What if we entered an era of algorithms?

We have gone through a ton of eras in the past few cen­turies. How­ev­er, for the first time in his­to­ry, some­thing could be hap­pen­ing that would change every­thing — an era of algorithms.

The rise of algo­rithms has been hap­pen­ing slow­ly but sure­ly, a byprod­uct of how soci­ety relies on com­put­ers and oth­er machin­ery to take care of everything.

We are now see­ing a rise in the use of algo­rithms for social media, job appli­ca­tions, titling and more. Algo­rithms are tak­ing over more and more areas of our lives.

But this is not the only change that has been hap­pen­ing in recent times with algo­rithms. With these devel­op­ments, comes the ques­tion of what will hap­pen if we enter an era of algorithms?

If we enter an era of algo­rithms, it will not just affect the human race — but will also impact our plan­et and every­thing on it, and most like­ly, it will not be lim­it­ed to the Earth.

First­ly, let’s talk in detail, what an era of algo­rithms means.

An era of algo­rithms is a world where algo­rithms con­trol every­thing around us. Algo­rithms decide our jobs, how we inter­act with peo­ple, the media we see, and even more.

In the era of algorithms:

-Stock mar­kets will be com­plete­ly oper­at­ed by AI.

-Dai­ly news arti­cles will be gen­er­at­ed by AI.

-Algo­rithm will decide your name.

-Algo­rithms will decide your job, career, and education.

-Vehi­cles will always be con­trolled by algorithms.

-Algo­rithms will decide our relationships.

-Algo­rithms will decide who gets elected.

-Our health and well­ness will be deter­mined by algorithms.

Oth­er than that, we have no idea what else algo­rithms will be doing here (just as peo­ple in 1000 AD had no idea we would be dri­ving a four-wheeled car).

There is still a lot about algo­rithms that we do not know when it comes to the human psy­che and men­tal health issues. But one thing is sure: in the era of algo­rithms, we will sure­ly have less to exist for.

What will happen if we enter an era of algorithms?

Era of algorithms

Well, this would not be good for us humans. Algo­rithms are essen­tial­ly a set of instruc­tions that com­put­ers fol­low in order to per­form a cer­tain action. There­fore, these algo­rithms can lead machines to act in ways that are not always pleas­ant for us humans. For exam­ple, you had an algo­rithm designed to ana­lyze your CV, and it decid­ed that you should be hired.

Of course, one might say algo­rithms would pro­mote fair­ness and pre­vent dis­crim­i­na­tion from hap­pen­ing, but this is some­thing else entire­ly; this is giv­ing the machine the pow­er to make deci­sions based on its own rise of judge­ment, or lack thereof.

Algo­rithm Pre­dicts Future Crimes One Week in Advance With 90% Accu­ra­cy”. This is not the future, this is not fic­tion. It’s 2022 and this has already been made possible.

And so, one may ask, what would hap­pen if we entered a big whole “era” of algo­rithms? Well, here are some of the things we can expect:

1. We will lose control over machines
cruel machine
  • Machines are meant to serve us and make our lives eas­i­er. How­ev­er, with algo­rithms con­trol­ling them, they will be free to decide their own future. For exam­ple, a self-dri­ving car is pro­grammed with algo­rithms that deter­mine how to drive. 

This could be prob­lem­at­ic if it encoun­tered a sit­u­a­tion that it could not deal with — like a child run­ning into the road or some­one jump­ing in front of the car (say for a prank). It’s safe to say that this could even be fatal for who­ev­er is inside.

2. We will stop being individuals
AI individual
  • Algo­rithms are often pro­grammed to make deci­sions based on the infor­ma­tion they have dealt with. This means that we might not be able to access the world, or any­thing in it, as we know it today. Imag­ine you are giv­en a job appli­ca­tion that is writ­ten entire­ly by an algo­rithm; this would be very dif­fi­cult for us humans to deal with. 

As well as this, algo­rithms are also pro­grammed to rec­og­nize pat­terns and cre­ate con­clu­sions from small­er sets of data. They can eas­i­ly pre­dict human behav­ior and even judge what is good or bad for us humans — in a very broad way.

As a result of this, we will have less free­dom to make our own deci­sions in life and become more prone to the way algo­rithms judge us.

3. We will lose privacy
AI privacy
  • Pri­va­cy is some­thing we all enjoy. But due to algo­rithms, it may become a thing of the past. Algo­rithms are essen­tial­ly used to col­lect infor­ma­tion and ana­lyze it. This infor­ma­tion could include our loca­tion, what we like, what we do in life, and more — all of which is usu­al­ly stored on data­bas­es that can be sold to com­pa­nies for adver­tis­ing pur­pos­es or even shared with gov­ern­ment agencies. 

Due to this fact, many peo­ple who have suf­fered from data­base breach­es (like some celebri­ties) have com­plained about hav­ing their “pri­va­cy invad­ed”.

4. The world will completely change
AI shaping the world
  • I per­son­al­ly believe that one should not fear change, but at the same time, one has to be pre­pared for the worst-case sce­nario. Of course, this is only my opinion. 

But, if we enter an era of algo­rithms, it will not just affect the human race, but will also impact our plan­et and every­thing on it; and most like­ly, it will not be lim­it­ed to the earth. Some may say that this is some­thing that can only hap­pen in the future.

How­ev­er, it real­ly depends on how we move for­ward today. Pro­vid­ed that we con­tin­ue to allow algo­rithms to make deci­sions for us, we may end up com­plete­ly trapped — where every­thing is ful­ly con­trolled by algorithms.

Earth has at least 1.5 bil­lion years left to sup­port life. Don’t wor­ry, Algo bud­dies — you have got bunch of time to rule the world.

This is how I see the era of algo­rithms — a very bleak one.

Relat­ed Post: What if we dis­cov­ered the algo­rithm of thought?

What do you think about the era of algo­rithms as described above? Do you agree or dis­agree with my views? Let me know in the com­ments below!

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