A thought experiment

Here’s a question brought on by some recent reading and the absolutely horrifying problems with AI-generated art undermining the intellectual property rights of artists and content creators.

Do you think people will insist that everyone MUST work after technological advancements have made most kinds of workers obsolete? Even when it is clear that there simply aren’t any jobs for humans? Even when the jobs that really ought to be done by humans are given to AI and machines anyway because they’re cheaper, more efficient, and upgradeable?

What will happen when AI has replaced almost everything needed to run a society – even down to producing entertainment? Universal Basic Income? Earned Income Tax Credit? Or will people just be left to starve because they can’t earn the capital necessary to pay for food and shelter? 

More importantly, how do you plan to pivot into a different career once someone figures out how to automate what you do?

If you think you’re not going to get automated, try the thought experiment anyway. I’m sure artists, educators, cashiers, authors, and truckdrivers never thought AI could replace them, once.

So just imagine with me – for just a moment – how you could make a life change if someone figured out how to make your job happen without you. How would you make a living/fill your time?

Don’t just say ‘well, they’ll always need people to do some things in my line of work.’ Assume that whoever that person is, it is someone more educated or well-connected than you, or younger and cheaper, or more versatile and flexible.

Just play with me in this space for a moment: what would you do if you couldn’t earn an income in exchange for your labour? 


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