Quora – work post AI

What meaningful work will humans be able to do once AI/robots become better than us at everything?

[ 18/4/20 ]

Whatever you responsibly choose.

It is already the case that only one person on the planet is actually the best at anything, yet everyone else who has a try is some approximation to that (maybe many orders of magnitude removed).

The space of all possible ways to achieve all possible activities is just so large as to be beyond any possibility of computation (ever, in any real universe).

So it has always been, and will always remain the case, that life is as meaningful as we each choose to make it. It never has been about being the best at anything. It has always been about being far from perfect yet good enough to survive. And some people will have different sets of “beliefs” about such things. For some people the term belief resolves down to a simple binary “True” or “False”, in all instances. For others of us it is always a balance of probabilities ending in “this seems more probable in this context based upon the evidence sets and interpretive schema I have available”.

The thing about AI and robotics, is that they enable everyone to be freed from the need to put most of their time into tasks involved with the maintenance of life, and allow any individual to explore whatever aspect of their creativity that they responsibly choose – and responsibility in this sense means giving due care and consideration for the lives and liberties of others, and the requirements of the social and ecological systems within which we exist. Individuals are still free to choose to do those tasks, it is just that there is no longer any need for societal systems to incentivise or enforce such activity.

And it seems that we are all sufficiently complex that even with our best endeavours, that is likely to look subtly (or not so subtly) different to each of us.

Freedom has that unsettling attribute at all levels – it produces diversity (not just within levels, but also in the number of levels present), and that diversity must be accepted. And there will remain tests of reasonableness, and those may need to be argued and justified at various levels; and there may be various levels of systems for such things, and there will always be levels beyond any existing established systems that some may choose to explore – and such explorations will always induce uncertainties of interpretation in others, by definition.

So for many of the older and simpler stories, AI is something new, something not present at the time those stories and the systems embodied within them developed. That reality may cause some feelings of dislocation in some. That is necessary and survivable.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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