Will Machine Learning and AI Force Us to Rethink Mainstream Economic Theory?

in #life3 years ago

In my opinion AI isnt the biggest threat in the near future, its machine learning. Just having a machine move from being able to do a simple one function task to a multiple conjoined function task will revolutionize the work force, and it is coming within the next few decades. A machine that can be rolled out to tackle simple tasks on a massive basis and also one that can be updated so in person fixes are almost never necessary is going to be created. There are already many plans for companies creating simple all purpose machines that will have a vast amount of possible use cases.

Modern Keynesian economics says that with the replacement of jobs in new industries, more opportunities will be created in the long run, but this might not be the case so much in the future. If you look at the top 5 revenue per employee ratios, you see it is all companies that hire mainly programmer jobs. One could argue that these companies per employee are so profitable because it is the nature of the tech industry, but one could also say it is because far fewer people are able to produce on a much larger scale. The amount of employees needed to reach a large market of consumers is shrinking, especially with new companies.

While before you needed a single cobbler to make a shoe and repair it when the soles wore down, a company can have one machine build 50,000 phones in a day and a group of 5 programmers can fix a problem remotely that will go out to millions. Simply put, less employees are going to be needed as we move more towards a future more integrated with machines and when we hit the point of usable and practical AI, most human jobs will become irrelevant. Similar to how computers started out mostly as single job processing machines and transformed into multi purpose devices, I believe we will see the same sort of transformation in the robotics field.

I don’t think past economist could have imagined a world like the future we are living in now. In the near future the creation of a new industry might just create new jobs for machines that can do a much better job than a human can, which is another concern. What if you create an industry job that another computer might just be better at doing. Rather than having a tech person fixing machines, you create a machine to fix machines. The only time you need a human to do it, is if the machine that fixes the machine breaks, which could be very rare. This all gets very complicated quickly and goes further down the rabbit hole, but still isn’t completely out of the box.

In my personal opinion we are going to eventually have to change the way we think about economics. Im all for moving forward and maximizing profit in anyway we can because if we don't, someone else will, however that being said, without any type of safety net for the people who will be replaced, we risk severe threat of a breakdown of modern society. People without a reason to live or jobs to work, will resort to violence if they are unable to feed their families.


Reading this excellent article, I can't help but think about what will humans do to reinvent the way we are interacting together because, as time goes by, we tend to spend less and less time among each other in direct contact.

With the rise of internet, we had one huge wave but this one would transform our #1 place where we interact eye to eye with each other, decreasing the amount of physical presence with one another.

Are we going to invest time into playing more sports together, more group meditation or, maybe, something in between like group yoga and contact dancing? I really look forward to see where things are going to go.

Thanks a lot for the quality and the opportunity to think about this matter some more.

Namaste :)

Yes. Huge changes to come!

No i do not agree that Machine learning and AI is a threat to anything, humans will be needed in every part of this earth, these things can only make the work easy for humans but they cannot replace us, those who thinks that this is even a possibility are out of their mind @calaber24p

I will have to disagree with you. Decades ago, it was believed that humans would always beat computers at chess, then in the 90s, the computers won. In the last few years, Google's AlphaGo beat the world's best Go players. IBM's Watson is diagnosing cancer and proscribing treatments on par with some of the world's leading cancer treatment centers. Computers are getting better and better at recognizing objects via visual ques. Voice recognition is at 95% or greater from the tech giants.

There is nothing to suggest that this current course is likely to slow down, if anything odds are that the progress will accelerate. Most humans do rather repetitive jobs that aren't even a quarter as complicated as beating World Champion go players, accurately transcribing speech, or diagnosing and treating terminal cancer patients.

Most jobs things like Transportation, customer service reps and so on. Computers can replace secretaries, human drivers are on the verge of being beat by the algorithm, and we already can replace telemarketers with robocalls, basic customer service duties are increasingly being delegated to chatbots and self serve systems. The cashier can easily be replaced by a self checkout system.

There probably will always be a need for some people do to the work the algorithm's can't yet handle, or the job's for which people are just preferable. Nurses, Doctors, and janitors come to mind. All of that middle-work though, the low skill work? That will disappear. Millions upon millions of jobs. Short of a miracle new industry that springs forth from the algorithms replacing almost everything that the algorithms are unable to learn to do on their own, or lack the mechanical ability to do so, joblessness will become the norm, and having a job will be as rare as being a movie star.

Excellent viewpoint, and one that I can certainly agree on. We will definitely see a time where 20, 30, maybe even 50 or more percent of the population will be out of jobs because of machines. Look around, it's already happening in everything from factories to McDonald's. That's also why I am working with VIVA (@vivacoin) to help circumvent that.

