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What is an Artificial Intelligence Society?

    • 50 posts
    March 25, 2021 12:36 PM GMT

    This is an informative post provided as background to the post on Society and our Artificial Intelligence Future. In particular it explains the Job Disruption Scenario and Tipping Point Scenario. 


    What is an Artificial Intelligence Society?

    An AI Society is one in which Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become totally pervasive. We expect to reach this point in the next 20 years in the UK.

    Science, technology and especially AI has advanced to the stage where now, or in the near future, it has the potential to solve for the first time many of the cost and other issues we currently face, to improve the quality and effectiveness of things we already do, and to change our lives for the better.

    In particular, AI will become pervasive and the benefits to our Public Services can be enormous. It offers, over time, the possibility of improving the productivity of our businesses and reducing our working lives and enabling us to do things that we couldn’t previously contemplate.

    At the same time, it is recognised that there will, over time, be widespread replacement of existing jobs by AI. Some believe this Job Disruption Scenario will be mitigated by creation of new types of jobs, largely based on what happened in the industrial revolution and with computers. Others believe AI is of an entirely different order, because any new jobs will be capable of being performed by AI and we will reach a Tipping Point Scenario where there is a net loss of jobs.

    The key issue raised by the Job Disruption Scenario is job churn, the speed with which it will take place, the time and cost of dealing with it and the impact on society:

    • there will be a need to re-skill people, potentially several times in their lives
    • if we don’t handle it well then there may be significant periods of unemployment (temporary or otherwise) for large numbers of people with associated cost of benefits
    • there may well be an impact on individuals’ wellbeing unless the process is well-supported
    • there is a question over whether the new jobs created will mostly require higher capability levels and whether everyone has the capacity to re-skill to those levels, plus the longevity of those new jobs
    • it is likely that substantial adoption of AI will affect international trade and dependent jobs (other than raw materials) because of the ease of self-sufficiency and also because of ‘first mover’ competitive advantage
    • there is also a fundamental question over whether our education system is preparing us for this level of change and of re-learning

     The Tipping Point Scenario, if and when we reach it would bring additional issues including:

    • no prospect of replacing jobs lost; there will be a gradual, or not so gradual, decline in the number of jobs available. Not all jobs will disappear but those having a job may become the minority. We may need to slow the loss of jobs so as to make it more manageable.
    • how will those not able to work receive an income and contribute to society such that they can have a good life, free from financial worry?
    • will we have a three-tier society of (1) those that have no work (2) those that have a job and a good income (3) those that have control of the capital for deploying AI. How will we operate a meritocracy and avoid unbridgeable wealth gaps between these tiers?
    • If we all work much less and some not at all, how will we find achievement and fulfilment?
    • what will be the impact and issues of almost complete dependence on technology?
    • how will increasing longevity affect the situation, especially if new breakthroughs are made?
    • what are the implications for immigration and emigration?

    The Tipping Point Scenario would affect and overturn almost every aspect of how we operate our society. So, it is an opportunity to plan what sort of society we want in the future.

    This post was edited by # Probably42 at March 25, 2021 12:40 PM GMT