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Automation and AI will destroy free market capitalism
#1
Controversial Thread starter...discuss...

Argument: As automation and AI increasingly disrupt careers and livelihood at a rate much faster than people can retrain, the amount of unemployed will increase to such a degree that markets will stop functioning. At what point, say 40% unemployment, can healthy, properly functioning markets exist? 

I am reminded of a story where a union rep toured a new automotive facility that was redesigned to be heavily automated. During the tour, the factory manager proudly pointed out how the robots on the plant floor did the work of what a 100 union-assembly line workers once did. The factory boss then quipped, "I want to see you get union dues out of these guys". The union rep replied, "I want to see them buy a car". There is a lot of truth to this.

Of course, it is not that simple. Robots will not buy cars, but will need replacement parts which is a market unto itself. But what role will humans have in all of this? A lot of commerce will be machine-2-machine and of course, that can be taxed....but to what end? UBI? I doubt it. I just don't see how our societies survive this? Something has to happen....either we become a socialist utopia, most people live at basic subsistence levels in ghettos, or populations levels are greatly diminished. 


Thoughts...
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#2
Ghetto's. Concentrated capital will not allow otherwise.
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#3
I sure wish I could get what all the worry is about,

I just can't,
I can't imagine how you guys see a problem  with a machine doing the work of 100 men,
it happened before with industrialization and we heard all those complaints and saw living standards for all, raise dramatically.



does somebody have a different way of wording this "problem" of an awesomely increased wealth creating productivity, that might get thru to me???

(as in, why it's different this time would be helpful too)
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#4
greater production does not automatically mean wider distribution

just like ........

greater wealth does not automatically mean wider wealth distribution
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#5
(04-19-2017, 05:06 AM)cbeatty Wrote: greater production does not automatically mean wider distribution

just like ........

greater wealth does not automatically mean wider wealth distribution

wealth and production are dramatically different things,
and unlike most, I don't measure my well being against other peoples.

BUT you surely do beg the question:

this mass production that robots will give us,
just HOW the hell does that mean we need less people?
sheesssh, like,  MASS production is only for MASSES of people, by definition.
are these rich people really gonna all be using 10000 ipads and 10000 cars and 10000 houses??????????




think of it, when excavators replaced shovels for ditch digging,
it didn't mean 99/100 ditch diggers were killed, it meant 1 excavator's worth of ditches served MORE than 100 people who did other stuff or nothing.

just WHO are the mass producing robots gonna serve if not masses of people? the answer sure seems like a DUH! to ME.

and I do seriously want to see what I'm missing here, because your attitude is very common, and also very non sensible to ME.



and your last sentence seems absurd, pathetically sad and evil to me,
worrying about increased wealth because somebody ELSE might get more of it than you, sheessh.
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#6
Dave,


I did not say that this would be the end of humans. I said this would be the end of a free market capitalist system.

this time is different because machines are now entering a new area of human endeavor and that is the area requiring intellect. Earlier innovations involved only physical labor saving devices, but new innovations are targeting intellectual tasks which makes this revolution different. Another difference is that technology can now target both physical AND intellectual tasks at the same time, which is also novel. Think truck driving, surgery, package delivery, short-order cooks, and really just about anything which requires a human body to be present and a little bit of smarts.

Will there still be jobs that machines cannot do properly for awhile yet. Yes, but admittedly fewer jobs and it is becoming harder to envision new types of tasks that a machine couldn't do if put to the task. And this shift is gradual, which means brain surgery might take another 30 years. Psychiatrist 50 years...but truck driver maybe just 10 away. 

Will there be new lines of work that are created which humans will fill? Sure, perhaps. But it is difficult to see what those would be given the fact that technology is creating automatons that surpass humans in both intellectual as well as physical capabilities. 

What does this mean to the markets?

