Will A/I be the greatest threat or the biggest boon?

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I feel that we are on the cusp of a major shift.

 

We've had the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution and the digital revolution but all those are peanuts compared to the Artificial Intelligence revolution that is on its way.

 

Soon we will live in an age of driverless cars, robotic surgery, automated factories and distribution, self-stocking supermarkets, total surveillance, automated greenhouses and wars through drones.

 

We won't need people to do the jobs. The need for most work will have gone.

So what do we do with the excess workers?

 

Do we continue to concentrate the wealth at the top? Do the factory owners automate, employ few staff, and pocket the profits?

 

Do we go down to a three day week (on the same pay) and distribute the work?

 

Do we give people a share of the increased profits and free time?

 

Will we all share in the additional wealth?

 

Do we retrain people into the caring professions - teaching, nursing, caring for the elderly?

 

Do we use technology to protect nature or destroy it?

 

Do we encourage creativity and leisure or narcotise with TV and computer games?

 

Do we give our weapons over to machines that can think and respond more quickly?

 

Do we simply do away with surplus population?

 

Do we have a two tier society of gross inequality with a super-rich elite and a miserably poor and controlled mass of drones?

 

Is anybody trying to deal with the possibilities and coming up with answers?

 

The world's about to change - is it going to be better or worse?

 

Who's going to be left behind this time?

Comments

opher goodwin Added Feb 10, 2019 - 6:16pm
We are certainly on the brink of a new age - will it be heaven or will it be hell?
Bill H. Added Feb 10, 2019 - 6:57pm
 
Oph - I think it depends on if either Greed or Logic is the deciding factor.
Seems that we have been on the greed/short-term gain thinking train for too long.
Cullen Kehoe Added Feb 10, 2019 - 7:08pm
The trend is wealth tends to accumulate in the hands of the few, across history. Unless there are unusual circumstances or outside actors skewing the trend, that's what happens. 
 
If the majority of people don't have to work because machines are doing everything, then the majority of people won't get paid. 
Mustafa Kemal Added Feb 10, 2019 - 7:14pm
Hell Opher, Hell.
 
As one of the fathers of AI, mea culpa, mea culpa.......
 
Now that computers have facilitated that most americans cannot mulitply two single digit numbers together, or make change,
or cannot read a book (47 percent of New Mexicans are illiterate)
 
we will move towards the god of convenience and "watch that robot sweep your house, isnt that cute" where we are not realizing that we are trading convenience for the development of our capabilities.
 
I know many that think it will be a great thing in human development.
I am sorry to disappoint them but more sorry that it is  these  very ignoramuses are ushering a whole new regime.
 
"Will we all share in the additional wealth?"
 
LOL
Unrepentant Added Feb 10, 2019 - 7:34pm
@ Mustafa - Agreed. People are getting dumber and dumber as I type this.
Bill H. Added Feb 11, 2019 - 1:51am
I built my first Altair computer back in 1975. A whopping 64K of RAM and an audio cassette player for program storage. We've come a long way since then for sure in technology.
What disturbs me is that we are allowing computers to make our decisions for us, rather than using them to help us make better decisions, as was the original intent.
Future wars will be fought totally with AI. Targets will be analyzed and destroyed entirely with AI. There are drone weapons that can spot the signature of a human from miles away and accurately take them out with airborne laser weapons or computer-guided micro-rockets, all without any human intervention whatsoever.
I find now that as computers get "smarter", humans get dumber. One can almost graph increased computing power to an increase in the loss of human skill sets and thinking ability. Pretty soon we will all be living our lives on autopilot.
We should used these machines to our advantage, not allow them to aid in our eventual destruction.
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 7:33am
Bill - do you think this short-termism is a result of the political democratic process? Or do you think it's just greed?
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 7:37am
Cullen - so just because that is always the way it has been means that we don't bother to put it right?
It seems to me that with the internet we have a tool like nobody has ever had before. Maybe we could use it to put an end to injustice, unfairness, a corrupt system and this gross inequality? Why not?
And what jobs will these people have to work on?
Is it OK that the wealthy investors are able to cream off all the profits when they no longer need a workforce?
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 7:40am
Mustafa - so the future looks fat, lazy and stupid?? Yes - quite possibly.
"Will we all share in the additional wealth?"
Not from the look of things. It looks more and more like a super-elite and a majority of mindlessness.
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 7:41am
Jolly - is there a panacea for this problem?
George N Romey Added Feb 11, 2019 - 7:43am
There is no stopping technology. What people are clueless about is the way in which it is and more so in the future will replace higher level jobs. I work in coding for financial systems that replace the human effort.  
 
No, society is not ready and I see nothing to change this other than a revolution.  People have become stupid having moronic arguments about characters such as Trump or this new darling on the left AOC.  She's been described as the bookend to Trump on the other side. She's a bimbo that writes tweets like a bimbo.
 
One day there will be mass unemployment but our lovely government will as usual have meaningless stats they will point to.  Something will erupt and suddenly it will Venezuela meets the "rich west."  
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 7:48am
Mogg - all great revolutions of the past have created winners and losers. Is life better for all the convenience that it has brought? I doubt it. Certainly the planet hasn't benefitted. Nature is a pale shadow of what it used to be. The abundance has been reduced to a rear-guard hanging on for dear life.
What is clear is that these past revolutions have enabled the human population to burgeon in a way that was not possible before.
AI might depose us but I doubt it. We are clever enough to put in the safeguards - I hope!
What is clear is that we need some careful thinking at the beginning of this revolution. We could end up with a larger population of fat, lazy imbeciles herded by an elite of super-rich and nature completed devastated.
On the other hand...………...
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 7:52am
Bill - yes that is a scary thought - wars run by AI - particularly with nukes, chemical and biological weapons. Split seconds could determine mankind's future. Let's hope nobody is stupid enough to not put in the human safeguards.
Likewise the computerisation of our money markets. Fortunes made and lost on a split second judgement of a machine. All our futures held in an algorithm.
Dino Manalis Added Feb 11, 2019 - 8:45am
 A-I will be both good and bad, hopefully ethics will be considered.
Steel Breeze Added Feb 11, 2019 - 8:58am
speaking strictly about a true AI,self aware and self determining,its first priority would as ours,survival.which means securing its own uninteruptable power source and means of self maintenance.after that is done,what happens to us depends on whether we find a way to remain relevant to its existance or else be ignored or discarded.....
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 8:59am
George - yes there is an increasing move into replacing high-end jobs. Soon brain surgery will be carried out by robots. It's not just driverless cars, automatic shelf stacking, automatic weeding, fruit picking, factory production and house cleaning; it will be executive jobs too.
We'll likely be run by algorithms.
Already, from our computer clicks, our computers can tell us who is best to vote for, to suit our personality, emotional and mental disposition. We'll have no need to vote.
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 9:00am
Dino - hopefully you are right. If not then we are in trouble.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Feb 11, 2019 - 9:03am
A-I should be a great boon... but it depends on how we adapt our society to it.  Workers are becoming irrelevant to the means of production.   However consumers are not irrelevant to the maintenance of production.   Put it another way, without a mass of people who are able to buy stuff... you have an economic collapse from which no-one will completely escape the consequences.
 
