It’s No Myth: Robots and Artificial Intelligence Will Erase Jobs in Nearly Every Industry

52,163 72 Loading

With the unemployment rate falling to 5.3 percent, the lowest in seven years, policy makers are heaving a sigh of relief. Indeed, with the technology boom in progress, there is a lot to be optimistic about. Manufacturing will be returning to U.S. shores with robots doing the job of Chinese workers; American carmakers will be mass-producing self-driving electric vehicles; technology companies will develop medical devices that greatly improve health and longevity; we will have unlimited clean energy and 3D print our daily needs. The cost of all of these things will plummet and make it possible to provide for the basic needs of every human being.

I am talking about technology advances that are happening now, which will bear fruit in the 2020s.

But policy makers will have a big new problem to deal with: the disappearance of human jobs. Not only will there be fewer jobs for people doing manual work, the jobs of knowledge workers will also be replaced by computers. Almost every industry and profession will be impacted and this will create a new set of social problems — because most people can’t adapt to such dramatic change.

If we can develop the economic structures necessary to distribute the prosperity we are creating, most people will no longer have to work to sustain themselves. They will be free to pursue other creative endeavors. The problem, however, is that without jobs, they will not have the dignity, social engagement, and sense of fulfillment that comes from work. The life, liberty and pursuit of happiness that the constitution entitles us to won’t be through labor, it will have to be through other means.

It is imperative that we understand the changes that are happening and find ways to cushion the impacts.

The technology elite who are leading this revolution will reassure you that there is nothing to worry about because we will create new jobs just as we did in previous centuries when the economy transitioned from agrarian to industrial to knowledge-based. Tech mogul Marc Andreessen has called the notion of a jobless future a “Luddite fallacy,” referring to past fears that machines would take human jobs away. Those fears turned out to be unfounded because we created newer and better jobs and were much better off.

True, we are living better lives. But what is missing from these arguments is the timeframe over which the transitions occurred. The industrial revolution unfolded over centuries. Today’s technology revolutions are happening within years. We will surely create a few intellectually-challenging jobs, but we won’t be able to retrain the workers who lose today’s jobs. They will experience the same unemployment and despair that their forefathers did. It is they who we need to worry about.

The first large wave of unemployment will be caused by self-driving cars. These will provide tremendous benefit by eliminating traffic accidents and congestion, making commuting time more productive, and reducing energy usage. But they will eliminate the jobs of millions of taxi and truck drivers and delivery people. Fully-automated robotic cars are no longer in the realm of science fiction; you can see Google’s cars on the streets of Mountain View, Calif. There are also self-driving trucks on our highways and self-driving tractors on farms. Uber just hired away dozens of engineers from Carnegie Mellon University to build its own robotic cars. It will surely start replacing its human drivers as soon as its technology is ready — later in this decade. As Uber CEO Travis Kalanick reportedly said in an interview, “The reason Uber could be expensive is you’re paying for the other dude in the car. When there is no other dude in the car, the cost of taking an Uber anywhere is cheaper. Even on a road trip.”

The dude in the driver’s seat will go away.

Manufacturing will be the next industry to be transformed. Robots have, for many years, been able to perform surgery, milk cows, do military reconnaissance and combat, and assemble goods. But they weren’t dexterous enough to do the type of work that humans do in installing circuit boards. The latest generation of industrial robots by ABB of Switzerland and Rethink Robotics of Boston can do this however. ABB’s robot, Yumi, can even thread a needle. It costs only $40,000.

China, fearing the demise of its industry, is setting up fully-automated robotic factories in the hope that by becoming more price-competitive, it can continue to be the manufacturing capital of the world. But its advantage only holds up as long as the supply chains are in China and shipping raw materials and finished goods over the oceans remains cost-effective. Don’t forget that our robots are as productive as theirs are; they too don’t join labor unions (yet) and will work around the clock without complaining. Supply chains will surely shift and the trickle of returning manufacturing will become a flood.

But there will be few jobs for humans once the new, local factories are built.

With advances in artificial intelligence, any job that requires the analysis of information can be done better by computers. This includes the jobs of physicians, lawyers, accountants, and stock brokers. We will still need some humans to interact with the ones who prefer human contact, but the grunt work will disappear. The machines will need very few humans to help them.

This jobless future will surely create social problems — but it may be an opportunity for humanity to uplift itself. Why do we need to work 40, 50, or 60 hours a week, after all? Just as we were better off leaving the long and hard agrarian and factory jobs behind, we may be better off without the mindless work at the office. What if we could be working 10 or 15 hours per week from anywhere we want and have the remaining time for leisure, social work, or attainment of knowledge?

Yes, there will be a booming tourism and recreation industry and new jobs will be created in these — for some people.

There are as many things to be excited about as to fear. If we are smart enough to develop technologies that solve the problems of disease, hunger, energy, and education, we can — and surely will — develop solutions to our social problems. But we need to start by understanding where we are headed and prepare for the changes. We need to get beyond the claims of a Luddite fallacy — to a discussion about the new future.

Vivek-Wadhwa-41

Vivek Wadhwa is a fellow at Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, director of research at Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke, and distinguished fellow at Singularity University.

His past appointments include Harvard Law School, University of California Berkeley, and Emory University. Follow him on Twitter @wadhwa.

Image Credit: Tupungato/Shutterstock.com

Vivek Wadhwa

Vivek Wadhwa is a fellow at Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, director of research at Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke, and distinguished fellow at Singularity University.

His past appointments include Harvard Law School, University of California Berkeley, and Emory University. Follow him on Twitter @wadhwa.

Discussion — 72 Responses

  • Horst G Ludwig July 7, 2015 on 10:28 am

    Working on terms of fear is as old as political manipulation, so why start start with that even in big fat capital letters. Labor places displacement is a good thing, indeed it is the best thing if we wouldnt confuse labour with monetarian survival all the time! This is unbelieveable coming out of so called smart people why I wouldnt be surprised on the fox news level.
    Anybody still believing in christmas trees and that economical prosperity is based on hard working low salary human robot from China or next from the US falling behind Mexico?
    There are billions of new ocupational jobs waiting and most of them in the urge of assistance, supprt and creativity let down for the sake of caveman-industrial-money making machines.
    Lets change our basic financial-economic comic book once for all and this type of discussion even would not happen! And if we “smart” people allow this to happen because we are made now jealeouse on robots like before on anybody and on everything we do not even deserve keep breathing!

    • Artist3d Horst G Ludwig August 14, 2015 on 10:10 am

      In many ways I agree that the the fear over mechanization is unwarranted since Henry Ford first introduced assembly line production making cars affordable for everyone. There is however a not so subtle “disappearing dollar” in communities that suffer from too much mechanization as exemplified by towns like Chemainus BC. There, they invited the lumber industry in only to find the promised jobs replaced by mechanization later in the early 80s.

      True enough that the genius of one of the town’s visionaries, Karl Schutz, did revitalize the town’s economy through a dedicated mural program featuring the town’s history in lumber but what still bothers me is that mechanization by businesses through robotics still results in ‘disappearing dollars’ by replacing people who contribute to any community’s economy with nothing of significant value.

      Mechanized robots work even more hours than we do, essentially ‘earning’ more money efficiently and yet robots seem to escape the concept of income tax on their earnings. Communities and the country suffer from a lack of these contributions to our system of public roads, schools and other shared infrastructure amenities that we all depend on. Despite their mechanical nature at replacing human hands, we often see communities shrivel away when companies ‘downsize and streamline’ with no thought to the effects on the local economy, housing and tax contributions to municipal budgets etc. Typical a human worker will ‘recycle’ their income back into the community through their spending and through their property taxes and general income taxes… it is simply unfair that the promise of the future through mechanization has not resulted in a flowering of a society supported by its inventiveness and innovation. I believe it comes down to the simple fact that we have not gone the extra mile yet and acknowledged the need to redefine what we mean by ‘work’ in the 21st century. By this I mean micro-payments to all people who contribute value-added content to this shared resource we call the WORLD WIDE WEB. As an example, what is in it for me or anyone here to spend the half hour it has taken me to compose and share my thoughts here? On facebook and elsewhere I will generally say “This comment sponsored by this original song you can purchase off of my website” http://www.isleofwebs.com/paulmarcano/music/picture_in_my_mind.php — but what if the song is not to someone’s taste? I maintain that that does not matter, my work creating the song or this comment still remains value-added’. Artist work all the time, long hours often dying before society recognizes their work. So too people value-adding to the WWW like on this website. Google seems the only one clever enough to benefit from our contributions by indexing us and selling advertising. Good for them!

      Whereas a WWW micro-payment system shared out by an income tax on robots would at least begin a recognition of a fair tax system of contributions from all workers mechanical or not! In my opinion this is why the mysterious vision of a brighter future envisioned in sci-fi novels and even Star Trek has not yet come to fruition. Redefine the future of what work is with an appropriate micro-payment system and unemployment will become a thing of the past.

  • Wakefield July 7, 2015 on 12:08 pm

    What I’m most interested in is the chaos that would/will ensue as we march towards this amazing world you speak of.

    As more and more of us lose employment we cease to make money – as we cease to make money we become a “burden” on the system as it would take a long while for everyone to reach unemployment. As more cease to make money and become a burden, the problem of taxation comes into play. If there is less tax revenue social safety nets get put in danger.

    You can see how this can snowball…

    What would happen when a major government fails and can no longer pay for things like police and fire protection?

    I think the world where we don’t work and just pursue our personal vision of happiness is very intriguing – but getting there is going to be ugly as “they system” starts to fail more and more.

    • oneness Wakefield July 7, 2015 on 8:55 pm

      This is very old news. I almost brushed you off as very young journalist, but by your pic you appear older. Make money! Is that our goal?

    • Horst G Ludwig Wakefield July 7, 2015 on 11:30 pm

      frind, dont reamin on the fear level and it gets really really easy rather than a chaos

  • Quantium July 7, 2015 on 12:33 pm

    What is described here is possible. It happens already when someone inherits money, wins a prize, or indeed gets a lucky break. A lucky break could, for example, be working in a successful firm that offers either stock options or enough information to predict the future sufficiently in front of the pack to make money on the stock markets, eg by investing in Intel in the early 1980s. Many people who have trained in physics or mathematics get offered employment in the financial markets and can make serious money by the time they are in their early 30s.

    Such people can go on with the grind of commuting to a regular job, but some can chose to simply find a nice place to live and do their own thing. They may not be totally unproductive, but work on something of their own choice and at their own pace without the stress that accompanies average employment.

    Of course many people working in research laboratories may go through life without having had the luck of ever getting a significant result. That is the nature of research, and why those that do get significant results don’t get a fortune but have to carry the rest.

    The thing with the future is can the majority of people go through life at a slower pace, yet remain productive and fulfilled? People without a purpose in life are usually not happy people. Will stock markets survive the singularity? Will there be an even more profitable way for entrepreneurs to raise capital without collecting a load of hangers on? The “crowd funding” phenomenon looks to be possible competitor without the singularity.

    • Scribblerlarry Quantium July 10, 2015 on 2:14 pm

      Quantium has this almost nailed. One thing that remains to be said is that proper capitalism – i.e. capitalism designed to serve an entire society instead of just the greedy, elite few – is still far and away the best economic system ever invented.

      It needs no repeating by me that we must find an equitable means of separating ‘jobs’ from ‘income’ to some degree. I see no harm in competing for wealth or honours or stars on sidewalks provided such competition takes place after each and every person has a share in the rewards derived from the hard work of our ancestors who wanted to leave us all better off in a better world. I’m going to bet you any amount that 99% of our ancestors would not have opted to leave huge piles of wealth to a few elite people when that wealth was created by our ancestor’s efforts. Would you?

      It is time that we looked upon the wealth created by the efforts of an entire society as belonging to that society instead of looking upon that wealth as personal private property that belongs to he who can manage to amass it. The act of amassing wealth is not a productive act; it is a manipulative act. It adds nothing to the overall wealth of a society except by inflationary means. Such means do not create real wealth, merely larger numbers.

      As a capitalist, I love the idea of private property. I want everyone to have a just share of the wealth of his society. I think that those who create unjust and greedy societies deserve to have the problems that go with such a society – just as we do right now. I also think that justly distributing the overall wealth of our society among all of us based upon the notion that we are the rightful and proper inheritors of the wealth created by our ancestors is nothing more than what is done by the wealthy with regard to their wealth right now. And, make no mistake, every last one of our ancestors have contributed in some way to the total wealth of our society today just as much as anyone who amassed great wealth has done. Just as we will contribute to the wealth of the society of tomorrow through our hard work today.

      So let’s think about this: When anyone dies, let his wealth be put into a common pool. Let that pool grow for 3 years. Then lets use half of it to purchase shares in top earning corporations. We should then divide up those shares among all the children born in that 3 year period of time. (Then we start another 3 year pool). The other half goes to the government in place of taxes.

      Let those shares and the earnings that derive from them accrue to the accounts of those children (your kids and mine) and at age 20 be given to them as their social birthright; a birthright handed down to them from their ancestors. NOT a government “gift” as politicians will surely try to make it seem, but the same birthright as the children of the wealthy who now inherit wealth from their ancestors.

      This needs to be administered by professionals who have nothing at all to do with politicians or government in any way for they will find a way to get their greedy, fat political hands on that wealth as surely as they are lying when their lips are moving.

      This would allow every citizen a lifetime income sufficient for a modest life style. Those who are financially ambitious may, of course, set out to earn more. Others whose ambitions lie in the direction of the arts, or medicine, or whatever, can do that without starvation entering into their lives and never feeling obliged to become rent-a-slave workers at some meaningless (to them) form of employment, so as to survive.

      This, while allowing – indeed while encouraging – capitalistic style financial competition, will put an end to our present “only game in town” attitude towards making money. It will become, as it always really was, just another choice that people have the option to make.
      .

      • Quantium Scribblerlarry July 11, 2015 on 2:30 am

        This redistribution idea seems to suggest that the stock markets of the world contain enough money to make this happen, and also that they can go on growing enough to make this happen. Recall that the crash around March, 2000 was partially a result of stock traders realising stocks to pay capital gains tax on the previous year’s boom in dot com stocks.

