The Economics of AI: Example

I recently had a great time at the 68th British National Science Fiction Annual Convention: meeting old friends; making new ones; attending some fascinating panels…

The panels prompted my restless mind to explore tangential threads, as they should. Example…

During the Artifical Intelligence (AI) panel, someone mentioned that when driverless trucks take over, some 3.5 million USA truckers will lose their jobs. Another 5 million support staff, such as truck stop workers, will be redundant, too. Most of them won’t have high-value transferable skills in such a new environment, so that’s nearly 8.5 million people on the dole within the few years it takes for trucking companies to convert to driverless.

8.5 million ex-workers. And that’s from the introduction of just ONE AI “device”.

  • Who’s going to pay the ex-truckers’ welfare benefits, health care, pensions…?
  • Will resurgent Unions fire up a protest movement and blackmail the trucking industry?
  • Will there be riots?
  • Will governments ban such AIs to protect human jobs?
  • Will candidates for elected office seek to ban such AIs to protect human jobs, especially in election years? (AIs don’t vote. Yet. But that’s another topic.)

Although these were remarkable data and I sympathize with the threatened workers, their families and whoever will be taxed more heavily to fund the bloating welfare system, thoughts of two financial aspects popped into my mind unbidden:-

  1. At the end of their working lives, AIs can be sold off for scrap or salvage: no one pays a company when it sheds human workers.
  2. AIs don’t get pensions or geriatric health care, so there are no ongoing payments by the state when their “working lives” end.

There MUST be a story there.

  • How would those financials work out in the longer term?
  • How will the displaced people spend their time?

Among the solutions offered by the panel was the suggestion that the redundant humans could turn their hands to the production of high-ticket “artisanal” objects. Hmm… 8.5 million instant craftspersons whose latent skills suddenly emerge overnight without years of training and practice? (Just like Rey using the Force and lightsabers, and piloting starships without any training…)

Hmm… The Force must be strong in the trucking industry.

Or… Maybe they could get domestic AIs to turn their produce into higher-quality and hence higher-ticket items? Who would pay for the domestic AIs? And that defeats the point of having human-crafted objects, doesn’t it? Or does it, if humans created the AI’s? But it would not be the ex-truckers who programmed the craft-skilled AI’s…

As the saying goes, “It’s complicated.”

A Beginner’s Tale #3

Large FoJIt has been a long journey, but here I stand on the verge of publishing my first novel.

I always wanted to write, but my first High School English teacher convinced me I was barely literate. I think he resented me being taller than him, as a later (taller) teacher promoted me from bottom of the class to (almost) pole position.

Too late!

It was my final year of school and my small fantasies had been strangled. Hurrah for education! Continue reading

Janus and June

graduation_cap_and_diplomaCELEBRATION !

Another hectic month.

June started with a week in the UK, celebrating my middle daughter’s graduation (huge congrats!).

It ended with a week at a German spa!

In between, I managed to start work on my beta-readers’ responses to my novel, “FACES OF JANUS”. Continue reading

Catching Up

I’ve not posted for a while. Today I’m catching-up with a miscellany of stuff, good and bad.

I spent a week in the UK visiting my mother and returned depressed at the toll late-stage Alzheimer’s is having on that wonderful woman. Then I heard that my 11 year old nephew had succumbed to cancer. Continue reading

WIP the New Year

ALERT:  Sit well back from your screen while reading this.

With the onset of the New Year (woot! woot! streamers & champagne), I had wanted to try something new, blogistically speaking. It would have been an occasional series of very brief blogs on my “Work In Progress” (WIP) and the fun associated with being a struggling writer.

The first one was to appear last weekend. However…
Continue reading