"Software (Bot) Substituion" A Gorean Forums Think-tank

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Re: "Software (Bot) Substituion" A Gorean Forums Think-tank

Postby Cassie » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:16 pm

We get the three laws of Robotics, that's what
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Re: "Software (Bot) Substituion" A Gorean Forums Think-tank

Postby Theoden » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:18 pm

And you trust the entire fate of the human race that no one will decide to program a robot without those three laws?
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Re: "Software (Bot) Substituion" A Gorean Forums Think-tank

Postby Cassie » Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:11 pm

Theoden wrote:And you trust the entire fate of the human race that no one will decide to program a robot without those three laws?


I imagine that just like in the books such laws won't be as easy to implement but having the technology to build something that can get out of hand usually is resolved by inventing something that can counter it.
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Re: "Software (Bot) Substituion" A Gorean Forums Think-tank

Postby Victor. » Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:49 am

Theoden wrote:They said decades ago, technology would make people more productive that they would have to work half as less. More leisure time etc.

Well here we are today. Did companies make people work half as less and bring about good work/life balance?

No, people work about the same amount. Productivity only means more profit for corporations, it doesn't mean a better work life balance for the human being.

I can't imagine any scenario where robots being introduced would be good, unless the government heavily invests in technical education for its population. A well educated and well off work force in very skilled jobs, with a base of manual robotic AI automated laborers at the bottom.

I'm sorry but while this may happen for a small country of a few million people, like Scandinavian countries, it won't work for a country of 300 million people. Especially when multiculturalism breeds more and more individualism due to basic human nature (group vs group identities) and less collective action is taken that is needed for investing in education for the workforce.

Perhaps some rich states like Massachusetts and cities on the eastern seaboard can become little enclaves where highly educated workforces are augmented by robotic lowskill labor. But there will be large swaths of the country where robots will be hated upon by half the population. Including those lower-middle income Tea Partiers that over the next few decades will become lower income, due to rising inequalities.

Then what you will see is either a revival of racism and anti-robot sentiments.

This is all assuming that robots will only stick to manual labor and low skill jobs. What happens when technology advances and software advances exponentially? When they can do even high skill jobs?

Eventually the society will become an elite 1% vs 99%, and the elites will be controlling armies of armed robot police.

Then far off into the future, what if AI advances so much that people start tricking themselves in thinking they have souls as well? That they are sentient?

We already have morons in the Animal Liberation Front thinking animals have souls, based on rudimentary intelligence. What about AI? What happens when robots suddenly get 'rights'? Emancipation for artificial intelligent lifeforms?

Humans cannot compete with these economically either. Eventually there will be war, with the humans striking first. And I'm not so sure they'll win.

God creates man. Man pretends to be God and creates artificial man. Artificial man destroys man.

AI and genetic engineering. Two pandora's boxes that will destroy the human race.


And yes, that is exactly what will happen - as I said, it's fucked up because the obvious advantages of it can be wholeheartedly neglected due to the certainty of almost any sane person that it will get thoroughly abused and won't be used for the betterment of working conditions and an increase in leisure time.

Which is a shame. I still blame unbridled capitalism for that.
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Re: "Software (Bot) Substituion" A Gorean Forums Think-tank

Postby Glaucon » Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:29 am

My own thoughts echo both Victor's and Théoden's.

In theory, advances in robotics and AI capabilities (with or without human-like AI) are a great thing. Like the wheel, like the steam engine, like mechanized assembly lines, like combine harvesters, like the printing press and like excel, these technologies make humans more powerful, capable, make them able to do far more in far less time, making a lot of hard and/or tedious labor unnecessary because technology do it for us. The resulting increase in productivity leads to either more material wealth or to more leisure time, or both.

