The Artificial Intelligence Contagion: Can Democracy Withstand the Imminent Transformation of Work, Wealth and the Social Order?
DescriptionExamines how AI/Robotics is overwhelming the fundamental institutions of Western society. But are we prepared for the social impact of the vast changes soon to be upon us? - Half the world's workers could be replaced by machines within the next 30 years. The McKinsey Global Institute and Oxford University researchers predict massive job loss with 47% to 50% of US jobs eliminated by 2030 and up to 800 million more jobs destroyed worldwide. - Nor will the AI/robotics transformation produce large numbers of replacement jobs. The AI/robotics systems are already being designed to do those. No area of work is sacrosanct. Work opportunities are being eliminated from the most "intellectual" activities down to the basic areas of services and labor, including a range of professional occupations heretofore thought of as distinctly human: in middle management, finance, banking, insurance, medicine, high-tech, transportation, law and even the arts. Worse, it is playing out in the context of a set of critical issues. - Birth rates are plummeting below replacement levels in economically developed nations. People are living to ages wellbeyond historical averages. - At least fifty percent of Americans have little or nothing saved for retirement. - Poor and uneducated migrants are coming into Western nations at a time when the agricultural, construction and home care jobs migrants have traditionally filled are being increasingly replaced by robotic workers. - An already bankrupt US government is projected to experience annual deficits above $1 trillion for at least the next ten years. The US national debt is officially admitted to be $21 trillion, but is actually closer to $65 trillion dollars according to a former US Comptroller General. As AI/robotics eliminates jobs across the spectrum, governmental revenues will plummet while the debt increases dramatically. This crisis of limited resources on all levels--underfunded or non-existent pensions, health problems, lack of savings, and job destruction--will drive many into homelessness and produce a dramatic rise in violence . All this will take place in an environment of increased AI-facilitated surveillance by governments, aggressive militarization using AI systems and autonomous weapons, and the degradation of of the world;s economic and political order. The final five chapters of CONTAGION offer possible solutions.
1 May 2019
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