• OK, it's on.
  • Please note that many, many Email Addresses used for spam, are not accepted at registration. Select a respectable Free email.

Is Software Development/Roboticization Unethical?

Inquisitor

Well-Known Member
Local time
Today, 04:51
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
838
#1
Just read this article in the NY Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/19/opinion/sunday/the-machines-are-coming.html

I am considering pursuing a CS-related career. This article made me feel uncomfortable with that aspiration. So far, the Internet has most definitely improved my quality of life. Access to information as well as enhanced communication has really helped me learn more about myself and the world. E.g. This forum has been valuable, as has reading countless articles and ebooks about typology and so many other wonderful topics. And that's just what I can think of and what I know of. I know computers have revolutionized so many things, but has this change really been for the best?

The idea that writing some software might contribute to shredding the fabric of society, empowering unscrupulous people (or giving them the incentive to become more unscrupulous) and rendering millions jobless and without purpose both in my lifetime and well into the future is a very unpalatable thought. Does this idea have merit? Is software development as a career unethical in our present-day society?

How does one go about pursuing a CS-related career and do it ethically? Is it even possible?
 

Blarraun

straightedgy
Local time
Today, 10:51
Joined
Nov 21, 2013
Messages
4,176
Location
someplace windswept
#2
Isn't it unethical then to bring profit to employers, who amass wealth, employ masses and proceed to extract even more wealth and use it to control what they can?
You could be an unethical construction worker, or an unethical doctor in that sense.

Verily so, anyone that lends aid or sells something to the practitioner of the "CS arcana" is to be branded as evil.

Would it be unethical to hold power and money at all? Since investing brings income at the "expense" of the weak?

Or the same can be said that it's unethical to be a weak shit and not adjust to the environment in order to survive if one has the opportunity?

What ethics are we talking about now. Seems to me like a good old master-slave morality.
I'm not sure how you personally perceive what ethics should be followed.

Imo the notion of ethics having any value or meaning is weird.

It leads to a socialist dystopia where people are artificially allowed to do worthless things and be rewarded for them and live conveniently in what is little more than a caricature of "life" or a terrarium.
 

Rook

Verily.
Local time
Today, 11:51
Joined
Aug 14, 2013
Messages
1,854
#3
Is it ethical?
I do not know, I do not care.



If it interests you, and you like doing it, then do it.
Fuck society and their ethics.
Ethical concerns need not bother the individual, and one should attach little value to them, as Blarruan stated.
As a subjective being your concerns are more important than that of the faceless majority.

Then again, if you choose to be a societal idealist, disregard my nihilistic statements and do what you think is best for humanity.
Just don't expect humanity to notice your heroic abstinence from self-gratification.
 

Architect

Professional INTP
Local time
Today, 02:51
Joined
Dec 25, 2010
Messages
6,692
#4
Christ on a stick, don't worry about it.
 

Inquisitor

Well-Known Member
Local time
Today, 04:51
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
838
#5
Isn't it unethical then to bring profit to employers, who amass wealth, employ masses and proceed to extract even more wealth and use it to control what they can?
You could be an unethical construction worker, or an unethical doctor in that sense.

Verily so, anyone that lends aid or sells something to the practitioner of the "CS arcana" is to be branded as evil.

Would it be unethical to hold power and money at all? Since investing brings income at the "expense" of the weak?

Or the same can be said that it's unethical to be a weak shit and not adjust to the environment in order to survive if one has the opportunity?

What ethics are we talking about now. Seems to me like a good old master-slave morality.
I'm not sure how you personally perceive what ethics should be followed.

Imo the notion of ethics having any value or meaning is weird.

It leads to a socialist dystopia where people are artificially allowed to do worthless things and be rewarded for them and live conveniently in what is little more than a caricature of "life" or a terrarium.
Read the article if you feel so inclined, and you will know what kind of ethics I'm talking about. Are there some things that just should not be automated/roboticized? For example, should we really create driverless vehicles and trucks? That's 10 million workers right there. Where will they go? Or how about cashiers? That's another several million people. Software can be a great tool, but it can also wipe out millions of jobs...is this on net a good thing?

Is it ethical?
I do not know, I do not care.



If it interests you, and you like doing it, then do it.
Fuck society and their ethics.
Ethical concerns need not bother the individual, and one should attach little value to them, as Blarruan stated.
As a subjective being your concerns are more important than that of the faceless majority.

