As different forms of artificial intelligence emerge and grow, concerns over their effect on society have grown just as quickly as hopes for their applications have. The idea that robots or some form of AI will one day take your jobs is rapidly become a more and more tangible one, as tech firms, both big and small, make massive advancements in the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence. As these advancements continue to be made, different forms of AI become more and more sufficient at performing the same tasks that our professions demand, and soon enough, they will be sufficient enough to replace us in these professions, with a lower cost of operation to justify such a replacement. But this doesn’t have to be bad thing. One must simply loom to history for evidence of this claim. In ancient Athens, prior to the introduction of slavery there, Athenian life was quite analogous to our’s today. The general population, for the most part, worked menial positions and had a decidedly poor quality of life, working simply to get by with very little time for enjoyment. However, after slavery was introduced, which I am in no way saying was a good thing, It became inefficient and ineffective for the general population to continue doing said menial tasks, as the slave population could work much harder for a simple entry fee, instead of the wages that came with unenslaved workers. A distinct parallel can be drawn here between ancient Athens and the modern world, as, like with slaves, an artificial intelligence powered workforce wouldn’t demand the wages the modern work force does, instead requiring a simple entry price. So what happened to the general population once slaves took their jobs? Well, they came up with new ones. They developed new jobs and trades that afforded them far a far better quality of life, and these new trades and the ideas that developed with them spurred a golden age of intellectual enlightenment in Athens, one where some of the greatest ideas, inventions, and thinkers were born out of. AI can and probably will spur a similar age of enlightenment upon its popularization. What’s more, it won’t require the suppression of living beings like the introduction of slaves did, giving it all the benefits with none of the drawbacks. So instead of thinking about robots inevitably taking your current job, think about what you will do with your newfound sense of freedom, how will you take advantage of the next age of enlightenment?
I think you are right and I like the historical precedence you reference.