Adnan Sami shares insights on leveraging AI in music positively, amidst ongoing debates. Discover his views and latest developments in the industry.
Two major social transformations are taking place throughout the world and especially in the US which would initiate profound and permanent changes in how human society evolves in the future. The first one is the LGBTQ+ movement. The second one is the invasion of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Let us first consider the ramifications of the LGBTQ+ movement.
The activism used to be only about rights of homosexuals, gay marriages in particular; but in recent years, other groups, especially the transgenders, have joined in. Almost every day one hears about some form of activism either for or against the movement. Sometimes there are massive protests, other times it is enforcement of a new law or policy and every commotion in between such as “Pride Parade” and the Bud light fiasco. It seems that both the number of people labelling themselves as LGBTQ as well as the ones supporting their causes is increasing every day. Once gay marriages become legalized in countries like India, China and Indonesia, gay people would come out of the closet to embrace such unions in massive numbers.
They will no longer be persuaded to enter a heterosexual marriage under social and cultural pressure and produce perhaps unwanted children. Young people who are not genetically homosexual can also explore such unions as an alternate lifestyle partly because of curiosity and partly because of lack of opportunities to socialize with members of the opposite sex where they live. The trend towards legalizing gay marriages is spreading across the globe.
The most significant consequence of this movement is that all members of this group, except perhaps for bisexuals, are not interested in procreating and living a traditional life raising their own biological children. It is mathematically obvious that if the percentage of heterosexual population as a fraction of total population drops below a certain threshold, the world’s population will start to decrease.
Even without the LGBTQ+ movement, populations in many countries have started to decline because of other reasons such as war, natural disaster, influence of porn, concern for climate change and inequality, etc. Impact on society of robots, especially the human-like ChatGPT robots, on the other hand will be indirect. Although AI has been around for decades, its application was limited to menu-driven voice prompted commands as opposed to participation of robots in a normal interactive conversation.
The game changed with the introduction of Chat GPTs in November 2022. All companies will sooner or later see benefits of major cost reduction and consistency in performance of these robots and will start replacing real workers with them. This transition has already started to take place in various sectors, especially in providing customer service and training. This will invariably result in massive layoffs across the board. However, economists predict that a handful of mega corporations will make so much profit from this headcount reduction that they will be able to pay all laid off employees a monthly allowance – the so-called Universal Basic Income – for food, shelter and other necessities just to stay home and do nothing. No one will die of starvation or become homeless.
However, this will mean a major change in our entire system of survival. We get educated to get a decent job so that we can feed and support a family. The job keeps us busy. All the things we do in life such as entertainment, travel, religious activities etc. are centred around a family life and these activities give us a purpose and happiness. If there is no need to work, we do not need to go to school. We can study and learn specific topics of interest from the internet or other informal sources if we so desire. In any event, there will be a lot fewer people needed in the workforce.
In my view, it is fortunate that the effects of the two movements on population act against each other. In an ideal scenario, a reduced number of people resulting from massive expansion of LGBTQ+ lifestyle may be just what is needed in this new environment of AI-dominated work activities. In reality, there will be a large excess of people not working, at least at the beginning. The real question is what they will do. If one is a pessimist, one would think that “an idle mind is the devil’s playground” and the world will be filled with violent activities like robbery, fighting between groups, sexual crimes and indulgence in gambling and similar useless pastimes.
On the other hand, an optimist might say that common people will now have time to pursue constructive and creative interests and hobbies such as reading, writing, painting, solving puzzles, understanding science and astrology, exercising, discovering nature etc. They will start to think about profound questions like: “Who am I?”, “Is there a God?”, “what happens after death?” and “what is the purpose of life?” When a person works and supports a family at the same time, he/she is preoccupied in the daily grind and gets no time to ponder about spirituality and other cerebral thoughts. Now will be the time. Even the ones who indulge in sinful activities will eventually get tired of the meaninglessness of those activities. The population at large may attain a divinity – a state where they would realize the futility of mortal life and seek a higher power. This may further reduce the need for procreation. According to Paramhansa Yogananda, the reason we all get married, have children, raise and support them is to learn unconditional love because our love for our children is the only unconditional love. The hope is that, perhaps, some day one can learn to love everyone unconditionally. This is the divinity required for reaching God. If we can somehow achieve this divinity without having children, there is really no reason to have children. It is conceivable to me that we will reach a population equilibrium whence there would be no further increase nor decrease in the number of people.
One segment of the population will live a conventional heterosexual life presumably centred around jobs to support the society’s needs in providing goods and services to all people. The excess people will live their life without any desire to have children, whether because of a LGBTQ+ lifestyle or a preference for spiritual life; they will have no reason to work for the sake of survival but might want to work as a pastime. A side benefit of the drastically reduced workforce will be a decrease in the need for mass transit and cars on the street, resulting in cleaner air in big cities, similar to what happened during pandemic lockdowns.
A mathematical model with some assumptions about the propagation of the LGBTQ+ lifestyle and the rate of layoffs among corporations may determine this equilibrium population. I cannot predict the future but one thing is certain. Whatever happens will be a new paradigm where everything we learned and practiced in our lifetime would not be applicable anymore. I will embrace the new era. It is better than humanity being destroyed by AI or climate change or nuclear disaster as many doomsdayers are predicting.
(The writer, a physicist who worked in industry and academia, is a Bengali settled in America.)