AI and the Future of Jobs — Finding Meaning

Teng Chuan Hiang
Published by YouTube - World AI Conference 2019

As I watched this discourse on the future of AI and in some parts about jobs between the two giants entrepreneurs, Jack mentioned about performing less work and enjoy being a human. If this postulation is a dichotomy between jobs and enjoyment, then I think it’s about time we make our lives better by changing this perspective of jobs.

If we find meaning and purpose in our life, we will find joy in working. This is in part mysterious but nonetheless a reasonable and understandable phenomenon of work and living. If a task is seen as a step towards achieving an outcome we have in our mind, and if it is a desirable outcome, then we will do it willingly. This willingness has a spectrum from no resistance even enjoyment when we like the task, to total resistance and complete dislike. A well disciplined person understands the need to persevere to overcome their dislikes to achieve their goals while the opposite of giving up and complete resentment can also happen after a few attempts for the ill disciplined. When you have knowledge about yourself and your resistance to change, making attempts to overcome the difficulties with discipline, you will find joy both in persevering and when you succeed. Joy often comes from overcoming our own shortcomings and shortcomings are often presented to us during our life journey towards excellence.

“If you conquer yourself, you conquer the world”, Paulo Coelho.


Challenges and sufferings are inevitable in our life journey. Those that are self inflicted are within our control but those that are due to someone else doing is beyond us. In either case we should embrace them, learn from it and become wiser and more experience. We don’t want to forget the lesson learned and hence we won’t really forget the pain, so it is not a case of forgive and forget but we must forgive and remember to learn without resentment nor hatred. This is because resentment and harted are not constructive feelings we can build on although some can. However, if difficulties and sufferings are seen as an end in itself, or as an impediment to pleasure, since the opposite of work is pleasure as seen in most culture, then work becomes unenjoyable and painful. Now, that is not to say that we don’t have to persevere. We have preferences in the things we want and don’t want to do. But there are things we don’t like to do though necessary to make us better.

If we want to find meaning in life, we have to look inside ourselves first. On this point credit goes to Jack Ma for his mentioning of using AI to discover ourselves. In some sense I can agree with his point on the future use of AI but a slightly different view on the way we discover ourselves. It would be a case of contrasting the experience of interacting with AI and interacting with a real human. The human consciousness is an irreplaceable element of a human being built with the purpose to love. The human metaphysical essence is communication for the purpose of relationship building and the ultimate goal of building relationships is to love. There is no way a computer can have consciousness since consciousness is not completely logical and even sometimes illogical. However, the human consciousness always have the desire to love and to give love. To love and be loved is the purpose of living for now and in eternity. Perfect love is not possible without free will and only human has free will.

For me the real meaning in life is to love people and love the things you do to benefit the people around you. Loving is perfectly good but only by the definition of what Christ has done on the cross. We must love with passion and passion has its etymology from the Latin word “passionem” which means to suffer. Therefore we must have passion to do the work we need to do in order to attain meaning in our work. Hopefully you won’t discount this article because it has a religious connotation just because of the mentioning of Jesus Christ. As a credible writer I must credit the originator of the wise thoughts and ideas since without proper citation means committing plagiarism.

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