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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. Hehehe

    Hehehe Chieftain

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    Your link makes all the same points we've all heard before. Where it completely misses the point is that this isn't a mere productivity upgrade; we're going to reach a point where robots will be able to do some jobs better than a human could. There will be nowhere for (some of) these displaced workers to go. Everything they can do, a robot can do better. It will start at the lower end of the spectrum, from unskilled workers, moving up to more and more skilled workers as automation and AI advance. Obviously, I believe that this technological advancement in and of itself is a great thing, but we will have to find a way to manage the issues that come with it.
     
  2. red_elk

    red_elk Warlord

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    Not necessary unskilled. Machines already can pilot aircraft and play chess above grandmaster level, but tasks such as cleaning bookshelves from dust aren't automatized yet.
     
  3. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

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    The Time Machine of H.G. Wells offers perhaps a glimpse on this AI-Capitalism aspect of our future.

    The AI-Capitalism contained and being the Morlocks underground.
    The Eloi the humans, getting their basic material-food-health needs covered by the Morlocks, and living their lives as the children of a wealthy 19th century nobility, busy with themselves, some sports, their emotions, social interactions, celebrities, theatre, things of beauty, etc.
    If only the Morlock would not eat the Eloi.....
     
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  4. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    And again, that's hypothetical. Where's the proof there will be no jobs? People have been saying this, and being wrong, since the dawn of civilization.
     
  5. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    It's equally hypothetical to say that there will be sufficient jobs. History isn't circular. Just because surplus labour was successfully channeled into new industries doesn't mean it will be this time.
     
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  6. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    This is true. But the argument, 'this time is different', has been used many many times, and is usually wrong. So our situation is people are saying this time the sky really is falling, and the response is why do you think that? What makes this time different? And there hasn't been a satisfactory response to that. :dunno:
     
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  7. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    But all the previous times were different. The doom-sayers weren't wrong about that, they were only wrong in their predictions. That the outcomes can be described with the same simplistic gloss, "new jobs were created", doesn't tell us about what jobs were created, or how. The process that moved people from farms to factories wasn't the same one that moved them from factories into offices and shops, so we can't assume that it will repeat.

    I share your scepticism of apocalyptic visions, but we risk complacency by assuming that because the worst hasn't yet happened, it can never happen. That whole story about crying wolf, y'know?
     
  8. AmazonQueen

    AmazonQueen Virago

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    Since my children are now grown up I've moved to working part-time in a poorly paid job that i consider useful to society.
    Couldn't have done it for the first 50 years of my life but now its just me I'm responsible for I got out of the time consuming, soul-destroying but more renumerative work I used to do and I'm happier for it.
     
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  9. Hehehe

    Hehehe Chieftain

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    This is a good point. Not everything will be automated instantly. Some jobs will require humans for quite a while. Others may not technically require a human, but it might be that customers will prefer to be serviced by a human nevertheless. But it is a numbers game; if, for example, 50% of low skill jobs could be automated, that would leave 50% of low skill workers unemployed and the other 50% in a terrible bargaining position.
    We're already seeing quite a bit of economic dislocation. As much as right wing populists like to complain that their jobs have been shipped off to China, I believe that it is automation that has had a bigger impact on destroying manufacturing jobs. Then again, the economy is complicated, and there are many factors involved beyond just automation.

    As for "proof", how could anyone prove what the future will be? I admit, I'm willing to adjust my opinions as new data comes in. But I really do believe that we will eventually reach a point where automation and AI can outperform (at least some) human employees. If that happens, you'll have a large chunk of people who simply aren't needed in the new economy. As much as I hope for the best (that these people will all find new jobs) I think that we should also have a plan for the worst case scenario.
     
  10. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

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    I think the way the US handled its manufacturing industry did imo indeed ship jobs to China.... getting hit by the normal (low) industrial automation rate on top.... and all that because investors preferred to put their money in dot.com, real estate bubbles and abroad, going for the highest short term return.

    If automation in a big country like the US is driven by development and producing in that same country of the automation kits, the AI, robots and mechanisations, the money involved will keep on rotating in that country. Adding economy.
    As a side effect of the automation, the capital investment goods to GDP rate, will increase.
    As a side condition the willingness of country capital suppliers must be there to uphold an adequate investment rate in the country.
    As main effect it will typical generate new jobs as well and likely the rate of overall change will have a continuous and predictable character. Enabling all participants, all stakeholders, to adjust in time to the changing environment, optimising money flows and labor productivity for lower collateral damage of change.

    Basically importing cheap labor goods from for example China is a lazy short term behaviour.
    It leads to discontinuities in employement, scale size loss of directly and indirectly related industries, geographical contractions to fewer industrial clusters.
    It leads to money flowing out of your country that could have been invested in the capital goods to upgrade the labour productivity in your country by automation leading to comparitive cheaper prices of goods.

    What I think happened in the US and many more countries in varying degrees:
    Consumerism took the lead.
    Investors saw better opportunities for their capital to invest in.
    The government had no adequate industry policy to inform, guide and encourage.

    Protectionism a medicin that can have quite some negative side effects.
     
