12 book reading list to prepare for the future until Singularity

We should never stop learning. Books are a great way to learn. It can be facts or fiction. Sometimes both are hard to keep apart.

Technology fells like magic

Following 12 books I recommend to read:

 

Charles Stross – Accelerando

Fiction, however very interesting and a soft entrance into the topic singularity

William Hertling – Avogadro Corp: The Singularity is closer than it appears

I love his books. Read part 1 and 2 during one night session. In total 4 interesting books to read. They have more facts and less fiction than you might think.

Ray Kurzweil – The Singularity is near

Ray Kurzweil is a strong promotor of the singularity. His books should be read.

Nick Bostrom – Superintelligence

A-must-read if you are into Artificial Intelligence.

Dave Eggers – The Circle

When Facebook and Google merge. By the way, the new book “Killswitch” by William Hertling is even more extrem than “The Circle”. Check it out too.

Kotler & Diamandis – Abundance

Something to look forward to.

Peter Thiel – Zero to One

The digital world is Zero or One.

McAfee & Brynjolfsson – Second Machine Age

Similar to Kurzweil’s books, the Second Machine Age gives a good understanding of the fundamentals of singularity.

Thomas Piketty – capital in the twenty-first century

Technology creates wealth.

Federico Pistono – Robots will steal your job

Machines are modern slaves.

William Gibson – Neuromancer

Nostalgic and visionary.

Zoltan Istvan – The Transhumanist Wager

Not sure if this is fiction or a warning.

Georg Orwell – 1984

I often fear that parts of this book became true.

Aldous Huxley – Brave New World

And this book got something right about the future too.

 

We update our favorite reading list from time to time. Therefore will be more than 12 books.

25 future movies to watch to prepare for singularity

Movies are the vision someone has of the future. They are like books (12 books to read), but we see what the maker wants us to see.

Following movies I think a worth watching. I have seen of them, some of them more than once. Every movie has a message for us. Every movie lets you think about the future.

The movies discuss the consequences of artificial intelligence, robotics, virtualization, genetics, uploading, time travel, multi-dimensions and space conquest. They challenge us to define, how much control belongs to the state, how we treat the poor and the rich, what system of ruling we accept.

These movies I recommend for everyone loving to think how the future might be.

Wall E

Fun way to start to think about the future for humans. Are machines our slaves?

Ender’s Game

Strategic, some Action

I, Robot

Action, be aware that by 2030 there will be 1 robot on earth for every human.

Surrogate

Action, think about facebook and oculus rift

Tron Legacy

Just beautiful and nostalgic

Black Mirror

Great mini series of BBC, asks some good questions how society changes with technologies.

Gamer

Action, like Call of Duty with virtual reality

Gattaca

Great movie, will genetic engineering divide or unite human society?

Elysium

Action, too much dystopia. However Elysium itself looks great.

Limitless

Our way to compete agains other intelligences

Ex Machina

Watch it, if you want to know, if a machine should be like a human. Artificial Intelligence and its implications. Sweet ending.

Matrix

Mind changing movie.

Blade Runner

Old. However should be on your list.

Looper

Time Travel + Action

12 Monkeys

More Time Travel + Action + old

Interstellar

What is the fourth dimension?

2001

Creepy movie, a must-have to watch. Is Artificial Intelligence our friend or enemy?

Minority Report

That stuff is real. Police can prevent crimes before they happen trough big data predictions. And nobody cares.

Tributes of Panem

Don’t mind the games, but observe the three class system of societies.

Her

Quiet movie. What happens if you fall in love with an artificial intelligence?

Transcendence

Thought about uploading before?

Aeon Flux

Artistic action

Prometheus

Where are we humans coming from?

Starship Trooper

We fight.

Equilibrium

I don’t know why. I have seen it over and over.

Stargate

The best series of my youth. I have named Asgard after it.

Star Trek

Humans are explorers.

Star Wars

Humans are conquerers.

 

22 Jobs disappearing in near future

It is usual that jobs are disappearing. We do not have any need for knights, stock traders, deathsman or cashiers. Jobs were created (programmer, consultants, investment bankers). However there is a new wave of employments, which seem to disappear in the next 20 years: truck drivers, pilots, soldiers, cooks, lawyers, journalists and many more.

Technology makes work more productive

From an historical perspective, is common that jobs are created and replaced during economic and social change. Happily we do not need slave traders anymore. There are no job openings for charburner or hangman.

Only a few centuries ago, 85 % of Europeans were working in agriculture. Today it is less than 2 %.

Once disappeared jobs do not return

You might think, that it does not hit you one day. Even highly qualified stock traders are replaced by bots, which trade our stock, FX or bonds.

Only a few years ago you walked to a travel agent to book your flight, hotel or rental car. Today you do it online with Trivago or Kayak.

