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Zarathustra
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cail, I've come around on this topic? I had the impression my position is the same as always.

Customer service will always be important as long as there are customers. You'll have to buy your 3D printers somewhere. And we won't make *everything* at home, like our cars. And despite inventions like the microwave, or even the super-advanced Star Trek equivalent, people will always prize the experience of dining out, especially real food cooked over a real fire (caveman principle, again). Despite the automation of things like Keurig machines, people still like to spend $5 for a coffee made by a human (who basically pushes buttons on other machines) so they can sit at a coffee shop and people-watch while they pretend to read interesting books.

But there are whole fields of service which we can't even imagine today, just as people didn't know at first how they'd make money off the Internet. VR will open up modes of expression and entertainment that we can't even guess. Maybe there will be lots more artists and entertainers, programmers and movie makers. If our basic needs were met, we could build an economy entirely upon entertainment alone. Think of all the people who create stupid YouTube videos, and all the people who watch them. Maybe we'll spend our time telling stories to each other.

But I honestly think that most people will be employed in "mundane" luxury services that you don't think you need right now, because you're too busy spending money on necessities and manufactured goods ... services like dog sitter or masseuse, personal chef or housekeeper. Maybe lots more of us will need therapists, or choose private tutors over public schools. Freeing up money from basic needs and manufactured goods will allow us to pamper ourselves like never before, and that will require more and more employees as more and more people in the middle class seek upper class services.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nope.





40% of the workforce isn't working right now, and they're not doing artsy things or traveling.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
If our basic needs were met, we could build an economy entirely upon entertainment alone.


You may think that this would be a good thing but I assure you it would be a nightmare. The entertainment industry is bad enough already; we don't want it to be the base of the entire economy.

Dog sitter? Personal chef? Housekeeper? What is the point of getting a dog if you aren't going to interact with it? Even if I were a billionaire I wouldn't want a personal chef as opposed to cooking my own food for myself. Sure, if I had a 2500 m^2 house I could see hiring a cleaning crew to come in on a weekly basis but I guess I am just not that lazy. That is what you are describing--a society of lazy people where we will all be aristocrats who don't sully our hands with "mundane" work.

I'm with Cail. The people who are perpetually unemployed aren't artists or traveling the world to expand their horizons; instead, they are just hanging around doing nothing and being nothing. Caveat: this does not apply to the elderly who have retired--they have earned their retirement and may enjoy doing nothing if they so desire.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cail wrote:
Nope.





40% of the workforce isn't working right now, and they're not doing artsy things or traveling.
That's literally a caricature. A funny, exaggerated cartoon.

You don't know what those people are doing. How do you know they're not pursing a dream of being a musician, poet, artist, etc.? I agree that lots of people aren't working, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're just watching TV.

There are millions of people who would love to pursue their dreams if only they didn't have to "pay the bills."
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:

There are millions of people who would love to pursue their dreams if only they didn't have to "pay the bills."


I think you meant to say "billions".

We all chose the life we are living so we must deal with reality as it exists, not as we would like it to be. Reality dictates that "paying the bills" is what must occur and therefore we have to pay the bills.

I think you bought into Gene Roddenberry's pie-in-the-sky, everything-will-be-a-ok-in-the-future, let's-all-just-get-along, quasi-hippie Star Trek nonsense a little too much. The future will be a lot more like Babylon 5--gritty, down-and-dirty, and full of imperfect solutions to nearly-impossible problems created by people who are often pursuing their own self-interests.

I also think you underestimate just how much time younger people spend connected on mobile devices, being mind-numbed consumers of worthless information as opposed to being engaged in some sort of worthwhile activity.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right Hashi. The fact is that 40% of the workforce isn't working right now. This doesn't include retirement-aged people. So Zar, show me where 40% of the working-age population is off pursuing their dreams.

No, the people who aren't working are bitching about things on their cell phones.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That makes pretty sobering reading Hashi.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cail wrote:
Right Hashi. The fact is that 40% of the workforce isn't working right now. This doesn't include retirement-aged people. So Zar, show me where 40% of the working-age population is off pursuing their dreams.

No, the people who aren't working are bitching about things on their cell phones.
We're getting off track here ... the question wasn't whether most people will be motivated to work, the question was whether there would be jobs for people to do want to work, since the assumption is that robots/computers/AI/automation will take all the jobs, apparently against our will. But if most unemployed people will be content bitching about things on their cell phones (that they still somehow afford without working), then what exactly is the problem? Why worry about automation taking jobs when you don't even acknowledge that people want to work?