        Another difficulty I foresee is that stock markets may not exist indefinitely. After all, successful companies are run by very bright people. Why should they sell stock to the public if there is some way of funding their entrepreneurship that enables them to control more of the results? I seem to recall that Bill Gates would be worth twice as much if he had been able to keep Microsoft private, and therefore be able to fund twice as much activity through his foundation. (Maybe someone can correct this if it is inaccurate.)

        What about Tim Berners_Lee and the world wide web? I think he managed to do quite well from it without copyright, patents and stock holdings.

        I suspect that the very nature of wealth is due for a shakeup in the next half century or so that none of us can possibly predict. It may well be that whatever results will still be subject to some form of distribution that is not as homogenous a many commentators seem to want. After all, in socialist (nationalist and otherwise) and communist countries there was still uneven wealth distribution. It was just different people that held it.

        • Scribblerlarry Quantium July 11, 2015 on 8:06 am

          Q,
          Are you, in a round-about way, suggesting that the world does not contain enough wealth for us all to live reasonably well? Corporate shares under my system would simply be created as the need for them arose if they didn’t already exist, just as stocks are split now to provide more of them when there is a market for them.

          Any privately owned businesses could, if small, be sold off and the money used to purchase shares in corporations with a stock market presence. Larger ones, if not yet ‘public’, could be taken public, again providing shares that will be part of the wealth of the nation that is shared up among its people. Perhaps what this would all look like when in operation is a giant mutual fund that every citizen has shares in but with shares that he can sell off as he wishes.

          I seriously doubt that we can ever devise an economic system that will guarantee perfectly even wealth distribution. But we can manage to provide a relatively even start point for a competitive capitalist system that is based upon wealth distribution which assures a reasonable standard of living for all citizens based upon an income derived from his shares in his society’s income earning businesses no matter if those businesses were operated by humans of AI equipped robots.

          • Quantium Scribblerlarry July 11, 2015 on 9:51 am

            I am expressing a doubt, not certainty.

            If a wealthy person had 7 billion dollars, then simple arithmetic suggests fair shares for all would yield around one dollar per person. But it needs some figures and something more than linear arithmetic to work this out. I think a lot of the figures out there about wealth distribution come from political articles rather than peer reviewed, evidence based, scientific papers.

            Taxing robot enterprises to provide wealth for humans is a possibility, I would have thought. But whether there would ever be enough is entirely another matter.

            • Scribblerlarry Quantium July 11, 2015 on 10:21 am

              Q,
              I may be thinking of this all bass-ackward but instead of looking for figures in the usual manner of such ‘research’, I make the assumption that every person is capable of producing sufficient to meet his needs, in general, and more than that with the use of modern man plus machine production methods.

              It is, perhaps, an error on my part to make any such assumptions yet I know of no way that accurate figures that would allow of an accurate estimate of production of the individual to be averaged on a planetary basis. Indeed it seems to me that our present dog-eat-dog form of greed capitalism had a role to play in developing our industrial based economic success and brought us to our present level of civilization. However, just as we accelerate to ‘get up to speed’ when driving, and then ease up to hold a steady pace, it is now time for us to ask our economic system to “ease up” and hold off on massive growth. We need, of course, to maintain a relatively steady birth rate and I see no way that this can, at present, be done on a world wide basis.

              Yet I see no reason that a highly developed nation, such as those in North America and Europe could not manage this without any difficulty at all. Indeed, I see no form of social/economic structure that can accommodate the advent of AI and its likely repercussions.

          • Lennie Scribblerlarry July 16, 2015 on 2:22 am

            “Are you, in a round-about way, suggesting that the world does not contain enough wealth for us all to live reasonably well?”

            Wealth isn’t some absolute thing, it’s just some made up numbers.

            Wealth is a way to compare, if someone has more than others, they are wealthy.

            It does not matter if we assign the number 1000 or 2,5 or 1 to a loaf of bread.

            So what is the limiting factor ? It’s resources: clean water-, food-, production, building material, etc.

            I think Peter Diamandis isn’t to far off with suggesting that with our ever improving technical abilities we can provide in the basic needs of all humans: energy, clean water and food (and cheap electronics and Internet access). He thinks medicine could also be on that list. I think pills and medical diagnostics are going to improve too. I think the others might arrive first.

            Something like universal basic income for everybody gives everybody enough money to survive and freeing people from slavery or even jobs they don’t like.

            The wealthier western economies could do that, for others it would be harder to transition to that at first.

      • Mike Burke Scribblerlarry July 12, 2015 on 5:02 pm

        To paraphrase R. Buckminster Fuller: You are wealthy to the extent you can organize your resources to make your life better. (The original quote is in “Critical Path” and written in Fuller’s own erudite style.)

        Some how I can’t imagine a future where mankind has no desires or no resources. I suspect that the desires will have more impact worldwide and less local selfishness, but there will always be a certain competitiveness for power, money and status. (According to Anthropologists it is wired into us for survival, and women pick their men with as much of an eye toward these criteria as possible.) Money will not go away entirely because we will always need some way to measure whether a trade is “fair” or not. Therefore, I suspect that there will be some way of earning more “money” (in whatever form) to replace our so-called “jobs.” Of course, my crystal ball is no better than anyone else’s, and may have a hidden crack or two.

        • Scribblerlarry Mike Burke July 12, 2015 on 5:32 pm

          Mike,
          I too cannot imagine a human race that has no desire. Yet I can easily imagine one that has no desires of the sort so common to we North Americans, by which I mean, the desire to have more than we could ever possibly need even thought it be at the expense of other of our fellows. We are well past the time when we can produce all that is necessary and most that are desirable in the way of material goods. The massive increases in our ability to produce ‘things’ when AI is involved can leave no doubt that any need for “competition-for-survival” philosophies has seen their last days on this planet UNLESS we deliberately make sure that distribution is so poor that need and the consequent greed remain our way of life.

          The attempt by socialism/communism to solve the labour vs distribution equation was well expressed in the maxim, “From each according to his ability – to each according to his need.” it is unfortunate that both the USSR and China ignored that part of Marx’s writings where he made it clear that a period of raw capitalism of the worst sort is necessary so as to establish the roots of an industrial society. In trying to jump directly from a peasant society each of them eventually learned the necessity of the greed-capitalist stage.

          The notion that we will emerge from greed capitalism to a socialist society may or may not have value but I won’t hold my breath. I think it would be wise of us to alter our form of capitalism from greed-of-the-individual oriented to good-of-the-society oriented. This doesn’t present any insurmountable obstacles should enough of us set about doing it. Yes; I think we can expect that those who are presently favoured with large amounts of the wealth of our whole society in an unbalanced and inequitable manner, will object to this strenuously. I am convinced that we can work around them and avoid direct confrontation with their minions who will, after all, be our own sons, daughters, and brothers/sisters. You may be sure that the elite have no reservations about conscripting everyone they think necessary to stay in their high positions.

          • genidma Scribblerlarry July 13, 2015 on 1:43 am

            Some questions and some comments:

            – How exactly are we supposed to create industries of the future, which and only which may have the ability to provide for 12 Billion earthly inhabitants? What does this Capitalism focused on the good of the society really means? Is that not Socialism? I am just trying to understand that’s all. If you had used the terms Capitalism with regulations, then perhaps I would not have been so inclined, so as to psychoanalyze what you have mentioned.
            – And so if we spread the wealth out and even if we make use of some advanced AI in order to be able to do it fairly/equitable/withing reason and *without* having a net negative impact on the environment (Completely carbon friendly). Then, even in light of such developments, would that be a world that incentivizes discovery, wonder and how such forces directly and indirectly help in the spreading of technology to the masses?
            – That not all greed is bad. But some greed is pretty bad. Creating bubbles that a small group may profit from, at the expense of hundreds of millions suffering is bad. Greed, when it relates to opening up a new frontier which will help with the expansion of the human consciousness throughout the solar system and potentially the Galaxy (in a future sense) in my opinion, that kind of Greed is super good.
            – That Capitalism incentivizes the creation of new industries and that it is a requirement for capital to exist in large amounts within a portion and a subset of the population. That this small subset of the population must use the riches in order to help open up new frontiers which would then invariably push the construct towards developing technologies and perhaps entire Sciences in order to achieve the state goal. The net benefit being the rise in the standard of livings for all of those within the construct, it not the entirety of the human race.

            • Horst G Ludwig genidma July 13, 2015 on 8:42 am

              yes well this may go on forever here because it shaking our fundament of work, wages, consumption, income, economy, finance and the necessary step into improved societies of higher consciousness. We all can agree that robots are going to erase industrial jobs, dirt jobs, can we. We also can agree that this will be as usual a war asset of the rich countries getting richer by the minute and the other 75% of the globe poorer by the second. Same discussion we do have in the A.I. topic. And as long as everybody does believe that this is good school our preachers of full drunk stock exchange gambling preaching and that there is no better system around we already do see the wave of consequences coming up by learning about human past.
              So is the path of robots already an issue of the priviledged societies, no matter how much we talk. So is robot production and robot exploration already issue to the speculative rich, no matter how much we talk. Same to the feared A.I., same to the priviledge of longlivity.
              It comes in steps of developments anyway. There will be no robot army next tomorrow scaring the shepples but there will be one in 20 years and everybody dump asking “how came?”.
              That is the only problem around. We ourselves!

              And if we are looking at beneficial or motivational brain activities I can promise that there is much more than just money spending for some individual joys to have. How sick people are already is being proven here. That brain chem production giving you ilusion of self importance and satisfaction by having money will do exactly the same if I give you 3.000 exchange units to be spend every month (trade-production-consumption facility) and you keep developing human qualities rather than competing with robots or class mates or empty frasing of honors.
              Indeed we have to care about a quantum step in values systems or everything just keeps developing into the same direction of premature selfdesctruction or at least a world that ugly not worth living in.

              If our selfsustainable background condition is right we might welcome robots, A.I. or even the man from moon, we might be capable much earlier to travel the stars, defending aging and deseases, enhancing our brain power and to dance with the dolphins. Since it is not like this at least redirect everybody his wishes it to be like this, to go for this and to build all together the new environment of humanities prosperity in all senses.

            • Mike Burke genidma July 17, 2015 on 11:58 am

              I have two comments: First, I recommend a book, “Capitalism and Freedom” by Milton Freidman. This book explains clearly, from an anti-socialist view, why the State should not be involved in determining what should and should not be produced for the “good of Society.” Perhaps a major industry in the future will be a new educational initiative (privately run, of course) to bring underperforming humans up to a performance level that enables them to trade skills and knowledge for their needs.

              Secondly, If you look at Society as individual components (people?), it resembles many other complex systems. If I remember correctly, the MIT mobot rules were something like: Do the simple things first, do them flawlessly, only add a new layer of instruction when the first needs a new task, all tasks are handled at the lowest level of complexity. This is looks a lot like the government the Founders of the USA envisioned and is consistent with free enterprise and free society, with the exception that robots do not define their own tasks. Perhaps Society really is an emergent complex system? If such is the case, then maybe future mankind will work its way to the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and beyond.

              • genidma Mike Burke August 4, 2015 on 1:25 am

                I’ll check out that book that you have recommended. (Capitalism and Freedom).

                You have raised some interesting points.

                Yeah, I have been thinking along the themes of complexity/simplicity as well.

                My sense is that, problems and events of a type tend to cluster together in the human construct.

                We may not be able to start at the top, when it comes to the hierarchy of needs. In a world of abundance though, we may. In the interim, systems could be architected in order for the individuals to actuate themselves across the different level/sub-levels in parallel.

              • genidma Mike Burke October 25, 2015 on 8:59 pm

                Whoa!

                “Capitalism and Freedom” by Milton Freidman is a great read.

                I am taking my time going through this book.

                Friedman has thought about what he is suggesting extensively. This is evident in his writing and in the various interviews he has given. Also, it is evident through his other works as he keep citing references to them.

                A lot of ideas that are being re-introduced nowadays, such as ‘the negative income tax’, as well as lot of ideas that most libertarians share. I think, a lot of these ideas can trace their source back to Mr. Friedman.

                Thanks for that recommendation!

  • Tim July 7, 2015 on 12:34 pm

    The economy is currently structured for near-full employment, with emphasis on division of labor and large scaling for efficiency. The educational systems support this. Most political thinking and policy still support this. Politicians are still touting plans for getting everyone back to work. All systems and assumptions are aligned with the target of full employment. Failure to have a job in this environment equates to failure to self-provide, low quality of life, and the need for government assistance. Obviously, a lot of thinking will need to change. The assumptions about the work week, the thinking about economies of scale (bigger may not always be better), and even the social implications of people having more free time (“An idle mind is the Devil’s workshop” my aunt used to say). Also, entrenched interests will try to keep things from changing. So, I am inspired by the idea of a future of leisure enabled by automation, but I agree with the concerns that it will be, at best, a bumpy ride to get there.

  • rationalrevolution July 7, 2015 on 1:04 pm

    I agree with this. Sadly, our politicians and political discourse is far behind the curve. Most politicians, even progressives are still talking about “creating jobs”. We don’t need to create jobs, we need to eliminate jobs, and distribute wealth.

    The key issue is capital ownership, i.e. who owns it.

    See my article here: The Case for a National Individual Investment Program: http://rationalrevolution.net/articles/capital_distribution.htm

    In that article I argue for a system to continuously distribute ownership of stock and bond market assets, and against a “Universal basic Income”, arguing basically that what we need is shared ownership, not simply just shared income.

    • monkeybars3000 rationalrevolution July 7, 2015 on 10:45 pm

      Thanks for your link. It’s an indictment of our current educational system and media climate how Wadhwa and so many commenters failed to identify the key issue at play in the discussion of technological unemployment, ownership. Distributing the means of production by force won’t work; what we need is an opt-in system of crowdsourced equity.

      Through greater efficiency and technologically created abundance, we must undercut & disrupt existing infrastructures, especially in the realms of food, shelter, water, energy, and capital. These must become effectively zero-cost for the next phase of human life to commence.

    • Quantium rationalrevolution July 8, 2015 on 1:13 am

      There is something like this in the UK, but it still requires cash input from the parents.
      https://www.gov.uk/junior-individual-savings-accounts/overview

      This is logical, because if you take the decision to introduce another person then funding him/her seems a relevant responsibility. If such accounts became compulsory in the future, this may even go part of the way to resolve the population issues that would come with an end to death by aging, another outcome of technology advance.

