Reading Response 5 / Heather Weyda

In “Four Futures” by Peter Frase, he touches on the subject of automation and the possible effects that it may have on the world as we know it. There is often a negative connotation around the idea of further implementing AI into labor positions due to the already volatile state of employment, specifically in the United States. It’s estimated that 47% of the jobs can be replaced through robots and automation. When people think of this possibility they usually imagine more menial jobs such as fast food, factory work, of toothpaste cap screwers like the dad in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But, this reading suggests that it will take over more skilled work as well such as doctors or lawyers. I found a website that I’ve posted here before, but is even more relevant to this reading,
For reference:
Graphic Designer: 3.7%Chance of Automation
Industrial Designer: 3.7% Chance of Automation
Fashion Designer: 2.1% Chance of Automation

So luckily we all seem to be in the clear!But why don’t we want to be replaced by robots?  Mostly, for the idea that we need that job to survive, make an income, and to have a sense of fulfillment. In the current capitalistic society we often base our value on our work and the wages we earn from said career path. But, if there is a universal basic income it might ease the fear of the automated replacement of jobs. Then I beg the question of if only some of the jobs are able to be replaced would people simply shift to a more creative fields or automation sciences and somewhat keep up the capitalistic ideals of earning the most money as possible? Or would people embrace the freedom without work and live life based off of their own interests? As Frase suggests, the main issues behind automation is the political system rather than the automation itself. The way things are now do not allow for a good alternative for people who are being replaced by these robots and therefore scares people when they think of the inevitable robot takeover. I also found it extremely interesting when he said that many farmers in California were turning to automation due to the lack of workers after the southern border surveillance increased. It would be interesting if it was actually due to a lack of labor or if it was a lack of cheap labor, simply because most do not think that automation is due to a lack of available workers, but because the automation is overall cheaper than the labor.

When I was reading about the job aspect of this reading I thought about this article where Elon Musk Warns Governors: Artificial Intelligence Poses ‘Existential Risk’ It’s interesting when someone who is one of the leaders warns against this specific area of technological advancement. “Musk told the governors that AI calls for precautionary, proactive government intervention: ‘I think by the time we are reactive in AI regulation, it’s too late,’ he said.” I wonder as to why he feels as though the AI needs to be regulated and it is not political policy that should change. I question how far the robotics is allowed to go and that might possibly what worries Musk as well. For example, Frase talks about the artificial womb in which we grow human embryos, but only up to 2 weeks. Even though the timeline of the grow is regulated I question the necessity and morality of this research.