The Future

The Fourth Revolution is impacting your life now

credit: Christoph Roser at AllAboutLean.com

By now, you’ve likely heard something about Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning or deep neural networks. If not in a favorite science fiction read, then in the headline news as the media is craving this class of story. AI has been in development since the 1960s and only in the current decade is it starting to really find roots in our daily experiences. 

From recommendations in your online shopping to self-driving automobiles, computer software technology capable of guiding some of its behavior is no longer the stuff of science fiction. The foundation of AI is based on a variety of techniques referred to as “machine learning,” which is undergoing rapid development by scientists worldwide.

Our civilization has evolved through many technical revolutions that drove our capabilities as a species to a new level. First, it may have been the purposeful ignition of fire or the shaping of stones with sharp edges. We next progressed through wheels, irrigation, writing substrates, printing, and eventually computers. Our first industrial revolution that brought about the next level in how we produce things occurred around 1784 when steam power came online. Then, the early 1900s brought us the assembly line approach followed by electrical engineering (oh, how we love our light bulbs!) ushering a second industrial revolution. Only several decades later (suggesting a trend of exponential growth), the third industrial revolution washed over us with increasing computing power and advanced automated production processes that evolved rapidly through the end of the 20th century.

While machine learning sparked back in 1959 right along with the cusp of the third industrial revolution, it is now in the 21st century that AI is beginning to mature, although still in an infancy of its full potential. Its deepening integration into automated processes is proliferating through many industries, and we find ourselves on the cliff’s edge of the fourth industrial revolution: the AI revolution.

What is interesting to note is that since we are experiencing just the beginning of this revolution, we can see how engineers and developers are still down in the weeds figuring out the details of how to implement AI. While you may see many cover stories and promotional materials highlighting how AI is powering existing technologies, the industry doesn’t have anything close to perfection and are scrambling to understand how and where the AI integration will take us and our technologies. This rapid and convoluted discovery phase is reflected in today’s discussions from scientists and engineers, and it is exciting to witness this dynamic development occurring at a frantic pace.

An article published earlier this year by Inside HPC reflects this state of “not really knowing what we’ve got, but we’re plowing forward anyway” from those who are actively working the AI application problem. This is an interesting read to learn a bit more about our next industrial era (it’s happening, folks, one way or another) and how research teams are frantically working on it without quite knowing exactly where we are going. 

 “Artificial Intelligence: The Next Industrial Revolution” | Inside HPC, February 5, 2018 

Future Day 2018 featuring the new dpr Book Club

Another Future Day is upon us, and this year, Dynamic Patterns Research will celebrate with a new “book club” event hosted online for all of you to participate.

Thursday, March 1, 2018 | 6:30 – 8:00 pm online
RSVP at the dpr Facebook Calendar Event

Future Day is a grass-roots, world-wide celebration of the future and what it holds for humankind. On March 1, we are encouraged to ponder what the future might be like and, more importantly, what we can do now to help make the future become what we want.

In this spirit, I recently discovered the popularized science book written by Max Tegmark, Professor of Physics at MIT, that discusses the possibilities, opportunities, and warnings for the next phase of life as we know it. The first “version” of life, or Life 1.0, evolved in the form of bacteria. The second phase featured humans. Looming on the horizon is Life 3.0–where human intelligence is exponentially and explosively broadened with technology. This new product launch of life will be represented by the development of a super-human artificial intelligence (AI) driven by extreme computational frameworks.

Life 3.0 is our evolution into technological intelligent beings.

Prof. Tegmark offers a thorough and imaginative–yet, scientifically grounded–exploration of the wide implications of a level of AI that is so much more than anything we have witnessed up until today. His ideas and stories include wondrous new opportunities for prosperity and enhancement to apocalyptic scenarios that leave biological humans in the dust, quite literally.

While a super-AI does not exist today, it is likely inevitable. However, exactly when super-AI comes to pass is impossible to predict. Some say within the next couple of decades, others claim in the next millennia, while still others insist it just can’t happen. No matter when the future of AI arrives, it will do so because human beings created it. This means we are in the critical position today to guide its development and implementation. So, the time is now to figure out what we want the future of AI to be for us. Thinking about what we want when super-AI is about to emerge will be much too late because the super-AI may just pass us by and push us under.

