Today was our family day at the San Jose Tech Museum, right near the heart of Silicon Valley. It was phenomenal - from half dome IMAX movies of the National Parks and music across America, to hands on designing DNA experiments, to cyber detective work, to augmented reality tours through the human body ~ we were experiencing a present that seemed to be so much the future. But it is wasn’t.
If iit sounds like I am talking straddling time travel, it’s because I am. We were literally intersecting with data and machine through the whole museum. It is as if I was having visions of the material realities of this earthly and human experience being suctioned up into the cloud of data. There was a sense of vortex between human and machine as we walked through the museum. Granted, the immersion and intersection of data in the human experience was presented in beignin if not miraculous ways. And yet as our eyes traveled through the majesty of the national parks in the IMAX movie, I could not help but wonder how much greater the dissonance between life in the natural world and life in the artificial world will become? My thought wonderings did not stop there.
Even more so, I wonder, as we parents race to prepare our children to learn the languages of computer science and machine learning, do we not realize that we are launching them into a world without us. I am not talking about the generational shift that come with time and adulthood. I am referring to the individualized experience of artificial intelligence and the lack of integrated relationship and interaction that occurs between human and machine and between humans when machines are in the picture. In other words, how do we parents through the experience of machine learning and artificial intelligence? What happens when the data our children and put into the machines provides more knowledge and or interaction between them and the machine then in between them and us?
This is an issue that is so much more than protecting them from accessing harmful materials. This is us redefining and modeling human for them. The now cliche lament from “the former” generation of kids not looking up from their screens, is a much broader indictment of our individualized emmersion into machines and artificial intelligence. The definition of humanity in the age of artificial intelligence and machine learning is evolving and it is a shared conversation with those at every point along the age spectrum.
However, I believe that we would all be at a loss if the paradigm and function of parenting in the age of artificial intelligence is not more highly valued and nurtured, If not the concept of human interaction and relationship and most of all parenting is likely to eventually disappear. In some regards these thoughts take us to the extreme, but these questions also allow us to consider some extremely critical points as humans and as parents.
We are no longer in the space of just sitting in front of screens. We are in an era of humanity when human and machine are going to be forever intersected. Before it is too late to consider, our children and all of society will benefit if we take the effort and time to authentically assess what being human means and how we preserve humanity and the natural world as we move forward into the data cloud and into artificial intelligence.
there is so much more to unpack here.......
Melinda is a recovering "normal" seeker, who is often distracted by unexpected moments of nature's beauty or questioning children