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Author Topic: Is 90% jobless rate possible when robots are used everywhere?  (Read 3870 times)
TheGer
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August 02, 2011, 10:24:34 PM
 #41

More like you proved mine since your reply to my posts consists purely of regurgitated rhetoric used to self validate yourself while degrading others.  It fails miserably since people are generally not stupid enough to fall for it these days.

But hey, thanks for playing.
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evolve
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August 02, 2011, 10:37:46 PM
 #42

ok, fine.. ill let you bait me into this.

your scenario of robots building, maintaining, and repairing themselves on a large scale without human intervention is, in my opinion, a pipe dream. have you put any thought into the complexity of the infrastructure would have to be for this to occur??? do you really think its possible to have that level of automation given current technology (and to do in all levels of production in every industry)? not to mention the more complex the system gets, the more that can go wrong..and while robots and computers are great at certain things, creative problem solving is not one of them (at least until AI becomes a viable technology). and theres still the issue of marketing, transporting, engineering, and programming new robots. (unless you think welder robot v1.0 is going to decide to build welder robot v2.0...) after all, the companies making the robots will need to make money...that means they need to create newer, better versions they can sell to continue to make money each year.

i stick by my opinion that we wont reach a level in which human intervention isnt required on a major scale.




thats the answer you would have gotten without the overlord bs, and im still not convinced you can rationally discuss this without bringing up some Illuminati crap.

TheGer
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August 02, 2011, 10:41:03 PM
 #43

Sorry I stopped reading at this point since the OP was talking about 2050.  If you can't stay on the same page, put the book down.

"do you really think its possible to have that level of automation given current technology "

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August 02, 2011, 10:49:39 PM
 #44

you really think that level of automation would be possible in 40 years given that we arent even remotely close to it now?Huh? you dont think our current level of technology has any bearing on future technological gains?

not a very convincing argument  Undecided
TheGer
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August 02, 2011, 10:52:12 PM
 #45

Wow, sounds like something they would have said in 1970 about today.

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August 02, 2011, 11:07:42 PM
 #46

Sorry to disappoint you, bit the technological gap between the 70's and now is exponentially smaller than the gap between now and the scenario you are suggesting.

You don't seem to have put any thought into what it would actually take to implement and maintain a system like you are talking about.
makomk
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August 03, 2011, 12:12:26 AM
 #47

Exactly.  Human desires are limitless.  Labor is the scarcest of resources.  There will be need of robot designers, maintainers, programmers, etc.  The only exception might be if we manage to create artificial intelligence; this would be the same affect as another intelligent species competing with us here on earth.  But if we do create the Singularity we will probably have bigger concerns than losing our jobs.  Wink  
What happens when it isn't the scarcest resource anymore, though? The increases in efficiency over the past few centuries have followed a fairly consistent pattern: society has consistently replaced labour-intensive methods of doing things with less labour-intensive ones that require more resources and capital expenditure. Robot manufacturing is just one part of this.

If robots are really used everywhere, then 90% unemployment isn't deprivation -- it's liberation.

If robots build everything, including themselves, and the only things still requiring human labor are things like art, science, and designing the next generation of robots, then that's the world set free from want. It's almost like having a replicator from Star Trek without the technobabble physics. If robots can do it all, every machine can ultimately be made starting with rocks, air, sea water, and sunlight. Things not directly manufactured (like food, natural fibers, and timber) can at least be tended and harvested by robots in place of farmers, ranchers, and fishers.
It isn't, because you still need raw materials which are an awful lot more exotic than you think they are (such as neodynium for example) and very large quantities of other materials, and there's still scarcity of those, and the sources of the materials are owned by a tiny ultra-wealthy fraction of the world's population. Then there's the problem of capital expenses; a fabrication plant capable of building state-of-the-art chips costs billions of dollars to build and lots of money to keep running, and that's with the specialist equipment required being bought in from third parties that can spread their development costs across multiple fabs and companies. Even normal robot factories are hardly cheap.

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August 03, 2011, 12:18:01 AM
 #48

Either trying to prove it will not happen, or trying to make the plan when it happens, the latter I think is more positive:)

I never think "super powerful rich guys" have any intention to eliminate others that is in a weaker position. On the contrary, it is those weaker guys  make those stronger guys can show off and feel good:) But even for those powerful guys, they could still be very simple thinking from their own point of view, thus not seeing the whole picture


TheGer
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August 03, 2011, 03:04:08 AM
 #49

Your statement lacks validity, substance, and anything approaching infomration leading anyone to believe it.  Technology apparantly has left you behind.  Perhaps in the 70's?

