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Challenges Brought by Double A, and Responses through Double B

Huimin Bhikshu

President of Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts

Emeritus Professor of Taipei National University of the Arts

Published in Vol. 432 of Humanity Magazine (August 2019)

In No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Forces Breaking All the Trends, published by McKinsey Global Institute in 2015, four global forces were reported to break all the global trends, namely the urbanization of emerging markets, accelerating impact of technology, aging world population, and rapid flow of trade, labor, funds, and information. These four forces have formed a new trend that is enabling 1 billion people worldwide to escape poverty. Three billion people worldwide are expected to enter the middle class in the next 20 years.

Challenges Brought by Artificial Intelligence and Aging Societies (Double A)

However, the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI), which is part of technological advancement, will pose a massive challenge to society. In 2013, the researchers Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne of Oxford University published The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation, in which they stated that the probability of 47% of jobs in the United States being replaced by emerging computer technology in the next 20 years is higher than 70%.

Dr. Tomohiro Inoue of the Department of Economics at Komazawa University, who published The Future of Artificial Intelligence and Economy in 2016, reported that artificial general intelligence (AGI) may be realized by 2030 and be able to complete various intellectual tasks, having a dramatic impact on society and economies. Unlike narrow AI—which has been applied in image and speech recognition, self-driving vehicles, and chess—AGI will be capable of reasoning and have universal intelligence; it will autonomously learn in all fields of knowledge, increasing its own knowledge base for problem solving. Accordingly, Dr. Inoue predicted that Japan will become a society in which only 10% of citizens are employed. In 2015, 64 million people in Japan were in employment, constituting half of the country’s population. In particular, 20 million people were employed in professions that cannot currently be replaced by computer technology, namely those involving creativity, management, and hospitality. However, these professions may be replaced by AGI at certain levels; therefore, only 10 million people in Japan may be employed in future. This would further widen the income gap between the richest and poorest. According to Dr. Inoue, universal basic income (BI) should be implemented to provide all people with financial stability.

In 2016, Professors Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott of the London Business School published The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity, which received much acclaim for outlining the future challenges and opportunities for individuals, enterprises, and governments through the statement that approximately half of the children born in 2007 would live until 100 years old. In 2018, Commentator Takeda of NHK (the Japan Broadcasting Corporation) analyzed the topic “What are the work-support policies in an era of people over 100 years old?” as follows. According to estimations by the national institutions of Japan, by 2065, the average lifespan will be 91.35 and 84.95 years for women and men, respectively, and 547,000 people will be aged 100 years or older (over 67,000 in 2017). Accordingly, after retiring at 65, an individual will have 35 years of life left, and maintaining the daily living and work of people at this age is a problem that must urgently be discussed. According to the example of Finland, Takeda suggested that BI be implemented as a solution.

Responses through Basic Income and Basic Lifestyles (Double B)

BI, also known as unconditional basic income, refers to a periodic cash payment delivered to all on an individual basis (citizens, local residents, and members of a group) without conditional or qualification restrictions. BI is distributed to all people by government or organizations to ensure their financial stability. Opponents to BI have argued that it will reduce the incentive for people to work and exacerbate the financial burdens on countries. Proponents have contended that BI can integrate various social welfare policies such as childcare, unemployment, and disability allowances and pensions through the adjustment of the tax system (e.g., high income tax on AI-using businesses) as well as save the administrative cost of fraud inspection. BI provides people with a basic living allowance, mitigating the vicious cycle of poverty trap and relieving economic pressure. People can then work in their preferred profession, reducing the likelihood of their being forced into jobs with poor working conditions or illegal jobs.

Some countries have implemented BI. From 1974 to 1979, Canada distributed approximately US$500 to 10,000 residents each month. Subsequently, studies indicated that this BI reduced the likelihood that men would discontinue their studies, enabled women to increase the length of their maternity leave, and improved people’s physical and psychological health (e.g., less drug abuse, domestic violence, drunk driving, hospital visits, and medical costs). In 2011, with financial aid provided by international organizations such as the United Nations, India provided approximately US$4 per month to approximately 6,460 residents in nine villages for 18 months. This substantially increased the residents’ savings, health condition, and school and work attendance rates as well as improved their nutritional status.

Accordingly, we suggest that the challenges brought by AI and aging societies can be effectively answered in the long term through BI and adoption of basic lifestyles. Basic physical and intelligent lifestyles can be maintained by practicing the five principles of physical and psychological well-being (smiling, tooth-brushing, exercising, eating rightly, and sleeping well) as well as the five principles of lifelong learning (reading, recording, researching, publishing, and implementing). Doing so will mitigate the economic burden on individuals and societies, improve people’s physical fitness and intelligence, and enhance people’s quality of life and civic literacy. Such is the basic principle of building an ideal society.

