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"Synthetic Intelligence and the Transmutation of Humankind
--A Roadmap to the Singularity and Beyond"


-by Wes Penre, 2016

[http://wespenre.com]
 




 
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Chapter 12:
What Will Happen to our Jobs?

 

Robots Taking over the Job Industry

The most nagging question that we may have when we realize that more and more robots are taking over the job market is, what is going to happen with us humans? Then we may ask ourselves, are we all going to become unemployed in the end and all be considered “useless eaters,” as Henry Kissinger called the Third World people? Is there going to be any food for us to eat at all if we don’t earn any money by working? What will happen with housing? Will we all be homeless and have to live in tents and handmade cabins as they did in the 1800s?

These are all concerning questions, and I will do my best to answer them in this chapter by sharing my research on the subject and the conclusions I’ve made.

However, we first need to find out what plans the Controllers have in terms of the job market.

People, in general, have perhaps not started to reflect on how fast robots are taking over tasks on the job market, but soon enough they will see the inevitable trend. Robots are now getting cheaper and cheaper, and slowly but surely they start moving into our homes, hospitals, shopping malls, and restaurants on a more regular basis. People are beginning to complain that robots have been taking over their jobs; one example is Amazon.com, where robots now are entirely in control of loading orders on carts and driving them to the appropriate location in the warehouse. This huge investment will save the company many millions of dollars, but it also costs many workers their jobs. Other industries are quickly following in Amazon.com’s robotic footsteps.

The Mirror.co.uk reports on 3D-printers, implantable mobile phones, and clothes and reading glasses connected to the Internet as if it were science-fiction, but then adds that by 2025 this will be a reality.[1] The Mirror.co.uk is referring to a statement made by the World Economic Forum).[2] However, there is another disturbing revelation; the same forum reports that AI will be sitting as corporate Boards of Directors within a decade.

The Mirror.co.uk recognizes the problems with unemployment and states the following:

The promise is cheaper goods and services, driving a new wave of economic growth. The threat is mass unemployment and a further breakdown of already strained trust between corporations and populations.

"There is an economic surplus that is going to be created as a result of this fourth industrial revolution," Satya Nadella, chief executive of Microsoft, told the WEF's annual meeting in Davos on Wednesday.

"The question is how evenly will it be spread between countries, between people in different economic strata and also different parts of the economy."[3]

They also realize how we are quickly moving towards the Singularity by adding,

Robots are already on the march, moving from factories into homes, hospitals, shops, restaurants and even war zones, while advances in areas like artificial neural networks are starting to blur the barriers between man and machine.[4]

This is, of course, a very serious concern, and Bloomberg.com reports that over 5 million jobs will be gone by 2020.[5] This is based on a study that included 1.9 billion workers, which is about 65% of the global workforce. Bloomberg.com further addresses the issue:

The blurred lines between physical, digital and biological spheres amount to a Fourth Industrial Revolution, according to the WEF [World Economic Forum], which will address the idea as the idea at its annual meeting of policy makers, academics and economists in Davos, Switzerland. It’s already a hot topic thanks in part to books such as ‘The Second Machine Age’ and ‘The Rise of The Robots,’ while Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane has warned that the millions of jobs at risk from automation are creating issues officials need to address.[6]

Apparently, women will lose most of the jobs because they are more poorly represented in fields such as mathematics, science, technology, and engineering than men are. In the beginning, administrative posts will have the worst mass unemployment, according to the same WEF survey.

Young people in today’s Britain feel that the educational system is failing to prepare them for the new job market. In a survey, 77% of former students said that they had to get additional education to be able to do their jobs after they had left the universities.[7] In reality, the educational system has been disastrous for many decades already, but it is getting worse.

The huge problem is that we have become so industrialized that we can’t imagine a life without having a job within a company, an industry, or being self-employed, but usually still working in the midst of the job industry. When being laid-off and not having a chance to get a new job, many people will not know what to do with their time, and they will feel useless when not being able to contribute to the society. In 1977, Youngstown, Ohio, was a great example of this problem, after the steel mill, being the major employer in town, was shut down. When people no longer had jobs, criminality increased exponentially, and so did violence and spouse abuse. Alcoholism also became a big problem.

Most humans have forgotten how to be self-sufficient. Our society today does not encourage this, but actually makes it as hard as possible to choose that route. Being slave labor to an Elite that is getting richer and richer, while people in general are getting more and more worn down, is not a new phenomenon, it’s been the fate of mankind for the past couple of hundred thousand years. We are often clueless how to break this pattern. The slave becomes dependent on and dedicated to his or her slave master for survival—or so the slave thinks.

