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  • #31
    There are other ways to self esteem ... but delusion isnít a good thing.
    "tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner"

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    • #32
      It's too bad we can't put them all to work on the wall.
      It's almost as if all his overconfident, absolutist assertions were spoonfed to him by a trusted website or subreddit. Sheeple
      RIP Tony Bogey & Baron O

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      • #33
        Okay, let me put it this way: while the lot of the medieval peasant was not enviable, he was far from dispensible. In fact, he was absolutely essential. The nobility and clergy were economically worthless; aside from a small body of craftsmen, all actual value came from peasants. And it was skilled labor. The tasks of manor village life took a particular body of knowledge and experience, and everybody had to pitch in. If the peasants disappeared, the lord not only didn't have enough hands to tend the fields--he very likely wouldn't know how to do it himself. He couldn't even milk the damn cow competently, let alone make the cheese, shear the sheep, spin the wool, trim the hedges, handle the ox and plow, etc., etc. This gave peasants a definite stake in the system; they had rights and a certain amount of leverage, which could only be kept down by stacking the deck heavily against them. Serfdom was abolished in part because the plague created a labor shortage, allowing the poor workman to set his own terms.

        By comparison, the modern poor person knows, basically, nothing. Everything he has, he buys pre-made, and increasingly the jobs of poor people are jobs that we could probably get a robot to do better, if we could only get over the startup and refitting costs: hyperspecialized and moronic work like running a cash register or processing meat. Switch to UBI in a fully-automated future, and you've eliminated even that. They have no role in the economy beyond consumption. They're ciphers, nobodies. What incentive does the rest of society have to look after their interests, or provide them with anything but grudging benefits?
        1011 1100
        Read The Curse Of Life. Or click on the link to game Google or something if you're bored. Whatever.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Elok View Post
          If the new post-automation economy requires us to reduce most of the population to total economic dependency, perhaps that's a sign we need to change directions. I don't know how.
          I really don't know what the alternative is, because technology is only going to improve. If company A is ethical and decides not to send us barreling toward a post-employment future, they will eventually lose out to company B that has no such reservations and uses all the latest tech to achieve competitive advantage. And the same goes for countries. Any nation that banned worker obsolescence would be at a disadvantage. If our only hope is a kind of mutual, indefinite, reverse arms race, that's not a viable long-term solution.
          Click here if you're having trouble sleeping.
          "We confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no large ones." - FranÁois de La Rochefoucauld

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          • #35
            But worker obsolescence is itself not a long-term solution, because it leaves a country with an enormous amount of dead weight. Previous ages had economic parasite classes, which were allowed to exist because of some mixture of cultural importance and non-mercantile value, e.g. the military role of trained knights. Also, these classes were typically quite small as a percentage of population, even if they did consume a disproportionate share of resources. A UBI class would be the first true parasite class in history: they would take largess from the productive class, and give it right back in exchange for food, clothes, shelter, games, porn, etc. It's a big meaningless loop. Even their consumption has no value, because they give back money that they didn't earn in the first place. A society's surest route to efficiency is to minimize their impact--but they're absolutely gigantic as a share of the population. You would have two options:

            1. Find a way to make them useful again. At present, we use the poor to do tedious, unpleasant, or dangerous jobs like sanitation, food service, transportation, and infantry. An automated world would close off these routes to utility. You would need to find a way to train the UBI class back into usefulness, assuming there are sufficient jobs to do. Difficult.
            2. The simpler route is to cull the entire class. As the class is enormous, this would have to be done gradually, by means of birth control and euthanasia. You could speed it up by leaving them as infantry and starting unnecessary wars, by quietly poisoning them, judiciously denying health benefits, etc. Fairly straightforward, as long as you have enough robot cops to keep them in their place, but obviously not where most of us want the future to go.

            So, which is it? The impossible, or the monstrous?
            1011 1100
            Read The Curse Of Life. Or click on the link to game Google or something if you're bored. Whatever.

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            • #36
              1. is the obvious answer because I believe 2 would be pitchfork and torch uprising material. I don't think you could have enough cops to stop it. An army would have to take them down. While I think the ultra high class could probably live with that, I doubt the middle class could.
              It's almost as if all his overconfident, absolutist assertions were spoonfed to him by a trusted website or subreddit. Sheeple
              RIP Tony Bogey & Baron O

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Elok View Post
                A UBI class would be the first true parasite class in history...
                We've always had a parasite class called children. There's a difference, obviously, as children demonstrate a spectacular degree of upward social mobility by almost universally moving into the adult class.

