Optimising humans has become increasingly irrelevant across sectors. This can be seen in the assembly lines, and also the stock market. Yet it should not be viewed as just being in those sectors. Phones and AI assistants have taken some of the work that a sectary or clerk would have done. Looking hard enough at any sector, you will see the limits of human optimisation and the replacement with automation. The glory days of the industrial workforce are long over. Even the Chinese Communist Party is starting to realise this. At some point, firms have made the choice that automation and the minimisation of humans are better than further pushing the limits of productivity and creativity of human potential. This seems different from other advancements that saw more tools and products as this is not tied to humans as directly.
Different From Before:
Tool use is a crucial part of humanity’s past and can be seen as one of the many reasons that we advanced so far away from animals. A human in a base state is very vulnerable to a loin or bear but give them a modern weapon, and they stand a much better chance. The impacts of nature on humans have been steadily defeated. Lifespans have jumped along with what humans have been able to accomplish. A man was placed on the moon, and our societies are some of the most complicated systems in the world. At the centre, however, was the human intention and human usage of those tools.
Humans carrying things to the horse to the train seems very different from our modern situation. Factory worker with hand tools to factory worker to different way to organising themselves, to powered tools to replaced and automated.
Adaption To People
At the moment you can claim the programmers and maintenance is done by humans. Yet it seems likely that artificial intelligence will eventually do this. Maintenance can already be done with robots, and the AI in the stock market could own all of them the fact this can not happen is not a moment of capability but instead a question of time. Nothing is stopping this, and the reason it does not exist is primarily due to the fact that past systems have not been replaced. Eventually upgrading and redoing happens. Short of taking an Amish role this is eventually going to happen. This removal of humans is different from the previous upgrades.
However, even augmenting humans seems to be showing mixed results. The use of technology has allowed people to find more information and also communicate with those very far away at any time. The negatives are that with being on call at all hours free time from work has been shrinking and also the ability to communicate at any time does not mean that the quality of the communication is any good. Any notable side effect of technology becoming part of our daily function is that attention spans have been shredded. You can find out more about this in another our post:
Societies Changed By Technology:
Technology without the right guidance and the right user can become quite evil. Factory production line technology that makes medicine is very different from one that is used to arm a rogue state. For most technologies, it is the use that matters, although some technologies may be inherently harmful. Some have hoped that algorithms and AI will get rid of the flawed human element. Yet this foolish to think about in broad terms. At the foundation of every single AI and code even if built by another AI will have influence from the humans that started the process.
A difference is` that AI and automation clearly can become more efficient and lacks basic human emotions/ethics. While humans can follow unreasonable commands, it is much harder than writing a command. This ease has significant concerns for our societies that increasingly have disagreements and issues with freedom. China has managed to harness the power of new technology to watch in ways that never would have been possible using human workers. Oppression has never been so possible and so far reaching. Society is not always being made better just because our technology moves onward.
Replaced And Digitized
Farming used to be the largest occupation in our society but long lost that place. Factory work was seen to become the new occupation. A quick look at the past industrial sectors wills how you that decay and ruin has set in. Hopes of well educated jobs filling the void cannot be seen. Learning to code is no option for the journalists as much as it is an option for miners. The techno society that was deemed of has not panned out for a lot of people and AI despite creating jobs seems to be taking much more. We have lost the stablehands in our time but it is hard to see the Car builder jobs. New technology has replaced but has not yet created the workforce.
One major hope is the potential that the internet has for economies and jobs. It has insane scope and depth that could be used to drive jobs. A quick look at augmented reality or even the economies of services such as second life demonstrates the potential for new goods and services. It has the possibility to be like the discovery of the new world was to stagnate economies and systems in Europe. This potential should not be dismissed as you have interacted with it most likely on a daily basis. The same automation can occur online, but with the size, perhaps more jobs and industries can be created. Negatives exist with taking humans from the physical world to the digital, yet it offers a lifeline to human employment.
The purpose of humanity and our societies is something that is debated constantly. The fact increasingly we are leaning into the unnatural may be a concerning development. Choices in the past that seemed so clear cut as the path of progress we now can see the negatives. Thinking about the future may not help our current present as much. But eventually, it will our present and our children’s present.