Robot underlords

In 15 minutes, CPG Grey’s Humans Need Not Apply paints a bleak picture for anyone who thinks that the coming robot revolution will free everyone up for more creative pursuits. Trouble is, poetry and painting don’t pay the rent.

Transportation, driving things & people from point A to point B employs millions of people today. What will happen to these people when self-driving transport is perfected? In the Great Depression 25% of the workforce was out of work and unable to feed itself. Pointing to a list of the jobs in danger of automation Grey argues,

This list above is 45% of the workforce. Just what we’ve talked about today, the stuff that already works, can push us over that number pretty soon. And given that even our modern technological wonderland new kinds of work are not a significant portion of the economy, this is a big problem.

This is not something that will happen sometime in the future, this is something that’s already happening. Amazon’s Robot Army was mobilized two years ago. It’s a re-occurring theme, robots taking over and turning against their maker. Coming soon to a theater near you in October, Autómata.

I’m not too worried. According to Derrick Harris (who writes about this kind of stuff)

Building an AI system that excels at a particular task — even a mundane one such as recognizing breeds of dogs — is hard, manual work. Even so-called “self-learning” systems need lots of human tuning at every other step in the process. Making disparate systems work together to provide any sort of human-like concept of reality would be even harder still.

When data becomes dangerous: Why Elon Musk is right and wrong about AI

Before AI systems can communicate with each other and learn, we’ll need standards. As long as creation of standards remain in the hands of human-based, quasi-governmental international organizations that take ages to agree on anything, we’re safe

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