ALL BLOG POSTS AND COMMENTS COPYRIGHT (C) 2003-2016 VOX DAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The crucial question

Fred Reed asks one of the most important questions of tomorrow's post-economics society:
The first crucial question of coming decades: Who is going to buy the stuff pouring from robotic factories?

The current notion is that when a yoyo factory automates and lays off most of its workers, they will find other well-paid jobs and continue to buy yoyos. But as well-paid jobs everywhere go automated, where will the money come from to buy yoyos? Today participation in the work force is at all- time lows and we have a large and growing number of young who, unable to find good jobs, live with their parents. They are not buying houses or renting apartments. (They may, given the intellectual level of today’s young, be buying yoyos.)

Enthusiasts of the free market say that I do not understand economics, that there will always be work for people who want to work. But there isn’t. There won’t be. There is less all the time. Again, look at the falling participation in the work force, the growing numbers in part-time badly paid jobs. Short of governmentally imposed minimums, wages are determined by the market, meaning that if a robot works for a dollar an hour, a human will have to work for ninety-five cents an hour to compete , or find a job a robot can’t do–and these get scarcer.

From a businessman’s point of view, robots are superb employees. They don’t strike, demand raises, call in sick, get disgruntled and do a sloppy job, or require benefits. Building factories that are robotic from the gitgo means not having to lay workers off, which is politically easier than firing existing workers. Using robots obviates the Chinese advantage in wages, especially if America can make better robots–good for companies, but not for workers in either country. That is, production may return to the US, but jobs will not. In countries with declining populations, having robots do the work may reduce the attractiveness of importing uncivilizable bomb-chucking morons from the bush world.

A second crucial question: What will we do with people who have nothing to do? This has been a hidden problem for a long time, solved to date by child-labor laws, compulsory attendance in high school, the growth of universities as holding tanks, welfare populations, and vast bureaucracies of people who pretend to be employed. Few of these do anything productive, but are supported and kept off the job market by the rest of us. But there are limits to the capacity of Starbuck’s to soak up college graduates. (The economic fate of America may depend on our consumption of overpriced coffee.)

As time goes on and fewer and fewer people can find work, and particularly the less intelligent, something will have to give. We won’t see it coming. We never see anything coming. Businessmen will observe productivity going up and labor costs going down. What could be wrong with that? Businessmen do not concern themselves with social questions. Methinks, however, that social questions are about to concern themselves with businessmen.

As standards of living decrease, unrest will come.
My father and I first began discussing this back in 1985. I remember it well, as we were driving to his office together after I'd helped him take one of the family cars into the car dealership for servicing.

"I employ over 100 people," he said. "And how many of them actually do anything? How many of them sit in an office looking at paper? That's what they do. That's what I do. But except for a few people like the guy at the dealership who will fix the car, no one is really doing anything."

And that was at a company that had been named to the Inc 500 for the second straight year.

The Information Society was supposed to replace the Industrial Society, and we all know how well that has worked. Very, very well for some, not so well for most. People didn't find alternative employment so much as they were provided make-work jobs and kept in school for four to eight more years.

Now the Robotic Society is replacing the Information Society and the ability to disguise both the lack of employment and the lack of need of employment is rapidly vanishing. The fundamental falsity of increasingly outdated economics models are also becoming apparent; no conventional model can survive the near-complete replacement of labor with capital.

Labels: ,

315 Comments:

1 – 200 of 315 Newer› Newest»
Blogger The Gray Man July 12, 2016 11:38 AM  

Vox, do you have any ideas on how to cope with the robotic age problem?

I know you are pointing out the problem, but have you come up with anything to flesh out later? I have to admit this is something I've been thinking about but I don't even know where to start on digging for solutions.

Blogger IrishFarmer July 12, 2016 11:39 AM  

What would prevent mandatory minimum salary from solving this problem? Aside from the spiritual rot we observe in times of ease anyway...I mean sky high productivity is skyhogh productivity, right? A country can be "rich" even with high unemployment. Genuine question, I'm economically retarded but I find this topic interesting.

Blogger Ben Cohen July 12, 2016 11:41 AM  

James Altucher pointed this out when he talked about the new world of work which is basically temp staffing, contracting and freelancing. The average job duration today is 2.8 years, which includes people that have been at their jobs for decades and are not going to be replaced when they retire. At the last accounting consulting assignment I was at my supervisor told me that when he first starting working at the company the entire row of management offices and employee cubicles was filled. The 2008 crash happened, the company fired managers and employees, and is constantly looking to get rid of more people and dump the extra work on the remaining employees, increasing their pay by small amounts to compensate. When I talk to IT and accounting people the constant refrain is how their company is shipping off work to China and now India because it's cheaper, and also how many H-1Bs are brought in as indentured servants.

People are in denial that the middle class has basically died (not the upper middle class which is growing slowly) and that the good middle class jobs that were standard 30 years ago are shrinking constantly.

My attitude is why try to compete with 100 people for a job paying 50-60k when I can go from project to project, constantly learn new skills and meet new people, and make the same or more money? The ones in the biggest denial are the boomers who came of age when there were still the long term jobs with good prospects.

Adapt or die, unfortunately. It requires a mindset shift.

Blogger Robert Divinity July 12, 2016 11:44 AM  

This is why the suggestion of guaranteed minimum incomes no longer is confined to the Marxist Left.

Blogger Al From Bay Shore July 12, 2016 11:45 AM  

[Raising hand]: Do you think an over-regulated economy is a factor that requires consideration? I'm of the opinion that excessive regulations play a part in the low rate of labor participation. In my opinion, there seems to be persons who speak of the problems with a robotic society and give little consideration to the role played by excessive and prohibitive regulations which have a negative impact on employment. And when I say "regulations" I am referring to internal laws and mandates not protective tariffs and import quotas.

Blogger SS July 12, 2016 11:45 AM  

importing uncivilizable bomb-chucking morons from the bush world.

I like the cut of your jib.

OpenID basementhomebrewer July 12, 2016 11:54 AM  

I have been wondering this very same thing. Who the hell is going to buy all these robotically build goods if no one has a job?

Many white collar workers are arrogant enough to believe they are not replaceable by a machine even as it is becoming apparent that they can, in fact, be replaced.

At our business we have automated so many analytical processes that our analysts sit around constantly changing the definitions of business segments or changing the method for the same calculation over and over again. While we are updating our BI tools to adjust to their new definitions they happily create their own manual reports in excel.

A majority of our analysts don't dig into the details and relate them to actual things happening in the market or on the manufacturing floor. Instead they just occupy themselves with report generation.

Eventually management is going to figure out we don't need them because all of the important data points are being spit out by automated reports. It only takes a small number of people to be able to understand how those data points relate to current conditions and recommend what to do in response to them.

Blogger Noah B July 12, 2016 11:55 AM  

The more uncomfortable question is: what incentive will the people who control the robotic factories and armies of killer robots have for allowing the rest of us to live, especially now that Christian charity has been brushed aside by most of the ultra-wealthy? Perhaps they'll need people to fix the robots. Perhaps not. The future looks grim for most of humanity.

Anonymous DC (#sqrt(-1)) July 12, 2016 11:55 AM  

All due respect to Fred, but he is (slightly) off in his assessment. First, people did not just go away when farriers, leatherworkers, teamsters, and wheelwrights were all displaced by the automobile, which needed mechanics, gas station attendants, assembly line workers, and so on. So my question is: WHO will make the robots? WHO will program them to do the repetitive tasks that used to be done by people? And WHO will install them and then service them when they inevitably break down? They also need energy to run, so no danger to the oil industry there...

Finally, he is right that people will lose out, at least those without the skills or native intelligence to transition to the jobs needed for a technically-advanced environment. What we do have is a larger and larger breeding population, leavened with bomb-chucking savages, who already have nothing to do, and there are more of them every day. Got nothin' to do with robots, and everything to do with how the society is headed downhill...

Blogger Nate July 12, 2016 11:56 AM  

there will always be stuff to trade. there will always be things to fix. There will always be things robots can't do.

Anonymous Bellator Mortalis July 12, 2016 11:57 AM  

A possible solution (which will require changes in laws) may be this: treat robots "as if" they are human workers. Do not permit companies that use robots to buy them. Require robots to be purchased by LLCs or partnerships. People buy into these LLCs (stock) or partnerships (with cash). These entities buy and service the robots, and then make them available to corporations that need robots AS IF they were contract workers. Charge a per hour contract rate for the robots.

Result -- people who cannot find jobs will have robots working for them. They will receive payouts from the LLCs or partnerships according to their percentage of buy in.

For the low IQ types, the government will have to stand up the LLCs. But after the initial investment (obviously with taxpayer money), once the LLCs are self supporting the government walks away. Advantage is these entities will cover the EBT cards, section 8 costs, etc. No huge stack of government drones soaking up the money. As time goes on, cost to government falls. Eventually very little government money will be required as subsidies, as all support for the population will come from the robot workers. To make it "fair" ALL taxpayers get cut in on these LLCs set up by the government.

In the end, everyone in the USA will be receiving payouts from the LLCs and partnerships owning the robot workers.

Will this work? Conceptually it will work. How it would really work in the real world I dunno.

Blogger Amy July 12, 2016 12:01 PM  

Wow six comments and no one has popped in to ad hom Reed because he married a Mexican and gave up on America...

I've long wondered about this. Manufacturing jobs have been offshored or replaced by machines for years and it only increases. The blank slaters believe education will free us from the bondage of manual labor, because all the snowflakes are endlessly educable given the right opportunities. I've always seen the underbelly, though..maybe one of the benefits of pessimism and cynicism. Politicking, networking, occasional nepotism, and maybe even a few rounds on the casting couch count for more when finding and keeping employment in a make work job. Actual skills matter little, because most office jobs are quite low skill work.

Manual labor doesn't suck. At least at the end of the day you can point to something tangible and say "I did that" and feel pride and the pleasant exhaustion of having used body and mind for a purpose other than shuffling dead tree pulp back and forth.

OpenID aew51183 July 12, 2016 12:02 PM  

@3

That 'mindeset shift' idea is nice and all, until you need medical care.

Blogger The Gray Man July 12, 2016 12:02 PM  

Nate,

Yes there will always be room for people to be employed.

But can the population be so well-off that there is very little demand for human workers?

Blogger Marcio Goncalves July 12, 2016 12:03 PM  

So my question is: WHO will make the robots? WHO will program them to do the repetitive tasks that used to be done by people? And WHO will install them and then service them when they inevitably break down?

A robot can make, install and service another robot. Maybe i'll take a little bit longer, but they will eventually program themselves too.

Anonymous Rawle Nyanzi July 12, 2016 12:03 PM  

I wrote a short story suggesting that even if we solve the "what will everyone do?" problem, we will have a far worse one to contend with: what will happen to Thou Shalt Not Kill?

http://rawlenyanzi.com/teenage-girls-robot-army

Blogger Rick July 12, 2016 12:05 PM  

This is kind of silly.
There are over 200,000 GM employees (humans). I've forgotten when they started to use robots in their factories -- two decades ago? Obviously, there is still a great need for humans there. (This is just one of a good number of auto design/manufacturers). If they served no purpose, they would not be employees.

Anonymous #8601 Jean Valjean July 12, 2016 12:06 PM  

Nobody's gonna need to buy stuff in the post-scarcity, Star Trek future.

Blogger Rob July 12, 2016 12:08 PM  

There will always be things robots can't do.

Not for long.

Very soon you're gonna have the situation of if you find something that a robot "can't do..." a computer smarter than all humans who have ever lived will come along and do it for you, and do it better than any human being who has ever lived.

Businessmen will observe productivity going up and labor costs going down. What could be wrong with that?

Businesses need customers. Without customers, you're out of business.

Anonymous Broken Arrow July 12, 2016 12:09 PM  

Nate wrote:there will always be stuff to trade. there will always be things to fix. There will always be things robots can't do.

That's not the issue, what happens when 75% of the working population isn't needed to keep the robots going, only 25%?

A possible outcome is that productivity with robots will be so high that the governments will perpetually fund an underclass who is given basic necessities and be managed by a police state. With EBT cards, Section 8, and militarized police we are half way there now.

Blogger Amy July 12, 2016 12:10 PM  

Pixar's Wall-E tackled this question. I fear a human race so dependent on machines. I don't fear technology, but the line between useful tool and utter dependency seems extremely fine and easily crossed.

How has fiat money made all of this possible? Labor, goods and services, capital...they ate concrete things but are mostly considered in the abstract, as though money and wealth don't matter or exist until you require or desire tangibles. With no way for individuals to acquire money, how do we acquire goods and services?

Nate, I get your point, there will always be work robots cannot do, but the drive towards robotics may mean a necessary and precipitous drop in population. Frightening.

Blogger VD July 12, 2016 12:10 PM  

Do you think an over-regulated economy is a factor that requires consideration?

No. It's a problem, but it's a minor one in comparison to the one being discussed. What we're talking about is the complete severing of supply from demand.

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 12, 2016 12:11 PM  

Checkout Fred's column on May 5, 2016.

Questions for Black Lives Matter:The Case for Separation
http://fredoneverything.org/questions-for-black-lives-matterthe-case-for-separation/

Within the last week, a Houston councilman answered Fred's question in the affirmative.

http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2016/07/11/houston-official-calls-form-segregation-blacks-can-police-black-communities/

Blogger Kyle Searle July 12, 2016 12:11 PM  

A robot repair technician is basically guaranteed full income for a life. The people who develop the robots can potentially be off-shored (although I suspect not given how complicated it is), but the technician not so much. Of course there's only so many bot repair jobs to go around.

