In the last post, I wrote about my thoughts that human beings have evolved by the technology of augmentation.
In this post, I will talk about the continuation: the age of automation. At the beginning, I will go back to the age of augmentation in the last post. The summery of previous content is that the augmentation has two merits: 1, Augmentation dispenses human from an evolution. 2, Augmentation is shareable. And the key is external devices.
Well, I think this feature that is possible to share external devices occurred an interesting change for human. the change is that it rose the substitutability of individuals. As I mentioned in the last post, the augmentation does not depend on a body of individuals. The most important thing is not individuals but external devices if the user can use the device correctly. On the contrary, individuals which can not be substituted tend to be in privileged classes. This is the same to present society. Competent personnels are valuable because the substitutability is low. So called Originality.
If external devices are important, the improvement of external devices must have increased the survival rate. The user does not make a difference, so the user does not have to be human, ultimately.If your assets increase automatically, that must be the easiest way to live. What is more, there is a merit that a same process is repeated without human error. This is a beginning of automation. Labour power was replaced by someone to something. New inventions which came from this trend were devices such as water-clock, watermill and so on. Thanks to watermills, it became possible to mill without human labor. In fact, The ancient Greek epigrammatist Antipater praised the invention like this.
Hold back your hand from the mill, you grinding girls; even if the cockcrow heralds the dawn, sleep on. For Demeter has imposed the labours of your hands on the nymphs, who leaping down upon the topmost part of the wheel, rotate its axle; with encircling cogs, it turns the hollow weight of the Nisyrian millstones. If we learn to feast toil-free on the fruits of the earth, we taste again the golden age.
NOTE: Demeter is a Venus of grain in Ancient Greek myth. Nymph is minor nature deity
Although human beings had obtained the technology of automation, the diffuse of watermill began in the medieval time in Europe. Probably, one of the reasons would be geographical factors. However, one more significant reason must be economy, as there have been ‘slaves’ in human history. From the view of privileged class, everything was okay if it can produce assets. So the labour of slaves and nature are basically same for privileged classes. When there are plenty of slaves, upper class people can utilise them and do not have to invest in new technology. Until medieval time, the cost to produce the same amount of assets was cheaper when you use slaves.
If this was correct, we can understand the reason why it diffused in medieval time when privileged classes lost power and feudalism society represented by Magna Carta was born. Due to the reduction of slaves, the cost to invest for the productivity improvement became lower and efficient than the use of human slaves. (Of course, not only the technology of automation but also the one of augmentation grew greatly.)
As this fact indicates, breakthrough always comes from lacks of labours. Therefore, Industrial Revolution broke from the U.K in the late 18th century that was suffering from the lack of workers due to high wages. The Revolution which experienced Science Revolution in the 17th century increased the productivity significantly. It is called the Great Divergence. Since this time, the productivity of human beings improved dramatically and, thanks to that, the number of population exploded. With the explosion, Capitalism Society which is a society consists of desires and desires became mainstream in the time. I will quote the beautiful argument by Tomáš Sedláček who is Czech economist.
Desires don’t want to be filled. Desires want to multiply.
I consider the reason why the greatest progress was possible is that the heart of Industrial Revolution: Steam Engine augmented everything and automated everything. Thanks to Steam Engine, our physical strength and walking ability are augmented greatly. The appearance of Factory which uses steam engines as a form of power realised it possible to automate if there is no water.
The creatures who are standing on the continuation of Industrial Revolution are us: human in the 21st century. And now, we are facing an endpoint of augmentation and automation. That is Artificial Intelligence so called AI.
I recognise it like this. AI is one of the terminals of augmentation and automation. Before the appearance of AI, the augmentation and automation were the ones of embodiment such as an augmentation to make claws sharp or an automation to replace labour by someone to something. However, it has become possible to augment and automate our brains now, so we have succeeded to augment and automate all of our body parts unintentionally. It means, the ability to think which was not possible to substitute can be replaced now.
Therefore, many people are starting to have concerns like such as, ‘Will my job be replaced by AI ?’ ‘AI destroys human?’ ‘We are substituted by AI? (literally)’
I am not going to discuss AI threat theory now. But it is true that the people’s concerns are increasing.
People who feel threatened will think of ways to self-protect. So how can we protect ourselves? I consider that one of the solutions is merging of technology by way of augmentation and automation. Also, people who live in capitalism will look towards better life because desires do not want to be filled. In order to meet the desires, we will start to insource our evolution at last.
Then, I think the age of merging is coming.
In the next post, I will write about the time of merging.