When does VIVA go live??

Technically it already is. We had a successful ICO, and are now in the process of getting multiple moving parts established. We are almost done hiring out the core team, as well as several development teams so we can get our first few projects underway and out for public consumption this year.

TradeQwik (VIVA Gateway) is also already live, but very Beta. It will be receiving a face-lift very soon as well. VIVA.cash will be one of the bigger pieces that make VIVA (and the VIVAconamy) explode IMO though. I suggest reading through the whitepaper a few times to really understand the inner working of the VIVAconamy though.

I've been following for some time. Just wanted to know when a person can start to earn.

Well it really depends on how you want to "earn". Currently there is only a very small network, but there are a few ways to earn.

A) Become a Crownholder.
Each TR (Treasury Right) you get from a Crown will give you an option to sink the amount of VIVA that the TR can mint into your VIP (VIVA Investment Pool, think savings account). You can use this strategy to build a residual income with compounding interest. You can then go into "Retirement" mode (Think Powering Down) when you are ready, and get 24 VIVA/day until your VIP runs out or you stop it. At the current rate of VIVA:USD ($5.50), that's approximately $45k per year.

B) Market Making.
You can exchange various cryptocurrencies and fiats on TradeQwik right now. I believe there are still bonuses for market makers, but will have to verify that for you.

C) In the near future, running a node of several different flavors. There will be several types of nodes in the VIVAconamy, all responsible for different things. You will be paid in VIVA for your contributions to the network, and of course the chance of getting that Crown once per week!

I highly encourage you to keep up with this project. Even if you don't invest, there are plenty of ways to get in on the action, and become a "Vivo" :)


No problem! you can reach out to me directly on telegram with any more questions too.

Moving forward yes, innovate and make changes yes, but the trick is: don't do it for maximizing profit. In the race for profit we will lose the chance to really change something. If we all are going to maximizing profit by any means possible then nature won't stand a chance. Nature dosen't make profit yet is here and allows us to Steem.
In the race for profit we are blinded. And blind man can see others pain and needs.

Tens of millions of jobs will be replaced in the next 50 years, with absolutely no garantee that new jobs would somewhat emerge out of nowhere, especially jobs where humans are better than AI, which will keep improving over time. How to address this issue? Well the obvious answer is the need for a Universal Basic Income in the future... How do we finance that? By heavily taxing goods/services produced/provided by robots and machines. Eeh I can already feel the crypto-anarchists cringing at the idea of governments having such an important role in our lives.
But honestly if anyone has a better idea, please share, cause no-one has found it yet.

One way to reduce government impact would be to keep the idea of a UBI based on taxation, but to use blockchain technology to implement it. I'm not a programmer nor a blockchain technology expert by any means. But if we take your example of the machine producing 50,000 phones, basically in order to be legally allowed to be sold, the machine would be forced to document the creation of each phone to the network; Once the item is sold- an action that should also be documented-, the selling company is automatically taxed and the money is directly and equally distributed to the wallets of every citizen aged over 18. The security and reliability of the network could be garanteed either by the government, or better, by elected citizens of the country (kind of like steemit witnesses), even though they would still probably need government support given how important their job would be. This would lead to the creation of national crypto-currencies, since laws don't extend over borders. Imported goods would have to provide proof that they were produced by humans, and would be taxed if they weren't. As I said I don't know anything about blockchain technology and I have no clue of what I'm talking about. This is a extremely simplified idea of how it could be done, it surely has many flaws and may not be even implementable.

Really interesting article ! thx a lot. I have a slightly different point of view if you're interested in AI though https://steemit.com/technology/@rafikabbes/artificial-intelligence-will-replace-our-jobs-very-soon-according-to-a-new-study-of-oxford-and-yale-university

Great article, I was just discussing this with my twelve year old daughter who was trying to convince me to pull her out of school as the current rate of AI advancements is negating the need for her to be in education learning to be a good little worker bee when she should be learning about finance and managing assets.

My daughter is right to a point but I'm still insisting she goes to school much to her dismay.
As AI develops there will need to be a social shift away from the ridiculous notion that work is what gives someones life meaning and a reason to wake up of a morning, but that will only happen if those who control the machines realise there needs to a significant redistribution of wealth.

The last enormous shift in the workplace - the Industrial Revolution, brought about many societal shifts and took over 100 years to be fully assimilated (for lack of a better word). Shifting from an agarian society to an industrialized society showed us the absolute need for a safety net for those displaced workers. Now we are faced with the Computer Revolution which has already created enormous societal changes.