In the middle of the 70s we reached the climax of the industrial revolution (measurement: jobs). Since then we all know, that a job in heady industry does not have the greated perspective here in western Europe.

industry jobs are losing
Brad Arnold (2015)

You still go to the bank to get cash from a cashier, or do you use the ATM? One job less which is needed and will disappear.

We have special times. In my opinion our imagined future arrives earlier than many expect. That means jobs will be faster replaced by advanced robotics, artificial intelligence and automated bots, than we think. It has nothing do with humans. It lays in the nature of capitalism, to go for the cheaper, faster and most reliable solution.

Here is my list of 22 jobs, which may not exit anymore in 20 years. And even the jobs will still exist, less people will be needed to execute it.

Cab and truck drivers

Daimler is developing a self-driving truck. Google hat a self-driving car.

And Uber is planning to replace his fleet one day with self driving cars. Sure, it will take some time until we sit in cars, which bring us from A to B without our help. However I am convinced that we will see trucks on our road by 2020, which are driving on autopilot.

Journalists

People read less and less printed newspapers. Decades ago Axel Springer hat an EBIT margin of 50 %. Today it is more likely close to 5 %.

Why do we need humans to rewrite news from DPA and Reuters? In near future 90 % of articles will be written by Bots. Already now, there are several new articles published by learning algorithms. You do not believe me?

For sure there will be jobs for investigative journalists. However less than today. I assume that is the reason, why newspaper do not openly report about this topic. I can understand that.

Bank clerks

Banks are under fire. Latest since the financial crisis most people have understood, that modern banks are not concerned about the will being of society. Therefore their whole chain of economic value added is under pressure. Corporate finances. Wealth management. Loans. Asset management. Money transfers.

german fintech startups
Bajoart (2013)

Pilots

For sure no one will fly with a plane, which does not have a human pilot. However packages do not care.  Already now we see flying drones, which are steered or even automated. It is only a matter of time, when the first cargo planes are starting and landing without human help in the cockpit.

Train conductors

Looking forward to the day, when there are no strikes in public transportation? In Nürnberg subways are already driverless. The same goes on in Paris, London and Barcelona.

Warehouseman

Amazon runs fully automated distribution centers. No humans needed.

Have a look at Kiva Systems:

Wallmart, Coca Cola, Netfliex, Ikea. They all run fully automated distribution centers.

Saleswomen & salesmen

Self checkout at Ikea.

Giant Foods.

Target.

Currently these machines are not perfect, but it will change. And what will happen, when Wallmart starts to replaces its 2.200.000 workers?

Soldies

Less and less people die in wars. Something great.

less people die at war

WSJ (2011)

Germany had one an army of 15 Million soldiers. Today there are less than 200.000. Why do we still needs soldiers? Americans are showing us pretty well, how to “play” war with missiles and drones.

And everyone knowing Boston Dynamics (bought by Google – what are they up to?), is aware of future robots.

To be honest, these videos scare me.

Construction workers

Already today you can order a 3D printed home. Or you receive a new house within two days:

Mail carrier

Have a look at this great TED talk by Andreas Raptopoulos. You will understand.

Security guards

Who enjoys to run around at dark backyards for 6 € an hour? Innovations like the K5 from Knightscope may change that.

Translators

Skype instant translation and Microsoft. That could be enough one day.

Call center agents

Do you know the video, where IBM Watson beats the best humans at Jeopardy?

If machines already understand meaning and can combine knowledge. Why should that not be possible at tele sales?

Support agents

The same as in tele sales. Most questions for support are standardized. There is a Berlin startup working with semantic deep machine learning to read and understand support emails. The software can answers most emails and only forward the difficult ones to human employees.

Lawyers

A Berlin based Startup offers instand legal consulting based on artificial intelligence. Rocket Laywer and Legal Zoom help you to create any kind of documents within one click. There will be always need for a lawyer as long as humans fight, however hopefully we need less than today.

Garbage collection

In Barcelona garbage collection is already automated:

Cooks

I do not say that we do not need cooks anymore. However there are already 3D printers for food. Imagine you come home, starving and tired. You just press a button and fresh food is printed for you. Does not sound sexy, but still fills your stomach.

Or you are in a restaurant, order food with a tablet and a robot delivers it:

There is still room for improvement:

Pharmacies

Germans have several kind of vending machines: for drinks, sweets and cigarettes. In other countries there are vending machines for pizza, french fries, fruits and ice cream. Why not ordering your Aspiring at a machine 24/7 too?

Gardening work

Niwa, Bitponics und Urban Cultivator  – they all help to grow fresh vegetables indoor. I am sure that works on a larger scale too.

Libarian

Does not have an intellectual flair but serves its purpose:

Cleaning services

Well, just have a look:

Assistans

The Berlin based Startup Desendo works at a virtual AI based assistant.

What will happen with all these people?

I could go on with this list. It is scary. Just imagine following for the USA:  4.5 million sales people, 3.3 million cashiers, 3 million service workers, 2.4 million waiters, 2.4 million working in customer services, 2 million janitors. What will happen, when these 18 million jobs are not needed anymore?

