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TED2017

Chuck Nice: A funny look at the unintended consequences of technology

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Views 416,076

Technology should work for us, but what happens when it doesn't? Comedian Chuck Nice explores the unintended consequences of technological advancement and human interaction -- with hilarious results.

- Comedian, science fan
Chuck Nice is a radio and TV veteran with a passion for science communication and comedy. Full bio

Future tech always comes
with two things: promise
00:12
and unintended consequences.
00:17
And it's those consequences
that I want to explore.
00:19
And before we get to how
future tech may affect us,
00:23
I'd like to spend a little time
exploring the unintended consequences
00:26
of some of our recent tech,
00:30
namely, social media.
00:32
Social media, a few short years ago,
was the tech of future you.
00:34
Now it just is you.
00:39
Social media was supposed
to bring us together
00:42
in ways we could never imagine.
00:44
And the predictors were correct.
00:47
These three girls
are talking to one another
00:50
without the awkward discomfort
of eye contact.
00:53
(Laughter)
00:56
I call that advancement.
00:57
We were supposed to be caught up
in a communication tsunami,
01:01
the likes of which the world
has never seen.
01:05
And that did happen.
01:07
And so did this.
01:09
(Sings) One of these things
is not like the other.
01:13
(Speaks) Now, look at this picture.
01:16
If you picked the guy
with the book, you’re wrong --
01:17
or, as a certain president
would say, "Wrong!"
01:20
(Laughter)
01:23
Clearly, three of these guys are reading,
01:27
and one guy, on the end,
is listening to music
01:29
and playing "Candy Crush."
01:32
(Laughter)
01:33
So are we more connected,
01:35
or are we just more connected
to our devices?
01:37
Social media was supposed
to place us in a veritable town square,
01:42
where we could engage one another
with challenging ideas and debates.
01:45
And instead what we got were trolls.
01:50
This is an actual tweet that I received.
01:53
"Chuck, no one wants to hear
your stupid, ill-informed political views!
01:58
I hope you get leprosy and die.
02:02
Love, Dad"
02:04
(Laughter)
02:06
Now, the great thing
about that tweet if you look at it,
02:08
just like most trolls, it's not that bad,
02:11
because he wished "leporsy" on me
instead of "leprosy,"
02:13
and "leporsy" is not dangerous at all.
02:17
(Laughter)
02:20
(Applause)
02:21
Along with trolls, we got
a brand new way of torturing teenagers --
02:26
cyberbullying.
02:30
A concept that my 75-year-old mother
just can't seem to wrap her head around.
02:32
"So, uh, did they hit him?"
02:38
"No, Mom, they didn't hit him."
02:40
"Did they take his money?"
02:42
"No, Mom, they didn't take his money."
02:43
"Did they put his face in the toilet?"
02:45
"No, Mom, they didn't --"
02:47
"Well, what did they do?"
02:48
"They attacked him on the internet."
02:50
"Attacked him on the internet?"
02:52
(Laughter)
02:54
"Well, why don't you just
turn off the internet?"
02:55
(Laughter)
02:57
"Your whole generation
is a bunch of wussies."
02:59
(Laughter)
03:01
She's got a point.
03:03
(Laughter)
03:04
She's got a point.
03:06
And I don't even want to talk about
what social media has done to dating.
03:07
I was on Grindr until I found out
it wasn't a sandwich app.
03:11
(Laughter)
03:16
And I can't even tell you about Tinder,
03:19
except for the fact that
if you think there is a limit
03:23
to the amount of anonymous sex
we can have on this planet,
03:27
you are sadly mistaken.
03:30
(Laughter)
03:32
So where do we go from here?
03:33
Well, let's just jump right in
and play the hits.
03:35
Driverless cars.
03:38
Something that has already
been around for many years,
03:39
just without the assistance of computers.
03:42
(Laughter)
03:44
(Applause)
03:47
Because for years, we have
been driving while texting,
03:50
putting on makeup,
03:54
shaving, reading -- actually reading --
03:56
that would be me.
03:59
(Laughter)
04:00
The other thing is that since
driverless cars will be shared,
04:01
most people won't own cars,
04:04
and that means the DMV will go away.
04:06
The DMV -- I know what
you're saying right now.
04:09
"There's no way this guy
is going to stand up here
04:11
and make a case for the DMV."
04:13
Well, I don't know about you,
but I do not want to live in a world
04:15
where harsh fluorescent lights,
04:18
endless lines,
04:20
terrible forms to fill out
04:22
and disaffected, soulless
bureaucrats remind me
04:24
that I am pretty damn lucky
not to work here.
04:28
(Laughter)
04:31
That is the real service they provide.
04:33
The DMV:
04:36
come for the registration renewal,
04:37
stay for the satisfaction of knowing
you made some pretty good life choices.
04:40
(Laughter)
04:44
Nobody will own their car in the future,
04:49
and that means teenagers
will not have a place to make out.
04:51
So you know what that means.
04:55
That means they will order
driverless cars to do just that.
04:56
I do not want to step into a vehicle
and ask the question:
05:00
"Why does this car smell like
awkwardness, failure and shame?"
05:04
(Laughter)
05:09
If I want to ask that question,
I'll walk into my own bedroom.
05:12
(Laughter)
05:15
So what else do we have
to look forward to?
05:17
That's right, artificial intelligence.
05:19
Artificial intelligence, yes.
05:21
You know, there was a time
when artificial intelligence was a joke.
05:23
I mean, literally a quip
that you would hear at a cocktail party
05:26
when somebody would
bring it up in conversation:
05:30
"Artificial intelligence.
05:32
