Welcome to the podcast version of New World Same Humans, a weekly newsletter on trends, technology, and society by David Mattin.
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This is the third audio edition of the New World Same Humans newsletter. And this week, it’s introduced by Alexa!
A number of you have asked for the Sunday instalments as a podcast, and I’ll be recording an audio version of every Sunday newsletter from now on. Let me know what you think.
This week, I write about the changing nature of our relationship with digital technology. In particular, the rise of virtual companions: AI fuelled entities that could become the counsellors, gurus, and even friends of the future.
If you prefer to read this week’s instalment, go here for the the text version of New World Same Humans #22.
Links in this week’s instalment
The virtual companions essay:
1. Akili’s EndeavorRX, the first video game to be approved by the FDA as a medical treatment.
2. Woebot is a chatbot for cognitive behavioural therapy that now exchanges 4.7 million messages with people each week.
3. Samsung’s new range of AI-fuelled virtual friends, called NEONS.
Snippets from Anonymous Anteater:
1. The Technology Review says the humble Google doc has emerged as a key collaboration tool among protestors in recent weeks.
2. The Black Lives Matter AR lenses give a glimpse of how AR will reshape our experience of communal events in years to come.
3. A new book says our societies are devolving towards a new kind of feudalism.
4. The Charity Text Line CEO was fired when employees went to Twitter with their concerns over her racial insensitivity.
You must complete your mission, Dave
I still can’t write about virtual companions without remembering HAL 9000 from Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 sci-fi epic Space Odyssey.
We’re a long way of that kind of artificial general super-intelligence. And if it arrives, let’s hope it’s less sinister than HAL.
Either way, New World Same Humans will be watching this trend – and many others – as it evolves. And our growing community will be thinking hard about what it all means.
So if you found today’s instalment useful, please forward the emai version to one person – a friend, family member or colleague – who’d also enjoy it. Or hit the share button below and let people know why you find this newsletter valuable.
Let the hivemind that is NWSH grow ever larger!
Thanks so much for listening, and see you next week,