According to The Atlantic, we may have to start rethinking our standard of living because only people in their prime-age (25 to 54 years old) may be offered full-time jobs, and the overall wages will decrease. Even in today’s economic situation, one-sixth of people in their prime-age are not working; they are either unemployed or out of the workforce altogether. According to The Atlantic, under a sound economic system, almost all of these prime-agers would be working.[8]

As it is now, wages are at the lowest (compared to relative inflation) since statistics on this matter were initiated in the mid-twentieth century;[9] and wages keep souring in the same manner. Although The Atlantic reports that there is not going to be a mass unemployment within the next decade, I think there is a great chance there will be, taking the current acceleration of technology into consideration. The Industry is not slacking on this subject; they can’t robotize the market fast enough. However, they still would need some kind of balance because there’s interdependence between human workers and the Industry. They pay us so we can use the money to put back into society by the usual commerce, which will benefit the same companies that paid us our wages in the first place. If too many people are unemployed, it also negatively affects the Industry. Alternatively, a new system of exchange could be implemented.

The Atlantic is revisiting an event that happen in the 1950s, related to Henry Ford II, the CEO of Ford. This event has become a classic. It is highly relevant to our current discussion, so I’d like to include it here:

In the 1950s, Henry Ford II, the CEO of Ford, and Walter Reuther, the head of the United Auto Workers union, were touring a new engine plant in Cleveland. Ford gestured to a fleet of machines and said, “Walter, how are you going to get these robots to pay union dues?” The union boss famously replied: “Henry, how are you going to get them to buy your cars?”[10]

We all might think that there are quite a few jobs that cannot be robotized because they require human emotions and compassion to be able to serve their customers. We may need to seriously reconsider this idea, and here is an example from The Atlantic, telling us why we should:

In 2013, Oxford University researchers forecast that machines might be able to perform half of all U.S. jobs in the next two decades. The projection was audacious, but in at least a few cases, it probably didn’t go far enough. For example, the authors named psychologist as one of the occupations least likely to be “computerisable.” But some research suggests that people are more honest in therapy sessions when they believe they are confessing their troubles to a computer, because a machine can’t pass moral judgment. Google and WebMD already may be answering questions once reserved for one’s therapist. This doesn’t prove that psychologists are going the way of the textile worker. Rather, it shows how easily computers can encroach on areas previously considered “for humans only.”[11]

The statistics show, according to The Atlantic and its sources, that the majority of unemployed people, who have much more time at their convenience, do not socialize more, but less. Instead of socializing, most spend an average of 50 hours a week watching TV, and the rest of their time they spend eating and sleeping. The study implies that people who don’t have jobs feel inferior and don’t feel they want to take part in the community; of course there are exceptions.

A professor from the Stanford University recently suggested that in the very near future, people who are unemployed will spend more and more time in virtual reality games that will give them more pleasure and satisfaction than engaging in the “real” world: the professor does not see this as something negative but as something imaginative and creative.[12], Of course, in itself, this is very alarming, and based on what we now know, we can see why unemployment may be necessary for the Singularity to be achieved; it’s an introduction to virtual reality games for people who otherwise might not engage in such a thing.   

A few Ideas how to solve Mass Unemployment

We can see how one type of job after another no longer requires a human workforce; one of these being factory workers. We no longer need people to create products or run machines; these days, 3D printers are becoming more and more the standard. These printers can 3-D print products almost instantaneously, and such printers can easily be overseen by robots. This will wipe out an entire workforce world-wide, all across the Industrialized World.

In order to find answers to what is going to happen when the machines take over our jobs, many researchers and different kinds of media have turned to Youngstown to study what has happened there since the steel mill shut down in September 1977, almost forty years ago. Albeit people are still struggling to make ends meet in Youngstown, it’s not become a ghost town by any means. People still live there and obviously survive somehow. Many want to know how they do it.

One town member explains:

“It is the end of a particular kind of wage work,” said Hannah Woodroofe, a bartender there who, it turns out, is also a graduate student at the University of Chicago. (She’s writing a dissertation on Youngstown as a harbinger of the future of work.) A lot of people in the city make ends meet via “post-wage arrangements,” she said, working for tenancy or under the table, or trading services. Places like Royal Oaks are the new union halls: People go there not only to relax but also to find tradespeople for particular jobs, like auto repair. Others go to exchange fresh vegetables, grown in urban gardens they’ve created amid Youngstown’s vacant lots.[13]

If this will be the trend and eventually the norm, it’s quite obvious that we need to go back to bartering, and in case this is the way to survive in the future, it’s a good idea to practice skills that include something you can barter with. It can’t be emphasized enough that hardship is the mother of invention. History shows that people are actually much more creative under threats to their survival than they are when a job, food on the table, and a place to live are taken for granted. One idea is to work on a local level, community by community, as they do in Youngstown, by using a certain center where people could meet to socialize and teach each other new skills—not via computers and electronic devices, but in face-to-face interactions. Townspeople could communicate what they are able to teach others, and those who would be looking for skills to learn could go to a person who could teach them these skills. People could then go out and practice their particular skill, and when feeling confident, perhaps teach it to someone else. Hopefully, there would then be a variety of skills in the community to barter with.

