We understood that when AI finally took over, we would be confronted by hyper-intelligent robots or chess-playing programs that had somehow overleapt their bounds. Hal on steroids — our lives gradually encased in shiny metal with us as lame spectators — couch potatoes — while around us everything whirred smoothly, hummed vindictively or screamed like a stratocaster feeding back through the wall of sound.
Not so. The future is not metal, not scary, not loud, not sinister, not, as the Graduate would have it, plastic. It’s algorithms. Self-teaching algorithms. Algorithms that record your location, map your possible itineraries, help you get ‘where you’re going.’ By the way, where are you going? If you’re in doubt, your algorithms are there to help.
They’ll explore your tastes, check off your interests, refine their response to your desires. They will learn you. What it is to be you, to interact with others — with them — in your particular way. Algorithms that mimic you, extend you, and ultimately guide you. Not with words, not concepts, no explanations, no narrative, no dialogue. Just the back and forth of interaction, call and response, mongoose and cobra, until they throw the bone and you run to catch it.