More than what meets the iPhone

I walk into the office, empty except for a desk, chair, and a few computers. “Hello,” a woman’s voice greats me from out of nowhere. It is familiar yet mechanic. Slightly startled and mostly impressed, I begin to fiddle with this computer that is aware of every sound, movement, and breath that I take. The voice, linked to the computer system, is an “intelligence assistance,” going above and beyond anything I have ever used or had on my measly iPhone. In a world where new technology is frequent and quickly becomes available in the consumer market, seeing and hearing something with capabilities I did not yet know existed was astonishing, and to be quite honest, a little terrifying.

As I read the article by Ed Finn, my ignorance towards new technologies and innovations was revealed to me full force. How naïve could I be to expect that Siri was the best there was? How brainwashed had I become to believe that Apple was always the top of the technological game? However, the brilliance of Apple and Siri was not the algorithm itself, but the marketing tools used to present it as magic, a unique experience. The commercial below shows a person with seemingly everything (The Rock!) to be able to do a superhuman amount of tasks with the assistance of Siri.

Above and beyond the games of marketing are the dreams of those in tech. The “Star Trek” computer has a larger goal, infinite amounts of data, and is ultimately, “an index to all human knowledge.” Google aims to create a machine that is able to understand and predict private and social life, the need to think seems to become obsolete and therefor, calls the purpose of existence into question. I know I, like many others, crave new technology and slight improvements that will make my life that much easier. With my phone being my most intimate part of my life, at what point will this intimacy take control? Without being aware, I have avoided negative perceptions of technology and focused on the current positive benefits I myself will reap. I still find that as I read Neuromancer, I perceive it to be outlandish and impossible. Elon Musk, prominent business magnate, warns against the soon coming dangers of AI. The desire to improve is one that is almost always positive, but in this regard, must be watched with a cautious and knowledgeable eye.

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