By now I think we’ve all felt the impact of automation and artificial intelligence in our lives.
In its’ simplest form we’ve dealt with something like Siri, an AI that can answer questions for us, and at its’ most complex we’ve seen an AI beat the most talented GO player in the world.
Without a doubt AI has had an impact in our lives. But the impact has been disproportional, and I for one would like to see that changed.
Automation Disrupts Low Income and Middle Income Earners
When I programmed my first automation tool I absolute loved it – It reduced my workload to near zero and I ended up getting paid for doing nothing. I could see the amazing potential of Automation.
But most automation doesn’t work that way.
Even as far back as the industrial revolution in the 1800s technology has been displacing workers wholesale. Electric heating removed the need for chimney sweeps, tractors removed the need for additional farmhands and mechanized looms removed the need for seamstresses. Simple labor was massively displaced due to technologically advancement.
Today white collar workers are being displaced. Why hire a web designer when an app will do it for you, why hire an accountant when Quickbooks will handle that, why have instore personnel when you can buy whatever you want online.
Bear in mind, I’m certainly no Luddite, in fact I made my career from Information Technology. However technology still displaces low income and middle income earners disproportionately. This is nothing new and it’s quite inevitable.
But it’s very disheartening that the people that add the most value to the real economy, are the ones that get shafted the most by automation and artificial intelligence.
And it leads me to ask the question – shouldn’t upper management get shafted by AI first, and then the middle and low income earners. Doesn’t that make more sense.
Shouldn’t developers and coders be building Artificial Intelligence CEOs.
Most CEOs do Nothing
If one looks at the S&P500 it’s predominately led by the technology FANG stocks – that is Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google. The other 496 stocks do basically nothing and that’s true of their CEOs too.
In the past CEOs were responsible for growing the businesses into new markets, producing better products and services, and adding value to the companies.
These days CEOs perform share buybacks to inflate their stock, sell off assets, and get involved in high speculative financialization schemes. This doesn’t add real value to the the economy or the business, and they are easy strategies to implement – I don’t see why we could not produce AI to do these jobs rather than eviscerate low and middle income jobs.
If we have the ability to write AI that can beat the worlds greatest Go player, perform flash trades, and write up human readable articles – why shouldn’t there be AI to do replace excessive income earners like bankers, politicians and CEOs.
Let’s Automate Rich Jobs First
There’s a great article by the Pew Research Center that highlights that in 1983 low income families earned $12000 per year whereas upper income families earned $344000 per year.
Shockingly by 2016 low income families earned $11000 per year whereas upper income families earned $848000 per year.
The difference is astounding. Over the period of 33 years low income families earned less whereas high income families earned more than double.
Inequality is getting much much worse, and personally it sickens me when I see a banking executive earning billions. I struggle to see what justifies that.
As an investor and a shareholder, I’d rather invest in a company with an AI management team, because I know the AI won’t cook the books, perform fraud, cheat, steal or do a myriad of immoral things to enrich themselves.
Now of course AI could end up doing some stupid silly things. We’ve all seen AI come up with wacky solutions to problems. But an important point about robots and AI is this – it doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be better than its human counterpart. And I for one reckon an AI CEO could do a much better job of providing value to workers of a company, the shareholders and the environment.
I think excessive income jobs should be automated with AI first before middle and low income jobs. This is simply because middle and low income workers add more value to the real economy.
Inequality has been running rampant and perhaps replacing our broken management with AI could help address that.