We have a world of haves and have nots - predicated on the accessibility of an internet connection. I think much of the anger and fear we are seeing in the political arena has been brought about by the changes in technology we have already witnessed. Many industries have been "computerized" with subsequent human job loss. Bank tellers, auto workers, grocery clerks and many others are a dying breed as ATM's, robots, and self checkout or Amazon Pantry have come into wide spread use.

"Tomorrow" is already here and growing. The genie can't and won't be put back into the bottle. I think figuring out how to take care of the displaced workers will be one of the top three issues the world will have to resolve in the next few decades. In the past we have used wars and land/resource grabs as an economic tool. I am hopeful we have learned enough to look to other methods of resolving the issues that surround this cultural and economic shift.

Insightful article! Thank you.

Humans are most intelligent species on earth, however vast amount of people from countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, Iran do their livings by working as labor class because most of them are uneducated. We may be living in future but if the education is not equal to all countries people will suffer from poverty.

I have thought about this too. What do we do when the unemployment rate hits 90%? It is wise to consider alternatives before we hit that point. I think the idea of a Guarenteed Basic Income makes sense. We pay people a basic living allowance and then they are free to become entrepreneurs or just go shopping and fuel the robo economy. It's easy today to just shout at poor people Get A JOB!!! But the days are coming when machines will have all the jobs. What do we do then???

Definitely agree! What do you think of UBI, by the way? I was at a night of discussions about universal basic income and someone did an amazing talk about the coming robotic revolution. He made the case that most politicians aren't aware about this, or simply don't have solutions - but over a third of the British workforce are going to soon be out a job (in the coming decades). There's also the issue you touched upon of having systems without any real oversight. Machines learning and fixing machines and the amount of code, etc., and complications arising will be too much for anyone to understand. Computer says yes computer says no, etc. Oh, brave new world!

I agree with you, people will lose a lot of jobs, but there are also jobs that can't be replaced by robots ...

"but there are also jobs that can't be replaced by robots ..."
"but there are also jobs that can't be replaced by robots ...yet."
Better :)

yes, I agree

That's a perspective I have never considered, I always thought technology was supposed to make life easier... hmmm... but you are right to consider that without something to occupy humans, engage them and allowing them to make a living, there's a high likelihood that violence and crime will increase.

I totally agree with you. Soon robots and machines will take over and I anticipate massive unemployment and huge job cuts. As stated if this issue persists there will be a lot of violence and struggle to survive. Thanks for this post.

Interesting post. I wish I had a crystal bowl to look into the future and see just how AI n robots will change our lives. One thing is for sure life must go on. Thanks for sharing

As an economist, I think that we may be overreacting. This ideas are not new and the same arguments were used from the 18th century to now in times of tecnological revolutions.

Economic history teaches us that innovations, in short run, inevitably displace some segment of workforce. But, on the other side, more than 40 percent of jobs in leading economis were replaced by other jobs in less than a 80 years. There is no reason to believe that this won't happen again!

You can say that again... I totally agree.. Awesome post.. upped and following you.. looking forward to more of your great posts.. See you around.

Really insightful post. Thank you so much for sharing this information. I definitely think you right about how this can change every thing we think about economics. Some type of safety net will have to provided to help people who are displaced by technology. By the very least, there should be programs that help people to learn and enter fields that are high in demand and have less of a threat of being automated.

Oh yes they will learn more as us, but with worse instinct and worse feeling in his decide

With the advancement of AI , we will definitely see massive changes in the economy . There will be pros and cons , but imo , The pros will outweigh the cons. One of the cons which i m mostly concern about is the unemployment rate. AI's will eventually take over blue-collar labor jobs and some of the white collar jobs . Such as accountancy , teachers and many more . The future is unpredictable , i guess we would just have to wait and see ! Great post btw my friend .

We will be allowed to spend our time differently, focusing on the most important things. For this reason, I think this evolution is good, as long as the rewards are shared with the society in an equal manner so that everybody can get his/her part of the cake. Will this be the case, I am afraid that I am here more pessimistic... Only the future will tell!

It's an interesting article, by the way it's one of the main subjects that engineers and robot scientists and even sociologists Are discussing about !

But what I'm really concerned about it’s that the machine (with the AI Artificial Intelligence) and the evolution of the deep learning, that those bots/robots can be a lethal hacking army!
Yes, because we are living now in a cyber-war era, wars with guns and tanks it’s gone.

