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Is technological advancement ultimately compatible with capitalism?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Mark1031, Aug 2, 2018.

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Is technological advancement ultimately compatible with capitalism?

  1. Yes

    8 vote(s)
    61.5%
  2. No

    5 vote(s)
    38.5%
  1. Mark1031

    Mark1031 Chieftain

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    Technology is getting to the point where it could actually make human labor obsolete. It has done that in the past and while this has created some consternation (see Luddites) it has always created new opportunities. Farm->mill->factory->computer tech-> web designer. But what happens when our AI robot overlords take over? We all like the phrase “labor saving device”, how about “job killing device”. We can see it happening in some low skill areas but it is also reaching into some high skill areas. I believe computers are better able to diagnose disease and read X-rays biopsies for eg. https://www.wired.com/2017/01/look-x-rays-moles-living-ai-coming-job/. Most people have only their labor (skilled or unskilled) to trade for everything else they need in a capitalist society. What happens when there is no demand for any of it? Suppose you create the first human replacement android and the software. It can be trained faster and cheaper to do anything humans now do including make more copies of itself. Should you and your patents allow you to acquire all the $$ in the world? Who do you sell the crap your robots produce to? This is an extreme example but it is clear the world is trending in this direction and it unclear how capitalism can accommodate this. Will we all be on a UBI and sit at home getting robot massages? Can this be called a capitalist society?
     
  2. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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  3. Mark1031

    Mark1031 Chieftain

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    Well first off I don't trust economists, can you give me good reason I should? What has been their greatest success? Second, there seems to be a difference of opinion with people more closely linked to the actual technology development http://www.pewinternet.org/files/2014/08/Future-of-AI-Robotics-and-Jobs.pdf, for the moment I will weight their view higher (I have absolutely no expertise in either area and am completely open to either view).
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
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  4. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    For some 300 years now new technology has been displacing workers. During all that time people have been claiming that technology would result in mass long term unemployment.

    300 years is a remarkable record of being wrong all the time.

    What is fundamentally different this time? Economists look at the 300 year record of being wrong continuously, and that is the question they ask: What is fundamentally different this time? And the answer that anything is is unconvincing.
     
  5. Lexicus

    Lexicus Warlord

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    The devil's in the details. "In the long run, we are all dead." As even that reddit thread admits the time lag between when jobs are destroyed and new jobs created means that there will be significant short-term job losses. I think the dislocation from this at least has the potential to be worse than that associated with the shift from a rural to an urban civilization.
     
  6. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    Super AI is unlikely prior to 2050 so we have some time.

    Humans need humans (or pets, intimacy with tasks, or other connections that feed need for intimacy) and maybe brain plug-ins will accomplish this. I think it will be a tall order. AI run economies might well generate sufficient wealth that will allow human idleness, but we don't do so well when left to our own devices. i suspect we will carve out a space to keep us out of trouble.

    Can an AI driven world relieve all the world's problems? Maybe, but unless it can, we will still have a useful place. I probably won't see it; my kids probably will though.
     
  7. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    So in other words you cant answer the question except by saying that hasn't happened yet. Reminds me of people who say climate change isn't real and won't effect us economically because it hasn't yet (in large ways).

    Past trends aren't crystal balls.
     
  8. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    While that's fair, we still don't have an explanation of why people think it will be different.
     
  9. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    Mass unemployment is inevitable. Self-driving cars and trucks alone will cost many millions of jobs.

    UBI and more virtual work. Some things people will always want a human for. Tho not as many as youd think. I'd rather have a AI psychotherapist I think.
     
  10. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    We don't? You can find tens of thousands of articles about it if you want to.
     
  11. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Those articles are pie in the sky. They aren't analyzing things for which they have evidence. They are assuming things to be true based on the priors of the people writing or interviewed for them. Technology has always displaced labor. And labor has always found different jobs.

    The fundamental difference now is that the better jobs are requiring more and better education. And the government is increasingly making certain that that education is unavailable. So what we see is not that jobs won't exist, but that many people may not, for the reason of a policy choice, be ready for them.
     
  12. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    From what I've read employers are less likely to care about college degrees and more likely to focus on skills.

