Largely seen as a potential threat to current human workforce, AI’s gradual penetration into our office space is creating a lot of fear among the masses. What we are witnessing is basically a knee jerk reaction, akin to what we witnessed during the millennial change when Y2K was supposed to bring our systems down. Any change brings fear first- a feeling of rights being snatched away. It is probably a legacy we have inherited from hundreds of years of exploitation and human rights oppression. But this legacy has been brought on by humans, then, why pray, the machines are being subjected to such hate!
In the seventeenth century, when England witnessed the Industrial Revolution, the economy boomed, people had jobs, and the world changed. When the initial euphoria of being able to earn your own living, settled,the problems surfaced: Work- life balance, Unhealthy work conditions, exploitation and a general feeling of discontent or unhappiness.
Personally, I think humans are here for more than making money to make ends meet. They have been playing the role of robots for years. And now that we are on the brink of bringing in robots to free up human beings for intellectual pursuits, the resistance seems to be building up because of ignorance and fear.
Yes, they will take up your jobs, and the infamous 9-5 routine, which by the way, no one loves, might lose it’s importance. Is that a reason to cry, really? The only prospect that daunts us about robots taking up the jobs, is the money. Well, money is definitely important but maybe it’s time to trust the age old saying that has withstood the test of time- When one door closes, other one opens. Our myopic thought process does not let us think beyond the present economic system that runs on debt and makes it essential to work like machines to put more money into the system, so that it can satisfy some of your temporary desires.
Well I say let the machines do their work, and let humans strive towards higher pursuits. The desk jobs that keep you busy pressing one key after another, unable to engage your intellectual and psychological faculties, have taken more from you than you can imagine. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs clearly stipulates that once physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, humans automatically look towards fulfilling their needs for esteem and self actualization. Ever wonder a large chunk of our population never gets out of the cycle of satisfying their physiological needs? And how this chunk is largely dominated by 9-5 office goers? It’s because the economy is built that way, to keep your physiological needs just out of reach of your earning capability.
I think the advent of Artificial intelligence in the corporate workforce, will force economies to change in an unprecedented ways. More money will flow in, as the machines will bring more productivity without asking for salaries. Corp orates & Governments will need to find a new way to ensure cash flow. I will be optimistic and predict that a time may come, when humans will get paid to do altruistic work. New jobs will be created -that only human brains are capable of doing- where choice, discretion & integrity will play major roles. Professions like teaching, mentoring, counselling & rehabilitation will come out of the sidelines, to turn into lucrative jobs.
In Europe today, more and more no. of people are exploring their higher needs of love & belonging, esteem & actualization because they have seen the era of industrial revolution and moved on. It’s time for the third world to get unshackled too. Yes, we will be required to change, up-skill ourselves and to remain open to experiments. We will face some tough times, but as long as the sun shines brighter at the end of the tunnel, it’s all worth it.