Advances in technology have become so widely accepted in today’s culture that very few people are willing to pause to consider the consequences. People get so excited about what new technologies can offer that they forget to question whether there might be any negative effects. Without caution and deliberation, replacing the natural with the mechanical would undoubtedly be disasterous.
The economic implications of the potential mechanical takeover alone should be enough to dissuade anyone from moving too fast. In the event the robots are more widely used in the workplace, humans would surely be replaced. At first, businesses would benefit from the efficiency of robots, but eventually a depressed job market would lead to a population that struggles just to feed themselves and their families, let alone purchase the products these robots make. In the long run, society will suffer if it does not take care to prevent the economic consequences of giving everything over to machines.
Our careless use of automation has already taken a toll on our culture. People have been interacting with automation in nearly every aspect of their lives, whether it be shopping, banking, or the use of a telephone. The effect of this is obvious: basic respect for our fellow man is all but absent today because of increased interaction with automation. Why treat a machine with kindness? It suffers no emotional or psychological damage. In a culture saturated with automation, we get used to treating machines rudely, and we begin to treat each other rudely. This of course leads to all sorts of issues, like intolerence and incivility, and in the long run, results in the complete degradation of culture.
Even in the face of these obstacles, some people argue that the increasing intelligence of today’s machines is a good thing. After all, machine power can decrease the human work load. Computer processers double in power and ability every year. Computers are projected to reach human intelligence by as soon as 2025. The implications of this shift are unknown, but one thing is for certain. We are moving into this change too fast to anticipate and prevent damage to the human species. We are approaching this change too quickly for any sort of safety net to be built. Because of this, it is important that we as a species slow down our technological development so that we might consider all the implications of a change this big. We must figure out how to handle negative societal and cultural consequences before we embrace total integration of automated, intelligent machines.
Decreasing the speed with which we incorporate mechanical influence is important because of the potential dangers that lurk in blind acceptance. Not only does the preference of the mechanical over the natural interfere with the job market and the economy, but its use also has the potential to seriously degrade our culture as a whole. In combination with the uncertainty surrounding the increasing intelligence of machines, it is most assuredly better for the human species that technological progress be slowed so that we can, if necessary, prevent additional damage.