Humans in the Tidal Wave of Digitization An Important Conversation Towards the Future



  • The Industrial Revolution of the 18th century brought new things in the lives of our ancestors which they transferred to the “Generation X” in the form of techno-civilized society. Consequently, the generation of our time is transmitting the digital revolution to the coming generations. Therefore, an important conversation of our time begins with the intriguing question "What the future of our kids will look like in the coming decades? Indeed, this question needs serious attention to indulge in a conversation which may probe a plausible solution or a way forward for our kids to pursue.
    The evolution of life 1.0 to life 3.0 — from bacteria to humanoid robot — tells us the dynamic progress of human thought over the millennia. Human beings follow certain patterns to behave rationally towards any phenomena or task; for instance, driving a vehicle, predicting trends in financial markets, and lawyers in case of legal proceedings… The recent developments of self-driving car/drones and LawGeex Artificial Intelligence algorithm (Al lawyer) indicate that machine is learning the human patterns to perform cognitive tasks more efficiently than humans. Therefore, it is quite possible that machines may replace humans in the majority of cognitive tasks.
    Some people who are naive enough to the tidal wave of digitization may argue “How is it possible to replace humans?” To avoid any logical regress, let’s explore the human’s exceptional attribute of consciousness. We all know that “intelligence is an ability to solve problems” whereas "consciousness is an ability to feel things such as, anger, love, and fear’. Intelligence & consciousness are two attributes and human beings have both these attributes whereas the machines hold intelligence ability only. The ability to feel in humans — consciousness- is not a mysterious eternal trait but a biochemical process which receives signals from neural mechanisms. If scientists are able to know the biochemical mechanisms that underpin human emotions, desires and choices then it will be very easy for machines not only to know human behaviors but to predict human decisions. Subsequently, it would not be difficult for machines to replace doctors, drivers, bankers, and lawyers. Moreover, the machines will go beyond this and will design a human brain by analyzing the biochemical mechanisms of neurons.
    The designing of a human brain is no longer the stuff of science fiction movies but a reality which is being transpired. It’s time to wake up to indulge in such serious conversations to probe a plausible solution or a way forward for our kids to pursue.

    Sajid Hussain (Lecturer VU, Department of Management Science)