Last month, I mentioned robophilia and how women will have more sex with robots than humans by 2025. Seriously. Google it. It was a career high (and possibly a cultural low).
Do we trust robots and technology too much? Not enough? Have people not seen I, Robot? I mean the 2004, Will Smith-led cautionary tale about robots, of course, and not the fine company that makes the robot vacuums we use in all of our hilarious pet videos.
Automation: It’s led to a 1,000-percent increase in sober people going to Taco Bell.
Automation isn’t a bad thing; we’re not going to be attacked by vacuums, after all, and there are plenty of conveniences it supplies. I don’t have to wait in line at Starbucks any more, for example. I can order from my phone. And that’s true at most places now. It’s probably led to a 1,000-percent increase in sober people going to Taco Bell.
Our phones do almost everything now. You can scan a check and it’s magically in your bank account. You do have to get the lighting just right so the app will scan, however, so we’ve all become amateur photographers, turning on and off lights in our house, to achieve the optimum setting for a check photo. But in general, automation is awesome. Consider the following.
We don’t have to interact with strangers as much
If there’s a payment option that doesn’t involve interacting with real people, I choose that. It’s just easier. Bank tellers bribe people with free lollipops and it still doesn’t work.
For a time, the only thing I still had to pay in person was rent. But now that’s done, too. Yapstone’s RentPayment allows you to pay your apartment rent online or with an app. Because let’s be honest, the odds of me actually writing a check are not good. You can even pay your rent with a credit card if you don’t have the money in your bank account. That would have come in handy when I had to make rent back in college. Those years felt like an audition for Top Ramen Chef, which needs to be a show.
We’re learning to like drones
Drones can do more than spy on people in their underwear. Flirtey made the very first FAA-approved commercial drone delivery in the United States on July 17, 2015.
Flirtey collaborated with NASA Langley Research Center to deliver medical supplies to a rural Virginia town in order to support a free health clinic that served about 1,500 patients. The types of medical supplies delivered by Flirtey are often in great demand for underserved communities and during natural disasters.
That same drone has landed itself in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum alongside the likes of the Space Shuttle Discovery, and the SR-71 Blackbird.
We don’t have to go to concerts anymore
Lately, I’ve been playing around more and more with VR and all the non-video game uses that do or may exist for the new platform.
Cody Ross founded Slingshot VR, a new virtual reality technology he’s developing at Gerard Adams’ new incubator, Fownders. With it, fans can attend their favorite concert without actually being there. That’s great if you are too far away to attend or really don’t enjoy traffic. I tried it and actually felt like I was in the middle of a crowd at a Chance the Rapper concert — it was pretty insane.
Drones can do more than spy on people in their underwear.
But are we reaching a tipping point where we start to trust computers and robots more than humans? What if we become people who never leave the house, have sex with robots, and interact only through VR?
It would make for a very boring Snapchat account.
The NFL is entertaining the idea of having people view games through VR from specific seats. It’s not impossible that there could come a day when the only people in the stadium are the players. The people who hold the down markers would obviously be replaced by robots. And the sideline reporters would be replaced with Facebook Live cameras.
I already love tech more than my family
I love technology more than 93 percent of my family members, but there are always unintended consequences. And technology is impacting every single part of our life.
One of the biggest shifts we’ll see may be in financial planning and investments, not an industry synonymous with tech and innovation. Ben VerWys, a financial expert recently featured in Inc., works in an industry that until two years ago was dominated by face-to-face meetings in a Regus office or at a TGI AppleChilis.
VerWys took a different approach, creating a highly successful investment hybrid that combines apps, automation, and a little human contact. As he explains, there are benefits to having an algorithm doing your investing for you — but you still need a person to help guide you through tough decisions.
“The good is that you know what you’re getting. What you get is investing made easy in the sense of the behaviors and investments themselves. They are naturally going to be lower cost, re-balance, and it’s going to give you a decent investment approach while life is made easy,” VerWys told me.
Sideline reporters will obviously be replaced with Facebook Live cameras.
But there are times when technology fails us. And it can be a lot more serious than when a Hot Pocket is cold on the inside or Xfinity inexplicably only has half of Mr. Robot on demand.
When it comes to automated investing, VerWys said, “the downside is it’s hands-off. Just because it’s easy and decent doesn’t mean it’s good. It’s flawed when you need help. Like when the market is crashing and you don’t know what to do and there are emotion involved. It won’t protect you from bad decision making. It won’t stop you from exiting the market at the wrong time.”
“Investors need some measure of protection against themselves,” he noted.
And the same could be said for all of us. Robots, drones, and apps that can do anything and be anything aren’t bad, by nature alone. I embrace every innovation. But like Ferris Bueller, sometimes you have to stop and look around once in a while — or a robot will steal your girlfriend.
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