The End of the Line

This is it. It’s happening. I … we … knew this day would come, but I didn’t expect it just yet, perhaps in two or three years. We are a few years short of the Singularityso at least says Ray Kurzweil and given his track record of predictions and cross-examining them with my own observations I’m inclined to believe him – but AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) have today arrived at a point where there are already serious disruptions eminent.

It’s true my dear fellow humans: The machines are finally coming to take my job. And those of many others.

There is no two ways about it: AI will obsolete 90% of work and jobs in broader media and digital production in the next 18 months. For those jobs from now on out it goes as predicted by CPCgrey almost a decade ago: Humans need not apply. And, people, believe me … and every other expert on this planet … when I say this is only the beginning.

What is surprising when it happens but then again not really, is the speed at which it happens. It’s instantaneous! A machine comes that does your day-job 10 times or even 100 times faster and more accurate. And in an instant your job exists no more. Quite the ride.

I’m doing fine, I won’t starve, it’s quasi-post-cyberpunk utopia anyways, but I can only imagine what it meant for my German ancestors who were weavers in Koenigsberg when the steam engine and the powered loom voided their dayjob even faster. Legend has it that the Prince of Koenigsberg offered an investment of capital to get one of these newfangled steam-looms from England to stay in the loop of innovation. My dumb anchestors declined as they didn’t want no fancy new stuff that won’t fly anyway. Whooops.

This is what’s happening to me. Unlike my ancestors, I’m not (that) surprised. No worries, we already knew software developers and digital content producers would be the first to go. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s pretty conclusive. The bot that produces code in my place doesn’t need a robot-body, it just uses the hardware that is there already and spits out bits and bytes right on to the hard-drive, without a keyboard, screen, mouse and an abysmally slow and imprecise, error-prone human brain as an agent.

The awkward crutch in this setup is the screen and the keyboard. I’m the roadblock to getting things done from here on out. Conclusive if you look from the outside.

I am not scared about this specific incident. I and many others in my camp will be out of a high-paying soul-crushing meeting-riddled bullshit job in the months to come, but we all will be richer for it.

Point in case: I just extended the background of a photograph using an AI/ML service. The most annoying and longest, hardest part was coaxing my way around premium paywall non-sense. The actual job was finished in minutes. A job that would’ve taken me an hour on a good day. And I am quite good at image editing and have a few decades of experience.

So much for that.

As of now I am actively looking to shift my career after 23 years of professional non-trivial web-development. It will be more content-centric and immediately focused on what my direct peers need, completely outside of any technology discussion. Because technology as of now isn’t even a strategic thing anymore, it’s simply a commodity that is more or less completely abstracted away. This is what we all have been working towards for decades and we have finally arrived. The frontier of software avantgarde is no more, everything has been conquered. It was an awesome time, but the robots are going to take it from here, for all of us that have been building basic components. I’ll be out helping customers deal with the consequences, dancing Tango, Bachata and perhaps other social dances, Kitesurfing, Paragliding, learning to ride a lightweight motorbike and perhaps helping you guys out in telling the AI precisely what to do.

The future is now. Good luck to all of us.

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