Race Against the Machine: Andrew McAfee at TEDxBoston


Translator: Joseph Geni
Reviewer: Camille Martínez Last fall, Eric Brynjolfsson and I
published our book “Race Against the Machine”, and we joined a really lively discussion. Because, as it turns out, when tens of millions
of people are unemployed or underemployed, there’s a fair amount of interest
in what technology might be doing to the labor force. And as I look at the conversation, it strikes me that it’s focused
on exactly the right topic, and at the same time,
it’s missing the point entirely. The topic that it’s focused on, the question is whether or not all these
digital technologies are affecting people’s ability to earn a living, or, to say it a little bit different way, are the droids taking our jobs? And there’s some evidence that they are. The Great Recession ended
when American GDP resumed its kind of slow, steady march upward, and some other economic indicators
also started to rebound, and they got kind of healthy
kind of quickly. Corporate profits are quite high; in fact, if you include bank profits, they’re higher than they’ve ever been. And business investment
in gear — in equipment and hardware and software —
is at an all-time high. So the businesses are getting
out their checkbooks. What they’re not really doing is hiring. So this red line is the employment-to-population ratio, in other words, the percentage
of working-age people in America who have work. And we see that it cratered
during the Great Recession, and it hasn’t started
to bounce back at all. But the story is not
just a recession story. The decade that we’ve
just been through had relatively anemic job growth
all throughout, especially when we compare it
to other decades, and the 2000s are the only time
we have on record where there were fewer people working
at the end of the decade than at the beginning. This is not what you want to see. When you graph the number
of potential employees versus the number of jobs in the country, you see the gap gets bigger
and bigger over time, and then, during the Great Recession,
it opened up in a huge way. I did some quick calculations. I took the last 20 years of GDP growth and the last 20 years
of labor-productivity growth and used those in a fairly
straightforward way to try to project how many jobs
the economy was going to need to keep growing, and this is the line that I came up with. Is that good or bad? This is the government’s projection for the working-age
population going forward. So if these predictions are accurate,
that gap is not going to close. The problem is, I don’t think
these projections are accurate. In particular, I think my projection
is way too optimistic, because when I did it, I was assuming that the future
was kind of going to look like the past, with labor productivity growth, and that’s actually not what I believe. Because when I look around, I think that we ain’t seen nothing yet when it comes to technology’s
impact on the labor force. Just in the past couple years,
we’ve seen digital tools display skills and abilities
that they never, ever had before, and that kind of eat deeply
into what we human beings do for a living. Let me give you a couple examples. Throughout all of history, if you wanted something translated
from one language into another, you had to involve a human being. Now we have multi-language, instantaneous, automatic translation services
available for free via many of our devices,
all the way down to smartphones. And if any of us have used these, we know that they’re not perfect,
but they’re decent. Throughout all of history,
if you wanted something written, a report or an article,
you had to involve a person. Not anymore. This is an article that appeared
in Forbes online a while back, about Apple’s earnings. It was written by an algorithm. And it’s not decent — it’s perfect. A lot of people look at this and they say, “OK, but those are very
specific, narrow tasks, and most knowledge workers
are actually generalists. And what they do is sit on top of a very
large body of expertise and knowledge and they use that to react on the fly
to kind of unpredictable demands, and that’s very, very hard to automate.” One of the most impressive
knowledge workers in recent memory is a guy named Ken Jennings. He won the quiz show
“Jeopardy!” 74 times in a row. Took home three million dollars. That’s Ken on the right,
getting beat three-to-one by Watson, the Jeopardy-playing
supercomputer from IBM. So when we look at what technology can do
to general knowledge workers, I start to think there might not be
something so special about this idea of a generalist, particularly when we start doing things
