Does Our Artificial Technology Know Us Better than We Do?
A introspective look into how we are becoming dependent on "The Machine"
We live in a world where we cannot NOT experience crippling anxiety if we, even for a moment, misplace our phone. Don’t lie, you absolutely freak out if your phone is not in plain sight for OH MY GOD the world may come to an end, at least briefly, until you find it again. Algorithms are being developed each and every day within the artificial intelligence sector and technology continues to advance at an exponential rate. So what would you think if I told you that the machines are becoming smarter… and have actually surpassed the intelligence of human beings?
It is not hard to conceptualize that machines we teach their intelligence to will eventually teach themselves and learn our patterns more than we even realize ourselves. Ever seen I, Robot? Yeah, that whole little concept. The part that is hard to swallow is that it is already coming to fruition. Machines are already replacing people within their jobs; everything is slowly becoming automated. Damn, even calling your phone company to dispute your bill is enough to drive you to drink being there is no human being on the line now…nor will there be. Uber itself does not have one single human being that will answer the phone number provided. Algorithms are designed with us in mind, to become “smart” and know exactly what we want, who we are, what we need and how we function in order to assist and please us.
How would it make you feel if you knew that your machines are thinking for you? The statistics have been documented to show we interact with our phone over 150 times A DAY. No, not just to see if it is still turned on and fully charged, but because there is actually an endorphin-release when we scan through our social media and text messages. It is the equivalent of a mental rush that we experience and a feeling of validation as “feel-good” hormones surge through our brains; this is the beginning of an actual addiction. The algorithms are designed to create this very manifestation so we eventually develop a reliance upon it.
For example, the New York Times published an article dictating that some people are experiencing feelings of actual withdrawals, from the addiction, and the inability to fall asleep due to a newfound theory referred to as ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response). ASMR is a feeling of euphoria and tingles that the viewer experiences by watching people complete normal tasks such as folding clothes, opening packages and even doing their makeup, all whilst whispering or softly speaking into a microphone. This occurrence causes the viewer to become relaxed and fall asleep with ease. This evolution of dependency on the machine in order to fall asleep has becoming alarming to those who are beginning to recognize how serious this dependency on the machine may become…and maybe already be.
Take a gander at predictive text. Does that not unnerve anyone else here? How the hell does it know what we are all about to write?! Are we that easily patterned that an algorithm can detect our next move, brainwave and choice of context? That in it of itself is frightening. Let’s also take a look at all the new algorithms being developed that showcase real-time, interactive features. These concepts help develop a feeling of comfort, safety, trust and reliance on our machines to assist us in living our lives “with ease”. Siri, for example. That chick knows everything! And we ACTUALLY TRUST HER! But should we? The anthropomorphic signals wreak all too close to human, and most people truly view Siri as a form of human.
This reliability on a machine has created a potentially dangerous reliance in order to progress us through our day without anxiety because it gives us a feeling of control, yet we actually are not the ones in control. At all. How ironic. Let’s throw in the whole Facebook conspiracy that is occurring here in 2018 and how Mark Zuckerberg is being questioned up his ying-yang for releasing personal information that triggers his algorithm to spy on what you are searching for online. Next, the information that was gathered is then regurgitated in the form of an ad, all over your screens. It literally makes you feel like someone is standing over your shoulder watching what you research, then hitting you with a “Don’t forget about these flowers you just wanted to buy! Just click on this link and it will be all better!” Talk about Big Brother. Yet we somehow feel that we are understood and validated by this occurrence, like, “Thanks for the reminder, I think I will buy those flowers now!”
The machine has become a blanket, if you will. Without our phones, we feel lost. Without GPS dictating our next move, step by step, we are actually lost. Without the ability to push a button and see what everyone and their mother is doing, eating, if they made it to the gym, if they are loved (which is known due to the influx of pictures showing flowers, kisses and “he loves me, LOOK!”), we feel… lost. Disconnected. We can even conduct business through our machines, calculate how many steps we take, order that cute new sweater or perhaps even dinner, all at our fingertips. No longer do we even need to leave the house if we don’t want to, yet somehow still feel attached to the world around us because of the machine showing what’s happening in the world around us. No longer can we seem to even innately function without the assistance of the machine.
We feel lost without our machines validating our thoughts, next move and keeping our appointments for us with a friendly, unprompted reminder, for without them, we are essentially lost, in real time. So when it comes down to it, the more we connect, the more we, in fact, disconnect. We do not have to think for ourselves anymore; our machines are programmed to do that for us. And if, god forbid, we step out of line on our lives’ paths, we have our machines to document it, remind us of our failures and missed marks, and then provide us with a successful remedy from its learned intelligence of what your next step would be, if you were actually thinking for yourselves.
*Hey Siri, it’s time for me to get a ******* clue……………… please schedule one for me at 1pm tomorrow, so I don’t forget.