Now it’s time to create one final argument, and this one requires us to consider the near and far future.
Artificial intelligence was once a science fiction fantasy, a mix of idyllic lifestyles with no disease or war along with frightening futures where it all goes horribly wrong (see Westworld, for example).
One of my favorite science fiction writers is Isaac Asimov (you may have seen "Foundation" on Apple TV recently, which is based on a trilogy of books he wrote), who wrote a series of novels exploring how humans and robots might interact in the future, and he speculated that all robots (all AI) would need to function by the Three Laws of Robotics:
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
The logic of those laws seems foolproof, but you would be right to guess that things occasionally go wrong in his novels (though humans are the culprits in each case, in some way).
So there you have a quick set-up for this essay prompt, which requires you to read an essay, excerpted from a longer book, titled "The rise of the useless class." , and I encourage you to print it out (three pages) and annotate it. The title is a bit over-the-top and meant to grab our attention, but I’m afraid most of us might eventually fall into this possible "useless" class, and perhaps in YOUR lifetime (I’m not so sure about mine).
, which you should read FIRST. You can find a post that is a bit more balanced by clicking here (Links to an external site.) and I invite you to browse through this somewhat lengthy online post that looks at definitions and myths.
Your task is to write an approximately 500-word essay that argues for or against (or some of each, which is normally the best way to go with these sorts of arguments) something you find in the essay. You can quote from the essay, and you can certainly speculate on what YOU might be doing in 2040 (based on current trends). The online article can be helpful in supporting your arguments, and may provide some direction in how you might want to approach the problem. You can, as usual, write as much as you need to make your ideas clear (and include specific support).
Here’s the prompt in a nutshell: What if most of what we DO right now (most of what gives us worth and earns us a living) is soon done better by AI machines?
- Be sure to write a strong opening.
- Be sure to run spell-check and grammar check.
- Be sure to read over your work before posting, looking for our "friends" the run-on sentence and the fragment. Avoid them.
- Be sure to back up your claims with evidence.
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