Artificial Intelligence

Godzooks?

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  From David Berlinski reviewing Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari at Inference Review:

Harari believes, are about to lose their social and economic usefulness as well as their souls.25 Robots are coming, and, if not robots, then all-powerful algorithms. Having replaced chess champions and quiz show contestants, they are shortly to replace truck drivers, travel agents, accountants, lawyers, and doctors. Whether they are about to replace historians is a question that Harari wisely declines to discuss. What makes their forthcoming domination inevitable, Harari believes, is the discovery that consciousness may be separated from intelligence. Computers are no more conscious today than they were in 1950, but they are very much more intelligent, and in the near future they are certain to become even more intelligent. This is the information revolution that Harari has persuaded himself that he sees clearly. The Whig optimist now gives way to the Whig pessimist. The information revolution is likely to benefit the minority of those with the wit, or the money, to make use of it. “As algorithms push humans out of the job market,” Harari writes, “wealth and power might become concentrated in the hands of the tiny elite that owns the all-powerful algorithms, creating unprecedented social and political inequality.”26 Algorithms might even become entities under the law, like corporations or trusts, Facebook’s corporate algorithm showing Mark Zuckerberg the door in favor of itself. More.

8 Replies to “Godzooks?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Berlinski is as ‘incorrigible’ as ever:

    Dr. David Berlinski: Introduction (Part 1)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec8lpcA5hls&list=PLF9DB30F6802BC5CE

  2. 2
    News says:

    We believe that several governments are already preparing legislation against him but they are handicapped by the need for as yet undeveloped space station law.

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    This may be April 1 but I do believe the potential is there for robots and automation to undermine the very economic system on which they depend.

    As robots and automation become more capable and versatile they will slowly displace more and more people from their jobs. The logical progression means that in time the means of production and service provision will be come concentrated in the hands of a tiny but wealthy elite that own them.

    The paradox is that a free market economy depends on the existence of a market, which basically is a pool of consumers with sufficient disposable income to be able to buy the goods and services on offer. Where do the consumers get their disposable income? By working. Except if all the jobs people used to do are now being done more cheaply and more efficiently by robots and AI, where are they going to get their money?

    It’s not foreign competition that could bring down the US economy so much as home-grown automation. The question is whether the wealthy elites who stand to benefit greatly, at least in the short term, will do the decent thing and look to what’s best for all of us in the long term.

  4. 4
    Latemarch says:

    Carriage and buggy whip manufacturers harmed most.

  5. 5
    EDTA says:

    If robots replace most jobs, and humans have no disposable incomes (or any other kind), then nobody will be buying the goods/services that the robots are producing. So something will have to “give” before any one-sided scenario can take place. It seems the switch over to robots will be self-limiting to some extent.

  6. 6
    EvilSnack says:

    Any economist to the right of Karl Marx could have told us that any business plan which puts the customer out of work isn’t going to get very far.

  7. 7
    Jul3s says:

    Except if all the jobs people used to do are now being done more cheaply and more efficiently by robots and AI, where are they going to get their money?

    This trend becomes dangerously destabilizing long before it puts the majority out of work. If only 25%-30% of the population cannot find work, the social unrest, riots etc. would threaten to tear society apart long before jobs become available to just a tiny elite.

    It seems the switch over to robots will be self-limiting to some extent.

    Any economist to the right of Karl Marx could have told us that any business plan which puts the customer out of work isn’t going to get very far.

    You can’t be sure that this trend will be self-limiting before severe damage is done. As above, the trend discusses here doesn’t need to put all customers out of work. It only needs to put a large minority out of work for there to be a social crisis. How far business plans go depends on short term benefits and costs, long-term consequences and ‘externalities’ don’t matter politically or economically. Our markets and political systems rely on short term, immediate feedback.

    Our social, economic and political systems are quasi-Darwinistic which is probably why people are blinded to the inadequacies of evolutionary explanations. It seems natural in modern society to think that short-term, decentralised, self-interested competition without foresight will reliably lead to progress.

  8. 8
    EricMH says:

    I think automation will replace white collar jobs, and janitors and garbage men will become the new economic elite of our future.

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