Then again, if you choose to be a societal idealist, disregard my nihilistic statements and do what you think is best for humanity.
Just don't expect humanity to notice your heroic abstinence from self-gratification.
I don't follow "society's ethics." I don't even know what that means. I make up my own mind about whether something is ethical or not...but that article really bothered me...

Christ on a stick, don't worry about it.
So if you work on a piece of software that would help make millions of jobs obsolete, that wouldn't bother you? Don't get me wrong here, I'm still taking my CS classes and learning, but I thought that article was very well-written, and it forced me to take a step back.
 

Cognisant

Condescending Bastard
Local time
Yesterday, 22:51
Joined
Dec 12, 2009
Messages
7,915
#6
Bah it's the old Luddite shovel fallacy.

Digging holes with shovels instead of our hands may require less people but that doesn't mean those other people are simply unemployed, it means we're getting more done with less effort and thus as a society we can afford to employ those people to do other things.
 

Inquisitor

Well-Known Member
Local time
Today, 04:51
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
838
#7
Bah it's the old Luddite shovel fallacy.

Digging holes with shovels instead of our hands may require less people but that doesn't mean those other people are simply unemployed, it means we're getting more done with less effort and thus as a society we can afford to employ those people to do other things.
What other things?
 

Architect

Professional INTP
Local time
Today, 02:51
Joined
Dec 25, 2010
Messages
6,692
#8
So if you work on a piece of software that would help make millions of jobs obsolete, that wouldn't bother you?
What do you think we're doing every day? Think just a moment what engineering actually is, which is creating technology that makes people's lives easier and better. The handmaiden for that is that it changes the job market. Used to be you had to have a doctor to take your blood pressure, now a cheap machine can does it, and saves a lot of lives because people do it more frequently at home. You have a problem with that?

An economist used to have to have a team of artists to do the graphs and charts, now he does it all himself in Excel, you think we should go back to pre-Excel days?

I write software that makes it easier to maintain our wireless infrastructure, would you prefer a phone bill that's 25% more expensive? That's what you'd have to do, to hire more monkeys to walk around the countryside.

I thought that article was very well-written, and it forced me to take a step back.
The article was shit. The usual rabble-rousing that all writers of such articles do to try and get attention. That's what they want, they get paid because you gave them your eyes.
 

Cognisant

Condescending Bastard
Local time
Yesterday, 22:51
Joined
Dec 12, 2009
Messages
7,915
#9
What other things?
Writing bullshit click-bait articles is one example :D

Seriously though the world has more musicians, artists, game developers, personal trainers, gurus, retail workers and dedicated scientists than ever before, none of whom directly contribute anything tangible to the economy and yet still contribute to society.
 

Blarraun

straightedgy
Local time
Today, 10:51
Joined
Nov 21, 2013
Messages
4,176
Location
someplace windswept
#10
Read the article if you feel so inclined, and you will know what kind of ethics I'm talking about. Are there some things that just should not be automated/roboticized? For example, should we really create driverless vehicles and trucks? That's 10 million workers right there. Where will they go? Or how about cashiers? That's another several million people. Software can be a great tool, but it can also wipe out millions of jobs...is this on net a good thing?
I knew what the article was about judging from the tone of your post.

There are cases when once the job becomes obsolete, a person might find another position to fill withing society.

There are cases when there are no positions left for this person to fill, they don't fit in, they become fringe or make it thanks to others support.

Mind you this occurs even without intervening factors the likes of technology. It occurs whenever a person is bested at the job market and are left unemployed, whenever they fail and find themselves in the gutter.

Let's entertain the thought that this ineed is wrong, what then? Should we halt the improvement of the overall labour to save the would-be gone positions for people to occupy?
Should we offer some form of support to those who find themselves jobless after the onset of technology?

One of the few solutions I see in the "accepted as wrong" position is to offer everyone a minimal income regardless of their situation in life. That way the lost sheep have at least the vegetative means of survival to idle away as the world runs away toward the future.
Mind you this increased burden will force many of the lower barely holding would be obsoletes into a more immediate obsolescence. (I cannot assume anything else changes in the equation, I'm still assuming that every self-respecting state will spend idiotic amounts of tax money on bureaucracy and military, [doing otherwise would void my ability to create this example without explaining my position in more detail. In short I assume we leave state as-is and add this burden to the whole to see how it balances out.]).
A number of things is worthy of consideration with this solution. How exactly is vegetation better than being long listed? By which ethic is it justifiable to inflate the economy and put everyone above one step down to hell? Come to think of it, how different it is from sending these people on a crusade to capture Jerusalem with bare hands, giving them drugs or increasing the overall crime rate?

