By Daniel Taylor
An age of revolution is upon us. We can all feel to some extent the importance of the time we are living in. Populist movements have toppled long standing establishments across the world. Donald J. Trump was just elected President of the United States. Amidst the election cycle chaos we have lost sight of one of the other major revolutions impacting our world. We didn’t hear about it during the debates, either.
The technological revolution will play a major role in Donald Trump’s presidency. He will have to deal with the pressing reality of human jobs being displaced by robots and artificial intelligence.
Many reports state that half of human jobs could be replaced by robotics and artificial intelligence within 30 years. Technology elites have been talking as if it were a foregone conclusion for many years.
Speaking about the rise of artificial intelligence and robotics, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak stated that humans will “…become the pets, the dogs of the house.”
Gaping societal divides will inevitably ensue over the development of these technologies. Fred Charles Ikle, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy under President Reagan, outlines this divide in his 2006 book Annihilation from Within. Ikle writes, “The prospect is that in the decades ahead, biotechnology – together with other sciences – may fundamentally change the human species and thus pose an elemental threat to democracy, the world order, and indeed to all civilizations.”
Another threat is that of artificial intelligence being in control of systems essential to every day life. Computer scientist Jaron Lanier, named in Time Magazine’s top 100 most influential people for 2010, warns that people he calls “Cybernetic totalists” could “…cause suffering for millions of people.” He warns that essentially, the ideology and politics of individuals may be built into software that runs our lives. Lanier writes in his “One Half A Manifesto”,
“There is a real chance that evolutionary psychology, artificial intelligence, Moore’s Law fetishizing, and the rest of the package, will catch on in a big way, as big as Freud or Marx did in their times. Or bigger, since these ideas might end up essentially built into the software that runs our society and our lives. If that happens, the ideology of cybernetic totalist intellectuals will be amplified from novelty into a force that could cause suffering for millions of people.”
How will technology be developed in America under a Trump administration? Will he recognize the coming storm of displaced human jobs and Transhumanist politics? Will a new class of technological social justice warriors emerge fighting for human augmentation?
The political, economic and social atmosphere – intertwined with individual choices – will mold the outcome.