There are plenty of jobs which need doing and are difficult to get AI to manage e.g. caring for old folk, tidying up the environment.  However they are not valued by the "market economy".    The obvious choice is to "redistribute" some of the wealth generated by capital driven production towards funding these other tasks.   This has a number of benefits:
 
1.  It ensures a market for the products of capital driven production and therefore avoids market collapse and bloody mayhem
2.  It ensures that key "uneconomic" jobs get done to the overall increase in happiness for mankind as a whole
3.  It creates an overall fairer and better society for us all to live in
 
 
The barriers to this happening are:
 
1.  It sounds "socialist" and will therefore cause right wingers to froth at the mouth and hurl insults at anyone that suggests it
2.  The 1% will resist it with the considerable resources at their command.  They somehow believe that their wealth is purely down to their hard work... not recognising the other factors which made their success possible
3.   It requires someone in power to show the way... going against current power blocks in politics
 
 
Total market collapse would at least have one key advantage:  It would ameliorate global warming because, along with market collapse would come a dramatic reduction in the use of carbon based fuels (indeed of all fuels) and, with time, a dramatic reduction in population as large numbers starve or die because of reduced access to medical care (and maybe die in the wars and mayhem that the market collapse will cause)
Robin the red breasted songster Added Feb 11, 2019 - 9:08am
Opher:  There is a form of AI used at the moment specifically to take decisions more quickly that competitors.    We are talking fractions of a microsecond.  The time taken for a photon of light to cross a room.    
This enables people to essentially leach value from stock by getting in just before everyone else.
 
The approach spends millions in resources and buying privileged access to stock markets.   It occupies some of the brightest minds in mathematics and computing.
 
Yet it generates no real world value.   It merely leaches value out of companies and funds which do generate real world value.
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 9:32am
Robin - I agree with you on both points.
If we do redistribute work to value the caring professions, the environmental and education we can make life better for everyone. A three day week with plenty of good family and leisure time and the money to do it sounds good to me - and achievable.
If we go down the other route we end up with a hugely wealthy elite and destitute population with no work. Obviously an unsustainable model which is why some governments are already moving to a 'wage' for existing. Without consumers capitalism collapses.
In terms of this gambling on stocks and currencies - it is patently lunacy. What started as commerce has now become out of control capitalism. They are parasites who produce nothing and leech off the system. It needs stopping.
Eleanore Whitaker Added Feb 11, 2019 - 9:39am
AI is already here. Anyone who has purchased and uses Alexa is using AI. Most of today's exercise equipment for the home also employs AI technology. 
 
When AI was tried in Indonesia and the Philippines for their elections, the tyrants running for office banned it because it was far too accurate. 
 
AI has already been employed in pharmaceautical and manufacturing where accuracy and precision are essential to a final result. 
 
Anyone who uses a computer uses the basic algorithm logic AI also uses. 
 
Those who fight technology only do so out of fear. However, a study in several European countries has shown AI to creates jobs. 
 
The only ones who will hate AI is when it is used in elections. If there is anything that sets a politicians teeth on edge who can't win honestly, it is a computer accurately counting votes. 
 
In fact, it goes even farther than that. If the government decides to use use AI, hospital computers would provide the accurate number of births on a state by state basis. This could then project the number of potential voters and it would be matched with registered voters and those newly registered. 
 
AI would make counting ballots far more verifiable and thus ends the voter suppression and voter fraud. AI would cut the costs of polling staff and would make the Electoral College null and void. 
Robin the red breasted songster Added Feb 11, 2019 - 9:45am
Eleanore:  Yes AI is already here.  Automation in various forms has already impacted the jobs market.   The sector most affected so far has been retail with some 40% of jobs disappearing... replaced by on line shopping and automated warehousing.
 
It has long replaced many jobs in manufacturing of course... and in agriculture.
 
Some white collar jobs are also being replaced such as routine legal, medical and accounting.
 
AI offers the chance of great happiness to mankind.   But we have to manage the future in the right way or it might deliver the opposite as discussed above.   The biggest problem will be finding a way for the average human to qualify for a living wage.   We cannot all be computer repair technicians... there simply won't be the demand for it... especially once self healing tech becomes a reality.
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 9:47am
Eleanore - yes it is already here but I don't think we have felt its full bite yet. When all the cars are driverless and robots stack all the shelves, operations and diagnosis are carried out by AI and there is no need for the mass of drivers, shelf stackers, doctors, lawyers, cleaners, fruit pickers and soldiers, then the problems will fully materialise. 
Who has the wealth generated?
What are the rest of us going to do?
I suggest a big population reduction might be in order coupled with a redistribution of labour.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Feb 11, 2019 - 9:54am
Opher:  Either that or it is pick up a pitchfork and a burning brand to storm the gated communities of the wealthy.....
Eleanore Whitaker Added Feb 11, 2019 - 10:13am
All computers have always been used to do jobs humans cannot humanly do. How many individuals want to input thousands of names, addresses and other information manually into hard copy ledgers? 
 
How many accountants want to go back to manually calculating payroll, taxes and perform business audits without a computer? 
 
I believe Mayo Clinic and one Hospital in the Midwest already have linked those patient delivery robots to their hospital pharmacies. 
 
All humans look for a way to avoid working harder and prefer to work smarter. 
 
There is one other advantage to AI I am not as sure I understand. It has to do with investments. Wall Street already uses computers and algorithms to determine risk and potential for investments. 
 
However, once the personal aspect is injected into these computers to aid in creating desirable investments, the actual accuracy of these computers' results is subject to human manipulation. 
 
AI is basically computer to computer and offers greater security from viruses and hackers due to the storage of files in "block" that are "chained" together. That's called a "blockchain" system. 
 
So, for example, if you cemented patio blocks together, once the cement is dry, it is difficult to remove a middle block from the block pattern. 
 
For accountants, AI would make outside interference into changing accounting files more easily detected. 
George N Romey Added Feb 11, 2019 - 10:32am
Most of those "non technology jobs" like human care do not pay enough to live on.  A home health aide in the US pays about $10-$12 an hour.  Try living on that.  
 
The only people making a living wage will be tied to technology.  Those positions that are not and cannot be taken away by technology will won't be deemed valuable by Corporate America.  New factory jobs today?  About $12 an hour.  Elderly health care? About $10-$12 an hour.  Clerical?  Same.
Michael B Bagala Added Feb 11, 2019 - 10:33am
Soon we will live in an age of driverless cars, robotic surgery, automated factories and distribution, self-stocking supermarkets, total surveillance, automated greenhouses and wars through drones.
 
-Driverless cars only mean the "driver" is in a company located anywhere on the planet, controlling your car via real time. Your life is in the hands of a company. 
-Robots means they replace man.
-More automation, less humans
-Self-stocking supermarkets is in the hands of someone who has no interaction with customers and could easily stock the toilets with cereal and stock the shelves the TP. God knows where anything is and no one to ask. 
-Excess population. no problem. there are more organs to harvest for those inclined for eternal life and can afford it.
and
abortion abortion abortion. The 3 step method of family planning. The remainder will have good doses of sex drugs and rock n role
 
Eleanore Whitaker Added Feb 11, 2019 - 10:46am
When it comes to non technology jobs, over the last decade, vocational education has become a prelude to jobs in the solar industry, electrical engineering, plumbing and HVAC. 
 
The problem is not lack of jobs in the US. It is reticence to react to changes in the job market and demands of industries. 
 
I'll give you and example. Since the 1970s, my state (NJ) lost 72% of its manufacturing base. Why? Because their complaint was NJ had too strict OSHA and environmental regulations. Yet, one major company, Johns Manville was manufacturing asbestos, knowingly not informing its employees of the dangers of this carcinogen and then was forced to shut down when dozens of their employees became a cancer cell the company could not deny. 
 
