selimchehimi

AI will lead to the death of capitalism?

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Hey everyone! 

Recently I've been thinking a lot about AI, Automation, and jobs. I think that Artificial Intelligence will lead to the death of capitalism. A new economy, which will be incredibly productive but will not need a lot of human workers, might appears. Humans will have to adapt and reconsider the idea of working for a living (a Universal Basic Income will probably be necessary). Our biggest challenge will be to find the meaning of life when work will no longer be an obligation. Some believe that we’ll be free from work, others believe that work is essential to human being. In my opinion, it's a good thing because AI will liberate us from repetitive and boring tasks. Humans will have the chance to focus on what they excel the most i.e. creativity. What do you think guys? I would love to know what you think about AI and unemployment. 

I've made a video about this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6-a7ZMtrzo

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markypooch    1315

*This may have been better in the lounge, btw*

This thread is normally for development pertaining to implementing AI in games, or simulations. But i'll give my 2 cents anyways, for what it's worth.

This whole idea, I feel, is predicated on the machines being self sustainable. If they are not, you end up in a circle of employment yet again: someone has to repair these machines, someone has to teach someone HOW to repair these machines. Someone has to do damage control, and press briefings when the machine gets a nullptr exception, and goes on a killing rampage.

I think the general idea is nanobots, or something like that. I don't know. Which, though some members may disagree, we're nowhere near yet on a global scale. Really this whole ongoing thing that AI will replace humans is really just a giant tech circle jerk, sorry to say.

Maybe someday, in eighty years when we have bi-partisanship on national initiatives this can be feasible. I mean look at the national initiative for the space race! We made it to the moon before the 70's! It's amazing what we can accomplish when we all come together, and set a common goal. Put money, and our brightest minds to it. Basically I don't doubt the technology. I doubt people.

Edited by markypooch

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Scouting Ninja    3952
1 hour ago, selimchehimi said:

I think that Artificial Intelligence will lead to the death of capitalism. A new economy,

Capitalism will never die, just change form.

As long as humans can value something, there will always exist a need to have more of that value. So if AI did provide for humanity then we would find things worth more than basic necessities.

For example when we entered the industrial age, the farmers didn't all just stop farming because food output increased a thousand fold. They didn't hangup there farm hats and just laze around all day, setting up some kind of slave system.

People just expanded there view and moved on, the same thing should happen if AI do all the basics for us, we will just focus on the advanced an beyond.

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29 minutes ago, markypooch said:

*This may have been better in the lounge, btw*

This thread is normally for development pertaining to implementing AI in games, or simulations. But i'll give my 2 cents anyways, for what it's worth.

This whole idea, I feel, is predicated on the machines being self sustainable. If they are not, you end up in a circle of employment yet again: someone has to repair these machines, someone has to teach someone HOW to repair these machines. Someone has to do damage control, and press briefings when the machine gets a nullptr exception, and goes on a killing rampage.

I think the general idea is nanobots, or something like that. I don't know. Which, though some members may disagree, we're nowhere near yet on a global scale. Really this whole ongoing thing that AI will replace humans is really just a giant tech circle jerk, sorry to say.

Maybe someday, in eighty years when we have bi-partisanship on national initiatives this can be feasible. I mean look at the national initiative for the space race! We made it to the moon before the 70's! It's amazing what we can accomplish when we all come together, and set a common goal. Put money, and our brightest minds to it. Basically I don't doubt the technology. I doubt people.

Oh sorry for that, I thought that the section was for AI in general not just for video games. 

I agree with you, and I like this view on self-sustainable machines, so if they are we could end up having a big problem. I also think that some people over exaggerate Artificial Intelligence (e.g. AI replace humans) but I do think that some jobs can be replaced by AI (delivery workers/self-driving cars). 

And so nowadays it may be the AI race right? :D That's exactly right, the problem is humans, not the technology itself.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I really appreciate it 

13 minutes ago, Scouting Ninja said:

Capitalism will never die, just change form.

As long as humans can value something, there will always exist a need to have more of that value. So if AI did provide for humanity then we would find things worth more than basic necessities.

For example when we entered the industrial age, the farmers didn't all just stop farming because food output increased a thousand fold. They didn't hangup there farm hats and just laze around all day, setting up some kind of slave system.

People just expanded there view and moved on, the same thing should happen if AI do all the basics for us, we will just focus on the advanced an beyond.

