Machine Learning and Modernity

The reliance upon or should I say our symbiotic relationship that has developed with technology has become so intertwined within routine frivolity that it has actually caused us as human beings to regress although it could be argued both ways. The clichéd and oft-used example of navigation systems in cars has eliminated the need for those really handy AAA city guide maps I remember from my childhood days. Has automated navigation created a generation of those who do not know how to read physical maps? While it may the case that automated navigation may have affected navigational adeptness, it is my belief that these features have actually enhanced interest in navigation. My five year-old son knows how to find the exact location, using the tracking feature on the iPhone, of anyone he is looking for (that has enabled the feature as well). Let’s think back about twenty years. Imagine a five year-old then and ask yourself, would this child have been interested in navigation and how would their navigational, geographical and topographical knowledge compare with today’s five year-old. It’s highly likely the case will be that today’s children are more conscientious towards navigation than their predecessors.

Consider for a moment of your brain as a hard drive; the more free space it has the greater it’s efficiency. Essentially, the point is technology may have caused regression in some areas of human life but more significantly, it has produced a more knowledgeable, technological savvy, active, engaged generation of children. Children’s games are being geared toward programming, robotics and technology. In this regard, we can consider technology to have enhanced our progression as an intellectually and interconnected society. As a hard drive, our brains now have free space and resources to devout to learning about our universe but in a way that was never possible before. Information is readily available and as we get more technologically interconnected, rapid advancements in the pursuit of knowledge and the unknown will be pronouncedly visible in society.

As we gravitate from a society that is more mechanical to one more autonomous, rapid societal, technological and lifestyle revolutions will occur. We are currently at a point where ‘Machine Learning’ and ‘Artificial Intelligence’ are intersecting. Machines are now able to learn on their own without human interference. A recent case being the FaceBook AI bots that had to be shut down due to them developing their own language to communicate in. Machines are talking!

This isn’t that generic automated talking either, think about machines being able to seamlessly integrate with each other communicating in one language, one platform without needing human intervention. Machines being able to learn, like humans but maybe even better. We are also seeing 3D printing and nanotechnology being applied in a variety of industries. 3D printing has even made it now possible to ‘print’ houses out of cement! The reader must now be envisioning an utopian like scenario in which cheap houses are created using 3D print technology and other materials at amazingly low cost. Dr. Drexler’s theory of ‘Radical Abundance’ portrays a future in which materialistically the world will be fulfilled. Due to the commonality of resources available en masse around the globe, the at least very basic needs of all human beings will be met. Now if the human race reaches a point in time where material objects can be obtained for little to no cost or even for free, what will they all do?

Dr. Drexler theorizes, in Radical Abundance, that societies will break off into sects or essentially tribes. The common pursuit of intellectual knowledge will be the chief objective. Those who are kind and empathetic towards others will be greatly influential and rewarded in this ‘Radically Abundant’ society. The opposite will hold true for the oppressors and antagonists. This paper has served to be a mere diluted exploration or introduction to these concepts that are multi-faceted and need further divulgment into for clarify. Every modern day informed reader should be made aware of the changes we are about to witness so that we can best be prepared, together, for whatever lies ahead.