Technology by AJS

The movie Super Intelligence promotes its appeal to its audience with the following opening lines – 

“Technology – it is always watching us. Studying our every move. And it just focused its attention on Carol Peters.”

Now this may sound ominous. Sort of like “dun-dun-dunn”. But as it turns out, the movie ends – quite happily – with the overwhelming realisation that the human race is not only worth saving (and protecting) but humans ultimately come out on top. With a little help from a super intelligence friend. 

An interesting concept and one which makes you think – is technology controlling us or are we controlling technology?

A fair question to be sure. But Super Intelligence concludes with the idea of a positive, almost symbiotic relationship – humans use (and sometimes need) technology and technology would not exist without humans. 

Fair assumption. And for the most part, correct. 

But, while Super Intelligence shows the reasonability (and usefulness) of technology and the relationship between it and humans, the exact opposite can be said for Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel called Brave New World (written as far back as 1931).

A Brave New World envisions a “future” where (as described by the Portalist) – 

technology has taken the place of some of humanity’s most important traditions and purposes. In the book, pregnancy and childbirth are things of the past, as are romantic love, parent-child relationships, and grief. Most disturbing of all, most people don’t seem to care that so much of what makes them human has disappeared.”

The trailer for the movie (adapted from the book) sets out – 

“This is New London. Everyone is happy here. Everyone has a place. There is no hunger. No violence. There is no pain. Everyone fits.”

It’s enticing. It is inviting and it seems so very forward thinking. Inclusive and an answer to the worlds (ongoing) problems. 

But, according to Huxley, it is also scary. Morbid even. With no free will (not really anyway), everything dependent on and controlled by “technology.” 

Sure, it is a “dystopian future,” one imagined by Huxley – and therefore not something that will come to pass. But it is also an acclaimed masterpiece. A novel that makes you think. Especially about the possibilities and what could happen if technology is misused. 

And this is the important bit right here – the “possibilities” both within the book and those which are rendered within our own minds, are in fact, all possible

But before we continue – let’s be clear – whilst we believe technology is the future (and one to be extremely excited about), we do not believe its progress means the end of what makes us human. 

Super Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence and Technology all need human beings. 

And we – well we can benefit from the correct use of all of them. 

Technology is evolved

Not only are babies available to couples who once-upon-a-decade could not have children, by means of in-vitro fertilization (also called IVF) – a kind of fertility treatment called assisted reproductive technology (ART), but there are scientists (not entirely ethical mind you) who have attempted to re-write the human gene pool. Allowing for the (sort of) “tailor-making” of your own child (and therefore the future of the human race).

Almost like a miracle. One with a “hellava-lot” of questions (and disapproval). 

This gene altering conspiracy (as set out in the article The CRISPR-baby scandal: what’s next for human gene-editing), was envisioned by  Chinese biophysics researcher, He Jiankui who rewrote the gene pool of future generations by altering the human gene line (catapulting science into an era where scientists could genetically modify the human genome). 

Capricious to say the least. 

And a move which questions the ethicality of “test-tube” babies. 

Where does science stop, and nature start?

And while we debate the ethics of not only test-tube babies but also the extent that one can manipulate the human gene, it also makes one appreciate how delicate life is, how much we are able to change and how fortunate we are to be alive in a time where the ability to have children is open to all of us. 

It is amazing just how far technology (and science) has come.

Because genetically modifying the human gene – good or bad – is an impressive feat. At least in theory. And ethics completely aside (this is a theoretical example only).

It is not science fiction. Anymore. 

And that’s only for starters.

There are so many other wonderful technological advances making our world not only easier to understand but also more “navigational.” 

Opening up possibilities, breaking down borders and showing us what is possible.

The power to dream 

Ok. 

Talking about test-tube babies and genetically modifying the human gene may be  painting a rather grim picture where Artificial Intelligence and “Technology” (cue the Death Star theme song – there are a few) rule the world and future generations are entirely derived from machines and test tubes. 

But as human beings in this new age “journey of discovery,” we have been given the ability to dream.

Some would even say – dream the impossible. 

Everything and anything can be done. Almost. 

And that is the point here. The possibilities are seemingly endless.

Take a trip to Mars as an example. Or forget Mars, take your summer vacation on Jupiter if you so dare….

A couple of years back, we would all have called this notion “hogwash,” but it is becoming possible. In fact, NASA  is already testing whether helicopters can fly on Mars and SpaceX has already launched (albeit more for fun at this stage) a travel card that can be used to book trips to the Moon, Mars, Saturn, and even Jupiter!

At the moment, these “travel options’ are all theoretical (again). But and this is a very big but, they are possible. Or at the very least they are on the horizon. Perhaps even in our lifetimes.

