Humans Need Not Apply is a 2014 short Internet documentary film, directed, produced, written, and edited by C. G. P. Grey. The film focuses on the future of the integration of automation into economics, as well as the worldwide workforce. Grey released the film online through a YouTube video format.
The film focuses on the topic of robots' rapidly increasing usefulness through human society, discussing how automation will lead to a future where "humans need not apply", in regards to their occupations.
Early on, Grey makes an analogy describing how humans once displaced horses from their jobs, by creating mechanical muscles, such as automobiles. Grey finishes the analogy by connecting the creation of mechanical minds, or "brain labor", will lead to robots ousting humans out of their occupations. Grey also discusses the role of how economics is the force behind a future based upon automation. Grey concludes by stating that 45% of the workforce could be replaced by bots, a number which is both inclusive of professional, white-collar, and low-skill occupations, and higher than the 25% unemployment figure of the Great Depression. Grey mentions that even creative occupations are not secure, as he mentions the included bot-composed music in the background of his video.
Additionally, Grey reminds the viewer that he is not discussing or portraying a future based upon science fiction, as he uses examples such as Baxter, self-driving cars (referred to as autos in the film), as well as IBM's Watson, to deliver its subject.
Production and fundingEdit
The film was funded through Subbable, an optional crowdfunding website launched by Hank Green of the VlogBrothers. Grey used to use this website as a means to support his projects. In March 2015 Subbable merged with Patreon, the crowdfunding website by Jack Conte, therefore he is now funded is by Patreon.
Humans Need Not Apply was covered by several publications, including Business Insider, The Huffington Post, and Forbes. Publications that covered the video complimented its presentation, stating the video is "well-produced". These publications also praised its premise, calling it "thought-provoking," and "compelling," but also maintaining that the points and topics brought up in the video were "terrifying." Bruce Kasanoff of Forbes commented that the video was "sobering," and "suggests, in a convincing fashion, that many human jobs will disappear over the coming years, because automation will do them faster, better, and cheaper." After a few days of release, the video reached one million views. As of August 19, 2015, Humans Need Not Apply has earned over 5 million views.