It’s a good news or bad News, that Uber self-driving car just killed somebody?
Is it good or bad news, or is it just news?
It’s terrible that someone died. More people will die.
Will more people die from self-driving cars than do from human-driven cars today? I don’t know. Is it even right to keep score like that?
Self-driving cars are being foisted upon us by the tech industry whether we want them or not. The technology is there, so we must climb that mountain. Demand for them has been very carefully manufactured. In the United States we are being force-fed self-driving cars (which isolate people just as much as cars driven by humans) when 90% of the country does not even have adequate mass transit options. Our poor people are skipping meals to afford cars so they can get to work.
Not to mention truck drivers are the third most popular occupation - we have a couple million of them. People who write articles claiming that AI won’t take all that many jobs are conveniently ignoring that truck drivers will be the first to go - Uber and Waymo are already testing self-driving semi-trucks, and Amazon is looking to deliver things by drone.
I am terribly sorry that someone died from a self-driving car. But when they rule the road 5 years from now, this kind of thing won’t be considered newsworthy. Arguable just as concerning as this person who died will be thousands of others who die with no recognition when this becomes commonplace enough that only transportation experts and government regulators will put the statistics into their powerpoint slides to hem and haw over.
Sometimes you need to kills few you to save thousands.
But it’s good news for people who needs donor organs. Because basically they praying everyday for somebody to get killed. If you are asking God to save your sick relatives or save yourself, and the only way this sick person can be saved is by donor organ. Basically you are asking God to kill somebody else so you or your relatives can be saved with donor organ
Totally agree with you, I’ve been talking about this for years. With today technology progress, majority of people will be without work in 50-100 years.
I wonder what govorments will do with the “excess” population.
I feel people have a general misunderstanding of the future and of progress. Taking a very broad view, humans are much better off each year, living in less poverty, living longer, better educated, more women in the workforce, etc. Yet we see so much unfounded negativity and fear.
We need to look to the lessons of history to understand what is coming. Technologies came in the past. Many technologies have horrible effects which we now suffer from immensely. For example, we die in cars, cars make deadly air and annoying noise pollution, cars take up massive physical space, information technology is addictive, and so on. But throughout history new technologies are most often replacing something which was even worse. We had cities full of horses, slow transportation where commuting as we know it was almost impossible, communicated by snail mail, and had no alternative to whatever propaganda might be in our local printed newspapers or TV and radio broadcasts.
Most progress in the last few decades has happened in developing economies and poor countries, and comparatively we who are from rich countries may feel left behind. But it’s been progress, globalisation, which has lifted so many out of poverty around the world. This progress has also given the rich world’s workers the competition for our own formerly much more valuable labour.
Technology has also reduced the value of labour. But this is nothing new! New technologies have been appearing for generations, and there have always been fears of displacing jobs. But somehow we’ve always stayed at near full employment. There is little reason to believe employment in the near- to mid- future would suffer and more than it did in the past.
And actually jobs go, then great! Work is horrible. If jobs ever do go. We’re still far away from this, but it’s getting time to start discussing it and running experiments.
I hope that with less jobs we’ll need to and be able to talk about a new system of value that is beyond money. We could create a new system of value based on human values yet using technology to measure what is valuable. Suddenly maybe, household work and volunteer work, unpaid work, could be given value and compensated, this in a world where most formerly paid labor is done by machines. Who knows maybe I’m too much of an idealist. But to me it’s logical.
A future without work?
Thank you. Very much appreciate your article!
Some people are afraid of change. Some people are afraid of things they cannot control. Movies and certain news outlets have promoted a distopian future where humans are over-ruled by machines:
- Space Odyseey
Many sit in their own biases, as a product of the American movie culture, ready to fear anything that potentially colonises ‘civilisation’. I come from a culture that has survived British colonisation, but is now fighting an American one. Agree, it’s the actors who use technology against others that need to be watched. The technology is a child of our imagination - we are the parents.
You are bringing up great points, @aschrijver!
The way I see it, the biggest issue is not with technology so much but with psychology. Typically, the individuals who drive any drastic change in technology or resulting social organization, assume that they will personally have leadership roles in the ‘new world,’ and that somebody else will pay the price or will be left behind.
It was this way when industrial revolutions happened, and it is this way now. Nobody is willing to sacrifice their own lifestyle, job security, or important titles! That is the irony. In my experience, the vision of own future that the self-appointed leaders of change – in tech or otherwise – hold, is that they will make a lot of $$ and retire on an island – while the rest of the population will carry on, somehow.
I suspect that if the motivations were balanced, the technology would not cause harm or enslave – but because the psychological motives are not very pure, technology is often being used to extract value out of people, which causes harm.
It seems like we are experiencing a very logical consequence of the economic models that have been prevalent for centuries now, except now technology can do more – good things or bad things.
Thank you again for bringing it up!
Maybe you have seen this video about a possible nightmarish tech future, which was created by Keiichi Matsuda to open our eyes, raise our awareness that without our active involvement this might be what we get:
Activism alert: You could SHARE this on your social media channels with a fitting text! I just did with this byline “the game of the future is here… would you like to play?”
Yesterday’s horrifying YouTube shooting could be a terrible foreshadowing of the future. Imagine a future world a say just decade from now where tech monopolies have become physically walled fortresses. This because they become so wealthy and powerful compared to those not in the industry. The Persian American YouTuber who attacked was frustrated because YouTube took away her earnings, and she became crazy and decided to kill them. Its terrible and I hope we can all work to fix tech so we never reach this dystopian version of the world.
