People often use chess as an example to argue that even when AI surpasses human capability, individuals will continue to participate in the activity, and therefore AI won’t replace people’s jobs. However, this analogy is flawed, as chess is primarily a form of entertainment. Most individuals play chess for enjoyment, and professional chess players rely on the interest of casual players. This is why, despite AI outperforming humans in chess for over two decades, chess remains popular among people. Human chess matches are more relatable and engaging for spectators than AI vs AI games. While AI may be used to improve one’s chess skills, this represents a small fraction of the overall chess economy.
This reasoning also applies to other entertainment-related activities, such as the comparison between 100m sprinters and Tesla cars. People understand that these competitions are not intended for direct comparison.
However, the situation is entirely different when it comes to core industries. For example, if AI can develop applications at a fraction of the cost of human programmers, many software developers would lose their jobs. Users typically don’t care whether a restaurant booking app is created by a human or an AI, as long as it is functional and user-friendly.
Consider the introduction of ATMs in the 1960s, which replaced many tasks traditionally performed by human bank tellers. The number of teller jobs decreased because people valued the convenience of withdrawing money without concern for who performs the task.
Some argue that technological advancements will always create new jobs to replace the old ones, as seen with new banking roles emerging after tellers were replaced. The critical fallacy here is the assumption that humans possess capabilities beyond those of AGI (Artificial General Intelligence). As AGI continues to develop, it will likely be able to perform most tasks humans can, potentially leaving no new jobs for humans. This concern is what drives the need for a deep understanding of the alignment problem, ensuring that AGI develops in a way that complements and benefits humanity, rather than causing harm or displacement.