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Humanoid Or Specifically Built Robots VS Human Workers


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1 minute ago, DDE said:

the crisis in the post-industrial economy

Is caused by the fact that the goods get more complicated in production and technologically unavailable or too expensive for a small/middle company, so the capital inevitably gets concentrated in large companies, and its production gets automated and needs no humans anymore.

This makes the capital (i.e. self-growing price or how to say "самовозрастающая стоимость" / "Zimmerpreis inbegriffen") ocerconcentrate and thus collapse.

But this ulikely has any relation to the alienation of product because such product can not be produced by the laborer himself.

(Also, Engels never studied in university and dropped the family business once his father died, while Marx was never a practicising economist at all, so unlikely their definitions work well always.)

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If a mechanized workforce can allow for a labor-free society, even without post-scarcity, then the meritocracy grinds to a halt. If people don't work because the robots took the jobs, then there needs to be a way for society to determine how assets/goods are distributed. What form of capitalism will a labor-free (or non-compulsory labor) society adapt? I'm not smart enough to answer that, but it's a good question.

Edit: The same applies to when only the biggest, largest corporation can produce any sort of complex good, and 99.99% of the community is unable to compete, and therefore cannot enter the market as a seller.

Edited by WestAir
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1 minute ago, Dragon01 said:

Trading stocks, speculating on currency market or being a politician is not useful work, lucrative as it might be.

It's a useful background work producing the regulation of the others' business.

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4 minutes ago, Dragon01 said:

Also, while life for Belarussian middle class is undoubtedly much worse than in the US, I suspect the poor are actually just as if not better off, especially if we compare them to illegal immigrants and the like.

I prefer a comparison with its direct neighbor )

Belarus seems to do better on that front by the virtue of being compact and non-federated (Russia's 'federal centre' pretty much has to tolerate open corruption in far-flung regions). This means its social safety net - while being quite similar on paper and historically related - actually works more reliably.

13 minutes ago, Dragon01 said:

The "right" way of doing that would be to create useful work for everyone, for example by massively expanding industry until there's enough workplaces to everyone. The problem is, it can't be done without some starting capital (and competence on part of the government, but that's a problem just about anywhere). 

The bigger problem is it places them in competition with profit-driven capitalist enterprises. Here, the inefficiencies of a planned economy, let alone a make-work enterprise, become sharply pronounced. It's one of the reasons for rapid de-industrialization of ex-Warsaw Pact countries - although the role of asset-stripping vulture capitalists should not be underestimated.

4 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

This makes the capital (i.e. self-growing price or how to say "самовозрастающая стоимость" / "Zimmerpreis inbegriffen") ocerconcentrate and thus collapse.

But this ulikely has any relation to the alienation of product because such product can not be produced by the laborer himself.

Oh, you haven't seen Lancaster's network effects, wherein the utility of the good grows exponentially as more people use it, and it becomes a de facto standard, making a monopoly inevitable.

Hello, Facebook. 

6 minutes ago, Dragon01 said:

Useful work is one that creates value. Tightening nuts on a Lunokhod's rear wheel is useful work, because a rover with all the wheels is worth more than a rover with one missing. Trading stocks, speculating on currency market or being a politician is not useful work, lucrative as it might be. This is actually a serious problem with modern economy, though not all economists acknowledge it as such.

And this is where we arrive to the flame-war-inducing topic of "what is value", and who decides that.

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8 minutes ago, DDE said:

The "right" way of doing that would be to create useful work for everyone,

Will finish in two weeks with early feudalism when a pack of smart guys realize that they can force their neighbors to do that "useful work" for them.

(Sorry, it was quote-in-quote, it was @Dragon01's)

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52 minutes ago, Dragon01 said:

Cheap labor is still going strong in other places in SE Asia, in Africa and South America. The reason it doesn't seem like it worked like that is that we don't have unrestrained capitalism in most of the Western world. Just look at how jobs changed in the US, things like mining and manufacturing were in deep decline before the pandemic, and the economy was shifting to a service-heavy model which still had many low wage jobs, just not in hard labor. Also note the US reliance on low-paid illegal immigrants for the lowest of those jobs, who are exempt from protections against exploitation that are afforded to citizens. Misery is just being shuffled around the world, not eliminated.