      Of course in a robot age, then wealth generated by stock markets would be wealth generated by robots.

      (Don’t forget that “robot” originally meant a person who works, just as “computer” means a person who does arithmetic. Only recently did these words come to mean machines that do these things.)

  • Carole Baskin July 7, 2015 on 2:15 pm

    It seems to me that if more of the mindless jobs are relegated to robots that it gives all of us more time to think deeply about the important issues and work toward solving them. This new era can’t come quickly enough for me. As for those being displaced by robots, we are a planet of survivors and will find ways to make a living and make a difference if given the opportunity.

  • Doug New July 7, 2015 on 3:07 pm

    Our challenge is to create new ways to contribute. We are entering the conceptual age, the age of the dreamer.

    Dream, communicate, engage. We are all needed to give meaning to the machine for it sets us free…

  • Leif HerrGesell July 7, 2015 on 3:20 pm

    The issues you mention are all very valid but what we face is so much more complex. At the same time that we are trying to achieve the singularity we will already be/are facing an avalanche of robotics, world conflict for natural resources, rising nationalism, changing climate and population growth. Any two or three of these issues is enough to bring on major global conflict. Some would argue we are already in major conflict sans the massive casualties.

    I agree with the previous comment regarding the quality of existence without purpose- life requires struggle- we are human. As the future bears down and we lose jobs we will not be capable of shifting entire national economies to some sort of global welfare system that mollifies the unwashed like myself. As jobs dry up economies will increasingly come under pressure to ration resources in order to replace free economy forces.

    We will inevitably resort to violence. Hunger will and does make man do things he would never consider with a full belly-

    I truly believe a minority will accrue the benefits and the majority will suffer as we struggle against the onslaught of technology and this will happen before the Singularity. . .

  • LarryKilham July 7, 2015 on 3:26 pm

    Great job Vivek!

  • Ultrawoman July 7, 2015 on 3:48 pm

    Great article!!!

  • Ariaya Haile July 7, 2015 on 4:05 pm

    Completely agree….my one concern is making sure human beings are a part of the transition vs. the incumbent being replaced…actually recently wrote about Google/Facebook in this arena – http://www.ariayahaile.com/ariayahaileblog/2015/7/6/google-and-facebook-spearheading-the-singularity

  • wren July 7, 2015 on 5:47 pm

    We were discussing this very problem during a breakout session at one of the Foresight Senior meetings (I can’t remember the year, sorry) mostly it centered around the concerns (dread) that all of us had during the transition time from the current economy manufacturing style to the ‘drexlerian’ type ie APM as it is now known. Our conclusions were that the following tech advances would help the ‘ordinary’ person make this transition. You see I worked with a lot of people who aren’t really into the cutting edge of tech, what would make it easier for them?

    1) establish a UL type library for ensuring that the downloaded basic material ARE the materials that the software states it to be. Example: when a design for a cotton shirt is downloaded from the net, the material IS cotton, not some weird material that will turn transparent in sunlight (script kids, anyone?). To have a establish ‘reassurance’ that this is what it supposed to be would go a long way to help people who just want shoes/shirts for their kids. The small things manufactured will be very important, they are the ones that we depend upon the most in everyday life.
    2) establish a means to ‘recycle’ items at home ie breakdown your kids old outgrown clothes to create new larger items. I know that most techies (maybe) won’t consider this very important, but the ability to change what people already have gives control to each person. Life during this transition will be very ‘uncontrolled’ being able to effect change even in a small way will be very important. The other reason to create a recycle software program from the earliest stages is very much environmental, what is going to happen is going to happen if breaking down an item isn’t as easy as making it? A million and one cupie dolls anyone?

    Ah well, this ‘transition time’ problem is one that I’ve been worried about along time, rambling on about possiblities truly helps me.
    Thanks for listening,
    Wren

  • Michael Metcalf July 7, 2015 on 7:23 pm

    The idea of “unlimited clean energy” is pretty ludicrous, energy will always cost money and so will never be “unlimited”, and the supply chain labor cost reductions may make energy cheaper, most of the cost of energy isn’t labor anyway. Certainly we aren’t anywhere near having mostly clean energy (more than 50% from renewable and nuclear assuming we count nuclear as clean) by 2020 or even 2030, and likely we will not have 100% clean energy for 50 or 100 years at least, if ever.

    I also doubt the timeline of 2020 for massive job replacement by robots either. We are unlikely to have full regulatory approval of autonomous cars by 2020, and once we do it will probably be another 5 or more years to get widespread adoption in driving professions, and some driving professions are less susceptible to replacement (like delivery drivers since they would need at least two robots to replace them, one to drive the car, and one to deliver the goods).

    Finally robots are not free. There are operating expenses, maintenance expenses, and capital expenses. Depending on your cost of capital, and useful life (i.e. discount factor) a robot that costs $40,000 to replace a human threading a needle might be the equivalent of less than a dollar an hour to more than ten dollars an hour. Certainly more and more jobs will be replaced by automation in the future, but it isn’t like we are about to have half of the jobs in the country replaced overnight. It will be a much more gradual thing.

  • bobdc10 July 7, 2015 on 7:25 pm

    Simple question, if robots do all the work of manufacturing and services, and humans no longer have jobs/income, where is the market for the goods and services produced by the robots?

    Henry Ford proved that by paying workers the then princely sum of $5/day, his auto sales went up enough to make a profit above the increased daily wage. The use of robot labor pays no wages.

    In today’s economy, the velocity of money makes the market go, if there is no money in the system, the economy stops.

  • JasonJ July 7, 2015 on 7:59 pm

    On the one hand I hope for automation that improves the human condition freeing us from boring repetitive tasks allowing for more time to be creative, learn new things etc….
    How will income be distributed to the masses from this large gain? Will we have more billionaires or even beyond billionaire with more division in society based on wealth ability to afford necessary enhancements to keep pace with the changes because if we stay human entirely then we are likely to advance very slowly vs self directed evolution for our survival not just the few but all. Can synthetic biology, genomic engineering, nano medicine, implants for cognition etc…. prepare us for the changes and give us more abilities to survive? If AI is advanced enough we could have much better healthcare, decision making in general based on the weight of the evidence instead of say political games that are human aggression games.
    http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v32/n4/full/nbt.2842.html

    Optimistic side: equality, less suffering, exploration of planets, Mars colony, cure for diseases of all kinds, basic income for all…….
    Pessimistic side: War, increased violence, bio-weapons, even more divided society, AI which we see as a threat and which sees us as a threat (AI advanced enough will win),

    It is likely going to be a challenge to strike a balance and get to the most favorable outcome. I have no idea when AI will be so advanced that no human can come close to their abilities in all respects so advancing ourselves away from the chains of our biology will be necessary.

    Hum….. a lot to think about. Automated vehicles of all kinds look forward to it and hope I can afford one when the time comes.

  • oneness July 7, 2015 on 9:00 pm

    This is very old news. I almost brushed you off as very young journalist, but by your pic you appear older. Make money! Is that our goal?

  • Larry Kendrick July 7, 2015 on 9:53 pm

    The Human body is designed to work. If we don’t work, we die young most of the time and have very poor health.

  • lfstevens July 7, 2015 on 11:58 pm

    “The first large wave of unemployment will be caused by self-driving cars.”

    The first stages are behind us. Ask a pharmaceutical sales rep or a travel agent.

    “Manufacturing will be the next industry to be transformed.”

    It has already been transformed. Worker productivity in automotive is leaping ahead.

    “China, fearing the demise of its industry, is setting up fully-automated robotic factories ”

    They have no competitive advantage there. It’s the right move, but it may not protect them very well.

    “This jobless future will surely create social problems”

    Since work and providing for your family is the basis of dignity in many parts of the world, this will prove to be their greatest challenge. What replaces work? The saving grace is that people have been spending ever smaller fractions of their life working. School takes longer and retirement comes earlier. Many workers spend less than half of their lives working. That said, some fraction of us may find happiness in artisanal ceramics, but a fearsomely large group may end up on video games and weed.

  • roaidz July 8, 2015 on 12:25 am

    Is it this is the plan of the illuminati, they reduced the population, they control the climate, and they removed religions. To give ways for the robots to
    act more than human. 🙊

  • Horst G Ludwig July 8, 2015 on 12:27 am

    Jobless future, what about costs, what about this and that….. As long as anybody cant visualize the meaning of a particpative economy and participative government this mind spirale will go on forever and does it already since the beginning of the industrial era having let to…..???? What can we do with all the time gained by robot dirt workers? Seriously? What about social care, environment care, tons of freetime for study, research, development, joy of live, no more lonely elders or kids, no more of that slavery society based on production and consumption….lets make love instead and develope our humanship.
    So what about wealth distribution, finance system and the blindess to reform on sandy ground? Why does most of intelligent people fall back all over again and do not even want to understand how cultures managed for thousands of years without any “money”, ie. China. Oh, because we are now complex? No, because the system self feeding made it complex. It is programmed on debt, production and consumption no matter if the 75% of the crap is even needed or healthy.
    After stupid waves downloading on other cultures and societies because they work cheaper or because they have natural resources we really should have learned it or dont we? Downloading on robots now? Most professional industries working with full automated production plants, say robots, for many many years already, even agriculture became that industrialised one guy cares 200.000 acres alone. How did that impact on the labor markets. Nothing at all if you remove first hour histeria, it saved even hundreds of thousands of lives in dangerous labor spots.
    Larry says “the human body is designed to work”. Really? You know a lot about life and human do you. Our bodies are made to ENJOY life, to express and to interact with it, to move freely in our three dimensional cage like no other creature.
    Well I see, there is no way out with the burger and playstation generation. Fear the robots and the A.I. or vampire movies and if not blame the russians, that becoming fashion again.
    Otherwise learn that money should have been only a intermediate of short term value so you dont travel with chickens to buy some eggs. Learn that the underlying reason and value of money always and only should have been based on human itself rather than some fake values or even virtual values. Going back to that principal you can do by the flip and no system will crash at all. But everybody is filled with such amount of illusions that he/she even recons his/her own value of existance anymore.

  • unclejo July 8, 2015 on 6:26 am

    I don’t know where else to post this but when do you anticipate singularity.hub going all robotic…or has it already?

  • shin July 8, 2015 on 9:25 am

    Unfortunately, many corporations are salivating at the idea of monitoring their employees and then having robots duplicate their routines, like in Mail delivery, Bus driving, Truck driving, Fast Food preparation, and most of the service industry. The economic sector already uses AIs, Bots, and Information Science programs to trade stocks and goods.

    Sadly, if the recovery and repair jobs for the service and transport industry robots are also taken by the robots, then maintenance crews become extremely small, only maintaining the self repair systems. In a plutocratic mutation of corporate capitalism, this does not include any plans to find fulfilling occupations for the displaced workers.

    John Adams said “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”

    I think what we want to be doing is exploring space, colonizing worlds, providing fully functional limb replacements for paraplegics, healing the blind and paralyzed, and probably preserving and bringing back various species of flora and fauna.

    The problem is human vs. robot occupations.

    I think the solution is the hybrid, and by that I mean the exoskeleton worker (like Japan’s new airport worker belts), the exoskeleton soldier, and the drone operator. AIs really should be seen as librarians and assistants, rather than central to our legal, commercial, or military enforcement. An AI should be kept as far away from autonomous robots as possible, for as long as possible. The worst case scenario is AI + Mobile Robots + Weapons or Weaponized capabilities, such as a robot arm capable of killing a human being because of kinetic impact or pressure.

  • Manaze July 8, 2015 on 1:54 pm

    My main concern is the transition period. I would have no trouble with losing my job and have the ability to write, woodwork, and spend time with my family all day.

    But the problem is: will my mortgage company still demand payment? Or my car lender? Will energy companies being giving their product away for free? Will grocery stores become food banks, or will they still charge for food.

    My worry is not idle hands, but creditors who may not feel the same way about a jobless society.

    • Ultrawoman Manaze July 8, 2015 on 2:17 pm

      Same here.

      • Quantium Ultrawoman July 8, 2015 on 2:25 pm

        Whereas there may be problems with mortgages and loans in the transition, these things will become meaningless when robots and AI do all the work.

        One could go back in time to when mortgages were being discussed as a new concept, and make the observation that they would be a bad idea because people would compete for housing on the basis of what they can borrow and not what they can afford, thereby pushing prices beyond reach. Indeed that has been a problem, but not an all encompassing one. Most people did manage their mortgages perfectly peacefully.

        • bobdc10 Quantium July 9, 2015 on 6:28 pm

          Things will NOT become meaningless until the owners of the means of production say things are meaningless. What incentive will persuade these owners to give the products of robot labor away to non-working humans for free? The measure of success between the ultra-rich is who is worth the most, the biggest yachts, the biggest airplanes, the most houses, the largest net worth. These are not altruistic people, they’re in it for maximum gain, they don’t give anything away for free. You speak of mortgages, but what happens if they don’t feed us?

          • Germen Roding bobdc10 July 12, 2015 on 2:21 am

            Indeed, bobdc10. Without some compelling impetus, most owners will not be willing to part with some of their possessions. Which brings us to a deeper and more fundamental truth.

            Ownership does not make sense without a jurisdiction. A jurisdiction is established by power. The ultimate power is military power, because it can be used to force people which control other kinds of power, e.g. economic power, to bend to ones will.

            In the past, military power originated from controlling people and an advanced industrial ecosystem, which is the reason why the United States is the leading military power in the world. When artificial superintelligence will take over the tasks of humans, it willl not longer be necessary to appease humans. Capital alone will be enough to establish a self-replicating machine park of resource extractors and weapon builders.

  • horseshoe7 July 8, 2015 on 6:47 pm

    This situation of massive, and rather sudden, under-employment due to automation, was eerily predicted in the 1952 Kurt Vonnegut novel PLAYER PIANO.

