Klaus Temmel, an expert in digitization strategy, interviews patrick siebert, an economics philosopher and artificial intelligence vlogger (video blogger)
Mr Siebert, in your opinion, does digitization change our view of ourselves?
Definitely! Digitization is just a step in a long chain of human invention. We have always tried, with the help of certain tools, to broaden our understanding of the world, our knowledge and our power.
This technical progress has always had repercussions for ourselves. We are not able to change our environment without any effect on our perception.
The invention of agriculture has led to us settling down. As a consequence, cities developed and with this also the necessity for administration and the creation of states. To accompany this, people have come to identify themselves with the piece of land or the place they grew up. The building of nations, governments and national pride are just some effects of this change.
Nowadays, we are beings who live, not by choice, by a timetable. Our basic needs are governed by the clock; we use the bathroom at predefined times. Our whole way of thinking is becoming more and more structured, sequential and iterative.
Every new technical development also has an effect on our consciousness and our social structure. This will also happen through digitization.
Is there a desirable scenario for this?
A positive, desirable scenario would be that humanity, through its changed perspectives, begins to view the world in a more positive light. When astronauts look at the earth from space, often the importance and value of preserving our planet becomes very conscious. James B. Irwin apparently said the following after his return to Earth from space:
“That beautiful, warm, living object looked so fragile, so delicate, that if you touched it with a finger it would crumble and fall apart. Seeing this has to change a man.”, and Alan Shepard expressed it as follows: “I realized up there that our planet is not infinite. It’s fragile. That may not be obvious to a lot of folks, and it’s tough that people are fighting each other here on earth instead of trying to get together and live on this planet. We look pretty vulnerable in the darkness of space.”
The change in perspective made possible by technology has helped these astronauts to transform their consciousness – to recognize the connection to and the fragility of our planet. Digitization in this case has led to a changed view of the world.
What will come after this digitization?
One thing is clear: If the process of digitization is ever completed, humanity will be completely different. We will view the world differently, our every day life will be experienced differently and we will exist in different social structures. The unbelievable advances in productivity, which have already been made possible through artificial intelligence, could one day free us from work as we know it today. Ideally digitization would release us from unpleasant tasks and would open up space for more contemplation (comment from ivii: “contemplation” here is taken to mean concentrated introspection and a spiritual immersion in something.)
Ancient Greece was only able to be the cradle of philosophy because slaves performed the unpleasant tasks. If machines can take over all productive duties, will we also become philosophers? With the completion of digitization, will we enter an age of contemplation, of reflection? Will we experience a new era of philosophizing?
It`s possible that the advance in productivity will make it possible for all of us to one day view planet Earth from space. Will this allow us, like the astronauts of today, to recognize that we are all connected and that our planet deserves protection? Will this bring more sustainability and stability to our global consciousness?
If all basic needs are covered globally by the completion of digitization, will we enter a new moral age? It could be that we recognize, that when we no longer find ourselves in times of physical shortages, that wars are no longer necessary. We will only do good because we no longer have to fight to survive.
So this is also a scenario:
After digitization comes the awakeness of people, a global change in awareness and a more sustainable lifestyle.
Dr. Jaromir Konecny, KI expert, describes this vision as follows:
“When I was little and the adults asked me what I would like to be when I grew up, I always said “retired”. Soon after extensive digitization, thanks to artificial intelligence, everything that can be automated will be automated: Learners and autonomously working machines do boring, difficult and dangerous work and enable us all to live a decent life and fully develop our creativity. This land of milk and honey of the mind could become the last and best social system. Then I no longer have to look forward to retirement.”