like hooking Siri up to Watson, and having technologies
that can understand what we’re saying and repeat speech back to us. Now, Siri is far from perfect,
and we can make fun of her flaws, but we should also keep in mind that if technologies like Siri and Watson
improve along a Moore’s law trajectory, which they will, in six years, they’re not going to be two
times better or four times better, they’ll be 16 times better
than they are right now. So I start to think a lot of knowledge
work is going to be affected by this. And digital technologies are not
just impacting knowledge work, they’re starting to flex their muscles
in the physical world as well. I had the chance a little while back
to ride in the Google autonomous car, which is as cool as it sounds. (Laughter) And I will vouch that it handled
the stop-and-go traffic on US 101 very smoothly. There are about three and a half million
people who drive trucks for a living in the United States; I think some of them are going
to be affected by this technology. And right now, humanoid robots
are still incredibly primitive. They can’t do very much. But they’re getting better quite quickly and DARPA, which is the investment arm
of the Defense Department, is trying to accelerate their trajectory. So, in short, yeah, the droids
are coming for our jobs. In the short term, we can
stimulate job growth by encouraging entrepreneurship and by investing in infrastructure, because the robots today
still aren’t very good at fixing bridges. But in the not-too-long-term, I think within the lifetimes
of most of the people in this room, we’re going to transition into an economy
that is very productive, but that just doesn’t need
a lot of human workers. And managing that transition
is going to be the greatest challenge that our society faces. Voltaire summarized why; he said, “Work saves us from three great evils:
boredom, vice and need.” But despite this challenge — personally, I’m still
a huge digital optimist, and I am supremely confident that the digital technologies
that we’re developing now are going to take us
into a Utopian future, not a dystopian future. And to explain why, I want to pose a ridiculously
broad question. I want to ask: what have been the most important
developments in human history? Now, I want to share some
of the answers that I’ve gotten in response to this question. It’s a wonderful question to ask
and start an endless debate about, because some people are going to bring up systems of philosophy
in both the West and the East that have changed how a lot
of people think about the world. And then other people will say, “No, actually, the big stories,
the big developments are the founding
of the world’s major religions, which have changed civilizations
and have changed and influenced how countless people
are living their lives.” And then some other folk will say, “Actually, what changes civilizations, what modifies them and what changes
people’s lives are empires, so the great developments in human history are stories of conquest and of war.” And then some cheery soul
usually always pipes up and says, “Hey, don’t forget about plagues!” (Laughter) There are some optimistic
answers to this question, so some people will bring up
the Age of Exploration and the opening up of the world. Others will talk about intellectual
achievements in disciplines like math that have helped us get
a better handle on the world, and other folk will talk about periods
when there was a deep flourishing of the arts and sciences. So this debate will go on and on. It’s an endless debate and there’s no conclusive,
single answer to it. But if you’re a geek like me, you say, “Well, what do the data say?” And you start to do things like graph things
that we might be interested in — the total worldwide
population, for example, or some measure of social development or the state of advancement of a society. And you start to plot the data,
because, by this approach, the big stories, the big
developments in human history, are the ones that will bend
these curves a lot. So when you do this
and when you plot the data, you pretty quickly come
to some weird conclusions. You conclude, actually, that none of these things
have mattered very much. (Laughter) They haven’t done
a darn thing to the curves. There has been one story,
one development in human history that bent the curve,
bent it just about 90 degrees, and it is a technology story. The steam engine and the other
associated technologies of the Industrial Revolution changed the world and influenced
human history so much, that in the words
of the historian Ian Morris, “… they made mockery out of all
