Date: 20 April 2022
How will Ai impact the development of human potential?
According to several prominent thinkers that have discussed the future of work and automation, there are two main scenarios for how the development of AI in the workplace will impact labor markets: (1) replacing workers with machines; and (2) using machines to improve worker productivity.
In this context, it is often argued that (1) could lead to mass unemployment and that (2) would therefore be the more desirable outcome. However, it is rarely noted that the second, “labor enabling” scenario lumps together two very different possibilities: human augmentation and human stunting.
By “human augmentation” we mean technology that improves productivity while also promoting “the goods of work”, such as the opportunity to pursue excellence, to experience community and to contribute to society. By “human stunting” we mean technology that improves productivity by reducing opportunities for the “goods of work” or increasing “the bads of work”, such as injury, reduced physical and mental health, reduction of autonomy, privacy and human dignity.