AI Will Create a Class of Eternally Useless Human Beings

Intelligent robots will make some people always unemployable


Sat, May 21st, 2016 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The Guardian looks at Yuval Noah Harari, lecturer at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, who predicts that the rise of artificial intelligence will create a class of humans who, unless they're able to constantly reinvent themselves whenever they are replaced, will become utterly useless. And while the workforce continues to become like a cloud-service reminiscent of artisans before the industrial revolution, it won't be long until AI can simply be told what to do without any skilled programming needed.

AIs do not need more intelligence than humans to transform the job market. They need only enough to do the task well. And that is not far off, Harari says. “Children alive today will face the consequences. Most of what people learn in school or in college will probably be irrelevant by the time they are 40 or 50. If they want to continue to have a job, and to understand the world, and be relevant to what is happening, people will have to reinvent themselves again and again, and faster and faster.”

Even so, jobless humans are not useless humans. In the US alone, 93 million people do not have jobs, but they are still valued. Harari, it turns out, has a specific definition of useless. “I choose this very upsetting term, useless, to highlight the fact that we are talking about useless from the viewpoint of the economic and political system, not from a moral viewpoint,” he says. Modern political and economic structures were built on humans being useful to the state: most notably as workers and soldiers, Harari argues. With those roles taken on by machines, our political and economic systems will simply stop attaching much value to humans, he argues.



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