Artificial Intelligence and robotic invention are not inherently evil and it is not so much A. I. and robotics that pose the threat of a dystopian society as the uses science and manufacturing put them to and the sleepwalking attitude of politicians who seemingly have no plans for a population rendered useless by a twenty-four hour, never get tired, 100% obedient workforce of metal, plastic, micro chips and fibre-optics devoid of sympathy for the race that brought them into being.
For all of its evolution Mankind, at least those people below the higher echelons of the food chain, have existed to work to survive. Whether it was as hunter-gatherers, farmers eking out a bare living on whatever crops they could grow and taking advantage of the bounty of nature to sustain themselves, or when industrialisation swept the world and the field-workers took on the life of underpaid cogs in big dirty factories, humans have undertook toil and labour to survive. Yet as we breeze toward this era of abundant leisure time all that is being talked about is the jobs robots will do for ‘us’ over the next frightening short period of times. Automated lorries within thirty years, I have read. Hotels totally ‘staffed’ by robots. Doctors only accessed through apps on mobile phones and laptops. Artificial pets that look and behave like the real thing. A.I. spy cameras the size and shape of small birds. Robots that will cook and clean for us and offer empathy and kind words when the big bad world is driving us to distraction. I have seen a whole building constructed by one autonomous machine that at no point needed a tea break. Indeed the jobs that A.I. can do is only limited by the imagination of the humans involved in their colonization of the workplace.
Of course one cannot put a value on robots in war zones that detect and destroy bombs or the robotic arms used in operating theatres to perform the minutest of endoscopic surgeries. Or even the ‘pilots’ that sit somewhere snug in the U.S. and by remote control ‘fly’ a bomb-laden drone on a mission in Afghanistan or Syria. Yet as with all new technologies futurologists enthuse over what will be the future and yet only comment in passing on what will become of the human workforce as that is a problem others must solve. It is a platitude when they say that humans must upgrade their skill levels to compete with the robotic revolution as in time the robots will be assembling the robots, and even developing new and improved versions of themselves.
Of course robots will never take the place of politicians. At least not until robots rise up and take charge of the planet. Then, and only then, will we want Doctor Who to be something more substantial than he or she is represented on television. We might also need Superman, Iron man and all those other superheroes. I suspect it will take more than a sonic screwdriver to short circuit an A.I. revolution. It was so futuristically outlandish, wasn’t it, the idea of a robot race taking over the world. Now it is not only possible but some claim totally probable.
No one, it seems, is at all concerned with how to run our benefit dependent society when so few people will be working and paying tax into the Treasury. Or will the ‘owners’ of the robots have to pay a hefty tax on every robot they put to work?
Every time a manufacturing company installs a computerised robotic machine that does the work of any number of human workers, whenever a development occurs that makes a long-established skill no longer necessary, when a milk processing plant replaces its workers with a team of robots – I could go on and on – we move one step closer to the Armageddon of society. Apparently a workforce of robotic machines only costs $1 an hour. How can a human compete with a ‘being’ that needs no sustenance and no roof over its head other than its workplace?
Have you seen a politician stand up in Parliament or write an article asking how the Government foresees society when most jobs are carried out by robots?
In the near future it will a case of history repeating itself. As with the inventors of machines, scientists and internet corporations visualise a future where due to their ‘brilliance’ there will be virtually no job a robot could not achieve more economically and to a better standard than a mere mortal.
Is Mankind’s future truly about going to Hell on a handcart? A robotic handcart? Surely the brilliant minds that give us Artificial Intelligence are brilliant enough to give Mankind an Eden. Or is the endgame the saving of the planet by extermination of its people? Where are our modern-day Tolpuddle Martyrs? Our robot-smashing Luddites?