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Question: What solution would you prefer?
Unconditional income (extremely high taxation inevitable) - 174 (77.3%)
Planned economy (with full employment provided by state) - 51 (22.7%)
Total Voters: 225

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Author Topic: Technological unemployment is (almost) here  (Read 88138 times)
Luckybit
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January 18, 2014, 12:21:25 AM
Last edit: January 18, 2014, 12:32:20 AM by Luckybit
 #361

That is functionally a public dole but with 'hoops' to jump through so you can feel people are not being 'lazy', it's simply to satisfy your perception of what is 'good' for people to do despite your complete admittance that the activities done are not economically productive.  I fail to see how anyone calling himself a libertarian can be for mandating that people submit themselves to a kind of serfdom.

Hoops to jump through are important. I think we agree that minimizing uneconomic activity is for the best. Extreme ideology of any type results in tragedy. An extreme libertarian might respond to this problem by saying the unproductive should be allowed to starve and die as this will cull them from the population and any other solution requires government involvement and higher taxes aka a public dole.

Personally I think the "let them eat cake" approach is unwise. The British tried it during the irish potato famine and it did not work out all that well. I am willing to support some form of dole for people who by virtue of the the hand they were dealt don't have what it takes to compete in a world dominated by robots. The key with such a program is to keep it as small as possible and constantly encourage people to find real work.

Some form of work for individuals and society is important both in terms of individual psychological health (pride in work, feeling of accomplishment) and in terms of social stability.
An idle mind is the devil's playground." - Lisa Marie Presley

Just because jobs are uneconomical dose not mean they wont be of some benefit to society. Any job that can be created that does not distort the real economy and raises the Popsicle Index would do. This would be a social safety net only for those who can't find other work it's still collectivism and thus not ideal but its far better then worldwide welfare for everyone or mass confiscation of private property in a futile attempt at a planned economy.

Almost any activity is economic activity. You could get paid to sleep if people could study your dream activity. There isn't a such thing as uneconomic activity. There is just activity which isn't paid or accounted for. Micropayments will change all of this.
Interesting post. This idea is also starting to hit the press.

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21594298-effect-todays-technology-tomorrows-jobs-will-be-immenseand-no-country-ready

Don't like the poll above at all. Talk about two bad choices.

Guaranteed income for nothing would be a disaster essentially creating an ever growing mass of leaches living off the state and constantly asking for more taxes to raise the guarantee.
Planned economy is the lesser of two evils if only because no economy can be completely planned.

If technological innovation does not create sufficient jobs (a BIG if and one I don't agree with) the best solution is a gurantee of employment not income.

Government should offer jobs to anyone that wants them that pay a minimum necessary to achieve a "reasonable minimum quality of life". Such jobs should be strictly limited to areas least likely to disrupt the real economy but not useless. Things like waiting at busy street corners to help kids and little old ladies across the street come to mind.

Such jobs should be harder then most. Perhaps requiring longer hours per week or something aling those lines. The trade off for living off the public dime doing nothing really productive should be a job that's a little more demanding then average.


Communism?

We don't need someone else to give us a job. We certainly don't need governments to create artificial employment. We will create roles in society for ourselves which don't have to be given but which we instead become. You become a dad, you don't petition the government to make you a father. If you have time to be a better father then invest more time raising your kids, teach them, play with them, and if you don't have kids then find some game you like to play and profit from it.

There are so many things to do which can be made into economic activity but small minds want to make it seem like we have to obsequiously bow to some master let them decide how we spend our time? The idea you described is communism.

Actually your solution combines the worst of communism, authoritarianism, and capitalism. You want government to create a bunch of bullshit jobs to keep people from doing real work and solving real problems? How about you add professional TV watcher to that list, but only government approved channels.
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January 18, 2014, 12:50:10 AM
Last edit: January 18, 2014, 01:04:41 AM by CoinCube
 #362

Communism?

We don't need someone else to give us a job. We certainly don't need governments to create artificial employment. We will create roles in society for ourselves which don't have to be given but which we instead become. You become a dad, you don't petition the government to make you a father. If you have time to be a better father then invest more time raising your kids, teach them, play with them, and if you don't have kids then find some game you like to play and profit from it.

There are so many things to do which can be made into economic activity but small minds want to make it seem like we have to obsequiously bow to some master let them decide how we spend our time? The idea you described is communism.

