Saturday, July 15, 2017

early internet/technology TV comercials

i watched a Q&A with elon musk today on CSPAN.  asked what future does he see for AI and transportation musk said AI is an existential threat to humankind, really, most people don't realize how profound the changes to our civilization AI poses.  AI must be regulated by governments, not to inhibit development, but to build in protections for human beings.

the transportation piece according to musk is two-fold.  first, all vehicles off the assembly will be electric.  second, they will be autonomous.  when?  in a decade or two. 

now, one could call bullshit on musk, but remember this is a man who is on the forefront of these technologies.  he sees those things that are down the pike that we mortals do not.  i recall an article -- i've told this story a thousand times, but bear with me -- i took to a professor of mine in about 1992 or '93.  the article said, in the near future we will read on a device that can stream audio and video.  i love books.  i still love books.  i was worried that books would become a redundant technology.  i asked my professor what he made of the author's prediction.  he said, sounds like science fiction to me.

guess what?  that phone you carry with you, always?  you can read on it, and stream audio and video.  has mobile technology made books redundant?  i would say no.  still, the smart phone, and broadband internet, mobile technology, has had deep, structural, and extremely profound changes to our civilization.  we have not even reckoned with these changes.

we are in a paradigm shift.  we don't know how these technologies will manifest our societies.  but stop and look around.  you will see a vastly changed world even 15 years ago.

i say, in my own humility, that the three threats to our species is AI, Automation, and Climate Change.  however, i am an optimist, by default.  below are two internet/technology TV adverts.  the first if from 1996 starring the actor/comedian denis leary about the email service lotus notes. 

i like this ad because we can see the growing importance of the internet for business.  however, this commercial was released at a time when the majority of people were not online and could give a crap about the internet.

the second is a batch of commercials from 1993 by AT&T, titled "YOU WILL".  these ads are a little crappy but i think are well worth watching because like my article i mentioned above these technologies, such as GPS navigation for your car, is downright prescient.  sure, some of the ads are a little clunky.  most public places no longer have pay phones.  the monitors are still the thick, clunky, heavy boxes.  and these ads are not touting broadband speeds.  however, these commercials are remarkable in their vision.  check them out.

think about how much the world has changed since 1993.  imagine what the world will be in another 25 years.  because whether we like it or not i think elon musk is right.  AI, electrification of our transportation hubs, and automation will be here very shortly.  we don't have TV ads purporting the advantages of autonomous long-haul trucks on our highways, but i agree with musk, who said that the first industries that will adopt autonomous vehicles are transportation industries.  transportation industries is one of the largest employers in the u.s.  what will we do when the truckers, taxi drivers, and delivery drivers are not needed? 

i don't know.  you don't know.  our leaders don't know.  but we do know that we are in the midst of a paradigm shift.  we are only at the beginning of these changes.  this is an exciting time to live, as well being a terrifying time to live.  again, i'm an optimist by nature.  to paraphrase a poem by my beloved thom gunn, anyway, i'm not superstitious, the times may be rewarding.  let's reschedule!


At 4:01 AM, Blogger WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

An interesting article that I enjoyed reading.

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.


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