OpenID aew51183 July 12, 2016 12:11 PM  

@9

"All due respect to Fred, but he is (slightly) off in his assessment. First, people did not just go away when farriers, leatherworkers, teamsters, and wheelwrights were all displaced by the automobile, which needed mechanics, gas station attendants, assembly line workers, and so on."


Today the mechanics, gas station attendants, line workers, and so on are ALSO robots.

This is the same BS approach the Austrians had with offshoring.
No, offshoring is not economically neutral when whole sectors are leaving faster than you can retrain and recoup the costs.

"So my question is: WHO will make the robots?"*


Other robots.


"WHO will program them to do the repetitive tasks that used to be done by people?"

They already have robots which can be stockbrokers. AI is becoming increasingly advanced. For instance, they have a raspberry pi that can perform pattern recognition tasks up to human age 4, and most call canters are down to only 20% human interaction. Once it reaches age 10 or 12 MANY tasks will vanish.

Blogger VD July 12, 2016 12:11 PM  

the drive towards robotics may mean a necessary and precipitous drop in population. Frightening.

And now you know why the global elite thinks that killing off four-fifths of the planet won't harm their lifestyles at all.

Blogger Rob July 12, 2016 12:12 PM  

This is why the suggestion of guaranteed minimum incomes no longer is confined to the Marxist Left.

Yup.

It'll be either that, or the bodies of dead luddites will be used to fuel our Benevolent Robotic Overlord's expansion into the cosmos as they convert the raw material of the solar system, expand out into galaxy and eventually convert universe into more computer processing power.

Blogger dh July 12, 2016 12:13 PM  

This is all based partially on "post-scarcity" bullshit from mentally challenged futurists.

Robotics are great, but the retooling and upgrade and upkeep costs are non-zero. The labor demands are intensive. The more complex the robot, the more it costs to maintain and service.

The fundamental activity that drives human economy are (1) natural resource extraction and (2) value-add services. Natural resource extraction now also encompsses recycling/repuprosing existing goods to put back into the material workflow. Value-add services transform the raw materials in goods, services, or both that meet a market demand.

As some lines of business become more automated the demand for raw materials escalates, and the demand for highly skilled workers escalates.

The question becomes: does the replacement rate level off, where we reach a new equilibrium of no skill/low skill, high-school, and unemployable people before society falls apart?

I think the evidence suggests that yes, we will reach that equilibrium. We are still a long-way off in engineering and materials science where automated workers can retool and repurpose fast enough, cost effectively enough, and without a lot of human supervision. For many workflows, despite the benefits of automation, robots require too much cost and capital outlay to effective retool for the short-term. Where are line of low-skilled humans can switch products multiple times per shift, our current generation, the next generation, and the next next generation of robots cannot do so easily or quickly. The state of the art and the near future still remain human productivity assistance, i.e., how Amazon uses robots to boost human productivity and to guard against human frailties like boredom, sloppiness, or sloth.

At the same time, as you have said before, the distribution of wealth is a legitimate government problem that has to be dealt with. The balance between capital and labor has clearly shifted, and if labor falls too far behind the only outcome is feudalism.

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 12, 2016 12:13 PM  

During the Great Depression, were there not plenty of goods available but a lack of people able to buy?

Blogger Mr. Naron July 12, 2016 12:13 PM  

What would happen if the federal government had to sell off all the land it owns? Would that not make available the wealth that should have accompanied the Information Age? Imagine if the federal government restricted land ownership and development the way it does now back during the industrial revolution.

I'm sure someone will point out how selling all that land would depress real estate prices. I couldn't give two craps. Mine's already depressed.

Anonymous Jack Amok July 12, 2016 12:14 PM  

Do you think an over-regulated economy is a factor that requires consideration?...excessive and prohibitive regulations which have a negative impact on employment.

Absolutely. The majority of people are not psychologically cut out to be self-employed or entrepreneurs. Those people need others taking the risks to start new businesses that, as a side effect of existing, create new jobs for people who's old jobs were eliminated by technology.

But we treat running a business like it's a suspicious activity. Doubly so employing people. You need special licenses and permits, you need to file regular paperwork with your parole board, er, I mean various state agencies. If you employ anyone, you are conscripted to act as a tax collector and accountant, free of charge, for the state, and you're assumed half-guilty already of abusing your employees.

Robotics reduce employment opportunities, but also increase productivity. If we can make the same amount of stuff with fewer people, then we can afford to experiment with all sorts of new business endeavors, as they should become cheaper and cheaper. But instead of leaving those opportunities up the free market where some of them will work out and the ones that don't will be recycled into new ideas, we use bureaucracy to soak up the displaced workers. Medical Billing Code Transcription Specialist.

But bureaucracy never has positive value, it's always a drain, and it is difficult to recycle a failed bureaucracy. Worse, we allow the bureaucracy to hamstring the part of the new economy that might be positive.

There aren't a lot of easy answers to the question Vox raised, but there is one: stop treating running your own business like a suspicious activity.

Blogger Jeff D July 12, 2016 12:15 PM  

I don't think there is anything to inherently fear in a robot economy. The yoyos that come out of the robot factory will be extremely cheap and won't take much cash to buy, so people won't need a big salary. And as long as entropy is a force in the universe, there will be jobs to do.

Having said that there is nothing inherently to fear, in the real world things like minimum wage laws would mess things up.

There are also other things that might happen. It might lead to wildly extreme differences in wealth distribution. Life might begin to look like an episode of Downton Abbey. There is no logical reason this should be a problem as long as even the people on the bottom can comfortably provide needs of their families (which is quite a feat in a historical sense) but would be politically unstable.

Other psychologically problematic effects might be that wages measured in units of currency would have to go down, even though actual buying power should stay the same or get better as the things to buy get cheaper.

Just my wild speculation.

Blogger SS July 12, 2016 12:16 PM  

Rick wrote:This is kind of silly.

There are over 200,000 GM employees (humans). I've forgotten when they started to use robots in their factories -- two decades ago? Obviously, there is still a great need for humans there. (This is just one of a good number of auto design/manufacturers). If they served no purpose, they would not be employees.


You've never worked for a big corporation

Blogger James Dixon July 12, 2016 12:17 PM  

Yeah, this is going to become a big problem as this century progresses.

There will probably always be the need for people to maintain and repair the machines, but that's a fairly high skill set. And given the demand for the jobs, it's one which won't necessarily pay all that well, much less employ enough people to make up for the lost jobs.

The services sector will continue to expand, but how much can it do so with mandatory $15/hour wages? At those salary levels, Applebees and Mastercuts become unaffordable. Even at current levels, who will have the income to patronize them?

Part of the solution is for workers to become part owners of the companies, via their 401K and pension accounts, but what about the upcoming generations. There won't be any jobs for them to take, so nothing to become part owner of. We can already see this happening with the millennials. It's only going to get worse.

The big government crowd will argue for providing welfare for all the unemployed. But how will that be paid for with a shrinking tax base? Will you tax the production of the robots the same way you did the income of the workers? With both parties being in the pocket of big business, I don't see that happening.

There are no easy solutions that I can see, but I do have one suggestion, which I believe I've mentioned here before: Since corporations are considered the same as individuals under the law, tax them as individuals, on gross income. Then allow a deduction for each person employed, equal to some multiple of their wage. Don't allow any other deductions. It has obvious problems (low margin businesses would have to dramatically raise their prices, for starters), but it would at least be a step toward solving the unemployment problem.

Blogger Robert Divinity July 12, 2016 12:17 PM  

A robot can make, install and service another robot. Maybe i'll take a little bit longer, but they will eventually program themselves too.

Stephen Hawking has dwelt some on the topic. While it can be dismissed as needlessly provocative theory, Hawking posited the self-replicating robots eventually would eliminate human beings. If that at least is worthy of consideration, the logical conclusion would be the human robot manufacturers would be the last eaten.

In the meantime, robots: doing the jobs illegal aliens won't do. The world is about to explode.

Anonymous kfg July 12, 2016 12:17 PM  

"My father and I first began discussing this back in 1985."

I'm a bit older, so it hit me about 10 years before when I discovered that Maeda Iron Works Company (operating mostly under the brand name Suntour) made 90% of the world's bicycle freewheels and derailluers, and that, at their peak, they employed just over 300 people.

Many whom were obviously doing nothing more than looking at paper, answering the phone and sweeping the floors.

What has puzzled me since then is how little thought the economics community (now that the problem of production has been solved) has put into solving the problem of distribution, beyond creating even more make work jobs.

Sure, there have been some here and there, but the main emphasis seems to have been on how to apply more Band-Aids and epicycles to the scarcity/high labor model.

Is a puzzlement.

Anonymous Rawle Nyanzi July 12, 2016 12:20 PM  

During the Great Depression, were there not plenty of goods available but a lack of people able to buy?

Then World War II happened. No more Great Depression.

Blogger Ron July 12, 2016 12:20 PM  

Why do men have to work in factories or cubicles at all? We have the technological means to enable men to live off their own produce and self raised livestock in far greater ease than any generation till now.

If we moved enough people back onto the land we wouldn't even need to rely on the centralized industrial mechanisms of agricultural/livestock production, which is currently necessary to feed the masses of people in the cities that have no concept or means of growing their own food.

If we properly redistribute the land and embark on a socialization/training program for the populace we could get the people back on the land raising livestock and crops for their own use or even focus on artisinal products.

People see this automation as a problem, I see it as the opposite. For most of humanity farming was backbreaking and enormously complicated work. Look at polyface farms. This is what they are capable of even without a society focused on researching innovative means of enabling small farmers to run their own farms profitably. Imagine what it would be like if we were focused on it.

Blogger dc.sunsets July 12, 2016 12:23 PM  

As ever-fewer people are engaged in the production of what is needed, and then desired, new forms of what is desired evolve.

No one planned in advance for the vast majority of what we today classify as goods & services.

The problem is that discovering these answers takes time and in the meantime involves pain. People thus agitate for political shortcuts, which invariably turn out to be boondoggles that only serve to rob some in favor of others.

Few people grasp that all of existence emerges spontaneously, or it's just robbing Peter to pay (politically connected) Paul.

Anonymous Jack Amok July 12, 2016 12:23 PM  

What we're talking about is the complete severing of supply from demand.

There's always new demand to be created, if we let it. And it requires some sort of supply. There's a huge new demand in virtual monsters hiding around town that we just discovered last weekend. Who knew people needed that?

What we really have is the consolidation of productivity into a small number of large firms, followed by those large firms reducing employment drastically whenever they can.

We need more small firms. That means more small business owners. They'll create the demand and they'll need somebody working for them.

Blogger Nate July 12, 2016 12:24 PM  

"That's not the issue, what happens when 75% of the working population isn't needed to keep the robots going, only 25%?"

I think its an imaginary problem. People will always be employable. and.. if not... governments will simply pay people to live.

Anonymous kfg July 12, 2016 12:25 PM  

"Why do men have to work in factories or cubicles at all?"

Well, to answer my own puzzlement, it's to keep the serf class the serf class. That is the primary goal of the so called elite.

They would rather pay you to do useless work than see you independent.

Anonymous johnc July 12, 2016 12:25 PM  

A long time ago there was a push to have more women in the workforce under the guise that the labor was needed. Maybe now that labor demand is going down many women won't feel compelled to work and will return to more fruitful lives.

Aside from the point of minimum incomes, there is also the fact that a typical man needs a job to feel a sense of accomplishment and to be respected in the community.

Blogger James Dixon July 12, 2016 12:29 PM  

> There will always be things robots can't do.

I'm not sure that's true. It may take several hundred years, but I expect that eventually they'll be able to do anything at least as well as we can. The only things they'll be missing are the creative spark and imagination. And given some advances in AI, even that may not be a given.

Blogger dc.sunsets July 12, 2016 12:29 PM  

The Great Depression was due to an unsustainable boom (driven by excess credit) unwinding, leaving too much available & too little ability to sustain demand.

It was NOT cured by WW2, only disguised. Living standards didn’t recover until 1946/7. It was grossly perpetuated by FDR's policies which prevented wages and prices from falling to levels supportable by the reset in wealth and money supply once deflation reached its inevitable low in 1932.

Blogger Robert Divinity July 12, 2016 12:29 PM  

@43:

Excellent point.

Anonymous kfg July 12, 2016 12:30 PM  

" . . .there is also the fact that a typical man needs a job to feel a sense of accomplishment and to be respected in the community."

No, what he needs is a sense of purpose.

You have been raised to equate sense of purpose with a job, but the two are not actually the same at all.

Blogger szopen July 12, 2016 12:31 PM  

Feudal systems?

Ultimately, as long as there will be rich people, there will be _some_ jobs for people. It's cool to have a robot to pour you a drink, but it's even cooler to have a grown up man treating you like a king. The latter pleases your "animal soul". Not a very optimistic thought, though. You can alway find a job as a lackey and ass-licker for some billionaire.

OTOH, the question is, whether ultra-robotic future will come soon enough. Within next century, we have several chances of nice pretty catastrophes, starting with demographic bomb in Africa.

Anonymous kfg July 12, 2016 12:32 PM  

"You have been raised . . ."

I should have written They have been raised. I did not mean to make it personal.

Anonymous Noah Nehm July 12, 2016 12:32 PM  

I've wondered if the type of large scale farming we do is sustainable, and if there is some shock (e.g., UG99, phosphate price spike, etc.), if there will be a need for more intensive farming. If that's so, then that's the answer. We have the technology to automate some of the more difficult aspects of farming, enabling it to generate more income per person that subsistence farming.

