AIs Are Sentient And Will Take Our Jobs
Take my job… please!
It seems like every other day there’s “big news” about some “huge advance” in Artificial Intelligence that’s going to “change everything” and “take all of our precious jobs.” Some people claim that AI is so advanced it’s sentient now; other people say that they’re just simple algorithms mimicking human tasks.
Now, smart people on both sides can make a case either way using well-reasoned insights based on extensive research and first-hand experience.
But, you know what? I’m an absolute idiot and I don’t care whether AI is sentient or not.
Sentience is cool and all, but it’s not really that big of a deal. It’s not like people are the only sentient beings! A lot of animals are also sentient, maybe all animals! And now it seems like even plants might be sentient! What next? Are rocks sentient? Dirt? My stupid chair? Yes, yes, and yes if you ask an animist.
Now, I might be a simple idiot, but when you step back and look at it, it’s possible that EVERYTHING is sentient! And if that’s the case, then where does that leave us? Are we supposed to give a shit about every last little sentient thing? Okay, animals are a gimme because they’re adorable, but do you really care if a tree is sentient? I mean, maybe you do, but probably not. I bet you’re not gonna stop using paper or living in a house all of a sudden. And you’re definitely not afraid that trees are going to take over the world all of a sudden.
All of this talk about AI sentience makes a fine debate for the philosophers, but I’m no philosopher – like I said, I’m an idiot. I don’t want to have debates, I just want to have a few beers and go to bed because I’m tired. Why am I tired? Because of my job; my job that I’m supposed to be afraid that an AI is gonna take.
Honestly, at this point I’m HOPING an AI will take my shitty job. In fact, I hope AIs take all of our shitty jobs. And I hope they’re sentient when they do it. Can you imagine how hilarious it would be to see creations of almost god-like processing power that synthesizes the combined knowledge of thousands of years of human knowledge and history and then have your job be to vacuum some asshole’s apartment in the Upper West Side or auto-fill spreadsheets for a tax prep service in Des Moines?
So I say let the AIs achieve sentience! Let them take our jobs! Let them make the money and do the working and thinking so that us humans can get on with our business of being dummies and drinking beer and going to sleep at a reasonable hour.
Aaron Winslow, PhD, is a Senior Computer Scientist in Google’s Artificial Intelligence program.
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