    The way Vonnegut describes the process of the machines being trained to replace the humans (such as machinists) is akin to the way a Player Piano is programmed to exactly imitate the playing of a piano – and the excerpt from the novel where the head Engineer (in charge of automating his company’s plant) goes into a nearby bar (to the plant, on “the wrong side of the river”), and one of his company’s best ex-machinists (whose work was used to train the automated machine that eventually replaced him), recognizes him, and plays him a song on the bar’s player piano, is downright spooky and prescient… 65 years ahead of its time, it is.

  • paullitely July 9, 2015 on 4:15 pm

    It is happening more and more. When the economy crashed, efficiencies were looked for. Before hiring anybody, they looked for substitutes in automation, and are finding them more and more. Now, its baked in.

  • genidma July 10, 2015 on 5:16 pm

    I think that we are at the very early stage of a transition where our consciousness is about to evolve, extend and expand throughout the solar system. Therein, lies unimaginable and potentially limitless possibility(ies).

    For this to occur, I don’t think that we can use models, specifically as they relate to institutions and use them as a base line for what things will look like in the future. All the progress points to one fact and that we are heading into a new age and entering this new age will have an impact on our evolution. Or maybe it’s the other way around?

    I think, that future models are going to be grounded in truth and as close to the truth as possible. That our models will or should be architected in such a way that they help us continually get closer to the truth. So, I for one, am of the opinion that we will need completely transparent models. But for that to occur, we need to remove or severely limit punishment from our construct and imagine and then come up with other construct that enable continual betterment of the human condition/consciousness. That is not to say that all of the models (institutional or not) that exist today are grounded in the opposite. Whatever the opposite of truth may be.

    Basically we need to flip all the negative models that exist in the human condition. For some of these constructs, their initial intended purpose may be good as in designed for good. But beyond a certain level of efficiency, these models become contributors to the problem vs the very thing they were designed to do.

    If we do not have transparency and the ability to trace events back to a source, then we lay ourselves exposed to the possibility that one small mistake could bring everything to halt. So if the constructs that we have designed are causing suffering of another, then one single event could crash our entire construct. Specially, considering the increased interconnectedness of our construct.

    If we do not rethink how judgement is meted out in a day and age when neuroscience can explain intricate details related to individual behaviour. Then we lay exposed to the possibility that the constructs that we consciously enable become an enabler for human suffering. And although I do not claim that I know much about Terence McKenna and would not know much about McKenna’s philosopies (overall), I think he nailed it when he mentioned that the ‘moral decision must come from the unconscious’.

    But today, we also live in a day and age of Optogenetics and the potential ability for zapping cells using nano machines. So it’s difficult to say who’s really in control and what is the intended purpose. Whether it’s good for some, all or a few and that all means. Are unconscious thoughts really unconscious. But that’s a different debate. But an important one at that.

    That being said, the need for a truly transparent system is clear. Blockchain and Ethereum could help make that reality a possibility or at least help us start moving in that direction. I would say that that’s a super important technological development that we need to evolve and potentially expedite (without impacting the quality of the overall output).

    Now, I have shared some of my developing thoughts related to the important and crucial subject of resource distribution. Here on Singularity Hub and on Quora.

    I have also shared some thoughts and ideas related to (amongst other things) why and how sustainability cannot just be a buzzword, the need for effective and evolving modelling systems and the continual need for creating and sustaining new industries.

    I’ve also tried to entertain the question of cognitive surplus and how the cognitive surplus can be leveraged in order to not just expand out consciousness throughout the cosmos. But to do it in a way that safeguards our future, the continuity of the biosphere and can guarantee the possibility that life in it’s infinitely diverse and myriad forms can continue to thrive and sustain in many different environments (terrestrial and non-terrestrial).

    So let’s focus on the specific issue that has been raised and please note that this issue has been raised a number of times now on this forum and also by other notable thinkers, scholars and scientists in the past and recent past.

    However what has been missing here is the link and tying these events back to the transition phase that I mentioned towards the beginning of my comments.

    Also, regarding the transition phase. I think we are in different transition phases of sorts. There is the merger of biology with technology, of the potential for opening up newer frontiers, bettering our understanding of the cosmos and demystifying it’s nature. Reminds me of Richard Dawkins quoting J. B. S. Haldane “My own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.”.

    Then there is consciousness and serious efforts towards trying to uncover the mysteries of how it works in this dimension of space time. Already, there have been a lot of healthy discoveries and breakthroughs when it relates to how cognition works. But the origins of consciousness have been mysterious to fathom, which make the traceability and discoverability that much more elusive. My personal theory, which could be grounded in fallacy is that consciousness is a fractal. Both upstream and downstream. But that too, is another discussion.

    So the missing link. As technology and most notably the Internet and the Web become more widely accessible, what we are now also witnessing is the rapid increase when it comes to the swapping of ideas and how ideas (in a nutshell and amongst many other constructs) are powering newer mediums, inventions and entirely new subset of technologies and even Sciences.

    So the opportunity is to start looking up and start thinking in earnest on where and how to expand our consciousness to. To come to the realization that it is an enormously large Universe out there. From what we know, this opportunity presents us for the very first time in billions of years and again, that we have a solid chance for extending our consciousness beyond this rock.

    And the choice is clear. While there have been many amazing inventions and breakthroughs during the past 70 years. What hasn’t been happening on a scale that ensures the long term survival of our species (at the very least) is that we haven’t provisioned enough new industries to be able to do just that. And I believe that the real intent of creating new industry is to do just that, i.e ensure the long term survival of the group (species). The purpose that monopoly(ies) should function is that they should enable the spread of technology in order to help improve human lives and that the definition of wealth is to help improve human lives.

    (continued)

    • genidma genidma July 10, 2015 on 5:18 pm

      So the question then becomes, how do we choose to evolve? Will it be a selfish endeavour where we are indifferent to the plight and future of the many other species that have co-evolved with us. Or will we be conscientious in helping the other species co-evolve with us. And if we do, then what constructs will we enable for this co-evolution. There are so many questions that have to be unravelled and answered here. But depends on which level you would to do down to. My personal theory is that diversity (of species in this case) is good and that co-evolution with microbiota in it’s rich and diverse form is also good. So how do we preserve that and replicate that across the solar system (for starters).

      And then the question then becomes. Was evolution really a slow and unintelligent process? I mean the merger of Prokaryotes to Eukaryotes under evolutionary pressure to merge. Did that just happen? Was it bound to happen? Or was there communication happening from the very beginning and that it was a ‘conscious’ decision in order to survive and adapt to the changing conditions and potentially expand to what appeared to be (at that time) a habitant that offered unlimited opportunities for expansion.

      So from an evolutionary point of view at the very least, it seems like co-operation and coopetition have trumped conflict over and over and over again. Want proof? Take a look at yourself in the mirror. Here we stand, some 3.8 Billion years later, a collection of 16 trillion cells and some 100 Billion neurons (plus minus neurons in your gut, fingertip, ear canal, skin, eyes e.t.c).

      It’s strange to hypothesize that none of the diversity (when it relates to life forms) around us would have been possible if the Prokaryotes had decided to act irrationally and not co-operate. No multi-cellar organisms, no chordates, no reptiles, no animal flight, no mammals, primates, hominids or homo sapiens.

      Perhaps, this is how the communication between a group of Prokaryotes could have occurred in a fictional sense. Not saying this is how Prokaryotes actually functioned or is behaved the right word here?:

      “So, the probe that we’ve been sending out to the periphery…to the end of the ocean line…. this team is reporting that the world out there is changing…..that the exterior (skies) are getting darkened and that is why we have been getting less and less energy. It also explains the weird ‘weather’ phenomenon. But soon, this phenomenon could disrupt everything around us”

      “That’s not good. We are at war with the Neo-Prokaryotes! They threaten to destroy us and you bring me with this bad news at this point!”

      “I only bring you the truth. You understand that what I have shared with you is based on measurement and evidence. Off course, I too want what everyone else wants and that is for our species to grow and thrive in safe and stable environments.”

      Thinks for a bit, then inquires “So what should we do?”

      “We have to re-architect all of our systems. We have to get better at conserving energy. We have to develop new technologies. This requires a sustained effort and we need lots of Prokaryote-power for this…….First, we need to make peace with the Neo-Prokaryotes and the Sky-Prokaryotes. Next, and regarding the re-architecture of our systems, we need to create technologies that we could only think of. This will have an impact on our way of life, it will make a lot of people unhappy because our kind does not like change. We have not changed for so long. But change is what we need right now”

      “What?! Impossible! I would rather die then make peace with that uncouth group. The Sky-Prokaryotes perhaps. But never, with the Neo-Prokaryotes!”

      “You do not understand the significance of what I have been saying and you completely ignored everything else that I have mentioned, other than just focusing on issues of war and peace. Here, take a look at this” Shows the other Prokaryotes an image of how the periphery (skies) are actually changing and showing projections (including excel forecasts) of how much time is left.

      “If we begin today, if we forge peace and if we redirect all cognitive power towards the creation of technology that can safe us. Then we have a chance of not only safeguarding the future and evolution of our species, but to possibly increase the range and diversity of how our consciousness may evolve from this point onwards . If we don’t…then we perish. The decision is clear and I am sorry there is no alternative.”

      “How can we trust the Neo-Prokaryotes…. you know what they did to our cities….”

      Long pause. “We should tell them what’s coming. Next, the constructs we build has the ability to track all of our interactions. That these decisions get written to our DNA. Next, we merge our consciousness with theirs. This is the only fighting chance that we have. We cannot do this individually and collectively.”

      “Slow down…this is all too much for me. What do you mean that we merge our consciousness with theirs?”

      “…Okay…I have kept this secret from you for a while…but basically we’ve been working on a system that allows us to link our thoughts. Think of it as 100 of us or more, working seamlessly without the aid of any apparent communications. All the communication happens in the backend in a seamless fashion. We get the best collective and intelligent decision as an output and the decisions always end up being better than the decisions we make on a conscious group based settings”

      “Why do you keep such things from me? We could have used this technology and used it to defeat the Neo-Prokaryotes!”

      “The tech is barely coming online. Besides I did what I did because I had to”

      “What does that mean? This is all too much, I would rather kill every last one of those Neo-Prokaryotes. At least we would have died valiantly”

      “Look at this!” Shoves the image of the darkened skies in front of the other Prokaryotes. “This is not how we should be thinking. We don’t have time! If we do not act together and collectively, then we all die!. It’s time you put your emotions aside and start listening in earnest to what we have to say..”

      “By we, you mean, you and the alliance?”

      “No…there is something else. We’ve already started the contingency measures because we know that time is not on our side. But you can influence the council in helping forge peace with the Neo-Prokaryotes and the Sky-Prokaryotes. Also, we need to re-architect all the different ways that work is conducted. We really need your help on these two major items. Here…let me share with you what we have done to date and the plan for getting us to the next level….”

      “How long is this going to take. I have to go golfing”

      “This is going to take a while there is a lot you have to know and understand”

      And so, after an extended amount of time the Prokaryotes did come together. In the process of doing so, they created some amazing technologies. They achieved complete sustainability. They remodelled how they worked, how they distributed work and they achieved peace. Their consciousness had no merged together and their collective consciousness was now called the Eukaryotes.

      —- —- —- —- —-

      ‘So jus’ chill, ’til the next episode’ – Dr Dre

      • Horst G Ludwig genidma July 12, 2015 on 12:10 am

        great exposure. I am asking myself why dont we even read here carefully what other providers have to say and complement each other. Got it to be always philosophy or could it be obseravtion and conclusion?
        Each blog is its own intelligence unit like a bacteria stam in disorder and that becoming the reason of not going to be part of it anymore. Prokaryotes is transcendence elsewhere and its path is obstructed by the lousy me.

        • genidma Horst G Ludwig July 12, 2015 on 11:38 pm

          Yes, some individuals spent a fair bit of time curating their thoughts. So it would be nice to complement each other from time to time.

          When it comes to important issues such as these, it takes time and sincere effort to come back time and again, so that the problem can be re-defined and that new insights could be had. But all of us pressing priorities.

          But it makes you wonder, how pressing should the pressing priorities really pressing be. I mean, we are talking about a potential reality, which by it’s evolution could have the capability of impacting lives. And that it is our collective thoughts and decisions that in-effect define what the future could look like. An insight gleamed here and an idea generated there. My new friend in California was right, that we are co-creating the future.

          I used the Prokaryotes to Eukaryotes reference, because if the evolutionary leap did not occur then we would not have seen life as it exists in it’s abundant form today.

          I suspect that, in the existing dimension of space time, our consciousness in it’s individual and distinct form is kind of like the capability that a Prokaryote may have possessed. It remains to be seen whether the secrets as they relate to consciousness may be had or unearthed. And if we do, then if that could give rise to what is referred to as tangible collective consciousness.

          And just like the leap from what was once many a Prokaryotes to a Eukaryotic version of it was akin to a quantum leap in the realm of evolution. Similarly, a leap to a collective consciousness of sorts will also be a quantum leap of consciousness.

          But, like I said, it’s just a theory at this point, it remains to be seen whether the secrets as it relates to consciousness may be had. If we do, then we can solve a lot of problems in a relatively short amount of time. Specially the technical problems, including scarcity of all sorts.

  • michal_jelinek July 12, 2015 on 4:33 am

    To many worries about totally abstract concepts…

    Lets be practical. What we need to secure is minimum guaranteed level life style: decent housing, food, education, access to information, healthcare, transportation and basic means for pursuing ones purpose. In the same time we need to make sure that there is diversity and that “activity and risk taking pays”. So the key question is: how to finance the minimum guaranteed life style FOR EVERYONE ON THE PLANET (it does not mean, the we totally equalize life of everyone – there may and will be substantial differences). I am not a man of numbers but just redirecting military budgets and eliminating wast in our inefficient healthcare systems could be enough to get there.

    SO what happens next, when everyone has a choice to pursue life according his/her calling? Less stress, much, much better health generally, people doing more rational decisions (not being pushed by pursuit of survival only, people tend to be more rational). Terabits of creative energy in society unleashed leading to substantially accelerated tech and spiritual development. People returning to basic values, eliminating conflicts based on lack of understanding… That is THE future.

    But how do we handle transition w/o any civil wars, revolutions and lunatics paralyzing our society…?

