Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Medicine Sci-Fi Technology Science

Will the High-Tech Cities of the Future Be Utterly Lonely? (theweek.com) 108

adeelarshad82 writes from a report via The Week: The prospect of cities becoming sentient is "fast becoming the new reality," according to one paper. Take Tel Aviv for example, where everyone over the age of 13 can receive personalized data, such as traffic information, and can access free municipal Wi-Fi in 80 public zones. But in a future where robots sound and objects look increasingly sentient, we might be less inclined to seek out behaviors to abate our loneliness. Indeed, one recent study titled "Products as pals" finds that exposure to or interaction with anthropomorphic products -- which have characteristics of being alive -- partially satisfy our social needs, which means the human-like robots of tomorrow could kill our dwindling urge to be around other humans.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Will the High-Tech Cities of the Future Be Utterly Lonely?

Comments Filter:
  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @08:15PM (#54309781)
    will make it more crowded. lonely is a choice. " i identify as lonely "
  • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @08:21PM (#54309823)

    They have their own worldview that doesn't have you at the center. They have their own competing needs and desires.

    Give me a sufficiently complex AI that can be set to be as subservient as I like and I'd absolutely choose a factory build over Nature's own. And I can guarantee you I'm not alone in that.

    AI (if we ever figure it out) is a serious danger to the continuation of our species, and not because it'll result in robots rising up against us. It will simply take our jobs and be our friend while we lay about not breeding new generations of ourselves.

    • while we lay about not breeding new generations of ourselves.

      It only takes a few weirdos who still want to fuck each other, and voila! their descendents will inherit the Earth. It's pretty much impossible to eradicate the will to reproduce from a species.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    At least in the USA the average person is shallow, self-centered and incredibly effectively stupid (they're not stupid in the usual sense, they just refuse to think - they treat thinking as a terrible burden to avoid whenever possible, not the beautiful privilege it really is). The trend among the Baby Boomers is to be helpless so they can demand unnecessary "help" from others. The trend among the Millenials is nearly complete apathy. The tendency of Americans in general is to have little or no patience

    • I live in Germany. Same shite, different country. Lived in South Africa for 25 years. Same shite, different country. Worked in Mexico France, Turkey, Denmark and known people from Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil and loads of places. Same shit, different country. The nicest guy I know in the world is a muslim Arab from Palestine. The biggest jerk I know comes from South America.

      Europeans who point their fingers at the USA all the time in some kind of mass hysteria are idiots

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The USA is an easy target. We have had dumbfucks in office who decided to go into multiple war theaters, then sit there fighting a battle of attrition to hold a "green zone" against attackers on all sides. Once out, as predicted, the most brutal, violent, and psychopathic group would seize power... and said prediction has come true.

        The problem in the US is there are so many fractures. I have seen someone who supported Bernie kicked out of his sister's wedding for that fact. I've seen cars with Trump bum

  • In the long term, I don't think we need to worry too much about the human population losing the "urge" to socialize. I suspect such negative trait aspects to be bred out of the population gene pool in a few generations...

    It may be a few lonely generations for a few folks though, but I'm sure computers will take care of that well enough to bridge the gap...

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      It's called evolution in action. Those who do not want human companionship are very unlikely to breed, those who want human companionship, especially of the other sex are very likely to breed. Hence not the problem it is made out to be. Unless you use donation and artificial wombs, then what function you are attempting to achieve will be achieved. So the choice really is Planned Parenthood or the Idiocracy.

      Social people will seek social interaction, especially at times of need, so human provided medical se

  • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @08:24PM (#54309841)
    I'm in a suburb of San Diego. I have parks, recreation, low traffic (unless I want to get the Sorrento Valley from 7-9 or 4-6). I walk outside my door I have grass, landscaping, little traffic. I can ride my bike pretty much anywhere within my lung capacity.

    I could move to downtown SD and walk to bars, restaurants, the harbor. Why would I want to? I outgrew bars 30 years ago. I can walk in parks here, drive to cheaper restaurants, and the harbor? Phfft. Kevin Faulconer seems hell bent on destroying Seaport Village, and they've already fucked up Anthony's beyond all repair.
    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Closer to work where most jobs are. Less commutes? I noticed young people love to be in the busy and noisy cities.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm in a suburb of San Diego. I have parks, recreation, low traffic (unless I want to get the Sorrento Valley from 7-9 or 4-6). I walk outside my door I have grass, landscaping, little traffic. I can ride my bike pretty much anywhere within my lung capacity.

