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

– 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%



Scenario 2: Internet Outages and Hacking Attacks

Timeframe 2018 – 2021:
Temporary Outages of the Internet
Increasing Hacking compromising large data quantities

 Situation:  Internet outages and/or frequent hacking attacks
– Internet outages interrupt business operations, communications and life in general – similar to widespread power outages, natural disasters, etc.
– Increasingly frequent data theft of large quantities of data
– Possibly in connection with ransom demands or political conflicts
– Email, video, phone, television, social media interrupted
– Possible government or terror linkages, i.e. even military agendas

– Safety issues may appear (emergency services, navigation, military)
– See background below for more information

Potential Effects:  Rising Public Concern and potential Backlash
– Public clamor for risk reduction
– Possible push-back against Gov. & Industry for failing to protect
– Possible demand for regulation of internet, i.e. tech restrictions
– Possible demand for second-tier “secure” internet
– Possible calls for regulation of AI technology itself
– Possible rise in populism and social unrest
– Possible blaming of foreign powers, i.e. calls for Counterattacks or even Cyberwars

“Deep Learning techniques and tools are easily available now on open source platforms—this combined with the relatively cheap computational infrastructure effectively enables cyberattacks with higher sophistication.  Also the availability of large amounts of social network and public data sets (Big Data residing on the internet) increases the risks.”
— Deepak Dutt, founder of Zighra mobile security, Gizmodo 9/11/17

– No interfaces are needed – AI already resides on the web.  The internet is an open system and the perfect network for Artificial Intelligence to farm data, interact worldwide and potentially launch denial of service attacks or sophisticated hacking attacks.

– Widespread suspicion among experts that AI-supported hacking was behind the recent Equifax hacking attack. 

– Countermeasures essentially involve using AI to simulate attacks, and AI to simulate defenses, leading to an AI arms race

– Possible AI involvement in Russian-sponsored effort to influence US election campaign 2016

Scenario 1: AI potential to Disrupt Job Market

Timeframe 2019 – 2022:
Increasing Disruptions of Job Market, Income Distribution

 Situation:  Up to 50% of all jobs vulnerable to AI and automation
– Large swaths of society could lose incomes, self-respect, hope
– Job-Retraining on such a massive scale nearly impossible
– Older, less educated or otherwise disadvantaged persons most vulnerable

– Growth of new jobs likely much slower than job elimination
– “Universal Income” likely to face stiff resistance, especially in US

Potential Effects:  Social and Political Instability and Upheaval
– Unemployed frequently feel displaced and victimized
– Unemployed will remain largely idle and vulnerable to outside influence
– Populist movements like Brexit, Trump, Marie La Penn may increase

– Unemployed tempted by the promise “make things great again’
– Possible rise of fundamentalist/revisionist religions and sects
– Possible rise of “Anti AI” right-wing / anarchists / fringe groups
– Possible rise of Class Divisions and Class Hatred or Racial Conflict
– Possible rise of International Conflict, Nationalism, perhaps Wars