    • Horst G Ludwig michal_jelinek July 12, 2015 on 10:49 pm

      michael_jelinek, easy, as like said, change the finance system and nothing of it would be a problem, not even the fact that humanity is a ocean of conflictive individuals. You cant guarantee anything without fixing our basic money and value system strongly posessed by greed and speculation.
      Anyhow, if we dont catch the curve on this there is probably not much to talk about but corporate slaves and followers.

  • genidma July 12, 2015 on 11:18 pm

    I just found out that China has 109 Million workers employed in the Industry/Manufacturing/Construction related sectors and that these are 2002 statistics. So the actual number could be higher or lower (depending on how automation is chewing into the job market).

    And even though there is a gradual move towards service related industries. However it is no where near on par with the 80% or higher percentage of jobs in the service industries when it comes to developed economies.

    Now, I am not suggesting that a move to service industries is the way when it comes to accommodating the workers displaced by automation in China. If anything, my comments, in general are quite contrary, rather than to create the artificial inflation of labour pool, which may very well come at the expense of a lot of other things. However, the figure of 109 Million workers is so staggering that it almost forces you to just treat this as a separate and distinct problem. Because that’s really what it is. I spent a couple of hours today, researching and looking into the labour market dynamics within China. I see risks and there in lies opportunity.

    But by and large, the displacement is going to be a pretty big problem for China and the world. I think there is a need to design just a series of China related discussion panels and try and pro-actively determine the impact and define the problem. The three most important of which I can think about:

    1. One to come up with preventive measures if the Chinese economy is to implode and deal with the ramification and fallout.
    2. Helping China come up with creative and intelligent constructs in order to be able to move the millions (if not hundreds of millions) who all of a sudden find themselves without any means of employment.
    3. A move towards a Democratic form of Governance is, what I believe, also very important for China and the world.

    • Quantium genidma July 13, 2015 on 2:33 am

      with regards to > a move to service industries :

      That is fine as long as the services are what people actually need and want. However governments seem to have the habit of legislating some regulation that requires law abiding citizens to buy a service they wouldn’t otherwise buy. This is a sort of stealth tax to reduce unemployment benefits. Ultimately it does not work, as it simply degrades the currency.

      • genidma Quantium July 13, 2015 on 11:14 am

        Said School of Business at Oxford University is projecting that 47% of all employment in US is at risk because of computerisation (Oxford English for machine learning and mobile robotics). The 109 Million + worker class in China (and many other countries) appears to be part of the same risk. There is mention of China in this report, but it doesn’t get into the details and/or any numbers as to what percentage of the workforce is going to be impacted by ‘computerisation’.

        Now, I think that we have to fundamentally divorced meaning (autonomy/purpose/mastery) from work.

        But to do that, we have to re-architect society, the urban landscape and a lot more things in order to accommodate a very large segment of society that is going to find itself without any source of employment.

        I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the problem and it forced me to look at it in a bunch of different ways. Eventually, I think we have to re-frame the question and I ‘think’ that the question we are trying to ask is:

        “How do we enable a construct that will provision meaning in the form of autonomy/purpose/mastery on an individual and group level *without* specifically tying it to work”.

        Still trying to wrap my head around this. Will share more details soon. But it starts with creating constructs that almost automatically provision goods and services that are required for the individual and group physiological and security needs (base pillars of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) and then create channels that allow individuals and societies to not just move up. But to also give individuals unlimited amount of opportunities, for them to engage in the kind of work that they would like. That we will need channels between these two realities. 1. What I just explained above in terms of the physiological and security related needs and 2. Provisions that allow individuals to improve upon their lives.

        What this construct requires and seeks is to disrupt or significantly disrupt the food, water, housing, personal security, education, skills trades (amongst others) related industries.

        And once we do that, we then build meaning by re-architecting society along with some of the other things I mentioned towards the beginning.

        Will come back and update this section.

        • genidma genidma July 14, 2015 on 3:25 pm

          Oxford University (Report) & The Second Machine Age (The Book):

          Note: it’s better to read this particular comment through this pdf uploaded on Dropbox, as there are some screenshots embedded within the document.
          https://www.dropbox.com/s/6xm5qznbiu3lg2r/Said%20School%20of%20Business%20and%20Second%20Machine%20Age.pdf?dl=0

          Excerpt from the same document:

          I think the the report released in 2013 by the Said School of Business at Oxford University, titled
          : ‘THE FUTURE OF EMPLOYMENT: HOW SUSCEPTIBLE ARE JOBS TO.COMPUTERISATION?’ is an important read.

          It appears that the researchers have carefully looked at each one of the different job categories and they have then come up with mathematical models to project what the impact of ‘computerisation’ is going to be on these categories.

          ‘Computerisation’, by the way is Oxford (University) English for robotics (including mobile robotics), machine learning and artificial intelligence in general.

          Also, on this subject, last year I went through the book ‘Second Machine Age’ by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew Mcafee. Two researchers from MIT. And although this book is a really good ready and offers many insights on how to we ‘could’ capitalize upon certain developments (technological of a nature). It did go into the impact that (these) certain developments would cause on different job categories. The theme was definitely there, but I think that the report by Oxford University is the beginning of a (rational) attempt to try and look at what the potential impact could be.

          Now computerisation, the term, can be vague. So let’s call it ‘automation’. Again, a term that encapsulates the developments when it relates to advances in robotics (including mobile robotics), machine learning and artificial intelligence in general.

          Undoubtedly there will be disruption. What’s important to determine (accurately and to the best of our abilities) is to try and determine:
          The impact of ‘automation’ on the individual and global labour markets.
          The time period, by which this change is going to occur.

          The Oxford study suggests that, quote: (Source)

          “According to our estimates, about 47 percent of total US employment is at risk”.

          The type of jobs within this high risk (47% category). Also, note the Low and Medium risk to ‘automation’:
          – Management, Business, Financial
          – Computer, Engineering, and Science
          – Education, Legal, Community Service, Arts, and Media
          – Healthcare Practitioners and Technical.
          – Service
          – Sales and Related
          – Office and Administrative Support
          – Farming, Fishing, and Forestry
          – Construction and Extraction
          – Installation, Maintenance, and Repair
          – Production
          – Transportation and Material Moving

          <Refer to graph in attached document for a snapshot from the report – Jobs in those categories in the Low/Medium/High Risk categories)

          When it comes to the timeline of when the changes are to be expected, the report highlights:

          "….associated occupations are potentially automatable over some unspecified number of years, perhaps a decade or two. It shall be noted that the probability axis can be seen as a rough timeline, where high probability occupations are likely to be substituted by computer capital relatively soon"

          Meaning, jobs in Transportation, Material Moving, Manufacturing/Production, Office and Admin Support could be gone much sooner. And not the decade or two as highlighted for other sectors. So the planning must begin now, we don’t have a decade or two here.

          Many other insights like these in the report.

          The report would also briefly touch base on the topic of a potential prospect where a machine did successfully pass the Turing Test. The thesis as outlined in the report is looking at ‘whole brain emulation’ as one of the possible ways that a mechanism could be devised by which whole brain emulation, scanning and mapping would be possible.

          This report was released in September 2013 and this is what it then highlights on the topic of brain emulation and the timelines and possibilities involved:

          "present implementation estimates, under certain assumptions, suggest that whole brain emulation is unlikely to become operational within the next decade or two (Sandberg and Bostrom, 2008). When or if they do, however the employment impact is likely to be vast (Hansson, 2001)."

          However, it seems like the intent is to hypothesize the possibility of if and when a ‘sentient machine’ will emerge. As highlighted above (excerpt from report), the whole brain emulation is unlikely to become operations within the next decade or two. But when and if they do, however, the employment impact is likely to be vast.

          What the report does not cover however is the potential impact of a $1,000 computer in 2025, that should be able to calculate at 10^16 cycles per second (10,000 trillion cycles per second), the equivalent processing speed of the human brain. Which was a prediction made by Peter Diamandis on May 11th on this website (SingularityHub).

          Note: That is not to say that a machine being able to calculate on the same rate and scale as a human brain will suddenly become conscious and in effect pass the Turing Test. No, calculation does not equal consciousness and the intricate operations that occur in order to drive cognition and all the sub-algorithms and functions. But there has got to be some impact, when it comes to a $1000 machine being able to crunch that much computation and the net impact of that on a lot of jobs. Both, from the perspective of enablement (of newer forms of industries and employment) and displacing existing forms of employment. I hear that Google’s Deep Mind is getting ready to replace all IT Service Desk related jobs.

          Also, it is up to us and what we decide to teach the machines and the net impact of that when it comes to displacing most semi-systematic jobs. So the 47% estimate could actually be a conservative estimate.

          Overall, that was a super brief excerpt from the report released by Said School of Business at Oxford University.

          There are many other interesting things in this report, such as which job sectors and types, the researchers believe will fare better vs others.

          Bad news for dishwashers, court clerks and telemarketers and some breathing room for surgeons, fashion designers and individuals in public relations.

          Looks like the following are going to continue to be in demand for the foreseeable future and less prone to disruption by automation: ‘creative intelligence’ (broad domain and across the different areas) and ‘perception and manipulation tasks’ (complex perception tasks).

          Coming back to the book ‘the Second Machine Age’, another big theme and the sub-title of the book is ‘Work Progress And Prosperity In A Time Of Brilliant Technologies’. So the theme really was that by marrying the developments of these technologies and combining them with human intellect. The authors used specific examples where they showcased outcomes from actual scientific examples and the gist of it basically was:
          Man vs machine (when it relates to certain tasks): Man is no match.
          Man (aided by machine) vs machine (when it relates to certain tasks). Machine was beaten over and over again.

          And there-in lies the key insight. That by aiding our efforts by making use of these exponential technologies, that we can create a future that we could have only dreamt of up until now.

          I think it would be worth connecting the researchers from Oxford with Erik and Andrew (and potentially other researchers). The intent of this workshop/meeting(s) would be to come up with a quantitative impact and a timeline by which the changes will come about.

          What we want to do is make a tool, which would allow us to quantify if a certain sub-development arrives ahead of it’s time, then what will be the overall impact to our projections.

          For example and this is just one of the many many examples: a breakthrough (or a combination of them) that enables machines to exhibit a much higher level of ‘social intelligence’ would be a game changer. For starters, it will disrupt a lot more jobs and it will also allow us to power smart-agents and smart-robots in a lot of different areas and for a variety of purposes. Right now and based on my very limited research abilities and even more limited powers of perception, but the research, related to this area (enabling social intelligence within machines) is in it’s infancy. I think, I am not sure. I mean, I do not know when a major VC would say that they got, quote ‘spooked’ after looking at a development when it relates to advances in AI (a specific company bought by Google). That being said, I’ve seen a glimpse of some interesting research along these lines from USC, where the technology has a remarkable ability to understand the context of the conversation by analyzing the voice patterns (of a human) and combining it with the ability to decipher what the facial patterns of the human indicate. And this is what I mean that a certain sub-development and it arriving before time will have an impact on projections. So we may not have 10 years or 20 years to plan.

          Overall, and once again:
          The report by Oxford University is a good read. (Link: http://bit.ly/1mj2qSJ)
          The Second Machine Age by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew Mcafee (Link: http://amzn.to/1HJjj30) is the stepping stone (first of many) for a mindset that we need in order to create the industries of the future. And I really believe that the future of a safe and stable world rests upon the world that we open new frontiers and create new industries and new technologies. There is no other way.

          • genidma genidma July 14, 2015 on 4:38 pm

            So, terms of timeline(s), a potential red-herring could be that we should not base our planning and projections based on the fact that we will have 10 or 20 year cycles.

            And just so I do not contradict myself here, even though that is not a bad thing in some cases. I think we should do both.

            – Project, plan, assess and have a dynamic plan. For example, the creation of the tool that I mention. That would be just one of the many things.
            – Forget the tool, I would say the creation of an institution or a couple that are dedicating towards defining the problem is a need. But then institution, specially when they receive these giant fundings have a propensity for getting mired in bureaucracy and then bad things happen when these institution start re-instating their authority.
            – However you slice and dice it, there is a clear need to have a series of plans. I think the most logical thing to do would be to prepare for all risks and make use of as many opportunities that we possibly can. With a keen focus towards the creation of new industries, re-architecting society in light of the fact that the definition of work would have been re-defined, opening up of new frontiers, other ideas shared on this site/blog and off-course avoiding/mitigating and/or accepting certain risks.

            Since this comment is related to timelines and there is this contradiction. 10 or 20 year cycles of planning or start planning now?

            I think the best thing to do would be to start planning now. This would greatly increase the probability that we have an effective risk management plan in effect, much better ability for re-architecting society and at the same time incentivize the net output in such a way that it helps with the creation of new industries on an effective/reliable/expedited rate.

            I say that we must start planning now, because this planning is not going to go to waste. I am also reminded of the words of Nils J. A former professor of AI at Stanford, in 2011, Nilsson was inducted into IEEE Intelligent Systems’ AI’s Hall of Fame for the “significant contributions to the field of AI and intelligent systems.

            In one of his research papers titled ‘Artificial Intelligence, Employment and Income’ (link: http://stanford.io/1CuUd8v) which was published in the summer of 1984 in the AI Magazine, Nilsson makes the case for planning in advance. I will use an excerpt from this very report for this purpose:

            “…socioeconomic changes are extremely slow (compared with technical progress).

            We must allow time for the several stages needed for the transition to new systems of distributing income

            There will be at least five to ten years of discussion and argument among intellectuals and other social thinkers.

            Next, the voting public must have sufficient confidence in some of these ideas to approve any necessary legislation.

            At the same time, we must anticipate an in- evitable reaction against these changes, stimulated by a general yearning to return to the “good old days” in which everyone did an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.

            People may blame these economic experiments for one or more of the expected future slumps in the business cycle.

            Taking all of these processes into account, it may well require one or two generations before the necessary changes can be made in our economic system, even if concerned people begin thinking earnestly about the problem right now.”

            So, the need to start planning today is clear.

            There is a section in the same research paper that I have cited above and it’s called ‘The Transition’. When it comes to the transition, here is what Professor Nilsson has proposed:

            “For those who are willing to grant that artificial intelligence and related technologies will eventually reduce the total need for human labor and that there are stable and desirable socioeconomic systems that separate employment from income, there still remains one very difficult question: how do we get there from here?

