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The future - What happens to Captitalism?
This thread belongs to weasel.forumgeeks.net


2009-06-26 21:05 GMT   |   #1

Today I just saw a nice article which shows what will happen for most jobs, machines doing them better, faster, and cheaper:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 074818.htm

So imagine 50 years in the future, when we have extremely advanced AI and they can perform pretty much any task a person can, even jobs that a regular in-home repair man would do, like plumbing, etc. What is going to happen to the _very_ large majority of people who are more expensive and do worse work than robots/AI does?

Nearly all workers in first world countries would be out of a job. About the only ones who would have work are those working in the highly advanced scientific fields that AI can not match at the time (although, AI will continue to advance and I imagine it will also put researchers out of a job as well at some point).

With those changes things should be extremely cheap because they can be done on massive scales with little to no human labor. Think of a farm for example, hundreds of miles/km (unlimited amounts of space really) could be run by a single farm with completely automated systems that constantly watch and tend the crops, which not only produces a lot more crops, but also makes the crops much higher quality because of the constant tending. Food will be extremely cheap to produce, but again, little to no human labor involved.

If the market would be a capitalist one, there would be a very tiny few who are extremely rich because they own all of the main companies who own these robots, and then nearly everybody else would be extremely poor because they have no job.

I'd like to hear some people's thoughts on this one. I simply see no way for capitalism to work in 30-50 years and certainly not in 75-100 years.
2009-06-26 23:09 GMT   |   #2

Robots can't do everything. At least people wont let them take over. Imagine computers serving customers. That wouldn't be right. Would you buy anything from a computer? Will you watch a movie with computer actors and actresses. Will you buy computer generated art? They are just a few examples.

People would just be richer because more advanced jobs are opened up and products are relatively cheaper.

Unskilled people will lose out but hopefully those will be few.

And robots wont be too advanced by 2050, I don't think.
2009-06-26 23:17 GMT   |   #3

god0fgod wrote:And robots wont be too advanced by 2050, I don't think.

I agree with that. I was reading a book from the 1980's that was looking forward to 2005, and in it is said something along the lines of: "Image a normal day in 2005. You walk outside, scan your fingerprint on the sensor pad of your levitating transportation vehicle, and fly off to work at the International Space Station." :D

So, yeah, I don't see robots taking over by 2050. However, EXreaction does bring up a good point. If we let technology go unchecked, it could lead to the ultimate downfall of human kind.
2009-06-26 23:22 GMT   |   #4

Imagine computers serving customers.

When you call Apple for tech support, you'll be served by a computer. Or when you walk up to your bank's Automated Teller Machine.

Would you buy anything from a computer?

Ever bought food from a vending machine? Your girlfriend ever bought a tampon from one?

Will you buy computer generated art?

Who bought a ticket to the movie "UP!"? Check your local bookseller. I bet you can find one about fractals, which are computer-generated.
2009-06-27 00:54 GMT   |   #5

Tom wrote:You walk outside, scan your fingerprint on the sensor pad of your levitating transportation vehicle, and fly off to work at the International Space Station

The movie Wall-e came to mind when I read this. Everyone in the future could end up being fat blobs just like in the movie :lol:
2009-06-27 00:56 GMT   |   #6

god0fgod wrote:People would just be richer because more advanced jobs are opened up and products are relatively cheaper.


Advanced jobs require good education and intelligence, something that the great majority is extremely lacking.

Tom wrote:So, yeah, I don't see robots taking over by 2050. However, EXreaction does bring up a good point. If we let technology go unchecked, it could lead to the ultimate downfall of human kind.


Technology roughly doubles in speed every 3 years, so you are looking at roughly 10000x the processing speed we have today in 40 years. Work on robotics and AI is already advancing at quite a rapid rate. Just a few weeks ago I was reading about a robot that was built as a demo for interactions. To test it they put it in the middle of a city, told it a destination it had to find, then let it off. It had no GPS or anything like that and had to find it's destination by asking others on the street for directions (and it did make it to the destination).

I'd hardly call the downfall of capitalism as the downfall of human kind. Quite the opposite actually, with 95%+ people out of a job with robotics in their place that gives everybody a much more carefree life and they can do what they want instead of having to go to work. They can travel the world and do anything. With a more socialist society where everybody is given what they need to live comfortably and can choose what they want to do beyond that. A single unified society where money does not even exist.
2009-06-27 03:39 GMT   |   #7
 
This post-human dystopic vision requires human or superhuman AI. If AI is less intelligent than people, then it can't replace people. It could replace certain menial tasks, but not anything requiring human intelligence.

I heard the same fears when I was young, about robots taking over from people. In reality, automated factory equipment allowed the same number of people to make far more products, rather than allowing the factory to make the same products with far fewer people. And robots themselves generate jobs; someone has to program the robot, maintain it, build it, etc. Robots are one of the reasons we have so much incredibly cheap crap today.

Unfortunately, this all begs the question: what happens if we do make an AI which is smarter than humans? To be honest, I don't know. Perhaps it would be fantastic, like people living luxurious lives of leisure while robots do all of the work in a socialistic utopia. Or perhaps it would be horrific, with SkyNet hunter/killers cruising the land searching for humans to exterminate ;)
2009-06-27 04:30 GMT   |   #8

Yes, that's the question, when will we have semi-intelligent, self-learning AI? It will happen eventually, especially once we figure out how to produce good self-learning AI. After that happens it is easy to compound knowledge learned between them by synchronizing their data.

I seriously doubt there will be some kind of issue like shown in the movies. Once robots get to a point of noticeable intelligence I am sure that there would be backdoors in the software to stop any/all of them. Although if something would happen it'll be a long few weeks/month to get that fixed with us completely relying on machines to do everything for us. Maybe the world would pull together and do some of the things the robots were doing (mainly regarding the food supply) until the issue was fixed.
2009-06-27 05:27 GMT   |   #9
 
I'd say AI would be integrated with the human mind. As humans, there would be an increased capacity of thought and memory, so that we get the the best of both worlds. Critical thought which machines don't have and hopefully will never have and incredible fast calculations. There will probably be pure machine based robots who do all the menial jobs. In this case, I'd think the world would turn into a hierarchy, with most humans doing much more mental jobs and robots doing physical jobs. The birth rate would also decrease which is already evident in 1st world countries which limits amount of people and thus limits the amount of unemployment. We'd probably also expand to more worlds and new opportunities will open up. Anyhow, that's just what I think would happen...

Whats the difference between a robot and a human?
2009-06-27 05:59 GMT   |   #10

Yep, that'll certainly become a part of it. Once full bodied prosthetics are possible you will be able to get micro computers that you can basically connect to your brain for instant access to check information, do calculations, etc (although, like they say, you don't use it, you lose it, so I am not sure having a calculator do everything for everyone is a good idea ^_^).

The problems with humans doing the more mental jobs is intelligence/education requirements. The level of both is severely lacking. There is a reason few people become scientists, engineers, etc.

I am not sure about the birthrate. Birthrates make sense to decline where society is at now in first world countries (at least in most areas). People are too busy to deal with a bunch of (expensive!) kids and they do not have the need for them like they would if they owned a farm or something similar. But if robots did 80% of the work, that would leave a lot more time for people.

In a world of highly advanced AI and where full bodied prosthetics exists and you can get an entire robotic like body, what indeed is the difference between humans and robots? If obvious appearance differences did not exist I doubt most people would be able to tell the difference.

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