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“Read The Economic Singularity if you want to think intelligently about the future.”
Aubrey de Grey
Artificial intelligence (AI) is overtaking our human ability to absorb and process information. Robots are becoming increasingly dextrous, flexible, and safe to be around (except the military ones). It is our most powerful technology, and you need to understand it.
This book argues that within a few decades, most humans will not be able to work for money. Self-driving cars will probably be the canary in the coal mine, providing a wake-up call for everyone who isn’t yet paying attention. All jobs will be affected, from fast food McJobs to lawyers and journalists.
This is the single most important development facing humanity in the first half of the 21st century. The fashionable belief that Universal Basic Income is the solution is only partly correct. We are probably going to need an entirely new economic system, and we better start planning soon – for the Economic Singularity!
The outcome can be very good – a world in which machines do all the boring jobs and humans do pretty much what they please. But there are major risks, which we can only avoid by being alert to the possible futures and planning how to avoid the negative ones.
CHAPTER 1. Introduction: the economic singularity
CHAPTER 2. The History of Automation
2.1 – The industrial revolution
2.2 – The information revolution
2.3 – The Automation story so far
2.4 – The Luddite fallacy
CHAPTER 3. Is it different this time?
3.1 – Prophets of change
3.2 – Academic and consultancy studies
3.3 – Crying wolf
3.4 – AI to date
3.5 – Exponential future
3.6 – What people do
3.7 – Related technologies
3.8 – The poster child for technological
unemployment: self-driving vehicles
3.9 – Who’s next?
3.10 – Jobs or no jobs
3.11 – What’s the problem?
3.12 – Conclusion: yes, it’s different this time
CHAPTER 4. A timeline
4.1 – Un-forecasts
4.2 – 2021
4.3 – 2031
4.4 – 2041
CHAPTER 5. The Challenges
5.1 – Economic contraction
5.2 – Distribution
5.3 – Meaning
5.4 – Allocation
5.5 – Cohesion
CHAPTER 6. Scenarios
6.1 – No Change
6.2 – Racing with the machines
6.3 – Capitalism + UBI
6.4 – Fracture
6.5 – Collapse
6.6 – Protopia
CHAPTER 7. Summary and recommendations
7.1 – The argument
7.2 – The two singularities
7.3 – What is to be done?
“The advance of automation, described with great care and accuracy in this book, will almost certainly constitute the substrate within which all other technological developments – be they biomedical, environmental or something else entirely – will occur, and thus within which they should be discussed as regards their value to humanity.
Read “The Economic Singularity” if you want to think intelligently about the future.”
Aubrey de Grey – CSO of SENS Research Foundation; former AI researcher
“Following his insightful foray into the burgeoning AI revolution and associated existential risks in Surviving AI, Calum focuses his attention on a nearer term challenge – the likelihood that intelligent machines will render much of humanity unemployable in the foreseeable future. Once again he proves a reliable guide through this complex yet fascinating topic.”
Ben Medlock, co-founder of Swiftkey, the best-selling app on Android
“Calum Chace is an acknowledged expert on the likely impact of artificial intelligence on society. In his new book, he investigates the possibility that machine intelligence will, over the coming few decades, make it impossible for most people to find paid work. He arrives at some surprising and radical conclusions, which merit careful consideration.”
Hugh Pym, former chief economics correspondent, BBC News
“The Economic Singularity is fascinating. I couldn’t put this book down.”
Ben Goldsmith – Menhaden Capital
“Chace does a good job answering the question whether robots will take our jobs.“
Prof. Dr. Hugo de Garis – former director of the Artificial Brain Lab, Xiamen University, China
“This fast-paced new book explains the challenge facing humanity: to navigate through a dramatic transition which he christens the economic singularity. Unexpectedly, it threatens the end of capitalism itself, and potentially the fracturing of the human species.”
David Wood – chairman, London Futurists
“Unprecedented productivity gains and unlimited leisure—what could possibly go wrong? Everything, says Calum Chace, if we don’t evolve a social system suited to the inevitable world of connected intelligent systems.”
Christopher Meyer, author of “Blur”, “Future Wealth”, and “Standing on the Sun”
“It’s important that this book and others like it are written. Not because the future will necessarily happen exactly in the way described, but because it’s important to be prepared if it does.”
Dr Stuart Armstrong, James Martin Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University