So how does a nowadays unemployed person that dumpster dives out of necessity and cannot make it past basic physiological needs differ from those cut short by technology? Is one being unfit and another cheated by progress? Isn't it equal in how incapable of surviving they are?

Now let's think of the idea that vegetative existence has meaning in the selected system of ethics. It can be said, it's unclear when people are vegetables, unclear when they cannot do anything. By what reason then it can be said that a multimillionaire is any less vegetative than a low income worker. One may need x to be satisfied, another may require y. In such a system most everyone is dissatisfied and strives to change that.

Case 2, "not accepted as wrong/whatever=no change". So technology goes uninterrupted about its progress. There are millions of unemployed. But they pose a threat to the stability of the system, they have demands, they can violate, they have some power to drag down the weakest of the currently included in the labour force down. Repression might help, governmental reeducation, creating work in the public sector, etc.

In the end, either of this ethical stances leads to the least fit being a serious burden on the rest. The state wishes they were gone and they have some 40-50 years till their generation is over, maybe they will vegetate and the state will always have a resource reserve to weather the loss.

There is one significant difference between the two cases. In the "Technology is free" case, there is a measurable improvement to the economy that allows the state to waste more and more resources with every advancement. There may be even a point when technology allows rapid reprogramming of skills or other such fancies.

The disagreement stems from the misguided perception of evolutionary fitness, power struggle, overpopulation and inequality. It hints at a quick solution for the first generation affected and ignores the benefits and problems of alternative perspectives.

I don't intend to read this article, there's no need.

My "ethical" stance would be:
Let the men try their best to survive in this cruel reality, this is when they shine, rather than wire their heads, close their eyes and convince themselves of paradise.

But that is beside the point and irrelevant.
 

Pyropyro

Magos Biologis
Local time
Today, 17:51
Joined
Feb 3, 2012
Messages
4,050
Location
Philippines
#11
I don't think we have the capacity to predict whether the tech that we're developing will bring negative changes to the public. We can reduce the negative risks through feasibility studies and other means but that's all that we can do.

However we can control something else. As individuals, we can adhere to a set of ethical standards that are suited to our respective fields (like the Hippocratic Oath for doctors). That's enough in my opinion.

As the article states in its last few paragraphs, I think the issue that we should focus on is how human beings value each other rather than the issue between human skills and tech.
 

Inquisitor

Well-Known Member
Local time
Today, 04:51
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
838
#12
What do you think we're doing every day? Think just a moment what engineering actually is, which is creating technology that makes people's lives easier and better. The handmaiden for that is that it changes the job market. Used to be you had to have a doctor to take your blood pressure, now a cheap machine can does it, and saves a lot of lives because people do it more frequently at home. You have a problem with that?

An economist used to have to have a team of artists to do the graphs and charts, now he does it all himself in Excel, you think we should go back to pre-Excel days?

I write software that makes it easier to maintain our wireless infrastructure, would you prefer a phone bill that's 25% more expensive? That's what you'd have to do, to hire more monkeys to walk around the countryside.



The article was shit. The usual rabble-rousing that all writers of such articles do to try and get attention. That's what they want, they get paid because you gave them your eyes.
Ok. Good to know. And no, I personally don't have a problem with any of the above. Then I guess what I would ask you is have you ever been faced with a project which in your eyes ranked kind of low on the meter and how did you deal with that? 0 = brainwashing child soldiers and 10 = tending to lepers in slums for free.

Writing bullshit click-bait articles is one example :D

Seriously though the world has more musicians, artists, game developers, personal trainers, gurus, retail workers and dedicated scientists than ever before, none of whom directly contribute anything tangible to the economy and yet still contribute to society.
True...but...

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but there are elites in this country, and their priority is to defend certain sectors of the economy at all costs. Defense contractors are one example that comes to mind. Another is oil companies. As a whole though, manufacturing is not one of them. We've sent most of it to China except for some of the high-value items.

You can't have a prosperous economy without a manufacturing base, and since ours has been fairly well gutted, if you automate more of those "tedious" jobs away, and even other white-collar jobs, what's left?
 

Vrecknidj

Prolific Member
Local time
Today, 04:51
Joined
Nov 21, 2007
Messages
2,198
Location
Michigan/Indiana, USA
#13
I'm fine with a future that has 10 billion people and only 500 million jobs, so long as societies transform and we disconnect income from employment.

There are always solutions.
 

