How robots are making us more human

I’ll start this one off with a quote I read on Mashable a few months ago:

The old paradigm in communication was that people generally revealed very little of their fears and doubts. They tried to present the image of themselves to other people as completely confident and knowledgeable. The goal was to make sure that you appeared like you were always in complete control. But this is shifting, in part, because of social media. The paradigm is now no longer to try to appear perfect, but to be more transparent with your thoughts and feelings, to reveal your humanness.

In a world where the vast majority of information we encounter comes from people we’ve never met, who no one we know has ever met, and who we will probably never meet – who, as far as we know, are just electrons – how do we determine humanness? We define ourselves by our differences from other things. We walk upright, we have opposable thumbs, we use tools, we think about ourselves and, most uniquely, we think about thinking about ourselves.

Before photography, painters would strive for realism. After photography - this. The human being, as a medium, is due for a similar fate.

So what happens when we create something that can think about thinking about itself? What happens when we create something that does it even better than we do?

Think about this: painters didn’t celebrate the medium of paint until photography was invented. The full potential of newspapers wasn’t appreciated until the Internet started putting them out of business. The true beauty of film wasn’t understood until everyone had gone digital. Hiking became a sport only after cars were invented.

While machines have taken over the laundry, the dishes, logo design, (just kidding guys, take the gun out of your mouth), and a million other things, we’ve made enormous strides in art, literature, caring for one another, and, well, making machines that are even better at doing everything for us. And the more we create machines to do things for us, the better we get at the things that are left, that only we can do.

When we’ve finally made ourselves completely obsolete, that’s when we’ll know what it really is to be human.

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