AI and Our Kids: Raising Centaurs
Rowan Trollope
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Maybe I’m just a cranky old guy but two points:

Self-driving cars: All the disadvantages of individual transport combined with all the disadvantages of mass transit! W00t! What’s not to love!

That’s what we need to help our kids discover. We’re going to need to teach kids adaptability. And no shortage of humility.

Well, this will work in Lake Woebegone certainly, where every child is above average, but for the rest, I’m certain imminent starvation will teach them ‘adaptability’ and ‘humility’ just as well.

Vast swathes of the US population have already been discarded like broken tools by automation and other market forces, and the Glorious Reign of AI promises to discard tens of millions more, reaching deep into the formerly safe world of professional and white collar work as well as blue collar. (your joke about ‘no more lawyers’ is a real thing. Thousands and thousands of people have been driven into crippling debt getting law degrees for which there are no jobs. Some of them are those baristas you’re so eager to dispose of.)

The rise of violent fascist and white supremacist movements of the past and today did not arise from nowhere. They arose from people who were deprived of meaningful work, fuelling grievances both real and imagined, and they were skillfully manipulated by leaders eager to use them as tools one last time, by blaming ‘the Other’ as the source of their woes.

Your glorious ‘17 years from now’ future of AI wiping out millions of jobs will only add to the number.

Angry people smash things, discarded people smash things, starving people smash things.

AI advances may well create those promised millions of new jobs doing…well, whatever it is that machines won’t or can’t do (although many reputable people have serious doubts about that; this is not like previous tech revolutions), but all the code camps in the world won’t employ the tens of millions of ex-truck drivers , ex-baristas, ex-burger joint employees, ex-lawyers, ex-doctors, etc etc, as coders in a world that’s going to need far fewer coders, as well as far fewer truck drivers , baristas, burger joint employees, lawyers, doctors…)

(because you don’t really think that AI isn’t going to displace human coding too, do you?)

These new jobs won’t be where the displaced people live, or be suited to their (often hard-earned) skills.

All we’re doing is leaving more people behind, faster. I’m sure the gig economy will step up to handle them /s.

The problem with rapidly evolving AI technology isn’t one of technology, it’s that the technocrats in Silicon Valley don’t have the slightest clue what kind of fire they’re playing with.

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