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A Storm's a brewing...(Economy, Robots, and Immigrants)

Brainboy (310252) writes | more than 9 years ago

Robotics 2

Captialism doesn't work. Or at the very least, it will soon not work. It sort of did at one time, but like that old car, it's going to break down soon, and you hope its not at an inopportune time.

Captialism doesn't work. Or at the very least, it will soon not work. It sort of did at one time, but like that old car, it's going to break down soon, and you hope its not at an inopportune time.

Anyways, when one makes such a bombastic statement, one is should back it up with some sort of reasoning and logic. Except for politicians, they seem to say any old crap and people would buy it. My line of thinking can be somewhat circuitous at times, and I'm sure digressions and run-ons will abound, but work with me here.

Karl Marx, for all of his ideas proved wrong (like they needed to be), he did point out the fallacy in captialism, in that if you let it go, you will reach a point where you have very few people having good lives on the backs of most. Charles Dickens said it much better, and made more sense. Anyways that point is fast coming upon us (or is already here depending on your pessimism level), and frankly, it's time to fix our shit.

Why is the breaking point coming so fast now? Answer: Robots and, to a much lesser extent, computers. You see, Robots are fast replacing people's jobs. It's not hard to envision robots replacing landscaping. Hell my dad is working on a robotic lawnmower and he's certainly no professional MIT graduate roboticist. Or even, fast food places. McDonald's or Domino's robots? Seems almost obvious. The problem here is, once you put all this unskilled laborers out of work, what the hell are they going to do?

Now, I'm reminded of the Industrial Revolution. It's a similar sort of event, which does give me a glimmer of hope we'll make it into the future with out having to go Mad Max on everything. Once Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, slavery was doomed. Once you have machines, slavery is just not an efficient system anymore. So assuming the Luddites weren't right, what do we do?

(I think everyone is with me on the problem right? Short version: When robots do the menial stuff, what do the immigrants do?)

Well let's lay out some bullets perhaps something will present itself. I doubt it, but lists are fun!

-Robots are replacing menial and unskilled jobss

-Computers are making replication of data perfect and the cost of copying miniscule

-Everyone can't be an artist or engineer
Yeah, there is no way that can happen. At least I'm pretty sure that's not.

-Robots start becoming ubiquitous

-Can't have a ton of unemployed people around
That's a luddite revolt waiting to happen

-Not everyone is smart
Connected somewhat to the artist/engineer thing

Honestly, I dunno. I'm playing around with the idea that robots become the new hammer and saw, but I'm not sure how that gets done without turning people into engineers. Hell, I barely know what the means. The idea is that with robots being ubiquitous that means almost everyone has it, and thus can figure out different ways to use it. But again I'm not sure where the nonengineerification is, or the unskilled laborers come in.

Maybe space. I don't know. What am I talking about? Robots basically do that already.

Service industry, what doesn't get replaced by robots? Doesn't seem big enough.

I can't see it right now. I don't know what we're heading to, but it's going to be big. I can't see the Promised Land, only the fact the path go through a desert.

Or perhaps we're all screwed in the end. Either post-apocalyptic or cyberpunk style.

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This is not a new problem (1)

Allen Zadr (767458) | more than 9 years ago | (#13379987)

The following is harsh in parts, and not all of it is based on fact - but, partly, a Sci-Fi type of world, run by robots, as you describe. Mostly, there is an equilibrium to everything...

This is not a new problem
But you already touched on that. It has always been - so far back as history tells - that one smaller group of people has held, through threat or god, a higher office on the backs of the majority.

Since the abolition of Slavery - which was not just a cotton trade industry - parts of the world have gone through a relatively short phase, where everyone has the oppotunity to ascend to a higher class.

However, even in this - there are places where a smaller portion of the people have an advantage over another portion of people. It's not a 'race' thing, and it's not a 'birthright' - although both (as left over from years of history) are still minor factors. Now, it may be that intelligence is the new class advantage.

This also makes sense - as popular culture elevates 'stupidity' as the way to be, without even offering an advantage to this way, and those that grow up choosing to be proletarians follow this way of thinking, because they think it's the right thing to do.

However - as you point out - non-engineers can use the benefits of engineering, just as novices can use computers to augment their own knowledge. Just as everyone on slashdot can be an expert on any given subject, by simply knowing how to ask questions of the Goooooooooogle.

Robot's don't maintain themselves. And it doesn't take an engineer to check an oil level. Perhaps, the robots can become the slave labor, and the humans - as a whole - can become the affluent.

...Well, aside from greed, and a gut urgency to compete with others of our kind...

As far as the possibility of a major outcry - we can say, as we always have... it's YOUR choice to do drugs, it's YOUR choice to drop out of school - we would give you the opportunity, but you believed that you didn't have to take it. The desert ditch digging robots need maintenance, go take your undesirable job, and sustain yourselves.

Re:This is not a new problem (1)

Brainboy (310252) | more than 9 years ago | (#13381842)

I did note that it was not a new problem. It's one that tended to pop up whenever some new way of manufacturing cropped up. I just don't really see the final solution here. I can barely figure out some of the pieces.

The problem with people now maintaining robots is that, if maintaining is so menial, then why couldn't get robots to maintain other robots. Obviously we'll reach a point where there is a human maintaining, but would there be enough openings in that occupation to deal with large amount of unemployed workers, I dunno. Perhaps, of course, I'm looking too far ahead. We're not at the robots maintaining robots stage yet.

Perhaps, the robots can become the slave labor, and the humans - as a whole - can become the affluent.

Yeah, but... how is that going to work? Given that there still has to be a system to deal with production and consumption. So.. is everyone going to own robots, that produce? Or something else?
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