Actually your solution combines the worst of communism, authoritarianism, and capitalism. You want government to create a bunch of bullshit jobs to keep people from doing real work and solving real problems? How about you add professional TV watcher to that list, but only government approved channels.

I actually agree with much of what you said.

I am not saying this is the best possible solution only that it is better then the two options listed in the poll[/size]

I am not advocating my proposed solution as being at all the best way to go. In fact I believe the premise of technological unemployment is false and that the advance of technology will create new jobs very different then the jobs of today.

Regardless there will undoubtable be some people left behind by the transition and left completly unable to support themselves in the times ahead.

We really have only three choices in how we deal with the left behind

1) Let them starve and die (free market)
2) Give them free money (from taxes/government)
3) Come up with some sort of subsidized employment (also from taxes/government)

Pick your poison




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January 18, 2014, 01:40:09 AM
 #363

In fact I believe the premise of technological unemployment is false and that the advance of technology will create new jobs very different then the jobs of today.
Even respectful media recently have started changing their minds and acknowledging Luddite fallacy's breakout. The Economist now is one of them.

What is a government guarantee of employment? Enlist everyone into the military and have WW3?
Fundamental science, space exploration, education, healthcare, city improvements, roads, maglev trains, green energy, waste recycling, reforestation...
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January 18, 2014, 02:44:56 AM
 #364

Plenty of work for now, just badly organized.

The better organized the current workforce, the more rapidly it obsoletes itself.

Give a man a fish and he eats for a day.  Give a man a Poisson distribution and he eats at random times independent of one another, at a constant known rate.
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January 19, 2014, 03:36:27 PM
 #365

 "So for this to be bad we need to enforce laws that prevent equal access to knowledge and resources."

You dont have to invent anything . It is called private property and it is essence of free market. ( dont confuse with personal property )
People owning more stuff then they need thus inherently blocking others from accessing it.

So with option nr 1. Yes its a solution to starve the poor but remember when you get ideological XIX century capitalism you will also get historically opposite ideologies , so your solution may actually backfire on you.

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January 19, 2014, 04:28:24 PM
 #366



Give a man a fish and he eats for a day.  Give a man a Poisson distribution and he eats at random times independent of one another, at a constant known rate.
BadBitcoin (James Sutton)
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January 19, 2014, 04:54:18 PM
 #367

here's an idea, for the jobs that are required to be done for food (assuming that everyone here has enough empathy to not go with option 1), a reasonable solution would be to create a government/charitable organization that doles out food in response to furthering development in areas of the planet that haven't (and probably won't) be touched by gods (robotics) hand.

People get paid via food stamps / whatever form of payment we use in a post scarcity society. Eventually the people who were uplifted would be given the option to do charitable work back to the original charities homelands, essentially building infrastructure that wouldn't necessarily need to be created to increase economic output (IE no reason for robots to do it)

technically all that could be done with robotics, but since there is no economic reason to increase the lives of somalis (for example), this might be one of the best uses for "fake work"

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January 19, 2014, 05:03:31 PM
 #368

option nr 1. Yes its a solution to starve the poor but remember when you get ideological XIX century capitalism you will also get historically opposite ideologies , so your solution may actually backfire on you.
Absolutely true! The opposite ideology for free-market "starve the poor" is extreme communism, so the people who support pro-bourgeoisie ideas can end up with new Stalin or Mao in GULAG or be shot. History repeats!

a reasonable solution would be to create a government/charitable organization that doles out food in response to furthering development in areas of the planet that haven't (and probably won't) be touched by gods (robotics) hand.

People get paid via food stamps / whatever form of payment we use in a post scarcity society. Eventually the people who were uplifted would be given the option to do charitable work back to the original charities homelands, essentially building infrastructure that wouldn't necessarily need to be created to increase economic output (IE no reason for robots to do it)
Most people will not be happy living on food stamps and haven't fulfilled their demands (housing, clothes, healthcare, education, transport etc). This model won't sustain even for single decade and finally end up in a bloody civil war!
BadBitcoin (James Sutton)
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January 19, 2014, 05:22:10 PM
 #369

Most people will not be happy living on food stamps and haven't fulfilled their demands (housing, clothes, healthcare, education, transport etc). This model won't sustain even for single decade and finally end up in a bloody civil war!

by payment in food stamps/ post scaricty money, I was talking about "fundamental human rights money" aka food, water, shelter, transportation, education, internet, literally everything we take for granted today. Since these in our society will most likely be provided to us at no cost due to perfect economics (M2M transactions) and robotic manufacturing, none of these will be of significant cost to create.