                But even if it is possible to train the UBI class to do non-menial work, that's at most a stopgap. Technology will keep improving. Eventually, there will be almost no job it makes economic sense for a human to do instead of a robot/AI. The only solution is a dramatic shift in culture away from the whole Protestant work ethic thing. We will have to get a sense of meaning and worth from somewhere else...
                Last edited by Lorizael; January 12, 2018, 15:42.
                Click here if you're having trouble sleeping.
                "We confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no large ones." - FranÁois de La Rochefoucauld

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                • #38
                  Elok: very funny
                  "My goal is to never succeed." -Nobody

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                  • #39
                    If you take a closer look at option #2 I think you will find a lot of similarities with the Republican agenda.
                    That's not the real world. Your job has little to do with the sort of thing most people do for a living. - Agathon
                    It's never too late to shut the **** up and hope for the best. - Kentonio
                    If social security were private, it would be prosecuted as a Ponzi scheme. - me

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                    • #40
                      To some extent, the choice is happening already, and we're leaning towards 2. If you've ever dealt with the idle poor in significant numbers, you know that they're not particularly attractive, happy, or functional human beings. Years of unhealthy habits, dysfunctional relationships, stress, and resentment make them unpleasant to be around. We have, in an unconscious, path-of-least-resistance way, drugged them with crappy foods, electronic entertainment, and opiates, and increased the powers and militarization of the police to keep them in line whenever their boredom and unhappiness lead them to act out. Their bad habits lower their life expectancy significantly, and honestly both the GOP and Dem agendas solve the problem in different ways; your blue states cut off the supply by pushing contraceptives and abortion (and possibly euthanasia in the future), and boosting hedonism in the meantime, while your reds prefer to slash their benefits, muscle up the cops, and let Darwin sort it out. Either approach could easily be accelerated or accentuated. Both are doing basically jack **** to actually improve their lives, because it's reckoned an intractable problem.

                      All human beings who are not literally retarded require a fair amount of stimulation and purpose to be happy. It doesn't have to be work as such, but a sense of purposelessness is hard to shake, and it's hard to have purpose when human beings don't do anything anymore. You can also find meaning in human relationships, or the transcendent, but unfortunately modernity has greatly eroded both, and I don't see that being turned around on our present course. If progress leads to universal human unhappiness, the sensible answer is to stop progress.
                      1011 1100
                      Read The Curse Of Life. Or click on the link to game Google or something if you're bored. Whatever.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Lorizael View Post
                        Here's a blog post from a psychiatrist/insightful essayist arguing that society owes its citizens, not the other way around, and this implies that society should at the very least provide a basic income to everybody.
                        If society owes citizens, citizens don't owe society, where is society going to get its money?

                        Answer: from citizens.
                        Captain of Team Apolyton - ISDG 2012

                        When I was younger I thought curfews were silly, but now as the daughter of a young woman, I appreciate them. - Rah

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                        • #42
                          Maybe VR will get so good that it can be used to keep the masses in line giving them an artificial sense of purpose.
                          It's almost as if all his overconfident, absolutist assertions were spoonfed to him by a trusted website or subreddit. Sheeple
                          RIP Tony Bogey & Baron O

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by rah View Post
                            Maybe VR will get so good that it can be used to keep the masses in line giving them an artificial sense of purpose.
                            You mean, like in Matrix ... having them live virtual lives in a totally virtual world while their real body serves no other purpose than being a biological power supply
                            When people ask you what happened tell them the north remembers.
                            Tell them, winter came for House Frey.

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                            • #44
                              Not quite that far but yeah, along those lines
                              It's almost as if all his overconfident, absolutist assertions were spoonfed to him by a trusted website or subreddit. Sheeple
                              RIP Tony Bogey & Baron O

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Lorizael View Post

                                I really don't know what the alternative is, because technology is only going to improve. If company A is ethical and decides not to send us barreling toward a post-employment future, they will eventually lose out to company B that has no such reservations and uses all the latest tech to achieve competitive advantage. And the same goes for countries. Any nation that banned worker obsolescence would be at a disadvantage. If our only hope is a kind of mutual, indefinite, reverse arms race, that's not a viable long-term solution.
                                On a company level itís likely true. Though consumer activism could change it to be viable. If consumers voted with their wallets, and only bought from companies that conformed to their social sensibilities it changes what is profitable.

                                On a national level itís not true. A nationís best interest is to be as productive as possible. No matter how productive automation is, that automation + human production will result in more production. While the human production may be less efficient, as long as it is more productive than just handing out money itís still more beneficial to the nation.

                                The answer is guaranteed employment. This allows business to not have to worry about the social implications of automation, as any displaced workers are simply working a new job, freeing business up to automate without political and consumer blowback, or social unrest.

                                Earth needs 5 billion hectares of new food forests. Planting and maintaining a hectare of food forest is a good job for anyone. So thereís a standing need for labor for pretty much the entire population regardless of what else happens in the economy. Itís work that is healthy for the environment, worker, and consumer. While automation can eventually do it, it canít really exceed the value achievable of human labor ... as the result is in large part valuable because of the positive health impact on the worker, non-natural energy inputs are negative, and the ceiling on output is set by nature and near enough achievable by human labor.
                                "tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner"

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