10 08

The creation of a machine with human-like intelligence that could someday fool us into believing it’s one of us has often been described, with no small measure of trepidation, as the “singularity.”

Respectable scientists like Stephen Hawking have argued that such a singularity will, in fact, mark the “end of the human race.”

In other words, if pessimists like Hawking are right, it’s odds that robots will dispatch humanity before the climate crisis does.

Neither the artificial intelligence that powers GPS nor the kind that controlled that frustrating toll plaza has yet attained anything like human-level intelligence—not even close.

If humans continue to behave badly on a global scale—war, genocide, planet-threatening carbon emissions—it’s difficult to imagine that anything we create, however intelligent, will act differently.

The world economy nearly ground to a halt in 2020 for one major reason: the health of human workers.

The pandemic not only accelerated this trend, but increased economic inequality as well because, at least for now, robots tend to replace the least skilled workers.

In a survey conducted by the World Economic Forum, 43 percent of businesses indicated that they would reduce their workforces through the increased use of technology.

In an ideal world, robots and AI would increasingly take on all the dirty, dangerous, and demeaning jobs globally, freeing humans to do more interesting work.

In the real world, however, automation is often making jobs dirtier and more dangerous by, for instance, speeding up the work done by the remaining human labor force.

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