Print this Post

How Machines Will Rule You


Whether you want to participate or not, you will soon experience an existential change to your existence. Machines WILL take a prominent role in determining your future. In this last part 101 (5) of our series, we show you how artificial intelligence, machines, and big data will significantly alter what you know as “reality”.

If you missed any of the series, and you don’t know where to start, go back to the beginning.


Finally, we get to the granddaddy of them all, artificial intelligence.  Nearly all of the examples we’ve talked about involve different levels of artificial intelligence, but all of what we’ve talked about is truly known as narrow AI.  Narrow AI focuses on performing specific tasks, but it does so much better and much faster than a human.  At this point, narrow AI is all around us in our everyday life, from self-driving cars, to Siri, to automated phone attendants, even the system we’ve been describing is an example of narrow AI.  Each form of narrow AI created has the probability of making their human counterparts irrelevant.  Narrow AI, in and of itself, is enough to completely change society as we know it.

In the beginning of this series I said that the people being born right now will look upon our world as we look at dinosaur bones in a museum.  This is because AI is going to eventually change economics, government, and society into something that doesn’t exist today.  Here’s how:

If history is any indication of the future, we won’t stop the march of progress in technology.  Every day, machines gain the ability to do the jobs of humans.  Following those statements through to a logical end, the more technology progresses, the fewer jobs will be available.  Eventually, nearly all jobs can be done by a machine or with software.  The problem is, at that point, or more likely somewhere on the path to it, the very concepts of wealth and power begin to fall apart, as well as capitalism.  Capitalism works in today’s society because people own their labor and receive the fruits from it, companies own goods and resources, and everyone has the right to entrepreneurship.  Companies use labor to create goods and services and people use the capital earned through labor to buy goods and services according to the laws of supply and demand.  All of these components must exist to have a capitalist system.  If we remove one of these components, in this case labor, the equation ceases to function. 

To illustrate we can use the example of food production.  Food is a basic human necessity.  The demand for food is ever present.  If software and machines take over agriculture, the production of food will be as efficient as possible, hence the supply will be plentiful and always able to meet demand.  In a normal capitalist economy, when supply equals demand, the price is stable.  If supply exceeds demand, the price falls.  If supply is insufficient for demand, the price rises. 

When the farmer initially purchased the robots and software to perfectly farm his land, things were awesome.  His overhead went way down and his profits way up.  But as software and machines continued to take over labor in the economy, there was less and less capital to purchase the food.  At some point, technology, instead of helping to create wealth, began to destroy it.  In this case, even though there is both the ability to supply and a demand, the economy has no velocity because there’s no grease for the Travolta.  Everything grinds to a halt.  In effect, demand shrinks, not because the demand isn’t there, but there is no wealth to satisfy it.  Prices plummet as a result.  Once deflation starts, it’s a tough hole to get out of.  If you somehow have wealth, why would you buy something today, when it will be cheaper tomorrow?  If you have debt, every day that goes by you owe more in real terms.   

Something similar happened, albeit for different reasons, in the great depression.  Except in our case we’ve removed any possibility of recovery, because we’ve removed labor from capitalism.  This collapse eventually results in the value of currency being zero.  There’s no money left in the economy with a virtually unlimited supply, yet there is a demand.  Theoretically, if machines and software formed the labor in this economy, and everything was free, these machines could meet any demand and the only limited factor would be the resources of the earth…that is until we went…out..there  If there was something to manage the process.

Now, In capitalism, government exists, or should exist, to ensure free trade and outlaw barriers to entry.  Because machines can do your job better for less, the value of your labor is essentially zero.  Now I’d say that the value of your labor being zero would be a massive barrier to entry, and as I just said, it is a government’s responsibility to remove barriers to entry.  In the past, a few different economic systems have been created in an attempt to account for people that didn’t have the skills or will required to compete in the economy, and you may know those Socialism and Communism.  These concepts revolve around the government, consisting of people, creating a central plan to manage the economy.  These plans typically fail because the people creating the plan cannot understand or foresee all of the factors that affect an economy and they make mistakes.  Now, we all know that people would fail, just like they have in the past, if tried again.  If only something existed that could understand the habits of every person on the planet and predict what they might want or do next…I wonder..

At first, government would take hold of certain major sectors of the economy, agriculture, energy, transportation, banking and the like, just to keep people alive.  Unlike most of the past interventions, it is logical to say that this time the government would nationalize entire sectors of the economy.  The difference is governments would essentially be ceasing formerly privately owned machines to make things and serve people.  This begins the paradigm shift, the change that will make life so different for future dwellers, they wouldn’t recognize the way we live today. 

With most of the primary sectors of the economy nationalized, we will begin to morph into a socialist or even communist like society, with a major difference.  We are not relying on people to labor for the state.  It’s machines and software.  Because these machines can crank out whatever we like, it might be possible to create a world that resembles the Old Country Buffet in the middle of a Walmart on Black Friday.  Having an automated labor force for most things puts humans into a lifestyle with a focus on leisure and entertainment.  Unfortunately, for those of you who just got a little elated at the thought, you have to remember the planet has limited resources.  The government will quickly realize the aim of the new economy will be to manage resources.  You’ve heard about a universal wage being bandied about, well, this is sort of it.  It will begin with everyone receiving a minimum standard of living, of sorts, but one that will far exceed what we know today. 

