Reechal Mevada April 6 2021

The Last Job on Earth


Isaac Asimov’s three laws for smart machines from the 1942 short story “Runaround” commands:

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Pepper, the 2015 robot that controls Tokyo’s mobile phone store with its other robot companions can identify visitors with the use of facial recognition, send alerts for meeting organizers and arrange for drinks to be made. Pepper can chat autonomously to prospective clients.

From 1990 to 2007, each robot added in the manufacturing sector replaced about 3.3 workers nationally, on average. This also lowered wages by 0.4%

Last Job on Earth

Automation anxiety: about 35% of jobs can be replaced in 10-15 years. Some of the academic material today will be obsolete soon and the teaching material needs to be revised according to what will be relevant in the future. But how do we prepare ourselves? Yes, coding and data science would be the easy/obvious coursework. It makes sense to update the education system to complement new technology rather than teaching for a job. Empathy, emotional intelligence, problem solving and creativity would still probably be available for only humans.   What would the new augmented workspace be like? In the film ‘Back to the Future’ we still saw skateboards and guitars in 1955 and 1985 – ie. Familiar things. But in 2015, we saw smart phones and other complex gadgets. Now, we are see autonomous driving. And its issues – like ethics in AI.   Meet Alice, holder of the last recognizable job on Earth, trying to make sense of her role in an automated world in this short film by Moth studio.  

The Last Interview

What would the last job available to humans be like? Being a mom? A professional cuddler? Or a cat surfing instructor? Or the group that launches the last rocket to Mars?  Will AI be interviewing a human? Or another AI?   In this film, directed by Mohamed Al Hamadi, an unemployed human is given several tests at an interview for a mystery job.  

Robots, Botox & Google Glass

Are we prepared for this new world where machines and humans live in harmony?  This short documentary is about the ‘uncanny’ reflex made by Tiffany Shlain and Prof. Ken Goldberg, a professor at UC Berkeley whom I had a chance to interact with during developing my project ‘Half-way House for AI’.   Why do we fall in love with some technology, which others make us creepy? If objects are too life-like, but not human enough, our natural response is uncomfortable. Or, the feeling of violation that comes from being surveilled without permission. This short film explores the obsession with unfamiliarity as Goldberg and Shlain continue to create innovations in technology and information layering gadgets, the roots of this reflex and poses the question of how technology advancement can avoid the ‘valley of uncanny’.

About the author

Reechal Mevada studied a graduate architecture program that mined science fiction to imagine California’s futures at the University of California - Berkeley. Her research ‘Prison for Artificial Intelligence’ was an instrumental speculation on the ethics of technology. Her work has been exhibited at the Starta Art Gallery in Flatiron district, NYC and published in the Studio One Manual. She recently won the People Choice’s award for designing a prison for cybercrime in the Hague, the Netherlands. She’s now based in NYC exploring and documenting fiction and technology in art, film and design through her platform