Let’s take a look at the social consequences of the introduction of cheap AGI. This line of reasoning is a kind of follow-up to the thread:
In that thread I’ve coined the term “anthropotent artificial intelligence” (AAI), which is defined as followed:
By definition an anthropotent AI (AAI) can do every task a human can handle, and it can do it at least as efficiently.
In particular, that means that AAI is at least as good at doing the work done by humans, and also at socializing with humans. If AAIs are cheaper than humans, then it should follow that there aren’t any rational reasons left for humans to deal with other humans, because they can get anything from an AAI that is cheaper and at least as capable as a human to fulfill the desired function. The conclusion is that every human will create a shell/cloud/sphere/bubble of AAIs around oneself, ceasing to interact with other humans directly (if not at all).
Such an outcome might feel alien to us, in particular because we are used to the idea that humans tend to surround themselves with other humans naturally. But if AAIs are more available than humans, and better in any relevant respect, then humans would indeed have the best of reasons to hang out with those AAIs instead.
The conclusion “Cheap AAI => AAI bubble around every human” seems to be inescapable. If there was any quality that would seem to make human engagement with other humans superior, then that quality would violate the definition of AAI to be at least as good as humans in every quality. Therefore, the conclusion seems to be rock solid. The only way to escape the implication of the “AAI bubble” is to question the validity of the premise. There are two basic ways to do that:
- Argue that AAI is not possible.
- Argue that AAIs won’t be affordable for every human.
There’s no obvious reason why AAI won’t be possible in principle. I’m open to this possibility, but as transhumanist and technooptimist, I find it rather unlikely. This leaves the second option that not every human will be able to afford a bubble of AAIs. By extension that kind of argument splits up humanity into two distinct classes: Those who can afford having an AAI bubble around them, and those who can’t. For brevity’s sake, let’s call the first class the wealthy and the second class the poor. Relationships between human beings become a consequence of economic deficiency for those poor humans. Abundance breeds mutual human isolation, in contrast. The characteristic of being poor will be to have to deal with other human beings – which can be quite troublesome as we all know from first-hand experience. Those who still deal with humans, even though they are wealthy, must have very particular reasons for doing so. Perhaps they are interested in authentic encounters with humans, because they are curious. Perhaps they are masochists. Or perhaps they are too stupid or irrational to know any better. Those aren’t very strong reasons however, so it’s safe to assume that most wealthy humans won’t be interested in contact with other humans most of the time.
Now, it might be important to exmine the possible causes for this kind of poverty in the future. Why won’t all humans be able to afford an AAI bubble? Well, the most obvious answer would be that in a world with cheap AAI humans won’t have a chance to get any kind of income-generating work, because everyone would prefer their work to be done by those cheaper AAIs. So, the question boils down to what kind of income humans in a world dominated by cheap AAI labour would still have. If it’s an unconditional basic income, it may not suffice for a full AAI bubble for everyone. That does indeed seem like a very plausible scenario. If humans can be kept alive comfortably by cheap automation, that doesn’t imply that humans will be able to afford an army of highly advanced AAIs to keep themselves company. After all, it should be expected that simple automation, sufficient to keep humans healthy and happy, will still be much cheaper than sophisticated AAIs.
If that’s the case, then shouldn’t in the end all humans be poor, because if no human can get any job, or operate a profit-generating business, and every humans get the same universal basic income sufficient for all basic needs, but insufficient for a full AAI bubble, then nobody should be able to afford one? Well, no. The basic income might still be sufficient to save enough resources over years or decades in order to afford a full AAI bubble. Or it may suffice to rent one for a limited amount of time.
Finally, note that the AAI bubble only counts as “unusual” as long as humans retain their special status as humans. Once humans upgrade themselves to AAI status, then surrounding themselves with AAI will align much more naturally with reasonable expectations, since AAIs will be the natural peers of AAIs. This will indeed be the eventual resolution of the AAI bubble phenomenon, in my opinion.