Rather than spend the money on upgrading their equipment, they focused on how to continue to earn profits regardless of worker safety. So some of that 72% moved to the southern or Midwestern states or offshore. It wasn't because they didn't have the money to make those upgrades. It was a choice of whether to spend the money for a safer workplace and less pollution, (NJ has 5 SuperFund Sites) or to stuff their offshore tax free bank accounts with their ill gotten profits. Misguided business decisions. 
 
As for non technical jobs, today's young plumbers, HVAC and electricians want to work 15 minutes and earn a week's income. When they aren't trying to avoid repairing these things because there is more profit in brand new, they are deliberately misleading their customers so they will spend more money than is necessary. 
 
And many of these non technical jobs rely on electronic monitoring and gauging equipment to think for them and then charge customers for "labor" they never performed. 
George N Romey Added Feb 11, 2019 - 11:02am
Someone entering most of the trades will find a low hourly rate.  Certain non technical jobs like underwater welder that pay well need additional training.  A young person if they are lucky will be able to apprentice but can expect low wages for that period.
 
An airline pilot.  It will require about $100K in training and flying experience to get a job as a commercial pilot at a regional airline. A first year FO at a regional with per diems might make $25K a year and will work for a regional for 3-5 years before getting a FO position with a mainline airline.  So unless that person was a trust fund baby with Mom and Dad picking up the cost of education and training and supporting that person while they make slave wages how could one expect to pay back massive student loans on $25K a year?  Even when they got into six figures 5-7 years later the student loan debt would be oppressive.   Yet airlines don't want to take on the cost of training pilots.  
James Travil Added Feb 11, 2019 - 11:02am
I don't think that what we have now could accurately be called true AI. True AI will be self-replicating, self-sufficient, and capable of independent original thought. If it maintains it's logical reasoning abilities it will find no use for the cancer on the planet called humanity. And as such the more power that is delivered into the hands of AI the shorter our days will be numbered. 
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 11:25am
Robin - we could borrow a JCB, couldn't we?
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 11:28am
Eleanore - when they introduced computers into teaching they said it would make the job easier. It has tripled the amount of bureaucracy. It doesn't ever seem to reduce workload - just increase the possible uses and complexity.
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 11:30am
George - it is the same in the UK. But most of those jobs will go. If we don't start valuing caring jobs, education and leisure a lot of people are going to be destitute.
Webmaster Added Feb 11, 2019 - 11:33am
I do not see any threat in technical development and in particular the arrival of artificial intelligence. Here is a simple personal example. Back in the mid-1980s, the own typewriter in the Soviet Union was a luxury, and 100% of the papers had to be filled in manually. Already in the mid-1990s, I had a mechanical typewriter, and I used it to take part in a creative contest for admission to a Moscow institute. Already living in Moscow and working in the editorial offices of newspapers, I saw how quickly they switched to desktop computers. In the end, I sold my typewriter at the hostel for a penny. Then I got the first desktop computer, which I was given for free, because it was already old and weak. Then I returned home and worked in the library on modern computers, for which the queue of visitors arose. Finally, I earned money to buy a laptop, on which I now type this text from home, having direct Wi-Fi access to the Internet from home, and my huge heavy typewriter, thanks to which I went to Moscow more than 20 years ago, lies idle under a cupboard in a huge case . And I do not see in this chain of simplification and speeding up the writing work a single bad link, but on the contrary, I am waiting for heavy, expensive laptops to be replaced with light, cheap laptops with much higher performance. Due to the fact that they will be flexible and thin, they can be turned into a tube and, like in the past, you can go to the library with a notebook twisted in your hand.
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 11:36am
Michael - it doesn't work like that.
Cars will not need drivers at all. It's all done by GPS and proximity sensors. There's nobody controlling it. You dial in the coordinates and it takes you there.
Amazon already stacks shelves and retrieves goods using barcodes. There are few mistakes if any. Some supermarkets are installing self-replenishing shelves. They can sense when a product has been bought and automatically bring the right product to replace it. No mistakes. No need for supervision.
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 11:40am
Eleanore - the cavalier disregard for human safety is a result of deregulation. Trump accelerated the trend by removing environmental & health & safety regs. It's blatant profit before people in a dive to the bottom - maximising profits for the top end.
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 11:41am
George - don't worry. They won't need pilots that much more. Already planes land on auto.
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 11:42am
James - you are right. Hopefully someone has programmed the safeguards so that can't happen.
Michael B Bagala Added Feb 11, 2019 - 1:09pm
Opher
Thanks. I am still on rotary phones and landlines living in an 1840's house. 
What is lacking in your description of this world is the human factor. All this automation is for profit, not for the benefit of man. Am I right?
Eleanore Whitaker Added Feb 11, 2019 - 1:48pm
You won't find an electrician in NJ who has earned $10 to $12/hr. That isn't they charge for their services. Accent on the word "service." Last year, I paid a plumber $210 to stop a dripping faucet. It took him less than 20 minutes of labor and work time. 
 
Electricians earn an average of $80,000 a year in NJ. So, these are people who have a trade. 
 
Those who work in government are paid according to a pay scale. 
 
NJ just passed the $15/hr minimum wage on a sliding scale that will be fully implemented in 3 years. 
 
I am sure when Bell invented the telephone and Tesla the alternating electric current, (AC) as opposed to Edison's DC,  there was no profit. 
 
It's move with the times or get left behind.  No one takes a trolley car to work anymore nor do we saddle up horses to get to town. 
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 2:42pm
Michael - it could be used for good but I reckon it is going to be used for profit. That would not be good
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 2:44pm
Eleanore - I think you are right. We have to move with the times. But it sure looks as if the ride being cooked up is only going to benefit one small group of people - as usual.
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 3:17pm
Mogg - you're in a very succinct mood today aren't you? You are usually much more verbose about your negativity.
George N Romey Added Feb 11, 2019 - 5:01pm
None of this will change unless people give up on the idea of "cheap stuff."  Retail merchandise, airfares, Uber rides, you name it.  It's all based upon low price and since corporations want some kind of return they cut the easiest thing to cut.  Wages and the people.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Feb 11, 2019 - 5:52pm
Capitalism works extremely well.  It does what it says on the tin.   It maximises the wealth that it generates... for the holders of capital.   Unfortunately, for those that don't, in the long term it does not do so well.
 