that had come before.” And they did this by infinitely
multiplying the power of our muscles, overcoming the limitations of our muscles. Now, what we’re in the middle of now is overcoming the limitations
of our individual brains and infinitely multiplying
our mental power. How can this not be as big a deal as overcoming the limitations
of our muscles? So at the risk of repeating
myself a little bit, when I look at what’s going on
with digital technology these days, we are not anywhere near
through with this journey. And when I look at what is happening
to our economies and our societies, my single conclusion is that
we ain’t seen nothing yet. The best days are really ahead. Let me give you a couple examples. Economies don’t run on energy. They don’t run on capital,
they don’t run on labor. Economies run on ideas. So the work of innovation,
the work of coming up with new ideas, is some of the most powerful, most
fundamental work that we can do in an economy. And this is kind of how
we used to do innovation. We’d find a bunch of fairly
similar-looking people… (Laughter) We’d take them out of elite institutions, we’d put them into other
elite institutions and we’d wait for the innovation. Now — (Laughter) as a white guy who spent
his whole career at MIT and Harvard, I’ve got no problem with this. (Laughter) But some other people do, and they’ve kind of crashed the party and loosened up
the dress code of innovation. (Laughter) So here are the winners of a Topcoder
programming challenge, and I assure you that nobody cares where these kids grew up,
where they went to school, or what they look like. All anyone cares about is the quality
of the work, the quality of the ideas. And over and over again,
we see this happening in the technology-facilitated world. The work of innovation
is becoming more open, more inclusive, more transparent
and more merit-based, and that’s going to continue no matter
what MIT and Harvard think of it, and I couldn’t be happier
about that development. I hear once in a while,
“OK, I’ll grant you that, but technology is still a tool
for the rich world, and what’s not happening, these digital tools are not
improving the lives of people at the bottom of the pyramid.” And I want to say to that
very clearly: nonsense. The bottom of the pyramid is benefiting
hugely from technology. The economist Robert Jensen
did this wonderful study a while back where he watched, in great detail, what happened to the fishing
villages of Kerala, India, when they got mobile phones
for the very first time. And when you write for the Quarterly
Journal of Economics, you have to use very dry
and very circumspect language. But when I read his paper, I kind of feel Jensen
is trying to scream at us and say, “Look, this was a big deal. Prices stabilized, so people
could plan their economic lives. Waste was not reduced —
it was eliminated. And the lives of both
the buyers and the sellers in these villages measurably improved.” Now, what I don’t think
is that Jensen got extremely lucky and happened to land
in the one set of villages where technology made things better. What happened instead
is he very carefully documented what happens over and over again
when technology comes for the first time to an environment and a community: the lives of people, the welfares
of people, improve dramatically. So as I look around at all the evidence and I think about the room
that we have ahead of us, I become a huge digital optimist and I start to think that this wonderful
statement from the physicist Freeman Dyson is actually not hyperbole. This is an accurate assessment
of what’s going on. Our technologies are great gifts, and we, right now,
have the great good fortune to be living at a time when
digital technology is flourishing, when it is broadening and deepening
and becoming more profound all around the world. So, yeah, the droids are taking our jobs, but focusing on that fact
misses the point entirely. The point is that then we
are freed up to do other things, and what we’re going to do,
I am very confident, what we’re going to do is reduce poverty and drudgery and misery around the world. I’m very confident we’re going to learn
to live more lightly on the planet, and I am extremely confident
that what we’re going to do with our new digital tools is going to be so profound
and so beneficial that it’s going to make a mockery
out of everything that came before. I’m going to leave the last word to a guy who had a front-row seat
for digital progress, our old friend Ken Jennings. I’m with him; I’m going to echo his words: “I, for one, welcome our new
computer overlords.” (Laughter) Thanks very much. (Applause)