We are much wealthier, but notice that not everyone benefits from increase in global wealth. It mostly goes to those already wealthy, in developed countries. The reason China had changed is because it had recently-ish joined that club. These countries restrict cheap labor from becoming too cheap, and wealth produced for each person increases there, but at the same time, things are outsourced to places which do allow labor costs to drop. We're far from running out of such places, but it'll happen someday. 

Cheap labor goes strong at places who is very poor but pretty stable and you can run an simple factory easy. 
You don't have it in places with high cost of living or even medium cost ones even with no regulations. 
You can always move the production.

Manufacturing has long been in decline in the west, automation probably returned more but not lots of workplaces. 
And no the west is not the major winner her, China grab an huge potion but google the global middle class, 
In short it looks like the real winner is 3rd world countries who does well, the poorest countries benefit less. 

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10 minutes ago, DDE said:

The bigger problem is it places them in competition with profit-driven capitalist enterprises. Here, the inefficiencies of a planned economy, let alone a make-work enterprise, become sharply pronounced. It's one of the reasons for rapid de-industrialization of ex-Warsaw Pact countries - although the role of asset-stripping vulture capitalists should not be underestimated.

That's what I said about them being out-competed. It's happening to them right now, and the reason they are so poor. However, this is not limited to socialist countries, anything that benefits the workers' welfare will make the enterprise less competitive. This is the exact reason the Western world is losing manufacturing jobs and the like to outsourcing. That's why trying to improve workers' lives will always be an uphill struggle against profit margins.

7 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

Will finish in two weeks with early feudalism when a pack of smart guys realize that they can force their neighbors to do that "useful work" for them.

Actually, since the point was government creating the "useful work", that kind of already given (well, minus the "smart guys", this is the government we're talking about :) ). The basic idea of early feudalism actually lives on just fine in corporate and government management structures. Only with less jousting and more paperwork. :) 

1 minute ago, magnemoe said:

And no the west is not the major winner her, China grab an huge potion but google the global middle class, 
In short it looks like the real winner is 3rd world countries who does well, the poorest countries benefit less. 

Depends on whether you consider absolute or relative terms. In particular, we call them "developed" countries, because it sounds better than "not developing" or "stagnant", which are the real opposites of "developing". Either way, something like the US is much less likely to notice the increase, even if it gets the lion's share in absolute terms. Some 3rd world countries are doing quite well, and got significant gains relative to where they were before, but it's usually the upper and middle class reaping the benefits. The most the poor get is the infrastructure (which, admittedly, in many places is a huge improvement) as a side effect of the elites needing it for other things.

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37 minutes ago, DDE said:

And this is where we arrive to the flame-war-inducing topic of "what is value", and who decides that.

Especially if take the Marx's two "value" definitions (of production and of exchange), both for unknown reason declared appearing on the moment of the good production but partially delayed.

27 minutes ago, Dragon01 said:

Actually, since the point was government creating the "useful work"

The work cannot be created. The purpose can be. Otherwise it's the digging/undigging, see XX century.
And the purpose is eliminated by the automation.

27 minutes ago, Dragon01 said:

The basic idea of early feudalism actually lives on just fine in corporate and government management structures. Only with less jousting and more paperwork. 

Are you whipped every week? Does your boss take your wife and your pizza when he wants?
Early feudalism was just a banditism when it was natural for everybody. Our family gang bends that village or vice versa. Ask Ragnar.

Edited by kerbiloid
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1 hour ago, Dragon01 said:

That's what I said about them being out-competed. It's happening to them right now, and the reason they are so poor. However, this is not limited to socialist countries, anything that benefits the workers' welfare will make the enterprise less competitive. This is the exact reason the Western world is losing manufacturing jobs and the like to outsourcing. That's why trying to improve workers' lives will always be an uphill struggle against profit margins.

Actually, since the point was government creating the "useful work", that kind of already given (well, minus the "smart guys", this is the government we're talking about :) ). The basic idea of early feudalism actually lives on just fine in corporate and government management structures. Only with less jousting and more paperwork. :) 

Depends on whether you consider absolute or relative terms. In particular, we call them "developed" countries, because it sounds better than "not developing" or "stagnant", which are the real opposites of "developing". Either way, something like the US is much less likely to notice the increase, even if it gets the lion's share in absolute terms. Some 3rd world countries are doing quite well, and got significant gains relative to where they were before, but it's usually the upper and middle class reaping the benefits. The most the poor get is the infrastructure (which, admittedly, in many places is a huge improvement) as a side effect of the elites needing it for other things.

