Saturday, July 13, 2024
HomenewsWho Is Building the Future of Our World?

Who Is Building the Future of Our World?

Technology’s exponential acceleration into God-like realms makes the question on everyone’s mind: How do we future-proof ourselves and our businesses? 

While millions of articles and videos sharing the latest AI productivity tools are easily accessible, there is a more profound solution for maintaining relevance and not getting “left behind.” 

The concern for losing jobs is genuine, but the loss of our humanity is much more significant. Emotional intelligence continues to plummet, with markers like self-regulation and social skills all but removed from the metrics as we pacify ourselves with the latest app, game console and AI assistant. We have been stripped from nature, isolated and conformed to 9-to-5 tasks, desperately struggling to become more like the very machines replacing us. Ironically, we find salvation only through escapism, feeding the algorithms and, thus, the collective AI we are so afraid of.

It all comes down to the societal mirror we are reflecting to the executives, investors, programmers and, inevitably, the hyper-intelligence being birthed through AI and Quantum computing. It is impossible to solve a problem from the same perspective that created it. If the current global intelligence is sick with greed, nihilism and anxiety, it is easy to see the reflection as it stands today.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a story analogous to our current technological evolution and the impending AI dilemma. The master leaves the house, and the apprentice uses his spell book to automate his chores, bringing artificial life into brooms, dishwashing and mops. Soon, every mop dumps buckets of water onto the floor, simply following its directive —  the spell cast innocently by a novice. His good intentions lacked the wisdom of their greater implications. Just before the apprentice drowns, the master returns to break the spell and prevent disaster. 

As we race towards our future at blinding speeds, no one asks where the masters are. What is our intention as creators, programmers and entrepreneurs? Do we have the wisdom and foresight to wield the magic of technology responsibly? And if not… where is the counter-curse? 

The key here isn’t to stop our technological growth or even slow it down. In this emerging economy, we must do what we have always done: adapt. We need to get involved — not jump off the train but change the conductor. 

And, of course, the question is, how? 

The first and most obvious answer is to give these new technologies benevolent problems to solve. With most algorithms focused on extracting attention, creating addictive feedback loops and optimizing revenue, it is no wonder we are all concerned the AI overlords will be malicious. 

To paraphrase Mo Gawdat (former chief business officer of Google X) from his book Scary Smart, “Humans will continue to optimize AI to capitalize on the stock market, creating trading algorithms for selfish intentions. There will not be AI solutions for the market to become more transparent, more liquid, or beneficial for the flourishing of humankind.”

The Rolling Stone Culture Council is an invitation-only community for Influencers, Innovators and Creatives. Do I qualify?

This does not have to be the case; we can prioritize humanitarian efforts that use impact as the metric instead of ROI. The most important element of this solution: the creators and the public support that surrounds them. There is a new generation of programmers and entrepreneurs coming online, focused on the selfless act of uplifting mental health, education, environmentalism and the foundational challenges affecting our global evolution (or lack thereof).

In a sense, these new creators have become their own masters, and their projects and missions reflect it. They are empathetic, deeply evolved in the community, devoted meditators, physically active and passionately purposeful. They have leaned into what makes them human because they know that as technology evolves, our humanity has to grow alongside it.

As things shift more and more abruptly, our resilience, compassion and mental health will need to be highly developed to handle the transformation gracefully. Let’s focus our energy on future-proofing our society instead of just future-proofing ourselves. As we look out for the next seven generations, we will build long-term solutions that are much more profitable and beneficial for the planet than any short-term marketing algorithm available today.

I believe there is a way to help predict the outcome of what futurists call “The Singularity,” named in homage of a black hole’s event horizon that is seemingly impossible to predict. Once computers have their own self-awareness and value system, even the brightest minds have no way to predict the outcome. But as of now, we still have agency; we can affect how and why these exponential technologies evolve the way they do. 

How can we influence the shift toward a world that lives in harmony with the exponential technological progress we are making? As writer Stuart J Rusell inquires, “What if we succeed?” 


R. Buckminster Fuller put it best: “Whether it is to be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race right up to the final moment… Humanity is in the ‘final exam’ as to whether or not it qualifies for continuance in the Universe.”

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

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