Historically, over the last hundred years or so, it had led to both. I don't agree with Théoden who said that people still work about the same number of hours. Maybe they do, on average, when you look at the entire population between 18 and 65, but that is not the best way of looking at it. It doesn't account for the fact that people grow older, nowadays and are (generally) able to retire at 65 (in the US, at least), which makes for a great increase of leisure time for the whole population. It doesn't account for the fact that many women have joined the working population that didn't have paid jobs before, but did actually do a lot of WORK before (especially before modern appliances and such made keeping house significantly less time-consuming). Most average full-time employed people in 'the West' with decent jobs work 5 days a week, instead of 6. There was no weekend, a hundred years ago. Most only work about 8 hours each working day, nowadays. Those are reductions in working times.

But I'd agree that the reduction in time spend 'working' has decreased (or perhaps come to a halt or been reversed), more recently. For the most part, the increased productivity has been used to increase wealth (which includes wealth siphoned away from individual wages through taxes and employee employer-paid insurance premiums to pay for health-care, education, infrastructure, security - including unmanned drone-strikes on terrorists and the NSA - and most other government programs supposed to benefit everyone), leading to a relative material Valhalla for most people in the West.

Why did most of this increase in productivity translate into more material things and not in more leisure time? Well, perhaps part of it is the choices individuals made. That add that someone posted (about the guy saying he chose to work more and didn't have coffee and croissants as a choice so he could afford that really great but expensive car, saying it was the American way) may reflect something many feel. Some people just really like having stuff, going on expensive vacations, using expensive hookers, drinking expensive wine, living in big houses. Part of that is them liking those things themselves. A bit part of it is deriving self-esteem from it (having a bigger car than your neighbor, having a bigger house than your brother, me having a faster PC than Anarch and so forth). Part of it is what people have called a 'consumer ideology'. Corporations spend a lot of time and energy trying to make us want their stuff. And humans are competitive animals, and one way to compete is by trying to out-consuming others. Which all contributes to the consumer's illusion: the idea that buying stuff will make you happy (whether it does or not).

Governments also play a part in this. The logic of Government organizations is that they want to 'do' stuff. Left-wing or right-wing (with an official small government ideal), it doesn't really matter. Whether they want to spend money to educate poor children, give everyone health insurance, develop military capabilities, grow their own organizations bigger and more powerful, increase the profits of their corporate friends, governments of any party want growth. And they have been counting on growth for decades, and build up a significant debt, a debt that won't be all that problematic if growth continues but does become a serious issue if it doesn't.

There things add up. Of course, some people still make a choice that goes against the grain, working less hours of their own choice, because they earn enough to satisfy their needs. But this does go against corporate ideology, consumerism, the desires of governments and the general capitalist creed. ('Greed is good' and all that).

That is why I think the idea of a 'basic income' that Victor mentions, while it does make perfect sense, from a rational perspective, is anathema to the powers that be, governments, corporations, and the main stream ideology of most people. It is against the older Calvinist/christian ethos as well. "For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat." "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground." And there is the general notion that labor is in fact part of a man's purpose. Perhaps itself a source of human happiness. And not just an "Arbeit macht Frei" sort of fascist idea. The idea that, without people 'needing' to work, they will be lost, not knowing what to do with themselves, seems pretty wide-spread. Replacing that with a kind of 'Bread, Games and leisure time' model would require a pretty major change in outlook.

So, the obvious 'choice' would be for us to try to keep translating further technological growth into more material wealth. But it is fair to ask if that is really in the best interest of people. At some point, I'd imagine that having more leisure time becomes more valuable to people than having an even more shiny and 'better' car. And I am worried about whether 'demand' can really keep up, in general. And if it does, who will be doing the demanding?
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Re: "Software (Bot) Substituion" A Gorean Forums Think-tank

Postby Glaucon » Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:01 am

Some more thoughts (along the lines of stuff said above by me and others):

Theoretical example:

Say, you do get 'Rob the robot' that can do everything a human can (except maybe the work done by humans in the top 5%).

Say that this robot can do 3 times the work of a normal employee (because it works 24/7). Say that this robot would cost 100K dollars to purchase and maintain, and that it will be obsolete in 10 years. So, 10K a year.

