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In the future will cognitive augmentation and artificial intelligence broaden or narrow our consciousness?

We relinquish awareness when we allow a program to decide what's relevant information.

For example, car computer systems are rapidly decreasing our awareness of simple skills such as parking a car. In time, no one will know how to parallel park. If the computer system fails, a driver could be stranded for hours in their parked car, without the skill to pull out. In addition, future systems will monitor and send health information…and other personal information.

The lose of simple skill sets such as parking is minor but it points to the larger issue of losing cognitive skills. Our ability to reason would atrophy, and become dependent on imperfect, biased or worse corrupt systems that operate beyond our awareness. You may want to dismiss the idea as a cynical dystopian view point… but ask yourself why the general public is losing the ability to do simple math in their heads.

Is ease of living worth relinquishing independent consciousness?

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    Apr 10 2013: If I had a car that dictated to me how I should parallel park, I am sufficiently "Luddite" enough to switch the damn thing off as a conscious decision, or even go so far as to take that particular fuse out to disable it.

    I don't want technology telling me what to do, what not to do, and how to think. It runs counter to learning processes, it makes me lazy, and I suspect I would probably become addicted to it once I allow those mental processes to be substituted by endless apps.

    I wonder what would happen to the course of our own evolution over a long period, if such atrophy is allowed to continue? My guess is that we would lose vital skills to survive in a world without technology; we would lose the ability to communicate with each other on a personal level, the need to physically move around would be reduced (and would become more and more contrived, as in gym workouts etc), our essential connection with nature will no longer be necessary...

    The next question might be how long will technology last in its current form, and is that longevity related to finite resources? Should we therefore retain basic skills and independent consciousness as a contingency for such times when living, by necessity, becomes more basic?

    My answer is that our capacity to think and "do" is and will be significantly reduced with over-proliferation of technology.

    Technology should always serve, not dictate.
    • Apr 12 2013: Hey Allan...I hear you. I would like to have a say in what technology I adopt. Unfortunately, this technology operates beyond our awareness, so in many instances it negates our ability to make a conscious decision to reject it. Then there are the systems that we don't directly control. Systems embedded within the infrastructure of our cities.

      I don't want to sound like a doomsayer. I still feel technology has a positive impact on society. It provides many life enhancing advantages. It's just that I feel we've reached a point in our technological evolution where there is a potential for intellectual atrophy in the general population. Which of course in time will diminish all sectors of society.

      I suppose my biggest concern is...in the past we've adapted to change...now we're adapting to adapting and understanding the change will no longer be within our grasp.

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