Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Jetsons, Trading Posts & Social Business

Robots are creeping me out this weekend.

That’s an odd thing to say from someone whose career has been in technology and who adored George, Jane, Judy and Elroy Jetson. The cartoon, The Jetson’s, was my favorite, slightly nudging out Scooby Doo. I loved its futuristic graphics and theme. Rosie the Robot seemed almost human to me as she cleaned and helped the family with daily life. At times she would malfunction but always with humorous results. The family had a snazzy vehicle too - the flying saucer car which drove itself. The Jetson’s had a very leisurely lifestyle enabled by robots and labor saving devices. One press of the computer button a day was all it took to set their day and life in motion.

The Jetson's Are Here.
Yesterday, The New York Times published its story on Google’s experiment with a car that drives itself. The advantages, it claims, are to save lives. The car uses GPS and motion detection to help it navigate and drive. Google claims that this artificial intelligence is safer and more reliant than humans. The intelligence won’t get sleepy at the wheel, be intoxicated or make bad judgments. And this will ensure fewer accidents whereby more lives are saved. Really? Cars driving themselves - the technology is here.

In the same day as the NYTimes article, my brother and I were talking about artificial intelligence running our financial markets. We talked about computers programmed to make trades at the Board of Trade which could be programmed to make financial trades at a much faster rate than humans could keep pace. I don’t know much more than that but isn’t that a bit scary (and illegal)? One press of a button to run a financial market – the technology is here.

Yesterday as well was the first time I experienced, not once but twice, the Twitter robots unleashed and spamming me and my peers with RTs after various words were detected in our tweets. Annoying . Robots reading and sending out messages on their own – the technology is here.

Robots Can be Creepy.
Before I went to bed I tweeted, “… feel like I'm in a bad sci-fi where the bots start overtaking humans!”

I’ve always been forward thinking, futuristic, opportunistic by nature. “Yes, let’s create it!” “Wow, look at this new technology!” “Just think if we designed …x, y, z…” But last night was the first time I started to get a bit creeped out by it all.

What’s the impactof robots/artificial intelligence on human intelligence? Will humans start to become less intelligent as we create technology which does our thinking? Evolution has proven that which is not used over time disappears. Will our language change? Will we lose basic skills? Are we moving too fast? Will we revert back to cave man drawings to communicate as we continue to create symbols like :) to depict emotion or figure out how to make our language fit 140 characters or less? I don’t get psychics but at some point don’t we run into ourselves in the here and now and the virtual? And could we tip the scale to the artificial and virtual too far?

Do we have technology and innovation ethics? Where do we draw the line?

Social Business and Trading Posts?
Over the course of the past month I’ve more than once stated I’d like to get back to the time of the trading post. I say it in jest, but deep down I really mean it. Sometimes, the speed at which technology is innovating is overwhelming. My draw to the trading post is that humans interacted person to person. They interacted and exchanged on a very basic human level. Is social business our way to ensure we continue to humanize our technological experience and create human interaction and value with one another?

Deep thoughts for a late Sunday night. Lots of questions and few answers at the moment.

What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Nice post! such a better place for metatrader indicators if you know what I mean...