Where We’re Headed is a coffee table book about artificial intelligence (AI). Across a timeline of scenarios, the book explores how AI is intensively modifying human societies.
The purpose of this project is to make it both accessible and compelling to learn about a group of technologies that are changing our world entirely.
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The internet has become an integral part of our lives. Most of us access it every single day, and many of us use it to complete our work and earn our livelihoods. We keep up with a majority of our friends using social media applications. When we have questions, we Google them. And while we feel as though we’re in control, none of us ever really made a decision to start spending so much of our lives online – our digital habits have been engineered by some of the brightest minds of our generation, in the service of multi-billion-dollar technology companies.
Ever-present access to the internet has made our lives easier in many ways, but almost everything we use it for is tracked and analyzed by data scientists. We pay for these services not with our wallets, but with information about our behaviour, and as a result, the providers of these services learn about us.
With little hesitation, we trade our privacy for convenience.
The year is 2020.
An immense following has developed around digital, non-human avatars created using computer programs. They act in our favourite movies and advertise our favourite products to millions of online followers, many of who are Gen-Z. The avatars are beautiful, and look so realistic that we sometimes forget they are not human. They post online frequently about their rich, simulated lives, and they set many of the newest fashion, music, and social trends.
We idolize them.
The year is 2023.
While pornography usage statistics have never gone down, they skyrocketed once the actors became computer generated. Using a technology called reinforcement learning, computers learn to understand exactly what each of us wants porn stars to look like, what we want them to sound like, the dirty talk we like to hear most, and our favourite positions. Using the cameras on our devices and the heart rate monitors in our smart watches, they even learn to make the exact facial expressions that excite us most, and they know when we’re most aroused. They can predict when we crave sex most intensely, and ask us to come back to them day after day.
Most of us have a hard time saying no.
YOU ARE BEING
The year is 2025.
Many of us feared it would happen, but not this quickly. Millions of people are losing their jobs to inexpensive robots. Hundreds of millions more are ceding parts of their daily work activities to machines. Our governments keep telling us not to worry, that new jobs will be created. Some countries have started distributing universal basic incomes, while others encourage citizens to re-educate themselves so that they can find new positions. For now, only low-skilled workers are being replaced, but more powerful AI technologies are being developed each day.
The future of our workforce is becoming uncertain.
The year is 2030.
Intelligent technologies have enabled a small handful of companies to become world-dominating superpowers who collectively manage all of the world’s assets. The sharing economy has overtaken ownership entirely – these few companies now control and engineer the actions of virtually all countries and their citizens. Meanwhile, despite scientific efforts to improve its ecosystems, the Earth’s health is failing. On an almost weekly basis, we hear reports of severe draughts, hurricanes, and earthquakes happening around the world due to human impacts on the atmosphere. Now, our species’ future is becoming increasingly uncertain. A group of rebel technologists offers us an escape from the terrible plot we seem to have fallen into, by distributing a technology that allows us to connect our brains to the internet.
We begin to live online.
The year is 2035.
As a connected, super-intelligent being, our planet begins to invent new technologies that enable us to travel inter-galactically. We discover other singularities, and begin to interact with them in ways that can only be described as otherworldly.
After this point, it is impossible to describe what happens…
The year is unknown.
Where We're Headed is available in the following formats:
* FREE *