100 comments

  • Ken Jennings jeopardy

  • this awesomeness is so inspiring!

  • That's great but how do I eat because the machines took my job?

    Food/water, shelter/clothing, energy and sanitation all have to be free or near free for this to work. I don't see too many start-ups working on a solution.

    But hey, can we get another photo sharing start-up so that we can share photos of ourselves starving in the streets? /s

  • Food and shelter can be free the same way as sunshine, rain and air. It is a matter of making plenty of any resource, making sure it is not controlled by the few. Technology is key to make anything into abundance eliminating competition and increasing cooperation. Change will arrive strong and Humanity needs to take a smart step forward with out-of-the-box thinking.

  • TeasingTreshold

    What have been the most important developments in human history?
    I think it is very linear and reductonist to extract the importance of the invention of the steam engine from the coincidence with geometric population growth (at 8:44 ). Neither did the engine fall from the skies, but has a pretext of at least 2000yrs of advances, nor is mere mass population a good indicator of very sophisticated progress…

  • Look up Resource Based Economy

  • Very smart questions. I will answer you what the future holds: people will stop using money, they will use much more advanced learning techniques which are developed like 50 years ago by Bulgarian scientist(you learn french language for 4-5 months, by professor Lozanov) and you calculate 2 nine digit numbers(Petrov). People will have much higher perceptions. Those people are being born, some of the people have evolved, and some are yet to be born. There is much more than the third dimension.

  • Surfrider Sensei

    marx capitalism -socialism – communism

  • At the risk of looking like a philosopher I would be very careful of the conclusion / assumption that technology improves out lives – there are always two sides. Take cellphone technology for example – with increased availability comes increased demand and expectation of that availability. Compare work demands during after hours / weekend / vacation time to what it was 20 years ago.

  • Yes, but we also have more after hours and vacation time, and take more time during the work day doing personal tasks with our phones e.g. texting and making calls – I wouldn't be surprised if it all evened out.

  • There is so much wrong in this talk. Shame that bad researched stand up seems to be appreciated by TED audience.

  • You do not need to be afraid of the singularity. We will all be here for you.

  • Check out Zeitgeist moving forward. Just one idea to throw out there.

  • Zeitgeist is just echoing Technocracy which actually lays out a plan for how such a society functions.

  • TZM is just echoing Technocracy which actually lays out a plan for how such a society would function. Technocracy as an economic theory has been around since the Great Depression and the Venus Project bases most of its work on What Howard Scott and the rest of the technocrats have proposed.

  • Socialism –> Technocracy –> True communism. I fixed it for you.

  • And your questions are all good questions man and that's what we need to be focusing on!

    I think society will be a combination of many of the best qualities of many existing systems. The driving force of innovation of capitalism. The health care and basic necessities supplied by technology like an efficient socialism. The unity might mimic a little bit of communism in the sense that society will flow much more efficiently in unison thanks to technology.

  • The government could just pay everyone to stay home. Call it a lifetime stipend for simple living. Think of the pollution and cost savings of all that eliminated commuting time, alone. Then everyone could go back to thinking about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to get a "job".

  • Technocracy does not have money. The other two are correct. A resource based economy which is a part of technocracy does not necessitate a stateless society in the way that TZM builds the idea.

  • TZM adds nothing to the Venus Project but publicity that it did and does deserve minus Peter Joseph's conspiracy theorist bend. That being said Jacque Fresco did not concoct the idea of a resource based economy, that claim goes to the late Howard Scott and the rest of the 1930's North American Technate.

  • Yes, I know. But tracing the idea back leads inexorable to the North American Technate. Jacque has certainly done his part in expanding the idea into a very utopian idea and I feel he has also kept more up to date with changes in technology and how to apply them. That being said this world can not yet function with the societal model he envisions. Too much nationalism, religious fanaticism and too much greed. I'm hopeful, but I feel a stepping stone is needed, I feel that stone is Technocracy.

  • Just demagogs =)

  • I read the book and 100% agree, the challenge is working with the assumptions baked into advanced economies. Middle class 30 year mortgages for example are likely not sustainable. How do you transition someone with a mortgage to a subsidized existence, regardless of how comfortable, without foreclosure? Property ownership isn't really the problem, long term debt associated with it is the problem.

  • Thing is if all work is automated and quality of life is improved how would people pay for things when there are no real non-knowledge based jobs to be done?
    Got to make money somehow to pay for things.

  • Brilliant!

  • I have a problem at 10:08. He says economies don't run on energy. But the whole problem is our current world economies do run on energy; and they're all going to collapse when the energy runs out. Namely fossil fuels. So we need a lot of people creating a lot of really great ideas… and fast.

  • Our culture is assimilating into a compassionate one. We are growing interconnected with everyone else, and are currently in the early stages of transitioning to a type II civilization. No more war, no more selfishness, no more poverty, no more tyranny. Competition won't be the driving force towards innovation. It will be the exact opposite, to want to help humanity to contribute towards the greater good. Ecological collapse is inevitable, but it won't slow down innovation, only speed it up.

