The Luddite’s fallacy is a fancy term for the ad nauseum phobia, vociferated by blue collar workers that technology will replace human jobs. Now, this really isn’t an issue, these robots are replacing jobs that no one wants. No one actually wants to dig tunnels, serve angry customers, or even drive themselves around on a quotidian basis. Basic, rule-based AI or technology has already facilitated this process in making this easier.
To some extent, this human fear of being replaced by a form of otherness more capable is indeed, true. New innovations will displace current industries as we know and see them today, as with any revolution. However, it will create industries and better standards of living in the overall long term. The occupations we see today are not the 14 hour ones in London back then that made bare wages for sustenance; seldom are there seamstresses, chimney sweepers, serfs and the like making less than a loaf of bread. They are engineers that codify these machines, yoga gurus, mindfulness speakers and consultants that shape the fabric of not only work, but one’s reality and perception of their external world.
While new positions of consequence and better standards of living are implications of human evolution in conjunction with innovation, AI and robots in question only improve the human quality of life in so much as there is a uncoupling of skill from the product produced. These are general purpose technologies such as sowing machines that now have uncoupled the time and skill-intensive finesse of sowing elaborate garments to factory workers, to ballpoint pens that now democratize the beauty of handwritten notes to all, not only the select elites in the hayday that could afford a feather-tip quill and ink.
((I personally through my investments and research sought to democratize the usage of cannabis and CBD to patients that were inundated with the abuse of opioids, and the luxury, aviation, and real estate space and continually to do so as a VC and angel investor.))
However, as skill-based AI is formed– programs typically made B2B or made more personalized and less general in information technology, the natural inequalities of human propensities will be exacerbated. This means that technology that serves to empower certain classes of people, such as ones that make lives of only current graphic designers easier with those with already acquired education, real estate that caters to the 1% of property managers of inherited property, edtech with those of intrinsic nimble wit, inequalities will inevitably emerge.
Instead of advocating for a rapacious coup d'etat of those more fortunate and blessed with resources other than our own, let us recognize and celebrate these differences by working with technology but instead compensating everyone equally based off of their unique talent. If universal basic income, health care and rights do not suffice, then what if it was permissible that a lawyer would be paid as much as a middle school teacher, as they both provide value in a society. Such a system would encourage individuals to treat each other with more collaboration and kindness, recognize and share our differences, and to teach us that everyone, has something of value we can learn from.
America has come to standardize an imperfect oligarchy of only old money and meritocracy in itself, which in turn has caused a culture of hatred and mudslinging. I say it is imperfect, and as a partisan to someone who came from old money and has skill sets valued by this meritocracy. However these things are not things that should be valued in human interactions, in a humane world but rather the equal opportunities and hard work involved in concordance with the diverse purview of one’s passions.
In humanity’s last shred of hope, this collaboration not only with technology but with each other is the last stand of mankind against the dark unknown ventures of the robotics and AI.