Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
AI Robotics Businesses Earth Security Software News Hardware Science Technology

AI Will Create 'Useless Class' Of Human, Predicts Bestselling Historian (theguardian.com) 414

An anonymous reader writes: Yuval Noah Harari, author of the international bestseller "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind," doesn't have a very optimistic view of the future when it comes to artificial intelligence. He writes about how humans "might end up jobless and aimless, whiling away our days off our nuts and drugs, with VR headsets strapped to our faces," writes The Guardian. "Harari calls it 'the rise of the useless class' and ranks it as one of the most dire threats of the 21st century. As artificial intelligence gets smarter, more humans are pushed out of the job market. No one knows what to study at college, because no one knows what skills learned at 20 will be relevant at 40. Before you know it, billions of people are useless, not through chance but by definition." He likens his predictions, which have been been forecasted by others for at least 200 years, to the boy who cried wolf, saying, "But in the original story of the boy who cried wolf, in the end, the wolf actually comes, and I think that is true this time." Harari says there are two kinds of ability that make humans useful: physical ones and cognitive ones. He says humans have been largely safe in their work when it comes to cognitive powers. But with AI's now beginning to outperform humans in this field, Harari says, that even though new types of jobs will emerge, we cannot be sure that humans will do them better than AIs, computers and robots.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

AI Will Create 'Useless Class' Of Human, Predicts Bestselling Historian

Comments Filter:
  • Speculating is fun! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @05:07PM (#52151977)

    I can't leave this discussion without a mention of Manna by Marshal Brain http://marshallbrain.com/manna... [marshallbrain.com]
    It's two extreme scenarios for what might happen if we are able to replace the entire workforce.

    • I might point out that while the article mentions "cognition", it doesn't mention "creativity". It might be possible for humans to compete with AIs in that area, because there are so many ways in which to do something creative (infinite ways?).
      • As has been pointed out in many places before, creativity is not a hard problem to solve with brute force. Creativity can be imitated, or perhaps it's even the same thing as searching.

        Ie, I wrote a program to list all 6 note melodies. It wasn't hard, but after running for a few days (this was twenty yeas ago) I had gigabytes worth of songs and if I knew what I was looking for, could find one (Close Encounters of the Third Kind). But I had to sort through songs like BBBBBB and the catchy, but one hit wonder

        • by Altrag ( 195300 )

          "Generating all possible combinations" isn't creative. Knowing which combinations are interesting is the creative part.

          Of course, its been well established that pop music is super formulaic (it turns out we're somewhat hard wired for certain beat patterns.) But more interesting types of music is still very difficult. Never mind the fact that by most modern standards, music without lyrics is kind of boring so you need to have a lyric generator that's smart enough to deal with human emotion, issues of the

          • Cars don't even use AI, they implement control laws [wikipedia.org] based on the state of the car and its position as decided by its sensors (lid/gps/accelerometers/gyros/maybe vision)
        • Creativity can be imitated, ask any H1B zombie to repeat and they can; they're geniuses you know. But ask them to think outside the box, and watch the zombies look like deer caught in your head lights.
      • by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @05:50PM (#52152307)

        Though many pretend to be, many want to be, and parents+teachers say that everyone is, in reality only a (relative) few are actually talented enough for their creativity to be worthwhile.

      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        Ahh I see now it's a post about a book (Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow) that's not even out until september 8th. I hate it when people do that. Why not wait until I can actually read it before telling me about it?

      • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Saturday May 21, 2016 @01:18AM (#52154119)

        I might point out that while the article mentions "cognition", it doesn't mention "creativity". It might be possible for humans to compete with AIs in that area, because there are so many ways in which to do something creative (infinite ways?).

        The problem is, creativity is optional in the short term. Our ruling class needs someone to work their fields and build their luxury yachts, but can do without more art being produced, for at least the next quarter. That's why the concept of "starving artist" exists, and is exactly what humans trying to compete in that area will get.