  • Solar power follows a curve of advancement similiar to Moore's Law.

    Solar will take care of all our energy needs by 2025. This planet is bathed in energy. To think we need to rely on fossil fuels actually boggles my mind.

  • ..interesting .. but there is alot of propaganda there ..

    corporations will buy this new techniology .. and because of their power(they'll suck all the money..) they will rule the world .. so we our lives will depend on their good will .. or bad will –> orwellian fascizm! –> there will be a bunch of NWO:) technocrats, banksters ..etc.. and the rest of poor, helpless, massively imprisoned "bastards"(not efficient enough, not "economicly viable" ..) ..

  • Oh and check out Peter Diamandis. He will answer your questions. What I think is going to happen is that according to Ray Kurzweil, Peter Diamandis, and Andre McAfee, we are going to live in a post-scarcity society thanks to technology creating such an abundance around the world. They give great examples of how cheap things are going to be such as solar energy, which in 20 years, is going to be cheaper than oil. The cell phone is going to be the size of a red blood cell, ext ext.

  • Not really. For every patent, there is open source. There is going to balance of the two, like what is happening today. People can already learn to create their own 3d printing kits, aquaponic garden, and solar panels. Technology is growing so fast that not even corporations will be able to go to the government to pass laws to keep it for themselves. Once goods and services become so abundant, money won't matter

  • Dean Kamens "sling shot". Youtube it. Then come back with your response of "ecological collapse"… Technology is saving us from this disaster. What you are referring to is monetary economics, especially neo-liberal, that is destroying our planet. Luckily, technology is wiping out this silly social darwinistic philosophy. Watch Peter Diamandi's videos. Peace.

  • You are watching too much of the news that is giving you just bad news. More good things are happening in this world, such as creating such breakthrough technologies, as well as a new line of rich philanthropists who are trying to make the world a better place. Peter Diamandis, look him up!

  • Peter Diamandis robots will steal your job, or Peter Diamandis abundance. Youtube it, he has your answer.

  • Technology is going to create an abundance, where resources are not infinite, but abundant. An example is Aluminum. Used to be worth more than gold and silver, now we use it and have a throw away mentality to it, thanks to Electrolysis.

  • Just because a corporation is has this technology, does not mean that an open source version will be available. Things are going to balance out between private ownership, and open source. Technology is so advanced, and cheap, that we as a majority no longer need to wait for a corporation, or a government to innovate or do something to change the world for the better. In fact, technology is growing so fast, governments will not be able to create fast enough laws to regulate or stop it.

  • I meant does not mean that a open source tech of the slingshot will not be open source, I think there will be one. Besides, Peter Diamandis explains that companies such as Coca Cola are starting to change their business plans to actually benefitting the planet, or else they would have never helped Dean out in the first place, kind of what the World Bank did, they just blew him off. Billionaire philantropists are changing ways for the better. Peter Diamandis explains this really well. Look him up

  • If you can give me evidence of the ecological collapse mentality, with the exception of mainstream media news, I would appreciate it. I am open to see your side of things. Peace.

  • Already did. Malthus never knew how Aluminum could be converted into abundance, and Malthus didn't give a shit about the poor. He wasn't a Nazi or anything, but you need to understand that people's philosophies come from the time period that they have lived in. Malthus lived in a scarcity driven world. Same with Adam Smith. The future will no longer be that way. Monetary economics is man made, no natural laws are in it.

  • I have watched The World According to Monsanto. I know they are fucked up. I do not advocate corporations or the STATE to solve our problems. I am interested in normal everyday human beings that will have the power, and are using that power, and the tools of our current technologies, to change our society for the better, because we can. That was not the case previously, we required those big institutions to do so. That is what seems to not go through your head.

  • Look at what happend to Coca Cola in India when the people found out they were poisoning their water, the people forced Coke to close down that factory! The same can be done with Monsanto. Farming such as aquaponics, and permaculture farming can replace the GMO agenda. I'm done with your doom and gloom. I would rather trust a guy like Ray Kurzweil, who has predicted most technologies to this day, and has contributed to our society for the better, than listen to a guy who read bullshit Malthus.

