Martin Ford Asks: Will Automation Lead to Economic Collapse?

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Martin Ford's new book asks how automation will effect the near future of the economy.

Martin Ford's new book asks how automation will effect the near future of the economy.

Will the future be filled with cool technologies and endless opportunities or will our own creations lead to eventual doom? I tend to think the former. Technology has seemingly endless ability to improve the health, freedom, and happiness of our lives. Even optimistic futurists like Ray Kurzweil and James Canton admit, however, that the road to advancing technology is fraught with dangers. Super viruses, artificial intelligences run amok, environmental calamity – science has its threats as well as its promises. Yet there could be one near term problem that even futurists tend to ignore – economic collapse. Martin Ford, a silicon valley computer engineer, entrepreneur, and blogger has written The Lights In The Tunnel, a book which explores the economic implications of a world which is becoming increasingly automated. Ford proposes that in the upcoming years robots and computer programs will edge human workers out of their jobs and that unless we take drastic actions this will reduce mass market purchasing power, destroy consumer confidence, and shut down the global economy. Ford has the reader envision these changes during a thought experiment where lights in a tunnel represent purchasing power in the mass market (hence the title). Even after discussing the book with the author, I’m not convinced that The Lights In The Tunnel is an accurate prediction of our future, but I wanted to spread the question: what does increased automation mean for our economy?

It’s hard to deny that robots and computers will eventually take over for humans in many industries. Already we’ve seen how robots like the Flexpicker and Adept Quattro excel at sorting and moving goods in a manufacturing environment. More humanoid creations, like Kawada’s Nextage or Honda’s ASIMO, could take on even more human-like tasks. And then there are the software programs. We’ve recently showcased how sports journalists and other news people could one day face serious competition from virtual writers and performers. Everywhere, automation is progressing and taking over more jobs. Even vending machines are starting to eliminate the needs for some human workers.

Is the Fallacy Itself a Fallacy?

Yet even as technology removes some jobs, it creates others. For every worker taken off the assembly line there’s another added to the maintenance team, or two who become consultants. We’ll never automate away all the jobs, will we? Depends on how advanced the machines become.

Back in the industrial revolution, a group of English textile workers protested the use of mechanized looms. These were the Luddites, who believed that jobs lost to machines would lead to economic ruin. Obviously they were wrong. From these protesters modern economists have derisively coined the Luddite Fallacy – the belief that labor saving technologies will increase unemployment. That fallacy is one of the key issues debated in The Lights In The Tunnel (here after TLITT).

In TLITT, Ford argues that the Luddite Fallacy will only remain a fallacy so long as human capability exceeds technological capability. That is, as long as humans are able to improve faster (or as fast as) machines, humans cannot be fully replaced. Ford worries that we’re approaching a point where machines will exceed human performance to such a degree that the Luddite Fallacy will fall apart. Once a superior automated workforce is created, it could take over a large portion of the jobs in our global market.

Much to Ford’s credit, he considers the implications of technology far beyond the loss of manufacturing jobs. TLITT emphasizes that many high paying positions (research lawyers, software engineers, radiologists, etc) could be automated before more mundane ones (mechanic, housekeeper). Specialized fields with algorithmic approaches to problems can be synthesized. Already, the US and many European countries outsource tech support and similar positions to India. Eventually, Ford argues, they’ll be outsourcing positions to computers.

TLITT goes on to predict some pretty awful results from this widespread automation. With few high paying jobs, there will be less people able to buy goods. Sure, a few robotics corporations and software companies will create a new generation of trillionaires, but the number of consumers with middle class purchasing power will diminish. People will sense that purchasing power is dropping and consumer confidence will also decrease. Eventually all the wealth will be consolidated in a relative few, but with no one to sell to, those wealthy will struggle as the economy continues to wither.

Critiques

While Ford proposes a good thought experiment, and pulls no punches as he explores all of its implications, I don’t think his assumptions can go unchallenged. First, there are jobs that may never be automated, or even if they could be, consumers will want humans in those positions. Artists, counselors, public officials, entertainers, teachers, and others provide a “human touch” in their work that is unlikely to be achievable by any but the most impressive of artificial intelligences. If such AI comes to exist, the economy may be the least of our concerns.

Second, we may simply transition away from production and service jobs. Just as the bulk of our workforce has shifted from hunting/gathering to farming to crafts to manufacturing to service, it could continue on to entrepreneurship. Owning capital, and developing it, could be the job of the future. Already we’ve seen how open source projects can help you become a mini manufacturing, information, software or robotics mogul. These trends could continue and define the future economy. Or, even if they don’t, we could all heavily invest in public robotics (and software) companies, thus owning the capital of those firms and spreading the wealth.

Finally, while Ford’s “lights in the tunnel” thought experiment is logically sound, it doesn’t come with a lot of numerical evidence. TLITT includes a reasonably enlightening discussion on the slave economy of the Confederacy during the US Civil War, but otherwise dodges finding historic proof for its assumptions. To some degree I understand: the looming global automation would be unprecedented. Still, I feel like the predictions that Ford asserts should come with some sort of hard evidence.

The author was gracious enough to correspond with me and address my concerns. (He was also patient enough to help me understand the important distinction between industrial and end-user consumption.) Ford’s responds to my first critique by pointing out the sheer number of jobs that could be replaced by automation. He has a table on page 59 of his book that describes the largest occupations in the US. The top positions (sales people, cashiers, office clerks, and food preparers) represent millions of workers, none of whom need a college education. The list goes on to describe other positions which could all be automated. Ford asks, can we really expect all of these people to become artists, and performers, and counselors and teachers? Would most people in these new positions get paid enough to support themselves?

As for the rise of a new capitalist society full of entrepreneurs, Ford’s already had that debate before. He and Robin Hanson (a blogging economist) have discussed that very idea (and other ideas presented in TLITT) in various posts on their respective blogs. Can we all own enough shares of a (robotics) company to replace a general lack of employment income? Hanson implies yes while Ford worries the answer is no. You can catch Ford’s first critique of one of Hanson’s academic papers here, Hanson’s response to that critique here, and Ford’s retort here. It’s hard to summarize the eventual tone of the debate, but I think it boils down to: technophiles don’t adequately understand the market (Hanson) vs. automation will cause disruptions that the market may be unable to compensate for (Ford).

The Cure (and other fantasies)

Ford doesn’t leave his readers with just another doomsday scenario, he does his best to find a solution. No, he doesn’t think we should (or perhaps even can) avoid automation. Instead, TLITT explores some pretty radical ways that we could put purchasing power back in the hands of the masses and create non-traditional jobs with economic incentives. He speaks of ‘recapturing wages’ by imposing capital/labor taxes on industries as they automate, and value added taxes to goods as they become cheaper. These taxes should not be large enough to discourage automation, but they could (Ford proposes) provide revenue for a new kind of job.

Ford’s ‘virtual jobs’ are incentivised programs that would reward people for pursuits such as education, civic service, journalism, and environmental responsibility. These jobs would be paid for by the state through the revenue gained through recaptured wages. Those who accomplished more in their virtual jobs would receive higher wages, thus providing the financial incentive that everyone needs to feel like they are really working. There would be some industries and some workers that exist outside of this new system, and plenty of space and encouragement (Ford says) for entrepreneurs, who would still have the most potential for monetary gain.

So, to paraphrase Ford’s solution in my own words: we should take money from automating industries to fund a state guided program that gives money to consumers in exchange for working at bettering themselves. Sounds like a decent plan. Never gonna happen.

The US is freaking out simply at the mention of socialized healthcare, socialized work would be dead on arrival. Maybe when 75% of all jobs are automated (the level supposed in TLITT), the governments of the world will see the benefits of such a system, but even then I doubt it. Ford’s solution requires that the wealthy consent to (or that the public impose) increased taxes to avoid economic ruin. I think that those institutions (or people) in the business of acquiring wealth would sooner face ruin than impediments to their financial gain. Even if everyone wanted to switch to such a system, the scope of the change is monstrous.

But then again, so were the changes brought on by the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions.

For all my critiques of TLITT, I find myself unable to completely argue it away. Automation is increasing, and the economic fall out from that change could be disastrous. Or it could usher in a utopia. We don’t know, and not knowing could prove to be fatal.

After talking with Martin Ford, I’m most impressed with one aspect of his book: it asks a question few seem willing to contemplate. Even if there always are enough jobs for humans, even if a superior automated workforce doesn’t cause economic disruptions, I still think discussing and debating the possibility is an important task. I encourage you to pick up a copy of The Lights In The Tunnel and consider the scenario it warns against. Then add some comments below to get the discussion going. In order to reap the benefits of technology we have to stand ready against the possible threats that it presents, whether or not they ever arise.

Discussion — 698 Responses

  • Capissen December 15, 2009 on 4:39 pm

    I had also wondered about the economic implications of increased automation. It seems that it would fit best in the context of a government that implements some form of a basic income (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_Income), which is similar to what Ford proposes. I’ll be sure to pick up this book!

    • jones003 Capissen August 27, 2011 on 12:26 am

      This is very good

    • Craig J. Townsend Capissen December 13, 2012 on 4:26 pm

      a government form of basic income could not be done as it would require higher taxes and inflating the money supply, both of which rob from productivity and cause the prices of all goods and services to go up drastically. Everyone who is enamored of a state remedy is axiomatically blind to a market remedy that dissolves the welfare state while examining production and lowering all costs dramatically. The Universal Productivity Fund idea does just that. You eliminate all carp and biz taxes and have a 10% “tax” go into the UPF which every person owns one share of. This fund stays in the market and is available to increase productivity, unlike the state which increases debt. In less then 100 years there would be enough in this fund to support every person. SSI and all welfare economics would vanish, inflation and increased taxation could be eliminated. The stat could wither away to an Techno-Omniarchy.

      • Curt Welch Craig J. Townsend December 14, 2012 on 10:18 am

        I agree this needs to be done. But you are being silly to think “Universal Productivity Fund” is not the exact same thing as “Basic Income”.

        So, instead of the state taxing and giving to the people equal, which is “Basic Income”, a non-state regulatory agency with the power to tax should take 10% from all industry, and put into a “fund”, which is then given to the people equally. The first can’t work because it requires higher taxes, and inflates the money supply, which robs productivity, but the second does work because it doesn’t require higher taxes, doesn’t inflate the money supply, and doesn’t rob productivity, all because the first is “welfare state”, and the second “dissolves the welfare state”.

        You honestly think changing the word “Basic Income” to “fund” really has all that magic power? Seriously?

        Please, I’d like you to explain why changing the name of the system without chaining a single thing about what’s actually done has such magical powers? Both systems are welfare. They take from the rich and give to people that did not do the work, to make the money.

        You have just advocated the same thing using different words.

        When and how are people allowed to sell there shares? When do they benefit from owning the 1% of the “fund”? Where is the fund invested? Who manages the fund?

        I actually agree with you that doing this is both required and needed. I think you are just being silly by trying to pretend calling it a “Fund” makes it different.

        Maybe if lots of people are just as confused as you are, this is they way to talk them into implementing a Basic Income so that we can get around their fear of the word socialism, but financially, it’s the exact same thing either way. We are talking about the wealthy helping the not so wealthy by taking their money. We are talking about giving the not-so-rich a “free” slice of the economic engine whether they “own” it or not.

        It makes no difference if you take 10% from Exxon, then use the money you took from them to buy Exxon stock (the fund), then make Exxon pay a dividenden every year on the stock you took from them, and give the people that Dividend for free, or if you just take 10% from Exxon and give it to the people without setting up the fund to hold the stock. The net effect is exactly the same.

        All you have done, is said, lets take Exxon away from the share holders, a little bit at a time, for 100 years, and then, after we have stolen a really great amount of the company from the original shareholders, we will force Exxon to pay huge dividends to the people.

        In both systems, you are SOCIALIZING Exxon – you are taking some of the stock away from private investors, and putting it under government control, and then forcing that percentag4e of the company, to distribute profits to all the people equally.

        The net effect is still that we declare the people have a “right” to own some percentage of the production system operating in their country, and share some of the production system’s profits, whether they were wise enough to make the investment on their own or not.

        You can convert all businesses from private, to public ownership your way, by stealing just a little bit of their stock every year, until you get to whatever ownership level you want for the “public” share. Or you can just skip all that, and allow the ownership to remain 100% private (so we don’t end up with yet another central agency managing our businesses), but force the owners to share a percentage of their profits with the public, AS IF the public owned a percentage of the business.

        Both have the exact same net effect, you are forcing all industry, to devote some percent of their productivity, to the people.

        In effect, if industry makes 100 cars, and 100 bushels of corn, and digs 100 ditches, then some percentage of all that output, is said to belong to the “people” no matter how produced it. So if the tax rate is 10%, then 10 of the cars, 10 of the bushels of corn, and 10 of the ditches, are given to the people, to share equally among all of them, and the 90% that is not taxed, is traded on the free market.

        Both Basic Income, and your Fund idea do the exact same thing. The only difference, is that your Fund, creates YET ANOTHER thing a central agency (aka we call them Governments) will have to manage.

        Neither of them cause inflation, You are just dead wrong about that. The Basic income is not supported by printing money, (the only think that causes inflation), it’s supported by taxes, which don’t create inflation.

        Neither causes “higher taxes”. Both could be created at any tax level we wanted to set up. Your system slowly steals ownership of the business over time using “low taxes”, but the accumulated stolen ownership is it self, a growing tax burden on the system as private investors get less welth from the business, and the public gets more. To implement the exact same effect with a Basic income, you just start the tax rate at 10%, and then slowly raise it, AS IF, you had stolen larger and larger amounts of the company from the private investors.

        The BAD effect of your fund, is that the fund mangers get voting control of the industries they own stock in. Who says the fund managers are making wise voting control for the industry? They didn’t get their huge power of this trillion dollar fund because they proved themselves in the market to be wise investors. They got control over the industry by having inside friends in the politics of the government. We don’t want those sorts of people managing our industry.

        Likewise, if you give the voting power to the people, you are making the same mistake. The people don’t know shit about making wise investment decisions. They were given the stock for free. They didn’t accumulate it due to a long history of wise investment decisions. They accumulated it because they used their government to take it from the private investors.

        It’s far better to allow all the investment decisions to remain in the hands, of the private investors that have proven themselves to be wise investors, and wise investment managers.

        In other words, what you are suggesting, is that take a wise investor, like Warren Buffet, and tax him. Then take that money, and buy his investments from him, and turn the responsibility of managing the investments to the government, since Warren Buffet is such a bad investor, and the government is so good at managing investments. Then we allow the people, to live off the wise investment actions of the government, and just put Warren Buffet out of business.

        A Basic Income, without the fund, just taxes Warren Buffet on his profits, without taking his job away from him. It just says, for every $100 you make from your wise investment decisions, you must share $10 with the people, and keep everything else for yourself. You keep ownership control over all your investments, because we don’t want the government steeping in, and making investment decisions for industry.

        Basic Income is the right way to do ti. It gets government OUT of industry, but it simply forces ALL industry in the country, to share a percent of their success, with the people. It’s keeps all the investment decisions, and all the control of industry in the hands of the people who have proven to be the wisest and most successful at their job.

        What level we set the Basic Income tax at, is just social decision we the people are free to make, so as to balance income inequality at any place we want. The higher the tax, the less people profit from their own work, and less motivated they will be. Raise it too high, and you have the disaster of communism. But keep it too low, and you have huge amounts of wealth inequality like we have now, where you people struggling with minimum wage jobs, in an advanced society that has created an automated industry, large enough take care of food and hosing for everyone, with only a small fraction of the people having to actually work.

        Basic income is a wealth inequality tax, that keeps the government out of industry – which is what we need more of.

        Basic income can replace all the current welfare services in time, so that the government’s only “welfare” job, is to tax and distribute, and all other goods and services for the good of the people, are provided by private industry. This will drastically shrink the footprint of government back to providing only what we really need them to provide, like law and order, and military defense.

        We certainly don’t want them managing a fund that controls 50% of the industry in the nation – that’s the bad part of communism with public government controlling industry.

        • Craig J. Townsend Curt Welch January 31, 2013 on 1:25 pm

          You created your own straw man argument and then spent a considerable amount of time refuting a phantom of your own creation. Where did I ever say that the government would run it? You also show economic fallacies throughout. Then you don’t seem to know the difference between leaving proceeds in the market place and having gov consume it by tax revenue. A base income by gov would be the totalization of the welfare state, it would be communism. What difference would that be then taking the present welfare state and expanding it to include everyone? You seem befuddled between the two, how can the gov running it keep it from interfering with businesses? “Basic Income is the right way to do ti. It gets government OUT of industry,” no it would give them more power in industry as the tax rate would have to go to 200% or more to do a universal base income.

          Does your IRA, 401K, retirement fund or an NGO rob the market? Does it take proceeds from the economy and then put it into dead gov debt or wasteful spending? Why no it does not, it makes more capital available for use by the market place, for venture capital. If you did away with corporate and business taxes, and then only had a moderate 10% to be invested in a UPF, the effect is not the same as a gov tax rate of 10%. Both would have prices drop, but both would not add extra capital to the economy. One can also do it by allowing it as a donation and have it tax deductible. No coercion there. Only the UPF would allow capital accumulation. Like a retirement fund, its proceeds are available for business to borrow. They stay in the market 100%. The amount of capital in the economy then grows and each person has their share and has voting rights. Businesses and corporations would eventually benefit as each shareholder would have an income to spend in the economy. As this is anti-inflationary the currency would grow in value as the law of increasing returns kept bringing prices down. If a corp gives me a 10% off coupon to go spend in their store, does that rob them or me? If they donated 10% of their stock or earnings and everyone shared in it and they can still bring prices down, does that rob them or me? They are basically giving everyone a 10% discount coupon. I now own a share of production. Socialists are happy and libertarians are happy.Gov no longer has a way of interfering with industry, to the benefit of privileged partners, the right to vote passes to each one of us as we are all now co-owners. With the expansion of the internet we become even more plugged in to take on the real responsibility of citizens. Omniarchy slowly expands. It gives us the method to transition away from the political state.

          How is that a tax? It isnt. A gov providing a base income would need to raise taxes and to print more money to provide it. High Taxes rob from capital accumulation causing growth to slow down, more unemployment & prices to rise. Printing money causes inflation and all of the dire effects we see today.it is the prime driver of income inequality, high prices, artificially raised profit margins, the lowering of product quality etc.. A base income also would have immediate inflationary effects as well as it would inflate the demand for products artificially overnight. Gov cannot provide this base income without becoming omnipotent, total in every sense of the word; everyone would be a defacto employee (ward) of the state! The spontaneous evolutionary forces of the complex interrelated market must create some solution like this. If you are not conversant in complexity theory and stick to 18th and 19th century old socialist fallacies then you ideologically will not see the difference here. A primitive mind worships the State, an evolutionary mind sees the interrelatedness of spontaneous complex evolutionary forces as the solution.

          The UPF would not be immediate, it would take time to grow to the point where it could give an income that would benefit the shareholder. Along the way it’s allowing greater capital accumulation would allow more investment per worker, which would cause the wage rate to naturally rise and productivity to greatly expand and all prices to fall down the asymptote faster bringing on the singularity. Along the way interest rates would naturally fall as there is much more capital to lend. It violates no economic laws, as IRA’s, 401K, and retirement funds investing in mutual funds and stocks expand it is already happening. It takes the evolutionary force now working and greatly expands it. It then becomes inherent in society to begin to greatly instill a work ethic again so a mooching and entitlement mentality is eliminated.

          A world where everyone is eventually free of all limitations to perfect themselves in any way is the goal, isn’t it? The political state stands in our way.

          • Curt Welch Craig J. Townsend February 1, 2013 on 4:28 pm

            Well, you too have made many errors. You don’t seem to understand what a Basic Income Guarantee is. Let me just comment on a few points you seem most confused about.

            “Then you don’t seem to know the difference between leaving proceeds in the market place and having gov consume it by tax revenue.”

            I understand it fully. If a company makes a profit, and you don’t tax it, it gives them money to make investments with. That’s all fine and good – you want successful companies to have assets to make more good investments with. But that’s not the full or interesting story of what happens. What actually happens, is that the value of the company appreciates when it makes a profit. And that gain in value is passed along to the owners of the company – they get “richer”. It’s the return the investors get for having created a successful company.

            Small businesses have difficulty getting money. So when they make a profit, it helps them expand, due to the fact that they have trouble getting cash any other way. If you tax the profits away from a small business, it makes it harder for them to grow – harder to even make the investments they need, to stay afloat. But larger businesses (with a proven credit history) have no trouble at all getting cash. They can generally get as much of of as they need. Many are public, and can simply sell more stock. But often, the better way to raise capital is to issue and sell corporate bonds. In general, money is not a problem for a large well established business. The only issue, is what the money costs them – and whether they have a business opportunity that justifies their current cost of capital. It’s NEVER about “access to cash”. It’s about access to credit – and large well established businesses, have all the credit they need.

            Your idea of needing to “leave proceeds in the market” on the idea that business don’t have access to capital is just absurd. Large well established businesses don’t need cash and don’t operate on cash. They operate on credit, whether it’s in the form of stock from investors, or bonds they hold, or just credit lines from banks. Any business opportunity they face, they can get the capital for.

            So, when we tax a business, it’s totally irrelevant whether or not we are “leaving the proceeds” in the market. What we do, when we tax a business, is take wealth away from whoever owns the business. So the stockholders see their stock prices drop due to the tax. The investors simply don’t make as much money, if you tax all businesses equally.

            Now, if we tax one business, and not it’s competitor, then we create an unfair advantage for one business vs the other, and the business we tax, is more likely to fail, due to competition. But when we tax all business the same, then no business gets a competitive advantage over the others due to the tax – the tax changes nothing in relation to which businesses succeed and which fail.

            “What difference would that be then taking the present welfare state and expanding it to include everyone?”

            That is exactly what a Basic Income Guarantee is. If you fail to understand the math, as you seem to be doing, you might thing all that does is take money from everyone, and then give it back to them. But the important difference, is that it takes money based on a how much your make – so the people that make more money pay more, and then gives back to everyone equally.

            It takes from the “rich” and gives to the “poor”. But it also does this for the same person. So when you are poor in your youth, or old age, you are getting money, and when you are making lots of money in your prime earning years, you pay more. So the effect is not just taking from the productive to giving to the lazy, it helps reduce the income flow over everyone’s life.

            “no it would give them more power in industry as the tax rate would have to go to 200% or more to do a universal base income.”

            Well, yes, since we are talking a government tax, then of course it means the government will be intruding into our lives. But no, your 200% comment shows you have no understanding of the numbers we are talking about or what a Basic Income Guarantee is.

            US Welfare spending (not counting social security or medicare) is around 1 trillion. We have 300 million people. Divide 300 million into 1 trillion and we have over $3000 per person of money already being taking from the “rich” and giving to the “needy”. If we simply redirect all that welfare into a Basic Income Guarantee instead we can give every person in the country over $250 a month as a Basic Income Guarantee.

            A Basic Income Guarantee is not meant to give people an “average” income, like $50K. It’s only intended to give everyone in the country a leg up financially to help them better cope with tough times and to give them greater financial independence over their entire lives.

            If you throw in the money we redirect for social security, and replace that with the Basic Income Guarantee, then the numbers get larger.

            And at the same time, lots of money is redirected from the rich to the poor, in the form of the progressive income tax we use which hides the “free money” the millions of people in lower tax brackets are “getting” from the rich when the rich in effect pay their taxes for them. This could be made real instead of hidden, by switching to a flat income tax combined with the Basic Income Guarantee payment.

            The net effect of all of this, is that without adding any additional tax burden to anyone, we can already afford a basic income in the range of $500+ per month to every adult in the country just by by making it single, fair, and evenly shared welfare that helps everyone, where nothing is hidden like so much of it is today. We certainly don’t need your 200% tax. We are already doing it, it’s just mostly hidden and way too complex.

            But, in addition to what we are already doing in these hundreds of different social programs, with a Basic Income, we have the option to set the tax level at any point we want. The net effect is to take more from everyone making more than the average income, and give more to everyone making less than the average income. No matter what tax rate you set, the guy with a “middle” income, always gets all his money back because what he pays in tax, comes back to him as a Basic Income payment. If you make more than the middle amount, you pay more than you get back. If you make less than the average rate, you get more than you pay. The tax rate simply defines how much “help” you want to force the “strong” to give to the “weak”.

            ” Only the UPF would allow capital accumulation.”

            You don’t seem to understand basic Macro Economics. We live in a society where capital is not a fixed asset. The government prints, and burns, money as needed, to regulate the money markets. They control the money supply with two goals – to keep interest rates low, and to SET INFLATION to a small positive value.

            Because we have central banks that have the power to expand the money supply as needed, there is NEVER a SHORTAGE of capital. NEVER. Get that???? Your continual rant about “leaving capital in the market” is NONSENSE. Capital is not a scarce resource. The government prints as much of it as the economy needs to operate.

            If it were a scare and finite sized resource, as you seem in error to think it is, then as GNP grows, we would see deflation. That is, anyone holding onto cash, would see the value of their cash grow. And if we took cash out of the market, say by hoarding it in our safe deposit box, that would create a cash shortage, which would again cause more deflation, so that people holding money would see even more growth. This leads to a never ending spiral of people hording cash instead of spending it, or investing it – because investing in cash would be the best investment. That does not help the economy, it kills is. The economy won’t function well if everyone starts to hoard their dollars and we see rapid deflation. It’s hard to operate a business when you don’t have a fairly predictable currency to operate with.

            This is why the central bank regulates the money supply and why they adjust the money supply to create a small positive inflation. With inflation, no one wins if they put dollars under their mattress because the value of dollar slowly drops. It means that people do better, when they invest their dollars in other assets, instead of keeping them as dollars. It keeps the money circulating which allows the economy to function smoothly. And when the inflation, and interest rates are regulated by the central bank, it makes it easier for businesses to plan for the future, and accurately execute their businesses plans without having to get too tied up in currency speculation at the same time.

            This whole idea of your’s that we need to “keep proceeds in the market” shows you don’t really understand the complexity of the economic system we live in today.

            “. A base income also would have immediate inflationary effects”

            No it doesn’t. It’s not generating wealth out of thin air. It’s just re-distributes income from the rich to the poor. So when one guy makes $150K a year, and another one makes $10k and we tax both at $25% we get 40K in tax revenue and give $20K of that back to both of them. So the first guy gets $150K, pays, $37.5K in taxes, and gets a 20K basic income payment, and ends up with a net income of $135.5 K. The second guy gets $10k income, pays 2.5K in taxes, and also gets a $20K basic income payment, so he ends up with $27.5K of money.

            So with a 25% tax, all we did, was cause $7.5K to be taken from the rich guy, and given to the poor guy.

            We didn’t print money, and we didn’t destroy any money. We just made the rich guy give the poor guy some of his money. And we used the government to make it happen. And though it is a big 25% tax everyone is paying, the net effect is that the guy in this example making $150K only “lost” $7.5K which was really just a 5% tax for him.

            There is no inflation or deflation created by this. It just changes who gets to spend the money. In this example, the poor guy got to spend $7.5K of the rich guy’s money that year.

            “High Taxes rob from capital accumulation causing growth to slow down, ”

            Again, capital doesn’t accumulate. You don’t seem to understand that the central bank always makes sure there is exactly as much “capital” as the businesses need by printing money when there is a shortage, and burning it when there is a glut creating too much investing and too much inflation.

            High taxes have no effect on capital because with a fiat currency regulated by a central bank there is always exactly as much capital as business need to fund themselves. There is never a shortate of captial no matter how high the taxes are.

            The problem with high taxes is who gets to spend the money. If the government takes 50% of the GNP from the economy from the market and spends it on government money, then that means that 50% of everything we are producing, is controlled by the government. That is half of everyone we can produce, is decided for us, by our government, instead of letting the people spend it on what they want to spend it on.

            So, for example, they could spend it all on the military for example. If they did that, it means half of all our production, must go to making stuff for our army. They decide for us, what we are going to use our nations GNP to “make” for us. Maybe we don’t all want to spend half our money on tanks and jets, and maybe some of us would like to have a bigger house instead.

            So the higher the tax is, the more the government gets to decide for us, what we use our GNP for. It DOES NOT, as you suggest, have any real net effect on “capital” (aka money supply) or economic growth.

            But the important issue to me, is the welfare. If the government “spends” the welfare money, as they do now, then they get to decide what people “deserve” to get, whether they really wanted that or not. I think it’s far better, to give people the money, and let them decide how to spend it. And I don’t give a shit if they spend it on crack cocaine. It will fuck up their lives if they do that, but I think they deserve the right to make the decision to fuck their lives up, instead of having the government tell them what they can do or not do with their lives.

            ” Along the way it’s [your UPF] allowing greater capital accumulation”

            You only seem to be able to understand micro economic ideas. You only look at the little picture – what it looks like for the individual – and seem to totally fail to understand the important big picture effects.

            With fiate money, all yhour ideas of “captgial accumulation” are basicallyh invalid.

            All that is happening, with your UPF, is that you are slowly making investors turn over their stock to you, so that you get to “own” a growing share of all capital assets in the world – you are just suggesting the wealth slowly turn over part of their wealth to you.

            There is nothing wrong with that. It has the exact same effect as the system I’m talking about. But with your system, someone has to maintain the fund. You have no specified how that happens. I assumed it was the government, but you say it’s not. So how does the fund get managed and how are businesses forced to invest in it it’s not the government that forces them to do it?

            “A world where everyone is eventually free of all limitations to perfect themselves in any way is the goal, isn’t it? ”

            Oh my fucking god NO. If you want freedom, move to Somalia and get a taste of what freedom is. There’s a reason all civilized nations form governments to regulate the behavior of people instead of giving them freedom.

            Societies work by limiting freedoms, not by creating them. It’s called law and order – something that does not exist when you give people true freedom.

            The true goal of society, is to create as much happiness as is possible for the ENTIRE society. And that includes, the basic concept of limiting the freedom of one person (a loss in happiness) whenever that limitation, creates substantially more happiness, in others. Any limitation of freedom, that creates a more happiness in the society, than it takes away, is a good limitation of freedom.

            We limit people’s right to murder, because as much fun as it might be to be able to blow away someone who is being an ass hole, being able to live without the fear of someone killing you, is a much greater gain, than the loss of being able to kill anyone you want.

            If we don’t limit each other’s freedoms, we will, as a whole, be far less happy, then we are when we correctly limit each other’s freedoms. We NEVER want to give everyone freedom.

            The goal, is the limit freedoms, so as to create maximum happiness for everyone.

            Economies need to be regulated in order to keep people using the economy to abuse each other. We have seen this time and time again. We just saw it big time in 2008 when unregulated personal greed took town the economy for the entire world. We failed to have the right restrictions in place at the right time, and the whole world has lost years of happiness that could have been, that we will never get back.

            It’s complex knowing what restrictions are best for us, but that’s why we debate these things. But what we do now, is that our goal is NOT to try and make everyone free of all limitations. The ultimate goal is to make everyone as happy as we can make them. Freedom is part of what we need to be happy, but one of the smaller parts. We need property rights – which means we must limit people’s freedom to take whatever they want, we need personal safety – which limits the freedom of people to abuse each other – we need to be able to work together, so we can acheave far more than when we work alone – which means we need contract laws that again limit freedoms. We need to share limited natural resources which means more restrictions on freedom.

            Most the good stuff we have in life today in our modern society (and which they don’t have today in Somalia for example), is because of the freedoms we gave up, not the freedoms we preserved.

            Freedom is not the goal, happiness is.

            Making the strong help the weak (even when they don’t want to) is a big part of what it takes to make a strong and happy society, and it’s why we are taking about options like your UPF or a Basic Income Guarantee. They are both ways of forcing society to share more of it’s total wealth with all the people.

        • fireofenergy Curt Welch February 2, 2013 on 1:28 pm

          Machine automation will transform our society for the better IF we are able to use government to distribute wealth from everybody to all (thanks Curt, for explaining in detail about the Basic Income Guarantee).
          I imagine that as machines displace more and more jobs, they create “some” additional (some still unknown) jobs. But eventually, “most” jobs will be done by machine (darn, no need for just basic HTML experience anymore as we can point and click a page on Blogger, etc).
          As this transition advances, we will need ever higher BIG tax rates, so as to guarantee not only the ability for much of the population to survive, but to make the economy itself to survive and grow.
          The reason I say “grow” is because machines will create A LOT more wealth than people because they will spit out products (and services?) so much faster.

          Curt,
          I am confused, however about if such machine displacement will become so devalued as to cause problems despite of vastly increased productivity. What used to cost $100 will now cost $10, or even just $1 (as I hope happens with solar in order for it to become an actual and effective solution to supposed fossil fueled depletion and real excess CO2 concerns). Anyways, It seems that the ultimate outcome would be the issuance of credit, to build yet more machines.
          Can “everything” become so much cheaper due to the “free” labor of machines, and still grow the economy? Would there be that many times more “stuff” being traded? Environmentally, we might want to be concerned about too much extraction processes, however, I believe machines can extract in a safer manner than traditional mining as well. If “everything” becomes cheaper, could there “still” be less of a tax base with which to pay off national deficits?
          Thanks.

          • Curt Welch fireofenergy February 2, 2013 on 7:40 pm

            I don’t really understand your question (you said a lot of things).

            Physical stuff tends not to drop in prices. The price of a gallon of milk has not dropped from $100, to $10, to $1, despite huge amounts of labor savings due to automation in the milk industry. It’s not going to drop like that after you remove the last humans from the process either. In fact, the government intentionally prints money as the GNP expands so as to keep prices near the same – or inflating slightly, so that we expect things not to drop in price, but keep rising over time.

            Taking human labor out of the system does not change the cost of anything. It doesn’t make things cheaper, it just shifts which “machines” are doing the work. Just like we once used lots of horses in our economy, and we have taken most of them out of the economy, and replaced them with machines. Doing that did not make the cost of milk drop just because a truck is used to deliver the milk instead of a horse.

            Economics gets confusing when you focus only on money. It’s often easier to understand the big picture if you ignore the money and look at everything else that’s happening.

            The economy is a collections of machines that transforms raw materials into goods and services of higher value for us humans. That is, we use the a seed and the sun to grow grass – that’s a transformation where the grass is more valuable to us humans, than the seed and the sun was. We use a cow to eat that grass, and produce milk. That’s another machine doing more transformations of turning grass, into milk, and producing more value for us humans in the process – we value a glass of milk more than a plate of grass.

            We use all these natural resources, such as the field, the seed, the cow, in ways to create as much value as we can for humans. As we figure out how to create more value, with less stuff, our GNP grows. We produce more total “stuff” that humans (the consumers in the system), want.

            We have endless complex decisions to make as to how to best use all these raw materials to produce the most “good” for us humans. Do we use the field to grow grass for cows? Or do we build a factory to make robots? There are a nearly infinite number of complex decisions that have to be made in the system, and they all tend to effect each other in complex ways that’s often too hard for any human to understand. To make this work half decent, despite it being too complex to understand, we invited the concept of property rights, and trade, and allow each individual to solve only their own small piece of the big puzzle, while the system as a whole, manages to optimize itself without anyone having to “understand” it.

            We end up doing, in this free market, is assigning a common “score” to everything of value we might want to trade – and that “score” is it’s relative value in the big system. With the help of a central bank regulating the money supply, we can make those relative values fairly constant – so things like a gallon of milk, won’t drastically increase in price, or drop in price. So as we find ways to produce more “good” stuff, the total “score” that gets assigned to everything produced in a year, keeps going up – the GNP keeps climbing.

            The free market automatically allocates every resource, to be used in the way, that does the most good. So though free trade, the field gets used for what it can do the most good for. If using it for pasture land for the cows is more important than building yet another robot factory, the free market figures that out. Of course the free market is not prefect, but it keeps the entire system moving in the right direction – it keeps it near perfect.

            The economy works, and everything gets assigned a “score” based on how the consumers in the system spend their money. By our spending habits, we decide what a field gets used for. Should it be a cow pasture? A robot factory? A waste dump? Or a park? Our spending habits drive the system to use the land for whatever gets the most “votes” from the consumers. Same thing goes for things like energy sources. Do we burn more fossil fuels? Or use more land for solar collectors, or build more nuclear plants? Our spending habits are what drives the “system” to make those decisions for us.

            All the stuff produced, gets assigned a value, so nothing is every “free”. Everything has a value. Food is never “free” because it will always take a lot of our limited supplies of energy, and land and raw materials to produce. Feeding 300 million people is never “free”. Even though in the past, a huge percentage of the GNP was dedicated to producing food, and now, only a very small portion is, the food is still not “free” today, anymore than it was 200 years ago.

            As a society, we have to decide how to divide up all the output of the system. If we want every human to have an equal share, we would give every human an equal number of “votes” to make each year – aka an equal number of dollars to spend every year.

            But we don’t do that, because people today still need to be motivated to work. So we trade spending “rights” as consumers, for what they as individuals are “worth” to the system. But as humans become worth less and less to the system due to automation, this creates a very unfair sharing of “voting rights”. And that’s the issue we need to address by adding forms of forced sharing – some types of partial socialism as we have been doing for 100’s of years already.

            It makes no difference how much our economy produces, if people don’t have dollars to spend, they can’t buy it. If milk drops to 2 cents a bottle, it makes no difference, if we have 1000 people that don’t have 2 cents to their name.

            Without forced forms of socialism, we will end up in the situation where a small minority, will be super rich, and worth billions. And though they will have enough money to buy the 300 million milk, and houses to live in, they will have no reason to do that. Some will want to do it, just because they are kind caring people. But some will not. And the ones that don’t waste their money buying milk for the homeless masses, will end up being richer, then the ones that wasted their money buying millions of gallons of milk for the masses. The heartless guys, will win out in the end, gaining the most wealth, and buying up all the milk production systems, and letting the homeless just starve to death and die out. Either way, milk never becomes so cheap, that it’s “free”.

            That won’t happen however, because before we get that far down the path, the masses will revolt and destroy the system that abused them. With luck, they will revolt peacefully with their vote, and add something like a BIG payment to the system. But if they don’t understand that option, they might just get out the guns and kill all the rich guys and destroy the economy and send us back to the dark ages.