An country need an decent economy before it can start with welfare. And welfare is not much of an problem for companies, it just make employees more expensive. It also generate an practical lower income level. 
In the US salaries in major cities are higher simply because living cost is higher because of high rents. 
Lots of companies want to set up business in Sweden and New York.

Very few want to set one up in Nicaragua or Somalia, lack of security and rule of law and low stability is main problem.  

Yes in relative term its more staggering but increase in living standard is still real, and yes developing countries is an way to make it sound better. 
And yes its  the middle class getting much larger who is the main effect and its not affect all developing countries but its probably close to half the people on earth. 
Most people today has an mobile phone. 

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Hmmm...

Robots will not cause a global unemployment epidemic. Why? New technology always creates more jobs than it replaces. Let's look at the textiles industry. Originally, there were a handful of jobs requiring intense manual labor and which might cause you to go blind from squinting. The products were few and varied, dependant on the skill of the worker. When mechanical looms were invented, the jobs of the hand-weavers were eliminated, but there were more jobs operating machinery. As a second-order effect, the increased production required more people to distribute the products. People were also required to see that the company did not run below profit or manufacture too much. This gave birth to management. The raised real wages and lower prices of consumer goods benefited everyone. 

The third stage is, of course, a completely autonomous factory. While no one works at the factory, there are many jobs which support it. Engineers, power grid workers, investors, textile designers, and many others.

***

Now, generalizing, we see that there are three stages in any technology. We can use the simple example of hammering a nail to demonstrate this point.

First, there is the hammer, swung by a man's arm. The hammer is powered by a human, and guided by a human.

Second, there is the pneumatic hammer, used commonly by roofers to drive tacks. This is not powered by a human, but it is still guided by one.

The ultimate (third) evolution of hammering technology will, therefore, be a machine both powered and guided mechanically. We have these; they are called gang-nailers, and they are used to build prefab houses.

***

The pneumatic hammers made such jobs as "roofer" possible. They also add such jobs as "nail making factory worker" and "manager of a store to buy pneumatic hammers at".

Gang nailers replace prefab house builders, for the most part, but they add jobs. (More than they eliminate.) These jobs are even less labor-intensive than those added by pneumatic hammers. We have the people who design the gang nailer, sell it, etc. We have the people who use it to provide low-cost, abundant housing, and those who provide insurance for that housing. There are people who design houses to be built, and there are people who decorate those houses. The list can go on and on! More jobs, and less strenuous ones!

These jobs need to be filled. If they are not, they will become more lucrative, until people do fill them. Simple market forces. The scarcer workers are, the higher the demand. The workers will compensate by filling those jobs rather that lower wage tasks.

***

The question here is whether the final evolution of a technology, the transition from human guidance to autonomy, creates a fundamental alteration of economics, such that some principles need be abandoned. The answer? It does not, and they do not need to be. The laws of economics and the capitalist system are the logical end of the starting principles of economics. These principles, or axioms, really, are known as human nature. Human nature is, by definition, unchangeable. If you change human nature, you will create apes or angels, but not humans.

Many philosophers have tried to change human nature, or else make incorrect assumptions about it. This always results in a philosophy inconsistent with the universe. Such systems are the philosophical and economic equivalent of physics' perpetual motion machine or free-energy device.

Edited by SOXBLOX
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7 hours ago, Dragon01 said:

Yeah, should have said physical hard labor. :) That said, retail is also in decline, services are subject to automation, too, just at a slower pace. 

nods Virtually all of the focus in the debate on 'automation' is on blue collar jobs...  But there's been a revolution in white collar jobs that's gone all but un-noticed. 

My wife is an accountant, and she's the boss accountant for a retail business that's considerably larger than it was in the 70's-80's...  But has only a fraction of the office staff. (In real, not relative, terms.  And in her twenty years there, the office has gone from four to two.)  POS software eliminated a large percentage, and integrated vertical packages (POS combined with payroll/time management and other financials and misc functions) have eliminated virtually all of them.  (And much of what's left in the accounting/bookkeeping field has been dramatically deskilled because the software now does the work, E.G. tax prep.)  I'm a trained draftsman (or was anyhow), and that's a profession that's been eliminated lock, stock, and barrel by CAD/CAM software.

