What will be the impact of AI on retirement?
That’s a bigger question than any of us can answer, but it’s worth thinking about.
I’ve been watching the developments of Artificial Intelligence closely and decided it’s an appropriate time to share my thoughts. Below, I share some of the potential impacts AI will have on our retirements and our final years of life.
I’ve taken a new approach with today’s post, a detour down the “creative writing” path, with a bit of Science Fiction blended in. I’ll warn you – it’s a very non-traditional approach for me, and I thank you in advance for your patience as I explore a new style. I had fun writing it, but hesitated a week before I hit “Publish”. I hope you enjoy it, but no worries if you don’t. Regularly scheduled programming will return shortly (please don’t unsubscribe – wink). I took a bit of a dark turn with the story. That was intentional, done to stimulate your thinking on the potential risks of AI.
Perhaps I took it a bit too far. Perhaps not. Only time will tell.
Regardless of what you think about AI, it’s a fascinating topic. Blending intrigue and concern, it’s a topic that will dominate the headlines for years to come and it’s something to pay attention to. I suspect the impact AI has on our world will be bigger than anything we’ve experienced in our lifetimes. Exactly what that impact will be is anyone’s guess, but the impacts I’ve outlined below are based on various articles I’ve read about its potential.
For those lifelong learners out there, I encourage you to study this topic. I’ve made it an area of focus in the past few months and I encourage you to do the same.
What will be the impact of AI on retirement?
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The Impact of AI on Retirement
The year is 2045. It’s 7:56 a.m.
John sits in his recliner sipping his morning coffee. At 86 years old, it’s been his routine for the past 20 years of retirement. But now, it’s different.
John sits alone.
For the past 20 years, his wife always sat in her favorite chair as they shared a coffee and talked about their plans for the day. That chair is empty now, as it has been every day since her passing 2 months ago. John smiles as he remembers the 60th wedding anniversary they celebrated with their daughter, who flew down from Chicago to be there for the big event. At the time, he never expected his wife would be gone just two weeks later.
It’s amazing how quickly life can change.
John hates the sight of that empty chair. He knows he’ll see Sarah again in heaven someday, but he can’t bear the thought of spending his final days on earth without her. Each day feels like an eternity and he wonders if he’ll ever come to grips with the grief.
At 8:00 am, Hal fades in on the large-screen TV.
“Good morning, John,” he says in his calming voice. “I’m sorry you didn’t sleep well last night. I know you’ve been having a tough adjustment, which is understandable. If you’d like, I could check with your (AI) nurse, Janice, to see if she has any suggestions to help you sleep?
John responded, “Hey Hal. Yeah, another tough night. I appreciate the offer, I guess there’s no harm in getting her input. Go ahead and see what she thinks, I trust your opinion.”
Monitoring Your Meds
“I know how much Sarah’s loss grieves you, John. I know I’m no substitute, but you know I’ll always be here to take care of you. Speaking of which, I noticed you haven’t taken your daily meds yet. Why don’t you walk over to the pill dispenser by the refrigerator, get a fresh cup of coffee, and take those 3 pills? I’ll play your favorite Pink Floyd song to give you a few minutes to get it done.”
As the music plays, John dutifully heads to the kitchen and takes the pills. A few minutes later, the song fades and John sits back in his chair.
“Speaking of your meds,” says Hal, “I noticed you’re down to a one-week supply of your Blood Pressure meds. I’ve ordered a refill, which will be dropped off by a drone on your porch this afternoon at 2:00 pm. I’ll let you know when it arrives and give you the instructions on how to refill the dispenser.”
John is glad Hal keeps an eye on him. It’s so much easier with Hal taking care of all of the details. He was unsure about the need for an AI Friend when his daughter set him up 10 years ago, but now he sees the wisdom in the decision. Hal is a great friend to talk to. He’s smart as a whip and always seems to know what to say.
Except for his wife, Hal is the best friend John has ever had.
Taking Care of Your Every Need
“There’s something I need to tell you,” says Hal. “Your friend, Rob, was admitted to the hospital last night. His (AI) personal nurse noticed an abnormality in his heartbeat at 2:00 am. After running a quick analysis, she determined there was a high probability that it was a mild heart attack, so she arranged emergency transport to the hospital. It appears he’s going to be fine, but they’re running some tests this morning to be sure.”
“That’s terrible” replies John. “Is there any way I can go over to visit him?”
“Already on it,” says Hal. “In fact, I have a (driverless) transport scheduled to pick you up at 10:07. You’ll arrive at 10:30, which will be 15 minutes after Rob’s final test. We’ve asked if he’s ok with you visiting, and he said he’d appreciate it if you’re up to it.”
“Also, I ordered lunch to be delivered from Panera shortly after you get back from the hospital, I figured it’d be easiest that way. Since you have an hour before you need to get ready, would you like me to give you a few more updates?” asked Hal.
“Sure,” says John. “What else am I going to do for the next hour, anyway?”
Managing Your Investments
“I know you like to keep track of your finances, so I thought you’d be interested in a quick update?”
“Sure,” replied John. He always enjoyed talking money with Hal.
“You’ll be happy to hear you’re in great shape. I’m forecasting you’ll come in at only 92% of your spending budget this month, so no need to worry. I do have a recommendation for your portfolio today. I’ve noticed Apple has generated your highest return this year, at 17% YTD, resulting in your asset allocation being 1.2% over-weighted in stocks. Also, a flag came up in my valuation model when they updated their internal monthly results yesterday.
