0800 London 12th December 20…?
I wake to perfectly calibrated music from Larna, a music bot that plays tunes with bpm’s that it knows enhance my mental acuity. As my body begins to interface with its surroundings, the bedroom walls sense my needs and react. The room is transformed from a clean white canvas to a hyper-real depiction of the sun rising over the sands of a sublime beach. My personal AI companion, who I have named O, checks my vitals while I rest my hands on the bathroom counter. My personal nutritional needs and potential imbalances are checked before O begins to calibrate my dietary needs and options for the day. My personalised winter skin maintenance routine is produced in the form of capsules and skin applications.
O knows that I enjoy learning in the morning, it also understands the topics that interest me. A podcast is seamlessly produced, throughout which O gauges my reactions while I listen to learn if the choice had been correct.
My morning routine is taken care of with perfection and entirely customised to my needs and desires. O has been learning me for years – and quite possibly knows me better than I know myself. In fact O has been learning much more, my AI companion is part of a collective network of the same that learn from shared data as well as from direct sources. O has been designed to enhance my function as a human. It takes care of the mundane and excels at disseminating information to deliver what I need. Although O is a constant companion, much like our smartphones, it can go as far as entertaining me and ensuring my health is optimum. O cannot as yet connect with me through empathy, spontaneous laughter, on creative discussion. Nor can it understand my need to call my parents at least once a day, why I love to be embraced or why I enjoy the chaos of strangers in a bar and the messy melody of a human band.
O does not exist as yet, but we’re not so far away. As we embrace AI in its current forms like Alexa or Siri, O will start to become the very essence of our beings – it’ll be far easier to adopt than we may realise. As AI implodes across every dimension of our lives, replacing labour-intensive jobs, data-driven roles and alleviating mundane tasks, We’ll need to recalibrate our mindset to how we perceive our existence in this evolution.
I don’t believe it’s automation against humans, I believe it is the enhancement of our species producing a different realm of existence.
The paradigm is not to fear technology but to embrace its uncapped potential and how it could strengthen us abling the quotient HI (human intelligence enhanced through technology).
To reflect on the idea of my futuristic companion O and my possible existence – there are a number of factors to reflect on. The first being my job. What do I do to earn to power my lifestyle? A long view would hope that wealth inequality is archived, perhaps there is a global basic income that complies to at least the first two of Maslow’s hierarchy – and finally we “work for purpose’ and not jobs!
Perhaps that is a little too optimistic. I do, however, believe that we need not fear automation and technology as being poverty makers – there is far too much scaremongering regarding job losses. There is though, abundant information from valued and trusted sources that predict the creation of new job roles.
It is less about the loss of jobs but the creation of new roles. But hopefully, we will have recognised the shift in economics and need to reskill to be a part of ‘human led’ roles – within the depths of what technology cannot at this stage be predicted to perform no matter how sophisticated. Technology is the easy part, we need to solve around the struggles humans have as we move between the physical and digital world, this requires an approach that focuses on Human capital and taking aggressive action to shape our future rather than being consumed by it.
Our species can specialise to thrive in the new world. We can focus technology to solve our greatest challenges with ease. Responsible employers will already be taking corrective action to empower and educate their workforce, preparing them for exponential change. Proactive employees in preparation of their future careers in critical roles may look to share their overall lifestyle data with their employees to optimise their market value and opportunities.
Businesses looking to thrive or even simply survive will undoubtedly be drafting consumer-centric value-driven products and services. After all, we all know that the future is C2B. It is customised and personally tailored. Gone will be the days of mindless perusing to decide what is an acceptable fit, customers will exchange their data for thoughtful personal suggestion – a much more sophisticated and less annoying version of the ads that chase us online using generic data points. No longer will we see long assembly lines producing mass volumes of product but instead R & D toward maximising custom products and overcoming all consumer frustrations with ease.
So, looking back on my speculative prose; I wrote that in the hope that we are as a global species no longer under the paralysis of entity warfare, we are conjoined across borders to enhance our species through technology and human interaction. That all of us, from leaders through to students deliberating over their futures, are taking action to prepare.