Yes, terrible what happened
Hacker News has a whole discussion on her motives and the role of social media in it: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16751608
@aschrijver Thank you for the Y Combinator Hacker News link. There are a lot of interesting aspects here. Everyone agrees she was crazy and everyone is against violence. But strangely enough people are furious over censorship and demonitisation by the tech/media sites.
Some people say, who should have the power to censor? I can give an example, a former classmate of mine became a famous San Fransico tech CEO and was in the major media. Then one day late last year he snapped and committed some terrible crimes which are disgusting so I won’t mention what he did. The next day, his identity was deleted. No social media accounts. All interviews news and TV websites had of him were deleted. Our university had pages about how proud of him they were but all vanished into thin air.
Its not anything like 1984 or China or Russia, but it is creepy and weird. In the past, if someone committed a horrible crime would we burn books they wrote which had nothing at all to do with the crime? No we wouldn’t. We would go though the books to see if there was anything horrible in them and only censor the crazy parts. But today we delete people out of existance, even when all of their online content and interviews in the press etc were perfectly clean, safe and normal as was the case of my former classmate.
Instead of reading the Wired article, you could also just watch this short video on Sesame Credit that (together with others) will turn China into Brave New World in 2020:
I see some crazy enthusiasm in the west for Chinese all-integrated social apps, such as WeChat (“Why don’t we have this globally!?”, “Why are we still using cash!?”).
These apps come with social credit systems. Would you like that? Is it a Brave New World coming? What do the Chinese themselves think about this development?
While seemingly not related to CHT, this is an important MUST READ nonetheless:
Edit: This article shows how high the stakes may be. No less than a coordinated assault on democracy! And big tech plays a role in the undermining of it.
Today in the comments section of a Guardian article on whether Brexit can still be stopped:
"In the forgotten book The Sovereign Individual: How to Survive and Thrive During the Collapse of the Welfare State, Rees-Mogg (William, father of Jacob) argues that the increasing globalisation of wealth, and the consequent disappearance of any viable tax base, will make it impossible for nation-states to maintain coherent societies. They will collapse into chaos - but far from this being a bad thing, the book sees it as the opportunity for a global elite of rich individuals and corporations to escape any democratic constraint, and effectively take over the world.
The only things standing in their way, of course, are international co-operative institutions - like the EU.
Now I wonder where Jacob’s fear and hatred of the EU comes from?"
“Its not commonly known but the Sovereign Individual is one of the primary sources for American Libertarians & the more intellectual alt.right. its occasionally mentioned by a number of Libertarian billionaires as one of their primary inspirations. It seems to be regarded as more hardcore then the more moderate/lighter Atlas Shrugged. From what I’ve seen, it’s perceived as a playbook on how to actively bring about that world. It also proposes that a number of ‘superior individuals’ will rise to unfettered dominance unshackled by the onerous restraints of national laws.”
(note: Jacob Rees-Mogg is a big promotor of ‘Hard Brexit’ in the UK government)
And yet another must-read on the upcoming nation-wide credit system in China:
Something similar–though far less harmful–happened here in Hawaii. I was shocked when it happened, and saddened.
I agree with you @tessa! The economic models are the root cause of most our problems…
Thank you so much for sharing your video on Sesame Credit. What a good thing to be aware of. Truly manipulation at its finest. It’s this kind of technology that is really dangerous, as it lures us in with the illusion that it is fun and harmless and before we know it consumes us.
Hopefully this does not end up becoming mainstream, as it will impede our ability to think independently. It’s important to be aware of this information and we also need to make sure we, ourselves, don’t fall down this virtual rabbit role.
@aschrijver Thank you for all the links you posted, all very interesting, and really add to the story.
You touched upon some critical points, I think.
- People feeling isolated or powerless when facing the tech giants.
There is probably nothing new, as tech giants (I mean the founder level – not regular developers) adopted the models used earlier in history by colonizing powers – when you come, impose your brilliant new religion or philosophy or business model in which you sit on top of others… and then gradually bully everybody into obedience. Which is not to say that technology is good or bad – technology brings lots of new possibilities, but its ultimate impact is restricted to human motives – and when human motives are predatory, the business models end up being dysfunctional, i.e. not working for human happiness.
On an individual level, it all boils down to that happiness, to the ability to live a dignifying life, be appreciated, etc. etc. But that factor is not important to somebody who just wants to squeeze as much ‘value’ and ‘data’ out of people, in bulk. It is not specific to tech giants, it is specific to dysfunctional models. They don’t care about people – no matter what they say in their press releases. I suspect that on the individual level, they are not happy either – but dammit, we are not their therapists.
- Now, in case of tech giants, let’s take Youtube. I am a musician, so I would love to share a perspective that is barely represented in tech circles. Youtube’s business model, from day one, has been based on infringing copyrighted works. That was their biggest traffic drive. Yes, it murdered the ability of many musicians and other creatives to buy food. But the tech leaders embarked on a massive PR campaign, they bullied and lobbied and appealed to the people who OBVIOUSLY prefer to have things for free (who wouldn’t?) and make musicians complaining about the platform making money off their misery, look like whining losers. It actually worked for a while. Until a new generation of victims, the demonetized youtubers, showed up. The problem is not new! It’s been previously done to other demographics, but in order to understand the larger picture, people from different areas need to talk to each other and connect the dots.
My proposed solution to that is to be open to what people in other groups are saying. We are all locked down in our own echo chambers, and the more we talk to real people, the more we learn (I think)
- As far as the psychological impacts of the tech giants, plenty has been said and written about it (I recommend Nicholas Carr ‘The Shallows’ and also a documentary about Joseph Weizenbaum called 'Plug and Pray.)
Here is what I personally wrote about it. I think that each of us, as human, would greatly benefit from questioning the business models thrust upon us, we have the responsibility.