The Rise of the Useless Class: How AI Could Create a New Era of Inequality


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The World Economic Forum (WEF) has raised concerns about the impending surge of artificial intelligence (AI) and its impact on a segment of the global population labeled as “redundant” and “useless.” Yuval Noah Harari, a senior advisor at WEF, has sounded an alarm, envisioning the emergence of what he terms “the useless class.”

Harari’s warnings about the AI revolution initiating this phenomenon have spurred discussions about potential solutions. He refers to his book “Homo Deus,” published in 2015, suggesting that the contentment of this “useless class” might be sustained through means like drugs and computer games.

This perspective has drawn criticism from figures like Dr. John Lennox, an Oxford Mathematician, who expressed worry about the impact of Harari’s dystopian ideas. Lennox particularly highlighted two focal points in Harari’s agenda: tackling technological hurdles tied to human mortality and enhancing human happiness, ultimately aiming to transform humans into a species he refers to as “Homo Deus”– a god-like elevation.

Harari presents two potential outcomes stemming from his speculative observations: one scenario predicts a substantial class of “useless people,” while the alternative forecasts a societal division into distinct biological castes, with the affluent attaining virtual god-like status and the impoverished relegated to being deemed “useless.”.

The notion of managing these “useless humans” as a burden for the global elite has led to calls for preemptive measures to address the issue.

In an interview with Turkish broadcaster TRT’s The Newsmakers, Harari outlined the primary challenges facing humanity in the 21st century: the specter of nuclear conflict, climate change, and the perils associated with disruptive technologies, particularly bioengineering and AI.

Harari emphasized the transformative power of these technologies, likening the elite’s acquisition of abilities to create and destroy to the ancient depictions of divine powers shaping life.

He suggested a shift in the 21st-century economy, where the predominant products wouldn’t be traditional goods but rather bodies, brains, and minds. Harari highlighted the ongoing trend of designing and enhancing life, effectively positioning the elite as creators akin to gods.

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