Etc... etc...  Once you know where to look, it's everywhere.

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22 minutes ago, DerekL1963 said:

nods Virtually all of the focus in the debate on 'automation' is on blue collar jobs...  But there's been a revolution in white collar jobs that's gone all but un-noticed. 

My wife is an accountant

You still have accountants, such vintage... Modern trend here is to have them only in the head office. Several known to me local companies (not so small) now have only a chief accountant.

And as the de-facto standard is 1S program complex, and it motivates for both remote work and their online services usage, I believe this will soon fruit into several data-centers with all accountant offices at one place.

Similar situation is about "juridical consultants" (?), whose work is to find typical treaties and documents and prepare them for daily needs.

So, the white collars are even more vulnerable.

Only the janitors will have a work until they will be renamed to the "front-end recycling managers"

Edited by kerbiloid
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I believe I've already mentioned this novel on these forums (quick check, yes I have), but here it comes again:

Voyage from Yesteryear by James P. Hogan deals with post scarcity society where robots do everything needed for society to survive, while humans can focus on their talents. That is not the primary topic of the novel, so if you decide to read it don't be surprised (I recommend, regardless) but it has a nice scene where newcomers see abundance of stuff that is free to take and just go crazy taking much more than they need, drawing confused looks from original population. Meanwhile folks can focus on doing what they like, so one of them decided to be a carpenter and he builds beautiful and intricate wood cabins, even though utilitarian, robot built housing is plentiful and free.

I wish we could live in such society.

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29 minutes ago, DerekL1963 said:

nods Virtually all of the focus in the debate on 'automation' is on blue collar jobs...  But there's been a revolution in white collar jobs that's gone all but un-noticed. 

My wife is an accountant, and she's the boss accountant for a retail business that's considerably larger than it was in the 70's-80's...  But has only a fraction of the office staff. (In real, not relative, terms.  And in her twenty years there, the office has gone from four to two.)  POS software eliminated a large percentage, and integrated vertical packages (POS combined with payroll/time management and other financials and misc functions) have eliminated virtually all of them.  (And much of what's left in the accounting/bookkeeping field has been dramatically deskilled because the software now does the work, E.G. tax prep.)  I'm a trained draftsman (or was anyhow), and that's a profession that's been eliminated lock, stock, and barrel by CAD/CAM software.

Etc... etc...  Once you know where to look, it's everywhere.

True and its hardly an new trend, a long time since secretaries was everywhere. 
But has companies overall office staffs gotten smaller outside of special cases? 

I kind of doubt, probably become more centralized however. 
Accounting will still be useful in budgeting and analyzing spending making it more analytic, analyzing rater than filling out ledgers. 

This is an trend analyze and more so customer relation is growth markets in larger cooperation's. 

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12 minutes ago, Shpaget said:

I believe I've already mentioned this novel on these forums (quick check, yes I have), but here it comes again:

Voyage from Yesteryear by James P. Hogan deals with post scarcity society where robots do everything needed for society to survive, while humans can focus on their talents. That is not the primary topic of the novel, so if you decide to read it don't be surprised (I recommend, regardless) but it has a nice scene where newcomers see abundance of stuff that is free to take and just go crazy taking much more than they need, drawing confused looks from original population. Meanwhile folks can focus on doing what they like, so one of them decided to be a carpenter and he builds beautiful and intricate wood cabins, even though utilitarian, robot built housing is plentiful and free.

I wish we could live in such society.

Freefall takes some shot on this. From the robots side. 
http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff2800/fc02721.htm
http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff2900/fc02824.htm

 

 

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23 hours ago, WestAir said:

Today there are no computers that can think critically or, really, think at all. I'm assuming eventually - given enough time - we'll have computers that can. And how amazing will it be to have a Judge or CEO or Prime Minister that is programmed to follow the law, is completely selfless by design, is incapable of lying, and has only the best interests of the public in mind? I'm surely not the first to imagine peerless leadership, and I would be lying if I said I wouldn't support replacing humans with their fairer creations with that regard. Imagine a leader that can't be bribed and won't lie.