Again, thanks for playing.

Sorry to disappoint you, bit the technological gap between the 70's and now is exponentially smaller than the gap between now and the scenario you are suggesting.

You don't seem to have put any thought into what it would actually take to implement and maintain a system like you are talking about.

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August 03, 2011, 03:09:19 AM
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If robots are really used everywhere, then 90% unemployment isn't deprivation -- it's liberation.

If robots build everything, including themselves, and the only things still requiring human labor are things like art, science, and designing the next generation of robots, then that's the world set free from want. It's almost like having a replicator from Star Trek without the technobabble physics. If robots can do it all, every machine can ultimately be made starting with rocks, air, sea water, and sunlight. Things not directly manufactured (like food, natural fibers, and timber) can at least be tended and harvested by robots in place of farmers, ranchers, and fishers.
It isn't, because you still need raw materials which are an awful lot more exotic than you think they are (such as neodynium for example) and very large quantities of other materials, and there's still scarcity of those, and the sources of the materials are owned by a tiny ultra-wealthy fraction of the world's population. Then there's the problem of capital expenses; a fabrication plant capable of building state-of-the-art chips costs billions of dollars to build and lots of money to keep running, and that's with the specialist equipment required being bought in from third parties that can spread their development costs across multiple fabs and companies. Even normal robot factories are hardly cheap.

I would identify 3 broad areas that necessarily contribute to the cost of producing material goods. They are the costs of raw materials, energy, and labor. Supposing that robots can perform all labor necessary to produce anything that is manufactured today -- a big supposition, to be sure -- then we are left with costs of energy and raw materials.

Energy is effectively free because if robots can build anything for free, they can build solar panels, batteries, nuclear reactors, and other energy generation and storage devices too. The rate at which energy can be produced is still limited by thermodynamic considerations or (more pressingly) the available planetary surface area per person, but the cost of manufacturing and operating energy systems is zero.

Finally, what of raw materials? Today it is important to work concentrated ores to extract mineral products because energy, machinery, and labor have substantial costs. If those costs are near-zero than the initial concentration and distribution of mineral resources is much less important. Better to extract aluminum from backyard rocks using your free energy and unpaid robot-labor than to pay a bauxite mine owner for access to his more concentrated mineral resources.

With free energy and robot labor, the only mineral resources that aren't accessible from common rocks are those that are both rare on Earth and strongly concentrated by geochemical processes. This includes, in my opinion, tellurium, indium, bismuth, tungsten, silver, gold, and the platinum group metals. These metals are technologically useful but can be substituted in almost all applications at some modest cost to performance. It does not include relatively common and widely dispersed elements like gallium and the rare earth elements that nonetheless command a high price at present and thereby seem scarce. Neodymium itself, for example, is about 3 times as abundant as lead in the Earth's crust.

By way of example, look at this analysis from the USGS of basalt located near Portland, Oregon. There are over 480 trillion tons of similar basalt in the Columbia Plateau spread over thousands of square kilometers of the northwestern United States. One ton of this type of rock, literally more common than dirt, contains about $70 worth of minerals at current market prices (mostly from the vanadium, molybdenum, cobalt, and rare earth elements). The reason it's not exploited at present is that it costs more than $70 in machinery, labor, and energy to separate the desirable elements from bulk rock. But if the labor is as free as self-duplicating robots and the energy is as free as sunshine, these "rare and valuable" elements actually prove common and nearly as good as free.

This finally takes me back to my original statement: if you have robots that do nearly everything, including building copies of themselves, the price of most material goods collapses because they can be reproduced at nearly zero marginal cost, like MP3s. If the self-reproducing robotic systems have a small footprint it's conceivable that everyone could have one in their back yard. If they have a large footprint, they'll need a friendly nation to operate in, one that would benefit more from the abundant free energy and goods from "pirated" robotic systems than from adhering to international treaties about trade and intellectual property. Fortunately, there is no shortage of nations in the latter category, and their goods will cross borders regardless of law, just like Americans can get cheap (if not completely free) high-quality DVD bootlegs from Chinese suppliers. Either by vote or by violence, the robotic abundance will eventually spread worldwide, because there is no continent where intellectual property owners and the rich outnumber hourly workers and the poor.
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August 03, 2011, 03:24:21 AM
 #51

Technology apparantly has left you behind.  Perhaps in the 70's?