  11. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    We're seeing specific jobs coming and going. As we have since the Industrial Revolution started. We are not seeing less jobs as a ratio of working age people.



    Sure, some things are different. But the doom of a jobless workforce in the long term, we've had that song. Over and over. If you really want to make the case to me that this time it will come true, then explain to me why it will be true.
     
  12. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    There will always be jobs. The question is whether the job will pay the wage that a person requires to survive and thrive.

    I'm literally willing to pay someone 100 food calories right now to clean my kitchen. This job exists. It literally exists. But no worker can perform this job and live. Heck, even I need to subsidize myself if I am going to work at cleaning my own kitchen. I need an external income to buy those calories.


    There are two major points of concern. The first is capitalism itself, the shuttling of assets, which can absolutely steamroll upwards. You already know this. But the second is the major innovation of AI vs the previous innovations of machinery.

    Previously, a machine replaced a person. The result was greater productively coupled with a lost job. The unemployed person then retrained to do something else. Whether he's less or more productive than his previous job, the aggregate wealth has grown. Additionally, this retraining has a cost. Overall, the cost of retraining has grown linearly over time. It's harder to learn how to type than to learn how to swing a hammer.

    With AI, the potential for development has grown exponentially. There are two different trendlines. One is exponential (the ease of replacing a worker with a machine), the other is linear (the cost to retrain). This means that for any job, it will increasingly become easier to make a robot replacement relative to retraining someone.

    Meanwhile, with every layoff, the incentive to create the next robot grows and the labour demand for the unemployed worker falls. He has nothing we want, and the only way to compete is to lower his wage. The robot can go below 2000 calories per day, but he cannot. Then we're back to the capitalism problem; the people have trouble selling their labour, so they sell their assets instead. And they're shuttling upwards.

    You're dealing with two different trendlines. Retraining costs increase linearly. The ability to create someone's replacement is growing exponentially. And with each turn of the wheel, the assets will go upwards. You'll have nothing the capitalists want. Anything someone else wants from you can be provided cheaper by the capitalists. You have no mechanism to get food.

    The whole system can be mollified with a proper income tax, but it will have to be spent on either direct payments to people or on work programs that actually run at negative efficiency.
     
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  13. innonimatu

    innonimatu Warlord

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    I really liked it when automation fanboy Musk had to admit that his vision of very automated car factory was a failure.

    There are still plenty of automation and AI fanboys around. Reality will keep curing them. That and bankruptcies. Automation remains hard and only appropriate for some jobs. Can do wonders in those, but none of us will live to see androids replacing humans. That is the stuff of science fiction.
     
  14. Broken_Erika

    Broken_Erika Nothing

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    That's why the future is Cyborgs!
     
  15. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    There are only limited situations where the bolded events grow an economy. The first is if it keeps people from buying foreign reducing outflows from the national economy (it is called income substitution). The second is if the recycled capital investments continually increase productivity and lowers the cost of the items produced giving consumers more money to spend in other areas. Growing an economy means expanding the ability of "locals" to spend money on goods and services. Exporting is an excellent way to grow a national economy. Any tariff situation that lowers exports will diminish an economy.

    This is where the short term focus of capitalism has failed us. Large manufacturing companies got much richer by moving overseas. That new wealth should have been taxed and used to rebuild infrastructure and keep our workforce current.
     
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  16. Mark1031

    Mark1031 Chieftain

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    I’m not really saying the sky is falling in the near-term or even the farther term. My question was a fictional one in which cheap robots can replace everything humans can do so our skill and labor has no value. We can see that trend in some fields being disruptive and while the economy still has the ability to absorb most of the displaced the out of work auto worker is more likely to be a taco bell employee than be retrained to be a Google coder (the new economy just doesn’t produce that many jobs). The societal norms are already fraying from these trends.
     
  17. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    Perhaps the future will have UBI, more TV, internet, games, social media, depression, drugs, income disparity. More people will live in cities and spend time consuming a plethora of activities.
     
  18. yung.carl.jung

    yung.carl.jung Hey Bird! I'm Morose & Lugubrious

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    How is this so different from being a footy coach? How is a career as a YouTuber much different from being a talk show host? All these weird complaints just seem like "I don't like new things!" :old::old::old:

    Now I don't know many things, but I do know for certain that at some point our seas weren't more plastic than fish, the poles weren't melting and birth defects caused by chemicals and meds in drinking water and rivers weren't the norm in "developing countries". Children were not directly targeted with all their senses and desires by a multi billion dollar industry to eat a heart disease sandwich and a diabetes drink to go with it.

    Some negatives are always there, some have to do with "technology", but the truth of the matter really is that capitalism, globalization and technological """progress""" go hand in hand.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
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  19. luiz

    luiz Trendy Revolutionary

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    No, but people could expect to live to around 30, the majority of one's children would never reach adulthood, and just getting enough to eat was a contant struggle.
     
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  20. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    In that special twisted way you are paying to have a better time while getting paid.
    I do believe that you're supposed to cry wolf when the wolf happens, not sooner.

    It's true that there were different times because of material changes, but there's nothing inherently job ending about technology. I know it's not to your argument, but we could automate every paid position in today's economy and without some kind of break would still find ourselves working for money.
     

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