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Episode 84

The Future of Work

( Week 1 of Jan 2015 )

Interview: Dr Stefan Hajkowicz and the future of work.

Comments

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Vince (legacy)

Smartzi 6 years ago

I wrote a long comment about the implication of automating professions, but it was very TL;DR. Suffice it to say: professions are already automated, to automate them fully would surrender our control of our society to quite a large degree. Is this bad? I don't know.

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Greg Wah (legacy)

Co-Captain 6 years ago

I think that day is definitely coming. Very soon machines will run our society, maybe even artificial intelligence.

I see this as a good thing. It will be a painful transition and some in our society will be disenfranchised, as others as empowered, and it will require a massive perceptual shift from the average citizen on what is a 'useful' way to spend the day, but in the end our entire civilisation will benefit.

I point to the Culture series, by Ian M Banks, as the most utopian version of what will happen when artificial intelligence outstrips our own.

It's nothing to fear, in fact I see it as an outcome to reach for

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Vince (legacy)

Smartzi 6 years ago

Thanks Greg, I'll look those books up. I can see how it could be really good. I just wonder how much of our own self determination we will need to surrender and what that means for us.

If AGI can make better laws than we can, can monitor and regulate financial markets better, and design and produce better infrastructure, what is left for us? How do we grow as a species and as a culture? IMO, Both art and science come from passion, and where does passion come from if not from struggle?

I could be wrong though, and probably am. It sounds so very privileged for me to say "our" success is due to "our" struggles. Still. :/

It's all a little scary though and I'm not afraid to admit that I don't know what to make of all of it. Therefore: TO THE LIBRARY! :)

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Greg Wah (legacy)

Co-Captain 6 years ago

I don't believe human endeavour is based on struggle or fear. We have achieved so much not because of hardship but despite it.

The Culture series does point out that trillions of humans around the galaxy are happy to fill their days with frivolous nothing... and that's ok, because a small percentage are driven to achieve great science and great art.

Due to physical necessity we are stuck in the paradigm that if you don't go to work for 8 hours a day, digging trenches, filling spreadsheets, or managing other humans you are a lazy bum, a 'leaner' in the parlance of Australia's current government. I understand the historical context of this paradigm ; if you didn't work all the hours of the day you and your loved ones would die. However, the Industrial revolution started the changing that exist/die dichotomoy and every scientific advancement since that time has reduced the value of human labour. We, as a society, need to change what is deemed valuable. Studying nearly anything, art, exploration and caring for each other should be the benchmark of what is valuable. Digging ditches and filling spreadsheets should be left to the machines.

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Greg Wah (legacy)

Co-Captain 6 years ago

as a postscript - if you want to read a great novel about a future dystopian world where oil is super scarce and human labour is the only way to power industry, through clockwork and springs, I highly recommend 'The Windup Girl' by Paolo Bacigalupi

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Greg Wah (legacy)

Co-Captain 6 years ago

by the way - always post things you think might be tl;dr. We love reading our listeners ideas

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Kiesten McCauley (legacy)

Smartzi 6 years ago

I for one welcome our new robotic overlords

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