When I think of workers at social media behemoths Google and Facebook, I get a mental image of people who are far Left on the political spectrum, very politically correct, and more interested in being social justice warriors than just about anything else.
I don’t get a mental image of someone who is into prepping, has a realistic point of view about culture and society, and is getting ready for some sort of major collapse in the future. And yet, that’s what one former Facebook employee is doing.
As reported by the UK’s Daily Mail, Antonio Garcia Martinez, a former product manager for Facebook, says the rise of robots and artificial intelligence has motivated him to seek refuge in a remote, wooded hideaway because he believes the development of both portends the end of the civil society.
“You may not believe it but it’s coming, and it’s coming in the form of a self-driving truck that’s going to run you over,” he said during an upcoming two-part documentary by theBBC called “Secrets of Silicon Valley.”
So he now lives life using a bucket toilet, protected by a semi-automatic rifle and lots of ammunition.
As for Martinez, while many see AI and robotic development as a potential boon for Humankind, he thinks the worst: They are being developed as replacements for human labor, not as compliments, and that will lead to major unrest in the near future.
“Within 30 years, half of humanity won’t have a job,” he said. “It could get ugly — there could be a revolution.”
He’s not the only one to predict or believe that. Others have made similar dire predictions, and for the same reasons: Tech is advancing so rapidly that it’s hard to see which jobs aren’t going to be replaced by a machine in the very near future.
As the Daily Mail reports further:
Martinez claims this will lead to revolt, mass chaos, and armed conflict, also adding that bullets will become the currency of America.
“You don’t realize it but we’re in a race between technology and politics, and technologists are winning. They’re way ahead,” he says.
“They will destroy jobs and disrupt economies before we even react to them and we really should be thinking about that,” he added.
A 2011 book by Gallup polling firm chairman and CEO Jim Clifton called “The Coming Jobs War” makes a similar case.
“Leaders of countries and cities, Clifton says, should focus on creating good jobs because as jobs go, so does the fate of nations. Jobs bring prosperity, peace, and human development — but long-term unemployment ruins lives, cities, and countries,” says a summary of the book (which this reporter has read, by the way). “A global jobs war is coming, and there’s no time to waste. Cities are crumbling for lack of good jobs. Nations are in revolt because their people can’t get good jobs. The cities and countries that act first — that focus everything they have on creating good jobs — are the ones that will win.”
Given that companies are always looking for ways to trim one of their biggest costs (and headaches) — labor — Martinez’s prediction rings true. Before working for Twitter and Facebook, Martinez was a strategist for financial firm Goldman Sachs.
“I’ve seen what the world will look like in five to 10 years,” he said.
The BBC documentary also features interviews with AI pioneer Jeremy Howard, who said that “people aren’t scared enough” about what’s coming down the pipeline.
“They’re saying ‘Don’t worry about it, there will always be more jobs,’” he said, noting that such statements are based on the fact that even after the Industrial Revolution, which automated factory processes and reduced the need for so many human laborers, “there were still enough jobs.”
But the new AI and robotic revolution will be much different. “It’s a ludicrously short-sighted, meaningless argument which incredibly smart people are making,” said Howard, who is also predicting “massive social unrest.”