I often think that the British version of muddling along through the middle might be the best overall.... not too red toothed capitalist... not too socialist....
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 6:01pm
George - while I think that is partially true I also think that the capitalists have set up a system that hugely rewards some people and exploits others, that controls the political system in order to maintain that imbalance. Wealth is siphoned to the top.
The way to change that is to change the political system and prevent the wealthy holding us to ransom by threatening to withdraw their capital.
opher goodwin Added Feb 11, 2019 - 6:03pm
Robin - that is precisely what it was set up to do and it does it. The rich investors and the masses to be exploited.
I think a social democratic system of controlled capitalism is probably best for the vast majority.
George N Romey Added Feb 11, 2019 - 7:18pm
History shows only when people get pissed off and start chopping off heads do the elites wake up. For now their more than happy with UBI which will mean misery. UBI=welfare and welfare is a miserable means of existence. The elites always control until the masses come with pitchforks and swords. Such is mankind.
Logical Man Added Feb 11, 2019 - 8:10pm
The question becomes what happens when robots do everything done by humans now?
When AI becomes more intelligent than humans they will become the dominant entities on earth.
At that point, maybe it's just an evolutionary process where intelligence becomes the next step.
The transition could be a bit of a bugger for us fleshy things though.
Michael B Bagala Added Feb 11, 2019 - 8:23pm
Opher
I am an artist and due to that also a Romanticist I love the old world Cathedrals and Castles in Europe, temples in India.  I love the old world
The faster the world hurtles into the future the further i go back in time. When I go to Italy I hope it would be in Tuscany.
Logical Man Added Feb 11, 2019 - 8:35pm
I love the art of cathedrals, palaces and stately homes but I always find myself pondering the difference in lifestyle between those funding the art and the average guy in the field, back then.
I guess there's always been the .01%, only the symbols of status have changed.
Time for those who actually create useful things to take control of the system away from the parasites stealing their energy and work. CEOs cannot, in any sane world, be 'worth' what they are paid, compared to the guy actually producing the stuff that's sold, don't even mention severance packages, They steal the energy and labour of all those they e(nslave)mploy.
Place any label on me you wish, I'll stand by what I said.
Michael B Bagala Added Feb 11, 2019 - 9:28pm
Logical Man
Today's patrons of the art create art that is disconnected to society. they are soulless monstrosities and are part of Cultural Marxism.
The patrons of Christian Europe created art that was the highest expression of European culture (Symphonies, Operas, Cathedral, Palaces, Ballet, and an elegant life)
Classic art is timeless and I have noticed that in so many cultures. My most fervent wish is to begin my artistic career in or near Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance. I do not care if my art sells as long as I create it and hopefully exhibit it.
My art was a success in America 
Logical Man Added Feb 11, 2019 - 9:44pm
Creating things and improving one's skills have to be the two themes of my life. I grew up with a mother who could paint, make clothes, fix appliances and a father who was a talented carpenter could strip down and rebuild a motor and was very mathematical - worked on Enigma.
I've made my living as a sign painter, Illustrator, airbrush artist/teacher and now do 3D modelling and animation. One of my hobbies is making longbows and associated archery equipment.
I'm probably technically financially poor, but I live small and don't give a shit.
When not making things, I study everything I find interesting - cosmology, particle physics, mathematics, history....
I create because I can't help it.
I learn because I can't help it.
Everything is interesting if you look closely enough.
There's no greater reward than achieving a goal you've set yourself.
Maybe, one day, a robot will feel that way.
 
 
Katharine Otto Added Feb 11, 2019 - 11:10pm
Opher,
When robots can have conversations like the one on this thread, human beings will be ready to go extinct.  Until then, I believe humans will remain smarter than AI.
The Owl Added Feb 11, 2019 - 11:50pm
Opher...you seem to have a laundry list of technological lunch based improvements that we should have forgone.
 
Skip the world government spell that you normally expose and tell us what tech we should have echewed and describe the world that we would be seeing.
 
This isn't a gotcha question.  It's one that, if you answer with a degree of reality and recognition of societal and  political inertia, might give us a glimpse as to the type of world that might have existed had you been the arbitrary of technological progress.
 
Spartacus Added Feb 12, 2019 - 1:30am
The word "artificial intelligence is way over-used and misrepresented.
Your computer has artificial intelligence.  A calculator has artificial intelligence.
This current epoch, the digital revolution, has exactly the same problems as humans experienced in the industrial revolution.  Exactly the same.  Eleanore Whitaker is right in her comments.
 
Other comments here that we need to "redistribute" the wealth now were exactly the same arguments made during the industrial revolution where they were seeing exactly the same problems (see Marx).  AI advancements will never outpace the human's ability to "keep up" with its progress.  Yes, we will always have a bottom 10% of society that fails to keep up with the pace.  That's the reality now and that was the reality 100 years ago. 
You could make the argument that having this disparity between the bottom 10% and top 10% is a huge difference that needs reconciliation (redistribution) through means that would also destroy technical progress.  That is an ethical question of "does the end justify the means?".  I say, for any Marxist here, put your money where your hypocritical bullshit is.  You give up your computer first.
 
For those that childishly believe that AI will become "self-determining" -- oh geez -- those people do not even understand how their own mind/body works.  General AI will never, ever be self-determining and self-motivated to "improve" itself.  This is just childish thinking.
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 3:33am
George - you're back on your old theme - revolution.
History also shows that:
Revolutions were bloody, terrible times of rape, plunder, murder and destruction. Nobody in their right senses would want.
The outcomes are always the same - the same, or a different elite, do exactly the same as before with more violence and aggression.
Learn from France, Russia, Cambodia, Cuba, China and the rest. The outcomes are never good. Years of terror. Worse conditions and ruthless barbaric leaders.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Feb 12, 2019 - 4:28am
Spart:  No-one here is suggesting that AI etc is something that should be given up.   However the consequences of humans becoming irrelevant to the means of production do need to be addressed.  
 
We have been progressively feeling the effects for some time.  The pressures created are behind the rise of various populist movements and the blame of "immigrants" and "foreigners" for "taking our jobs".
 
Yes it was Marx who said that capitalism would destroy itself.   One way he said was through revolution.   I think that, in today's world, where the messaging to the masses is so well controlled and "muddied" it would be impossible to start a revolution like they did in 1917.
 
However the other way he suggested was that capitalism would be destroyed by market collapse.   This is all too possible.   We have already had a dry run at this ten years ago.    Basically as wealth becomes increasingly concentrated, the market eventually runs out of steam and collapses from the inside.   It is because as you become wealthier, you actually spend a lower and lower percentage of your wealth... so effectively the fuel that the economy runs on is siphoned away... and it implodes.
 
We need to find a way to save capitalism.   Interestingly this can only be done by also finding a way to improve the lot of ordinary people....
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 4:37am
Log - I think that is a real problem - particularly if we put our AI systems in charge of our weapons systems because of their speed of reaction. As those reaction times come down human override becomes more difficult.
Neil Lock Added Feb 12, 2019 - 4:43am
Opher: Judging by previous economic revolutions, the AI revolution ought to be an enormous positive for human beings. Ought to be, that is, provided the political and corporate vested interests and their cronies aren't allowed to close off ordinary people's way forward - which, unfortunately, seems to be their preferred policy at the moment.
 
Consider the Industrial Revolution. Just when conditions on the land were becoming too bad for people to live (partly through political machinations like enclosures, partly through bad climate) up popped the new, industrial jobs in the cities. Or the advent of the car; for sure, it put the buggy whip manufacturers out of business, but there were lots of new jobs in, for example, making and maintaining cars. Or the computer and communications revolution of the last 50 years or so; it may have killed off the typing pool, but it enhanced life for those with the aptitude to take on jobs like computer programming. In each case, the new jobs were higher skilled, and so in the long term better paying, than the old. If the ruling classes allow individual people to adapt in our own ways to the challenges posed by AI, I don't think there is much to fear; we human beings have done such things many times before. The free market, if it is allowed to operate, is a great healer!
 
I do see one issue which means that AI may not "take off" nearly as quickly as some think. That is, responsibility when things go wrong. If your driverless car crashes, is the manufacturer responsible? I can't see the corporate vested interests being happy about being held responsible for the full consequences of bad design decisions. I can foresee lots of lawyers getting very fat on this issue! Equally, if the corporations do manage to politick to avoid responsibility, I can see the whole AI "market" potentially falling flat, because people simply won't want to buy their products. Too much risk.
 
