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Should we … push the button?

I wrote the other day about machines becoming human, and said they would not be … but what if they were or, more importantly, what if machines stopped needing humans?

This is the dystopian future of Terminator and more, where humans become redundant and we create our own destruction and replacement.

I’ve always said that it will never happen as there will always be an off button, but what if things change? What if we become machines? What if machines become us?

This is the great debate about The Singularity, a term coined by futurist Ray Kurzweil (if you have a spare hour, there’s a great debate about this between Ray and Elon Musk at South-by-Southwest 2018) , when machines become more intelligent than humans.

You will all have your own view, and the future is now much closer. The pandemic has delivered 2030 in 2020, and the world of Ex Machina is visible in the form of robots like Sophia.

The thing is that we see robots like Sophia and they are obviously robots. What happens when they’re not? Do we move into a Blade Runner style future? Or a future like those depicted in the Terminator series? Or do we move into a better future? One where machines do all the stuff we don’t like doing?

I’m 99.99% certain it’s the latter.

Technology has always improved human lives, not removed humanity. Back when the Industrial Revolution took place, the luddites would destroy machines. The argument is: where they right or wrong? If you haven’t seen it, here’s a great article that argues they were right …

Luddites have been getting a bad rap for 200 years. But, turns out, they were right

The Luddites were not opposed to the idea of using machines to make things more efficiently or be more productive. They just thought if you’re going to make more money because you’re more productive, you need to kick some of that money back down to the workers.

200 years later, we’re still in the same situation. In fact, my regular citation of the film Metropolis and its’ more recent successors (Hunger Games, In Time, etc), it’s all about the subjugation of the masses to enable the wealth of the richest.

The 99% versus the 1%. That’s what automation has delivered and what the Luddites tried to stop. Is that we should try and stop today? Are we going to be replaced by machines? Will 1% of humans make all the money out of these machines at the expense fo the 99%?

Well, the nature of humanity is to exploit other humans. This is what the Pharoahs did in Egypt, the Maya did in Mexico, the Knights did in Europe and for all time. Just look at Ghengis Khan.

Creating a powerful 1% who control and use the 99% is in our human DNA.

So the 1% will happily create a new form of humanity using robotics and artificial intelligence. These new forms of technology will wipe out most post-industrial jobs from waiting tables to meeting and greeting, from managing finances to interacting with customers, from dealing in assets to trading and investing. In fact, it’s hard to think what jobs machines could not do in the future, once we reach Super AI and the Singularity, including the jobs performed by the 1%.

Oh dear … you better keep that off button please.

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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