Friday, August 25, 2017


One concern that has been on my mind is the displacement of workers. This has certainly been an issue in the midwest, which has been highly dependent on the declining domestic manufacturing. In Indiana, I can see the terrible effect it has had on people, especially in the poor areas of the state.

Automation is threatening to take over as machines become more intelligent in the next decade or so. This is going to be much more rapid than automation in the past, which has been generally beneficial and we have had plenty of time to adjust. It seems likely to me that in the near future, we will see many, if not most, jobs just disappear.

We can imagine a future where humans have to do almost no work. It is not a question of if this will happen, but when. We have known this all along. Science fiction has predicted this for decades. Assuming that this is the future, how should our society be organized? Normally I would just trust the free enterprise system to sort things out, but the pending sudden rise in automation is threatening to more sharply divide us between the haves and have nots.

Intelligent machines will change the world more than anything that has come before it.

The fear of automation has given rise to the call for Universal Basic Income. Although I see this as Marxism in disguise, if human workers really do get displaced by machines, we might not have a choice. However, having people idle and making them wards of the state is bad for the human condition.


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