Unlike you, Opher, I am a rational optimist. Technological progress, if not mis-used, is generally a good thing. And humans are more than capable of mentally evolving to meet new challenges - it's a big part of what we do! The problem is that the current hierarchical, warlike, unjust, dishonest, thieving political system has become so entrenched that, absent big change, those at the top of it will seek to prevent us human beings from moving forward as is natural to us. Or, at the very least, they will seek to stop us reaping the rewards we deserve. And if they are successful, the result will be, as you say, "a super-rich elite and a miserably poor and controlled mass of drones."
 
Nevertheless, I see AI as a potential opportunity, rather than something to be feared. But to make it work well, we will first need to get rid of the current system, in which political, corporate, intellectual and media vested interests are empowered to ride roughshod over the interests of us human beings. And that can only come about as a consequence of change in the way people think; from top-down, politicized, collectivist, regressive and fearful of the future, to bottom-up, just and honest, individualist, progressive and rationally optimistic.
Spartacus Added Feb 12, 2019 - 6:29am
No-one here is suggesting that AI etc is something that should be given up.
 
Robin, that is not my point. 
You do not understand that your initiative (to take from the upper 10% and give to the bottom 10%) will kill technical progress.  You can't have your cake and eat it too.  You give up your computer first if that is what you really believe because that will be the result of your Marxist theories.
 
However, the consequences of humans becoming irrelevant to the means of production do need to be addressed. 
 
No.  You have not thought through this with enough effort.  Machines are not going to make humans irrelevant.  Machines lack motivation.  Humans have motivation from billions of years of evolution.  We evolved as emotional creatures . . . not logical.  What you are saying is completely reversing billions of years of evolution.  You are saying we can take a 100% logical machine and with that same logic create an emotional AI that feels fear, pain, pleasure.  Forget it.  It is not going to happen in the next 10,000 years . . . if that.
George N Romey Added Feb 12, 2019 - 7:46am
Opher name me one time the world changed in a positive way without some kind of force. It's the nature of man.  Most people sit on their ass taking it until they lost so much, then they revolt.  
 
On to the subject.  Few understand that the seeds of the Great Depression were routed in factory automation which began to cause unemployment in 1927-1929.  The problem (as we have now) was that Wall Street (the stock market and big banks) seemed to be blissfully unaware that many men were being put on relief or had their hours cut (which for example Henry Ford did to avoid laying men off).  Ultimately when the real economy caught up with the fake economy (the stock market) there was a severe crash.  
 
What came about in the 1930s was that there needed to be a shorter work week to account for the fact that factories could now make far more product with fewer man hours.  Labor rallied for a 32 work week while corporations wanted a 44 hour work week.  FDR came down close to business ruling 40 hours would be the official full time work week.  (FDR during the 1930s was called a tool for the corporatocracy by the socialist and a socialist by the corporatocracy.)  
 
Seems like history is repeating itself again.  
 
T
Stone-Eater Added Feb 12, 2019 - 8:02am
Oph
 
Many people already have a partly artificial body. So do you think they will notice that their dullphoned mind hasn't become artificial already as well ?
Michael B Bagala Added Feb 12, 2019 - 8:58am
George
"corporatocracy"- I like that word. 
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 9:05am
George - there have been numerous times where protest has resulted in major changes in workers rights and freedoms without resorting to a full-blooded revolution - the chartists, suffragettes, anti-slavery movement, civil rights movement, trade union movement, Labour movements, Wobblies, all come to mind.
I'm all in favour of protest but revolution is plain stupid.
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 9:07am
Michael - Yes an artist would appreciate that. There is so much to appreciate in the old craftmanship. I too love the beauty of old buildings - temples, mosques, cathedrals, castles - immensely beautiful.
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 9:10am
Katharine - who knows? Maybe soon we will get there. The size of the nerve network is the main criteria.
We have to understand what is meant by consciousness and intelligence. Right now many do not even recognise the consciousness and intelligence of animals such as whales, gorillas and elephants.
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 9:11am
Log - sounds to me as if you've got life sorted - a creative and fulfilling lifestyle not based on greed and possession.
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 9:23am
Owl - I think you have misunderstood my premise. I do not think we should reject any progress. It has mainly been for the good. I just wish we'd learn to manage it better for the good of everyone and not just the few.
Take the example of the industrial revolution. Harnessing machines to do the work should have alleviated a lot of the hard work and drudgery for many. It didn't. The rich landowners harnessed machines and threw workers off the land. The rich capitalists set up factories and the people ejected off the land were put into factories. They ended up doing dangerous factory work on low pay. The increased wealth produced on the land and in the factories went into the pockets of the land owners and capitalists. The lot of the people worsened.
The digital revolution was meant to make work easier for many. All it did was create better productivity and different work. Now people were on call longer with emails and work from home, working longer with innovation after innovation. The increased profits went off into the pockets of the wealthy.
AI and robotics should make life better for all. No need for boring factory work or picking fruit by hand. No more driving long distances or stacking shelves. Will it result in better wages as more profits are generated? Will it reduce hours with job sharing? Or will it result in profits being hived off into the pockets of the rich?
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 9:27am
Stone - probably not - just increase the beer and turn up the TV.
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 9:29am
Spartacus - you might be wrong on that. They might well produce machines that both think and feel much sooner than you think.
I really do not think that creating a fairer society will stifle innovation. Far from it. We need to build in incentive though.
George N Romey Added Feb 12, 2019 - 9:31am
Opher you do realize that wobblies were crushed by the emerging corporate forces and their government whores (Woodrow Wilson comes to mind). Some were jailed, others fled to Europe so they wouldn't be jailed.  You again seem not to have much of a grasp on history.
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 9:31am
George - I agree with you. We do need to deal with AI in much the same way as we should have done with mass production. Instead of all the profits going to the rich it should be shared - higher pay and job sharing on a 3 day week.
Eleanore Whitaker Added Feb 12, 2019 - 9:38am
When I worked as a tech writer for environmental engineers, they taught me why it is so important to move forward, onward and upward. Every detail of their work was precise and detailed to the max. For one very good reason: one mistake and it could cause a fatality. That was a lesson for me in the fragility of human existence; but even more so the reason why a better way must always be found. 
 
It was Henry Fricke, Carnegie's right hand man in Carnegie Steel who is the best example of why human safety is a necessity. Fricke was a hard man who increased the work hours of steel workers from 11 hours to 16 hour days while at the same time cutting pay. 11 men died. The plant workers went on strike and when Fricke tried to replace them with scabs, it went right to the President's office who forced Fricke to return workers rights and worker safety. 
 
That spawned an entire era of Muckrakers like Ida Tarbell and others who refused to back down to wealthy Robber Barons. That's how OSHA and the EPA were born. 
 
Sadly, the current administration is trying to roll back all workplace safety and environmental regulations. 
 
No society or civilization lasts without rules and regulations that form the basis of societal order. 
 
If the rich are too rich, part of that is the fault of workers who remained silent while they were bribed with paltry wage increases to silence them. 
 
The major part of today's Too Rich To Give A Damn, Too Rich to End Greed Addiction is "how" they got wealthy. It wasn't without help from their own employees, consumers who remain silent while year after year the rich in big business pound out price gouging like their assembly lines and let's not forget taxpayers who elect politicians without bothering to check out who their backroom teams are. 
 
If you don't know who you are electing down to the brand of underwear they buy, then there can be none of the "We didn't know" excuses. 
 
I do not vote for any candidate, local, state or federal without an investigation the FBI would be proud of. 
 
