I just designed a relativistic-quantum-entangled-supercryogenic time capsule, got to a Harvard history class, stole that day’s lecture, and came back. Want’s easy…..Enjoy.
History of Neuromathematics and the advent of ubiquitous automation, Spring 2100.
Let’s now turn our attention to the time when what was then called Artificial Intelligence, what today we call Neuromathematics — or the exhaustive description of neural processes via differential equations — was introduced at scale in all sorts of machines.
We should remember that at the turn of the millennia, our species thought that machines were going to take over the world and enslave humans. In a ‘collective insanity’, not dissimilar to the ones that characterized our species at the turn of the year 1000, when people thought the world was going to end as predicted in the Bible, which re-occurred in 2012 (this time, the end of the Maya’s calendar was the cause), businessman like Elon Musk or politicians as Andrew Yang were running around pulling their hair out screaming “robots and AI will kill us all, run for shelters!”.
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The Biblical end of time According to Revelations, and their later counterparts in Hollywood (the 2012 movie) and neighboring Northern California business district ‘Silicon Valley’ (Elon Musk)
While mental instability has been demonstrated unavoidable in small percentage in our species, the majority of our human conspecifics, in particular the technically savvy ones, promptly realized that besides challenges, every new technology brings opportunities.
In hindsight, when as aspiring historians, we analyze the status of our species from the introduction of the first machines to the massive adoption of Neuromathematics, we can quickly realize that machines had already enslaved our race by the turn of the millennia.
To contextualize, let’s get back to the 1st decade of 2000, where a study from our university, Harvard Health Watch, found that the average American spent 101 minutes per day driving a vehicle.
As crazy as that may seem today, this means that, in an average lifetime, our ancestors spent a tad less that 40K hours of their life sitting still in a vehicle, borrowing their whole personas to the operation of a fuming/polluting/dangerous plastic & metal box!
As absurd as this may sound today, where average Americans spend zero of their time giving their ‘100%’ to a machine as opposed to taking a Yoga class in a self-driving mobile gym on their way to work, or using that time to work so that they spend less time in their office, sleeping, or getting a massage on their commute, this does not end here!
Back then, an average person spent more time on their electronic devices than SLEEPING! You can check yourself: our historical records show that an average 2015 US citizen spent about 8 hours and 41 minutes manning electronic devices — what at that time were called smart phones and laptops.
Again, as hard to grasp as it may seem in today’s voice-controlled devices, where humans play a marginal, high-level role and much of the work is performed by Neuromathematics applications (recall, their historical term was Artificial Intelligence — our ancestors thought that these algorithms differed from ‘real’ brains), our ancestors devoted a huge chunk of their existence to such tasks. As we all know, the following generations greatly suffered psychological and medical consequences of the abuse of these electronic devices: from social isolation, to obesity, to eye and brain disorders.. all consequences that seem obvious to us, but not realized back then.
The role of history is to remind us where we came from, so that we know where we are going.
In the decades until around 2020, our ancestors thought they reached the pinnacle of evolution, where information was at their fingertips and machines were there to serve them. It was not until later, and not without harsh debates, that people realized the truth. As these machines became more and more prevalent, their unsophisticated mechanics and software required more and more of our time to operate. It was thanks to the massive introduction of what we used to call AI that humans re-equilibrated a situation that was otherwise bordering ‘machine slavery’.
We thought machines were going to enslave us, but we were already slaves.
This should give us pause, and help us reflect a bit more. After all, you are humans, and as such, you have an amazing brain. Use it carefully, and think at least twice!
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I traveled in time and visited an AI history class in the year 2100 was originally published in Becoming Human: Artificial Intelligence Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.