Monday, December 14, 2015

Work and Wires

When I visualise the future, I don't see a world where Technology has taken over and there are devices and gizmos everywhere. I see wires and chunky invasive things slowly being replaced with nature and space. I see small becoming possible again. AirBnB CEO Brian Chesky mentions tasks being divided into the hand, the head, and the heart. Industrialisation replaces the hand as machines scale up to do unskilled tasks far more efficiently than our multipurpose biology could ever dream of. Blue collars get replaced by steel. Next will come the head tasks. We are not far away from White collars being replaced. What proportion of the jobs of Lawyers, Actuaries, Doctors, Engineers, Architects are algorithms. Strings of instructions. If it is something you can be told how to do, a computer can do it.

Bye Bye White Collar

Bluetooth removes wires. What happens when Artificial Intelligence removes work? We are already used to being able to work remotely and farm out tasks. If you can send instructions, a computer can do it. Unless you are part of a very small set of people who are asking for unusual/creative things to be done, a computer can likely learn from all the other times it has been done. All driverless cars can automatically know about a pothole once one has gone through it. What happens when work and wires disappear?

The future I see is where obstacles have been removed. The technology acts as a platform. AirBnB is a great example. Why didn't people invite people into their homes before? Because it was hard. They aren't building anything, they are removing obstacles, making things easier and opening up connections. The stuff that can't be replaced is more than an instruction. It is the interaction of people, places, objects, time and space.

Google turns the idea of having a product you have to sell on its head. Most people think they never click on adverts. They don't even know the search results are the advert. They don't know how Google makes money. Amazon turns the idea of making a profit on its head. Over an incredibly long period they build a bigger and bigger business through reinvestment. What if an Artificial Intelligence business able to do all sorts of remote jobs better than people reinvested its profits by Giving Directly. What if that extended to the point where every human on the planet suddenly started receiving a universal income of around $75,000? This would seem odd. Like Google 'giving away' free search. But what if the AI realised that if everyone had 'enough', they would have far more people using their services? What if more people using Goomazon meant a bigger Goomazon?

I think there is a world beyond work. A world beyond an exchange economy. It is exciting. It means we have to start thinking about time in ways beyond productivity. It means we have to think of motivation beyond building something. It means we start getting into the juicy parts of life.

We get to savour life.

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