For some people tech is the answer to all of their questions, to others, it’s the bane of their existence. The fact is, the world is moving toward tech more and more. So are you moving toward technology or not?
If you think back to when you were a kid, you’ll notice a severe progress in technology. You see a lot of jokes around the internet about stiffy and floppy drives. But that wasn’t even the beginning for me.
When I was a kid still living in England the computer of choice was a ZX81 (which was the successor of the ZX80) by Sinclair. It came with 1kb RAM and you could get a booster to make it a whopping 16kb. It plugged into your TV and the hard-drive was a tape recorder, the code itself was stored on tapes and it used the Basic programming language. I actually met a guy who worked with my father and was programming CNC machines using a ZX81 with a 16kb RAM pack. It blew my mind as a kid.
After that Sinclair brought out the Spectrum which had, wait for it, colour, shock horror wow. A bit of a boom started happening from this point. Out came the latest Commodore and Atari with their home computers (more gaming consoles than anything) and the RAM capacity reached 64kb. I know right, this is where you slap your cheeks in disbelief, 64kb RAM, fuck.
However if you look at Apple, things were already happening in the early 70’s. I think the main appeal of Sinclair’s home computers was that they were incredibly cheap, selling for less than £100 and because I was in England, it was more available than Apple. I don’t even recall a mention of Apple when I was a kid, but I do remember messing around with the ZX81 in the school “computer room” with my best friend Gary Loader (who was an absolute whiz, he was programming in Basic and creating games at the age of 8 or so. I left England when I was 10 so it was definitely at an early age).
But onward and upward, Microsoft Windows became more popular with their DOS system which then became Windows 3.1, then Windows 95 which was a huge improvement, and now we have what you see in front of you. The Apple and Windows OS have both improved at such a rate from just a few years back. If you are on your phone, think back to your first phone. I remember when mobile first came out. A friend of mine, after we had just finished with college and moving into the workforce, got his first mobile phone and it was like shit wow motherfluffer. Mine was a Nokia “brick” 2010, remember those?
Even if you are in your 20’s, you have probably noticed a steep incline in the curve of technological improvement.
Getting Back To Our Roots
With all of that said, people seem to be feeling like they are losing track of their humanness. In a way I would agree. We are constantly plugged into technology, heads down and tapping away on our phones.
Now this article was actually inspired whilst watching the Living Big in a Tiny House YouTube channel. If you like Tiny Homes, go check it out, great stuff. Some of the homes are high-tech, whilst others not so much, pretty normal actually. However one guy built a “hobbit home” and there was no electricity so the intent was to really get back to basics.
Whilst I was watching this I kept thinking to myself that using all of the methods of cooking and keeping food in cold storage brought along many health problems for our ancestors (he was using a stove from the 1800’s, so ye, ancestors), how do you live like that and combat those issues?
More and more people are doing this though, trying to remove technology and get back to roots. And I ask myself, why? Why are we seeing technology as a burden and something that needs to be banished from our lives? Technology can be used in conjunction with everything in order to enhance and improve.
Don’t get me wrong, I agree that we need to create a balance. There is a need for us to live simpler lives and try to reduce the amount of stress, but that doesn’t mean that removing technology will help that process. For some however, it seems to be a black or white situation.
The Threat of AI
I think the main contributor to this movement to ban technology from our lives is due to the impending doom of robots taking over the world. Will it happen? I don’t bloody know.
All of the companies that creating AI are aware of the issue, and they are putting safeguards in place, but if a machine can think intuitively, who’s to say it won’t just decide enough is enough, it’s tired of being controlled by humans, so it rebels. Isaac Asimov would be proud, or not.
Elon Musk explains this in a very good way. When we build a road we have a set course of where that road will be laid. If there is an ant hill in the way, it gets destroyed. We as humans don’t hate the ants, it’s just that we need to lay our road there and the ants were in the way, there are no feelings about it. The same could happen with machines and AI. If machines need to move in a certain direction and humans are in the way, no hard feelings, no feelings at all, progress demands it. So, we would be the ants to a more intelligent race of machines.
So why is AI being developed if it could pose such a huge threat to humanity? The answer to that is simple, in order to aid humanity. A computer that can resolve a problem much faster than a human can increase progress to much needed things like medical development. Why wait 50 years for humans to come up with a solution when a machine can do it in a fraction of the time and we can have better medical solutions now?
There isn’t really much of a conclusion to this. AI and machine learning need to happen, they are going to happen whether we like it or not, so what do you do about? Run away? Ban all electronics from your life? How’s that gonna help? When it comes to a time when computers are running the world, you won’t have any idea how to deal with it.
My suggestion, keep up with the progress, learn along side it, keep an eye on what is being developed and use it to better your life (while you still can, just kidding). At the same time, get back to basics, live simply and remove stress, go for walks and meditate. As VR and AR progress, have a look at incorporating them into your life, you’ll be able to visit some incredible places overseas without having to purchase a plane ticket and taking a couple weeks off work. Walk through a forest in Europe one evening whilst you are relaxing at home in Sunny South Africa.
I don’t know about you, but I’m excited.