Pyropyro

Magos Biologis
Local time
Today, 17:51
Joined
Feb 3, 2012
Messages
4,050
Location
Philippines
#14
I just found this article on my fb, this might be relevant to this thread.
 
Local time
Today, 09:51
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Messages
41
#15
As far as ethics, Inquisitor, not sure there is an answer, I mean, you'd just be standing in front of a big huge tidal wave. This subject always tends to get me a little depressed. Why oh why did I click on this thread??? It's nice of you to think about these things though, and I think you are right to be worried about it.

There was an excellent post about this not too long ago, with a great Youtube video. Too lazy to search for it though. But in spite of all of the previous industrial/tech revolutions spurring economic growth, eh, those revolution's ability to grow the economy will eventually hit the wall. I mean, one day, they have to. Eventually the bots will be driving themselves, fixing themselves, engineering themselves, building themselves, programming themselves. No job will be safe. How long will it take to get there? Well, how much displacement is too much anyway? 20% unemployment? 30%?

But the argument has always been that innovation liberates people to go on to do other things, better things, right? Except when it one day it doesn't. Economist are counting on economic growth from these revolutions like it's some kind of golden goose. But what's worrisome is that they seem to basically be saying, that well, it will work this time because it has worked the previous times. That's it? That's the argument? “It worked the last time”? Are you kidding me? Someone please tell me that there are economists/sociologists in academia or something that are working on this. They have to be, right?

So, who knows what this tech revolution will bring. Maybe, hopefully it can wring out economic growth one last time or maybe a few more iterations, but c'mon, it will run out of steam. I imagine it will take some kind of social revolution or something to figure out what we're going to do with ourselves. I think we may one day have to redefine work, or money for that matter. So I hope we all start to think of policies to put in place (maybe via some kind of economic trigger?) Maybe that's what you should be thinking about Inquisitor.
 

Cognisant

Condescending Bastard
Local time
Yesterday, 22:51
Joined
Dec 12, 2009
Messages
7,915
#16
You can't have a prosperous economy without a manufacturing base, and since ours has been fairly well gutted, if you automate more of those "tedious" jobs away, and even other white-collar jobs, what's left?
Unfathomable prosperity?

As I see it work equates to shit getting done and if there's no more to do then it's because all the shit has been done and any problem you can see being caused by that is simply more shit to do.

What's really concerning are things like running out of resources or inequality causing wars between corporate tax havens *cough*the USA*cough* and the rest of the world.
 

Anktark

of the swarm
Local time
Today, 11:51
Joined
Jan 15, 2014
Messages
389
#17
Here, read up on the possibilities: http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm

This is just another feature of the messed up system we live in for now. Everything we want will be done by machines, we are entering post-labor society- OH GODS, NOOO!! "I won't have to go to this job I hate anymore, what am I gonna do?". Instead of celebrating and embracing this, people are mad, sad and/or afraid. Does anyone else find this ridiculous/hilarious?
If you do your job perfectly, no one else has to do it ever again. Finally it's happening.

Automate all the jobs you can get your hands on. Free technology and in the process, yourself.
 

Polaris

Radioactive vision
Local time
Yesterday, 22:51
Joined
Oct 13, 2009
Messages
2,014
#18
More technology --> more technicians, developers and problem-solvers needed for when things go utterly pear-shaped, need upgrades, patching or complete re-structuring.

Yay, more employment for INTXs :D

Vrecknidj said:
There are always solutions.
^

Also, the current trend seems to go towards certain groups moving back to their earthy origins by moving away from cities into the country to be more self-sufficient. The more people are self-sufficient, the less hours they need to supplement to generate income. These people also have kids, and the need for certified digital education is on the rise as parents are looking more into better and private education tailored to their needs. I can imagine there being many online smaller hubs directed by home-based teachers/tutors who will be able to spend more time with individuals than in a classroom situation. These accredited teachers could be paid directly by parents through a regulated payment system.

Many people are working from home in consultancy/freelance type positions whilst nurturing their kitchen gardens, chooks and bartering with their hippie-earthy neighbours. Attitudes are changing with respect to materialism, slowly. People still want their internet connections and their smartphones, however are less caught up in the yuppie lifestyle of the 80s/90s. These niche groups demand more home-produce style merchandise which is something being increasingly available online through no-middle man private enterprise marketplaces/industry such as ETSY.

