This story deserves to begin with the story of David Cope. David Cope is a musicology professor at the University of California. He is well-known for being highly controversial in the classical music genre.
Current Book & Quotes From: "Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow" by Yuval Noah Harari
He started out this controversial journey by writing a program called EMI (Experiments in Musical Intelligence). This program specialized in the imitation of Johann Sebastian Bach.
“It took seven years to create the program, but once the work was done, EMI composed 5,000 chorales à la Bach in a single day. Cope arranged a performance of a few select chorales in a music festival at Santa Cruz.”
Upon doing a few performances, people would ecstatically speak about how the music would touch their soul and be so meaningful and powerful to them. Then they would be told that EMI was the one who composed the music and many of the same people who were just praising the music would become silent or even angry.
Overtime EMI got even better at composing music. It began to imitate other well-known artists as well and then it created it’s first album under a contract with a music company. This is when the negativity really started rolling in from people in the classical music community.
A professor named Steve Larson decided to challenge Cope and EMI:
“On the appointed date, hundreds of lecturers, students and music fans assembled in the University of Oregon’s concert hall. At the end of the performance, a vote was taken. The result? The audience thought that EMI’s piece was genuine Bach, that Bach’s piece was composed by Larson, and that Larson’s piece was produced by a computer.”
People couldn’t tell the difference between a human composer/performer and EMI. Further than that, people actually thought that EMI’s music was better and more in-tune with the soul of music.
Cope didn’t stop there, he went on to create more and more sophisticated programs, One of which is called Annie. Annie is a program built on machine learning which results in its musical style being in a constant state of flux and development. Annie is creating music based on any inputs from the outside world. Nobody knows what Annie will produce next.
The Rise of Automation and Algorithms
Automation and computer algorithms are continuing to develop and improve. Algorithms and A.I. are not going any where. They will only continue to evolve and grow and get more and more sophisticated.
What comes along with that is job displacement for human beings. We will continue to be replaced as automation technology improves.
We’ve already seen a redefining of the rules when it comes to jobs. Some people make their living by being “instagram famous” which means that they just travel the world or take pictures of themselves looking good or whatever their niche is AND they get paid for doing that. Not only do they get paid, they are getting paid a lot more than most people working “normal jobs”. And they have a lot more freedom.
This new trend is a sort of stepping stone. Creativity is becoming more and more valuable in our society. Creatives are becoming a new breed of worker. They are the new “American Dream” (and this dream still applies to people who aren’t American).
The trend of people leaving the notion of “normal jobs” and forcibly adopting these more creative outlets as the pillar that drives their life is just beginning.
More and more jobs will be replaced by automation and computer algorithms. It’s not a question of if you’ll get replaced, but when. The people who will stay employed the longest are the ones who have the most “human-esque” skills. The skills that come naturally to humans that come unnaturally to artificial intelligence. But even those skills can be up for grabs (as we can see with our professor and his composer algorithms).
The most sought after skilled laborers will be the ones who know how to build, manage and evolve these automation technologies. They’ll probably be the last ones standing in terms of “normal jobs”.
I found this study that Yuval cited to be the most interesting. Some of these numbers will probably alarm you and will definitely surprise you at the types of jobs we’re talking about here:
“In September 2013 two Oxford researchers, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, published ‘The Future of Employment’, in which they surveyed the likelihood of different professions being taken over by computer algorithms within the next twenty years. The algorithm developed by Frey and Osborne to do the calculations estimated that 47 per cent of US jobs are at high risk. For example, there is a 99 per cent probability that by 2033 human telemarketers and insurance underwriters will lose their jobs to algorithms. There is a 98 per cent probability that the same will happen to sports referees, 97 per cent that it will happen to cashiers and 96 per cent to chefs. Waiters – 94 per cent. Paralegal assistants – 94 per cent. Tour guides – 91 per cent. Bakers – 89 per cent. Bus drivers – 89 per cent. Construction labourers – 88 per cent. Veterinary assistants – 86 per cent. Security guards – 84 per cent. Sailors – 83 per cent. Bartenders – 77 per cent. Archivists – 76 per cent. Carpenters – 72 per cent. Lifeguards – 67 per cent. ”
There are of course many new jobs that will replace these. Jobs that we haven’t yet thought of. There are also certain jobs that have a very low likelihood of being replaced by algorithms any time soon. The same study quoted this:
“There are of course some safe jobs. The likelihood that computer algorithms will displace archaeologists by 2033 is only 0.7 per cent, because their job requires highly sophisticated types of pattern recognition, and doesn’t produce huge profits. Hence it is improbable that corporations or government will make the necessary investment to automate archaeology within the next twenty years.”
What Are We Going to Do?
The question of what purpose humans have becomes an even bigger question in the time of automation. I’ve talked about this before in previous posts.
I also mentioned previously in this post that there are stepping stones in this development. Stepping stones that I think many people will jump on and then use as their sort-of lifeboat in this future scenario.
These stepping stones are things like Steem, Instagram, Web Design, Freelancing, Photography, Cryptocurrencies etc. - they’re creative and technical skills that are not likely to be automated because they are best done by humans.
Becoming an “instagram influencer” is one of the most sought after professions for young millennials right now. Rather than everyone wanting to become a doctor or a lawyer, people are wanting to become a “digital nomad” who roams the world and gets paid for it. Who wouldn’t want that? It sounds like the ultimate journey to me. Something that I’d love to do full-time.
The question of what we will do with ourselves really comes down to tapping into your inner creativity. "What will I do in this new economy?” should be replaced with: “What do I want to do in this new economy?”
Anything is possible as we are seeing with the rise of the internet and the new redistribution of wealth and power. Being individual, unique and creative has never been more rewarding and easy to do than in this moment.
There are opportunities everywhere and the opportunities are growing. The future is abundant and full of doors that you can walk through. You can become a Steem content creator and earn a living by doing whatever you love and want to share with the world. You can become a Steempreneur and build/launch your SMT (well, you’ll hopefully be able to do this in March of 2019!).
You can do anything in this new economy. Your imagination sets the limit to your reality. What do you want to do in these exciting times?