Robot Apocalypse? Implications of AI, Automation and Robotics for society, education, work, and economics

The trends toward the adoption and spread of AI, automation and robotics continue to accelerate.

There are valid concerns about the impacts this will have on us.

The main concerns seem to break down into a few primary areas:

  • Robot Apocalypse
    • The fear of AI/Robots taking over mankind, harmfully.  The entertainment industry has had fun with playing on fear about this one, — think Terminator, The Matrix, etc.
    • Misuse of armed drones
    • Robot “malware” – robots and AI being used with harmful intent
  • Economic Impacts
    • Job loss and economic dislocations through the increasing automation of many existing jobs done by people
    • Big changes in how things are done, changing the definitions and needs in the workplace

We tend to think of these things as off in the future, but they have been with us already for some time

  • The effects of automation of work previously done by people (or by more people) has been true in many industries for decades.   It is just accelerating.
  • The smartphones carried by much of humanity today are more capable than the worlds best computers of a few decades ago, and are interconnected with other people, and with AI, across the planet.
  • We can already, if we choose, converse by voice with our phones, our homes, and our cars.
  • There is an explosion of increasingly-automated drones and vehicles — privately owned, commercial and military – land, air, water and in space.

On the apocalypse topic, Ray Kurzweil, author of “The Singularity is Near” and a founder of Singularity University, gave this short talk:.

  • How Do We Avoid a Robot Apocalypse?
  • My summary: we need to put controls in place, just like we did when we learned that fire can be a benefit or a disaster.
  • My observation:  I think that a key reason that Ray helped found Singularity University is to tip us toward wise use of the accelerating tech trends by educating future leaders and technologists to create benefit and to be aware of the risks.

The economic front is realistically probably the more challenging and pressing issue for most of us.

It seems that a new social contract is going to be needed as many existing jobs are automated, and as automation drives the cost of many things towards zero

  • Prosperity Sharing: How can the potential prosperity created by automation be justly shared, to create a prosperous society?
    • Part of this will be driven by the cost creating many things we use dropping toward zero
    • Many voices are now discussing the pros and cons of a guaranteed Basic Income, or “Mincome” (minimum income) or other ways of making prosperity universal.
    • Experiments in mincome have been promising – people don’t stop working, though some attention moves toward valuable but unpaid or underpaid work: raising children, eldercare, the arts, etc.
    • For-profit businesses, as structured today, are largely unable to solve this problem, so the solution will need to come from elsewhere – coops, NGOs, religions, or society in a more universal way.   Bringing about this change will be, at least initially, more about vision and belief than it is about legislation.
  • Education for the Future:  What is it that human beings are especially good at, and how do we educate for that?
    • Our existing educational paradigms are mostly training for the very things that AI and automation will obsolete:  memorization, existing particular skills.
    • More attention needs to be given to creativity, out of the box thinking, cooperative/collaborative skills, music and the arts.
    • New paradigms of how education will be delivered are emerging, many of them being based on self-directed learning and collaborative learning together with AI.
    • Changing Education Paradigms by Sir Ken Robinson

“The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”
– Abraham Lincoln, Annual Message to Congress, Dec 1, 1862

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Reflections on Healing the Ills of Our Culture

Reflections on Healing the Ills of Our Culture

As I learn more about the history of slavery in my country, I reflect on how hard it was for the people who had power in the situation and had grown up invested in sustaining it to see a way out of it, or to even see the profound need to do so.  The culture was infused with rationalizations, a sense of moral right, a distortion of reality to support the system, and an immense gap between the state of affairs and where it should get to.  Despite the goodwill and efforts of many people, the result was that the problem grew to the point of a terrible war, with a very long tail of aftermath stretching forward to our time.

So I ponder: what are the things we believe in and participate in today that a century or two from now will be viewed as reprehensible, and yet today we rehearse their rationalizations and are acculturated to believe that they are acceptable and right, or at the least habitual and little examined?  And do we have the ability to change them, starting with our own beliefs and perspectives, and with making changes in both our individual and collective behaviors and in the structural institutionalization of these ills in our civilization?

