the next several decades, and what that might mean for jobs.
AI will replace almost all human jobs that don’t involve emotional intelligence. Even high-level coders and writers aren’t safe, as the release of GPT-3 recently demonstrated.
Medicine and Health
One of the more exciting elements of thinking about AI is to contemplate the medical advancements it might unlock. Imagine an intelligent computer that can crunch data 24/7 without getting tired, learning, and correcting itself as it goes.
Could it spot the cure for cancer among trillions of existing data points? Could it easily recognize and sort genes according to what they do and control in the human body in the same way that it now can recognize and sort images? Could it spot abnormalities such as early-stage tumours with 100% accuracy, in a way that tired, often overworked medical professionals will never be able to?
These are exciting things to think about. Could AI lead to the elimination of many of the diseases that plague humanity today? Could we live longer because of its insights? Could we suspend death indefinitely?
These things sound like science fiction, but if you told your great-grandmother you’d be able to live-stream with a person on the other side of the world through a piece of plastic and metal in your hand, they probably would have thought the same.
Many of the diseases that cause so much suffering today will be eliminated within 50 years. Humans will eventually live for hundreds of years unless involved in a catastrophic accident.
Entertainment & Games
Humans love to be entertained. A large part of any economy is made up of spending on movies, concerts, shows, travel, gaming, and other experiences that entertain us.
It’s amazing to think about the sort of new experiences AI-driven augmented and virtual reality could make available. Is it possible for AI to create new movies with actors that don’t exist in the real world? Could AI compose a symphony or make music that hits the number 1 spot every time? Could it create new games we haven’t thought of for us to play, bet on, and enjoy?
What does AI mean for gaming? How could an eSports team compete against an artificially intelligent computer? Could stock traders use it to dominate markets? Could AI be used by gamblers to beat real money casino games? What does this mean for the gaming industry and things like betting sites? Will they cease to exist?
In all probability, whatever sort of world or experience you can imagine, powerful enough AI could generate it in seconds.
Traditional forms of entertainment, such as going to the cinema will gradually die off. AI will direct movies, create music, and generate art that humans love and appreciate. New experiences we can’t yet dream of will become available through AI-enhanced virtual reality.
What Will Determine How AI Turns Out?
This brief overview has only scratched the surface. AI will also have massive implications for war and weapons, education, law, engineering, and government. It will touch every facet of our society and way of life. The world our children and grandchildren grow up in will be unrecognizable to most of us who are over 30 today.
We can also play a part in how AI turns out. Here’s what you can do to ensure we have some Democratic control over this brave new world.
- Ask candidates you’re going to vote for their thoughts on AI and regulations. AI isn’t something we have to think about in the future. It’s a reality now.
- Learn everything you can about AI. Books like Life 3.0 and The Singularity is Near are good starting points.
- If you’re involved in tech, work on AI. You don’t have to be a passive observer of this phenomenon. You can help shape it.