Humans Need Not Apply

This video is about a year old already, but it perfectly captures thoughts I’ve been having for a while and thinking about intensely as I was reading a lot on AI and machine learning.

Eventually, we’ll all be out of a job. But isn’t that great? I always hated the argument ‘we create jobs’ as if that is something virtuous in itself. I only see virtue if you create jobs that are meaningful and enjoyable – something people want to spend time with. Anyway, as easy as it is for more people today to imagine machines taking away more manual labor jobs, once you see what’s technologically possible today it’s not hard to see your white-collar job being automated in the not-too-distant future.

If this is hard to imagine, take a look at this (year-old!) video.

It’s going to hit virtually everyone. The taxi drivers revolting against Uber will eventually have to realize that they will be fully out of a job when self-driving cars are finally permitted to drive on the streets (they’re already far safer than humans today).

If we are serious about a more just future, we have to start thinking about decoupling a livelihood from working. in a world where we do not do the work, we have to find a different strategy on determining who gets to live how well. To me, this is the unconditional basic income, which more and more cities are already experimenting with. i’m curious though, what’s your take on this?

Germany and the Refugee Question, August 2015

70 years ago, germany only managed to get back on its feet because of the goodwill and $$ of other countries, even after having just cause an atrocious amount of death and destruction. today we are the 3rd largest weapons exporter and actually making $$ from death and destruction in the world.

yet we’re showing none of the goodwill that put us in this comfortable position: we let the victims of our weapons exports drown in the mediterranean to deter others from coming and we remain silent about police violence at our boarders, illegal push-backs, right-wing terrorism against asylum centers, violent racist attacks on people, and burning refugee homes. just the official support structures are kept understaffed, and there’s a very tangible move to the right in the air and on the ground. even in berlin, usually a pretty tolerant place, there’s ugliness: to pick just one example, on saturday two known neonazis threatened and urinated on children in the subway.

our politicians are busy with a weird competition on delivering the most pathetic reaction instead of getting anything done to help. instead of trying to solve the causes of the problem or even just properly helping the victims of their politics, they side with and protect those openly defying international law and the humanitarian values we love to display so proudly. all while demanding crippling austerity from our greek brothers and sisters so that the banks that made foul bets get away unscathed. it gets even more absurd considering that sooner or later, we need migrants to keep our entire social system running and that we have been the biggest profiteers of the european union.

blood on our hands, everywhere we look. is this still not enough to make a generation stand up and say ‘no more’?