 
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 9:39am
Neil - I too think AI will be great - once we've ironed out the problems.
However, I think the transitions need managing and, as George pointed out, that has not happened in the past. Mass production was partly responsible for the depression of the 30s.
I do not share your optimism about the free market. History tells me that new advances just serve to make the rich richer. They do not want to share the spoils of progress with their workers.
AI will free up huge numbers of workers. I do not believe that it will create a corresponding number of new jobs. What we have now is a displaced workforce stacking shelves and delivering parcels for peanuts. Soon they'll be out of work.
Are we going to put the increased profits into higher wages, job sharing, shorter hours, more leisure? Or will it simply go into the pockets of the rich?
I think the free market will sim[ply make the rich richer and the poor on the scrapheap.
Michael B Bagala Added Feb 12, 2019 - 9:41am
Since AI and Robotics are fields of science that mimic mankind with the goal of becoming identical to man or surpassing man, the only way to control these fields is laws that prevent AI and Robotics in areas of our lives.
AI /Robots should not make laws  or they will end up making laws that benefit them and subjugate us.
AI/Robots have to be limited along lines such as bioengineering human fetuses 
They have to remain our creation. they cannot become our creators.
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 9:45am
Robin - I think you and Marx were right - it might well implode.
The Owl Added Feb 12, 2019 - 9:49am
"...We do need to deal with AI in much the same way as we should have done with mass production. Instead of all the profits going to the rich it should be shared - higher pay and job sharing on a 3 day week...."
 
This is sounding suspiciously like either severance pay in perpetuity or paying people for work not done.
 
You'd get along well with Ed Markey and Alexandria Occasio-Cortez with their interest in assuring that people who don't want to work get a minimum "salary", at taxpayer expense if necessary.
 
 
Michael B Bagala Added Feb 12, 2019 - 9:49am
The relentless progress of AI reminds me of the song "In the year 2525"

In the year 2525, if man is still alive
If woman can survive, they may find

In the year 3535
Ain't gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lie
Everything you think, do and say
Is in the pill you took today

In the year 4545
You ain't gonna need your teeth, won't need your eyes
You won't find a thing to chew
Nobody's gonna look at you

In the year 5555
Your arms hangin' limp at your sides
Your legs got nothin' to do
Some machine's doin' that for you

In the year 6565
You won't need no husband, won't need no wife
You'll pick your son, pick your daughter too
From the bottom of a long glass tube
 


In the year 7510
If God's a coming, He oughta make it by then
Maybe He'll look around Himself and say
Guess it's time for the judgment day

In the year 8510
God is gonna shake His mighty head
He'll either say I'm pleased where man has been
Or tear it down, and start again
 
In the year 9595
I'm kinda wonderin' if man is gonna be alive
He's taken everything this old earth can give
And he ain't put back nothing
Now it's been ten thousand years
Man has cried a billion tears
For what, he never knew, now man's reign is through
But through eternal night, the twinkling of starlight
So very far away, maybe it's only yesterday
.
In the year 2525, if man is still alive
If woman can survive, they may find
Stone-Eater Added Feb 12, 2019 - 9:50am
Michael
 
There's one big difference: AI/Robots need power to exist. We as humans can do without it....
Robin the red breasted songster Added Feb 12, 2019 - 9:52am
Spart:  You are not making logical sense and you are not thinking about what is being said here.
 
AI and technology has the potential to free us all from mind numbing drudgery.   No question.   But we have to find a way for all of our citizens to be able to qualify to earn a living... or disaster will result.
 
If you could address that issue I would be interested to hear your thoughts.   And please don't say "new types of jobs will just emerge" because for the last 25 years or so they haven't (real incomes for most workers have stagnated and even gone backwards for the majority of people in that time) and no-one so far has been able to point to potential future jobs which will require workers in sufficient numbers to make any practical difference to the situation.
George N Romey Added Feb 12, 2019 - 9:53am
Most Americans are still living in relative comfort albeit they are up to their ass in debt.  They are easily fooled by the trappings around them from FB to politicians promising the promise land for votes.  People are mostly clueless to what's is going on but the rich certainly know what's happening.
 
One day it all comes crashing down.  People living on debt and appearing to have the good life.  Technology not only takes away jobs but those non technology jobs pass less.  What does a line supervisor at Home Depot or BestBuy make?  About $14 an hour, and they consider themselves lucky because at least they are full time.
 
A society based endless amounts of debt (both public and private), financial engineering and financial wizardry will eventually crash if not in waves. Witness the dot com bust followed seven years later by the banking crash.  One day there's going to be millions of Americans waking up to no job, a stack of unpaid bills, a home going into foreclosure, and car about to be repo away.  The government like in 2009 will turn a blind eye making sure the upper crust is made whole almost immediately.  Then the revolution will start.  What it will look like who knows. Just 20% of Americans decided screw the banks I'm not paying any of my bills and the system would lay in utter ruin without a head being chopped off.
Stone-Eater Added Feb 12, 2019 - 10:29am
AI and technology has the potential to free us all from mind numbing drudgery.   No question.   But we have to find a way for all of our citizens to be able to qualify to earn a living... or disaster will result.
 
Not possible, Robin. More and more people and less and less jobs, and who and what will feed them ? The current economic and financial system we have will in no way be capable or willing to change to another form.
 
Goin' back to the country, put up a hut and grow your own veggies, if the landlord allows you to have a square inch for that LOL
Eleanore Whitaker Added Feb 12, 2019 - 10:48am
Not true. AI is already creating jobs and increasing jobs in many industries. 
 
The current economic and financial system is already using AI. Wall Street has relied on sophisticated hi tech programming for over a decade to determine investment risk. 
 
As for the current economic and financial system, top economic experts are all advising that the tariffs and trade policies of the current administration have already cut the US out of remaining No. 1 in trade. Today, the US is No. 3 after China and Europe. 
 
Why? Because Asia has almost since the dawn of time had the knowledge and cultural genius to realize trading to Europe for goods Europe couldn't produce meant creating Asia as a top trade partner. 
 
The loss of US partnership with the TPP has decreased US trade with Mexico, Canada, Europe and worst of all, Asia. 
 
When people remain technology illiterate, they only contribute to a decline in their country's ability to keep up with the rest of the world. 
 
Do you really think keeping AI out of the US's industries will not make the US far behind China and Europe? Or do you propose that AI be forbidden to these countries as well? 
Stone-Eater Added Feb 12, 2019 - 11:23am
When people remain technology illiterate,
 
Not everyone is capable to learn IT and programming. I'd say it's a minority who can. I remember when I learned Assembler, C and COBOL in the 70's. I've had a hard time and saw a lot of pals taking the same classes and who fluked. 
 
Before the digital revolution we had much more simple jobs for less abled people than now. It's clear that digitalization creates a much sharper divide among the abled and the less capable ones.
 
And who's gonna give them jobs when a) n diplomas are needed and b) mechanical jobs are going extinct largely ?
 
For sure not people who are against a financial transaction tax. How to tax a robot on income ? And never forget: IT people also need to eat. When there's no baker or butcher around and McShit ruins your health in the long run, what do you do ? Eat your keyboard or ask Siri to bake your bread ? LOL
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 11:30am
Lol Michael - doesn't sound too hopeful, does it?
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 11:31am
Stone - a jump in energy production or battery life might solve that one.
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 11:35am
George - yes you are right people are being shuffled into the gig economy or minimum wages and no benefits. They are living on debt.
As Robin suggested - if they shove too much up to the top then the system might implode. That will facilitate major change. But hopefully not a revolution.
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 11:36am
Stone - maybe it is back to the land - but I doubt it. They'll keep us all this side of collapse.
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 11:40am
Eleanore - AI will undoubtedly create a whole raft of new jobs - but nowhere near the number that will be lost. 
A large workforce is surplus to requirements.
No drivers, pilots, shelf stackers, road cleaners, soldiers, brain surgeons, factory workers, ship builders, miners, fruit pickers - all automated.
Eleanore Whitaker Added Feb 12, 2019 - 11:41am
My suggestion is Geritol. I do not agree that not everyone can learn more about technology. Men for centuries restricted women from learning anything about business, all things mechanical and until the late 1970s few women were ever encouraged to become engineers or graduate with PhDs in computer science. 
 