What this does is something that another form of work would do, it creates compassion and empathy in people helping those that couldn't help themselves, it might be a little idealist to assume it would actually work this way but its better than class warfare / running in hamster wheels for money.
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January 19, 2014, 09:41:13 PM
 #370

First of all, thanks to the OP for starting this discussion, I have to say it's quite engaging; just read through the whole 20 pages, and the arguments on both sides provide some good food for thought.

It's obvious that people are separated on politics and personal value lines, although it's a bit disconcerting to see so many in support of what boils down to essentially communist solutions. After all the pain and suffering caused in the past 100 years by this brilliant on the outside/rotten in its core philosophy one would have hoped to see less enthusiasm for repeating the mistakes of the past...
http://www.thecommentator.com/article/4230/so_how_many_did_communism_kill

Anyway, something that I haven't seen challenged too much so far is the assumption that the people who lose their jobs to automation will only have two choices: starve or be on (various forms of) welfare. I think this is a false dichotomy, but to explain why we may need to take a step back and look at the overall picture that is being considered here.

We are assuming a society many years into the future, where all the menial jobs can be done cheaper and more efficient by automation (I'll call them "robots" for simplicity but of course this may imply computers/machines/etc.). There is a secondary aspect of even complex jobs being taken over by robots (doctors, lawyers and programmers) but that is a non-issue in the discussion, simply because of the very small number (relative to the population) of people engaged in these jobs. If somehow all the doctors will be replaced tomorrow by Watson, they can always fall back to flipping burgers at McD; they won't be happy, but they won't riot either. The problem appears when there are no jobs to fall back on, no McD, no agriculture, no wiping the floors, nothing; that's when you have huge numbers of people with no marketable skills and no possibility for employment, and that can indeed lead to social unrest.

But let us pause for a moment and look at this world that we're imagining -- it can not have just manifested out of nothing, it must have reached that stage through change and adaptation, in other words through evolution. Just like humans did not suddenly appear from amoebas, robots will not suddenly appear one day and instantly "fire" all burger flippers and factory workers. It takes time and a lot of changes to get from the world as it is today to the world we're talking about here. Robots will be extremely expensive at first, cumbersome and limited; for a while a simple reduction in benefits or salaries will be enough to keep humans profitable, even while robots already exist.
http://www.dailytech.com/Foxconn+Runs+into+Trouble+Deploying+Robot+Replacements+for+Human+Workers/article29390.htm

Eventually, a company will appear that employed a 100% robotic workforce, and managed to make products cheaper and of better quality than their competitors. Even at that point, it would still be years before the large existing corporations would adapt their entire production to the new paradigm -- they always suffer from a lot of inertia and risk-aversion, so the improvements offered by the robots will need to be really worth it to the bottom line in order for them to engage in such a move. A robot will not only have to be cheaper than a human, it will have to be significantly cheaper and more efficient.

So what happens when we reach the point of all jobs being automated? Well, for one thing the robots themselves will be very cheap at this point, flexible, resilient and ubiquitous. They would have to be, it's what needs to happen with any technology before it takes over businesses on a global scale. It's what happened to mobile phones (once the price of a small car), computers and networks. Even in the poorest places on Earth, one can get a simple mobile phone and a netbook for next to nothing -- they may not have running water or enough food, but mobile phones are literally everywhere, including remote areas in Africa and Asia. Robots will also have to get there at the time of them "taking over".

But wait -- this means that even those poor, dis-enfranchised people will be able to afford robots for themselves! Remember they have to be significantly cheaper than the humans they replace, yet more efficient. Sure, not the latest model but a refurbished 10-year old one; not a complex life-companion but a much simpler one, still capable of doing a lot of menial work (that's what they've been created for, right?). They will be able to build them from parts, get obsolete models for free at corporate hand-overs, there will a "one robot per family" charity sending them all over the place... Basically even poor households will have access to their own obedient servants, ready to work 24x7 to provide for the family: they can build houses, grow crops, tend to farm animals, dig irrigation canals, fall trees, drive vehicles, care for the young ones and so on and on. A small village may be able to even get a team of 10-20 robots to work for them and build large projects. Again, this will not happen over night -- first one guy will be fired from the factory and buy a robot with his severance pay; then others around might notice the benefits and borrow the robot from time to time for their own jobs; then the second person does the same and so on and so on, by the time everyone lost their jobs robots will already be present in their community.

