Paul Graham recently wrote an essay about reading where he stated:
“In the science fiction books I read as a kid, reading had often been replaced by some more efficient way of acquiring knowledge. Mysterious ‘tapes’ would load it into one’s brain like a program being loaded into a computer.”
This was the inspiration for my short story, “Human.” Many want automation to make tasks more efficient. The more information we can start with, the less work there is to complete the task.
In “Human,” I took this to the extreme – beyond the professional context to personal relationships and conversation. Human-SIM breaks the conversation cycle of listening, thinking and asking questions to get to understanding. This is the route of critical thinking.
In our modern world, we want to know what people will say immediately. All their thoughts downloaded instantly to our brains.
My fear is a tool like Human-SIM one day eliminates critical thinking in conversation.