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Re: Workers Paradise. /Political rant.
: .... But suppose the population problem could
: be fixed. Then, with technology escalating towards singularity,
: machines doing almost all labor, there could certainly exist a
: system where the 'dumb' and 'lazy' could be fed and housed properly
: without anybody complaining.
I'm always fascinated when people trot out this notion of technology
giving us a maintenance free world that provides all our needs. Like
Rifkin's "End of Work." I'm sorry but I just don't see how the
problems of food and shelter are solved simply because we've automated
the production of bank statements. All the really effective
automation has involved symbolic activities, not the basic stuff of
life, like food and shelter.
: P.S. Mac Donalds could easily be replaced by a bot.
Very unlikely. Despite the incredible degree of mechanization that
happens in food production, *most* of it requires people in the loop.
Part of it is health concerns -- you're far more likely to poison a
significant portion of the population if you don't keep active human
involvement in food production. But there's also a lot having to do
with the structure of the work. You *can't* send a robot tractor into
the fields and expect it to treat your corn right. And milking
machines, well ....
I did a lot with fault tolerance and industrial robotics in a previous
life. Robots work fine in highly structured environments. Their value
decreases dramatically as you remove structure. In unstructured
environments they're either useless or just plain dangerous. Even the
so called "industrialized" farms are wildly unstructured compared to a
factory floor. And there's little reason to assume that 'biological
units' (plants and animals produced for food) in a fully structured
factory-like setting will yield all the products necessary for an
adequate food supply. It seems that whenever we develop a "complete"
model of what people need to survive and subject a few people to it,
we discover that something fatal has been left out.
: But to force people into menial service jobs just to literally
: survive is not to my taste. No, give them minimal shelter for
: nothing and from there on let the market anarcho-capitalistic
: struggle begin, for obtaining a higher than minimum material
: standard or reputational standing.
I suspect that the Real World will always require a large portion of
the available labor pool to do work that supports the production of
food and shelter. The support has gotten pretty indirect in modern
industrialized countries, I admit.