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Revolutionizing instruments: The Impact of AI on Capital and Labour

Ibrahim Alsahary

February 13, 2023
As we move into the future of artificial intelligence (AI), the path ahead is illuminated by the beacon of unsupervised learning. Recent breakthroughs, such as the ChatGPT-3, have already changed the way we interact with machines and brought us closer to a world where AI is a crucial part of our daily lives. While some might fear a future in which robots rule over humans, it is important to understand the role of AI in a capitalist society.
In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels wrote, "The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society." 
AI has had a significant impact on both the capital and labor markets. On the one hand, AI has increased efficiency and productivity in various businesses, leading to increased profits for capital. On the other hand, it has also led to job losses and wage stagnation for workers, as AI systems can perform many tasks faster and more accurately than humans. The integration of AI has resulted in a shift in the balance of power between capital and labor, with the former becoming increasingly dominant.
In the age of AI in the "Fourth Industrial Revolution," under capitalism, we recall Marx's words: "The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people." In a capitalist system, the drive for profit and efficiency leads to the automation of many tasks previously performed by human workers. This can result in widespread jobs loss and a growing surplus population of people who are deemed "useless" in the eyes of the market. 
For example, a report from the World Economic Forum estimated that 75 million jobs may be displaced by AI and other technological advancements by 2025. Another report from the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that up to 800 million workers globally may lose their jobs to automation by 2030.
On the capital side, Gartner reports a 270% increase in the number of businesses adopting artificial intelligence over the last four years. Furthermore, according to a 2019 PWC report, AI has been shown to increase profitability by up to 40% in some industries, with some reporting increases of up to 70%. According to the report, AI has a greater impact on profitability in industries such as finance, healthcare, and manufacturing. Another study conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2018 found that AI has the potential to generate an additional $13 trillion in global economic activity by 2030.
This revolution in AI is affecting the relationships between production and capital as capitalism seeks to sustain itself by constantly revolutionizing its methods of production. The integration of AI is one of the latest attempts to prolong the life of capitalism. 
Stanley Kubrick's iconic science fiction film, "2001: A Space Odyssey," begins with a sequence showcasing the evolution of humanity, starting from the earliest moments of time to the inception of tool usage. This sequence highlights the idea that tools have played a significant role in shaping the evolution of mankind.
Past industrial revolutions saw the substitution of human manual labor with tools and machinery. This time, however, we are witnessing a revolution like no other. The machines are replacing not just our physical abilities but also our mental faculties, specifically our capacity to forecast and decide. 
Contrary to popular belief, artificial intelligence is not a recent development, but rather a field of study that dates back to the 1950s with the first use of the term "artificial intelligence." Over the years, the technology has undergone significant advancements, making it accessible to not only large corporations and scientific institutions but also small and medium-sized enterprises. The affordability of AI technology, which is comparable to many older technologies, has facilitated its widespread adoption across various industries, leading to hundreds of diverse AI implementations and use cases.
One of the most notable recent advancements in AI is the ChatGPT-3 (Generative Pretrained Transformer), which has changed the way we think about AI and its capabilities. With its advanced natural language processing abilities, ChatGPT-3 has set new standards for human-like text generation and understanding. This technology has impacted industries such as customer service and marketing and opened up new avenues for AI applications, changing the way we interact with machines.
The impact of AI on society has also been a topic of much discussion, particularly in light of its increasing use in the workplace. Companies like Amazon, Uber, and Lyft are using AI to monitor their workers, maximizing productivity at the cost of their health and well-being. This has led to concerns about the unequal distribution of power and the exploitation of the working class by capitalists.
Marxist economist Michael Roberts has commented on this issue, pointing out that AI has the potential to transform our society but also reveals the unequal distribution of power, where the working class struggles to assert their rights and benefits in a system dominated by capital. He argues that the working class cannot sit back and watch as the capitalists dictate their lives and determine their fate, and that the rise of AI can only lead to real benefits, such as shorter working hours and increased social goods, if the profit motive is replaced.
In a socialist society, the rise of AI could lead to a massive uplift in both the economic prosperity and cultural richness of the population. The automation of tedious and physically demanding jobs will create more leisure time, opening up new opportunities for education, familial growth, and cultural enhancement. The integration of AI and automation in the building and construction sectors, as well as its applications in gene sequencing, drug development, and medical research analysis, will lead to major advancements in human health that are accessible to all.
In conclusion, the field of AI has come a long way since its inception and will continue to shape the future. The impact of AI on society and the workplace is a complex issue that requires consideration of both the benefits and the potential risks. However, by striving for a brighter future in which AI works for us rather than against us and by ensuring that the fruits of technological progress are shared by all, we can harness the full potential of AI to create a better and more equal world.



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