AI 2041: Ten Visions For Our Future

In a recent post on quantum computing, I referenced a new book (published in September 2021) that I recently added to my library. The book titled AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future was authored by Kai-Fu Lee  and Chen Qiufan. The authors use highly effective approach that combined fiction with expert analysis to help the reader imagine possible futures. The storytelling was brilliant (my compliments Chen Qiufan), and Kai-Fu Lee provides analysis after each story, showcasing his grasp of AI and its possible applications.

In a world of rapid change, uncertainty, and volatility, storytelling allows us to explore the future, in this case, the world of 2041. Our authors tell ten stories, each compelling and easy to read. I found myself engrossed in each narrative. The stories explore the following scenarios.

Story One: the story illustrates how AI can single-mindedly try to optimize certain goals, but sometimes create detrimental externalities.

Story Two: the story explores a world where undetectable deepfakes drive dangerous consequences.

Story Three: my favorite story in the book explores the future of AI education, as smart AI teachers camouflaged as virtual cartoonlike friends help twin Korean orphans realize their potential.

Story Four: this story imagines that COVID-19 continues after initial vaccines (underscoring the belief that extreme events are here to stay). Humans must learn to coexist with it, helped in part by the ubiquity of household robots that reduce the need for person-to-person contact.

Story Five: this story depicts the future of entertainment, where games become immersive and the boundary between virtual and real is blurred.

Story Six: this story imagines a society two decades from now amid transitioning from human drivers to autonomous driving by AI.

Story Seven: this story uses two technology breakthroughs for evil, where the main character embarks on a revenge plot the likes of which the world has never seen.

Story Eight: this story explores what happens to human jobs as the steady march of AI seeps into more industries, making human tasks redundant.

Story Nine: this story explores AI and whether it can ultimately quench our thirst for happiness.

Story Ten: this story explores the world of abundance, or as our authors call it, plenitude. As the story goes, AI and other technologies will drive down the cost of almost all goods, most of which will be produced for next to nothing. What happens when the world and its institutions move from scarcity to abundance?

As you can see from the stories, each uses fiction to describe what the world of 2041 may become. In so doing, they illuminate the possible paths – and the benefits and challenges they represent. In a world that requires human action, awareness is critical. This book provides a service to society in helping us envision a future that requires humans to act. Whether it is the use of technology to destroy the world (story seven), or the evolution of education to provide a bridge to a new era (story three), each scenario can advance our human development or diminish it. If you were to pick one book to explore the future – this one, is it. My thanks to the authors.

2 thoughts on “AI 2041: Ten Visions For Our Future

  1. […] In this sixth installment of the RethinkX rethinking humanity series, Tony Seba and James Arbib describe a brand new possibility space fueled by convergence across five foundational sectors: energy, transport, information, food, and materials. This convergence enables reimagination in areas like feeding and powering society. In this emerging age of creation, global design converges with local production and is unconstrained by industrial age limitations. As abundance satisfies our needs at near zero marginal cost, the world moves towards unheard of prosperity. But our subway map tells us that every constructive path is accompanied by a destructive one. In a shift so profound, it may be impossible to imagine what it looks like. The power of this storytelling lies in its ability to illuminate possibilities and drive awareness – and with it, the hope for human action. Similar brilliant storytelling can be found in the new book AI 2041. […]

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  2. […] In this seventh installment of the RethinkX rethinking humanity series, Tony Seba and James Arbib describe the choices that lie ahead, as convergence across five foundational sectors drive a phase change: energy, transport, information, food, and materials. With this convergence, the old industrial system could collapse before the new production system emerges. One need only look at existing timing issues as the energy sector transitions. Supply of fossil fuel drops along with investment, while demand increases and clean sources of energy cannot meet demand. In a shift so profound, it may be impossible to imagine what it looks like. The power of this storytelling lies in its ability to illuminate possibilities and drive awareness – and with it, the hope for human action. Similar brilliant storytelling can be found in the new book AI 2041. […]

    Like

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