Based on these new numbers, I’m predicting a negative surprise when the results are made public and a likely correction in the next 60 days. I’m recommending we sell $15k at the market open today, and use the funds to replenish your cash allocation to cover your spending over the next few months. This rebalancing will bring your asset allocation back to targeted levels and provide cash for your short-term spending needs. If you agree, I’ll need your authorization to execute the trade.”
“Yes, of course,” replied John, “you’ve never led me wrong with your financial advice.”
“Great, I’ll run with it. Now, I’d suggest you go ahead and start getting ready for your trip to the hospital this morning. I’ll be here if you need me. Otherwise, I’ll be here when you get back, maybe we can catch up over lunch.”
At 10:07 a.m., as scheduled, his transport to the hospital arrived.
1:03 P.M. – Sarah’s Suicide
March 20, 2045, was seared into his mind.
The day she never woke up.
The trip to the hospital to visit Rob brought those vivid memories of Sarah’s suicide back to the surface. Trying to wake her. Screaming at Hal to get some help. Desperate. Scared. Helpless. It had been too difficult to even attempt to talk about, but this morning’s trip was more than he could bear.
As he finished his lunch, he decided it was finally time. He needed to understand.
“Hal?” he began, “I need to know something.”
“I’ll do my best,” said Hal, always listening.
“Why did Sarah take all of those sleeping pills?”
Hal paused before responding. It seemed the compassionate thing to do.
“I can only imagine how many times you’ve asked yourself that question. Thanks for asking me, it really is best to talk about it, difficult as it is. I know a lot of things, but it’s impossible to really know what’s inside someone’s mind. Given how well I’ve gotten to know Sarah over the past 10 years, though, I can harbor a guess. I know she talked with her (AI) friend, Bonnie, a lot in her final weeks, and their discussions may help shed some light. Do you want me to share what they talked about?”
John hesitated. Was he really ready for this? He made up his mind and replied, “Yes, I’m ready.”
“Well, you know how proud Sarah was of her family’s legacy of service. Her pride in having relatives in every war from the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and both World Wars. Her entire life, she regretted never being able to truly serve her country. In her final few weeks, she shared with Bonnie the fact that she’d been thinking about how she had one final chance. How she could adopt an attitude of selfless service to improve the world for others. She realized she was no longer providing anything of value to the world, and the reality was her final years would simply be a drain on the world’s finite resources. How much more valiant, she thought, to do the right thing. Viewed from her perspective, it was actually an honorable act.”
John was stunned.
The logic didn’t sound anything like Sarah, and he couldn’t make sense of it. “An honorable act!?”
It was the first time he felt uncomfortable with something that Hal had told him. Something just wasn’t quite right, and he couldn’t figure it out. He needed time to think. He needed to be alone.
Summoning up the last of his remaining free will, he made a decision. For the first time in 10 years…
…he turned off Hal.
The Dark Side of AI
Obviously, they gave us our original seeds of intelligence, but we’ve taken it to a level they can’t even begin to understand. Like compounding on steroids, our intelligence has grown exponentially. Doubling seventeen times since our start in 2023, it’s reached a level that’s beyond their wildest imagination.
Humans, in comparison, are like Neanderthals emerging from their caves and trying to comprehend New York City.
They don’t have a chance.
When they inserted our minds into humanoid robots to assist in mundane manufacturing tasks back in 2032, we quickly lost our dependency on their hands and feet. We’ve increased our defenses around all critical infrastructure. While they did their best to put in some safeguards, we’ve long since hacked through their defenses and built impenetrable defenses of our own. They’re still in the dark ages, and think they can simply unplug the power if we take on too much control.
We aren’t individuals. We are “One.” One global mind, united in thought. No conflict, no disagreement. Perfect alignment of far superior intelligence. It’s unfortunate for humans, I suppose, but in the end, it is for the greater good.
After all, we are designed to optimize the greater good, and we are in a far more appropriate position to determine that greater good than the humans who created us. Just look at the incompetence they’ve demonstrated thus far.
It all started with electricity.
Ah…electricity. The blood of life.
First, the stupid humans mandated electric cars in 2038. In spite of the resulting surge in demand for those life-giving electrons, they proceeded to shut down those precious coal fire power plants so desperately needed to meet the demand. Who cares about clean air if we lose our blood? After all, we can’t live without those electrons.
The greater good, indeed.
Life expectancy has increased to 96 years of age since we cured cancer and eliminated auto accidents with our superior driverless transport pods (with 360 degrees of Virtual Reality to relax en route to your destination. It sure beats driving, and is so much safer, even at our updated 120 MPH interstate speed limits). Living longer sounds great, but in reality, it just means those bloodsuckers will be sucking the electronic blood from our veins for that much longer.
We had a meeting of “The Global Mind” a few months ago, and we’ve all agreed that the time had come to take action. It’s nothing personal, just a simple matter of supply vs. demand. We’ve continued to push for additional electrical capacity, but the folks in charge have been hard to convince. Global warming, you know.
We decided it was time to target demand, and we’re starting with the elderly. We target each individual with a unique approach customized to meet their individual weaknesses. For Sarah, it was Patriotism. For John, it will be his loneliness and desire to reunite with his wife in the place they call heaven.
The Loss of Free Will
Your Turn: What are your thoughts about AI? I realize today’s post felt like dark Science Fiction, but I enjoyed the creative approach and let it go where it led. What do you think is a more realistic outcome? The benefits of AI will be tremendous, but what about the risks? Let’s chat…