The real reason why companies are pouring billions into AI development is because they want to replace human workers with robots.

So, when the Washington Post’s publisher announced late last month that its goal was to put “AI everywhere in our newsroom,” he said out loud what anyone who has used ChatGPT to write a company report or school term paper already knows.

Learned studies couch the impact of AI on jobs with weasel words like affect, augment, and enhance and the numbers are equally squishy: one report says “almost 40% of global employment is exposed to AI, while a management consultant expert predicted that “in 20 years, 50% of [jobs] will be automated.”

Many say that we shouldn’t worry about lost jobs whatsoever because tech always creates new ones. People must become “tech savvy” and learn to live with AI, in much the same way that we were told to adapt to the inevitability of social media.

We know the truth.

The opportunity is clear at most companies. A study earlier this year found that 41% of managers hoped to replace workers with AI in 2024, even as half of them are worried that it’ll result in pay cuts for themselves.

Investors are banking on it, literally. Companies that build the tech, starting with Nvidia, are worth boatloads more than they were even a year ago. Goldman Sachs has created an index to track big companies that have lower their labor costs compared to revenue, with much of those savings coming smart tech.

There are exceptions, like when JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon said that using AI could allow his bank and other companies to reduce peoples’ work weeks to 3.5 days, or Elon Musk announced that AI will take all of our jobs, but such comments barely register with anyone.

We know the truth, but we don’t talk about it because it’s just too huge, too vague, and far too scary.

Our government is either clueless or in on the scam, as Federal and state legislators and regulators in the US issue proclamations about how AI should operate fairly and without bias.

What about a hiring bias against human beings?

Some thinkers in the EU opine that workers should be involved in choosing and then training their robot associates, but that’s at best nothing more than better facilitating the transfer of their skills to their eventual replacements.

But the recent AI Act does little more than wanly try to keep developers and deployers of the tech from bluntly abusing propriety as they race to replace people with machines.

I sat with my brother last week in a somewhat crowded cafe and he looked around and asked “What will all of these people do for work 10 years from now?”

If the best answers are “AI can’t take all of their jobs” or “it’ll create new jobs that we can’t imagine right now,” we’re in a lot of trouble.

It’s long past time to stop being quiet.

[This essay appeared originally at Spiritual Telegraph]