Views of the future from the Culture of Lickspittle

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 2:41 pm by George Smith

Pew Research has a report about the future of artificial intelligence, robotics and what it means for employment. Naturally, they have a lot of quotes from people in the tech industry, famous pioneers and others who merely qualify as cheerleaders.

What they all have in common is that they’re in the haves, many in the 1 percent. Everything’s going to be pretty good, according to them. But they no longer really live in the US. They’re in that place Tim Draper wants to turn into another state, Silicon Valley.

I have a suggestion.

Why stop at statehood? National secession, followed by technology that hoists the place into orbit, say halfway between the Earth and the Moon, like that science-fiction movie with Jodie Foster in it that didn’t do so well.

Excerpted, that which passes itself off as gnomic:

Amy Webb, CEO of strategy firm Webbmedia Group, wrote, “There is a general concern that the robots are taking over. I disagree that our emerging technologies will permanently displace most of the workforce, though I’d argue that jobs will shift into other sectors. Now more than ever, an army of talented coders is needed to help our technology advance. But we will still need folks to do packaging, assembly, sales, and outreach. The collar of the future is a hoodie.???

Fred Baker, Internet pioneer, longtime leader in the IETF and Cisco Systems Fellow, responded, “My observation of advances in automation has been that they change jobs, but they don’t reduce them. A car that can guide itself on a striped street has more difficulty with an unstriped street, for example, and any automated system can handle events that it is designed for, but not events (such as a child chasing a ball into a street) for which it is not designed. Yes, I expect a lot of change. I don’t think the human race can retire en masse by 2025.???

[Yes, Mechanical Turk provides hundreds of thousands of jobs that pay cents. Most of which you are not qualified for, anyway. It’s a future of digitally fused automation and human work that is indeed wonderful.]

Justin Reich, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, said, “Robots and AI will increasingly replace routine kinds of work—even the complex routines performed by artisans, factory workers, lawyers, and accountants. There will be a labor market in the service sector for non-routine tasks that can be performed interchangeably by just about anyone—and these will not pay a living wage—and there will be some new opportunities created for complex non-routine work, but the gains at this top of the labor market will not be offset by losses in the middle and gains of terrible jobs at the bottom. I’m not sure that jobs will disappear altogether, though that seems possible, but the jobs that are left will be lower paying and less secure than those that exist now. The middle is moving to the bottom.???

It’s long, mostly depressing reading. To repeat: One of the hallmarks of the Culture of Lickspittle is that only the people at the top have the glibness and wisdom to tell everyone else how the future will be bright while most of the rest get the shaft. In one paragraph bites.

Not as good as “Greeting my friends, we are all interested in the future because that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives,” by Ed Wood. But close.

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