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Noah Smith

The Robots Will Make the Best Fake News

Perfect, but phony, videos of important people saying crazy stuff are just around the corner. This is a huge risk.
Get me rewrite!

Get me rewrite!

Source: studioEAST/Getty Images

Imagine that tomorrow, some smart kid invented a technology that let people or physical goods pass through walls, and posted instructions for how to build it cheaply from common household materials. How would the world change?

Lots of industries would probably become more productive. Being able to walk through walls instead of being forced to use doors would make it easier to navigate offices, move goods in and out of warehouses and accomplish any number of mundane tasks. That would give the economy a boost. But the negative might well outweigh the positive. Keeping valuables under lock and key would no longer work. Anyone could break into any warehouse, bank vault or house with relative ease. Most of the methods we use to keep private property secure rely on walls in some ways, and these would be instantly made ineffective. Thieves and home invaders would run rampant until society could implement alternative ways of keeping out intruders. The result might be an economic crash and social chaos.