Man and Machine at Zain

October 9, 2019 at Zinc at Zain HQ, Kuwait City

Download: Man and Machine: Masterclass by Peter Fisk

We are entering a new era of human+machine symbiosis where 50 billion machines in constant communication will automate and orchestrate the movement and interactions among individuals, organisations, and the cities we live in.

Every day people casually use previously unimagined machine power, where algorithms make art and diagnose illness, and automation is an integrated, embedded, and ultimately invisible part of virtually every aspect of our lives.

Since humans first began creating machines, we have shaped them and they have shaped us.

We created clocks to help us orchestrate and coordinate tasks and, in turn, clocks began to govern our lives. We created cars and then cars turned us into motorists, auto mechanics, and commuters. Over the centuries, we have populated our world with machines that help us do things we can’t or don’t want to do ourselves. From steam-powered mills to telephone switchboards to jet engines, our technologies have created new capabilities and conveniences and allowed us to automate and optimize many aspects of human activity.

Over the past several decades, our world has become so saturated with machines that they have faded into the background. We hardly notice them. And we are reaching a new threshold—our machines are getting networked, connected, and in the process gaining capabilities once reserved for computers, enabling new forms of human+machine symbiosis.

As cloud computing and intelligence becomes pervasive and available on-demand, machines will gain the ability to capture and make sense of data, effectively enabling them to see, hear, and quantify sensory information. They will be able to simulate outcomes to optimize planning, scheduling, and strategic decision-making. Products
that were once considered finished upon shipping will be constantly upgraded and enhanced with software. And as the billions of machines that surround us become increasingly autonomous, we will be challenged to embed and encode our most complex ethical principles into the things that surround us. The ubiquity, connectivity, and intelligence of these machines will enable automation at an unprecedented scale.