The need for people to find solutions to the problem of costs in aged health care, as well as a need for creative solutions catering to the same demography in wealth management/retirement, and preventative health care will increase as a result of a need to reduce costs burdening the current health care systems. New and effective delivery services will be in demand as the post system is becoming increasingly scarce, archaic and unreliable.
 
Last edited:

Architect

Professional INTP
Local time
Today, 02:51
Joined
Dec 25, 2010
Messages
6,692
#19
Also, the current trend seems to go towards certain groups moving back to their earthy origins by moving away from cities into the country to be more self-sufficient. The more people are self-sufficient, the less hours they need to supplement to generate income.
That's an old, old trend, been going on since the industrial revolution. Once we finally conquered nature enough so it isn't killing us so easily, people got nostalgic and want to go back to it to pretend they're being more natural. Of course they're not so nostalgic as to not take a ton of technology with them, like knowledge, hand tools, weapons, their dental fillings and so forth.

A person from say only a thousand years or two ago had no such pretensions, he'd kill for any bit of tech he could lay his hands on.
 
Local time
Today, 20:51
Joined
Jun 10, 2012
Messages
6,813
Location
38S 145E
#20
How does that even follow from Polaris' post?
 

Architect

Professional INTP
Local time
Today, 02:51
Joined
Dec 25, 2010
Messages
6,692
#21
Self sufficiency invariably means "back to nature", she even said "moving back to their earthy origins". The ETSY and Maker thing is more of the same meme. Making stuff with your own hands rather than modern production, which is a thousand times more efficient.

For the record I used to be into that in a big way, until I realized the moral ambiguity. It's impossible to go 'back to nature', and a waste of time unless you really like doing it. I didn't like doing it enough.
 

Polaris

Radioactive vision
Local time
Yesterday, 22:51
Joined
Oct 13, 2009
Messages
2,014
#22
Lol.

My whole point was that people are/will be more so able to move to the country and being self sufficient (earthy, whatever terms they like to use) precisely because of the availability of technology...perhaps I did not make that clear.
 
Local time
Today, 20:51
Joined
Jun 10, 2012
Messages
6,813
Location
38S 145E
#23
Architect said:
Self sufficiency invariably means "back to nature"
No.

Architect said:
Making stuff with your own hands rather than modern production, which is a thousand times more efficient.
Believe it or not, but living in rich white suburbia with brand name appliances and clothing isn't everyone's life dream.
 

Architect

Professional INTP
Local time
Today, 02:51
Joined
Dec 25, 2010
Messages
6,692
#24
My whole point was that people are/will be more so able to move to the country and being self sufficient
Got it, otherwise agree. The trend with technology is that it disappears. It's common in SciFi novels that people in advanced civilizations appear to live without technology, because it's so ubiquitous and invisible.
 

Polaris

Radioactive vision
Local time
Yesterday, 22:51
Joined
Oct 13, 2009
Messages
2,014
#25
^ Yeah, I find the sci-fi movies where there are bleeping bleep-blops everywhere and awkwardly moving people dressed in cumbersome clothing/uniforms rather ridiculous for that reason. Also, why do they always make computers noisy bleep-bleep machines in the movies? As if we need more noise? :mad:
 
Last edited:

Architect

Professional INTP
Local time
Today, 02:51
Joined
Dec 25, 2010
Messages
6,692
#26
^ Yeah, I find the sci-fi movies where there are bleeping bleep-blops everywhere and awkwardly moving people dressed in cumbersome clothing/uniforms rather ridiculous for that reason. Also, why do they always make computers noisy bleep-bleep machines in the movies? :mad:
Actually I love that kind of thing. I'd dearly love to build this thing if I had the time. Life is seemingly contradictory sometimes, and I do have a nostalgic Si in my stack.
 

Polaris

Radioactive vision
Local time
Yesterday, 22:51
Joined
Oct 13, 2009
Messages
2,014
#27
...I do have a nostalgic Si in my stack
Hah - RIP my 1990s Nokia :'(


Actually, I still use the same purple Dell Laptop from 2007....I think I've become too attached to it, but that's a different story :o

...but seriously, there is absolutely nothing with my laptop. It does what I need it to do and I have more tech-savvy friends who can perform CPR when necessary.

/derail
 

Cognisant

Condescending Bastard
Local time
Yesterday, 22:51
Joined
Dec 12, 2009
Messages
7,915
#28
The ETSY and Maker thing is more of the same meme. Making stuff with your own hands rather than modern production, which is a thousand times more efficient.
Actually local manufacturing can be more efficient for specific small production run items, an uncle of mine built a trap to relocate possums that were eating his garden. You can't buy them in stores because there isn't enough demand and ordering one online would involve shipping costs on top of the cost of the trap itself whereas the one he built was made of scrap materials and could (probably will) be broken down or re-purposed for something else.