Yeah, that's true, we will just have to adapt I guess!

Although if AI do the basics, most jobs will be gone ahah

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Scouting Ninja    3952
4 minutes ago, selimchehimi said:

most jobs will be gone ahah

Work is how a lot of people value there lives, yet it isn't the only way.

The idea of people not working is alien to us now, yet the same can be said about our lives. Think of explaining banks and money to your caveman ancestors.

There should be something after money, yet even if we where shown what it was, chances are that we wouldn't be able to understand why people of that time value it.

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JoeJ    2571

If AI takes over and goes beyond the control of mighty individuals (how unlikely!), then maybe it can be for good. Maybe this makes impossible things possible, like an united world government. It can take care to balance things like tax graduations, social grants etc., so not only doing industrial work fur us, but political work, which i find much more interesting. If so, personal greed could not hold us back as it did since humans live in groups. We would loose all our wealth to share it with the third world. We would hate and love it, but we would stabilize our population, enviroment, etc.

We dont need clever AI for this (which we don't have anyways), we only need to do the math and disempower ourselves.

(Not sure how much bullshit this is. I'm neither politic nor optimistic in real life)

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ChaosEngine    5185

So there are two issues here, which are separate but linked. 

The first is automation, which is without a doubt within our grasp and is going to have a huge impact on the global economy. The positive scenario would be an end to capitalism (essentially your Star Trek/Culture style post-scarcity utopia), but the far more likely scenario is mass unemployment, where only the ultra-rich actually own any capital anymore. The nightmare scenario is keeping most of the population working just above the poverty line (because someone needs to buy the stuff that's being produced). Oh, and who will repair the robots? There are two answers to that: 1) other robots 2) no-one, just get a new one (production costs are now essentially just materials and electricity). 

If you think that automation will create more jobs, you haven't understood automation. Previously, automation just meant humans moved to doing jobs robots couldn't do, but we are approaching a point where the number of jobs humans can do better than robots is a) vanishingly small and b) mostly not very profitable (caring for other humans, creative works, etc).

Required watching

 

It's important to note that automation does not require true AI, merely that a machine can replicate the work of a human.

Which brings us to the second issue super intelligent artificial general intelligence (AGIs). This is what most people mean when they talk about AI. Basically, thinking and reasoning like a human except faster and smarter. If this happens (and it's not a given that it is possible), it will be an existential threat to humanity. The idea that we could control such an AGI is laughable. It's like asking a chimpanzee to build a prison for a human.

 

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markypooch    1315
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Oh, and who will repair the robots? There are two answers to that: 1) other robots 2) no-one, just get a new one (production costs are now essentially just materials and electricity). 

I'm not sure if it would be that cut, and dry. Obviously automation would cost more jobs than it creates, that's really part of the idea. But to imply fabricating a cheap part with tools already in existence to create the machines in the first place, and paying a technician a one-time fee to go out, and repair the machine, as opposed to just buying a new one. Idk, that sound's like a whole 'nother spool of economics, and a battle of cost effectiveness.

Sure the cost is Materials, and Electricity. But depending on the scale, that can still be pricey? No? Also, I'd imagine intellectual property rights, or time invested in some of the technology will require kickbacks to someone who invested the insurmountable man hours to create the thing in the first place, right? I could be wrong. But it doesn't seem like it would be that straight forward.

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frob    44908

I've read several different variations on it.

The most positive is that automation effectively removes humans from all manual labor, freeing humans to enjoy an amazingly high quality of life where nearly all physical needs are taken care of, and humans only need do minimal work, the rest of the time enjoying a life of leisure. People can enjoy whatever fields of study they want.

On the most positive, humanity becomes enslaved, either enslaved by the machines, or by a small number of people who control the world. The machines care able to do everything, and there are plenty of resources, but the bulk of humanity is kept in bondage.

Consider how centuries ago humans needed an enormous amount of their time and brainpower in providing for food and shelter. That could mean backbreaking labor in the fields under the hot sun, or spending their days tending livestock, or hunting down the next kill. We now have tools and technologies that free us from most of that work, and in wealthy countries the few people who still coordinate the work have much easier time of it.  Self-moving sprinkler systems instead of flooding the fields or constantly building and maintaining watering trenches, pesticides instead of constantly patrolling the fields to catch and kill bugs. Combines and tractors and other large machines work in the fields. There is still effort required, but it is a tiny fraction compared to what was needed in the past.