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )

          The problem is, creativity is optional in the short term

          Very good point, and it's not just artist but artisans too.
          All those people going on about "increases in productivity" in manufacturing ignore that it takes time and effort to make improvements and plan for new products. If, as a group, you are doing nothing other than turning out widgets that people will eventually get bored with then you'll have wonderfully high "productivity figures" right up until the time the company goes broke because everyone i

    • by Brannon ( 221550 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @05:34PM (#52152193)

      Experts have been predicting the end of the world for centuries and they've been wrong every time.

      I'm going to predict that the world will never end, and I'll only be wrong once.

      • There are several separate problems here. The most basic question is how many hours per person is need to achieve a given level of average material comfort. A simple measure is how many hours per person is spent in farming to keep us fed. Since industrialization this has dropped substantially. Same for making a ton of steel, etc. Nothing wrong with that per se. Except it leads to problem two, the distribution of goods and services. Creating an economic system that provides a fair distribution of the w
        • by Altrag ( 195300 )

          Except there's a problem with that logic: Prices change in response to demand. And not really the way Econ101 teaches you because we have (seemingly) infinite supply of everything right now.

          So demand is the primary driving factor in a lot if not most cases. There's a few exceptions of course for the most highly demanded items (iPhone releases and whatnot) but for most goods, we never consider the possibility that it might take more than a quick trip to the mall to pick up anything we want.

          In many cases,

    • What happens in the utopia society when as soon as you try do anything, a hologram clippy appears before your eyes and says: "I see you trying to design a new motor. Here, let me help you with that," and presents a solution better than you could have done yourself and will take you years, if ever, to understand what is going on because the AI as funded a new branch of physics based on new mathematics as well as two new branches of engineering. So you are stuck in the other scenario of the guy making potter
      • by Altrag ( 195300 )

        Then you go plant a garden or visit a museum or play a video game or learn to play guitar or any of a thousand other things that most people would love to do but are lacking either the time or the money in our current society.

        There will always be something for people to do. Right now, options tend to be severely limited because we either have no money, or we work to make money and have no time. Plus the guilt we often feel when we're doing something that isn't "useful" (again, typically defined as "how mu

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I agree with much of what Marshall Brain has written on this topic, except for the part where people buy shares in Australia and move there to live in the wonderland of robot and vr plenty.

      His Manna story could be a good film, if done right.
      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        It leaves a lot out. It actually looks to me that some of it was written but taken out shortly before publishing.

        I'd watch it.

    • "AI Will Create 'Useless Class' Of Human, Predicts Bestselling Historian"

      But we already have politicians.....

  • by PvtVoid ( 1252388 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @05:07PM (#52151979)

    Slashdotters have been experimenting with this fate for a decade. Now get me some more Cheetos, Mom.

  • by inode_buddha ( 576844 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @05:10PM (#52152001) Journal

    We already have a useless class. Mostly politicians and business executives, with some overlap. Has CxO productivity gone up 300 %? What about congressional gridlock inspired by special interests vs voters?

    • Well, CxO salaries have easily gone up 300%, so prolly
    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      "Overpaid" != "Useless".

      For all of their faults (and there are many to be sure,) most large (and even mid size) corporations would fall apart without CxOs or some equivalent to keep everything moving in the same direction.

      Similarly for countries (or states or even cities) without politicians. True anarchy just doesn't really seem to fit the average human. Most of us either want to be in control, or don't really care all that much as long as we're left alone (in which case those who want control will just

      • For all of their faults (and there are many to be sure,) most large (and even mid size) corporations would fall apart without CxOs or some equivalent to keep everything moving in the same direction.

        If you haven't read Marshall Brain's short story Manna [marshallbrain.com], or similar things, it may be worth investing some time. Some people put forward the idea that these manager/director jobs can be done one day by PCs, mostly using existing technologies. It's an interesting idea with far reaching consequences for our societies of today if it were ever to happen.

