Recently, a few themes start to intertwine in my head.
- The Internet Age. It is all the rage in China, with "internet mindset" as the societal buzzword. National TV station came out with 10-episode series on the internet age. Everyone talks about how the web is revolutionizing the way of life, of business, and of living. All my aunts and uncles are glued to their smartphones, sharing stuff around the clock. Everyone is excited (and many are worried) about the disruptions from net.
- Artificial intelligence. Increasing evidence that AI is inevitable, bringing a completely unforeseeable future, throwing into question morality, rights, and all the basic elements of human society and self-perception.
- Technological unemployment. As a result of ongoing automation and AI evolution, more and more of the "secure jobs" are opened up for competition with robots. As the industrial society becomes ever more "productive" with the help of machines and algorithms, Marx's warning on "technological unemployment" (and the resulting over-production and under consumption) as an intrinsic aspects of capitalism seems ever more prescient. What are we going to do with ourselves, when the world doesn't "need" us anymore?
- Inner awakening in an internet age. As the digital walls close in around us, what's psychological and neurological consequences? What new obstacles, and opportunities, for inner awakening lie ahead? As we ramp up the demand on our brains to keep up with the intelligence machines, where do we find space for the soul, and for seeking?
Innovation has always been an arms race with ourselves, a competition between intentions and unintended consequences. Is this time different?