 

I hope the same is true for the AI as described here. I would love to see most menial tasks and dangerous tasks eliminated as much as possible.  I wouldn't mind if all societies in the world are transformed so there is no need for capitalism, no need for anyone to fight to get ahead, or more specifically, for people to be left behind in poverty. If everyone had their physical needs addressed we could be free to enjoy other pursuits.  I'd gladly give up the "me first" parts of the economy in exchange for utopia.

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ChaosEngine    5185
1 hour ago, markypooch said:

I'm not sure if it would be that cut, and dry. Obviously automation would cost more jobs than it creates, that's really part of the idea. But to imply fabricating a cheap part with tools already in existence to create the machines in the first place, and paying a technician a one-time fee to go out, and repair the machine, as opposed to just buying a new one. Idk, that sound's like a whole 'nother spool of economics, and a battle of cost effectiveness.

Sure the cost is Materials, and Electricity. But depending on the scale, that can still be pricey? No? Also, I'd imagine intellectual property rights, or time invested in some of the technology will require kickbacks to someone who invested the insurmountable man hours to create the thing in the first place, right? I could be wrong. But it doesn't seem like it would be that straight forward.

The point is that this will all be already bootstrapped. Sure, ultimately it could all fail and we'd need a monkey to go fix it, but that's true of all technology. 

Even if the problem is only solvable by a human, that's a temporary situation until technology improves to the point where it's solvable by machine. Even if we allow that takes decades, the number of people required to do robot repair will be insignificant in the grand scheme of things. 

1 hour ago, frob said:

On the most positive, humanity becomes enslaved, either enslaved by the machines, or by a small number of people who control the world.

 

I really hope you meant "negative" :D

1 hour ago, frob said:

If everyone had their physical needs addressed we could be free to enjoy other pursuits.  I'd gladly give up the "me first" parts of the economy in exchange for utopia.

Yeah, that's the Star Trek/Culture post scarcity utopia I mentioned. All it would require is for people to work together and for those in power to give up a little to help everyone a lot...... awww crap.

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deltaKshatriya    2210

I don't believe capitalism will 'die' per say, just change a lot to the point that we may not recognize it. There's a belief that capitalism is a recent invention, and to some extent it is, but at the same time the notion of buying/selling based on supply and demand and markets have existed for ages. Some form of the notion of supply and demand and exchange of value will continue. I do believe some notion of markets and supply/demand will continue to exist in the future, and will probably be how any form of automation does resource allocation/prioritization.

What will almost certainly change is the notion that people need to work to earn money. The reason is pretty simple: there's going to be more people than there are jobs to do. For the next few decades or so, automation won't replace highly skilled jobs, but automation will certainly replace things like manufacturing, truck driving, ships, aircraft, taxis, etc. We're already seeing a large number of these jobs being replaced now. Sure these systems will require maintenance from time to time, but we won't need the sheer numbers of manpower we needed before: otherwise it would be somewhat pointless to replace humans with machines if the machines were just going to cause the same amount of problems, just different problems. The highly skilled labor associated with software, robotics, etc. will probably be around for some time longer. Eventually they too will be replaced, or at least, minimized to the point that not many are needed. What we'd be at at that point is a society that doesn't have as much work to do.

This isn't to say that there won't be problems to solve. On the contrary, the problems to solve will just change and become more complex. There's a book I'm currently reading, called The Inevitable, by Kevin Kelly, and it deals with these sort of things discussed here in this thread. Take understanding gravity, (just as an example), or complex quantum physics. AI will help us solve these problems. Humans will still be needed, since basic AI still requires being put in a direction. 

Now if we talk about true AI, that will exist at some point as well. It won't be human-like though. It'll be utterly alien to us. It won't think the way we do. It'll think very different from us.

Now for the scenarios. It's entirely possible that automation will lead to everyone being in mass poverty, save for some select people. It's a very Marxian scenario (Spontaneous World Wide Workers Revolution), but it could happen for a few reasons:

1): This is a really simple reason actually. What do people do without anything better to do? People without jobs, etc.? Sex. And that could lead to a population explosion that creates serious burdens on the system (assuming no one bothered to do something about birth control)

2): No one bothers about the people who are the losers of automation. We're already seeing this, to an extent in politics, becoming a concern. I see this as a possibility, but I don't see this as likely, as beyond a point, a select few cannot fend off hordes of people.

