Moshe Vardi, a professor of computer science at Rice University in Texas said, “Society needs to confront this question before it is upon us: If machines are capable of doing almost any work humans can do, what will humans do?”
Sam Harris, the co-founder and CEO of Project Reason, said on his podcast Waking Up. “Ultimately, if we manage to build truly labor-saving devices, devices that don’t simply open up a space for new forms of human labor, but devices that actually cancel the need for human labor (and I think we’re doing that), then you really have the ultimate recipe for an intolerable degree for wealth inequality.”
Being a Mechanical Engineer, above questions bothers me sometimes. Automation and Robotics, at present, is not killing jobs but rather replacing low skilled jobs to high skilled jobs. Suppose you automate a factory. Entire labor is replacing by machine. But to run machines you need operators and you also need Engineers and technicians for maintenance. On other hand, automation is supporting another industry where these machines are being made. We need more workforce to convert ore into metal. So machines are creating more jobs for skilled workers. Uneducated, unskilled are becoming jobless and more jobs for skilled workers. This is the present situation. Future will be different.
By Year 2070, We will have self-maintained human like Robots working on renewable energy. Equipped with AI. Such self-sufficient robots will work better than human and will not demand money or increment in salary. Boon for rich industrialist but danger for human labor. Rich will become richer and poor will be poorer. Some human will get paid for creative works. For example: Even today we buy handicrafts when we already have high quality stuff made by machines available in market. Animation will replace human actors from movies. Robots will be very expensive and most of the rich people’s will be able to buy one or two of them. Every year new models will arrive in market and robot manufacturer will be the richest people along with those companies producing software and hardware parts of robots. There is a misconception that the first human to be replaced by robots were labor! But it might not be true because no one will buy an expensive robot to replace unskilled labor. Actually these smart robots will replace high salaried and high skilled managers, engineers, doctors and those who are working in dangerous situations like soldiers and workers who works in chemical and radioactive areas. Only those peoples will survive who can buy robots or have some creative and intellectual abilities. For every other work there will be robots. Even for prostitution there will be sexy robots. Maximum one person will run entire company. As technology will become cheaper, more companies will start making cheaper robots and this will be the time when we will be having robots for our house work and labor class. This will create biggest difference between rich and poor ever existed in human history. Sam Harris is right in his assertion. if we do not act now, situation will be very different and sad for coming generations.
Robot will work and get paid on behalf of the owner (who will already be rich) of robot. Owner of robot will sit and enjoy. On other hand, only those poor will survive for little longer who will have land for farming for themselves.
Time makes impossible things possible:
Year 2100: Self Reproducing robot. One of the fundamental trait of life is reproduction. Such robots will be alive if ever formed. They will either replace the humans or there will be very few families across the globe controlling them. Induced artificial evolution will select robots over humans based on survival for the fittest. The time for asking question like should machines replace human is gone, because such question was already answered and settled in favor of machines. Human creative mind has carving for challenges. We will not stop until we destroy our self or leave to the stars.
Of course, all this is predicted considering everything else as static in future. But revolutionary ideas and new reforms are part of human civilization. Such reforms change the course of future entirely. There was no time in history where one innovation dictated the whole future course of action. If any new reform took place at global level, then we might be having a different future. A much batter world with minimal difference between rich and poor. Where villages will grow like cities. Every child will have access to education and good life, every old man and women will be taken care by. A future we all want for our coming generations, not a future entrusted by few for their greed in the name of technology.