(These are excerpts from my book "Intelligence is not Artificial")
Corollary: We are Replacing Animals with Machines
We are replacing animals with machines. We used to be surrounded by domesticated animals: horses, cows, chickens, pigs, pigeons... They were intelligent and this required us to be more intelligent than them. Now animals are disappearing (that's why city children gets so excited when they see a bird) and we are being surrounded by machines that are extremely unintelligent.
Historians like to talk about machines replacing human labor, but the real
story is the one about machines replacing animals (labor was always more "animal" than "human"). For example, the population of horses started declining dramatically after the invention of the car, and continues to decline. The only mammals whose population is exploding are pets, which are closer to furniture than to living beings.
There are now farms that don't own a single animal, something that was unthinkable a century ago.
Machines also do many things that animals couldn't do for us, like selling train tickets or taking passport-size pictures of us.
And, yes, there are also many cases of machines replacing humans in workplaces, although those are often the humans that we don't want to deal with, humans who perform tedious repetitive jobs and who are therefore permanently in a bad mood.
Biotech may soon make cows obsolete.
We have always had to adapt to new tools, but this is the first time in history that the tools, the machines, are multiplying while so many animals are becoming rarities.
Compared with our ancestors of a century ago, we spend most of our time interacting with (unintellinget) machines rather than with (intelligent) animals.
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