Having just had our new baby girl Bodhi, this question and the existential questions about the imminent and profound paradigm shift our society is about to experience are getting louder by the day.
Our whole way of life is currently founded on an idea, whether you believe in it or not, of educating children to become useful cogs in the wheel of a society based on working to live and in the businesses and organisations that represent it all.
As an aside, Hannah and I are of course more focussed on teaching Bodhi to have inner peace and live a happy life, so we have little or no requirement for her to learn the "normal" skills and subjects taught at school. Why? Because the definition of madness appears to be to teach every child the same skills and information, then to release them from education on some future day unable to actually do anything practical and having to compete with the many others, released on the same day, who are setting about the task of becoming useful in a specific work environment. No, school will not feature at all for her, as it is both life skills and a unique toolbox of abilities that is required for a happy life, none of which are actually offered by any school we can see. The question of which skills and what toolbox however still matters and may not be the easiest question to answer for any of us, let me explain.
The primary lessons for happiness seem to be to be fully engaged with living life. Even the differentiation of work from play, including the labels and the learned feelings of hating work and craving play are of course self defeating. Choosing parts of your life to enjoy or to hate seems like an odd, subjective choice to be making, especially when how you feel every moment within those odd choices will later be governed by the ideas you created. Meaning why choose to hate something you will spend a large proportion of your life doing?
Engaging with life for us is actually all about the basics. Grow food, live independently and in the way that serves your souls with inner peace, peeling back the needless and endless opinions about it all to allow yourself to enjoy every single bit of it, not just the bits you've arbitrarily judged as best.
With that aside, at least for the moment, it appears to leave us all having or needing a job of some form to earn money or to engage in energy exchange in order to live, including the eating, clothing, shelter, warmth etc This appears to be the reality of life for most of us right now but a paradigm shift of dramatic proportions is almost upon us, and it's both unstoppable and irreversible.
So what can't AI do and how safe is your job?
It's only as we more deeply consider the above question, having slightly researched and maybe started to use AI that the magnitude of this cataclysm is revealed.
It turns out that AI is already here and it is growing in capability exponentially. It has also already been woven into the plan of the future of our society and it will explode in the coming weeks, months and next few years. It has taken hold strongly in the marketing space, creating copy, images, videos and campaigns and is set to completely change spaces like medicine, law, administration, analysis, computer programming... actually I need to stop the list here because there are almost no career spaces that shouldn't be added to this list.
AI and automation combined are set to take over almost everything. Cars and driving jobs are about to be replaced, factory and assembly, so distribution and fulfilment, even answering the phone will imminently be taken over. In fact almost everything is ready to become part of a revolution that will almost instantly (within a few years) render in excess of an estimated 80% of the jobs humans currently do, redundant.
If you haven't been following or using the emergent AI then this may all seem like science fiction or so far away that you don't need to be concerned with it. But the truth is, it is already here and it's taking over with our enthusiastic help. In fact, the uptake is incredible in the spaces it is now reaching and it's loved for it's simplicity, ability and labour saving alike. Ironically I could have even used it to write this whole article with much less effort and far less time spent.
Have we let the genie out of the bottle?
The answer to that is a firm "yes" and this statement is often met by nostalgic comments that say we shouldn't have done it or that if it takes our jobs it should not have been allowed to happen but is that true or is it simply the first fear based response we are bound to give?
The truth is that the debate is moot. The genie is here and to suppress it would stifle human progress and condemn a whole species to an eternity of needless tasks and labour, so what sense would that make?
Coming back to our programmed matrix of a previous article however, this version of human society has been fully programmed to live within a formatted existence that includes working to live and almost living to work. Meaning that they gain income from the jobs they have and they need those jobs and activities in order to gain purpose in life. The majority have also been that deeply programmed to do and not be, that they find it almost impossible to do nothing or spend time alone and without activity or stimulus. This matrix really is not set up or ready for the number of jobs that are to be made redundant to be quickly removed with no gentle transition or aclimatisation time. This emergence will be a shock of the deepest proportions.
This situation is going to become an existential one for almost the whole species, and it will merge with what appear on the face of it to be many other seemingly unrelated happenings across the globe that question the way a whole civilization is implemented. Questions of energy, polution, government and food. Are they unrelated or converging upon us by design in line with the advent of AI, that's a question for another day. For now it's simply worth noticing that they are converging.
Which skills do we need then?
The truth of the matter is that if we think in terms of jobs and skills we will be left with such a short list, there's only going to be opportunity for a few of us to work in those areas. It's hard to see how AI and robotics won't take over almost everything given a little more time.
