Friday May 17, 2019 0 comments
By Thomas Frey
The Davinci Institute
Our present is becoming a more distant past every day.
For most of us, AI is the magical genie in some invisible box that is redefining a new state of normal for us on a daily basis.
AI is not something that we can touch, feel, taste, swallow, or toss back and forth like a ball. At the same time, it will soon become part of every one of these senses and activities, and that kind of future is showing up at our doorsteps with increased regularity.
Change is our only constant. As this scales up, the rapid onset of AI means every new generation of people will participate in far more unique experiences than ever before.
As bystanders, we are on the edge of a technological revolution of such magnitude that we literally can’t even comprehend it. Bit by bit, we are witnessing these confusing shifts happening right under our noses as we contend with one new reality after another after another.
Even as a futurist, I struggle with how parents should help focus the personal and professional pursuits of their children and what skills will be most beneficial.
Our most basic desires like health and happiness will likely have very different meanings in the years ahead. What if good health in the future requires genetically modifying our DNA and happiness means undergoing a simulation so transformative that virtually no one will ever have to experience sadness ever again?
Will unknown forces in that same future create new forms of sadness to compensate?
We are the first generation in human history to agonize over the implications of children personifying robots and talking to machines. What if your child’s best friend is a robot? What if your kid and their robot buddy plan devious pranks together? What if they get into fights with other kids and their robots?
We are only months away from the first case of robots bullying other kids and their robots. This type of interaction may even become a super popular YouTube channel.
If you find this line of thinking alarming, you’re not alone.
As we find ourselves immersed in a world of change, our most ingenious innovators will be using AI and its seemingly unlimited toolsets to develop a new generation of entertainment. Our present forms of entertainment will pale in comparison.
To be sure, AI will infiltrate the entertainment industry and rewrite the rules for fame, engagement, accomplishment, and most importantly, our way of thinking about success.
With advances in image capture and manipulation, people no longer need to learn complex tools like Photoshop to enhance and alter their images. AI is already being used in every aspect of image augmentation to produce the best possible photo. However, the latest idea is using AI to generate images from scratch, and produce the entire composition synthetically.
- The Time Traveler – We can already place any person in any photo at anytime in history, but with AI it becomes far easier with a look and feel that is far more real.
- Total Fabrication – Fake people, fake backgrounds, and fake lighting, all to attract real attention.
- Photo Mechanics – Bad photos become good photos. Optimal light, refocused, reframed, recolored, and shifted to a better perspective.
- Perfect Spin – Ugly people become better looking, fat people become thinner, old people get younger, and tired people become energized.
While the toolsets of musicians will improve on every conceivable scale, the toolsets of listeners will expand at an even faster rate. Very little of today’s music industry will remain unchanged over the coming decades.
- Mood Matching – When music can be synced to the mood and mindset of the listener, every piece of music becomes a performance enhancer.
- Never Ending Song – Auto-generated music that continually evolves around a certain set of characteristics and can as infinitely long or definably short as the needs of the moment dictate.
- Holographic Live Performances – Song can become instantly visualized through holographic displays and spontaneously transformed from the original band, to dancing bears, to prank-playing ducks, to singing pinball machines.
- Music Produced in Context – Much like the background music playing in a movie, this type of AI-generated music will automatically produce the appropriated audio backdrop for every life changing moment as it occurs.
Most AI today is based on spotting patterns in large data sets. Because software is fast and never tires, AI has an edge over humans when it comes to most simple tasks. But it gets harder when it tries to make sense out feelings and emotions, and that’s what’s at the heart of most humor.
Even the best stand-up comedians will admit, there is no magic formula for producing the perfect joke. Much of what makes us laugh depends on subtle factors such as context, surprise, and body language.
That said, future AI will eventually learn to reverse engineer humor in weird and unusual ways.
- AI vs. Human Joke-Offs – Few things will be more fun at parties in the future than having a joke telling competition between people and their robots.
- Insert Joke Here – When writing lengthy text, it will be easy to mark a spot for a one-liners or jokes, and have an AI app suggest several possibilities.
- Tension Reliever – Adding bite-sized humor to that very instant when a person’s tension is building will be a great way to relieve stress and reframe the mood of the moment.
- Instant Caption – Any photo can have a funny caption added instantly with the right the AI caption-generator app.
How will AI reinvent the way stories are created and told? Storytelling becomes far different when you switch from being a passive observer to an active participant, and the nature of your own engagement shifts from jealous observer to living your own “hero’s journey” on a daily basis.
- Record Your Own Story – Biographies will be far easier to produce when AI is used to document the story as it happens.
- The Ultimate Bad Guy – Whenever the need arises, it will be relatively easy to have AI reverse engineer the ultimate bad guy from whatever movies and books you choose as your point of reference.
- Never Ending Story – Over time it will be relatively easy to have AI produce a 247,000-page storyline that can be sliced and diced in a number of interesting ways.