3): Sentient AI rules us in a Matrix or Terminator scenario. Now this is incredibly far fetched, because it makes assumptions. It assumes that sentient AI would see us as hostile. The fact is that we don't even know what sentient AI even looks like. We aren't even sure what sentient means. Sentient AI, in my opinion, would be extremely alien to us in its thought processes.

4): We blow the shit out of each other, and there's nothing left, save for automated stuff rationing out the remains. Ironically enough, this may actually be the most likely scenario out of all the ones I've listed here, simply because people just don't like one another a lot. 

Then there's the utopian scenario where there's plenty for everyone. It could happen if:

1): People actually work together and don't kill each other.

2): People actually consider the effects of mass automation

3): People are willing to see capitalism change into something new

4): Sentient AI doesn't hate us

5): Some other cataclysmic event doesn't happen first (Ie, alien invasion, etc.)

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ChaosEngine    5185
2 hours ago, deltaKshatriya said:

Sentient AI doesn't hate us

A sentient AI doesn't even need to hate us, it could just have a totally different value system.

To take a few simple examples, let's say you want your new AI powered factory to create as many coffee cups as it can. Oops, it just converted the entire world to coffee cup production.

Or you ask it to fix climate change? Well, the major driver of climate change is human activity, so let's just wipe out humanity.

What about making people happy? Well, in order to make people maximally happy, let's just plug directly into the pleasure centre of the brain and leave people blissed out for all eternity.

As you say, it's entirely alien to us.

 

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JulieMaru-chan    330

I don't tend to suspect that automation will lead us to a utopia like a lot of people seem to think. If human labor loses its value because automated workers are better, then society will simply change to allow the poor to be exploited as cheaper, less efficient competitors to the machines, one way or another (perhaps just by abolishing minimum wage and other laws that protect workers). That, or the entire economic system collapses as the poor are unable to buy things, and as a result regress to farming lifestyles or face starvation.

The only way I can envision machines bringing us to a utopia is if a basic income system is established to make it possible for people to survive without working, while also allowing them to work (at very low salaries for the most part, because of machine competition) for a little extra. I am supportive of such a system, but it would require massive taxation on the upper class and businesses, and it would probably be quite difficult to establish such a tax, especially if human labor is still in high demand. Probably an impending economic disaster caused by mass unemployment is the only way it could be established.

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deltaKshatriya    2210
19 hours ago, ChaosEngine said:

A sentient AI doesn't even need to hate us, it could just have a totally different value system.

To take a few simple examples, let's say you want your new AI powered factory to create as many coffee cups as it can. Oops, it just converted the entire world to coffee cup production.

Or you ask it to fix climate change? Well, the major driver of climate change is human activity, so let's just wipe out humanity.

What about making people happy? Well, in order to make people maximally happy, let's just plug directly into the pleasure centre of the brain and leave people blissed out for all eternity.

As you say, it's entirely alien to us.

 

Entirely agreed that this is entirely within the scope of sentient AI. I argue that we just don't know what will happen. Any prediction makes assumptions based in human thought and experience. Any sentient AI will not think in a manner recognizable to us. Thinking for us is neurons firing. Maybe for a sentient AI it's RPCs across the Internet. It's an entirely random example, but it serves to demonstrate that sentient AI will be like meeting an alien species. I honestly think that we won't even be able to recognize the AI as sentient, since I'm not sure we really understand what sentience is. But that's off topic.

17 hours ago, JulieMaru-chan said:

I don't tend to suspect that automation will lead us to a utopia like a lot of people seem to think. If human labor loses its value because automated workers are better, then society will simply change to allow the poor to be exploited as cheaper, less efficient competitors to the machines, one way or another (perhaps just by abolishing minimum wage and other laws that protect workers). That, or the entire economic system collapses as the poor are unable to buy things, and as a result regress to farming lifestyles or face starvation.

This assumes that humans can produce anything of worth compared to the machines that replaced them. How many blacksmiths do we still see in the modern world?

17 hours ago, JulieMaru-chan said:

The only way I can envision machines bringing us to a utopia is if a basic income system is established to make it possible for people to survive without working, while also allowing them to work (at very low salaries for the most part, because of machine competition) for a little extra. I am supportive of such a system, but it would require massive taxation on the upper class and businesses, and it would probably be quite difficult to establish such a tax, especially if human labor is still in high demand. Probably an impending economic disaster caused by mass unemployment is the only way it could be established.

