Do we need AI? Can we use old technologies?

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.

Before we get to the AI utopia, where life is supposed to be good because we finally have AI, there are dozens of common life occurrences where I am waiting to see old technology finally come into widespread use:

My mom and I went to Earth Cafe yesterday, on the corner of 97th and Broadway (Manhattan). I love the place, but some of the tables are woefully uneven. Why don’t outdoor cafe tables come with shock absorbers that automatically balance the table? Shock absorbers are an old technology, they were invented in the late 1800s, simple ones are very cheap. Will we ever see them used everywhere they might be helpful?

I sometimes recycle, my friends are fanatics about recycling, but why are we doing this manually? Recycling plastic does nothing for the Earth, the only reliably useful form of recycling is metal recycling. Why do we need to do this manually? We can use magnets to pull most metal from the trash. Why not automate this? Recycling often strikes me as an empty ritual, something my friends do to feel they are doing something to save the world. Meanwhile, the world burns.

If I move, why do I have to update the physical mailing address that people should reach me at? For at least 50 years, the postal service has had the power and organizational ability to implement a manual version of DNS. That is, why can’t I simply have an alias, such as LawrenceKrubner999, and that can be my mailing address? Everyone should send physical mail to LawrenceKrubner999. They should not need to know what my physical address is. I’ll tell the postal service what my physical address is. The postal service is the only service that needs to know where I am, physically. It’s the same principle as DNS on the Internet — we don’t send requests to the IP address of, instead we send the request to “” and DNS figures out what IP address that should be. The postal service has the ability to do the same, and has had the ability for decades. And using an alias would help protect people’s privacy.