You are right, this is a great thing for humans. Let machines do more and more of the drudgery while us humans get to bask in the sun. But in a capitalist society where a person needs to work and earn money in order to pay rent, buy food, and save for medical/retirement, how will people accomplish this if they are now competing with machines for work? At what point do normal functioning markets collapse when there are not enough buyers. I suppose new markets will surround supplying robots and software systems - new hard drives, belts, rotors, vision systems, etc. But how a human fits into all of this is unclear. 

I am probably wrong about this, but try and address the question rather than ignore that there even is a question.
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#7
(04-19-2017, 01:19 PM)tdogg Wrote: Dave,

I did not say that this would be the end of humans. I said this would be the end of a free market capitalist system.

but you did ask quote; populations levels are greatly diminished.
that sure seems antithetical to new technology MASS producing.

as to end of FMC, I guess that could happen, but don't see why it'd be a natural result.



this time is different because machines are now entering a new area of human endeavor and that is the area requiring intellect. Earlier innovations involved only physical labor saving devices, but new innovations are targeting intellectual tasks which makes this revolution different. Another difference is that technology can now target both physical AND intellectual tasks at the same time, which is also novel. Think truck driving, surgery, package delivery, short-order cooks, and really just about anything which requires a human body to be present and a little bit of smarts.

I don't see that that really matters. You DO realize when we talk bout ditch diggers losing their jobs it was really just SYMBOLISM for a GREAT MANY types of jobs dissapearing due to past technology? 
you SAY these jobs are different, but WHY?? I don't get it, just because they're more mental? really, that seems a "so what" to me.


Will there still be jobs that machines cannot do properly for awhile yet. Yes, but admittedly fewer jobs and it is becoming harder to envision new types of tasks that a machine couldn't do if put to the task. And this shift is gradual, which means brain surgery might take another 30 years. Psychiatrist 50 years...but truck driver maybe just 10 away. 

OH Do NOT push "Pscychiatry" out 50 years!!! I've been watching them fine tune their work into computer work a LOT for at least a decade. and imo they are much of the way there NOW. I've watched them get rid of the bad ones AND GOOD ONES to enshrine a system of mediocrity.
a SCARY trend applicable to many "intellectual tasks".


Will there be new lines of work that are created which humans will fill? Sure, perhaps. But it is difficult to see what those would be given the fact that technology is creating automatons that surpass humans in both intellectual as well as physical capabilities. 

and 100 years ago it was hard to envision the jobs of today.
and WHY do we need "work"? really.
We do need INCOME, but I say, and sincerely, to hell with work for works sake.
Do you really have a good argument for why we need "work"?


What does this mean to the markets?

You are right, this is a great thing for humans. Let machines do more and more of the drudgery while us humans get to bask in the sun. But in a capitalist society where a person needs to work and earn money in order to pay rent, buy food, and save for medical/retirement, how will people accomplish this if they are now competing with machines for work?

I don't know what people YOU see, but I see a great many on a daily basis.
AND A GREAT MANY do NOT "work to earn money". and they still have food, place to live and medical/retirement.


At what point do normal functioning markets collapse when there are not enough buyers.

Why would they not be able to buy things that are created basically for free? it's just a matter of a FREE Market adjusting price to sales, perhaps you assuming the "free" part of the market being stopped?? Only Government can do that, I too, fear that. BUT the blame will NOT then fall to automation, but to forces making markets inflexable (UNFree).

I suppose new markets will surround supplying robots and software systems - new hard drives, belts, rotors, vision systems, etc. But how a human fits into all of this is unclear. 

I am probably wrong about this, but try and address the question rather than ignore that there even is a question.

I don't know if you're wrong or not.
I'm sure you're correct about massive social UPHEAVAL. any and all great changes give/gave us that. I just don't see losing our Freedoms (freemarket capitalism) as being a necesary outcome, possible, but possible no matter what - look how long USSR, NKorea etc lived.


this is an interesting curious subject, so
IF I still missed your question, can you re state it in one sentence please. ?
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#8
(04-18-2017, 03:07 PM)tdogg Wrote: Controversial Thread starter...discuss...

