This topic we’ll be discussing today is a bit niche and to be frank, my expertise concerning this topic is quite minuscule. However, for the sake of starting a conversation, I think I know just enough to make this an entertaining read for you. What are we talking about here?
Well, let’s start with the current pandemic that has taken the world by storm. Covid-19 has struck the world a new blow. Millions have been infected and thousands have sadly died. As of this very moment, many continue to contract the virus while we all remain hopeful for a treatment or vaccine on the horizon. As tragic as it all is, we’re not here to discuss something that is street knowledge. Instead, let’s discuss particularly one area where Covid-19 has burned a hole through. The unemployment hole. According to recent statistics, the unemployment rate in the United States alone has reached a whopping 15%. Over 24 million Americans have been furloughed and are currently glued to the unemployment program run by their respective states. For how long they remain in such a state totally depends on a victorious battle against Covid-19, or so we hope, right? You see, to stave off a colossal economic crash, billions of dollars (money printed out of thin air, which if economic laws hold, we the taxpayers will be footing the bill sooner rather than later) were pumped into mostly corporate businesses to retain their employees. Unfortunately, some of these corporate entities had other plans and still carried through with mass layoffs to retain cash flow. For example, United Airlines, after receiving a fat check of 5 billions dollars announced their plan to lay off a portion of their employees come Fall. In turn, many will be sent running to the hills of unemployment benefits. The good news is, as long as employers continue to pay into the unemployment insurance taxes, the funds should be available for those furloughed. The law states: “Employers must pay unemployment insurance for as long as they have employees, as long as these employees work a minimum amount.”
Now comes the meat of this discussion. If employers must pay unemployment insurance for as long as they have employees, what happens when they no longer have employees? What happens when AI and AGI become the bread and butter of corporate industries? I grew up in a small town where I was fortunate enough to witness the damage self-checkouts had on the working class. It took years to take shape but eventually the doorbell rang. I was fortunate enough to live in a progressive state these past few years (California) to witness the revamp of the grocery store and fast food chain. And guess what? The revamp had profit in mind first and employees second. Even now, I’m still fortunate enough to witness a revolution which could spell trouble for our civilization. Last week, I stumbled across a startup company providing autonomous security services to businesses at a fraction of the cost it would take to hire human security details. Three days ago, I happen to be reading about a company gearing up to supply autonomous machine patty makers. Possibly in the next 5 years, uber may possibly lay off their drivers in favor of autonomous cars. Ten years from now, maybe airlines will invest in fully autonomous planes. Are you catching my drift yet? When AI and AGI have reached autonomous levels to complete tasks beyond the capabilities of humans, where does that leave humanity? Where does that leave the working class? At the mercy of unemployment benefits? But wait, these companies no longer have employees, so who will be supplying the unemployment funds then? The government? Extremely high taxes? UBI? This is pure speculation, but maybe these stimulus checks might be a form of trial phase for an upcoming era where UBI comes to fruition. (I see you clapping Mr. Andrew Yang)
Sorry got side tracked there for a second.
I’m beginning to feel like not enough is being done to avoid such a catastrophic future. And it took a tragic event like Covid-19 to put things into perspective. Why are we not having this conversation more often? Why are we not forging reliable plans to prevent an unemployment rate which could exceed 25% when AI and AGI become the norm? Why are we not investing more in trade schools to give the working class a chance to get ahead so they can be prepared to live in an AI and AGI runned world?
The biggest question is, how sustainable will this new system be? Sure sounds marvelous for corporate businesses, but how will the tune sound when 25%+ of your population becomes illiterate in a world where they no longer recognize and as human beings bring zero value to? What then?
Thanks for stopping by. Leave your comments below or DM on insta @iiarcseriesii. Let’s talk. Teach me something I don’t know regarding AI and AGI.