Philosophy has been working on the problem of 'what is the mind' since before Socrates way back in 450BC.  Without a definitive and measurable answer we cannot even say for certain that today's most powerful computer is any smarter than the simplest bacteria.  More complex, sure, but is it smarter?

At a conceptually fundamental level, the laptops rolling off of the production line today are identical to ENIAC which was built in 1945.  Sure the components are faster, and the designs are more complex, but they are still just electronic computational devices using the same conceptual set of operations and operators used by ENIAC 75 years ago(add, subtract, shift, look-up, save) , much like the stove and oven in my kitchen are more convenient and better controlled versions of the fires used by our stone-age ancestors to cook their meals.

Before we can get actually 'intelligent' machines, we will need a conceptual sea-change at least as large as the change from using radiated heat like a fire to directly vibrating the water molecules in the food using the proper frequency of radio waves(aka microwave ovens).  Perhaps Quantum computing will be part of this, or perhaps that will just be another step up in capabilities like the transitions from vacuum tube to transistor and then from transistor to integrated circuit.

 

23 hours ago, WestAir said:

The current processing design used for modern computers, if history is any indication, will not be the same design used by computers two centuries from now. Everything changes, and I think the problem, Dragon, is "when" not "if" some college project or research team will invent a completely new and fundamentally different processing design that bridges the gap between modern computing and human computing and can learn and reason. There is a ridiculous demand for this sort of capability, and I assure you there are thousands of people feverishly pursuing computers that can think. We're a smart enough species to make it happen, eventually.

This has been a goal of computer science for more than 50 years, but more and more it is looking like a pipe-dream.  While Strong AI has not yet been proven to be impossible, it looks more and more like we just do not have either the tools or the understanding to create it.

 

14 hours ago, Dragon01 said:

That's why I mentioned abandoning capitalism. It got us where we are, but it also got poor factory workers where they are, and it'll continue dragging them down. We will eventually reach a point when there are more humans than there are "brain" jobs. In straight capitalism, people not capable enough to get paid for thinking will simply starve to death, because they will be unable to generate any value that would earn them any money. Essentially, human life becomes worthless (unless that human is very intelligent), and that's a rather scary thing. In fact, this was Marx' original point, communism started out as an answer to the question "what happens when we're all replaced by robots"? This specter had been looming over the working class ever since the Jacquard loom, the Bolsheviks jumped the gun a bit on that one (they tried to make it happen, though, the Soviets were actually quite good at automating things, but it turned out not to be enough), but the question is still very real, and it will have to be answered someday. 

The problem with socialism is you need:

A) a person or group able to amass enough power and influence to change the very structure of their society

B) After the changes are made, the society will need to be managed and regulated

C) There will need to be groups or individuals powerful enough to fight off both internal and external enemies

D) None of the above individuals or groups can be selfish, greedy, corrupt, or just reluctant to surrender their hard-won authority

That last one is against human nature, and that is why humans cannot have a 'true' socialist government.  But on the plus side, that means that idealistic socialists can always point out that 'X was not really sociaism, so if we do it right this time, it will work!'

And just as in the past, the power-hungry will espouse the virtues of socialism to get the support they need to amass power and keep it(USSR, Venezuela, Cuba, post WW1 Germany, etc).

 

12 hours ago, Dragon01 said:

It's an example what happens to those that follow a dogma without truly understanding where the principles come from. :) The "right" way of doing that would be to create useful work for everyone, for example by massively expanding industry until there's enough workplaces to everyone. The problem is, it can't be done without some starting capital (and competence on part of the government, but that's a problem just about anywhere). 

Also, while life for Belarussian middle class is undoubtedly much worse than in the US, I suspect the poor are actually just as if not better off, especially if we compare them to illegal immigrants and the like. The US had been characterized as "misery and poverty in a land of incredible wealth" for a reason. They flaunt their wealthy elite, but it's all built on top some very impoverished and indebted lower classes.

I would point out that Illegal immigrants can only be in such dire straits because they are flaunting the rule of law and thus cannot benefit from the protection of those laws.  If that is the only segment of the US society that you can compare against, then I would suggest that you cannot compare against any part of the US society at all because those in hiding from law enforcement, are not properly part of society, but rather fugitives from it.