Argument: As automation and AI increasingly disrupt careers and livelihood at a rate much faster than people can retrain, the amount of unemployed will increase to such a degree that markets will stop functioning. At what point, say 40% unemployment, can healthy, properly functioning markets exist? 

I am reminded of a story where a union rep toured a new automotive facility that was redesigned to be heavily automated. During the tour, the factory manager proudly pointed out how the robots on the plant floor did the work of what a 100 union-assembly line workers once did. The factory boss then quipped, "I want to see you get union dues out of these guys". The union rep replied, "I want to see them buy a car". There is a lot of truth to this.

Of course, it is not that simple. Robots will not buy cars, but will need replacement parts which is a market unto itself. But what role will humans have in all of this? A lot of commerce will be machine-2-machine and of course, that can be taxed....but to what end? UBI? I doubt it. I just don't see how our societies survive this? Something has to happen....either we become a socialist utopia, most people live at basic subsistence levels in ghettos, or populations levels are greatly diminished. 


Thoughts...

I think anthropomorphizing machines is misleading.  The assembly line story does this, making it seem like there is something unprecedented about machines being used to leverage human labor.  But it's been going on since the dawn of civilization.

One man with a shovel can do the work of ten men trying to dig a ditch with their hands.  So by the same logic you could argue the shovel put nine men out of work.  But is anybody suggesting shovels are a bad thing?

Our modern machines are a lot more sophisticated than shovels, feeding the illusion that something truly new is going on, but it's not.  It's just an extension of the same thing.  Technological advance allows people to produce more stuff with the same labor, improving standards of living.

Not that there isn't something underhanded going on ... there is ... but it's in the financial system, not in technology.  I wonder if technology is being held up as a scapegoat to divert attention from the real causes of economic inequity.
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#9
Good posts Dave and Finster and cbeatty.

Most work can be broken down into two areas:  muscle, and thinking. If machines can out think and out muscle humans, and most jobs can be deconstructed into sub tasks requiring either muscle and/or thinking - then what possible work will humans ever be able to do more effectively than machines? Throw in the cost effectiveness of machines, and theoretically, any job that can be automated, will be automated providing there is a financial incentive to do so.

Of course, there are still tasks that require creativity (poets, musicians) and a human touch (prostitutes, care givers) that will take a much longer time, but such a future is inevitable even if 30-50 years off.

Here is one of many such articles that discusses this trend and has a cute video..

http://money.cnn.com/2017/01/30/news/eco...utomation/

Simply put: it requires fewer workers to make the same amount of cars as it did in 2000. In fact, as the industry has lost workers, the value of U.S. manufacturing production is hovering near an all-time high.
"That to me is first order evidence -- it's not trade," that's taking most jobs away, says J. Bradford Jensen, an economics professor at Georgetown University. "There's been a lot of technical change that has reduced the need for labor -- some of it is automation, some of it is design, more software, less hardware."

[Image: 170130122254-jobs-lost-tgrade-vs-automation-780x439.jpg]
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#10
How did we come to the conclusion that jobs are a central measure of our standard of living in the first place?  The elite is fond of quoting high employment as a measure of its economic policy success, but maybe that's because the elite wants other people to be doing the work.

Is having a job what everyone really wants?  Or is it the things you can buy with your earnings?  If it's the latter, then the job isn't an end, it's a means to an end.  Most people I know that have a job are looking forward to not having a job, but in still having food, shelter, clothing, and hopefully time to enjoy the finer things in life.  They call it retirement.

What exactly is our vision of utopia?  I'm not so sure we should just assume it's a world in which everyone has to work to stay alive.  Children, the elderly and the infirm should have jobs?  Maybe it's a world in which no one would have to work, in which machines would take care of all our material needs.  Maybe that's where all this is really headed ... a future in which the unemployment rate rises to 100% yet no one goes cold or hungry.  In which people are free to spend their time on social, artistic, and spiritual pursuits.  If so, then policies calculated to increase employment are tragically wrong-headed. 

The point here is not so much to answer the question as to ask it ... just assuming everybody wants a job and trying to make sure they have one skips this crucial step.
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