Harlequin wrote:You're trying to make a point but you've overshot. In the situation you have there, apparently the robot would be, given the parameters, capable of working in the factories to build more, etc.
Well, sure. Not sure what the overshoot is.
However, upgrades, invention, that still comes down to regular people.
Why? AI that consistently passes the turing test (which doesn't exist at the moment, of course) would be as capable as humans would be. If it lacked the ability to be inventive, it would not pass the turing test consistently.
Of course, you may be one of the many that believe that we are 'special', that we have a soul or some creative divine spark that machines could not have. I don't believe that (because I have no reason to believe it, and yes, I have read quite a few books by famous authors/philosophers that argue that a machine cannot think - from Leibniz and Kant to Searle - but I have found their arguments to be wanting, usually because of faulty premises as to the nature of human reason), but... the question I asked PRESUMED that real AI (as in... intelligent machines) is possible. If it isn't, no AI would ever consistently pass the turing test, I think, and the question would be less relevant (but perhaps still of interest).
Leaving that aside, just assuming this one robot can somehow violate economic reality and can become part of a self-sustaining system, AND do -everything-.
It has noting to do with 'economic reality'. Whatever that is. There is no 'economic law' that says systems cannot do everything we humans do. After all, there is already one system that does. But economics isn't a science that deals with such things.
But...onwards... since you are nice enough to accept the premise.
At that point you've supplanted the need for humans to do physical jobs and labor. Money starts to mean less and less and have less and less value because if you need to increase production or speed transfer of food to areas that can't produce it? More robots. You create a situation where most people live in leisure and we become an information based society ather than a labor based one. Human time to simply... live... instead of to try and survive, increases more. It's same as every jump in human society, each major landmark... agriculture, cities, industrial revolution, transistor age, the microchip age... creates less and less of a pressing need on people who can take advantage of it to survive, and creates a more relaxed, good life. Sure most people in the First World are kinda blinkered and eat too much but fuck, isn't that better than desperate and starving? And your robots don't care where they live, so send THEM to the third world as well!
Suddenly you have a totally mobile workforce that will work in any culture, any environment. Third world now no longer has any meaning unless they culturally and politically avoid the help because it's against God or whatever.
But overall humanity moves forward. Send the robots to the Moon or Mars to pave the way... the solar system is ours, and we have far more labor and material to devote to creating the methods to get there.
Frankly, that impossible situation you laid out, sounds pretty good.
It does, does it not. Will get to it in a moment, just need to address your lack of understanding of certain things first.
They're nearly human, but they aren't. They're still programmed. They're still not people... the uncanny valley mentally is too hard to cross. But they're in a way not the dark, nearly sinister implication you gave them, they're the way to open humans to become MORE than we are now.
Sorry, what post were you reading? I didn't give them ANY sinister implication (in fact, I wanted to specifically avoid the usual sinister 'machines will rise up against us' scenario, because it gets boring and is off-topic as far as the OP goes).
By removing the animal needs, humans are freer to examine the higher needs and functions. Singularity, here we come.
And if you say "And they can imagine, create, dream, invent" you overshoot more into simply creating mechanical people, and then I'd say "then why not put peoples' minds into them?"
Why would you put people's minds into them? If you turn intelligent robots into humans with all the needs and desires of humans, you either create a situation in which there are just more humans, or you create a situation in which robots out-class humans, which is nice for science fiction... but not the image of the ultimate form of innovation of production I wanted to paint, as a follow up on Kaitlin's questions.
... sorry. Sci-Fi writers should not be allowed futurist ideas without a designated driver >.<
I agree. But I am not sure if you ARE a designated driver. And as far as I know, the example I gave has never really been described by any science fiction writer (not that I have read all SF, of course). Usually, AI/Robots are either somewhat stupid, silly things (like Star Wars), a dangerous threat to humanity (Hall 2000 and so on) or they are given complete personalities (as with Asimov, Ian M. Banks). They don't tend to stop at AI that just does the work for us, as intelligent willing slaves. Even though I think that is EXACTLY the sort of AI that someone like Bill Gates would love to create.
But... back to your actual answer...
You paint a nice picture. With the AI/robots doing all the work, and us being free to 'realize' the kind of life we want. But what about this?
In capitalism, people are either owners of capital, businesses or they are employed by business (not counting the government). With production shifting to machines... even cleaning jobs and call-center workers, why would businesses PAY the people they no longer need for their leissure time? If machines could do all the low-end work, there would be no need to employ the less intelligent (those unable to think up complicated stuff that computers could not). And if computers could do the designing, engineering, artwork, the scientific research and so forth as well... why would anyone be employed? The only way to actually EARN a living would be to BE a business owner. And have a lot of computers working for you.
So... in this model, most people would be... REALLY poor. Not the pleasant picture you brought up. Then again, that would be under some pure capitalism. Since people still control things, there might still be politics, taxing all this machine-worked economic activity, redistributing it among the ordinary people, creating the Eloy class of leissure you mentioned. It might be that the idea that people NEED to work in order to get money would go out the window. People might demand a 'basic' income from the state. Bread and arena fights for the plebeans.
So... the less hypothetical question is this: innovation may lead to greater productivity and this more wealth for all. But with the existing REAL developments we are seeing, it might be that over the long term, this will make it harder and harder for a large group of people to be productive in a significant way in a changing economy. I think that something of that can be seen in certain parts of the world already. Still, right now we still need parking attendants and cops-for-rent and janitors. But these jobs may dissappear. And we employ vast number of paper pushers and people answering telephones. Those jobs might be lost at some point as well. So, it could be that more and more people will find it really hard to contribute in any meaningful way to a future economy, not for want of trying, but because not everyone has the talent and background and dedication and creativity to become the next Steve Jobs or Justin Bieber.
So... might it be that such changes would call for a more 'socialist' (or rather, social democratic) model, involving a major redistribution of wealth, either by artificially creating jobs, or by just handing out money?
Or am I completely mistaken and will capitalism always find a way to profitably employ most of the work-force, no matter how good machines get?