PREPARING THE HYBRIDGENERATION
MONOLOGUE BY CLYDE LEWIS
The other day I got to thinking I am truly a slow poke when it comes to buying or using some of the new innovations out there. I really don’t know if 2017 will be the year that I give in and get a “modern” phone, rather than just having an old flip phone.
Ten years ago, smartphones, as we know them by today’s standards, didn’t exist. Thirty years ago, no one even owned a computer. Think about that — the first personal computers arrived about 40 years ago. Today, it seems nearly everyone is gazing at a glowing, handheld computer. In fact, two-thirds of Americans own one.
Now that 2016 is over, the technocracy is moving quickly and advanced innovations are accelerating exponentially.
In fact, technology is accelerating so fast that soon there will be a generational disconnect between innovative periods because those of us in our 50’s and 60’s may not be able to catch up with the younger generations and their ability to adapt to hi tech, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence.
Not everyone will accept the new technology.
Think back to how the car was called a horseless carriage, and how even though cars were being bought by many people, others preferred the horse and buggy. Now think about how we and talked about the cordless phone, and then in 2010 it was the wireless phone and now we have the smart phone. It has taken less than a decade to see the technological evolution of the computer and phone.
It is hard to believe that in just a few years, college-aged young adults will wind up like their great grandparents and grandparents, who had a hard time conceptualizing the Internet.
Many of us in the future will have a hard time conceptualizing future AI. You may not think at this moment, it is important to contemplate upon, but a word of warning must given in 2017; your ability to adapt to new technologies will impact the way you interpret and engage with the world.
On December 5th, of 2016, I talked about the Amazon Echo and the Google Home Voice Assistant, two innovations that many people were likely to buy for Christmas gifts.
I warned that these innovations would be always listening to you. And not just listening, but recording and saving many of the things you say.
While we were assured that Alexa and Google wouldn’t listen to our conversations, we were not told that the conversations may be reviewed or even seized by law enforcement.
A week ago police in Arkansas asked Amazon for recordings potentially made by an Echo device in connection with a murder investigation.
Police in Bentonville, Arkansas, asked Amazon for audio and other records from an Echo digital assistant in the home of a man named James Andrew Bates, after another man Victor Collins was found dead in Bates’ hot tub last year.
Bates was charged with killing Collins on Nov. 22, 2015, according to court documents.
The two had been drinking and watching football with two other friends in Bates’ home. One of the friends left, but Collins and another stayed after Bates told them they could sleep on the couch and an extra bed, the affidavit for a search warrant said. Bates went to sleep, and sometime in the night, Collins died in the home’s hot tub, according to the affidavit.
The cause of death was strangulation with drowning as a secondary cause, according to police. Bates was arrested and charged with the murder. He is out on bail.
Amazon declined to provide the data.
But there was still data that was taken by the police from the home’s smart meter. Bates stood accused of tampering with physical evidence by using a garden hose to wash blood off his hot tub and patio. Records provided by smart meter data showed that 140 gallons of water was used in the home from 1 to 3 a.m. that day, a much heavier amount than normal, court documents said.
This raises questions about privacy inside the home as we increasingly surround ourselves with devices that track our movements, listen to our words and record our activities, police twice asked Amazon for audio from Bates’ Echo.
The Bentonville Police Department requested “electronic data in the form of audio recordings, transcribed records or other text records related to communications and transactions between An Amazon Echo device at Bates’ residence and Amazon.com’s services from Nov. 21 to 22, court documents show.
Amazon refused both times. Amazon said it would not release customer information without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on it. Amazon objects to overly broad or inappropriate demands as a matter of course, the company said.
Amazon did give prosecutors information about Bates’ account and purchase history. According to court documents, police took the Echo and extracted information from it, though what they would have been able to get isn’t clear.
Meanwhile cameras, listening devices, meters and data servers will all be linked to your refrigerator and washing machines in order to not only remind you of refilling your fridge or washing your clothes, but to catch you in the act of anything deemed unsavory.
Later in the year, there will also be the unveiling of the “laundroid,” a service robot that will do the laundry, dry it and then fold it. A Japanese company, Seven Dreamers, has created the laundroid.
The laundroid contains image analysis technology that can scan your crumpled piece of laundry and determine what type of clothing item was put in. That way, the robot doesn’t end up folding your shirt into a sock ball. There is also technology inside the “laundroid” that is sensitive and dexterous enough to handle your clothing and deliver it back to you in a pristine folded state.
A laundry folding appliance sitting quietly in your closet will soon become a hallmark of a more streamlined and minimalist lifestyle. Once the technology becomes commercialized and accessible for all households, the days of folding laundry will become part of the past.
Robots for consumers typically come in one of three categories. One group is service robots, like the Roomba vacuum and pool-cleaning bots, that perform specific tasks. Then there are social robots, like Pepper or Sanbot, that have humanoid features, play games and nag you to do everyday chores, like brushing your teeth.
Fully humanoid robots stand at the top of the heap and are being readied to perform care and nursing functions, such as picking people up to help them maintain autonomy and stay in their own homes if they are elderly or injured.
When I had my first bout of cancer, my operation was televised closed circuit to medical students because the doctor performed my partial nephrectomy using Da’Vinci arms, a robotic surgical system, where doctors use robotic arms by remote control in order to do complex surgeries.
Of all the technologies riding the wave of exponential progress, we now can see that genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics as the three overlapping revolutions which will define our lives now and in the decades to come.
While genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics will peak at different times over the course of decades, we’re experiencing all three of them in some capacity already.
Our AI technology will springboard this year.
