In 2004, MIT and Harvard published a report on automation in the job market – they predicted that truck driving could not undergo automation – but now Google and Tesla are working on it. Until recently, facial recognition was also a favorite example of something that babies accomplish easily but which escaped even the most powerful computers. Today, facial-recognition programs are able to identify people far more efficiently and quickly than humans can.
We’ve had evidence for awhile that AI is coming for things that we thought only humans could do.
An Oxford study in 2013 surveyed the likelihood of different professions being taken over by computer algorithms within the next 20 years. Just as example, they predict these professions have over an 80% chance or higher of being eliminated by AI – Sports Refs, Cashiers, Chefs, Waiters, Paralegal, Tour Guides, Bakers, Bus Drivers, Construction Workers, Security Guards, Sailors.
So what does this mean?
Traditionally, life has been divided into two main parts: a period of learning, followed by a period of working. Very soon this traditional model will become utterly obsolete, and the only way for humans to stay in the game will be to keep learning throughout their lives and to reinvent themselves repeatedly. Many, if not most, humans may be unable to do so.
Enter the idea of a “useless class” of people. The prediction is, just as mass industrialization created the working class, the AI revolution will create a new unworking class.
Why Its Hot / Questions To Think About:
1. Today, work has been the standard way to valuing your time/contribution to society – if that goes away, what else could we be doing that builds societal value?
2. If the gap between people that create and people that consume widens, how will we value the sacredness of life and human experiences?
3. What exactly should be the role of AI in modern life? Is it to eliminate work, or would this change over time?
4. Professionally, how do we continue to level up? How will our own work change?
The rise of the useless class