            “Can “everything” become so much cheaper due to the “free” labor of machines, and still grow the economy?”

            “Grow the economy” means that the system is producing more and more things of value each year for us. Yes, the system will keep doing that, as it’s been doing that for 1000’s of years, whether humans are part of the “machine” or not.

            Because humans are such an important part of the system now, people sometimes think that the “cost” of all things, is measured in the amount of human labor needed to produce it. And the less we use human labnor, the closer things get to being “free”. That’s just not how it works.

            All resources used to produce the things of value, get assigned their own value in the system. The “cost” of what is produced, is calculated by the system based on what resources were used to make it. Humans are not the only resource. In our milk example, we had the field, the grass seed, and the cows. They are all resouces that get assigned values. A field out in the country might cost $100 a year (if we were to lease it). The cows might cost $100 a year for each cow. The seed might cost $100 per bag. The machines that milk the cows might cost $10,000 a year. If the cow making machine is a human, then the human gets that $10,000.

            All these costs add up, to define what value the milk produced by these resources is worth. Removing humans from the equation doesn’t change the fact that all these expensive resources are still allocated, for a period of a year, to the production of milk – instead of using the field for a robot factor, and instead of using the cows to make hamburgers, etc. If you use the cow for hamburger, you can’t use the cow for milk. That’s what the allocation of resources is all about, and the decisions that must be made by the “economy”. All the resources that must be allocated get assigned a value.

            So, if the system produces 100 gallons of milk, and 1000 hamburgers in a week, we assign a value to those based on human buying habits – and based on the money supply, so the burgers might be $1 each and the gallons of milk might be $2 each. The total production of the system (GNP), was $1200. And based on what resources were used to make all that stuff, the system assigns a value backwards to the field, the cows, etc.

            Nothing is “free” just because we have no humans making the milk or the burgers. Resources (other than humans) have to be allocated to the production, and that allocation is what determines the price of all the resources.

            The economy must have consumers feeding input to define the values of everything. Without the consumers voting for things – aka dividing up all the output, the system won’t operate – it will just shut down and stop producing. But as long as all the stuff produced by the system is being divided among the consumers, the economy will keep growing – the system will keep trying to find ways to produce more of whatever the consumers are willing to “take”.

            But, if the consumers don’t have “voting tokens” to buy with, the system will stop producing for those people who don’t have tokens. If the rich only buy 100 gallons of milk, and the poor have no voting tokens, the system will stop producing the 100,000 gallons everyone else needed, and instead, use the cow pasture to build more luxury homes for the super rich.

            The economy will keep growing, as long as the consumers keep “asking” for stuff. And humans, will, if allowed to, keep asking for more “stuff”. There is no amount of “stuff” that is “enough”.

            ” Would there be that many times more “stuff” being traded?”

            Yes. If you lived 200 years ago, where you worked 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, mostly outside, just so you could have something to eat, you might have felt that it was a silly idea that someone would work hard to buy a computer, and internet access, so they could play Farmvile on Facebook and “pretend” to run a farm. Such and idea would have sounded crazy to someone that actually spend 70 hours doing real farm work, every week. But today, we assign silly things like that a very high value. There is no limit to how “silly” we an get in that regard. There will always be something “else” we want in life we don’t yet have and once the system can figure out how to deliver it to us, it will. The economy would only stop growing if we reached physical limitations of not being able to create a better life than what we currently have. That day may come, but it’s no where near in sight right now.

            ” Environmentally, we might want to be concerned about too much extraction processes, ”

            Yes, but the only reason we are concerned about that, is because if we use up a limited resourced like all our fossil fuels now, it might cause life to be much worse once it’s all gone. But we have lots of alternatives for every sources, and as we get nearer to the end of fossil fuels, the cost per BTU will slowly keep rising, forcing the system system to optimize towards other alternatives. This is already way under way. The use of solar energy is growing exponentially every day and fossil fuel use is not growing as it once was. The system will grantee our conversion to alternatives as it’s needed and will convert in the most efficient way possible. People really shouldn’t worry about that – we have so many options to pick from and all of them are being explored and utilized.

            Global warming however is a different problem – that’s just fucking up the life boat we live on, and that we have to make sure we don’t get too carried away with it. It’s as stupid as if we lived on a space ship, and some idiot decided he wanted to build, and test fire a cannon on the space ship (blowing holes in the side and killing us all on the ship).

            Global warming is hard to measure the true danger so that’s why there is ultimately so much debate about it. But, if we decide what the danger is, we can fix the problem simply by charging the system for pumping CO2 into the air, and then giving that money for those fees, back to the consumers to “spend”. That forces the system to optimize around the production of CO2. We just raise the fees to whatever level is needed, to force the CO2 production to drop to whatever value we want.

            ” If “everything” becomes cheaper, could there “still” be less of a tax base with which to pay off national deficits?”

            By “national deficits” are you talking about national debt, (the debt of a government), or are you thinking in terms of all outstanding loans made by bushiness and individuals?

            Loans (and debt) are not a problem. They are a totally separate issue in the economy. They are there to decide who gets the right to make an allocation decision. That is, we have a field, and we (as a collective whole), needs to decide what to use that field for. But how do “we” make the decision? “we” do it, by assigning the right to some decision machine machine (some human, or corporation, etc). That is, we we assign it to whoever “owns” the field. The entire purpose of these allocation decisions, is to increase the value of the resources we have access to. We have a mud field, and we make the decisions to plan grass seed, and the mud field turns into a field of grass to be used for grazing. By making good decisions, the value of the resources increases – we create GNP – we produce a constant flow of things of value. So if we are given a resource to manage (we buy the field), if we make good management decisions, we expect that investment to “pay out” – to produce things of value for us.

            That’s what interest is. It’s the average expected “return” our resources are expected to produce if they are managed correctly. So when interest rates are 5% (per year), and we buy a resource, like a field for $1000 dollars, we are expected to be able to produce $50 (5%) return on that investment every year. That field should be able to make us $50 a year if we use it correctly. If it doesn’t, we are either not using the land correctly, or we paid too much for the land. If the land only produces $5 a year for us, then it was not really worth $1000, it was really only worth $100.

            It all just translates back to starting with a bunch of resources, and using them, to produce things of value. The value of all the resources, get back calculated from the value of the things they are used to produce each year. If GNP is $5000, and interest rates are 5%, then the value of all the resources combined, should be around $100,000.

            All the things of value get assigned to “owners” which might be people, corporations, or governments. But the owners are responsible for managing the resource and gets to keep the stuff of value their resource produces. Loans, are just a deal where the right to manage an asset gets transferred to someone else, for a limited amount of time, and at the end of the time, the person is expected to return the asset and pay a fee for the right to “own” the asset for the time. When the economy is working correctly, these deals to loan resources works out to be a win for both parties most the time. The “debt” is nothing more than the amount of stuff “on loan” at any point in time. Most loans work fine, but a few fail causing issues. But if the economy has problems that most people did not see coming, it could cause massive numbers of loans to go bad, as in the home loan problems. But when that happens, we just have to step in and “reset” the “game”, to get the economy working again. Aka, we find ways to let people get out of their bad deals. There’s nothing about automation, that causes the economy to crash, or debt to become a problem, as long as, we continue to make sure humans are the “consumers” that drive the system, and that we maintain a relatively fair level of how much each human gets to spend each year – which we have not been doing the past 30 or so decades.

            Government debt however, for a country that prints it’s own money, and operates it’s own central bank to regulate money supply and interest rates – is a totally different story. It’s not “real” debt like bank loans are. It’s fake debt. It’s an accounting trick that allows the government to raise tax rates without actually raising tax rates. If the economy produces a GNP of 100, and the government taxes 50% of that, taking 50, and spending 50, then eveyrthing is as expected – but the government is controlling 50% of the economy by it’s spending. The government gets to decide what half of the total GNP is used for (roads, military, police, schools, etc).

            But, if the government takes 50 in taxes, and sells bonds to the public for 25, and spends 75, and the rest of the system still spends 50, then the total spending is not 125, instead of 100. But the stuff produced doesn’t magically go up. The system produces as much as it can, and no more, or no less. This creates inflation, where the costs of goods then go up, to match that 125 total price instead of the 100 total price. So the spending power of the consumer, who has 50 to “spend” drops. The net effect, is that government now gets to buy “75 out of the 125″, (60% of everything produced that year) and the consumers get to buy “50 out of the 125″ (40% of everything produced).

            So by selling bonds, and spending more than they take in as taxes, the government creates inflation, which allows it to control 60% of the GNP, instead of 50%. But because the government has a central bank that regulates money supply, and inflation, the actions of the central bank offsets the effect of the spending, hiding it all. So, the net result, is (nearly) the same, as if the government had just raised taxes.

            Government debt, is just a “hidden” tax, that allows the government to control a larger portion of the GNP that its tax rates would imply it was controlling.

            Adding robots and full automation into the system for producing all the things of value, doesn’t effect one way or another what’s happening with the government debt. It’s just an accounting trick that defines how much of the output, from all the robots, the government gets to control by it’s spending.

            • fireofenergy Curt Welch February 5, 2013 on 11:14 am

              Thanks.
              Concerning the bloated national debt of the USA, what do you think is the ultimate outcome?

          • Curt Welch fireofenergy February 5, 2013 on 2:30 pm

            I don’t see any real problem with the US debt. It’s not the “huge problem” many would try to make it out to be. The economy will recover and the debt will be paid down in time. Japan has a debt to GDP ratio larger than the US, and Germany has a high debt to GDP as well and neither country is “crumbling under the debt”.

            We have large debt because under Bush, we decided to spend lots of money for wars, and cut taxes in the belief the tax cuts would stimulate the economy. But before we could find out whether the tax cuts helped the economy, it crashed for entirely different reasons. Once crashed, our hands were tired. We were forced to maintain government spending, and keep taxes low to prop up and stabilize the stalled economy which made debt go through the roof. If we had cut back spending instead of going so far into debt, we would have seen another ’29 type depression with 25% unemployment. The large debt is by far the lesser of the two evils.

            The right wing knows the economic realities of this as well as the left. But the right wing is using the debt straw man as leverage to push their prime agendas of smaller government, less entitlement. They use the debt as a target because it’s an easy story to spin that the uninformed masses will fall for. The bottom line, is that debt is not a problem. The crash of 08 was the problem and this is just the natural way to recover from the crash.

            But the bigger picture is what we have been talking about here – that consumer spending power is being eroded by a growing income inequality due ultimately to advancing technology. The 08 crash just showed how weak our economy really was and how easy it is to crash it. And that weakness is due to the fact that the wealth our economy creates is increasingly being taken from the people, and given to a shrinking elite.

  • Capissen December 15, 2009 on 12:39 pm

    I had also wondered about the economic implications of increased automation. It seems that it would fit best in the context of a government that implements some form of a basic income (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_Income), which is similar to what Ford proposes. I’ll be sure to pick up this book!

  • Timothy Busbice December 15, 2009 on 5:20 pm

    I do not think Ford takes it far enough (from your article since I have not read his book yet) and as usual, humans think in human terms. We are afraid to consider the fact that we may soon be a lesser being. Once you transcend to the an intelligent machines point of view, you can see all the proposals humans consider are much to do about nothing. I think as soon as 2029, we could very well be faced with a new world where our monetary systems et al have no meaning. I have played with this idea in my own predictions at http://bit.ly/1RXotW

  • Timothy Busbice December 15, 2009 on 1:20 pm

    I do not think Ford takes it far enough (from your article since I have not read his book yet) and as usual, humans think in human terms. We are afraid to consider the fact that we may soon be a lesser being. Once you transcend to the an intelligent machines point of view, you can see all the proposals humans consider are much to do about nothing. I think as soon as 2029, we could very well be faced with a new world where our monetary systems et al have no meaning. I have played with this idea in my own predictions at http://bit.ly/1RXotW

  • j December 15, 2009 on 5:25 pm

    I don’t think it will cause an economic collapse. Workers will be displaced to other areas. These changes don’t happen over night. Businesses will simply expand in directions that cannot be automated such as intellectual and creative fields.

    • Martin Ford j December 15, 2009 on 6:08 pm

      I think you are correct that jobs which require creativity and human attributes will be created, but I really wonder if there will be enough of these jobs and if most average workers will be able to transition into them. It seems doubtful to me.

      I wrote a blog posting on this here:

      http://econfuture.wordpress.com/2009/12/13/the-jobs-of-the-future-or-not

    • Cyber j December 15, 2009 on 6:11 pm

      Just like Ford writes in his book not all workers will be able to find jobs in new areas. Ford also writes in his book that certain fields like art, health care, teaching children, etc. most likely won’t be subject to automation. The question is just: are there enough fields to provide jobs for all these people?

      You’re also mentioning “intellectual fields”, j. Do you really think all those people who are workers now are smart, intelligent and educated enough to simply find a job in such an “intellectual field”?

      Another interesting point Ford mentions in his book is the fact that even jobs that currently require a college degree are subject to automation. They even have a higher incentive to being automated since managers, etc. are making considerably more money than a “regular” worker.

      • Steve Roth Cyber December 15, 2009 on 6:46 pm

        By definition, 50% of people have an IQ below 100. If you’re reading and posting here, I’m guessing that you, like me, can’t even really conceive of what it would be like to try and make a go of it in our modern economy with an IQ of 100 or less.

    • Craig J. Townsend j January 31, 2013 on 1:33 pm

      Data you are correct! Ag workers fell from 47% of the populaiton in 1948 to 2% today, where is the massive unemployment? One advert you didnt see in 1900, Wanted computer software engineer! you didnt even see many of those in the 1970’s. Did the elimination of the whalinn fleets or the blacksmiths, wheel or cart makers cause massive unemployment? All these workers were reemployed elsewhere. How many humans will it take to terra-form Mars and Venus? Static lienar minds only see static linear conditions and solutions.

  • j December 15, 2009 on 1:25 pm

    I don’t think it will cause an economic collapse. Workers will be displaced to other areas. These changes don’t happen over night. Businesses will simply expand in directions that cannot be automated such as intellectual and creative fields.

    • Martin Ford j December 15, 2009 on 2:08 pm

      I think you are correct that jobs which require creativity and human attributes will be created, but I really wonder if there will be enough of these jobs and if most average workers will be able to transition into them. It seems doubtful to me.

      I wrote a blog posting on this here:

      http://econfuture.wordpress.com/2009/12/13/the-jobs-of-the-future-or-not

    • Cyber j December 15, 2009 on 2:11 pm

      Just like Ford writes in his book not all workers will be able to find jobs in new areas. Ford also writes in his book that certain fields like art, health care, teaching children, etc. most likely won’t be subject to automation. The question is just: are there enough fields to provide jobs for all these people?

      You’re also mentioning “intellectual fields”, j. Do you really think all those people who are workers now are smart, intelligent and educated enough to simply find a job in such an “intellectual field”?

      Another interesting point Ford mentions in his book is the fact that even jobs that currently require a college degree are subject to automation. They even have a higher incentive to being automated since managers, etc. are making considerably more money than a “regular” worker.

      • Steve Roth Cyber December 15, 2009 on 2:46 pm

        By definition, 50% of people have an IQ below 100. If you’re reading and posting here, I’m guessing that you, like me, can’t even really conceive of what it would be like to try and make a go of it in our modern economy with an IQ of 100 or less.

    • Linas j April 29, 2010 on 11:49 am

      I’m surrounded by folks who have neither the education nor the inclination to be “creatives” (entertainers, scientists, engineers). They are already semi-unemployed, and I don’t see how they’ll ever become “productive” members of society.

  • CKofAZ December 15, 2009 on 5:57 pm

    Another technological advancement that will have huge economic implications (and potential solution to automation) is the 3D printer. When (and a big if) these devices advance to become a desktop nano-factory and virtually anything can be created at little to no cost, then the cost of living would be dramatically reduced to the point that individuals wouldn’t have to work. Automation would become necessary at that point.

    I haven’t read the book yet, but does the list of jobs that are threatened include Soldiers, Drivers ( including cars, delivery trucks, subways, trains, plains), Agriculture, customer service representatives, and surgeons?

    • Cyber CKofAZ December 15, 2009 on 6:18 pm

      Agriculture is definitely already subject to automation. Just google a bit.

      CSRs (customer service representatives) are already being replaced by terminals as well. Just look at all the terminals car rental agencies are using for self-checkout, self-checkin terminals used by airlines, etc., etc.

      The large numbers of soldiers required today most likely will get replaced with autonomous machines, robots, etc. as well. Cyber warfare here we come. :(

      • Steve Roth Cyber December 15, 2009 on 6:47 pm

        Look at H&R Block’s online tax prep. That’s real thinking service work that is being automated significantly.

  • CKofAZ December 15, 2009 on 1:57 pm

    Another technological advancement that will have huge economic implications (and potential solution to automation) is the 3D printer. When (and a big if) these devices advance to become a desktop nano-factory and virtually anything can be created at little to no cost, then the cost of living would be dramatically reduced to the point that individuals wouldn’t have to work. Automation would become necessary at that point.

    I haven’t read the book yet, but does the list of jobs that are threatened include Soldiers, Drivers ( including cars, delivery trucks, subways, trains, plains), Agriculture, customer service representatives, and surgeons?

    • Cyber CKofAZ December 15, 2009 on 2:18 pm

      Agriculture is definitely already subject to automation. Just google a bit.

      CSRs (customer service representatives) are already being replaced by terminals as well. Just look at all the terminals car rental agencies are using for self-checkout, self-checkin terminals used by airlines, etc., etc.

      The large numbers of soldiers required today most likely will get replaced with autonomous machines, robots, etc. as well. Cyber warfare here we come. :(

      • Steve Roth Cyber December 15, 2009 on 2:47 pm

        Look at H&R Block’s online tax prep. That’s real thinking service work that is being automated significantly.

  • Vicmagna December 15, 2009 on 6:30 pm

    We fail to factor in the biggest changes in our future will be from biotechnology and not lonely mechanics (robotics). And everything our economy does is serve to evolve our governmnent/constitution. Something we forget to factor in or leave out will redefine our world economy.

    • Steve Roth Vicmagna December 15, 2009 on 6:49 pm

      Right. Imagine a world where computer-driven nanotech could allow one person to turn a pile of dirt into a thousand Thanksgiving dinners, or into atomic-latticed materials sufficient to build a skyscraper. Still sci-fi, but it probably won’t stay that way.

  • Vicmagna December 15, 2009 on 2:30 pm

    We fail to factor in the biggest changes in our future will be from biotechnology and not lonely mechanics (robotics). And everything our economy does is serve to evolve our governmnent/constitution. Something we forget to factor in or leave out will redefine our world economy.

    • Steve Roth Vicmagna December 15, 2009 on 2:49 pm

      Right. Imagine a world where computer-driven nanotech could allow one person to turn a pile of dirt into a thousand Thanksgiving dinners, or into atomic-latticed materials sufficient to build a skyscraper. Still sci-fi, but it probably won’t stay that way.

  • Steve Roth December 15, 2009 on 6:31 pm

    Very well-done review. It hits every point that I would have touched on.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about Martin’s vision (especially since I came to a very similar vision a while back: http://www.asymptosis.com/why-prosperity-requires-a-welfare-state.html).

    What I’ve been thinking about most: how to answer the (quite formidable) challenge of the Luddite Fallacy. I don’t think Martin really manages it in the book. (The description in this review is confused–confutes the relative levels of machine/human capability with their paces of increase–perhaps revealing the argument’s confusion.). I haven’t seen a compelling answer in other discussions.

    In short, why/how is it different now than it was in the 19th century? There are many possible answers, would love to hear some solidly convincing ones.

    • JW Johnston Steve Roth December 17, 2009 on 1:55 am

      I think a good answer is the gospel according to Kurzweil: technology is a game changer, we’re hitting the steep part of the “accelerating returns” curve. Many conventional wisdoms are biting the dust. New economic and policy ideas are needed. The balance between labor and capital, and scarcity versus abundance, is shifting to a point were the old models don’t work.

      BTW – I also appreciated Martin’s book. This meme seems to be finding its time. I posted my 2 cents at the Suggestions4Obama site this summer: A New Way of Thinking About Jobs and the Economy.

    • George Brownell Richter Steve Roth January 8, 2013 on 4:02 pm

      Steve
      You should look at TEAFS (available from Amazon). It advocates modifying the consumer economy by establishing a relative wage for every citizen,and then dividing up the value of the consumer goods on the shelves in the stores. Then send each citizen their paycheck.

  • Steve Roth December 15, 2009 on 2:31 pm

    Very well-done review. It hits every point that I would have touched on.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about Martin’s vision (especially since I came to a very similar vision a while back: http://www.asymptosis.com/why-prosperity-requires-a-welfare-state.html).

    What I’ve been thinking about most: how to answer the (quite formidable) challenge of the Luddite Fallacy. I don’t think Martin really manages it in the book. (The description in this review is confused–confutes the relative levels of machine/human capability with their paces of increase–perhaps revealing the argument’s confusion.). I haven’t seen a compelling answer in other discussions.

    In short, why/how is it different now than it was in the 19th century? There are many possible answers, would love to hear some solidly convincing ones.

    • JW Johnston Steve Roth December 16, 2009 on 9:55 pm

      I think a good answer is the gospel according to Kurzweil: technology is a game changer, we’re hitting the steep part of the “accelerating returns” curve. Many conventional wisdoms are biting the dust. New economic and policy ideas are needed. The balance between labor and capital, and scarcity versus abundance, is shifting to a point were the old models don’t work.

      BTW – I also appreciated Martin’s book. This meme seems to be finding its time. I posted my 2 cents at the Suggestions4Obama site this summer: A New Way of Thinking About Jobs and the Economy.

  • Frank Gilroy December 15, 2009 on 8:36 pm

    I see lots of arguments for replacing existing work but not much for work yet to be discovered. Surely more aggressive space exploration will continue and eventually unveil entirely new worlds, where these “world views” don’t apply.

    How will excavation of other planets and preparations for making them inhabitable be automated? Will those tasks be automated in the same way as building a car or a house in Earth’s gravity? As more of the earth’s population spends the bulk of it’s time in the equivalent of a fully immersive “Second Life” won’t every task essentially boil down to a “work of art? Won’t “art” at that point become a survival skill?

    • Gil Colgate Frank Gilroy December 19, 2009 on 10:20 pm

      Robots would seem to be much more capable of transversing space than we are. I think it likely that robots will end up building cities on other worlds for us as real estate developments which may or may not end up being purchased and lived in.

  • Frank Gilroy December 15, 2009 on 4:36 pm

    I see lots of arguments for replacing existing work but not much for work yet to be discovered. Surely more aggressive space exploration will continue and eventually unveil entirely new worlds, where these “world views” don’t apply.

    How will excavation of other planets and preparations for making them inhabitable be automated? Will those tasks be automated in the same way as building a car or a house in Earth’s gravity? As more of the earth’s population spends the bulk of it’s time in the equivalent of a fully immersive “Second Life” won’t every task essentially boil down to a “work of art? Won’t “art” at that point become a survival skill?

    • Gil Colgate Frank Gilroy December 19, 2009 on 6:20 pm

      Robots would seem to be much more capable of transversing space than we are. I think it likely that robots will end up building cities on other worlds for us as real estate developments which may or may not end up being purchased and lived in.

    • Linas Frank Gilroy April 29, 2010 on 12:00 pm

      Robots are already on Mars. If/when man gets to Mars, the robots will have already erected energy plants and communications systems, constructed living quarters, air/water/food supply systems (gardens), and the like. This is for pure safety reasons: you can’t think that we will send people in space-suits to do underground mining on Mars when its already clear that mining is a dangerous operation on Earth, and is already rapidly being replaced by robots?

      Just look at the Rio Tinto operations in Australia, where the “miners” sit in air-conditioned offices a thousand miles away from the mine in the Australian outback.

      Whatever we do on Mars or other planets will be done from air-conditioned offices right here in planet Earth.

  • FemiStevens December 15, 2009 on 8:53 pm

    Great direction from the TLITT but we should find and maintain a balance in form of regulation or else we will experience total annihiliation as can be seen in the current global recession caused by lack of enforcable global regulatory framework in the banking sector.

  • FemiStevens December 15, 2009 on 4:53 pm

    Great direction from the TLITT but we should find and maintain a balance in form of regulation or else we will experience total annihiliation as can be seen in the current global recession caused by lack of enforcable global regulatory framework in the banking sector.

  • CKofAZ December 15, 2009 on 9:18 pm

    The 1940’s Technocracy dealt with many of these issues, it was a contender for US econmic policy before capitalism/consumerism gave it a serious beat down. But the brightest minds of time (econmical and scientific) felt a society could be developed in which all of the basic human needs could be provided for via automation. The value of things would be based on how much energy it took to create it and every citizen would be aloted an equal amount of the energy the nation produced. Some interesting concepts that would need to be reevaluted of course, but the principals dealt with many of the problems presented in this article.

  • CKofAZ December 15, 2009 on 5:18 pm

    The 1940’s Technocracy dealt with many of these issues, it was a contender for US econmic policy before capitalism/consumerism gave it a serious beat down. But the brightest minds of time (econmical and scientific) felt a society could be developed in which all of the basic human needs could be provided for via automation. The value of things would be based on how much energy it took to create it and every citizen would be aloted an equal amount of the energy the nation produced. Some interesting concepts that would need to be reevaluted of course, but the principals dealt with many of the problems presented in this article.

  • David Allen December 15, 2009 on 10:02 pm

    On the road to human skill level automation, technology and human culture will feed back on themselves. The evolution of human culture will be more important than automation on economic stability. Based on current trends, ignoring a possible technological singularity, leaving out most of the reasoning, here is the set of mutually dependent trends I think we are likely to see:

    Productivity per person will soar.
    Wages for jobs only humans can do will soar.
    Cost of raw resources will plummet.
    Cost of finished products will plummet.
    Cost of energy will go down.
    Everybody can become their own product designer, manufacturer, artist, and entertainment producer. (the means of production will be ubiquitous)
    Physical quality of life for the individual will increase. (life span, access to resources, housing, food, water, education, power…)
    People will become more independent, less tied to a specific locality. (job, family, country)
    Birth rates will plummet, children will become relatively expensive.
    The population as a whole will age, making youth a minority class.
    Intellectual property/capital will become preeminent.
    Intellectual property licensing will allow pyramid scheme derivation of works, using micro-transactions to split the payment among the contributors.
    Entertainment (in any form) will become the leading commodity, and will become more extreme.
    Health care will become the next leading commodity.
    Management of Intellectual property, and data in general will become leading service industries.
    Distribution of raw material, energy, and data will be core utilities.

    There are some destabilizing trends that might also arise:

    Emotional satisfaction with life (happiness) will become harder to maintain… this factor will shape almost everything else in future Human culture.
    The class of capital poor will demand more “rights”. This translates as punitive taxes on the capital rich.
    Human culture may become less stable and more susceptible to extremes of fads, religions, and other belief systems. This will threaten economic stability and the physical quality of life.

    • Stuart David Allen December 16, 2009 on 12:49 pm

      Great response David. Your predictions of future commodities are good, although I would wonder if they would have any monetary value in a society that doesn’t need money.

      I think an important issue will be if there is economic collapse once everyone has the basic needs, and they no longer NEED to work.

  • David Allen December 15, 2009 on 6:02 pm

    On the road to human skill level automation, technology and human culture will feed back on themselves. The evolution of human culture will be more important than automation on economic stability. Based on current trends, ignoring a possible technological singularity, leaving out most of the reasoning, here is the set of mutually dependent trends I think we are likely to see:

    Productivity per person will soar.
    Wages for jobs only humans can do will soar.
    Cost of raw resources will plummet.
    Cost of finished products will plummet.
    Cost of energy will go down.
    Everybody can become their own product designer, manufacturer, artist, and entertainment producer. (the means of production will be ubiquitous)
    Physical quality of life for the individual will increase. (life span, access to resources, housing, food, water, education, power…)
    People will become more independent, less tied to a specific locality. (job, family, country)
    Birth rates will plummet, children will become relatively expensive.
    The population as a whole will age, making youth a minority class.
    Intellectual property/capital will become preeminent.
    Intellectual property licensing will allow pyramid scheme derivation of works, using micro-transactions to split the payment among the contributors.
    Entertainment (in any form) will become the leading commodity, and will become more extreme.
    Health care will become the next leading commodity.
    Management of Intellectual property, and data in general will become leading service industries.
    Distribution of raw material, energy, and data will be core utilities.

    There are some destabilizing trends that might also arise:

    Emotional satisfaction with life (happiness) will become harder to maintain… this factor will shape almost everything else in future Human culture.
    The class of capital poor will demand more “rights”. This translates as punitive taxes on the capital rich.
    Human culture may become less stable and more susceptible to extremes of fads, religions, and other belief systems. This will threaten economic stability and the physical quality of life.

    • Stuart David Allen December 16, 2009 on 8:49 am

      Great response David. Your predictions of future commodities are good, although I would wonder if they would have any monetary value in a society that doesn’t need money.

      I think an important issue will be if there is economic collapse once everyone has the basic needs, and they no longer NEED to work.

  • Mark Bruce December 16, 2009 on 12:04 am

    One thing needs to be emphasised: increasing automation removes the labour component of production and so reduces the cost of everything produced.

    Consider that if / when our civilisation achieves “automation saturation” across society, then the COST of producing anything and everything becomes ZERO.

    It costs ZERO to make. It costs ZERO to distribute. And with a change in mindset it costs ZERO to purchase.

    This is why some sort of guaranteed basic income – as a means provide astronomical standards of living for all and also control consumption of resources – is very likely.

    We must accept that over the coming decades there is no job a normal human can do – professional, artistic, or otherwise – that a machine will not be able to do better, faster, and cheaper.

    Yes, our global economy as we know it will collapse, but our collective productive capacity and individual standard of living will SOAR.

  • Mark Bruce December 15, 2009 on 8:04 pm

    One thing needs to be emphasised: increasing automation removes the labour component of production and so reduces the cost of everything produced.

    Consider that if / when our civilisation achieves “automation saturation” across society, then the COST of producing anything and everything becomes ZERO.

    It costs ZERO to make. It costs ZERO to distribute. And with a change in mindset it costs ZERO to purchase.

    This is why some sort of guaranteed basic income – as a means provide astronomical standards of living for all and also control consumption of resources – is very likely.

    We must accept that over the coming decades there is no job a normal human can do – professional, artistic, or otherwise – that a machine will not be able to do better, faster, and cheaper.

    Yes, our global economy as we know it will collapse, but our collective productive capacity and individual standard of living will SOAR.

  • Cyber December 16, 2009 on 4:56 am

    Here’s one of the many news stories covering the current recession – mentioning that the current high unemployment rate is more than likely to stay that way:

    Joblessness is Here to Stay
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/226426?GT1=43002

  • Cyber December 16, 2009 on 12:56 am

    Here’s one of the many news stories covering the current recession – mentioning that the current high unemployment rate is more than likely to stay that way:

    Joblessness is Here to Stay
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/226426?GT1=43002

  • Jeff December 16, 2009 on 5:06 am

    This is where the rampant innumeracy in economics causes a problem. This is routine stuff in physics or engineering. It’s a system question *that can only be answered even in 0th order by differential equations and modeling*!! There are ways of doing this even with very complex systems but more economist don’t have the math chops to get to 1st base – they foul out or strike out first.

    The answer requires this. Any rhetorical method of answering is meaningless masturbation at best and self-delusion at worst.

    Consider the systems implications of the fact that innovation tends to be a non-equilibrium system behavior. That alone has major implications to the answer.

  • Jeff December 16, 2009 on 1:06 am

    This is where the rampant innumeracy in economics causes a problem. This is routine stuff in physics or engineering. It’s a system question *that can only be answered even in 0th order by differential equations and modeling*!! There are ways of doing this even with very complex systems but more economist don’t have the math chops to get to 1st base – they foul out or strike out first.

    The answer requires this. Any rhetorical method of answering is meaningless masturbation at best and self-delusion at worst.

    Consider the systems implications of the fact that innovation tends to be a non-equilibrium system behavior. That alone has major implications to the answer.

  • Alex Fogerty December 16, 2009 on 11:44 am

    This question has been asked before. In 1995 the American economist Jeremy Rifkin wrote a book called ‘The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era’ in which he predicted the same scenario happening. After reading it I noticed a fundamental flaw in his logic: since we cannot predict the future it is impossible to know where future humans will be working. For example, in 1800 some 75-90% of the population worked in farming and agriculture, now only ~3% do because of the introduction of the steel plough and then the tractor. There is no way that the people of 1800 would have been able to predict men would ride machines to harvest their food, and there is no way that they would have been able to predict the Internet Revolution which now takes up so much of our time.

    • fieryglimmer Alex Fogerty November 5, 2013 on 11:33 pm

      I think that it would be no surprise to them that we have to justify our very existence on “productivity” to a man, woman, and in the past, child.
      They would not have believed people could be induced to buy the logic that fewer children equals a better chance at survival, or that it could be possible!

  • Alex Fogerty December 16, 2009 on 7:44 am

    This question has been asked before. In 1995 the American economist Jeremy Rifkin wrote a book called ‘The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era’ in which he predicted the same scenario happening. After reading it I noticed a fundamental flaw in his logic: since we cannot predict the future it is impossible to know where future humans will be working. For example, in 1800 some 75-90% of the population worked in farming and agriculture, now only ~3% do because of the introduction of the steel plough and then the tractor. There is no way that the people of 1800 would have been able to predict men would ride machines to harvest their food, and there is no way that they would have been able to predict the Internet Revolution which now takes up so much of our time.

  • jussir December 16, 2009 on 3:46 pm

    “With few high paying jobs, there will be less people able to buy goods. [...] the number of consumers with middle class purchasing power will diminish.”

    This has already been happening since the 70’s and in many ways is at the heart of the current economic crisis. People have been taking loans to compensate for the declining purchasing power, but are starting to get maxed out.

  • jussir December 16, 2009 on 11:46 am

    “With few high paying jobs, there will be less people able to buy goods. [...] the number of consumers with middle class purchasing power will diminish.”

    This has already been happening since the 70’s and in many ways is at the heart of the current economic crisis. People have been taking loans to compensate for the declining purchasing power, but are starting to get maxed out.

  • Charmaine December 16, 2009 on 8:36 pm

    Automation would mean cost efficient in labor intensive jobs and increases staff productivity.

  • Charmaine December 16, 2009 on 4:36 pm

    Automation would mean cost efficient in labor intensive jobs and increases staff productivity.

  • Anonymous December 16, 2009 on 9:43 pm

    Lots of ideas here (written and organized mostly by me so far, based on ideas by Marshall Brain and related thinkers):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jobless_recovery

    One key passage: “There also remain many who are skeptical about how soon such advanced 3D printing devices may arrive, how well they might work, or what materials they could handle. Similarly many people object (including on theological grounds) to the idea that robotics and AI will ever be able to do most jobs humans are paid now to do (especially ones involving creativity, judgment, hand-eye coordination, or dealing with unusual situations). While this may seem to be purely a technical argument about whether such devices can exist or how soon we will have them (or even, questioning just what we can do with the computers and robots and flexible manufacturing devices we have even now), the consequences in terms of planning social policy and related economic issues are profound. For example, what do fifty year projections for, say, the US Social Security trust fund mean if the entire monetary economy as we know it may not exist in two decades? What would health care costs be in 2029 if we could mass-produce robotic doctors, robotic ambulances, and even robotic nursebots (like Sebastian Thrun has worked towards)? Or what would costs be if people could print out most medical devices (or even most drugs) at home on demand using nanotech-based 3D printers? Likewise, two decades is about how long it would take a child born in 2009 to enter the work force after college in 2030 — what type of jobs or culture should such children be preparing for if 3D printing replaces much manufacturing, and if robotics/AI and a freely produced commons replaces most services? What would the economy be like in even just ten years if society decided much of the work done globally now is mainly about guarding or is make-work based on scarcity assumptions that are out-of-date just in relation to technology we have today (especially given movements towards voluntary simplicity or environmentalism)? If we were to embrace the prospect of a gift economy and global abundance through 3D printing, improved robotics, better design, better materials, and so on, then our societal spending patterns might shift greatly, even now, in terms of less worries about long-term deficit spending to create millions of R&D jobs today developing advanced technology under free and open source licenses. In that sense, a gift economy may be an example of a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

    The conclusion: “Dealing with a jobless recovery presents global society with some difficult choices about values and identity. A straightforward way to keep the current scarcity-based economic system going in the face of the “threat” of abundance (and limited demand) resulting in a related jobless recovery is to use things like endless low-level war, perpetual schooling, expanded prisons, increased competition, and excessive bureaucracy to provide any amount of make-work jobs to soak up the abundance from high-technology (as well as to take any amount of people off the streets in various ways). That seems to be the main path that the USA and other countries have been going down so far, perhaps unintentionally. Alternatively, there are a range of other options to chose from, whether moving towards a gift economy, a resource-based economy, a basic income economy, or strong local communitarian economies, and to some extent, the USA and other countries have also been pursuing these options as well, but in a less coherent way. Ultimately, the approaches taken to move beyond a jobless recovery (either by creating jobs or by learning to live happily without them) involves political choices that will reflect national and global values, priorities, identities, and aspirations.”

    • JW Johnston December 17, 2009 on 2:23 am

      Wow. The wikipedia article is a great resource. One minor criticism I had about Martin’s book was that he didn’t explore alternative potential solutions as much as I hoped. It’s nice to see 46 cures in one place.

