Living con-veniently in the 2030s
Living conve-niently in the 2030s
How does AI influence our life in the 2030s?
Since the dawn of the new millennium, there has been a tendency to reflect on the past, focusing on the fashions, fads and cultural movements of the late 20th century, typically through rose-tinted glasses. In sharp contrast, there is now a growing trend to view the future as a dystopia: a world tarnished by economic slowdowns, environmental decay, social disorder, and widespread terrorism and violence. Even so, despite the fears and media hype, 21st century people are living longer and are more educated, healthier and richer than their ancestors. A major factor for the general improvement of modern living standards concerns the advancements made in science and technology. As well as developments in medicine, healthcare and agriculture, there has also been a revolution in information technology and the beginnings of artificial intelligence, AI, which is expected to ease our lifestyles in decades to come. With the rapid pace of modern technological innovation, can our collective curiosity in science andthe future assist us in acceptingthe forthcoming developments in artificial intelligence, which will allow for further domestic and societal convenience? Can our curiosity in AI allow us to become more optimistic about our existence in the 2030s?
AI is both a science and a series of computational technologies that have been inspired by the functioning of the human nervous system. Although the field of AI began in the 1960s, there have been a series of developments during the past few decades, including: speech recognition for Smart Phones, and algorithms that rely on pattern recognition, which have brought increased power to online search engines, and advancements in video game technology, revolutionizing the entertainment industry. These technologies, however, are for very specific functions and have taken many years of research and design. Even so, it is expected that there will be an increase in the use of future AI technology, enabling self-driving cars, the diagnosis of diseases, personal healthcare treatments, and assistance for the elderly and disabled, as well as robotics in agriculture and factories, and armored vehicles and self-flying drones in the military.
Quite how artificial intelligence will influence our world remains unknown. Unlike geopolitics, which can use trends in history and patterns in geography to predict future global systems, or computer models that can be employed to demonstrate future economic or natural atmospheric systems, AI is a modern entity, upon which no former experience can be enlisted to make projections. How will our ongoing curiosity in artificial intelligence and other forms of technology shape the way we live during the ensuing decades?
Predicting the future
To appreciate the influence of AI in the future, Stanford University in California recently launched a research project entitled AI Century, which aimed to describe the technical and societal opportunities and challenges that may arise in the fields of economics, design, policy and ethics when AI is introduced to the real world. The report encompassed three main sections: the first part defined the term artificialintelligence, and also to examined recent research trends; the second section considered the application of artificial intelligence in the real world, ranging from healthcare and education to urban planning; the third part focused on policy recommendations for the use of artificial intelligence.
The report concluded that there are currently no major concerns that AI will threaten human populations, despite many of the predictions reported in the mainstream media. Rather, the report stated that the applications of AI in modern society will become increasingly useful over the next two decades, and take on roles that are currently lacking in a large workforce. The report continued by indicating that the decisions made by today’s policymakers and wider society will have long-lasting influences to the future of AI.If society expresses fear and suspicion, future AI developments could be impeded, resulting in less research based on the safety and reliability of such technology. If, however, society is curious for a better future and for improved technology, it is likely that AI will transform society for the better by the 2030s.
It is impossible to make precise predictions about the future. However, a key trend that is occurring in the US, Europe, Russia, China and Japan concerns demographics and aging populations. In China, since the introduction of the one-child policy in 1979, and the rapid socio-economic growth and increased availability of education that has occurred over the past few decades, birth rates have fallen. As the older generations go into retirement and old age, there will be fewer people in the workforce, and more people requiring health care and additional support for the elderly. With fewer people working and stimulating the economy, there will be two main options: immigration or technology. Considering that the general global attitude is now moving away from encouraging immigration, there is a drive to develop robotics, AI and genetic advancements to enable the greying and aging world of the 2020s and ‘30s to maintain socioeconomic growth. It is unlikely that the technology will be that advanced for taking over most standard jobs – and even if the technology does ease the strain on the workforce, it will likely present more problems for the future generations to solve. Nevertheless, with the current rate of technological development, and our continuous curiosity in the future, it is likely that AI and robotics will play a greater role in our everyday lives by the 2030s, which might not be so bad after all.