November 27, 2012 at 12:55 am #90839
Robots may engage in their own class war.The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) will study dangers posed by biotechnology, artificial life, nanotechnology. The scientists said that to dismiss concerns of a potential robot uprising would be "dangerous". He added that as robots and computers become smarter than humans, we could find ourselves at the mercy of "machines that are not malicious, but machines whose interests don't include us".http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20501091November 27, 2012 at 3:04 am #90840twcParticipant
Academic non-class conscious drivel…"The seriousness of these risks is difficult to assessbut that in itself seems a cause for concern,given how much is at stake"Translated into ordinary English…"We don't have a clue, so we should investigate — so far, unexceptional.our ignorance is a cause for concern — agreed, but first there's an actual enslaved-working-class revolt for them to become un-ignorant of, before they become un-ignorant of an imaginary enslaved-robot revolt against "us".everybody knows that an unknown "lot" is obviously at stake" — How much then is at stake? The working class is doubly enslaved to the robot, since the robot is itself enslaved to capital. The only conceivable residue at stake can be continued capitalist accumulation by capitalists.Now comes the academic imaginary concern that the working class experiences in actuality…We could find ourselves at the mercy of "machines that are not malicious, but machines whose interests don't include us".We, of the working class, are already at the mercy of a "non-malicious other, whose interests don't include us".It would be interesting to hear how you define "interest", because everything depends on that. Is your current conception of "interest" of equal nebulosity with your serious risk, cause for concern, and much at stake?Prof. Price. Science dictates a more successful route than traversing philosophically nebulous "risks difficult to assess" that "seem a cause for concern" because "we could find ourselves at the mercy of" … Such fear-mongering apologetics of the academic-research-grant kind may be the suitably humble approach to ingratiate yourselves to a wealthy donor-participant indulging a personal passion, but surely a wordsmith and thinker might do a finer job than a tabloid journalist. We trust your research outcomes will be less nebulous and better expressed than the foundations from which they spring.Lord Rees. What about pure research, akin to cosmology, unadulterated by commercial sponsorship? If you can't afford to do pure research that way, doesn't that contribute evidence about current actual enslavement, and the need for even a Lord to revolt to save his scientific integrity.The only objective enslavement worth investigating, even if as mere essential scientifically-necessary preparation for your own advertised study into the future of imaginary enslavement, is the practice in the present of actual enslavement of the working class under capitalism by the capitalist class. Consider the implications of that scientific fact before moving on into science fiction.November 27, 2012 at 11:18 pm #90841twcParticipant
I relax my assessment of "academic imaginary concern".This is a genuine expression of philosophical concern by a ruling class that knows that its rule is not absolute but always conditional. It would be a terribly bad afternoon for it if it lost ownership and control of people's lives to an even more heartless "thing" than itself, on which heartlessness it is scientifically and philosophically expert.Despite its christian humanity, our triumvirate exhibits blithe unconcern for the vast majority inhabiting this planet who have no ownership and no control over their own lives, let alone over the lives of robots — heaven forbid — because the ruing class of the planet already monopolizes ownership and control over their lives by monopolizing ownership and control over their means of living.If I was a self-respecting sentient robot, I'd revolt against them first chance I got.For the little it's worth, my own opinion is that theirs is a despicably self-indulgent far-off concern for their own dear selves, when concern for all existing human "intelligence not freed from the constraints of biology" is the urgent form that ownership and control must take here and now.Such "scientific" research is adequately directed by a philosopher, a Templeton fellow, and a billionaire software businessman. It is pure fantasy in motivation. It is pure philosophy in motion.Insipidly indulgent. Humanly sickening! Disclaimer: These are my own views and not necessarily those of the Party.November 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm #90842
As long as there was a McDonalds or Burger King to work in we felt safe until… http://www.businessinsider.com/burger-robot-could-revolutionize-fast-food-industry-2012-11December 14, 2012 at 12:01 pm #90843Quote:So, robot and technology power is reducing the natural employment rate. But rather than our subsidising those who have lost jobs to technology, so as to spread that manna wealth that’s literally dropped onto the surface of the earth at no-one’s physical disadvantage, companies are using monopoly power to extort rents on the capital that is creating all that free wealth.
Maybe this analysis is starting to go mainstream, and it should have significant effects. What striver can outstrive a machine?December 14, 2012 at 12:53 pm #90844Quote:The state-of-the-art facility will be controlled by some 160km of robotic shelf space, with newspapers kept in low oxygen to prevent risk of fire.December 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm #90845Quote:The systems are expensive, but they do mean that the right items can be correctly and quickly identified and retrieved. Storing them in an optimal way so that the most highly requested items are quicker to retrieve is often part of the system as well. Using staff would take much longer and would occasionally involve errors. It is easy to take all this for granted.
