Tuesday, July 25, 2017

With Folded Hands

I loves me some Richard Fernandez, aka Wretchard The Cat on Twitter. His essay today on AI and robots displacing people and possibly not turning out with a cost-benefit ratio we want is typically excellent. Here's just a single tidbit that caught my eye. Read, as the man says, the whole thing.
(Chuck Schumer's newly unveiled Democrat agenda) "Better Deal" is in fact FDR's big state "New Deal" only 80 years older. "Our better deal is ... about reorienting government to work on behalf of people and families." But who needs government if robots are working for everyone? Any AI which can replace doctors can displace bureaucrats whose repetitive, rule driven jobs are prime candidates for automation. A guaranteed basic income would require minimal bureaucracy most since the amount remitted to everyone is the same.
The Democrats have one play in their playbook and keep running it over and over and over and over and over...

But the thing that really caught my eye was the effect of automation and AI on the bureaucracy. All those people checking forms and filing documents and creating spreadsheets and writing reports and giving status briefs, all gone, all put out of a job by AI. Hmm.

If you've never read it, I highly recommend Jack Williamson's With Folded Hands. It is directly applicable here.

1 comment:

tim eisele said...

As I recall, the big issue with Williamson's Humanoids was mainly the "Guard Men from Harm" part of their directive having priority over the "Obey" part. That, and the fact that nobody actually owned them, so there was nobody in a position to revise the directive. How the whole AI/automation thing works out is going to depend pretty heavily on what sort of directives they get, and how the ownership is structured.

That, and whether they actually get programmed to have initiative and desires. If they cease to need humans to be the ones who actually want things done, and start wanting things done just on their own initiative, then biological humans are pretty much over.