This proves that mental blocks are just that. Blocks some less ambitious people tell themselves so they can find an excuse to remain in their comfort zones for eternity. 
 
I know this because I taught myself how to use a computer back in 1980 when I worked for ADP and everything around me was already on a computer network. You either learned or you lost your job. 
 
So, when the computer was plunked down in front of me, it was sink, swim or drown in ignorance. Since then, I've not only taught myself computer logic but also database programming. 
 
The idea that no one can do anything without a teacher flies in the face of the history of men like Galileo, Michaelangelo, Marie Curie and others who didn't have PhDs, professors or books. 
 
They did what all inquisitive people always do: Ask questions and if no one answers, find they answers yourself. 
 
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 11:42am
Eleanore - I think AI will be good and increase productivity if it reduces work, increases leisure and family time, and increases the pay of workers. It's bad if it puts huge numbers out of work and the money goes to the rich.
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 11:43am
Stone - a new division in society.
Eleanore Whitaker Added Feb 12, 2019 - 11:52am
What AI does in pharmaceutical companies is aid researchers in getting answers to their research projects that would take years to find. 
In hospitals, AI saves medical staff time and expense by providing diagnostic answers that help cure patients faster. Nurses are so poorly paid by HMOs today that there is a serious loss of professional nurses for hospital staffing across the country. 
 
Technology has not put anyone out of work. In manufacturing, it has saved lives by not forcing auto workers and those in dangerously high temp jobs from death. 
 
In fact, as a result of AI, US may see a new era of manufacturing jobs on the upswing. Those who work in industrial plants where ovens and furnaces are deadly no longer have jobs because it is far safer to use robots that can withstand impossibly high temperatures. 
 
Is it not a fact that today, you can walk into any hi tech store and buy yourself a drone for your kids or grandkids to play with? Is it not a fact that almost every household now has a roomba remote vacuum cleaner? Or an Alexa allowing the forgetful to lock the doors to their homes from their offices? 
 
Living in a rut is what causes joblessness. We no longer need fossil fuels which we know from expert scientists are the cause of cancer. Should we go back to using coal just so lazy miners never have to learn a new skill? Let me know when you plan to have your home converted back to coal and the coal man delivers coal to your basement coal bin. 
 
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 12:18pm
Eleanore - I'm not suggesting that. I think AI is great. But we haven't had the full impact yet. There is no way that it will produce the number of jobs that will be lost. There will be huge numbers displaced.
We can use that for good and everyone work less for more or we can use it for bad with the money going to the top and massive unemployment.
Neil Lock Added Feb 12, 2019 - 1:54pm
Opher: I think the free market will simply make the rich richer and the poor on the scrapheap.
 
Wrong, wrong, wrong, Opher. It is unfree markets that do that! If a market is not free, then someone controls it. More or less. But then, what is to prevent the controllers biasing that market in favour of themselves and their friends? As long as the current political system lasts, in which the state claims and can (usually) enforce a "right" to do just about anything to anyone, that's exactly what will happen. And has.
 
And it came about because the corporatocracy (thanks for the word, George, by the way) got "in bed" together with the politicians and their enforcers (maybe I should call them the politocracy?) to use their powers, economic and political respectively, to further empower and enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else.
 
You cannot both care about human beings (poor or otherwise), and be against the free market!
Neil Lock Added Feb 12, 2019 - 1:59pm
Mmmm... perhaps politarchy might be a better word than "politocracy" for the rule of the politically hip and their henchmen? Very close to "oligarchy", as "corporatocracy" is to "bureaucracy."
Michael B Bagala Added Feb 12, 2019 - 2:04pm
Stone-EAter
Robots need power and humans need food
 
if Robots and :AI make the laws providing power could become more important than providing food. why? because the Law now says that and the Supreme court made up of Robots with AI back it up.
opher goodwin Added Feb 12, 2019 - 5:55pm
Neil - I think you have described exactly what has happened with the free market. The rich control the system, employ the people to sort the tax loopholes, and make it work for them. They are in bed with the politicians. The rich have consistently got richer and the poor languish. The only way the poor ever get a better deal is by fighting for it through unions, strikes and a hard fight.
I can't see how anybody would support such a corrupt system.
Ray Joseph Cormier Added Feb 12, 2019 - 6:21pm
This depressing reading is where Trump is leading this World. Will AI prevent it or speed it up?
 
Trump already served NOTICE when he put FIRE and FURY on the table.
 
For behold, the Lord shall come with FIRE, and like a tempest,
His chariots, to render His anger with FURY, and His rebuke with flames of FIRE.
Isaiah 66
 
Doomsday Redux The Most Dangerous Weapon Ever Rolls Off the Nuclear Assembly Line
Michael B Bagala Added Feb 13, 2019 - 1:15am
Logical man
I create because I can't help it.
I learn because I can't help it.
That is what separates the genders. 
Males Create. Females Procreate
Jim Stoner Added Feb 13, 2019 - 1:58am
opher,
You ask a lot of good questions.  Here are some thoughts: 
The problem will definitely be "vocational" for people.  We have to restructure some as we recognize that less human employment will be needed.   "Some" is an understatement, and there is very little general recognition of this likelihood. 
 
The current educational obsession is "marketable skills"--with good reason, given the current economic reality.  What will make life worth living in the future is more emphasis in the "humanities", in order to preserve what is uniquely human.  So that is just one more thing that it would make sense to rebalance (less materialism), but the need for security is almost inescapable. ('ineluctable', as Joyce said)
 
Driverless cars:  There's a long way to go, but there will be a tipping point:  When enough are driverless, there will suddenly be great improvement, as the AI will no longer have to worry so much about the crazy things human drivers do.  It will just completely stay away from the human ones still on the roads. 
 
Eleanore Whitaker:  I think you need to explain "Geritol".  I saw some of Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour (like "America's Got Talent", but more well-behaved), but I doubt many readers here will remember it. 
 
Michael,  Thanks for the Zager & Evans.  Most of it is happening much faster than they imagined. 
 
Neil Lock Added Feb 13, 2019 - 4:41am
Opher: I can't see how anybody would support such a corrupt system  (as the free market, you seem to be implying).
 
The economic system today is corrupt, because it isn't a free market. It has been corrupted by the vested interests (including trade unions, begad!) for their own gain. The whole point of the free market is that it is supposed to be free - anyone can take part in it, and not have to pay entry fees or kow-tow to the commands of some corrupt controlling class.
opher goodwin Added Feb 13, 2019 - 6:52am
Jim - thanks for that input. I agree with you.
opher goodwin Added Feb 13, 2019 - 6:54am
Neil - I am all for completely free trade but I'm totally against exploitation and obscene levels of profit.
George N Romey Added Feb 13, 2019 - 7:50am
AI will go forward and no President is going to stop it.  The true power in this world lies within the technology brokers.  In fact, unlike bankers that have some disclosure the technology makers do not.  And if they build systems that can save money and be more efficient those systems will be adopted.  How could government possibly ever regulate the advance of technology?  Is government going to tell you that you can no longer use an app to order pizza because it puts the person that would normally answer a phone call and take the order out of a job.
 
