U6.4 A summary view of the OFC future

Taking all the material from Units 6.1-6.3 into account, it looks like there will be a period of steady evolution before we start to encounter AI entities with the ability to do things autonomously. During this evolutionary period, the main individual applications that we use will become increasingly sophisticated and central to our lives; and we will make increasing use of applications and internet services which embed a degree of AI expertise and the ability to learn, and we will start to think they are normal and very useful. The amount of digital material we possess will continue to grow. It will become increasingly important to make arrangements for our digital accounts and possessions to be managed after we die. More and more physical objects will contain chips which we can interrogate and control through our computer systems. We will grow used to interacting with our computer systems by voice as well as by keyboard; and we will probably start to get used to virtual reality experiences.

At some point, the computer manufacturers will produce products in which our primary interaction with the system will be via a single AI entity. This will seem normal given what we have experienced before. The AI entity will take care of all maintenance, including backups, and will ensure that our files are always accessible and readable. As the AI entity becomes more knowledgeable, it will start to do more and more for us and we will have to provide less and less detailed instructions. The AI may start to see what we show it and know what it is looking at. There may be other AI in the house in other computers or in robots, and we will be able to interconnect them and instruct them to cooperate. While the digital world will increasingly be taken care of by our AI, we may start to value some of our physical possessions even more.

I can’t say I’m particularly confident that this vision of the future is what it will actually be like. Nor am I sure that it is of any particular relevance to any OFC project you are about to embark on. However, it was interesting to think through where things might be going. If there was any conclusion I would come to from this examination, it is that our digital world is going to be fully taken care of by an increasingly autonomous AI; and that, in the face of this, we should take increasing care of our precious physical possessions as they are the only things that are going to be truly under our control.

This is the last Unit in this OFC Online Tutorial.

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