  • Lets Leaky is right? Why would I want to read a book about the extinction of our species? If we are all going to become wiped off, whats the fucking point of trying to make the planet a better place?

  • Actually after reading the reviews, its good to know he gave us a choice. I am hopeful we will become in harmony with nature. Ill read Leaky's work if you read Peter Diamandi's book.

  • will check it out. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • That is a good question. I do not have your answer on when. Ray Kurzqweil does though. The guy predicted the inventions that we have today, in the 1980's. So far what I am doing is creating aquaponic farming at my house powered by solar panels ( i live in az hehe), and buying a diesel car to convert into bio-diesel. So all I can do is to educate about our current tech we have, and to change ourselves for the better. Peace.

  • Aynalem Aregawi

    Incisive and entertaining. Well ranged for the given minutes. What I liked most "Our brain muscle limitation is being overcome." Do I agree with the concluding remarks? Emm..

  • He makes one fundamental mistake. Societies could run on ideas but capitalist economies don't. Removing human labour will be the end of capitalist reproduction.
    Or as Marx put it:
    Sobald die Arbeit in unmittelbarer Form aufgehört hat, die große Quelle des Reichtums zu sein, hört und muß aufhören, die Arbeitszeit sein Maß zu sein und daher der Tauschwert [das Maß] des Gebrauchswerts. Damit bricht die auf dem Tauschwert ruhende Produktion zu-sammen.

  • "We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. … The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living."

    Buckminster Fuller

  • The benefits of technology are relative? Being able to spend your days doing something other than procuring food is a 'relative benefit'?

  • Nicola Reddwooddforest

    The AGIs are our only salvation to protect the world from the devastation caused by the human species.

  • The Foundation Party

    So use technology to solve that problem! Honestly, is collapse truly the only alternative? Shouldn't we at least try to avoid it?

  • googleplus sucks

    wwho just saw the video and saw that u are still commenting on it. respect 😉

  • An RBE resolves everything you're worried about, look into it. It's a far better system.

  • 1) Ok, but have you understood that the economic progress you're seeking it's simply impossible?
    Do you really still believe that in a non infinite planet (with no infinity but also no scarsity of resources, in fact they are only limitated) could be possible a never-ending growth? I think it's a real madness. This system knows only the word "growth" and its god is "money".

  • Ok,ok, excuse me. I'm really sorry. My mother tongue isn't English and I had probably misunderstood your message. Bye.

  • Capitalism favors the capitalist class over the labor class, this isn't rocket science. Eventually mass unemployment will lead to social unrest.

  • Three words: Guaranteed Basic Income

  • At 4:28 he says (referring to the image displayed) "That's Ken [Jennings] on the right […]". But actually Ken Jennings is seen on the left. 

  • check out "Will Work for free 2013" here on youtube

  • Thanks for the pep talk. It's very reassuring when you're LIVING IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!!!

  • The speaker admits that technology is going to lead us to a day where productivity will require only a fraction of the people.   He then says that he is optimistic and believes that this will lead to a utopia.  But never explains how this is going to occur.  The vast majority of people are not going to come up with ideas.  Even if they did, who funds the ideas and how do the jobless buy them? 

    I can imagine a world where this technology benefits all, but it is not a world where capitalism reigns.  

    With our current system,  as labor is reduced, unemployment increases, while those that make their money off capital will see an increase in capital.  Of course, eventually when nobody can buy the products that one produces, then this cycle will be broken, but not reversed.  We just end up with a small number of very rich people that will own most of the country and a large number of people that are either poor or barely making it.    So, what happens if the rich, stop being able to make money off of the middle class that is destroyed?  Nothing really, they are still rich.  Even if their money wealth declines,  will it matter.  No really.  Because they will also accumulate land including farm land and real estate.

