World Economic Forum (WEF) Fuhrer and scion of an influential Nazi family in pre World War II Germany Klaus Schwab believes Artificial Intelligence (AI) will lead the way to the technocratic, authoritarian world government, populated, apart from the elite, by human / computer hybrids, he has dreamed of since forming his world domination club for wealthy elitists in 1971. Around 60% of us ordinary punters in Europe, North Americans and the few other liberal democracies scattered around the world believe that AI poses a serious threat to humanity’s future, an impressive figure given the torrent of propaganda that flows past us each day aimed as persuading us to believe that Artificial Intelligence will usher in a golden age for humanity and that transhumanism, the merging of man and machine is the future for humanity.
Emotionally loaded rhetoric about a world dominated by machines obfuscates several much more sinister more serious policy moves which WEF influence has persuaded governments to follow but what is being hidden behinds all the science fiction pipe dreams is the way in which AI is being positioned to facilitate the feudalisation of the of free nations, concentrating power in hands of centralised states bureaucracies and a few corporate cartels in the exact manner of the merging of state and corporate power on which Benito Mussolini attempted to build his state.
AI’s problems start at the top. Unlike the internet which was propelled in its formative years by independent companies like Digital Equipment, Xerox and Intel plus the host of small startups that prospered until Google and Microsoft (with help from various US Government agencies,) crushed all opposition, AI seems to be controlled by existing tech giants, which are investing heavily in these new firms. ARM, for instance, the British-based chip designer whose IPO last week had Wall Street agitated , is garnering huge investments from other Big Tech firms, including Nvidia, Intel, AMD and Apple. Elsewhere, Open AI’s largest investor is Microsoft, while DeepMind was acquired by Google in 2014. Altogether it is not a healthy situation with antitrust andanti - monopoly legislation apparently thrown out of the window like a Russian general who has displeased the Czar.
What nobody appears to have considered in this rush to automate and this enable micromanagement of everything is human nature. Human beings have a few basic needs, food and clean water, shelter, companionship as as well known as our need for the air we breathe. Not so well known or often discussed is the need for something to give our lives purpose, work, labour, jobs and careers. And human societies are created when we trade our labour (a mixture of skills and effort,) for the goods and services we need that are created by the skills and effort of others. The power that the elitists of the WEF seek so assiduously is simply the ability to control how the products are distributed. That is putting it very simply of course, but blinded by the complexities of modern business and social systems we tend to forget how simple things can be at their most basic level.
The availability of labour has always ultimately governed what needs we can satisfy, irrespective of power. Our first needs, as above, are food and shelter. For most of pre - history our ancestors were hunter - gatherers and life was a daily struggle for survival. So much time was taken up with hunting and gathering there wasn’t enough labour to create the surpluses of food and essentials needed to free creative people to expend time and resources on inventing new goods and services, the spear, bow and arrow, wheel, grindstone, fire making technologies, porridge, metalworking and all those other things, the basic principles of which are at the core of the technologies we rely on.
Eventually however, primitive tribes acquired enough skills and knowledge to produce surpluses which enabled some tribe members to devote time to innovate in methods of farming, stone, wood and metal working, curing animal skins, domesticating horses, cattle, sheep and developing other skills which in turn generated more spare labour and more demand for goods. Technological change meant fewer workers needed to produce the basics by hunting and gathering. The spare labour pool eventually found their purpose in life by learning to make things of beauty or things that made life more comfortable and convenient. Only the imagination and wealth needed for us to consume other people’s time and effort determines how much spare labour there is in our economies (barring war and natural disaster).
Productivity increases through improved technology, and population increases through improved lifestyles have created the wealth and freed sufficient time for most people in the developed societies to aspire to higher levels of material consumption, car ownership, air travel etc. We’ve gone from the daily struggle for survival to the struggle to find meaning in our lives. But power and control, the commodities that motivate elitists, have always been exclusively within the domain of certain social groups, the warrior caste and the priestly caste. The rise of technological economies was not a prerequisite for our the development of democracy, theocracy or tyranny, though it may have helped.
The question is: compared to today, how long can societies based on the need for constant economic growth be sustained, how much more can be created and consumed created in the foreseeable future? How much extra self-actualisation can there be, how long can we continue to believe we are what we own?
In recent decades there has been a lot of fuss about the effect on our environment of the waste produts released into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels (gas and oil.) This is a misdirection, while we have been careless of how we treated our planet in the past, as much damage has been done by spraying farmland with pesticides and herbicides to increase crop yields and profits; while burning CO2 has created carbon dioxide, essential to life because all life forms are carbon based, producing plastics, dyes, bleaches and disinfectants, metal goods, adhesives and other industrial products releases far greater quantities of toxic shite into the world.
As a society we cannot grow infinitely. At some point there has to be balance.
When will we reach the limit of human creation and consumption if we have not already done so?
To answer this question, imagine a wealthy medieval landlord or Lord of the Manor who has good food, a solid house, firewood, and a church providing both spiritual structure and moral guidance. If asked what is missing in their lives, they’d merely point to having some more of the material comforts they already have.
The medieval landlord could not imagine the prosperity of middle class people in the modern world, nor the ways in which we earn the money to fund these magical (to the medieval mind,) lives we lead. Our Lord of the Manor would probably feel uncomfortable, even terrified at the witchcraft involved in television or smartphones, and would be appalled by the moral depravity of our lives (whereas he would not be in the least perturbed to learn that his neighbour had slaughtered a few peasants who had been caught trapping rabbits on his land,) about much of what we The past is a different counry as someone once said but future is a different planet, maybe a different universe even.
So in answer to the question is we cannot answer it. It is more than likely in the future we will occupy ourselves creating goods and services unrecognisable today, and probably in ways that require us to sacrifies some of the most basic human qualities that define us. Meanwhile, how The Powers That Be distribute the benefits of modern society will change independently although regression to the mean of history probably means a lot less democracy, less personal liberty and less chances to opt out. Transhumanism and alternative reality worlds are perhaps two candidate technologies that could keep very many of us busy in ways that make me feel quite sick about the world generations that come after me will inhabt. Perhaps our future selves really will be as alien to us as we would be to that medieval Lord of the Manor.