3D printing has proven to be an effective & cheap way of making custom prosthetics, I'm sure people will find other uses for it.
 

Jennywocky

guud languager
Local time
Today, 04:51
Joined
Sep 25, 2008
Messages
10,628
Location
Charn
#29
.... oh stop, you fuddy-duds; you're making me feel old.

I got into a discussion about that with an ENTP friend who spent more time in nature. He didn't really think I was a true "back to earth" person like he was; like Architect was discussing, I love nature itself but I don't necessarily like all the time I'd have to spend to truly "live off the land."

(Although in some ways it would be a relief from all the manufactured problems of modern life.)
 

Analyzer

Hide thy life
Local time
Today, 01:51
Joined
Aug 23, 2012
Messages
1,241
Location
West
#30
Also, the current trend seems to go towards certain groups moving back to their earthy origins by moving away from cities into the country to be more self-sufficient. The more people are self-sufficient, the less hours they need to supplement to generate income. These people also have kids, and the need for certified digital education is on the rise as parents are looking more into better and private education tailored to their needs. I can imagine there being many online smaller hubs directed by home-based teachers/tutors who will be able to spend more time with individuals than in a classroom situation. These accredited teachers could be paid directly by parents through a regulated payment system.

Many people are working from home in consultancy/freelance type positions whilst nurturing their kitchen gardens, chooks and bartering with their hippie-earthy neighbours. Attitudes are changing with respect to materialism, slowly. People still want their internet connections and their smartphones, however are less caught up in the yuppie lifestyle of the 80s/90s. These niche groups demand more home-produce style merchandise which is something being increasingly available online through no-middle man private enterprise marketplaces/industry such as ETSY.
Yeah digital technology has made it easier to be location independent and it's sort of a like a way back to a more "simpler" lifestyle which was present before the industrial era peaked. The trend has been that work like you mentioned is becoming done in a decentralized manner, the only thing yet to change is education(which is starting too) and governance.
 

Inquisitor

Well-Known Member
Local time
Today, 04:51
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
838
#31
I knew what the article was about judging from the tone of your post....irrelevant.
Thanks for this post. Informative, interesting.:) I think it's precisely when people have to struggle, at least somewhat, that they develop themselves. That's what I value most. I think deep down, self-development is what every human being on this planet truly wants and needs. A lot of people live very vegetative lives, as you call it, but that's not really how they want to live. Generally it's because they have lost all hope and feel marginalized. So I'm concerned about that. I want to do work that improves people's lives, but at the same time, if that work disenfranchises other workers, I may not be able to do anything about that...but I guess I still think it's important not to just look past it.
 
Local time
Today, 09:51
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Messages
41
#32
Here, read up on the possibilities: http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm

This is just another feature of the messed up system we live in for now. Everything we want will be done by machines, we are entering post-labor society- OH GODS, NOOO!! "I won't have to go to this job I hate anymore, what am I gonna do?". Instead of celebrating and embracing this, people are mad, sad and/or afraid. Does anyone else find this ridiculous/hilarious?
If you do your job perfectly, no one else has to do it ever again. Finally it's happening.

Automate all the jobs you can get your hands on. Free technology and in the process, yourself.
The scary part of losing one's crappy job isn't the "crappy" part of it, it's the "job" part of it. The Manna link you posted talks about middle management, but the bots won't be replacing management, they'll be replacing--er, I mean "liberating" the low-wage workers. 3.5 Million of them in the U.S. alone. Free at last!

"Our various technologies can produce an ever-growing list of common choices like salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, and many other multi-ingredient foods with a gourmet focus." -momentummachines.com

^They're "talking their book" I'm sure, but I bet there are other firms in the same space. And while they may focus on "gourmet" food that doesn't mean McDs is not at risk. Our burgers will just get tastier and cheaper...but way less affordable? These fast-food workers plus the about 4.5 million workers in the transportation industries. That's a whole lotta freakin' Etsy-sing, and freelancing and farming that's gonna be going on! It's not just the technological innovations that worry people it's the social and political ones that no one seems to want to talk about. You can't just decouple jobs from the economy without either a boatload of pain or a boatload of thought and planning (or some mix of both?), can you?
 

