It isn’t a superior grasp of the technology involved that drives some (Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and others) to warn that AI will achieve superiority over human beings, drive us out of work, and finally out of existence. It’s the hidden premise that humans are just “meat machines” rather than spiritual beings in a creator’s image. If that were true, of course it would follow that other, faster machines would likely overtake and replace us.David Klinghoffer, “Jay Richards: Myths, Metaphysics, and Artificial Intelligence” at Evolution News (October 4, 2022)
However it plays out among “meat machine” philosophers, here’s how that sort of thing plays out in everyday life. We are informed at Futurism that “CEO brags that fry cook robot will replace obsolete human grunts.” True, the food industry is likely to automate very significantly in the next decade but tech writer Frank Landymore was taken aback by the perceived attitude:
One of such mechanized threats takes the form of Flippy, a hamburger flipping robot developed by Miso Robotics. Operated by an AI and cameras, the wage slave Terminator is now back with its next evolution, Flippy 2. Where the original Flippy was limited to burgers, Flippy 2 is now a fry cook killer, deep frying delicious crispy stuff from french fries to onion rings mostly on its own.
And in a new interview, the company’s CEO — intentionally or not — sounded strikingly contemptuous of the human workers the bot will be replacing.Frank Landymore, “CEO brags that fry cook robot will replace obsolete human grunts” at Futurism (October 4, 2022)
In fairness to Miso Robotics CEO Mike Bell, in the interview with Reuters, he did say,
“The task that the humans are most happy to offload are tasks like the fry station. … They’re delighted to have the help so they can do other things,” Bell said.“Robots are making French fries faster, better than humans” at Reuters (October 6, 2022)
That’s been the pattern all along. In the short film above, Richards comments,
I think a much better prediction to make is that machines are going to do a heck of a lot of things that we thought only we could do but the next 20 or 30 years what we will discover is the fundamental differences between man and machine. our machines will take over a lot of the work we were doing and that will free us up to do only the things that human beings can do. (1:27) … What we’ll be able to do 2:35 in the near future is to focus on our comparative advantage as persons rather than machines. (2:40)
In his book, The Human Advantage: The Future of American Work in an Age of Smart Machines (2018), he points out that in the late 19th century, most of the population worked in food production. Later, mechanization freed people up to do a vast variety of different jobs which enabled the much higher standard of living we enjoy today. That includes eating out at fast food places…
If things continue as in the past, fast food “grunts” may themselves own commercialized versions of Flippy 2 and develop small businesses that cater to a variety of special diet needs. Or invent better versions themselves. Or sell or service them.
With any luck, people will increasingly be able to design the jobs they want to do and have the skills for, using new technology.
You may also wish to read: Computer takeover won’t happen, say a scientist and a philosopher. Jobst Landgrebe and Barry Smith say that the Singularity advocates are missing something fundamental about computers vs. humans. In their landmark book, they point out that human ways of using language are fundamentally different from those of computers.