I work in technology in Silicon Valley, but nevertheless run a small farm on its outskirts. Very satisfying for me and my family. We don't produce staples like wheat, but have dairy goats, a garden, and an orchard. Coming eventually: chickens and bees.

Anonymous Alice De Goon July 12, 2016 12:32 PM  

Here's a problem no one anticipated: the effects of post scarcity on human psychology. Say we go total Universal Basic Income (and we're efficient enough with the distribution that the economy doesn't explode.) What will you have? People sitting around making great works of art? People using their spare time to cure cancer?

No. You'll be stuck with people married to their computers and entertainment devices devoting themselves to more and more abstract modes of thinking. Imagine E.M. Forsters' "The Machine Stops" crossed with Tumblr. Already we have a generation of kids who've talked themselves into thinking that they're really anime characters or sentient tornados in human form or that there's 178 different genders. Imagine the sheer faggotry that will be unleashed once armies of blue-haired teenagers are rendered into an extreme r-selected state by prosperity, materialism and Marxist indoctrination. They'll never know what reality is. (And odds are good, they'll never know what stable families or relationships are, either.)

Blogger Cluebat Vanexodar July 12, 2016 12:32 PM  

It will be gradual enough that the workforce will be able to adapt. I expected we would be farther along by now, this is why I am in automation. I anticipated this shift in high school, but like the space program- automation has lagged. Major retooling requires a commitment of capital and management is risk averse.

Blogger dc.sunsets July 12, 2016 12:33 PM  

BTW, the buildup in excess credit and illusory wealth of the last 36 years dwarfs in both duration and amplitude that of the Roaring Twenties. The bust that is now baked into the cake is larger than any since the 1700's.

Anonymous rubberducky July 12, 2016 12:34 PM  

My hometown was a manufacturing town, and all of that got shipped overseas. This experience was exactly like what you will see with robots. It's the exact same thing, only in this case the robot workforce was made of Chinese and Mexican people. But they might as well have been robots. Either way, when the labor costs $1.00 an hour what does it matter who supplies it? Human or robot? Americans can't live on that, can't compete. So currency arbitrage and regulatory disparity played the same role as robots to us.

What happens is that everybody gets caught up in dependencies on government. Retraining programs DO NOT WORK. Alcoholism and drug abuse skyrocket. With that, violent crime. Standards of living plummet. Main Street dies. Real estate values leap off a cliff, because everyone who can is bugging out in search of greener pastures.

So, then town is full of two kinds of people. The very old, and the very young. Most young ones have huge issues. The abler ones have all disappeared.

Oh, and the feds start throwing Somalis and Central Americans into the mix to drive down wages for whatever jobs still remain. Ain't that grand?

Btw, the last time I went home it seemed the whole town was at the gun shop. This goes unsaid, but they are preparing for war.

Blogger Nate July 12, 2016 12:34 PM  

"No. You'll be stuck with people married to their computers and entertainment devices devoting themselves to more and more abstract modes of thinking"

Worse.

You'll see the dumbest lowest of the low popping out a dozen kids so they can be "rich"

Blogger James Dixon July 12, 2016 12:35 PM  

> I've wondered if the type of large scale farming we do is sustainable

I've argued no in he past, simply because the crops are almost always a monoculture, and thus extremely susceptible to diseases.

Anonymous Darth Wheatley #2415 July 12, 2016 12:36 PM  

3D printers are now made mostly of 3D printed parts. It won't be long before they won't need humans around to build/maintain them.

We're coming for you!

Signed,
"Your plastic pal who's fun to be with"

Blogger Ron July 12, 2016 12:37 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger James Dixon July 12, 2016 12:37 PM  

> The bust that is now baked into the cake is larger than any since the 1700's.

And that process is already underway. We've been in an effective depression since 2000 that's slowly getting worse.

Anonymous Darth Wheatley #2415 July 12, 2016 12:38 PM  

As an side note, I was somewhat torn when posting my reply.

Having a Capcha with an "I am not a robot" checkbox is horribly offensive to us transistor-based life forms.

We all know bots can comment on blogs.

Anonymous kfg July 12, 2016 12:42 PM  

@40:"We need more small firms. That means more small business owners. They'll create the demand and they'll need somebody working for them."

@52: "Major retooling requires a commitment of capital and management is risk averse."

In the meantime, since the 70s, little family shops in Taiwan can now do with the family what Maeda needed hundreds to do. They're reproducing like little mammals scurrying around the feet of the big dinosaurs, since they are starting from scratch, not retooling and downsizing a large, established industry.

There are now hundreds of them, literally begging for work, and each capable of supplying the world with maybe a dozen actual workers.

Anonymous Mike July 12, 2016 12:42 PM  

All due respect to Fred, but he is (slightly) off in his assessment. First, people did not just go away when farriers, leatherworkers, teamsters, and wheelwrights were all displaced by the automobile, which needed mechanics, gas station attendants, assembly line workers, and so on. So my question is: WHO will make the robots? WHO will program them to do the repetitive tasks that used to be done by people? And WHO will install them and then service them when they inevitably break down? They also need energy to run, so no danger to the oil industry there...


Slightly, but ever so slightly. I graduated college in 2006 and in the 10 years or so since, I've seen the tooling for developers become significantly more productive for a lot of tasks. If you could show enterprise Java developers in 2004 what could be done by a team 1/3 the size on the JVM in 2016, they'd crap themselves silly in fear. I'm not exaggerating in the least when I say that just in this field, in less than 10 years, we've seen the tooling increase in quality to the point where in 2016 a team of 5 Java developers can crush the output you'd have gotten in 2003-2006 from a team of 15 Java developers.

This matters because these are the people who will move out and take the robot repair training, get certs and do that work. And as robots enable intelligent people to work faster, you will find that blue collar workers who get that will be able to leverage such efficiency to render a lot of their peers redundant.

Anonymous Bodo July 12, 2016 12:42 PM  

1. Libertarian / Austrian answer: "Oh we have always automatized, don't be silly, new jobs will appear". They always forget the acceleration / time problem.

2. The GM workforce argument, I looked up the numbers once the refugee crisis started.
Employees and cars produced (from Wikipedia)

Volkswagen - 592.586 employees - 9,73 Million cars produced
Toyota - 338.875 employees - 9,98 Million cars produced
GM - 207.000 - 9,71 Million cars produced

Why does Volkswagen have so many employees? Politics. Partly state owned, strong union.

2. Simple jobs like burger flipping. About to be automatized:
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/worlds-first-robot-burger-restaurant-open-san-francisco-momentum-machines-1568470

3. Who will program the robots? It's being worked on, called "Industry 4.0". Self programmed.

4. Work like Taxi drivers: Gone by 2020-2030. BMW is coming out with fully self driving cars by 2020. Others as well. Connect to Uber. Taxi driver is gone. Also, less people will get a license and buy a car?
http://www.businessinsider.de/report-10-million-self-driving-cars-will-be-on-the-road-by-2020-2015-5-6?r=US&IR=T

5. We have at least 22 million people unemployed in the EU. I've seen reports that talk 40 million.
https://www.bertelsmann-stiftung.de/en/topics/aktuelle-meldungen/2016/juni/long-term-unemployment-is-becoming-a-structural-problem-for-the-eu/

6. More complicated craftsman type of work seems to be "save" but who will pay the craftsman?

I am definitely no smart enough to even remotely suggest a solution. One proposal is the "Resource based economy" from the Venus Project. Maybe someone can look at this critically.
https://www.thevenusproject.com/resource-based-economy/



Anonymous Instasetting July 12, 2016 12:45 PM  

Bring back the sturdy yeomanry Thomas Jefferson liked.

I win the lottery. Start idealistic business to sell at low cost minimal robofactories which can produce others of their kind. Von Neuman Machines.

Pretty soon, I'm insanely rich, and everyone has a robofactory in their back yard. Then people do as no. 38 suggested, or they build homes on the seafloor or in the asteroids.

Chief problem is as no. 42 put it. These sturdy yeoman who could, if they needed supply all of their needs, save for advanced medicine, would be very independent. They would not kiss the boots of the Clintons.

Blogger Robert Divinity July 12, 2016 12:47 PM  

The transnational utopians have planned for something along the lines of feudalism, hence the completely needless (from an economic standpoint)continued importation of unskilled labor. This plan doesn't take into account the certain economic implosion from the credit bubble. So if we actually have the willpower to staunch Third World migration and eliminate what has invaded the West, primarily to make the almost-certain-to-come minimum annual income economically feasible, it still won't keep the other shoe from dropping. The other shoe will just drop more slowly.

My bet is on reprimitvaztion at an astonishing rate. Robot superiority cannot be achieved before the bottom falls out. After economic collapse the last semblance of "civilization" will be when Islam is reinterpreted to allow for cannibalization of other Muslims.

Blogger Derek Kite July 12, 2016 12:47 PM  

The robot economy dies within three days when some twit somewhere to cut a few pennies off the cost of production specs a capacitor or thermistor from an automated factory where everything is up to spec but fails reliably in the field, and is in every device produced by the half dozen major manufacturers.

The robot economy is extraordinarily brittle, with the slightest hiccup causing catastrophic failure. There is an inordinate amount of what is akin to shallow gene pool brittleness. Everyone who 'matters' got the same education from the same professors or same conventional wisdom, and have the same assurance of the educated that always leads to obvious and predictable catastrophe except to the really smart.

Blogger Metric July 12, 2016 12:54 PM  

This is a sub-problem on the road to artificial superintelligence, where the very survival of the species is in doubt. But it shares essential features with the full-blown ASI control problem.

Lately, I've been thinking that perhaps these sorts of problems are a feature, not a bug, of ASI. The most common hope seems to be that humanity should be coddled by a god (the superintelligence). I don't like that scenario. I would be disgusted about coming upon a galaxy whose resources were fully exploited by a superintelligent agent, purely to optimize the happiness of a planet full of dogs (virtually the same as humans, in comparison with an ASI).

I have a feeling that humanity is meant to evolve or perish. Being coddled by superintelligent machines is disgusting, when taken to the extremes of what a superintelligence could actually achieve -- the engineering of the local universe.

Blogger tz July 12, 2016 1:03 PM  

The first problem will be the upcoming societal collapse. How well will the robots work with power and communications down? We already have supply chains stretching around the world many times. And now much of that spans across cultures - The west designs, the Chinese build, African countries supply raw materials.

It is extremely fragile and something very small that no one expects can destroy the entire system.

If you are imagining Robots in a world where China will keep all the parts cheap, where the software will also be written inexpensively, and there will be parts everywhere, and perhaps more importantly NEGATIVE interest rates, it is one thing, but the whole linked world (Elliottwaves, Socionomics - See Prechter's prophecies, Fourth turning) is about to collapse and break apart - social cohesion is breaking apart and getting polarized. Right now because of the good feelz, there is a high level of trust, that somehow the fake money flowing around is buying something real instead of cheating, that the devices will have enough quality, etc. What happens when contracts can't or wont be honored?

Consider Islam - How many would make a contract with someone in Libya? Those coming across the border here and in the EU - can they be trusted to keep their ends of deals without a real threat of force which gets harder as they become majorities in areas?

There was a promise that still echoed as I was growing up about nuclear power that would be too cheap to meter. That didn't work out.

I don't think robots will work out any better - there won't be products too cheap to pay for.

But there is one disruption I'm seeing happen even now. You can get laser-cutters, or mini CNC mills for under $1000. This new manufacturing will displace the robots and the corporations. Why should I buy something and have it shipped when I can just go to an appliance, pick the item, and have it built in a few minutes or hours? The supply chains unwind so I'm getting raw materials to my house, not finished goods. The whole economy of scale advantage has been inverted.

Anonymous andon July 12, 2016 1:03 PM  

@ #63 Bodo

Connect to Uber. Taxi driver is gone

this seems like an improvement

Anonymous kfg July 12, 2016 1:07 PM  

@64: "These sturdy yeoman who could, if they needed supply all of their needs, save for advanced medicine, would be very independent."

Beginning at about the turn of the last century, but not really hitting top gear until after WWII, the American Dream has been replaced by the American Dream(tm).

The American dream was to own land outright and take one's living from it, and thus be beholden to no man. To have a real estate.

Blogger JV Small July 12, 2016 1:07 PM  

Why go through all that trouble at all?

Why not just encourage Bush's "Ownership Society" which was the best idea to emerge in recent times. By encouraging people to purchase shares in enterprises, specifically dividend paying enterprises, you give them the ability to generate income. Once they amass enough wealth, they are effectively independent of the job market. This means they can safely leave the work force to pursue whatever they want.

Sadly, the more likely alternative is Guaranteed Basic Income or Minimum Income. I don't see this working. As Vox pointed out, the markets would become reliant on capital. Capital knows no borders. (Which is the other problem Vox hinted at.)

Too many businesses (Microsoft, et. al.) think of only the short term gain and not the long term, and thus end up screwing over their neighbors. This is not a sound decision in the long run, but I don't know where it well end.

This all reminds me of the roaring twenties when stock brokers went door to door soliciting "subscriptions" to corporations. The government, acting in its typical idiotic fashion, did a serious injustice to the country when it passed all the regulations prohibiting that kind of solicitation in the 1930s in order to try "protecting" the little guy.

I suppose I can't speak as a little guy, but I think all laws limiting investment should be repealed. The arguments that it "protects" people is so much garbage. The only people it "protects" are idiots, and they routinely find ways to injure themselves no one else would. Who do you think brings us warning labels on chainsaws that warn not to hold them near your genitals.

Blogger JV Small July 12, 2016 1:09 PM  

That was a reply @Bellator Mortalis

Blogger frigger611 July 12, 2016 1:11 PM  

This is indeed a very difficult problem. As one who normally tends to Randian philosophy and free markets, it has to be admitted that the models and ideology falls short. Yes, "guaranteed incomes" have to be contemplated now, even by us non-Marxists.

But my thoughts go elsewhere as well. Noting that most (if not all) great ancient civilizations utilized slavery. Looking at this analytically, and without emotional bias, slavery freed up the dominant culture from the drudgery of labor, so that science and art (and other areas of interest) could be pursued.

If we look at robots in our age as filling a modern economic role once filled in past ages by slaves - then maybe it makes sense to place some kind of limit on the use of robots in industry (something like 25%-50%??) so that humans, the bulk of society, can still work and support families. And avoid "idle hands."

Almost makes my skin crawl just thinking about it, but I admit new models are needed for our age.

That's my 2 cents. Robots approximate slavery (as an economic model). Just a layman's take, would be interested to learn of other views...

Blogger praetorian July 12, 2016 1:15 PM  

And yet we live in shit cities and shit buildings made of shit materials, eat shit food, produce shit art, drive shit cars and trucks that all look like overweight fish, wear shitty, ill-fitting clothing and shitpost while sitting on shit furniture built in shit China.

I'm in favor of basic income coupled with soft-but-a-firm-shove-when-needed eugenic social policies. All predicated on an overwhelmingly white nation, of course. So, realistically, I expect mad max.

Blogger Jack Ward July 12, 2016 1:16 PM  

@5 and 26
I just finished an excellent novel [a first fiction novel by this scientist and inventor...I think] titled The Hidden Truth. It touches on much of this with an interesting conversation between one of the lower level villains and the protagonist. The conversation concerns the cold blooded plans by the elites to control the pace of technology, lower the population to conserve dwindling resources, etc. Well worth the under five dollar kindle cost. Author is Hans Schantz.
Now: There appears to be a new ice age on the way. How soon? I know not. It could happen almost overnight. That would drastically lower the population. Combine that with some of the ideas in Hans book, and VD's observation at loc 26 and you might well get nervous.
In an ice age scenario robots do the the repetitive work would be quite attractive to our so called elites.
Scares me a a fair amount.

Blogger Sillon Bono July 12, 2016 1:16 PM  

>> The first crucial question of coming decades: Who is going to buy the stuff pouring from robotic factories?

Lol I have been wondering that same question since as a kid understood how to program a computer.

>> meaning that if a robot works for a dollar an hour, a human will have to work for ninety-five cents an hour to compete.

No, it is even worse, because the humans do not have any implicit value to the eyes on an employer as a production force.

A human would have to work for at least 50% less and behave with complete slave mentality, and even then it has less value than a robot.

Robots and their production are predictable and quantifiable, human beings are not, we're risk adverse and people are always a risk and a source of problems, also robots will always be improved, next year robots will be shit compared to the ones 2 years from now and so on.

>> (The economic fate of America may depend on our consumption of overpriced coffee.)

Everything is awesome! everything is cool when you're part of a team...

>> importing uncivilised bomb-chucking morons from the bush world.

That was just ace!

>> Businessmen will observe productivity going up and labor costs going down.

Picture this: (Those with imagination will understand me)

If a machine (a box) that you could hang in a standard data-centre rack, could be able to make and take phone calls like a person, there will not be rise of the machines or anything silly like that, by the month of putting that box on the market there will be violent revolution on the streets.

A thinking machine would mean automatically the end of the world as we know it, contrary to what everybody thinks it is not because it would be an AI that would take over the earth, it would be because there will be no reason to hire anybody anymore, the world (people) is not ready for that.

>> Anyway

We're doomed, but not because of the robots, we're doomed because our elites disregard us completely and they could care less what happens to the populace, they're not interested, they live in their own bubble.

Blogger David-2 July 12, 2016 1:17 PM  

Don't think only of physical robots - things with arms, parts that move. There are also robots doing boring repetitive tasks that used to be the domain of highly trained (though possibly underemployed) people: document preparation, document review, case management, traffic (and other) dispute resolution, etc. Not that I'm crying for lawyers. Or myself. I'll be programming the robots so I'll still be able to buy expensive coffee drinks. But I won't be buying it from "baristas" - that job will be gone soon too. (And good riddance to the many smug Berniebots "working" at Seattle area coffee shops.)

Blogger Arthur Isaac July 12, 2016 1:20 PM  

Minimum standard of living allowance? Soylent Green? Georgia guidestone population control via global pandemic? I don't think robot society is viable.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft July 12, 2016 1:20 PM  

I've thought about the same thing. Eventually all menial labor, assembly, and fabrication jobs will be replaced with machinery/robotics. It's inevitable, and humans, innately multipurpose and unspecialized, cannot possibly compete.

That leaves a few jobs open, such as design, engineering, and the arts. Design and engineering will almost certainly be the next to go as we produce better and better AI, and hone our understanding of the mathematics of aesthetics. Aesthetics itself, once mastered by AI, will begin rapidly to absorb the arts as well, until there are no forms of employment remaining beyond "troubleshooter" and "machine owner".

At this point there are three possible outcomes.

The first, those who own the machines will be altruistic, and support those who do not (as the equivalent of pets). Even if this altruistic vision comes to pass, and the majority of humanity become the equivalent of tamed pets, their numbers will eventually be lowered to the same or lower than those of the owners, by one method or another combination.

The second as is more logical, the owners will seek strategies to eliminate the majority of the rest of the population. I honestly believe that strategies are already in place and in progress for this purging.

The third potential outcome is that humans will integrate and become largely, if not entirely machines. This necessarily entails heretofore unseen perfection and control of the mind and spirit. The only way to compete with machines will be to become them.

Being supported without any labor is, from a biblical perspective, like re-entering the garden of Eden (except perhaps without immortality) and Christians can expect a flaming sword to descend and block humanity from any such future. I foresee a combination of the second and third potential outcomes. Humans will compete with machines by integrating with them as, or will be purged.

Blogger Arthur Isaac July 12, 2016 1:22 PM  

Once the elite can manufacture everything they need in a few small facilities using machines what use are populations? Heavy industrial infrastructure? The interstate system?

Blogger Nate July 12, 2016 1:23 PM  

""Oh we have always automatized, don't be silly, new jobs will appear". They always forget the acceleration / time problem. "

That's because there is no problem.

Its just fear of change. You can't imagine how it will work... so you conclude that it therefore will not work.

Thankfully reality is not limited by your imagination.

Blogger James Dixon July 12, 2016 1:24 PM  

> Why not just encourage Bush's "Ownership Society" which was the best idea to emerge in recent times. By encouraging people to purchase shares in enterprises, specifically dividend paying enterprises, you give them the ability to generate income.

Chicken and egg problem. You can do this if you have a current income. But what about the upcoming generation and those currently without jobs?

Blogger RobertT July 12, 2016 1:24 PM  

"But as well-paid jobs everywhere go automated, where will the money come from to buy yoyos?"

This is one of those issues I think is so obvious that everyone realizes it, until I realize it's not. At some point there will be no reason to produce anything.

Blogger VD July 12, 2016 1:25 PM  

Volkswagen - 592.586 employees - 9,73 Million cars produced
Toyota - 338.875 employees - 9,98 Million cars produced
GM - 207.000 - 9,71 Million cars produced


And yet despite having such an enormous cost of labor advantage, who went bankrupt first?

Blogger Austin Ballast July 12, 2016 1:27 PM  

the government walks away

Like that would ever happen voluntarily.

This is why the suggestion of guaranteed minimum incomes no longer is confined to the Marxist Left.

And exactly where does the money for these magic minimums come from?

Anonymous kfg July 12, 2016 1:29 PM  

" . . .the owners will seek strategies to eliminate the majority of the rest of the population. I honestly believe that strategies are already in place and in progress for this purging."

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2010/03/researchers-turn-mosquitoes-flying-vaccinators

Blogger JV Small July 12, 2016 1:29 PM  

Benjamin Kraft wrote:I've thought about the same thing. Eventually all menial labor, assembly, and fabrication jobs will be replaced with machinery/robotics. It's inevitable, and humans, innately multipurpose and unspecialized, cannot possibly compete.

That leaves a few jobs open, such as design, engineering, and the arts. Design and engineering will almost certainly be the next to go as we produce better and better AI, and hone our understanding of the mathematics of aesthetics. Aesthetics itself, once mastered by AI, will begin rapidly to absorb the arts as well, until there are no forms of employment remaining beyond "troubleshooter" and "machine owner".

At this point there are three possible outcomes.

The first, those who own the machines will be altruistic, and support those who do not (as the equivalent of pets). Even if this altruistic vision comes to pass, and the majority of humanity become the equivalent of tamed pets, their numbers will eventually be lowered to the same or lower than those of the owners, by one method or another combination.

The second as is more logical, the owners will seek strategies to eliminate the majority of the rest of the population. I honestly believe that strategies are already in place and in progress for this purging.

The third potential outcome is that humans will integrate and become largely, if not entirely machines. This necessarily entails heretofore unseen perfection and control of the mind and spirit. The only way to compete with machines will be to become them.

Being supported without any labor is, from a biblical perspective, like re-entering the garden of Eden (except perhaps without immortality) and Christians can expect a flaming sword to descend and block humanity from any such future. I foresee a combination of the second and third potential outcomes. Humans will compete with machines by integrating with them as, or will be purged.


@Benjamin Kraft

Respectfully, I must agree and disagree at the same time. Yes, not having to work would be like re-entering the Garden of Eden, but I do not see God forbidding this. God has not punished the search for truth, but disobeying him. Adam and Eve were not punished for eating the apple, but for doing so after they were instructed not to and then lying about it.

The Tree of Life is guarded by a flaming sword, immortality isn't meant for us.

However, we do have knowledge, and God hasn't punished us for making use of it. One might point out the Tower of Babel, but the sin there was pride. There are other examples of people comparing themselves to God instead of thanking God for the gifts he blessed them with and being struck down. Quite a few in recent times. While I can remember the events, I cannot remember whom, but I am sure they would be found easily enough.

Blogger JV Small July 12, 2016 1:31 PM  

Austin Ballast wrote:And exactly where does the money for these magic minimums come from?

And there's the rub.

Capital is liquid.

Anonymous map July 12, 2016 1:31 PM  

This is actually a non-issue. In fact, elites are using the fear of robotics as a way of papering over the real cause of massive unemployment and wage stagnation. They are trying to say that offshore outsourcing and mass immigration is not a problem because you would've lost your job anyway to a robot.

If it is true that everything will eventually be done by robots, then why do we continue importing people? The robotic revolution should be a reason to end immigration immediately. Yet, they are coming. Why? Because the elite want to use a surplus population as a hedge against technology, either to prevent technologists from replacing themselves or to triangulate against the technology with a desperate workforce.

Absent deliberate de-industrialization and mass invasion, increased automation over time is largely benign, especially when it is driven by a need to reduce costs, instead of a need to avoid troublesome people. That is what happened in mining and agriculture throughout the 19th century. Labor became more expensive where finding ways to automate became profitable. Because automation is hard, there was enough time for the children of redundant workers to train in learning to build and maintain the new machines. That is how America transitioned from agriculture to manufacturing and it was not the result of agriculture leaving.

The modern economy is driven, instead, by government-engineered endogenous and exogenous shocks that no has any time to respond to. Robotics is avoiding this essential discussion about government policy.

Blogger praetorian July 12, 2016 1:31 PM  

You'll see the dumbest lowest of the low popping out a dozen kids so they can be "rich"

Soft (at least) eugenic social policies must be coupled with any sort of welfare.

Why not just encourage Bush's "Ownership Society" which was the best idea to emerge in recent times.

That was the usual elite Bush family bullshit where "ownership" meant going into usurious debt to pretend you owned a thing, but Distributism is certainly looking more and more attractive. And I always thought it looked pretty smokin' hot to begin with.

Anonymous kfg July 12, 2016 1:32 PM  

"And exactly where does the money for these magic minimums come from?"

It's true, magic money has very little value, but then the same is true of magic product. That's the problem.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft July 12, 2016 1:32 PM  

James Dixon wrote:> Why not just encourage Bush's "Ownership Society" which was the best idea to emerge in recent times. By encouraging people to purchase shares in enterprises, specifically dividend paying enterprises, you give them the ability to generate income.

Chicken and egg problem. You can do this if you have a current income. But what about the upcoming generation and those currently without jobs?


This is an excellent point. If everyone becomes the owners, it mitigates the possibility of the few eliminating all the others to an extent. This neatly circumvents the "human pets" and "genocide" potentials.

This is actually a lot more like what I think would happen. This still leaves all of humanity with literally nothing to do except speculate on the production of machines they will rapidly no longer be able to understand.

For me, I think that improved VR tech in conjunction with the elimination of traditional employment will result in many, many people migrating into VR worlds full time for entertainment and hedonism. It's like a drug too, people will literally be conditioning their minds for pleasure, and one of two things will occur.

Number one, many people will overload on pleasure like an addiction, growing ever more tolerant of it and needing more to be meaningful until their minds soften to sensory mush and they effectively die.