      In a skim of the article, I don’t see any mention of Kelso and Adler’s “The Capitalist Manifesto.” That, and its incarnation as Binary Economics by Ashford and Shakespeare, could be a good solution on the “pure capitalism” side of the continuum. Most people, including Ford (and myself), seem to gravitate toward socialistic solutions to this problem. In “The Capitalist Manifesto,” Kelso argues that “pure capitalism” (as he describes therein) is a perfect match for democratic political systems. It might be able to find some traction in the West. I wouldn’t rule out a return to patronage/gifting either. And some form of socialism, where government is truly “by the people” and/or Big Brother is replaced by a compassionate Big Mother (Big Mama?) might work too. :-)

  • Paul Fernhout December 16, 2009 on 5:43 pm

    Lots of ideas here (written and organized mostly by me so far, based on ideas by Marshall Brain and related thinkers):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jobless_recovery

    One key passage: “There also remain many who are skeptical about how soon such advanced 3D printing devices may arrive, how well they might work, or what materials they could handle. Similarly many people object (including on theological grounds) to the idea that robotics and AI will ever be able to do most jobs humans are paid now to do (especially ones involving creativity, judgment, hand-eye coordination, or dealing with unusual situations). While this may seem to be purely a technical argument about whether such devices can exist or how soon we will have them (or even, questioning just what we can do with the computers and robots and flexible manufacturing devices we have even now), the consequences in terms of planning social policy and related economic issues are profound. For example, what do fifty year projections for, say, the US Social Security trust fund mean if the entire monetary economy as we know it may not exist in two decades? What would health care costs be in 2029 if we could mass-produce robotic doctors, robotic ambulances, and even robotic nursebots (like Sebastian Thrun has worked towards)? Or what would costs be if people could print out most medical devices (or even most drugs) at home on demand using nanotech-based 3D printers? Likewise, two decades is about how long it would take a child born in 2009 to enter the work force after college in 2030 — what type of jobs or culture should such children be preparing for if 3D printing replaces much manufacturing, and if robotics/AI and a freely produced commons replaces most services? What would the economy be like in even just ten years if society decided much of the work done globally now is mainly about guarding or is make-work based on scarcity assumptions that are out-of-date just in relation to technology we have today (especially given movements towards voluntary simplicity or environmentalism)? If we were to embrace the prospect of a gift economy and global abundance through 3D printing, improved robotics, better design, better materials, and so on, then our societal spending patterns might shift greatly, even now, in terms of less worries about long-term deficit spending to create millions of R&D jobs today developing advanced technology under free and open source licenses. In that sense, a gift economy may be an example of a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

    The conclusion: “Dealing with a jobless recovery presents global society with some difficult choices about values and identity. A straightforward way to keep the current scarcity-based economic system going in the face of the “threat” of abundance (and limited demand) resulting in a related jobless recovery is to use things like endless low-level war, perpetual schooling, expanded prisons, increased competition, and excessive bureaucracy to provide any amount of make-work jobs to soak up the abundance from high-technology (as well as to take any amount of people off the streets in various ways). That seems to be the main path that the USA and other countries have been going down so far, perhaps unintentionally. Alternatively, there are a range of other options to chose from, whether moving towards a gift economy, a resource-based economy, a basic income economy, or strong local communitarian economies, and to some extent, the USA and other countries have also been pursuing these options as well, but in a less coherent way. Ultimately, the approaches taken to move beyond a jobless recovery (either by creating jobs or by learning to live happily without them) involves political choices that will reflect national and global values, priorities, identities, and aspirations.”

    • JW Johnston Paul Fernhout December 16, 2009 on 10:23 pm

      Wow. The wikipedia article is a great resource. One minor criticism I had about Martin’s book was that he didn’t explore alternative potential solutions as much as I hoped. It’s nice to see 46 cures in one place.

      In a skim of the article, I don’t see any mention of Kelso and Adler’s “The Capitalist Manifesto.” That, and its incarnation as Binary Economics by Ashford and Shakespeare, could be a good solution on the “pure capitalism” side of the continuum. Most people, including Ford (and myself), seem to gravitate toward socialistic solutions to this problem. In “The Capitalist Manifesto,” Kelso argues that “pure capitalism” (as he describes therein) is a perfect match for democratic political systems. It might be able to find some traction in the West. I wouldn’t rule out a return to patronage/gifting either. And some form of socialism, where government is truly “by the people” and/or Big Brother is replaced by a compassionate Big Mother (Big Mama?) might work too. :-)

    • Linas Paul Fernhout April 29, 2010 on 12:18 pm

      Fantastic, thanks!

  • Evan Rowe December 16, 2009 on 10:29 pm

    I do think this idea is right. The review says that a job that gets lost gets created somewhere else.. “For every worker taken off the assembly line there’s another added to the maintenance team, or two who become consultants. ” but this is clearly not the case… unemployment is rising.

    However, in the 10-20 year time frame, it does seem that historically, more jobs are created. The core of my argument, is that the current crisis is a classic depression rooted in a lack of social power in the broad bulk of world populations and an enhanced amount of social power for a small minority of the investor class… without investment, everyone else pays the price. But without viable investment opportunities that ALSO employ masses of people, the economy on the whole, no matter how we screw around with the numbers, will FEEL worse. Everything that is economic is implicitly political.

    –E

  • Evan Rowe December 16, 2009 on 6:29 pm

    I do think this idea is right. The review says that a job that gets lost gets created somewhere else.. “For every worker taken off the assembly line there’s another added to the maintenance team, or two who become consultants. ” but this is clearly not the case… unemployment is rising.

    However, in the 10-20 year time frame, it does seem that historically, more jobs are created. The core of my argument, is that the current crisis is a classic depression rooted in a lack of social power in the broad bulk of world populations and an enhanced amount of social power for a small minority of the investor class… without investment, everyone else pays the price. But without viable investment opportunities that ALSO employ masses of people, the economy on the whole, no matter how we screw around with the numbers, will FEEL worse. Everything that is economic is implicitly political.

    –E

  • C. Sunday December 17, 2009 on 1:58 am

    I believe Automation will lead to ‘The death of capitalism/consumerism.’

    I know for a fact that capitalism will not succeed in an autonomous world. Automation (in some cases) is more efficient than human labor, it has taken over our factories, and factory workers are still having problem finding new jobs, because their skill set that is more suited for a factory job; where will these people work when all factory labor jobs are being taken over by robots and machines?

    it’s only safe for me to assume that capitalism will fail in an autonomous world.

    BUT, what will replace capitalism? — We may not know yet; but it will sure be better than capitalism.

  • C. Sunday December 16, 2009 on 9:58 pm

    I believe Automation will lead to ‘The death of capitalism/consumerism.’

    I know for a fact that capitalism will not succeed in an autonomous world. Automation (in some cases) is more efficient than human labor, it has taken over our factories, and factory workers are still having problem finding new jobs, because their skill set that is more suited for a factory job; where will these people work when all factory labor jobs are being taken over by robots and machines?

    it’s only safe for me to assume that capitalism will fail in an autonomous world.

    BUT, what will replace capitalism? — We may not know yet; but it will sure be better than capitalism.

  • Andrew Drummond December 17, 2009 on 10:54 pm

    Aaron, while it may seem interesting that Ford has posed this question, the fact that the luddites posed the question so long ago shows that what you are discussing is not quite groundbreaking. I mean no disrespect when I say; you and Ford have unfortunately fallen JUST short of the mark in terms of realising something profound, because in the society we live in today, there is one belief nearly everyone holds, that they never considered questioning, or even thought was a belief. That is, belief in the money system.

    The problem Martin Ford, many economic writers, and every charity in the world have in common when they approach questions on issues with society or industry, is they are thinking inside a box that has been reinforced around their head from the first day they could listen. The belief is so unquestioned because a monetary system of sorts has existed for thousands of years, although it has gradually changed in form, yet it remains the sole reason for poverty and corruption in the world today. Most people who believe in the monetary system falsely believe that it has worked in roughly the same way for hundreds of years. This may seem bizarre to you, but consider for a moment the idea that your government handed enormous amounts of money to bail-out banks that were failing last year, and yet they are in enormous amounts of debt to someone… They didn’t borrow that money from another country, all the rest of them are in debt too, so where did that money come from?
    It may surprise you to know that more than 90% of the money in existence on the planet today is counterfeit, no joke.

    It would take a lot of writing to fully explain here, but the point you need to realise, is that technology forcing people out of work is the best thing that can possibly happen to society. Machines were always intended to remove our dependence on slave labour, and that is something we should embrace with all our energy. The only thing holding us back from finally abolishing slavery, and I do not use that term lightly (slavery exists more today than it ever has before), is money.

    If you are truly interested in what technological unemployment can do to society, I strongly suggest you look at Peter Joseph’s works:

    Zeitgeist Addendum (2hr film):
    http://tinyurl.com/zgm-add

    The Zeitgeist Movement Slide Presentation (more facts, less art, 1hr37m):
    http://tinyurl.com/zmorient

    I promise you it will be very interesting and thoroughly worth your time to watch.

    • Seeing it Andrew Drummond May 20, 2011 on 9:07 am

      When a group has ideals for the future, asks for support, and no workable plan to ge tthere, that’s really messed up. They don’t even have an idea how to get rid of guns. I have not seen one plausable solution to gun and gun control from a single member. There are 1000 more just like it. You are completely brainwashed. Get some help and stop talking to people about this lameness where people don’t actually livein reality and think for themselves. There is nothing fundimentially scientific about them. They talk science, but live in a fairytale of of ignoring reality. That is called stupidity, lying, deception, etc. It’s not helpful to get people to ignore reality and say that’s science. It’s bait and switch. I am ashamed to know such sillyness is accepted at face value by other humanbeings. You get no free pass becasue you have good intentions. Get back in line and grow up. You have no business leading from a point of view that is based on ideals. That is beyond foolish and disrespectful.

  • Andrew Drummond December 17, 2009 on 6:54 pm

    Aaron, while it may seem interesting that Ford has posed this question, the fact that the luddites posed the question so long ago shows that what you are discussing is not quite groundbreaking. I mean no disrespect when I say; you and Ford have unfortunately fallen JUST short of the mark in terms of realising something profound, because in the society we live in today, there is one belief nearly everyone holds, that they never considered questioning, or even thought was a belief. That is, belief in the money system.

    The problem Martin Ford, many economic writers, and every charity in the world have in common when they approach questions on issues with society or industry, is they are thinking inside a box that has been reinforced around their head from the first day they could listen. The belief is so unquestioned because a monetary system of sorts has existed for thousands of years, although it has gradually changed in form, yet it remains the sole reason for poverty and corruption in the world today. Most people who believe in the monetary system falsely believe that it has worked in roughly the same way for hundreds of years. This may seem bizarre to you, but consider for a moment the idea that your government handed enormous amounts of money to bail-out banks that were failing last year, and yet they are in enormous amounts of debt to someone… They didn’t borrow that money from another country, all the rest of them are in debt too, so where did that money come from?
    It may surprise you to know that more than 90% of the money in existence on the planet today is counterfeit, no joke.

    It would take a lot of writing to fully explain here, but the point you need to realise, is that technology forcing people out of work is the best thing that can possibly happen to society. Machines were always intended to remove our dependence on slave labour, and that is something we should embrace with all our energy. The only thing holding us back from finally abolishing slavery, and I do not use that term lightly (slavery exists more today than it ever has before), is money.

    If you are truly interested in what technological unemployment can do to society, I strongly suggest you look at Peter Joseph’s works:

    Zeitgeist Addendum (2hr film):
    http://tinyurl.com/zgm-add

    The Zeitgeist Movement Slide Presentation (more facts, less art, 1hr37m):
    http://tinyurl.com/zmorient

    I promise you it will be very interesting and thoroughly worth your time to watch.

  • Hervé Musseau December 19, 2009 on 2:59 pm

    Note that basic income already exists in Europe, albeit not in as massive a form as would be required if automation took all the jobs. It is available in the form of basic income for people who are looking for a job, or are training, or are performing some community service, and in the form of basic health care. There is also some basic income for having children, and for rearing them.
    This is not, however, universal basic income, and many people are still poor.

  • Hervé Musseau December 19, 2009 on 10:59 am

    Note that basic income already exists in Europe, albeit not in as massive a form as would be required if automation took all the jobs. It is available in the form of basic income for people who are looking for a job, or are training, or are performing some community service, and in the form of basic health care. There is also some basic income for having children, and for rearing them.
    This is not, however, universal basic income, and many people are still poor.

    • fieryglimmer Hervé Musseau November 6, 2013 on 12:02 am

      England is being over run with other EU country members from the impoverished states. They have too many “rough sleepers” for their liking. They are afraid that the affluent will not shop the posh stores with the smell of human excrement in the doorways and alleys. They pay people to hunt the hidden makeshift dwellings and route them out…
      I am suggesting that we need to consider migratory patterns and pressures as well.

  • Alexander Conorto December 20, 2009 on 1:19 am

    I think it’s important that we look at what’s happening from a borader perspective. About one million years ago we just emerged from apes. Life was hard but on a global scale quite uneventful compared to what is happening now. We had to eat and reproduce since we hard our survival instinct. We still have it and it seems to be driving us completely crazy. Just look at our civilization. We are like some bipolar monkeys on meth completely obsessed about changing everything without any idea of what we are really doing. Most of us are completely unaware of this. Jobs? We have jobs because we need them, we would die otherwise. Post-scarcity era? No need for jobs? Great then. At least we can relax a bit. Prolonged life spans? Even better. Maybe we can slow down and start contemplating things without having to transform them all the time. We are approaching a crossroad.

    We are literally just a few pushed of some buttons away from turning the surface of this planet into radioactive smudge. If that doesn’t prove that there is potential for drastic changes then I don’t know what would. In the same way however, drastic changes can occur in a positive way.

    On one side we can really start off a singularity, which would quite quickly turn the human era into a faint memory. I’m not saying this is necessarily bad. There would still be conscious entities around. Personally I think all matter, including the one making us up would merge into one huge computronium based hive mind, aka God. If that is what we want we can get it. But it’s up to us. On the other hand we could try to slow down right now and ask ourselves what we REALLY want. The economy is a high level emergence built upon our instincts. With the right technology and information we could create room for changing that. If this sounds unlikely just consider the alternative.

    There is a problem with this though. There’s too much population growth in poor countries and too much ageing in rich ones. Ideally we should stop reproducing and ageing as well. Just get to a stand still where we could breath out. Suddenly we would see how much time we have on our hands. This universe has existed for billions of years and nothing indicates that it has any intention of disappearing. Why hurry into the singularity or oblivion when we can walk there at a pace that let’s us smell the flowers?

    What is automatization anyway? It is us programming inert matter. It’s the creation of a new form of life. We are programmed matter ourselves. We have emerged from chemistry and now technology is emerging from us. The feedbacks complicate this a lot of course. We should realize though that any AIs we end up creating are us. They are our literal offspring, our creations. If nature could (arguably) blindly give rise to us then why on earth shouldn’t we be able to create something even better when we are (arguably) not as blind as nature?

    My bet is that we will soon discover some drastic things regarding to the nature of our personal identity and consciousness (think Bhagavad Gita or Ashtavakra Gita for example), such realizations made impossible to deny by our increasing effect on the physical world and ourselves in it. This will lead to a collective emotional/spiritual crisis. If we survive that then we may experience some form of human utopia for a while, before some of us either finish building the AGI or turn themselves into something like it ‘by expanding their mental faculties and merging with technology’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hKG5l_TDU8). What will happen after that I have no idea about. Hopefully something pleasurable.

    One final point. I think the secret ingredient for our survival is the thing we call selfless love. If we start pursuing that half as much as we pursue selfish greed then we’re probably saved.

  • Alexander Conorto December 19, 2009 on 9:19 pm

    I think it’s important that we look at what’s happening from a borader perspective. About one million years ago we just emerged from apes. Life was hard but on a global scale quite uneventful compared to what is happening now. We had to eat and reproduce since we hard our survival instinct. We still have it and it seems to be driving us completely crazy. Just look at our civilization. We are like some bipolar monkeys on meth completely obsessed about changing everything without any idea of what we are really doing. Most of us are completely unaware of this. Jobs? We have jobs because we need them, we would die otherwise. Post-scarcity era? No need for jobs? Great then. At least we can relax a bit. Prolonged life spans? Even better. Maybe we can slow down and start contemplating things without having to transform them all the time. We are approaching a crossroad.

    We are literally just a few pushed of some buttons away from turning the surface of this planet into radioactive smudge. If that doesn’t prove that there is potential for drastic changes then I don’t know what would. In the same way however, drastic changes can occur in a positive way.

    On one side we can really start off a singularity, which would quite quickly turn the human era into a faint memory. I’m not saying this is necessarily bad. There would still be conscious entities around. Personally I think all matter, including the one making us up would merge into one huge computronium based hive mind, aka God. If that is what we want we can get it. But it’s up to us. On the other hand we could try to slow down right now and ask ourselves what we REALLY want. The economy is a high level emergence built upon our instincts. With the right technology and information we could create room for changing that. If this sounds unlikely just consider the alternative.

    There is a problem with this though. There’s too much population growth in poor countries and too much ageing in rich ones. Ideally we should stop reproducing and ageing as well. Just get to a stand still where we could breath out. Suddenly we would see how much time we have on our hands. This universe has existed for billions of years and nothing indicates that it has any intention of disappearing. Why hurry into the singularity or oblivion when we can walk there at a pace that let’s us smell the flowers?

    What is automatization anyway? It is us programming inert matter. It’s the creation of a new form of life. We are programmed matter ourselves. We have emerged from chemistry and now technology is emerging from us. The feedbacks complicate this a lot of course. We should realize though that any AIs we end up creating are us. They are our literal offspring, our creations. If nature could (arguably) blindly give rise to us then why on earth shouldn’t we be able to create something even better when we are (arguably) not as blind as nature?

    My bet is that we will soon discover some drastic things regarding to the nature of our personal identity and consciousness (think Bhagavad Gita or Ashtavakra Gita for example), such realizations made impossible to deny by our increasing effect on the physical world and ourselves in it. This will lead to a collective emotional/spiritual crisis. If we survive that then we may experience some form of human utopia for a while, before some of us either finish building the AGI or turn themselves into something like it ‘by expanding their mental faculties and merging with technology’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hKG5l_TDU8). What will happen after that I have no idea about. Hopefully something pleasurable.

    One final point. I think the secret ingredient for our survival is the thing we call selfless love. If we start pursuing that half as much as we pursue selfish greed then we’re probably saved.

    • fieryglimmer Alexander Conorto November 6, 2013 on 12:11 am

      Well, obviously the rush is that Kurzweil doesn’t want to lose the race and die before being backed up and operational.

  • Wesnex December 29, 2009 on 5:47 am

    Yes Mr. Ford automation is on course to create an economic collapse. If the purpose of automation is to relieve people from their work and capitalism requires people to work to obtain everything they need to live on, then when people can no longer compete with the machines, people will have to choose to give up automation or capitilism or life.
    Automation isn’t going away, and evryone who is sane want’s to live, so we will have to give up or at least revamp capitalism. I believe we will lean toward having everyone get a stake in the value of the machines, material resources and energy so everyone can draw income from them. We just need to make sure no one is left out because job income is just not going to be available in the highly automated future. Let us not wait for the transition into this to be complete before we prepare for the future. Massive numbers of people are already suffering from the incompatibility of automation and work for your money capitalism.

  • Wesnex December 29, 2009 on 1:47 am

    Yes Mr. Ford automation is on course to create an economic collapse. If the purpose of automation is to relieve people from their work and capitalism requires people to work to obtain everything they need to live on, then when people can no longer compete with the machines, people will have to choose to give up automation or capitilism or life.
    Automation isn’t going away, and evryone who is sane want’s to live, so we will have to give up or at least revamp capitalism. I believe we will lean toward having everyone get a stake in the value of the machines, material resources and energy so everyone can draw income from them. We just need to make sure no one is left out because job income is just not going to be available in the highly automated future. Let us not wait for the transition into this to be complete before we prepare for the future. Massive numbers of people are already suffering from the incompatibility of automation and work for your money capitalism.

  • Shelton Salsgiver January 7, 2010 on 6:13 pm

    Hello i just had a popup from my firewall when i opened your blog do you know how come this occured? Could it possibly from your advertising or something? Thanks, really odd i pray it was harmless?

  • Shelton Salsgiver January 7, 2010 on 2:13 pm

    Hello i just had a popup from my firewall when i opened your blog do you know how come this occured? Could it possibly from your advertising or something? Thanks, really odd i pray it was harmless?

  • Anthony March 21, 2010 on 3:03 pm

    If the advancement of nanotechnology is commensurate with that of robotics then there’s an equally high likelihood that products will be made via personal fabricators. Individual atoms and molecules would be arranged to form increasingly larger parts which would be assembled into products, including food.

  • Anthony March 21, 2010 on 11:03 am

    If the advancement of nanotechnology is commensurate with that of robotics then there’s an equally high likelihood that products will be made via personal fabricators. Individual atoms and molecules would be arranged to form increasingly larger parts which would be assembled into products, including food.

  • Neva Uhlman April 23, 2010 on 10:26 pm

    Thank you guys, I love this place, you have put a lot of work into it as I see, awesome… good work mods.

  • Neva Uhlman April 23, 2010 on 6:26 pm

    Thank you guys, I love this place, you have put a lot of work into it as I see, awesome… good work mods.

  • Linas April 29, 2010 on 3:49 pm

    I’m surrounded by folks who have neither the education nor the inclination to be “creatives” (entertainers, scientists, engineers). They are already semi-unemployed, and I don’t see how they’ll ever become “productive” members of society.

  • Linas April 29, 2010 on 4:00 pm

    Robots are already on Mars. If/when man gets to Mars, the robots will have already erected energy plants and communications systems, constructed living quarters, air/water/food supply systems (gardens), and the like. This is for pure safety reasons: you can’t think that we will send people in space-suits to do underground mining on Mars when its already clear that mining is a dangerous operation on Earth, and is already rapidly being replaced by robots?

    Just look at the Rio Tinto operations in Australia, where the “miners” sit in air-conditioned offices a thousand miles away from the mine in the Australian outback.

    Whatever we do on Mars or other planets will be done from air-conditioned offices right here in planet Earth.

  • Linas April 29, 2010 on 4:18 pm

    Fantastic, thanks!

  • Robert Searle May 13, 2010 on 9:09 am

    The key to the future probably lies in the project I am involved in. It is called TRANSFINANCIAL ECONOMICS, and arguably represents a quantum leap in our understanding of economics….Click on my p2pfoundation entry..

  • Robert Searle May 13, 2010 on 5:09 am

    The key to the future probably lies in the project I am involved in. It is called TRANSFINANCIAL ECONOMICS, and arguably represents a quantum leap in our understanding of economics….Click on my p2pfoundation entry..

  • Dominiek ter Heide May 15, 2010 on 11:27 am

    “He speaks of ‘recapturing wages’ by [...] and value added taxes to goods as they become cheaper [...]”

    Is he insane? The big fix here is to NOT tax those goods and let them be cheaper and cheaper. To live a life of minimum-comfort you now need what? 1000 dollars per month or something? We should make sure that drops to essentially 0, so that you no longer need to work to survive, but can start working for other causes like bettering humanity.

    Ironically, these Neo-Luddites are a major threat to civilization. If we start imposing brakes on innovation, it will move off-radar to groups of people, you don’t want to see innovating…

    • Robert Searle Dominiek ter Heide May 21, 2010 on 12:47 pm

      Yes, you are right we should be moving away from jobs, and wage slavery to more advanced forms of living, and working…This is why my Transfinancial Project is so important…but do people have the vision, and understanding to grasp its huge importance, and implications? I wonder if Martin Ford does, or not??

    • Dieter Pizarro Dominiek ter Heide May 31, 2010 on 12:51 am

      The advancement of technology and the demise of the monetary system has been foreseen by Jacque Fresco founder of The Venus Project. The Venus Project advocates that society moves toward a Resource Based Economy. (RBE) I advise everyone to take a serious look on what TVP advocating. This is the society of the future and the whole world could be involved. TheVenusProject.com makes perfect sense.

  • Dominiek ter Heide May 15, 2010 on 7:27 am

    “He speaks of ‘recapturing wages’ by [...] and value added taxes to goods as they become cheaper [...]”

    Is he insane? The big fix here is to NOT tax those goods and let them be cheaper and cheaper. To live a life of minimum-comfort you now need what? 1000 dollars per month or something? We should make sure that drops to essentially 0, so that you no longer need to work to survive, but can start working for other causes like bettering humanity.

    Ironically, these Neo-Luddites are a major threat to civilization. If we start imposing brakes on innovation, it will move off-radar to groups of people, you don’t want to see innovating…

    • Robert Searle Dominiek ter Heide May 21, 2010 on 8:47 am

      Yes, you are right we should be moving away from jobs, and wage slavery to more advanced forms of living, and working…This is why my Transfinancial Project is so important…but do people have the vision, and understanding to grasp its huge importance, and implications? I wonder if Martin Ford does, or not??

    • Dieter Pizarro Dominiek ter Heide May 30, 2010 on 8:51 pm

      The advancement of technology and the demise of the monetary system has been foreseen by Jacque Fresco founder of The Venus Project. The Venus Project advocates that society moves toward a Resource Based Economy. (RBE) I advise everyone to take a serious look on what TVP advocating. This is the society of the future and the whole world could be involved. TheVenusProject.com makes perfect sense.

      • Seeing it Dieter Pizarro May 20, 2011 on 8:59 am

        Jacque Fresco = man with ideals and no pratical way to get from where we are to where he wants us to be. That’s a fairytale. Grow up and stop pushing fairytales with no viable solution!!!! You should be ashamed of yourself.

        • fieryglimmer Seeing it November 6, 2013 on 12:41 am

          Hmm, It’s ok to be idealistic with new ideas. Imagination becomes practical reality. The majority of our lives was once not only impractical
          but also unimaginable. I fail to see anything practical in directing another to feel shame, or anything else.

  • The Twisted One June 22, 2010 on 11:11 am

    Mr Saenz,

    But how do you deal with the fact that not everyone has the smarts to become “a mini manufacturing, information, software or robotics mogul.” Yes, new technology opens new jobs, but these are usually skilled jobs with higher cognitive demands than the unskilled jobs lost. The problem is the people who, to be blunt, are too stupid for anything more complex than asking “do you want fries with that?” We will reach a point where all jobs within these people’s capacity will have been automated away, and they will be truly unemployable; they won’t have enough smarts for the jobs left.
    Decades ago, a high-school diploma was enough for a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. Now, a bachelor’s degree sometimes isn’t enough. And so what happens to the high-school dropout, the functional illiterate, and those of borderline intellectual functioning. There are some people for whom no amount of further education or “retraining” will make into “artists, counselors, public officials, entertainers, teachers” or other such positions.
    And even if this automation makes goods cheaper, material and energy costs mean prices will still remain non-zero, and thus be unaffordable to those whose wages are zero. Lower wages can be compensated by lower prices only if both are uniform; here, you will see improved purchasing power for those above the rising cognitive waterline, and increasing poverty for those who are below it.

    I do agree with your scepticism regarding Ford’s proposed solutions; they are not politically nor culturally viable. The problem, though, is that none of the other solutions are, either. While people have intellectually worked out post-scarcity systems, there is absolutely no way to get there from here. The only outcome I can see from this is massive social upheaval, probably accompanied by the rise of repressive authoritarian regimes, increased religious fundamentalism with con-commitant violence, and (particularly when you consider China’s increasing gender imbalance) large-scale warfare; I expect we will see death rates, as a fraction of global population, on a scale not seen since the Black Death.

  • The Twisted One June 22, 2010 on 7:11 am

    Mr Saenz,

    But how do you deal with the fact that not everyone has the smarts to become “a mini manufacturing, information, software or robotics mogul.” Yes, new technology opens new jobs, but these are usually skilled jobs with higher cognitive demands than the unskilled jobs lost. The problem is the people who, to be blunt, are too stupid for anything more complex than asking “do you want fries with that?” We will reach a point where all jobs within these people’s capacity will have been automated away, and they will be truly unemployable; they won’t have enough smarts for the jobs left.
    Decades ago, a high-school diploma was enough for a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. Now, a bachelor’s degree sometimes isn’t enough. And so what happens to the high-school dropout, the functional illiterate, and those of borderline intellectual functioning. There are some people for whom no amount of further education or “retraining” will make into “artists, counselors, public officials, entertainers, teachers” or other such positions.
    And even if this automation makes goods cheaper, material and energy costs mean prices will still remain non-zero, and thus be unaffordable to those whose wages are zero. Lower wages can be compensated by lower prices only if both are uniform; here, you will see improved purchasing power for those above the rising cognitive waterline, and increasing poverty for those who are below it.

    I do agree with your scepticism regarding Ford’s proposed solutions; they are not politically nor culturally viable. The problem, though, is that none of the other solutions are, either. While people have intellectually worked out post-scarcity systems, there is absolutely no way to get there from here. The only outcome I can see from this is massive social upheaval, probably accompanied by the rise of repressive authoritarian regimes, increased religious fundamentalism with con-commitant violence, and (particularly when you consider China’s increasing gender imbalance) large-scale warfare; I expect we will see death rates, as a fraction of global population, on a scale not seen since the Black Death.

  • Donovan Moore September 17, 2010 on 2:26 pm

    The world will not end with a bang but a whimper. Just like today, we have millions of people unable to get jobs, but yet life goes on. But the fact is, the days of excess and unlimited prosperity are definitely over. That’s plain for anyone out of denial to see. Donovan Moore, editor, spiritnewsdaily.com

  • Brynduffy October 19, 2010 on 4:36 am

    Robert Reich is addressing this question…but not as bluntly as you present it.

    Even China is loosing jobs to this process. Reich asks us to remember the telephone switchboard operators, the bank tellers, the uniformed gas station attendants. Automation is like an inverse neutron bomb. All the dumb jobs are gone but the people remain!

    What globalized automation is accomplishing is generating an enormous gap between workers and industrialists. Crap, stupid jobs, the most common jobs of all are going away!. And replacing these jobs is a wealth and wage disparity only seen before major economic collapse.

    And the solutions start to look very Marxist/Leninist. Stay tuned, it’s inevitable.

  • Whomonkyoulus November 12, 2010 on 11:45 am

    I have to say, it resonates almost entirely with my theories going back many years. I can trace the source of my theories back to a very unlikely time and place: reading about the Unabomber. I was sitting at the kitchen counter with our first laptop… windows 95; I was 12 and my mother had just told me that her friend had gone to school with the Unabomber.

    It really made a profound imprint. It has been 14 years and I can still remember it all. How could someone write with such an undercurrent of truth but act in such a frightening manner? I did not, nor do I even now, fully understand or accept insanity; my body viscerally rejects the concept of crazy.
    –Nate

  • prepare for economic collapse November 30, 2010 on 4:05 pm

    its the banks that are engineering the economic collapse, regardless of whether or not your job can be moved or you can be retrained, the level of debt that is being put upon the ordinary worker in order to pay back the banks is frightening.

  • Gaby_64 December 22, 2010 on 9:45 pm

    http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=3932487043163636261#
    The future will be jobless and it will not operate under a corrupt economic system that uses money.

    • Seeing it Gaby_64 May 20, 2011 on 8:56 am

      You are being brainwashed to give up reality. That is not a good idea. You have a brain, use it!

  • Sonsequence January 10, 2011 on 6:09 pm

    I’d only argue with the term “virtual jobs”. What is described is no more “virtual” than the vast majority of jobs that are done today. They’re not essential for survival, they’ve been created by an economic demand. Whether this is demand led by a market or in the public sector by values and voting makes little difference to their inherent value.

    These “virtual jobs” already have a name: the public sector. They are not jobs for the sake of jobs but on the whole things too important to leave to the market and the distortions of the profit motive. Things like free healthcare and the BBC are so deeply appreciated in Britain that despite a resurgent right wing and a great big national debt, nearly no politician has ever suggested abolishing them. The reason is simply that however much you might admire a business for its profit making ability and like its customer care you have to carry around with you the knowledge that your money is their only true goal and that for all their nice words they would gladly extort you to bankruptcy given the chance.

    Being able to trust each other is very important for our mental health and even those who support unfettered capitalism would admit that you have to keep your guard up when everybody’s out for themselves.

    A more socialised world under that “virtual jobs” model would indeed make people happier but unfortunately I have to agree that it isn’t the way things tend to go, particularly in America with their almost Hindu belief that people get what they deserve. Only when that economic collapse actually comes about could the paradigm shift.

    In the meantime it wouldn’t be unsurprising to see much of america start looking even more like the third world.

    Just as the bankers’ power to decide which country they pay tax in makes government toothless today the major robotics corporation would be immune to natural justice until it started to gum up the gears of their own machine.

  • Antonio Araujo April 1, 2011 on 2:01 am

    Indeed.

  • sklein April 11, 2011 on 6:16 pm

    Increased automation will also occur in all aspects of manufacturing. As a result, the cost of manufactured goods will fall, and the cost of creating a new manufacturing facility too will fall. Both will ultimately be limited only by raw material costs and the cost of design labor (for both the goods themselves and the manufacturing facilities). Due to increased modularity and increased usage of subcontracting, the cost of design labor will be minimal, leaving the raw material costs as the primary cost for manufactured goods. Competition will guarantee that this occurs.

    In such an economy, very little income would be necessary to provide a reasonable standard of living (food, shelter, healthcare, entertainment). Additionally, as having multiple children would not be necessary to assure survival in later years, such a society would ultimately have significantly fewer people than now. At the point that the population started to contract, the need to generate ever more jobs would evaporate, and it would become more likely that a balance would develop between the declining number of jobs and the declining number of workers.

    Ultimately, the population would stabilize, as would a new model of working, where the work week is vastly shorter (essentially, expanded job sharing), many more “jobs” are supported by foundations, governments, or even neighborhoods, and those who choose not to “work” are subsidized at some basic level.

    The above scenario is dependent on one additional assumption — that the majority of people do want to contribute to the society that they are part of and that the society always “reciprocates” by creating opportunities to use their talents/capabilities, which would otherwise go to waste. As a result, even though the types of jobs available would likely be different, and the work week would be shorter, nearly all those who wanted a job would have one.

  • Flora Miles April 21, 2011 on 3:56 pm

    Have you heard about The Venus Project?

    We should make the machines work for us, and we will be free to learn more and create.

    But what is in the way is the money system.

    If people have access to all that machines can produce, we wouldn\\\’t be looking at them as problem makers they would be looked at as problem solvers.

    If any person is allowed to learn and be creative and on the other hand don\\\’t need to have money to be able to eat, drink, breath, etc., then he or she will gladly do the creative work and share it with the rest of humanity.

    There is no greater reward than than the achievement in itself.

    • Seeing it Flora Miles May 20, 2011 on 8:55 am

      When asked about key issues, such as gun control, abortion, and justice, they have no real world plan to get from where we are now, to where they want to be in their Utopian ideals. That is called living in a fairytale. You are being brainwashed to give up reality. That is not a good idea. You have a brain, use it! Living in an idealist illusion is “exactly” what not to do.

      • thomowen20 Seeing it November 13, 2012 on 2:57 pm

        Just remember “Seeing it” that culture is your operating system. This understanding is implicit within the Venus Projects paradigm. Furthermore; the path to the Venus Project’s resource based economy begins with increased automation encouraged by today incentive system, goes through the inevitable upheaval and social dissatisfaction, down to the collapse of the current system. Even though this is a reactive path to a sensible system of living and not a proactive, one you should re-examine what you are deriding before trolling everyone that brings the Venus project up. What I have shared with you is clearly and explicitly stated throughout the VP’s site.

  • neublek April 27, 2011 on 11:57 am

    I really don’t understand why we want jobs at all. All this increased automation should free us to pursue creative interests. I agree that the Venus Project and a resource based economy are good ideas. The magnitude of the change required to ween ourselves off a money based system is daunting but the alternatives are just stupid.

    • Khannea Suntzu neublek July 24, 2011 on 8:01 am

      I want basic necessities and some fun. Not unreasonable you might say?

      …and when the rich have robot police and security, how will you rebel exactly?

      Why don’t you google a pic of ED2090?

  • gattica May 4, 2011 on 4:44 am

    The liberation of people from jobs should be embraced and pursued. Machines should do all the jobs and people should do all the productive leisure activities.

    55% of all the work we do can be automated with existing technology. Let’s give humanity real freedom as a right and make working a job optional so people have the power to just do what brings them happiness.

    The formula for accomplishing that is simple: Use existing taxes to pay everyone a $40,000 yearly dividend.

    This will give everyone the time and resources to truly live a free life. They will then have the actual ability to pursue their happiness.

    See DemandTheGoodLife.com for the details of how that plan can work.

  • Ryan Russon May 4, 2011 on 7:44 am

    No doubt there will be seismic changes in society as more robots and Watson’s progeny start taking human jobs. We may end up with a 3-day work week and vastly different jobs, but the Luddite Fallacy will hold more or less at least until humanity evolves into something else.

    One big criticism: grouping software engineers with knowledge workers is laughably ignorant of the creativity and intelligence involved in the craft (full disclosure: I’m a software engineer). By the time computers can create new programs all by themselves, we’ll either be cyborgs, great pets, or exterminated. In a world where AI understands how to translate our evolving needs into innovative software, ordinary humans could hardly be equals to the machines.

    • Khannea Suntzu Ryan Russon July 24, 2011 on 8:00 am

      So you play along while it lasts, is that it?

      Why don’t you care? Mind you I am all for progress and a happy world and transitional human states and evolution but seriously – *people will die in droves if this goes wrong* !

  • TFProleteriat May 4, 2011 on 4:49 pm

    I believe that automation will allow us, as a species, to advance much faster than is currently possible. I personally see the main roadblock to our advancement is being terrestrially bound.

  • broghamzvatox May 6, 2011 on 11:02 pm

    I’m really surprised that this article does not mention the Venus Project. Ford’s proposed solution is absolutely ridiculous. It’s comparable to proposing the taxation of the oil industry to use the profits as an incentive for renewable energy. Why doesn’t it happen? It sounds good. Those robotics manufacturers will own the state. To live in such a condition we would need to radically transform the very foundations of society into some Technocratic Anarcho-communist state.

    • Seeing it broghamzvatox May 20, 2011 on 8:52 am

      The Venus project does not have any idea how to transform this world correctly. When asked about key issues, such as gun control, abortion, and justice, they have no real world plan to get from where we are now, to where they want to be in their Utopian ideals. That is called living in a fairytale. You are being brainwashed to give up reality. That is not a good idea. You have a brain, use it!