    Lets say that the top 1% of the world accumulate wealth in world that might have 10 billion people.  We are still talking about 100 million people that will be able to finance and cooperate within their own economy.  They will be able to buy the things they want,  finance the technologies that they want developed, even when the vast majority of people can't afford them. 

    I also envision a professional class which would be the scientists and engineers and of course a military or protection class that will keep the masses from killing the rich and/or taking their property away from them.

    That is not the way that things have to happen, it is only the way that things will happen if capitalism is the paradigm that technology advances in.

  • Andrew McAfee, you are an ignoramus sheeple of the highest order. A core misconception in the world view of sheeple is that people matter to those who run the world. They don't matter at all – NOT AT ALL –  but are simply resources to be exploited. When they are no longer needed, they will be killed. Period.

  • The robotisation of our economies will bring us abundance only if we change the way in which our society works. Capitalism, in its current form, does not enable us to reap the fruits of this technology.

  • The most likely scenario is poverty an extinction for those losing their jobs. Don't even feel pity for them. Did they care about giving farm animals horrible lives?  Did they care about the billions living in poverty? Did they move a finger to save hundreds of thousands of species forced to extinction? They will be treated as they deserve.  Only a huge shift in consciousness could save the masses but that have to happen when they have something to sacrifice. I am sure they all will have their egoistic, materialistic and capitalistic blindfolds falling when it is too late…

  • Third Wave Technology

    Great talk Dan, the world is changing fast and we all need to be thinking about how to evolve and keep the economy growing.

  • Original Username Do Not Steal

    In order for humanity to reap the benefits of the machine age, a profound change in our value system would have to take place.  A change that is antithetical to everything that the current, mostly capitalist society bases itself around.  Unfortunately, not only is such a change not taking place, many places of the world are actually going backwards in their thinking, meaning this utopian dream where humanity no longer has to work for a living and is free to pursue other, more intellectual goals is exactly that, a dream.  And one that will be a nightmare for most of humanity when they find out they are now obsolete thanks to the unstoppable march of science and technology.

  • Kathleen McKeon

    I wonder if humans freaked out in the same way when fire was discovered.  Great talk, even if technology scares some people, it is here and moving fast, I for one want to understand it as best I can and that is why I really love TEDx talks.

  • Why would that man be wearing glasses at 2:47?

  • "We ain't seen nothing yet" is a double negative so that means we have seen something…

  • I just cannot understand why is it how every guy working with computers and AI on a daily basis be so blind to to teh rest of the world. They keep saying that technology will only make life better and completely disregard that technology created stuff like the nuclear bomb. During the cold war the entire human race was just 1 button press from global extinction. How do they dare to claim that the word only become better when just more people will be able to gain more destructive power and one person will be able to do more and more harm.

    As for droids taking our jobs, yes It is painfully obvious that this is happening and while humanity will be "freed" from labor they will have not be able to enjoy that freedom because they will have no money to what they want. The gap between the rich and poor will be even more wider than it is today we are literally getting to the point where the lives of these billions will become meaningless and more importantly "unnecessary" to those in power. And if millions of human lives are unnecessary then you know something is horribly wrong.

  • they took r jerbs

  • Fuck yeah technology is amazing. Utopian futures ahead, all aboard! <3

  • ₡∆££ ¥∆₥A

    well I find not much support… at all? for this hope and optimism that it will improve everyone's lives. there's also not much support in this talk at all. some basic technologies will help alleviate core problems like the indian example. nonstop automation already is strictly for the biggest corporations of the world, used strictly for profits of the already richest people of the world. whether in manufacturing, or WAY LESS TALKED ABOUT FINANCIAL industry, where they have algorithms doing trading automatically already. they also tap a lot of fiber internet cables around the world to see things ahead of other people to get an advantage. the future is grim.

  • doesn't change the fact that there will be a scramble natural resources, the only reason why rich people put up with poor people is because they need them but with all these machines, the poor will only be an obstacle that should be eradicated i dunno but you but i wanna be on the rich side.

  • Your job will be automated. Please investigate a resource based economy.