The end result of all this will be people with no jobs, yet able to survive based on the labor of their robots. In a weird way one may perhaps view this as another take on the "universal income" option above, but one that emerges from society and does not involve state intervention at any point. Actually, the only problems I see with the above scenario would come because of state intervention or human prejudice: the state may impose extremely high import taxes on the otherwise cheap robots, in order to "protect jobs" (ouch!); some "well-intentioned" politicians may be able to ban robot ownership in order to "protect the children"; or people might just hate and destroy them outright out of some irrational Luddite hatred.

Another thing to point out is that human labor will never disappear completely, even in an otherwise fully-automated society. Leaving aside the idea that programming would be done by AI (at that point we will have reached technological singularity, and nothing afterwards could possibly be predicted from our perspective), there will always be a demand for the "human touch". Even if robots would produce demonstrably better products, humans are not entirely rational creatures (thankfully) and as such they will prefer a certain sweater simply because of the "made by human" sticker. Just as we now have organic/fair-trade/hand-made products which actually are part of a growing market, we will also have "human-made" objects still being produced and valued by a significant proportion of the population. Many people will also reject robots out of hand (for whatever reason) so they will choose to employ human baby-sitters, gardeners or secretaries -- it's something that can be seen with racism and sexism in the workplace even now, there is nothing protecting robots from the same treatment.


One thing is clear and undeniable: the world will change, and quite substantially at that. There will be pain and suffering, just as there always has been since the dawn of civilization -- the solution to that however will not be found in world-wide statism, tyranny and communism. I wish we as a race will have enough reason and empathy to make the right choice here -- although, anything is possible (and on-going world events do not provide much hope, unfortunately).
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January 20, 2014, 12:39:13 AM
 #371

everything will be cheap, except for scarcity.  there won't be enough scarcity to go around.

i think unemployment is good, if it enables capable people to focus on their passions and excellences.  but that requires material provision, which requires a distribution mechanism.  

Give a man a fish and he eats for a day.  Give a man a Poisson distribution and he eats at random times independent of one another, at a constant known rate.
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January 20, 2014, 12:55:13 AM
 #372

.................................................................

I understand your aversion to communism, and I agree that robots will be creating a scaricity free society; However that isn't the major problem we face, our biggest challenge will actually be of the mind,  apathy.

When there are no jobs, and no need for money, there is not much need to work or do anything as robots will do everything we want them to do. I can easily forsee a two-race future of humans, one that has embraced cybernetics/genetic enhancement to keep pace with the skill level of robots themselves, and a race of degenerated humans who after years of apathy and brainlessness have turned back into apes.

Personally I'd like us to not have this happen, which is why (until we get into space and can afford to use humans) some sort of make-work effort is valuable not financially, but mentally. People need something to do and they need someone to tell them that they need it.
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January 20, 2014, 01:48:03 AM
 #373

It's obvious that people are separated on politics and personal value lines, although it's a bit disconcerting to see so many in support of what boils down to essentially communist solutions. After all the pain and suffering caused in the past 100 years by this brilliant on the outside/rotten in its core philosophy one would have hoped to see less enthusiasm for repeating the mistakes of the past...
You can say the same for the capitalism - millions died during Great Depression, even more in WW2 which was largely caused by this crisis.

It takes time and a lot of changes to get from the world as it is today to the world we're talking about here. Robots will be extremely expensive at first, cumbersome and limited; for a while a simple reduction in benefits or salaries will be enough to keep humans profitable, even while robots already exist.
Universal robots like Baxter will offer cheap, fast and easy integration into any production and service processes. They will be programmable using natural languages and gestures, as well as easy movable from one plant to the another one where can be retrained for new occupation. Moreover, these robots will recoup themselves within a year comparing to the human worker's minimum wage.