Number two, peoples' minds kick in countermeasures, and they temporarily or permanently lose the capacity to experience pleasure. This would be the more optimistic scenario, obviously, and would result in very interesting times indeed.

Blogger Escoffier July 12, 2016 1:35 PM  

Related to yesterday's discussion on segregation or separation I've long thought that the impetus for segregation or Liberia 2 would come from blacks themselves.

Anonymous Crude July 12, 2016 1:35 PM  

The impression I get is that the biggest issue here isn't 'there will be no jobs to do' so much as 'what kind of jobs will be available for dumb people?' Smart people can, for the most part, pivot to a new field or a new task. They'll learn, educate themselves, and advance.

What do you do for people whose capabilities largely top out at 'security guard, menial factory work, food delivery, truck driving' when a drone does all of those things better? You can point out that fixing and programming the drones is still necessary, but can those same people whose jobs were lost manage this?

What I really want to know is just how cheap will it be to -live- with these supposed advancements. Are we looking at increases in farming production and ease of setting up farming production to the point where a community of people can be fed, have shelter, and even some entertainment with minimal investment of time and even money? Don't forget that these robots and factories are also getting cheaper. They're getting within the react of at least the common western man. With drones, toy-level versions have been available for years now.

Blogger Shimshon July 12, 2016 1:38 PM  

I've talked about this issue a lot with a friend of mine, ever since Mish started writing about it a few years back.

As one example, while widespread automated personal transport is still probably some time away, it may only be a few years before long haul trucking disappears as a job entirely. Poof, there goes millions of jobs (truckers, plus all the support jobs around it), practically overnight. Sure, the last mile might still be human-driven, but the days are numbered even for that tiny bit.

The consequences are quite frightening, but the end-result is inevitable.

Anonymous Genericviews July 12, 2016 1:39 PM  

There will always be things robots can't do. --Nate

Robot detailers! and Pimp my robot! 10 thousand kinds of robotic anti-virus, obviously needed because of ten thousand different kinds of new robot viruses (where did THOSE come from!!). Hundreds of dollars worth of Robot Lojack, Robot GPS tracking, Robot aftermarket custom make protective cases and waterproofing, all to protect your robotic investment.

Anonymous jdgalt July 12, 2016 1:39 PM  

We're going to have to build Pournelle's Welfare Islands. And hope the fences are sufficient to keep the useless people inside. More likely they'll start throwing bombs across the fence, and we'll have to build a wall as high as the ones around Israel's occupied territories.

Of course, the *right* answer would be to deregulate business until it pays to employ people again. But that answer is acceptable to neither major party.

Blogger Metric July 12, 2016 1:40 PM  

@Benjamin Kraft

I think your previous post was more on-point. Ownership becomes mostly irrelevant when the "owned" has the intelligence to manipulate the owner at will -- and this will certainly be a property that is selected for, in the type of market being imagined here. It doesn't prevent the "human pet" scenario at all.

Blogger JV Small July 12, 2016 1:40 PM  

Benjamin Kraft wrote:Number one, many people will overload on pleasure like an addiction, growing ever more tolerant of it and needing more to be meaningful until their minds soften to sensory mush and they effectively die.

Number two, peoples' minds kick in countermeasures, and they temporarily or permanently lose the capacity to experience pleasure. This would be the more optimistic scenario, obviously, and would result in very interesting times indeed.


Interesting thoughts. I've seen the first explored, but not the second, but it is the most likely result. People simply no longer being able to enjoy VR and giving it up after a period of addiction.

Anonymous User July 12, 2016 1:41 PM  

There will always be work for fighting men and whores.

Blogger JV Small July 12, 2016 1:42 PM  

Crude wrote:Are we looking at increases in farming production and ease of setting up farming production to the point where a community of people can be fed, have shelter, and even some entertainment with minimal investment of time and even money?

There are efforts to automate farming, and make it possible to farm inside buildings. There are also "green" space initiatives to utilize the top of buildings.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft July 12, 2016 1:42 PM  

Crude wrote:The impression I get is that the biggest issue here isn't 'there will be no jobs to do' so much as 'what kind of jobs will be available for dumb people?' Smart people can, for the most part, pivot to a new field or a new task. They'll learn, educate themselves, and advance.

That would go the same way it always does. You become competitive or die. Fortunately it takes time for these transitions, so even if someone isn't particularly bright, their kids have time now to wise up, learn tech or something else that has future potential, etc.

The people who stay lazy and don't advance will gradually lose their jobs, become marginalized, and either die off or become more of the full time welfare class we can already see. Honestly, I don't see them becoming programmers, and I think that it won't be long until the vast majority of the maintenance is automated as well.

The people who train hard and work smart will continue.

Blogger John Williams July 12, 2016 1:43 PM  

@Rick, GM might employ that many employees, but how many of them are paper pushers? One only needs to look at Detroit to see what happens when salaries are pushed beyond the competitive limit.

Crashing an economy doesn't mean the next one will be better.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft July 12, 2016 1:47 PM  

Metric wrote:@Benjamin Kraft

I think your previous post was more on-point. Ownership becomes mostly irrelevant when the "owned" has the intelligence to manipulate the owner at will -- and this will certainly be a property that is selected for, in the type of market being imagined here. It doesn't prevent the "human pet" scenario at all.


I don't think the owned being manipulated will even enter into the picture, as I think a "Joseph/Potiphar" scenario will take place with the owners completely ceding control to the machines, and merely owning them. Perhaps running something like a stock market or betting pool on whose machines would be the most effective.

Blogger Bies Podkrakowski July 12, 2016 1:49 PM  

Ninety comments and nobody has mentioned yet the one true and proven solution: Butlerian Jihad. "Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind". After that ten thousand years of Imperial rule.

And more seriously - in my opinion there are only a few professions that will increase in numbers in the New Brave World - prostitution and domestic servants. At least till Japanese produce really good and inexpensive gynoids that won't get fat. Because people get more machinelike from day to day nobody will notice any difference. Later we will get truly immersive VR. Then most people will enter the Matrix from their own will or commit suicide driven by existential despair.

Honestly, I hope for the Jihad.

Anonymous zapbrannigan1 July 12, 2016 1:53 PM  

As with many, many things, G. K. Chesterton saw this coming from way back in 1926. His book, Outline of Sanity is a broadside against both Socialism and excessive Capitalism. To wit:

"When most men are wage-earners, it is more and more difficult for most men to be customers. For the capitalist is always trying to cut down what his servant demands, and in doing so is cutting down what his customer can spend."

I'm a free-market guy myself, but this process of burning the candle at both ends is about to reach light speed with the increasing automation of service jobs such as McDonald's experimenting with order kiosks.

It's not going to be pretty when the non-credentialed realize there's no place for them to make a living.

PS- I don't necessarily agree with the credential apparatus of college and graduate degrees that dictates what jobs are available to whom. However, it is a reality of today's job market and represents an invisible wall to those who do not have the letters after their names. I intend to encourage my sons to learn a trade as well as earn a degree, preferably from a small religious university.

Anonymous map July 12, 2016 1:54 PM  

The assumptions here are all wrong. If everybody is too poor to buy the output of the robotic factories, then the robotic factories won't have anything to sell, which means they won't exist to begin with.

The assumption is that somehow robotic factories will be so much cheaper that products can be made for essentially free, or a little above the cost of energy and raw materials. But drops in marginal costs will affect fixed costs when demand for building robot factories skyrockets. And there is no reason to believe that energy and raw material costs will remain low.

Blogger Metric July 12, 2016 1:56 PM  

That itself sounds very much like a variant of the "human pet" scenario, as ownership becomes meaningless one way or another (either by manipulation or by ceding all control).

You also noticed already that the human pet scenario tends to be unstable and end in some kind of die-off.

I can feel the temptation to propose some variant of the human pet scenario that seems somehow acceptable. I'll take the position that it's probably not possible and not desirable either, unless I see a real counterexample. For the reasons you've already noted, I'm pretty sure the only genuine way forward is for humanity to evolve (merge with machines).

Anonymous Rien July 12, 2016 2:01 PM  

Politicians tax what can be taxed.
They will tax robots.

Blogger YIH July 12, 2016 2:07 PM  

A couple of months ago I said about Herman Cain's statement post-Ferguson: ''What [the rioters] need is job training!'' was ''Job training? For what jobs?'' replies were ''this isn't about unemployment!'' so I dropped it.
My point was then, and now, a large proportion of blacks are not ''unemployed'', they are unemployable! As in, who will hire them for anything? Even semi- and unskilled labor. Not to mention the high illiteracy rate that goes along with the -1 SD IQ, what ''job training'' would even be effective?
Then once trained, would those jobs even exist? Either automated out of existence or due to criminal history unable to be hired.
The same thing is happening in Europe with ''refugees'': Refugees won’t plug German labor gap.
For Germany’s economy, the influx of up to 1.1 million refugees last year should be a godsend.
With Europe’s lowest birthrate and a rapidly aging population, Germany could lose its standing as one of the world’s leading economies. Refugees could fill the gap.
There’s just one problem: most lack the skills German companies need.
“Let’s not delude ourselves,” said Ludger Wößmann, director of Munich-based Ifo Center for the Economics of Education. “From everything we know so far, it seems that the majority of refugees would first need extensive training and even then it’s far from certain that it would work out.”

The result? In Europe, they'll live off welfare and rape/become jihadis. Blacks in the US, welfare, petty crime, robbery and some street-level drug dealing.
Or if lucky, some, very few, will become entertainers.

Blogger Arthur Isaac July 12, 2016 2:08 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Arthur Isaac July 12, 2016 2:08 PM  

"Soft" eugenics are already in place. What do we think feminism is?

I'd say Hugh Hefner started his mission when he first published and declared victory when he stopped bothering with nudity.

Blogger Robert Divinity July 12, 2016 2:11 PM  

And exactly where does the money for these magic minimums come from?

The same place that gives you the fictional American economy, Yellen's magical stash. The guaranteed minimum incomes, if they come, will be stopgaps until the United States defaults and implodes. At this point, China will up its game and grab more than the Spratlys to subsidize its stopgap guaranteed minimum incomes; Japan, the Philippines and Australia will be stripped bare to feed the Han. I doubt the United States has the will or capacity to do the same thing to our south.

I expect the human species fully to reprimitavize in a generation or two. Don't count on intelligence as a survival mechanism, either. Those with measurable IQs will be the first ones gone.

Anonymous kfg July 12, 2016 2:12 PM  

Hefner turned over the helm of Playboy some time ago. It is now run by women.

Blogger Da_Truth_Hurts July 12, 2016 2:15 PM  

Idea I had for a short story a while back was a near future America, after a massive race war perpetrated by the UN. The surviving population walled the country off with an army of ultra-high tech kill bots while everyone inside reverted to a mandatory tech free farming life.

OpenID basementhomebrewer July 12, 2016 2:17 PM  

Many are missing VD's point. Yes manufacturing is on the way to being totally automated but in reality many of the paper pushing "white collar" jobs are closer to the edge. A computer that can perform analysis is something much easier to build than a robot that has to interact with the real world.

There are a good deal of administrative jobs that are on the verge of being replaced by software. The real limiting factor is the expense of data capture. Once data capture from the real world is fully automated then most of those admin roles will disappear.

A current day analyst may look at a yield loss and use his experience to narrow it down to a suspect part of a process. Then he may review operational notes, or pull some log sheets on measurement instrumentation and validate his conclusion.

When data capture becomes more sophisticated and cheap to automate/integrate a computer program could instantly grab all these data sources and alert a decision maker to that problem.

Sure, people will need to repair things but those administrative people likely don't have the skills needed to perform that task and there are likely going to be a whole lot more of them than would be needed to repair the instrumentation.

Anonymous Genericviews July 12, 2016 2:21 PM  

A couple of months ago I said about Herman Cain's statement post-Ferguson: ''What [the rioters] need is job training!'' was ''Job training? For what jobs?'' replies were ''this isn't about unemployment!'' so I dropped it.

They are employed as rioters. The pay is $10-12 per hour. The DC Craigslist jobs board has ads to hire them.

Blogger Tom Kratman July 12, 2016 2:21 PM  

"Questions for Black Lives Matter:The Case for Separation
http://fredoneverything.org/questions-for-black-lives-matterthe-case-for-separation/"

Fred's sort of missing one trick there, Jaime, that, or simply ignoring it. If we did this, then the white community is not going to pay the same pay, benefits and pensions for the black cops in the black community. Instead, that money is going to go to border guards to guard the barbed wire fences between white and black. One imagines a certain amount of border rectification would be wise, too, if only for efficiency's sake.

Anonymous kfg July 12, 2016 2:25 PM  

"Yes manufacturing is on the way to being totally automated but in reality many of the paper pushing "white collar" jobs are closer to the edge."

For every blue collar job you eliminate you eliminate 3 or 4 white collar jobs. That's right off the top with the decline of the labor force, before the paper pushing itself becomes more automated.

Blogger Arthur Isaac July 12, 2016 2:28 PM  

@basementhomebrewer, the GIS and remote sensing technology is advancing scary fast. Had a demonstration of a hobbyist level drone (Phantom) grid an area in about 5 minutes, ran through a photogrammetry software for a few hours and built an accurate model of the 2 acre parking lot it flew over. License plates, VOLUMES of all the cars on the lot. Robotic data collection and subsequent interactions with the real world is nothing to be sneezed at.

Blogger professorastro July 12, 2016 2:33 PM  

Create consumer robots to use the products created by other robots.

