Scenario 3: Human addiction to Virtual Assistants

Timeframe 2018 – 2025
Dependency on Virtual Assistants / AI becomes widespread


 Situation:  Virtual Assistants / AI become addictive
– AI may become better at anticipating what you want than you are
– AI may converse intelligently about your favorite topics, drive you where you want to go, find and play delightful music, console you when you feel down, entertain and even cook, shop and “take care” of you in many ways
– AI-linked sex toys may cause another kind of dependency
– An “arms race” of virtual assistant-linked devices is likely, i.e. my fridge is smarter than yours, my Alexa can do more than your Google Home, mine does video, mine is 3D, mine is Virtual Reality etc.

– Towards the end of this time period, you may need a virtual assistant just to talk to other virtual assistants “Have your Virtual Assistant talk to my Virtual Assistant and we’ll do lunch.”

– See background below for more information

Potential Effects:  Human addiction to Virtual Assistants / AI
– Social inequality may increase as AI is seen as crucial to success, “happiness”, security, but not unavailable for the lowest income levels
– Alienation, depression, dependency, asocial behavior issues may become widespread among those who use it regularly
– Attempts to regulate use of personal assistants as if it were drugs or alcohol may not be successful
– Possible growth of “self-help” groups to curb addiction
– Possible growth of “Luddite” movements, i.e. back to nature, anti-technology
– Possible growth of anti-AI religious sects or political movements
– Possible rise in populism and social unrest

Background
– Dedicated personal assistant devices such as Amazon Echo, Google Home using AI-supported speech recognition and search are growing at the rate of 35% per year, Amazon has sold 1.2 billion as of mid year 2017
– Very soon screens and image recognition will follow, soon after that 3D, holographics and virtual reality devices
In the future, almost any electric device may act as your assistant or interact with it, from toasters to thermostats to lamps to televisions to refrigerators to automobiles
– Personal preference prediction accuracy (Netflix or iTunes or Amazon recommendations, etc.) is increasing rapidly with AI, already over 60%

 

 

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