The AI Hunger Games… Coming Soon to a Workplace Near You!

AIhungergames wTitleEvery CEO out there knows it’s coming. They took notice of research by ResumeBuilder, that surveyed 750 business leaders to find that 44% forecasted AI layoffs in 2024. The new research from the University of Pennsylvania that warned that nearly 300 million jobs in the U.S. and Europe face exposure to AI automation, with about a quarter of these jobs likely eliminated entirely by AI. And Google has already leaked that they’re planning to lay off 30,000 employees, taking advantage of AI leverage.

In a recent interview between Bill Gates and Sam Altman, the Microsoft cofounder expressed his concern that AI will “force us to adapt faster than we’ve had to ever before.” Altman responded, “Each technological revolution has gotten faster, and this will be the fastest by far, and that’s the part that I find potentially a little scary is just the speed with which society is going to have to adapt and that the labor market will change.”

Frankly put, this is going to be unlike anything that CEOs have ever seen; it’s going to be a bloodbath. Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera, says, “What is happening, and what is going to be happening in the next 12 to 18 to 24 months is going to be unlike anything that CEOs have ever seen. I think Generative AI will be more disruptive than COVID.”

However, the difference between AI layoffs and COVID is that people in lockdowns are forced to stay home and cannot get out there to protest. Those laid off are going to get vocal. They’re going to get angry. And it’s only going to take one demagogue looking to tap into that anger to get them to picket your building, chanting “robots will not replace us!” That demagogue will believe you’re his Dominion or Disney, and that your scalp is the key to winning his next election.

Once it begins, the Great AI Layoffs of 2024 will resemble the Hunger Games, with the exception that instead of using swords and hunting bows, the victors will need to demonstrate superior skills with AI tools to see who survives the culling. So you, and I mean you personally, now have a decision. You can give up, sit there and weep—and curse your bad luck about robot overlords taking your job — or you can pick up that bow and arrow and make the decision to survive. To choose to win. To declare that you intend to succeed and thrive in the new world coming.

Who needs to worry
Therefore, if you have a PhD in Computer Science, with a dissertation in machine learning… you’re golden. You’re an essential worker in District 1, and you’ve already won the war because you’re making the games happen. But if you live in any other District, the odds are not in your favor.

Here are the brutal facts — acquiring AI skills isn’t easy. It’s a cognitive challenge of significant magnitude, equivalent to mastering a new language. It is simply not possible to gain AI literacy overnight by watching YouTube videos or paying $97 to some Internet marketer who used to be a scammy pick-up artist. It’s going to require months of serious effort to master this new skill. Research has shown that it takes five thousand hours for the human brain to master a skill. And the truth is that nobody can do your mental pushups for you.

Plus, the sad reality is that many Americans — who have been fat, rich and happy for decades — may not be up to the task. At least when compared to someone in Krakow, Bucharest, Saigon, Dhaka, or Buenos Aires , who is lean and hungry and supremely motivated. Seriously, it is time to pick up that bow and arrow and make the decision to learn and to fight.

So here are a few things to keep in mind, as you prepare for the coming AI Hunger Games:

  1. It’s going to take a bit of hard work – a few months of serious effort to achieve AI literacy – and nobody can do your pushups for you
  2. Mastery comes from love — just like Katniss loved hunting with a bow and arrows — so find some AI tool that you actually enjoy — and learn that first (this is true for painting, music, martial arts, whatever)
  3. Go deep with that tool until you have unlocked its mysteries, and then move to the next AI tool, each tool gets easier to master
  4. Finally, find a coach or advisor who has successfully survived a hunger games in the past, to help you in your training

The key is #2 — mastery comes from love, so it is vital to find some AI tool that you actually enjoy — and learn that first. If you’re learning AI “for work”… it’ll going to be a lot less fun, take longer and face a greater risk of failure. Here’s a tip about how to find an AI tool you love, based on the Japanese concept of ikigai (生き甲斐), finding something that gives a person a sense of purpose, a reason for living:

 AI kigai

A Manhattan project for human potential
At a societal level, we need to train rapidly, faster than we ever thought possible. This is like a Manhattan project… except that the critical mass we seek is with global human intelligence. Computer literacy took about twenty or thirty years for society to achieve. We need to train 100 million people over the next 18–24 months. This is not an easy thing to achieve, especially with most of the population being complacent about the risk of severe societal disruption.

