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The AI Genie Is Out of The Bottle

Some of the big social impacts we need to watch out for and manage

Pepper Foster Consulting

ChatGPT opened the world’s eyes to both the possible positive and negative impacts of Artificial Intelligence (AI).  As a result, AI stands as both a symbol of hope and a warning of massive changes ahead.

Here are some of the big social impacts we need to watch out for and manage, not just as business leaders, but as nations.

A New Industrial Revolution

The first power loom was designed and patented in 1785 by Edmund Cartwright and the Industrial Revolution was born.

Over the next 150 years, the transition from an agrarian land owner and serf-based economy to an industrialist, factory, and city-based industrial economy was the catalyst for massive improvements in standards of living and also for the advent of both capitalism and communism, countless revolutions, and world wars.

The Turing machine was invented in 1936 by Alan Turing and with it, the IT revolution was born. That revolution will likely culminate with fully realized AI-controlled human form and specialized robots doing nearly all of the work necessary for a society to function in about 20 years.

Just as the Industrial Revolution was the catalyst for massive economic and social changes, so will the new AI-driven IT Revolution


Wars happen when nations compete for resources or power.

The wars of the near future won’t be fought over land or oil, but over access to the raw materials necessary for AI.

The reason Taiwan is such a hot spot right now, for example, is because Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is the world's largest contract chipmaker and currently produces around 90 percent of the world's leading-edge semiconductors that are used for artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing applications.

Access to those chips and the raw materials necessary to make them and batteries, robots, and computers will be the potential battlefields of the next 20-30 years.

In addition, AI might facilitate advanced cyber-attacks, jeopardizing infrastructures and destabilizing economies and nations.

A Crisis of Purpose

If we get things right, and avoid wars, AI-controlled robots will provide everything we need for our societies to function without anybody needing to work.

But, with AI taking center stage, individuals might find themselves grappling with boredom and a loss of purpose. This could go either way: Conflict or connection

Finding and providing people with purpose will become the world’s biggest and most important challenge in the future.


Revolutions happen when enough smart, capable people are disenfranchised and prevented from having a happy and fulfilling life, while a smaller number of people are not.

If we don’t change the economic incentives and systems, smart, capable people will be displaced and disenfranchised by AI and AI-controlled robots and the people or companies that own them will receive all of the financial benefits.

Unless those displaced workers are provided with purpose and the opportunity to lead happy and fulfilling lives, they will revolt.

Or they will become fertile soil for nationalism and xenophobia.

This will be a global problem with AI and robots displacing not just outsourced and offshore manufacturing workers, but also onshore white-collar workers.

New Economic Models

In the same way that the Industrial Revolution was the catalyst for capitalism and then communism, the IT revolution will be the catalyst for new, radically different economic models.

After all, if the AI-controlled robots are doing all of the work, who is earning money, and who is paying income taxes?

In the future, people’s value to society will need to be measured, recognized, and rewarded but it won’t be by paying them to work. So what will it be?

The AI genie is already out of the bottle.

No government has the power or capacity to regulate and control the AIs and robots developed or deployed in other nations.

So, AI is here to stay.

The only question now is how we will adapt to it as businesses, nations, and individuals.

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