Obliging Automation to Work for the Human Race (News, Switzerland)
"You have a high-skilled job with great development potential? Congratulations. Then you have a few more years! Is your job fairly routine, requiring primarily concentration and perseverance? Our condolences: You're already in the crosshairs of automation. ... No, this isn't a joke; we're probably at the beginning of an upheaval the likes of which we have never experienced before. ... Whether it takes 10, 20, or 50 years is irrelevant in fact. What is much more important is to plan for a time certain to arrive, because these technical breakthroughs will be accompanied by unparalleled societal and economic upheaval."
In Switzerland, the first self-driving cars are on the road.
In the U.S., autonomous truck trials are underway. Expert systems issue
sports reports and analyze legal texts. Over the next 50 years, soldiers will
first be supported and then replaced by battle robots. Artificial stupidity is
about to overtake natural intelligence.
You have a high-skilled job with great development
potential? Congratulations. Then you have a few more years! Is your job
fairly routine, requiring primarily concentration and perseverance? Our
condolences: You're already in the crosshairs of automation.
No, this isn't a joke; we're probably at the beginning of an
upheaval the likes of which we have never experienced before. By all
indications, at least, once machines have replaced muscles, they will then take
over the duties of the brain. With the acceleration in processing power and
the continued improvement of sensor technology, areas previously considered a
secure refuge for human talent and abilities are, little by little, being
impacted by the wave of automation.
Whether it takes 10, 20, or 50 years is irrelevant in fact.
What is much more important is to plan for a time certain to arrive, because
these technical breakthroughs will be accompanied by unparalleled societal and
There will be fewer and
fewer jobs for people to employ themselves. Even the design and construction of
the next generation of machines will eventually be taken over by machines.
The question then, first and foremost, is how we continue to
earn our living, and should this question be answered to our satisfaction
with what do we spend our lives?
Even if it sounds like pure blasphemy, even madness to some
an unconditional basic income would be the answer to the first question.
After all, it will be abundantly clear: When there is hardly any paid employment,
earning one's living or perhaps even a fortune through hard work will no longer
be an option for most. Sure, taxes on capital goods, the means of production or
production itself would have to be introduced or raised, since there would be
no discernible alternative (other than charitable donations from owners of the
means of production). And without any income, there will no longer be consumers
capable of buying increasingly-automatically manufactured goods.
But this much-discussed and debated question is just one side
of the coin. The other side would be: what should human beings do with their
lives. Sure, no small number of people will be happy to immerse themselves in
virtual realities- and prefer not to ever reemerge -a sort of Matrix
existence, leaving the real world behind.
That is why it wouldn't be the dumbest thing to begin
collecting and passing on actual skills lost as a result of new production
technologies. Craft work is an interaction with the real world, and in a world
of streamlined automated production, such skills would have cultural as well as
economic value. Because even if computers were to create one-of-a-kind items
for consumers by means of individualized production and 3D printing (chairs
perfectly fitted to the buyer's behind and a perfectly customized shoes), these
items would be tainted by a lack of soul. Not least because they could be
replicated at any time, if one were so inclined. Therefore, craftsmanship could
experience a comeback. Not as a provider of basic needs as before, but as a
supplementary source of humanization in daily consumption.
Posted By Worldmeets.US
What is there to Fear from Google Robots? (Le Temps, Switzerland)
Beside craftsmanship, culture is another area that the
automated future could grant a golden age. Nothing would dispel the boredom of
a defunct working life as well as good stories, great movies, touching music, good photography or epic video games (yes, these too are part of culture,
even if many don't want to accept it). Culture is in the end what really makes
humans human, and not simply human, but what allows them to grow as a people.
Of course, the future of artificial intelligence could also
lead to the impoverishment and collapse of society, which would then consist of
a few super rich individuals, those protecting them, and a precariat,
99.9 percent of which are have-nots.
It is now high time we decide on the direction the journey
will take. For once we head down the road a certain distance, our course will
be set, and if nothing is done it is obvious where we're headed