The Singularity and the economy
October 26, 2011 6:49 AM Subscribe
When the machines take over, how will people make a living?
posted by kgasmart (100 comments total)
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Paul Allen: Futurists like Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil have argued that the world is rapidly approaching a tipping point, where the accelerating pace of smarter and smarter machines will soon outrun all human capabilities. They call this tipping point the singularity, because they believe it is impossible to predict how the human future might unfold after this point. Once these machines exist, Kurzweil and Vinge claim, they'll possess a superhuman intelligence that is so incomprehensible to us that we cannot even rationally guess how our life experiences would be altered. Vinge asks us to ponder the role of humans in a world where machines are as much smarter than us as we are smarter than our pet dogs and cats. Kurzweil, who is a bit more optimistic, envisions a future in which developments in medical nanotechnology will allow us to download a copy of our individual brains into these superhuman machines, leave our bodies behind, and, in a sense, live forever. It's heady stuff.
Sure, heady. And dangerous. From the comments:
The problem of course is that you can automate a great deal of mundane tasks, and hand production over to robot factories for better, higher quality, lower cost production. Most intellectual tasks such as accounting can be handled by computers. Most service tasks can be handled by automated voice systems (though at present they are rather awful, that need not be the case, and they could be improved), etc.
In the end the question becomes "What will all of the surplus people do to earn a living?"
There kinda needs to be an answer to that, doesn't there?