Our gift and duty during Lockdown

Original article was published on Artificial Intelligence on Medium

Our gift and duty during Lockdown

In a time of uncertainty, the single best thing we can do is: to ask ourselves better questions…

Photo: Amanda Dalbjorn, Unsplash

The Great Pause the world is having right now, has brought many different outcomes and feelings to the surface. For most of us, fear has been the most predominant of them all. Having entire nations trying to find the balance between a global crumbling health and economy, and individuals becoming paralysed out of fear of uncertainty.

What will happen in the future? Are we going to win this “war”? Will we emerge stronger or weaker? What am I going to do? Who am I going to be?

A blurry future, a better present

For some reason, the future is a complete blur. There are new rules of the game and our dwelling on the future will not take us there, like it used to do. One thing I know for sure, is that today we are a little step closer to the present, to living more in the here and now.

Actually, because it’s all we’ve got! And when you start living in the present… YOU BECOME MORE AWARE.

This crisis has blurred our illusion of future, and made more clear our understanding of present.

This crisis is giving humankind two main gifts:

  1. The gift of Learning to live in the present.
  2. The gift of knowing ourselves (which includes a reminder of our free will). And more than a gift, it is OUR DUTY to take advantage of it now.

What do I mean by this? There is something BIG happening right now: The adoption of technology around the globe has accelerated more than ever. It’s evolving faster than we can understand or make safety plans around it. It’s pushing itself into countries and contexts that are not ready for it yet. But we have a big role in this…

Knowing Ourselves before Technology tells us who we are

If technologies like Google and Facebook, already know our interests, habits, personal data, etc. Can you imagine in 5 years how much more will technology know about us?

I’m really passionate about technology and AI. But truth is, Artificial Intelligence can make free will just an illusion in the near future for many of us.

And the problem isn’t the fact of technology knowing us. The problem is that it may know us better than we know ourselves.

I understood its importance when I listened to Yuval Noah Harari explain that “We are entering an era in which we are no longer black boxes.” He explains that there is a huge gap between manipulation and understanding. The worst upcoming threat for humankind, is that technology is about to gain the ability to manipulate the human body, brain and mind. But we still have a very long way to go before we understand its full complexity.

As of today, there are already some algorithms that can read your biometric data and understand what are the things that make you scared, angry or excited.

Of course, this can be great tools for improving your experience as a customer or citizen. But they can also be tools for a manipulation, so subtle that you wouldn’t even notice.

Now that we know that, we may better understand our duty during this lockdown, or as I like to call it, The Great Pause:

This is the time to stay home, in other words: to stop going outside, and start going inside. To face our fears. ¿What’s life calling me to do? ¿What are the things that bring life to me? ¿What are the things that take energy away from me?

It doesn’t matter if fear is all you feel right now. It is normal, since it’s the loudest emotion. Your fears are your friends, let them talk to you, listen to them. You grow by overcoming them, not by ignoring them.

The greatest challenge of a caterpillar may be to be patient enough during the cocoon phase, and understand what he’s about to become. And also, to go out of the cocoon, knowing already that he IS a BUTTERFLY, not waiting for social media to tell him what he is or is not.

So, when you finally go out of this cocoon, don’t let technology and media tell you who you are. When you’re ready to go out, you’ll already know who you are.

Photo: William Warby, Unsplash