(Updated 11/26/2016)

Automation

Human replacement (in the workplace)

Augmentation

Human enhancement (in the workplace)

Using technologies that would otherwise outright replace human work to enhance existing and future human work

Why Augmentation Instead of Automation

For businesses: leverage technology to enhance key worker productivity

Partially-Tested, Working, Hypothesis:

A worker belonging to the cohort which exclusively comprises the top 20% of their peers at a company, will (1) be a more effective worker (productivity, performance, customer acquisition, retention, emotional well-being, health, etc.) when enhanced by some technology x at time t and (2) will exhibit greater output when enhanced by that same technology x than the output of that technology x used alone at that same time t.


Workers displaced by augmentation can look to augmentation-enhanced recruitment/talent tools to help them find a superior position that they're good at and are passionate about

On the face of it, augmentation appears more compassionate and ethical

Growing consensus that it is the more socially responsible approach

Further Assessments

Per this previous post:

We have both (1) underestimated the power of automation and (2) the habitual, routine, nature of most existing human professions and hence, the ease by which most human professional activities can be automated (including creative ones).

However, there is still much untapped potential in most people. Harnessing and leveraging this potential will involve a mixed basket of approaches:

Prioritizing (1) epistemic ethics (humility, a desire for continuous improvement, scientifically and rationally controlled thinking, constant learning, critical thinking skills, researching and finding information as opposed to rote memorization), (2) Aristotelian flourishing or actualization, (3) leveraging pharmaceuticals (nootropics which are gaining increasing scientific and medical support), biological modification, and cybernetic modifications (and this).

The D-Wave 2X was last reported as harnessing greater than 18 petaflops of computational power - the human brain exhibits roughly 34 - the gap is narrowing and very quickly but every average human being is still far ahead

Furthermore, the old adage: "One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man." (Elbert Hubbard) still rings true

Key Articles

Beyond Automation

Good Jobs in the Age of Automation

The Future of Employment

The Onrushing Wave

(If you're not on LinkedIn you probably should sign up - very valuable content and media)

Communism and Dystopia

Contrarian View

Techno Optimism