Seteleechete

Together forever
Local time
Today, 10:51
Joined
Mar 6, 2015
Messages
1,312
Location
our brain
#33
The problem of automation lies mostly in the transition period. We would likely be better off after the transition is done but the transition itself can be painful.
 

Inquisitor

Well-Known Member
Local time
Today, 04:51
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
838
#34
Here, read up on the possibilities: http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm

This is just another feature of the messed up system we live in for now. Everything we want will be done by machines, we are entering post-labor society- OH GODS, NOOO!! "I won't have to go to this job I hate anymore, what am I gonna do?". Instead of celebrating and embracing this, people are mad, sad and/or afraid. Does anyone else find this ridiculous/hilarious?
If you do your job perfectly, no one else has to do it ever again. Finally it's happening.

Automate all the jobs you can get your hands on. Free technology and in the process, yourself.
Awesome...thanks for sharing this. I read the book. Very eye-opening. Somehow, I think the Terrafoam scenario is way more likely. The achilles heel of the Australia Project is human nature...same as all utopias. Slight tangent here: :elephant:

Taking a slightly Buddhist perspective on this, greed and aversion are two sides of the same coin. Neither or those knows boundaries. It's part of who we are at a genetic level. Most people primarily want food, sleep, and sex. There is a smaller subset of people who additionally seek power, fame, and accumulation of wealth and possessions. There is an even smaller (and we're talking almost infinitesimal number here) of genuinely spiritual people who seek to renounce all worldly things. Many of today's "spiritual" leaders are frauds. You will rarely hear about a true renunciate, but they do exist. At the opposite end of the spectrum from cloistered monks are megalomaniacs, and you hear about them all the time :). So while I really liked the vision of what this guy Brain presented, I don't believe it will ever happen. The Zeitgeist movement is another example that comes to mind. Future by Design was an excellent documentary about the Venus Project and Resource-Based Economy. Very similar to what Brain envisioned.

As an aside to the aside, from a psychological perspective, as I understand it, INTPs generally seek truth. In my opinion this gives them an automatic advantage in spiritual "careers." You want someone who has a talent for understanding the big picture to design the best possible society. Who better to do this than an INTP monk? Put him in a room to perform his own "investigations" into the nature of things and give him a massive library. Give him a problem to solve and he will go into his cave for a while and then re-emerge with a solution...
 

Blarraun

straightedgy
Local time
Today, 10:51
Joined
Nov 21, 2013
Messages
4,176
Location
someplace windswept
#35
Thanks for this post. Informative, interesting.
I'm quite displeased with my post actually. I doubt it provided anything new to the table and this can probably be said about a number of my more recent non-contributions. I won't call you out on faking it but I won't accept this opinion either, it's nice to see you trying to establish a positive connection though.
I think it's precisely when people have to struggle, at least somewhat, that they develop themselves.
Sure, of what value is goodness in a person that achieved it effortlessly, imo little to none. Virtuous people are born with labour ;).
I think deep down, self-development is what every human being on this planet truly wants and needs. A lot of people live very vegetative lives, as you call it, but that's not really how they want to live
I'd say false to an extent. People can be comfortable in who they are or what they do, or not, that much is true, but I wouldn't go as far as to ascribe the desire to grow to everyone.
. So I'm concerned about that. I want to do work that improves people's lives, but at the same time, if that work disenfranchises other workers, I may not be able to do anything about that...but I guess I still think it's important not to just look past it.
You can help immeasurably, say you manage to help with some kind of e-learning platform or cheap distributed educational program. A lot depends on what you use your "uncanny" abilities for. This goes for any skill, but I'd argue the impact of the modern professions dabbling in automatisation, robotics and whole control-process engineering is much more significant, that is not to say more wrong, maybe slightly more responsible?

Anyways, I used to consider pretty much the same thing a few years ago, I was offered to become multiple things at that time, I was thinking about training to become an international officer for the UN or another organisation that supposedly has everyone's well-being at their interest. This would be a closely-called succedent since my brother made it his goal and encouraged me to follow in his steps.
In the end, I found many things that made me distrust the forces purportedly upholding the ideals of international effort. Now I'd be satisfied with being strong enough to occasionally help a few people around me and live in a small familiar community, maybe some sort of commune or steading, smaller than 40-50 individuals. Being able to relate personally to people is key to positive outcomes.
 

Architect

Professional INTP
Local time
Today, 02:51
Joined
Dec 25, 2010
Messages
6,692
#36
I had a strong reaction to this thread and finally put my finger on why.

