FUTURE PRIMATE

The Future of Work and Death

A documentary feature concerning the future of two ‘inevitable’ parts of the human condition; WORK and DEATH.

The film focuses on how future technology could significantly change two major facets of human life; work and death. It explores how AI and technological singularity could be achievable in the next 30 years – how job obsolescence/technological unemployment could consequently occur and how immortality may not be a thing of science fiction. Will we work, age or even die in the future? Is a paradigm shift on its way – how will it fare with the largely impoverished global populace – will it transfigure and elevate us, or, will entropy ensue?

Will it always be work – consume – die?

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” – Isaac Asimov

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Like life itself, work and death – for better or worse – are two features of the human experience that are thrust upon us. To put it plainly or to put it pejoratively, the average human life can be abridged to work – consume – die. Could this all change in the next few generations? Could these imminent technologies redesign what it is to be human – redesigning our relationship with reality? Will they look favorably on the human psyche?

Paradoxically, humans have a tendency to be both creative and destructive.

WORK

Unless you are born into affluence or aristocracy, unless you cast a life of crime or unless you submit yourself to the wild (or the welfare system) – you have to work to survive.

Whether you enjoy your work or not, whether your excavating bauxite mines in Bangladesh or performing a coronary bypass in Birmingham – the robots are coming and they’ll do it all for free.

The second machine age is nigh and as AI soon encroaches onto the workforce landscape, its no longer just brawn the machines will replace, but brainpower. Many professions will be at risk.

But, could job obsolescence/technological unemployment be a positive thing – isn’t the absence of perfunctory jobs a good thing as fewer people are confined to menial work – could it eliminate wage-slavery even? The average person spends 65% of their waking life at work, sometimes purely out of financial obligation – not to mention the 4 billion people on the planet subsisting on less than a quid a day. How would it affect developing nations?

Do the forecasts of imminent AI have any substance? What are the social and geopolitical implications? Could it lead to utter disorder, thickening the divide between rich and poor?

Does a working paid job absorb and degrade the mind?

DEATH

There’s always suicide of course, but for most of us we wont have a say in when we snuff it. Particularly where non-communicable diseases are concerned – many of which are precipitated by senescence such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

In recent years there have been scientific breakthroughs in our understanding of what causes ageing and what stifles it. Its not just biological longevity that could be achieved however – it may well be technologically possible to replicate consciousness and effectively live forever without your ‘cumbersome’ carbon body.

But is the pursuit of ending ageing or even immortality morally defensible or even worthwhile? How will population be effected and social economics? Will these advancements be a first world privilege?

Is death a fly in the ointment; is it a problem that needs fixing? Could life lose its quiddity without ageing or without death – or could the opposite be true? Is it not incumbent on us to end ageing?

Will we have ultimate control over our lives in the future – plateauing peak health and/or electing the time of our death? Wouldn’t you prefer a calculated, painless surrender to death or given the choice would you want to live forever?

All these issues and much more are addressed in the documentary.

See the Kickstarter campaign here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1068103429/the-future-of-work-and-death

Learn more here http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/books/labour-and-the-death-of-work/155741.article

This entry was published on May 26, 2014 at 2:59 pm. It’s filed under Politics and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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