How Artificial Intelligence Will Make Technology Disappear



Last March, I was in Costa Rica with my girlfriend, spending our days between beautiful beaches and jungles full of exotic animals. There was barely any connectivity and we were immersed in nature in a way that we could never be in a big city. It felt great.

But in the evening, when we got back to the hotel and connected to the WiFi, our phones would immediately start pushing an entire day’s worth of notifications, constantly interrupting our special time together. It interrupted us while watching the sunset, while sipping a cocktail, while having dinner, while having an intimate moment. It took emotional time away from us.

And it’s not just that our phones vibrated, it’s also that we kept checking them to see if we had received anything, as if we had some sort of compulsive addiction to it. Those rare messages that are highly rewarding, like being notified that Ashton Kutcher just tweeted this article, made consciously “unplugging” impossible.

Just like Pavlov’s dog before us, we had become conditioned. In this case though, it has gotten so out of control that today, 9 out of 10 people experience “phantom vibrations”, which is when you think your phone vibrated in your pocket, whereas in fact it didn’t.

The Digital Revolution

How did this happen?

Back in 1990, we didn’t have any connected devices. This was the “unplugged” era. There were no push notifications, no interruptions, nada. Things were analog, things were human.

Around 1995, the Internet started taking off, and our computers became connected. With it came email, and the infamous “you’ve got mail!” notification. We started getting interrupted by people, companies and spammers sending us electronic messages at random moments.

10 years later, we entered the mobile era. This time, it is not 1, but 3 devices that are connected: a computer, a phone, and a tablet.

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