In order for human employees to compete with that, they would have to offer their services for, say, 3K a year (saving the company 1K a year for three of them). Say these employees are making 30K a year now. That would be a problem for them, obviously. Unless they were Chinese employees or something.

So, these employees would get replaced and have to move on to do something else. But assuming they aren't in the 5% of people that CAN do something else producing more value (because they lack the talents, skills, creativity, perseverance, etc.), they would be unlikely to rise above that 3K a year boundary by much (because they would face competition from Rob the robot as well, in other lines of work. So, these (former) employees would really be struggling. Unable to make much of a living.

But what of the overall economy? Companies would see a massive reduction in production costs. Of course, because they would be firing 95% of their employees, or not firing them, but hiring them for 3K a year (instead of, say, 30K), that would mean a massive fall in demand, 95% of the adult consumers dropping way down in terms of consumption power. Now, I'd say two things could happen:

1. The 5% (either those still needed as high level employees by companies because Rob the robot cannot do their jobs or those 'owning' significant parts of the companies and getting the profits resulting from the cost reduction) making up for the loss in demand of the 95%, by using their extra wealth to spend loads more, keeping demand up and/or even increasing it. This would be in line with what we have seen in the capitalist part of the world over the last centuries. It might lead to massive growth, even, perhaps even to the point where it would lead to products being so much cheaper that even the 95%, reduced to 3K per year would effectively have more material wealth than they had before. It might even be said to benefit all, if that were the case. It would mean a massive increase in inequality in buying power, of course. If you compensate for inflation and if this is a slow process, it might not even lead to the 95% dropping from 30K to 3K, just them staying more or less at the same 30K with the top 5% increasing their income massively.

I'd be inclined to say that we have seen something (in a far less radical form) like this in reality over the last few decades already, with the wealth of the richest increasing, and that of the poor and average not moving much at all.

2. The second option is less optimistic: The 5% NOT making up for the relative loss in demand of the 95% and demand not rising. The relatively poor and average consumers tend to spend. The rich often don't need to spend all of their money. Which would mean that the increase in product potential due to Rob the Robot would not lead to more overall productivity, because the demand isn't there. I'd be inclined to say that something like this has happened in recent times as well.

My point is this, I guess: We have seen big rises in labor productivity over the last hundred years (well, longer, really). That did lead to jobs becoming obsolete, people dropping down in terms of the economic value they could add through labor. But much of that negative impact was absorbed by overall growth, partially because of a general population increase and the female half of the population transferring from unpaid to paid labor and smoothed over by a growing government employing more and more people and redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor. And much of the loss of the labor potential was at the bottom end: manual labor, in favor of middle-class work. That ensured a steady consumer demand, ensuring that the increase of potential productivity led to an actual increase in productivity and wealth. I am not convinced that these favorable conditions still apply at the moment. A relative marginalization of the middle class might lead to stunted growth, I fear, with economic growth no longer able to 'cushion' the fall of those whose jobs are rendered obsolete.
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Re: "Software (Bot) Substituion" A Gorean Forums Think-tank

Postby Glaucon » Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:28 am

Victor wrote:And yes, that is exactly what will happen - as I said, it's fucked up because the obvious advantages of it can be wholeheartedly neglected due to the certainty of almost any sane person that it will get thoroughly abused and won't be used for the betterment of working conditions and an increase in leisure time.

Which is a shame. I still blame unbridled capitalism for that.


Yep. It might be that the old Marxist claims about capitalism not being sustainable in the long run may have some life in them yet.

Hawt Sommer wrote:What needs to change? The economy itself? Our way of thinking? Our way of life?


Maybe Hawt needs to become a commie? ;)

Théoden wrote:Then what you will see is either a revival of racism and anti-robot sentiments.

This is all assuming that robots will only stick to manual labor and low skill jobs. What happens when technology advances and software advances exponentially? When they can do even high skill jobs?

