Have you noticed the sense of panic across BS jobs lately? If you have a bad habit like me of occasionally doomscrolling on linkedin, you may have noticed a particular trend emerging which has hit the mainstream in the last few months.

Oh god, look at this realistic photograph an AI generated! Or even this web widget generated in 2 seconds! We are not safe!

For good reasons there are several baby boomers currently nervous about their ability to stay relevant in an increasingly unforgiving world. The changes that AI are presenting to the current working environment of the modernized world, though tremendous, are felt most extreme in particular by those who dared grow roots onto shifting sands.

Without being too general and vague, Those types of people are the types who crop up every major technological shift (in this case AI) who have based not only their identity but entire life orientation on an axiom that goes something like:

  • I want to earn money and live comfortably
  • The life I want to live is found within the relative safety of being an employee
  • If a skill earns or generates money then it is valuable
  • If I invest in learning those skills, then I am valuable
  • With money I earn from my value, I can outsource responsibility and be comfortable
  • The greater my value, the more I can be comfortable
  • If my value generates income, then I have earned my right to be comfortable
  • Since I protect my earned right to be comfortable, I implicitly protect my value in regards to my identity.
  • I am threatened by AI

I don’t believe that comfort needs much elaboration to be clear, since I make the leap to assume that we all, historically, tend at least in some form towards comfort everyday. But what does it mean to outsource responsibility?

Traditionally, humans needed to know quite a bit from our environment in order to survive. How long the winter may last, what plants not to eat, what spider bite will kill us, how to preserve food, how to treat a wound, etc. We evolved with the idea that you don’t need to be a professional in everything, but to at least know just enough to subsist within your tribe and contribute to some degree. Skipping some large swaths of time out of interest of time here, the industrial revolution magnified this by 100 times, and in our current year we have an even further order of magnification above even 50 years ago. In the ‘developed’ world, where we all now have (at the moment) abundant electricity, plumbing, and irrigation, and procure basically everything from food to medicine to health services, by systems mostly all derived from an artificially supplemented global supply chain unique to our current time period, we don’t have a lot of things that we can’t get our hands on, if we go headfirst into the system and follow that line of reasoning.

With a million and 5 things we have to now learn in order to demystify the world, many of us opt not to, and instead leave the mystery to the professionals. Afterall our time is more valuable, we have learned skills that assail away the inconveniences of ignorance. Something broke with the refridgerator? Call the applicance company. Internet broken? Call the ISP. Central heating broken? Call the plumber, or the company for the water boiler? oh maybe the gas company! Hell you’re not sure - call them all! Better yet, write their AI powered chatbot to schedule an appointment for someone to come and help you who actually produces value.

This is just an artifact of living within the confines of outsourcing far more responsibility for the sake of our comfort than is reasonable. I’m not advocating for a completely off the grid nomadic lifestyle without technology, just stating the obvious. Have our lives become so stupidly complicated that we’ve spun our wheels on a bunch of useless intricacies? How could a man know more or less how his entire house functioned 50 years ago, but today only daddy youtube knows how his washing machine works? The decline in birthrate could absolutely be realized that the elimination of large swaths of the ‘developed’ workforce is great, and though many are anxiously awaiting their termination notices I can’t help but be filled with schadenfreude when I see ‘senior’ experienced banking grade managers start to sweat in response to the writing on the wall. “Please generate me a list of operational risks associated with X Y Z”. Their value is being laid bare to see by everyone else, and though some may very well have the capital to wether the storm for a commendably long while, it does chant an iteratively more powerful message with every new model trained. The subsequent sub-2nm chip fabs will bring no favors to them either.

Either you take responsibility over seeking comfort as your primary drive, and focus on creating real value for yourself and those around you, or AI will tell you what your value is better than you can lie to yourself.

Jon Burga