      • thomowen20 Seeing it November 13, 2012 on 3:04 pm

        Just remember “Seeing it” that culture is your operating system. This understanding is implicit within the Venus Projects paradigm. Furthermore; the path to the Venus Project’s resource based economy begins with increased automation encouraged by today incentive system, goes through the inevitable upheaval and social dissatisfaction, down to the collapse of the current system. Even though this is a reactive path to a sensible system of living and not a proactive, one you should re-examine what you are deriding before trolling everyone that brings the Venus project up. What I have shared with you is clearly and explicitly stated throughout the VP’s site.

        PS: Posting this comment after every mention of a thing is annoying isn’t it? You could arguably say that that is trolling, right?

  • bmullan May 17, 2011 on 1:05 pm

    human society itself will have to change.
    compute and mechanical systems are being integrated so rapidly that many of today’s “jobs” that people aspire to will more and more just fade away and be done by robotics,etc. That may not mean that society begins to live less “well” but that maybe it can live the “same” but having to do less human “physical” work?

    My belief is that the future “may”be an era where humans will, assuming population can be environmentally supported by the Earth’s renewable and available resources, enjoy better health & nutrition (genetics discoveries), education & sense of “community” (internet), and finally start to realize that there is enough for everyone if it could be utilized and managed by advancement of human knowledge… and Everyone can contribute from anywhere.

    There are a lot of other hopeful areas like nano technologies. cancer treatments with virus etc to increase longevity/health.

    All if we don’t ruin the only home we have until we can figure it all out. But its gonna take a lot of people realizing we all have to work and pull together.

    What do you think our odds are? 50/50% ?

  • Seeing it May 20, 2011 on 8:48 am

    Aaron Saenz is correct. Things are going to actually improve. All those sacrifices and giving, all the goodness in small amounts never accounted for, all the humanity, will make the difference. Changes are coming people, via technology/evolution. What will make the difference is not tech, but people. When we can no longer keep up with advancments, all that will be left to hold on to will be our humanity. We already won. Everything is in play now. Just try to stay away from the nuts pushing Utopian ideas without pratical framework to accomplish their goals, ie., the Venus Project, etc. We have to work with what we have. That is reality. Fairytales are no going to cut it. Don’t ever allow anoyone to make suggestions for you to follow for the future without answers to real world problems. People like that have a lot to learn about life. They will ge ttat time and eventually grow up.

  • Seeing it May 20, 2011 on 9:15 am

    A word to the wise:
    any time you see posts and comments about Zeitgeist or The Venus Project, call out the fools and ask them about guns or abortion. Ask them where their group stand on it and how we are suppose to ge tfrom where we are, such as we have guns, to their ideal of no guns. Who is going to take them away and how? They have no idea at all. It goes on and on. They are brainwashed to ignore reality. Ideals are fine, so long as you keep the where they belong, in your head. For some reason, these people seem to think having ideals justifies a workable solution. It is sign of mental weakness and sickness. Fairytales are not science or something to live by.

    • Seeing it Seeing it May 20, 2011 on 9:16 am

      This is exactly how the Natzi’s did it. Bait and switch.

      • thomowen20 Seeing it November 13, 2012 on 3:30 pm

        In a Venus project like scenario: (and these are just my projections onto it, not what is explicitly stated on the site).

        Abortion would be approached from the standpoint and precepts of least suffering. The decision on the dispensation of an embryo or fetus should be informed by

        1) The development of the nervous system and the developing human’s ability to feel and process pain emotionally. This consideration would correspond with any method of contraception or abortion technique assessing the techniques and methods.

        2) The health and well being of the mother with regard to the technology available for ensuring both.

        3) Alternatives to abortion INCLUSIVE of intelligent regard to sex and procreation before the question of aborting arises. Adoption, foster care and group rearing after the question of abortion arises, as implied by the culture endorsed by the Venus Project.

        As a Venus Project proponent those are MY answers to the abortion issue in black and white. I would be happy to discuss my views on abortion with you without dissembling or sidestepping and in as great a detail as you would like.

      • thomowen20 Seeing it November 13, 2012 on 3:45 pm

        Concerning guns as a Venus project proponent:

        No one will take away guns. Forcing something from someone is not consonent with the Venus Project’s platform. Guns could be used for recreation much as they are today. If a gun is used in defense than the causal and inspirational aspects of such a situation should, much as today, be examined, forthrightly and on a case by case basis. Any situation where someone feels life-threatening force should be used (one that would require the defensive action of a gun) should be closely examined and understood. Such situations would be quite anomalous in a resource-based economy proposed by the Venus Project. Concerning any cases of mental illness that would cause someone to so threaten a person; i.e., an amorphous form of malice, instigated by mental issues, will be amenable to treatment by a society that TRULY desires to heal, without conflation with the profit motive. Such incidents should become increasingly rare as the resource-based society matures.

        As a Venus Project proponent those are MY answers to the gun issues in black and white. I would be happy to discuss my views on guns and their place in society with you without dissembling or sidestepping, and in as great a detail as you would like.

  • neublek May 20, 2011 on 12:55 pm

    Again with the Nazi comparisons?!!!! Really?!!!

    I don’t think that TMZ is saying it has all the answers to how to change things. They are suggesting that we could use a better method to make decisions like applying the scientific method to problem solving. I agree that it seems vague at this point but it’s brand new movement! TMZ has the possibility of coming up with real world solutions to some major problems. Stop shouting them down and give them some time.

    I’m more worried about people who tell you to ignore idealists than I am about hearing the idealists’ ideas.

    The Venus Project is ‘cute’ . It’s focus seems too narrow and they don’t seem at all interested in how to get from here to there. It’s nice to look at but I don’t think you can do much with it at this point. But it’s in no way scary or upsetting.

    • neublek neublek May 20, 2011 on 1:04 pm

      Oops.

      I meant TZM (The Zeitgeist Movement), Not TMZ (crappy tv show)

  • robert May 27, 2011 on 2:56 am

    This is a fascinating and important book. I think it makes a very strong argument that technology is eventually likely to cause huge unemployment. Does anyone here really doubt that most average jobs are going to be automated? If you just automted fast food,that would be millions of jobs right there. What are we going to do with those people?

    BTW, you can get a free PDF at http://www.thelightsinthetunnel.com

    My guess is that this is already happing, and it’s part of the reason that unemployment is staying so high…

  • deanc9999 May 30, 2011 on 12:03 pm

    Dayton Wilder
    http://meditationsonsingularity.blogspot.com

    This is a superbly written article, and entices me to read Mr. Ford’s book. Mr. Saenz and Mr. Ford both make excellent points. And both are right in their own way.

    I would argue that the solution requires a synthesis of both viewpoints. Albeit a bizarre suggestion, it’s not entirely original either. I would suggest that the fusing of man and machine in various cybernetic fugues will be the real out from this quandary. Somewhere along the way it will become impossible to know where we end, and AI begins. Upgraded humans mating with Robots, that combine silicon and carbon substrates as part of their own resistance to viruses running along either modality, is likely to be the order of the day.

    One thing is certain, The End of Work — to borrow from Jeremy Rifkin’s book title — is upon us. At least in the mundane sense. Because whether as hyper-conscious AI, or super-evolved augmented humans — I would think we should all be plenty smart enough to eschew the mundane in whatever form it arrives.

  • LiberationSauce May 30, 2011 on 7:08 pm

    If by improving the means and efficiency of production to such a high level of output and minimal level of human energy input, we could provide such an abundance of goods and services that the necessities of life would no longer require a price tag… Obviously we\’re going to need a new economic model… Resource Based Economy, anyone? The challenge is how do we get from here to there? let\’s get creative, people…

    TheVenusProject.com
    TheZeitgeistMovement.com

  • Raul Guillet June 16, 2011 on 4:02 pm

    Nothing new here. Extraneous energy usage first surpassed human energy usage in the year 1913. See these article by Marion King Hubbert, who is today perhaps the world’s most famous geoscientist:

    Man Hours and Distribution, Hubbert’s Prescription for Survival

    http://mkinghubbert-technocracy.blogspot.com/

  • Raul Guillet June 21, 2011 on 1:05 pm

    “A few students of human affairs recognize what is happening and make a fairly accurate analysis of the situation. Their descriptions are clear; their analyses of the prevailing trends and appraisals of the danger leave no doubt as to the probability of dire consequences; and their warnings are almost hysterical. But when it comes to giving a synthesis for survival, most of their suggestions are puerile or fantastic-they lack the realism and boldness of concept which the analysis demands.” -excerpted from The Ecology of Man by Wilton Ivie: http://web.archive.org/web/20010514113821/www.technocracyinc.org/pamphlets/ecology-of-man.htm

    • Khannea Suntzu Raul Guillet July 24, 2011 on 7:57 am

      I agree the suggestions mad by Martin, and by Marshall Brain and Rifkin before him, are politically unthinkable in our current international economic paradigm.

      You face however the onus of explain what the alternatives will be. Try and visualise – millions of angry, hungry people that know their situation will not change.

      – And a small percentage of the population that’s very rich and very afraid of the plebs taking the richer away by force.

      I feel almost like ordering a red flag with a Guillotine from my house with the text

      “we are coming for you bastards”

      So what alternatives do you offer?

      • Raul Guillet Khannea Suntzu July 24, 2011 on 12:15 pm

        Technocracy Inc. is the only viable alternative to Price System modes of operation and it has been waiting for almost a century ready to be implemented at any moment via the Total Conscription Program. Investigate Technocracy’s rich history and its truly unique scientific social dynamic: technocracyinc.org

        • Khannea Suntzu Raul Guillet July 24, 2011 on 2:04 pm

          I agree. Proper scarcity management and sound and humane logistics, by whatever name.

          But when this is argued the zerosumists crawl out of their sewers and will claim

          “they will take my money and my privilege from my cold dead hands”….

          Good luck changing their minds.

      • Raul Guillet Khannea Suntzu July 24, 2011 on 12:16 pm

        http://web.archive.org/web/20011031144126/http://www.technocracy.org/periodicals/nwtechnocrat/339/work.html

        Book Review: `The End of Work’
        By Jeremy Rifkin

        Stella Block • 1995

        Published in:

        The Northwest Technocrat 2nd quarter 1995, No. 339
        Fifty years ago Howard Scott stated that American business was exporting the tools of social change (Technology) all over the world. Jeremy Rifkin’s book The End of Work just published, is an excellent description of what fifty years of Price System “freedom” has left in the wake of the free-for-all quest for profits.
        CHQ recommends this book to any one who is interested to learn what has happened while the public was preoccupied with sports, TV trivia, political wrangling and other such diversions while the “big boys” did their serious work of looting, raping and generally cutting up the world for their own benefit.

        Bribery, blackmail, coercion and intimidation were honed to a fine art. Governments were suborned; officials were bought and sold; no holds barred in the quest to make the world safe for free enterprise. They succeeded only too well. The book, The End of Work is a graphic example and expose of the aftermath of a “success” in the Price System. Mr. Rifkin does not put it quite as badly as we have but he has described the results very well. The technology installed all over the world, although not as complete as here in the U.S., still is enough to upset and shatter age-old traditions and the way of life everywhere — wherever there were resources to exploit. Mr. Rifkin mentions Technocracy in several chapters; his extensive bibliography includes references to Technocracy Literature. Needless to say he does not treat Technocracy very kindly, but then that is to be expected. The march of events is proving Technocracy all too correct, so it is to be expected that some “sour grapes” will sprout.

        Rifkin is not the only one who has suddenly become aware of “something” being terribly wrong with the way the world is drifting. Many newspapers and periodicals carry articles and stories of the same theme, but Technocracy is the only Organization that has called it for what it is — Social Change — and has presented the only viable solution.

  • Gorgand Grandor June 23, 2011 on 1:18 pm

    Automation won’t lead to collapse…

    …IF the robot slaves are brought in at the stage of human level capability and in one fell swoop to take over ALL work, allowing people to have everything provided. Otherwise people will find themselves out of work in an economy in which they still need to work to pay bills.

    In an economy purely run by robots just as capable as humans, they will be making the food and building bridges, and most importantly running the factories which make more robots.

    Far from collapse, once the economy is purely run by machines, humans will never NEED to work again. The only work will be recreational and improvement, rather than for survival, since robots build houses and other things at their expense, resulting in no one going homeless and starving, or even needing to pay bills, since robots purely driven to service humans will not need money or services.

    It’s getting to this point that may cause trouble, because people right now need to work in order to survive, and if semi-capable robots only take over small areas of the economy, then people will be out of work in this era where you need to in order to survive.

    • Khannea Suntzu Gorgand Grandor July 24, 2011 on 7:53 am

      Asinine and childishly naive faith in our current system.

      Those devices, systems and robots will be owned by a certain category of people and they will reap the profits and wiuth those profits will buy the political clout to kepe what they mistakenly think is theirs.

      The group of humans unable to make a living will grow, the wealth of a small elite will grow, societal disharmony will grow. This type of unemployment is irreversible. You can’t train people into new jobs fast enough and the net result is a society run amok with psychopathic competition for those scraps left by the ‘elites’.

      This can’t end well. It may actually end in gas chambers – as always in history those blocked from a humane existence (or fairnes) will exhibit stress, anger and dangerous behaviour. As always in history those hit hardest will be blamed and characterized as ‘useless scum’.

      I am born part of a demographic that will be hit first – a bit older, disabled and angry. When I say this out loud among the technoprogressive crowd I get comments negroes and wolmen used to get in the olden days as in “stop attracting attention”.

      This infuriates me. There is a real reason for grave concern here – society is already far beyond it’s reserves, and lost a lot of coherence. Any more and this will resemble a badly written cyberpunk novel with a really lousy ending.

      When I say this will end real badly I insist – yes the elites will feel compelled to cull the surpluses of humanity.

  • George Brownell Richter June 28, 2011 on 10:54 am

    Ford describes the prime cause of increasing unemployment, but TEAFS (available from Amazon.com) will solve it, avoiding a breakdown in America\’s economy and resulting riots of the many poverty stricken by long unemployment.
    America\’s PRODUCTION system is outstanding, producing quality and quantities of food and goods at fair prices. We must encourage it.
    Our WAGE system simply doesn\’t work! Modify it by basing the dollar on the available consumer goods. Have retailers send an Economic Council the value of the goods on their shelves. Have employers send in each employees wage rate and hours worked. Include a wage for homemakers, retirees, the military, students, etc, etc. Divide the value of goods so each gets a FAIR share. (FAIR means give a larger share to those who contribute best) Send each person a check.
    TEAFS explains why we must do this, and includes the formulas to divide fairly the value of goods. It says, \”Let the Economic Council include a system to adjudge merit, making wages more fair. (Employers still get to set wages with workers, as now.)
    TEAFS will solve our nation\’s economic problems.
    George Richter

  • charles000 July 16, 2011 on 12:46 am

    > . . . to paraphrase Ford’s solution in my own words: we should take money from automating industries to fund a state guided program that gives money to consumers in exchange for working at bettering themselves. Sounds like a decent plan. Never gonna happen . . . <

    Lovely idea, utopian fantasy, is what Ford points to as a theoretical solution to human displacement in an emergent world.

    I do agree with certain aspects of his projections, however, in that there is a critical mass threshold when a civilization reaches a point where the majority of that population is rendered irrelvant, and dysfunctional in an economic systems model which is ever dependant on accelerated growth.

    We are witnessing the begining edge of that phenomena now, only instead of automation by robots and AI rendering much of the population "unemployable", the catalyst for that process is outsourcing to ever cheaper labor markets to protect the apparent profitability of corporate business entities, upon which current economic viability and health is determined.

    The mechanism is the same, whether it be shifting labor to ever cheaper human resources for replacement, or eventually opting for mass automation.

    What is really at stake is a planet with a fixed resource base, mapped against a rapidly expanding population, in which planetary sustainable equilibrium is already shifting into catastrophic failure.

    Unfortunately, I see a rapidly shrinking window of time, mapped against the aforementioned accelerating phenomena, for which there is very little chance of a planetary scale series of required changes to take place.

    What is more likely to occur will be a sort of "involuntary correction", which will be catastrophic for much of the planet's populations, and possibly the life support capacity of the planet itself.

  • Khannea Suntzu July 24, 2011 on 8:08 am

    How will we fix this is we are up against this kind of thinking?

    • Harlan Robinson Khannea Suntzu August 10, 2011 on 11:13 am

      Wow, that was great! Christ is obviously better only 15 million have died!LMAO

  • The Poker Mechanic July 24, 2011 on 8:37 am

    In the future, if things go right, people will not need to work. Technology should increase productivity to a level high enough that just a small portion of the total population will be able to supply all the rest of the population. Many people will still choose to work, especially because it will be so much easier for them to do what they want to do instead of what they have to do.

    The elite have things designed at the moment as to maintain a large labor force. They do this through taxes, inflation, debt, and various other means. I hope that eventually they will let go of their hold on the working class and allow people the freedom that we are so capable of having right now.

    • Khannea Suntzu The Poker Mechanic July 24, 2011 on 2:02 pm

      Yah and if things go wrong these bastards will do exactly the same as they have done in most of the third world. Extreme wealth doesn’t have a very pretty track record, TPM, they prefer the losers in favella’s and let them rot there.

  • Johnny July 24, 2011 on 8:01 pm

    Labor is an antique notion. Human machines designed by nature as they are… can not do too much. The Singularity crowd does not get that labor is a dead letter?
    M. King Hubbert, Man-Hours & Distribution and some other things.

    Rationalizing Capitalism or Communism or other dead letter designs of money economics is only happening where people see a way to weasel out a profit for destroying more resources… and spare me the ‘green’ enterprise stuff. Thats bull connected with Price System rip offs also.
    Energy accounting and Technocracy technate design.

  • maxm August 10, 2011 on 4:52 am

    You are missing an obvious development, as you are extrapolatiing some things but not others.

    When robots become so abundant, then normal people will start owning and using them for making things for themselves and their, families friends.

    There will be no need for employment and mass manufacturing.

    “All” you need is a general purpose robot, some raw materials and a shed to start building stuff in. Presumably in your parents backyeard.

    So instead of working to make money for which you can buy a house, a car, furniture, food etc. You just build the stuff yourself. You can get open hardware designs and plans of the net.

    Some of your finished products can be sold for raw materials and energy etc.

    The idea that we work to make money to buy stuff will be bypassed altogether.

    • Khannea Suntzu maxm August 10, 2011 on 10:52 am

      Johnny,

      I hope you will be right, but I fear your optimism will turn out dead wrong.

      Those who have the power will block anyone else’s access to energy, raw materials and all you need to realize your utopian state. To get to the point you describe will take between 10 and 30 years. That is a long time, and our socio-economic structures are already on the verge of severe dysfunction.

      • Johnny Khannea Suntzu August 10, 2011 on 7:39 pm

        Yes Khannea… we do not know how this plays out… but viable alternative is possible.
        It is going to be a bad ending with population to resource issues for earth though for sure.
        https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=dfx7rfr2_130x3pmnh&hl=en&pli=1
        And yes.. the Price System is destroyed by technology… the basis of it. Labor for consuming rights no longer will work.
        So, its not utopian… which is defined as ‘a place that does not exist’ partly.
        The technate design is a science idea.

    • Johnny maxm August 10, 2011 on 7:33 pm

      Maxm… without a plan Singularity things are pointless. Still having the same Price System economy is not going to work… you say you could ‘sell’ finished products? For raw materials and energy.
      Then you are talking about a price system https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=dfx7rfr2_70cmz88f&hl=en … the system we use now.
      That is not going to work.
      An alternative method has to be used. Something viable and that means a technate or science system using energy accounting as a right of citizenship.

  • Harlan Robinson August 10, 2011 on 11:26 am

    I have some questions since I have been studying this idea.
    1) How do we manipulate women for sex in a world with no money?
    2) Where will the drama come from if we eliminate all the reasons for sin?
    3) What can I accumulate so that I feel superior to someone or a group?
    4) Who can we go to war with? We will lose our edge and the aliens will so up and kick our butts:(
    5) Without inequality nothing will move, absolute zero means death. I forgot my point. Oh yea, Will cosmic energy alone push evolution along? If so, when will I get my magneto powers.
    6) When will MIT make the HoloDeck. I would like to spend retirement with the Playboy top 50. Just lock the door and my release date will be death.

    • Khannea Suntzu Harlan Robinson August 10, 2011 on 1:36 pm

      Go play MMO’s.

      Plus, in the confines of a programmable environment you will be able to modify your body as to

      (a) last longer,
      (b) think faster, thereby cramming more time in the time you have,
      (c) create copies or variant instantiations of yourself who then go and share useful insights and experiences;

      so eventually all this will either make you want to kill yourself, i.e. “log out”, OR you become smarter in the most deep and wise manner possible.

      Call it a spiritual defragmentation.

  • neublek August 10, 2011 on 12:35 pm

    My greatest fear is that the super rich/corporations will simply want to cull the working class once it’s clear that automation can take over most work. As Khannea Suntzu points out, “Extreme wealth doesn’t have a very pretty track record”.

    I think it’s very important that right now we all try to minimize the sway that the corporations have over policy. I see the attack on Unions as an attack on the peoples ability to voice their opinion, their ability to claim a stake in the future.

    If we act now we could have a future society where corporate taxes fund a society of abundance… or, if we do nothing, we could have a society where a few wealthy have everything and the rest of us are left to starve.

    • Khannea Suntzu neublek August 10, 2011 on 1:38 pm

      If you infer this as plausible, then do you agree that societal disparity + technological acceleration + pervasive zero sum mindsets = a potential existential threat ?

      • neublek Khannea Suntzu August 10, 2011 on 1:51 pm

        Yes.

        But i see the potential for a peaceful and plentiful world too. I just think we need to be aware of the threat and do what we can to ensure a better future.

        Just waiting around for the singularity is not enough.

        • Khannea Suntzu neublek August 10, 2011 on 2:11 pm

          The Singualarity is a random and unpredictable event with many possible outcomes. We need to realize that in some of these transitions humanity will go extinct in a bad way.

          Now how can we change the world in a way that we have a maximum chance on a positive outcome?

          My estimate is that a world where the vast majority is left to rot while a small percent is off to Dubai snorting coke of Ukraine hookers tits is not conducive to our long term survival opportunities.

          I am using harsh terminology here. But I am not the only one.

          http://chronopause.com/index.php/2011/08/09/fucked/

          • Harlan Robinson Khannea Suntzu August 10, 2011 on 5:38 pm

            No, you are not the only one. You can do only what you can. Which is, affect change in thought in your sphere of influence.

  • losthobbit August 14, 2011 on 6:21 am

    It annoys me when I read stuff like this. I don’t want to exist for the sole purpose of working in a job with the sole purpose of serving the money system (or the rich).

    When are people going to realize that the problem is not automation? The problem is the money system. If we lived in a world with international co-operation, no ownership or money, and the current state of technology, people would only have to work an hour or two per day.

    As technology improves, the amount of time required to work would simply diminish, and people can spend their time volunteering in helping to fight global warming, diseases and hunger.

    http://www.thevenusproject.com explains what I’m talking about.

    • Khannea Suntzu losthobbit August 14, 2011 on 7:58 am

      While we would not be able to reduce labour divisions to just two yours a day *just yet* I agree that our societal system is completely skewed in favor of money elites and other global powerbrokers.

      But what I do not agree with is the suggestion that the Zeitgeist movement has actual solutions. ZGM makes some nice analysis and called the current mess in a perfect manner, the ZGM has a big problem that it consistently ignores:

      EVEN under the most favorable conditions, even if the ZGM movement has an actual plan of action (which it doesn’t), even if the ZGM would not be overflowing with incompetence and grass roots amateurism, even given the most favorable economic trajectory – the vast majority of people on this planet would ever consent to a system as proposed by ZGM.

      Why? I refer you to the bible.
      Accelerando p60-62.

      ZGM needs to come up with something more substantial now Jacque has slammed the door in your collective faces.

      • neublek Khannea Suntzu August 14, 2011 on 9:27 am

        Zeitgeist is not purpoiong to change the world all at once. In fact, they are starting by supporting organizations with overlapping causes like environmentalist groups. Also, Zeitgeist Movement purposes to start cataloging the worlds resources and making their data available to the world. Some members of Zeitgeist Movement have claimed that they are returning to school to study science so they can make more informed contributions. I think you underestimate the potential and flexability of this movement. It may have a mostly amateur membership now but it is evolving. Also the Zeitgeist Movement members I have seen on YouTube have talked more about looking for solutions than allegiance to any specific ideal. These are motivated people who honestly want to improve the world. And they have accomplished a lot in the few short years the movement has been around. A worldwide movement that lots of people know about.

        • Khannea Suntzu neublek August 14, 2011 on 10:03 am

          Great to see we are in complete agreement here.

          Incidentally have you seen the vids of Orlov? How much time do you think we have?

          • Johnny Khannea Suntzu August 14, 2011 on 11:37 am

            Time ran out. Now it is just a question of when the catastrophic events commence and how http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9ps5vJrIxM

            • neublek Johnny August 14, 2011 on 1:31 pm

              Why spend so much time arguing against groups that share so much in common?

              I understand the importance of crediting those whom inspired a certain train of thought but shouldn’t bringing about the outcomes of those ideas be more important.

              It seems to me that it is more sensible to create a coalition rather than squabble over details. Especially with the eminent social collapse that Orlov describes so well. (Thanks Khannea for suggesting that vid)

              • Johnny neublek August 14, 2011 on 6:12 pm

                ”I understand the importance of crediting those whom inspired a certain train of thought but shouldn’t bringing about the outcomes of those ideas be more important.” End quote.

                Not really. There is no connection between Zeit and Fresco ideas and the Technocracy technate information.
                No matter how much your quest for notability is.
                There will never be a coalition of people from Zeit or Fresco and technocrats. Our plan is in the Technocracy Study Course. That is unconnected except for the ripp off aspect of Fresco retrieving a sunshine and blue sky version of himself as Big Daddy.
                Care to buy some swampland in Florida?

        • Johnny neublek August 14, 2011 on 11:42 am

          Not really. It is a non notable group… Zeitgeist that stole the little they do know from more informed sources.
          No one outside of themselves takes them seriously. They are not written about seriously… they are considered conspiracy mongers by many. They blame lots of people… when its just the price system that is the culprit..
          But they muddy up the water by implying the Rothchilds… Fed, Tri lateral comm… etc. etc. are the problem… Illuminati.
          That is not the case, its the Price system simply that is the problem https://docs.google.com/View?docID=dfx7rfr2_55dh6wv9&revision=_latest Technocracy A Time For Now.

      • Johnny Khannea Suntzu August 14, 2011 on 11:45 am

        Zeitgeist is an internet fake social movement. Nothing is going to come out of it unless it is to point people in the direction of information which it partially understands to better information.

      • losthobbit Khannea Suntzu August 15, 2011 on 4:48 am

        I don’t know exactly how much we can reduce work by, but considering that each farmer produces food for more than a hundred people these days, according to documentary FOOD Inc., it seems that very little work is necessary for basic human needs. Anyway, that’s a long discussion, and a complex calculation, so I won’t carry on about that.

        You’re right that the Zeitgeist Movement does not have a very well defined plan since Jacque “slammed the door”. Peter Joseph, the founder, mentioned something he’s working on, but for now we’re really just focused on learning, and educating people about the problems in the world and their proposed solutions.

        I read the three pages you referred to in Accelerando, but I didn’t find what you’re referring to. Perhaps the page numbers are different in different book formats. You’ll have to specify the name of the chapter.

        Anyway, I believe that if we can actually come up with a prototype, or partial prototype, or even a really good simulation of a working Resource Based Economy, people would start to find it more appealing.

        Perhaps if we can convince the US government to spend just one of the $600 billion that they’ll spend on the military this year on researching alternative cultural / economic systems, we can make a massive difference.

        • Johnny losthobbit August 15, 2011 on 6:50 pm

          Zeitgeist is a bunch of retarded morons in general that are control freaks about morality and ethical nonsense.
          This was all figured out in the early 1930’s. You want to re invent the wheel or your little ego does.
          I am really sick of the Zeit people and their ego mutterings.

          • Khannea Suntzu Johnny August 16, 2011 on 3:16 am

            Damn you are rude.

            I though I was crass sometimes, but you sure have issues.

            • Johnny Khannea Suntzu August 16, 2011 on 4:47 pm

              Yes. Sounds like honesty is a tough trade on the internet.
              Pussy footing around 3rd. and 4th rate intellectuals is kind of a waste of time though.

              • neublek Johnny August 16, 2011 on 6:50 pm

                Johnny will not suffer any fools.

                • Khannea Suntzu neublek August 17, 2011 on 12:08 am

                  Johnny came here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and Johnny is all out of bubblegum.

                • Johnny neublek August 17, 2011 on 5:24 am

                  Mostly here to give alternative information. The other stuff is just rhetorical polemic. Its because the water is so muddy these days and the well has been shit in so many times that a little bit of language force is used.

                  • Khannea Suntzu Johnny August 17, 2011 on 8:33 am

                    I was involved with the Zeitgeist. Here, in my local area. I was like *wild-eyed* about what some had to say at the meeting.

                    – they had never heard of ‘thorium’ but they insisted we should never invest in nuclear energy.
                    – any and all investment in space exploration was a waste of money for a few centuries.
                    – we should recycle more and consume less
                    – let’s study windowsill farming.
                    – transhumanists are all wrong because

                    Zeitgeist is composed of 90% infants, parrots, envirozaelots, the confused, the marginal and people who ‘want to try something else’. That is not bad. But it is not going to for anything. I attended the second meeting in a miniskiurt and there was a reporter there and he referred to me in a page two spread “as the eloquent woman in a tutu”.

                    So much for annoyances. The reporter should have been fired.

                    There is however massive potential for Zeitgeist. First there is massive potential for close-minded, siege mentality, paranoid cult expansion. Hell I;d go as far as stating that this Zeitgeist movement can be a mass movement – easily- in ten years, BECAUSE they have this strategy of believing and pretending they have solutions. Hell, I’d go as far as stating that after 2020 they will be a political party with completely wrogn goals and plans. And that’s because they are mentally already locked in.

                    But there is another warning sign – This zeitgeist movement claims to be scientific and for verifiability – but they are again, wrogn. They aren’t. They are dogmatic and cling to slogans and simplified solutions. And there is a storm brewing. This movement may stumble into a wave of societal desperation. If a few million people suddenly become unemployed and have to contend with years of severe economic malaise and “being blamed for being unemployed” by all these asshole producerist politicians out there – the this Zeitgiets movement may get real big and real nasty, and very quickly.

                    Johnny – so be cautious. We may have to deal with these knuckleheads quite soon. We may have to negotiate and form coalitions with them.

                    It would be wise not to let this organization rot in a pit of widespread ostracism.

                    Its like raising kids. Abuse them and they may grow up real nasty.

                    • Harlan Robinson Khannea Suntzu August 17, 2011 on 10:38 am

                      LMAO in a tutu. That Orlov video is great. I am watching it for the second time.

                    • Khannea Suntzu Khannea Suntzu August 17, 2011 on 3:12 pm

                      It was a friggin miniskirt.

                    • losthobbit Khannea Suntzu August 17, 2011 on 3:18 pm

                      Can we please stop with the name calling? I’ve watched a number of anti-Venus Project / Zeitgeist videos, because, believe it or not, I try to be open minded. The problem is that every time I try to find some intelligent criticism of these ideas I end up finding people who have to resort to name calling and sarcasm.

                      Khannea, I’m sorry that your Zeitgeist group weren’t particularly intelligent or open minded. While I’ve encountered one or two, the majority of Zeitgeist members I deal with are actually quite smart. In fact they are even intelligent / open minded enough to realize that some of the sources used in the first Zeitgeist movie (which has little to do with the goals of the movement) were not correct.

                      I’m a big fan of space exploration, I have no interest in windowsill farming (whatever that is), and I consider myself to be a transhumanist.

                      Any large group of people has the potential to contain one or two less intelligent individuals, so judge us rather by the information on http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com, than by what some members may or may not believe.

                      If you have any solutions to the root causes of the world’s major problems which are better than Jacque Fresco’s, please share them… I don’t want to waste my time working towards anything but the most viable goals.

                    • Khannea Suntzu Khannea Suntzu August 17, 2011 on 3:20 pm

                      Again we find ourselves in agreement. Now let’s see if we can mollify Jonny.

                    • Johnny Khannea Suntzu August 17, 2011 on 5:16 pm

                      Not to worry dear. Zeit will go the way of any redneck group like the Tea Party or Progressive Liberals.
                      They will get knocked out as industrial society collapses… and it is going to.
                      https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=dfx7rfr2_130x3pmnh&hl=en&pli=1 <–Price System Demise.
                      People just do not get what is going to happen and Zeit or Venus project people are particularly lame in the intellectual department.
                      So,… spare the rod and spare the child because these people are non entities.
                      It is a totally fake social movement.
                      It is fake alternative just from another perspective.
                      It is a total ripp off… and adds nothing.

                    • Johnny Khannea Suntzu August 17, 2011 on 5:21 pm

                      ””””’Johnny – so be cautious. We may have to deal with these knuckleheads quite soon. We may have to negotiate and form coalitions with them.”

                      Not gonna happen. It would be like having to form coalitions with Keynesian economist.
                      It would be like trying to sell buggy whips to people that drive cars.
                      The system destroys itself and something else starts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImV1voi41YY probably oil does it. M. King Hubbert wrote our Technocracy Study Course.

                • Johnny neublek August 17, 2011 on 5:29 am

                  I learned something here or at least enjoyed something. I did not know about Orlov and he is clever and mostly right.
                  I wonder if he knows much about viable choices that could be used?
                  He is right collapse is a give… just when and the participators… which ones or combination is the thing playing out now… but oil is the likely culprit… or hero.
                  http://web.archive.org/web/20010620092929/www.technocracyinc.org/pamphlets/intro.htm
                  Above link is the first printed information from the original Technocracy technate group from the early 1930’s.

                  • Khannea Suntzu Johnny October 27, 2011 on 2:38 am

                    Nothing will happen?

                    Right.

                    *looks some more occupy vids*

                    Quick huh?

    • Johnny losthobbit August 14, 2011 on 11:35 am

      Zeitgeist was banned from some social networking sites in Germany a couple of years ago because of of marginal conspiracy theory nonsense aspects that are borderline bigoted if not saying that certain groups are behind secret things.
      Fresco is a second rate cartoonist who worked doing some illustrations for a Technocracy technate magazine from the mid forties last century. Neither group is of value or notable. Both contain dumbed down second hand information from the original source.
      The original source is Howard Scott and M. King Hubbert here http://www.archive.org/details/TechnocracyStudyCourseUnabridged Zeit and Fresco are moralistic claptrap groups that do not understand that the earth is a limited place as to resource and population.
      Fresco went so far as to lie about the first racially integrated science group in the U.S. even in his chase after notability… saying they were biased. He is still competing … and will never ever win… with the actual real thing, Howard Scott.
      Its almost comical… but not.

    • Johnny losthobbit August 17, 2011 on 5:31 pm

      Here is the source of the information from Venus Project and Zeit http://www.technocracytechnate.org/
      Then it was dumbed down by information from Fresco.
      Is that clear?
      Fresco is a cartoonist with a big ego.
      He is still battling Howard Scott for ‘notability’ issues.
      He is pathetic… he is a personality troll.
      Peter Joseph is interested in conspiracy nonsense.
      You follow?
      You lost the debate here.
      Like many in this fake social movement you advocate J.F. because you are convinced that he knows something important.\
      Your wrong. Debate over.
      He is a manipulative raconteur… that means bullshitter.
      http://mkinghubbert-technocracy.blogspot.com/ Maybe you could read some actual information on biophysical economics.

    • Fons Jena losthobbit September 4, 2011 on 11:26 am

      You are so right. It annoys me too. People that are scared for an automated society have no revolutionary thought, are short-sighted and have old ideas. It is a question of time when we must change the system. The existing system is not future proof and is pretty much human unworthy (we must work hard for our bread and to keep the system alive). The future is that humans do work they love and the unhuman work should be done by robots. It will free time so humans can do usefull stuff (not for the system but for earth and so on…).
      Robots are our friend and people that don’t get it are scared and/or jealous!
      Thanks for the link, will take a look at it.

      • fieryglimmer Fons Jena November 6, 2013 on 1:28 am

        Who will fix/replace the broken water pipes, roads, trains, subways, bridges, wires, and so on.

        • Curt Welch fieryglimmer November 6, 2013 on 9:09 pm

          The correct solution to work as we transition to an automated economy is proving a Basic Income Guarantee for everyone. This will force all work to be “fun” work. That is, people will just refuse to do jobs that aren’t fun for them, or aren’t worth what they are being paid. This means, the hard jobs, that are not yet automated, like fixing broken water pipes in the middle of winter, at 3am in the morning, with the temp at -10F, will have to pay so much, that people will consider the work worth the hassle, and be willing to do it. It might mean paying these guys $500 bucks an hour instead of $16, (or $24 for overtime) but the rates will just have to raise to the level needed, to get people that are willing to do the really nasty and hard jobs. And with wages that high, there is huge financial motivation to develop the automated systems that much faster, so nobody has to do the work.

    • Curt Welch losthobbit September 15, 2011 on 12:18 pm

      I think your basic concept of what can and will happen to society is right in line with mine. It’s just a different vision of how we make it happen.

      I don’t believe “the money system” is the evil we need to move away from. It’s more complex than that.

      Cooperation is not so simple a concept that we can just wish for it and have it happen. People can, and do, have very conflicting desires, and we can’t make those conflicts go away just by telling (or asking) people to cooperate. We must all compromise to make a society work, but what always happens, for some fundamentally important issues, is that the two sides can’t find a compromise they both feel is fair. How do you compromise on a issue like abortion? There is no compromise between the legality of killing or not killing a fetus. No matter which way the “compromise” falls, one side will be forced to submit to the desires of the other. And when that happens, the “losing” side will rebel against the wishes of the “winning” side to the point of causing society to break down – if you don’t have a system of force (police, courts) to maintain “cooperation”.

      AI is a long time passion of mine (35 years). I’ve been working to understand how to create it. And in that effort, I’ve come to the conclusion that human intelligence is the product of a reinforcement learning process at work in our brain. The “money system” that binds us into a capitalistic society is just an extension of that same process such that it turns our society itself, into an higher super-intelligence. We are but pawns in this super-intelligence we have created – as our neurons are pawns in the intelligence they create in a single human.

