The love-hate relationship of humanity with technology seems to be universal across ages. We love the benefits that technology brings, but hate it when it threatens our jobs, or forces us to learn new skills faster than our comfortable pace.
In the words of Clayton Christensen, one could say that technology is slowly disrupting human labor (and I include here knowledge work). The latest scare for humanity is the so called “technological singularity”, where artificial intelligence learns how to design improved versions of itself, and so exponentially surpasses human intelligence, leaving us humans well…irrelevant. Popular author Kurzweil predicts the year for this around 2045. Less extreme viewpoints still see automation as a major disruptive force to social order as even knowledge workers will be out of jobs in the next few decades. And so the fatalists wonder: how do we deal with the social implications of a few billion unemployed – will anarchy be the norm in 2045?
While the logical thread leading to a fatalist view of the future may seem sound, it is in fact plagued with serious flaws based in a misunderstanding of the differences between silicon and carbon-based intelligence.