There is much talk in the news of AI and I have listened to various egg heads spout of about how potentially dangerous it can be. But some scientists say that current AI merely acts like a computer in using mathematics to calculate possibilities, and this is in no way anything like the human brain acts. Others greater than I say the human brain operate more like a symphony with each section having its own orchestra and while it may be simple to mimic mechanical or computational moves like in a chess game or in Deep Mind, it is much more difficult to recreate human emotions such as a joke, or a truly original piece of creative writing. So it is uncertain if the full fruition of AI, say a human like brain/android will arrive in say 50 years or 500 years.
But even if we do not reach full AI in 50 years there are still fascinating technologies arriving on the market in the next 5 years that will leave many people without jobs. Let’s take driverless cars or autonomous trucks. These are being tested now and will be available in 5 years which means all those truck drivers will be out of a job. Now the argument goes that when computers arrived they needed people to support the computers so as some jobs disappeared others arrived. But with AI the need for other jobs is not the same because a self-driving truck may need only one person to manage several trucks and the truck itself could have its parts replaced by other robots with only a few people observing the process. In fact Middle-Class jobs are more likely to go first before basic blue collar work. AI can build a website and get better and better at it. AI can also manage the traffic on a company network, and the technology itself will be self-managing. AI could also do the programming with maybe say a human to check the end result. But AI may not be able to change the pads on a paraplegic’s ass.
So the idea that when AI comes along other jobs will be created, is not true, not if AI and robotics is allowed to come to it’s full potential. AI will fly, drive, and mend itself. AI will manage and need less managers. AI will create, and no longer need the creators accept to observe the finished process. With all these jobs disappearing and a global population that is still growing what exactly would all these people do?
The twin evils of AI and Climate Change
Let’s now add to that the twin evil of AI and climate change. It’s not just the ever growing human consumption needing more and more raw materials, whether it is through animal farming in terms of cattle crazing for beef, or chicken farming for meat and eggs, but also raw woods and earth materials for furniture and mobile phones. If the environmental catastrophes continue as AI escalates that means you will have a growing population that still needs feeding but no longer has a use. What will the capitalists think of that? Would it be inconceivable that our masters who in realizing the continuing problem of person made climate change and a population no longer required, will decided to cull us? Of course they wouldn’t you cry that’s the land of conspiracy theorists.
But how many people decided to invade Iraq? which resulted in the death of half a million people? How many people made the key decisions that created the British Empire? Was it decided by popular vote? If you watch the movie Dark Waters clearly a handful of business men knew they were killing thousands of people but said nothing because they wanted to be filthy rich. History has proven time and time again that the ordinary classes can always be used as fodder to fight wars when the spoils of that war are divided only among the ruling elite. Would it be that far-fetched to imagine a body of scientists that care for the future of the planet, or so say they do, and then decide to create a virus that kills of a vast amount of the population, who coincidentally happen to be over the age of 70 with underlying health conditions, at a time when world governments were talking of the increasing health care costs of the elderly? I wonder. And I wonder too why no-one talks about the dead in Iraq.
If AI becomes a reality and climate change starts to bite it’s possible that our current masters will end our fate to suit our purposes but maybe there is another way. Maybe there is enough space and food to go around if we share things more equally. Maybe as AI starts to bite we can wind down from working 5 or 6 days a week to say 3 or 4 days a week. Maybe as climate catastrophe disrupts the global food supply chain we can each be given a plot of land to grow food locally. And then instead of working for some soulless corporation we can tend to our flock. Sow our seeds, grow crops, make clothes, enjoy a good days work in nature. No need for AI. No need to consume so much. And maybe one day we can all be more free.