As I sit here admiring one of my latest images, I can't help but feel this dark storm brewing in the world today. The question on most everyone's mine is, "what do we do about artificial intelligence (A.I.)?" You may be sitting at your computer, thinking this is a benign and unimportant question, but I assure you, it is not!
I just got an email from a customer I provide images to. It states that it is now ready to increase its 200 million photos to billions of permiations produced by AI. That means, in only a few years, what is left of the photography selling business will be completely pointless. Stock images prices will continue to fall, and there will be no reason for photographers to continue making images to sell.
I have also been a software developer for over 24 years now, and I can tell you that I was there when almost everything was invented that matters. The only thing I didn't get to participate in were the computers made before 1976. I saw Big Blue try to conquer the world. I saw Watson (AI) hit the seen, and I never gave it much thought. I figured at most I'd be dead before it even became a thing.
I was wrong! Software development has gone beyond what I ever imagined. We went from programming hundreds of lines of code to make a ball bounce across the screen, to the machine writing code itself. It was always there, but people only laughed at it as a mere toy or fancy.
That toy is now stealing people's jobs at an alarming rate and that rate will continue to climb. According to a recent Forbes article, the WEF states that we will have lost 85 million jobs to AI and robots by 2025. Not only that, but the balance will reach 50% human to 50% machine employment in the not so far off future. Most of those jobs will not be eligible for retraining.
As a society, we have a choice. We can either do nothing, which most likely will happen, or we can do all we can to stop A.I. now. It is simply not needed, and will only cause us pain in the future. The lives it might save will be small compared to the lives it ruins. We are not talking about small numbers of jobs lost after the internal combustion engine hit the scene. There will be significant loss.