Certainly we are going to need UBI of some form. The amount of basic jobs that humans can do will diminish. I don't envision UBI in the long run, however. Ultimately we will reach a point where the notion of 'income' will be meaningless. Not in this century, perhaps, but eventually. 

The other aspect to consider also is things like genetic engineering, human-machine intermeshing, etc. The notion that there won't be a ton of lower skill jobs to do for humans turns on the fact that there are still humans who can't do higher skilled jobs. It may be entirely possible to reengineer humans so that people have more skills than they would've normally had. There will still be problems to solve, just not necessarily ones we can envision now. 

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On 30/07/2017 at 10:41 PM, JoeJ said:

If AI takes over and goes beyond the control of mighty individuals (how unlikely!), then maybe it can be for good. Maybe this makes impossible things possible, like an united world government. It can take care to balance things like tax graduations, social grants etc., so not only doing industrial work fur us, but political work, which i find much more interesting. If so, personal greed could not hold us back as it did since humans live in groups. We would loose all our wealth to share it with the third world. We would hate and love it, but we would stabilize our population, enviroment, etc.

We dont need clever AI for this (which we don't have anyways), we only need to do the math and disempower ourselves.

(Not sure how much bullshit this is. I'm neither politic nor optimistic in real life)

Yes and political work is already kind of being done by AI as computers are already helping laywers. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this! 

@ChaosEngine That's very interesting because most people are always saying that humans will repairs the robot and so new jobs will be created. But I agree with you and I think that it will not be the case.

20 hours ago, ChaosEngine said:

A sentient AI doesn't even need to hate us, it could just have a totally different value system.

To take a few simple examples, let's say you want your new AI powered factory to create as many coffee cups as it can. Oops, it just converted the entire world to coffee cup production.

Or you ask it to fix climate change? Well, the major driver of climate change is human activity, so let's just wipe out humanity.

What about making people happy? Well, in order to make people maximally happy, let's just plug directly into the pleasure centre of the brain and leave people blissed out for all eternity.

As you say, it's entirely alien to us.

 

That's so true, the problem with AI is what it can do to accomplish the goal. Another example would be if we ask our AI to make a coffee: it will know that the human can turn off its switch button so it will disable it to make the coffee. That's not what we want. We need to makes AI that learn what we values and what we really want. 

Thanks to all of you guys for sharing what you think, I read all the posts and it's very interesting! 

 

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Aressera    2919

Capitalism will be the death of capitalism.

Humans have created an explosion of technology in the last few hundred years which has been driven by global industrial capitalism and consumption of finite resources like fossil fuels. This technology has had untold negative effects on the environment and other organisms, and will continue to do so until we reach a tipping point and the whole house of cards falls down. The climate change induced by technology will be incredibly destructive to civilization as we know it and will probably be the straw that breaks our backs in the next few decades due to food/water shortage, wars over resources, and mass extinctions.

Capitalism is a system of organizing resources based on exponential growth of consumption that is inherently unsustainable. When the finite resources it depends on dry up (e.g. peak oil), the entire system will collapse, and so will any dreams of AI utopia. Our current system of global industrial technological capitalism only exists due to the huge amount of energy stored in fossil fuels that took millions of years to form. Once those resources are gone and capitalism dies, it will not be possible to resurrect its ghost. All of our existing renewable energy infrastructure is bootstrapped using fossil fuels. In a world without existing infrastructure, you can't build and transport solar panels. We have only one chance at high technology.

The earth has a finite ability to support life (carrying capacity), and we are already into population overshoot (the earth can only support about 2 billion people at a western living standard). Population continues to grow exponentially…

I've only briefly mentioned some of the important issues facing our species in the coming decades. To go into detail would take an entire book.

The point is that the current civilization we are a part of will be short lived because humans are too short-sighted as a whole to consider how their current actions affect people 50 years later. I would be surprised if the current system lasts long enough to see automation become a thing. No amount of technological wizardry will get us out of this one (except for maybe colonization of other planets, though that is too far away and too difficult to be likely in the timescale necessary). A smarter species would recognize the dangers of technological capitalism before its seduction led to their demise. The Fermi Paradox would suggest that there are not many species in the universe with that kind of foresight. We're just a few steps away from the Great Filter and most don't even know it.

