Technology has accelerated by leaps and bounds in the last 10–15 years. The list of companies booming in 2017 that weren't around in 2005 is mind-boggling. Social media wasn't a word. No one knew what "The Cloud" was. Cryptocurrency didn't exist. Smartphones were a half a decade away from coming. Elon was still seemingly a human (It's clear now, he's visiting from somewhere else). What i'm trying to say is that technology has made beautiful progress in fifteen years.
Even so, many would argue, including myself, that technology has also brought society to a somewhat scary place. When I say scary place, I should re-consider my words. Moreso, another place. A digital place. A place that isn't necessary here on earth, but in a digital world. The world's like Snpachat, Instagram, and Facebook.
Yes, it's true. The growth of technology has changed the way people interact with reality, and many think this isn't for the better. Here are some quotes I collected for this scholarly article.
"Social media is making us less social than ever" - Fred
"My kid won't even look up to say hello to me when we're eating out at Dinner" - Jessica
"I'm worried everyone is just missing out on the real world, while they live in their digital world. " - Monique
I get it, and I agree. I really do. Well, I did. But recently, a few people I look up to published content explaining what was really going on, and where the future was really headed. Their names are Gary Vaynerchuk and Sam Altman.
In one of the many pieces of video content he puts out, someone was asking about their kids and about how they spent all their time on their phone and not enough time in the real world. Gary's response flipped everything upside down for me. He asked the audience,
"When was the last time technology backtracked?" - Gary Vaynerchuk
This single answer brought up many different thoughts for me. Although people can hope for a time where phones aren't getting all the attention, they are. And there isn't going to be a magic moment when all the kids out there "get it" and get off their phones. Technology is only going to get more immersive and we are going to dive deeper into it. Although it seems like they are detaching themselves from reality, Gary see's it as them attaching themselves to the future of reality. An augmented reality. A virtual reality.
This video has been in the back of my head for the last couple of weeks, but then Sam Altman hammered home this idea for me in a blog post he recently published.
Just a few days ago, Sam Altman published an article titled The Merge. Here's a one-sentence summary:
One day, humans will physically merge with technology, and it's going to happen a lot faster than people expect.
This was the second revelation for me, because Sam isn't speculating based on human behavior. Gary spends all his time observing the behavior of humans, so he can identify trends better than most. This is why I know he's right. But Sam isn't coming at this from a human behavior standpoint. He's coming at it from the hard data side.
Sam comes from another background. He is in it. He helped start OpenAI, which is one of the most advanced AI research labs in the world, with Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman, Peter Thiel, + others backing it. In addition, he's president of the Y Combinator group, which means he see's more innovation in a given day than most people in a year.
His post comes from data, and seeing AI research with his own eyes. He knows, and the candidness of his blog post shows, that it's something we should all be thinking about.
I don't know exactly what this means for the future. Am I a little scared? Yes. Am I very excited? Hell yes. All I know is that the phones aren't going down. The phones are only going to migrate into glasses/contacts, which are going to migrate into implants. It sounds insane as I'm typing this to be honest, but there is one thing I know very well. We aren't going back.