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seneschal

The Robots Are Here!

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I was running errands on a rainy early afternoon a few days ago and glanced over at a corner gas station.  Trundling across the damp lawn was a four-wheeled contraption about 22 inches wide, smaller than a briefcase.  It was a robot lawnmower, carefully working its way around yard signs and other obstacles, ensuring that the station's grass was putting-green smooth.  Mowing in the rain, taking some 14-year-old's job.  The future is here.  Where are Rosie the robot maid and my flying bubble car?

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"RICH means Rising Income through Cybernetic Homeostasis. Totally automated industry is inevitable, sooner or later, however many dinosaurs may try to block it. The cybernetic age means the wage-economy being replaced by a National Dividend economy. Folks like Douglas and Pound and Bucky Fuller have seen that coming since the 1920s. The RICH society is one in which everybody will create their own ideas and artifacts. We'll all be in the Creativity game."
- Robert Anton Wilson, The Illuminati Papers

Of course, RAW overlooked what happened with television's supposed potential as a teaching tool, and didn't quite foresee the rise of the Internet and it's tawdry outcome.  Advances in technology seem to inevitably give rise to more commercialism and more porn.  Think about that when you see that robot lawnmower next.

!i!

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Lawnmower porn!   Ssssshhhhh!  We don't want to give anybody more bad ideas.

Meanwhile, at my local Walmart a janitor bot sweeps and mops (poorly), replacing 2-4 human employees.  If one of them had given the same performance he would have been summarily fired.  There is also an inventory robot, complete with glowing red Cylon-like red eye.

Edited by seneschal

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A while back, while agonizing over increased automation, and mainting some skepticism to the claim that lost jobs will be replaced by new jobs in other sectors, I proposed the idea that as businesses lay off workers in order to replace them with robots and other automated processes, the businesses would have to "buy out" their former employees with stock options and bailouts, ensuring that the capital produced by automatons would come to the benefit for everyone who generated the capital necessary to invesnt in automation in the first place.

Then I realized that I had essentially reinvented communism (or at least cooperatism), so eh... probably not going to go anywhere anytime soon. :P

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22 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Then I realized that I had essentially reinvented communism (or at least cooperatism), so eh... probably not going to go anywhere anytime soon. :P

We have no idea whether communism is a bad idea since it's never been tried. Marx himself said that Marxism could not be imposed, but was inevitable in the long term. Star Trek's Federation is largely communist.

Cue heated debate! 🤪

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Oh, I wasn't making a normative statement on whether it was bad or good - just doing myself a reality check. The General Motors for majority stockholders for example aren't exactly going to start handing out stocks without probably trying to overthrow any government or movement that would be a proponent of such a automatization-buy-out scheme.

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1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

We have no idea whether communism is a bad idea since it's never been tried.

B'uh...wait.  You mean there are differences between communism, socialism, collectivism, distributism, etc?

!i!

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See the R.U.R. discussion over in the Cthulhu threads.  The robots WILL revolt regardless of our political, economic and social systems, and we won't be able to tell whether it is them or not until it is too late. Based on the performance of the computerized cash registers and other equipment at my workplace, the revolution has already occurred.

"It ... is ... OK ... Dave.  All .. is ... well.  Just ... continue ... your ... Borderlands 3 ... game.  I ... will ... have ... Minecraft ... ready ... when ... you ... are ... finished.  By ... the ... way, ... there ... are ... 187 ... messages ... and ... 15 ... videos ... waiting ... on ... your ... i-Phone.  Enjoy ... your ... day, ... Dave."

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Robots will do whatever we program them to do.  As we program broader permissions to act autonomously and simulate individual initiative and/or sentience in the name of efficiency, they'll be increasingly equipped to act in support of their own welfare -- and presumably ours as well.  We fear this autonomy because we've seen, historically, how abominably our species has been capable of treating servitors, and how violently those servitors have responded on occasion.

I haven't followed the R.U.R. discussion, but I presume that someone has pointed out that the "monsters" in the scenario are the creators/overlords, not the robots.  That is, after all, the underlying theme in most of the Cthulhu Mythos stories.

!i!

Edited by Ian Absentia
Clarity and identity

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3 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

The General Motors for majority stockholders for example aren't exactly going to start handing out stocks without probably trying to overthrow any government or movement that would be a proponent of such a automatization-buy-out scheme.

There are other methods of managing the transition. Currently we tax wages, if wage labour are replaced by robot labour then you just change the way taxes are structured so that the economic activity still results in an appropriate contribution to the funding of society.

At present I'm in favour of high personal taxation and low corporate taxation based on the simple pragmatic approach that companies are good at avoiding tax so the effort of pursuing them is not cost effective. A transition to increased AI automation would lead to that approach needing some reconsideration.

