The other day at my parents place I switches on ‘Robbie’, the robot vacuum cleaner. Florens is always curious about the robot, following it with her full attention. While initially somewhat afraid, she later does’t react if the robot drives into her. What I’m seeing here is two worlds in their infancy, one is my beautiful daughter and the other a machine. I wonder how much more of these smart devices will be around when she grows up and I grow old? In my head I picture the scenario of her remembering something, in the future, about how she used to play with naive smart cleaning robots. While she’s reloading her weapon in the global war with humans on side and the machines on the other, plus the human traitors in the silicon family. Then comes the DDDUM DD DDUM DDDUM DD DDUM theme music from the original Terminator film.
Having a baby crawling around at home these robot cleaners come in handy, as they keep the floor in a good shape, in-between the real cleaning runs. Another thing that is in its infancy in what I see happening on the floor, if we project in in the future is the understanding of humans by robots and the understanding of robots by humans. The smarter the devices get, the more they know where we are, our consumption habits, our conversations, our search phrases, musical preferences, ideals of everything, our pulses and health and all that – the more they learn about us. But is it mutual? What do we learn about the smart devices?
As a parent I see the necessary education of privacy online, how to be smart about the habits online and all about the footprints and traces using all devices mean. Pure and simple street logic my parents thought me, but this is for the digital age – the street is still there but the digital world is even bigger.
From my observations people are good with the “street education” but very few know anything about being smart when using smart devices. For most parents and their children it’s like a magical things given to a medieval person. Your finger does this and you get a new app, you swipe here and you have a package waiting for you. To be honest, that’s the state its in.
From that I see the future where machines have more overview of us than we can, as a collective, have on them. Whether or not an artificial intelligence arises, the data on us humans is still there, to be mastered by the technocratic elites or by the possible emerging artificial intelligence. We can also speculate as Nick Bostrom mentions in his book Superintelligence that the AI is already here, but it’s sneaky and gathers data, pretending not to be here, waiting of the right moment.
My dad gets me out of this vision, he needs help to get up and I go over and help him. We wander off into the kitchen to get something for all of us.