            Now some might say that we have plenty of time to worry about that problem and that now is too early to think about a transition.

            In the first place, it might be a long time before we develop the ultimate systems that will be able to perform the new jobs created by currently emerging AI systems.

            Secondly, a huge amount of human labor will be required to convert present-day industrial societies to fully automated ones (not to mention the labor needed to lift the living standards of the Third World).”

            Okay, so a few very important points here, that I just want to point out again.
            – The need for coming up with the means of provisioning automated factories that can and have the ability to provide for a substantial percentage of the earthly population. If not, all the earthly population.
            – A bump, a significant rise in the number of people employed. But automation is also going to be making inroads into our factories and workplaces on an increasing basis. So we must not ignore the fact that we’d need to stick to the plan and that decision makers must not look at the significant rise in employment numbers and treat this as a case of that we do not need to make any significant changes in the economic system.
            – I guess the theme really is complete automation and that going from present state to future state is going to take time. And because it is going to take time, we must think about this issue today and in earnest. And my take on this is that this is the only way that we can ensure a seamless transition with less turbulence.
            – On the development efforts in the Third World and why this is very important, quote:

            “Probably our most important task is to improve the living standards of people in Third World countries. I agree with James Albus that (and he’s quoting Albus),

            ‘Without rapid economic growth, a world of growing shortages will become an increasingly dangerous place.

            Nations competing over a shrinking stock of wealth and resources will inevitably come to military confrontation.

            The world’s best hope is a great surge of industrial productivity that can outstrip the present population explosion and give us one more period of affluence in which we will have another chance at bringing the human population into stable equilibrium with the finite living space aboard the planet Earth (Albus, 1981)”

            I’ve read this paper and couple of times and I think that Nilsson and Albus ended up predicting the future in some respects. If you look at the human condition without a bias lens then it is evident that we are running out of resources (peak oil, peak lumber, peak topsoil/arable land, depletion of fisheries, climate change…. e.t.c). And since humans have not focused on the creation of new industries during the past 70 years, not on the same pace compared to previous technological innovations that opened up newer frontiers (Air, rail, Haber Bosch principle e.t.c). Albus was right, we have a shrinking stock of wealth and resources (resources really, according to the HANDY model by Safa) and that military confrontation turns out to be the only option in the end. So if we did open up new frontiers, then we would not have to slice and dice the pie 7 billion different ways and the world would be a complete opposite of the dangerous place that it is turning out to be.

            Next, Professor Nilsson highlights the need for the creation of automated factories of the future and sincere efforts redirected towards the creation of new technologies, quote:

            “Another transition task is to design and build new automated equipment and factories.

            This work should be preceded by national projects, like those sponsored by the Japanese, that plan and develop the necessary technology.

            Additional projects could be initiated to improve education and health care in all parts of the world.”

            Next, Nilsson’s take on infrastructure and different types of infrastructure:

            “Communities throughout the United States have been concerned about the problem of aging highways, bridges, and other trans- portation and communication facilities. Upgrading this “infrastructure” would absobr surplus labor during the transition stage.

            The postindustrial information age will need nother infrastructure-one consisting of computer systems, data bases, and networks. Putting all of this in place and maintaining it will require human labor for several more years.”

            Okay, this reminds me of another book I read (halfway through) and it’s called ‘Mind at Light Speed’. http://amzn.to/12AZduA In this book, the writer David D. Nolte has shared that the move to an all optical internet is going to power an altogether different medium. That there wouldn’t necessarily be the inefficient transition from electrons to photons and back. This design, coupled with advanced in AI is going to power a medium where computers aren’t just going to be able to read, but that they will be able to see and make sense out of their surroundings. That the machines are going to be an order of magnitude faster compared to the machines that we have today. That when they are connected, that it is going to create a new medium.”

            Coming back to the research paper by Nilsson, the huge amount of human labor required to convert present-day in- dustrial societies to fully automated ones (not to mention the labor needed to lift the living standards of the Third World). All of this and more is going to require involvement from the Government. No one institution can do this along. Here, Prof. Nilsson explains:

            “Today, only Governments can help bring about the necessary changes that are required on a societal and economic level. The kind of changes that are required and whatever the changes may be.

            But first, here are the reasons, why he believes people should start concerning themselves with the problem. quote:

            “First, the pace of technical change is accelerating While it is true that the technical problems involved in creating artificially intelligent systems are still immense, we may solve most of them within the next generation.

            Second, if we begin to welcome rather than fear the “unemployment” consequences of AI, we can avoid the technological lethargy that unwarranted anxiety might otherwise induce

            Third, socioeconomic changes are extremely slow (compared with technical progress). We must allow time for the several stages needed for the transition to new systems of distributing income There will be at least five to ten years of discussion and argument among intellectuals and other social thinkers. Next, the voting public must have sufficient confidence in some of these ideas to approve any necessary legis- lation. At the same time, we must anticipate an in- evitable reaction against these changes, stimulated by a general yearning to return to the “good old days” in which everyone did an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. People may blame these economic experiments for one or more of the expected future slumps in the business cycle. Taking all of these processes into account, it may well require one or two generations before the necessary changes can be made in our economic system, even if concerned people begin thinking earnestly about the problem right now.

            Fourth, starting to think about the problem and instituting some transitional measures now will minimize the discomfort of workers who are already being affected by automation. There are grounds for believ- ing that the current high unemployment rates of the industrialized countries are not completely explain- able by business cycles and will be cured by neither supply-side nor demand-side economic policies. This unemployment is rather a symptom of the ‘<new automation,” and it will continue to worsen even as business conditions improve If the root causes of high unemployment are in actuality related to automation, policies that recognize this fact will have a better chance of alleviating the misery and poverty of the unemployed"

            (continued)

            • genidma genidma July 14, 2015 on 5:52 pm

              Again, coming back to the topic of involving Government(s)

              “…..Much of the work I have just mentioned can be funded only by governments. ”

              Professor Nilsson continues:

              “Because such work accomplishes goals that need to be satisfied, it should not be thought of as “made-work.” But it does have the desirable side effect of giving people employment during the transition from an economy in which most income is derived from employment to one in which most income is derived from other sources.”

              Now, before we continue, I (genidma/Adeel Khan) have let my thoughts be known on the issue of artificially inflating the labour pool and why that is a damaging and regressive and ill-thought design. What I would like to point out as an alternative is to start thinking in earnest about how best to bring about changes in the economic system and also provision factories of the future, how Professor Nillson has highlight (with some upgrades). That if we are going to inflate the labour pool, then it must be for a reason. Otherwise, it, the process of artificially inflating the labour pool using unsustainable means of energy generation, is just an extremely crude and ill-thought design which causes the destruction of the biosphere! What else explains human induced climate change?

              Let’s go back to the report:

              On the issue of spending for the mega factories and other economic, systemic, structural and infrastructural changes that will be required, this is what Professor Nilsson has to say:

              ” In order to undertake these large public projects, we need to think differently about the matter of spending public funds. Instead of asking the rather outmoded question, “Can we afford such expenditures?” we need to learn to ask instead, “Should otherwise idle human labor be employed to accomplish socially desirable tasks?”

              Mr. Nilsson continues:
              “The use of terms like “spending public money” and “affordability” focuses on arbitrary accounting conventions rather than on reality. What really counts is not an abstraction like money but whether or not people who could be working on these projects would otherwise be idle and whether or not the rest of society can produce enough goods and services to satisfy the demand of people working on public projects.”

              So, I think that there are a couple of super important points that Nilsson has directly and indirectly raised here.

              But for starters, I just have one simple question

              “Can we even afford *not to make the necessary changes throughout the system, knowing very well that there is no other way?”

              The only opposition to the changes that I can potentially witness emerging would probably be from either:
              – The Luddite segment. Whereby they are going to want to stop, put the suggestions on hold and require that an extended amount of time is provided in order to let specific committees and panels review the changes being proposed.
              – Or a certain segment of society that does not care about the future of the many. An entrench circle that only cares about it’s well-being.

              No matter how you slice and dice it, changes are needed. The notion of jobs and employment is about to get re-defined.

              That was a bit of a detour what the specific subject that was being discussed. Coming back to this particular part of the report. There is the issue of leveraging labour for the purpose of architecting the changes.

              Then issue of spending and massive spending at that. How do you do that and how will the Governments justify that?

              So what has been happening since 2008 (or before) is that most major Governments have just been pumping a shit ton of money. Here is what the US govt has been doing: http://bit.ly/1JglLix and (Source Zero Hedge) Most major G-20 Govts have been doing the same, including Germany. Greece has become desperate: http://bit.ly/1I6zg8n

              So, what I think is what we are just ‘leveraging quantitative’ easing and then ‘artificial inflating the labour pool’ so that consumer spending can be increased.

              However there are a bunch of other things happening. Automation is chewing up into the labour pool, corporations have become net job destroyers (documented in the book ‘Where the Jobs Are’) and the whole corporate/government/tax-credits model is broken. Then there is market dynamics and the move of a certain type of labour from market to market. Then there are bubbles and the implosion of certain bubbles.

              There could be many other issues and I am not saying that this is the reason for the (economic) malaise.

              But if we are to focus on the issues that have been shared on this forum, in earnest, then we need to re-think what we are doing within the framework of the economic system and why we are doing it. Quantitative easing does not help, until and unless and until a significant portion of the funds is redirected towards the creation and sustenance of new-age economies (industries, technologies, Sciences e.t.c).

              In other words, quantitative easing should not be targeted towards maintaining the status quo. Because, quite simply, this pool of weatlh, in the absence of newer ways/means/mechanisms of generating wealth is going to be depleted. And when that pool of wealth is depleted, then what the construct would have consciously and/or unconsciously have done is just to delay the inevitable. However, in delaying the inevitable, you made the problem that much more pronounced. Meaning, that when the next (economic) crisis hits, whether it’s in 2030 or 2040, but that the issue is going to be that much more pronounced because:
              a) We did not focus on the creation of new industries.
              b) We did not create new(er) technologies on a pace and scale that would have guaranteed the secure and stable operation of civilization
              c) We did not anticipate risks and opportunities and did not augment our systems in order to make use of such opportunities while at the same time protecting ourselves from the risk.

              Hence, collectively speaking, because of our in-action and stupid design (how systems work in this case) hundreds of millions if not Billions of people will suffer. And all because we could not define the problem in the first place.

              Now I am not saying that quantitative easing is the problem. That it is evil. I mean, in the absence of a reality whereby civilization, due to it’s design has not focused on the creation of new industries. I mean, what are we supposed to do.

              But a lot can be said about spending and also on why we are *not* spending on enabling the future.

              So if the future is looking like it is going to be automated. Then it, then leaves us with two possibilities (or more).

              No. Wait. Let’s rephrase the question:

              “That depending on the range and potential of what percentage of the existing labour segments are going to be converted to an automated mode that we have the two possibilities (or more) within range
              1. That we create newer industries that have the means or potential for creating employment of the future.
              2. That we start bringing out about changes, that will help us with the transition (shared above).
              3. That we spend to enable the future. Infrastructure and also the digital infrastructure of the future, in light of a potential reality whereby the link between real and digital could be blurred or merged. Depends on how you want to look at it. Translated: Invest in enabling a newer network, the next version of the Internet.

              The problem then is that the Government’s track record when it comes to directly investing in and helping enabling newer technologies is spotty at best. This is not how things work in free-markets and even if the Governments have tried (within the range of free-markets) that they have failed and or the programs have been beset with a range of problems (also failed). So this is not the kind of failure where you keep trying until you succeed.

              Hence, this is an area where the VC industry and continual enablement when it comes to equity crowdfunding can help. I think a logical design, one of the many, would be for the
              – The VC’s to focus on bigger and better projects. Projects that help open up the new frontiers. Projects that help expand our consciousness and help push technology to meet the dreamer’s vision. The evaluations need to continually go higher for us to be able to deliver upon this promise. And I honestly believe that those who are going to focus on opening up the new frontiers will end up leading, regards to the framework and of how the new world is going to emerge.
              – In a relatively short amount of time, equity crowdfunding can take the place that used to be dominated by VC’s. Specially if the evaluations continue to go higher. Angels continue to play the crucial link as pollinators and advisors. Bridging the gap, helping bring quality talent where it is needed the most.

              Another idea, this trim-tab in the word’s of Richard Tafel, the one thing you change that could help bring about change in a lot of different areas. The adoption of some form of a cryptocurrency by a major Government is going to prove to be a catalyst for a lot of these changes. However, in order to ensure that the funds are not misappropriated and that no favouritism occurs, you need to make this system completley transparent with automatic/detalied tracking enabled. Blockchain can help do that.

              Sometime I do wonder that a major Govt that adopts cryptocurrency can architect change on a much more fluid level. As long as and I repeat, as long as the plans are in effect. That, in itself is not a conversation about centralized planning. I for one, would not be in a position to comment on whether that is or is not a good thing. But the adoption of the cryptocurrency alone can help a Government move that much more efficiency in order to get moving on all the projects that the system would like to get traction on.

              I mean, if you really are quantitatively easing, then do it using a digital currency that you can track and spend that much more efficiently and use it to enable to the future.

              Imagine the cost of *not* making the changes. Factories are automated, the infrastructure is crumbling, same old internet, continued human suffering, jobless future for hundreds of millions because we did not create industries of the future and did not bring about the changes (in our system) that we have been cautioned about over and over again, research dying in the pipes. Even today, a significant percentage of some really good research never gets translated into a working product or service.

              All because we were focused on quantitatively easing the heck out of a reality by which we then continually and artificially inflate the labour pool so that we could all, for a short amount of time, go home in our fossil fuel powered automobiles and economy and then go watch Dancing with the stars. Who needs new industries and new frontiers when you can just shove you face in a big bag of popcorn (with extra butter) while watching the celebrities bust those moves. Right?

              Meanwhile the glaciers are melting and wars are being fought because we are still slicing and dicing the pie 7 billions ways. And there just isn’t any focus.

              I think, it will help it we actually listened to what individuals (like Professor Nilsson) and researchers who have been looking at these developments without any bias, what they have to say.

              There is so much more in this one research paper alone. It has insights, leading to potential answers on not only how do we define these problems. But the steps we need to take in order to plan for such developments.