Basically even poor households will have access to their own obedient servants, ready to work 24x7 to provide for the family: they can build houses, grow crops, tend to farm animals, dig irrigation canals, fall trees, drive vehicles, care for the young ones and so on and on. A small village may be able to even get a team of 10-20 robots to work for them and build large projects.
This won't happen - bourgeois elite own land, mineral resources and power plants. Its obvious they won't give it away for free voluntarily!

there will always be a demand for the "human touch"
Number of these jobs will very tiny so rich people will chose only "superstars" from millions of the candidates.

I can easily forsee a two-race future of humans, one that has embraced cybernetics/genetic enhancement to keep pace with the skill level of robots themselves, and a race of degenerated humans who after years of apathy and brainlessness have turned back into apes.
This will unlikely to happen. Robots will surpass live workers even with genetic enhancements because machines don't need to fulfill human needs.
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January 20, 2014, 08:03:20 AM
 #374

I understand your aversion to communism, and I agree that robots will be creating a scaricity free society; However that isn't the major problem we face, our biggest challenge will actually be of the mind,  apathy.

When there are no jobs, and no need for money, there is not much need to work or do anything as robots will do everything we want them to do. I can easily forsee a two-race future of humans, one that has embraced cybernetics/genetic enhancement to keep pace with the skill level of robots themselves, and a race of degenerated humans who after years of apathy and brainlessness have turned back into apes

There is no place for robots in competition between humans (if only as targets or weapons, see Real Steel), so we can always turn to something like gladiator fights, super bowls or whatever...

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January 21, 2014, 12:41:48 AM
 #375

When there are no jobs, and no need for money, there is not much need to work or do anything as robots will do everything we want them to do. I can easily forsee a two-race future of humans, one that has embraced cybernetics/genetic enhancement to keep pace with the skill level of robots themselves, and a race of degenerated humans who after years of apathy and brainlessness have turned back into apes.

This is actually a very good point, and one could argue that we're already seeing this in our current society -- many people hardly use their brains and live in a purely vegetative state. However, the question then becomes -- will these apathetic humans be content with their lives or not? Because if they are content with some soap operas and porn and the occasional B-movie then they won't have reasons to riot and kill. However if somehow they become discontent and desire more from life, will they choose to better themselves or to "take" it from the ones they perceive as having more? I guess this mostly depends on the political environment at that time; as so many other times in history, if enough propaganda is leveraged the masses (especially the otherwise apathetic ones) can be warped into a frenzy of destruction. We can't predict if and when this would happen, only try to prevent it when we see the signs -- and the best weapon is education (not the public-school type unfortunately, but the Internet can play a huge role here).

Quote from: BadBitcoin (James Sutton)
Personally I'd like us to not have this happen, which is why (until we get into space and can afford to use humans) some sort of make-work effort is valuable not financially, but mentally. People need something to do and they need someone to tell them that they need it.

Yes, agreed that people will need something to do. But what about virtual realities in this case? We already have tens of millions of people playing games like WoW, and if anyone has ever tried such a game you can tell it's mostly a simulacrum of work with a little fun in between. Grind, grind, grind, sell & buy, grind, do a raid. Rinse and repeat the next day Wink I think more advanced versions of this will undoubtedly appear in the next few years and they would be a great avenue for people with otherwise no occupation to expend their mental energy.

Quote from: giantdragon
You can say the same for the capitalism - millions died during Great Depression, even more in WW2 which was largely caused by this crisis.

Sorry, but that's wrong on so many levels... First of all, the Great Depression was caused by a complex combination of events which had a global impact, affecting countries with various types of economies. The pain and suffering was compounded by ecological and political crisis, and many historians argue that some of the statist measures being enforced (such as restricting international trade to "protect" the local markets) actually worked against recovery, deepening the economic meltdown. In any case, even taking all that into consideration, the amount of people directly affected by communism is an order of magnitude higher, you just can not compare one with the other.

As for the victims of WW2 -- the aggressors were all statist regimes (fascism being a close relative of communism), the most you can blame the "free-market" states like Britain or the US is that they tried to keep out of it as much as possible (which turned out to be a bad idea in the end).

Quote from: giantdragon
Universal robots like Baxter will offer cheap, fast and easy integration into any production and service processes. They will be programmable using natural languages and gestures, as well as easy movable from one plant to the another one where can be retrained for new occupation. Moreover, these robots will recoup themselves within a year comparing to the human worker's minimum wage.