      When we “serve the money system” as you say, or “working for the man” as others say, or “serving the rich” as you said, what we are in fact doing, is serving this super-AI we have created.

      This super AI is far more intelligent than any single human that is part of it. But it has the exact same type of intelligence, that we each have in us.

      We created this super-AI, and we “serve it” because it, for the most part, protects us, and works for us. We have crowd-sourced the operation of this super intelligence that works as a slave for us (aka our economic society).

      This super intelligence is what creates all the goods and services we want. But how do we divide up the products this super AI produces? We divide it up based on how much we each contribute to the crowd sourcing (the wages we make for working), but also, by ownership of parts of the super-AI. The super rich don’t get their share due to wages, they get it due to ownership – by property rights.

      Currently, we still need humans to crowd-source the operation of this super AI. We do not yet have the AI technology needed to replace all the managers and engineers. And we need human intelligence to make all (well most) of the capital investment decisions.

      So for now, unless we want to kill this super AI that is the thing doing all the real manufacturing and science and services that creates our modern society, we have to put up with “the money system” that we are slaves to – we have to participate in this crowd-sourcing project as we have done for that past 10’s of thousands of years.

      But soon, humans will become obsolete components of the super-AI that takes care of us. It won’t need us anymore. It will replace all the old human components, with far superior machines. Our value as workers won’t just drop, it will become less than zero. The super-AI will still be “the money system” it always has been. If you try to remove the money system, you will have lobotomized it – made it stupid. You will kill the very intelligence that has been taking care of us for thousands of years. This error is what has made other attempts at utopian societies fail. By trying to make things more “fair” for the workers, they killed the AI that was taking care of them. They killed productivity.

      But with the coming of AI, we can create a two class society where the humans live in the utopian society we always wanted, but allow the machines, to operate in the “money system” that is required to make the entire machine system one large super intelligence serving the needs of the humans.

      Humans will retire, and escape the pressures that exist when we are forced to be part of the crowd sourcing of the production system, but we must keep the money system intact inside the production system, so it continues to be a highly optimized, highly intelligent, highly productive, slave to the humans.

      We will escape the money system not by removing it from society, but by removing humans from having to work as part of it. We will still have money, and spend it, and have to constantly make hard decisions about how to spend our money, but we won’t have to work as slaves to the AI anymore – our machines will take over that job from us.

      • Fons Jena Curt Welch December 11, 2011 on 1:07 am

        I hope you are right about the creation of the two class society because Man has been slave of this ‘super AI’ for much too long.

        It is true that we cannot simply discard the super AI system we are so addicted to but we can change it bit by bit. There are alternative socio-economic models (not faultless but our model wasn’t and still is far from good working too) out there that are waiting to be implemented but our fear for the unknown and the ‘if-it-works-we-don’t-change’ mindset is keeping us from using those alternatives.

        However, if we wish and seek the same future I don’t mind using another path. As long as we stop being mindless slaves of one of our own creations.

        These important matters deserve much more attention in today’s society…

  • Curt Welch September 15, 2011 on 9:00 am

    Great article!

    I’ve not read Ford’s book, but I’ve been making similar arguments for years. The industrial revolution replaced human and animal muscle power, with machine power. The end result, is that humans (and horses) can no longer find work selling their “muscle” power, where 90% of the work before the industrial revolution was muscle power. The only reason humans can still work, is because they have a brain that is a very advanced control system that still allows us to do tasks that no machine can do. But that day is nearing it’s end. AI is advancing faster than many realize, and it’s soon (only a handful of decades) going to surpassed all human ability. Once that happens, humans won’t be able to sell their brain bower to make a living.

    I don’t buy the argument that humans will be needed as artists and entertainers and counselors. AIs will do those jobs better than all humans soon as well. True, they will be some of the last jobs to fall, but fall they will. Only human arrogance is preventing people from understanding this.

    The only job left, will be as Asron talks about above – which be acting as investors. We will compete to see who makes to most money owning the technology. This however, will be a disaster because such a society creates instant monopolies that create inequality. We will end up with a few super rich buying out, and owning, all the machines, which will allow them to buy, and control, all the resources.

    However, the economy WILL NOT COLLAPSE. The super rich will still be buying and selling to each other. I’ll sell you a new spaceship and vacation home om mars which my robot will build for you, and you sell me that underwater resort home and that Jules Vern Nautilus look-like submarine to take me there. The supper rich will use their machines to make products, and sell to each other. There will be no money in selling to the poor, so they won’t bother.

    In the past, anyone born healthy had two wonderful free gifts. Their muscle power, and the brain power, both which they could trade with others to make life better for everyone. We are just machines, born into a world. The gift of the muscle power was wiped out by the industrial revolution. All the heavy lifting is now done by machines. And our last free gift, our brain power, is about to be obsoleted. We are way down that road already.

    Humans will be born, with NOTHING that is of use, to other humans, unless you are lucky enough to inherent a few robotics companies, and are sharp enough, and lucky enough to keep winning the investment contest. In fact, the super rich won’t want to share the limited resources of the earth with 10 billion other humans if they can simply have it all for themselves and their 100,000 closest friends. The poor will have nothing to offer society at birth, will have no path upward. Forgot using hard work to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. The poor will be screwed. And that will be 99% of the people on the planet.

    Advancing technology amplifies our ability to make the world a better place for ourselves. But it doesn’t do it evenly. The “rising tide lifts all boats” argument is nonsense. Mark Zuckerberg created a wonderful machine called facebook. The result is that we all get facebook to work for us (nice), and he gets 13 billion dollars. That’s more than a million dollars a day for every day he has been alive. Why is he worth so much? Not because of the 14 hours a day he works, but because of the work HIS MACHINE is doing for him (the facebook server farm). He built a machine to do the work for him and he’s beyond rich because he gets paid for the great work his machine is doing.

    Advancing technology makes the whole word richer, but that wealth is increasingly concentrated towards the top. As AI and robotics advances, that trend will only continue. Wall Mart will replace it’s entire work force with robotics. A Wal Mart stores will just become a big, highly efficient, 24 hour a day, 365 days a year, automated vending machine. All retail outlets will become vending machines where no humans touch the products between manufacturing and delivery until the end consumer touches it. This trend of wealth moving to the top is already well underway.

    Ultimately, the only solution is not silly government funded jobs. The solution is socialism. But we have a big problem because a large portion of society thinks socialism is evil. And there’s going to be great pain and suffering created before they figure out socialism of the past, is not the same as socialism when the machines are doing all the work, instead of the people.

    The machines will need to operate in a capitalistic environment to maximize production efficiencies. But with the machines doing all the work, there is no advantage to humans living under capitalism. In the future, we won’t need to be motivated to maximize our productivity, because we won’t be working. We will all be retired. Our only job will be, to socialize with each other, and tell the machines what we want, and vote in our democratic society.

    We do need to distribute the resources of the society evenly across all people, but to make that happen, everyone gets a fixed free income – a purple wage. The democracy will own all the resources, like land, natural resources, and energy, and lease it to the machine production system (and to us). Income from that leasing is distributed to humans equally, who then use their money to pay the machines for the goods and services they elect to have their share of the production system make for them.

    In today’s society, humans are producers and consumers. Already, large amounts of all the production work is done by machines, with humans assisting. But in the not so distant future, humans will be able to retire, and become full time consumers. We will spend our time telling the machines, what we want them to do for us – just as we tell our “production system” today, what we want, by how we spend our dollars.

    I can guarantee this is the future we will end up in. But because a vast majority of the population doesn’t understand they are replaceable, (and already are being replaced by the machines), they don’t grasp where we are headed. So they reject anything that looks like socialism as pure evil. We should be working to transition to such a society already. We should be doing it by replacing many of the current socialistic systems with a straight purple wage for everyone already. Tax the production system, and redistribute wealth directly instead of indirectly with systems like minimum wage laws. Make the rising tide of productivity created by the advancements in technology actually lift all boats, instead of allowing the wealth to concentrate at the top.

    This is a huge and significant transformation that is going to happen society, and it’s happening because humans, as production machines, are about to be totally obsoleted (for the first time in the history of the world). Changes this large don’t happen easily. It’s going to be a rocky transition and people will die in the process. There will be much pain and suffering before we come out on the other side of this. But we will get thought it, and it will be a much better world than we have today when it’s all done.

    • losthobbit Curt Welch September 15, 2011 on 10:44 am

      ‎’…People were asked, “How would you define communism?” An astonishing number of the respondents were terrorized even by the question, but not many could actually define it – all they knew was that it was horrifying!’ – Anthony Robbins.

      I’m not saying I support communism or socialism, but “yes”, Curt. We’re going to have to move away from capitalism to a fair system. What do you think about my comment below?

    • Khannea Suntzu Curt Welch September 15, 2011 on 11:44 am

      There is a scene in the book “Starship Troopers”. also in the movie, where the protagonists argue the need for ruthless action. They basicly argue very horrible things, because “it is about the species”. To not act, or to keep denying, anounts to accepting the end of the human species, or at least an appreciable percentage of this.

      And it doesn’t have to be like that.

      I discussed this a few years ago, and I came up with possible feedback solutions. One approach was a “progress tax”. Hold on, let me blog about it.

      http://blog.khanneasuntzu.com/index.php/2011/09/15/the-surreal-character-of-progress-tax/

      Let me know what you think

    • Johnny Curt Welch September 16, 2011 on 1:47 am

      You sound really uncreative or just brainwashed. Go here for some actual info on the future… if there is one http://technatedesign-tnat.blogspot.com/

    • Owyn Curt Welch October 3, 2011 on 3:39 pm

      >>everyone gets a fixed free income – a purple wage.

      all you got to say and not to scare people away.

      there are already countries rich of resources who just pay their citizens just for living there as citizens and they seem pretty happy working or not.

  • Graeme October 4, 2011 on 8:00 am

    One problem I have discussed on http://www.researchgate.org, is the outsourcing aspect of International Business, and how this eliminates the Role of Governments in recovering wages. If the profits are made offshore, how do you tax the companies enough to recover the lost wages, without destroying the new Entrepeneurial Class. Already Start-up Costs put business beyond the reach of many entrepeneurial types.

    I have suggested that we build a “Social Enterprise Banking System”, that uses international banking as a way of reinvesting capital back into the national economies, and give it preferential treatment.

    To borrow money from it, you would need a Social Rating from a rating organization that determines how Socially active your company is, much as today you need a credit rating to note how economically active you are if you want to borrow money from a capital based bank.

    It is the unwillingness of banks to loan money to those who have been abandoned by jobs, that is destroying the economies of the Nations, and they, in turn who have no purchase on the problem to overcome the loss of taxation, brought about by austerity measures. What we simply need is a different route for countries to recapitalize local businesses, and since the corporate world is only marginally interested in social welfare, there is no expectation that they will be able to or willing to step into the governments shoes when the governments actually begin to fail.
    (Make the for profit banks pay a higher prime).

    • Graeme Graeme October 4, 2011 on 9:09 am

      Consider the Social Rating for:

      Bill Gates:
      Hard Nosed Cynical Businessman turned Philanthropist at (Early)Retirement.

      During his stint at CEO of Microsoft Bill, was noted for destroying a large number of competitive businesses, and for his eventually successful legal battle with Apple. Although Bill started out as a hacker, his invention of the EULA meant that generations of new software were never actually sold, but instead licensed allowing him to control access even to purchased packages long after they had been purchased.
      His Company constantly tried to increase the price of their merchandise while reducing the investment in each version, and to sell related products by destroying the tech base around his product, so that courseware could be sold for each minor change and experienced tech support would be forced to relearn the tools despite their being little difference except location in the system.
      By integrating marketing people into each coding group, Bill’s business assured that profits from the operating system Windows, would continue to escalate and that it would be less and less efficient to use it to achieve anything at the individual level, while more and more a commercial vehicle for sneaking advertising past the users attempt to limit it.
      Bill eventually retired, but the corporate culture he created, still goes on today and is partially to blame for the DRM fiasco that lets Commercial Entertainment and Publishing Moguls access your computer and limit the ability of the individual to the use of their own files. Extending the EULA to music, to Books, and to Videos, even going so far as to limit the Libraries in how many times they can lend out the same EBook.

      Since Retirement, Bill has found that he has been a Star Performer, and has an embarrassing amount of money to invest. In order to assuage his guilt, Bill and his Wife have created a Foundation that claims to grant a significant amount of money to social welfare in various guises.

      From a Social Credence perspective, which is the real Bill, the Cynical Businessman who outcompeted even governments, or, the Philanthropist that has created a Malaria Drug in India to treat Africans, and does the late philanthopy balance the early cynicism.

      I think that a Social Report, would determine that as CEO of Microsoft Bill Gates did (and is still doing) much more damage than his philanthropy now could ever balance. I would therefore give him a low Social Rating even though his current status as a philanthropist makes him popular with NGO types.

      Consider the social rating for Goldman Sachs:

      Goldman Sachs Cynically and with forethought, manipulated the world into a banking crisis,
      Through the use of cynically designed investment vehicles they bankrupted their own insurance carrier, their securitization branch, and their own customers, by creating a well designed vehicle for divesting themselves of fraudulent mortgages caused by their own willingness to create mortgages for criminal organizations that were willing to mortgage other peoples homes, out from under them as a profit making business. This investment vehicle called a CDO squared, was touted as a great investment, and essentially was populated with the worst of the potential properties, in an attempt to offset the cost of the liability. Because the insurance company, and the securitization bank were sold to other investors, Goldman Sachs liability for them was limited and while it took a loss from their bankruptcy, Goldman Sachs was later found to have a 50% investment in Hedge Funds which gained unduely from the leverage of the risk, which was found to have been miscalculated in favor of Hedge Funds. The failure of the Insurance Company and Securitization Bank, resulted in the Banking crisis that threatened the whole worlds economic system, and precipitated the failure of many of the countries around the Mediteranian area.
      Since this cynical use of advanced investment devices has continued, one can see that Goldman Sachs does not intend to stop using them soon.

      Should this company NOT be rated extremely low in the Social Ratings?

    • Khannea Suntzu Graeme October 5, 2011 on 12:52 am

      About a slavery tax?

      All products produced at an appreciable wage lower than domestic wages are calculated in product costs when importing. Some chinese article costs less because of low wage costs? Tax the wage difference.

      But don’t keep it!

      Offer the tax to the original workers and put it in a bank account. When any workers (NOT COMPANIES) can prove they were the ones doing the slave labour they can ask for a share of the slavery tax.

      Also sponsor unions in the exporting country, educaton, medical aid, etc. Basicly use the money to emancipate slave labour in these exporting countries, so they will stop competing unfairly. I am sure you can really piss off China this way.

      And are they going to complain? You are offering them free money!

      • Khannea Suntzu Khannea Suntzu October 5, 2011 on 12:55 am

        Hell we could even as Europeans have some fun with such a tax measure against slave labour in the US.

        Sponsor unions and socialist parties in the US with some big money to emancipate and liberate US endentured serfs.

        WHILE at the same time protecting local workers.

        • Graeme Khannea Suntzu October 5, 2011 on 3:41 am

          Be Careful, Very Careful

          What you are describing is the equivalent to taxation without representation, or excise barriers to trade, and of course Big Business is now in a position where WTO talks have more or less Required most governments to give up such restrictions in order to get the trickle of investment they need to keep their economies affloat.

          If you look back at the Cold War, you will see that that type of reaction didn’t work all that well for the former USSR. It assumed that there were workers to liberate and instead found that industry moved away from using workers except where they absolutely had to.

          Today a whole manufacturing plant can be designed to operate with 3 people, and the occasional shut-down and upgrading crews.
          What got us here in Canada, is that instead of upgrading, they moved the plant offshore.

          The only people left to unionize are the coffee Barristas.

          • Khannea Suntzu Graeme October 27, 2011 on 2:36 am

            Oh no.

            Rich countries TAX IMPORTS from countries with slave labor and give it back to slaves in origin countries ONLY. You didn’t read my suggestion.

            My suggestion was meticulousy tipoeing around pushing work away. It only makes exploitative consumption more expensive.

            Read again and try and visualise it better. You didn’t get it yet.

  • jlantrip October 23, 2011 on 5:08 pm

    I think there is one issue the article does not account for, which is the improvement on human beings themselves. We are already at the threshold of the genetic revolution which will promise above and beyond health and longevity, improved mental capacity. This alone could be a driving force for entirely new sectors of economic work forces as the economy continues to switch into an information based one. Creativity will become the dominate force. It will also drastically depend on energy production and where we are in terms of energy collection. If solar panels are cheaper than oil well before that level of automation takes place that will drastically and dramatically alter the state of wealth as energy decentralizes and the basic needs of individuals is easier to take care of.

  • oblee October 27, 2011 on 2:12 am

    This diesnt consider that such a level of automation would actually eliminate the need for a job. Before we get there, judging from industrial machines, you will need service, maintenance p, replacement, and a plethora of work to keep such comoexity from collapsing.

    If you are talking of COMPLETE automation, as you are clearly describing, then it doesn’t matter if it replaces jobs because construction costs will be so low that ppthe decrease in purchasing power will match the decrease in cost of making things, like an equatiim. So even though we ,ay be poorer, in dollar terms, purchasing power would go up, because at a certain level of automation money becomes irrelevant.

    Yu may think that then there would be resource strain, but stop to consider that nanotechnology and the very explosion in power of information technology is allowing for things to be constructed out if renewable materials, such as carbon. That were once thought to be impossible to build without some sort of finite resource. Laser costs are going down. It is not imaginable that a rehashed version of project Orion (reaching orbit with nuclear bombs-nit feasible due to fallout) where lasers ignite an all fusion explsoive, could allow robots to mine asteroids, some of which wre estimated to contain more ore than the entire crust of the earth (Wikipedia), not to mention it might not even be necessary (things like daedelus. Laser rocketry. Spae elevator, etc) because even conventional rocketry could be made inexpensive due to robotics!

    So right there, when FULL AUTOMATION becomes a reality, it seems a job won’t be necessary, if you have a robotics factory that can p, with a robot swarm and a giant 3d printer. Build lavish mansions on the fly connected to a large grid of automated transportation. It would seem a job replaced is irrelevant, costs. Will be sufficiently low that in the last days everyone will work just to make it to the completely automated society where Monet is meaningless.

    There is of couse the transition, which is where I assume people worry over jobs, but again, machines that are iny semi automated will only create an industry if repair, maintenance, and service until it is fully automated, and by then, losing your job won’t matter.

    Job wont matter, and neither will resources.

    Then the only other question would be national parks. Te environment and overpopulation. But I would think such a large robotic fleet would raise standard of living as just stated, automatically leading to lower birth rates, it could be used to reverse biological degradation, and new national parks could be CREATED, perhaps. In self contained domes (think Dubai islands), to compensate for the extra demand on premium real estate (beaches, etc).

    It would seem these things could be settled out. Then if we find a way to live forever, I bet there is a solution fir that ad well-merge conciousnesses over time through a neural Internet p, which undoubtedly will be the next step:

    Two people exchange thoughts. Merge into one over time-best friends. Partners .

    Natural population stasis with birth rate and individual immortality.
    But again. Ging back to the original point. The premise is fantastic-full automation

    If such a premise becomes true, it renders void the usual mechanics if economics and higher unemployment is relevant because as we -approach full automation the people left working can basically pay for all the lavish cinstructiom if everybody else…robotic intelligence and human itnelligence apcan merge, and we both control subconous machines, extensions if ourselves. There are many hurdles, granted, but I don’t see how people could have missed this see,imply obvious point about automation.

    • oblee oblee October 27, 2011 on 2:15 am

      Sorry, terrible spelling. I wrote this on an iPad.

  • oblee October 27, 2011 on 2:25 am

    governments should get out of the wAy of regulating innovation and the marketplace. The market is just an emerging property if trade. It functions like an equation. As jobs get displaced due to automation, this raises productivity, standard of living, and creates new service sectors in areas that are not yet automated and created from the automation that allows people to acquire the purchasing power necessary to enjoy of the automation. There will always be a portion of people that are producing, and they will either pay taxes or create new demand for new industries. Just because one need is satisfied, doesn’t mean that our desires wont grow and create industries for people whose jobs were displaced.

    By all measure, all our needs today are more than satisfied relative to our ancestors (food and shelter: we get caught up with housing that is beyond our means, but we could potentially live like a new age hippie ad be just fine, but we domt), but we continue buying iPhones, and television sets.

    Just because televisions and iPhones are completely automated in a robotic factory. For example. Doesn’t mean there will be a jobs crises. Mo, phones will just cost 4 dollars and we will buy televisions like we do wallpaper (flexible dislays) , raising everybodies productivity and allowing their energies to be spent in something else. Which creates a new industry other than tv or iPhone. Perhaps the medical field and holographic projection. Just because we displace am industry, doesnt mean tpcaddy drivers will all be homeless and starving. No, they just become cab drivers.

  • oblee October 27, 2011 on 2:28 am

    At a certain level of automation, jobs become irrelevant, and then resources become the problem, then that’s solved with renewable from nanotechnology or space, and that’s solved. Full automation just means less dollars for the same stuff. Just imagine a fully automated car factory connected to a fully automated ore factory that recycles old cars and maintained the ore necessary so that no resource glut is created?

    Yea, free cars. So where’s the problem?

    • Khannea Suntzu oblee October 27, 2011 on 2:34 am

      Minor problem: There is no nanotech and MNT yet. There may very well be in 20 years, but 20 years is a bloody long time. The world can easily fit two world wars and a few famines in 20 years.

      We need to protect people from attrition economics NOW before the christmasularity arrives.

      • oblee Khannea Suntzu October 27, 2011 on 2:44 am

        There is no nanotechnology? Nanotechnology, from what I have been reading, is CONSTANTLY making new devices that lower the cost Of enery with renewable materials-super capacitor and flexible organic solar cell connected to a renewable fuel cell made out of bacteria are just some of the examples.

        Nanotech filters have already been developed that would circumvent any wanted crises. There is the lab on a chip that can easily diagnose disease in the third world…

        I think you are under estimating this information nanotechnology wave-it could very well give rise to a second Industrial revolution and DISPLACE the need for taxation. You may not see this because you are thinking linearly, but If you look and study these new technologies you see this thing is exploding.

        Resource scArcity may be a problem in the short term but I don’t see this as an automation problem but largely higher oil prices. In the end, I think prices will curb demand and give rise to alternatives that will eventually lead to continued growth.

        Finite resources at the moment, besides oil and rare earths, are not a problem. We have coal for 30 more years and natural gas is expected to replace it as it dwindles-new technologies will then supply the transition -easily.

        Oil is a problem but it’s remarkably manageable if you consider what small increases in efficiency can do, if you raise overall mpg in the USA, especially by replacing the truck fleet, by just 5 points. You reduce oil consumption in the united stAtes by half. I think these worries are overblown.

        I’m far more worried of an economic apocalypse started by crazy people on wall street and an incompetent governent that raises governments than of my iPhone.

        • oblee oblee October 27, 2011 on 2:45 am

          Circumvent the water crises*

        • oblee oblee October 27, 2011 on 2:47 am

          Sorry, reduce oil comsumptiom by a third

        • oblee oblee October 27, 2011 on 2:49 am

          Raises taxes* not raises governments-auto correct is all insane in me.

        • Khannea Suntzu oblee October 27, 2011 on 2:50 am

          *sigh*

          I agree that MNT and Nanotechnology may very well be a geological force in half a century. Like incredibly powerful.

          My point is that people can not afford to wait like decades with your christmasularity. They want a dignified life NOW.

          Have you been paying attention? The EU and US is collapsing (USSR style) this year or the next. Because of wrong economic policies.

          Automation COULD be a godsend, and I live it. We need more. But automation and MNT and 3D printing and efficiency increases are making small elites RICHER and everyone else POORER.

          Conclusion – the current macroeconomic system is the ENEMY of average humans, and implicitly the ENEMY of progress.

          Humans come first.

          • oblee Khannea Suntzu October 27, 2011 on 3:10 am

            Oh..ok, I see you’re pretty left.
            Well. I just disagree. I think having more government involvement will actually work to the dis-favor of the middle class. Greater government involvement was the major reason behind the sub prime meltdown and Europe’s current woes with debt.

            I agree wall street and these monopolies should be reformed though. They produce very little of value and although many financial products are economically helpful, most of all the incentives are biased toward risk and away from stability. This can be resolved by having them take a lot of our losses (taxpayers) , which they easily can do, as was recently done in Europe. The fed should help as well. But barnie frank level intervention only seems like a repetition of past mistakes and having a fall guy to let the villain escape.

  • Khannea Suntzu October 27, 2011 on 2:31 am

    I propose a worldwide tax to ALL economic activity and property equal to the % of unemployment, and then return this levvied money as a basic income to everyone (including the people taxed) on a monthly basis.

    20% unemployment? Take onefifth of everything.

    99.9% unemployment (singularity) ? – take it all and give it to all.

    This in addition to existing taxes.

    • Graeme Khannea Suntzu October 28, 2011 on 8:11 am

      Look, all this talk about a world tax, begs the question of who has the right to tax, and who is going to collect it.

      Trans-national Corporations are trans-national corporations because they can use the extra-national accounts to leverage their taxes in any other country.

      Consider the companies that use Lease Back services.

      Essentially a company, sells an asset to a bank, then Leases it back. The can’t do this is north america, because we figured out what it did to the banks, and put a stop to it, so they do it in Europe instead.

      A U.S. Asset, is sold in EU to an EU bank, and leased back. They can do this by transferring the asset internally to the European Branch without actually moving it.

      Ok, so now the American Branch has higher profitability for that month, and the European Branch has a higher debt load, because the books say that America sold an asset, and Europe took out a loan or began leasing a property, or both.

      Because there are only three Accountant companies that deal with the super rich, and they wink at this type of thing, there is no warning to the stockholders that their company is being stripped of assets, and the assets are still there and being used, even though they were sold to the bank.

      Suddenly a few years later the company folds, simply because it doesn’t have enough assets anymore to deal with the interest rates on all its leases. When the smoke clears the stockholders are out of money because there are no assets that they can sell even at rock bottom prices to pay off the finance charges so every stockholder loses.

      It wasn’t the stockholders that got the bonus when Goldman Sach’s pulled the hedge fund shuffle and remained profitable despite claiming government largess, it was the CEO. Somehow the Directors, and Executive of these large corporations no longer respond to their customers or their stockholders, they just feather their own nests at the expense of both. But it is easier to go after the Hedge Fund Billionaire and his stooge, than the CEO and the Executive/Directors. of the Trans National Corporation that payed the most towards your campaign. So the Securities guys are charging the Hedge Fund Billionaire, and a Director for “Insider Trading”.

      Some poor director (His investment got wiped out) was fingered for the securities commission, as fall guy, and it’s business as usual for the rest.

      The thing is that Hedge Funds are just as much a result of technology as the car Oblee keeps harping about. It wasn’t until computers could calculate the odds that it became possible to even try a CDO squared, and it was the Hedge fund, that made it possible to try, since a company that is leveraged 50% profit, and 50% hedge, makes money even if the rest of the economy goes to pot.

      The problem is simply that Business in the rarified international investment banking range no longer needs to respond to the needs of the customer, or the government, or the stockholder, it can just keep on printing money, to make loans to itself. if you own both the manufacturing plant and the bank that bought its assets and then leased them back, you can suck the investment out of the stock market by publishing stats that look good on paper while you suck the profitability right out of the Manufacturing Plant, and into your pocket. Then you shut down the plant and move it offshore, and another company opens a new plant, so the cycle can continue.

      Oh, and by the way, the Occupy Movement has not been as bloodless as it sounds, I saw provocatiers thrashing both police and arrested protesters, from the second echelon of the crowd, just to increase the level of polemic.

      I think the thing is that even provocatiers have to be aware that the “World is Watching”. As Lincoln was once heard to say, (Before he joked about the bathtub) You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all the time.

      It’s becoming obvious to those of us, on the bottom, that the social order we belong to, cannot survive much longer but it is nowhere obvious what we can do about it. I think the main problem is that there is nothing that social dynamics will let us do that will solve the problem, and because of that, we may see the house torn down around our ears, simply because the “Super Mind” that someone was talking about is too dumb to realize when it is eating its own tail.

      • Curt Welch Graeme October 28, 2011 on 9:29 am

        Yeah, it’s a sticky mess. There’s no way to create any sort of international tax for sure. And any local taxes created will cause corporations to find optimal loop holes like the one you describe. However, the governments have the power, if they have the will. Any company that want’s to do business in a country has to pay taxes in that country – and if the taxes are structured and enforced correctly, revenues can be collected in ways the corporations can’t escape from.

        The problem seems to be the will of the government. It seems motivated by the people from one side, who tend to vote for free hand outs more than they vote for sane government practices. And corporations on the other side, who lobby with their money for less taxes and regulations. The government is squeezed in the middle forced to try and make everybody happy by providing more services to the people than it can extract money from the economy to pay for. The corporations should not be allowed to squeeze the governments like that. We are feeding the monster we need to be taming by allowing that to continue.

        At the same time, we find complexity to be evolution’s defense against regulation and control. Corporations succeed by hiding there true behaviors in cloaks of complexity so that those who need to regulate them, can’t keep up.

        It’s not even evil intent by humans that is causing this (though that certainly happens as well). It’s just the super-mind of the system we have created finding ways to trick the human population from controlling it.

        And yes, I agree, it probably is too dumb to realize it’s eating it’s own tail (aka us). But, sadly, once it gets ahold of AIs as good as humans, its tail problem will be solved. No more pesky humans trying to regulate it! :)

        • Khannea Suntzu Curt Welch October 28, 2011 on 1:27 pm

          It is a scary situation – but we don’t have much choice right? I consistently represent this as potentially lethal for a lot of people so there is moral cause of proactive action. In other words, as this situation escalates and the hyperrich start getting the idea we are moving towards something they might call “an end game” those who are not rich have a moral imperative to do whatever it takes, commensurate with how obvious the situation is.

          I won’t resort to violent acts, but I will certainly not refrain making sure to anyone who will hear and let them make up their mind about what actions they regard as prudent. And I will insist anyone does primarily *wise* things.

          But yah this is a confrontation, and yes there are people who I can now safely call shills, enablers respectively collaborators. The elites will pay a lot of money to their goons and drones to ideologically cushion from early revolts.

          I suppose the moment they start winning I’ll conveniently disappear. But that’s OK, I’ll have fun every step of the way.

          But until that time I see massive opportunities to turn this around. It isn’t very difficult – ‘they’ are with very few. ‘we’ are many times as numerous.

      • Graeme Graeme November 3, 2011 on 9:39 pm

        Ok, I thought I would add another twist to this tale. I just saw a TED presentation that claims that we let the genie out of the bottle, and it is the TEME’s fault our economy is thrashing and may die.

        This Dawkinsian interpretation, suggests that humans are “Meme” machines, that spread memes, that are in effect selfish data. Based on the “Selfish Gene” book Dawkins suggested that evolution was all about copying data, and less about the health of the population. That genes acted to try and force populations to express them despite their benefit to the body. Since this flies in the face of true Darwinism many scientists have reserved judgement.

        However the MEME he developed, the infectious data element called a MEME, is doing fine.

        Recently, a scientist in this vein, asked if Technology itself wasn’t a third copying opportunity, and if it wasn’t acting to force humans to not only pass on memes but a new type of data element called a TEME or Technological Meme.

        She thought that this might be the reason for Run-away Computer Development, and super-integration.

        But, what if, the TEMES also include financial devices like CDO squared’s?

        Could our financial industry have been infected with a TEME, and be unable to back away from high risk investments, simply because the TEME won’t let them?

        • Khannea Suntzu Graeme November 4, 2011 on 8:22 am

          Replicators use a substrate, a value system and have a strategy. Memes are (allegedly) replicators, their values are either societally parasitical or predatory (i.e. the catholic church, republicans) or utilitarian (literacy, lattterday buddism).

          Technological memes are a new but distinct emergent entity and something to be bloody cautious about. A few months ago I wrote in some private correspondence about “value embedding” and I referenced the values of automated banking machinery as inscribed by predatory financial institutions, with the moral fiber of brain parasites.

          If we grant credence to technological displacement of labor, and if we are so eager to discuss a “singularity” we must be able to rationally speculate about the idea that machines or just technology can carry, “in cyberproxy” inherent and emergent value systems.

          Now in the past a hammer or sabot could deconstruct these embedded value systems. But as the sophistication of the automated world rises commensurate with human obtuse apathy and obstinate intransigence we may end up with a moment where “the few” can far out of bounds embed “their values” in the ontological bedrock of reality.

          Last thing we would want is to let the likes of international bankers, Saudi investors, Mossad butchers, Pentagon sociopaths, international arms dealers, Xe (Blackwater) or Montsanto dictate the next era of life in this arm of the Galaxy.

          As it happens yesterday I had dinner with Anders Sandberg and it turns out (his boss) Nick Bostrom is writing a book precisely on these matters, i.e. “how can technology escalate in the most horrible scenarios of existential inferno”. I’d really want to read that book.

          And as Anders, my favorite BlackHat Philosopher since the early 90s, made clear to me is that the world will always blindside us, and probably more and more as it becomes more complex. Humans are not that smart. Yet!

          But hey, this will be pretty much the most interesting times like ever.

        • Johnny Graeme November 4, 2011 on 5:31 pm

          Most of the information that you are kicking around … most of the questions and answers were figured out between the 1890’s and around 1930.
          http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-11-era.html
          New spins are put on using new terms and maybe some crappy ‘new’ books are sold by Price System scam artists.
          Its a joke.
          Basic information on what is going on and why… has been around for a long time
          https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=dfx7rfr2_96tc8x77&hl=en Origin Of The Political Price System

          http://web.archive.org/web/19990915023549/http://www.technocracy.org/periodicals/nwtechnocrat/319/scheel.html

          http://web.archive.org/web/20010620092929/www.technocracyinc.org/pamphlets/intro.htm

  • oblee October 27, 2011 on 2:35 am

    I think we would be blessed to get there. We need to do everything in to ACCELERATE automation because our civilization may not survice without it.

    • Khannea Suntzu oblee October 27, 2011 on 2:42 am

      Yes I agree. And we bloody need to avoid the pitfalls.

      And trust me – this international financial system marginalizing or laying off 15%, 20%, 25%, 30% of the world’s people and making a dignified life unsustainable is a pitfall.

      An angry populace – riots, attacks, vandalism, strikes, protests, secession, crime, police states, revolutions… it will serve to abort anything Singular. We need stability for technological progress.

      In other words – give all people a dignified existence or go screw yourself and your technological progress. Give all a humane existence or we’ll tear this house down.

      We as in – the MAJORITIES.

      • oblee Khannea Suntzu October 27, 2011 on 2:59 am

        ? Screw me and my technology progress? I’m not taking anything from you, I’m stating that automation RAISES standard of living AND, by extension, protects human dignity. I would think stifling innovation through rough mobs, raising taxes, and wall street, are far more conducive to a loss of dignity than technological progress. No one is “creating” “the” technological progress. It’s just improving life.

        Technological progress EQUALIZES, stifling it with monopolies, such as large corporations that trade deals with governments,couch as the united states government, and banks, creates the most disparity.

        If you Want real Marxism them you should be for technological progress because it’s the greatest equalizer in the face if the earth. What is more Marxist than a fully automated society, particularly in construction or transportation?

        Things are streamlined, standardized. A
        Perfect competitive environment due to economies of scale.a satic world That just pays people to dig and then re cover holes just to keep them employed is actually the most conducive to an Aristocracy-look at north Korea. That’s not communism, that’s feudalism.

        • Khannea Suntzu oblee October 27, 2011 on 3:06 am

          Right. Now let’s argue fact based. It is the year 2011.

          Where is the MNT and nanotech and life extension and geostat SSPS and advanced replication and friendly generic artificial intelligence and all that makerbots etc. etc. etc. you propose?

          *looks around*

          It is not here yet. I agree, it may be here, soon, like by 2030. But right now it isn’t. It may not even arrive.

          I do not want any “-isms”. I want one thing, and I want it now – a humane and dignified human existence for all people. You are free to figure out how we do that. Feel free to make suggestions.

          But remember….
          The default mode for lots of dissatisfied people to correct (supply and demand) excessive societal disparity has ALWAYS been revolution and killing people. What happened to Khadaffi may in a few years time happen to a LOT of EU/US bankers, oil people, politicians.

          Revolutions and societal unrest tends to impair technological progress.

          Last thing we want yes?

          Stability and dignity is a prerequisite for progress. So I suggest to you – make bloody sure all people stay satisfied before you invoke the powers of teh nanodjinni.

          We aren’t THERE yet.

          • oblee Khannea Suntzu October 27, 2011 on 3:19 am

            Sure…go kill some bankers, the hEll do I care. But I just want to warn warn you that going ape on taxes won’t really help in this quest. I totally agree that government needs tk be smarter -look at the tax code-and that monopolies need to be curtailed with higher taxation (banks, ge, etc)

            Higher taxation in general would not help with this quest, but of course, if you are threatening the world with violence,im sure this could be acheivdx with brutal force, why not.

            Ijusf don’t think it would help people be more dignified. Just because you distribute THR wealth of a couple billionair bankers just means you will raise inflation (because they have THe equivalent if a printing press, it’s not tied to anything in production), so by raising taxes you are just increasing inflation by decreasing production.

            But that’s my point of view. If you think you are correct, by all means vote and hopefully not violently, I just think the means by which to attain your goal may be misaligned.

            • oblee oblee October 27, 2011 on 3:25 am

              I think if you taxed the fed for example, taxed ge, taxed exxon mobile. All these monopolies MORE, while you decreased taxes p, you actually would create more revenue and pay for the same level of entitlement.much of the reason for higher cost of living is the depreciation of the dollar-which was accomplished through massive debt-basically a hidden tax on everyone-if it were not for say, the sub prime mortgage bubble, housing prices would not have skyrocketed as they did.

              So many of these “undignified ” things have much to do with reckless policies that were done more for political favors than the utilitarian long haul.

              Taxing “the rich” more may also be part of your equation, but you first need to tackle government debt.

              As I just stated though, I think you coud have much mire revenue just by taxing the fed, banks, exxon, all the monopolies more and decreasing taxes.