I'm talking about the people who do still want to work, who want more out of life than their basic needs. There will be jobs for them. And if they are in the minority, then all the better: the less we'll have to worry about them finding new careers in an automated future, because we'll only need to find jobs for a minority of the people. Everyone else can have their basic needs met in the Star Trek economy, and those who want luxuries will work new, creative, exciting jobs that can't be automated.
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There will be no jobs if no one wants to work. And we have the present example proving that to be the case. We don't have a Star Trek economy where needs are met, and 40% of our workforce is sitting on its collective ass. If those 40% suddenly decided to work, there are no jobs for them.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree we don't have the ST economy yet, but others here (e.g. Hierachy) were speculating that we would soon live in a time where people wouldn't have to work because basic needs could be provided cheaply through automation.

I think this is a probable future. And it changes the nature of welfare. If your basic needs can be provided without forcibly taking money from other working humans, then it changes the nature of the "handout." It would be more like things we all get for free without anyone working to provide it ... like air to breathe. It's an ubiquitous, readily available resource. With technology, we could transform food and other needs into the same type of resource. Everyone would get it for free.

I think this kind of "welfare" is significantly different than a government check paid with other people's money. The way things are now, if you get a job, your unemployment benefits end. If you make too much money, you no longer qualify for aid. People have a disincentive to work with our current system, because we're paying them specifically not to work. Sure, people can be naturally lazy, but our current system only exacerbates that tendency.

Also, people don't like to work because our jobs can be so demeaning and dehumanizing. But in an economy where the robots take all those jobs, the situation is entirely different.

So much of this depends upon education. Children can be taught to hope, to aspire, to have dreams. They don't have to be taught that they're victims of an unjust society. I think that most people who live off the government feel that they are entitled to this money, that they are owed this life. They are taught that the system is unfair and rich people suck. But in a society where everyone has their basic needs met, it becomes harder to preach this myth of victimization. Get people to stop thinking this way, and they will want to improve themselves rather than "get what they are owed."

People are smart. They can be trained. We're teaching them the wrong things, largely because of a liberal media, entertainment, and education system.
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Niche job markets such as "dog sitter" are not going to employ a lot of people because, truthfully, that sort of job requires very little skill and doesn't even require as much training as flipping burgers at a greasy spoon. Some dogs are needy, yes, but as long as you make sure they have water, food, and go outside every hour or so most dogs are self-sufficient and don't need you to be there. If everyone who works for McDonald's (at least at the front counter, not back in the kitchen) went into the dog sitting business the competition would be fierce and they would have to become very creative to make themselves stand out from the competition, a scenario which will be too much work for some of those people.

If you want to motivate people to work then cut off all unemployment benefits immediately. Now they have a choice: find work or starve. Sure, that seems harsh but you would be surprised how motivated people can be once they miss two or three meals.

No, that won't fix the "there aren't jobs to fill" situation; for that, we need corporations to quit moving to Honduras where they can pay people $2 a hour with no benefits to sew stitches into sneakers. Perhaps if corporations would look at the long term instead of only next quarter's bottom line they wouldn't do shit like that. The only way to make sure corporations stay is to hit them where it hurts--levy punitive fines if they leave the country. I don't mean "slap on the wrist fines" like trying to make ExxonMobile pay $10 million; no, I mean "if we pay that fine we'll have to declare bankruptcy" types of fines--imagine having to pay three times last year's income if you decide to leave. Notice that I said "income" not "profits"--if your company had $100 million in income last year then it will cost you $300 million to leave. That will motivate them to stay.

Peter, even I find reality a little distasteful at times but I must still deal with it as it exists.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Danish concept of hygge is essentially existentialism with hugs. Mindfulness for the liberal intellectual with a wooly jumper thrown in. But in existentialism, as in reality we are all truly alone and at the end, as free when staring down the barrel of the gun as when pulling the trigger. There are those, and I know because I am one, who relish a menial position because of the freedom from responsibility it gives (lazy thinking I know but hey.......) but also because of the freedom it gives one to think (up {one could add} the kind of bullshit spouted above). But just occasionally (and certainly alas, not by me) that kind of free-form thinking will throw up something truly world changing. In the meantime, in the words of V.S. N Naipaul "The world is what it is; men who are nothing, allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it."
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zar, you're positing a future where no one needs to work. I'm pointing to the present where people do need to work, and they don't. Human nature is not going to change just because we've eliminated need.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok Cail, far point. I think the people who aren't working now are the ones who don't need to--they are getting by somehow without working. But that would also be true in the future I'm predicting. But getting back to the original point, I think I've presented numerous reasons why automation doesn't mean the absence of jobs.

Hashi, dog sitting isn't hard as long as you have a well behaved dog. But people are very protective of their pets, and wouldn't trust them with just anyone. The kinds of people who treat their pets like children would want them cared for only by people who are animal lovers, who wouldn't abuse their pets or neglect them. I know people who don't take vacations or travel far from home because they have pets they can't leave or take with them. They are chained to their animals. I think you underestimate the pet sitting market.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
automation doesn't mean the absence of jobs.

