The World To Come

When the managers brought in robots to take the jobs of the auto workers, we said “well they were just lazy union people anyway” and drove away in our VWs.

When the managers brought in robots to take the jobs of fast food workers, we said “well they had crappy jobs anyway”, and we shoved three more McNuggets into our mouths.

When the managers brought in machine learning searches to take away the jobs of lawyers we said “nobody cares about the lawyers,” and our schadenfreude grew.

When the managers brought in AI to take the jobs of call center folks, we didn’t care because those jobs were all in Asia already.

When the managers brought in robots to take the jobs of managers we said, “wait, can they do that?” and our slack jaws opened while McNuggets dribbled out.

And all the wealth flowed into a small number of people who had controlled the managers with money and promises that one day, they could be ultra wealthy too.

But then a funny thing happened. The myth of working hard to pull yourself out of poverty started to crumble, because there was no work to be had. And the ultra wealthy frantically tried to hide their money offshore because they knew what was coming.

Because the easiest thing to replace with a robot is an ultra wealthy person. In fact, you don’t even need a robot. You can just replace them with a myth, a story we tell our children about how the world became so riddled with inequality that it made the Middle Ages look egalitarian.

And then we moved on.

We don’t need the ultra wealthy. We don’t need managers even. And we certainly don’t need wealthy politicians to tell us how to feel and what to do.

We have been given the most powerful tool in the universe, artificial intelligence, to serve us as individuals.

A single person is weak, a liability. A small group of people can change the world. A society can change history. Add machine learning and robots to this equation and you begin to see true power. Soon we will decide to build a world designed for people, and not just ultra wealthy people, using AI as our tool.

This is going to get very, very interesting.

Painting by Simon Stålenhag

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