In our constant pursuit of technological discoveries are we in danger of losing our ability to just be?
We are, as a race, always looking ahead to the future. Constantly moving forwards into new realms of technology, science, medicine, our world and the universe.
We drip feed ourselves daily with bite size helpings of information that we bank subconsciously and consciously in our ever busying minds. Our brains must be bursting at the seams with the amount of information held. Those little neurons sure are working hard to compartmentalize everything and ensure each part of our brain processes the right information correctly, let alone allowing ourselves to function on a day to day basis like remembering to go to work and where we put the car keys.
Are we losing the ability to just be? Do we have to constantly satisfy our need to be in the know? Do we really have to know what so and so is up to, know what going on the news, politics, media, anything and everything? Are we frowned upon if we don’t ‘keep up’? Well, it was all over Twitter, how come you didn’t see it? Do we feel embarrassed if we don’t know? Keep up at the back of the class! Are you listening? Stop day dreaming! Stop looking out the window and the sky and the trees and the sun! Absorb this information! You need to know this!
But do we really? I’m not saying we mustn’t learn, quite the opposite. I aspire to learn something new every day, but I try to sift through the information and retain the stuff I want to retain. Saying that, subconsciously, of course I’m going to retain everything anyway, the brain is amazing like that. It all gets retained and filed away whether you like it or not. The clever part is trying to find it again. Like an expert PA the information gets efficiently filed in just the right place. Brilliant, but when he’s off work you’re stuffed!
Maybe we have to be more strict with ourselves with what we absorb. Every day I come across people who say ‘I’ve got so much on my mind’ or ‘I just can’t think straight.’ It’s not surprising. Not only do we have to deal with our own personal issues and day to day stuff we absorb every piece of other information that comes our way like sponges. A lot of this information is also sadly very distressing: wars, famine, human suffering, terrorism, global disasters… How can we possibly be expected to take the burden of all this suffering? And not only that but we can’t do anything about it. Well, unless you’re God of course. Because he’s in charge right? Which brings us neatly to spirituality. Do we have a spiritual side? Is modern life and our pursuit of dehumanizing technologies like artificial intelligence, robots and telepresence in danger of diminishing our ability to be a spiritual human?
Some could argue that we are void of a spiritual side, that all we are just a miraculous bunch of molecules making up a human body. In which case the potential dehumanising of us doesn’t really matter. We are simply a biological being and our ‘spiritual side’ was and is just a figment of our imagination. Maybe all these clever neurons along with a large cocktail of neurotransmitters concocted this idea of a ‘spirit’ to make us feel more ‘human.’
Maybe it’s just neural trickery? Well, I, for one, will take a huge slug of that concoction because I think that without the feeling of spirituality or individualism or ‘self’ we are just another biological being and that’s pretty damn soul destroying.
So, if we are so human and full of spirituality how do we expect to impart this into creating copies of ourselves with artificial intelligence? How can we make an ‘artificial human’ when we’re not entirely sure what we are made up of ourselves? Do we need a soul or a spiritual side?
In We’re Virtually There, I spoke about the cyberships and virtual relationships and the question of whether, if we do create artificial intelligences that are as close to a human as we can, would be have the potential to fall in love with one? Are we forgetting how to be truly human or are we happily evolving into a cyber-human race where the lines become blurred between human and robot? Are we heading for a world filled with robots and artificial intelligence, a multi-cyber as well as a multi-cultural world? It all sounds a bit extreme, doesn’t it?
I think at the moment there’s a big backlog of technology. Like the Hoover Dam, it’s holding back a huge wave of technology just waiting to be released. See Digital Technology – What Now?
I think the increased use of artificial intelligence in the corporate world is inevitable, and this in no doubt spill rapidly into our commercial world. The question is how will our integration with AI’s develop and how will this effect humanity?
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