Bartering is always a way to go, but let’s investigate a little further to find out what the Controllers are actually planning for us. Bartering does seem to be something that would benefit the super-rich.

The Governor of the Bank of Japan has suggested a similar solution to what I was suggesting above, i.e. having a center where people can meet. He suggests that the local governments invest in such a center, where people can learn skills from each other—not to barter, but to be able to open up new small businesses and become a productive part of society again. The question is if it would work, however. Over the last 50 years, small businesses have become less and less profitable, which mainly is because the larger industries are taking over the market making it nearly impossible for small businesses to compete and survive. Moreover, if a small business does manage to become successful, it is usually bought up by the large corporations and this way, they are taking over an even bigger piece of the overall market. Eventually, the rest of the small businesses succumb.

However, this is what the Governor of the Bank of Japan has to say:

One way to nurture fledgling ideas would be to build out a network of business incubators. Here Youngstown offers an unexpected model: its business incubator has been recognized internationally, and its success has brought new hope to West Federal Street, the city’s main drag.[14]

The fact that mass employment will be an issue is not something that concerns those in power; it’s only crying for temporary solutions at this point. It’s all about keeping the show on the road until the Singularity is here. After that, human thinking capacity will be at its peak, and according to the Singularity gurus, we will be a billion times more intelligent. Then, who cares about small problems, such as unemployment? It will be a non-issue. However, the mass unemployment that might hit us before 2045 will be a stress factor necessary for the Controllers to be able to usher in the Singularity. Again, we have the formula, problem-reaction-solution, being used on us. I am sure you can easily figure out how this formula applies to the above situation; mass unemployment is the problem, people will react and demand that something must be done about it, and the solution to the problem that the Controllers created in the first place will be the Singularity.

Oxford researchers predict that in two decades from now, will robots have taken over fifty percent of the U.S. workforce.[15] One idea is—and it’s not a new one—to have the Government provide paychecks to the unemployed, calling it Universal Basic Income. Even President Nixon supported such an idea during mass unemployment. The money would come from heavily taxing the rich and then giving these taxes to the people as basic income.

The most dominant suggestion is, however, that people come together and have local or federal government pay for a place to meet and exchange skills, as we discussed earlier, but also to discover and develop latent skills in people. A good example is to bring certain people’s artistic side to the surface; a side that they never had the chance to develop while being part of their stressful former work environment. Now they might be able to develop these skills. Musicians could come together to compose, play, and build groups, which later could play for an audience. Others might be visual artists or painters. Whatever the hidden skills of a person are, in the post-work society, he or she might have a chance to openly develop them and be encouraged by others to do so. Some people might also be employed by richer people to help out with childcare and taking care of facilities, The Atlantic article suggests. However, I would suggest that the latter kind of jobs might already be occupied by robots.

In summary, scientists and governments can see the writing on the wall when it comes to the wave of mass unemployment that is most likely to hit us, and some of them are trying to come up with solutions. The most discussed solution is based on the following steps:

1)      Instead of having people (men in particular, studies show) sitting before the computer or the television all day long when they are unemployed, they join together in one or a few locations where they can share ideas, teach each other new skills, and develop their own, sometimes hidden skills and start using them for the benefit of one’s self and others.

2)     The local government builds a local facility where people can gather to accomplish 1) above.

3)     Some of these people may come up with ideas how to open their own small businesses or otherwise, using their skills to get at least a smaller income. If people’s ideas seem reasonable, the government may invest in these ideas, and hopefully these ideas will lead to more jobs in the near future.

4)    The local government or the federal government will collect more taxes from the rich and let the unemployed have a basic paycheck coming in every month. This will be called Universal Basic Income. However, just so people don’t get a paycheck without feeling that they have not contributed in any way in order to receive it, the idea is that it’s better to have people do something rather than nothing, and everybody needs to do something to contribute to the community in order to get their pay check, even if it would be pulling up weeds in public parks.

Under circumstances that we have very little impact on, these ideas sound reasonable, but I would definitely add two more things to this list. These things have been implied above, but I think there are some additional ideas that need to be added to the following solutions:

5)     Bartering. This requires skills, and it will be hard to get a new school education under these dire circumstances. Instead, people can educate themselves by learning from others in a face-to-face learning module. With a small government check coming in, people can use bartering to assist each other. Initially, bartering will typically not satisfy a person’s basic needs, and therefore the government check will come in handy. If some form of work is required in order to receive a check, exchanging of services with each other (bartering) could suffice to fulfill the government’s requirement in order to receive a check. After all, it’s a matter of keeping people busy enough so they don’t fall into deep depressions or start using drugs, which leads to crime.

