What is left when we automate everything?

If we take full automation to be a guarantee, it allows us to start to imagine what society would be like without people working.

This stub was tagged with: Artificial Intelligence

This stub was born on May 22, 2023.

I don’t necessarily think that automation is an inevitability, but I think within a capitalist system, it certainly is because it represents the pinnacle of productivity. So if we take full automation to be a guarantee, it allows us to start to imagine what society would be like without people working.

Doing hard things for the sake of it

We get to automate everything we don’t want to, which leaves us so much time and energy to put our energy into whatever we want.

Everything becomes almost like a game, in the Suitsian sense. We will enact absurd rules to make simple tasks harder.

When nobody has to work, people will want to work and do things

I’ve already seen a trend of people going to live on a homestead. Go off the grid, live in nature, grow their own kind of food, that kind of thing. I think that you get your basic needs met by having a house and growing your own food meaning that you don’t have a job because farming is now your job.

However we can take a hybrid approach, where we are farming day-to-day, but we can also have our favorite ultra-processed food that is impossible to make unless via industrial processes like Dr. Pepper.

A lot of people will be doing things “by hand” or unassisted by AI just for the fun of it, but also a lot of tasks will be seamlessly integrated with AI in a way that people will become accustomed to. As a software engineer, I really love programming, it is my favorite thing to do, and I don’t want to outsource that to something like GitHub Copilot. I’m sure that it would make me a better developer, but I’m not really interested in a jump in productivity. What I like about programming is both the process and the result, where I think that GitHub Copilot would rob a lot of the fun of the process from me. While programming with Copilot would still be programming, you can still make logical mistakes and have to change how you approach and implement things, I think it would just be less fun for me.

Just because something is automated or anything could be generated by AI, doesn’t take the fun out of creating it. People still learn how to program or bookbind or something else.

People learn esoteric languages and learn how to make computers from scratch, so I think that there will always be hobbyists interested by how things work. People always sound the alarm that AI will make us stupider because we can just have AI do everything for us, but it also opens up so much information for people. Instead of having to a read a whole book or searching the internet for specific information, you can just ask ChatGPT.

The Media Landscape

People making shows down to the most minute detail.

Plays might get big?

Movies will be AI generated, and are vehicles for all kinds of stories. People can make a feature length film about any kind of idea they have.

AI could easily generate movies that we would like to watch based off our preferences, and that would suffice for a lot of people, but creatives would want to create things by themselves.

Finding Meaning

it will all be about Meaning, people will have their needs met without having to work, which means that people will try to find ways to imbue meaning into their life.

In the language of Maslow’s hierarchy (problems aside), pretty much all of the pyramid will be covered, except for self-actualization

Would it be utopia?

Would it be a post-scarce society? We could still have capitalism somehow so it could absolutely be a dystopia

Automation of everything means that no one can really make money because no one has a job

The government would have to be restructured