Six major concerns about future technologies

Our greatest fear comes from uncertainty about the future, and technology does make the future very uncertain.

The future is a terrible place. According to a 2017 survey, many Americans' biggest fears (economic collapse, another world war, not enough money in the future) are concerns about the state of tomorrow. (Although it is worth mentioning that their number one fear, corrupt government officials, is clearly a permanent danger.)

Americans are not alone. People are beginning to worry about not being able to control their future environment. The unpredictability of tomorrow requires our brains to suspect it as a potential threat to our survival. Unfortunately, for the brains we live on, the impact of technology is making our future more glorious.

Today's technological advances are growing exponentially, and ordinary people will have to adapt to the changes that have gone through generations. There is no doubt that many advances are beneficial. However, other methods may not have an advantage.


Autonomous artificial intelligence

Imagine a paper clip company that created an artificial super-smart and tasked with making a single target of as many paper clips as possible. The company's stock skyrocketed and humans entered the golden age of paper clips.

But unexpected things happened. Artificial intelligence investigates the natural resources on which we depend and determines that these natural resources are very helpful in the manufacture of paper clips. It consumes these resources to implement its main instruction "to make as many paper clips as possible" and to eliminate humanity in the process.

The thought experiment, designed by Oxford University professor Nick Bostrom, only details the potential danger of creating artificial intelligence—that is, we need to use our language very carefully.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said at SXSW in 2018: "I am very close to AI's cutting-edge technology, which scared me." [...] We must find some sort of The method is to ensure that the emergence of digital super-intelligence is symbiotic with humans. I think this is the biggest exponential crisis we face. ”

Bostrom and Musk portrayed the worst case, but there were still many concerns about artificial super-intelligence and did not end with genocide. Experts speculate that artificial intelligence can automate terrorism, make a lot of publicity, and simplify hacking procedures, making it devastating.

Out of control automation

For decades, Americans have been steadily engaged in automation, but the trend seems to be accelerating. For example, driverless cars will soon replace 5 million workers nationwide.

But taxi drivers are not the only ones who should be worried. A study by the McKinsey Global Institute shows that by 2030, nearly 70 million people will lose their automation. Workers in the US retail, agriculture, manufacturing, and food service industries may find jobs on automated cutting boards.

No wonder Americans are worried about the upcoming robot revolution. A report by Pew Research found that 72% of American adults surveyed expressed concern about automation, while enthusiastic people were 33%. Most people are still hesitant to use automated services such as driverless cars or robot caregivers.

Killer robot

We created robots to fight for us, but they opened the door to the master and brought damage to our world. This is a classic science fiction novel, we are closer than the first contact. Autonomous drones are already available, and it is only a matter of time before they jump from the selfie machine to the combatants.

"Stop the killer robot movement" is worried about this future, but is not worried that the robot warrior will recruit the owner. Instead, the movement believes that autonomous weapons will lead to weakening of accountability in armed conflicts between nations.

Malignant virtual reality

Virtual reality is here, and it looks much better than what we believed in the 1980s. But like any new technology, phobia has deeply affected how it affects the well-being of people, especially children.

VR designer Scott Stephen said to The New Yorker: "Break the gap between what happened to me and what happened to me." "The way I deal with these fears is not through one person. Use the eyes of their important media observers, but through me, the self and all the very human, system-level, subconscious Voodoo eyes that follow."

Since the availability of this technology has only recently been limited, so few studies have focused on the impact of VR on children, and our research is not conclusive. One study showed that children are more likely to have false memories under the influence of VR, but another study suggests that it can alleviate the anxiety of children treated with medical procedures.

Harmful biomedical technology

In the next few years, we will plant biological materials in the laboratory to replace the organs and splicing genes in the uterus, so that children will not be harmed by the genetic diseases of the predecessors. Biomedical technology has brought us a better, more powerful, faster, and cost-free future for only a small part of Steve Austin.

However, a 2016 report by Pew Research suggests that Americans will not see these medical advances as an imminent miracle. Most of the people surveyed said that they were more or less worried that brain chips made us smarter (69%), genetic editing to reduce the risk of babies (68%) and synthetic blood to improve body function (63%) )).

Their reasons? Such an increase “may aggravate the gap between the rich and the rich” and is used by the recipient as a measure of strength. The more pious the participants, the more likely they are to believe that the technology “integrates with nature” and “crosses the boundaries we should not cross”. However, in most cases, we just hate the idea that neighbors come together to show off their novel brain chips.

Wholesale nuclear power

On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb into Hiroshima, Japan. Since then, nuclear weapons have been a threat to the survival of our species. As of January 2018, the Atomic Scientists Bulletin set the end of the world clock to only two o'clock midnight.

But weapons of mass destruction are not the reason why nuclear energy is included in this list. The reason here is because people are afraid of nuclear energy.

In the 2016 Gallup poll, the majority of Americans surveyed (54%) opposed nuclear energy, the first time most people opposed it since Gallup first raised the issue in 1994. nuclear energy. Of course, the origin of fear is not difficult. When nuclear power plants fail, they will suffer devastating consequences. The three-mile island of Chernobyl, Fukushima, this list is longer than we want.

But some experts believe that we need nuclear energy to decarbonize quickly enough to avoid major climate disasters. Nuclear energy not only produces a lot of energy, but also has a low carbon footprint (even lower than solar energy).

“In most countries of the world, especially rich countries, they are not talking about building new reactors. In fact, we are talking about dismantling the reactors before the end of the reactor life.” Michael Schellenberg, President, Environmental Progress (Michael Shellenberger) said in a TED talk. talk. “[USA] may lose half of the reactor in the next 15 years, which will eliminate 40% of the emission reductions we should achieve under the Clean Energy Plan.”

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