      I could move to downtown SD and walk to bars, restaurants, the harbor. Why would I want to? I outgrew bars 30 years ago. I can walk in parks here, drive to cheaper restaurants, and the harbor? Phfft. Kevin Faulconer seems hell bent on destroying Seaport Village, and they've already fucked up Anthony's beyond all repair.

      Bars are okay as long as you abandon the idea that they're a good place to meet women. They're not. They're really, really not. If you can enjoy them for what they are - a good place to have some drinks you don't normally indulge in and make it a treat while enjoying the atmosphere - then they're okay. If you think a bar is going to fulfill some unmet need of yours, well then I hope you enjoy suffering because you're asking for more.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Bars are okay as long as you abandon the idea that they're a good place to meet women. They're not. They're really, really not. If you can enjoy them for what they are - a good place to have some drinks you don't normally indulge in and make it a treat while enjoying the atmosphere - then they're okay.

        Where the hell are these bars in the USA that sound more like English Country Pubs? So far every bar in the entire Chicagoland area that I've been to in the last 10 years is pretty much the same: overpriced, overcrowded, and the music is turned up so loud that you can't hear yourself think much less talk to anyone.

    • by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2017 @11:22PM (#54310583) Homepage

      Because cities have a lot of different kind of people, different kinds of shops, art spaces, restaurants, performances and so on. Suburbs are far more homogenous. They're like that bar in Blues Brothers that have "both Country and Western".

      And cities are a lot more accessible; when you get older you may no longer be able to drive or get around easily, and you will certainly start to appreciate the closeness to various medical specialists, nursing facilities and emergency services.

      One major trend here in Japan is that as the population grows older, so does the move into urban centers accelerate, and that's exactly for this reason. Baby boomers are selling their suburban homes and rural houses to get convenient, accessibility-adapted apartments in the city.

      • Do you normally go out of your way to socialize w/ all those different kinds of people? If not, how does it matter that the big city in which you're paying higher rents/mortgages has all those things, while a much less expensive suburb doesn't?
    • by swell ( 195815 ) <jabberwock@po[ ]c.com ['eti' in gap]> on Thursday April 27, 2017 @12:35AM (#54310837)

      I grew up in an idyllic suburban countryside on the banks of a river and lived a Huck Finn childhood. Everyone in our community knew everyone else. No bicycle had ever been stolen there, though it may have been left at the beach for a week. Nice for kids, but stifling and claustrophobic for me the adult.

      Now I live in walking distance of the finest park in America's Finest City (urban San Diego) with the best zoo in America and a score of museums and other entertainments. I'm in walking distance of dozens of fancy night clubs, a dozen coffee shops, many restaurants, exotic grocery stores, huge farmers' market, yadda... There are at least hundreds of employers in walking distance- tech firms, medical, advertising, and retail of course. Artists, musicians, photographers, hackers & con men. I make an effort to drive the car and the motorcycle once a week to charge their batteries, but there's really no place to go.

      But best is the people I meet every day. Not your typical bland Starbucks suburbanites but creative, risk taking individuals of every stripe, and OK, some homeless people but even they are a cut above the suburban homeless. I'm at the far end of 70 now and I need this stimulation or I'll be bored to tears.

    • Turns out research shows that a non-trivial amount of happiness in your life is related to your commute. Long commutes, particularly by car, lead to less happiness.

  • Because this is *exactly* the situation that will result in the revolution where-upon several advertising and marketing executives will be the first against the wall.

  • I've already replaced most the people I know with very small shell scripts which I then deleted!

    However, the bond between me and my mailman is something that can never be broken. ;)

  • We already have "products as pals". They're known as pets. See, for example, every fucking annoying video on Facebook, Youtube, etc. I for one look forward to something new with the robot pal videos.
  • I believe that in some of his stories, the lack of human contact went to extreme lengths. The wealthy and powerful outer systems had 20,000 robots per person. One story I recall had a woman, removing her gloves and, for the first time in her life, touching another human. I forgot how they managed to reproduce! However maybe they utilized technology for that (see below comment).

    To echo a previous poster who says people are a pain, wasn't it Satre who said "Hell is other people"?

    Although it seems obvious

    • by Tuidjy ( 321055 )

      To echo a previous poster who says people are a pain, wasn't it Satre who said "Hell is other people"?

