Humans need not apply

A couple of years ago a magazine cover caught my eye with the title Technological Singularity. Being not familiar with the term I decided to read the article to find out what on earth it could be. In short the technological singularity is some time in the future when technology – specifically artificial intelligence – overtakes the ability of humans and lead to human beings being replaced in the workplace by robots and other technological marvels. The magazine then went on to say that once this happens society will experience a rapid acceleration in wealth, technology and living standards. The article used history to back up its claims.

When humans realised it was easier to plant crops and raise herds than it was to hunt and gather they did so. As man was no longer nomadic, settlements were formed and there was an a sudden and sharp increase in the global population, which had been fairly constant during hunter-gatherer times. This discontinuity happened around 10,000 BC and is referred to as the Neolithic or Agrarian revolution.

The next significant revolution (in my humble opinion) is the Industrial Revolution. With the introduction of machines the days of mankind producing everything by hand were gone. The rate at which technology progresses increased sharply, and as a result living standards over the past 200 years improved far more than any time in history.

With both the agricultural and industrial revolutions the need for workers was never replaced, the roles humans had in the workforce simply changed. However, what do humans do once we make machines and computers that can do any job better than ourselves? Some might say that there will always be a job for humans to do, even if it’s just to build better robots and computers. But what happens when machines can make themselves better than we can. If you’re still not convinced, watch this:

This video was created by CGP Grey.