Again, thanks for playing.

just like i thought. you have absolutely nothing to add to the discussion. you've not even attempted to back up your point of view (hint: because you cant) and you haven't made a single response that has any amount of substance whatsoever (unless you count a shitty meme and sophmoric nuh-uhs as substance). 

as i said originally, there is no way we can have a rational discussion...someone who holds such irrational and illogical beliefs as the crazy assed shit you've said earlier in this thread isnt capable of it.

so, yeah. im done.


  We are being contaminated down to our very genetic structure to make sure we can no longer breed or rise up against oppression.
but good luck with the whole insanity thing, man...dont forget to put on your tinfoil hat (i hear the robot overlords cant read your mind when you wear it)

TheGer
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August 03, 2011, 03:37:27 AM
 #52

Lol I have mimiced back to you the same type of conversation tactic you have used all day.  If anyone has not added anything it is you.  You go out of your way to argue using platitudes and rhetoric just like a politician.  With the same talking points and catch phrases.  Go home and let the adults play now.



Technology apparantly has left you behind.  Perhaps in the 70's?

Again, thanks for playing.

just like i thought. you have absolutely nothing to add to the discussion. you've not even attempted to back up your point of view (hint: because you cant) and you haven't made a single response that has any amount of substance whatsoever (unless you count a shitty meme and sophmoric nuh-uhs as substance).  

as i said originally, there is no way we can have a rational discussion...someone who holds such irrational and illogical beliefs as the crazy assed shit you've said earlier in this thread isnt capable of it.

so, yeah. im done.


 We are being contaminated down to our very genetic structure to make sure we can no longer breed or rise up against oppression.
but good luck with the whole insanity thing, man...dont forget to put on your tinfoil hat (i hear the robot overlords cant read your mind when you wear it)


makomk
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August 03, 2011, 01:37:36 PM
 #53

Energy is effectively free because if robots can build anything for free, they can build solar panels, batteries, nuclear reactors, and other energy generation and storage devices too. The rate at which energy can be produced is still limited by thermodynamic considerations or (more pressingly) the available planetary surface area per person, but the cost of manufacturing and operating energy systems is zero.
Assuming raw materials were free, energy could be pretty much free - but that's not a good assumption to make

Finally, what of raw materials? Today it is important to work concentrated ores to extract mineral products because energy, machinery, and labor have substantial costs. If those costs are near-zero than the initial concentration and distribution of mineral resources is much less important. Better to extract aluminum from backyard rocks using your free energy and unpaid robot-labor than to pay a bauxite mine owner for access to his more concentrated mineral resources.
There's a problem here. Remember that you haven't shown unconditionally that your scenario will lead to nearly-free energy; you've only shown it could do so long as raw materials are also free. In particular there's a hard limit: if it requires more energy to extract the raw materials required for a particular energy source and build it than that source of energy can supply in its lifetime then you're just going to have to find some other way of getting energy.

It's not trivial to build solar panels that can provide more energy than was needed to make them even if you're manufacturing them in an efficent way at central factories using the best sources of materials; your back-yard extraction and manufacture scheme isn't viable.

Edit: Oh, and one final thing:

Either by vote or by violence, the robotic abundance will eventually spread worldwide, because there is no continent where intellectual property owners and the rich outnumber hourly workers and the poor.
I can't imagine that being a terribly popular idea on this forum; one of the things most posters seem to agree on is that taking property from its owner by violence is always wrong, whether that's direct violence or the threat of Government action. In any case you're missing something important: if robots are plentiful and can do anything, they can act as a police force protecting the rich from the poor. I'd suggest reading Manna by Marshall Brain

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August 04, 2011, 05:01:12 AM
 #54

Finally, what of raw materials? Today it is important to work concentrated ores to extract mineral products because energy, machinery, and labor have substantial costs. If those costs are near-zero than the initial concentration and distribution of mineral resources is much less important. Better to extract aluminum from backyard rocks using your free energy and unpaid robot-labor than to pay a bauxite mine owner for access to his more concentrated mineral resources.
There's a problem here. Remember that you haven't shown unconditionally that your scenario will lead to nearly-free energy; you've only shown it could do so long as raw materials are also free. In particular there's a hard limit: if it requires more energy to extract the raw materials required for a particular energy source and build it than that source of energy can supply in its lifetime then you're just going to have to find some other way of getting energy.