Here are some possibilities that come to mind.

  • The extreme inequality we have in how we share resources and prosperity.
  • Our dependence on and addiction to fossil fuels, and the opposition that arises to the investment in and invention of cleaner and more renewable sources of energy.
  • The School-to-Prison Pipeline, and the funding of law enforcement by subsidies from privately-operated prisons.
  • Our belief in competition, rather than cooperation, as being the best model for advancement of our endeavors.
  • The reduction of our value systems to the use of the financial bottom line as the primary and essentially only credible way of evaluating human endeavor.
  • The way we produce food having become corrupted by the centralized power systems that have come to exist as we have figured out how to produce food in the quantities needed to sustain the nutrition of a growing humanity.
  • The way we use language to criticize, tear down, focus on the negative, backbite and otherwise negatively impact our social environment.
  • The way we think of ourselves first as separate psycho-physical realities, with self-interest coming first.
  • The way we devalue the education of our children, as evidenced by the fact that we fund our cars and our vehicle services better than we fund the education of young people, and by how we fail to respect and properly compensate the great profession of teaching our children.

I don’t believe that these issues are just “out there”, something that “they” are responsible for.   These issues play out inside every one of us to some degree, as they are deeply woven into the conditioning we are immersed in culturally.

If that is so, then, notwithstanding taking appropriate social action around particular issues, we may expect that changing our minds, changing our beliefs, changing our hearts, changing our conception of what we really are as human beings, would be essential.   Key elements for bringing about such change would be public and private discourse, time taken personally to reflect on our contribution, and the way we educate our children and empower our youth.

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Scientists create the first digital ‘tree of life’ for 2.3 million species – CSMonitor.com

http://m.csmonitor.com/Science/2015/0920/Scientists-create-the-first-digital-tree-of-life-for-2.3-million-species

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SL12B: Ebbe Altberg on Second Life & Sansar – transcript and video | Inara Pey: Living in a Modem World

https://modemworld.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/sl12b-ebbe-altberg-on-second-life-sansar-transcript-and-video/#more-50689

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Electron Microscope views of vinyl and optical audio discs

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Second Life Benefits for Those with Disabilties — The Drax Files: Episode 13: Creations for Parkinson’s

Draxtor Despres has a whole series of enlightening documentaries about the value and benefits of Second Life.   Fantastic documentary work.  This is among his best…  How experiences in Second Life benefit those with Parkinson’s Disease.   I had the pleasure of meeting Fran and her daughter in world yesterday.   This is very much worth the watch…

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UFO Documents Index- NSA/CSS

UFO Documents Index- NSA/CSS

The documents listed on this page were located in response to the numerous requests received by NSA on the subject of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO). In 1980, NSA was involved in Civil Action No. 80-1562, “Citizens Against Unidentified Flying Objects Secrecy v. National Security Agency”. .

http://m.nsa.gov/public_info/declass/ufo/

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FreeMind – a new, free Mind Mapping tool.

http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

I have used MindMapper Pro from MindJet for years and really like it.

A quick look here says that FreeMind appears to have 2 obvious plusses… free, and the ability to get a denser mind map when you need a lot on the page.

But MindMapper does give me a “look” more like a whiteboard mindmap which feels more mindmappish.

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Online Baha’i Calendar (Badi Calendar) 

calendar.BahaIQ.com is a visual Baha’i calendar designed to help Baha’ís integrate the Baha’i calendar into their daily lives.

Source: The Baha’i Calendar – (Badi Calendar) calculator

This is an online Badi calendar, consistent with the new guidance from the House of Justice in its 10 July 2014 message http://universalhouseofjustice.bahai.org/activities-bahai-community/20140710_001

Note that Feast days and Holy days may now fall on different days than in the earlier approximation of the calendar, and can differ from year to year.

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Missing link found between brain, immune system; major disease implications — ScienceDaily

This coud open a whole new area of understanding of the connection between the mind/brain and the immune system.

 

Missing link found between brain, immune system; major disease implications — ScienceDaily.

 

 

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