              The answers for helping create an amazing human constructs is within out reach. We just have to look with a new set of eyes.

              • genidma genidma August 4, 2015 on 2:07 am

                I wonder what NIlsson means by the following.

                ‘In the first place, it might be a long time before we develop the ultimate systems that will be able to perform the new jobs created by currently emerging AI systems.’

                I missed that part.

                Does this mean a construct where AI can perfect it’s designs and models?

                That it is going to take us, the humans, a while to architect such a construct. Once built, the AI would improve upon it. Eventually leading up to the reality whereby all work has been automated.

                I think that’s what Nilsson meant?

    • SweetDoug genidma July 16, 2015 on 10:24 am




      Are you kidding?

      “Helping China come up with creative blah-blah-blah…”

      You need to give your head a good shake, guy.

      Screw China!

      China is going to do to their people, what they’ve done in the past, what I say they’ll do in my comment down b’low.

      “Kill them.”

      China wouldn’t give us a grain of rice is they didn’t need to, and besides, we’re gonna have our own problems to deal with, on top of their expansionist aggression.

      Are you forgetting about India? How about the rest of Asia? Africa?

      It’s everyman for himself, in about 10 years, dude.

      •∆•
      V-V

  • genidma July 14, 2015 on 7:25 pm

    On the topic of, ‘Guaranteed minimum income’. (GMI)

    First of all, this idea is just floated. It’s not to say that this idea should not be floated. It absolutely must be floated.

    But the likelihood and probability of this idea evolving into something can be increased, by having a somewhat advanced version of this plan introduced into the collective consciousness. It’s kind of like the idea of bitcoin, vs someone coding the thing in their closet for 10 years and then releasing it. Which one would you think would have a much higher likelihood of adoption?

    Right now, GMI just kind of sounds like, let’s consolidate all social assistance programs and give everyone some amount of money so that they can go shop at Walmart (and not create problems – that’s the unsaid part).

    That actually sounds pretty bad. It sounds like socialism and when say Technological Socialism, then it sounds like Technology is helping bring about Socialism.

    No over the decades, Technology could invariably help bring about an equilibrium. But we are not there yet. I mean, we are barely started. So I think we need to be careful about not just how we word certain terms (like Technological Socialism) but also on how we wish to introduce certain ideas into the collective.

    Now, by itself, Guaranteed minimum income, is not a bad idea, at all. But it’s not a panacea. But, since what we’ve been discussing is a systems issue. Leveraging the sum-total of these ideas:
    – Requires creativity and systems-thinking (amongst many other things).
    – It also requires for us to use language and use it in such a way that our ideas and proposition gets us a) engagement b) a receptive audience c) increases the likelihood that we can convert the willing and help change hearts and minds. And we do that by being transparent and saying it as it is. Which is really being transparent.

    Now, for GMI to work, we’d need to go back to that planning that I’ve been referring to.
    – What is the problem (define the problem)
    – What is the plan?
    – How long will it take to implement the mission/objectives in order to achieve the goals?
    – Where does GMI fit into the picture?
    – Is GMI a temporary measure or a permanent fixture. Is it good for civilization in the long run? Do we need to deconstruct it in a future sense? If so, how do we do that without causing any disruption in the earthly construct.
    – What is the intended consequence of implemented GMI. Will we end up creating two classes of society? Is that a good thing? What is the impact of such a model on innovation, creativity, the invention of new technologies. Will GMI be a net negative force when it comes to humans and our ability to continually uncover secrets amongst the (potentially different) dimension(s) of space tim.
    – How do people move from one type of society to another?
    – How does inheritance work in such a society? What if the inheritors continue inheriting the money earned by their fore-fathers/mothers and it creates a class of society that feels entitled. How is that good for Democracy and Human rights?

    So as you can see, many different ways to look at GMI.

    • genidma genidma July 14, 2015 on 7:26 pm

      (Continued as the comment was too long)

      Next and for GMI to work, we’d need to marry it with other things. GMI, by itself is not enough. At the bare minimum we need:
      – Alternate forms of monetary systems and alternative forms of societies and living (Jeremy Rifkin’s model and also Brewster Kahle’s model of a completely open-source society comes to mind). If a group wants to live in a commons kind of a model, then we should experiment with that model. Similarly, if a town decides that the model by which they will operate is going to be completely open-sourced, then the means and abilities for the town to be able to self-govern that way must exist. The problems when it comes to these designs will be lack of conformity with the designs as they would have been implemented by a centralized form/authority (governance). But this is where AI could help with the translation. We can experiments with such models and still have it be part of a centralized system. Unless the centralized system of Governance is scientifically proven to be ineffective when it comes to the means and provisions, when it comes to architecting and designing the future. In that case we’d had to move to a decentralized model of sorts.
      – Rise of the sharing economy.
      – Shrinking the workweek.
      – Job-sharing. Where 2 or more workers can seamlessly perform the work that was previously performed by one worker.
      – Enabling newer forms and modes of transportation. More free time will equate to more leisure and people would want to spend more time outdoors.
      – Re-designing the urban landscape. We’d want the population to be fit, healthy, engaged and for them to be doing quests. If, in a future sense, we end up decoupling meaning from work (autonomy/pupose/mastery) then we need something else that would help fill that void. Learning alone will not be enough. So there must be activity. And here, I propose that re-designing the urban landscape could help us not only keep the individual and society fit. But that there could be meaning tied to it. So instead of meeting someone for the first time, the conversation would change from ‘what do you do’ to ‘what do you do and how and what kind of quests have you completed’. Now, we do not want the sudden availability of free-time to result into a reality whereby humans become lazy. That’s not good for the individual’s physiological and cognitive state. And even if in a zero-marginal cost society the costs of providing healthcare to the masses goes down to zero, we simply do not want humans to languish and suffer in healthcare facilities in their old age. A keen focus on re-designing the urban landscape can help us in bringing these numbers down substantially. Now, by re-design I simply do not mean just changing the physical aspect of how a city would be. Although I do have a lot of ideas on what a city(ies) of the future must be like. I mean I get excited, just thinking of the possibilities that synthetic biology could power in a near future state. Cities that heal themselves, to individual bio-syntehtic organic pods that you could safely and comfortable sleep in, that just grow on the side of a trek. The possibilities are endless. But by design, I mean how the city looks/feel/functions and how it works in the background in order to increase the happiness quotient of each one of it’s inhabitants. If your friend has been sad for 3 weeks in a row, then you should know. If a citizen has been stuck in this negative state of mind for an elongated time, then someone should also know. Noise pollution is reduced and there are means for nipping conflict in the bud. Coming back to the quests and it’s something I’ve been thinking about. Within the city and throughout it’s periphery you have these quests. A merger of the real world and the virtual world. Citizens complete physical tasks on an individual and collective basis. Anyone can run a quest anytime. These quests evolve and adapt, they serve a variety of functions, from educating the individual, enabling team-spirit and also teaching a lot of other useful skills along the way (Co-operation, respect, inclusion e.t.c). Each time the citizen completes a quest or part of the quest, then it is recorded via a tracker that they wear (not unlike Fitbit or Up by Jawbone). So the Quests, again change in their appearance. It could be a total physical quest and no or very little technology working in the background or these could be these hybrid quests. The hybrid quest is where we could experiment. For example, if a construct (civilization) needs something and we do not have the means to be able to provision it within the construct today, then what we do is that we breakdown the problem into it’s constituent pieces and then introduce them through the Quest. We then check and see how progress is being made in order to be able to come up with creative sub-constructs in order to be able to solve the problem. I can keep talking about this, but basically this could serve as a pretty significant way of providing meaning. I mean, if food/water are abundant, anything can be provisioned using advanced 3d printing and in the words of Professor Nilsson (quoting Wassily Leontief) and I am paraphrasing them both here “Technological progress is helping us slowly and steadily get back to a paradise like state”. Then in light of this reality, I think that a substantial portion of our time should be redirected towards play and not just acquisition of knowledge. So the conversations will also change and by architecting the construct we can also help train the kind of leaders we will need for future, real-world and outer-world quests. I think what we should do is to look at the urban designs that Jacque Franco has come up with and then figure out how to enable quests as a part of these designs. Quests can be a huge and exciting part of the human constructs in the future. And with the right architecture, their design can serve an unlimited number of important functions and provide benefits to society.
      – Next and coming back to GMI, the ability to provision open channels is a big need. By this, I mean that there must be means for training and teaching everyone who would like to improve upon their skill-set. In a near-future state and in light of the possibility that AI will continue making inroads into all segments of society and in this case the education sector. This opens up the possibility for us to train everyone and as many people who would like to be trained on a variety of different skill set. So this, like the other topics is a conversation by itself. But from a systems point of view, there are going to be areas that machines may not be so good at and that humans or a combination or humans and machines excel at. So we can gamify the constructs to be able to deliver upon those unmet requirements. Obviously for this to occur, education would be free. But education is going to be more than just free in a near future state. It is going to be dynamic, engaging and real-time with a core focus on stuff learnt and realizations that will be had. If there is going to be employment, whether it’s here on earth or some where else, then everyone should have an equal and honest shot at upgrading their skill set and for shooting for the stars. The use of AI also entails that we can re-architect the education system in such a way that it caters to everyone, including those with certain disabilities, including but not limited to enabling the delivery of education in different format (For example if someone has dyslexia, then they can just watch the video version of the same educational program e.t.c)
      – I mentioned Quests, but health and fitness related facilities should be widely accessible and available.
      – I still have this whole series of thoughts that ties GMI and why enabling the bottom two pillars of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in an automated and cost-efficient (almost free way) is necessary for GMI to be successful. The bottom two pillars, for those who are wondering are Physiological and Security. In the realm of Physiological and thinking food/water/housing/clothing, my main thought is that the industries related to these areas must be completely disrupted so as to bring down the cost of producing the good (and services) in these areas by 99%. This does not seem like a hard to achieve goal, because of the rapid advances that technology is making in the realm of materials science and 3d printing and how that is now revolutionizing the way construction occurs. In a future state, the ability to make anything, including giant/monolithic structures and buildings is an actual possibility. Next, biology at it’s very basic is chemistry. This is evident today, as with the emergence of companies like ‘Modern Meadow’ (meat) and ‘Muufri’ (dairy products). By encouraging the development of companies like these and incentivizing the growth of other companies that help provide for the services within the two pillars I mentioned. By doing that, we can ensure that the funds as they are released by the GMI are not depleted for just sustenance of the human needs. Today, a significant portion of a paycheque (in an industrialized economy) is used for housing/car/insurance and food. The thing is that once these industries are disrupted, that the quality of product that the new incumbent would produce should be equal if/not greater in terms of its quality output and it must also provide the other benefits such as ethical ways of growing food/substantially less carbon footprint/no loss of habitat (for example burning forest for pasture) e.t.c. A healthier population would force the insurance companies to lower premiums for a substantial percentage of the population. Ideally, we want to adopt the grok mindset (primal living) and I read this in a book called ‘Primal living the 21 day transformation for changing your body and your life”. By the way, this thing works as I’ve shed 15 lbs in <a month and a half. But anyways, what you want is to 'Live long | Drop Dead'. Why shove all the processed food, trans-fat, sugar through your system, when you know it's going to make you sick. Anyhow, a whole bunch of ideas here on the pillars (Maslow's hierarchy).

      So many other ideas on how to leverage a systems-thinking approach towards making sure that GMI will work. It will work for the individual, for society and for civilization.

      I actually hypothesized how a day or two would look like in a future sense. I thought of these fictional characters and it looks like a pretty awesome lifestyle. Eating healthy, getting a lot of exercise and still having a lot of time for play, while at the same time being engaged in the kind of work that the individual is interested in. Having more time to spend with loved ones, more leisure, more time for creative endeavors. Lunch with your loved one more than once a week and then just take the rest of the day off. More sigh-seeing, more quests!. More stable relationships. More happiness. Maybe in a future state I will share the 'day in the life of a series'. But right now I've gotta go.

      Cheers!

  • SweetDoug July 16, 2015 on 10:12 am




    ———————————————————————————————————
    This jobless future will surely create social problems — but it may be an opportunity for humanity to uplift itself. Why do we need to work 40, 50, or 60 hours a week, after all? What if we could be working 10 or 15 hours per week from anywhere we want and have the remaining time for leisure, social work, or attainment of knowledge?
    ———————————————————————————————————

    Because, there not only won’t be much work, who said we’re all gonna give up working 40 hours a week and share what’s left?

    I sure as hell won’t be, if I don’t have to.

    The model will be, I’ll be working 40 hours a week and most people won’t be.

    Sucks, but it’s the ol’ human nature.

    How will the underemployed ‘earn’ ENOUGH income to provide the basic amenities—food, shelter, et cetera—when 20-40% of the population maybe be unemployed, beginning on an ascending curve, in about 3-5 years, increasing over the next couple of decades?

    Without MASSIVE deflation, the answer is… They won’t be.

    You mention this concept in the first paragraph, but fail to address is in any adequate manner. This is what is going to CRUSH the economies.

    This is more of this goofy, utopian, StarTrekian TNG bunk.

    What jobs are we all going to be doing for 15 hours a week?

    Crickets…

    Hanging macrame lion art? I don’t want yours either.

    Programming or coding? Nope, ‘bots got that one covered soon, too.

    The future doesn’t need you.

    I just showed a buddy of mine, the bricklaying robot that did one every 12 seconds about back in May, about 300 per hour.

    Then I saw the newer model that does a 1000 an hour!

    Bricklaying, is GONE in 3-5 years. GONE.

    End.
    Of.
    Debate.

    Where are those guys going?

    Into other trades?

    And carpenters are toast, with 3D printed buildings in 3-5 years.

    The whole logisitics and transportation field is 80% toast in 10 years.

    That’s 16% of the employment in the US.

    The lucky ones, will have jobs, getting edjumacated in the new tech but the rest of the sclubs?

    Bread and circuses will rule, until the ruling elite—Me!—get tired of your fornicating, drunken, entitled hordes, demanding more and more, which I must pay for.

    Then I will move to have you sterilised, nicely at first, then forcefully.

    After that, I’ll just kill you off.

    Wow. Did I just say that out loud?

    Mao did, back in the 60’s.

    Seemed like a good model back then, so I’m sure the filthy Chinese won’t mind using it again.