Exactly! When the value of human labor goes to zero because of automation and AI, the only possible value humans can have to each other is sentimental or the ownership of other AI/robots. (Capitalism becomes less and less practical as we approach a society where our labor has no inherent value)

I think that the human species won't be able to create a REAL AI during the next 20-30 years...In my opinion it's too hard to programm that...you'd need to make a remake of the human brain...

I agree and disagree with this article. I agree that machines will make jobs that once needed human operators obsolete. However, i think human beings will evolve with that and simply move to the area of jobs where they are needed. LIke the shoemaker. No one makes shoes by hand like that anymore. However, they now move their skills to where demand is needed and focus there.

Also, machine technology will be integrated with human biology. So it's not so much we'll be replaced by machines. We'll be the machines at some point. As this integration will become cheaper and able to be used by everybody. If we think of it like a comic book story like iron man. We may be some merge of the machine with the ai applying it and being part of the task.

Exoskeletons now use a combination of the machine processor and human mind together. So a type of merger of two minds if you will. So i dont think it will lead to destruction of the ability of man to make a living or the breakdown of modern society. I believe we'll have a symbiotic relationship with machines both literal and not.

I think it's a little bit too optimistic to assume we'll just automate away all of the jobs. I don't think robots will be cheap enough to replace manual labor for gas stations, dollar stores, walmarts and the like for a long time.

If anything robots are mostly improving the quality work at places like, for example, Amazon warehouses - or replacing work that nobody wants to do, that often ends up as sweatshop labor otherwise

I definitely agree with your article @calaber24p. AI already replace tons of jobs and it will continue to replace them faster than the past. For this reason in real life I teach people programming. Also in one of my articles I had write about reasons to learn programming. And this was the most important one: https://steemit.com/programming/@djvidov/programming-why-should-i-learn-it

Correct me if i'm wrong but the machine now is capable of writing a code. I understant that even programming is under threat no ?

At this moment machines can fill a template with some code. But from my point of view I cannot say that the machine wrote code. :)

Definitely food for thought how AI will shape our future. Thanks!

It is startling to see how fast the world and technology moves. I think there is more then enough evidence to cite that we as humans are not adapting as quickly as technology, automation and AI is in fact doing so. I appreciate a good article promoting the awareness of it. You have made an excellent observation here. I can relate much of this to experience in my own life as someone involved in the tech industry. Keep up the good work, and I will follow. Cheers!

I agree, it's great what these robots are doing for us, they can achieve accuracy and consistency much higher than any humans can which unfortunately as a result, puts humans out of work. Great article :)

3 words. Resource Based Economy.

That robot is the coolest.. I am getting this strange feeling that sometime soon there is going to be a huge spike in the market for robotics..

You can check out @ENAZWAHSDARB for the best Entrepreneurial content! If you appreciate what you see, you can leave a follow! :)

I love the article, but I disagree with your conclusion.

I don't believe jobs are our reason to live. The economy is set up in such a way that we have been forced to believe it is.

At the end of the day, if we have enough resources and time and we are left to our own devices, we will be able to concentrate on the finer things in life. This could mean spending more time with family, having bigger families, spending more time on innovations, etc.

Also, this automated environment will require a butt-load of engineers to maintain. There are also a bunch of other positions required for machine maintenance.

Most importantly, left to own devices, rather then losing a reason to live, I believe we start looking into discovering new things, like re-invigorating our space program.

Either ways though, very interesting read. Thanks!

This is true. We have to think outside the box!!!!!

Hello, can you define Machine learning and AI as well?
Can their be machine learning without the involvement
of AI?

Wauw great article man
I think we indeed have to think about an new economic system so be prepared for the future greetings from belgium.

The problem that you are talking about in this article is very real, and more than a little scary. Unfortunately, the solution doesn't seem to be anything as simple as taxing the hell out of robots and the companies that use them and give everyone a Universal Basic Income.

People much better educated in economics than I am have debunked this idea. Here's one article from a couple of years ago showing that the math simply cannot work: http://www.oftwominds.com/blogdec15/basic-income12-15.html

The author (Charles Hugh Smith) also points out major psychological problems that could come from people living on UBI instead of earning their living.

I don't know what the answer is but it seems pretty clear that Universal Basic Income is not it. As for me, I'm living in South America and looking to buy some farmable land as a place to ride out the storm. God help us all!

I don't disagree with anything you said but I think bad economic theory will force us to rethink economic theory. Free markets allow for the corruption of markets through regulatory capture, which increases the centralization of money and power. Decentralization is the future of economic theory!