Days of Future Past

I like these predictions from 1900 of life in 2000…not because they’re in the slightest bit accurate, but because they demonstrated the kind of creative thinking that you would need to exercise to conceive of life a hundred years hence. It could not be anything like what life then was like; it could not be predictable. Hence, it was as likely to contain winged firefighters, underwater croquet, and automated concert orchestras as anything else.


A Transhumanist Calls It

The provocatively-titled 1989 book “Are You a Transhuman?” by the even more provocatively-named author “FM-2030” says:

The American presidency is slowly evolving into a ceremonial position–like the monarchies in West European countries. By the second or third decade of the new century presidential elections in the U.S. will probably have about as much significance as today’s Academy Awards. Thanks to national television presidential elections will probably grow more glitzy–but they will have less and less substance.

I think we could find much to agree with there. He goes on to attribute this waning of significance to an anticipated flourishing of electronic voting on issues (referenda), which is technologically feasible, but unappealing to those holding power.
FM-2030 was born Fereidoun M. Esfandiary but changed his name to reflect his belief that by the year 2030 humanity would have undergone a radical transformation. Human Cusp isn’t foundationally transhumanist, but does suggest a strategy that is undeniably transhuman.


Virtual Work

Speaking of 2030, “by 2030, most Canadians will get some of their income through ‘virtual work’ found on online platforms such as freelancer.com, competing for contracts with workers from low-wage countries.”

The race to the bottom in pricing knowledge work accelerates. Ironically, the higher-paying work will be the easiest to automate. Creative online work, like logo design, will take longer to automate.


Why Yes, You Can Get Your Logo Designed by Robot

No sooner had I written that “creative work such as logo design will be the last knowledge work to be automated” than, you guessed it, an AI for designing logos popped up, courtesy of Peter Diamandis’ “Abundance Insider”.  Go to http://emblemmatic.org/markmaker/#/ and enter a company name. A series of logos will appear. But it doesn’t end there. You tell it which ones you like, and tweak them if you want. As you scroll down, it will use genetic algorithms to create more logos that you may like better.  Within a couple of minutes it had generated the passable:

and in true bleeding edge AI fashion, sent my MacBook fan speed soaring.

A top-notch logo designer would scoff. The FedEx arrow (http://www.fastcodesign.com/1671067/the-story-behind-the-famous-fedex-logo-and-why-it-works) isn’t coming out of this any time soon. But an average logo designer might feel the wind of change blowing a bit of a chill across their neck.