It's not trivial to build solar panels that can provide more energy than was needed to make them even if you're manufacturing them in an efficent way at central factories using the best sources of materials; your back-yard extraction and manufacture scheme isn't viable.

You are right, "back yard" is a bit hyperbolic way to describe it. I think you can successfully use lower-grade raw materials but I honestly don't know on how small a scale you can operate a polysilicon plant, aluminum refinery, or other important and energy-intensive processes before the efficiency falls off catastrophically. If it turns out that (say) you can't practically scale a silicon plant down below 100 kilograms per day, it's not a back yard operation. As mentioned above, the pirate-robot-factory systems might have to initially operate in countries with different national interests than the USA and its ilk if they are too large to be easily hidden, but the deflationary pressure will spread them and their products over time.

Quote
Either by vote or by violence, the robotic abundance will eventually spread worldwide, because there is no continent where intellectual property owners and the rich outnumber hourly workers and the poor.
I can't imagine that being a terribly popular idea on this forum; one of the things most posters seem to agree on is that taking property from its owner by violence is always wrong, whether that's direct violence or the threat of Government action. In any case you're missing something important: if robots are plentiful and can do anything, they can act as a police force protecting the rich from the poor. I'd suggest reading Manna by Marshall Brain

I have read Manna and the dystopian and utopian parts of it alike seem unrealistic to me because they require remarkable behaviors among millions of people. Apparently the middle class of the USA couldn't get their act together to vote for "lunatic fringe" (i.e. not corporate-owned) legislators to change the rigged game they were losing, even after they'd been forced into public housing. But a billion people agreed to make the Australia Project IPO by far the most successful of all time, even before it offered anything but an idea.

As for the popularity of taking what we want from the robot-owning overclass, even most of the libertarians here seem to think that intellectual property is nonsense. If an IP owner tries to send the police or his own private army after people "pirating" physical goods and/or the equipment used to manufacture them, I think any violence meted out by the "pirates" can be considered self-defense. Of course there is a different sort of dystopian scenario lurking here: if arbitrary manufacturing capabilities are widely dispersed and easy to duplicate, weapons become as easy to copy as any other product of comparable complexity. I could see protracted and tremendous violence if a lot of people with grievances (legitimate or otherwise) can get their hands on armed drones, missiles, mustard gas, etc.
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August 04, 2011, 06:22:53 AM
 #55

Robots and technology in general are designed to serve the needs and wants of man.  As the capabilities of man increase so do the technologies.  Once upon a time someone discovered fire and how to sharpen a stick.  Tribes formed and people started settling down so people learned to farm and grind wheat.  Today we war across the world and fight diseases on a global level.  Technology in and of itself is not curious or ambitious. Technology can be designed, I am certain, to diagnose and treat polio.  It's not going to replace doctors any time soon. 

People decide where and when technology is needed.  It's only the people who weren't involved in the innovation that do not realize how much freedom and power this gives to people as individuals and a whole.

As for science serving governments.  The scientific community is terrifically neutral.  This neutrality allows government to use it however it likes, just as well as the people can.  For example, the current alcohol test used in urinalysis by most jurisdictions in the United States can detect alcohol consumption for up to five days (previously they could only detect alcohol consumption for up to 48 hours.)  Unfortunately this test can detect, but not discriminate from, alcohol absorption by the skin (as in using hand sanitizers or working with solvents in the work place) and levels of inhaled alcohol (solvents.)  For this reason it has a notoriously high false positive rate.  The American Psychological Association and other scientific interests have strongly indicated that the test is not effective evidence and does not prove alcohol consumption (a concern for probation violations.)  Even though this has been a consensus since very early in the test's development the government still insists on using the test that is most likely to put innocent people in jail.

Bottom line, look around you and stop being jealous of other peoples use of innovation.  Instead look for what you want in life and innovate your own world experience.
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August 04, 2011, 10:34:55 AM
 #56

The key question here is - What will the women want?

In the increasing automation scenario, I can visualise welfare being extended and taxation of capital increasing to mollify a majority of the population, who would have lost their jobs,  but I don't see how any government will handle relative differences, which are ofcourse, important to the mating game.

What are the criteria that the women would find attractive? That is what will determine the post-robotic economy of the future.
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August 04, 2011, 02:39:34 PM
 #57

What are the criteria that the women would find attractive? That is what will determine the post-robotic economy of the future.

