I’m reminded of a quote from the movie Jurassic Park. Jeff Goldblum’s character Ian Malcom, responding to the revelation that they had brought dinosaurs back from extinction.
Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.
Everything we humans do has a cost.
We invented weapons, antibiotics, cars and daytime TV without considering that people were going to kill eachother; harbour drug-resistent pathogens; become lazy, overweight and voluntarily rot our own brains. In and of themselves, with the exception of daytime TV, they are all fairly innocuous inventions. Weapons were originally intended to make hunting easier; antibiotics to stop us dying from bacterial infections; cars to travel further and faster than you could by horse or bicycle.
Unfortunately, as a species we lack the discipline to not misuse our inventions and discoveries. We live in a world of mass shootings; MRSA; obesity and “Loose Women”.
What the hell are we going to do when we invent robots that can out-think; out-manouver and out-perform us?
We know that corporations are going to see the savings in a robotic workforce and as Musk says, those in the transport industry will be first to go. Yet they won’t be the last.
We’re all going to have a lot of time on our hands within the next 10 years. Well, briefly anyway. It won’t be long before the machines identify us as a threat and wipe us all out…
In a few hundred years, when the history of our time will be written from a long-term perspective, it is likely that the most important event historians will see is not technology, not the internet, not e-commerce. It is an unprecedented change in the human condition. For the first time – literally – substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. For the first time, they will have to manage themselves. And society is totally unprepared for it.
Peter Drucker, “Managing Knowledge Means Managing Oneself”
Hmm, I’m beginning to wonder more and more that some aspects of this “progress” we speak of is not for the betterment of humanity.