雙A時代的挑戰與雙B的因應

釋惠敏

法鼓文理學院 校長

台北藝術大學名譽教授

(本文發表於《人生》雜誌432期,2019.08

根據麥肯錫(McKinsey)全球研究所2015年出版No Ordinary Disruption(《非常顛覆/驟變》): The Four Forces Breaking All the Trends,提出顛覆傳統的四大全球力量:(1)新興市場都會化;(2)科技的加速影響(the accelerating impact of technology);(3) 高齡化世界人口(an aging world population);(4)貿易、人力、資金、資訊之快速流動,形成驟變之新常態,讓10億人脫貧,未來20年還會推動全球30億人晉身中產階級。

雙A(AI人工智能 + Aging高齡化)時代的挑戰

但是,其中(2)科技的加速影響之一「人工智能」(Artificial Intelligence, AI)的發展將是未來社會的一大挑戰。2013年,牛津大學研究人員佛瑞(Carl Benedikt  Frey)與奧斯本尼(Michael A. Osborne)發表The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation?(〈就業之未來:那些工作最易被電腦化?〉)報告指出:在未來20年內,美國有47%就業人口之工作將有超過7成機率被電腦化新興科技取代。

2016年出版《人工智慧與經濟的未來》的日本駒澤大學經濟學系井上智洋博士說:「約在2030年,或許將實現『通用人工智能』(Artificial General Intelligence,簡稱AGI)」,它將處理人類等各種智力任務,社會和經濟將發生巨大變化。」相對於特化型AI(例如:圖像或語音識別、自動駕駛車輛,棋藝 …..),AGI是具有推理能力而確立通用性智能,具備在任何領域學習的自主性,成為可以自己增加知識以解決問題的AI。因此,他預測日本未來極端的狀況是「只有10%的人口工作的社會」,因為2015年度的日本就業人數約為6400萬,約佔總人口的一半;其中,比較不容易被電腦化新興科技取代 CMH:創意(Creativity)、管理(Management)、款待服務(Hospitality)類的職業總數約為2000萬人。但這些職業中,AGI在某程度上也可能替代,因此日本有可能成為只需要大約1000萬真正的工作人員(10%人口)的社會。對此可能造成更極端的貧富差距,井上博士認為可導入「全民基本收入」(Universal Basic Income,UBI或簡稱BI)的社會制度,提供全民安樂生活的基礎。

此外,2016年,英國倫敦商學院琳達·格拉頓(Lynda Gratton)與安德魯·斯科特(Andrew Scott)教授出版The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity(《百歲人生:長壽時代的生活和工作》),獲多獎項,好評如潮,為個人、企業與政府描繪未來世界的挑戰與機會:2007年後出生的孩子有一半會活到100歲。2018年,日本NHK竹田解說委員於「人生百歲的時代,工作支援政策為何?」議題解析:根據日本國立機構估計,2065年平均壽命,女性91.35歲,男性84.95歲;百歲人口將有54萬7千人(2017年是6萬7千餘人)。因此,若是65歲退休,還有35年的人生,但高齡者如何維持生活與工作?是當今社會必須提早認真思考的議題。竹田先生參考北歐芬蘭的經驗,提出「全民基本收入」(BI)的社會制度可能是解決方案。

雙B(BI基本收入 + BL基本[健康]生活型態)的因應

所謂「全民基本收入」,又稱「無條件基本收入」(Unconditional Basic Income), 係指在無任何條件及資格限制下,每個成員(國民、某地區居民,或某團體成員)皆可定期領取一定金額的金錢,由政府或團體發放給全體成員,以滿足人民的基本生活條件。反對者認為此制度將降低個人工作誘因,加重國家財政負擔。贊同者則認為此制度的財源可藉由調整稅制(例如:從AI所產生之高所得的稅捐),因為全民不分男女老少無條件享有,可以整合各種社會津貼福利(育兒、失業、傷殘津貼、退休金…..),也節省防弊稽查之行政管理成本;也因為提供最低生活保障,可降低「貧窮陷阱」 (poverty trap) 惡性循環,減少經濟壓力,人們比較可從事自身喜歡的工作,減少被迫從事勞動條件惡劣,乃至不正當的工作的因緣。

國際上有部分國家試行,例如:加拿大於1974之1979年間,以1萬居民為對象,每月大約給500美元,之後研究發現:男性不易輟學,女性申請較長的產假,身心更健康(藥物濫用、家暴、酒駕減少、就醫次數與費用減少)。

印度在聯合國等國際組織資助下,2011年在9個村莊推動18個月,每月約給4美元,總計約6,460人受惠。此計畫使得整體居民儲蓄增加、衛生條件、上學與工作比例大幅提高,營養狀況都有顯著改善。

敝人覺得:對於雙A(AI人工智能 + Aging高齡化)時代的挑戰,「雙B(BI基本收入+BL基本[健康]生活型態)」的因應會更有長遠效果。例如:推行「身心健康五戒:微笑、刷牙、運動、吃對、睡好」與「終身學習五戒:閱讀、記錄、研參、發表、實行」之維持基本「體能、智能」生活型態(Basic Life styles),如此更可以減少個人與社會經濟負擔,提升全民的服務體能與智能,增進大家的生活品質與公民素養,這或許是建設「人間淨土」的基本方針。

晝夜作息、禪修與生死自在