Predictions are decisions waiting to happen.
Researchers asked fifth-graders at the Elon Elementary School in North Carolina to predict the future. Here are some of the things they said:
Tastebud scanners that tell you what you want to eat
When grocery shopping, everything in the buggy will ring itself up. (Buggy?)
Personal robots are a big theme with the kids.
Floating computers that follow you around like dogs
Pens that write by themselves
You will also be able to type into your hairbrush how you want your hair to be styled
Adult futurists are both farther-reaching and more uncertain about the future. They emphasize the vast increases in human intelligence made possible by tiny machines, and the ability to upload intelligence directly into our brains. They talk about curing all major diseases and living twice as long, but say nothing about how we will fill the time.
Computerized machines are already becoming smarter than we are. Many scientists believe that within our lifetimes artificial intelligence will emerge as a new ‘life’ form, complete with all the human characteristics (personality, soul, emotion) we embrace as distinctly ours. These forms will design and build themselves. They will be out of our control.
While most grown-ups shy away from specific benefits, most of the school kids’ predictions have obvious advantages.
….we will have chewing gum that never loses its taste
My question is this: will we allow the new intelligence to make our decisions, or will we direct them? Do we really have a choice?
Thanks to Ted Stout for pointing me to this resource. Ted publishes the excellent newsletter, America's Global Competitiveness Update. Email me if you would like to see his latest.