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Questions about the New Age

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Questions about the New Age

Post by vsuprak on Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:58 pm

Posting on behalf of Original Writer :: Mr. Sahil Dhar Hakim

Questions about the New Age.
The new age brings to us a million doubts about the future, and these doubts are only as unanswerable today as the doubts of the world were as we entered the age of engines for the first time, decades ago. As internal combustion, large-scale integration, nuclear fission, reverse osmosis and sub-prime mortgage become a more integral part of our lives and jargon, we come to the realization that the future alone can tell what it has in store.

Does this mean that we will remain mute spectators to the mostly inorganic growth and change that the world is being engulfed in? Does this mean that there might be no way to reverse the spiraling slope of the Carbon-di-oxide vs. Number of trees graph? Does this indicate that contraceptives might not be successful in slowing down our rampage from 7 to 14, and from living in homes to human farms? More importantly, will head-banging at a rock concert become something you would like to avoid, because spraining a neck might cost you a million dollars in medical expenses and taxation?

While any of these things can be equally true or false, does this also mean that, we the generation of today will be looked upon by the generation of tomorrow as we often, ourselves, look down upon those who were alive when one could have breakfast, lunch, dinner, take out a girl and buy candy for the kids at home for under 100 Rs.? Will we be relegated to the past as the people who lived in the times of an inventor named Steve Jobs? Will our grandchildren ask us whether we ever got to see a Tiger in real life or whether we still have a real currency note stashed away in the bedroom locker? Will the younger executives at work poke fun at us because we would still be stuck with our Android Touch-phones with AMOLED screens as we wouldnít know how to work the new age holograph keypad phones?

Today, as I try to think of what to write next, the telephone rings and hangs up and then rings incessantly again, and Iím forced to wonder about our need for remaining connected with other people. For work, personal or official, for a free-ride home, for passing the TV remote, for fetching the groceries, for telling you how you look in that red-hot bikini. The means have changed, of course, but the purpose has continued to exist. 7 decades ago, my wife would have had to wait for half a year to receive a letter from me telling her that I was alive in Africa and asking her to marry my best friend in case I did not come back from war. Today, I can simply reject her phone call and send an automated text informing her that Iím busy at a meeting and she can just send me a youtube link for our sonís first football game.

But, will future technology grow strong enough to satisfy our need and purpose of connecting with other people by completely replacing them? Will pleasure during the act of procreation be the only remaining reason for human interaction? Will software be able to regard, respect, and respond to our sentiments and emotions? Will a software be able to tell me that my hair-do looks great when it does not, by knowing that I would rather take a lie than the harsh-truth after a 1000Rs haircut? Will an automated script be able to talk a 13-year girl out of committing suicide after her first break-up? Will there be any break-ups? Will a hand-held device satisfy all my emotional needs as a life-partner, while not troubling me at all for shopping, for meeting her parents and during those days of the month?

Artificial Intelligence is a beautiful thing, but does it have the potential of evolving to something that is so natural as to challenge natural judgment and intellect? Imagine a super-Siri asking your son(if you ever have one) to not wish you on your birthday, because you ignored a reminder for getting your son a gift for his birthday which is next week.

The questions about the future are certainly unanswerable. So, letís just leave them that way.

For your reading pleasure,
Regards,
Sahil Dhar Hakim
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