Humans Need Not Apply

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Humans Need Not Apply
Humans Need Not Apply current thumbanil.jpg
Thumbnail as of October 2022
Produced byCGP Grey
Release date
  • 13 August 2014 (2014-08-13)
Running time
CountryUnited Kingdom

Humans Need Not Apply is a 2014 short film directed, produced, written, and edited by CGP Grey. It focuses on the future of the integration of automation into economics, as well as the impact of this integration to the worldwide workforce. It was released online on YouTube on 13 August 2014.[1] It was later made available via iTunes and RSS.[2]


Lexus RX 450h with attachment on top and Google logo on the side
A Lexus RX 450h retrofitted as a self-driving car by Google

The video focuses on the topic of robots' rapidly increasing usefulness through human society, discussing how automation will lead to a future where human labour is no longer needed.

Early on, an analogy is made describing how humans once displaced horses from their jobs (by creating mechanical muscles such as automobiles), dismissing the argument that humans will always find new work, seeing as horses are not used nearly as much now. This analogy finishes by connecting the creation of mechanical minds, or "brain labor", to robots ousting humans from their occupations.[3][4] Grey also discusses how economics is the force behind a future based upon automation.[5]

Grey concludes by stating that 45% of the workforce could be replaced by bots, a figure which is inclusive of professional, white-collar and low-skill occupations, and higher than the 25% unemployment figure of the Great Depression.[6][7] To take one specific example, the video states that there are 3 million driving jobs in the United States and 70 million worldwide (extrapolated from the United States figure).[3] Grey further states that even creative occupations are not secure, mentioning the AI-composed music in the background of his video.[8]

Additionally, the viewer is reminded that the video is not discussing or portraying a future based upon science fiction, using examples such as Baxter, self-driving cars (referred to as autos in the video) and IBM's Watson.[6][9][10]

Production and funding[edit]

The film was funded through Subbable, a crowdfunding website. Grey used this website as a means to support his projects before moving to Subbable's successor, Patreon.[11]


Humans Need Not Apply was covered by several publications, including Business Insider, The Huffington Post and Forbes.[7][12][13] Coverage of the video complimented its presentation, calling the video "well-produced".[9] 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".[3][14] 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."[13] The Verge commented, "The video may be too pessimistic by the end, but the thesis still stands."[15] Vice Motherboard said, "The rather depressing video makes a strong case for why just about zero jobs are safe, and it's high time we wise up to that fact."[10] World Futures Review called the film's treatment of the topic "brilliantly described".[16]

After a few days of release, the video reached one million views.[3] As of January 2022, Humans Need Not Apply has reached over 15.2 million views.[17] It received over 180,000 likes as of March 2017.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Humans Need Not Apply, retrieved 12 March 2020
  2. ^ "CGP Grey Videos". CGP Grey. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Pagano, Margareta (17 August 2014). "Humans need not apply: The future of jobs is robot-shaped". The Independent. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  4. ^ Semwal, Tushar; Iqbal, Faiz (2 March 2022). Cyber-Physical Systems: Solutions to Pandemic Challenges. CRC Press. p. 87. ISBN 978-1-000-56259-0.
  5. ^ Griswold, Alison (15 August 2014). "Why the Future of Work Is Doomed, in One Video". Moneybox. Slate. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  6. ^ a b Strange, Adario (19 August 2014). "Scary Smart Video Predicts Automation Will Make Human Work Obsolete". Mashable. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  7. ^ a b Love, Dylan (13 August 2014). "Not Even Doctors And Lawyers Are Safe From Machines Taking Their Jobs". Business Insider. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  8. ^ Farrell, J. P. (2015). "Artificial Composers: Tools of the Modern Musician or Affront to Human Creativity?". Inquiries Journal. 7 (3): 1.
  9. ^ a b Ford, Martin (20 August 2014). "The Robots Are Coming and 'Humans Need Not Apply'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  10. ^ a b Neal, Meghan (13 August 2014). "Why Automation Today Is Like Computers in the 1980s". Motherboard. Vice. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  11. ^ Grey, CGP (18 August 2014). "CGP Grey Crowdfunding, Year 2". CGP Grey. YouTube. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  12. ^ "Why Robots Will Steal Your Job, In One 15 Minute Video". Huffington Post UK. 18 August 2014. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  13. ^ a b Kasanoff, Bruce (18 August 2014). "If 'Humans Need Not Apply,' Will All Our Jobs Disappear?". Forbes. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  14. ^ Roggeveen, Sam (18 August 2014). "Humans need not apply: An economic horror movie". The Interpreter. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  15. ^ Lecher, Colin (13 August 2014). "Humans are starting to look like horses right before the Model T". The Verge. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  16. ^ Goux-Baudiment, Fabienne (December 2014). "Sharing Our Humanity with Robots: What Does It Mean To Be Human?". World Futures Review. 6 (4): 412–425. CiteSeerX doi:10.1177/1946756715569442. ISSN 1946-7567. S2CID 153601222.
  17. ^ CGP Grey (13 August 2014), Humans Need Not Apply, retrieved 1 September 2020
  18. ^ Crawford Visbal, Joseph Livingston; Crawford, Livingston (March 2017). "Science Popularization Videos by Independent YouTube Creators and User's Appropriation Strategies: Qualitative Analysis of User Comments". Proceedings of EDULEARN17 Conference. EDULEARN17 Proceedings. Barcelona, Spain. 1: 1546–1554. doi:10.21125/edulearn.2017.1334. ISBN 978-84-697-3777-4. Archived from the original on 8 September 2022. Retrieved 8 September 2022.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)

External links[edit]