Have you ever had that thought that “What am I going to do when everything I do is done by robots and artificial intelligence”? I had and it comes back on a regular basis.
As you may know, I lecture at a number of business schools and universities around the world. I often speak with my students about how they see the future. They are scared – especially in the countries where they or their parents have to pay directly for their education. They are afraid they will never get a job because a lot of entry jobs for business schools graduates are already substituted by intelligent systems. I know I am privileged in that respect but I am afraid too. I am not afraid of not having something to do, but I am afraid of what kind of society we are developing.
Ruled by the introvert, asocial nerds
I have spoken a great deal with these scientists who are developing artificial intelligence and they seem to have one scary characteristic in common. They know an awful lot about IT and they know very little about anything else in life. Their lack of social skills and knowledge about the rest of the world is probably why they have chosen to completely focus on what they do master.
That kind of people have always been around but previously their influence was limited due to a majority of people with common sense who could filter off the worst initiatives. That is not the case anymore. We seem to celebrate everything that can eliminate human interaction – mostly people who can make some money from it in one or another way.
When you confront the nerds with the question; “what shall people do when they no longer have a job?” their answer is usually “They can spend more time doing what they really like” or “There will be new jobs created”,
The problem here is that a lot of people actually do like their job and find it extremely valuable to their identity. We as human beings have a need for feeling appreciated, useful and loved. If we take that away more people will become depressed with a huge impact on the society.
More jobs will be created they say. We don’t know that yet and we just can’t assume that the same thing will happen as in the later stages of the industrial revolution where processes were automated and the workers got new jobs. The jobs that will be left will either be manual, technical jobs that robots or AI can’t do or the few jobs on the top of the food chain. New jobs will demand a much higher level of education and not everybody can take on that challenge.
We have dangerous objectives
It seems like our one and only objective is financial wealth while human and cultural well-being has no priority at all. There is a big risk that we will end up a wealthy, bored, depressed individuals desperately trying to find something meaningful to do. That is just until a robot comes and claims that activity too.
Enjoy your redundancy.