Like a tornado barreling across the Texas landscape, AI, Artificial Intelligence is coming, and like a Texas tornado, it is going to destroy everything in its path.
There are estimates that as many as 100 million people may lose their jobs, jobs that hitherto were not only secure, but jobs that required a good deal of training, experience and education, and that paid very good salaries.
Jobs like accountants or lawyers or market traders; certainly writers, probably musicians, filmmakers, artists, people in marketing, advertising and PR, to name just a few.
This is clearly going to happen, and it is happening very quickly. Our whole world is about to be upended because of a new technology that most people had no idea even existed until a few years ago, or in some cases, a few months ago when the first stories about ChatGPT began to surface.
This will not be the first time that a new technology upended the world and left wreckage in its place. The economics Joseph Schumpeter described the phenomenon in the 1950’s. He called it “Creative Destruction”. A new technology comes also and it destroys old businesses and lives and creates new businesses and opportunities — hopefully.
The invention of the automobile destroyed the horse and buggy business and all that went with it — from blacksmiths to the people who made boot scrapers. Before the automobile, nearly 500 tons of horse manure were collected from the streets of New York every day.
But the automobile also gave birth to gas stations, car dealers, tire salesmen, motels, fast food and suburbia, among other things.
There is no more powerful force in the world than technology. There is an old expression that says ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. But this is not true. When DARPA invented the Internet, there were not millions of people marching outside the pentagon demanding email or Amazon. Rather, it is invention that is the mother of necessity. Before the web, no one had ever heard of Amazon. Now, we cannot live without it. Quite literally if you once owned a main street small shop, destroyed by Jeff Bezos invention.
AI is going to wipe out millions of jobs and lives and it is coming fast. But no one ever asked us if we wanted it.
It’s a funny thing. In a democracy, we argue and vote endlessly over what turns out to be relatively insignificant issues — build a new sewer? Who may use what bathrooms. Stuff like that.
But the really big, really life and world changing things — Facebook, for example. Did anyone ever so, OK, here is the deal. We are about to unleash a new technology which will allow you to share all your photos and ideas with the world for free and keep in touch with your ‘friends’, but you are going to give up any notion you had of privacy. OK. who is in favor? Who is opposed. Please vote now.
That didn't happen.
Facebook just appeared, unwanted and un-asked for. And today some 1.9 billion people are on it. Same goes for Google or Amazon (who wants convenient shopping that will destroy downtown? Raise you hands now…)
Elon Musk and 1100 other ‘notables’ are talking about slowing down AI’s development or stopping it completely before it destroys the world.
How about giving all of us a vote, not just on AI, but on every new technology before, like a virus, it is unleashed on the world?
If you found this interesting, check out my new book, The Rise of the Mediaverse and the Death of Truth.