A spectrum of things will attract women, most often dependent on the financial level and beliefs of their parents.  (I.E. Douche-bags often call these women's 'daddy issues')
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August 04, 2011, 02:42:48 PM
 #58

I have read Manna and the dystopian and utopian parts of it alike seem unrealistic to me because they require remarkable behaviors among millions of people. Apparently the middle class of the USA couldn't get their act together to vote for "lunatic fringe" (i.e. not corporate-owned) legislators to change the rigged game they were losing, even after they'd been forced into public housing. But a billion people agreed to make the Australia Project IPO by far the most successful of all time, even before it offered anything but an idea.
Of course they couldn't. That would require convincing over 50% of the population in a significant number of areas to vote for exactly one suitable candidate in each, with no campaign funding, despite the mass media being against them and attempting to discredit them, whilst somehow avoiding both fake "people's candidates" and corruption of the genuine ones that did get elected. If not enough people vote for the candidate, the ones that did risk causing a worse candidate to get in than if they'd stuck to the best of the mainstream choices. Worse still, at the point in his scenario where the unemployed masses are essentially being imprisoned there's no need to even convince them their vote means anything - it's not like they can rise up in revolt with their every action monitored for hints of "terrorist" activity, and hardly anyone would question this monitoring initially.

You also need to take into account aspirational effects - a lot of people are willing to vote in ways that benefit the rich and powerful at their own expense in the hope that one day they'll become rich and powerful, no matter how slim that hope. This phenomenon is a massive obstacle to grassroots political reform, but it might actually encourage investment in something like the Australia Project IPO even if that did offer nothing more than an idea.

It's actually very interesting that in this story voluntary self-organisation turns out so much better in the end than central government fiat.

As for the popularity of taking what we want from the robot-owning overclass, even most of the libertarians here seem to think that intellectual property is nonsense. If an IP owner tries to send the police or his own private army after people "pirating" physical goods and/or the equipment used to manufacture them, I think any violence meted out by the "pirates" can be considered self-defense.
While intellectual property could also pose an issue, the problem here is physical property: specifically, the robots themselves, the equipment needed to manufacture them, the raw materials to feed all this, and the land from which the raw material are mined. If all of this is in the hands of said robot-owning overclass, everyone else is screwed unless they can take it from them by force; I seem to recall most libertarians are against this.

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August 04, 2011, 09:00:04 PM
 #59

While intellectual property could also pose an issue, the problem here is physical property: specifically, the robots themselves, the equipment needed to manufacture them, the raw materials to feed all this, and the land from which the raw material are mined. If all of this is in the hands of said robot-owning overclass, everyone else is screwed unless they can take it from them by force; I seem to recall most libertarians are against this.

In a free market, you can always get the ownership of material/equipment/robot through trading. And the trading power will be decided by how much capital one have.  Those who have the capital today will become the robot-owning class tomorrow, but that is ok, as long as people have free access to the products created by those robots

Private ownership has been the driven power of economy for hundreds of years, I'm not sure if this still works in a robotic economy.

I think, if robot belongs to the government, then all those debt problem will be gone. Even all the government employees are replaced by robots and create a super high unemployment rate, since government can still provide good education/healthcare/social security...by using robots, everyone can still live a good life without working!







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August 04, 2011, 10:14:58 PM
 #60

In a free market, you can always get the ownership of material/equipment/robot through trading. And the trading power will be decided by how much capital one have.  Those who have the capital today will become the robot-owning class tomorrow, but that is ok, as long as people have free access to the products created by those robots
The trouble is that the capital-owning class that becomes a robot-owning class will have no reason to permit everyone else access to the products created by those robots, because they'll have nothing to offer in return. (Actually I can think of a handful of things they could offer, but most of them are really not very pleasant and there wouldn't be enough demand for them anyway.)

I think, if robot belongs to the government, then all those debt problem will be gone. Even all the government employees are replaced by robots and create a super high unemployment rate, since government can still provide good education/healthcare/social security...by using robots, everyone can still live a good life without working!
They could do... assuming that the government chose to serve the interests of the populace at large rather than a handful of very wealthy, very powerful individuals. This requires politicians to act against their own rational interests though; the handful of powerful individuals are much more capable of damaging their political career than the populace at large is, even though in theory everyone can vote.

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