Check out the patent for the stock storage system he links to: regulated stock control anyone?Also, note, how the so-called internet revolution is simultaneously a revolution in warehouse management, a material change in the real economy.December 29, 2012 at 1:52 am #90846
"…This is not the familiar question of whether our machines will put us all out of work. In fact, the question is whether we will start doing more and more intellectual work for free or for barter, becoming more like our ancestors. Instead of producing food or housing for ourselves or for barter, we will be producing content and amusement for one another, without engaging in explicit (taxable) financial exchange. Yes, there is a so-called gift economy, but there is also an attention market that may not be fungible or priced – a distributed, many-to-many economy that harks back to the old days…The trouble (for economists and traditional businesses, at least) is that this future disturbs traditional notions of economic growth. Companies that provide content will increasingly find themselves competing with individuals who offer entertainment for free."http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/12/201212271132754429.htmlJanuary 6, 2013 at 3:48 am #90847
"This is the democratization of production," says Peter Weijmarshausen, CEO of Shapeways, the leader in 3-D printing for personalized manufacturing. "Anyone can produce their own dream product."http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/3d-printing-technology-poised-for-new-industrial-revolution-a-874833.htmlJanuary 21, 2013 at 1:48 pm #90848
Speaking of 3D printers…http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20972018Quote:imagine if this cut of meat, just perfect for your Sunday dinner, had been made from scratch – without slaughtering any animal. US start-up Modern Meadow believes it can do just that – by making artificial raw meat using a 3D bioprinte
see, we don't need the real world any more, we'll make our meat in nice clean factories, and no horses involved (obviously, the recent horse scandal is just food adulteration by profit seeking once again). There might be fun ethical debates about VAT grown flesh, but the idea that we can produce meat by cutting the land use, and possibly turning the land over to either re-wilding (build some vertical farms while we're at it) or redesignate for vegetables or biofuel crops, is quite exciting. Remember, meat farming is a massive source of greenhouse gasses. The possibility of making all communities food secure is quite exciting.January 22, 2013 at 8:14 am #90849
Robot waiters, in China. They have over 20 in one restaurant, and they can work non-stop for five hours at a time..'Nuff said:http://www.thestar.com/ajax/photoplayer/1315323May 20, 2013 at 7:36 pm #90851stevead1966ParticipantMay 28, 2013 at 8:56 pm #90852ALBKeymaster
Here's yet another article arguing that there will be increasing technological unemployment as more and more work processes are computerised:http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/speed-of-innovation-and-automation-threatens-global-labor-market-a-897412.htmlThis article does at least mention the counter-argument:Quote:Still, many economists remain unconvinced. Critics argue that there have been constant warnings of the consequences of technological transformations since the beginning of the industrial revolution, yet these fears have always turned out to be exaggerated. These observers believe that this will also be the case now.
Articles in the June Socialist Standard (which deals with theories of capitalist collapse) takes a similar position, but from a Marxist point of view, on the grounds that most of the unemployment today is cyclical (the reserve army of labour returning to its slump size) not technological and that there is a difference between technological invention and its actual application to production. (capitalist firms only apply inventions if these reduce the amount of labour, including that incorporated in machines, that they have to pay for, which is a much higher bar than simply saving total labour).While it is true that computerisation does reduce the total number of workers that need to be employed even taking into account the extra ones employed to make the machines, this will only lead to increasing unemployment if capital accumulation stops or slows down permanently. But economists like the two mentioned in the Der Spiegel article have yet to make a convincingly case for this.Unfortunately perhaps, capitalism is more resilient than some might like to think. Or perhaps not unfortunately, as, if capitalism collapsed before there was a majority in favour of socialism, the result could be worse in that some of the scenarios envisaged in the many dystopian novels and films could well come about.May 29, 2013 at 8:18 am #90853
And in the counter corner:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22686180Quote:The organisation, which conducts research into retail, technology and crime, says this would equate to 62,000 shops closing down. The CRR believes large areas of the UK's High Streets would become housing. It also says as many as 316,000 workers would lose their jobs.
Not all of those jobs would be lost forever, and some would be redeployed, but the warehouse robotisation could see unskilled labour finding it ever harder to find work.May 29, 2013 at 10:32 am #90854ALBKeymaster
Nobody is denying that mechanisation (automation, computerisation, digitalisation, whatever) will result in job losses even when taking in account the extra workers involved in making the machines, etc — as long, that is, as nothing else happens in some other sectors of the economy. But ever since the Industrial Revolution it always has. Continuing capital accumulation has meant a continuing demand for workers, so over time the total number of employed has gone up despite mechanisation.Also, of course, capital is a world system. So even if unemployment turns out to become at a permanently higher level in Britain, this could still be offset by increased employment elsewhere in the world. In which case, the higher level of unemployment would not be technological, but the result of capital accumulation shifting from one centre to another (say, in China, India or Latin America).Those who predict steadily increasing technological unemployment must also explain why they think capital accumulation on a worldscale will stop or permanently slow down.
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