I encourage you to grab a copy of this intriguing book–check it out at your local library, download the audio version for your commute, or pick up a copy at your favorite local bookseller, such as Anderson’s Bookshops, or that other big warehouse with a lot of books and things. For our book club discussion, try to get through at least the prologue, which includes a tantalizing fictional account of how a super-AI might develop and lead to world domination, and the first chapter. This includes a broad introduction to the issues, ideas, and terminology as well as an initial review of questions we should answer to determine how we want to guide our fate alongside the inevitability of the future of AI.

On March 1, 2018 (Future Day!) from 6:30 – 8:00 pm, dpr will host an online event (and possibly the addition of a local venue depending on participation). Bring your questions, ideas, thoughts and preferences for the future, and your imagination (and web cam) while we talk through the exciting, scary, wild, and unbelievable possibilities that we might witness when Life 3.0 launches.

To RSVP, please like the dpr Facebook page and mark you will be attending in the calendar event. You may also RSVP by contacting dpr directly, and I’ll be sure to email you with connection details closer to the event date and time.

Happy Future Day!

 

Future Day is Celebrated Around the Globe

Through a global grass-roots effort that started in 2012, March 1 is becoming an international holiday event known as Future Day. This is a special day where the world does not focus on the events of the past or individual people — as is the case with all other holidays — but one that celebrates the future and all of the wonders that it holds. The goal of Future Day is to bring people together around the world to direct their energy and thoughts toward creating a radically better future.

The Future Day Mission:
To bias the odds of a beneficial future for everyone.

The Future Day Philosophy:
A future is something we all have, lets work towards making it better.

The Future Day Personal Benefit:
Networks of people with similar interests about the future.

“Future Day is designed to center the impossible in the public mind once a year as a temptation too delicious to resist.” — Howard Bloom via FutureDay.org

John Smart is a futurist and scholar of accelerating change, and is the founder and president of the Acceleration Studies Foundation. This organization does “outreach, education, research, and advocacy with respect to issues of accelerating change.” Listen to his interview with Adam Ford of FutureDay.org for his thoughts on the Future Day holiday and several great recommendations for new traditions and rituals to begin:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fngnICG__yM]

Events around the planet included a Google Hangout with Sydney, Australia Futurists, a conference of speakers in Melbourne, Australia, gatherings in Edmonton, Canada, a luncheon in Utah, USA of the Mormon Transhumanist Association with casual conversation about a future of radical flourishing in compassion and creation through technology and religion, a celebration at the BIL Conference in San Francisco, USA, a 24-hour discussion about the future hosted online by the The Millennium Project, the International Future Day Conference in India from the India Future Society, and more gatherings in Hong Kong, Columbia, Paris, Seattle, Stockholm Sweden, and a pizza and beer gathering in São Paulo, Brazil.

FutureDay2014_web-graphic

Dynamic Patterns Research hosted a small gathering of friends for a dinner party to celebrate Future Day in Central Illinois. We met to socialize and enjoy our network of friends, and also discussed our personal thoughts on what we envision the future might bring. A few questions that we brainstormed included ‘What do you think will be different in 2050 than it is now?’, ‘What will stay the same?’, ‘What would you like to be different?’ and ‘What would you like to stay the same?’

Future Day 2014 Central Illinois Group
Future Day 2014 informal gathering in Springfield, Illinois

In particular, we introduced the idea of the Singularity and what sort of exciting and scary results this event might reveal. We also brainstormed on a variety of advancements, including cataract injections using nanobots, as suggested by our member ophthalmologist. We also considered what might be one of the most important ideas we’ve heard of in all our reading and following of literature about the future, which was an answer to the final question of ‘what would you like to stay the same?’…

After discussing how the notion of family might change in the future, we also expressed our hope that the relationships and sense of love and meaning that human beings experience through our family and our interpersonal experiences will not change in the future, even if the Singularity or other technological revolutions become reality.

“On Future Day we celebrate all the great things to come. It is a day to rejoice over all the thrilling discoveries yet to be made, all the beauty yet to be found and to reflect on the full extent of Humanity’s unlimited potential.” — Rod Furlan, Singularity University via FutureDay.org

To learn more about this new global holiday, visit FutureDay.org, and be sure to mark your calendars to celebrate the next Future Day with your friends, colleagues, and family on March 1, 2015!

 

 

Last updated April 5, 2020