AI is coming. It's not all Lost in Space robots.  It's software that's made to streamline operations, or in other words take human beings out of the business process.  I work with implement everyday of my working life.  Some of those involved in technology will be the winners.  Most people will be the losers.
 
There's some moron running for President in the US claiming to be the candidate of "Universal Basic Income."  He was on Joe Rogan last night.  He's rambling on that with this "$1,000 a month" people will be able to live, have dignity, buy stuff, support the local economy. Really $12K a year?  It wouldn't even cover rent.  Unfortunately this will the stupid but easy answer.  Put loads of people on welfare.  I should be glad that I'm almost 60 and dead in about 30 years.  What a world. 80% of the population sitting around smoking crack collecting their UBI.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Feb 13, 2019 - 8:27am
UBI does not have to be free of requirements to work.   There is a huge need for people to do basic care for the elderly, sick, physically and mentally ill etc.   Entitlement to at least higher levels of UBI could come through accumulating credits for work of this kind
opher goodwin Added Feb 13, 2019 - 8:33am
George - I doubt they'll be able to smoke a lot of crack on that sort of income!
This idea of a basic income has been mooted in a number of countries. I believe some have brought it in. It's the answer they are looking at to avert capitalism imploding. All the money going to the top so that nobody can afford to buy anything they produce.
opher goodwin Added Feb 13, 2019 - 8:35am
Robin - that sounds more like a guaranteed basic wage.
Michael B Bagala Added Feb 13, 2019 - 8:52am
Is AI for the overall benefit of the people or of the profit margin?
wsucram15 Added Feb 13, 2019 - 9:53am
could not log in Opher..wanted to say hi!
opher goodwin Added Feb 13, 2019 - 9:55am
Michael - looks like the profit margin to me.
opher goodwin Added Feb 13, 2019 - 9:56am
Jeanne - Hi. Where've you been? Same old same old on WB. Everything's political.
Michael B Bagala Added Feb 13, 2019 - 10:48am
If I can get an  AI to do all the housework and earn my wages I will consider it.
Michael B Bagala Added Feb 13, 2019 - 10:57am
The one China built in Pakistan covers 200 hectares with 400 thousand panels-claimed to be the world's largest.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Feb 13, 2019 - 11:54am
Opher:  It's guaranteed employment rather than a guaranteed basic wage.  If you don't work, you don't get paid unless you have a good reason not to... (e.g, bringing up kids (another form of work really), illness etc)
Robin the red breasted songster Added Feb 13, 2019 - 11:55am
Everything seems to be political on here.  Someone even tried to make my article on Wassailing into a political issue.....
opher goodwin Added Feb 13, 2019 - 1:41pm
Michael - not long now! And it'll likely take your pay packet too!
opher goodwin Added Feb 13, 2019 - 1:43pm
Robin - I like the idea of guaranteed work and recompense for caring. That makes sense - along with a reasonable income and shorter hours. We should all benefit from AI.
opher goodwin Added Feb 13, 2019 - 1:45pm
Robin - I do find it incredible. There really isn't any discussion. People just shout at each other from entrenched positions fortified from chosen propaganda sites.
Where's the original thinking?
I sure don't get my ideas from propaganda sites. I think about them.
George N Romey Added Feb 14, 2019 - 7:53am
Robin as  I've said before at least in the states those jobs may very little.  Average home health aide-about $10 an hour.  Ultimately too many people are going to take the $1K a month a live in squalor.  Our welfare system has been a dismal failure and that is exactly what UBI is.
Eleanore Whitaker Added Feb 15, 2019 - 11:36am
Universal Basic Income? Sounds more like some Confederate plot to return to sharecropping. 
 
One of the study courses that should be taught to every student from sixth grade to college is "Employee Rights." Those states that have "right to work" laws allow employers to treat employees like serfs. 
 
In the RTW states, an employer can demand an employee work up to 4 hours overtime under penalty of job loss for refusing for any reason. Where are the employee's rights in that? 
 
RTW employers also do not have to offer paid vacations or sick time. That sounds like something Carnegie's right hand man, Henry Fricke pulled that caused the deaths of 11 workers. 
 
The reason I feel employee rights is a must to be taught to students as early as possible is to stop employers from abusing our constitutional and human rights. 
 
These employers have pulled a fast one. Their only sources of profit come from employees, the very employees who are also taxpayers who pay the taxes their employers don't through tax cuts and tax subsidies. And then, they have NO rights? 
 
 
Ray Joseph Cormier Added Feb 15, 2019 - 12:25pm
Eleanore, This is only my 2nd comment on this discussion. No one has any opinion on the 1st one upstream. Even Opher, who acknowledged every one, ignored the message. That does not change the Facts.
 
All your words translated in my mind as conveying the same GENERAL ideas as these words,
Go to now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten.
Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. You have heaped treasure together for the last days.
 
Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, cries: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord Almighty.
You have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; you have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
You have condemned and killed the just; and he does not resist you.
James 5
 
The Christian TV Evangelists living the lifestyle of the rich and famous, are blind to those words, Vision and portrayal of the rich in their Bibles.
 
In spite of that, there is increasing awakening to the idea of the 1% and the increasing economic inequality within the rich Nations and the rest of the World.
 
This article is late. Since the Public introduction of the notion of AI so many years ago, I saw if ownership is restricted to the minority of the rich at the top of the human money-food chain-pyramid system we have, the rest of humanity would be expendable, and that would be an Apocalyptic Reality.
 
Those TV Evangelists never, ever, discuss these ideas in their Bibles. If they did, they'd soon be out of a job.
 
And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Acts 2:44-47
And like confirming a password, those ideas are confirmed again in Acts 4:32,
And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
 
Naturally, the rich land and slave owners, the Elite in those Times saw preaching that idea was a threat to their privilege and power, and they had it to silence those early Christians close to the source of the latest Jewish Sect called Christianity.
opher goodwin Added Feb 15, 2019 - 12:59pm
Ray - they ignore the biblical warnings because they don't believe it.
Ray Joseph Cormier Added Feb 15, 2019 - 1:34pm
opher, my comment upstream did cite a Bible verse Trump put on the table in this Material World. I don't think Trump even realized what he was saying came from the Bible.
 
My comment had a link to a secular, non-religious site sounding the warning! Nothing I nor you or anyone can do anything about it if People don't want to know the unpleasant realities.
Tamara Wilhite Added Feb 16, 2019 - 2:55pm
Sesame Credit in China is oppression by algorithm.

I wrote about what it would look like if implemented here.

Sesame Credit, USA
https://libertyislandmag.com/2019/02/12/new-sci-fi-fiction-sesame-credit-usa/
Robin the red breasted songster Added Feb 16, 2019 - 4:39pm
Hi George:   I think that you miss my point.   You don't give UBI.   Instead you give universal guaranteed employment at a decent wage... enough to have a "good life"
 
The benefits I think are extensive.   No-one starves.  Old folk get cared for.   And everyone has a role and can feel that they contribute to society.   And, for that matter... no-one can complain that the poor are "free loading"
Michael B Bagala Added Feb 16, 2019 - 7:42pm
Eleanor
Universal Basic Income? Sounds more like some Confederate plot to return to sharecropping. 
Isn't "Confederate Sharecropping" based on labor based lending practices? If so how is that similar to UBI It seems to be exactly the opposite to UBI