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They’re coming for your jobs, whatever those are.

PCR and Robert Henderson on the coming tech dissolution of civilization:

The attention of the world is currently fixed on coronavirus but there is another far more serious danger hurtling towards us in the shape of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and robotics.

Both are advancing rapidly. Probably within the lifetime of most people now living – and quite possibly in the next fifteen years – there will be general purpose robots (GPRs) capable of doing the vast majority of the work now undertaken by humans. When that happens international free trade and free market economics will become untenable. The real final crisis of capitalism will be the development of technology so advanced that it makes capitalism in the impossible because machines will make humans redundant across vast swathes of the economy.

Economic history shows that technological advance before the advent of digital technology creates new work. It may have very painful consequences for individuals whose livelihood disappears – the British hand-loomweavers of the early industrial revolution are a classic example – but new opportunities for employment have always as an economy becomes more sophisticated and variegated. The hand-loom weaver found work in the new factories; the redundant western factory worker of today in a call centre. At worst they might only get a MacJob but at least it was a job.

But if the GPRs can do the MacJobs as well as the more demanding work, then there will not be many new jobs for humans, not even much supervisory work because GPRs will need little supervising, and less and less as of it they become ever more sophisticated. Hence, this technological advance will be like no other: GPRs will not only take away existing jobs, they will devour any new work; the easier work first, then the more complex.

I just saw an article about 800 million jobs primed for losing to bots now, not tomorrow. These things are even writing books. What, exactly, will people do when there is nothing to do? Dope? It’s a great thing that people like Biden and Trump are all over this issue.