One of our biggest challenges in the upcoming decades would be to develop tools that will help us adapt to the technologies of the future.
AI is not science fiction anymore. AI is already here. AI is our coworker, our friend, and our enemy.
AI and the future of work
Since 1965, computer processing power has roughly doubled every two years. All of the computing power that once enabled the Apollo mission to the Moon can now fit on a chip inside your smartphone. And it’s not only mechanical tasks like surgical procedures and automated driving that are endangered by machine take-over. AI can already compose music, draw paintings and write novels. So, it’s not hard to imagine a near future, where the exponential growth of technology will reach a tipping point – the Singularity. Once we reach this critical milestone, generally available AI will significantly outperform any sort of human intelligence.
So what do we do after?
“Our sole responsibility is to produce something smarter than we are; any problems beyond that are not ours to solve …” ― Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology
Every technological revolution in history has destroyed jobs and created new jobs. Just look at the NY Times article from February 1928 called “March of the machine makes idle hands”. We may find it funny now, but 90 years ago hard-working people were feeling really anxious about things like gasoline cranes and concrete-mixing machines taking over their jobs.
It is hard to predict what will people do if machines are better at everything. The only thing we know for sure is that automation will take every job it can take. How can we be so sure? Most organizations are revenue-oriented. And the CEO’s job is to maximize the profit for the company shareholders which implies to optimize all the resources to achieve the goal.
And after all, we are all a resource, right? That’s why we have the Human Resources department. But what happens when a cheaper resource comes into the equation? An AI that does not sleep, skips vacation and has no sick days. Well, then it will be a no-brainer for the company CEO to just replace human workers with a cheaper resource in order to stay competitive and maximize the company valuation.
So if machines threaten to become better at everything, we have to rethink a) what are we going to work and b) how are we going to organize our work?
It is hard to predict what kind of work will remain and what will be fully automated since some of the jobs don’t even exist at the moment. And if centralized organizations are not the answer we should learn how to work with each other within a different kind of structure. Our vision is that this structure should be a decentralized and autonomous organization where everything is automated so people only need to form a team and share their skills to achieve the goals they want. And we have developed a tool that enables such organizations.
Wetonomy is an open framework to build and shape Decentralized Autonomous Organizations.
it’s like you were to receive a Lego box full of the simplest elements available to build your organization. In this Lego box, we can give you templates you can follow but the code is not constrained in any particular logical units so you have more freedom of expression.
For example, our system provides you with components called “Membership and Groups” where you can define who is allowed to do what in your organization. And we also give you components called “token flow” with which you can define how to mint, burn and split your tokens. We give you all the necessary tools, so you like an artist can create systems and organizations as beautiful and complex as you want.
The value that organizations create is stored in tokens. These tokens can be used to reward the hours you work, bounties you finish or personal rewards from your peers for any other reason.
For example, by writing this article my colleagues can reward my efforts with tokes. These tokens are going to be stored and locked until our project, let’s say Ecorp, starts generating income. And then, part of that income will automatically buy-back my tokens and reward me with let’s say US dollars. It is like binding your work to the future income of the organization. The cool thing is that everything is automated by algorithms and you don’t have to trust your colleagues to receive your “share”.
Also, earning tokens does not mean that that’s the only reward you will receive by working. You can still have a salary and keep receiving tokens as a bonus of your work. That system can work for a small project in a big enterprise, a startup or any traditional business.
The idea that humanity is approaching a singularity is both scary and exciting. It raises crucial philosophical and pragmatic questions that go beyond jobs and automation.
Do you think that humans will someday be overtaken by artificial intelligence? What is going to be our role in the future?