Thursday, March 6, 2014

Eric Schmidt gets Scary (again)

Those who are not afraid to consider possible connections between futurism and fascism may find some food for thought in the latest proclamations of Google Chairman Eric Schmidt. Last night Bloomberg reporters Andy Fixmer, Brian Womack and Emily Chang ran an article on his participation in Oasis: The Montgomery Summit yesterday in Santa Monica. They were part of the select audience that got to hear Schimdt declare:
Robots will become omnipresent in our lives in a good way.
While Schmidt never came out with an explicit statement of that that "good way" would be, he offered one aspect of his thoughts about artificial intelligence:
Technology is evolving from asking a question to making a relevant recommendation. It will figure out things you care about and make recommendations. That’s possible with today’s technology.
Thus, one possible reading of his declaration may be that the "good way" will be one in which we are surrounded by robots telling us the "right" things to do. While that is far preferable to being surrounded by Daleks determined to exterminate us, I still feel that Schmidt is envisaging a "brave new world" in which the very concept of humanity that has evolved over several millenia will be compromised (if not "exterminated"). Of course there is also the possibility that Schmidt actually is a Dalek designed with a "friendlier user interface!"

1 comment:

jones said...

Schmidt probably isn't talking about all the manufacturing jobs eliminated by robots, or the white collar jobs about to be eliminated by artificial intelligence...

In the 1914 manifesto of futurist architecture, Marinetti and Sant'Elia conclude: "the fundamental characteristics of Futurist architecture will be obsolescence and transience. 'Houses will last less long than we. Each generation will have to build its own city.' "

They mean this as a good thing. This is the logic that led to urban riots across the country in the late 1960's, when cities were demolished to make way for interstates and parking lots...