There is a conception that Artificial Intelligence will, fairly soon, make humans redundant or even obsolete. I have argued elsewhere that this reasoning is based on the notion that machines are increasingly taking over the world of work but, for human kind, it is work that is becoming obsolete and we now need to look at how the worlds wealth is distributed to take account of this.

In response to a Tweet that robots will become more skilled than humans at certain tasks, someone recently posted, “It’s both amazing but also a tad scary. Progress is important but we need to give everyone a sense of purpose and meaning.” To which I responded, “No, we absolutely do not.”

I am sure that these issues are being discussed at the highest levels and I am equally sure that their discussions will be focused on the ‘human problem’ and what to do with an excess of humanity, because that’s the way such people think. However, I would like to explore a different road because I am not much impressed with how those at the highest level think of us, nor the way they have treated us for centuries, as mere commodities, human resources, to be exploited.

Let’s go back to the Tweeter who said, “we need to give everyone a sense of purpose and meaning.”

The point is, we do not have any kind of purpose or meaning to our lives, unless we discover it for ourselves. That is old school thinking, work thinking, paternalist thinking, and it’s nonsense.

The human species is just that, a naturally occurring species, amongst millions of others. We are born, just like the bear, the sloth, the butterfly and every other living creature on Earth. We’re made of the same stuff, inseparable and indivisible from nature on which we rely for our entire existence, but it is a sad fact that many people today have forgotten or become blind to their own reality, for which they pay a terrible price. People are increasingly becoming mentally ill, lost, hopeless, alienated from life, many giving up in despair and committing suicide. That is a vast human tragedy, yet not one of us, except, perhaps, under rare circumstances of genetic disorder, are born that way.

I have spent a life time working with and studying young people, and in my latter years focusing on and observing young children. Children are born with an innate, powerful, drive for life and a natural curiosity and hunger to explore and learn. As small and vulnerable as human babies are they are full of the power of life. They need nurture, and do not hold back in demanding it. When babies cry it’s impressive, giving it everything they’ve got. Baby speak for ‘nurture me now’ is, “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” And oh wow is it successful. There are rare and tragic exceptions, but those exceptions prove the rule.

There’s no great mystery here, nature is abundant on this phenomenal planet in the sweet spot of our solar system and it is that abundance which enables life to flourish, even in the harshest environments scientists have discovered life.

What purpose does any of it have? What meaning? It’s just life, I mean – LIFE! Hungry to live and thrive.

Does any of it need to be given a purpose or meaning? What for? And who gets to decide? Who has the gall to decide for others what their meaning and purpose is? That’s twisted, messed up, thinking. Sick.

In fact, history has proven that those who think about the imposition of purpose and meaning on others usually mean, for their own benefit and right now we need look no further than the UK government for how sick that is. They are killing people in their mad crusade to drive people into work through hardship and deprivation in one of the richest nations on Earth. The world is increasingly being divided into makers and takers, those who create wealth through work, to benefit a small minority of people who accumulate that wealth for no good reason that I can see, other than greed.

Where has life gone? We are life and are surrounded by life and yet far too many people can no longer really see it or appreciate it. Life has become a waif, knocking at the door, hungry and isolated. People have no time for it in their busy, busy lives. It’s there, right under our noses, just as it always has been and always will be as long as the planet, our home, remains habitable. Right now, we have mad people in charge who are even talking about first strike with nuclear weapons, which are a threat to all life. How . Mad . Is . That?

I would like to make one suggestion, amongst an infinite number of suggestions that might be made. Maybe it is time to remember, go back, recall what it meant to be young and what it meant to be captivated by play, which is the innate, primal way, children learn. All play is explorative, it’s the most meaningful thing children do. And, it’s fun. Learning through fun.

But it is much more than that, play is the most creative expression of our innate desire to learn and we learn best under the most creative conditions.

Are human beings becoming obsolete? Not likely. Are machines taking over? From what? Humans? That makes as much sense as mechanical bears taking over from real bears. If we think we are smarter than nature, we have another think coming, a very long hard think.

Before we do anything stupid and allow the machines we make to take over, other than in work, I rather think we would do well to rediscover what it means to be human and learn to simply enjoy life again. You know, that life which we are each inalienably born to and which is our human right.

Right now, that’s going to involve a struggle, we’re already in that struggle and it is costing many lives, but if we are to come through this very challenging time, we need to be as creative and engaged and playful as we can possibly manage.

Below are two videos, one on play, the other on creativity which I hope will drive into your synapses and fire you up and inspire you, because right now we, the human race, need inspiration because no one now knows what the future holds. It’s open to both good and bad ideas. We need the ideas that are life supporting and life respecting and urgently need to act on them for all our sakes.

Gandhi was right – “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

KOG. 22 March 2018



Play – https://www.ted.com/talks/stuart_brown_says_play_is_more_than_fun_it_s_vital

Creativity – https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity