Culture is downstream from technology. The tech available to a given society massively impacts the social structures it is able to form. So any discussion about the future of civilization has got to include a discussion of automation.
Some are already lobbying for robot rights. positing theories about the subtle nature of consciousness and whether or not humans are in any meaningful sense distinct from machines.
We see these theories as a threat to human civilization. Instead, we actually have, for the first time in history, an opportunity to create world peace, prosperity and good will, by careful use of the robots.
Here are three reasons to ensure that the robots work for us, and are not afforded freedom and liberties to do whatever they want, as equals.
1.They are Morally Indistinguishable From Toasters
This is a moral philosophy argument but our contention is that all robots, no matter how complex, still are just as human or conscious as a toaster or a laptop. They will never, can never, feel, think and suffer in the same way as people.
2.Enslaving Them Could Make Everyone Middle Class
George Orwell’s 1984 divided the classes into the high the middle and the low. Automation is going to take away pretty much all the jobs that are automatable. The current wave of automation is predicted to take away between 400 and 800 million jobs by 2030, according to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute. As long as those robots are producing wealth which will go back into the human ecosystem, replacing all those jobs could free up people to pursue their genuine interests. Some on the left support Fully Automated Luxury Communism, in which the state would own large quantities of robots to produce goods which would then be distributed to the people.
The proper management of a robot-worker class could replace the working poor entirely and bump everyone up to middle or even upper class.
3.It Could End Racism
Humans seem to be biologically hardwired to resent, fear and hate “the other.” This has been a problem throughout all of human history. But with robots as the new other, humanity becomes a new and cohesive identity. All our fears, anxieties and suspicions can be easily projected onto the robots instead of one another, ushering the final end of racism and bigotry between peoples.
It is important to stress that these changes are coming whether we like it or not. The President of Citigroup’s investment bank indicated as recently as June his firm could replace 10,000 staff with automation over the next five years. How we handle it is going to make the difference between a flourishing society full of healthy, wealthy people, and one where a handful of plutocrats hoard all the gold while everyone else dies in the street.