The question we need to be asking is way more existential. What does life look like when the AI gains traction and how do we gain purpose, stay happy and sustain ourselves in the absence of the doing to earn wages.
It's here that we see that a very difficult transition is coming, one that can't be softened easily or in all likelihood be avoided. As this paradigm shifts, as it will quicky, the bulk of the global population will move into an existential crisis, quickly becoming dependent on external help to live in the absence of being able to earn an income. Most have not and cannot grow their own food, many are in debt that must be paid back and many live in cities where there is no growing space or ability to hunt and forage to eat and survive. The truth is that without jobs and the money they generate, everything needs to be reconsidered.
Sounds like I'm talking about a survival situation doesn't it? You can decide that for yourself but one thing is for certain the coming and imminent transition is going to hit most of us, very hard. Unemployment will explode in an uncontrollable way and family incomes will all but disappear. Billions of people will hope for and assume the help of their state to sustain them, becoming quickly aware that the financial status of their governments and the financial system itself is far from ready to step in without it totally collapsing but all that stuff is for another article, coming soon.
Are you ready for the change?
If you are then well done you, you are in a small minority. You have been insightful and clever in anticipating a siesmic shift in the way we live, work and sustain ourselves but it certainly appears you are one of the few because clearly most are blissfully ignorant and don't see it coming at all.
This change will leave a huge proportion of the global population essentially left with no way to pay for food, shelter and warmth, and it will happen way faster than you can imagine. AI and it's associated replacement of human function and purpose is a fundamental and foundational shift, and not just the latest shiny new toy invention. It will change everything, for almost everyone.
If your family is deeply programmed to live in the current matrix, bought into the consumerism, the need for work and money, the safety net of government dependency and the security of the world as it is presented, this change will shake the foundations of everything you have come to rely upon. It will also feel like someone is to blame but the question is who? And you'll find that there are many with that same feeling of blame and frustration, coupled with ultimate desperation. Together fear, desperation and the needs of life are likely to converge in a form of chaos never seen before or at least mentioned in the history books, so planning for you and your family now, is worth your deepest consideration.
All sounds a bit pessimistic or bleak I hear you say, it's not a forecast or a speculative thing. It's there in front of us all to be seen if we choose to detach from the many other narratives that are currently being played into the polulation for just a few moments.
Our own answer is to exit the program right now and to focus on moment to moment happiness, sustainable and independent living and not income.
Our lives have been changing for the better for many years now and we have become independent both inside and out. We have learned that non stop work and effort to pay for the creation of a societal plan that's on a track for destruction is not a way forwards for us and that living sustainably with an ability to simply be is going to be key moving forward.
More than that, we have l;earned that the skills we need and location we need to inhabit, converge upon us finding as much natural space as possible and setting up to independently grow our food, drill for water, forage and hunt. To many that may sound like a path back to the dark ages but we have seen already that it is actually the path to freedom and to release from limiting beliefs that are part of our conditioning. It's a path to doing less and being more, finding the joy and that's with or without AI, which may well come in handy along the way.
It is our very idea of who and what we are and how we exist that needs to change as this particular paradigm shifts. In realising that we were never the hamsters in this invented societal wheel anyway it becomes ultimately easier to exit the programmed existence of work to earn money, to eat, to be fulfilled by things external to ourselves. As we begin to take responsibility for our own state of being and remove the program and responsibility of things outside of ourselves for how we feel. In doing so, what we are left with is living this beautiful life by engaging with it deeply, and not with the work or the money that exists only as a ficticious metaphor for something that will make you happy in the end but never does..
Bodhi will learn to be happy independently of being someone, having things or what she does for work. She will learn the skills for life itself and they will be diverse and thought through. They will not be abilities and skills that place her into a life where she must compete (and doomed to failure) against a machine because we see clearly that humans working in jbs as they have done un til now is a paradigm that will soon hardly exist. That ship has already sailed even though it may not seem like it to all of us just yet, so it's time to find and embrace a new way to live as fast as you can.
Prepare yourself and your children for a dramatic shift, some chaos and a more simple existence at the other end. Prepare them to have peace throughout and to be happy and grateful to have this amazing experience, at this amazing moment in human existence. Not all of us will see the other side because it appears that there will be little or no escape from a very harsh transition. What does that mean? Enjoying the journey to the maximum is all that we can really do. It's time to learn to stop, to be and find the joy in it all without the doing, the money and the things.