Have you ever thought about why we need Artificial Intelligence? It’s obvious why industry needs smart robots. They work cheap. They can be on the job twenty four/seven. Their productivity is measurable, reliable and repeatable. They don’t argue or complain or object to what they are told. They are, in effect, ideal employees. They even problem solve. What industry wouldn’t want more of them? But why do you and I need them?

Technology has arrived at a point where the sophistication level of AI machines is increasing rapidly - and, so too, is our investment in building them. They are presently in a cascading creative environment and very soon we will see these AI machines showing up and replacing entire skill sets within industry.

People take time to learn. In the case of some medical professionals or academics it takes over a decade to complete their studies. On the other hand, once a comprehensive software program is written it can be installed in an endless number of intelligent machines. Programming AI takes seconds, and can be designed to accept continuous updates incorporating all the latest information. Of the human/machine options which do you think corporations, or consumers, will view as the best choice.

Take for instance taxis. When you have cars that drive themselves, and can be called by simply accessing a phone app, and their position and distance traveled is measured and monitored by GPS, all you need is a credit card and a place to swipe it - so why have taxi drivers? The same can be said for delivery vehicles or buses. Who needs a driver?

Education is moving online. Whether in a bricks and mortar school or from home, the same lessons can be beamed in and the same interactive communication can be initiated. Even now it's possible to go from Kindergarten to a graduate degree without attending a regular school.

Thanks largely to the American desire for avoiding universal medical coverage, a substantial effort is being put toward artificially simulating doctors. Imagine this scenario; you walk into a clinic, sit in front of a technician (or robot) who feeds your symptoms into a computer, you answer comprehensive follow up questions supplied by a program, (which has access to all of the most up-to-date medical knowledge in the World), and within minutes, you are supplied with either a diagnosis and a prescription, or moved on to a different station for supplemental tests and scans. This is in the works, and MD’s may not be major players in the process.

It may sound fantastic but when you think about it you begin to realize that the ultimate goal of AI is to eliminate everyone from the workforce, not just labourers and assembly line workers. They are the easy ones. Whether this is achievable is up for debate but the possibility of it causing massive job displacement isn't. Whole industries will soon find themselves instantly at risk - and what does society do with people who lose careers they have trained and studied many years for?

Governments are constantly promising to create and protect jobs. It's such a fundamental and important goal they appear willing to put in jeopardy our environment, our health, our safety, all with this justification in mind. Yet, we are channeling toward a future where jobs will be ever more scarce - and no effort is being made to seriously anticipate the outcomes. No career, no trade, no profession has been deemed sacrosanct - and given the incredible amount of money being applied, and the results being achieved, we have to believe that this is going to happen fast.

How will we adapt? Consider that even if you are a business owner salivating over the prospect of replacing a great portion of your work force with intelligent machines, what happens when this becomes a widespread phenomena? More bluntly stated, who is going to buy your product if fewer people are working?

The unspoken goal of artificial intelligence is to replace us as employees. These machines will be smarter, faster, stronger, more reliable, less demanding, and cheaper to employ. Sorry people, it may hurt to admit it but when it comes to employment we, as living, breathing, human beings, will not be able to compete. And competition, fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your ideology), is the lifeblood of our entire economic system. We have enshrined its principles in our institutions and absorbed them within our personalities. How will we structure our lives once we have been deemed obsolescent by mechanized intelligence?

When the AI Economy takes over will we all go on some kind of guaranteed annual income and live a subsistence lifestyle based on minimal remuneration from government? That would hardly support the kind of living we have been taught to believe in. What does a nation do with 80% unemployment, or 40%, when even 20% now puts us in a severe depression? This trend toward AI will create situations our societies have never previously encountered. Basic changes to our value systems are inevitable. We may have to re-think our goals as individuals and nations - and do it quickly. The window of opportunity to absorb whatever negative impacts these changes provide could close in a hurry - and the subsequent upheavals could create desperation and conflicts. It’s time we took a more comprehensive look at this whole AI reality.