BY CRYSTAL STRANGER, CO-FOUNDER, PEACOUNTS ON JUNE 5TH, 2018 AT 7:00 AM
Image By Fabius Maximus
Television today is full of shows that raise questions about the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI): Westworld. Blade Runner. Terminator. These shows provoke dialogue over the rights and responsibilities we must take when creating AI, but the issue few are addressing is what happens to all the people displaced by AI.
Every time I go to a large chain store I notice more self checkouts and less live humans working there. The transition to AI coupled with blockchain replacing human services is happening before our very eyes, but nobody is aware this is happening. It’s not that masses of workers are being fired and removed from jobs, it’s that new workers are not hired when existing employees quit. AI and machine learning replicates many human decision-making factors, and blockchain provides access to the data needed to make an ever widening range of jobs obsolete.
This will be a silent displacement in most industries. As trucks become unserviceable, companies will replace these trucks with driverless vehicles. Companies will consolidate their human resources, reducing hours, or just allow the numbers to dwindle.
In some industries though, the unemployment will be greater. Many customer service and professional jobs will no longer exist in our future. Entry level jobs for the graduates of the future will be few and far-between. While we have been asleep, the world around us has progressed into the future of 1950’s sci-fi novels.
Image of the Virgin Galactic shuttle — for space tourism / Virgin Galactic
I live in Las Cruces, New Mexico where Virgin Galactic is currently moving people to ramp up for space tourism launching in just a few months time. Self-driving vehicles are real, people ride hoverboards, we have 3D TVs, use Skype or Facetime to video chat, our whole lives can be run off our phones, and people are even being recruited to colonize Mars. AI is real, Terminator-style robots are real, Skynet is real. Androids like Sophia that can deliver speeches are just like those on Bladerunner or Westworld. We have Roombas that clean our floors and sous vide systems that cook our food like in the Jetsons. We live in these movies and TV shows that embodied futurism at its best. What would the future look like beyond what we have created?
We have to shape that future. I want to see a future like the Jetsons and not like the Hunger Games. Both worlds are possible with AI; the choice is ours as to which society we create.
The Jetsons / CBS News
Many think we will create this society through the use of Universal Basic Income, meaning a payment system where individuals receive an unearned stream of guaranteed income monthly, but this will never work in a society with debt. As long as we have credit cards, rent-a-center, and payday loans there will always be ways for individuals to use up their stream of basic income now rather than using it on a monthly basis to support the consumer system.
At PeaCounts we are creating a new method of responsibility within AI. We are aware that the AI we are using will be displacing many accounting jobs, so, instead of going for a direct to consumer market we will be working with CPA partners to keep them on. This way they can provide services within their local communities in-turn provide a residual income stream for the work they do when helping PeaCount clients.
Additionally, when many people are out of work, some of these displaced workers will form new businesses, and the success of these businesses will determine the success of our society as a whole. I am an optimist and sincerely believe that people both want to work and are creative at finding ways to benefit their communities. With PeaCounts they will be able to run the entire financial ends of their business without any financial or business knowledge as our AI will do all the heavy lifting for bookkeeping, reconciliation, budgeting, forecasting, and so forth.
To help future business owners easily hire others in their community and beyond we at PeaCounts are developing a trustless payroll system. By using a crypto token as a medium of exchange, money can be held in escrow between employer and employee to make sure that fair work is done for fair pay. The crypto token will allow for instantaneous transfers of money to maximize business cashflow and paying day laborers at the end of the day, with an easy and secure system to collect their tax information in just a couple minutes at the beginning of the day. This way independent contractors can be easily treated as employees for payroll purposes, something that is not practical in todays world.
A clear representation that we have the ability to take technology in any which direction / Meia Chita Tegmark and Lucas Perry / Future of Life Institute
A new model of social responsibility needs to be set for AI and blockchain technology companies. We need to build models that support people with the transition into this future with robots doing the work we do not want to do, and finding new, creative ways to entertain and help one another. This is best for everyone, as without consumers having money we do not have a consumer cycle to base business on. We can’t afford to build a life where humans are hiding and afraid from the machines we have treated badly, or where only some people are rich and served by machines and masses are suffering in obsolescence. I want to create a world for my children where technology is our friend and helps us live a good life.
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