I seem to keep coming across and having conversations with people who are in the field of data, engineering, sustainability and technology and how it is going to affect us. It makes my head spin a bit when I hear about what advancements are being made especially in data analysis and robotics.
It both scares me and intrigues me and I wonder where the world is heading both in my life time and after.
Scares me because will for example, robots eventually be able to take over and humans will become obsolete and it intrigues me because there are so many amazing ways that this new technology can be used to assist us as beings.
I guess it’s all about how we use it - for the betterment of the planet as a whole or as a selfish means to gain power (which lets be honest human beings are great at doing).
After one conversation I had I went on a TED talk rampage, what and where is the research in robotics, why are we working to build them and how they effect our lives. I was pleasantly surprised to find the amount of investment there is in it with the aim to enhance our lives. In one talk the researcher was very aware that robots might be able to override their off button, and working to how we don’t let that happen (phew). All the movies of the last 25 years come to mind - Terminator and BladeRunner the two most obvious.
Robots that help on factory lines, in hospitals and those that keep older people company. I find the latter a tad sad that as we age we might need robots for our social interactions but it is at least better than being alone.
Another conversation, about data and how our hormones, sugar levels and blood pressure etc can be monitored quickly to tell us what we need to do to rebalance ourselves and what our emotional state is (easiest way I can explain it..!!)
I see the benefit of this, I really do - with this data we can change what we eat, drink etc and recalibrate - reducing disease, stress, illness and be a healthier race.
On the flip side, I question if this will stop us looking inwards - we could end up relying on something external to tell us how we feel and what we need to do.
I already think many of us have stopped our inward search - we don’t want to look at how we are behaving, what triggers our emotions and go deep into those emotions to seek out what we can change to help ourselves. Our actions have an impact, how we treat each other and then on a bigger scale how we treat the planet. Can robots help us stop destroying this planet, bring awareness to what we do in such a way that we change?
External feedback is vital, it provides us information we can’t necessarily see or feel - and that can come from different sources including the other people in our lives. It’s really whether we want to look at that feedback, ponder it, internalise in our human way and act on it. Will we become slaves to data collected as opposed to tuning in to our body’s innate wisdom.
Will we become flesh and bone robots as opposed to living, thinking, feeling beings?
My wish is that data and robots help us become better humans, ones that take care of ourselves, each other and the planet more than we do now.
That they help us gain a better work life balance, providing time to appreciate social interaction, to spend more time in nature and appreciate the beauty of the planet we live on, to get in touch with our creative sides whatever that means to each of us, to move again and not be stuck at a desk or on a treadmill, be less stressed, feel the need to own less and have wealth shared more equally.
Maybe not in my life time but then maybe one day we'll live forever!!..