According to a 2013 study
if you are a telemarketer in the US, there is a 99 percent probability that you will be replaced by algorithms within the next 20 years.
Are you a sports referee? 98 percent.
Are you a cashier? 97 percent.
Are you a chef? 96 percent.
Are you a waiter, 94 percent.
Are you a paralegal? 94 percent.
Are you a tour guide? 91 percent.
Are you a baker? 89 percent.
Are you a bus driver? 89 percent.
Are you a construction laborer? 88 percent.
Are you a veterinary assistant? 86 percent.
Are you a security guard? 84 percent.
Are you a sailor? 83 percent.
Are you a Bartender? 77 percent.
Are you an archivist? 76 percent.
Are you a carpenter? 72 percent.
Are you a lifeguard? 67 percent?
If the market regulates itself, men should become all archeologists, since the likelihood that algorithms will displace archaeologists is only 0.7 percent.
In the Pleistocene, humans always found a way to justify their existence.
There has been always a good answer to the question: what is the use of one more man?
In stone age times, humans were useful for hunting, farming, battles among groups.
In war times, when the bigger the army was the better, there always have been needs for soldiers. In the middle ages, each man was a man of god.
During the industrial revolution, humans were indispensable as producers and later on, also as consumers. With the development of IA, for the first time in history, humans could become really useless.
According to Yuval Noah Harari ‘just as mass industrialization created the working class, the AI revolution will create a new unworking class.’
Mechanization had always been considered a cause of possible mass unemployment but in the past, as far as there was always something humans could do better than machines, as old professions became obsolete, new professions emerged.
This time it seems different unless we think that a 40-year-old cashier or insurance agent will be able to reinvent himself as a virtual world designer or something still does not exist.
If this is probable if not inevitable, then what are the possible consequences of such a hard scenario?
According to Harari: ‘In the 21st century, we might witness the creation of a massive new unworking class: people devoid of any economic, political or even artistic value, who contribute nothing to the prosperity, power, and glory of society. This “useless class” will not merely be unemployed — it will be unemployable.’
The owners of the algorithms might take the power of this useless class. Alternatively, the algorithms might themselves become the owners. After all, intersubjective entities like corporations and nations are already recognized “legal persons.”
How people will keep occupied themselves?
Maybe with drugs and computer games, with 3D virtual-reality worlds. Maybe they will finally devote their lives to meaningful activities or maybe as Nick Bostrom says: once artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence, it might simply exterminate humankind.