The social models we are living in are dead.
Just as the industrial revolution swept away a way of life that had lasted centuries the A/I revolution will cause our way of life to be severed.
Back in the industrial revolution the rural way of life was swept away. The machines could do the work of many men. They were cheaper and more efficient. Millions moved off the land into the cities to get jobs in factories.
A/I will automate the factories, the mines, the car-plants, steelworks and shipyards.
It’s already happening.
The once well-paid workers are now working in supermarkets stacking shelves and serving customers or else zooming around the country delivering goods.
They have lost a career that was respected and gave their families a good standard of living for a zero-hours contract, uncertainty, low pay and no security.
But that is the tip of the ice-berg.
A/I will mean that robots become ever more sophisticated and will start taking over even the most skills jobs such as brain surgery or flying planes and they will do it with more skill than our present surgeons and pilots.
Our streets will be cleaned by machines, our planes flown by machines, our factories operated by machines.
Soon we will have driverless uber. We will have automated delivery, automated checking out, automated stacking, automated crop sowing and harvesting.
It is quite conceivable that a machine will sow seeds in a field the other side of the world. Another machine will harvest the crop. A driverless lorry will take the wheat seed to a factory where a machine will process it and package it. A driverless lorry will deliver it to a supermarket where an automatic shelf-stacker will place it on a shelf. An intelligent robot will check stock, note what is selling and order to restock as needed. You will order on line and a driverless delivery van will deliver your cereal to your door.
No human hand will be necessary in the entire operation. Even repairs and maintenance will be automated and carried out by machines.
No job will be secure. There will be even the most complex procedures carried out by machines – the money markets, health diagnostics, design, art, music, education. There is no job that will be unaffected, completely replaced or at least greatly impacted.
Even your lawn will be cut by a robot, your floors hoovered, clothes washed and windows cleaned.
Just think – we could end up with an effective government that is a machine! Some things might be a big improvement!
The problem with this development is quite clear. The workforce will, for the first time in history, not be required. So what does society do with all these surplus people? What do the people do to ‘earn’ a living? What do we do with all our free time?
If we continue to follow our present model we end up with a gigantic inequality. The wealthy minority who own the farms, factories and retail outlets will maximise their profits and ‘earn’ a fortune. The workforce will firstly be working for peanuts and then thrown on the dole.
Countries will be thrown into chaos. Unemployment will be rife. The richer countries will try to retrain people for whatever new jobs are required – maybe in the caring professions. They will support people on the dole. The poorer countries will have mass starvation leading to mass immigration and desperate people.
The world will be divided into the super-rich and the desperate poor.
We are already beginning to see this. It has led to Brexit and Trump and a wave of fascism and populism.
It’s going to get a lot worse.
We have to move to a global perspective.
The wealthy have to be taxed to provide money for the rest. This would be for their own good as much as anyone else. This gross inequality is already creating much anger and hate. Soon that would be directed at the wealthy and result in violence.
There has to be a drastic shortening of working hours with job sharing.
There has to be education and training to produce a skilled workforce to carry out the jobs that will be created by A/I.
There has to be a move to moving people into the caring and leisure industries where human contact is more desirable – nursing, caring, teaching, counselling…………………
There has to be a guaranteed basic income for all people that would afford them a good standard of life. It is no good the wealthy churning out goods with few being able to afford to buy any of them.
The future could be an age of comfort and leisure where machines have taken over the drudgery and everybody has time and income to do what they want.
It could become an Orwellian future where the proles are kept in little boxes – surplus to requirements.
It could become a chaotic, violent period where anger mounts and the world’s poor wreck the machine and kill the wealthy elite who have caused their misery.
An age of plenty – An age of misery – An age of violent revolution and death.
We are at a crossroads.
What happens when the machines are intelligent enough, powerful enough and decide that we are all surplus to requirements?