            • Khannea Suntzu oblee October 27, 2011 on 5:23 am

              Uhuh.

              Now please try to regard any of the things you object to not as ‘choices’ but as ‘mechanical’. Like – decrease standards of living by 5 units, and you’ll see violence, vandalism, crime, revolt (etc) go up by 5 units. OR unionization, desperation, taxation goes up by 5 units.

              Take your pick. Sure I understand that the empowered of this world don’t take kindly to all these damn liberals and their tax claims.

              But you must understand that this is not part of the begging infant arythmatic. This is real people who are desperate, hungry and afraid. These human mobs respond very predictably and algrothmically, much as human mobs respond predictable during riots or caught trying to escape a burning building.

              I am not ‘advocating’ anything. I am trying to make you parse the inescapable. You sure don’t like it, and you are entitled to not like it, but the point I am trying to impress on you is that I won’t do anything or foment any unrest or violent uprisings … these emerge all spontaneously.

              So we need BOTH

              – economic growth, sound reinvestment, progress, science, engineering, education, sensible competition…

              AND

              – all humans have, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, a dignified standard of living.

              I invite you to do both. No, I urge you to have the imagination to slaughter your sacred cows and envision both. Yin and Yang.

              Humans come first. Humans scorned and marginalized have more fury than Hell imprisoneth.

              • oblee Khannea Suntzu October 27, 2011 on 1:40 pm

                Yea, and if there is violence, and government can’t increase taxes due to interest rates, then I guess there will be a lot of people in prison.

                I am getting your point. But you seem to be refusing to see that Economic realities are not going to square with your liberal angst.

                Many of these super rich are not even American, then are NRA, what are you going to do, have a world government and hunt down everybody that isnt even part of THR united states to pay their “fair share”?

                So you think china is going to support us, a bunch of spoiled 1st world brats, at the expense of their own growth?

                This doesnt seem very likely.

              • oblee Khannea Suntzu October 27, 2011 on 1:45 pm

                It just seems like you are setting yourself for frustration as George zoros smirks at you and gets richer and richer at your expense.

                You seem to think that I am somehow intimidated by your talk of violence- I am not. I have witnessed it first hand in other countries and I know what happens the DAY AFTER. mob rule is always met with a harsh reaction by society and if economic realities do not support outrageously unrealistic social models then the prevailing wisdom will be to put all these political activists in jail, because raising taxes and over regulation will be impossible.

                I admire your quest for human dignity, I’ve had a medical problem myself and I relate to your angst. I just think you are up for a rude rude awakening if you think violence is going to give you dignity.

                Im actually betting on civil unrest, this doesnt mean it’s going to amount to anything constructive however.

                • oblee oblee October 27, 2011 on 1:55 pm

                  Violence may have worked for civil rights, even though it left a huge undercurrent that is unresolved to this day. But you have to realize that the economic grid is global now, political activism doesnt have as much of an effect because corporations are relatively more powerful than governments. The focus of power is going to global networks that can sponteously arise over night through the free market and away from governments in debt.

                  I don’t know where the midpoint resides, but it seems that violence may not accomplish as much as it once did.

                  We could have persistent riots and a rise in homicides, but eventually, since the USA is still fairly powerful, the consensus will be a draconian police state.

                  Surely taxes will increase, but violence is like a fast flame, it only burns for so long before it gets too hot for social cohesion t sustain.

                  • oblee oblee October 27, 2011 on 2:03 pm

                    *over time. Surely, if violence and liberal play on envy continues. Taxes will surely increase (even though economically it will be intractable to keep on raising them) , but I. Think economic realities will make things incredibly bad.

                    You seem to think I’m not conscious of social angst-that’s not true -I just think you under estimate the natural consequences of violence and re not factoring the economic realities of a global interconnected world.

                    • Curt Welch oblee October 27, 2011 on 2:44 pm

                      I would hope not much violence will be needed. However, if the elite manage to take effective control of the government away from the people, and end up “starving” the people, there will be plenty of violence. So far, in the occupy wall street movement, it’s only been the elite using violence that I’ve seen.

                      The right wing faith in the free market being the great social equalizer is what’s failing here. Right wingers tend to be backward looking people, where liberals tend to be forward looking. The problem with trusting the past, is that it’s blind to the major paradigm changes that come along every once in a great while. Those who trust the past, get their ass severely kicked, when big changes are needed. The problem with forward thinkers, is that they often see ghostly fears that never materialize.

                      Is the talk about the free market system causing social collapse due to automation and advancing technology a future ghost, or an ass kicker the conservatives will never see coming? Only time will tell. I’d bet my entire life, and fortune, however that it’s an ass kicker the conservatives among us are blind to. It’s why they have no understanding of the occupy wall street movement and see it as nothing but a bunch of losers with rich envy.

  • oblee October 27, 2011 on 2:51 am

    This diesnt consider that such a level of automation would actually eliminate the need for a job. Before we get there, judging from industrial machines, you will need service, maintenance p, replacement, and a plethora of work to keep such comoexity from collapsing.
    If you are talking of COMPLETE automation, as you are clearly describing, then it doesn’t matter if it replaces jobs because construction costs will be so low that ppthe decrease in purchasing power will match the decrease in cost of making things, like an equatiim. So even though we ,ay be poorer, in dollar terms, purchasing power would go up, because at a certain level of automation money becomes irrelevant.
    Yu may think that then there would be resource strain, but stop to consider that nanotechnology and the very explosion in power of information technology is allowing for things to be constructed out if renewable materials, such as carbon. That were once thought to be impossible to build without some sort of finite resource. Laser costs are going down. It is not imaginable that a rehashed version of project Orion (reaching orbit with nuclear bombs-nit feasible due to fallout) where lasers ignite an all fusion explsoive, could allow robots to mine asteroids, some of which wre estimated to contain more ore than the entire crust of the earth (Wikipedia), not to mention it might not even be necessary (things like daedelus. Laser rocketry. Spae elevator, etc) because even conventional rocketry could be made inexpensive due to robotics!
    So right there, when FULL AUTOMATION becomes a reality, it seems a job won’t be necessary, if you have a robotics factory that can p, with a robot swarm and a giant 3d printer. Build lavish mansions on the fly connected to a large grid of automated transportation. It would seem a job replaced is irrelevant, costs. Will be sufficiently low that in the last days everyone will work just to make it to the completely automated society where Monet is meaningless.
    There is of couse the transition, which is where I assume people worry over jobs, but again, machines that are iny semi automated will only create an industry if repair, maintenance, and service until it is fully automated, and by then, losing your job won’t matter.
    Job wont matter, and neither will resources.
    Then the only other question would be national parks. Te environment and overpopulation. But I would think such a large robotic fleet would raise standard of living as just stated, automatically leading to lower birth rates, it could be used to reverse biological degradation, and new national parks could be CREATED, perhaps. In self contained domes (think Dubai islands), to compensate for the extra demand on premium real estate (beaches, etc).
    It would seem these things could be settled out. Then if we find a way to live forever, I bet there is a solution fir that ad well-merge conciousnesses over time through a neural Internet p, which undoubtedly will be the next step:
    Two people exchange thoughts. Merge into one over time-best friends. Partners .
    Natural population stasis with birth rate and individual immortality.
    But again. Ging back to the original point. The premise is fantastic-full automation
    If such a premise becomes true, it renders void the usual mechanics if economics and higher unemployment is relevant because as we -approach full automation the people left working can basically pay for all the lavish cinstructiom if everybody else…robotic intelligence and human itnelligence apcan merge, and we both control subconous machines, extensions if ourselves. There are many hurdles, granted, but I don’t see how people could have missed this see,imply obvious point about automation.

    • oblee oblee October 27, 2011 on 3:00 am

      Re posted for some reason

    • Khannea Suntzu oblee October 27, 2011 on 8:57 am

      Simple question > what if the elites in this world do not consent to your ideal future? What if the billionaires on this planet keep accumulating capital – more and more – and stay on the same trajectory as the last 30 years of exponential gain, while most everybody else can’t even keep up with inflation?

      Let’s ignore dollar values and denominational currencies or even gold for a moment. Let’s assume there is a real means to calculate value, a ‘hypercoin’. Let’s assume we can estimate how much people have lost in actual purchase power. Sure we’d see food become very cheap and abundant over the last century – whereas oil and energy and real estate and medical care have become ever more prohibitively expensive.

      Now extrapolate this trend forward in to the future – envision the ideal transhumanist/ singularitarian or even kurzweilian arythmatic of technological acceleration. Sure, EVEN with painful resource constraints we may see the total of society become richer.

      But the trend is for increasing disparity. This may get quite ugly. What is the imperative of those that govern, own and gain to actually share? You may live in a society with *some* opportunity. I guarantee you most such equality is a historical oddity, and most of the world inequality is still the default state. The rich in Brazil kill anyone who stands in their way. Rich landowners worldwide execute small farmers, and drive the poor to favella’s.

      The rich do not have a very pleasant track record and even now it can easily be argued that most opportunity and affluence in the UK, US and EU is flimsy skindeep opportunity.

      I am not ‘merely’ about taxing the superrrich – I want these people gone. I do not want anyone killed and I loathe violence, but I really think we as a global society would benefit if (a) we got rid of the current corporate construct, shareholders and leveraged capital and speculation and (b) we capped accumulation of personal wealth.

      Why? because these people buy the political system. I don’t care if people work hard and make a t h o u s a n d times what I make. But let’s cap it at that. It’s quite simple – one million $ a year in personal income, and 100 million $ in total property should be enough for any human being, world wide.

      I don’t even propose taxing it away – I would even prefer we destroy any excess. Like burn the money so to speak.

      This isn’t (merely?) about envy – it is about displacement. At a certain personal affluence level money becomes power and poisons everything. Me I love luxury – but how much affluence will start displacing and suffocating the lesser-off around in the world?

      What I advocate isn’t communism – this is about survival.

      If the ‘hyper-rich’ can continue accumulating more and more, and before long they end up owning all these nanotech factories and robots and fleets of automated vehicles and intellectual property richs, then only they get richer.

      They actually CAN and DO fire people. They actually CAN and DO *not* give a damn what happens with ‘those filthy beggars’. People actually are left to rot in the streets to die. And this infects society. It makes us all less human and humane. This much envy and hatred and fear and distrust makes us all defective human beings. I can show you videos’s of a baby being hit by a car, and dozens of people just walk by, ‘too hurried’ to bother and help.

      What I’d advocate is a very low basic income. For everyone, even the hyper-rich. I do not want to talk in dualities of left or right, or state debts or sustainability – I want to talk basic dignity. The food is there, the production capacity is there, but right now the system is so twisted that people don’t even have the purchase capacity left to buy goods from factories.

      We may end up a very nice world in 20-40 years. Utopian or paradisial even. But we may also end up in a global hell – with barbed wires and fenced communities and automated security systems and ruthless cops protecting an elite from a massive sweltering underclass of cyberlosers.

      Add transhumanist technologies to widespread disparities and injustice and corruption and before long people will start dying.

      So do me a favor and get away from the boring old political trenches and look at this from outside the box.

      Remember – many people are reading what I state and what you state. Ask yourself – what would an outside spectator read from my words and from yours.

      • oblee Khannea Suntzu October 27, 2011 on 2:42 pm

        Lol…if the super rich have an army of robots to do everything for them (remmemeber,this is all speculation), don’t you think that very technology, given the robots can build themselves, be used for everybody?

        After all, all you need s one robotics factory to give birth to a second and then a third, etc.

        As the costs drop, it gets progressively cheaper to build the next one because you are using the very robotics for construction!

        So are you going to tell me that such “organic” and “reproductive” technology will somehow be controlled solely by ownership when FUL AUTOMATION finnally becomes a reality?

        Of course not. When it becomes THAT EASY and you reach a critical mass of automation, it spreads like a virus, doesn’t matter what economic “class” you reside in.

        I can assure you the USA govern net will have plenty of political motivation to ensure a “fair” transition judging from Obama so don’t worry.

        Who cares if the “super rich” wall themselves off?

        If automation spreads it won’t matter.

        • oblee oblee October 27, 2011 on 2:47 pm

          Look at it this way….a robotics car factory displaces 1 million jobs, sure, but the same factory reduces the cost of cars by 2/3rds….

          Do you think anyone is going to give a s?

          Do you think people cry for caddy drivers and phone operators because they were displaced by the car or the iPhone?

          Politically, if the cost of cars goes down by 2/3rds, you can bet everybody Won’t give a damn about a million displaced Jobs because a job in construction or mcdonalds will lead you to afford the car.

          • oblee oblee October 27, 2011 on 2:47 pm

            See how that works?

      • futurecheck Khannea Suntzu November 1, 2011 on 1:36 am

        Dear Khannea Suntzu,
        I am impressed by your questions, and by this discussion as such. As a futurist, I support the innovations that will create lasting wealth in post-crisis society. I have pinpointed them in my book “Welcome to the Future Cloud – 2025 in 100 Predictions”. One of my predictions is about the emergence of social robots — robots that allow citizens and small companies to take control of their life: selfsupporting in energy, food, production, cloud data and money creation.
        In my presentations I never stress the crisis and the systems crashing right now, but the emerging seeds of the future. They are sometimes very simple and not hightec at all: an old sock could replace a bonus banker.
        Kindly,
        Marcel Bullinga, futurist

        • Khannea Suntzu futurecheck November 1, 2011 on 2:36 am

          Thanks for your kind compliment.

          AI agents are a great patch to the currently emerging ‘existential crisis’ for humanity and human value. I did a presentation and team interaction design project for design purposes in 2009, describing a device like this that would sit between governments, hospitals, physicians, insurers – in essence offering *protection* against institutional predation.

          Think about it – neither governments, neither hospitals, neither insurers, neither physicians (nor nurses, other patients, general citizens, etc. etc.) can be trusted in this day and age. We need custodial devices that help us as empowered citizens to ‘cyber-unionize’.

          I am pretty much certain we will have these in just ten-15 years. My worry is about ‘less aware’ people (and I state this tactfully) who don’t care enough about this to bother. How do you impress on people with low education and low cognitive skills that they *NEED* a custodial A.I. ? (Or need to pay for one)

          Essentially the question is – what kind of inhumane, viciously predatorial world are we creating that we need to ask these questions?

          Or – why are there still people that shamelessly assert “It is your own responsibility?”. What is *wrong* with these people?

          I am worried we are differentiating as a species, and I can no longer refer to some emerging branches as human or humane.

          How did Jamais call this?

          Misantropocene.

          • Johnny Khannea Suntzu November 1, 2011 on 5:04 pm

            Your comment is empty bombast. Existential crises?
            Thats pathetic.
            Reforming the Price System is not going to work.
            People have been trying to do that since around 2500 bc…. a couple hundred years after the system was codified and invented
            http://history-world.org/reforms_of_urukagina.htm
            So if thats what your thinking… invoking ‘unions’ and bullshit about that kind of thing your dreaming and just another dog chasing its tail here.

        • Johnny futurecheck November 1, 2011 on 3:55 am

          Quote from Marcel Bullinga
          ”One of my predictions is about the emergence of social robots — robots that allow citizens and small companies to take control of their life: selfsupporting in energy, food, production, cloud data and money creation.” End quote.

          Allow small companies to take ‘control of their lives’?
          Self supporting in ‘money creation’?

          You just sound like another victim of the Price System or a Price System flunky.

          You maybe could educate yourself about what a viable future might look like https://docs.google.com/View?docID=dfx7rfr2_55dh6wv9&revision=_latest ‘Technate Design An Idea For Now’.

          • Khannea Suntzu Johnny November 1, 2011 on 4:19 am

            Why not liberalize (within margins of accountability) money creation – and then create a basic income, and put it on the ballot box?

            http://blog.khanneasuntzu.com/index.php/2011/07/24/money-rules/

            • Johnny Khannea Suntzu November 1, 2011 on 5:09 pm

              ‘Liberalize? Thats bullshit and a buzz word. Accountability? Thats bullshit in a price system … that system measures things in debt and not any kind of ‘real’ thing.
              Basic income?
              In money?
              You want to perpetuate a slave society and contract class caste system.
              Your out of it as far as viable information and knowing shit about history https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=dfx7rfr2_82cb2rcg&hl=en
              Dean D. Cameron Technocracy … Some Basic Facts.
              Your just a Price System flunky that is brainwashed and full of themselves
              Read some history… grow up, or just be another clicking internet chatter bug http://ia600307.us.archive.org/27/items/MoneyHistoryAndEnergyAccounting/Money_History_and_Energy_accounting_Essay_a.pdf … and play footsie with the other ignorant or uniformed people on sites like this.

              • Khannea Suntzu Johnny November 1, 2011 on 7:51 pm

                Actually no.

                I hate this ‘arbitrarily delineated system’ you designate as ‘price system’ probably more than you. I am dead serious.

                However not as much as unsubtle trolls who alienate everyone by their unsubtle and unappealing fundamentalist rants.

                Go do a public relations course, kid.

                Now we are on that topic, you completely misunderstand me. I am extremely pro technocracy, despite me hating the UD technate for being US centrist nationalist assholes with no interest in the rest of the known universe. I bloody quoted the goddamn introduction vids of the technocracy on my site.

                If I am treated like this by their psychotic al technoqaida good fanatics, I wonder why I even bothered?

                You sound like a bigger asshole than the typical Al Zeitgeist Quaida goon fanatic. Shame on you.

                I do however pride myself on some measure of realism. While I abhor money systems, and monetary value dictatorship and monetary human dehumanization, I actually think on realistic ‘cunning plans’ on how to get away from them.

                Ways like crashing the monetary system by giving the horse more money medicine till the horse collapses dead in its tracks. Yanno, shrewdness and ingenuity.

                The vast majority of this world can not conceive of a world with no money. I actually can. What I however can not conceive of is a transition from a fullblown monetary system to one with absolutely none. That transition must be engineered with very gradual steps.

                Sadly what I also can conceive of are ill-mannered little steroid cannons, full of their own spunk running around like little Anakins. Let’s hope you grow out of that.

                And if you actually think I play “footsie” with people on this site, you are SERIOUSLY not paying attention.

                There are transhumanists and Singularity University people who considered putting out maffia contracts on me for outright attacking the memes of the movement.

                Like *seriously* how mistaken can you be.

                I am considering writing the technocrats and linking your posts here. I bet if I do, they’ll blacklist your ass.

                • Johnny Khannea Suntzu November 2, 2011 on 5:24 pm

                  You still are in the dark.
                  The debate ended a while ago.
                  Your an ignorant person… no crime there, education can improve that.
                  ‘Uninformed’ … that word is just a way of telling someone that they are unaware of certain things.
                  Read this carefully http://ia600307.us.archive.org/27/items/MoneyHistoryAndEnergyAccounting/Money_History_and_Energy_accounting_Essay_a.pdf
                  About all I can say is that your not as smart as you think you are or maybe your just another uninformed ‘smart’ person that has not taken the time to understand a bigger picture.
                  Most people do not understand the political price system… the reformist especially.

                  Yeah your ideas in response are passive aggression and you want to ‘tell’.. mommy or daddy.
                  There is no Mommy or Daddy to tell now.
                  Your an adult… and you can not defend yourself because you apparently like letting your self get the shit kicked out of yourself (‘intellectually’)
                  Probably time to show a little respect to people that know more than you and are not afraid to say so.. or try and show you more information.

                  • Khannea Suntzu Johnny November 3, 2011 on 8:35 pm

                    Johny all your rants are fine, but could you please email this guy

                    http://www.technocracy.org/

                    They were kinda worried about your presentational style en tone of voice and they may wish to exchange a few ideas with you on NOT alienating people.

                    I linked them this forum and frankly your posts shocked them. There was talk on ‘getting a lawyer’ for defamation and all that.

                    • Johnny Khannea Suntzu November 3, 2011 on 11:23 pm

                      Is there some part of ‘the debate with you is over and you lost’ that is being lost on you?

                      ”””There are transhumanists and Singularity University people who considered putting out maffia contracts on me for outright attacking the memes of the movement. End quote Khannea Suntzu

                      Get some counseling Khannea Suntzu… and maybe take a break from the web…

                      You lost it. Being a troll and clowning people does not work in a format like this where intellectual chops tell the tale.

                      Better luck next time… and just for fun try investigating actual alternative things… not socialistic anarchists that know jack shit like Noam Chompsky.
                      Ciao

                    • Khannea Suntzu Khannea Suntzu November 4, 2011 on 2:15 am

                      Literal quote from an email 2 months ago

                      “…it is good that you don’t scare easily but still it is a better you live in Europe because people at H+, former Extropy lists, SU and SIAI sure hate you and having said what you said there are ways to have some local cop arrest and detain you (or worse), put you away for a few months. If you ever travel to the US again, it may be a good idea to not tell ….”

                      end quote. That sounds like a maffia contract to you? Does to me. But hey maybe he was ‘trolling’ me?

                      As for trolling, ‘laddie’ don’t go there. *seriously*. “what big teeth you have ..?”

                      As for counselling, *actually* I give counselling sessions to people who need it in a clinical session, away from licensed therapists, and I am damn good at these. At this stage I am pretty fiine but thank you for your concern lovely.

                      Johnny, or whatever goon you really are.

                      You don’t spell coherently when you get angry. That is what we call a ‘tell’, and it more or less publicly depicts the real state of emotional unravelling on your part here.

                      As for the interwebs, I really kinda like them, they allow me to get laid actually. Because, yanno, I run these adds and men uhm ‘fly to me from other countries’ to have sex, party, go have dinners, talk for ours, have sex. yanno live it up. I really like teh intertubes.

                      Two, this ends here, for pity’s sake. Basta.

            • Johnny Khannea Suntzu November 1, 2011 on 5:22 pm

              1. States recognize all people holding a citizenship as voters in a democratic process where one person has one vote.
              ————-Democracy is mob rule. Morals and ethics are used to imprison people. People vote on opinions and are influence by interest groups.
              2. State governments are elected by a democratic electroral process.
              ———Democracy is a bad system. Mob rule.
              3. The state recognizes basic human rights for citizens and noncitizens.———-Not gonna happen in a Price System.
              4. Citizens can fairly secede from a state and claim a portion of territory with them to form a new state if a vast majority of people such regions wish so.—— Your fantasy.
              5. Every human being is free to travel.—- Huh?
              6. The voting population must in majority agree with every state-ordained tax.—–Your for taxes and voting. Your uninformed https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=dfx7rfr2_96tc8x77&hl=en

              7. No state can refuse travelers——HUH?
              8. A state is held to give all its citizens a basic income. It can only act to keep our excessive immigration with a fair tax to all as well as giving (only) its citizens a basic income.——–Basic income in money?
              https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=dfx7rfr2_93dqt642&hl=en That is not gonna work.

              9. Every citizen is free to create a bank and a state shall put in no unfair impediment to its citizens starting a bank.
              Ok… your an idiot for wanting to create money banks. nough said.
              10. All humans have a right to express to views and opinions.——–Da?
              11. All humans are free to engage in communication with any other human, as well as other humans are free to refuse or ignore communication directed at them.
              ———-I give up on the rest of these. Too stupid…. to answer.
              12. A state can tax banks but must do so equitably.
              12. A state can allow a non-citizen to run a bank in its sovereignty.
              13. A state must condone a citizen to run a bank in its sovereignty.
              14. A state cannot take away a citizenship from its own citizens or any other state from any person.
              15. All persons can claim a world citizenship. Nations without functioning democratic government become protectorate of the world government until the points its citizens are free to secede.
              16. A bank must publish the characteristics of the money it issues.
              17. A bank must publish how much money it has issued.
              18. A bank can issue as much money it wants.
              19. Any store or provider of service can arbitrarily sets its proces in any coin.

              • Khannea Suntzu Johnny November 1, 2011 on 7:37 pm

                This may be too difficult for you. Let’s keep it simple.

                What if there was a free market where *everyone* were free to create a monetary exchange mechanism. I.e. you, me, the federal reserve, the Queen, fedex, mcDonalds, everyone can create a value unit of exchange, provided…

                *they are fully transparent on how it is backed, and how much money they print*

                I am not a super duber fan of ‘monetary systems’ but think about it – the problems we have today are in large part because states are currency monopolists. What if they weren’t? What if every person had access to a few hundred currencies, and you are able to pay for services by some credit device in whatever currency formula or prioritization system you so choose.

                Money creators would be TERRIFIED of devaluation – people would abandon their currencies like yesterdays newspapers.

                Now try and respond to that with some measure of respect for my human dignity, and I can walk your trollish eminence through the next steps of my rationale.

                • Johnny Khannea Suntzu November 1, 2011 on 10:11 pm

                  Why Not Money?
                  It is interesting to consider money as a possible medium of distribution. But before doing this, let us bear in mind what the properties of money are.
                  In the first place, money relationships are all based upon “value,” which in turn is a function of scarcity.

                  Hence money is not a measure of anything.

                  Secondly, money is a debt claim against society and is valid in the hands of any bearer.
                  In other words, it is negotiable : it can be traded, stolen, given or gambled away. Thirdly, money can be saved.
                  Fourthly, money circulates, and is not destroyed or canceled out upon being spent.

                  On each of these counts money fails to meet requirements as our medium of distribution.

                  Money Is Inadequate
                  Suppose, for instance, that we attempted to distribute by means of money the goods and services produced.
                  Suppose that it were decided that 200 billion dollars’ worth of goods and services were to be produced in a given year, and suppose further that 200 billion dollars were distributed to the population during that time with which to purchase these goods and services.
                  Immediately the foregoing properties of money would create trouble.

                  Due to the fact that money is not a physical measure of goods and services, there is no assurance that prices would not change during the year, and that 200 billion dollars issued for use in a given year would be used in that year.
                  If it were not used this would immediately begin to curtail production and start oscillations. Due to the fact that money is negotiable, and that certain human beings, by hook or crook, have a facility for getting it away from other human beings, this would defeat the requirement that distribution must reach all human beings.

                  A further consequence of the negotiability of money is that it can be used very effectively for purposes of bribery.
                  Hence the most successful accumulators of money would be able eventually not only to disrupt the flow line, but also to buy a controlling interest in the social mechanism itself, which brings us right back to where we started from.
                  Due to the fact that money is a species of debt, and hence cumulative, the amount would have to be continuously increased, which, in conjunction with its property of being negotiable, would lead inevitably to concentration of control in a few hands, and to general disruption of the distribution system which was supposed to be maintained.

                  Thus, money in any form whatsoever is completely inadequate as a medium of distribution in an economy of abundance.
                  Any social system employing commodity evaluation (commodity valuations are the basis of all money) is a Price System.
                  Hence it is not possible to maintain an economy of abundance by means of a Price System.

                  On all counts, money does not meet the requirements of a medium of distribution of abundance.

                  The mechanism that does meet the requirements is the energy degraded in the production of goods and services. This energy conversion constitutes the physical cost of production and can be stated in units of work (ergs or kilowatts) or in units of heat (kg calories of Btu`s).

                  We can therefore measure quite accurately the energy converted in any given industrial process, as well as the total physical energy cost of operating a Continent, (a further explanation of this in the last two chapters of the Technocracy Study Course – excerpted design chapters and links to the complete copy.) http://www.archive.org/details/TechnocracyStudyCourseUnabridged

                  After subtracting the energy required to operate the Continent as a whole – new plant and maintenance thereof, roads, housing, hospitals, schools, local transport, continental transport, communications, education, child care, and maintenance of public institutions – continental hydrology, the remainder would be shared equally by all adult citizens in the form of energy certificates or units.

                  In the U.S. alone, in 1992, more than 81 quadrillion Btu`s were consumed, with 62 quadrillion being used for overall operating, leaving 19 quadrillion to be consumed by the personal needs of the population.
                  That would supply every North American with their favorite personal items, all else such as housing, healthcare, food, clothing, all transportation, education, in other words, all things required to maintain the highest standard of living possible within the resource base, as a right of citizenship.

                  Keep in mind: to be physically consumed. Since there is a definite limit to the amount of goods and services one individual can consume, it is both reasonable and efficient to issue equal numbers of energy units to each adult.
                  The number will be greater than anyone can physically consume. Since everyone would have their own plentiful supply, there would be no point in transferring certificates to any other person – or stealing someone elses!
                  When private property and civil contracts are no longer the basis of society, much of what we think of as crime is also eliminated.

                  The Technate design, energy accounting system, is an accounting system only. It is not a Price System reward and punishment method that relies on maintaining a scarcity based money system for people control.
                  The Price System uses money as the basic unit of manipulation and coercion, money or debt tokens also control our dysfunctional political and judicial system as well.
                  When debt tokens are the arbiter of decision, something that measures nothing real… is being used.
                  These wrong choices pile up in terms of resource destruction and environmental devastation and also bring the consequences of negative manipulation by those holding abstract concepts.

                  The technate energy accounting system is the only viable instrument of distribution which can be used in this Continent’s emerging era of abundance — the progress of which is being sped up by automation. This energy accounting system provides the means whereby each individual North American can express their individual preference as to what they want of the products North America is capable of producing.
                  That is its function — to record the demand for goods and services and thereby, to determine the amount to be produced.

                  By applying one specific technological measuring device, production and consumption can be balanced and the first specification for social harmony is immediately achievable.

                  The only real choice is consuming power. With an abundance of consuming power, we can consume as often as we like, every day of the year, and always win our choice.

                  Energy Accounting eliminates both the basis and the need of all social work and charity. It would reduce crime to but a small fraction of what exists today.

                  If you don’t like the war, the poverty, the misery, the waste, the crime, the disease, and the corruption which the Price System spawns, why do you stick with it ?

                  As to ”This may be too difficult for you. Let’s keep it simple.” You sound like a libertarian fool with your comments.
                  Ciao bebe… you lost any idea arguments long ago. Debate over.

                  • Khannea Suntzu Johnny November 2, 2011 on 10:03 am

                    Guess what – I agree with you every single argument you made. And you assume I am some libertarian. Whereas I am a Chomskyite.

                    And I have for a long time voted Socialists. Wow are you misguided.

                    You are so spectacularly conceited, I am disgusted.

                    • Johnny Khannea Suntzu November 3, 2011 on 5:27 pm

                      Jeeze you are a dumb ass. ”Comment:
                      Guess what – I agree with you every single argument you made. And you assume I am some libertarian. Whereas I am a Chomskyite.”

                      He is fake alternative.. he is a communist anarchist you idiot. Your not worth debating with any more if your not learning anything from the debate. Go back to your circle jerk friends that can be impressed with fake alternative … like Chumpsky.
                      And oh that shit is about as right wing … and mainstream fake as it gets.
                      Your a victim of ignorance.

                    • Khannea Suntzu Khannea Suntzu November 3, 2011 on 9:10 pm

                      Johny all your rants are fine, but could you please email this guy

                      http://www.technocracy.org/

                      They were kinda worried about your presentational style en tone of voice and they may wish to exchange a few ideas with you on NOT alienating people.

                      I linked them this forum and frankly your posts shocked them. There was talk on ‘getting a lawyer’ for defamation and all that.

    • Curt Welch oblee October 27, 2011 on 1:03 pm

      oblee, you are failing to grasp the obvious. With full automation, wealth is no longer controlled by labor. It’s 100% controlled by ownership. If you don’t own the machines, or own stock in the companies that own the machines, you won’t get any share of the huge wealth the machines are able to produce so cheaply.

      Cars will never be “free”. They will simply be very cheap. But if I own the factors and the ore mines, then the cars my machines are producing are mine, not yours. If you think I’m going to give you my cars for free because “money is not important” you are an idiot. What will you give me that will make me want to give you one of the million cars my machines just made this year? If you don’t own some resources I care about (like oil wells), then I won’t give a shit about you. I WILL NOT GIVE YOU ONE OF MY CARS FOR ANY PRICE. I would rather feed the unused car, back to the factory, so it can recycle it into something more interesting, like that resort space station I asked my robots to build for me so I could go spend a week in space next year just for the fun of it. You have nothing of value to me to trade for. I can’t even put to you work in my factories because you would only get in the way of the robots I have working for me and slow them down. I will only deal with the other rich factory and land owners that do have things I care about.

      But what happens when wealth is controlled by ownership? It creates automatic monopolies. People that are own the most, and who are good at trading, will leverage their wealth, to gain ownership of even more of the limited resources. This naturally leads to the formation of a very small elite that owns the majority of all resources in the world (land, mines, energy sources, factories). The poor have NOTHING these elite need. In fact, the poor are in their way, because this small elite will want to use all the land of the earth to have their robots making things for them – frivolous things, like resort homes on mars, or an animal reserve in Africa, or the worlds biggest monster truck. Whatever still stuff they can think up, they can have their robots make for them. Because they are that rich. But those 10 billion poor people that keep having babies and demanding to be fed, are forcing huge amounts of the earth’s limited resources to be used up with stupid stuff like farms. So what will the rich do? They will buy all the land, and cut back on the food production they are willing to “give away” for free, until the poor start to die off, and in time, they will kill off all the poor, leaving a small group of rich elite fighting over the earth.

      When wealth is controlled by ownership alone, there will no longer be any balance of power. The will be no way for a poor guy, to climb the ladder of success and become one of the elite. He has nothing of value to allow him to even get into the game. The rich elite won’t let him even sit at their table.

      Without automation, every healthy human born is given a free stake to play in the game. They are given ownership of their own labor. And by “labor” I’m talking about both physical labor and mental labor. Anyone can trade their “god given” wealth, aka their body and mind, with others, to create greater wealth. They can “work”.

      But soon, very soon, like before the end of this century (if not a lot sooner), all that will change. Automation will replace the human labor force. Worker unions will have no power, because the factory owners won’t need _any_ human labor anymore.

      The more wealth shifts from labor, to ownership (capital), the more the system becomes unbalanced, and the more wealth tries to concentrate in a small minority elite. Rising tides lifting all boats becomes a joke. Rising tides sinks the majority.

      Even though we are no where near full automation yet, the effect is already well underway. Wealth is shifting to the elite because most wealth is not created by the work of individual laborers anymore, it’s created by machines. It’s created by the facebook computer servers; the Google computer servers. By the automated factories making computer chips, and iPhones and cars, and automated financial trading algorithms. The people hoarding the wealth these days, are the people that have figured out how to gain, and maintain, ownership of this new “automated labor force”, and the raw materials it needs, like oil, and land, and mines.

      The automation is making the world very wealthy, but the wealth is not being distributed to the people, it’s being horded by the elite. The only protection the people have from this effect, is our democratic republic. But the elite are using their growing wealth to eat away at that, by talking control of the government away from the people, and turning it over to the people who have the most money to buy the votes of the elected officials that were supposed to be voting for the people. They even got the supreme court to give corporations nearly unlimited power to buy elections – to put their sock puppets in control of who makes the laws.

      oblee – if you don’t get you head out of your ass and wake up to what you are permitting to happen, you will soon find yourself totally under the thumb of the rich elite, who will no longer allow you to buy one of their “free cars”. The right wing mantra of “power to the individual” will destroy the very country and society, you thought you lived in.

      Automation is taking all that power away from the people, and giving it to a small elite. And once they have it, they will NEVER give that power back to you.

      Don’t get me wrong. I Love automation. I lead the charge in creating it. But in so doing, I also grasp the danger it is creating in a way that most don’t. We have to, over time, fundamentally change how the wealth created by the automation is distributed to the people in our society.

      Taxation is a fundamental part of how that will probably happen. We will, in time, create a purple wage where the government, controlled by the people, will tax capital ownership and/or income, and distribute that tax revenue directly to the people evenly. We do a lot of this already indirectly though our progressive tax codes and various “free” government services that benefits everyone (like the military and legal system). But as automation (and the wealth it produces) grows, we need to do more of it. But if we keep doing it though government services, it makes the government itself grow too big, and too inefficiency. We need to get the government out of that “service” loop, and just distribute the money directly to the people, and let them spend it however they want to.

      • Khannea Suntzu Curt Welch October 27, 2011 on 1:57 pm
      • oblee Curt Welch October 27, 2011 on 2:31 pm

        That doesn’t make sense curt. If wealth is controlled completely by ownership of machines, of which most can build themselves, then a robotic factory can give “birth” to another and that one to yet a third factory (we are talking of full automation here). If the “super rich” you seem to loathe so much displaced all labor with fully automated factories and transportation networks that build goods for people, then that level of efficiency would allow for networks that work for the entire population. If you are talking of semi automation, which is more likely, then a price will still exist for such said items, and the “super rich” will still need demand to keep factories working. So unless an economy existed that would provide people with a certain amount if income, such as maintenance, service of these undoubtably complex machines, then there would be mo use for thesis automation by the very “super rich” in the first place!

        It works like an equation. Prices go down due to automation. Sure, there is a displacement Of jobs. Perhaps by jjobs with lower wages, but the costs of goods also decreases, so it balances out except that standard of living increases due to greater productivity.

        Furthermore, I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that the super rich, having attained full automation, could somehow get away with using such machines to “build a house on mars” ..

        The whole point of displacement is that Automation gets rid of jobs. If the super rich don’t provide anythg with their robotic factory but their own mars pleasure domes, then a “normal” factory would come into existence by “normal” people to fill that need, get it?

        So you really think people like you would even let the super rich get even CLOSE to such a reality? Common, you would skyrocket taxes up like hell.

        Not to mention the government, through the defense budget, will likely have the most developed robotic fleet having tested the technology first.

        This could be used from everything from a car robotic factory to a construction moving factory for infrastructure.

        I see this just as yet another boogeyman that makes very little sense when you really ponder the implications of greater automation.

        If you really understand what is guy is saying he is talking about the transition as factories start becoming fully automated, by all measures, this will make everybody better off.

        .

        • oblee oblee October 27, 2011 on 2:50 pm

          By the way, I gave an example above where I show how cars by being slashed in price due to full automation actually makes a loss of jobs irrelevant. You also neglect competition and how ownership of capital doesnt equal a monopoly- a failure to understand basic economics.

        • Khannea Suntzu oblee October 27, 2011 on 3:02 pm

          You sound panicked. It is almost as if you are trying to convince yourself.

