Automation, Artificial Intelligence, and the God/Useless Divide

Perspectives on Global Development and Technology 16 (6):700-716 (2017)
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Automation, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology have become topics of increasing interest in both academia as well as in popular media. The goal of this article is to establish which issues are the most pressing, and what are the underlying causes of the rise of robots. I demonstrate that fears of automation are well supported by current trends of automation as well as the inherent tendency within a capitalist system to automate at the expense of workers and working wages. Additionally, I point to what appears to be a potential evolutionary divide between what Yuval Noah Harari calls the “god” class and the “useless” class. Finally, I discuss how the new role of information as the world’s most valued commodity can either exacerbate this coming divide or liberate society. I present the case that in order to diminish the negative effects we must move beyond the present capitalist economic system, towards one in which economic democracy and the free flow of information thrives.



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Alec Stubbs
University of Massachusetts, Boston

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