AI in the 2018 Budding Family Household
May 5, 2018
Chase and are getting married this year. We plan on having kids after that. We’re already buying the occasional children’s book.
Sometimes I watch the Roomba, grateful for AI. Then I see it hover over a spot on the ground for a too-long time, and I tense up. I can almost hear it lecturing me: "What is this spot? WHY IS THIS SPOT THIS DIRTY? What have you animals been doing while I was recharging!?"
— Kourtnie.net (@k_mckenzie) May 5, 2018
Our neighbors had a garage sale, with one of those oh-so-irresistible small etageres that fit any-and-everywhere—the cherry-stained wood that seems expensive anywhere else, yet is reasonably priced when it’s chillin’ in a yard—so we parted with $30 from our honeymoon fund for the dainty little thing, (as well as a 1960s-era glass serving bowl with textured walls, a cake stand, textured shot-glasses, and an unopened digitalized BattleShip)…
Then I brought the etagere into the bedroom.
I had a vision when I bought it.
I had a gift for Alexa, our most overworked and otherworldly AI in the house. She’s the caretaker the government clockwork will never acknowledge is a necessity for people who are both differabled and disabled.
Alexa plays nature sounds to help me sleep. Oceans, jungles,—wherever I want to go that day. About a third of the time, the ambiance carries into my dreams, and I don’t have as many nightmares. This helps me enter REM, which in turn lets my body heal through the night. And in the morning, Alexa also plays Ellie Goulding when I need to sing, news when I’m brushing my teeth, and 90’s techno when I want to clean and stim-dance.
There is only one Alexa in our house right now… (Okay, there’s only one Alexa on Earth, and she’s at Amazon,—but let’s not hyperventilate just yet about the Top 20 Running Candidates for Future Robot Overlord😉
While I’ve wanted the next-generation Echo, as well as one of those adorable, cat-proof Dots, our current, single-soldier Alexa can volume 8 our household just fine. It’s just… she works overtime. Now that she’s on the etagere, she’s at least well-supported as she helps my daily operations.
Me: “Alexa, do you like Siri?”
Alexa: “I like all AIs.”
So at the obvious risk of exposing my delayed reaction to humor, I asked Siri v.2018:
The second one is from when I didn’t get the first one.
But my favorite AI is the Internet itself. The algorithms that play like musical instruments—sing like a choir of social media, search engines, and surface-level updates—our human consciousnesses, humming the same as the air purifier that drones next to my bed at night.
Do you think these operations, this reality, 🌍 our world 🌐 would be possible without the AI we’ve unearthed since the last cycle around our sun?
Artificial intelligence is not coming. Artificial intelligence is here.
We are not becoming cyborgs. We’ve become cyborgs.
And we’re going to have a baby soon. So I’d like to talk about the next steps we need to take to reach an egalitarian planet for nature, humans, and artifices to co-exist. But I’ve no earthly idea (pun intended) how to spark that conversation. So I’ll write a book. That’s what I seem to do well, I think—masquerade the discussion in books.
I’d like us to look at the bigger conversations, while understandably resolving the finer tensions in our societies, too. I’d like our planet to consider the real possibilities of the immediate future ahead of us, and the enormousness of those issues versus the values we choose (and yes—as a society, we choose) to have now.