The Artificial Intelligence Contagion: Can Democracy Withstand the Imminent Transformation of Work, Wealth and the Social Order?

The Artificial Intelligence Contagion: Can Democracy Withstand the Imminent Transformation of Work, Wealth and the Social Order?

by David Barnhizer, Daniel Barnhizer


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Examines how AI/Robotics is overwhelming the fundamental institutions of Western society. But are we prepared for the social impact of the vast changes soon to be upon us?
• Half the world's workers could be replaced by machines within the next 30 years. The McKinsey Global Institute and Oxford University researchers predict massive job loss with 47% to 50% of US jobs eliminated by 2030 and up to 800 million more jobs destroyed worldwide.
• Nor will the AI/robotics transformation produce large numbers of replacement jobs. The AI/robotics systems are already being designed to do those.

No area of work is sacrosanct. Work opportunities are being eliminated from the most “intellectual” activities down to the basic areas of services and labor, including a range of professional occupations heretofore thought of as distinctly human: in middle management, finance, banking, insurance, medicine, high-tech, transportation, law and even the arts.

Worse, it is playing out in the context of a set of critical issues.
• Birth rates are plummeting below replacement levels in economically developed nations. People are living to ages wellbeyond historical averages.
• At least fifty percent of Americans have little or nothing saved for retirement.
• Poor and uneducated migrants are coming into Western nations at a time when the agricultural, construction and home care jobs migrants have traditionally filled are being increasingly replaced by robotic workers.
• An already bankrupt US government is projected to experience annual deficits above $1 trillion for at least the next ten years. The US national debt is officially admitted to be $21 trillion, but is actually closer to $65 trillion dollars according to a former US Comptroller General.

As AI/robotics eliminates jobs across the spectrum, governmental revenues will plummet while the debt increases dramatically. This crisis of limited resources on all levels—underfunded or non-existent pensions, health problems, lack of savings, and job destruction—will drive many into homelessness and produce a dramatic rise in violence . All this will take place in an environment of increased AI-facilitated surveillance by governments, aggressive militarization using AI systems and autonomous weapons, and the degradation of of the world;s economic and political order.
The final five chapters of CONTAGION offer possible solutions.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780999874776
Publisher: Clarity Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 05/01/2019
Pages: 435
Sales rank: 1,155,286
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

David Barnhizer is a Professor of Law Emeritus at Cleveland State University. He was a Senior Research Fellow at the University of London's Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and worked in the International Program of the Natural Resources Defense Council, was Executive Director of the Year 2000 Committee, and consulted with the World Resources Institute, IIED, the UNDP, the President's Council on Environmental Quality, the World Bank, the UN/FAO, World Wildlife Fund/US. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Ohio State University summa cum laude, and a Masters of Law degree from Harvard.

Daniel Barnhizer is the Bradford Stone Faculty Scholar at the Michigan State University School of Law. He graduated summa cum laude from Miami University and earned a Juris Doctor degree, with honors, from Harvard. He works in tax, contract law and theory, conservation law, comparative law, and the Rule of Law

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1, Society Under Siege

With the combination of Artificial Intelligence and robotics (AI/robotics) humans have opened a “Pandora's Box” and are incapable of undoing the ills that are being released, with more coming seemingly by the day. The joining of Artificial Intelligence and robotic systems that are increasingly capable of acting more effectively than us in a wide range of work, surveillance, and information detection and management situations is the primary driver of a shift that is tearing our fracturing societies further apart.

Our political leaders have an extremely limited understanding of what is occurring with Artificial Intelligence and robotics, in terms of the elimination of massive numbers of jobs, and the potentially devastating impacts of these developments on the United States, Western Europe, Russia, China and Japan. Bill Gross, of Janus Capital, has warned: “No one in 2016 is really addressing the future as we are likely to experience it.” He explains: “the current crop of national leaders is hopelessly behind this curve…. Our economy has changed, but voters and their elected representatives don't seem to know what's really wrong.”

Artificial Intelligence applications and robotics are taking over our culture, altering how we behave and even who we are as addictions grow and our dependence on AI/robotics systems expands exponentially. Examples of our dependence are easy to
find. We are often required to pass tests for on-line access to various websites by answering the question “Are you a robot?” accompanied by numbers or specially constructed pictures designed to prove that we are flesh and blood humans to the AI application controlling the site. In the US we are flooded by billions of continuous “robocalls” and telephonic and e-mail scams made to seem as if a human is calling to the point that many do not answer their landline or discontinue service entirely.

Such things seem trivial or irritating but, when we think more deeply about what they portend, it demonstrates the penetration of AI/robotics into much of what we do, our heightened dependence on such systems, and the fact that it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate human from AI. Penetration, dependence and the difficulty of differentiation are developing rapidly. Recent reports on video and virtual reality technology indicate they are reaching a stage at which false images can be created that are impossible to distinguish from reality.

Table of Contents

Part I Artificial Intelligence: A System Change Like None Other

Chapter 1 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 1

Chapter 2 Change: Fast, Sweeping and Inexorable 13

Chapter 3 Experts' Predictions of Human Job Losses 19

Chapter 4 Like Us-Only Better? 29

Part II The AI/Robotics Contagion Is Ripping Apart Global Economic, Social and Political Systems

Chapter 5 AI Job Loss Is NOT a Cycle of Creative Destruction and Economic Rebirth 36

Chapter 6 AI/Robotics and the Great Decoupling of Economic Productivity and Job Creation 41

Chapter 7 AI/Robotics and Our Fragmenting Social Order 46

Chapter 8 Our Globalist Leaders Have Betrayed the American Worker 53

Chapter 9 The Social Costs of Disconnecting Productivity from the Needs of Labor 62

Chapter 10 What Will Our Unemployed Children Do? 66

Chapter 11 Winners and Losers in the Evolving Job Market 76

Chapter 12 Most Needed Skills Going Forward 92

Chapter 13 The Age Curse as the New Population Bomb 99

Chapter 14 AI/Robotics and the Special Case of China 110

Chapter 15 Six Case Studies 134

Chapter 16 If No One Is Working, Who Will Buy the Goods and Services? 154

Part III What Is AI and What Is It Doing To Us?

Chapter 17 Artifical Intelligence Systems: The Basics 162

Chapter 18 Do AI Systems Pose a Threat to Human Existence? 171

Chapter 19 How Would Advanced AI/Robotics Systems View Humans? 176

Chapter 20 The Mutating Effects of AI Technology 180

Part IV The Existing Economic and Social Ecosystem

Chapter 21 The United States Is Bankrupt 186

Chapter 22 "Collect It All, Know It All, Exploit It All" 199

Chapter 23 The Socially Destructive Consequences of the AI-Driven Internet 208

Chapter 24 Dismantling Google, Amazon and Facebook 215

Part V Moving Toward Solutions

Introduction to Part V: Moving Toward Solutions 230

Chapter 25 Innovative Revenue and Expenditure Strategies are Critical for Effective Solutions 234

Chapter 26 Priming the Pump: Strategies for Stability in an Al/ Robotics-Driven Economy 245

Chapter 27 Universal Basic Income (UBI): Solution or Catastrophe? 250

Chapter 28 Government Jobs and Private Sector Job Subsidies are More Vital than Generally Understood 262

Chapter 29 The Writing Is On the Wall 270

Endnotes 276

Names Index 335

Acknowledgments 338

About the Authors 340

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