PODCAST: Artificial Intelligence – Could It Be a Threat to Capitalism? with author Calum Chace


Artificial Intelligence is here to stay.

There’s no doubt about it. Self-driving cars are taking center stage in the public eye at the moment but they are just one of the applications of A.I. that has people talking. We already have machines that truly learn, and at a pace that outshines human capabilities in short order. Today’s guest, Calum Chace is the author of a book, “Surviving A.I” that explores many of the scenarios that the development of actual learning machines could produce – including a fundamental change to the structures that undergird capitalism. This is a thought-provoking conversation that will have you wondering about your future.

So far automation has created MORE jobs. Is there anything to worry about?

On today’s episode, I point out to Calum that so far most advances in technology and automation to date have served to create more jobs overall. I wondered, is there a reason to expect that will change as A.I. comes into its own? He’s got some interesting perspectives on that question that go into the possibilities of how artificial intelligence could impact the social and economic structures of the future. It sounds promising and scary all at the same time.

Will A.I. bring utopia?

Calum points out that as artificial intelligence technology expands into more and more sectors of the economy there will undoubtedly be some jobs that are either enhanced to the degree that current workers in those areas don’t need to work as much, or that those positions are eliminated altogether. What will happen if myriad jobs are no longer needed? Will people be better able to pursue creativity, invention, and personal interests? Or will those who own and control the A.I. be the only ones who benefit from a life of ease?

True or false: Artificial Intelligence could create a welfare state.

Imagine a time when machines are doing the work that people used to do. When those who own and control A.I. are the ones who produce the things that are valuable in the economy and therefore are the ones who make the most money. Could A.I. foster a government state where the rich are taxed to feed and clothe the poor? Could it become a time of unrest because of the seeming unfairness that exists in the society? Calum talks about these possibilities and more on this episode of the Capitalism podcast.

What are the right questions to be asking about A.I.?

It’s too late to ask if we should pursue artificial intelligence. It’s already being done with great success. Now that it’s upon us, what are the vital questions we need to ask in order to ensure that humanity is safeguarded from both abuses and unintended and unforeseen consequences of our own creativity and technological advancement? On this episode of the podcast, my guest unpacks the theories he’s come up with regarding the future impact of A.I., based on the study that went into his new book, “Surviving A.I.” I hope you’ll listen intently to what he has to say. It’s our responsibility to think through issues like this while we still can.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:47] The history of technology displacing people – and is it different this time?
  • [5:07] How the issue of A.I. is of concern to everyone.
  • [9:04] Will the rise of A.I. foment a revolution or utopia?
  • [11:31] Is it possible for society to plan for the coming changes?
  • [12:50] How machines are showing signs of creativity already.
  • [15:12] Why Calum believes one result of A.I. will be a welfare state of sorts.
  • [19:37] The problem of people being stuck at the same level of income.
  • [21:25] Self driving vehicles demonstrate the power of automation.
  • [23:22] Applications for A.I. we’re not thinking about that could impact our lives.
  • [25:07] Could labor unions be hastening the pace of automation?
  • [30:14] The role 3d printing could play.

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