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Can We Emotionally Keep Pace with Technology Change?

The pace of the world around us continues to accelerate. One-hundred and fifty years ago very few could have imagined how our lives would be so greatly impacted by a little square box which displays cinematic pictures. Now, there are approximately three TVs found in the average American home. One hundred years ago a computer was inconceivable, and fifty years ago the concept of having unlimited access of all knowledge at our finger tips was preposterous. Now, we can’t live without it.

So what will be the next ‘thing’ that we can’t imagine living without? Flying cars? Robots?

Predictions of robots – and what they could be capable of have been a lingering fantasy for decades, but what was once fantasy is now becoming a reality. Many companies have begun investing and developing different Artificial Intelligences (AI).

In April of last year, President Obama played soccer with Asimo, a humanoid robot created by Honda. According to Honda, ASIMO was created to be a helper to people. ASIMO’s height of four feet makes it the perfect size for helping around the house, or assisting a person confined to a bed or a wheelchair. Another robot made headlines this year as well. In July, the first public advertisement for a family robot named Jibo was released. As quoted on the JIBO website, Mashable says “JIBO isn’t an appliance, it’s a companion, one that can interact and react with its human owners in ways that delight”.

But what happens if the robots surpass the abilities of their creators?

The article “Robot Brains Catch Humans in 25 Years, Then Speed Right On By”, discusses some of the major highlights of the book  “Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies” written by Nick Bostrom, director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, which according to this article, “lays out the best predictions of the artificial intelligence (AI) research community.”

Based on surveys of the most-cited scientists in AI, totaling 170 respondents, scientists polled the probability of human-level machine intelligence – which is defined as “one that can carry out most human professions at least as well as a typical human.” Respondents said the probability of human-level machine intelligence being attained by 2022 is 10%, by 2040 is 50% and by 2075 is 90%.

This isn’t completely shocking as many of yesterday’s jobs have been eliminated due to automation. According to an NPR story, even small start-ups with access to AI software are enhancing the capabilities of things like voice recognitions allowing for improvements in robots.

If you don’t want to show up for work and find a robot sitting at your desk, you must learn to be resilient. Resiliency means not only overcoming adversity, but finding opportunities within challenges. In order to survive in this quickly changing world, resiliency is key.

“Replication of routine isn’t the kind of intelligence Bostrom is interested in. He’s talking about an intelligence with intuition and logic, one that can learn, deal with uncertainty and sense the world around it.”

Bostrom refers to this as Superintelligence and defines it as “one that ‘greatly exceeds the cognitive performance of humans in virtually all domains of interest.”  Once human level machine intelligence has been attained, scientists say the probability of robots becoming “superintelligent” in two years is 10% and within 30 years is 75%.

“Inventor and Tesla CEO Elon Musk warns that superintelligent machines are possibly the greatest existential threat to humanity.”

Before we let robots beat us at our own game, we must master the ability to control our emotions. We must learn to understand and read other peoples’ verbals and non-verbals, body language, and expressions. For some – it’s easy but for others it takes more work. Regardless, we can always get better.

 “Human beings, viewed as behaving systems, are quite simple. The apparent complexity of our behavior over time is largely a reflection of the complexity of the environment in which we find ourselves.”
Herbert A. SimonThe Sciences of the Artificial

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