Keeping Humanity in Automation

In a few short years, the world we know today will be drastically different. Much of what we do manually will soon be automated, and the way we operate daily tasks will soon rely almost entirely on technology. Many industries are adopting digital practices that significantly impact the very nature of their operation, and therefore society as a whole.

Here are the major ways technology is reshaping society as we know it:


One of the first industries to be impacted by artificial intelligence is transportation. Ready or not, the controversial self-driving car is coming soon. Google’s self-driving Waymo project has already driven more than 5 million miles on public roads. GPS apps such as Google’s Waze allows its 50+ million users to find each other and carpool to work together.

These AI technologies will undoubtedly save time and money, but leave humans with the need to adapt. Tesla’s Semi may put truck drivers out of work, but free them up to do other things.


The classroom environment is becoming just one of many ways to learn. Factors such as the rising cost of higher education and safety issues in schools have made online education a blossoming industry. E-learning solutions such as Khan Academy and lending universities’ massive open online courses let students absorb information at their own pace, at an affordable cost, and from any location.

Physical Spaces

The Internet of Things is becoming key to maintaining both home and work environments. It is now commonplace to have home assistants such as Google’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri to do everything from adjusting the thermostat to googling recipes.

In the business environment, virtual reality allows employees to experience the proposed environments they’ll work in and document their experiences before investing in new interior designs. IBM Watson is making sure elevators and other building equipment are fixed before they break. The results of each of these advancements are better cost control, improved satisfaction, and more engagement.

Human Connections

From romance to business exchanges, algorithms lead the way for people to find each other. connects volunteers with their passions, and RLab’s JamIIX connects troubled minors with counselors all over the world via text messages, helping more kids at once. Dating sites expedite the courting process by matching people by personality traits. No longer do people need to meet in person to proceed with a relationship.

As exciting as these technological developments are to society’s future, they bring with them significant challenges. Artificial intelligence plays a role in other fields such as criminal justice and advertising. While its abilities are impressive, it can present problems with discrimination, bias, and privacy. Relying on algorithms too much can lead people to lose their sense of moral compass, ironically becoming artificial versions of themselves.

Forward-thinking programs such as Occidental College’s computer science major are challenging young tech innovators to think beyond code and to the values behind decisions. These new brains in the field open the portal for technology’s limitless potential. Keeping all systems open source, particularly ones that are government-based, will help in advancing technology while preserving humanity.