Friday, April 13, 2007


Artificial Intelligence and India

India is fond of cranking out large masses of low-wage college graduates the way that Henry Ford found to crank out cars. As bandwidth becomes less and less expensive, remote work may also cut into everything from burger flipping to butlers, not just scientists and technology...

What we need is a mutual trade deal between car makers and software makers: you don't cheapify our career and we won't cheapify yours. It used to be that manufacturing was seen as a dead-end field anyhow and that there were plenty of alternatives if one just got some education. However, if brains are a cheap commodity, there are not very many places to move "up" to next for techies. It is hard to feel sorry for somebody if there are plenty of alternatives, but that changes when the alternatives diminish.

A fellow blogger James Tarbell is pursuing AI. He should ask himself and those around him what would happen to our society when AI finally became viable. However, we may be seeing a similar result even before AI. Cheap global communication is making it practical to have remote people do a lot of "brain work" for pennies. Soon we will probably have "Mars rovers" vacuuming the house, being controlled from places such as Ethiopia. Who needs AI when there are 5 billion human brains eager for a little money in exchange for some remote work?

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