ChatGPT and now Bard are two of the newest artificial intelligence (AI) machines that have made a lot of noise around the world. However, they are not the first or last of their kind. The AI is taking the world by storm. From autonomous cars to replacement surgeons and writers, AI and robots are taking the place of humans, and the process is accelerating exponentially.
IBM, for example, recently announced that it would suspend hiring 7,800 employees and replace them with artificial intelligence. Similarly, British telecommunications giant BT plans to cut almost 55,000 jobs by 2030 and replace some of them with artificial intelligence tools. Without a doubt, this is only the beginning.
While until recently most people thought that AI and automation would only replace manual labor and simple repetitive processes, the picture now looks very different. AI can draft legal documents and conduct research. The AI can program like a programmer and work with an accuracy that no human surgeon is capable of.
At present it is used mainly to help professionals, but it is improving so rapidly that the day when people will almost no longer be needed seems to be coming much sooner than we think.
We were brought up to base our self-esteem on our work, our profession. We may think that a world without work is heaven, but because we value ourselves and others by our professions or careers, a world in which people have nothing to do and nowhere to find employment is a life without meaning. And it’s a very sad world.
Today’s reality, though most of us still don’t feel it, is that in terms of jobs, half, if not three-quarters, of the world’s population is surplus. There is simply no need for so many workers in the world.
Once mankind found a way to beat disease and reduce infant mortality, nothing could have prevented a dramatic increase in the population. Nevertheless, even with eight billion people in the world, and even with more people, we can still avoid depletion and pollution of the earth. The issue is not to reduce the human population, but to teach humanity how to interact in harmony.
Here we also need to understand what education means for a sustainable and harmonious way of life. It doesn’t help us to intimidate people by telling them that if they burn fossil fuels, it will kill the planet. We need a deeper, more comprehensive form of education that helps people find meaning in life and shows them what to do, not what to avoid.
The education people need is what lifts us above our inherent self-centered nature. Nurturing means that we learn to truly care for each other, not because it’s a better way to live, but because that’s how nature works.
Once we know this and realize that we too must live this way, we can establish a different paradigm of living and as a result lead a more peaceful life in harmony with nature and each other.
While our lives will be much better than the current rat race we define as life, a better life will not be the goal, but the result of a deeper understanding of the nature around us, our own nature, and how we can weave them together in a way that will take us to a new level of existence.
Unfortunately, such an educational process is not possible today. But it must be understood that this is essential if we are to avoid social, economic, and, ultimately, existential collapse.