6)    Learn how to plant your own garden if you own your house or rent it. You can also rent a small lot (if affordable) somewhere close by and plant fruits, roots, and vegetables there, or share a lot with someone else to make it more affordable. Then learn how to effectively grow your own food. Once you have that going, the money you spend on food in the store will be a minimum, if anything at all; it depends on how successful you are as a gardener. If you can plant more than you eat, you might be able to barter the rest.

I think topics numbers 5 and 6 above will become common solutions in the near future, if worse comes to worse, and it’s strongly advisable to start learning some skills now; particularly if you’re a young to middle-aged person. Even if you are older and expect to live another decade or two, I believe it is good advice. Monsanto might have one or two things to say about growing our own gardens, but this company is in decline already. In this sense, people are getting smarter.

If we wish to look at this from a positive perspective, it might very well be an excellent way for the more spiritually inclined to create a break-away community, where likeminded souls come together and teach each other how to survive without the cities and government controlling them. This is another reason to learn skills and to know how to grow food. It’s time to ask yourself, how can I be valuable to others? What do I have, or what can I do, to contribute to this break-away community? Am I good at gardening, nursing, the arts, preparing food, repairing things? We need to be thinking in those terms to be prepared.

Also, it may be time to teach ourselves some “old school” healing techniques. How do we cure illnesses with herbs and plants? There are those who will object to this and say that they have already tried natural and alternative ways to cure their illness, or at least in an attempt to make it more tolerable, but they have failed. Instead, they have gone back to their doctors and asked for traditional medicine to suppress their symptoms.

The reason herbs and plants don’t always work is because we know too little about the Living Library. The cures to any disease are in the Living Library—that’s how it’s set up! We just need to study and research it. We can begin by studying what the witches of the Dark Age knew about the Library, and we will find out that they knew a great deal; that’s why they were burned at the stake by the Catholic Church.

It’s advisable to go even further back in time to find out what the old shamans (especially the female shamans in ancient times) did to cure people’s illnesses and injuries. These are good examples of what we can do. In addition, the real healing comes from within, and people who understand this can help others heal by having the sick understand what it was that really made him or her sick. We make ourselves sick with our own thoughts and emotions, and these thoughts and emotions often come about because of some trauma in the near or distant past. It can be a small or big trauma, but it’s still a trauma. Finding the reason for why a person became sick can do miracles. This is something that needs to be practiced as well in any community that intends to house happy and healthy individuals.

I have often talked about how we must start creating in our own local universe and our inner universe to get the future we want. I can’t stress this enough; this is tremendously important! However, we still need to develop ways to survive, and how to survive well. This can only be done hands on. Hence, the importance of developing skills is highly applicable to anybody, anywhere. It is crucial that we teach our children skills when they are little. We need to teach them how to grow food, help in the kitchen, and clean the house, etc. moreover, it’s crucial to carefully observe our children and discover what their talents are. Then we must help them develop these talents. Children are most likely to succeed in life if they have developed skills that they truly enjoy. In adulthood, these children will put much more heart and effort into their job than those who are more or less forced into a certain trade. We also need to gradually teach our children about how the world really works, and we need to tell them the real history as we know it. It’s from learning our history that we learn how to live our lives in the present, so we don’t make the same mistakes over and over in the future.

When everything breaks down, avoid government schools if you are planning on joining a breakaway community, or have already joined one by then. Educate the children locally by using compassionate, spiritual teachers with real knowledge. Meet in the community to decide what needs to be taught in school and skip the rest. We don’t want to copy-cat the current public school. Teach the children how to be compassionate, peaceful, and loving towards self and others. Never tolerate any signs of violence or verbal abuse; handle it in its cradle, but not by punishing the kids. Instead, educate them and teach them why it is not okay to be mean, inconsiderate, or abusive in any way toward self and others; teach them to develop self-worth and self-confidence, and encourage their good sides and reward and acknowledge those traits. Many of us have probably heard the Cherokee Indian story about the two wolves, but I think it’s appropriate to repeat it here: 

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

The bottom line is that there will be a time, and it’s almost here, when jobs will be sparse because they have been taken over by machines that can work around the clock for no other cost than repairs, which is something the robots eventually will be able to do themselves, as long as the companies provide them with body parts and electricity. This situation is creeping up on us gradually, but one day many people will find themselves without jobs in a job market that doesn’t need their services and skills anymore. We can’t stick our heads in the sand because the time will soon come. Therefore, it is imperative that we know how to proceed at that point and not become the victims of circumstances.


Fig 12-1: The Indian Legend about the two wolves
 


[4] Ibid. op. cit.

[6] Ibid. op. cit.

[8] The Atlantic, Jul-Aug 2015, “A World Without Work

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid. op. cit.

[11] Ibid. op cit.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid. op. cit.

[14] Ibid. op. cit.

[15] Ibid.

 

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