Humans Need Not Apply

Posted by Neil Patel on Sep 1, 2014
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A powerful video that in some ways presents the tidal wave created by economic forces:

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Comments (4)

  • Aryae Coopersmith wrote ...

    Wow -- very sobering. What kind of human civilization do we want to be part of in the coming world where"humans need not apply?" And how do we get from here to there? Clearly this conversation needs to happen.

  • Nipun Mehta wrote ...

    In the field of matter (and mind is defined is a subtle form of matter), our actions (and thoughts) are all part of "doing". Such doing has two potential purposes -- one is a fitness function to cleanse the mind, and two is an expression of our innate inter-connectedness (compassion).

    When technology gets married to economics, which assumes that we're selfish creatures, it amplifies the notion that labor is toil -- and subsequently, aims to outsource the doing. Because our minds are so vast and generative, this is bottom-less pit that creates incessant activity (which is good for the economy!). Along the way, maybe technology makes us extinct, maybe it augments us, or maybe it learns to reduce its role.

    One series of questions centers around -- how will we be employed? Or perhaps even, how will we survive?

    The more significant question, I think, is this: how will we thrive? That is to say, will technology help us frame our doing as a practice of purification or an expression of compassion?

    If we're designing for economics, I'd bet that the answer will be a no. Under what scenarios, then, could the answer be yes? That's what we have to explore. :)

  • Timothy Harrison wrote ...

    There are at least two "professions" that may not be able to be replaced by automation: caregivers and monastics. Both can be used to absorb countless hours of uncompensated time, since people do them for reasons other than material gain. (Think of parents, or good friends, as examples of caregivers who work voluntarily even in the face of material loss.) Perhaps the key will be to help the few who are still making money (those who program the robots?) to see the benefit of sharing their wealth generously with the caregivers and monastics who are not providing a tangible product but are simply focusing on educating the hearts of others and helping others who face misfortune or difficulty. (Nothing about automation suggests that robots will somehow eliminate our inner turmoil... does [...] See full comment.
    There are at least two "professions" that may not be able to be replaced by automation: caregivers and monastics. Both can be used to absorb countless hours of uncompensated time, since people do them for reasons other than material gain. (Think of parents, or good friends, as examples of caregivers who work voluntarily even in the face of material loss.)

    Perhaps the key will be to help the few who are still making money (those who program the robots?) to see the benefit of sharing their wealth generously with the caregivers and monastics who are not providing a tangible product but are simply focusing on educating the hearts of others and helping others who face misfortune or difficulty. (Nothing about automation suggests that robots will somehow eliminate our inner turmoil... does it?)

    Most societies have been organized around supporting people in these helping roles, so even though we may be moving beyond priests and stay-at-home moms in the conventional sense, there is no reason we cannot recreate and reinvent such roles for the swelling number of unemployed that this video predicts.

    Who would argue with creating a society that has more time and more people devoted to helping each other? This sounds like a fabulous future, not a scary one!

    Without a technique or mechanism, however, for supporting the dissemination and development of this view -- that helping others is in fact a benefit in itself -- it is easy to imagine a world where the gap between haves and have-notes simply widens and chaos and injustice reigns.

    Sounds like a job for education and activism and reinventing our economic models. Sounds like a job for servicespace! Hide full comment.

  • Ilonka Wloch wrote ...

    For me, this video gives an opportunity to raise good questions. 1. Why do we live in a culture which values profit over human beings? 2. How can we change that?