So what are we talking about here? “AI literacy” means equipping people with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the vast and ever-evolving AI landscape. But it isn’t just about operating AI, to harness the power of technology for professional growth, because this process also deals with unleashing human creativity. And it isn’t just to create digital content, it deals with making people more innovative at a core level, allowing them to contribute in new ways to the ever-expanding digital landscape. Eventually, this deep creativity enables the generation of human meaning, which is what humans will need to survive the AI revolution.

The story of Léon Serpollet and the world land speed record is instructive to understand. Serpollet, a French industrialist and pioneer of steam automobiles invented and perfected the flash boiler in 1896, which made steam a practical source of power for automobiles. Besides being an inventor, he became the first driver of a non-electrically powered car to hold the Land Speed Record. In April 1902 on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, he drove the Oeuf de Pacques — the “Easter Egg,” so-named because the car had an ovoid shape — at the heretofore unimaginable speed of 75.06 miles per hour, breaking the 1899 record of Camille Jenatzy’s La Jamais Contente. Several years later, when Congress passed a national speed limit of 5 miles per hour for automobiles, doctos testified before Congress that this was vital because humans were never expected to move at such speed, because they would very likely go insane having to process information at that rate.

The point is that pretty much anyone can drive 75 mph today, and do it while drinking coffee or putting on make-up. This means that something only a daredevil racer could do a hundred years ago is now commonly achieved; driving at 70 miles per hour isn’t a rare skill anymore, it’s practically a requirement for daily life. But here’s the amazing thing: it didn’t take a hundred years for human beings to “evolve” into race car drivers. Pretty much every human being today can learn how to drive that fast with a couple of months of drivers training.

Humans are capable of amazing capabilities that go far beyond the ability to drive really fast while drinking coffee. Consequently, it’s not absurd to think that in a hundred years, everyone will be a bit more like Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, speaking AI and quantum computing like a native, and with an uncanny and essentially human ability to invent and innovate — essentially driving their brains down the Information Highway at 75 miles per hour without even breaking a sweat.

The NEXT revolution
At FutureLab, we’ve developed a “driver’s training for AI” — we call it the AI Mastermind. However, it does much more than just equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the AI landscape. The AI Mastermind workshop isn’t just a bunch of crappy digital content we throw at you for $97… the goal is to do whatever it will take to help you to achieve mastery of AI and your core business creativity. It’s less about zoom and more about being a dojo.

What is a dojo? One of the leading masters of aikido, Kazuo Chiba Shihan, once said, “A dojo is not a social club, recreational center, business enterprise, nor even a training hall or school, as it has been treated largely in the West. A dojo is a sacred place.”

The AI Mastermind is therefore a kind of sacred space that has the goal of helping you discover your joy of learning and creating, and tap into that to master AI skills. It is about empowering you to fulfill your human potential. It is about helping you to succeed, to win, to survive. But also, it’s a place that helps you develop the will to fight and a hunger to win.

Life has always been a hunger game, and winning is built into the core of your being. We believe that once you are able to find and unlock a special and unique superpower within you, you will understand who you really are. In this way, the AI Mastermind can help you fulfill your potential and destiny… in addition to surviving the coming AI Hunger Games.

Here is one more vision to consider: what if everybody at your company, at a grass roots level, suddenly declared they wanted to become AI literate? This means your entire workforce just flipped from whining about layoffs to deciding that they wanted to get serious about this problem? If every single employee declared they wanted to start training and bring it? What would be the impact of something so profound to your company? How would management react?

Now, let’s take this vision a step farther… what if everybody in your city or everybody in your country committed to become AI literate? I mean every worker, every teenager, every grandma or grandpa…. 100% of your population wanted to join the fight? If your city had the highest rate of AI literacy in the nation, wouldn’t corporations want to build their next office complex in your city? If your country enjoyed the highest AI literacy rate in the world, what would that mean for GDP and the standard of living?

Anything is possible if you are able to become your own revolution. But let’s be clear, this is a revolution of mindset. Many of us have been rich, fat and lazy for a while. Many of us believe we are too old, too uneducated, too unlucky to get an inside track. And far too many of us have slipped into a mindset of grievance and complaining. At a societal level, we need to wake up and take stock, and shift our collective mindset to that of winning. Once we do, we can all begin serious training for the ring, to rediscover our collective fighting spirit.

There’s nothing a person, a company, a city or a country can’t do, if we all tap into our personal courage and collective resilience, to commit to do it together. So let’s do it. Let’s all stand up and fight for our future together.

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