PBS Idea Channel Looks at the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence [Video]

I've mentioned in the past that, in the future, there will be no jobs. I don't just mean "unskilled" jobs and I don't mean that everyone will be a freelancer. I mean that there will be no jobs. There may be a relative handful of people in senior administrative positions and a handful of people in scientific and technical positions who have a  steady gig but almost everyone will be 'unemployed' almost all the time.

That is, sort of, what this PBS Idea Channel episode is about: the ethics of creating artificial intelligence and robots that take over the jobs currently done by people. To me it isn't even an "ethical" question. If you took a poll and asked people if we should ban bulldozers to create more jobs for people with shovels, or ban email to save the post office the answer would, almost unanimously, be 'no'. Humans make progress, it is who we are and who we've always been and is, in many ways, what separates us from other animals.

It is also not really possible to stop progress. Even if there are calls to ban AI and robotics, as soon as one country decides not to go along with the ban, other countries will follow and the whole world will swiftly follow. No technology is inherently ethical or unethical, it is the application of the technology that is good or bad. So, the question is not 'should we do this' the question is 'how can we do this ethically'. How are we going to create a functioning economic model based on no paid work. How are we going to keep everyone sane when they don't have an actual job to go to? What about education? Education is, no doubt, a good thing but how will it change when we're not training people for the workforce?

Anyway, here is the video from Idea Channel. Time for everyone to make with the thinking.

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