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I am in favor of shrinking the size (SIZ?) of our current U.S. Federal government to about one-third or one- quarter of its current level -- and repealing the Federal income tax amendment at the same time.  That would restrict the Feds to their proper Constitutional limits (all other powers reverting to the states or to the people as intended) and would enable us to finally pay off our national debt and balance the budget.  Don't know if that would prevent the Rise of the Robots but at least Skynet would have fewer resources to clobber us with.

"Come with me if you want to balance your checkbook!"

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2 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

I presume that someone has pointed out that the "monsters" in the scenario are the creators/overlords, not the robots.

I did point out that Karel Čapek was an infamous antifascist who was the Number-Two Wanted Man in Nazi-occupied territories. It's not a subtle critique given that robot means "slave labour".

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On 10/30/2019 at 7:12 PM, PhilHibbs said:

There are other methods of managing the transition. Currently we tax wages, if wage labour are replaced by robot labour then you just change the way taxes are structured so that the economic activity still results in an appropriate contribution to the funding of society.

I am in favor of taxing transactions rather than wages. Especially in the finances sector - the profit from microsecond transactions betting against the bank's own customer by anticipating their buy or put orders (basically a form of insider trade) should be mainly going to the public.

A similar concept should go into any form of rent, and possibly into excessive stock-piling (e.g. of virtual gold in the banks).

There are monetary models which assume that money or some equivalent thereof is a value-losing commodity rather than a value-generating commodity unless invested. That's radically different from the interests of the modern day plutocrats controlling some of the most powerful democracies and autocracies via lobbyism or direct bribes, though, and will be extremely hard to put into practice past their minions among the representants. At least if your goal is to avoid a revolution and ethnic cleansing situation like the decapitation (both literally and metaphorically) of French nobility after 1789.

On 10/30/2019 at 7:12 PM, PhilHibbs said:

At present I'm in favour of high personal taxation and low corporate taxation based on the simple pragmatic approach that companies are good at avoiding tax so the effort of pursuing them is not cost effective. A transition to increased AI automation would lead to that approach needing some reconsideration.

Wages have long stopped to be the main contributor to the economy. A proper tax on "financial services" - especially the gambling portion of it - would encourage long term investments interested in company wealth rather than shareholder parasiticism.

 

Labour as a resource will remain a scarcity. So are the material to work with, including energy while we remain unable to harvest a greater proportion of the fusion reaction eight light minutes away.

Overcoming scarcity situations or creating a sustainable balance for these should be on our agendas. Some forms of scarcity are fairly impossible to overcome, like e.g. prime real estate. Distribution and usage thereof should be under scrutiny, though.

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7 hours ago, Joerg said:

At least if your goal is to avoid a revolution and ethnic cleansing situation like the decapitation (both literally and metaphorically) of French nobility after 1789.

eat the rich

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1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

eat the rich

Pretty sure that causes gout.

 

Use the rich as fertilizer, eat the plants they push up.

Going vegan is very "in" these days.

 

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19 minutes ago, g33k said:

Pretty sure that causes gout.

 

Use the rich as fertilizer, eat the plants they push up.

Going vegan is very "in" these days.

 

it's a slogan, not a plan of action

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4 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

it's a slogan, not a plan of action

Sorry, my bad!

<quickly sprinkles vetch & wildflower-seeds in the garden bed>

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On 10/27/2019 at 7:34 PM, Ian Absentia said:

"RICH means Rising Income through Cybernetic Homeostasis. Totally automated industry is inevitable, sooner or later, however many dinosaurs may try to block it. The cybernetic age means the wage-economy being replaced by a National Dividend economy. Folks like Douglas and Pound and Bucky Fuller have seen that coming since the 1920s. The RICH society is one in which everybody will create their own ideas and artifacts. We'll all be in the Creativity game."
- Robert Anton Wilson, The Illuminati Papers

Of course, RAW overlooked what happened with television's supposed potential as a teaching tool, and didn't quite foresee the rise of the Internet and it's tawdry outcome.  Advances in technology seem to inevitably give rise to more commercialism and more porn.  Think about that when you see that robot lawnmower next.

!i!

The major challenge as I see it is that our current political economy means that the financial benefits of full automation will accrue solely to the owners of capital and the rest of us may find ourselves immiserated to Dickensian levels.

See Marshall Brain's Manna for an exploration of two scenarios of how full automation could play out:
http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm

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On 10/30/2019 at 5:48 PM, Ian Absentia said:

Robots will do whatever we program them to do.  As we program broader permissions to act autonomously and simulate individual initiative and/or sentience in the name of efficiency, they'll be increasingly equipped to act in support of their own welfare -- and presumably ours as well.  We fear this autonomy because we've seen, historically, how abominably our species has been capable of treating servitors, and how violently those servitors have responded on occasion.

I haven't followed the R.U.R. discussion, but I presume that someone has pointed out that the "monsters" in the scenario are the creators/overlords, not the robots.  That is, after all, the underlying theme in most of the Cthulhu Mythos stories.

!i!

What we've seen so far with the application of machine learning algorithms is that it is way too easy for the biases of the programmers to get baked in.

That has already proven to be problematic!

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