        • Curt Welch oblee October 27, 2011 on 4:10 pm

          “If the “super rich” you seem to loathe so much displaced all labor with fully automated factories and transportation networks that build goods for people, then that level of efficiency would allow for networks that work for the entire population. ”

          Well, first off, I don’t loathe any of the super rich. I loathe the SYSTEM all of us together have allowed to come into existence. The people who are lucky enough to be part of the super rich are, for the most part, just puppets of the system as much as all of us are. I worked with upper management of Mobil oil for a few years and they are all great guys. There is no evil intent there. But they are all salves to the system – if they don’t do their job of profit maximizing, they lose their jobs. They aren’t allowed to care about the people, And in fact, the CEO had to lay off something like 10,000 employs around the time I was there. He can’t afford to “care about the people”.

          The factories and corporations DO NOT WORK FOR THE PEOPLE – no matter how efficient they become. They work for the people (and corporations) that own them – the shareholders. What you are suggesting, is that once Wal-Mat makes “enough money” the Walton’s will vote to give stuff away for free because they “work for the people”. That once Exxon/Mobil gets their profits up just high enough they will start to give gasoline away for free, because they “work for the people”. That Gates will start to give all his software away for free, once his wealth tops 100 trillion? All because they “like helping the people? Is that what you are suggesting? How on earth do you see that happening?

          The corporations will always have to pay each other, for the material and supplies they need to operate. At no point, will it be “free”. At no point, even when McDonald’s become 100% automated, will the company have no bills to pay – because they still need to pay other companies for the beef, and wheat, or pay the interest on the bonds they sold to buy the land they bought to raise cattle and grow wheat on. But who will they sell the burgers to when there are no more minimum wage jobs anymore because they were all automated and the only jobs left are for a few very smart and highly successful CEOs, and Engineer’s and finance guys?

          What will happen, is that McDonald’s will go out of business, and the companies left, will be the ones making produces for those super rich CEOs and the elite investors, and a few of the AI engineers that still have jobs at that point. The companies left, will be building the super yachts, the island vacation homes, the robotic servants that serve the few super rich that can afford it.

          At no point, do the super rich just decide they will start taking care of the 10 billion poor people – or if they do, the “taking care” will be in the form of MREs and tents.

          “So you really think people like you would even let the super rich get even CLOSE to such a reality? Common, you would skyrocket taxes up like hell.”

          Then why, tell me, have taxes and regulations been dropping for the rich over the last few decades instead of rising? Why are we not taxing the rich even more, now that the income divide is wider than at any point in the history of the US? It’s because the rich are taking control of the government with their money. If they get too much control, then the “people” will not be able to use their one big weapon (their government) to stop them. The people can not “skyrocket taxes up like hell” if they don’t control the government. And that’s exactly what the problem is now. Money interests have way too much influence on politics (and sadly, over the far too uneducated and weak minded population that have been trained to worship the rich. It’s what the occupy wall street movement is all about – changing the message to take back the government from the money interests and return it to the people. When the government becomes one dollar, one vote, instead of one human one vote, that is where we end up – with people suffering for the sake of increased wealth in the hands of the few.

          If the people let the money take too much control of the government, they will be forced to use violence to get it back. I do hope it doesn’t come to that. We certainly don’t seem to be anywhere near there yet even if we are headed in that direction. But the results of this coming elections (in the US) are going to speak lots to that. If the money backed-interests win the election instead of the people, then we probably will be in trouble.

      • oblee Curt Welch October 27, 2011 on 2:54 pm

        Look at it this way….a robotics car factory displaces 1 million jobs, sure, but the same factory reduces the cost of cars by 2/3rds….
        Do you think anyone is going to give a s?
        Do you think people cry for caddy drivers and phone operators because they were displaced by the car or the iPhone?
        Politically, if the cost of cars goes down by 2/3rds, you can bet everybody Won’t give a damn about a million displaced Jobs because a job in construction or mcdonalds will lead you to afford the car.

        • Curt Welch oblee October 27, 2011 on 6:24 pm

          In 50 years, there will be NO minimum wage jobs left. They will have all been automated. Your local McDonald’s will be nothing more than a 24 hour a day vending machine with not a single human working there. Same thing for _ALL_ retail. No more cab drivers – all replaced by automated cabs. No more truck drivers or delivery jobs, all replaced by automated vehicles. Little to no construction work left, because again, all automated by robots where most components are prefabbed in automated factors and delivered by automated trucks to job sites where they are mostly installed by robots. Retail will mostly be replaced by on-line sales with products delivered by automation to your home. The “salesman” will be replaced by AIs that you can talk to to learn about products. Have you seen the new iPhone and it’s voice recognition features? Saw it for the first time today. Fairly impressive stuff.

          If you do not have the training, and intelligence, to be a CEO, a software engineer, a robotics engineer, a stock broker, or doctor or lawyer, or other such high “brain power” jobs, you will have no job and no income. Burgers will be dirt-cheap, but yet, the poor still won’t be able to buy them because they will have no jobs at all to pay for rent or food.

          In 100 years, even those high-end jobs will fall to automation. Technology will change our lives so fast, the the people put out of work, will have no path to become re-educated and re-employed. Most of them won’t even have the intelligence to compete with the 150 IQs that are typical of the people that do still have jobs. The few jobs that are left at the end, will only be held by the most intelligent, and highly educated, and socially well connected (friends in high places). The people put out of work, will turn to crime, or just begging on the street to survive. They will be of no use to the society they exist in. That’s the problem technology is creating for us. It is creating a super-rich society, where a growing percentage of the PEOPLE, are of little to no use to their society.

          When the industrial revolution came around, and steam power and mechanical automation started to put people out of work, many feared the same sorts of things I’m saying here. Turned out not to be true. People did find new jobs, and the machines only helped to increase the productivity of the humans, not to put them out of work.

          But that’s because back then, we still had something the machines didn’t have – a brain. And as it turned out, a brain was very important. The production system (our economy) couldn’t work without lots of brains controlling all that mechanical power.

          The industrial revolution put our muscles out of a job, but not our brains. But we are on the brink of the second phase of this “machine” revolution. Our computers have been taking over and increasing about of our mental power over the past 60 or so years. It first put most the bookkeepers out of work. It put secretaries out of work. It put file clerks out of work. Web sites are replacing salesmen and sales clerks and are replacing help desks. Some of the wealthiest new industries in the last decade are just machines – like the Google servers (oh, and a few humans to plug them in and turn them on). But mostly, so far, all it has done, is made us “smarter” by connecting human brains together – by allowing one brain to do “more”. But we are on the brink of seeing that all change. It’s already well underway, but will still take many decades to complete. This second phase of the machine revolution, will rob the working man, of his last valuable assist to rent out to society for hire – his brain. Soon, when we need something done, or some question answered, we won’t turn to another human for advice, we will just be asking the machines. They will answer all our questions, do all the advising and teaching, and operate all the machines for us. If you want to find a web site, who do you turn to now for advise? A human? Or a machine? Most of us turn to the Google machine and wouldn’t even think to waste our time trying to find a human to help us. I’m taking the Stanford AI and Machine learning courses right now. I’m learning more about AI so I can keep employed and maybe get “rich” before the shit hits the fan. And how am I doing it? I’m learning from A MACHINE instead of a human. There are 160,000 of us learning AI from a machine this semester. How ironic that we are asking a machine to teach us AI, so that we can try to keep the machines from making us obsolete! The entire course is automated. Right now. The AI teachers are putting themselves out of work, by building a machine to teach AI for them. Unless you are smart enough in the not to distant future, to design and build these sorts of machines, you won’t have a job. Minimum wage or otherwise.

          • oblee Curt Welch October 28, 2011 on 2:47 pm

            Curt, I can’t decide whether you are simply ignoring what I’m saying, or if you really arnt understanding – I have a hard time believing you are that stupid.

            You are basically regurgitating the same arguement over and over again without addressing my logic.

            You are stating that with increased automation, even minimum wage jobs will be replaced and most people will not experience the benefits. What I am saying is that increased automation and efficiency just lowers the costs substantially by replacing a relatively small workforce of the employment pie for each individual sector. The result, is that prices will go down first say in manufacturing, so tvs will be dirt cheap and so will mass produced items like cars. The result would be that 6 percent of the population would lose their job(initially), but 40 percent of the population would now have items that were once inaccessible affordable to them. Te service sector jobs would remain the same…..so now everyone in e service sector, everyone except the 6 percent, could now buy phones. Tvs, and cars for a substantially lower price. But since they now can buy all these items that once were beyond their reach, the extra demand will create more service jobs for those just laid off…. THEN, automation would start in construction. This would get rid of another 10 percent. But housing costs would be slashed by half (construction is half of the cost, other half is usually transportation and material) or so, so demand for bigger cnstruction would take place by a factor of 4 based in a line graph. This would increase demand due to deflation and fulfill the employment gap for those who were just laid off in the form of greater demand for everything from transportation to plumbing ( this will take longer to automate). Then, let’s say, they automate transportation, that gets rid of 10 percent of jobs but it brings down the costs of goods by 2/3rds (especially if greater fuel efficiency naturally follows), the greater demand for goods due to such a drop would lead to greater employment in retail, packaging, storage. At every stage, you notice that the cost of producing something is approaching zero, and the economic exchange just moves elsewhre because if civilization had taught us anything it’s that as you satisfy one need or desire it just migrates or grows, creating jobs.

            So its progressive..As you displace factory jobs, the greater cost decrease makes up for the lost jobs with a much higher standard of living for everybody else and a corresponding greater demand to create new ones.

            So as its done progressively, people cram to the jobs left , which will grow in number, due to the greater demand created from the lower costs of the industries that displaced jobs….

            Are you getting it?

            So by the time you start replacing the plumber or people at mcdonalds or haircutters, which are all a political pandoras box, people would have long bought a new house built by robots by migrating to a new service job created by the greater demand from the lower costs at the car factory….and paid off any remaining mortgage.

            They would have long bought a dirt cheap television by working the construction job that exisred just before construction was automatedbut just after all electronic factories and csr factories with their associated mineral resources were automated….

            So it’s like a wave…by the time ALL jobs are replaced, everyone would have enjoyed of automation and either everything will be one big supply network that maintains itself, or a small cost would be covered by having people maintain. Either govern,net or otherwise. The little that needs to be maintained to keep the whole automaton going.

            So I don’t see how you don’t understand this very very simple concept…

            • oblee oblee October 28, 2011 on 2:59 pm

              Btw I don’t think this level of automation will happen in our lifetime, not only because technology will take a long time to scale and coordinate but because of politics….

              we are likely to see only the birth of this revolution…in factories, construction and transportation.

              This represents a fairly small number of jobs for the potential cost reduction for everyone still employed. The unemployment created could easily be replaced by greater demand due to such cost reduction.

              You are talking about the far future -where robots start actually replacing like service jobs-I personally don’t think that’s going to happen until after 2045. Actually, ai might Starr replacing the high end jobs sooner, like computer programming, what I’m interested in, than the very service jobs you are so anxious about.

              Information tech will grow beyond the capacity for practical implementation in the supply chain-this means we will have intelligent sentient life forms on silicon running the whole show on wall street and the logistical chain long before the gardener gets displaced, for example.

              • oblee oblee October 28, 2011 on 3:01 pm

                In other words, your notion that only engineers will have a job is quite mistaken. Once you get to a certain level of machine sophistication, only science in high end nanotechnology to improve the forsmt is needed, normal “engineering” can be done by a computer program, more or less like you see in the movie “torn legacy”

                Things become like a programmable thinking grid.

                • oblee oblee October 28, 2011 on 3:04 pm

                  Tron*

                  • oblee oblee October 28, 2011 on 3:30 pm

                    Simplified arguement:

                    1. Since automation is progressive and not an overnight occurance, every sector that initially gets automated, being relatively small, will offer a fantastic advantage to everyone else still employed (the overwhelming majority) through radical cost reductions. 2. The radical cost reduction coupled with infinite human desires, means greater demand for those cheaper items; this creates jobs to replace those displaced, in equal proportion to the productivity increase. 3. Since this cycle will continue until full automation of everything, by which the cost of things approach zero, robots become relatively cheap to own, and the technology virtually impossible to monopolize, for it acts like a fluid. 4. Hence, the majority’s standard of living increases every step of the way, making it disantvantagoeus and politically impractical to halt, and the end is not ownership by oligarchy, but due to the level of productivity and efficiency of full automation, a joint network that can spring up anywhere, a “branch form the tree” as it were, and satisfy the needs and desires of anyone.

                    Furthermore,

                    .

                  • Khannea Suntzu oblee October 28, 2011 on 3:31 pm

                    I propose to create a blog, forum or website where this argument is debated pro/con.

                    I think this topic is important enough to merit its own visible discussion site, website or space. I’d propose to invite Marshall Brain, Jeremy Rifkin and Martin Ford to such a forum, and to appoint a set of neutral referees as publication manager.

                    I wouldn’t go as far as call for something such as a “The Technological De-employment Institute” (or would I? Hmmm, fondles imaginary mustachhio…) but the stakes are argued to be quite high on either side of the debate.

                    Anyone agrees?

                    • oblee Khannea Suntzu October 28, 2011 on 4:42 pm

                      No thank you, this is getting awfully boring for me.Buy i i do wish you the best to you and your endeavors.

    • Johnny oblee October 28, 2011 on 6:20 pm

      ”””””’Then if we find a way to live forever, I bet there is a solution fir that ad well-merge conciousnesses over time through a neural Internet p, which undoubtedly will be the next step:
      Two people exchange thoughts. Merge into one over time-best friends. Partners .
      Natural population stasis with birth rate and individual immortality.”””’

      Every thing dies. Or morphs into something else. Sorry but your on a fantasy trip of your ego to think otherwise.

      Investigate real alternative idea http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2205039391#!/group.php?gid=2205039391&v=wall

  • Graeme October 27, 2011 on 11:15 am

    The Economic System has already collapsed, but it seems predictions of its ultimate collapse are dependent on the education of only a few companies. According to the New Scientist, 147 companies, linked through directorships, and cross-stock holdings already control 80% of the production of the world. This linkage is so strong, that if one of them sneezes the whole world comes down with a cold.

    Before you go offing the leaders, however, remember they control 80% of the production that feeds you, clothes you and builds your houses.

    The corporate culture of these Giants, tells them that they have to keep growing if they want to survive. Stuck into a Dog-Eat-Dog rat-race, where if one shows a weakness the others will swarm it, they are a little like the “Highlander” in that the only way they can see for ultimate survival, they need to out-compete everyone else until “There is only one” company controlling ALL the assets.

    The Economic System is working, in that it is keeping them from doing away with all the others, so they are forming clusters that collectively are the one, instead of corporately.

    The Death of Jobs has already happened, most economies are teetering along on loans, and McJobs in the service sector. It’s not that they can’t produce things in outdated manufacturing plants, it’s that the Banks (the 11 or so in the 147), are in fact also controlling the means to distribute the products, so only local manufacturing is practical. Since that is less than 20% of all manufacturing, The 147 have an effective control on more than 80% of the economy even if they do not directly control it by one of their publicly held companies.

    The Maker Revolution can only try to increase the proportion of the market that lies outside these companies range, and it is mostly the 147’s unwillingness to finance the companies of the Maker Movement that is keeping the banks from taking over even these small attempts at production. Quite simply the 147 think they already control the world, and the Makers are fleas on their backside.

    The 147 are not interested in social Enterprise, and as such, they have more or less successfully lobbied the government to eliminate it. The 147 are not interested in social equality, or in living wages, so even those programs that seem to grant a living, are designed to be grinding poverty that will eventually destroy the healthcare system, which also will be ground down to the minimum. Even the largest economy in the world, the U.S. has too little power to change this.

    The Crisis is here. Too many people are being sold a pig in the poke, and can no longer afford to have bait and switch financial policies pauper them, because they Owe money that they may never be able to pay back, to if not the 147, local banks that are themselves beholden on the 147 for their profitability. The 147 has proven that it can reach into the economies of every banking system in the world, and write off huge amounts of profitability forcing their governments to pay for the recovery.

    (Most of the most aggregious offenders previous to the collapse were in the top 50 of the 147)

    There is a reason for that, aggression is all that keeps them in the top 50, and the offenders were simply too aggressive for their own good.

    So where are these UnJobs going to come from, there can only be so many Barista’s serving upscale coffee, there can be only so many “IceCream Eaters” at McDonalds, Only so many street cleaners walking around with picker poles, and dumping the results into garbage bins, and the Cities are more likely to buy the new vacuums that drive around and suck up all the loose leaves, than finance the garbage pickers. So where does the money to keep all the “Workers” employed come from?

    The middle class was decimated over the last (Lost) decade. There is nobody for Governments to tax, that can afford more taxes, except the rich, and fewer and fewer of them, as local economies are ripped up and spit out by the international economy.

    The Crisis is here, NOW!, and nobody has the answers. except for Innovation International that has more people working in 3rd world countries that have zeroed economies, than any other company on earth, but simply can’t expand fast enough to deal in a timely fashion with the lack of funding for world wide governments and the subsequent death of Jobs.

    • Khannea Suntzu Graeme October 27, 2011 on 12:45 pm

      If what you are saying, this picture getting worse is nothing short of courting existential risk.

      Am I exaggerating?

  • oblee October 27, 2011 on 1:28 pm

    This blog seems to be a lot more about politics and a lot less about technology or productivity. Very strange.

    • Khannea Suntzu oblee October 27, 2011 on 1:54 pm

      I accuse you of naivety et.al wishful thinking on account of your political preferences.

      The discussion so far may be frustrating to you because I don’t agree with your political hangups and preconceptions.

      But I deny the cornerstone of all this is merely ‘political debate’ – this has been all about the overlap between sociology, economy, industry and technology.

      Implications.

      People dying.

      Wake up friend.

    • Curt Welch oblee October 27, 2011 on 2:14 pm

      That’s just because of the times oblee. The world is in a global recession and everyone wants to fix it. The subjects of this article just happen to touch on some key issues at hand as to how to do that (and to what caused it).

      • oblee Curt Welch October 27, 2011 on 2:36 pm

        No, you’re all a bunch of communists and you know it. Look, I replied to your assertion below on capital ownership.

        • Khannea Suntzu oblee October 28, 2011 on 12:19 am

          Now there’s an offensive allegation.

  • Khannea Suntzu October 28, 2011 on 5:32 pm

    Seriously let’s look at the facts.

  • plasmaborne November 13, 2011 on 6:59 am

    When CyberInterNetics takes over we redesign our society so that everyone is a shareholding in the production of the world and we earn shareholder credits equally. Everyone gets a weekly payout as we share the abundance of our society.

    • Khannea Suntzu plasmaborne November 13, 2011 on 8:31 am

      Great idea. I wholly support it. Now walk up to Anne Coulter and make this point and she’ll spit you in the eye and call you a filthy thieving communist

      How to resolve this conundrum in another way than with Guillotines?

      • Curt Welch Khannea Suntzu November 13, 2011 on 3:48 pm

        Well, I really don’t know how to deal with the Anne Coulter’s of the world. I have a few good friends that are very conservative that think the same way. They believe in strong personal independence and don’t have any grasp of the changes that are coming. They are as blind to it as some are blind to the potential dangers of global warming. I don’t know if we can overcome that sort of thinking until after the fact. If we don’t deal with it before it gets here, then what will happen, is a small group of powerful people will just take over the entire world and cause great pain ans suffering for the masses. But in the process, they will also realize they are not safe from each other, and in the end, will all a truce, and great the wealth sharing system that’s needed (but only for them, not the masses they already crushed). So the human race gets to the same place either way I believe, but with one path, we see lots of pain and suffering first. I don’t know how much pain and suffering will be enough to convince the conservatives that’s it’s time for a change. Only time will tell.

      • Johnny Khannea Suntzu November 13, 2011 on 4:20 pm

        I see your still trolling the Forum here.

        Clowning and trolling ideas is different than actually debating things. (spit) (Guillotines)
        (Anne Coulte) (filthy communist)… etc.. you do not know the difference between trolling and presenting ideas.

        • Khannea Suntzu Johnny November 14, 2011 on 12:03 am

          Johnny can I email you? What’s your email? I’d like sharing your email with some people at the US Technocratic Union.

          They may like to subpoena you I heard for actively damaging their reputation.

          • Johnny Khannea Suntzu November 14, 2011 on 7:52 am

            Making terrorist threats I suppose is illegal so you may want to backpeddle on informing your own special big daddy.
            But then trolls are always threatening … right?

            There is no U.S. Technocractic Union dumb ass.

              • Johnny Khannea Suntzu November 14, 2011 on 6:34 pm

                When trolls or clowns that are unable to debate points lose a debate they appeal to higher authority, or what they think might be.

                The group you are quoting is not connected anymore, have not been for a while.
                There is no U.S. Technocratic Union dumb ass.

                Maybe you could stop trolling these threads now with personality things.

                Obvious you are not following what is going on here… except to raise your little plastic sword.

                Obvious you do not understand this issue. Miss off topic.

                • Khannea Suntzu Johnny November 15, 2011 on 7:46 am

                  Topic closed.

              • isenhand Khannea Suntzu December 11, 2011 on 6:51 am

                Hi Khannea,

                I see what you mean. I don’t think there’s much point in directing Skip (aka Johnny) to Tech inc. They threw him out already hence his own brand of “technocracy”, which acts more like a religion with no deviation from the 1940s brand of tehcnocracy.

                Fortunately, he doesn’t represent the majority. I don’t think we gain much in holding on to the past and not accepting new advances. Since the 1940s technocracy has developed, especially in Europe (with EOS).

                But coming back to the topic at the top. We have had the technoclogy to fully automate production and transportation for decades, yet we haven’t done it nor do I think will we.

                As I see it the current socioeconomic system hinders such advances as we have to keep people employed.

                I see the current system collapsing but not through automation.

                • Technate Information isenhand December 11, 2011 on 8:15 am

                  Technocracy is a North American social movement. It has NO affiliation with any other organization, group or association either in North America or elsewhere.

                  Technocracy Is Unique

                  TECHNOCRACY and its program are unique in approach to and analysis of our outmoded social mechanism. Technocracy Inc. is the only organization in existence that has a scientifically formulated design for a social mechanism that can succeed and replace the Price System and actually measure up to the physical and technical requirements of this Continental Area. Technocracy makes no compromise with the Price System. Technocracy makes no compromise at all, for compromise in any direction whatsoever would defeat the purpose of Technocracy. Technocracy has the only answer to the social problems of North America, as correct as scientific methods and scientific knowledge circa 1951 make it possible to be. Therefore, any deviation or compromise would serve only to depart from and lessen its verity and rigor.

                  Perhaps, if we fail to stop and consider the matter, this may sound rather dogmatic. Actually, it isn’t. The statements stand, and will continue to stand BECAUSE Technocracy IS NOT dogmatic. Technocrats do not have a doctrine codified from a set of opinions and myths, with a few inescapable facts rationalized to fit. Technocracy is wholly conditioned by the facts of this physical world in which, despite any philosophical aspirations we may cherish, we are forced to live; and as and when new facts are found bearing on our social problems, Technocracy will conform as the facts dictate. Physical facts are uncompromising, as we may learn if we try to disregard them.

                  And so it is easily understood why the Technocrat is so little interested in ‘prestige by association’ with ‘big names’ or the ‘right people.’ If we are right, then only one conclusion is possible: they are all wrong. It isn’t too surprising. Those with ‘names’ and ‘position’ are the kind who happen to fit well into the particular kind of civilization we have under a Price System. It isn’t to be expected that they would fit some other kind of activity so well.

                  This doesn’t mean that all the rest of the army is out of step with the Technocrat either. They’re all out of step with themselves and with everybody. Being guided largely by opinions and prejudice, they agree on nothing. There are as many sets of opinions as there are individuals. There is no unanimity anywhere.

                  There IS unanimity among Technocrats because the physical facts are the same for everyone everywhere, and Technocracy is the same wherever it is found on the Continent. Technocrats are all working on the same job, building for the New America.

                  —The ‘Co-Ordinator,’ published by Section 1, R. D. 10553, Prince Albert, Sask.

                  EOS – European Organisation for Sustainability – NET – Network of European Technocrats appear to be a cult or cabal based commercial group led currently by Andrew Wallace of Umea University Sweden (where he does research in design and development in specialist software and hardware for research in the area of psychology). Network of European Technocrats has an assumption to power theory and a plan to take over Europe using a system devised by themselves called a holonic society. That system would be run by themselves as administrators using ”greater society methods” while they would use a commune style system concerning recruits that would give themselves as administrators complete control over consuming habits. There is an assortment of words defined to special purpose within this group. The definitions do not reflect actual word meanings. While this group has limited membership, the form of zealotry displayed and disregard for accustomed norms regarding basic logic and objectivity or what is known as the scientific method make them notable or rather notably cult like. Although no one has written seriously about this group except themselves, this group takes itself seriously and could be interesting tomonitor in the future. :Cult watch. May 2008

                  http://www.scribd.com/doc/2940344/Network-of-European-Technocrats-N-E-T-Techno

                  EOS – European Organisation for Sustainability – Network of European Technocrats – NET? A blog … that is interested in capturing your money.
                  A cult or cabal group from Sweden, using made up neologism concepts (self defined new words) using information originally from a science based group to a different purpose for their group. This group (NET) has an assumption to power theory (they wish to take over Europe). Led by Andrew Wallace (a.k.a.Isenhand) currently (2009) they are raising money for a ”holon” system to buy land, and then plan to enlist recruits to live in this construct which they will operate using money on the outside (greater society) and ‘energy credits’ (their term) on the inside with the core of the current NET administrators making all final decisions, although they refer to the basic conditions as ”democracy”.
                  Also noted, The information in this download documents how it was that the group was black listed for spamming on a popular search engine and their article deleted as ‘Vanispamcruftisement (IPA: /væ.nə.spæm.kɹəf.ʼtaɪz.mənt/; sometimes abbreviated as vanispamcruft or VSCA) is a portmanteau comprising several editorial faults which some Wikipedians see as cardinal sins: vanity (i.e., conflict of interest), spam, cruft, and advertisement.

                  EOS – European Organisation for Sustainability – NET – Network of European Technocrats – Andrew Wallace – Isenhand

    • Johnny plasmaborne November 13, 2011 on 4:15 pm

      ””””’When CyberInterNetics takes over we redesign our society so that everyone is a shareholding in the production of the world and we earn shareholder credits equally. Everyone gets a weekly payout as we share the abundance of our society”””’

      Your just repeating information that someone told you because someone told them the same information. In other words your just parroting antique concepts.
      If you want to learn something about cybernetics Google this guy http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/apr07/page10.html Alexander Bogdanov.

      Cybernetic ideas under a Price System are just a dead end… worse than that.. a stupid end.

      But as long as there are scam artists like Ray Kurzweil pimping his books about how to scam even more money out of the system, there will be sites like this.. full of people following the mainstream.

      Actual ideas about the future are different than pawing the ground for ancient concepts of economics http://web.archive.org/web/19990915023549/http://www.technocracy.org/periodicals/nwtechnocrat/319/scheel.html

  • commandersprocket November 29, 2011 on 9:58 am

    Automation should lead to vast economic growth. It should free up the 40% of the population in thankless manual labor jobs (driving, manufacturing, janatorial work, construction) to do something novel, where they can design and engineer new works and learn all the time. Automation cannot do that unless we can harness those human resources that have been freed. This is giong to be true with any kind of repetitive work (mental as well as physical) over the next decade. Our current economic crisis is choking what should be a golden age. The inventive, spontaneus fun creative part of work should be where the value is created, the rest will be left to machines. My image of the future is that people that are good with thier minds work on computers and people that are good with thier hands, they create with thier hands, those people are makers, they need a little education, a shared shop. I’m fortunate enough to live in the Bay Area, we have TechShop in SanFrancisco, San Jose and Menlo Park, the Crucible in oakland, biocurious, hacker dojo. I look at these and think they are the way forward. They’re in thier infant stages right now, clumbsy, underutilized, with sparse classes. Scaling that up along with making Khan academy style learning available for anything that is needed as a knowledge skill or that requires memorization is how I envision us moving into our post industraial world in a healthy way. Turn the capital owners into a market (they seem to be fond of them) let them tend the robot farms and compete on cost while the rest of us create. Economic collapse… it might look that way for a while, but it’s really economic change, it’s uncomfortable, wierd change with vested interests fighting against it tooth and nail, but it’s inevitable. Those vested interets will make us uncomfortable as possible but in 5 or 10 years they’ll be in our rearview mirror.

    • Curt Welch commandersprocket November 29, 2011 on 2:45 pm

      commandersprocket – you vision is nice. But you don’t suggest how to make it work, or how to get there from here. How does that 40% of the population that has been “Freed up” (because they lost their jobs to automation, and the only jobs left for them are part time minimum wage jobs with no benefits), get food and shelter and health care and cars and iPhones? How do they get to share in the vast wealth created by the automation?

      • Johnny Curt Welch November 29, 2011 on 4:53 pm

        Investigate the Technocracy technate design for more information on a viable alternative. The current system ends only in disaster. Video information on viable alternative http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=c1e_1322434503

      • commandersprocket Curt Welch December 1, 2011 on 6:14 pm

        How does that 40% of the population that has been “Freed up” get food/shelter etc?
        We have no shortage of food/shelter/etc, they will be transformed by automation (and biotech and nanotech). We’ve seen the beginnings of change/revolution in the OWS, thier broad goal is to remove money based decisions from politics. If that 40% has foresight, they’ll be fighting for thier economic rights now. I think that eventually they will be succesful (removing special interest control of politics is agreed upon by everone along the political spectrum). If they are, I see a string of pro-consumer laws passing, squatting rights (incumbent upon taking care of property, which take care of where to live). There is plenty of work that needs to be done, most of it requires very specific education. That education is often not available in our schools. This will force change in education. We will see the spread of IT style certification programms (the school equivalent of 20-30 units, like PMP, MCSE, Java, Network+ etc. these programs will come to replace existing university education for most jobs). I don’t view this as substantially different from the labor movement of the 30’s or the civil rights movement of the 60’s, both of which resulted in substantial changes. Resulting systemic changes will change our current style of unemployment as well as jobs. Cheaper commodities and education (with education automation like Khanacademy.org eventually supported at a state and federal level) will enable people to make the neccesary 3-5 year job/skill transitions.

        How do they get to share in the vast wealth created by the automation?
        The automation is going to be everywhere, like PCs and cell phones are now. More and more knowledge(intellectual capital) will drive value rather than physical capital. The current capatalist class has an advantage in owning companies and factories, they are not nimble. Small groups of individuals will be able to create and produce new devices and technologies (the next iphone or palm or mp3 player) in spaces the size of a garage with automation. Countries that ignore intellectual capital (I cringe when I write “intellectual capital” it implies ownership of thought) laws will reap massive rewards, countries that try to enforce (unenforceable) intellectual capital laws will fall behind. Intellectual capital laws will eventually weaken or fail, as they do so technology will come resemble the fashion industry, where changes come evey year, but perfectly servicable items are available for very low cost. This will create a radically different market dynamic, one where the cost of producing the goods is less relevant than the ecosystem and branding of those goods. The iPhone (thanks for bringing it up) is an excellent example, it’s value is driven more by it’s ecosystem (AppStore plus commonality of add-ons) than by it’s hardware.

        • Khannea Suntzu commandersprocket December 2, 2011 on 8:03 am

          Next comes Johnny the Stalinist accusing you of being a price system slave.

          “We need no money! We can pay with teh jellybeans!”

          • Johnny Khannea Suntzu December 2, 2011 on 5:13 pm

            Suntzu… you are a dumb ass. Troll…. the other two dildos here are spamming Iphones. This is a fake content generator site. Its done to make money. Idiot.

            • Khannea Suntzu Johnny December 3, 2011 on 1:35 am

              Paranoid schizophrenia is a treatable disease these days, kid.

              • Johnny Khannea Suntzu December 3, 2011 on 2:22 am

                Look at their posts you idiot. I am never coming here again. Its a content generator site and it is spamming products.

            • commandersprocket Johnny December 4, 2011 on 12:30 am

              I would really like to see something like Binary economics or technocracy or the venus project work, but they are so extremely alien to 99% of the population that I don’t view them as sociologically feasible. I do see massive change happening in the next 4-5 years. If you look at the amount of change and economic growth from 1934-1944, following the great depression (GDP growth averaging 10-14% per year over that decade) I think we could be in for something similar.
              Why? because we have a handful of technologies that haven’t been commercialized that have enormous promise (second generation biotech, medical IT (med records and decision recommendation engines), 8-10x better batteries, better networks, much better online education, wearable computing, augmented reality, radically improved robotics, better fuel cells, 3D printers, improved aquaculture)
              Johny, assuming for a moment that you’re not just making trouble because you think it’s fun, I’d like to recommend high dose B and C vitamins and Omega-3 supplementation, I’ve seen it help people reign in self defeating behavior.

      • Johnny Curt Welch December 2, 2011 on 5:04 pm

        I see the two of you Curt Welch and Commander sprocket are using the thread to spam Iphones ” The iPhone (thanks for bringing it up) is an excellent example, it’s value is driven more by it’s ecosystem (AppStore plus commonality of add-ons) than by it’s hardware.”,,,,, so your just fake posters and spammers for content generation.

      • Johnny Curt Welch December 2, 2011 on 5:07 pm

        You and your editing buddy here are only here to spam and content generate for Iphones. How much you get paid for that shitty job. Spammer.
        ””””””, get food and shelter and health care and cars and iPhones? ”””””

        • Curt Welch Johnny December 2, 2011 on 5:38 pm

          My God THANK YOU Johnny! I get about $800 dollars each time someone mentions iPhone! You just made me another $1600! But, don’t forget, if you say iPad I get even more! And if we throw in a few more product plugs, like iPod, it’s even better! Please help me my by following up some more and mentioning all these products again! I need money to buy my kids shoes for Christmas!

          • Johnny Curt Welch December 3, 2011 on 2:27 am

            I am on to you idiot. This site sucks … your just a spammer. You never said anything interesting here at all. This is my last post… and you and the clowns and trolls here can can have as much fun as you like.
            Khannea Suntzu does not have a clue whats going on here.
            Singularity people are pretty pathetic in general. Ciao.

    • Khannea Suntzu commandersprocket November 29, 2011 on 4:18 pm

      I can take you on a 2 hour walk in several neighborhoods showing you a neverending cavalcade of colorful civilians – who are now underemployed already, and who will have absolutely zero chance to take part in any future scenario, except

      1 – when they are paid money to not breed
      2 – as criminals
      3 – in a prison

      Huge percentages of our society don’t stand a chance in he face of these changes. We NEED to democratize a floor in dignified human existence or most humans will be toast (==dying) before 2030.

      • Johnny Khannea Suntzu November 29, 2011 on 4:51 pm

        1 – when they are paid money to not breed
        You sound like a fascist price system Pol Pot type.
        2 – as criminals
        The Price System and money crimes are 98% of crime… violations of contract society
        3 – in a prison
        Prisons would not exist in a technate… that is a branch of corporate fascism

        • Khannea Suntzu Johnny November 30, 2011 on 12:41 am

          “Poisoning the Well”

          In arguments, there’s always a danger that your opponent knows what they’re talking about. They might even have evidence up their sleeve to prove it.
          Being confronted with hard facts can throw a novice arguer off their stride. A more seasoned debater, however, will not be put out.

          If you are unfortunate enough to encounter someone ready to cite evidence in support of their claims, then your best strategy is to “poison the well”. This is a good all-purpose strategy because it involves completely ignoring the details of the evidence, and instead discrediting the source. It can therefore be applied to any evidence whatsoever.

          The bluntest way to poison the well is to simply hurl abuse at the source. If your opponent has cited claims from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Small, Cute, and Fluffy Animals, then you can simply remark that everyone knows that the RSPCSCFA is rife with corruption and can’t be trusted to tell you the time of day accurately.

          Effective though the strategy of hurling abuse can be, it does lack subtlety. For this reason, it is often preferable to poison the well by hinting at some hidden agenda that might bias the source. Most sources can be accused of trying to ingratiate themselves to someone or cosy up to someone else, casting doubt on the reliability of whatever evidence they have given.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoning_the_well

          • Johnny Khannea Suntzu November 30, 2011 on 7:35 am

            Wikipedia is not a reliable source. It sucks even.
            What has your passive aggressive diatribe to do with automation and the future economy?
            Zilch.

            • Khannea Suntzu Johnny November 30, 2011 on 9:03 am

              Anyone, everyone if I ever become an asshole as horrific as Johnny please euthanize me quietly.

              • Johnny Khannea Suntzu November 30, 2011 on 4:05 pm

                With troll comments like this…
                ””””
                1 – when they are paid money to not breed
                2 – as criminals
                3 – in a prison

                ”””””””
                What do you expect. Consequence of shitting in the well.

                • Khannea Suntzu Johnny December 1, 2011 on 12:10 am

                  Whereas I am in favor of less births I am viciously against ‘a state’ using force to dictate birth quota’s. I would have no trouble for a democratic entity somehow using a reward system (as long as society uses money, this sadly will be money) to facilitate this. I think we have enough people in the world, and we need to democratically come to a means to constrain births.

                  In the horrific price system we have sadly people are punished in horrible ways, such as by sending them to ‘prisons’. I am against prisons, and henceforth I am dearly worried that a society that has the horrible price system increasingly sends the desperate of society to all kind of punitive internments!

                  ..or worse, the price system forces the desperate of humanity to resort to crimes. This is horrible and as soon as we can get rid of the suffocating price system in favor of a more rational means to allocate scarce goods to people (I am sure Johnny knows a few dozen such solutions!) the sooner we can greatly decrease criminal people.

                  But sadly we have festering places in society where people are soul dead and mostly spoiled. They are lost to us and almost impossible to recover, full of pathological antagonism and hatred. I should all try to save these poor vindictive, confrontational lambs by reaching out to them and pressing them in to our arms but eventually we may have to just give up.

                  • Johnny Khannea Suntzu December 1, 2011 on 4:01 am

                    Psycho.

                    • Khannea Suntzu Johnny December 1, 2011 on 7:27 am

                      Credible Johnny, very credible.

