Sustainable progress in times of GPT

Aakash Ahuja
2 min readJun 9, 2023

When the 2nd Industrial Revolution started, global textile & steel industry employed ~2 million people. These people were the hardest hit by industrialization. They only saw gloom & doom now that businesses replaced people with machines.

~70 years later, today, both these industries employ ~80 million people globally.

Going by the above example, it could be argued that despite GPT, the future remains bright for the tech industry.

Unlike the industrialisation, that brought about sustainable societal changes (people shifted from one industry to another, allowing those industries to grow due to cheaper labour), GPT, so far, is not a technology that brings sustainable societal changes. It is a disruption. It has changed so many things so fast that mass job losses will be a hard reality.

Reskilling will not be enough to solve the problem like it did with the 2nd industrial revolution. After all, we are a 8 billion planet today. Which is why for the society to continue prospering new intiatives will be needed. Here are some of them, IMHO:

1) Advances in material science to build artificial materials: Only then we can continue building & selling things despite Earth’s limited natural resources.

2) Advances & investments in sustainability: It is a known fact that in labour abundant country like India, a 1 degree temperature rise leads to a productivity loss of INR 80 billion. Sustainability, green energy, water preservation are not options anymore, they are a necessity.

3) Advances in Quantum Computing: Both economics & thermodynamics state that uncertainty increases over time. Don’t believe me? Look at the history of stock markets in the last 100 hundred years to see that while markets have grown, their fluctuations have increased as well. Only Quantum Computing can enable societies to develop faster solutions to newer problems under such scenarios.

4) Regulations in AI: I don’t believe anything like an ethical AI is realistic. Governments will have to look to regulate & track AI developments over time.