Sparky, a NAO robot who lives at Queen Mary University, helped launch a book this week. In the very whooshy surroundings of the Reform Club on London’s Pall Mall, she read out a story written by an AI. It’s not a very good story, to be honest, but it’s impressive that an AI can write stories at all.
The other stories, written by humans, are very good indeed. You’ll find them at an Amazon site near you. They speculate on what life might be like during and after the economic singularity. Two-thirds of them are positive, which is what we need – Hollywood has given us more than enough dystopias already.
In the coming decades, artificial intelligence (AI) and related technologies will have enormous impacts on the job market. At the moment, no-one can predict exactly what will happen or when. The outcomes could be anywhere from very good to very bad, and which ones we get will depend significantly on the actions taken (and not taken) by governments and others in the coming few years.
The Economic Singularity Club think tank (ESC) was set up to discuss these issues, and try to influence their outcome positively. This book is our first tangible project.
One possible impact of the AI revolution is that many people will be unemployable within a relatively short space of time – maybe in two or three decades. If this does happen, and if we are smart and perhaps a bit lucky, the outcome could be wonderful, and we should certainly try to make it so.
The book is intended to encourage political leaders, policy makers, and everyone else to bring a much more serious level of attention and investment to the possibility of technological unemployment. The idea is to make the prospect of technological unemployment seem more real and less academic to people who have not previously given the idea much thought. It should also stimulate readers to devise their own solutions, and to decide what actions they can take to help ensure that we get a good outcome and not one of the bad ones.
The book has an augmented reality cover. Download an app, point your phone at the book, and a gaggle of TV screens emerge, and hover in front of you. Select one, and click it to watch a short video.
All proceeds from this book will go to a charitable foundation set up by the ESC to promote its objectives. We hope you find it enjoyable and stimulating.
Finally, if you feel inspired to write your own story from 2045, you can submit it to the book’s website, https://storiesfrom2045.com. If it’s shorter than 1,000 words, and not illegal or hateful, we’ll publish it there. It we get enough great stories, we’ll publish a sequel book.