19 thoughts on “Humans Need Not Apply

  1. My first impression: If humans are no longer needed, then why did we have the world 2008 recession? Greed. So, no matter what bots can or can’t do, there will always be a human behind things – like the wizard of Oz. – for better or worst.

    That gives me some kind of strange comfort. I guess we can’t blame the bots for that.



    1. I don’t have strong opinions here yet. I’m generally supportive of automation of many things people currently do, including driving, but I guess I have a perhaps naïve notion that it will also dramatically drop the cost of quality living at the same time, and free up more people time for the pursuit of humanities, and spiritual and physical enrichment.

      1. It’s an interesting question to ponder.

        Somehow it feels like we always seem find something to fill the void. EG housing—a $90,000 house is now a $250,000 house a decade later, with the loan to go with it. When one part of life gets cheaper, something else grows to take its place. Seems like a growth-based economy has too many interdependencies to let our GDP drop.

        That’s part of why your perspective is interesting. There’s a kernel of truth for the wider economy in a growth-based startup being founded on open-source software.

      2. I think like Trevor below (who has mentioned inflation)…what happens when inflation grows in unison with automation…so all of the sudden, there is this financial pressure (say on the shop keeper)…so all of the sudden, it isn’t that it isn’t a preference, but a necessity to be able to be a viable business.

        I think a big issue is many people don’t have the flexibility or ability of time to pursue humanities, spiritual or physical enrichment or at least the buffer to get there…I know I’m like that. I know what to do. I know how to meditate, I know how to help. I still remember how to work out (I think lol)

        I have no idea, but I tuned into this post for sure. I can visualize some of these things, I’ve seen things change so much. Remember, I have 10 years on you haha .#&!*@**$ (not that I’ve done better with them).

  2. I watched this when you posted it…was literally thinking about it all day today in my travels, coffee shop, street crowds. How many of those happy people will undergo a complete lifestyle change. I can think through big changes even in a 5 year window. The fact that custom orders aren’t a big deal and there is no exhaustion factor. It does make you think.

    I immediately thought of this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOeKidp-iWo

    You can think back in multiple levels and also understand that that type of approach may not be so stable anymore. I could go on and on, but I also thought of the advertising post, of which I only saw the headline, but I had to wait for that to view the video heh.

  3. We humans are very adaptable. I remember hearing that computers would increase productivity so much that they would take over many jobs and people with jobs would work less. Our quality of life would improve dramatically. As computing became more prominent, the amount of work expected to be done grew as well. And we also got the added workload of keeping up with and managing all our technological gadgets. There has been a big change in the way people work just from 25 years ago.

    Of course robotics will take jobs from humans – they already have. And the jobs of managing them, building them, maintaining them are not as many as the jobs they have replaced. But we must remember we humans consume the product of all that productivity! And we slowly adapt our lifestyle to fit the reality of our lives.

    Take a look at Spain for example. The country suffered dramatically from “La Crisis” (economic downturn) that quickly left 25% of it’s workforce unemployed. And even those with jobs were getting paid sporadically and sometimes not at all. So extended family started living together. People took temporary gigs and started getting creative in how they shuffle money. Some couples decided that one person can give up looking for work and just take care of the household. Many people went overseas to look for jobs. It has been a struggle, but people are surviving and adjusting their lives and their expectations.

    We see a lighter version of this in the US where the Millennial generation is much more comfortable living at home or getting economic help from their parents. So many of these people didn’t get the chance to work a menial first job as the traditional fast food, supermarket and retail jobs are now being occupied by people in their 30’s rather than teens. My generation would rather survive on five for a dollar Ramen noodles than move back home! But then we didn’t see all our friends graduate from college with very few opportunities to put their degrees to work.

  4. Remember seeing this while back.. CBPGrey is very smart, but I think he overshot it here. There’s this assumption that because it becomes cheaper to automate things, humans become superfluous. There’s no way this can happen around the globe at the same time with the disproportion of wealth that we have currently. If it starts happening in rich countries movements are going to arise to keep people’s jobs (like Grey hints at in the video) and of course the general distrust in robots is going to become very apparent. It’s going to be a very slow process. Not to say that it won’t eventually happen though.

    In a utopia where wealth is distributed evenly, there’s no racism, all wars have ended and robots do all of our manual labour for us, I truly believe that we can continue living and prosper. As a species I think we’re held back from further accelerating our knowledge about the universe and our own existence because we’re globally still very much tied up in the very basic human needs. In a world where shelter, food, and prosperity is a given, humans could attempt to uncover the very depths of our intellect and focus solely on creating a better existence for ourselves and everything around us.

    I mean, if we’re having a dinner party with an unfamiliar alien species that have mastered time travel, would we really want to talk about how awesome it is to not have to work for food or would we causally discuss the meaning of Pi?

    1. @Isaac I think a good question to ponder is the middle ground between here and there, which is what the video provokes (for me at least).

      As humans we need a challenge to tackle. Productive and creative labour is disappearing. What do we point our attention to next? How do we create a transition from a growth-based economy based on consumption of physical goods to something that caters to human nature in a world where those problems are taken care of?

      As we move away from an economy of “things” it becomes even more difficult to fairly value things. If I’m selling you a bushel of wheat, $10 or $1000 will buy me something like a couple orders of magnitude—a bagful or a truckful. But what about where we are headed now, to humans exchanging experiences and meaning? What is an elated spiritual experience worth to you? $10? $100? $1000? Can you buy 100x more spiritual experience for 100x more money? Suddenly the value propositions that make sense in a physical age stop having meaningful anchor points.

      I’m not really an advocate for eliminating fiat currency. It works really well for things we can hold in our hands. What I think we need is another layer on top—a software layer—that begins to give us a way to value and exchange things that are meaningful to us.

      I have some ideas—Stellar is a step in the right direction—but I’m not sure where and how these ideas might move forward.

  5. There are a few logical flaws in this demonstration. It is brilliant, informative, but I don’t think they have considered the right perimeter.

    First thing : when they say that we have so few new jobs in highly innovative economies, therefore we would have 45% of unemployement, they forget the time adjustment : new jobs become important in numbers after the old ones disappeared. It’s not new jobs emptying the old ones, it’s free workforce finding new things to do.

    Second thing : they reason on a developped country only view, considering that machines will always be cheaper than humans. That’s not true. In many countries, automation is not there because people are cheaper. What will happen might not be unemployement, but impoverishment, like it started in the USA. Eg. Amazon still employs a lot of manual workers in its warehouses, because they are cheaper than machines. In Europe, things are different.

    There are many other things that can be discussed. Including our own capacity – or not – to enslave ourselves. Horses are not humans, and the humans who drove cars never had brothers, sisters, friends, lovers that were horses …. sound stupid, but it means the paradigm is actually different.

    And by the way… the music in the video is just horrific !

    1. I’m with you with the (bot) music. The whole video did leave some depressing / bitter taste here … the music, the speed and the monotony of the speaker … not to talk about the subject. Every good movie maker knows that you can trigger emotions with that little illusions (projections) we are somehow confronted more and more in all parts of life. If these are generated from some ‘big mechanical bot mind’ without some natural human heart and soul, we kinda could enter a real cold and mechanical world, greated by ourselves. How sad.

      Had to think about Bjorks “All Is Full Of Love”

      And BMW needs to change their slogan soon … ‘Freude am Fahren’ / ‘Sheer Driving Pleasure’ … for whom … for the bots?
      In a land with speed limit … and huge distances?

      BTW there’s a much more beautiful video (link) in the Info section of the video if you watch it via YouTube.
      It’s about the Mandelbrot Set … complex distance problem included: