Tag Archive for: artificial intelligence

FUTURE TENSE

By Kay Kendall

These days whenever I
cast my thoughts into the future, I become tense. This is a new phenomenon for me. Previously I was more hopeful. That is to say, to some degree.

I estimated that the
world had until, say, about the year 2050 until conditions became unbearable. That
was when I figured all the usual horrors of modern life that seem to threaten
our collective future would hit and hit hard: climate change and its many
evils, the threat of nuclear war, plagues that could decimate humanity,
overwhelming pollution of land, sea, and air. And so on. I feel as if I missed
something awful in that list, but I think you can get my drift.
But here lately I am no
longer able to push the crisis date out as far as 2050. Instead I expect the
decade of the 2020s to be grim. There are two main things that led me to this
conclusion. One is general, gleaned from news reports that I follow daily. The
other is personal.
On the general level, I
observe that the issues besetting my nation and my world are not being handled
well. While pollution and climate change and saber rattling escalate—sometimes it
feels as if they do so daily—I do not see a collective will of rational people
and their leaders to sit down and reason together, to combine their wisdom and
seek answers to problems that threaten to engulf us all. Everyone is mad about
something. Everyone shouts at each other. The few I notice who are working
quietly and rationally seem to be crying into the wilderness. The bullies rule
the mass media and whip up discontent.
On a personal level, I just
experienced my two grandchildren and experienced their world close up
during spring break. They are in grade school, and what a
difference a year has made. While last year electronics occupied some of their time, this year the amount of time and attention they
covered was enormous. While both children used to be avid readers and still have many
books in each of their rooms, they now just occasionally read stories. Instead
they often turn to video games for their fun, even though their parents still
take them to library often to check out books.
The boy can reel off the history of video games and personal computers and wants a
DIY laptop for his birthday. He loves to lose himself in YouTube videos about technology.
Anyone who is either a
millennial or younger is living in a world overwhelmed by technology. What’s
being lost? The ability to sit quietly and collect one’s thoughts, to watch a
sunset without snapping a picture, to listen to waves hit a beach, to just
chill and BE. I fear these quiet pursuits are getting lost in the blur of activity that
is our new world.
And then when I
consider what I read about artificial intelligence and how the super brainiacs
among us are worried about the changes that are coming from AI . . . well, is
it any wonder that I have developed an advanced stage of future tense-itis?
Humanity is being
drained by lack of interaction among individuals. I want coming generations to continue
to read books, paint pictures, converse well with friends, work out disagreements
in a reasonable way—and to see the value in those things, rather than seeing
them as hopelessly old-fashioned. These are all human-based necessities and
joys that are being inundated by our tech world. I hope I am merely
being a Debbie Downer, but still, I must admit, I worry. I want literature to
continue to be written—and avidly read—that speaks to the humanity of us all. 


  

Meet the author

Kay Kendall is a long-time fan of historical
novels and now writes  mysteries that capture the spirit and
turbulence of the sixties. A reformed PR executive who won international awards
for her projects, Kay lives in Texas with her Canadian husband, three house
rabbits, and spaniel Wills. Terribly allergic to her bunnies, she loves them
anyway! Her book titles show she’s a Bob Dylan buff. In 2015 Rainy Day Women
won two Silver Falchion Awards at
Killer Nashville.

Visit Kay at her website < http://www.austinstarr.com/>
or on
Facebook <
https://www.facebook.com/KayKendallAuthor>