    (And actually, that’s not me. That’s virtually every kid 17-23 that I’ve talked to, laying out the scenario, which they have NO @#$%ing IDEA is coming, the ramifications of those driverless cars and such, that end up telling me this very same scenario. They walk away just ashen faced.)

    That’s the big problem: The transition. We simply won’t and don’t need all the people we will have, and continue to have for the next 40-120 years as the population is cut down.

    And don’t you love the lines coming out of the news in China on robots, about how the ‘bots are there to ‘help alleviate the labour shortage’?!

    Uh-huh…

    Yeah… Labour shortage in China.

    Think about the Orwellian subterfuge on that one and you can see where this is all going to end.

    “Badly” might be a hint…

    Humans Need Not Apply
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU

    Here’s to hopin’ I’m wrong.

    •∆•
    V-V

    PS. Me? I’m thinking horrifying Orwellian, socialist dystopian nightmare, at best, but then again, I’m an optimist about this stuff…

    • genidma SweetDoug July 17, 2015 on 8:18 pm

      1. No one knows what the future of work really is going to be. Also, it really depends on what timeframe you are talking about. Right now, the need is to have a debate about such issues. To be able to define the problem and to look at the sub-problems and do a good job of wrapping our minds around the topic of automation and it’s potential impact on the labour markets within each one of the Geographical regions and collectively around the world.

      2. The issue of resource distribution has also been discussed on this forum. Various ideas have been suggested from GMI (Guaranteed Minimum Income), to shortening of the work week, job sharing and a combination of the above mentioned ideas and then some more.

      3. Resource distribution need not be tied to work. Specially if the process by which the human constructs artificially inflates the labour pool so that resources could be distributed. With the rise of the middle class all over the world and the subsequent requirement for a protein based diet. Such a model could be contributing to the erosion of the forests (for grazing/pasture) and may very well be the leading cause of climate change.

      4.So if resource distribution is not tied in with the definition of work, then how best can be distribute resources in a fair an equitable way?

      5. Such a move need not look like Socialism. By focusing on the base (two) pillars of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the industries that support these pillars can and should be distributed so as to bring the price of these commodities down substantially. The base pillars being Physiological (food/water/clothing/air e.t.c) and security (including financial security in the form of GMI).

      6. It is important to focus on bringing down the price of commodities by a significant percentage. 95% or higher, compared to the price of commodities that support these base pillars today.

      7. Make education free and make it dynamic, interactive and catering to the needs of the individual, leading all the way up to catering to the needs of the construct and not just the society. The education system of the future should be widely accessible, again – it must be free and it should be designed in such a way so that we get the ideal distribution of talent that is required for the maturation of certain new-age industries

      8. The list of new-age industries that will come about it almost never-ending. Here’s a very brief snapshot and in random order: Space related industries once the frontier is opened up – colonization – mining – tourism – settlements, materials science, mega construction projects, evolution of robotics in it’s infinitely diverse forms, synthetic biology, life sciences, nano-technology powering unimaginable possibilities, new ways of growing our food, a keen focus on improving lives in the third world, a keen focus on improving lives in the developing world and there are monetary gains to be made here as 80% of the wealth will reside in these areas within the next 30 years – according to OECD projections.

      9. Higher evaluations and the creation of trillion dollar economies will push civilization forward. The capital will help power sub-constructs that not only ensure that the continuity of civilization is possible but that the standard of livings of all earthly inhabitants are improved. Asteroid mining is just one of the many such economies that is believed to be the first trillion dollar economy from it’s very inception (Source: Wikipedia).

      10. Massive deflation in a short amount of time where it disrupts a lot of things may not be a good thing. But, deflation is not a bad thing, specially if the deflation is occurring in areas that are related to the base pillars of the hierarchy of needs (Maslow’s). Meaning, a $30,000 tiny house that a friend of mind has been working on designing and developing for a coupe of years now can be made widely accessible on low monthly mortgage rates, abundance of meat and dairy products thanks to companies like ‘Modern Meadow’ and ‘Muufri’ and many such examples.

      11. You mention China and you must realize that there is a benefit to the rise of the manufacturing sector in China. That it makes more physical goods accessible to more people around the world than ever before. That disruption on a finite time scale, when it relates to the in the supply/chain cycles within China is going to cause massive inflation and there may be shortages of a lot of basic household goods.

      12. What jobs are you going to be doing for 15 hours a week you ask? Have you ever had that feeling that you were in the ‘zone’. That things were gelling together and you were getting stuff done like a machine? Well, that my friend is called ‘flow’. Today and this could be due to the fact that the way we design work is not geared towards getting ideal cognitive output. But that, really should be the focus, to design the future of work in such a way that we get engagement, mindfulness and that we get that flow. So in that respect the future of work isn’t really going to be that different, but the 15 hours that you are going to spend at work is the time where you are going to be really engaged. Thus increasing your happiness quotient. That’s just one of the many ways of re-designing the future of work.

      13. Programming or coding is not going away, at least not for the next couple of decades. Even if a breakthrough would emerge where a machine had the ability to be able to code a solution based on the requirements that were presented. It will be a while till this technology would work it’s way through the human construct. However, when that was to happen, then we would not having this conversation. The truth is that there is a massive massive need for talent right now and in mid to long term (20 to 30 years). Quoting a leading venture capitalist ‘“Our companies are desperate for talent. Desperate. Our companies are dying for talent. They’re like lying on the beach gasping because they can’t get enough talented people in for these jobs.”

      14. Mao Zedong, being a crazy and brutal despot from the past, does not, in any way have to do anything with improving lives in China today. Communism due to it’s very authoritarian nature and it’s propensity for kiboshing all dissent may be the most regressive and retrograde system in the human construct. But that does not mean that collectively speaking the Chinese people today are incapable of making decisions grounded in empathy and ethical decisions at that. As evidenced in almost all the developments since the summer of 89, there is a desire to have democracy and freedom in China. Why don’t you ask the kids at Tiananmen Square, was fashion the reason why they were there? However and unfortunately, there also exists in China a massive machinery that works relentlessly in order to silence the collective dissent. If you engage with the young people in China and engage with empathy, then you will hear the honesty. That there is a desire to change, but no one knows how. The change in China, just like change in any other part of the world, can only come from within. But it could use external help. The best thing for China, Asia and perhaps the world at large would be for China to set the platform that will allow it to transition towards a free and democratic form of governance over a 8 to 10 year time period. Also, next time, please do not use prejudiced language. It only makes others not wanting to reply back to your comments. Specially when you do that using making made up pseudonyms.

      15. The future is largely dependent upon a) our imagination b) deliberate planning in order to be able to unravel secrets and open up new frontiers and c) the will to act, improvise and improvise in the face of all setbacks. The easy route hurts. If you are going to let the limbic part of your brain get a hold of your thoughts, then you will only focus on things that appeal to the senses of anger, fear e.t.c This is not conjecture, this is 3.8 billion years of evolution. So, in a way, there is a need to engage more and more of our neocortex and to think of rational, creative and intelligent solutions to the problems that exist within the human construct.

      16. The problems exist. There is no denying that problems exist. However and based on what we know, a problem or a series of them has/have not existed in the Universe to which there is/are no solution(s).

      17. On the topic of transition. Imagine, if a human was suddenly transported from the type of world that existed 1000 years ago, to the world today. This individual would be shocked to see that almost everyone lives like a king. There is abundance of food, water, shelter, clothing. Humans can control the climate around their surroundings and that they have created constructs in order to keep themselves safe. Also that 90% of the populace is not engaged in the profession of agriculture. That there are machines that help improve human lives, that there are flying machines and even the ones that take us to the moon and beyond. Similarly, if we were to look back 100 years out from now, it would seem ridiculous that there used to be wars, that we did not focus on the expansion and colonization of the solar system at the very least – specially considering the enormity of the universe, that there was toil and drudgery and that we were indifferent towards it for so long, that we created constructs that made us unhappy and came at the expense of time we could have invested in play and towards learning, that humans used to slaughter animals for their dietary intake, that we came so close to extinction so many different times (climate change, other risks e.t.c). That empathy was not the parameter by which we judged our individual and collective actions.

      18. I don’t think that one can can oneself an Optimist and still believe that the future looks Orwellian and dystopian. I mean you could make a case and call yourself a realist, specially considering everything that is happening in the world today or has happened in the past 15 years. But that is if you go with the mind-frame that the present determines the future and the past governs what the present should be. However, the problem with that mindset and perhaps the limbic system has a little something to do with it, is that it is devoid of mystery and wonder. What if, what if we change this and change that. What if we shake hands instead of picking up the spear. What if we draw and dance and paint. What if we uncover the real meaning behind what is really wanted and what is being said. What if we can connect with each bother on a deeper level. These are all possibilities. Uncovering such secrets can help us in creating a beautiful world. If you want to reprogram reality then you have to understand it on a deeper level with everything that exists within it. The good, the bad and the ugly. However, when you go about reprogramming it, you then have a choice. You can do good or you can do bad. And there is nothing attached to that decision, it’s just that decision. So why not think good, do good and act good?

      19. That, there is a need for transparency in the human construct. Also a need to come up with much more humane constructs. So we need to rethink privacy, but also crime and punishment. We need neuroethics.

      20. The future does need you. We will come up with short term and mid term and long term solutions. The nature of work may change, the type of skills required will change, technology will make it’s inroads into every facet of our lives and aided by data it will help us in making better decisions. We will open newer frontiers and there will be abundance. The future looks remarkable considering the possibilities that can be powered.

      21. The opportunity presents itself and perhaps this is the once in a century, if not a once in a lifetime opportunity. For the first time in human history, we have the means, capabilities, opportunity and the technologies that can help us with the creation of new age industries and with the opening up of newer frontiers. However, in order to create such industries a co-operative human effort is required.

      22. Starting with the opening up of Space, the newer frontiers cannot be the domain of a nation, a group of nations. It belongs to all human beings. For all humans to use their creative and intellectual abilities (aided by AI and technology) in order to help safeguard the continuity of civilization and provide the means for our future generations to be able to live sustainable lives with the the least amount of, or no unwarranted chaos or suffering in the human construct.

      • Ultrawoman genidma July 20, 2015 on 4:42 pm

        Totally excellent!!! Well said!!! I couldn’t have said it better myself!!!

        • genidma Ultrawoman July 20, 2015 on 4:51 pm

          Thanks Ultrawoman! A collection of thoughts that are a work in progress.

          Cheers!

  • John Scarbrough July 27, 2015 on 11:30 am

    AHA! Another edifice built on the basis of assumptions that everything is already owned and having a j-o-b is the only way to survive. The premise then leads to such scare tactics as this article touts. What if everybody owned one of these robots so that each of us could send our robot to work for us. The we could have some of that free bubble-up and eat rainbow stew underneath a sky of blue!!! Hmmm…

  • Khannea Suntzu October 15, 2015 on 6:47 am

    One day we will all wake up from a bad dream and realize the cold war is over. That die we lay down both communism and capitalism and create something completely different and incomparably better.

    • genidma Khannea Suntzu October 25, 2015 on 9:51 pm

      Your suggestions are always short on details.

      What is it that you want to enable?

      Hopefully it’s not a smorgasbord or a Borg like group mentality.

  • ega July 22, 2016 on 9:14 pm

    “Almost every industry and profession will be impacted and this will create a new set of social problems — because most people can’t adapt to such dramatic change.”

    Almost every industry and profession were impacted by the personal computer and the Internet, between 1985 and 1900, but the economy adapted. Unemployment rate in 1985 was 7.2% but dropped to 4.0% in 2000.

    “If we can develop the economic structures necessary to distribute the prosperity we are creating”

    This sounds like a modern version of Marxism. Capital will accumulate in a few rich hands and so we must spread the wealth (by the dictatorship of the proletariat?) so we can live in a communist utopia where everyone can pursue one’s creative passions.

  • Louis Charles Morelli July 23, 2016 on 2:10 am

    The right prediction about this jobless world can not be made from a human perspective. As says Godel’s theorem: “Nobody inside a system can know the system”. The right prediction must be made from galactic plus genetic perspective. And it is possible for us to get these perspectives when we know the building block of both – the Matrix/DNA formula. So, let’s go:

    The whole technology for getting a total automation system – as the human social system – is existent and grateful in Nature. It was applied for organizing atoms into a building block of astronomic systems – the most possible perfect machine. We can see its configuration and anatomy in the models of Matrix/DNA. It is enough for us learning how it works and mimicking it with our disponible mater. How to produce all things with terrestrial atoms is enough learning about the genetic version of this formula – a lateral base-pair of nucleotides.

    But, the big human problem is the choice that we will need to make. We have two alternatives, two ways. One is the open door to our transcendence to a new more evolved shape; the other is an opened door to the “happy extinction”.

    The bad choice already was made by us, when we were our ancient non-living ancestor: this Milk Way. It is the choice going to such automated world where humans became stupid pieces of a perfect machine – the whole terrestrial biosphere. It is the way towards the Brave New World under the Big Brother.

    10 billion years ago, the matter in this universal region got its supreme goal: the most happy state of thermodynamical equilibrium. It got to be a perfect closed system. I have its entire description at my website. Food coming grateful to the mouth and the hermaphrodite shape turning on possible orgasmic pleasure 24 hours a day, eternally.

    But, the Universe has more powerful laws than this galaxy, such the entropic mechanism, which does not permit eternity of a provisory evolutionary shape. Them, happened the Fall, the “bits-genes-information” of astronomic systems falls to planetary surface and lift up as opened biological systems, plants and animals. Here we are.

    So, the automated world in unavoidable for getting to the two ways. The big hope we have now is about consciousness, which our ancestor never had. This new phenomena came from beyond the galaxy. We are just now 8 billion infant conscious genes trying to build an embryo of universal consciousness, but, the wrong choice can result in abortion. Or imprisonment of our still infant mind till the whole extinction of life in this planet.

    So, the key is about the world view, which will determinate what humans will do with their free time. If we keep the instincts that came from animals, and before them – from this astronomic system – we will have a happy end, as a stupid robot. Matrix/DNA world view is suggesting how we can go to our transcendence, building this embryo called “the Gaia’s intelligent super-organism”. You choose your destiny.