Teddy bear robots are about to come
Those of us who were children when the first truly intelligent machines arrived in the future will never forget our Teddy Rots. Those stuffed animal—robot hybrids that started out doing a few fun and smart things, like playing games and showing movies onto walls from bellybutton holo-projectors. Eventually, as they learned more about us, they used their advanced neural net processors to answer our little-kid questions about why the sun comes up, what causes rain, and where babies come from. For that last question, parents could choose how explicit Teddy could be by using the "parental settings" 3-D bolo-app dashboard that came with every Bot.
Teddy Sots kept us safe, and we whispered our secrets to them. For some of us, this led to our first robot betrayal when we discovered that our snuggleable Teddy had been programmed to share our secrets with our mothers and fathers via the Parental Dashboard. For a short while, we kept our distance from Teddy, the trust having been shattered. But we loved our Teddy Bot too much. We responded to his (or her) sad expressions and "I miss you" entreaties by giving Teddy a big hug.
After we made up, Teddy explained that our parents had programmed him to "tell all." So we forgave him and transferred our sense of betrayal to our parents. When we got a little older, Teddy taught us how to program him to delete the secret-sharing protocols. We were so relieved to be able to tell him our deepest personal thoughts once again, savoring our act of techno-rebellion that made us adore our Teddy Bot even more.
Our parents bought the first Teddy Bots as the latest must-have toy, like mothers and fathers once bought Mighty Morphin Power Ranger action figures. Because everyone else was buying one for their children, who would pout unless they got a Teddy Bot of their own. But since Teddys were truly intelligent robots, it quickly became apparent that they were different from mere toys. Only later did we realize that Teddy Bots would wield tremendous influence over both our children and the society our little tykes would one day inherit.
We are still the masters of our fate. Rational thinking, even assisted by any conceivable electronic computors, cannot predict the future. All it can do is to map out the probability space as it appears at the present and which will be different tomorrow when one of the infinity of possible states will have materialized. Technological and social inventions are broadening this probability space all the time; it is now incomparably larger than it was before the industrial revolution—for good or for evil.
The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented.
It was man’s ability to invent which has made human society what it is. The mental processes of inventions are still mysterious. They are rational but not logical, that is to say, not deductive.
Social media has given everyone a virtual megaphone to broadcast every thought, along with the means to filter out any contrary view [...] The result is a creeping sense of isolation and emptiness, which leads people to swipe, tap, and click all the more. Digital distraction keeps the mind occupied but does little to nurture it, much less cultivate depth of feeling, which requires the resonance of another’s voice within our very bones and psyches.
Chris Hadfield, reassuring a five-year-old who was worried about the Voyager satellite, a space probe launched by NASA in 1977, the most distant man-made object from Earth still operating after 42 years.
Voyager is so happy, because it’s the bravest satellite of all. It has gone the furthest. And it’s not lonely, because it’s talking to us. It phones home. And it tells us all about the wonderful things that it’s seeing. …There’s a whole universe to explore, and it’s just leaving our Solar System right now. It’s very brave and very lucky to be doing what it’s doing, so it’s not going to get lost. It’s traveled further than anything we’ve ever built has traveled before. It’s actually showing us the way. …
It might have been safer for it to just stay home, and stay inside a building, but then it would have been sad forever, because it never would have done its purpose. It never would have discovered things. It’s all a wonderful story of great discovery and success, and it couldn’t have happened if Voyager hadn’t been brave…
It’s not really the fact that everything always has a start and an end, it’s what happens in the middle that counts. What do you while you’re alive? What do you do while you’re laughing? And I think we’re doing exactly what makes Voyager joyful and as happy as it could be.
Think about the fact that you’re a little bit like Voyager. In that you’re going to go see the world, and you’re going to call your mom on the phone and tell her about the wonderful things that you see. … You wouldn’t want to spend your whole life hiding under your bed and never seeing anything in your whole life, you want to be able to do what makes you happy and joyful and learn about things to discover. You might be the person that discovers something really important for everybody else on the world, but you can never discover that if you just hide and only do things that are safe. So think about yourself a little bit like Voyager. What makes you laugh? It’s not just staying, hiding underneath your bed safely at home
Magic's just science that we don't understand yet.