Forget your fears about artificial intelligence putting you out of a job. Now it’s artificial humans you need to worry about, perhaps putting you out of… a life?
Artificial humans are already here on Earth and they hope to take over in 2020. The concept of virtual characters who have the ability to show emotions and intelligence was unveiled by Samsung-backed start-up Neon at January’s CES technology show in Las Vegas. This annual extravaganza of global innovation never fails to provide glimpses of the future, but if this is our future then what hope do we ‘natural humans’ have? How long is it before we become entirely unnecessary?
Following months of intense hype, Neon showcased some of its life-size “artificial humans” to CES attendees. Chief executive Pranav Mistry claimed these digital avatars represent a new life-form. Somewhat grandiosely he explained his vision, “There are millions of species on our planet and we hope to add one more.” Pre-show images of these Neons, as they were dubbed, came along with the mysterious slogan: “Have you ever met an artificial?”
Fortunately for the future of the human race, the general consensus following Mistry’s presentation seemed to be a great big mehhh, and the unleashing of Neons to the world was described as a train wreck by tech journalists. Phew! We can breathe again. At least until this incredibly creepy idea is inevitably perfected for CES 2021.
The controversy didn’t stop there. The decision to offer Ivanka Trump, the US president’s daughter, one of the show’s keynote sessions caused uproar across the Twittersphere. Critics said other women with way more expertise failed to be granted lower-profile slots at the show. But now we know artificial humans are on the way, does it even matter? Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and star of US TV series Shark Tank seemed to speak for many when he said of Ivanka’s appearance, “I don’t care one way or another.”
Aside from all this excitement, the main CES trend was technology companies looking to get on the climate change train. The show was flooded with products offering solutions to lowering your carbon footprint, or boasting unique selling points based on energy efficiency. With so many start-ups getting onboard with innovative ways to reduce our carbon footprint, maybe humanity does have a bright future after all.