Edited by Aressera

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Scouting Ninja    3952
1 hour ago, Aressera said:

I've only briefly mentioned some of the important issues facing our species in the coming decades. To go into detail would take an entire book.

I read it by a other title, Darwin's theory of evolution.

A species finds resources, over populate then fight for survival over the last resources, achieving a stable state where enough dies to keep resources stable.

Humans are only special in scale, not nature.

1 hour ago, Aressera said:

No amount of technological wizardry will get us out of this one

There are many ways to get out of this, some of them brutal others moral yet difficult to do. We can only hope humanity decides on what to do before it's decided for us.

It is possible for humanity to achieve a balanced warring state, it was that way for a long time before the industrial age and our population spiked. As long as no one decides to use nukes humanity is going to be around for a long time.

Edited by Scouting Ninja

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Aressera    2919
38 minutes ago, Scouting Ninja said:

Humans are only special in scale, not nature.

 

[...]

It is possible for humanity to achieve a balanced warring state, it was that way for a long time before the industrial age and our population spiked. As long as no one decides to use nukes humanity is going to be around for a long time.

I strongly disagree, for precisely the thing you mention - the scale of human impact on our planet.

Never before have any species or humans reached the level of exploitation of natural resources that we now see. We are very close to exhausting many important non-renewable resources planet-wide, and are already over 3x the carrying capacity. We actively reduce the carrying capacity by damaging ecosystems with technology. That's simply not sustainable to keep up over the long term, populations and economies and governments will crash.

What I foresee is not total annihilation of humanity, but rather that global technological capitalism will collapse (accompanied by a large fraction of people in cities dying due to lack of food/water that was usually transported over great distances), and as a result humans will be forced to revert to a semi-primitive subsistence agriculture lifestyle without unsustainable technology (which includes most tech). There will be at most a few billion people around living in small isolated communities. Like it or not, this will happen. There are too many compounding factors that create a perfect storm of climate, limited resources, and global conflict.

Edited by Aressera

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grumpyOldDude    2739

 

43 minutes ago, Aressera said:

What I foresee is not total annihilation of humanity, but rather that global technological capitalism will collapse (accompanied by a large fraction of people in cities dying due to lack of food/water that was usually transported over great distances), and as a result humans will be forced to revert to a semi-primitive subsistence agriculture lifestyle without unsustainable technology (which includes most tech). There will be at most a few billion people around living in small isolated communities. Like it or not, this will happen. There are too many compounding factors that create a perfect storm of climate, limited resources, and global conflict.

Really apocalyptic

We know the earth's resources is not being replaced anywhere close to the rate at which it is being used up. But is there any source/citations to back up that this is happening at the rate you described? 

And What time scale are we talking about here?

If the worst scenario is projected for my grandchildren's generation, then I can put my feet on the table and relax a bit

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mikeman    2942
Quote

Yeah, that's the Star Trek/Culture post scarcity utopia I mentioned. All it would require is for people to work together and for those in power to give up a little to help everyone a lot...... awww crap.



See, that's the core of the issue here. Even if our technological tools do make possible a society where everyone(or at least most) is prosperous, living in peace, free to pursue their own interests and having a good life, without having money and more importantly power concentrated into the hands of few, it doesn't necessarily means it's going to happen(the worst thing is not income inequality  - if everyone has enough, do we really care if some have private jets? Personally I don't care about that a bit. But I do care about the immense power that money affords them).

Not *everyone's* life will be improved in this society, assuming it's even possible. The proverbial "1%" or even 10%, pretty much everyone that is above middle class, will have objectively "worse" lives, have at least some of their privileges taken away. And experience shows us they're not going to give them up voluntarily(at least most of them). And let's not talk about the many people, especially in the US, that are not even part of the 1%, or even the 10%, or even the 20%, they are at the very bottom but still cling to the dream of making it to the 1%. They are *really* commited to it. They don't want a more fair world, where their place would be improved, because that would rob them of them imaginary future billions. And they will fight for them as if they're actually real.

