Humans Need Not Apply


Remember the horse? Not the ones we see in episodes of Downton Abbey galloping over the plush greenswards of a private estate, nor the thoroughbreds owned by the elites competing in the Kentucky Derby. We’re talking about those like the massive Clydesdale draught horses used to till the soil on family-owned farms or pull heavily-laden wagons of produce more than a hundred years ago. What ever happened to them? They were obsoleted by the “horseless carriage”.

Increasingly now humans are meeting the same fate. In this frightening documentary “Humans Need Not Apply” by C.G.P. Grey, more that 45% of the jobs currently held by humans, including those in the transportation, retail, medical, professional, and creative industries are threatened with being usurped by “bots” — robots programmed to perform these tasks and learn on the job. Event those baristas at Starbucks who make your soy lattes in the morning are in jeopardy. Artificial Intelligence will make humans obsolete in the work force because A.I.s are more efficient and cheaper as workers. And as with all commodities under Neoliberal Capitalism it is all about profitability.

What are we humans to do with ourselves once we’re unemployed?  How will we survive without a living wage to buy these cheap, efficiently-manufactured things that these Bots will produce for consumption?

One answer is a UBI – a universal basic income. But that’s a horse of a different color: a subject for another post.

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