As cool as Baxter is, and as useful as it can potentially become, it still can not do all the things you describe. It is only able to learn and repeat simple tasks. Knowing a thing or two about robotics, even that is an amazing achievement -- but way short of the robots you describe that will completely replace humans. For one, it is completely unable to move around by itself -- and that's not an easy problem to solve. Will it evolve? Certainly! Will we reach a point when it can do all those things? Probably. But that time has not yet come, which is also evidenced by the fact that factories around the world are not yet buying them in the millions. Do not underestimate the difficulty of getting there; when that happens, we can have this discussion again.

Quote from: giantdragon
This won't happen - bourgeois elite own land, mineral resources and power plants. Its obvious they won't give it away for free voluntarily!

Now that I will not deny -- the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of very few individuals has become clearly disproportionate (some wealth inequality is normal and to be expected; the amount we have at the moment however is not). But is that a failure of the market or the result of statist laws and regulations and the expansion of government power? The evidence points quite clearly to the later in my opinion. Also, please remember that while power concentration may happen in a free market, it is a guarantee when you talk about a communist state. There you don't even have the choice -- the elite has the power "by law" and that's it, end of story.

Quote from: giantdragon
Number of these jobs will very tiny so rich people will chose only "superstars" from millions of the candidates.

I'd say there will be just enough of these jobs to provide a level of subsistence to a good portion of the population. Keep in mind that there will be jobs created in such an economy which we can't even imagine right now.

Quote from: giantdragon
This will unlikely to happen. Robots will surpass live workers even with genetic enhancements because machines don't need to fulfill human needs.

This is certainly true for simple, repetitive tasks -- humans are terrible at those while robots will excel. But when talking about the more complex, creative jobs that you envision will be taken as well? Not clear, not clear at all. A robot that will have a "hard AI" level (required to perform the most advanced human jobs) might very well suffer from mood swings, compulsive behaviors and the need to "take a break" from time to time just like humans. I have a feeling we'll be surprised how close to us these truly intelligent machines will turn out to be.
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January 21, 2014, 01:35:28 AM
 #376

the amount of people directly affected by communism is an order of magnitude higher, you just can not compare one with the other.
Count also colonization of the Africa in favor of European bourgeoisie, fencing in England, slavery in U.S. etc and you can find extra order of magnitude of capitalism's victims comparing to the communism's.

As cool as Baxter is, and as useful as it can potentially become, it still can not do all the things you describe. It is only able to learn and repeat simple tasks. Knowing a thing or two about robotics, even that is an amazing achievement -- but way short of the robots you describe that will completely replace humans.
To break status quo we don't need full automation! I think even permanent disappearance of just 5-10% jobs will be enough to fire civil war if economical system won't be adjusted in time.

I'd say there will be just enough of these jobs to provide a level of subsistence to a good portion of the population. Keep in mind that there will be jobs created in such an economy which we can't even imagine right now.
You are repeating standard argument of the Luddite fallacy's supporter. But its not the law of physics that guaranteed to last forever.

But when talking about the more complex, creative jobs that you envision will be taken as well?
Not many people are creative enough to offer something that has value on the market ("superstar effect" will continue to grow as more and more things become pure digital - this already happened with movies, books, music, games, software and will be true for tangible items when personal 3D printers will evolve enough).
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January 21, 2014, 03:00:08 AM
 #377

To break status quo we don't need full automation! I think even permanent disappearance of just 5-10% jobs will be enough to fire civil war if economical system won't be adjusted in time.

We have an existence proof that this is wrong.  See chart above.

Give a man a fish and he eats for a day.  Give a man a Poisson distribution and he eats at random times independent of one another, at a constant known rate.
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January 21, 2014, 03:10:55 AM
 #378

We have an existence proof that this is wrong.  See chart above.
I mean minus extra 5-10% from current labor force participation rate ("hot times" will start when LFPR will fall below 55-50% IMHO).
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January 21, 2014, 11:42:24 PM
 #379

Count also colonization of the Africa in favor of European bourgeoisie, fencing in England, slavery in U.S. etc and you can find extra order of
magnitude of capitalism's victims comparing to the communism's.

