Monday, July 2, 2018

Social relationships

AI will have significant impact on people’s lives, in a most private and personal way. Here are a few emerging scenarios.

Social aspects of work

Beside generating income, work plays an important role in most people’s social life. Work gives a certain sense to people lives by making meaningful contributions and colleagues are often friends. If work is eliminated from people’s lives these become less rich.
While studies have shown a correlation between declining employment prospects and declining mental health, the long-term situation is not clear. These seem to be areas which requires further study. Search for substitutes of work's social aspects, e.g. volunteering, appears to be one avenue.

Social Scoring Systems

Social scoring systems are being pioneered in China, initially by private companies but with plans by the government to make them official. These systems take credit scoring as long practiced in most advanced economies to the next level by extending the data set beyond direct financial indicators.
The implication is a universal judgement of a person. Instead of answering if a person is credit worthy, the question now is: Is this a "good" person?
Such systems are likely to create conformity and distrust between people and to suppress individuality and dissent. Again, citizens need to debate and decide what kind of a society they would like to live in.

AI companionship

AI empowered digital assistants on mobile devices and in-home appliances have made great progress in recent years. Their voices as recently demonstrated by Google’s Digital Assistant are almost indistinguishable from human ones and their ability to understand humans keeps improving.
The questions if digital assistants can become your best friend has been explored, for example by Digg, the Wall Street Journal and others. Alexa and her friends are always there for you, they are great listeners, they know everything. Soon they will really understand you and help you, specifically if you paid for having Dr. Phils premium knowledge base loaded.
Besides the virtual companionship, companies are also working on providing the tactile experience
There are clear benefits to these scenarios, but they come with some significant side effects.
Individuals must think, debate and decide what they want their future to be.
Corporations have great responsibilities in the fashions, tastes and desires they have their marketing departments create.

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