A Futuristic Perspective of How Increased Computerisation Affects the Ability to Achieve Economic Prosperity Within the Economy

By Alexander Mervar

Nick Bostrom, a philosopher and researcher of AI at Oxford, states that society in the past has always been exponentially decreasing the amount of time it takes to reach the next level of technological advancement.  If hypothetically, it takes 100 years to reach a technological achievement, mankind has consistently reached the next level of progression within a shorter period of time.  In today’s modern society, STEM fields are pushed within major corporations.  But, these fields are pushing for progress that we may not be ready to handle as a human collective.  For instance, modern autonomy, artificial intelligence, and computerisation have not received the same amount of attention that traditional autonomy has recieved, which we see in many automobile factories.  Many companies use modern autonomy, artificial intelligence, and computerisation to achieve greater economic prosperity for the company but, it negatively affects many workers that this program replaces.  This creates an unaware populace that is not ready for a lack of jobs in the future.  All three of these technological innovations create the modern issue of decreasing necessity for humans doing many different types of labor, leaving many educated and capable citizens to lose their jobs and create a large amount of unemployed individuals.

One of the many problems that will affect mankind is the current push towards above human-like levels of thinking within machines.  Out of 100 authorities on AI research, 90% stated that computers will achieve a human-like status before 2070

Table 1: Researchers’ Opinion on When Human-Like AI Will Be Achieved.

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But, we are not aware of some situations this kind of synthetic intelligence spawns.  Robotics researchers, AI researchers, intellectuals, and activists signed a petition at the 2015 International Conference on AI regarding one of these specific problems.  The petition was proposed to the the UN to make it illegal for AI that is designed for the killing of human beings to exist.  However, this proved that even as we progress toward greater levels of AI, we still face many possible dangers that we may not know exist, even if this danger in particular was averted.

Another possible danger is the notion that with increased AI capabilities and higher amounts of applications within a business setting, more and more people will be without jobs due to a computer, machine, or piece of software replacing them.  This process, called computerisation, is no longer affecting the traditional factory job.  Instead, it has the capability of crippling the entire global economy.  It can do this by making many human jobs like creative work, statistical input, etc. redundant.  Many educated and qualified humans would become unemployable due to no fault of their own.  An example of this is the vast fleet of driverless vehicles operating today.  These vehicles threaten the modern transportation, commerce, and logistics industries that our economy is strongly based upon.  This technology would plummet the economy into a rate of unemployment unseen since The Great Depression. This kind of computerisation is not exclusive to the transportation industry but is able to affect almost any area of work that AI is viable.  In fact, the unemployment rate would have the capability to reach record levels of at least 40%.

Bart Selman, a professor of computer science at Cornell University, states that AI development, computerisation, and autonomy have always progressed at an irregular pace.  Their development is controlled by a multitude of factors that are sometimes outside of human control.  However, many things can be done to create possible solutions to some of these problems.  As of right now, there is no known solution to every problem that is created with the introduction of AI into the world.  Yet, many AI researchers from academia and industry, and thought leaders in economics, law, ethics, and philosophy all share a common belief that when a new problem surfaces, slowing down to analyze the situation is preferred so that solutions can be created that match the needs and desires of mankind.