I'm sorry but if you don't see there is no logical connection between those (horrible indeed) events and the economic concept of free markets, then we have nothing further to discuss on the subject. Tragically, even adding those numbers you'd run short of reaching communism's death toll -- yes it was that bad.

To break status quo we don't need full automation! I think even permanent disappearance of just 5-10% jobs will be enough to fire civil war if economical system won't be adjusted in time. I mean minus extra 5-10% from current labor force participation rate ("hot times" will start when LFPR will fall below 55-50% IMHO).

Oh, that is all quite possible unfortunately; but wait a second, the current loss of jobs is not a direct cause of automation. Sure, that plays a part but it's a small one in a very complex mechanism. Most problems stem from the very bad and irrational measures taken by governments -- ironically, mostly in the socialist direction: more welfare, more taxes, more regulation. If anything is going to kill the economy and cause civil war that would be taking this to its extreme conclusion into full-on communism. "Universal income" will just create universal misery for everyone while a centrally planned economy is such a hilariously bad idea that it's not even worth considering.

No, the solution here is to go in the opposite direction since this one is clearly not working: less regulation, reduced taxation (especially towards the working class who are being taxed more than the ruling elite nowadays), fewer welfare programs, less debt; teaching people how to be responsible adults and take care of themselves once again instead of running to the "nanny" every time they have a problem. That will bring us prosperity again -- but not without pain and suffering first, I grant you that; we are too deep down the rabbit hole to get out unscathed. The deeper we go however the worse will be the end result.

You are repeating standard argument of the Luddite fallacy's supporter. But its not the law of physics that guaranteed to last forever.

You haven't countered that argument with anything but a lack of imagination. Just because you can't imagine the ways the jobs will change to evolve and adapt to a changing society does not mean it won't happen.

Not many people are creative enough to offer something that has value on the market ("superstar effect" will continue to grow as more and more things become pure digital - this already happened with movies, books, music, games, software and will be true for tangible items when personal 3D printers will evolve enough).

Hmm, that's funny, I would argue we see the exact opposite happening -- a true democratization of creativity. While before the advent of the Internet writers could starve until they got a book published and painters had to die before their paintings would sell, these days almost anyone can become a "star". People make money with Youtube videos about the silliest of topics; e-books on Amazon that aren't even edited properly; musicians go on iTunes and ten-year-olds publish game apps for mobile devices. If anything, we're seeing fewer millionaire "rockstars" but instead regular people making smaller amounts of money individually, yet in much greater numbers. They have smaller but more loyal audiences, they cover niche markets with targeted products and they constantly invent new forms of expression. The biggest threat to creativity (and making money out of it) is not automation -- instead we find, yet again, statist power coming down with restrictions and regulations, this time in the form of IP law and its many ugly heads.
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January 22, 2014, 12:03:43 AM
 #380

You are repeating standard argument of the Luddite fallacy's supporter. But its not the law of physics that guaranteed to last forever.
You haven't countered that argument with anything but a lack of imagination. Just because you can't imagine the ways the jobs will change to evolve and adapt to a changing society does not mean it won't happen.

Neither facts or logic have been brought to bear here.  Your imagination that jobs will change in a way which provides something like full employment (if you even do so imagine) does not lend credence to that view.  He countered the argument by observing that it was without foundation.  You countered that argument with your imagination.  If the foundation is your imagination, I wonder how much load it will bear.  Will it withstand a storm of empirical evidence, or an earthquake of logic?  If so, is it a monument or a blight?

Quote
If anything, we're seeing fewer millionaire "rockstars" but instead regular people making smaller amounts of money individually, yet in much greater numbers.


Amounts of money inadequate to alleviate abject poverty in almost all cases.  Not relevant to the question "how will people survive".  Relevant, perhaps to the question "how will wealthy people self-actualize".

Centralized solutions to wealth inequality are pretty terrible in their unintended (sometimes intended) consequences.  Decentralized mechanisms have been offered; often in the alt-coin space, this goal is pursued, if never adequately.  A (1) decentral structural change which creates enough incentives to gain viral opt-in, without (2) creating a new kleptocracy, and (3) facilitating enough dispersion of wealth to enable humanity to avoid dystopic outcomes, seems desirable to me.  Bitcoin offers the first, but does nothing to address the remaining points.


Give a man a fish and he eats for a day.  Give a man a Poisson distribution and he eats at random times independent of one another, at a constant known rate.
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