Creators, Nurturers, Executors, and Gatekeepers

A model for viewing the roles of humans, and how those roles will be impacted by AI

We had a great conversation during February’s UL Mid-month Meetup, where we discussed our careers, how vulnerable they were to AI, and how to become as resilient as possible.

One UL member, Shantanu Singh, talked about the dichotomy of Gatekeepers vs. Creators, which I thought was a brilliant frame. It got me thinking about all the various categories of value or value negation in the current economy. What you see above is what I came up with out of his idea and the subsequent discussion with the other members.

What will AI affect most?

So the framing is really a few different questions:

  1. What are the current category ratios?

  2. Which category is most likely to get crushed by AI?

  3. Which is most likely to survive and/or grow?

  4. If we perfectly transitioned into Human 3.0, and built a post-capitalist society that maximized human , what would this chart look like?

We had a few opinions and observations that we all agreed on.

  • What will matter going forward (and largely already) is CREATORS

  • We didn’t talk about NURTURERS, but I am sure they won’t mind my addition. They’re kind of like another type of creator, really. And they would include roles like parent, teacher, social worker, etc.

  • EXECUTORS are people doing most of the everyday work and tasks (no, not beheading people). Stuff like customer service, cold calling, junior programmers, admins, etc. Basically, the people who get things done. Oh, also managers. Relax. It’s a joke. Kind of.

  • Then you have the GATEKEEPERS. These are the people trying to block or otherwise stop potential CREATORS and EXECUTORS from benefiting from their abilities.

Examples of each include (but are not limited to):

  • CREATORS: Artists, Musicians, Poets, Writers, Entrepreneurs

  • NURTURERS: Parents, Teachers, Social Workers, Government*

  • EXECUTORS: Admins, Junior Coders, Managers, Customer Service

  • GATEKEEPERS: Professional Organizations, Lobbyists

Some examples we talked about were like the fact that it’s really hard to start a business because there’s so much red tape. It’s hard to provide medical or mental help to someone because only certain people are allowed. Only certain people are allowed to provide certain legal paperwork. etc.

Friction gets massively reduced

Friction is caused by a few things, many of which I talked about in my piece about multiplying human creativity.

  1. The difficulty of execution

  2. The scale of execution needed to do the world’s tasks

  3. Gatekeepers stopping creators and executors from entering the game

AI will crush all of these. Not completely of course, but massively. Why? Because of what I talked about in that post above. Basically, AI excels at large-scale execution of automatable tasks, and AI will only get better and better at that kind of work.

What that means

This is phenomenal news for humans for a very simple reason.

There will be millions more creators! Right now it’s hard to create. It costs money. There’s paperwork involved. You need to pay fees. You need to navigate regulations.

This is an example of GATEKEEPING. Not all gatekeepers are people. We’ve also constructed a million different systems that GATEKEEP, and AI disrupts those as well.

The result will be:

  • More people making art, films, anime, short stories, plays, movies, and all sorts of amazing things that only a tiny percent of 1% of the planet could do before.

  • More people will be able to have an idea, start a business, and go to market—all by themselves! Why? Because their AIs will have completed all the paperwork for them, and plus they’ll have AI to do the support, to help them with sales, and the million other small jobs that it takes to run a business.

In short, more artists, and more entrepreneurs. Not a few more. Tens or hundreds of millions more.

Human value reimagined

So that starts to look something like this, maybe, assuming we don’t kill ourselves off while trying to get there.

A more human world

Imagine that!

90% of the planet being CREATORS or NURTURERS!

And to be clear, there will be TONS of EXECUTORS. They’ll just be AI Agents.

Meanwhile, humans will be focused on the stuff that matters. Human stuff.

This is what I want from AI, and what I’m trying to help build.