Ever heard of Back to the Future? If you happen to be born in the ’80s, I bet you have heard about these trilogy movies. Thanks to Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg’s minds, children in that particular decade enjoyed their childhood by letting them see what could possibly happen in the future. These blockbuster movies were released in 1985, 1989, and 1990. In filmmaking and screenwriting courses or workshops, these movies were still cited as one of the best movies ever produced. These were sci-fi movies about a high school student who accidentally went back to 1955 through a DeLorean DMC car that happened to be a time machine and he was struggling to go back to the present world (1985). Part two was about the future (2020) where flying cars, holograms, automatic shoelaces, and sodas popping in front of you are a normal daily happening. Of course, we now know that all of these were really an imagination. Part three was about going back to the Wild Wild West 19th century and inventing the new machine to go back to the present world.
But have you ever thought about what the future would really look like 30-50 years from now? With the technology that we now have, I believe that someday a lot of things would be really different—and that includes us. Technology has changed humanity, just like the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan said that society adapts to advances in technology, thus changing the cultural, political, and even historical aspects. To some, technology became advantageous because it made them more efficient and excellent in their work. But the downside is, people became impatient because everything became instant. With the availability of the internet, many people were introduced to Korean entertainment, thus, changing our style, fashion, and taste in music and drama. Politically speaking, the present president of the Philippines won with the help of social media that conditioned the minds of the people that change is coming. Technology changed the way we think and the way we see things. Some of the impossible became possible for us.
But what if someday, technology dominates the human world? What would happen to the human race? Many would probably say that this scenario would be impossible to happen because humans created technology. But who knows? it could probably happen, with the creation of artificial intelligence, many things are fast changing. When Sophia the Robot was invented and introduced in 2017, many were amazed at how advanced she was. She could interact almost like a human being. She could tell jokes and play rock, scissors, paper. Even Elon Musks stated in his recent presentation that they are going to launch Tesla Bot soon, a humanoid robot designed to perform general robotic tasks for humans. Now imagine if there were a lot of Sophias and Tesla Bots in the world, doing these repetitive, dangerous, and boring tasks for us. Maybe to some, we’ll say it’s fine because it gives us more time to sip a cup of coffee, lay in our beds or watch more Netflix movies. But what if they become so many that humans are no longer needed to do the job because of robots? The unemployment rate would skyrocket. Who would be the forex traders if robots are already doing this for us (and it is starting to happen), who would analyze the stock market if robots are already doing this? And where would a taxi, multicab, jeepney, and tricycle drivers go if automotive companies are already geared towards inventing self-drive vehicles?
According to Yuval Noah Harari, author of 20 Lessons in the 21st Century, close to 1.25 million people today is killed annually in traffic accidents, twice the number killed by war, crime, and terrorism combined. More than 90 percent of these accidents are caused by human errors—drunk driving, beating the red light, daydreaming, texting while driving. Through self-driving cars, road accidents will be reduced up to 90 percent. This will be favorable to many if 1.25 million lives will be saved every year.
This future might be unavoidable for all of us. But what should humans do in order to survive? Well, I think one thing that we need to do is to prepare our youth to face this not-too-distant future. Let us arm them with wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to apply responsibly the knowledge that we have gained. It is knowing the difference between right and what seems right and making the right decisions. These decisions might require them to be bold to face the fiery furnace of fear. Being wise is leaning on to the truth and not the fabricated truth. Who knows? our youth today might be the inventors of these robots someday. We can also educate them by telling them what could possibly happen in the future so that they can choose their jobs that won’t be eliminated easily with the existence of AI. Jobs such as Information Technology, Computer Science, Computer Engineering and other related courses. And lastly, let us teach them to be humans. Humans who have compassion, love, joy and the fear of God. Humans who are social beings that can empathize and sympathize with other people. Though jobs may be replaced by AI, but being humans cannot be replaced by the technology. Because humans are supreme beings created by God to rule, subdue and dominate the world.