It’s best to take this in bite-sized chunks. I feel that in some ways, I’m a very dangerous individual. To existing orders of power and wealth, to people who can’t see past their neolithic origins yet, to people who still feel that they must retain absolute power by using religion as a tool of fear and control.
I’m dangerous precisely because of the very things I’ve been espousing. I live in an age where half of us couldn’t have a full time job because technology and efficiency are taking over. An age where more people than ever (me included) are living in a state of Universal Liveable Income (aka pension) while still in possession of their faculties if not their complete health. I HAVE TIME FOR THE MOST DANGEROUS ACTIVITY IN THE WORLD THAT THREATENS THE VERY FABRIC OF “OUR” SOCIETY.
Never mind that this is not the society we want or that it’s a society set up to make a very few supremely wealthy at the expense of the most life-threatening poverty of more than half, and the hand to mouth lives of the other. Twenty people around the world are fabulously uncountably wealthy so screw everyone else.
I’m not saying that the current global pandemic will bring about a revolution in how we manage ourselves and our world. But it might. And it might set the seeds for that revolutionary new – whatever. People working from home are going to find that they can both be productive, solvent, and happily have some family time – while devoting less time to work and instead working better without the distractions of physical presence at work.
That’s going to beg the question – why then are we being tortured for an extra three hours a day for our income? Management of course is going to say well why are you skiving off so much at work? but the answer is that we have to dance for the man, go to ultimately useless metings, fend off a flood of co-workers clowning around, take our turn in the barrel, and unproductively commute for two hours a day. (Google “your turn in the barrel” if you want to waste some time.)
And if money was no objective. Just go with this for a second. Would society really collapse? I think it’s pretty self-evident that only half of most first world countries work in stable jobs. Half of those jobs could be done by a computer with occasional guidance from a human. The other half could be done by a robot with occasional guidance by a human, until it learns it. A full three quarter of those jobs that a computer could do, exist only to track wealth and (mostly) siphon it off. A full three quarters of the jobs that robots could do, exist only to make bad copies of useless plastic vegetable spiralisers.
Jobs that computers and robots can’t do is quite a bit of research, imagineering, artistic, and social work. Not a lot of scope for a blue collar worker or a construction worker.
But there are still loads of jobs that people could do to avoid dying of boredom. Help out on a programming project. Brainstorm on an environmental think tank. Make art, make love, go fishing or plant new trees or make a garden or work on a farm or develop new algorithms for a deep sea research robotic laboratory. Then watch those things be used.
The basic motive for over half of all crimes would disappear. The remaining hate and power crimes, those would be more manageable if people who like maintaining order could suddenly be relieved of half their cases and also had assistance from anyone in the public that wanted train up to help. What would be left to fight for except religion and outmoded concepts like moral right and wrong?
Commence a policy of OCPC, 0.5 children per person if you wanted to get technical and try to couple multiple times. No exceptions. No schooling, just let children find their way online where there is already a quite large body of knowledge including civics, morals, and all the fiedls we now consider relevant to learning. Teach reasoning and empathy. This CAN be reinforced by automatically adjusting filters depending on who is accessing the data. You can steer any child towards the skills most useful for learning and humanities.
As they develop, allow more and more access including access to things that aren’t in the direction the particular child is heading towards. Broaden their experiences. These children will grow up to create the Next Gen of social, political, and physical revolutions.
For us, there’s a far simpler set of goals. Allow everything – within reason. Set “reasonable” by public polls and opinion data scraping. Since AI no longer have the imperative to exploit us for someone else’s hoarding, we can start by setting some simple goals – one AI per case, one AI per subject, one AI per location, one AI per person. They spring into life just long enough to set up a set of conditions and rules relevant to the case under examination, and I don’t even have to vote in a poll for the AI to realise that I’m against another coalmine or tar sands operation, and very much for that area being revegetated and returned to the more natural biosphere. The AI can establish that by scraping my social media posts, my emails, my diary, my notebooks – no-one else is ever going to see those, but the AI can “take my social pulse” on any subject it needs guidance for, and set the compass accordingly for that coalmine / tar sands project.
And yes, there are going to be people who say this goes against their religion or they just want to kill all black people or all the Chinese. But in this case, the atheists or Hindi or Buddhists or Shiites get a vote too… The eventual result will be to reduce these remnants of a superstitious stone age to vestiges, just as they’ll reduce violence and greed once these are shown to not be effective.