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Artificial Friends
Mike Treder   Sep 9, 2009   Ethical Technology  

DI/DO (Drop In, Drop Out) connotes a lifestyle consisting almost entirely of online activity, but in place of a focus on interaction with actual friends and family, the vast majority of time is spent engaging with artificial digital companions.

Yesterday I attended a workshop at the Institute for the Future on the subject of “When Everything is Programmable.” We spent the day brainstorming about technologies and applications that potentially could instantiate programming into all manner of both objects and systems, including human beings.

Some of the speculations were pretty wild, but our final exercise was intended to bring us back a little closer to the present. We were asked to write an imaginary but plausible news story set within the next ten years that described the results of an emerging technology in which design or programming plays a major part.

Here is my story:

USA TOMORROW

September 8, 2017


“DROPOUT TOWNS” BECOMING EPIDEMIC


All across middle America, the fabled heartland of the continent, communities both large and small report huge increases in DI/DO (Drop In, Drop Out) rates.

DI/DO involves dropping in to a lifestyle consisting almost entirely of online activity, but in place of a focus on interaction with actual friends and family, the vast majority of time is spent engaging with artificial digital companions.

Dropping out (the DO in DI/DO) refers to the resulting disengagement with the rest of the “real” world as people find that they enjoy their simulated friends far more than their human friends.

Game designers, social networkers, and marketers collaborate using highly sophisticated techniques to make the process not only absorbing and compelling, but effectively addicting.

What began as a trend among “loner” teenagers and quickly became a craze is now affecting adults at levels approaching teen infection numbers. School and work absentee rates have soared, especially in the hundreds of midwestern towns where structural unemployment is widespread.

This scenario implies an opportunity for unscrupulous actors to exercise control over large numbers of people through a kind of hidden coercion; of course, some would say that popular culture and especially advertising already do that, and perhaps not so subtly.

In any case, here is a great cartoon illustrating the very-near-future problems we might face:

Mike Treder is a former Managing Director of the IEET.



COMMENTS

Heaven!

.....if you consider this in the proper context 😊

http://laughingsquid.com/clay-shirky-on-cognitive-surplus/

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