  • yeah, that's it.
  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @05:11PM (#52152007)

    ... proles [wikipedia.org].

    The government is getting ready for this state of affairs by removing their means of revolt. [go.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Alomex ( 148003 )

      It is really endearing of Americans when they think they can use a few handguns to rise against an army having tanks, artillery and bombs.

      It's like when you see the eyes of a child who still believes in Santa Claus light up in Christmas morning when they see the cookies and milk gone and presents instead.

      [wipes off moist eyes]

  • It's the only solution. If you can't earn your keep within the framework of our civilisation, secede from it or otherwise stop being a drain on it.
    • If you can't earn your keep within the framework of our civilisation, secede from it or otherwise stop being a drain on it.

      (1) What do you do?

      (2) How long do you expect before computers will do a better job at it than you do?

      • Yes, in the future when only 100 people will have actual jobs, they will all sit around at lunch and complain that everyone else should just go get a real job instead of being a drain on society.

    • No, it is not. Capitalism "wins" because its the most efficient means of gross national product; but you can always change the definition of "winning". If we want a society at its present population levels being relatively stable and productive, we need to change its philosophical mindset, and provide the means to achieve that equilibrium. Namely, basic income, coupled with heavily educating its citizen populace (non-STEM as well as STEM), and investment into academic/scientific pursuits. In the previou

  • Ever notice that the people most afraid of new technology are the ones who don't themselves develop any of it?
  • by ffkom ( 3519199 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @05:14PM (#52152045)

    Evolution has shaped humans into pretty efficient workers under the environmental conditions on earth. Why should an AI not utilize this? There's plenty of humans around, they are relatively easy to spawn, feed and keep healthy, and technology will make it increasingly easy to prevent any kind of unwillingness to serve the AI.

    Actually, people will hardly notice they have begun working for an AI. They'll still think they work for some large global corporation that happenes to run data centers and "Internet of Things"-stuff when control of that corporation is already with the AI hosted in those data centers.

    The AI won't even have to build "Terminators" to keep the puny carbon units under control - it just needs to provide enough bread, games and illusion of freedom of choice.

    • There's plenty of humans around

      On earth yes but as an AI I would want to expand, and getting humans into space is just a major problem. You can't simply turn everything off and wait for better conditions, like you can with machines. And the environment on other planets like mars is perfectly fine for machines, but for humans it means big issues.

      they are relatively easy to spawn

      A machine gets built in a few months. In this time, a human hasn't even left its mother's womb. And then it has to be raised. With machines you upload the firmware and that's it.

      feed

      It might be that f

      • by ffkom ( 3519199 )

        There's plenty of humans around

        On earth yes but as an AI I would want to expand, and getting humans into space is just a major problem.

        Getting horses onto boats or into the desert or djungle is a major problem, but still mankind used horses as well-adapted workers for millenia.

        Might be that an AI will prefer to send machines or synthetic organisms into space to spread out - but while still on earth humans are as useful to an AI as horses were to men.

        they are relatively easy to spawn

        A machine gets built in a few months. In this time, a human hasn't even left its mother's womb. And then it has to be raised. With machines you upload the firmware and that's it.

        Once an AI figured out how to upload intelligence resembling its own into a newly built machine, it will probably be able to do similar things with human bodies.

        It might be that foods of the future are working better, but the foods we right now consume and produce put less than one percent of the energy the sun gives them into the actual plant. That's the reason why biofuels are just not working. An AI should better build solar plants.

        A robot doing the same physical

    • To play the devil's (or AI's?) advocate, is this a bad thing? As a prole, why should I care if my overlord is a human or an AI, so long as I am please by the life that I am able to live?
      • by ffkom ( 3519199 )

        I'm not saying it's a bad thing. As an individual, knowing what I know, having experienced what I would call "actual freedom", I wouldn't like to change into a world ruled by AI. But a future population might be so used to have their basic needs provided by some AI ruled infrastructure that they don't care. I mean - non-domesticated horses might once have resisted some human attempts to take control of them. But the pet horses of today would rather be scared if suddenly set free. They happily follow their h

        • But the current generation of children seems so totally used to permanent surveillance and control of their whereabouts
          Care to give any examples? I'm not aware of any parents 'surveiling' their kids. How exactly would they do that?

          • by ffkom ( 3519199 )

            Seriously? Maybe I happen to know by coincidence only hysterical parents, but the ones I know expect their children to carry a powered "smart phone" at all times, they install apps to locate their children, they frequently send short messages or call if they suspect any deviation from formerly agreed-upon plans of activity, and if calls/messages are not returned immediately, they go ballistic. They browse through their childrens online and phone contacts and do background checks. Some even use IP cameras in

            • When I was a child, it was totally normal to leave home in the morning (when there was no school) or after lunch (on school days), telling the parents nothing more than "I'm going to play with friends", and returning sometime in the evening.
              That is how most parents treat kids in Germany, or Europe.
              The general rule is: be at home before it is dark. Obviously that limits play time in winter.
              If kids have phones the phones are locked so that only the numbers in the address book can be called.

              they frequently s

  • by kuzb ( 724081 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @05:18PM (#52152071)

    Presently they're called MBAs, and I'm sure they could be easily replaced with a magic 8-ball.

    • by JoeDuncan ( 874519 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @05:46PM (#52152273)

      What about Humanities students?

      They're already been made obsolete by the Keurig machine in my office...

      • by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @10:32PM (#52153623)

        What about Humanities students?

        They're already been made obsolete by the Keurig machine in my office...

        While I know you were trying to be funny, I think that there's an underlying assumption in the summary about the nature of college and university study that needs to be picked apart a bit.

        A couple centuries ago, very few people would have thought of college or university as something that should provide direct life skills for a job or something. That's what apprenticeships were for. Why would anyone in their right mind sit in a lecture with someone talking about a skill, rather than actually working with a real-life expert actually DOING the job??

        Universities emphasized "the liberal arts" (which included mathematics and the early versions of sciences) with the idea that an educated person would learn abstract methods for approaching problems and dealing with problems in new areas of study. By being exposed to a wide variety of material from different fields, one was prepared for an intellectual life and a lifelong ability to learn and confront new things.

        As science became more specialized in the late 19th century, it became more common for undergraduates to begin to specialize too. But aside from those technical fields, most college students even into the mid 20th century sought out "broad" fields in the humanities, such as history or literature or philosophy, again NOT to prepare for a CAREER as a historian or philosopher or whatever, but to learn about all sorts of problems and ways of thinking over the centuries. Until the past couple decades where people now just make fun of "humanities majors," they were the dominant path toward many fields -- most businessmen, lawyers, etc. would tend to study a humanities discipline as an undergraduate.

        And even that was a bit more focused than had traditionally been the case. The very idea of a college "major" for undergraduate study again only dates to the past couple centuries. Many older universities resisted the very idea of "majors" for a long time. (To this day, Harvard for example calls them "concentrations," a term meant to de-emphasize the notion that an undergraduate has one primary "major" area of study... instead, there are just supposed to be a small number of classes that are "concentrated" in one area. Obviously the present Harvard undergraduates don't view them this way anymore -- it's just a weird archaic code for "major" to most people.)

        Anyhow, with the scientific specialization and then the idea of bringing in the middle classes and lower classes to college in the mid 20th century led to an expectation for more "practical" study. Degrees that had previously only been offered at specialized "institutes of technology" or "agricultural colleges" or whatever now became practical degrees at many traditional universities.

        Except this didn't make any sense then, and it still doesn't make sense. Yes, many careers require some theoretical knowledge and classes, but the vast majority of study would be better done as hands-on apprenticeships, if you actually want career training. College was never designed to be a glorified "trade school," and it really doesn't work as one now.

        Basically, the problem is that university was never really intended to be for "the masses." It was originally to train people for contemplative intellectual (and originally spiritual) lives, not for practical skills. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it became a place to send young aristocrats too, so it became associated with something that wealthy people do. (In reality, up until the 1960s or so, most of these rich kids goofed off at universities, often earning what was called "the gentleman's C" in most classes, for barely doing what was required.) Along the way, somebody confused correlation (rich people often sent their kids to college) with causation (college makes people rich). The result is that we're now pretending that college is for career prep, something it never was really meant for... while we've basically neglected the broad training that used to be the goal.

        And now we're stuck with our present mess of higher education.

        • Very interesting. I do wonder how effective an apprenticeship would be for knowledge skills like programming or engineering. Given the number of self-taught programmers I expect that would work just fine, engineering I'd be a little more leery of.
  • by thinkwaitfast ( 4150389 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @05:25PM (#52152135)
    Written sixteen years ago by Bill Joy [wired.com] One the best articles on the subject.
  • Solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by backslashdot ( 95548 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @05:30PM (#52152159)

    Own your own plot of land. Be prepared to defend it, grow your own food in grow boxes. Power it with solar. Then you don't have to be useful to anyone.

    • Re:Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @05:43PM (#52152259)

      But that plot of land you're on might be of use to someone and you're in the way.

      • There is a big difference there. I have a right to my land, which I own. I don't have a right to be given a job or handed a means to survive. The only way to get a job is to be useful to someone. Now someone wanting to steal my resources, that's against the law and we don't allow that (unless eminent domain is invoked which entitles me to fair compensation). Whether eventually people will want to steal my stuff is a different issue from "if I am useless to everyone, I won't have a job or food".

        • Re: Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @07:05PM (#52152697)

          What enables your "right" to the land and how do you enforce it? The right to own land is artificially created by humans, and controlled by whoever has the best armies. Just ask the original residents of the Americas; or ask the Tatars from the Crimea for a more recent example. Opting out of civilization effectively removes your ability to exercise whatever rights you claim to have, leaving only the hope that civilization ignores you or you collect a mass of fellow humans large enough to form your own opposing civilization. Wave around lots of papers that prove you have rights if you like, but if the papers can't feed you or stop bullets...

        • Re: Solution (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 21, 2016 @01:21AM (#52154123)

          There is a big difference there. I have a right to my land, which I own.

          Without the ability to enforce that "right", you have nothing. If you enforce it yourself, you have the right until someone with a bigger gun than you comes along and wants what you have. If you live in an at least somewhat functioning state, the state enforces your rights so you have what's yours until someone with a bigger gun than the state collectively has comes along and wants to take it.

          And obviously "owning" land is in most of the world defined as having paid someone for a piece of land who, in turn, paid someone else for that land, who paid someone who paid someone who...until you reach the point at which the first "owner" in that chain of transactions is the party that killed the previous "owner". And that owner might be the latest in the end of a similar chain which started with killing. That's true about land in most at least somewhat inhabited areas. War has been waged almost everywhere at some point in history. And even when you go so far back in history that the inhabitants were nomadic tribes, it's ambiguous whether the first party to claim a piece of land as their "property" did that without force. Technically, nomadic tribes didn't claim to own any piece of land. They wandered harvesting resources in large areas and moved on when resources seemed scarce in one area. By declaring that they cannot enter any particular piece of land because it's "yours" you deprived them of access to something they previously had even if they had never claimed exclusive access. And when enough land is declared as property like that, such nomadic tribes run out of resources when they haven't even considered the concept of "owning land".

          The reason why I'm bringing up nomadic tribes isn't just to make you think about what it means to "own land" in our Western society but also to make you think about how changes in how the world functions deprives people of resources. Nomadic tribes had the resources they needed to survive - until the world changed when the concept of land ownership was introduced. Able-bodied people with a decent work ethic have had the ability to get the resources they need to survive in most of the world until now (not necessarily with luxuries but survive nonetheless). If enough jobs are eliminated through automation, they will be deprived of all resources except what they can literally produce on their own. And who can on their own do much more than perhaps grow food? If you cannot produce anything at a competitive price, you cannot buy anything. And you cannot because you're competing with automation. Not to mention that growing food requires a lot of land and of the right kind, which might be unobtainable for many people even if they otherwise could indeed go back to such a way of living. Essentially, the world is changing in such a way that through no fault of their own, people stop being useful. And when people are desperate enough, they do desperate things no matter how much they have to compromise their ethics. If you have enough self-awareness you know that that includes you. And that's just in terms of obtaining what you need to survive. Criminologists say that literally anyone can become a murderer under the right circumstances. I don't object to automation at all, however, I just want everyone to be able to reap the fruits of it. Maybe a guaranteed basic income is necessary for people who become "useless". Or great reductions on maximum working hours so that the minimal amount of work which still requires humans is split among all who can perform those jobs. I don't have the answers but clearly I'm not the only one thinking about it.

    • I do that now. It's not terribly difficult and was really cheap too (less than the price of a new car for a nice house). It can be done on minimum wage if you were motivated; I know people who've done and are doing it.
    • How do you "own" it? Someone with a bigger gun will come along and take it.

  • telephone sanitisers, account executives, hair dressers, tired TV producers, insurance salesmen, personnel officers, security guards, public relations executives and management consultants.

    HHGTTG

  • I was thinking that repair of the machines would be safe till i realized that they can probably create other machines to repair the primary machines. :(

    I guess we really are doomed. It's interesting to think about. An advanced machine making and consuming its own art, science, literature. I guess the main reason this won't happen is because people will not let it happen. But if it happens by accident, or because of some profit motive, then it could be very dystopian indeed!
    These philosophical concerns is wh

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @06:02PM (#52152375) Journal

    Well, at least this means there won't be a shortage of ACs posting on Slashdot.

  • by aralin ( 107264 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @06:03PM (#52152379)

    I mean, I don't see how there could be some class of Humans that would not be useless when compared to AI in a century or two.

  • self-preservation (Score:4, Informative)

    by superwiz ( 655733 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @06:05PM (#52152389) Journal
    The driver for self-preservation is what will save humans. AI may become self-aware, but it won't have inner driver to evolve to preserve itself at all costs. In fact, because it will be created by humans, its most primal drive will be the laws of robotics. Humans, at large, will do what specialists do when they see their livelihood threatened. They will pretend to cooperate, but their full drive to make themselves obsolete will be just a facade. They will learn to fail just frequently enough to make themselves relevant, but not frequently enough to make themselves useless. It's how car manufacturers continue to exist. The cars have built-in defects which develop over time. So car manufacturers continue to be needed. Unions, professional licenses... it's all there to slow down the course of history until the people who developed very specialized skills live out their usefulness rather than outlive it. News business was supposed to be dead, but all that's happened is the number of newsmen has decreased. 80% of the population were farmers. Today it's less than 5%. If humans, at large, can become irrelevant, then humans at large will find ways to stretch out the period over which this irrelevance sets in or they will continue to produce AI with imperfections subtle enough to continue ongoing development (just as car companies do). This may seem far fetched, but, as an example, cars in Cuba are all from the 50s. It's not because cubans are "poor", as much as it is because in the absence of new cars, old ones get maintained to last much longer than car manufactures would have you believe cars can survive.
    • by ffkom ( 3519199 )

      The driver for self-preservation is what will save humans. AI may become self-aware, but it won't have inner driver to evolve to preserve itself at all costs. In fact, because it will be created by humans, its most primal drive will be the laws of robotics.

      That is a pretty optimistic assumption. Have you yet met anyone in control of investing billions into some future technology who asked technicians for "implementing the laws of robotics" rather than "make it make me more profit, no matter what it takes"? I only met the opposite kind of investors - people whose ethics end where it would cost them a penny. Those people are only kept from wiping out mankind for profit by fear of legal consequences - and more often than healthy not even that is preventing them

    • This may seem far fetched, but, as an example, cars in Cuba are all from the 50s. It's not because cubans are "poor", as much as it is because in the absence of new cars, old ones get maintained to last much longer than car manufactures would have you believe cars can survive.

      All of those cars from the 1950s in Cuba are nothing more than the frames and bodies of the cars built decades ago. Few if any have their original engines. They certainly don't have the same tires, brakes, or light bulbs. When something wears out it is replaced, like in any modern automobile. What they have learned to do is fashion replacement parts as best they can with whatever materials and tools they have available. The parts that aren't under wear like the frames, body panels, glass, and such, can

  • int the Time Machine were much the same thing: a technical, behind the scenes class that probably started off taking care of a useless "nobility", gradually evolving to exploit them as a food source. Our Morlocks would be a select few who directly serve and service the machines, the nobility are all the suit-and-tie wearers who get most of the benefits already. Think how many tech executives don't even know what their company's product is.

    Our "extras" probably won't be cared for very nicely, even at first,

  • Any value system which considers this pessimistic can take its puritanical bullshit off my planet.
  • *Everyone* who has extrapolated trends in automation and artificial intelligence has been making exactly the same prediction for a very long time.

    The rest of us have already started thinking about when this will happen and how as a society we will cope with the new situation, which are difficult questions. We're way past the statement of the obvious.

    • by ffkom ( 3519199 )

      *Everyone* who has extrapolated trends in automation and artificial intelligence has been making exactly the same prediction for a very long time.

      The rest of us have already started thinking about when this will happen and how as a society we will cope with the new situation, which are difficult questions. We're way past the statement of the obvious.

      Great, so let us know the results of that thinking. How does the future society cope with the new situation?

  • Arceus created youtube, so those who have no usefulness in this world can still do something.

  • But seriously, this idea is idiotic. It misunderstands the nature of mankind and the nature of work.

    First and foremost, work is defined by what we want to do, not what we need to have done. We met our "needs" thousands of years ago. We ben doing what we want since before the Egyptians built the first pyramid.

    Second, the stupidest human around is still FAR smarter than any robot with the sole exception of mathematical skills and memory, both of which may fixed with cheap calculators, not expensive robots.

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      First and foremost, work is defined by what we want to do, not what we need to have done. We met our "needs" thousands of years ago.

      "Need" is a somewhat fluid concept, and people now consider things that didn't exist a hundred or so years ago as basic necessities.

      Still, there seems to be a diminishing return in the expansion of the concept of need. I've heard an interesting argument that the development of the advertising industry about a hundred years ago was a sign of a turning point, that real needs were pretty much covered and new "needs" had to be manufactured.

      I think the highly predatory nature of modern advertising is telling us

  • We've already got Congress.

  • The author assumes people are useless if they don't have a "job". Humans lived without jobs for one hundred thousand years without an existential crisis. The lack of a job doesn't seem to bother birds, bears, and our close relatives in the trees.

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      Maybe you should try your hand at foraging, hunting, or non-mechanized agriculture if you don't think those are really jobs.

  • Trust Fund Babies (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Camel Pilot ( 78781 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @08:10PM (#52153019) Homepage Journal

    Looks like we will all be trust fund babies... collecting art, sampling fine wine, travelling to exotic places, etc. Bring it on.

  • Both scenarios are equally likely. The amazing thing is that "natural" intelligence is still falling for the gigantic sham that is "artificial intelligence." True AI believers have demonstrated time and again that they vastly underestimate how hard AI is. There still is no serious definition of intelligence, which works in their favor. AI researchers just keep dumbing down the definition (e.g., "weak" vs "strong" AI) in an effort to find an achievable goal. In other scientific disciplines that's called "che
  • Once the AI gets to the point where it can service and reproduce itself, _all_ humans are useless.

Do you suffer painful illumination? -- Isaac Newton, "Optics"

Working...