Humans tend to get ahead of themselves in the new tech trend which is updates not only the workforce but also the work environment. When we create something that we end up quite liking, we build on it obsessively until there are generations of the technology. In the past, this has served us quite well. For example, the first mobile phones were bricks of wiring and plastic, difficult to carry around and only useful for calling and eventually texting. As time moved on, however, we were introduced to mobile phones that could successfully allow video calls, giving users the opportunity to see the person on the other end of the line in real-time. Today, the smartphone accounts for nearly 85% of global mobile phone sales. Today, we can do it all from our mobile phones; we are able to call, text, email, track our diet and healthy habits, log exercise, do our banking, and even run entire businesses. We can literally do almost anything through our smartphones today. Keep in mind that it was only forty-five odd years ago that the concept of the mobile phone even became mainstream. The growth for the technology that powers the mobile phone (now largely the smartphone) has been exponential.
One of the most intriguing evolutions in humanity’s lifespan up until this point has been the realisation of technology. From vehicles to electricity to solar power, technology is truly the gift that keeps on giving. As each innovation in the field continues to evolve further and impress even more, we are driven to continue to build on the strong foundations that are technological advancement and digitalisation. As time as gone on, we have become more and more involved (and consequently reliant) on technology, and the reality is that the impact of technology has had such an impression on us that we cannot turn the clock back now. We have made it so that technology is so convenient, so impressive, that we no longer feel the desire to be without it. Technology makes life more efficient all round. We can travel faster and safer than ever, thanks to technological advancements in the transport sector. Healthcare and education have changed dramatically to cater for tech-driven generations. The economy has been vastly transformed due to technological innovation. Even the workforce has been digitally transformed. The future of everything is almost certainly going to be centred around technology. That much we know.
There is this strange realisation that often comes hand in hand with technological awareness, where we become afraid of the very thing we have brought to fruition. It is absurd and understandable all at once, because even though we are responsible for bringing technology to the helm, we have also reached the point where we have created machines so advanced that they have the potential to begin learning on their own, fine-tuning their skills without too much human interference. The biggest cause for concern among people regarding technology is machine learning. We are increasingly aware and incredibly nervous about the future potential of machine learning, given that the entire focus is on teaching a machine to execute a task seamlessly. Entertainment has long planted worrying risks for our future in our minds, firmly planting technology’s potential to outgrow (and overthrow) us at the heart of the problem. But here’s the thing: the movies are not depictions of true life, and they should not be treated as such.
Yes. Machine learning is an incredible feat of technological power. But we can all take a deep breath and relax. We are not yet at the point where machine learning and AI are so advanced they can evolve on their own. There is a very real possibility that we never will reach that point. The reason why is simple: our accountability. Humanity’s thirst to continuously expand our presence on the planet has resulted in our species becoming increasingly aware of the power of the innovations we are bringing to life. But at the same time, we are increasingly becoming aware of our own power in that process of evolution. We are responsible for the technology, and we are accountable for ensuring it does not run amuck. It really is that simple. The latest machines are fine examples of how we craft technology in our image more and more as time goes on. So the simple solution is to craft that technology in ways that make it smart, but not independently intelligent. That is really all it comes down to.
Technology has been created for us, by us, and the reaches of technological advancement are so advanced now that we are beyond the point of return. Even if we could feasibly go back to the times before technology was so instrumental to so many aspects of modern life, we would not do it. The convenience, efficiency, and speed that technology has introduced to our lives on every possible plain has been second to none. We now face an era where our innovations are so advanced that many people are now becoming afraid of their unyielding potential. Entertainment has pushed us into the belief that in the not-so-distant future, the technology we create will overtake us. This is simply untrue. We create the technology, so if we create it properly, there is no cause for concern. Ever.