Are there jobs that would probably still exist when AI could do it all? Would we be creating new jobs for humans? How would this look like?
Working for a living will become obsolete once all elements of the supply chain has been automated.
So as we move forward more and more jobs will be replaced by automation. This has happened before many times in industry, where technologies have rendered old ways of operation obsolete.
But in all those times, more jobs were created than lost.
The issue is that AI will be able to automate jobs that previously only a person could do, with little to no extra job creation.
That isn’t to say that there won’t be new types of jobs because there will, but once automation has really taken hold, any job that is created could also be managed better by AI.
There maybe some jobs where human contact is valued and preferred that remain.
This process is not absolute and instantaneous, it is a progression and inevitably one will lose their income before a time where we move away from the financial system.
Once we do move to a fully automated resource based economy there is no issue, but we need to get there first.
So how do we keep civilization alive and well in the mean time?
One suggestion which I personally think is a good idea is Univeral basic income.
A UBI scheme is essentially stating that as a human we have rights to not worry about covering living costs, that a free unconditional payment that should be enough so that each individual can pay for the basics such as housing, utilities and food.
This would replace the majority of the wellfair system which includes individually calculated payments based on circumstances, such as unemployment, state pension, incapacity etc.
You would receive this money regardless of if you worked or not.
Some have said this is communism, but it is not and in fact quite the opposite. Communism attempts to create equality through oppression. There is an economic line where none can get above.
Universal basic income is drawing an economic line by which none can dip below.
If AI takes all jobs then why would it ever be possible to dip above UBI realistically?
This is valid for the period when some people still work while others are not. Later people can earn more by doing things that others see valuable and can not be so easily automated (some human to human contact is required, eg. in health/child/elderly care or other valuable community service).
The UBI, how I see it, will start small. It can be financed by the money that is currently spent on welfare + some sort of “automation tax”. The automation tax portion will grow in time and so will the UBI so once the automation progresses the UBI will be high enough to pay for all basic needs.
The UBI should also be global, not local.
Another trend is demonetisation. The more everything is being automated and digitized the cheaper it becomes.
I agree with most of the replies, it seems logical to assume that as AI progresses in its abilities - it will in fact replace the jobs that demand skilled or unskilled labor.
And I don’t really buy into the narrative that the jobs with ‘human touch’ will be left unscathed. Nurses and care givers are being touted as the prime category of jobs that are ‘irreplaceable’. I frankly think emotional AI running caretaker bots will be much cheaper and effective.
So in the end what we’ll have are our assets to survive.
Real estate, stocks, gold etc and obviously: tokens.
Perhaps the fact that we produce data may be the only value left in us. For data has become valuable as an asset - data being converted to tokens basically may be the saving grace for the majority. Or it may be the last nail in the coffins of our privacy. Perhaps large chunks of humanity may be forced to sell their data for a basic monthly income. Black Mirrorish future.
So I really hope humanity makes the move from narrow to AGI to ASI asap. Perhaps a greater intelligence than ours may serve the needs of all.
UBI is a short term solution. A stop gap to get us over the period of upheaval.
I’ll not lie, there will be some birthing pains of our utopia.
The idea though is to give people the freedom to survive.
Once all aspects of the supply chain are automated though, the financial system becomes obsolete.
We are talking a time of abundance, where allmost all material things can be produced with no financial cost.
A resource based economy will emerge, where jobs are prioritised based upon the volume of resources required to achieve them.
Every home will have a Food synthesiser and an object synthesiser. Essentially high resolution 3D printing at the molecular level, where an inert base material can be ordered molecularly into anything that can be imagined… Think Star Trek replicators.
Recycling will simply be to render objects back to the inert material… No waste.
Energy will be generated by individual mini fusion reactors. Self sustainable and clean energy.
Maintenance will be automated and manual support not required as machines will be able to run self diagnostic and repair programs.
The list goes on…
But we have to get from here to there, this all sounds so far fetched right now, but to full automation we are only 20 years away.
UBI is a solution that can help us get from here to there.
It is worth mentioning though that by that time, it is highly likely we will be living in a post Singularity society, and our abilities to meet challenges that seem insurmountable today, can be solved in ways we couldn’t even dream of.
I think the very nature of what it is to be human will be challenged.
Well that’s a very optimistic vision Tim, there’s a hope that it may come to be. I’m a bit pessimistic on humanity’s capacity to survive the coming pains of massive unemployment. And our weapons have become too destructive for there to remain some hope of civilisation if they’re used. It would take some miracle for such great suffering of so many to happen without violence of a similar magnitude.
Is the world getting better or worse?
Half full or half empty? Taking or giving? Its dependent on your spot on the distribution curve… The range is the challenge. Our quest is the midpoint of the ranges…
I’ve noticed that people are very poor at assessing the impact because they use current experience of computers as a starting point. So, when they read “repetitive tasks” can be more easily automated they think of a car production line. That’s not accurate. Most jobs involve a degree of repetition. Doctors go through appointments, lawyers research cases, consultants engage clients, etc. The incorrect assumption is that because these tasks involve interacting with people, that only people are capable of doing them.
When I speak to such professions on the future of their work, most envisage AI as being a trusted adviser to their decisions; the sidekick. When the majority of professionals hear that AI will complement their work, they picture themselves as the lead who will bolt-on extra talents through AI. I don’t think that is a realistic model. There WILL be tasks that AI can’t easily perform, but for a vast swathe of roles the AI will form the centre of activities, with the human acting as the support mechanism.
So there may not be a huge number of roles completely automatable in the near future, but there will be a LOT where the amount of automation renders the job uninteresting or unappealing to the majority.
Hey, great question and something we at least have to contemplate as our lives become more intertwined with AI.
I think wrote something recently about this and used the quote often assigned to Einstein:
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it’s stupid”
I think this applies to AI. There are some things that AI will always trump humans. Anything that can be done faster, more accurately or more simply by a machine simply will.
But for humans, it is our unpredictableness, our creativity and our empathy that separates us from machines. For the foreseeable future, I find it difficult to see machines as a threat to our humanness, but instead as something that can become our ally. Like that calm, cool-headed friend who always knows how to act in stressful situations, machines can be this analytical, rational support to help us make predictions about how to act.
For me, the difficulty we face isn’t in finding work for humans. Every technological advancement has always led to the obsolescence of older technology. Instead, our biggest threat is ourselves. I think a big part of the workforce of the future could simply be helping people to adjust to the new role of a human being. Most of the places we used to define ourselves: our work, our religions, our gender, they’re all changing rapidly and we need to have a huge wave of new schooling or else humans will continue to feel lost, isolated and obsolete.