It’s useful if unsurprising to see how much of my work depends on digital networks, how uneven they are, and how accustomed we are to the latter. Nobody groaned on the Silver Line when the car slipped out of 4G coverage, because we expect it. Conversely, at no point was I beholden to a physical office, as my work exists in a distributed assemble of brain, devices, networks, and multiple storage/service sites.
I was privileged to be able to attend the CUE Hootenanny at the San Diego Maritime Museum with 50 incredibly dedicated and awesome educators. Jon Corippo, the Executive Director of CUE had mentioned that at the end of the day they would be giving away “golden” clickers to the best #CUEBOOM. While I did not get a chance to participate in the #CUEBOOM, earlier in the week I had a flash of inspiration and thirty minutes later this spoken word piece rolled out. So, while I did not participate in the #CUEBOOM, I thought I would share the result of that flash of inspiration (even though it is a bit raw and unfinished)…
How do you think automation will transform society over the next 15 years?
A) Significant unemployment and underemployment will result as automation fails to create new jobs to succeed the ones it replaces.
B) New types of jobs appears in response to emerging technologies and practices, as they did through most of the Industrial Revolutions.
C) Humans increasingly feel unease or panic at being rendered obsolete. This manifests in various cultural and political forms.
D) Income and wealth inequality grows immensely, as businesses involved in automation generate and accrete enormous financial power.
E) Very little change will occur, because AI is overhyped and robotics are too limited in practical application, at least in this timeframe of a mere 15 years.
F) Some form of universal basic income will be implemented.
G) A data-based surveillance dystopia is installed, grounded in ubiquitous technology and guided by governments and/or business.
H) A new arms race breaks out between nations to see who has the best AI.
I) A major backlash emerges against automation for various reasons, leading to a major social step back from AI and robotics.
J) A very pleasant time will result, when we don’t have to work so much, our basic needs are met, and we are freer to develop ourselves.
Professor Terry Eagleton’s more than 40 books have explored, in consistently invigorating ways, the many and surprising intersections and confluences of literature, culture, ideology and belief. His latest book *[Radical Sacrifice]* (Yale) draws on the Bible, the *Aeneid*, Hegel, Marx, Heidegger and Henry James in a brilliant meditation on the concept of sacrifice, fundamentally reconfiguring it as a radical force within modern life and thought. Professor Eagleton was in conversation about his latest work with Daniel Soar, senior editor at the London Review of Books.
Terry Eagleton talks about all things relating to sacrifice. It is an enthralling conversation that goes in many directions. One interesting idea that he discusses is Marx as prophet:
Eagleton explains that Marx’s work was not about creating a Utopia, but rather about fixing the present, for the future is created with the language of today. This reminds me of Audrey Watters’ talk The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Issue a Press Release:
I am not a futurist. I don’t make predictions. But I can look at the past and at the present in order to dissect stories about the future.