    Pie in the sky usually means hope for something positive, I think you mean chicken littling
     
  13. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Well, a college degree is partially signalling. And may or may not represent skills. But there's definitely fewer jobs for the highschool dropout now. And that's only going to get worse.
     
  14. luiz

    luiz Trendy Revolutionary

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    As Cutlass said, in the past we needed the vast majority of population working in the fields just to feed the country. If we told a 18th century farmer that in 2018 technology makes it possible to feed the country with just 5% of the people working on agriculture he would reply that surely mass unemployment and constant revolutions would be the status quo in 2018. But they aren't.

    There will be new jobs, the definitions of employment will change, but people will keep on doing stuff to earn money. Bet on it.
     
  15. Yeekim

    Yeekim Warlord

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    Most popular jobs in 2050:
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    :ack:
     
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  16. Samson

    Samson Warlord

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    These articles may be, but then are yours any better? In particular I would point out that your chosen field of experts ("[people] with an education in economics") have a spectacularly bad record when it comes to making predictions (cf. real science).

    If you really want A reason why this time it is different (TM) then never before has technology threatened the roles of the most educated in society, whereas nowadays AI frequently beats doctors at major parts of their job (link in OP and also one I really like, AI correct 87% at brain tumors and 83% at predicting brain hematoma expansion, vs. 66% and 63% by a team of 15 senor doctors. http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-06/30/c_137292451.htm). This seems catagorically different from the agricultural and industrial addvances we have seen before. Computers, potentially tied to robots, have the potential of doing just about anything a human can do and much more. This has not been the case before.
     
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  17. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Capitalism requires consumption as much as it needs productivity, so surely capitalism will find ways to allow people to continue consuming. Either by creating new kinds of jobs, or by creating a welfare paradise.
     
  18. Hehehe

    Hehehe Chieftain

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    I don't think they're fundamentally incompatible, but the system will have to adapt. I'm envisioning some kind of social democracy, possibly with a scheme that resembles UBI.
    This isn't like when cars replaced horses. This is more like cars are replacing horses, except we are the horses. If not in the near future, then inevitably eventually we will reach a point where automated systems and/or AI can do a better job than humans can.
     
  19. Lexicus

    Lexicus Warlord

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    No neoclassical economist can be trusted to make claims about macroeconomics. They are good on micro but their macro is based on theories that originated in the 18th century, which persist despite having been factually disproved because they imply the desirability of policy that mostly benefits rich people like the Koch Brothers, who have literally spent billions on destroying the economics field with right-wing nonsense.

    Big picture, the economists are right. These exact complaints were made as machines could do the work of dozens or even hundreds of human workers were invented and used in production. Other things for people to do kept coming up, though.

    The problem is that this process created serious social dislocation. And the economists gloss over all this with the phrase "in the long run." As far as they're concerned the English people smashing the machines were just idiots living in the past. Which goes to show that the lessons haven't been learned. And any economist saying automation isn't anything to worry about should be ignored.

    Now, the reddit thread cutlass posted doesn't exactly say it's nothing to worry about, but I think it seriously downplays the concerns.
     
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  20. civvver

    civvver Warlord

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    Well it kinda doesn't matter if the standard of living is so high from the AIs and robots that you don't need a well paying job to live nicely. For example porportionally I am way poorer than someone like Marcus Crassius of ancient Rome who was one of the richest individuals in history. But stuff I have/enjoy that he didn't includes air conditioning, refrigeration, access to foods from all over the world during any season, endless digital entertainment, modern medicine, fast transportation to all sorts of places.

    What tech is doing is making an extremely rich 1% because it allows individuals to generate tons of money off of IP whereas in the past you had to build something that required more collaboration. Whether that is good or bad for capitalism I guess is debatable. Really it's tech monopolies that are bad and the US government has a pretty poor track record when it comes to tech monopolies. I mean we're still getting a disney/fox merger (I guess they aren't really tech) and we got an att/direct tv merger and I thought sprint and tmobile were pushing for a merger too at one point.

    It kind of makes me think of the netflix series altered carbon. The people were living in a time that could've been a near utopia, but because the rich people could continue to live forever they just consolidated their wealth further and further and cut everyone else out. If regulations are in place to prevent that, and your standard of living isn't just tied to a paycheck from a traditional job you wont have those issues but it's a pretty big social change.
     

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