As part of the April 2019 preview, The Smithsonian Magazine has an interesting series of future AI scenarios – albeit quite dystopian. The story projects us forward into 2060, which is 40 years out, our view this is way too far out to make any sensible predictions. Most of the scenarios are extrapolations of current trends. They do not cater (yet) for any black swans or other major surprises. The author looks beyond “narrow” AI, as we know it today. The bleak future is ruled by AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), self-learning systems that will outperform humans across almost all disciplines.
To get your imagination going, the article is organized in five chapters: Superhuman Rights, Ultramodern Romance, Live Long & Prosper, Resistance is Costly, and Bigger Brother. Here are a couple of scene-setting extracts:
In the courtroom: An AI known as Alpha 4, which specializes in security and space exploration, brought the motion, demanding that it be deemed a “person” and given the rights that every American enjoys.
In dating: After years of experience, you’ve found that your AI is actually better at choosing men than you. It predicted you’d be happier if you divorced your husband, which turned out to be true. Once you made the decision to leave him, your AI negotiated with your soon-to-be ex-husband’s AI, wrote the divorce settlement, then “toured” a dozen apartments on the cloud before finding the right one for you to begin your single life. But it’s not just love and real estate. Your AI helps with every aspect of your life. It remembers every conversation you ever had, every invention you ever sketched on a napkin, every business meeting you ever attended.
AIs will work furiously to keep you healthy. Sensors in your home will constantly test your breath for early signs of cancer, and nanobots will swim through your bloodstream, consuming the plaque in your brain and dissolving blood clots before they can give you a stroke or a heart attack. Your Soulband, as well as finding you a lover, will serve as a medical assistant on call 24/7. It will monitor your immune responses, your proteins, and metabolites, developing a long-range picture of your health that will give doctors a precise idea of what’s happening inside your body
Or imagine that you’ve opted out of the AI revolution. Life is hard, though. Since the residents don’t contribute their data to the AI companies, their monthly UBI is a pittance. Life spans are half or less of those in the full-AI zones.
For some people, some of these scenarios may sound as dream scenarios of extreme efficiency. To others – including ourselves – they predict a world stripped of any human qualities.
This is a guest post by The Futures Agency content curator Petervan