We are just a few years away from seeing and interacting with companies that run themselves. In other words, autonomous companies (also known as RoboCorp) operated by algorithms will generate revenue all day long. That’s like saying there’s a house that can lay its own concrete foundation…unbelievable!
Get ready. These autonomous companies are heading straight for the Fortune 500 list.
The Rich Get Richer
Unsurprisingly, the very first glimpses of RoboCorp are coming to a Hedge Fund near you. Imagine that, a machine trading all day on the stock market.
Now, I’m not referring to the machine-like consistency of the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet. I’m talking about the hedge fund, Aidyia, which is completely powered by Artificial General Intelligence – a true RoboCorp.
Using algorithms that can identify patterns and predict price movements, Aidyia’s algorithms boast a 2% return on their fund. By no means is this a fortune, but it’s a start.
What makes their algorithms unique, is that they are inspired by genetic evolution. Basically, they create scenarios of “survival of the fittest AI” to create the almighty AI that they’ll entrust with the trades.
Now, don’t mistaken with high-frequency trading, which leverages computers to make millisecond trades on millions of shares. This RoboCorp hedge fund might sit on a stock for a few hours, days, or months until it feels necessary to sell.
And since Aidyia’s future is so promising, many other hedge funds are getting into the AI game. Pretty soon, AI may be the only thing capable of investing in the stock market.
Not only will RoboCorps trade the stocks of the Fortune 500, but will eventually become a company (or companies) on the Fortune 500.
Autonomous Companies: powered by a mission statement
Autonomous companies like autonomous vehicles will go through stages of autonomy. They’ll start by automating singular tasks and work their way up to making decisions on their own. In between, they’ll automate certain jobs which it can do better than humans.
Eventually, software will automate more and more jobs within a sector. At that point, it will make sense for Artificial Intelligence to be in a managerial role since they speak the same language.
Programmed with a specific mission statement in mind, and limited by fail safes that make sure they can’t change their own rules, AI will become the C-suite Executives.
So often, high-level decisions come down to the numbers. If the dollars don’t make sense, then neither does the decision. AI is pretty unbiased when it comes to making judgments. Their only goal is to fulfill its mission statement and do what’s best for the company.
However, this also brings up the paperclip scenario, where an AI paperclip company does such a good job at being profitable, it kills off all other existence for resources. While this may be an extreme example, it sparks conversation around competition.
Any RoboCorp with the right “team” could potentially be a monopoly of all monopolies since it’s always improving and fulfilling its goal. We take a look at Google, whose description began encompassing so many initiatives that they had to create a parent company, Alphabet, to be the company of all their companies.
Imagine the RoboCorp version of Google. Pretty scary.
While I don’t have an answer to how we’d stop it, we do know that all evil must be balanced with good. So, hopefully, there’d be a booming business around creating another RoboCorp tasked with competing and bringing down rogue, monopolistic autonomous companies…like a RoboCorp Skynet.
Where do humans fit in with RoboCorp?
If you aren’t on the profiting end of one of these RoboCorps, you can’t help but wonder what role you’ll play.
Well, luckily AI still needs creative thinkers – at least for now. It needs people that can think up new avenues of revenue, create design prototypes, understand what makes someone buy something, etc… So, Liberal Arts may not be a bad major after all.
On the flip side, non-creative people may be confined to working in a virtual sweatshop built by one of these RoboCorps. Currently, sites such as Mechanical Turk offer people pennies to tag photos, complete surveys, and other HITs (Human Intelligence Tasks) that’ll help the AI learn.
The digital underclass will complete thousands of these micro-tasks daily. Thus, transforming a personal computer into a seat at the new digital assembly line. Millions of these micro-tasks will be available daily, as they are the very things that help make AI smarter.
In other words, if you don’t define yourself as a creative thinker right now, I would highly suggest you begin honing your skills. There’s no trick. It just takes time to develop your creativity – trying out different mediums until you find one that you enjoy.
Honestly, the media has portrayed a bleak Future of Work where everyone loses their job and is miserable. But, I say, if a robot wants to do my job and do it better…go for it! With the right mindset, I’ll find something else.
There’s dignity in every job
My grandfather always tells me to value every working man and woman, no matter their profession. Never consider a job to be trivial, because each one is important in its own particular way.
Most importantly, he’d say, “There is dignity in every job. Find it!”
Yes, there are jobs that seem so menial a monkey could do it. But, there is still dignity in it because it has to be done. Often times, the jobs people generally place little dignity on (plumber, electrician, mechanic, custodian) are so invaluable we couldn’t live without them.
There’s always work to be done and jobs to be had. Whether or not you allow yourself to find dignity in the job makes all the difference.
For me, the dignity goes deeper than notoriety. I love having great readers like yourself, but I find enjoyment just in creating these Quick Theories articles.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to receive one like it every week, sign up here: quicktheories.com