… leaving people to lead meaningless and miserable lives, claims scientist
As the capabilities of robots and AI continues to grow, a leading scientist has warned that the machine takeover will lead mankind into a ‘hellish dystopia’.
Dr Subhash Kak, a computing expert at Oklahoma University, says employment provides people with a sense of self-worth and value.
He believes this self-worth will be lost as robots take control, leading humans into a life of ‘meaningless’ misery.
He claims the US opioid addiction and the rise of extremist groups are an early omen of a dystopian future
Dr Kak, a professor of electrical and computer engineering told the Daily Star Online: ‘The beginnings of the dystopia are already there.
‘There will be massive unemployment. People want to be useful and work provides meaning, and so the world will sink into despair.’
This is already happening, he said.
A report last year claimed that 800 million workers could be replaced by machines by 2030.
Dr Kak said: ‘Policymakers have begun to speak of a minimum guaranteed income with everyone provided food, shelter, and a smartphone, and that will not address the heart of the problem.
‘In my view, the current opioid and drug epidemic in the US is a manifestation of this despair.
‘Likewise, phenomena such as ISIS are a response to the meaninglessness that people find in a world devoted only to the cult of the body,’ said Dr Kak.
In November, management consultancy firm, McKinsey, published a report called ‘Jobs lost, jobs gained: Workforce transitions in a time of automation’.
The report focused on the amount of jobs that would be lost to automation, and what professions were most at risk.
Talking about the continued evolution of AI, Dr Kak said: ‘Some say that current phase of automation will create new kinds of jobs that we cannot even think of.
‘The current revolution is replacing the thinking human and so its impact on society will be enormous.’
The report claimed that there will be enough work to maintain full employment until 2030, but there will be challenging transitions ahead and that in about 60 percent of jobs, at least one-third of activities could be automated.
It said: ‘We estimate that between 400 million and 800 million individuals could be displaced by automation and need to find new jobs by 2030 around the world.’
And while the report suggested that new jobs will be available, it highlighted that people may need to learn new skills to get them.
The report said: ‘Of the total displaced, 75 million to 375 million may need to switch occupational categories and learn new skills.’
The report suggested that workers in China are likely to be most affected by the switch to automation.
It said: ‘In absolute terms, China faces the largest number of workers needing to switch occupations – up to 100 million if automation is adopted rapidly or 12 percent of the 2030 workforce.
‘While that may seem like a large number, it is relatively small compared with the tens of millions of Chinese who have moved out of agriculture in the past 25 years.’
But the countries facing the biggest change are the US, Germany and Japan, according to the report.
It added: ‘For advanced economies, the share of the workforce that may need to learn new skills and find work in new occupations is much higher: up to one-third of the 2030 workforce in the United States and Germany, and nearly half in Japan.’
In terms of jobs, the report suggests that physical jobs in predictable environments – including machine-operators and fast-food workers – are the most likely to be replaced by robots.
But it added: ‘Collecting and processing data are two other categories of activities that increasingly can be done better and faster with machines.