Celebrate your centennial on Jupiter? Why not?

We have come such a long way

If you consider that the invention of the first digital, programmable, electronic, general-purpose computer (called the ENIAC), occurred in 1946, taking up over 1,800 square feet, packed in 18,000 vacuum tubes, and weighed in at 50 tons) versus the Apple MacBook Air (only one of the many laptops that are available on the market) with “the blazing-fast 8-core CPU, an 8-core GPU, the 16-core Neural Engine (which accelerates machine learning tasks)”. It has a 13.3-inch (diagonal) 2,560 x 1,600 LED-backlit display with IPS technology. It can store 256GB– 2TB of memory and measures only 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches weighing in at only 2.8 pounds.

The sheer usability and availability of the ENIAC vs the MacBook Air is staggering.

And if those stats alone don’t show you how far we have come, perhaps the simple explanation (and comparison) that a computer that once use to take up a whole room, can now fit on your lap – will.

The (computer) tech space doesn’t even feel like it is the same thing anymore. 

Where to from here?

The world is seemingly “our oyster.”

In more ways than one – are you allergic to seafood but want to try a prawn or perhaps you want to invest in the next cyber “wonder business” – you can do both. Safely and easily. Only virtually. In a virtual world where there is no danger to your physical safety and what’s more, your business would be open to billions of users. Billions…

It is all possible. 

With an estimated $3 trillion being injected into the digital economy within the first decade of adoption (and an estimated $40 billion into the African GDP) of the Metaverse (read exactly what the Metaverse is here), it is only one of the many exciting developments within the digital landscape that is expected to bring a whole new dimension (kind of literally) to how we do business on a global scale.

There is so much to be excited about!

The Metaverse is only one cog in an excessively big technological machine. One that is turning and turning, evolving and progressing faster than the speed of light (well almost). 

So much so, that there is even talk about quantum computers. Yes, you heard that right. No longer is it just quantum physics anymore, sort of like a scene from the Big Bang Theory

Because we have, seemingly, evolved far beyond that too. It is said (by The New York Times) that –

“By exploiting the quirks of quantum mechanics, these machines can perform hyper-complex computations in minutes that would take today’s super computers thousands of years. But to truly take advantage of this technology, scientists will need a “quantum internet” that lets distant machines talk to one another. Such a network is now a step closer to reality, after a team of Dutch physicists used a technique called quantum teleportation to send data between three locations inside a lab.”

And what does this mean for the “Average Joe”? Well, because there is no direct connection between sender and receiver, quantum teleportation (as the name suggests – “travelling by an imaginary very fast form of transport”) enables a very secure way of transferring data. 

And that is a big deal if you are in the business of data – like lawyers using “litigation data to seek new business opportunities from existing clients” (read the article How Attorneys Can Use Legal Data for Business Development and Intelligence).

Data, as we all know by now, is “as valuable as currency.” Therefore, it should come as no surprise that cybercriminals will always be trying to get their hands on it. If we are able to transfer (and store) data, without this risk, whatsoever – well then, “Bobs your Uncle”. 

Bring on quantum computers!

Data can be used, stored, and transferred easily and most importantly, securely. And that is the whole point of protecting and backing-up your data in the first place.

In addition, simple but troublesome tasks like finalising and signing contracts (and therefore the commencement date thereof), with the right technology and the correct application, may be a thing of the past. 

Digital signatures during lockdown and COVID brought about an immense evolvement in how signatures were interpreted. Considerations needed to be made and some would say – the advancement in contracting took leaps and bounds. Robert Krautkramer discusses digital signatures at length here and says that “a recent case is sure to be referred to and relied on (or criticised) in the years that lie ahead, on the vexing topic of what actually constitutes an electronic signature”. 

And those are only some of the ridiculously small examples we can give on how technology can help the legal space. There are so many more!

Enhancing what is or advancing beyond that?

Khalil Gibran said –

“Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be.”

And we couldn’t agree more.

What a distance the legal profession has walked. How it is has evolved – especially in the last two years – is unbelievable. And so impressive. Encouraging actually. Especially for a legal tech company like AJS, with so much to offer.

Technology is progressing at an unprecedented rate. What seemed impossible (like vacationing on Mars) now seems possible. 

And there is so much more to discuss. To ponder on. And to imagine.

Because technology gives us all the power to dream – beyond what we believed our parameters were – and that is an extremely exciting prospect indeed.

Join us in June as we explore this new age of technology and where we fall within this grand landscape – what’s out there, what will help you, what exciting inventions have come our way? A little exploration of all the positive, amazing, helpful tools that you can make use of. Now.

For the new age of explorers – jump onboard!

– Written by Alicia Koch on behalf of AJS

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