Eventually the society will become an elite 1% vs 99%, and the elites will be controlling armies of armed robot police.

Then far off into the future, what if AI advances so much that people start tricking themselves in thinking they have souls as well? That they are sentient?

We already have morons in the Animal Liberation Front thinking animals have souls, based on rudimentary intelligence. What about AI? What happens when robots suddenly get 'rights'? Emancipation for artificial intelligent lifeforms?

Humans cannot compete with these economically either. Eventually there will be war, with the humans striking first. And I'm not so sure they'll win.

God creates man. Man pretends to be God and creates artificial man. Artificial man destroys man.

AI and genetic engineering. Two pandora's boxes that will destroy the human race.


I don't think any of that will happen quite like that. I mean, they are still good sci fi scenario's, but... people beating up robots because they 'took our jobs'? It has happened in some places with machines, but it is rare, mostly. Most people LOVE their automatons, it seems. When they are good, they make us feel empowered. IF robots are going to take us over, I don't think it will be a hostile take over. And who knows? Maybe they won't take US over. Maybe we will BECOME them.
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Re: "Software (Bot) Substituion" A Gorean Forums Think-tank

Postby Theoden » Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:33 am

If the only leisure time technology has generated is that retirees after 65 can have leisure time then technology has failed. Technology was supposed to reduce working hours from 18 to 65 as well.

In the end, it was not technology that reduced working hours from 6 days a week to 5, but rather unions. The 40 hour workweek was a result of unions, a social economical movement, rather than anything technology has brought us. Same with the retirement age.

Though, I suppose you can argue that the material wealth generated by technology has made these social demands more 'acceptable' and possible. If unions were in the middle ages and started demanding 40 hour workweeks when most of the population were subsistence farmers, I'd doubt they'd get far.

So I suppose technology of the last few centuries has provided leisure in that really limited way. Enough wealth to fund a retirement, and the 6th day off.

As for the working population people choosing to work more, so they can get better stuff... I wouldn't say all of them want to do this. I think only a segment want to do this, and another segment is forced to do this because of them (in order to compete for finite jobs).

It's a collective action problem. If all the working population said they wanted to work 20 hours for 40k pay, then companies would have to comply. They could take the money from billions they give to CEOs and top tier management and make income equality within corporations a bit more equal.

Unfortunately, some segments of the working populations say 'screw the rest', and offers to work 40 hours for 40k pay. Then everyone else gets screwed.

With all the technology we have today, we could all be working 20 hours a week and live a comfortable middle class life. Human individualism ruins it. This is why unions don't work unless unionism is enforced by law, e.g. no 'right to work' state.

This would assume a closed economy of course. Otherwise I'm sure the Chinese with their armies of slave labor would get up and scream to the corporations 'We can work our serfs 60 hours a week!'

As for people always wanting more and more, I think it has something to do with wanting more than your neighbor. There are studies where if you have 75k you would be perfectly happy and not much more happy than those that earn above it. However, if you live in a neighborhood where everyone is richer than you, you are unhappy, even if you earn 200k. This is as you highlighted, human nature of competition, always comparing to others, always needing to be better off within your social circle and neighborhood.


http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents ... ays_money/
^ Richer than Neighbor theory

http://content.time.com/time/magazine/a ... 28,00.html
^ $75,000 happiness theory

Anyway, here are some referendums pertinent to the discussion. Nothing passed though.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-2 ... imits.html

^ Referendum on equalizing pay within companies

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-25415501

^ Referendum on guaranteed income for all people, working or not. (this of course won't work with the Schengen agreement, but there have been recent steps in curbing immigration)


Anyway, what were we talking about again? Ah yes, robots.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLNo4lMC8bM[/youtube]
Last edited by Theoden on Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Software (Bot) Substituion" A Gorean Forums Think-tank

Postby Theoden » Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:52 am

Glaucon wrote:
I don't think any of that will happen quite like that. I mean, they are still good sci fi scenario's, but... people beating up robots because they 'took our jobs'? It has happened in some places with machines, but it is rare, mostly. Most people LOVE their automatons, it seems. When they are good, they make us feel empowered. IF robots are going to take us over, I don't think it will be a hostile take over. And who knows? Maybe they won't take US over. Maybe we will BECOME them.


