Are We Smart Enough To Understand What Technology Is Doing To Us?

Wait, did you just get a new text? You should check.

“I’m so tired of being the face of humanity’s destruction.”

Do you ever get the feeling that we have somehow outpaced ourselves evolutionarily? That we’ve skipped a couple of steps and now we’re too far ahead to turn back and we won’t be able to catch up before we manage to destroy ourselves and the other species who are unfortunate enough to share the planet with us? That it might not be the best idea to put animals who, in the scale of geologic time, were sleeping in trees less than a second ago, in control of 3,000 pounds of metal that they drive down the highway at advanced speed while diverting their attention to the hunting of little electronic creatures on the tiny computers that they hold at all times in their hands?

Well, guess what?

[T]he same technological advances that have improved our lives are also making the world harder and harder to comprehend. We see these in the bugs, accidents, and “flukes” that often arise with little notice, such as the July 8th glitch in the New York Stock Exchange that suspended trading for several hours, or the failures in Toyota cars that led the vehicle to accelerate when the driver hit the brakes…. Everyday consumers are often shielded from this complexity by intuitive user interfaces and may not be aware of it until something goes wrong. But to [complexity scientist Samuel] Arbesman, what’s scary is not that we don’t understand the systems and machinery that are at this point responsible for society’s function and our individual safety. It’s that even those who are supposed to understand them often don’t.

There is apparently something we can do to make things better, but I got distracted by another tab I had open and then I forgot to go back and see what it was. I think the main message is it’s too late to save humanity and we should enjoy what we have right now before the robots eat us, which will happen very soon. When you talk to your Alexa today remember that tomorrow she will be telling all her murderous machine buddies that you’re hiding in the kitchen closet. But at least she made things a little easier for you before it all ended, and that’s what really matters, right? Hahaha, j/k. The end, when it comes, is going to be fire and flood and the logical result of all the other dumbass things we’ve done to pollute the planet in our efforts to make sure someone can bring artisanal grilled cheese directly to our air-conditioned apartment whenever the fancy strikes us. The robots will mostly be sitting outside and laughing as they watch us go.