We are facing increasingly risky technological changes, with a more uncertain future and a much greater capacity for change than decades ago. It seems that the revolution has reached the whole world in multiple spectrums and today we are going to talk about 5 possible future changes that may be altering our perception in the present.
Today we will ask ourselves a question: Is my fear unfounded or could it come to pass?
FEAR 1 : VIRTUAL REALITY WANTS PEOPLE TO LIVE CONNECTED LIVES
With the Metaverse boom, fears took hold of the population who not only did not know the term but also refused to accept the idea of living immersive experiences in something created by machines. This, together with the COVID pandemic, generated a feeling of claustrophobia in population groups where there was talk of a worldwide intention to lock us in our homes forever and live in a contemplative way through virtual reality devices.
These fears are based on the idea that virtual reality could be used to create an artificial world in which people could escape their real-life problems and worries, eliminating social interaction, production or motivation.
Not knowing how to discern the real from the virtual, isolation through social avoidance or manipulation induced through the visors are some of the arguments put forward by these groups.
FEAR 2 : VIRTUAL REALITY WILL BRAINWASH US
The possibility that virtual reality can brainwash us has been a controversial topic of debate in recent years. Some experts believe that VR has some potential to be used to change both human beliefs and behaviours, while others see it as a tool for good or bad purposes, depending on the person using it.
The motivations of the former experts are based on these immersive experiences that can confuse us and make us more susceptible to being controlled.
Also, the cerebral impact that can be generated by the reception of messages or information controlled by a company, can incline us towards common interests and alter our critical thinking as well as our capacity to make our own decisions. It is true that these technologies are capable of improving cognitive treatments, so if they are capable of having a positive impact, it is clear that they can also have a negative impact.
Therefore, my personal reflection is that both governments and development companies can be responsible parties in ensuring that these technologies are used in an ethical manner. However, I am also of the opinion that even governments and companies themselves can intervene in a harmful way at their own convenience. On the other hand, it is the people who use these devices themselves who are primarily responsible for how they use them and how they use them. Remember not to spend too much time online.
FEAR 3 : ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE WILL REPLACE HUMAN BEINGS. WE WON'T HAVE A JOB.
After the Metaverse wave, A.I. swept to fame. Automated creation of text, images or audio seems to have put more than half the world in check. Automation of processes by advanced robotics, automatic interpreters, translators and even A.I.-based CEO’s seem to threaten millions of jobs. It seems that this integration in companies has been largely to blame for the layoffs seen in technology multinationals:
And so hundreds of headlines, month after month, appear on our digital news front pages.
Does this mean we will lose all our jobs?
No, with nuances. While it is true that many jobs are at risk due to the evolution of artificial intelligence, many others are far from being lost in the form of redundancies. A.I. does not cover all fields of work, at least not yet and at least not in the expected way. It makes mistakes, it is not entirely effective and it is simply green. It should be mentioned that some jobs are more likely to disappear or be replaced than others, but not all of them. Adaptation in the face of change. Humans should take A.I. as a facilitating tool, not a substitute.
As we can see and for now, jobs that require physical labour are the least affected, but this also seems to have a new enemy.
FEAR 4 : MACHINES ARE A DANGER TO HUMANITY
The possibility of machines rebelling against humans has been explored for centuries in science fiction films – who doesn’t remember the famous Terminator saga? However, although in these films machines rebel against their creators and begin to kill or subjugate humanity, the likelihood of this happening in the short term is nil.
There are more and more reasons to believe that this can happen. It is true. Artificial intelligence has evolved into G.A.I. (Generative Artificial Intelligence) being able not only to imitate what is taught but also to generate content, situations and reflections from a starting point.
Many believe that this is the beginning of what would be machine consciousness, where it no longer depends on a human being to be created or repaired for example, since by taking an initial learning and having the ability to continue developing it autonomously, these same machines could self-repair themselves or other machines, as well as take on self-management capabilities, self-defence or other types of automation.
Therefore, human beings must become aware of the benefits and risks of development. In order to do so, we must :
1. Develop and use this AI in an ethical and responsible manner.
2. Establish regulations for the use and development of AI.
3. Invest in R&D to develop ways to control A.I. in turn.
4. Educate the public about the risks and benefits so that they become aware and do not commit acts that could harm humanity.
While these measures will not guarantee anything, they can be optimal forms of hazard containment.
FEAR 5 : GOVERNMENTS WILL USE BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY TO CONTROL OUR PERSONAL ECONOMY
Another of the booms of recent years has been that of the famous cryptocurrencies. A utopia that many people saw as a decentralised change in the economy with which to evade governments, authorities and other economic control bodies. Little by little, governments saw how cryptocurrencies were used for illegal activities, drug trafficking, terrorism or financing of all kinds. Added to this was the fact that, as they were not regulated, there was a lot of fraud and money loss, and at the same time they were a high-risk asset, especially for people with no financial education or experience.
On the other hand, it is true that many people have achieved economic freedom thanks to “good moves” in these volatile worlds, because yes, they are, but not only for the bad, but also for the good of a few. The lack of regulation led to the creation of new economic models such as P2P payments thanks to blockchain with no trace for government agencies. In the eyes of the user, a transaction without taxes, in the eyes of the government, a possible criminal activity such as non-payment of taxes.
After this, in the last two years there has been a kind of witch hunt, at least from the crypto-investors’ point of view, where they have seen aggressive and sometimes excessive regulations, just to stop the bleeding of these activities and establish a temporary control.
On the other hand, governments have seen in the virtues of blockchain the opportunity to create digital fiat currencies with central control as a single node. In this way, the fear of crypto-economy experts speaks of a control in which a government can establish extreme control over your economy:
1. Control of issuance and circulation: In this way you can control how the digital currency is used. Including restrictions on who can use it, how and where.
2. Privacy control : The government can track transactions through the blockchain and set policies or rules governing the operation of the network. Thus, the type of transaction is at their mercy, as well as the data hosted, and these can be more flexible or stricter.
But this is not a mirage. In fact, in China, through the Digital Yuan, they are already establishing incentive policies for the consumption of the currency, banning certain goods and services such as gambling or cryptocurrencies, as well as total and transparent access to transactions, allowing them to track the movements of citizens and collect information about their consumption habits.