Data doom: 5 steps from Davos to digital dystopia

phys.org | 1/26/2018 | Staff
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Intelligent robots and all-knowing online networks threaten to drag humanity into a "totalitarian" nightmare of mind control, mass unemployment and children hooked on smartphones, experts warned at this week's Davos summit.

Online retailers and social networks collect so much data about us that they can watch us, control us and will transform us entirely, said Yuval Noah Harari, the Israeli author of bestselling books about technology and anthropology.

People - Data - Future - Humanity - Future

"This will be decided by the people who own the data. They control not just the future of humanity but the future of life itself," he told a panel in Davos.

"If democracy cannot adapt to these new conditions, then humans will come to live under the rule of digital dictatorship."

Leaders - Business - People - Thinkers - Year

As envisioned by various leaders, business people and thinkers at this year's World Economic Forum gathering, here are five stages through which digital technology will subjugate and dehumanise our race if we are not careful:

The first phase of the data revolution is already under way. The robots are taking our jobs.

Eyes - Smartphones - Zombies - Buses - Machines

While we plod around with our eyes on our smartphones like digital zombies, buses are starting to drive themselves and machines are ringing our groceries through the cash register.

The WEF estimates that new technology could affect 1.4 million jobs in the United States alone by 2026.

Time - Question - Blue- - Workers - Alain

"This time it is not just a question of blue- or white-collar workers," said Alain Roumilhac, the head of US recruiter Manpower in France.

"We are experiencing a revolution in skills," with both manual and administrative tasks likely to be carried out by robots, he said.

Car - Makers - Vehicles - Online - Giant

Car makers are fast developing driverless vehicles. Online retail giant Amazon this week opened a 1,800 square-foot (170 square-metre) cashier-less convenience store with cameras and artificial intelligence scanning the items remotely.

Karl Marx called religion "the opium of the people", but now another powerful drug is taking...
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