      Close, it's from a play by Jean-Paul Sartre. By the way, "L'enfer, c'est les autres" is said by a character, and does not exactly mean that other people create Hell, or even that interacting with others is Hell.

      Isn't a bit more complex than that, it has something to do with our self-knowledge being a product of the way we are reflected in the the eyes of others.

      I'm not the one to try to explain it, I've al

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      I read both the Robot series and the Foundation series and was never quite satisfied with the "end" of robotics and the robotic-free Galactic Empire.

      I enjoyed the books, but never quite accepted the lack of robots in the Galactic Empire.

  • Not the one with the spooky, wet implied-lesbian who was a puddle of alien liquid. The episode after that.
  • if you are talking about the robots. Yeah, they'll be lonely.

    but if you're talking about the humans, they'll be busy banging their VR pals.

  • one recent study titled "Products as pals" finds that exposure to or interaction with anthropomorphic products -- which have characteristics of being alive -- partially satisfy our social needs, which means the human-like robots of tomorrow could kill our dwindling urge to be around other humans.

    We all might be alone but we won't be lonely. ;)

  • The idea that we are going to have AI or Sentient non-humans is extremely unlikely. We can barely write normal programs that work well and consistently.
  • Dumb question. Humans are inherently social creatures. If nothing else people will want to venture out to get laid.

    And yes, robots will never fill the whole (or near it imo) niche that other humans can. Let me know when you can knock up a robot and get a live birth human.
    • by nasch ( 598556 )

      There is no theoretical reason that wouldn't be possible. Alice wants a baby but doesn't want to deal with a husband, or even finding some smelly guy to have sex with. She signs up with a website and enters her sperm donor criteria, or maybe picks from a list. Bob has also signed up. He has sex with his sexbot, which chills the sperm and delivers it to the bank.

      Now there are two scenarios. In one, Alice wants to carry the baby. The simplest thing to do is have her sexbot go to the sperm bank and pick

  • The hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy:

    "Your plastic pal who's fun to be with!"

    Part of the marketing campaign by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation for their "Genuine People Personalities" product line.

  • First, nothing technologically created is becoming "sentient" anytime soon, and certainly not "fast". At that position I stopped reading, because there was no chance left of anything worthwhile reading in the rest.

  • Welcome to Solaria, where everyone is alone with his robots at home, as the good Doctor told us decades ago.

  • Obligatory Blade Runner reference:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    There will be face-to-face social activities in the future, but probably not what we engage in now.

    Semi-related: back when AOL was a big thing, they had home-town chat rooms. Whatever area you were in, that was the chat room you could get into. You couldn't get into the others, as the ONE you could get into was tied to your subscriber/account info. The weekend bar/club meetups were rather fun, and a lot more casual than a dating servic
    • Yeah. Geo-Cities tried to emulate that (or came up with neighborhoods first, i dunno), but it never lived up to the potential. And, anybody from anywhere could move in. Sometimes that kind of thing can be enriching, and sometimes not.

      Your comment about the civility of a local site is interesting. I know there are sites like meetup that concentrate on locals. I tried one for guitars. Turned out to be an unpleasant experience. So that can happen too.

      Since I bothered to reply, I checked out the link. It's been

  • Some call it 'kill', others call it 'cure'.

  • Take Tel Aviv for example, where everyone over the age of 13 can receive personalized data, such as traffic information, and can access free municipal Wi-Fi in 80 public zones. But in a future where robots sound and objects look increasingly sentient, we might be less inclined to seek out behaviors to abate our loneliness.

    Yes, traffic information and free Wifi. The calm before the storm of city-wide sentience.

  • Lonely includes being sad that one has no friends or company.... they specifically sad that technology would partially satisfy our social needs. That means we aren't lonely, but just living a more solitary life.

    Sounds fucking fantastic to me. My Echo has never made her problems mine to deal with.

  • They might be as only the very rich will live in them.
    The rest of us will live in the outskirts.
  • If the computer is going to know everything about the inhabitants anyway just make socialization a priority by finding the people who will make eachother the happiest and arranging serendipitous encounters by doing things like controlling traffic flow, class schedules, "random" malfunctions in cars leaving people stranded on the side of the road together, etc. If society is going to criminalize stalking there's a clear market gap available for computing to step in.
  • Please built as many robots as required so that other humans turned to them instead of me. Can't wait to be left alone. Peace at last...

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant

Working...