- Perfect Ending – Too often stories close with unresolved issues that leave people hanging. But AI will be used to find the perfect way to complete virtually any narrative.
We are quickly moving from making movies about AI to using AI to help us make the movies. With filmmaking, 99% of the work today is very mundane. It involves going through hundreds of hours of video to find the best clips for a 2-second insert. AI will become a powerful tool for reducing the tedium of old-fashioned movie making and much more.
- Dynamic Plot-Changes – Based on the interest level of the audience, and the attention meters built into theaters, plots will instantly shift to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
- Fake Movie Stars – No need to hire over-priced movie stars when an AI generated one will do.
- The Perfect Formula – The best movies tend to be an emotional rollercoaster and AI will quickly leverage this type of expertise to create the perfect formula for every scene, story arc, plot twist, and more.
- Holographic Movies – Just as we’ve developed ways to colorize black and white movies, in the future AI will be used to convert two-dimensional movies into 3D holographic experiences.
Dining and the Culinary Arts
A great dining experience generally requires the human touch, but IBM's AI-enabled Chef Watson offers a glimpse of how AI can become a sous-chef, of sorts, to help develop recipes and advise human chefs on food combinations and mixing techniques to create completely unique flavors.
- Perfect Mood Food – In the future, sensors on your body will decipher everything from what kind of beer you want, to how large your portions should be, to what comes after your final bite.
- The Healthy Diet – Maintaining a healthy diet often feels like you’re the only one saying “no” in a donut shop full of cops. The right AI will help you savor the right food at the right place, at the right time.
- Instant Narrative – In much the same way a travel guide will tell stories about a building, culture, or moment in history, an AI culinary app will help people understand the artistic narrative behind every dish.
- Living Food – In just a few years, every drawing, sketch, and two-dimensional piece of food art can be instantly three-dimensionalized, virtualized, modified, animated, and 3D printed right at your table.
Gaming and Sports
We are on the verge of gamifying nearly every aspect of our lives including our employment, recreations, social interactions, education, entertainment, family life, and even our purpose in society.
- The Game of Education – Very soon today’s schools will be replaced with an elaborate system of lifelong learning that is hyper-individualized around the interest and passions of every students.
- Full Immersion Sports – When cameras and sensors get added to every player on the field, as a spectator-participant, once you don the special “experience helmet,” you will instantly see, hear, feel, and be part of the intensity of any sporting event.
- Living the Game – Very soon games will evolve to the point where there is a fine line between living-your-life and living-a-game, where virtually every aspect of your life is scored, rated, quantified, and compared.
- Your Job Gamified – Over the coming years many jobs will become gamified versions of the work that needs to be done and AI will keep you on track and show you how to perform at the highest possible level.
Travel today is often a painful experience with the constant security checks, biometric scanners, passport controls, and random bag searches. The sheer cost of these government-is-watching-you moments is far more than the momentary interactions with uniformed officials. They have a way of dampening our enthusiasm, squashing our sense of adventure, and diminishing our willingness to explore and try new things.
Travel doesn’t have to be this painful, and AI will find a way to replace most of the grizzled looks and furrowed brows that line our cross-border entry points.
- Seamless Security – Instead of parading people through endless queues and mindless corridors for security checks, virtually all-human agents will be replaced with invisible AI security that happens without disruption, disrobing, or disturbing the flow of excitement.
- Maximum Impact Journey – Auto-schedulers will recommend events, activities, and attractions to fill every possible moment to the fullest.
- Anytime Anywhere Narration – Wherever you travel, you’ll be able to have an interactive conversation with your AI travel guide.
Until now, we’ve used technology to handle specific routine tasks. We hired engineers to break down complex processes into their component tasks, to develop automated processes.
But AI is different. It has the ability to evaluate, select, act, and learn from its own actions.
When it comes to more complex problem solving, we used to think it would take computers decades or even centuries to catch up to the nimbleness of the human mind. But we underestimated the explosive nature of deep learning.
The concept of the technological singularity, the point where machines gain some level of superhuman intelligence and quickly outpace the human mind, is based on the notion that our own thinking can’t evolve fast enough to keep up with technology. It also overlooks the potential for AI-assisted human intelligence to turbo-charge itself past any of today’s known boundaries.
The true limits of human performance have yet to be unleashed.
As humans, we are obsessed with trying new things, pushing the boundaries, and testing our limits just to make a difference.
In the end, everything AI does will have to fit into one of our human-centered value systems that take into account our personal desires, ambitions, and abilities.
We’re not about to give up our humanity just to let some machine decide whether or not an idea has value.
Indeed, it is in this context that we find ourselves coming up with groundbreaking new ideas like gravity boots, jazz music, graphic novels, self-driving cars, blockchain, machine learning, and artistic pyro techniques using fireworks that are dropped from drones and synced to the music.
We are just now getting a glimpse of the amazing future ahead, and it will be captivating, thrilling, shocking, and extraordinary all at the same.