Technology alone isn't enough to determine if we'll get the "nightmare" scenario or the "utopia" scenario or whatever in between. Humans are also political beings on top of making cool inventions; this will play a role in which future we get. My prediction is this : Capitalism has changed a lot during its history. It has made a lot of concessions to the working people(speaking about the Western countries mostly, countries in the Third World/Global South are something else entirely), the most important of those being the welfare state and universal suffrage. Not out of mercy of course, but it's not really in its interest to have hordes of starving people in the streets. It gives a little, it adapts, in order to survive. Its final and last concession will probably be the "Universal Basic Income". Depends how it's implemented(will we have a UBI on top of guaranteed universal healthcare, for example?), but it will probably happen. This will cause capitalism to yet again another take a very different form. I don't predict it has any more room to change again after that. The next change, if we assume we will have another change, will be something else altogether. And of course one other major change that will need to happen is that, whatever system we have, needs to be much more ecologically sustainable.

Edited by mikeman

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Aressera    2919
On 7/31/2017 at 10:40 PM, grumpyOldDude said:

Really apocalyptic

We know the earth's resources is not being replaced anywhere close to the rate at which it is being used up. But is there any source/citations to back up that this is happening at the rate you described? 

And What time scale are we talking about here?

If the worst scenario is projected for my grandchildren's generation, then I can put my feet on the table and relax a bit

This recent well-researched article gives a good overview of the current state of affairs. Absent any significant human action (abandon fossil fuels immediately, stop eating meat, start injecting SO2 into the arctic stratosphere, CO2 removal, etc.) we're lemmings headed off the climate cliff.

The timescale is uncertain, mostly because the climate is a complex chaotic system (e.g. butterfly effect), and the current modeling does not account for all variables and various self-reinforcing feedback effects. My guess (as an informed hobbyist) is that we'll start to see some significant negative effects on food and water supplies within the next decade (the Arab spring was a preview of things to come). Notably, the areas most heavilly affected by climate change drought are also the areas where most of our food is currently produced (california, the midwest). Drought alone could be enough to destabilize global civilization. Climate change warms the arctic much more than the rest of the globe, and therefore reduces the temperature gradient between the equator and poles, thereby reducing the speed of the jet stream and producing stationary weather (drought, flooding).

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Nypyren    12063

If we do in fact manage to kill ourselves off (which seems like a possibility that cannot be ignored), it seems like we have a window of opportunity to bootstrap an AI that can carry on after we're gone.  As individuals, we all eventually die anyway.  It's more important in my mind that someone or something can continue where we left off, regardless of the form that entity takes.

Edited by Nypyren

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Scouting Ninja    3952

If you think about it realistically the only way for humans to reach a point where AI can take care of us, is if we had a population cap. As things stand whenever humans enter a golden age of resources we have a population boom.

We keep populating to a point where the resources can't support us any more.

If you reduced the current world to 10% of it's population there would be more resources per person than they could use in 8 life times.

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slayemin    6089

It's not AI which will defeat capitalism. Capitalism is a self-defeating economic system. Why?

Axiom Set:
1. The interest of a company is to increase profits. Always. Companies which do not do that will go extinct.
2. Profit is the difference between costs vs. income. The goal is to have higher incomes than costs.
3. The great goal of a capitalist is to increase incomes while decreasing costs.
4. A company generally employs people, which is an operating cost / overhead cost.
5. A company generally creates products or services which it sells to a population / market. The company depends on the market having the capability to purchase their goods/services.
6. Most people get money from working for companies.
7. People who have no money cannot buy products or services.

Logical Conclusions:
A) Over the course of time, a company will seek to increase the efficiency of their business processes by streamlining and eliminating redundant work (#1). A part of this is the automation process, brought on by computers. The long term effect is that a company reduces the number of employees required to operate, thus reducing overhead costs (#3, #4)
B) Over the course of time, fewer and fewer people will work for companies (via A).
C) Because fewer people are working, fewer people have money. Fewer people with money means less flow of goods and services by the companies (#6, #7). On the macro economic scale, companies which automate to decrease labor costs also decrease addressable market sizes. This furthers the need to reduce operating costs because incomes decrease (#2, #3)
D) Capital becomes concentrated only in the hands of the company owners / shareholders and the flow of money, goods and services comes to a gradual halt (via C).
E) Final Result: Companies have all of the worlds money and no longer have a customer base to sell products / services to, and thus have no ability to continue creating profits from sales. They go extinct (#1). The economic system of capitalism has undermined itself.
 

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vdaras    293

Capitalism is what happens when people are allowed to trade resources and services freely and it's how civilisations have been running themselves the past thousands of years. It will exist as long as there are scarce resources. In a post-scarcity world there is no need for it, but we are millennia away from the technology(ies) that will allow it, if it's even possible. 

Edited by vdaras

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