    • Johnny commandersprocket November 29, 2011 on 4:56 pm

      You can not reform the monetary system. Its time is over. And energy accounting system not tied to labor is a viable alternative in this period of time http://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=221406

  • MaineArtists December 5, 2011 on 6:07 pm

    I am worried at such reasoning. The article is a shotgun blast of disconnected facts meant to support a prediction about what the technological future might, or even, can bring. It seems a political statement more than anything, a statement arguing for more technological “progress”. This is not critical thinking. The article does not even pretend to be logical.

    I have to suggest everyone here, read and study philosophy, before going-off endorsing these massive changes to human existence -without even a glimpse of the possible shortcomings of such an historically common -reckless- approach.

    It is this sort of approach that has led us to exactly where we are now. Consider how, -safe, clean nuclear energy- was once peddled on the same level of supposed intelligence, a blind and reckless enthusiasm.

    Logic, unlike what anyone might have led us to believe, is itself fallible, especially as it is practiced in common parlance.

    For logic to have some remotely possible efficacy, reason must be based on known true statements, beginning in one place, and never contradicting or over-extending the judgments of previous statements.

    These essential truths where we might begin -are not so easy to find- as we might think.

    Why not?

    Because for every possible truth human beings can know, there are an infinite number of correlative untruths that we might easily be fooled by. To add to the complexity of our task of picking truthful ideas from reality’s barrel of infinite complexity, we also must consider carefully the problem that we communicate in words, which themselves are easily proved meaningless by their vast imprecision -best noted when these words are contrasted against the infinite complexity of the reality we all share.

    I would like to think the world can be made better, but so did everyone in the past who messed it up so badly as we have today.

    We can be optimistic about the future, BUT!, the truth is -as I have found it- the reality that surrounds us all for our short lives is the ultimate in better-ness without anyone improving on it at all. Try comparing it to something else -to the exclusion of what we have now!

    If we want to make a better world, all we need do is to stop all the supposed geniuses of the world from trying to tinker -our world and our existence- into some non-existent and quite obviously impossible better-ness that cannot exist, will not exist, and has never existed except as the world was created long before the geniuses starting in with their reckless experiments.

    We are not technological gods. We would be fools to think we are. Take a look around at technology’s accomplishments writ large and compare these to nature.

    The biggest problem with the imposition of such an idea as is put forth in this article -is that it holds a blind-eye to the false deity it requires.

    In this paradigm of scientific-serendipity, we must believe in a benevolent god looking over our shoulders as we tinker with this infinitely complex reality, for a god must guide our every move to keep us from making any of an infinite number of technological mistakes that might end all the better-ness of the world as we found it.

    Life is a grand party. Your moral duty is to NOT screw it up by endorsing ideas that only have a small chance of working out over the long run, and a much better chance of continuing to wreck the world as so many similar ideas of the past have so readily accomplished throughout history.

    The proper place for logical reasoning begins with categorical truth. The following statement is one such categorical truth.

    The moral imperative of life is to live a life that detracts not at all from the lives available to those who will follow us into this world.

    This statement of categorical truth seems to logically imply we should not risk damaging the potential of the future by our desire to make for a better world with technological trade-offs and gambles. Who can know our chance at success in advance, or the ultimate end result of some apparent success as it affects the entanglement of chaos that surrounds us all in this infinitely complex reality?

    To refute this logic, one must refute the original statement that gives rise to this conclusion. Good luck. But in the mean time, ENJOY!

    -Don Robertson

    • Khannea Suntzu MaineArtists December 6, 2011 on 12:47 am

      I don’t see what you are trying to state. I find what you suggest not self-evident. In fact I have trouble understanding what you are actually trying to constantly warn against?

      Maybe you just don’t like the political implications …you find the implications politically impalatable…. and you conclude “this is so unpalatable this can’t possibly be correct!!” ?

      Please explain in clearer words what it is you object against and why.

    • Khannea Suntzu MaineArtists December 6, 2011 on 12:48 am

      One day maybe some conservative people used *exactly* the same emotional appeal in lieux of actual arguments against “this outrageous idea” of giving females voting rights?

      Balderdash?

  • MaineArtists December 6, 2011 on 2:47 am

    Khannea-

    I apologize if I seem unclear to you. I suspect it is not the clarity of my statement though, and much as it is your desire to be contentious in an effort to rule the roost and stand at the top of some imaginary hill. Try re-reading my statements, which I stand behind. Perhaps you can ferret their meaning if you try harder.

    My original statement is quite clear. I question the efficacy of the lack of any logical assertion proposed in an article that seeks to rally endorsement for more, endless technological serendipity. Where does all the technological serendipity lead humanity? -is an important question today.

    Maybe you might try not staring such long hours at your computer screen, not drinking coffee or using sugar and salt stimulants for a week or two. Something has you all puffed-up as if your allergies were out of control. Neither hyperactivity nor letting your mind wander aimlessly will shed any light on this subject. For instance, while it was NOT my assertion here, and you bring it up, no one, not men, women nor transgender individuals have any chance of voting a better future. There are no logical arguments of which I am aware -that can prove the efficacy of -the vote- in rendering a path toward a better future. It is a fanciful Enlightenment-propagandist idea, but nothing more.

    You clearly have added no cogent commentary about my statements, and neither could you, as you profess -you do not understand them-. So how could you add a cogent statement? It seems impossible, contentious, revealing more about you and your approach to -or lack of- reason, than the subject at hand.

    This sort of snippet-sniping as you pose is meant to reveal some other weakness in some other argument -other than my argument, the argument I set forth in the statement I originally set forth.

    Please stay on the topic of discussion when addressing me. Otherwise you waste not just my time, but the time of everyone else too.

    Don Robertson

    • Khannea Suntzu MaineArtists December 6, 2011 on 5:13 am

      There us no endpoint to history we can define, let alone envision. It is emergent. What you term ‘technological serendipity’ is a blind watchman of people working towards goals as defined by what’s possible with technology, and what is desirable in this constricted world view.

      I do not know the end point, but we can extrapolate a little bit. When we extrapolate we use pattern recognition (and hopefully not get lost in apophenia) and what we believe to be common sense and reason. Since our human minds are a messily evolved function, that is only fully cognizant of anything approximating rationality for a few hundred years, we are clueless. We are pulling ourselves up from our hair from the swamp as it were.

      What matters is suffering. Those who suffer don’t want to suffer and insofar they aren’t lost to apathy they will do something about it. In the old days that ‘doing something about it’ entailed violent revolution and “killing the bastards”, but these days we have treaties. We have treaties (civilization) because we have evolved common sense that tearing the whole place down cyclically is particularly wasteful and unpleasant in itself, and creating collectivist straight jackets of authoritarian rule might even be worse.

      I am not sure what utilities I may have to win or lose here. I don’t drink coffee and am mostly salt or sufar-free right now. But yes I do have a vested ego stake in this, because I am pretty sure there is a flip side to the apathy of the masses.

      There is also an apathy of the empowered. It is a wicked thing indeed, the apathy of a Marie-Antoinette and her Cake, or the apathy of a Coulter. The other word is arrogant conceit.

      We are in fact stumbling blindly in world where technological empowerment is running amok – morally, societally, neurologically, environmentally, unsustainably, pharmacologically and most of all economically.

      We have now come at the crossroads where a very big slice of humanity (some say 99%) are contemplating whether or not existing treaties suffice, whether democratic right to protest suffices, whether appeal and voting still suffices, whether the available choice between unmarked cups of kool-aid still suffices.

      I don’t think it does. I advocate (and yes, I do so with belligerent, passionate insistence) that we are either in the last days of Rome, OR in the early days of a Singularity.

      I endorse revolution, plain and simple. Preferably peaceful but if necessary with Guillotines. You may not like the idea (I am not sure even after re-reading your post several times) but I sure as hell am worried about a whole range of economical disparities, in which the statement of Martin Ford ranks in the top three.

      I suspect the empowered half of society to be inclined to shush me back in my cage with a “there, there”, but history has a good track record of those in power being annoyed by uppity rabblerousers. And while not all rabblerousers were ever right, progress is generally made by them, and not by the fat cats who only work to keep the status quo in place.

      Yes I believe in progress. Apparently so did Steve.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvEiSa6_EPA&feature=player_embedded

      There are fruits up there, even if this is a dark cage and we can barely make out shadows. And I will pluck any single one of them. But I will not stand for other people planting their shoes in my face when they climb up for theirs.

      And yes, we are technological deities. The term ‘gods’ is a bit of a vague one actually. Yes we actually are – and we may become even better ones. But not as we envision now.

      No it may get far better than all dead cliche’s of the past.

      • MaineArtists Khannea Suntzu December 6, 2011 on 10:04 am

        Huh? Try to think with some process approaching logic. What you have given us is yet another round of buckshot, another modest rant. Reaching for the stars does not place anyone among them.

        The best logic I have come across works like this- Start in one place and build from there -with no random leaps, no blind assumptions and no conflicts with previously asserted assumptions.

        Try this as a starting point, that which I gave you before. -Do you agree with this statement categorically?

        The moral imperative of life is to live a life that detracts not at all from the lives available to those who will follow us into this world.

        And if we can get on with that one assumption, try then to come up with another such statement of categorical truth.

        Don Robertson

        • Khannea Suntzu MaineArtists December 6, 2011 on 10:55 am

          No.

          Necessity, aspiration, despair, vision all transcend your attempt to curtail. I respect some people taking it step by step but consistently throughout history people didn’t.

        • Curt Welch MaineArtists December 6, 2011 on 11:02 am

          “The moral imperative of life is to live a life that detracts not at all from the lives available to those who will follow us into this world.”

          I really have NO clue what that means, and I too really have no clue what points you are trying to make in any of your posts so far. So no, I can not even begin to agree with it, let alone agree with it categorically.

          Just what do you think “detracts from a life” means? (for example)

          It sounds as though you believe we should act so as to better (or at least not reduce) the happiness of others. If that is sort of what you are getting at, do you count acting in a way to reduce our own happiness as well? Or are you saying we have a “moral imperative” to sacrifice our own happiness for the happiness of others?

          The problem with what your words seem to be saying, ignores the fact that living a life that way is impossible because all actions have tradeoffs. We can’t make everyone, including ourselves happy, all the times. There are always times where our actions will help some, while harming others.

          So no, I don’t understand what you are suggesting, or what it really has to do with this article, or the subject of the book the article was reviewing.

          I’ll be happy to try and understand, but you have to explain more than you have so far before I’ll be able to grasp your point.

          • MaineArtists Curt Welch December 6, 2011 on 3:05 pm

            Okay. I am stunned at the response of both of you, literally stunned. So let me rephrase a little, biting off a small bit of what I am after first.

            Do either of you agree that it would be the most egregious moral wrong to destroy the habitability of the planet and close the door through which we all entered this world for our short and miraculous stay?

            Don Robertson

            • Khannea Suntzu MaineArtists December 6, 2011 on 3:25 pm

              Of course not.

              That’s like asking “are you still a child abuser”.

              But I would love taking all humans off this damn planet, and then abandoning it like a cradle and dumping it in the attic.

              I have no special sentimental value for this accursed dirtball. We take all from it and then we disassemble it, after saving everyone.

              This planet itself is nothing compared to the eternal value of its surface life. Humans, animals and plants, all of it.

              Have you ever heard of the ideas of David Pearce, MA?

            • Curt Welch MaineArtists December 6, 2011 on 4:18 pm

              Who’s morals are you asking about? The morals I apply to myself? The morals I believe I should, but don’t always, apply to myself? The morals I would like others to follow if I had the power to control that? The morals I think some segment of our population might agree on a in a vote? Asking questions of morality is a very ODD way of talking.

              Why aren’t you just asking if we think it’s bad? When you ask that way, there is no expectation of precision in the answer there tends to be once you start asking about morals.

              Now, on the question of destroying the habitability of the planet, I think it’s bad to do that _today_. It would kill the human race (aka me, and others, and all life). But in the future, the question is wide open. Humans, or whatever evolves after us, may well have very rational reasons to destroy our entire planet – not just it’s habitability but the whole thing – gone. I can’t predict where the future will lead for the earth. Things will be changing VERY FAST over the new few hundred years around this part of the galaxy.

              • MaineArtists Curt Welch December 6, 2011 on 5:54 pm

                Okay, I have entirely lost interest in discussing anything further with the rhetorically contentious Khannea. She can bugger out of the conversation, because she and her views are no longer wanted here. Theyw ill not be considered. I am not interested in people who profess her inane views. I have read Schopenhauer, Sartre, and Camus.

                I have also read all of Twain and the inspiring Chesterfield.

                My most most recent reads are listed here, http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3086444-don-robertson

                Curt asks, “Why aren’t you just asking if we think it’s bad? When you ask that way, there is no expectation of precision in the answer there tends to be once you start asking about morals.”

                Curt’s question is fair and balanced. I will let him answer his own question by asking him to answer it -with his answer to a very precise question. I am going to explain something very precise, if I can get some straight answers without all the rambling contention for the sake of contention.

                None of this is rocket science. I am no genius.

                Curt, can you think of any moral wrong more egregious than ending the habitability of the planet and completely shutting the door for all future humanity?

                Don Robertson

                • Curt Welch MaineArtists December 6, 2011 on 6:48 pm

                  Don Asks: Curt, can you think of any moral wrong more egregious than ending the habitability of the planet and completely shutting the door for all future humanity?

                  Yes, far FAR worse than killing everyone by eliminating the habitability of the planet would be subjecting everyone on the planet to continuous torture for the rest of time without letting anyone die.

                  I strongly believe that humans are just reinforcement learning machines, and as such, are only goal and need in life is maximizing this reward signal while we are alive. That basically means our job )and purpose) in life is to maximize our expected future happiness (though that’s a bit sloppy way to say it).

                  We learn that a very important way to do that, includes helping to maximize the happiness of all those we live with – who in themselves, can help or harm our happiness.

                  As such, death, for example, is not an issue at all for one of these “machines”. The issue, is the fear of death we must deal with if we suspect we might die, and the fear of pain that might come with it. And the fear of pain that will be created in our loved ones and those that depend on us, if we were gone, etc. All those things are real issues we must face and deal with, but death itself, if not for all those other complications, is not the issue in itself. In short, we don’t need to be here, and if we were gone from the universe, it wouldn’t make any difference to anyone (all of us that would care, would not be here to care).

                  Likewise, death of the entire human race is not an issue for the same reason. If aliens showed up and wiped out the Earth in an instant, it would not be a moral problem for the human race – since we all died at once, with no warning, and no fear of it happening, and no one having to deal with the pain of the loss.

                  It would be an issue for the aliens, but that would be their problem, not ours. :)

                  Now, this is not to say that people put a high priority on living, and preventing death. Most do. But mostly, I think that’s just a failure of them to understand what they are. None the less, if they feel that way (failure or not) the idea of killing the human race will cause them fear and pain – and that is something we are all morally obligated to reduce – their fear.

                  • MaineArtists Curt Welch December 8, 2011 on 6:45 am

                    “Yes, far FAR worse than killing everyone by eliminating the habitability of the planet would be subjecting everyone on the planet to continuous torture for the rest of time without letting anyone die.”

                    You’re a bit on the outside of the reality-box when you assert somehow it might be possible for people to be kept alive -forever- for this hypothetical torture.

                    Reality is complex enough, infinitely complex in fact, so much so, we do not have to consider anything that does not and probably could not exist by our human experience.

                    The clueless Schopenhauer thought life was like that right out of the starting blocks, endless, -and even- meaningless torture, Curt. Schopenhauer is famous for saying, Life would be better not lived. LoL!

                    Just the same though, it seems an unlikely event that everyone would feel equally tortured to some dire extent that they might all prefer death to life -at the same time-.

                    Still, since morality is not just a personal idea, and because it is also species-specific,* who might you imagine could inflict this torture, other than some immoral others?

                    So, then you are in essence arguing against some people dominating and subduing others, at the expense of those others who would experience this endless torture? You are arguing against both human history and human nature -if this is the case.

                    So, where might your “immoral” torture come from, were it to be equally applied to every human on the planet at the same time?

                    I think you have found something worse than death, but not worse -in a moral sense- than for some human or group of humans to completely close -the door of life- to all humanity.

                    My point is, I think you are merely describing a situation where the habitability of the planet is so harmed, it would seem like torture. And this is in fact what I have described as the most heinous moral wrong, -closing the door- (if incompletely) to humanity through torture -making humanity wish the door were closed -because it is ONLY torture to be alive.

                    We can make better progress if you will consider your own answers before posting them. The contorted juggling required of human logic that is due to merely contentious interrogatories slows arriving at any conclusions.

                    *It is clearly not an immoral act for a Bengal Tiger (on the part of the tiger) to eat some poor Indian Mahatma. He is just getting a meal.

                    Again, either assent to my assertion as a starting point for our logical discussion, or explain how this might be more immoral, or provide another example -if you can- of something more immoral than what I have described.

                    My assertion is again, the most immoral act possible would be to do something that might close -the door of life- to all humanity coming in the future.

                    Don Robertson

                    • Khannea Suntzu MaineArtists December 8, 2011 on 8:57 am

                      I think nobody reasonable, nor someone alleged to be unreasonable wants to ‘close the door to any life’. Unless they are republicans, about who I have my doubts, but that’s another issue altogether.

                      Where do you come from asking me whether or not I condone intentional existential threats? Seriously, I do not. I am for seeing a world with varying (but not exclusive) gradations of perpetuity, prosperity, creativity, diversity, truth, passion and beauty.

                      And yes, I am personally fairly sure that (*barring mayor or frequent mass-killings of people*) the first person is allready born, that (in some form) will be over a thousand years old.

                      In some form meaning – in a thousand years something (which will probably not be human) will exist that ‘clearly recalls’ what this human now is. Perpetuity, with no loss to the essential personhood. Created with advances in technology we see emerge right now in the 21st century.

                      I actually hope you and me will be those people, so we both get to be intensely smug for centuries and centuries.

                      The ideal goal is ‘rational freedom’. Simply put, a freedom to be and create and exist that does not (implicitly or explictly) impinge on other people’s similar rights. OF COURSE common decency is a requirement in this, and that is what Martin Ford’s book is about.

                      We should not condone a world where minorities of greater power outcompete and marginalize others. In the broadest sense of the wor(l)d – the US should not predate millions of Congonese in to death (as they do) or Congonese themselves should not predate the last remaining wild Gorilla’s into extinction. Both are equally unacceptable. And neither should make existence a living hell.

                      I fear you simply do not understand the basic premises and assumptions entertained at this website. May I invite you to have a detailed look here, if you can spare the time :

                      http://www.superhappiness.com/

                      Maybe Anders will do as well:

                      http://www.aleph.se/Trans/Individual/Self/index.html

                      http://www.maxmore.com/becoming.htm

                      :)

                    • Curt Welch MaineArtists December 8, 2011 on 10:36 am

                      “Again, either assent to my assertion as a starting point for our logical discussion, or explain how this might be more immoral, or provide another example -if you can- of something more immoral than what I have described.”

                      “My assertion is again, the most immoral act possible would be to do something that might close -the door of life- to all humanity coming in the future.”

                      Well, this is a very odd forum to have a debate on morality, but if you want to go there…

                      So to start, no I will not agree to your moral beliefs. They do not seem to align with mine since you believe the above statement is some sort of axiomatic moral truth. I do not.

                      Morals and ethics are guesses people make as to what sorts of behavior are likely to lead to better future. To debate whether one set of actions is better or worse than another we must pick a frame of reference – a standard for the measure of “goodness”.

                      There are many we can pick from. None are “correct”.

                      Humans, and most animals are reinforcement learning machines. Our frame of reference for “goodness” is ultimately in private internal reward signal in our brain. It’s what makes us do things to prevent pain and hunger. But it also creates a very complex estimation of everything that is “good” and “bad” in the world based on experience. But again, all grounded back to that internal measure of “goodness”.

                      All our learned behavior is judged, and evaluated, against that internal measure of reward. Humans (and animals) act so as to maximize that internal reward signal. But we act to maximize our expected long term reweds, not just our current short term rewards.

                      Humans have great power to help each other, but also to hurt each other. The net result, is that even though we are individually motivated, we have learned the value of working together.

                      One of the ways we work together, is to debate morals and ethics – to try an understand what behavior we should all follow, to make life better for everyone.

                      “Talking about” the destruction of the earth, is a painful thing to most people – that is, talking about it if they believe it’s a possibility vs just silly talk. Very few people will agree to the idea that the destruction of the earth would be a “good” thing.

                      But it is NOT a moral imperative. Life is not a moral imperative. We are just machines that, for as long as we ARE alive, LIKE to act in ways that we believe will make our future reward signal higher. Our only moral imperative, is hard wired into us, and that’s to ACT TODAY in ways that we believe will maximize our future reward signal, judged against our past experience.

                      It would be morally against that imperative, for me, to agree TODAY to allowing the earth to be destroyed, if I had no where else to live, AND if I expected such destruction to cause increased pain while I was alive. But my moral imperative ends with the life expectancy of my life. Which raises an interesting question. If when the earth dies, I die instantly with it, without any pain, then such an act would not be strictly against my moral imperative – what I am built to do.

                      Now, there’s another measure of “good” beyond our hard wired internal measure of good which controls our actions. There is the measure of good that drives the process of evolution. And that’s life and death.

                      You seem to be implying that you believe human death is the ultimate measure of “good” and the destruction of of human habitat, leading to the death of all humans, would be the ultimate “bad”.

                      That’s a common view, but one I don’t agree with.

                      That’s because my actions, are not controlled by the successes and failures of evolution. My purpose in life is NOT to help evolution do it’s job. That’s not my job in life. My job in life, is to slave endlessly trying to maximize my own internal reward signal. That’s what controls my actions, and to work to any cross purpose, would only be failing to do my own job. It is not my job to keep you alive, or to keep anyone else alive. It’s my job, to make myself happy. Helping to keep others alive, is a very good way to achieve my own goal, as long as I’m alive as well. But if I can’t life, or I can’t maximize my own happiness, then there is no value in me helping to keep others alive.

                      Now, lots of memes evolve in society, because they help the society survive. And if we all follow those means, the odds of the society surviving increases. But we as selfish autonomous machines, can choose to rationally ignore the memes. And many do.

                      Your statement is not rationally logical for us to follow as individuals. But it is a standard type of meme that evolves in society for the obvious reason if more people follow it, the society has a higher probability of surviving, and the meme has a higher probability of making it into the future.

                      But no, I will now now bow down to some silly meme of your’s that clearly is not rationally logical for me to follow in order for me to do the job I was built to do – seek personal happiness.

                      You wrote:

                      “We can make better progress if you will consider your own answers before posting them.”

                      We can make better progress, if YOU tell me where YOU are trying to go, instead of wasting time on philosophical debates about morality where you try to convince me that your personal ethical beliefs are obviously rationality correct for ME when they obviously (to me) are not.

                      What is the point of your original post? Why do you think scientific progress is going to lead to the destruction of the Earth? Is that the point you are trying to make? Or what?

  • MaineArtists December 8, 2011 on 7:31 pm

    Curt-

    I am back up at the top because your post had no “reply” button. I am not ignoring Khannea. I just have not seen anything worth my commenting upon in her posts.

    “So to start, no I will not agree to your moral beliefs. They do not seem to align with mine since you believe the above statement is some sort of axiomatic moral truth. I do not.”

    Fine. You might be jumping to conclusions though. I am not talking about morality, so much as I am talking about a logical discussion.

    To demonstrate how you might be able to disprove my moral axiom, provide some circumstance -which would allow you to feel morally comfortable stepping over the line of my moral axiom, which is -again-

    The moral imperative of life is to live a life that detracts not at all from the lives available to those who will follow us into this world.

    Keep in mind, the exercise is NOT about morality, as you have suggested. It is about logic, a NON-buckshot-blast-approach to logic -where we are forced to begin in one place and proceed from there without violating previously accepted statements of truth.

    It is my general assertion -this secular moral axiom is a viable starting point in any logical discourse. I am going to further assert, because this statement is categorically true, it is necessary to check any logical discourse in every-other-step of it, against this secular moral axiom. It simply is not logical to violate known categorically true statements.

    This of course will be very upsetting to those who are not used to rigid logical thinking -and- who have grown up with the buckshot approach to logic substantiating all their personal -belief systems-. I call those belief systems -superstitions- because they are not rigid enough to provide any chance at a correct answer in our infinitely complex reality.

    As I have already stated, for every possible truth, there are an infinite number of untruths that correlate to the truth we are seeking, and supposing we can arrive at with some ease. It simply is not so easy.

    To lead you to where I am headed, if you do not want to assent to my assertion about my categorically true moral axiom, then you can also approach the problem of defeating my notion of what is logical by providing me another categorically true statement about anything that might allow us to have a logical discussion.

    For instance, -you might say- 1+1=2 To which I would say, this is neither possible in our infinitely complex reality, nor is it categorically true. This is only true in our heads, not in the real world outside our heads. And there are plenty of instances where 1+1 does not equal 2. So then, it is not a categorically true statement in any event. 1+1=2 is merely a convenient predictive approximation of things in the real world made of an infinitely complex reality where no two things are so completely alike, that by saying about them that 1+1=2 -we might have said something that defines these two different items in the infinitely complex reality where they exist. (These added-items can be separated in many ways, including but not limited to time and distance.)

    You have already demonstrated you know what “categorically” means. So, mull the second question over, the question about some other categorically true statement, as you try and envision a circumstance when it would NOT be immoral to detract from the possibility of life in the future.

    Don Robertson

    • Curt Welch MaineArtists December 9, 2011 on 8:51 am

      “The moral imperative of life is to live a life that detracts not at all from the lives available to those who will follow us into this world.”

      Ok, when you first wrote this, I really had no clue what you meant. I asked you to explain, and you did not. You still have not, but you have written enough know that I believe I can GUESS what you are trying to say.

      I thought for example that “follow us into this world” might have been a metaphorical reference to “follow us in this path of behavior”.

      But I now believe you are just saying, “we must not make life worse for future generations”.

      If that is the sort of concept you you are after, no, I can not agree with that as a moral imperative.

      I’m sorry, but I just do not have any requirment to do that.

      I’ll repat my psotion, since I’ve told it to you 3 times and you should now be able to understand my position without having to keep asking me.

      Humans are reinforcement learning machines. We are just mechanical meat machines, created by the process of evolution, that are hard-wired to act in ways that maximize a silly little reward signal in our brain. We are machines that are built to take care of ourselves. END OF STORY. We are not built for the purpose of making lives better for future generations. We have no requirement for doing that. That is not our purpose.

      It does, however, happen to be, for complex reasons, what lots of people do choose to do.

      Now, you said “purpose of life” not “purpose of humans”. My comment above is only about humans. Most life forms do not have reinforcement trained behavior controllers as we humans do.

      But this raises a problem with the formulation of your position. Humans have to make decisions about how to act in the future. Most life forms do not. They are hard wired to act as they act and do no t have the ability to make decisions about how they will act in the future. They just act according to how they are hard wired to act.
      As such, they have no question of “moral imperative” in any sense. As a rock does not. So though you frame the position as if it were a reference to how all life must decide to act, it’s invalid to do so because most life doesn’t have such a decision to face. Your position is just logically invalid to start with because of this, before we debate it’s truth.

      But lets move past all that, and on to your last formulation of the isssue:

      “… try and envision a circumstance when it would NOT be immoral to detract from the possibility of life in the future.”

      Again, you are asking me a question of morality. When we ask that, we must also specify the frame of reference. Morality is not universal. It’s specific to some defined goal. Which goal are you assuming in your question? You did not specify.

      Humans have a hard wired goal to maximize an internal reward signal. From this goal, the prevention of future life is 100% possible and “moral”. And AI “life form” could easily decide to kill off all the humans and prevent those lives which would otherwise have “followed it”.

      But maybe you only meant “moral for a life form to prevent it’s own species from living in the future”. Again, since human moral decisions are not about life, but are instead, about maximizing a reward signal, it’s easy to create a scenario where a human with the help of advanced technology, could decide to just wipe out the rest of man-kind and not allow the race to continue on.

      Life in general has no requirements for the future. Life just is what it is. However, the life forms that TEND to help future generations survive, are the life forms that are more likely to populate the future. And because is this simple statistical effect, we can expect to find the word populated with life forms that DO support future generations.

      But they have no moral requirement to act that way. A life form that acts to prevent future life, is just as valid a life form, as one which acts to preserve the future of it’s species. The first type just don’t tend to be the ones you run into very often for simple statistical reasons.

      Clearly Don, you are a philosopher. I don’t tend to relate well with philosophizers. Not because, as you are trying to suggest, I’m untrained in logic and reason. But instead, it’s because I’m a physicalist who believes all debates of truth must be grounded in the facts of our physical reality. If you can’t translate your axioms of truth BACK to axioms of physical truths (sensory grounding), you have no argument.

      So to connect with me, you will need to translate your axiom of the moral imperative of life, back to physics. Can you do that for me?

      If you can not, then I don’t believe we are in fact starting with anything close to an axiomatic truth. We are instead, just starting with a personal belief of yours – one I don’t believe in (as far as I can tell so far – but I’m not 100% sure I understand what you believe your axiom is saying).

      BTW, just to add more concepts to the mix, I don’t believe absolute truth exists. It’s a myth created by philosophers who spend too much time playing with words, and too little time using their hands. The universe as we are able to understand it is probabilistic at the core, and not absolute. Knowledge is probabilistic at the core in this universe, and not absolute or discrete. As such, we can never know if something is true. We can only guess at how close to true we believe it to be. many things in life, are so close to true, that we act AS IF they were absolute truths, even though they can not be absolute truths. They are simply close enough, that we ignore the fact they are not absolutes.

      The most fundamental, of the truths, is “I exist” (or the slight variation of the idea – “stuff exists”). But even that, can not be known to be an absolute truth. It’s just the best we have to start with.

      Could we stop debating philosophy, and just get on to the topic of how technological growth will change the economy and society in the near future? What do you think about that?

      • MaineArtists Curt Welch December 11, 2011 on 6:09 pm

        Curt-

        You’ve asked, can we…

        “[...] stop debating philosophy, and just get on to the topic of how technological growth will change the economy and society in the near future? What do you think about that?”

        Well, yes -certainly. It is an important question as I see it. Though I am not sure we can affect anything worthwhile -on your terms- by addressing the question. Let me explain why.

        You say-

        “Humans are reinforcement learning machines. We are just mechanical meat machines, created by the process of evolution, that are hard-wired to act in ways that maximize a silly little reward signal in our brain.”

        Your description of our reality may be true. It is called, determinism, or scientific determinism. It has held a long sway among many philosophers of lesser renown.

        I do not believe it.

        If your description is true, then we have no -free will-. We are merely, more sentient, more scientifically inclined beings, not unlike bees or ants, and pretty-much hardwired, with fate already long-ago pre-determined for all of us -and humanity too.

        With enough information and enough computing power we could predict the future -completely- is the logical outcome of such thought. This is rubbish, and not just rubbish due to the chaos of our infinitely complex reality.

        The point of our conversation about -how technological growth will change the economy and society in the near future- would yield no more result under scientific determinist thinking -neither more nor less- than a conversation about which direction the best flowers for collecting pollen with which to make honey -might be, -or- where there might be enough leaf-litter that might be worthwhile dragging down an ant hole to grow edible-fungus upon.

        If there is no way to break out of the course of mankind, if the future falls like dominoes, predetermined by fate, with no way to shape the conditions of the future world other than to continue harvesting technology’s very limited fruits while massaging our pleasure-sensors (as apparently you believe humanity has been pre-determined to do) —>>until someone throws the wrong switch, leaving everyone gasping for their last breath, or instantly incinerated by a man-made Big Bang …

        Well then, if that’s the way it is -we do not have free will.

        Why would anyone raise a hand and continue working toward “progress” then? And what is the point of the continued discussion about -how technological growth will change the economy and society in the near future-?

        It’s hardly interesting then, is it?

        Without free will, we are merely playing our part according to a script written long ago, that leads to the eventual demise of humanity -on this darkened path, -are we not?

        Clearly technological human societies do not have the limitation-constraints that bees and ants have. We are tickling and thrashing this infinitely complex reality to the point where, someone is going to do something more stupid than Fukushima or the Deepwater Horizon spill and cause the ultimate end of humanity. This must be a given assumption in your professed reality.

        It’s not logical to do it, if it is a reality. But that seems to be unavoidable in your reality.

        If there is no free will and this is still logical, then what power is there working in this infinitely complex reality that would prevent that eventual outcome?

        Human beings have no possibility of completely comprehending this infinitely complex reality. We are not gods.

        As the colloquial expression says, -shit happens-. And we have developed some stunningly dangerous new technologies in the last hundred years, and even more -in the last twenty or thirty…

        There has never been any technological invention made that was not misused by the misguided. Nor one that has not broken down at some point, yielding problematic results…

        You seem to be saying there are no universal moral rules of conduct. We are just biological machines, socially attached to one another, right?

        I find it difficult to believe that were an anti-technology candidate elected President, someone who pledged to close all the universities, and shutter every physics lab, that you would feel it would be -okay- to assassinate such a president, or maybe just a president who cut off funding for some crucial project you saw as technologically necessary or pre-determined?

        Or maybe you would be -okay- with that?

        And if you thought, by your beliefs and conceptions of reality, that it was okay to commit such an otherwise apparently heinous act, what about everyone else? Should they feel the same freedom to act on their impulses -given their experience and systems of belief?

        Let me explain something about “logic and reason”, since you profess a mere layman’s knowledge of same.

        These are crucial questions, logic and reason. They have not been resolved in any positive sense -yet- by philosophy. They will not be soon, is my instinct, or at least until we come to a new knowledge set that -is- based on logic and reason.

        The buckshot approach to -logic and reason- is laughable. It is political, and -not scientific in any sense.

        Science is based on pragmatism.

        But the crucial -logical and reasoning- question about pragmatism is, who has the moral right to keep pounding away on reality until it all blows up in everyone’s face?

        I am a firm believer in free will. I am also a firm believer that we can make progress.

        Philosophic progress is much slower in coming than scientific progress, Curt.

        But it is much more surely progress -too.

        Your question, -how technological growth will change the economy and society in the near future- is essentially a question that asks us to predict the future.

        I am going to suggest -to answer this question for yourself- you start reading very dated textbooks about physics -with which you are obviously already well-studied.

        There, in these old texts -you will come to some understanding about the reckless approbation of those who predict the future, scientific or otherwise.

        And even when someone does accurately predict the future, due to human nature, they are most often ignored. Sometimes they are burned at the stake.

        I should leave you with a question to keep you engaged. But you have left me at a loss for words, by your denial that morality is anything more than an unimportant relative concept.

        Do you really believe someone might have enough knowledge to make a truth-positive decision to annihilate the human race -for good reason?

        Perhaps when you get to be an old man -as am I- if you get to be an old man, you will then have a better temperament, one more suited to addressing your own sentiments about what is moral, and what is not.

        My youth was far too wonderful, too wonderful for me not to feel an obligation to leave -as much- for those coming in the future.

        The link below is to my latest painting. It is 24×36 on the canvas, and 28×40 including the frame. I have put it up for sale with a price of $45,000 I mention that, so you don’t think I am advertising it here. LoL!

        I just learned the name of the man in the painting. I do not know the name of the two Chocolate Poodles.

        I did not paint this painting for the man, nor for anyone in particular. I painted this painting -for the future.

        http://www.maineartists.us/MaineCities-Towns/Limestone.MaineArtists.US/Artists/DonRobertson/two-dogs-normal.JPG

        My very best to you and Khannea-

        Don Robertson

        • Technate Information MaineArtists December 11, 2011 on 7:48 pm

          “The criticism of metaphysicians, of philosophers, of mystics, are categorically absurd; are invalidated at their very source by so originating. And bear in mind that it does not become you as scientists to discuss questions of ultimate truth, nor ultimate reality, nor anything else ultimate. Discuss them as novelists or theologians if you like, but not as scientists.” – Technocracy Study Course

          http://www.archive.org/details/TechnocracyStudyCourseUnabridged

          “Supernaturalism of Man. At about this same time new
          seeds of heresy were being sown by investigations in the fields of
          chemistry and medicine. The chemists were discovering that all
          matter on the face of the earth is composed of a small number of
          elementary substances which they called the chemical elements.
          With this knowledge came the ability to analyze chemically various
          substances and to determine of what elements they were composed.
          As a consequence it was soon discovered that -the human
          body, instead of being something mysterious or supernatural,
          was composed of identically the same chemical elements as are
          found in air, water, rocks, and other common substances. In
          addition to all this, the German physician, Robert Mayer, discovered
          that the energy released inside the body by food eaten
          is the same amount as would be obtained were the same amount of
          food burned outside the body.” – Technocracy Study Course

          http://www.archive.org/details/TechnocracyStudyCourseUnabridged

          Technocracy had its inception in the winter of 1918-1919 when a number of people from the war agencies and other Government agencies formed an organization which became known as the Technical Alliance Energy Survey of North America. Out of the survey, and under the guiding genius of Howard Scott, there emerged a completely new way of looking at life and human affairs.

          http://www.technocracy.org/archives/404-brief-50

        • Khannea Suntzu MaineArtists December 11, 2011 on 7:55 pm

          “We are tickling and thrashing this infinitely complex reality to the point where, someone is going to do something more stupid than Fukushima or the Deepwater Horizon spill and cause the ultimate end of humanity.”

          This is correct, and now we are getting at the issue here.

          Yes, humanity is ending. It is over, statistically guaranteed this century. Yes I agree, and have actually always agreed. Humanity is mostly stupid apes.

          Now are there solutions?

          1. get off this damn ball of dirt and spread the species as to hedge our bets. As quickly as possible.

          2. turn the special neurology in something both smarter as well as more compassionate as quickly as possible.

          3. create so much abundance everyone can have her cake and cause as minimum trouble as humanly possible for as long as possible. Or (what the SIAI favors)

          4. Create a SantaLarity – i.e. a rock solid samaritan AI, and let it decide. Good luck with that.

          Is there much other than that? No we do not have guarantees, other than create a global tyranny. (Which is more or less precisely what seems to be happening this very moment in history, actually. )

          But hey sorry but that may be just how it is. But don’t worry, *you* already had most your life and you got a better deal than kings in the last century and before.

          It is what it is.

        • Curt Welch MaineArtists December 11, 2011 on 9:38 pm