Internet: A Boon of Banes – Part 3

We’ve seen in several films, how rapid science and technology has grown and how it might lead to the very destruction of our society. Artificial Intelligence (AI) turning against mankind has been the plot for several movies including Hollywood blockbusters Terminator and iRobot. Can technology grow to that extent? When machines can think with Artificial Intelligence, what use would humans be?

Albeit, only time will answer these questions, we should not forget the steady downward slope on which we are moving, as a result of the technological developments. The atomic bomb is good reminder of that. The destruction of our race will primarily be because of fellow humans and not machines, for they are our creations. Artificial developments, however sophisticated they might be, they themselves do not fall under good or bad. It is the users who draw the line.

The aim to become all rich and powerful was the main, if not the only reason for the British to conquer & establish colonies all across the world and set forth to become an empire. The process wasn’t any good to most people except for the bunch which conquered territories. Slavery was the main way of human labour. Humans weren’t treated as humans. All in all, it wasn’t a pretty sight. It’s not been 100 years since India has achieved independence from the colonial rule but we seem to have forgotten that and we think slavery is a stuff for movies and it isn’t been seen anywhere now. The history of our independence has been distilled into mere stories in the history books that are to be memorized for the exams. The point is this: The colonial rule of the European powers is a story of how humans will treat fellow humans when they aspire to become rich and powerful. That ship hasn’t sailed. There have been several peace treaties made since but none of them can guarantee that wars won’t happen again. War time is something totally different. Something that this generation can hardly imagine despite wars happening 24*7. Technological advancements can be described as a way of how great the human race is and how we care for the betterment of the people. Though, this might be true in some cases, most technological advancements are made either to earn money using the invention or discovery or as a resource to conquer territory. Wars can happen anytime. Remember that.

The British imported natural resources from their colonies and packed their country with them. Then came the industrial revolution. A few inventions spurred the growth of the economy multi-fold. When machines came in, human labour was rendered useless except, of course, to operate those machines. The arrival of the machines might have destroyed the traditional jobs but they created newer industries and thereby came newer jobs.

As mentioned in the earlier posts, the growth of technology with the advent of the internet has been like never before.

So far, humans have made several inventions for a variety of purposes. When there is a need, the invention is bettered to serve a few more purposes. The key here is that when there arises a new need, the inventions are to be made better by humans. That’s the main difference of inventions till now and hereafter. We are in the verge of making machines which can better themselves. To simplify it, till now, what made humans superior to their creations are their senses, the five general senses and the sixth one. Now, machines are created with a sixth sense, which at times is better than that of ours. The senses have been programmed into them in humungous lines of code. Machines are not machines anymore. They helped you in the past. They are your competition in the future.

Human abilities can be broadly divided into 3 categories:
Analytical Skill,
Creativity,
Physical.

Wikipedia says :

Analytical skill is the ability to use critical thinking and problem-solving skills in order to find a solution or complete an exercise. Analytical skill is defined as the ability to visualize, articulate, conceptualize or solve both complex and uncomplicated problems by making decisions that are sensible given the available information. Such skills include demonstration of the ability to apply logical thinking to breaking complex problems into their component parts.

Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea, a scientific theory, a musical composition, or a joke) or a physical object (such as an invention, a literary work, or a painting). Scholarly interest in creativity is found in a number of disciplines, primarily psychology, business studies, and cognitive science, but also education, technology, engineering, philosophy (particularly philosophy of science), theology, sociology, linguistics, and economics, covering the relations between creativity and general intelligence, personality type, mental and neurological processes, mental health, or artificial intelligence; the potential for fostering creativity through education and training; the fostering of creativity for national economic benefit, and the application of creative resources to improve the effectiveness of teaching and learning.

Jobs which bring about physical strain to your body fall under jobs requiring physical skill.

A job may require one or more of these abilities and job seekers, as a result, tend to develop their abilities in one or more of these skills.

People worked because they had the required skills. These skills could be learnt. People generally acquired these skills by learning them from the ones who lived before them and the ones who created them. When the skills are applied to do some work it was termed as a “job”. People were paid for doing these jobs. This payment was called “salary”. Using this money, people bought what they wanted when they thought they got the “worth” of the money in the product. This is the foundation on which the world works and how money flows.

