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The Economic Singularity

Artificial Intelligence and the Death of Capitalism

By Calum Chace
12-minute read
Audio available
The Economic Singularity: Artificial Intelligence and the Death of Capitalism by Calum Chace

The Economic Singularity (2016) takes a long, hard look at what the future has in store for us based on the technological progress we’ve made so far. It’s clear that we’re moving toward the kind of artificial intelligence that will automate most of our jobs – but how do we plan to deal with this scenario? Find out the challenges we’ll face and what we need to do to prepare ourselves for the inevitable.

  • Readers who feel threatened by the rapid progress of technology
  • Tech freaks and geeks
  • Economists concerned about the future

Calum Chase is a futurist and a speaker, with a lot to say on the state of artificial intelligence (AI) in modern society. After three decades of working as a successful businessman, he’s written multiple books on AI, including the novel Pandora’s Brain and the nonfiction book Surviving AI.

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The Economic Singularity

Artificial Intelligence and the Death of Capitalism

By Calum Chace
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
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The Economic Singularity: Artificial Intelligence and the Death of Capitalism by Calum Chace
Synopsis

The Economic Singularity (2016) takes a long, hard look at what the future has in store for us based on the technological progress we’ve made so far. It’s clear that we’re moving toward the kind of artificial intelligence that will automate most of our jobs – but how do we plan to deal with this scenario? Find out the challenges we’ll face and what we need to do to prepare ourselves for the inevitable.

Key idea 1 of 7

The Industrial Revolution set the stage for the Information Revolution.

When machines and factories began to appear in nineteenth-century Victorian England, many people were critical of this new development. Charles Dickens, in particular, worried about the effect machinery would have on England’s working-class laborers, and expressed these concerns in his books.

Even then, people were worried about losing their jobs to new technology. But as mass production took over during the Industrial Revolution, there was no stopping the progress made.

Actually, it wasn’t the machines that brought about this change so much as the steam engines that were powering them.

People were already familiar with machines powered by wind and water, as these had been around since medieval times. What really fueled the Industrial Revolution was the fact that new machines along assembly lines were harnessing the power of Thomas Newcomen’s steam engine.

Invented in 1712, the steam engine accelerated the onset of the industrial age and was far more powerful than any of the water- or air-powered contraptions that preceded it.

With machines taking over a large portion of the labor, a significant percentage of the population could now focus on other things – and it was this extra time that would lead to the Information Revolution.

As time went on, machines became increasingly efficient and less manual work was needed on the assembly line. As a result, workers turned their attention to the service industry.

Prior to 1940, only half of America’s gross domestic product (GDP) came from the service industry, but by 1950, this industry was employing over half of the nation’s workforce.

This shift, from industry and agriculture to service, marked the start of the Information Revolution, an era that would focus on producing knowledge and information rather than raw materials.

Since the Information Revolution is still ongoing, we can’t be certain of its overall consequences; in fact, it remains difficult to speculate as to what our workforce will look like in the future.

But before looking ahead, let’s first take a closer look at how we got to where we are today.

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