The reason Capitalism works so much better than a command and control society(such as feudalism, dictatorships, 'socialism', etc), is because it unleashes the potential of the common citizen.  Steve Jobs was adopted and raised by a machinist and his wife, yet at his death, he was one of the richest people in the world because he had some good ideas(and enough luck to successfully bring them to market).

If you rely on a small group of 'elites' to come up with all the ideas, you will not have enough work for everyone, but if you let people try and either fail or succeed, then the good ideas will eventually bubble up and create enough jobs for everyone.

11 hours ago, magnemoe said:

Manufacturing has long been in decline in the west, automation probably returned more but not lots of workplaces. 
And no the west is not the major winner her, China grab an huge potion but google the global middle class, 
In short it looks like the real winner is 3rd world countries who does well, the poorest countries benefit less. 

Correction: Manufacture of low-price, low-margin consumer goods has long been in decline in the west.

As Dell discovered, the consumer market is not where the demand is for high value manufactured goods is located.  You need to sell to the commercial market if you want to make real money, and that is where the US does most of it's manufacturing: tractors, construction equipment, and other high-end manufactured goods where quality is more important than price.

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NV.IND.MANF.CD?end=2017&locations=US&start=1997

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9 hours ago, magnemoe said:

But has companies overall office staffs gotten smaller outside of special cases? 

I kind of doubt, probably become more centralized however. 

I can safely ensure you that yes, it happily shrinks on a finger snap in just a year, once your accountancy, storage, and shops get properly automated.

Also the tax inspection greatly appreciates the online accountancy allowing them to (officially) have a watch, while the company is very interested in a permanent update of the customers/bank/address/etc. references from the centralized repository (instead of typing them with errors), exchange with electronic documents instead of re-typing the papers, sending e-reports to the tax inspection, and connecting the shops and the storehouses in one corporative net updating the accountancy a second later after a customer got his good and gave his money, like it's now almost everywhere.

On the other hand, a small company is very interested in renting a cloud version of the accountant software in the developer's data center and instant updating the database configuration by its specialists, when the software is enough mature to allow most of companies to work with unchanged "standard" database, and there are such "standard" databases for any case, just config it properly. Instead of having their local amateurs and keeping their own local servers. It's just cheaper.

The same about corporative lawyers. Big ones stay, small ones don't.

So, it depends just on the used software, the tax inspection rights, and the speed of swallowing the small companies by the big ones (i.e. the natural monopolisation following the technological growth).

I have seen this not once, and I believe it will happen very soon.
In the highly developed countries (like RU), sooner (actually, almost already), due to the de-facto standardized monopolist software ("1S").
In the catching-up ones (like US, EU, EU-like) later, due to the greater diversity of software tools (though, probably SAP will take its own as well).

9 hours ago, Shpaget said:

Meanwhile folks can focus on doing what they like, so one of them decided to be a carpenter and he builds beautiful and intricate wood cabins, even though utilitarian, robot built housing is plentiful and free.

The problem is where he should get the wood and the tools without those robots.
Say, I can build extraplanetary bases. But I need KSP, electricity, and computer, and unlikely somebody of my neighbors can make them.

So, in the described model the robots let the human get busy with their hobbies, but it's not actually a job.
Also he can't sell or exchange what he's making because nobody has anything for exchange, what he couldn't just take from the robots.

Edited by kerbiloid
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10 hours ago, Terwin said:

This has been a goal of computer science for more than 50 years, but more and more it is looking like a pipe-dream.  While Strong AI has not yet been proven to be impossible, it looks more and more like we just do not have either the tools or the understanding to create it.

Surely you don't suggest that this will still be an obstacle to overcome in 500 years?

The human brain relies significantly on the configuration of neurons, axons, and dendrites. Just because we haven't replicated it doesn't mean it's impossible. There's also no evidence to suggest that alternative methods of logic and reason-driven processing are impossible.

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18 hours ago, SOXBLOX said:

but there were more jobs operating machinery

There's a missing step in your logic. In order for mechanization to be desirable, either these new jobs must cost cheaper than the single manual laborer of old (and that's on top of maintenance costs) to maintain a higher profit margin (a rather unlikely scenario), or the output (including per person) is vastly increased. The problem is that the market is usually assumed to be bottomless when it's not.

True, initial automation leads to an increase in quality and availability of the good. But at some point the market is saturated, and increased output becomes undesireable, so instead companies turn to cost-cutting, which by then is largely through decreasing the number and role of humans in the production process. The increased supply chain may buffer the process a bit, but it ultimately follows down the same pass (and often it involves fewer jobs than the end-use industry).

You're trying to have infinite growth in a finite world.

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The so-called "capitalism" is/was just a short-term transitional process from the human empires to the AI empire.

A process of the resource concentration and technological upgrade required for the leap.

Edited by kerbiloid
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13 hours ago, Terwin said:

The reason Capitalism works so much better than a command and control society(such as feudalism, dictatorships, 'socialism', etc), is because it unleashes the potential of the common citizen.  Steve Jobs was adopted and raised by a machinist and his wife, yet at his death, he was one of the richest people in the world because he had some good ideas(and enough luck to successfully bring them to market).

If you rely on a small group of 'elites' to come up with all the ideas, you will not have enough work for everyone, but if you let people try and either fail or succeed, then the good ideas will eventually bubble up and create enough jobs for everyone.

Except that is only way you have. The "smart fraction" is the one that ends up coming with all the ideas anyway.

http://www.k12accountability.org/resources/Gifted-Education/Impact_of_Smart_Fractions.pdf

So the competetiveness of a society (note the choice of criterion) is measured by how empowered its smart fraction is to lead and innovate, whereas the broader public... well, not so much. The stratification holds up even in the face of extreme attempts to eradicate it.

https://marlonseror.github.io/papers/Persistence_through_Revolutions.pdf

No, that does not bode well for the proletarians.

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21 hours ago, SOXBLOX said:

When mechanical looms were invented, the jobs of the hand-weavers were eliminated, but there were more jobs operating machinery. As a second-order effect, the increased production required more people to distribute the products. People were also required to see that the company did not run below profit or manufacture too much.

The third stage is, of course, a completely autonomous factory. While no one works at the factory, there are many jobs which support it. Engineers, power grid workers, investors, textile designers, and many others.

***

Now, generalizing, we see that there are three stages in any technology. We can use the simple example of hammering a nail to demonstrate this point.

First, there is the hammer, swung by a man's arm. The hammer is powered by a human, and guided by a human.

Second, there is the pneumatic hammer, used commonly by roofers to drive tacks. This is not powered by a human, but it is still guided by one.

The ultimate (third) evolution of hammering technology will, therefore, be a machine both powered and guided mechanically. We have these; they are called gang-nailers, and they are used to build prefab houses.

***

The pneumatic hammers made such jobs as "roofer" possible. They also add such jobs as "nail making factory worker" and "manager of a store to buy pneumatic hammers at".

Gang nailers replace prefab house builders, for the most part, but they add jobs. (More than they eliminate.) These jobs are even less labor-intensive than those added by pneumatic hammers. We have the people who design the gang nailer, sell it, etc. We have the people who use it to provide low-cost, abundant housing, and those who provide insurance for that housing. There are people who design houses to be built, and there are people who decorate those houses. The list can go on and on! More jobs, and less strenuous ones!

 

3 hours ago, DDE said:

There's a missing step in your logic. In order for mechanization to be desirable, either these new jobs must cost cheaper than the single manual laborer of old (and that's on top of maintenance costs) to maintain a higher profit margin (a rather unlikely scenario), or the output (including per person) is vastly increased. The problem is that the market is usually assumed to be bottomless when it's not.

True, initial automation leads to an increase in quality and availability of the good. But at some point the market is saturated, and increased output becomes undesireable, so instead companies turn to cost-cutting, which by then is largely through decreasing the number and role of humans in the production process. The increased supply chain may buffer the process a bit, but it ultimately follows down the same pass (and often it involves fewer jobs than the end-use industry).

You're trying to have infinite growth in a finite world.

As you can see, I have already addressed your objections. It isn't just the supply chains that expand, there are more entirely new jobs available.

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1 hour ago, SOXBLOX said:

The pneumatic hammers made such jobs as "roofer" possible.

 

1 hour ago, SOXBLOX said:

As you can see, I have already addressed your objections. It isn't just the supply chains that expand, there are more entirely new jobs available.

No, you really didn't. Your example is not the creation of a new job (not to mention the roofers existed prior to pneumatic hammers) but a rise of further division of labor. The basic thatched roof used across the world is not something you invite a professional to build.