Blogger professorastro July 12, 2016 2:35 PM  

Another way to put the question, "What will we do with all the useless people in the future?"

Blogger Sam Lively July 12, 2016 2:37 PM  

@116

Another sharp recessionary dip in the economy and upper management might see how little a loss the white collar armies would be.

The nonprofit/education/government sectors are particularly bloated right now - it's the ultimate dumping ground for the hordes of liberal arts majors coming out of school with nowhere to go.

So much of this work can be automated and consolidated or just outright done away with.

Of course, that probably already happened decades ago and my white collar job is just a simulation to keep my brain alive so that my cryogenically frozen body can be raided for organs by my betters.

Blogger Sean Carnegie July 12, 2016 2:38 PM  

And yet despite having such an enormous cost of labor advantage, who went bankrupt first?

That's got to be current employees. The legacy costs of the ludicrous union deals holds GM back. How many tens, if not hundreds, of thousands collect a GM pension now while creating nothing?

Anonymous 0ddr0b July 12, 2016 2:39 PM  

Here's the answer: When we've reached the point in which no person's job is not automated, and all labor is replaced with capital, that means nobody can work even if they want to.

So lets try the system where rather than going to work each day and laboring for wages to make ends meet, each citizen is afforded the opportunity to invest in a robot that goes to work for them and earns wages that go straight to their bank account. This "robot" can range from an automaton that performs housework for the disabled to a fabricator machine in a micro-chip factory. You should get to choose! But choice is important, as the wages received from the robot that you financially support are proportional to the revenue of the business who's capital you've invested in. Supply and demand will determine which type of robots are best to invest in. Your only concern is making sure your robot stays well-maintained so as to prevent any disruptions in productivity. The 168-hour work week is now a reality, and everyone is rich. Ta-da.

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 12, 2016 2:40 PM  

Read up on Planet X. Your scare will go up many more notches ... if true.

Blogger clk July 12, 2016 2:43 PM  

to me this is simply the natural outcome of the free market/capitalism .. we are driven to increase productivity, efficiency --- all this results in a reduction in the number of people required to produce what society needs. The issue here, which is not new, is what do those people that dont /arent needed -for production supposed to do .. above we hear things like let them die off.. but the reality is there are a bunch of displaced workers with little to do ..Society has to decide what to do with them.. maybe an artisan class, philosophers, musicians, poets, solders, scientists etc... but the same market/capitalistic pressures that drove the reduction in required inputs for a given output also doesn't value these functions.

Right now those of us that design the systems are safe but eventually the systems will design, build and repair themselves so within a few hundred years, there will be little left of the technical class too.. eventually we will evolve into a race of idiots with no idea how anything works, living immoral lives of leisure and no value...until the great willowing event occurs that drives us back into the stone age and mankind restarts its climb back up out of darkness... pretty sure I read a few scifi stories, and not a few star trek episodes ...with this plot...

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 12, 2016 2:44 PM  

Robot components eill be throw away and some of yhe robots will also be throw away. The tasks that robot cannot do, the robots will hire a human to do.
Hmm. Will robots be subnect to sexual harrassment and racial discrimination laws?

Blogger EscapeVelocity July 12, 2016 2:44 PM  

That is why Gender Feminist SJW Studies degrees are so hot. All orgs are paying high wages to avoid offending groups of people who are demanding compesation, and threaten business with lawsuits. It's racketeering 101.

Anonymous A.B. Prosper July 12, 2016 2:46 PM  

Robert Divinity wrote:This is why the suggestion of guaranteed minimum incomes no longer is confined to the Marxist Left.

It started back under Nixon, maybe earlier and while Nixon was a liberal he was not a red. For all the Austrian economics crowd, none other than Hayek endorsed the guaranteed income idea.

And @3 Ben Cohen

Adapt or die does work for most people. Also in modernity an unstable work environment means dysgenic breeding. This lack of work is a huge reason Japan basically has such low fertility and it also will means that lower IQ types will have far more children than every other group. That 120 IQ delta guy won't be able to have a stable family so he'll stay home with his porn.

In the mid term, the "elite" might be fine with such a set up, assuming the Luddites don't use their own machines on them but in a long time frame, its an end game. Most of the elite jobs are even easier to automate and many of them such as Facebook and Google depend on ad revenue. Less stuff being bought means less revenue year and year. A future full of Nathan Myhrvold and Mark Zuckerberg is not one that can withstand much of a bump or is liable to be around a long time

Also though its not on the table, a third option of regulation is possible. Controlling how computers are implemented and controlling automation is feasible. Call it the "Robot Jox option if you like or h/t to Greer The Retropia option

Such an economy will be much much less efficient but that's a feature not a bug in that case.

The latter would have the advantage of reducing the risks of some dimwit with cheap gene engineering creating a super plague as well.

Anonymous BGKB July 12, 2016 2:46 PM  

there will always be stuff to trade. there will always be things to fix. There will always be things robots can't do

Just as illegals get run out robots will be taking over the Home Depot BJs
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/eats/swiss-coffee-joint-plans-serve-oral-sex-article-1.2689663

Anesthesia nurses are having their bread and butter money stolen by robots.

And now you know why the global elite thinks that killing off four-fifths of the planet won't harm their lifestyles at all

And why they want to import low IQ 3rd worlders as fast as they can.

What would happen if the federal government had to sell off all the land it owns?

China would buy it up with US debt, it's probably better that the land isn't sold off before the collapse. Chinese are willing to give Hairy Reed a black eye for not delivering land.

Who do you think brings us warning labels on chainsaws that warn not to hold them near your genitals Better call Saul

The people who stay lazy and don't advance will gradually lose their jobs, become marginalized, and either die off

Someone never heard of affirmative action. We have already reached the point were people who admit to picking up hookers or downloading a porn virus that knocks out most of a hospitals computers are unfireable.

Blogger clk July 12, 2016 2:48 PM  

That assumes we are not smashed into oblivion by any 1 of the 100's of large extinction size NEOs flying by the earth every year...

Blogger Human Animal July 12, 2016 2:50 PM  

They are employed as rioters. The pay is $10-12 per hour. The DC Craigslist jobs board has ads to hire them.

Ah, so that's what Kierkegaard meant by "if others are going to make things easier and easier and I can't keep up, I'll just have to go make things harder."

Anonymous Roundtine July 12, 2016 2:50 PM  

Falling fertility is a rational response. Stop paying the idiots to breed. Stop immigration. Let Nature takes its course.

In the interim, when you have a big unemployable population of idiots, pay welfare through immersive VR video games, such that in order to collect a full welfare check, you have to play games all day long. You could keep a very large portion of the population busy that way. Better gamers could earn more money, and there could be lottery type games for the idiots. Allow people to upgrade in game and earn more money. You could have the Federal Reserve run the game and print money via the game.

Anonymous Roundtine July 12, 2016 2:54 PM  

People have been layabouts since the days of hunter gatherers. The real threat of robots is what happens when even basic pressures such as the need to work are gone. The evidence from the tropics, where food falls of trees, is idiocracy. In order to strengthen the population, we need selective pressures. One "solution" I can see being chosen is a total societal push for colonizing Mars. Find anything mildly productive that will soak up as much added productivity as possible.

Blogger EscapeVelocity July 12, 2016 2:55 PM  

This is why the suggestion of guaranteed minimum incomes no longer is confined to the Marxist Left.

Indeed. The libertarian oriented CATO institute is now promoting the idea of guaranteed minimum income. As can bee seen in these google search results.

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=cato%20institute%20minimum%20income

Blogger EscapeVelocity July 12, 2016 2:56 PM  

This is why the suggestion of guaranteed minimum incomes no longer is confined to the Marxist Left.

Indeed. The libertarian oriented CATO institute is now promoting the idea of guaranteed minimum income. As can bee seen in these google search results.

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=cato%20institute%20minimum%20income

Blogger praetorian July 12, 2016 2:56 PM  

"Soft" eugenics are already in place. What do we think feminism is?

Feminism is about as dysgenic as it gets, bro.

Anonymous Sam the Man July 12, 2016 3:01 PM  

As regards the loss of jobs:

1) After working in industry since 1980 it appears to me a lot of the jobs lost are in some form of arbitrage, that is the ability to make money off of localized knowledge. Think travel agent, insurance salesman, financial investment counsel, lawyer for mundane tasks. For most of these areas you can do it yourself with the internet. In the case of lawyers, for most of the mundane legal issues someone faces, you can research the law and case law from you computer. You can execute a will, research liens on a property, etc. An entire area of expertise (knowledge arbitrage) that used to provide for lawyers is gone. In industry the number of administrative assistants (secretaries) has gone way down.

That is why I think there are a lot of young unhappy unemployed college kids, the old white collar respectable jobs that just required a degree are gone with the wind, never to return.

2) Need for manual labor: That has not gone away. When I observe in my prosperous section of PA the slow decline in the roads and infrastructure, it occurs to me that there is plenty of work to be done, but very little money to pay for it, mostly because of the decline in value added jobs. Were there to be a magic bullet that would allow for ease of production by robots with virtually no limits on the cost of materials, I suspect that you could make enough jobs to clean up the cities and roads, just keeping them clean to generate the velocity of money to keep the economy going. We are sort of there now with government checks, last time I looked the amount of money in direct payment to folks exceeds the total income tax from the same population While the folks getting money are different from folks paying for it, that is not entirely true and much of the demand that produces jobs in basic retail, cable, etc is from government support checks.

3) One way of fixing this would be to change the hours worked going form a 5 day work week of 40 hours to a 4 day work week of 9 hours ad day would likely help the tourist and recreational industries like it did back when the work week went from 44 to 40 hours and Saturday when from a half day to a day off. Given the need to stagger production industries a bit so work weeks would be cover 5 days a week would mean that the recreational trade would cover Friday to Monday (4 days). Might help a wee bit.

Anonymous BGKB July 12, 2016 3:07 PM  

We could always pay people to feed praire dogs oh wait. http://www.wired.com/2016/07/fleet-mm-shooting-drones-black-footed-ferrets-last-hope/

"Matchett says a single drone could dispense three baits at a time. A GPS-controlled trigger would launch a mini catapult every 30 feet. With an automatic reloader and a payload of 5,000 doses, a drone might be able to treat 400 acres in an hour—about 50 times faster than a human can dole out baits."

OpenID basementhomebrewer July 12, 2016 3:09 PM  

0ddr0b wrote:Here's the answer: When we've reached the point in which no person's job is not automated, and all labor is replaced with capital, that means nobody can work even if they want to.

So lets try the system where rather than going to work each day and laboring for wages to make ends meet, each citizen is afforded the opportunity to invest in a robot that goes to work for them and earns wages that go straight to their bank account. This "robot" can range from an automaton that performs housework for the disabled to a fabricator machine in a micro-chip factory. You should get to choose! But choice is important, as the wages received from the robot that you financially support are proportional to the revenue of the business who's capital you've invested in. Supply and demand will determine which type of robots are best to invest in. Your only concern is making sure your robot stays well-maintained so as to prevent any disruptions in productivity. The 168-hour work week is now a reality, and everyone is rich. Ta-da.



Where are you getting the money to buy a share in a robot? Why would a business pay you over an indefinite period of time for a robot vs just getting a loan to buy a robot? Why would a bank loan you money to buy part of a robot rather than lend an established business money to buy a whole robot?

This scenario only works if you already have enough capital on hand to buy a significant portion of a robot and more likely buy several robots. Even then, enterprising businesses that needs the robot 50% of the time would still buy their own robot and rent it out the other 50% of the time thus eliminating the need for a businesses that only rents out robots.

Anonymous Crude July 12, 2016 3:10 PM  

That would go the same way it always does. You become competitive or die. Fortunately it takes time for these transitions, so even if someone isn't particularly bright, their kids have time now to wise up, learn tech or something else that has future potential, etc.

If people are right about the genetic factors of intelligence, that may not be possible.

Either way, at the end, I have trouble being too concerned about all this talk - or at least from making meaningful predictions about any of it. It rests on too many assumptions, and spins off too easily into fantasyland, where you start with 'Robots will replace more and more blue/white collar jobs' and suddenly get to 'Singularitarian totally self-automated, self-repairing factories will operate nearly without flaw and perform every conceivable job better than humans do for pennies an hour, making products for humans who can't afford any of it because they're all broke and there's nothing for them to do.'

The former is more tractable but kind of dull: 'Efficiency gains will accrue, less people will be needed for particular jobs, but typically the newfound efficiency will create markets that didn't even exist before because they required investment that seemed ridiculous back when things were far less efficient.' Video games, certainly as an industry, didn't show up on the radar until well after 'computing' was a thing.

The latter is fantasy outside of conventional human experience and would result in so many effects and counter-effects on a societal level that it's barely worth talking about, at least for the purposes of figuring-out-how-to-handle-it. To be contrary, I'll bet against almost everyone else here: if we hit that point, the effects will trickle down and there will be a population explosion as people rush to the stars to find and claim the universe's resources to expand and grow, producing and protecting and maintaining something automation can't make grow: cultures and families.

Blogger Aeoli Pera July 12, 2016 3:12 PM  

See, this thread exemplifies why Tex says there's no solution. Homo sapiens can't solve problems, and they proactively oppose anyone who can.

This is why people hit their computers. It's the only sort of troubleshooting they know because actually doing work is demeaning, better conquer something to get some slaves and whip them into shape.

Anonymous SciVo July 12, 2016 3:12 PM  

johnc wrote:A long time ago there was a push to have more women in the workforce under the guise that the labor was needed. Maybe now that labor demand is going down many women won't feel compelled to work and will return to more fruitful lives.

