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Doris Lessing

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'Your job is just to be human'

W Daniel Hillis - Scientist

[Q] Why would that change with agriculture?

I think what happened with agriculture is you started having specialists. So you started having jobs like guarding the grain which were kind of boring, and you needed to coerce somebody to do. Before agriculture everybody did everything. And so we were all generalist. But as soon as you had specialists then, you know, you had different jobs or different desirability. You could also save wealth. And so money is really in some sense wealth saved future. So as soon as you could save grain you had capital. It changed things completely.

So wealth became kind of an obligation for the future. Debt got invented. And so I think money came along with all that. It's not a natural thing for humans. Jobs... The idea of a job I don't think is a natural thing for human society. I mean, your job is just to be human. I mean, maybe a few people like the witch doctor or, you know, had special functions in society, but mostly everybody kind of just lived in the same way, everybody was a generalist. And some people were better at fishing and some people were better at hunting or planting. But everybody was expected to do everything, make their own clothes, cook their own food. So there really weren't specialists. So the idea of employment, I think, came along with agriculture.

[Q] It's really interesting.

So when people say, 'What happens when the AIs eliminate jobs', I say, 'I'm all for it.'

[Q] You'd be human again...

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