You've also done nothing to address the expected outcome of the rising productivity of each roofer leading to some of them becoming redundant due to a shortage of additional houses to roof.

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6 hours ago, WestAir said:

Surely you don't suggest that this will still be an obstacle to overcome in 500 years?

The human brain relies significantly on the configuration of neurons, axons, and dendrites. Just because we haven't replicated it doesn't mean it's impossible. There's also no evidence to suggest that alternative methods of logic and reason-driven processing are impossible.

I find the prospect of 500+ years of additional effort to successfully emulate human-level intelligence in a cost-effective and repeatable manner entirely plausible.

Keep in mind that we are only a couple of iterations of Moore's law away from using single atoms for each element in an integrated circuit, and it currently requires a super-computer to emulate the mind of a roach, and not even in real-time(assuming that the emulation the neurons and synapses that was done is sufficient to emulate true intelligence if it were to be scaled up.  Something I deem unlikely because such emulations to-date are fully deterministic.  Also, the computation cost for up-scaling is more exponential than linear, so we flat out do not have the computational capacity to up-scale this to human levels for several iterations of Moore's law yet to come, assuming it can even continue past the point of single atoms)

 

3 hours ago, DDE said:

Except that is only way you have. The "smart fraction" is the one that ends up coming with all the ideas anyway.

http://www.k12accountability.org/resources/Gifted-Education/Impact_of_Smart_Fractions.pdf

So the competetiveness of a society (note the choice of criterion) is measured by how empowered its smart fraction is to lead and innovate, whereas the broader public... well, not so much. The stratification holds up even in the face of extreme attempts to eradicate it.

https://marlonseror.github.io/papers/Persistence_through_Revolutions.pdf

No, that does not bode well for the proletarians.

How do you *find* the smart-fraction?

If you have a command and control economy, you will need those in power to find and empower them with no nepotism, no favoritism, and recognize the few good ideas in the forest of bad ideas without being restrained by preconceptions.

With capitalism, sufficiently good ideas flourish while bad ideas waste limited amounts of resources.  Sure many good ideas wither on the vine from lack of support, but those that consistently support bad ideas rapidly run out of resources to do so.

It is an awful system, but as of yet, nothing has been found to work better in the real world with real people.(and many other systems have proven time and time again to work far worse)

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46 minutes ago, Terwin said:

How do you *find* the smart-fraction?

You could do it just like the Chinese have been doing it for millenia.

But quite often you don't need to, the smart fraction claws its way to the top and it stays there, because success, contrary to anecdotes, is generally inherited across generations (be it through nature or nurture), if not centuries. This trend can be further reinforced through institutionalized nobility or caste systems, both of which are essentially elite breeding programs, but even ostensibly classless societies produce their own dynasties because of human mating preferences.

59 minutes ago, Terwin said:

If you have a command and control economy, you will need those in power to find and empower them with no nepotism, no favoritism, and recognize the few good ideas in the forest of bad ideas without being restrained by preconceptions.

With capitalism, sufficiently good ideas flourish while bad ideas waste limited amounts of resources.  Sure many good ideas wither on the vine from lack of support, but those that consistently support bad ideas rapidly run out of resources to do so.

That is a false dichotomy. Every corporation is a miniature planned economy, and so is just as subject to politicking, nepotism, autocracy, and even ideological activism as a state apparatus. Pro-monopoly forces such as the high efficiency of vertical integration for industrial enterprises, or network effects for the IT industry, ensure that these "miniature" planned economies are greater than many states. The Invisible Hand is helpless to stop this - indeed, we are increasingly living in an era where corporations shape the consumer and invent "trends" that they enforce, not visa versa. Topping this off is the pernicious nature of government-corporate relations, where greed meets the monopoly on coercion.

Worse yet, this is all covered in ideological fluff that makes examination and reform rather difficult. Consider the typical American myopia with regards to government surveillance versus corporate surveillance, or government censorship versus corporate... editorializing ("Muh private platform!").

https://thebaffler.com/salvos/all-effd-up-levine

So, considering the above, while planned economies replicate the bureaucratic deficiencies on an enormous scale, they reduce the inefficiencies arising from greed of individual actors, and they lend themselves to examination and reform. That, and you can actually mobilize them towards a non-profit-making cause.

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