When we were speaking of the post-human economy a little while ago, Dr. Boli mentioned that there were a few jobs that will probably never be taken over by machines. We may have cooking by machine, writing by machine, surgery by machine, and so on, but some jobs we will insist on keeping for ourselves.

Politics is one. This is partly just because there are people who are too stupid to hold down regular jobs and too sociopathic to be street beggars, and we need to maintain our state legislatures as asylums for them. But it is also because we would find it unacceptable to leave our political decisions to a machine that might make them rationally. Reason is not tolerated in politics. If you want to send a politician screaming from the room, the phrase “evidence-based public policy” will do it. And that politician was elected by the sovereign people precisely because he was the sort who would run screaming from the room when the words “evidence-based public policy” were spoken above a whisper. We choose our politicians to embody our prejudices. The more obviously ludicrous the prejudice, the louder our elected representatives must be in affirming it. It is true that a computer—the Sinclair ZX81, for example—could do a better job than your state representative at writing or selecting legislation to become the law that binds the people, but no computer—not even Bing at its most psychopathic—could maintain the poisonous brew of mutually contradictory conspiracy theories, old wives’ tales, exploded pseudoscience, and baldfaced lies that would get it elected as a state representative in the first place. Since state legislatures are the gateways through which almost all our professional politicians must pass, politics is not a career for artificial intelligence. We could perhaps remove the word “artificial” from that statement without serious damage to its veracity.

Another business that will not be handed over to the machines is religion. Dr. Boli is not speaking of the old-line churches here: he can easily imagine Amazon taking over that end of the business. We mean the only true national religion in the United States, which is business, whose priesthood is made up of the sacred brotherhood of MBAs. It is true that there is no reason why all the management jobs in the world could not be done by machines: when it comes to getting results, a dartboard is better than a business-school graduate. But this is precisely why business is a religion: because the principles must be upheld on faith, irrespective of results. No matter how many other jobs fall to the machines, business-school graduates will continue to multiply and hire more business-school graduates. Perhaps, instead of a future of unemployment, humans can look forward to a time when business-school education is universal and compulsory, and all human beings are employed as managers, managing each other and selling their management services to other management companies.

When we have mentioned politics and religion, we have probably covered all the professions that will be reserved for humans when the machines are doing everything else. It is obvious that these jobs, too, could be done better by machines, and fairly simple machines at that: your entire state legislature could be replaced with a clockwork music box, and you would notice the improvement right away. But we will demand the human touch, which is to say the belligerent incompetence we have come to expect from our politicians and our management priesthood, in those two fields; and as clever as “large language models” like Bing have got at simulating belligerent incompetence, we will not be satisfied with anything less than the real thing.


  1. The Shadow says:

    “Perhaps, instead of a future of unemployment…”

    Truly one of the most horrifying dystopias I’ve ever encountered!

  2. RepubAnon says:

    For a vision of a future world run by self-programming computers, check out Fred Saberhagen’s Berserker series. One could also imagine a world run by such computers that had been exposed to MBA course textbooks, but that would be too depressing.

  3. Fred says:

    Of course robots can always trans into people and then they can run those jobs too, because how dare you assume their pronouns. Also they’re the ones with the death lasers.

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