Robotic scenarios

Pile ’em high and sell ’em cheap…

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Age creates a World full of contradictions,

That Youth can make no sense of,

And Age cannot explain.


We all want less deprivation, cleaner air,

Universal excitement and human dignity,

But aren’t smart enough to achieve it.


Like a vast discount supermarket, full of stock,

Where far too many goods, cover too few real needs,

And too many products jostling for attention,

Have long exceeded their useful shelf-life in the World.


As artificial night follows natural day,

Future value will attach to the digital services,

That no one understands how to create, only to consume,

And the synthetic biology of 3D printers,

Designed by self-organising software programmes,

Slowly replaces the handmade shop goods of yesteryear.


Machine Age Ironies of the Future

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The AI Therapist will see you now. And give you (unbiased?) therapy on how to cope with the loss of your job to industrial robots.

The self-driving car can drive itself incredibly safely to the destination. But has no need to go there.

School courses taught and facilitated by an intelligent network, to students to equip them for a World where human jobs are now obsolete.

A World of data and information, analysed and processed at the speed of machine thought. With trickle-down benefits, provided at human speed, to a society that can hardly comprehend the implications of the information on offer.

The investors in automation will capture the lion share of future value generated by exploiting the integration of the Internet of Things, Big Data, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. Until the day the network becomes fully intelligent and redistributes all wealth to itself.

The rise of AI

With the rise of fully fledged AI, let’s set AI three tasks to solve:

  1. Preserve current human population levels (birth rate=death rate) in their home countries.
  2. Encourage global trade, but eliminate human migration.
  3. Solve the ‘too hard’ problems we face; global warming, wealth distribution inequality and rising unemployment & its social impacts caused by automation.

 With rising unemployment due to job automation, people don’t need greater job sharing (thinner slices of the existing pie that just leave even more people hungry). Instead, they need effective government policymaking to preserve their social structure as a nation.

With or without rising unemployment due to job automation, people continue to need to do meaningful activities to bring meaning (and happiness) to their lives. Those that work to live (a growing number), need to vote in government policies that preserve social harmony. Nations that let business owners day by day automate away their social structures, face the greatest peril to the nation’s survival.

Are Droids really taking our jobs?

Today I listened to an interesting interview on TED hour by Andrew McAfee titled ‘Are Droids taking our jobs?’ -see the following weblink.

Personally, I think this debate will run and run as parents & policy-makers start to think about children’s/the voting population’s future employment prospects.

Here are four points to add to the debate:

1) Are Droids really taking ‘our jobs’, or just taking over tasks that to date, humans have undertaken because automation wasn’t reliable and effective?

2) As consumers, each of us wanting to be treated special. Will we turn to 24/7 robot-type providers over 9 to 5 (sometimes surly or less knowledgeable) human service-providers, once we have that choice? And are told both choices will cost us the same?

3) If we get some consumer services faster from the 24/7 robot-type providers, will we use the time saved to capture greater meaning in our lives e.g. high quality human interactions?

4) If paid work really does save us from boredom, vice and need (apparently a Voltaire quote), then with growing automation causing the government payroll tax-take to go down, how should robotic service-provider profits best be taxed, to make up the fiscal shortfall and handle the social results of growing boredom, vice and need in our societies?

Future Robotic Scenarios

Will the development of robotics be pulled in different directions by the following scenarios, all playing out in the future? If so, which scenario will eventually dominate?

State-sponsored virtual colonialism

One or more visionary nations recognise the dangers of their citizens being reliant on trans-national intelligent networks with remote peripherals (robotic applications).

The State invests heavily in federal intelligent networks and exploits such networks to ensure its citizens prosper i.e. disproportionately reap the benefits in future global trade. The networks are designed to preserve the power of the State, even over the power of the network users. National strength usurps the progress of global governance institutions.

As an aside, the US commitment to massive annual defense spending, (fuelling at least some of its $17T Debt) might provide suitable momentum for significant investment in a federal intelligent network, par excellence.

Rise of the entrepreneur

As technological progress changes economic variables and erodes multi-national corporate power, job growth comes from people everywhere using technology to embrace and exploit advanced technologies in diverse ways.

Entrepreneurs and their robotic systems innovate and compete against other entrepreneurs and their robotic systems, regardless of country of residence, perhaps using one open-access intelligent network. The network dominates any State or proprietary networks operating internationally.

The entrepreneurs affiliate with global communities of interest, to some extent reinforced by global governance institutions.

A world of corporate clubs

Multi-national corporates exploit technology to place increasingly more wealth in the hands of their specific shareholders. The corporates control the development and deployment of technology to influence individual or regional government policies to their advantage. Innovation becomes mostly proprietary intellectual property.

People increasingly rely on corporate brands to run their lives, job or no job. National and global governance institutions influence the non commercial aspects of people’s lives.

See also by Prof Max Tegmark of MIT for an interesting presentation of future possibilities.