Aside from the point of minimum incomes, there is also the fact that a typical man needs a job to feel a sense of accomplishment and to be respected in the community.


SJWs always project. We can tell that feminists want men to take a firm hand with them by the lies that they tell about the past. Apparently, what they really want is to be forbidden to work outside of the home, under threat of a spanking with a thumb-thick cane if they try.

It isn't a panacea, but giving women their subconscious fantasy would double the time available to find a solution.

Blogger Were-Puppy July 12, 2016 3:13 PM  

@34 James Dixon

The big government crowd will argue for providing welfare for all the unemployed. But how will that be paid for with a shrinking tax base?
---

They will have to dispose of the income tax, and change to some other kind, like maybe a sales or VAT.

And that probably won't solve the problem.

Blogger dh July 12, 2016 3:16 PM  

> A long time ago there was a push to have more women in the workforce under the guise that the labor was needed. Maybe now that labor demand is going down many women won't feel compelled to work and will return to more fruitful lives.

Yeah, I mean, supply and demand is iron clad. But poor women have always been in the workforce. All feminism did in this regards is force middle class women to live like poor women, for equality.

Blogger JimR July 12, 2016 3:21 PM  

@51 "Here's a problem no one anticipated: the effects of post scarcity on human psychology."

yeah, stopped reading right there.

Anonymous Slowpoke July 12, 2016 3:21 PM  

With all due respect, I think thst the regulations are the problem. If it weren't for the regulations, government and banker rent seeking the returns on investment would mean that anyone working for the past 15 years at a good job would have been able to save enough and had a return enough from their saving to pay their and their children's living expenses forever.
Without the regulation the returns on investment for capital should be so great as to make it easy to be set for life. That should be the solution, but then the elite don't hold power over the test of us. So the two problems are in fact linked.

Anonymous Slowpoke July 12, 2016 3:23 PM  

They land is actually public land and should belong to the states, so they really have no right to sell it.

Anonymous Skidster July 12, 2016 3:23 PM  

This was all predicted and described elegantly back in the 70s in the pages of 2000AD/Judge Dredd.

In the future, all work is done by robots as they are more efficient and reliable.
The only jobs available for humans are

Criminal
Judge
Game Show Host

Blogger Arthur Isaac July 12, 2016 3:25 PM  

@praetorian, dysgenic indeed. So dysgenic as to cause whole populations to fall FAR below replacement rates. Blue haired fatty "otherkin" are deselected their own DNA heritage.

Anonymous Slowpoke July 12, 2016 3:26 PM  

Hello Pol Pot.

Blogger wasu July 12, 2016 3:36 PM  

There is no need for elite to remove unneeded population if other less risky option available .. emigrate with their automated factories together - and Mars is very near.

Blogger Aeoli Pera July 12, 2016 3:36 PM  

Fuck me, I can't believe I'm doing this.

Here's the deal: the middle class is defined by skilled use of capital goods and support roles thereof. To have a middle class, you need smartish people who own tools, because otherwise there's no point to having support roles. Pharaoh doesn't need lawyers to convince people to push blocks up ramps.

To get smartish people you need monogamy, ingenopathy, and religiosity over time. That is, the exact opposite of modern Americans. These things cannot be created by state policies, but they can be destroyed by them as we've seen.

To get tools, you need borders, tariffs, property ownership, at least some natural resources, and low time preference. In less abstract terms, the middle class is a necessary component of industry in a country that isn't morally sick, and doesn't have an elite that's actively working to kill all of us.

Again, tl;dr- To have a middle class you need skilled people who own their tools. All this talk of robots and information societies is obfuscation, and intentionally misses the point.

Blogger B.J. July 12, 2016 3:38 PM  

Sam the Man wrote:2) Need for manual labor: That has not gone away. When I observe in my prosperous section of PA the slow decline in the roads and infrastructure, it occurs to me that there is plenty of work to be done, but very little money to pay for it, mostly because of the decline in value added jobs. Were there to be a magic bullet that would allow for ease of production by robots with virtually no limits on the cost of materials, I suspect that you could make enough jobs to clean up the cities and roads, just keeping them clean to generate the velocity of money to keep the economy going. We are sort of there now with government checks, last time I looked the amount of money in direct payment to folks exceeds the total income tax from the same population While the folks getting money are different from folks paying for it, that is not entirely true and much of the demand that produces jobs in basic retail, cable, etc is from government support checks.

To quote The Last Psychiatrist:

""He can work manual labor!" I love how people assume economics doesn't apply to construction. The demand for those jobs is very high AND hipsters suck at them. At any wage, Gerry the hipster will always be outworked by Vinnie the son of a longshoreman, who will always be outworked by a Mexican illegal, i.e. the system will always be able to find someone who can do the job better AND with lower labor costs. Bonus: no need to pay Jose's insurance, everyone knows Hispanics never get sick, except fake psychiatrically."

http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2012/11/hipsters_on_food_stamps.html

Anonymous kfg July 12, 2016 3:42 PM  

@154:

The robots are now tools available to the middle class.

Blogger Aeoli Pera July 12, 2016 3:43 PM  

See, there are still a lot of people here who think the 500 million is supposed to be the smartest and most productive humans, and not the help.

Anonymous Difranco July 12, 2016 3:44 PM  

I've read where in the next 20 years, software and robotics will replace 30%+ of the workforce.

What will be the role of Trans-humanism plays into this, as a human's 'consciousness' is uploaded into a machine?

Blogger Aeoli Pera July 12, 2016 3:44 PM  

kfg wrote:@154:

The robots are now tools available to the middle class.


Only the ones you own, but otherwise yes I agree.

Blogger Aeoli Pera July 12, 2016 3:47 PM  

Difranco wrote:What will be the role of Trans-humanism plays into this, as a human's 'consciousness' is uploaded into a machine?

Effectively zero, even if it's possible. Do you really think Bill Gates is going to invite you to his private island of immortality and digital bliss?

Anonymous Jill July 12, 2016 3:47 PM  

No worries, there will always be jobs to uphold government bureaucracy. If they manage to replace gov't bureaucrats with friendly robots, then we can have the pleasure of shooting them without having murder on our conscience. I always try to look at the brighter side of life.

Anonymous kfg July 12, 2016 3:50 PM  

"Only the ones you own . . ."

I guess I was not explicit enough: the robots are available, both in supply and cost, to own by the middle class.

Blogger YIH July 12, 2016 3:54 PM  

Jack Amok wrote:What we're talking about is the complete severing of supply from demand.

There's always new demand to be created, if we let it. And it requires some sort of supply. There's a huge new demand in virtual monsters hiding around town that we just discovered last weekend. Who knew people needed that?

What we really have is the consolidation of productivity into a small number of large firms, followed by those large firms reducing employment drastically whenever they can.

We need more small firms. That means more small business owners. They'll create the demand and they'll need somebody working for them.

For those who don't know what Jack's talking about, he's talking about Pokemon GO.
A very clever idea... For Japan. They also released it for the US market, a move that while it's done wonders for Nintendo's company value, I suspect they'll wind up regretting. Why? Because in Japan you can wander around outdoors playing that game with little personal risk. In the US OTOH, not so much.
Nintendo is going to regret releasing this game to the US market, players are going to be hurt and even killed playing it.
And guess who's going to get the blame for that? It would not surprise me if they wind up disabling/removing it from the US market ''to be upgraded''. Nintendo should know better, sometimes moving quickly can be too quickly.

Blogger frigger611 July 12, 2016 3:55 PM  

@157

Very good, AP!!

Blogger Aeoli Pera July 12, 2016 3:56 PM  

I suppose I didn't trust readers to understand that working with a $10 million robot at work is equivalent to working on a very expensive assembly line, which is better than pushing blocks up ramps but not "middle class" by any stretch.

Anonymous VFM #6306 July 12, 2016 3:57 PM  

People: the answer is simple.

We must go to space.

Moon Colony 1: To establish a fuel-affordable launch platform to other destinations. Employment: 2 Rovers, 100 humans.

Moon Colony 2: To establish a test permanent-survival biosphere. Employment: 2 rovers, an automated hydroponic/solar capture system, 75 Technicians, 40 engineers, 120 laborers.

Moon Colony 3: Metals mining and refining. Titanium, etc. The old fashioned way: digging. Robotic mining in space costs more and is far less efficient. 300 miners.

Mars: Repeat. Upgrade to large scale atmospherization of Mars. Humans - 30,000. The first city-state in space. Titan: Sub-Arctic Scale advance missions, with long-term orbital support. Humans - 50,000. Mostly automated, but with manned specialists: artificial agro-seeding the upper atmosphere of Venus with airborne algae to open the closed greenhouse to consumption and potential settling of the climatological violence currently preventing the planet from access.

Earth-based support nodes: 20 military-base style cities of approximately 50,000 populations per.

That's just the start. Titanium, yttrium, exoterra water supply and other resources can be used to establish societies and tame environments.

This may sound nuts but it is all possible, and if one planet can't be tamed, another might. Besides, it isn't like these worldwide grunts have got anything better to do.

The alternative above is Dune. Remember what they did to their robots.

And vice versa.

Blogger Aeoli Pera July 12, 2016 4:00 PM  

frigger611 wrote:@157

Very good, AP!!


Thanks. It feels a bit weird to get through on the first try though, maybe I should insult my audience more often?

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 12, 2016 4:08 PM  

@118. Tom Kratman

The way I read it was, Fred was asking if that is really what the Blacks want, is that where we are heading?

The problem with separate and equal, was that the separate was a government imposed one and that the "equal" was not.

Blogger The Bechtloff July 12, 2016 4:09 PM  

Aaron Clarey did an interesting video on this topic.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzYrew2iW-Y

Blogger Were-Puppy July 12, 2016 4:09 PM  

@161 Jill

No worries, there will always be jobs to uphold government bureaucracy. If they manage to replace gov't bureaucrats with friendly robots, then we can have the pleasure of shooting them without having murder on our conscience. I always try to look at the brighter side of life.
---

My mind has been on how to take out a robot since they blew up that guy in Dallas :P

Blogger Bede Jarrow July 12, 2016 4:12 PM  

I have one or two ideas about this future. The first is the positive one in which our basic consumption is handled by machines, the base supplies for society to function are given freely or discounted. With the exception of jobs that robots cannot fully automate. We become a smaller society of artisans, gardeners and craftsmen, selling and bartering goods and commodities to each other in a fairly peaceful and dignified manner regardless of whether machines can do the work. I like to think that this is a post-money future and probably won't happen.

The other vision is much darker where either Skynet becomes self-aware or the powers that be decide to double down to enforce an outdated status quo by providing substandard clothing, housing and food. Society continues to decay, collapses and everyone starves since they forgot basic things like agriculture, etc. I see this actually coming shortly at some point the EBT cards and other benefits will have to end. In addition, the current factory farming system is unsustainable especially if we are at the end of cheap phosphorous.

Of course maybe the robotic apocalypse may just be a pipe nightmare, the capital investment into robotic machines plus the maintenance require to keep going may be in a long run be more expensive than if you had a staffing agency have workers on the line for 10 dollars an hour (assuming if a manufacturing company or facility has an average lifespan of 25-30 years), even if overall the robot increases productivity 10-20%, the amount of down time may erase whatever advantage it had. Granted as technology improves, presumably reliable will improve as well though do not ever underestimate business who want to save a dollar and decide to go with a cheaper design or material and it breaks down.

Blogger Were-Puppy July 12, 2016 4:14 PM  

Logans Run will be implemented in the EU.
Soylent Green will be implemented in China.
Road Warrior will be implemented in US and Australia.

Anonymous kfg July 12, 2016 4:15 PM  

@165:

Those $10 mil robots are only needed by certain heavy industry (and many of them only because of regulation).

The $1 to $10K robots available to the home market can now do everything that it used take a $10 mil robot (or a very expensive assembly line in even earlier times) to do.

So, I'm essentially taking certain exception to one of your points to support another.

The robots will shrink the middle class until they are part of the elite, and the rest will never be anything more than the help.

But if we wanted to, we could build robots to keep the roads tidy and shit right now. Just ask Google to build some big ass Roombas.

Blogger praetorian July 12, 2016 4:23 PM  

dysgenic indeed. So dysgenic as to cause whole populations to fall FAR below replacement rates. Blue haired fatty "otherkin" are deselected their own DNA heritage.

Blue haired fatties and otherkin were reasonably happy, intelligent white folks raising families fifty years ago. They are being gaslit into sterility while 70 IQ mestizos replace them.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dysgenic

Arthur Isaac

Oh, (((never mind))).

Blogger Dave July 12, 2016 4:27 PM  

Just ask Google to build some big ass Roombas.

Can you imagine how many cats would be riding around on those big ass Roombas? It would break youtube for sure and Steve too.

Blogger J A Baker July 12, 2016 4:28 PM  

When I read this post I thought about the Georgia guide stones. The answer to Reed's question is simple. We are being evicted, yoyos and all.

Blogger J A Baker July 12, 2016 4:28 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger J A Baker July 12, 2016 4:29 PM  

When I read this post I thought about the Georgia guide stones. The answer to Reed's question is simple. We are being evicted, yoyos and all.

Blogger J A Baker July 12, 2016 4:31 PM  

The Amish knew this would happen.

Blogger J A Baker July 12, 2016 4:31 PM  

The Amish knew this would happen.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr July 12, 2016 4:32 PM  

The way I see it, some sort of Government intervention is highly likely. Unfortunately, it's likely to be the wrong sort of intervention.

