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Section 4 / Page 100
The chain reaction continued part 4/4
The technological domino effect has happened before and in many different areas such as the car industry, lean manufacturing and its affect on labour will seem like nothing compared to the coming storm. If plans are not made and soon, then itís going to create a huge and possibly a very dangerous problem that will affect every part of society. The global market place is showing how cheap labour in many countries can be exploited by unscrupulous businesses. If these businesses are willing to exploit cheap human workers, then they are bound to exploit an even cheaper software based virtual workforce, once developed.
Cheap labour markets in the far east show that the global free market economy does not care about human labour, just profit margins, its all down to global competition don't you know. In many industries it is becoming cheaper and easier to subcontract the work out to an oversees virtual workforce. As A.I. etc becomes that workforce, then competition will leave many employers with no option but to use the cheapest method available, so as to achieve profitable returns. The capitalists will get rich, but the governments of the world will have to find a new use for the billions they may have spent years training. Creative destruction, I hear the economists bleat, I just wait for the day they are replaced by smart forecasting software and find themselves having to be retrained every five minutes.
My hope, is that the masses will wake up in time to save themselves.
Imagine having a virtual teacher on any subject, this will happen and could make many schools and teachers obsolete. Especially when you consider that a virtual teacherís knowledge base could be linked in many different ways to the net, also the pupils understanding of any given subject should be greatly enhanced through the use of virtual or visualisation aids. A virtual teacher would also have endless patience and could always be kept up-to-date on any new developments, so always capable of providing the best answers to any questions asked by the student.
The knowledge migration problem, as in the problem of interpretation of any subject, could be lessened (just the facts). Virtual teachers should have less problems in this area compared to real teachers, who may give a wrong or slightly incorrect answer to a question for whatever reason. The problems encountered by many pupils could be lessened, because virtual teachers could in theory teach a subject at many levels and in many different ways to suit the pupil, rather than being stuck in a classroom with many people, all trying to learn at the same rate.
This could result in many problems, because it wonít take long, before most people in general would rather learn in the way described rather than go to a school. School could in many respects be seen as an inferior learning apparatus. This problem may well have knock on effects in every area, the pupil that stays at home, will more than likely still need adult supervision, so if both parents have to work then the problem is multiplied. The problem of what is best for the children, may cause some major tensions. Also if charge per usage knowledge systems become widespread, then the poor may find themselves, feeling a little left out.
These problems will escalate, with virtual A.I. experts in many fields replacing many jobs considered to be sacred, the average person will probably feel increasingly marginalized. The problems are only set to get worse as software and hardware producers battle it out, in the coming battle of "Our A.I. expert is better or cheaper than yours". Keep in mind that these virtual experts will just be software, which will eventually be accessible from any connected net device, so proliferation is assured. This could result in massive lay offs in many job sectors and this could also happen so quickly, that the chain reaction would be the result. I don't know about you, but after the accounting scandals in America, then, I think I would rather trust a virtual accountant rather than a real one?
This may all sound fanciful, but look at it this way, governments keep trying to create more jobs (equals more social control), business or at least investors would be quite happy to have a completely automated low cost workforce, see capitalism vs. democracy. As A.I. and Nanotech matures then these two ideologies will I believe, come to blows and then the general public will be forced to deal with the consequences.
Governments may well be faced with having to come up with increasingly creative solutions to the unemployment, this new technology will create. Where as the capitalists will find new ways to use this technology, so as to lower their overheads, i.e. shedding the workforce, after all, some other company or government can always employ them?
You can always get a job somewhere else, in a virtual / A.I. / nanotech future, this may no longer be true. If software based virtual workers can do your job and some employer has already replaced you with it, then chances are, that your next potential employer, is only one software download away, from making you redundant as well.
As I said, all this could cause a massive chain reaction beyond the control of any corporation or government.
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