I think that artificial intelligence is going to have a totalizing impact on anything digital in our economy and society. This will lead to a rapid transformation of our culture and sense of self. We see the precursors to this transformation in the effects of social and digital media on people. Individual and social cognition, individual and social behaviours, and workplace function have all been transformed by the fact that almost all of us have a digital version of our lives.
The next steps are augmented and virtual reality. As the distinction between physical and digital reality continues to blur, the distinction between the real and the unreal will become interchangeable. Many real people will prefer and opt for the unreality and fantasy of augmented and virtual digital life.
Alongside this will develop the personal life companion – a cradle-to-grave friend, mentor, therapist, teacher, doctor, nurse, personal assistant, financial advisor and many other functions, all performed uniquely for you by an AI that knows you better than anyone else. Indeed, your AI Friend has experienced your life with you, from when you were born until you die.
We see the precursors for this in wearable health and fitness sensors. Garmin and Apple have sensors that have been gathering data on us 24/7 for years of our lives. The smartwatch you wear is the precursor to your AI Lifelong Friend.
The benefits will outweigh costs, I suspect. Just as using social media means surrendering your data – you like the “free” connectivity and are willing to make the trade.
Is it good? I think a majority of the population will welcome such a useful and caring AI Friend.