Why are we still educating young peoples for jobs, which maybe will not exist when they finish school?

During the industrial revolution we had mass poverty and mass unemployment. Will we face these times again?

I ask the question, how politics and education are reacting. Progress can’t be stopped, therefore we need to be prepared.

If this article is not enough, then enjoy these 15 minutes. Humans need not apply.

Hier geht es zur deutschen Version des Artikels.

Thanks to technology you can be lazy and rich

Present time is pretty wonderful. Last week I held a speech at the birthday party of my grandmother. She turned 85. My speech was about the change of the last 85 years. The change for our nation. Our people. For past and current generations of humans living in western countries. Did you know that women in Germany were not allowed to work without the permission of their husband until 1977? And did you know, that Germany (and most of other european countries, I guess) have the longest period of peace since ever? 70 years without war on German soil. That never happened before. And I am pretty thankful for that.

The main point is, life got really better over the last decades. We have more free time. We work less (Work is easier than ever). We live longer. We are healthier. We earn more money. And we can buy more than we ever wanted.

We have the longest lifetime for the last 15.000 years

Living a long lifeSource

200 years ago, most people died at the 30 years of age on average. 30 years! If you are older, you maybe wouldn’t live anymore. One of the main reasons for early death were infections. A small fever could kill you. I am thankful for (re)discovery of antibiotics.

A short side notice: until 15.000 b.c. humans were hunters & gatherers. In contrast to common perception our ancestors did not die young. Newest research assume that your early tribal forefathers lived for 60 to 70 years, if they did not die from an unnatural cause. I guess the right food (no extra sugar, no extra fat, no supplement, no gen modification), enough sex, no arguments about property, physical activities and social contacts are ingredients for a long lasting life.

And today? Children born in this decade have the possibility to live for 100 years. We just needed 15.000 years to reach this level – again.

We die later than we used to

There are two reasons people die. First, they get sick. The better the health system is, the less people die from a minor infection. Second, we get killed. By accidents, cars or people.

There are several reasons that we get killed less often. Crime rate is not really an key issue anymore (also thanks to AI) for personal safety. Just compare your life to countries like Somalia, Mexiko or downtown Los Angeles – where you get shot just for your skin color or expensive looking shoes.  I am glad, that I can walk everywhere I want in Berlin and still feel safe most of time.

Thanks to insurances and our legal system, we even do not fear accidents anymore (accident insurance), poverty among the elderly (pension fonds), children (child allowance), layoffs (unemployment insurance) and sickness (health insurance).

We have less environmental pollution.

pollutionsource

Did you know, that we used lead pipes for water transport? Or imagine the times, when there was heavy industry in your city (steel, chemistry, coal). Conveniently we outsourced the dirty businesses to China, Russia and Brasil.

Additionally we have access to any kind of foods for every wanted diet. You can buy fresh fruits all the year round. You have a fridge and freezer to save them for a longer period. We do not need to eat potato soup every day of the year anymore.

We are richer than ever

The more money people have in their pockets, the less the needs to steel, rob or kill are. Social stability helps everyone to live longer and less stressful.

Growth of income
source

Maybe you do not feel it, but we all have more money than before. 1930 the average monthly earning in Germany was 300 €. Today we have 2.800 € to spend on average. Everyone earns more.

Greedsource

There are always the greedy ones, who get more than they should. As there was always a king, a pope and aristocracy. Every system brings economic inequality. That is why it is important to share a bit of our wealth to prevent a class of working poor – as we europeans already do compared to our friends in the USA.

You work less and still have a better job

As I have stated, you earn better. Why? Because you work harder? I guess not. 1870 the average working time in western countries was 72 hours per week. Today we have a 35 hour week in France. And people still earn more than in 1870. Why? We are better educated. We adapt to change. We use technology.

Only 300 years ago 85 % of people worked as farmers. I tell you, growing up on the countryside, that was really tough work. You had to sleep with the animals in a room. You had to work outside every day. Physical work. Hard work. Exhausting work.

no farmers anymoresource

Today less than 1,5 % of our workforce are farmers. Most people have pretty easy jobs: traveling, sitting in a air-conditioned office, having a company credit card, bonus payment and intellectual challenging tasks.

We won lots of free time in the last decades. While earning more. While living safer and healthier.

You can buy more

Life today is better than kings lived 150 years ago.

Today the bottom 99 % have more than the top 1 % used to have.

We have internet, a fridge, supermarkets, cars, planes, cell phones, computers, electricity and flushing toilettes.

The iPhone in your pocket has more processing power than 90’s computers. And you do not need to pay millions $ for it.

Looking forward to future

Accelerating growth in technologysource

I am excited to look forward to our future. Improvement is accelerating. That means there are some surprises to be expected. Hopefully the future brings us a long life in health and abundance (mobility, security, family, entertainment, food, etc).

Hier geht es zur Deutschen Version dieses Artikels.

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