ATHENS - Fear of automation rendering humans obsolete and displacing them in the workforce is rife. The Yuan sat down with innovation expert and visionary author Dr George Zarkadakis to discuss his modest proposal for a new social contract where a highly distributive digital economy will emerge with the adoption of the decentralized web, or ‘Web3.’
The Yuan: In your book ‘Cyber Republic: Reinventing Democracy in the age of Intelligent Machines,’ you talk about a decentralized future and the need to democratize the artificial intelligence (AI) economy via use of Web3 technologies. Can you tell us more about this?
Zarkadakis: One of the questions that I address in my book is what will happen to labor in a future dominated by the nearly full automation of work. There already exist fully automated factories for manufacturing goods, ones where machines execute well-defined tasks without human supervision. However, advances in AI imply machines also becoming capable of executing ill-defined tasks, or what people commonly refer to as ‘creativity.’ Extrapolating this scenario and taking into account the exponential progress of AI technology, one quickly reaches a point where wealth is created mostly by the application of capital and know-how, with negligible contributions from labor. This eventuality - also often referred to as the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ - will have a colossal, historical impact on the existing social contract in capitalist societies. Given that capital and know-how are mostly owned by a small minority of super-rich, super-educated elite, such a future will create explosive tensions that can quickly - and I would say almost unavoidably - result in social and political breakdown.
Clearly, one must urgently rethink the current social contract in capitalism that assumes a role for labor. My book explores a new social contract where a highly distributive digital economyThe content herein is subject to copyright by The Yuan. All rights reserved. The content of the services is owned or licensed to The Yuan. The copying or storing of any content for anything other than personal use is expressly prohibited without prior written permission from The Yuan, or the copyright holder identified in the copyright notice contained in the content.