I think this will happen in the far future (2x). In the nearer far future (1x), I'm sure you will have people loving robots. As you said before, people will be willing to embrace these new changes ... well, until it is too late.

As I've said before, humans put themselves in their golden cages and don't look towards the long run. It won't be a hostile takeover because everyone hostile would be dead a long time ago.

It's like everything you suggest keeps getting worse and worse. First you say we will become effectively 'pets' to the robots, then you say we will become them e.g. Tech singularity, when man and machine becomes one.

The problem I have with tech singularity is the fact that man and machine can't really be one. The man part of it, organic biomass , is less 'upgradable' with newer technologies than the machine part. Eventually there will be a push towards a completely machine body, with a human intelligence. But then what happens after that? Human intelligence is faulty sometimes. And even in you plug in an 'emotion' logarithm into the software, eventually this logarithm will be seen as 'inefficient' and dangerous. So you get rid of emotion. You get rid of the human body. Is it even human anymore?

No, it's just cold, logical machines. There is no singularity. There is only ascension. Ascension from the primitive biological mammal lifeforms that first brought about sentient intelligence, eventually evolving into purely machine intelligence and body, a race that can do everything better than us, in every way. I'm sure they can code 'creativity' eventually, or whatever advantages humans have that machines don't.
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Re: "Software (Bot) Substituion" A Gorean Forums Think-tank

Postby Glaucon » Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:32 am

Theoden wrote:Though, I suppose you can argue that the material wealth generated by technology has made these social demands more 'acceptable' and possible. If unions were in the middle ages and started demanding 40 hour workweeks when most of the population were subsistence farmers, I'd doubt they'd get far.


Exactly. Unions (and others) may have made this possible, but there WAS the surplus wealth/productivity available for them to make this sort of demand.

By the way, even though many people think that people worked very long hours in pre-industrial times, this isn't necessarily the case. The 80 hour work week is a product of the earlier capitalist/commercial societies and industrial revolution, really. Serfs in the middle ages probably worked less hours than we do (they did have a longer working day, but it was slower-paced, with long breaks for meals and such and they hardly worked for many months in the year, depending on the season). In pre-historical times, estimates say men typically 'worked' something between 2 to 4 hours each day. They hung around a whole lot.

Anyway... that 80 hour work week DID exist. It isn't the norm, now.

So I suppose technology of the last few centuries has provided leisure in that really limited way. Enough wealth to fund a retirement, and the 6th day off.

As for the working population people choosing to work more, so they can get better stuff... I wouldn't say all of them want to do this. I think only a segment want to do this, and another segment is forced to do this because of them (in order to compete for finite jobs).


That is what I meant.

It's a collective action problem.


It is. But it isn't just a free-rider collective action problem. The ideological component is quite important, I think. And the normal 'stage' for solving this sort of collective action problem is the political stage. Which means... politics. And all the partisan distraction that goes with it.

As for people always wanting more and more, I think it has something to do with wanting more than your neighbor. There are studies where if you have 75k you would be perfectly happy and not much more happy than those that earn above it. However, if you live in a neighborhood where everyone is richer than you, you are unhappy, even if you earn 200k. This is as you highlighted, human nature of competition, always comparing to others, always needing to be better off within your social circle and neighborhood.


I think that some studies show that this idea that people always want to have more than their neighbor ('keeping up with the Joneses') is itself also partially a product of ideology/culture. Not really a human constant. Regardless... I think it is just ONE possible motivation. Clearly, most people DO like to have leisure time. Not everyone who is offered to sell their vacation days at the value of working days does so. Most do not. Not everyone able to work overtime at a higher rate of pay than normal hours volunteers to do so.

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