@Pooh: That's a fair set of concerns and certainly would not require advanced AI to accomplish.
But: a) I don't think these jobs will actually not be replaced- technological and economic advancement have always disrupted job security and it's a toss-up as to whether this time's the exception to the rule that advancement "creates" more jobs than it takes away (then again, progress is not automatic and it comes down to whose hands are on the steering wheel); and b) if it does become the case that AI takes away a significant chunk of human jobs, then we need to fix our apparently inflexible and overly volatile economic models, not our technology.
Bill Gates said we should tax the robots that replace a human job, and this goes towards supporting a universal income.
While that's a popular quote, unfortunately it's neither viable nor likely to be effective.https://www.axios.com/why-taxing-robots-wont-be-2301438167.html
To pull from that (short, worthwhile) article:
"I don't think you'd want to sort of tax all labor-saving devices," said William Gale, an economist who is the co-director of the Tax Policy Center in Washington. "That would put a big crimp on productivity growth, and so I think there needs to be a justification for the tax and a definition of what we're calling a robot here."
On top of that, that tax would hamper technological and economic advancement.
The thing about replacing human worker with robots is that it does not decrease the production of value- i.e., in terms of economic output, we're not losing out. It's a concern about the distribution of wealth not overall economic health, and so perhaps we should just do away with our (once helpful, no doubt) notion that we should base the distribution of societal wealth on how much we value an individual's participation in our large-scale economic system (i.e., the idea that people's ability to secure opportunities for themselves and people they care about should be based on the value placed on their economic production by existing market structures or their boss).
It's odd that we're worried about having a shortage of jobs
rather than resources- certainly counterintuitive and ultimately purely a consequence of the economic systems we choose to live under. Instead of becoming anxious about this, we could be celebrating a key step toward a post-scarcity society where economic output can be managed through different mechanisms and where people can easily obtain the resources they need to pursue their passions, take risks, and build new things (that, at the moment, robots can't do- and likely won't be able to do very well even after we stumble into general AI).
Certainly, the incentives for ownership (not entrepreneurship, but ownership) placed by our current iteration of capitalism might not be that helpful in a world where labor is mostly automated. What if, instead of rewarding someone for merely owning a factory and a distribution chain that would at that point be handled mainly by robots, we instead supplied people with the opportunity to do something that would be sorely lacking in most automated economies (and yet be their main driver of growth)- create new products, take risks, understand, explore, and express themselves?
For the first time ever in our history, we as a species will have the opportunity to not live paycheck-to-paycheck and to enable ourselves to pursue grand dreams untethered by pressing immediate needs.
Why are we afraid of this sort of economic transformation? What does it say about our developments so far that we're unable to embrace it? It's so curious that the same bright future that drives some researchers out of bed in the morning scares the heebie-jeebies out of so many others.
So don't be afraid of AI; be afraid of humans.
TL;DR: Don't use the economic profits of automation to feed more Trumps, Rineharts, and Waltons; re-engineer economic distribution channels so instead we can build up more Ferraris, Musks, and Curies. Feed human progress, not human decadence.
Edited 4/4/2017 20:44:23