Just days after Stephen Hawking said that artificial intelligence could be the "worst event in the history of our civilization," Microsoft founder and super rich guy Bill Gates has a more optimistic take: At a panel at the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Gates said the benefits of AI outweigh the potential disasters.
According to CNBC, which moderated the panel, the billionaire "believes that ultimately AI will alter the labor environment in developed countries but will help society take care of older people or address class sizes in schools."
"As we free labor up from things like manufacturing, we can shift it to some of these very human-centric needs," Gates said in Riyadh.
Now, I don't want to insinuate that Bill Gates is out of touch with the real world or anything, buuuut WHAT THE FUCK DOES HE THINK WE'RE GOING TO DO WHEN ROBOTS TAKE OVER OUR JOBS??? It's not like this isn't already happening across plenty of industries, from manufacturing to retail to transit to journalism. And when these jobs get replaced, either by self-checkouts or self-driving cars or algorithms, the person who gets laid off doesn't get dividends or some other kind of compensation. They don't get shit. Just look at the coal industry: Coal jobs have almost completely disappeared, and that is not, as Donald Trump and his fellow shills would have you believe, because of cumbersome government regulations: It's because robots do the jobs that men and women used to. And when the jobs are gone, individuals and communities give up, start boozing and drugging, and ultimately wither and die. (Or, worse, vote Trump, for some goddawful reason.)
Bill, talk to me when every job that AI takes comes along with a big-ass check for the worker it replaced, or when we have guaranteed universal income. We could even use your billions to pay for it! Until that happens, I'm on Team Steven.