What if these “products” change to “services” and those services are done by lines of code?

In a product based economy, human resource is needed to create a product and its constituents. In a service based economy, what if all the inputs needed were available in some lines of code, which too can be created by machines themselves?

The marginal cost of creating something is either near zero or zero. What if the cost of “delivering work” also becomes Zero? In addition, these machines can upgrade themselves to equip to newer capabilities.

Let us look at this in a simpler way. To have a new doctor, we need a child to be born. The child should then spend more than 20 years to get a professional degree. Then comes the time period when he/she should practice as a house surgeon. That would cost another 5-6 years. If all these go according to plan, we get a professional doctor in around 30-32 years.

For smart machines to become a professional doctor all it needs is a file transfer.

One Single / Simple File Transfer ~ 32 Years of Human Development. Game Over.

Nowadays, we don’t choose what’s needed and what’s spam in our inbox. The programs automatically filter them. Your intake to get the required calories and the calories burnt when you go for a run are all available at the press of few buttons or even simpler, a watch does all that for you. Now, they suggest your daily routine to keep yourself fit and healthy. What if they start ordering you to perform these tasks?

To perform all these you needed human resources who worked for a salary. Now that we have the resources, would we still need humans? Machines do those jobs better than humans. Moreover, these AI machines are not fully developed. They have just started.

What’s the relation between data theft and the above scenarios? Let’s discuss on how we’re working full time for enabling such a scenario.

For the past 25 years, we have searched several things, including porn. In total, billions of mails have been sent. Billions of IM chats using Yahoo Messenger and Google Chat followed by WhatsApp and Telegram today. We discuss several topics in several forums. We find ways to fill the 280 character limit on Twitter. We browse through several sites to buy a product and most people tend to select the one with the lower price tag. There are so many products out there that we are very confused on deciding which product or service is worth the money we spend. We search on Google to see which kind of Facebook posts garner more likes. We think of topics to speak about in WhatsApp groups. We might not be using Facebook and WhatsApp always but we sure think about it most of the time in our subconscious mind. This is the world we live in today.

Google Maps directs us to places we have never heard of previously. Wikipedia has more information than Encyclopedia Britannica. Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp process 60 billion messages a day. This is 3 times the number of SMSes sent all round the world through various network carriers. All these stats say one important point.

We have been giving up our information to various websites with and at times without our knowledge. The information we consume makes us who we are. And it’s all stored in databases around the world. On learning this data, which may define the very basis of human feelings and decision making, AI machines have learnt how to be human. It took us more than 5000 years to evolve into the knowledgeable people who we are today. These machines took only a fraction of that time.

We’ve been reduced to a mere data point. We’ve been consumed by machines. If there is someone to blame, it’s us.

This data of ours is the sample set based on which future technologies try to become more human. So many people, so much data. What if, one day, it is used against us? We cannot stand near their speed, precision and accuracy. This is not something that will happen today or tomorrow. But, I assure you that it will happen, one day. That is our future. Guess what? We’ll be used to living with it. Or maybe, we have to get used to it.

Don’t think that “This is the end of humanity as we know it”. This is not a first. Every great invention was thought at some point to destroy humanity. It delivered the damage, no doubt about it but we still continue to live as humans. Even if presented with a million obstacles, we always find a way to live. We always do.

“The Next Big Thing always starts out being dismissed as a “toy.” – Chris Dixon

Centuries back, we would’ve laughed at the idea of paying money for water. How would we pay for something that makes 3/4th of the planet? But we are paying today. That’s the amount of change that has happened over the years. These thoughts start as a joke and slowly but surely sink into our reality. The world is filled with air. Do you really think it will be available for free forever? Think about it. Pay and breathe or die.

The effects of the explosive combination of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Internet. How would our lives change once and for all when this combination is used synergically?

Answers for those who think “Isn’t this growth a boon for us?” In forthcoming articles…

I’d like to graciously indicate that social media and messenger applications are tools to which we ourselves give training to learn about us.

To be continued . . .

For previous/next parts of this article series, go to

Internet: A Boon of Banes!

For Tamil version of this series, go to

உன்னைப் பணயம் கொள்ளும் இணையம்!

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