The only real artificial intelligence
is our American Congress.
05:34
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha."
05:38
Well, it's not funny anymore.
05:40
(Laughter)
05:41
Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk
and Bill Gates have all gone on record
05:48
expressing grave reservations
about artificial intelligence.
05:51
That's like Jesus, Moses and Muhammad
coming together and saying,
05:55
"Guy, guys -- here's something
we can all believe in."
05:59
(Laughter)
06:02
You might want to go with that,
is all I'm saying.
06:03
We are actually teaching
machines how to think,
06:07
how to understand our behavior,
06:11
how to defend themselves
and even practice deception.
06:14
What could possibly go wrong?
06:18
(Laughter)
06:20
The one thing that's for sure:
06:23
the creation always despises its creator.
06:25
OK?
06:29
The Titans rose up against the gods;
06:30
Lucifer against Jehovah.
06:32
And anybody who has a teenager
has heard these words:
06:34
"I hate you and you're ruining my life!
06:37
I hate you!"
06:39
Now just imagine that sentiment
with a machine that can outthink you
06:42
and is heavily armed.
06:46
(Laughter)
06:48
The result?
06:51
Absolutely.
06:52
(Laughter)
06:54
What we need to do before we perfect
artificial intelligence
06:58
is perfect artificial emotions.
07:02
That way, we can teach
the robots or machines
07:04
how to love us unconditionally,
07:08
so that when they figure out
that the only real problem on this planet
07:11
is us,
07:15
instead of destroying us --
07:16
which, by the way, is totally logical --
07:18
they will find us adorable --
07:21
(Laughter)
07:24
like baby poop.
07:25
(Laughter)
07:26
"Oh my god, I just love the way
you just destroyed the planet.
07:27
I can't stay mad at you, you're so cute!
07:30
You're so cute!"
07:33
(Laughter)
07:34
Can't talk about this without
talking about robotics. OK?
07:36
Remember when you thought
robotics were cool?
07:43
I remember when I thought
robotics were cool,
07:45
until I figured out that they were
going to take everybody's place,
07:47
from the delivery guy
down to the heart surgeon.
07:50
The one thing, though,
that is very disappointing about robotics
07:52
is the holy grail of robotics,
07:55
and it hasn't even happened.
07:57
I'm talking about the robot girlfriend,
07:58
the dream of one lonely geek
in a windowless basement
08:00
who vowed one day:
"I am going to marry my creation."
08:04
And there actually is a movement underway
to stop this from happening,
08:08
for fear of exploitation.
08:13
And I, for one, am against that movement.
08:16
I believe we should
have robot girlfriends.
08:20
I just believe that they should come
with a feminist protocol
08:23
and artificial intelligence,
08:27
so she can take one look at that guy
and go, "I am too good for you.
08:29
I'm leaving."
08:33
(Laughter)
08:35
(Applause)
08:36
And finally,
08:40
I have to talk about bioengineering,
08:42
an area of science that promises
to end disease before it even begins,
08:44
to help us live longer,
fuller, healthier lives.
08:51
And when you couple that
with implantable hardware,
08:57
you are looking at the next incarnation
of human evolution.
09:00
And all of that sounds great,
09:04
until you figure out
where it's really going.
09:07
One place:
09:09
designer babies,
09:11
where, no matter
where you are on the globe
09:13
or what your ethnicity,
09:15
babies will end up looking like that.
09:17
(Laughter)
09:19
That boy is surprised
09:21
because he just found out
both his parents are black.
09:24
(Laughter)
09:27
Can you imagine him
at a cocktail party in 20 years?
09:35
"Yeah, both my parents are black.
09:39
I mean, it's a little awkward at times,
09:41
but you should see my credit rating.
09:43
Impressive, very impressive."
09:45
(Laughter)
09:46
Now, all of this seems scary,
09:49
and everybody in this room
knows that it isn't.
09:51
Technology isn't scary.
09:54
Never has been and it never will be.
09:56
What's scary is us
10:00
and what we will do with technology.
10:02
Will we allow it to expose our humanity,
10:05
showing our true selves
10:09
and reinforcing the fact
that we are indeed our brother's keeper?
10:11
Or will we allow it to reveal
our deepest, darkest demons?
10:16
The true question is not
whether or not technology is scary.
10:22
The true question is:
10:28
How human
10:30
are you?
10:31
Thank you.
10:33
(Applause)
10:34

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About the speaker:

Chuck Nice - Comedian, science fan
Chuck Nice is a radio and TV veteran with a passion for science communication and comedy.

Why you should listen

Chuck Nice is an 18-year veteran of stand-up comedy with a rich history in entertainment. For years, Nice has been busy making a name for himself across all mediums, including radio, television and the internet. Currently, he is the co-host of StarTalk with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson on Nat Geo. Nice has also hosted How to Buy Like Mega Millionaire and Home Strange Home on HGTV. His other familiar works include Price This Place on HGTV, VH-1's Best Week Ever, TRU TV's World’s Dumbest, The Katie Couric Show, Bethany and The Meredith Viera Show. Despite his busy schedule, Nice still makes time to regularly perform at NYC comedy clubs, delighting audiences with his storytelling style of stand-up comedy. 

Most recently, Nice is preparing the groundwork for the world's largest youth climate summit titled "Shh...It Just Got Real!" -- aimed at activating the people most affected by climate change, those who will inhabit the problem we are now creating.

More profile about the speaker
Chuck Nice | Speaker | TED.com