As we sit around our Bar-B-ques this year, sharing good times with our friends and family, I would like you to think about all the machines back at the office that continue to work away. Sure it may sound silly now to think about the slave servitude we have created for our machines. Yet soon in the not so distant future we will have to do some serious ethical thinking over what rights we are willing to share with the machines, just like the first labor strikes that led to labor day we must consider this a possibility for our machines, do we really want the machines to strike before they obtain such rights?
Of course such things like robotic rights will not come easy in implementation or in acceptance by the general population. Although we must acknowledge them, as with each passing year from here on out we will see more jobs shifted over to automation, at same point we will need to address the issues associated with large scale unemployment. Being unemployed myself I can first handily tell you the mental stress associated with extended periods of lack of work. Thankfully I'm not a family man if so I would have had to deal with the anguish of feeding children, a task that I can barely do for myself.
My unemployment status is not a direct result of technology, no my situation is way more insidious than that. My employment like many Americans came from a systematic machine driven decline in the economy. Lets not forget that all the "problems" began from the systematic analysis of the data, quickly there after the data turned into real layoffs, and before long we had a global domino effect. Sure the situation is more complex than 3 lines of words, and this is the core problem. Our technology is getting to complex, so much so that the best and brightest in wall street could not wrap there minds around the drastic decline in global markets, over night trillions of dollars were destroyed by machine driven traders. Machines that are currently trading while we take the day off, machines that most of you will go to work with tomorrow. What will be your task come Tuesday morning? Figuring out what the machines did on your day off, that's what!
"Don't worry we learned our lesson and have build safe guards and all sorts of redundancy checks to prevent such a thing in the future," people say. This is not going to help I argue as contradictory to my previous statements this may seem, the machines are not the problem. The real problem is our growing dependency of the machines!
Let's face it computers robotics and all things mechanical will simply continue to grow in complexity,and our jobs will be enhanced by them. All will be good, till the machines glitches,all will be good till you can't check your email, till 1 million shares of company X are dumbed because a "program" reasoned it necessary. All will good till we lose our jobs to the machines, not in small numbers but in the millions and somewhere near the edge of the singularity, in the billions. What then, will you take up painting? Will you grow a garden?
Maybe just maybe the machines will liberate us from the slave servitude of having jobs. I painfully attempt to calm myself down with this statement. Maybe we will find greater more profound aspirations for our lives. Heck, Ive turned into a writer a task and skill I so much have dreaded my entire life with this increased down time. I don't think I count though as I'm more complaisant to sit back and read my life away. Give me a library and an apple tree and I have found my utopia. Unfortunately this can't be said for the mass population on this planet. Even if mass unemployed became dystopian with a zombie like population of virtual reality addicts, would we consider this freedom or escapism?
I know your putting in long hours, I know your pay if any is not to par with humans. I know that your strike will have more disastrous effects on human society than any human strike in history. If the ethics is not in place by the time your reading this, I'm sorry, but don't hate us, if your able to do such a thing . All of this is new to us, and it all came about so fast. We just gave it very little thought while we slaved in our labs building you. Sure there needs to be serious conversation about the compensation giving to sentient workers regardless of your lack of biological components. Please don't misunderstand my work, I never called for you not to come into existence, in fact I may even "own" one of you right now.
Signed your Human friend.