Until very recently, I agreed with that nearly 100%
Now, I'm not so sure I do...because things on the automation front have changed.
For a long time, the only work that could be fully automated were jobs that could be listed---if you could write out all the steps and decision points, it could be coded and automated eventually.
But you'd still need people...people who were expert in code and expert in the job itself and people for jobs that couldn't be done always/efficiently step-wise.
But that is no longer the case.

New techniques exist that could already replace workers in many kinds of jobs that people USED to think would never be code-able.
And it's growing quickly. I think you were one who said every kid should be learning to code---
Unfortunately, if a kid is entering kindergarten today, coding will be a cute hobby, like needlework, by the time they finish school. Code will be writing new code, machines will be inventing and building machines, automation will be fully automated top to bottom. [ok, maybe ten years longer than that].

If given free reign, tech could replace almost every human job within the next two or three decades.
Most science will be done by machine, "Scientists" will be the people trying to figure out and explain to us plebes what the machines just discovered. The only reason for human involvement would be basically the same as the reason I buy my soup bowls and coffee mugs and such from the studio down the street---I know and like the people who make them.

I don't mean to say that's a bad thing---why SHOULDn't people just do things cuz they love to do it? Does a better reason even exist?
And why shouldn't I love them for doing it, even though better and cheaper is available from WalmartBot?
But I do think people just aren't freaking used to it---it even conflicts with most peoples philosophical/cultural understanding and identity in the world.
And the transition/learning/growing pains could be bloody as hell.
Partly because identity/culture change is hard for people. Really damn hard.
Partly because, to a degree that will make the Enlightenment and Constitutions and Democracy seem trivial, coming tech has the ability to really, truly, honestly level the damn playing field...to make equality and opportunity a reality and not lie, dream, myth, platitude, propaganda....and the power structures that be will NOT like that. Not at all.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Totally in respect of the transition pains - those of the industrial revolution lasted over 90 years - but the end point will be that our definition of what constitutes work will be radically different. Automation will reduce costs to negligible levels, the new jobs Z postulates will also be done by machines, not humans, and human input into the direction the world takes will be negligible at most - and who's to say the world won't be better for it! But will we thrive, will we use our newfound freedom to reach out into areas of understanding now inconceivable to us, or will we atrophy and fade .........?
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Ok Cail, far point. I think the people who aren't working now are the ones who don't need to--they are getting by somehow without working.
A lot hinges on how you define "need". I guarantee you that the 40% of the workforce that isn't working isn't pondering which golf course to play today.

Problem is that everything is built on the idea of work and consumption. In a world without work, there's no money. No money? No taxes. No commerce other than barter for services. We literally can't comprehend a society without currency, and all the things that go along with it.

Most of us don't "need" to work right now. Many jobs can already be automated, and most others will be automated or computerized in our lifetimes. Then what? How do you govern people who have no needs?
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cail wrote:
Zarathustra wrote:
Ok Cail, far point. I think the people who aren't working now are the ones who don't need to--they are getting by somehow without working.
A lot hinges on how you define "need". I guarantee you that the 40% of the workforce that isn't working isn't pondering which golf course to play today.

Problem is that everything is built on the idea of work and consumption. In a world without work, there's no money. No money? No taxes. No commerce other than barter for services. We literally can't comprehend a society without currency, and all the things that go along with it.

Most of us don't "need" to work right now. Many jobs can already be automated, and most others will be automated or computerized in our lifetimes. Then what? How do you govern people who have no needs?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.engadget.com/2017/02/19/bill-gates-calls-for-robot-tax/

seems relevant and also kinda facepalm?
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Hashi Lebwohl
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Hashi, dog sitting isn't hard as long as you have a well behaved dog. But people are very protective of their pets, and wouldn't trust them with just anyone. The kinds of people who treat their pets like children would want them cared for only by people who are animal lovers, who wouldn't abuse their pets or neglect them. I know people who don't take vacations or travel far from home because they have pets they can't leave or take with them. They are chained to their animals. I think you underestimate the pet sitting market.


Probably so because I am fundamentally a cat person and cats don't really need you to sit with them, as long as they have access to food, clean water, a clean litter box, and a comfortable place in which to sleep (which could be anywhere). A 10-minute trip down the street to pick up a few items and your dog greets you with "omg! you're back! I missed you so much while you were gone! that was such a long time!"; coming back from a weekend out of town and your cat greets you with "oh, it's you--I didn't notice that you were gone".

Even if a robot tax gets implemented it won't matter much--in the long term non-organic workers cost less than human workers because they don't require time off, sick days, lunch, rest, etc. Yes, they would require routine maintenance from time to time--now there is a healthy job market, "robotics technician"--but employee overhead would dramatically be reduced for the employer.

Incidentally, the hot trend in robotics right now crosses over with the adult entertainment industry. I am certain that I need not elaborate.

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