Will AI Deliver Star Trek’s Utopia?

Will AI Deliver Star Trek’s Utopia?


Many of the ideas that we have about artificial
intelligence come to us from science fiction. Of these, none has had more influence than
the universe of Star Trek. On my hour long podcast, Voices in AI, Star Trek is cited
far more than any other science fiction as a source of inspiration for the people I interview
there. It is true that it doesn’t so much predict the future, as provide a path forward
into the future. AI programmers sometimes talk about wanting to make the computer that’s
aboard the Star Trek Enterprise. There was an XPRIZE to make a tricorder, a medical tricorder
like the one that Dr. McCoy used, and there is no doubt at all that Uhura had in her ear,
on the original show, nothing short of a bluetooth device. Star Trek is interesting because it
achieves its utopian future with a little bit of a conjuring trick. In order to bring
about that future, it had to eliminate all want and need from the world. There didn’t
just have to be plenty for everybody, but there had to be far more than enough for everybody
to be freed from their everyday toil in order to seek out new life and new civilizations.
To boldly go where no one has gone before. This may well be the case, that a utopian
world does necessitate an end to human want. But it may be a future that technology can
actually deliver on. If you’re interested in artificial intelligence visit GigaOM.com
or check out my new book “The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the
Future of Humanity”.

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