Almost as quickly as they realize that managing resources is the name of the game, they will realize they there is no mechanism in place to do so.  There is, however, a system on the planet that knows everyone’s previous actions and can predict behaviors.  This system will be amalgamated into the government and used to predict demand and control supply, while sustaining resources.  Technology will be the only thing that can manage such a complex levitation.   This is the point where government entrusts the welfare of the populace in a machine. Assuming we retain the right to vote, it is almost unfathomable as to how legislation will impact human inputs into the machine, or whether or not we will continue to vote for human representatives at all.  Favor and corruption will take on wholly new meaning.  While the concepts of the Bill of Right could mostly exist, could technology make a better juror?  Can we FINALLY get rid of lawyers?  Regardless, the very fabric of the framework of human rights will take on an entirely new meaning.

The way we value things will change.  Almost all things become commodities, and by commodity I mean an unspecialized product.  Very few things will have will be special.  The things of everyday life, while essential free, will have no value.  It is the things the machines can’t create that will have a value, yet what mechanism will take place for these things to exchange hands?   At the very least, the way we view private property rights will be turned on their heads.  For instance, who would want to live in an area of the world that wasn’t ideal?  The reasons we live where we live are mostly dictated by economics.  Without these reasons, living in places that don’t have, say, ideal weather, are pleasing to the eye, or have some sort of recreational benefit would have no value.  The places that do would have immense value, but how would it be dictated who lives where?

If society today is a bellwether of the future, most people will be perfectly happy with a materialistic life of leisure, but not everyone.  There are always going to be people that want more.  Where is the place for the future entrepreneur?  For innovation?  At this point in time things to get fuzzy.  Today, we rely on humans to further technology, to invent new things.  It takes a human mind to invent a new product or technological innovation.  When new concepts are invented, people are the driving factors in taking them from concept to reality.  We’ve mentioned that we can arrive at this point in time with what is called narrow AI.  Narrow AI can be inventive to find new ways to achieve a goal, but that goal has always been defined by humans.  If you create a narrow AI to find the best way to find information on the Internet, something like Siri, its not going to just find a cure for cancer on its own.  At this point, the remaining humans that have value to the labor force will be the innovators…and salesmen.  The problem  is, either new concepts will have to take root to compensate these folks, or their personal gain would be the satisfaction of furthering society, or they will be forced to work on these issues.  Who knows?  The point is, the only logical progress would be to complete the transformation from a human labor based society and economy to one solely driven  by machines.

When it comes to machines, as far as innovation goes, most data scientists believe that this type of thinking is the domain of something called general AI.  Think of general AI as a form of intelligence that can do the things that can only be done by something with the capabilities of the human brain.  General AI can come up with answers to questions it didn’t know existed when turned on.  It is general AI that has the capability to invent, and that doesn’t exist today.  One of the last great conquests of the human mind will be to create a general AI.  If we succeed, innovation could be off the charts, with AI doing mastering everything from healthcare and physics to designing the latest fashions and even entertainment.   If what I’ve described up until know is the first existential change to human existence since the US Constitution, or the Magna Carta, general AI might be the next.

When human kind does create a general AI, all bets are off.  The human brain is an amazing and complex organ.  We’ve created the world that you and I are familiar with today, and we are on the way to creating the world I’ve described, and it’s taken us thousands of years since we crawled out of caves to do so.  Most data scientists agree there will be one major concept that will be different between a human brain and a General AI, and that is time.  Our brains are complex and great, but being electro chemical they are slow.  We don’t access memory as quickly or reliably as an electronic brain would.  Simply put, if you put a general AI on a task that would take a human a year to solve, it would take the general AI, oh, about 25 minutes.  Another way to look at it would be, it took us thousands of years to arrive where we are today.  What would our world look like if we advanced another 5 to 10 thousand years in a year?  Would we humans be able to digest that much progress in such a short amount of time?  It might be akin to dropping you from today into the world just described, or it might mean something far, far more different…think being plugged into the matrix.  And this assumes that all of the nightmare scenarios with AI don’t come to fruition.  For this future, I will leave all of you to ponder. 

In the beginning of the series we talked about how a single internet connected device, or an IoT device is part of a rapidly connecting world of devices and mapped out how big data is being used with the help of cloud computing.  To tell the complete story would require a decade’s worth of videos. I hope that it was understandable enough to paint a picture in your heads as to how something as innocuous as data is going to transform the world you know today into something unrecognizable.  Your thoughts and comments down below will be appreciated.  Logically, these things are going to happen.  What we don’t know is how long is going to transpire and exactly how, but rest assured, our lives are going to drastically change.  It will be interesting how this video will be viewed in years to come.

Thanks for watching

Permanent link to this article: https://tinhatranch.com/how-machines-will-rule-you/