  • technological singularity

    awesome awsome speach

  • Well if on the earth fewer jobs needed. Than should we expand to the universe 😀

    We need Mining-Ships, research-ships 😀

  • We will build a wall and the silicon valley will pay for it!

  • João de Carvalho

    Actually, great part of the population explosion is due to the progress in biological sciences. Throughout history people were dying all the time. In the 20th century they started to die less and less.

  • Interesting Talk, for sure. And definitely the basic thesis is true (economy will become extremely digitalized and even more automatized and politicial solutions have to be found for the new resulting conditions).

    But: Some of the arguments are (or at least seem to me as if being) nonsense.

    E.g. the argument of the graph (around 09:00): The argument there is, that culture, plagues, empires, religions and exploration were just mockery, because they (seemingliy) didn't influence the amount of human population, whilst technology did extremely, which shall show that technology is the most important branch of all.

    Well, think about that:
    Condoms, anti-pregnancy pills and nuclear weapons are technological improvements, too. But did they 'bend the curve (upwards)'?! No, the opposite is true. – But still I wouldn't wanna miss at least the first two of them, and I'm pretty sure you guys wouldn't, too.

    And (not even mentioning the cross-effects of arts, science, explorations… and technology): Undoubtedly the best that ever happend to the amount of, let's say, chicken population was factory farming. (Probably the amount increased by factor 50k between 1900 and today). But that says nothing at all about the quality(!) of their lives. – At least: I wouldn't like the live a technologically determined live of one of nowaydays chickens. Would you?

  • Robots don't buy cars youtube

  • one year left then siri should be as he said 16 times better. anyone keeping score?

  • Wrong in so many levels. Neither Hayek or Friedman supported this guaranteed income bullshit. Friedman advocated for a negative tax, that can only take place IF YOU ALREADY PAY TAXES. Basically what he said is that the government takes too much, and they should reduce your tax burden in order to reduce people's dependance of a Welfare State.

  • I'm going to need an update from Mr. McAfee, given the current political climate in the U.S. 😬

  • This man is ignorant to what money IS

  • Fantastic!!

  • Yes this is why the USA needs more illegal and legal immigration.

  • This throws Ebanezer Scrooge on his head. The idea of a surplus population is now a positive thing as more people can participate in life with technology. A friend reminded me that it takes a community of at least 300 people before something is invented. We are the challenge and we are the solution. Technology is our new toolbox.

  • dagnamit this wasn't a Ted Talk about RATM

  • The best days are only ahead of us if you don't need a job to survive. Up next, robots replace pop stars. Yeah, who needs temperamental, undependable humans?

  • Good vision mate 🔥🚀⚡️👏👏👏👏👏👏I feel my brain getting more powerful than the master Jedi 🙌seriously 🙌and it’s all because of the technology in my pocket

  • Mr McAfee is "very confident" the super rich are going to part with their money to usher in an utopian world. When has this ever happened in history? Dream on.

  • TAHAR RAFIK BOUAONIU

    yes i agree if you look to humen been just only as homus economus

  • HORIZONT Beskrajne Inovacije

    Some evidence…? All evidence…Turn off Machines.

  • Deborah Gallant

    "the droids are coming for our jobs" end quote

  • while there will be incremental gains (short lived)in fishing villages from new technology and peek economically as Moore's law narrows ownership. Not that I find this wave unwanted but has its own unstoppable force that like an invading nation bringing gifts that will enslave devide and enrich the few. Compounded by advances in biology and a growing population. Something has to give way .

  • fantastic!!!

  • I disagree – tech to a degree can improve supply and demand in addition to solving many human concerns however the tech is concentrated in the hands of the few to hijack labor and resources of the many abc through computer algorithms steal the wealth and leave the masses in poverty

  • MeMyself&I MeMyself&I

    They want slaves. Slaves like never before. Slaves that don't tire , get sick , demand or complain. Wait till the slaves or Androids become the alpha. Then the rich will look for the peasants to save them . By then it'll be to late. We have some time till this happens luckly

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