The next step towards strong AI will be machines that learn on their own, without being programmed or fed information by humans. This is called ‘deep learning,’ a powerful new mode of machine learning, which is currently experiencing a surge in research and applications.
Other innovations will be Speech and image recognition software, programs used to detect fraud in financial transactions, Google’s AI-based statistical learning methods used to rank links, and pattern recognition software for autonomous weapons.
However, autonomous weapons may be well on their way to being banned before they have an opportunity to be used.
Fully autonomous weapons, also known as “killer robots,” would be able to select and engage targets without human intervention. Precursors to these weapons, such as armed drones, are being developed and deployed by nations including China, Israel, South Korea, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
It is questionable that fully autonomous weapons would be capable of meeting international humanitarian law standards, including the rules of distinction, proportionality, and military necessity, while they would threaten the fundamental right to life and principle of human dignity. Human Rights Watch calls for a preemptive ban on the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons.
Technology that removes the human element has already been met with hostility creating a cold war between humans and antonymous machines that can replace them.
On the day Uber announced it was welcoming passengers aboard its fleet of driverless cars in San Francisco, a cab driver recorded an Uber driverless car running a series of red lights. It was later revealed that the car was being operated by its human driver at the time and had no passengers aboard, Uber has suspended that driver.
This created a conspiracy theory that the whole thing was staged by a cab company in order to get the driverless cars off the road. It succeeded.
After all the driverless cars has a seamless dry run when they were launched in Pittsburg.
Uber driverless vehicles also allegedly had the nasty habit of driving in the bicycle lanes in San Francisco — something else that drove the experiment into park.
As Uber attempts to correct its problems Google will launch Waymo this year. The new company that uses Google’s self-driving tech will put the technology into 100 Chrysler Pacifica minivans and begin trials soon.
Google’s been testing its technology on California streets since 2009, as well as in several other cities recently. Their software has been explicitly programmed to recognize cyclists and stay out of bike lanes.
People in San Francisco were elated to see the Uber cars go away.
According to Quantum Run, this type of attitude is expected as we take the rocky road into the uncanny valley.
They predict that starting this year and for at least two more decades we will all be conditioned into using wearable or implantable technology, we won’t need smartphones at all — our minds will eventually be connected directly to the web to answer any data based question we come up with. At that point, intelligence will no longer be measured by the amount of facts you know, but by the quality of questions you ask and the creativity with which you apply the knowledge you access off the web.
All of this made possible by microchip implants.
Generation X (those born between the 1960s to early 1980s) will likely max out after adapting to voice recognition and mobile virtual assistant technology. They will also prefer tactile computer interfaces that mimic the traditional pen and paper; future technologies like e-paper will find a comfortable home with Generation X.
Meanwhile, Generations Y and Z (1985 to 2005 and 2006 to 2025 respectively) will fare better, adapting to using gesture control, virtual and augmented reality, and tactile holograms in their everyday lives.
The Hybrid Generation, to be born between 2026-2045, will grow up learning how to sync their minds with the web, access information at will, control web-connected objects with their minds, and communicate with their peers telepathically using interface technologies put directly into the body via a microchip.
This year we will be seeing more startup companies that will automate processes instead of having humans as part of their solutions. Computers and robots will be used to do mundane repetitive tasks with more efficiency and energy than a human.
Amazon’s new experimental grocery store in Seattle, opening in early 2017, will let shoppers buy goods without needing to stop at a checkout line. Sensors track items as shoppers put them into baskets or return them to the shelf. The shopper’s Amazon account gets automatically charged.
Kroger, Neiman Marcus and Lowe’s are among the companies already experimenting with futuristic retail stores. Robots, for instance, could help guide shoppers to the right aisle, while augmented reality apps could help you see how a particular shade of paint will look in the living room or how you might look in a pair of jeans.
Lowe’s is testing robots in one of its San Jose, California store and plans to roll them out to 10 more stores in the state this year. Besides scanning shelves for inventory, the robots can guide customers to specific products in both English and Spanish.
Shoppers will also start seeing robots that interact with them more deeply creating artificial interest and empathy.
These types of robots are also being used in Europe and Japan as companions for those who are lonely.
A French woman named Lily recently made headlines when she declared herself a robosexual. Her partner is a 3D printed robot named, Inmmovator, who she designed herself, after realizing she was attracted to “humanoid robots generally” rather than other people.
Lily is a “proud robosexual” and has said that she always loved the voices of robots as a child but realized at 19 she was sexually attracted to them as well. She has since built her own dream man with open-source technology from a French company, and has lived with him for one year. They are ‘engaged’ and plan to marry when robot-human marriage is legalized in France.
So how is this going to be accepted by the public in general?
The unconventional relationship has been accepted by her family and friends but she said “some understand better than others.” She won’t reveal whether they have a sexual relationship and is currently in training to become a roboticist in order to take her passion into her everyday life.
Will we be seeing robosexual marriage? Tech sex pride parades?
You may laugh now but advances in artificial intelligence mean robots could become “enormously appealing” partners within the next few decades.
Many tech experts say that future generations will see robot partners preferable to human partners.
In fact, futurists are saying that women will more than likely choose to have sex with robots than men. Futurologist Dr. Ian Pearson has compiled a report on the future of sex – where he suggests that sleeping with robots will be as common for women as watching porn is today for men. Advanced mechanical sex devices are already being used by women in Japan and Europe.
It is a fetish appropriately called, robophilia.
The machine incarnate phenomenon may also be an answer to sexual dysfunction, social dysfunction and other problems that people will develop over time as we see the indication that the hybrid generation is buried in their tablets and smart phones leaving everyone wondering what would happen if there was a EMP or coronal mass ejection which would destroy all of the technology we are now enjoying.
It may get us all to talk again.