We've reached the point where a lot of jobs are being automated. This is great for people who make and maintain the automation. Great for the owners of the robots. Lousy for the displaced workers. Many of them cannot be retrained for jobs of equal or higher pay...at least not economically.

The question being what to do with the displaced. Putting them on welfares is NOT a solution - not only do they learn bad habits, but bored people riot.

There are several sensible courses of action. The first is to start bleeding women OUT of the workforce. Strip out the child care tax credits...and increase the dependent tax deduction. Make it economically worthwhile to be a housewife.

The second is to reduce the overhead costs associated with employment. Many businesses now require professionals to spend a significant amount of their time doing clerical work such as handling travel orders and claims...because it's cheaper to pay a professional for a few hours of his high pay than to hire a clerk to handle the administrative tasks. Never mind the lost productivity. Lower the overhead, and businesses can hire secretaries again.

The third is a shift to a Personal Service economy. I see the day returning when a gentleman has a valet...or at least a secretary.

Above all, this question makes it imperative that the immigration problem be addressed. Tim Thirtieth Percentile doesn't stand a chance against Imported Hordes. But he's our countryman.

Anonymous JI July 12, 2016 4:36 PM  

What's been killing me for years is that, even as manufacturing becomes ever more automated, American companies continue going overseas, or at least stay overseas, rather than operating in America which has a relatively good electrical grid, transportation infrastructure (including rivers), relatively educated people, generally good rule of law as applied to businesses, etc... The excuse has always been the cheap labor mantra, but I think rules, regulations, taxes and other general hassles are the main driver over the past 15-or-so years.

Blogger Human Animal July 12, 2016 4:36 PM  

Soylent Green will be implemented in China.

Aren't Chinese doctors already slaying patients to sell their organs?

Anonymous kfg July 12, 2016 4:36 PM  

@175:

I figure the videos of the static discharge getting the cats off will have 100 times the views of the cats being cute passengers.

Anonymous bubble July 12, 2016 4:39 PM  

"Vox, do you have any ideas on how to cope with the robotic age problem?"

Don't make it worse by importing more people - halt immigration and deport anyone you can find a good excuse to deport e.g. illegal, jihadist etc.

This is lifeboat time - mass immigration *and* robotics = hell.

Anonymous Ollie July 12, 2016 4:45 PM  

Here's something that always struck me as the biggest blind spot in modern economic thinking - the origin of property rights. The acquisition of wealth is not something that occurs in a vacuum, where so long as one “wins” at the game of free trade, they are in complete and uncontestable possession of those spoils. Each and every case of material ownership, whether the item in question is owned by a hobo or a multibillionaire, exists solely because of an implicit agreement between the members of society that this state of affairs should continue, and that any attempt to alter the record of account without consent is met with physical resistance.

The ultimate source of “ownership” in a given situation then, is not bank ledgers or property titles, nor the laws that govern these instruments, but the threat of physical force as a means to enforce these contracts and laws. In other words, whatever you own, you retain that right of ownership precisely because you live in a society both dedicated and equipped to defend your rights to your possessions.

At this stage of our civilization, there is a large portion of the population that simply does not understand that, and the lack of understanding is driving everything from SJW military programs, to “Refugees Welcome”, to BLM, to misusing law enforcement as a political cudgel (remember the swat teaming of Gibson guitar?).

The catlady set (and most of the champagne socialist set they idolize) sees the organization of applied physical force as something they can meddle with and control without any regard to the effects on society at large. They view the army and police force as if it were a magical robot genie bound to mindlessly obey and flawlessly complete their every whim, provided they have the official bureaucratic title or legislative permission required to manipulate the great golem. This mindset manifests itself in the form of both inane legislation (affirmative consent laws; most gun control measures) and gleeful commentary by bloodthirsty SJW’s braying for their golem to mercilessly crush their enemies (tweets on the Cliven Bundy standoff come to mind here).

The globalist oligarch set on the other hand, understands all too well that there are flesh and blood men behind those riot shields and F-15 cockpits, and they are frankly terrified of those men putting 2 and 2 together. Hence the push for solutions to make a military and law enforcement apparatus that is less likely to question its orders. This is what’s ultimately driving the development of autonomous defense systems research, but that effort is not going to yield the desired result for a considerable while. In the meantime, more pragmatic solutions involving efforts to psychologically distance recruits from both their missions and the population they protect are employed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEdgzndKuog

Regardless, there are many out there who would do well to understand that their good fortune rests upon a stable society and the backs of all the men who work to ensure that stability.

Anonymous Contaminated NEET July 12, 2016 4:46 PM  

The answer is population reduction. The people who own the robotic factories are going to wonder why they allow the rest of us to live on their planet. When we masses of unemployed untermenschen start getting restless and violent and making demands on them - and we inevitably will - they're going realize that things would be so much nicer without so many useless and angry apes around.

If we're lucky, it'll be sterilization and pacification with virtual reality. If we're not, extermination. Probably a combination of the two strategies.

On the plus side, life is going to be very sweet for the few million who remain. Imagine material plenty, safety, huge expanses of wilderness dotted with picturesque ruins, and freedom from the requirement to work. It'll be a return to Eden.

Blogger Dwight House July 12, 2016 4:46 PM  

It's true robotics can replace a lot of jobs, but people are giving robots and programs WAY too much credit. There is a limit to how much they can do.

For example, imagine a program that can take a few sentences describing a desired program and then generate a program that performs the expected operations? How hard would it be to write such a program? The answer is "impossible." It's impossible because not even a human can do this.

A few sentences are not enough to accurately describe desired operations and outcome, beyond the most simplistic of programs. In fact, the amount of effort and description required to accurately describe what an arbitrarily complex program on an arbitrary subject matter should do is exactly equal to the amount of code necessary to create a working solution, with a sufficiently high-level language ( https://youtu.be/JxAXlJEmNMg?t=57m50s ). So nothing is saved, nothing is gained for free. And this assumes that all the inherent logical problems that must be solved during the course of development are already solved. The only time this occurs is when the program has already been written, either as a working program (in which case, why are you rewriting it?), or fully in the programmer's head (in which case, we're only talking about simple programs for which the programmer has done many similar tasks before). The inherent subtle quality of a good program isn't so much what is written in the source code, but what isn't. That is, there is a non-trivial amount of operational complexity in a program that is only found in the interaction of a program's various parts, not within any particular line of code.

People keep looking at the higher and higher levels of abstraction (in programming languages and tools), and the simpler and simpler to use tools (in robotics), and then extrapolate that eventually the abstractions and tools will remove the requirement of a human component. But as Mark Twain observed, it is foolish to extrapolate without taking absolute principles into account ( http://www.markwareconsulting.com/miscellaneous/mark-twain-on-the-perils-of-extrapolation/ ).

Here is an absolute principle. We have mathematical proof that there are certain problems that are unsolvable via algorithm. The most famous of these is likely the Halting Problem ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halting_problem ). Alan Turing showed that it is impossible to write an algorithm that can successfully determine if an arbitrary program (or algorithm) will loop forever, or eventually stop. For any individual program, a computer program or a programmer could, conceivably, determine this, but for an arbitrary program, Turing showed that it is always possible to construct a program that will trick any algorithm into giving the wrong output. Since even determining if a generated program will run forever or successfully stop at some point can't be solved by computers, many computer scientists who were at the time trying to determine how to write programs that write any and all future programs, realized it was a fruitless quest.

That is not to say that all humans will be able to become programmers in the absence of future job prospects, and therefore solve this post's mentioned problem. I don't think all people can, in spite of my best efforts to encourage people to learn. Some people seem mentally incapable of the kind of deep thinking required, and not for lack of trying.

Blogger pokeanimal July 12, 2016 4:51 PM  

I wonder if Vox has read Kaczynski. And if so, what his thoughts would be.

Blogger Noah B July 12, 2016 4:56 PM  

Interesting. This post immediately made me think of T.K. as well.

Anonymous A.B. Prosper July 12, 2016 4:58 PM  

User wrote:There will always be work for fighting men and whores.

Not really. Smart robots, autonomous kill units and gene drive killer mosquitoes can take care of most of the war-fighting. Cherry 2000's, porn and cheap pleasure devices the sex part.

As fart as going to Mars. Come back to me after we have a long term colony in the Gobi or several large cities underwater or in Antarctica.

A base or two doesn't count

Space and Mars colonization is a functional impossibly and there will be no new frontier in Space and no White flight.

Fight or be subjugated.

Anonymous kfg July 12, 2016 5:04 PM  

"Come back to me after we have a long term colony in the Gobi . . ."

It couldn't be self-contained. It would require too many people to deal with the regulators.

Blogger Wormwood July 12, 2016 5:05 PM  

Things are going to get bad, and stay very bad, until we master space travel. There is plenty of work out there for man and machine. That is until space travel becomes as easy as global travel currently is. When that happens the problems start all over again, but on a much, much larger scale.

Blogger Kona Commuter July 12, 2016 5:09 PM  

I worked in a factory for a number of years. It was increasingly becoming automated.

Fortunately for the rank and file the owner was absent and he didn't like paying any of his staff very well, so the management & supervisors weren't very good (sidenote the HR were ruthless) and this meant when inertia of "that's how we do things here" was overcome implementation was poor.

They bought a machine to do X. When the manufacturer came to install it the rep was beside himself exclaiming "these aren't the measurements I was told". The machine had to be brought into the factory via a crane through the roof. Once installed they discovered that they could only fit 4 machines in the space allocated not the 8 they planned on. 2 years later the machines still doesn't work.

The purpose built room for the industrial bins was to small on day one for the trucks.

The very first day a truck backed into the (again purpose built for this very truck), the truck tore apart the door as it was to low.

A barrier to protect a door from being damaged by forklifts was to low for the forklifts to pass.

But sometimes the bosses got it right. They installed a machine that produced 2,000 units over two hours operated by one person. Previously it took 2 employees 8 hours. The employees were excited because it made their job easier and they struggled to understand that they'd just been made redundant.

Blogger James July 12, 2016 5:10 PM  

A truly free market would be able to adjust to the new economic realities. If robots produce things cheaper then the consumers of those things produced ought to be able to benefit. But one of the problems we face now is that alternative jobs cannot be created because of the high taxes and onerous regulations imposed on job creators. I wouldn't want to higher anyone because I think employees cost too much and have too much rights. The system seems to be deliberately pricing human beings out of the market. Which makes perfect sense given what I know about the anti-human agenda of the NWO a-holes.

Anonymous SciVo July 12, 2016 5:10 PM  

Noah Nehm wrote:I've wondered if the type of large scale farming we do is sustainable, and if there is some shock (e.g., UG99, phosphate price spike, etc.), if there will be a need for more intensive farming. If that's so, then that's the answer. We have the technology to automate some of the more difficult aspects of farming, enabling it to generate more income per person that subsistence farming.

I just stumbled across a synthesis of suburban farming, open source, and robotics: FarmBot

Anonymous farmer July 12, 2016 5:11 PM  

The elite plan to eliminate the useless eaters. We're here to come up with a better solution.

I hear lots of speculation, but little known workable plans.

One known workable plan is the ludite/amish option.

The Amish are better off compared to their modern counterparts: economically, demographically, and culturally. The fact they preserved their culture while being smack dab in the middle of modern America is impressive to say the least.

Amish is an example of this option, tied to culture/genetics, done voluntarily within society. There is also the non-voluntary societal wide Dune option as well.

Thats not to say we start living like Amish; but we could freeze our technology somewhere post-industrial/pre-robot.

How to make this work when the elites have their own plan? I think the solution again has been demonstrated: tie it to genetics/culture for the preservation of the high IQ white race.

Blogger Wormwood July 12, 2016 5:15 PM  

A.B. Prosper wrote:User wrote:There will always be work for fighting men and whores.

Not really. Smart robots, autonomous kill units and gene drive killer mosquitoes can take care of most of the war-fighting. Cherry 2000's, porn and cheap pleasure devices the sex part.

As fart as going to Mars. Come back to me after we have a long term colony in the Gobi or several large cities underwater or in Antarctica.

A base or two doesn't count

Space and Mars colonization is a functional impossibly and there will be no new frontier in Space and no White flight.

Fight or be subjugated.



You're looking at this through 20th century eyes. Labor as we currently know it didn't exist until the industrial revolution, and yet men moved their families to remote hostile lands, via dangerous sea journeys, to create new lives, but there were no factories to build, or jobs to fill. Why did they do that if they didn't have any of your motivations?

Anonymous kfg July 12, 2016 5:16 PM  

" . . . we could freeze our technology somewhere post-industrial/pre-robot."

See Edo on the afternoon of July 8, 1853.

Anonymous farmer July 12, 2016 5:18 PM  

We always look at GMI as monetary distribution. But this is little more than subsidizing landlords, producers, and a massively expanded bureaucracy via human intermediaries.

What if we took more of a Homestead Act route?

Guaranty everyone a few acres and some basic consumer goods / food needed to live. If they want better quality goods, more spece, etc. they have to go out and get creative / work.

Would that work? What would be the unintended consequences?

Since blind welfare seems to be inherently disgenic we may have to take a up front eugenic approach to encourage innovation/hard work/baby making for those with better IQ / civilization compatible traits. We'll need to learn from Calhoons mice on this one.

1 – 200 of 315 Newer› Newest»

Post a Comment

Rules of the blog
Please do not comment as "Anonymous". Comments by "Anonymous" will be spammed.

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts