via the Daily Prompt – Overworked
Robots will steal your job. It’s inevitable. You think you’re safe because you can string a few words together, make them sound pretty, unique. Creativity is safe from automation, you smirk. I’m a sales person, robots can’t take my job. People crave one to one human interaction, I’m safe and sound.
Artificial Intelligence is the future of the human race. Imagine a sales machine, a sales computer, that can sell to other machines twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Machines selling to machines. On one end, you’ve got a group of extremely wealthy people, people who have always been wealthy, making money from their machines. On the other end, you’ve got a group of extremely wealthy people, who have always been wealthy, making money from their machines.
The aristocracy died once. Think of the Italian Revolution, the French, the Russian. Think of Lampedusa’s “The Leopard.” The moneyed lost their money. It happened before. I’ve got a feeling there will be fail-safes put in place to prevent this from happening again. Ensuring that the human workforce is expendable. In Japan an entire office has already been replaced with artificial intelligence. They can scan endless files, know everything at once. They never have a bad day. They never get broken up with, wake up with the shits, bang their head in the morning, get rained on, miss the train, get a flat tire. Machines are flawless. They never want to fight back, demand workers rights, form a union.
At the end of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Mr. Bucket gets a job repairing the machine that took his job. I’d claim that Dahl was prescient, and he was in a lot of ways, but automation has been happening for years. Slowly, trickling, like our destruction of the climate, or the death of the bees. There’s a slow roll, like a snowball on a mountain, gathering traction and mass in slow motion. It’s all going to hit us at once, one big snowstorm.
There’ll be no positions available for repairing the broken machines. They’ll fix themselves. Where does that leave Mr. Bucket? Starving, trying to feed a large family, comprised of mainly pensioners. What did I say about Dahl being prescient? Sweden, Japan, the U.K all have gross differences between the amount of old people compared to young people. As economies develop and education increases the amount of people having children decreases. Who will care for us when we are old? Machines?
I’m so glad that there are places in the world trialling universal income. It’s progressive ideas like this that will keep the human race afloat. Oxfam recently released an investigation that claimed that the 8 richest people owned more than half the wealth on the entire planet. More wealth than 3.9 billion people. If we leave the fate of the human race at the hands of these people, at the hands of machines as a profit mechanism, then who knows where we’ll be in fifty years time.
Machines are key to our future. Smart machines. Ultra-intelligent machines. They’ll be able to solve problems that the human mind never could. Artificial intelligence is essential for unlocking the secrets that have, for so long, eluded us. How do our brains work? What is dark matter? How do we explore space? With machines, humans can achieve a new level of evolution. I only hope we make sure that automation of the workforce does not destroy society, that we can find a balance and work harmoniously with machines. Work and the workplace has been the constant of society for thousands and thousands of years. From the moment man first picked up a stick, his job had been determined, for then, and forever.
Work gives us purpose, it gives us drive.
This one got a bit rambly. I’m away from home so no fancy art today.
Check out my other responses to the Daily Prompt:
Marathon: running to forget her grief of a broken home.
Exquisite: a teacher is struck by a horrible blow in the middle of class.