Take a step back, if it's immoral to write software that displaces jobs then we've got bigger issues. Life on this planet is first and foremost about evolution, which means something coming along that is better than what was there before, and displacing it. Frame the exact same problem differently

  • Was it immoral for Neanderthal displacing the Cro-Magons?
  • Was it immoral for mankind to take over so much of the available landmass?
  • Is it immoral for a company to release a product that is better than the competition?
  • Is it immoral for science to prove religion is wrong (on the Biblical Flood, Cosmology, etc)?

It's rather ludicrous to point a finger at software when everything in our makeup is hell bent on doing things better.
 

Inquisitor

Well-Known Member
Local time
Today, 04:51
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
838
#37
I had a strong reaction to this thread and finally put my finger on why.

Take a step back, if it's immoral to write software that displaces jobs then we've got bigger issues. Life on this planet is first and foremost about evolution, which means something coming along that is better than what was there before, and displacing it. Frame the exact same problem differently

  • Was it immoral for Neanderthal displacing the Cro-Magons?
  • Was it immoral for mankind to take over so much of the available landmass?
  • Is it immoral for a company to release a product that is better than the competition?
  • Is it immoral for science to prove religion is wrong (on the Biblical Flood, Cosmology, etc)?

It's rather ludicrous to point a finger at software when everything in our makeup is hell bent on doing things better.
Yeah...you're right. I'm an INTP man. I gotta question everything. I hope you understand I meant no disrespect.

Obviously, this question has dominated my mind for the past however many hours, and I think I understand why that article bothered me so much.

Capitalism is just a form of social organization. It's definitely better than all the other forms currently available. But imo capitalism without a strong moral backbone is eventually going to lead to tremendous abuse of power, excessive concentration of wealth, and inequality. And that's pretty much the system we have today. I hesitate to say that we need religion, but I think that probably helped keep things in check in days past.

So when I think about software/automation/robotics being used to accelerate what is an already extremely unhealthy societal trend i.e. giving more power and money to the masters --> high-tech plantation + welfare society...I'm bothered.

Intrinsically, you're right there's nothing wrong with evolution. After all, that's why we are what we are. Change is inevitable. I guess the solution then is for us as a society to consciously decide that we want to direct this technological evolution towards a certain end that benefits all of us. I hope we're able to do this, but if I'm being realistic, I'm less than optimistic...
 

dark+matters

Active Member
Local time
Today, 01:51
Joined
Oct 25, 2014
Messages
463
#38
Wow. I literally woke up with this on my mind and had a huge, long discussion about it this morning and now there's a giant thread about it here. #hivemind!

A lot of the discussions we have are the same types of discussions held by every other generation (another good example: Should artists focus on technique or should they focus on personal expression without regard to technique in order to get the best results?).

There are tons of really great points already in this thread. I thought I might add another one to the idea mix (sorry if it was already here and I missed it). Many believe in knowledge and science as an end in and of itself that needs to be pursued, regardless of how unscrupulous individuals may use those advances (example: Einstein's discovery of relativity leading to research that eventually created the nuclear bomb or Darwin's theory of evolution leading to eugenics).

This idea of machines destroying mankind also seems to be an old idea with its proponents and detractors polarizing across two divides of a set of pretty well-thought out historical ideas.

I think the bottom line is human nature. It doesn't change much. We don't change without its being very uncomfortable, and when we're uncomfortable we complain. I was pushed out of the job market myself, and so I went back to school. I complained. A lot. For a couple years! Now, I'm over it because I found a way to get plugged back in. The displaced workers can certainly get plugged back in and maybe we can get more serious about tackling our very serious problems in education, health, inequality, etc. when we can't procrastinate about them anymore.

The NY Times article wasn't as alarmist as I'd expected, but it brought up how college grads weren't as likely to complain about the upcoming automation revolution as unskilled laborers, but that the increase of college grads will just lead to the further devaluation of degrees (at least I think that might have been a possible implication of her article).

Well... according to my totally subjective, possibly incorrect intuition, that's not really complaining based in a need to fix the problem of too much technology, but complaining based in fear about a need to change the way we live our day-to-day lives. I do that when I go on a diet, so of course we're going to complain when the wild west gets tamed or when Canada suddenly requires a passport, etc.

Automating horrible, unnecessary customer service positions everyone hates just makes sense. It's inevitable. It isn't complaining about genocide or the death penalty, and it isn't a superfluous change in the way we do things like bureaucracy can be (the enaction of poorly done airport security as a response to 9/11, as a possible example).

Maybe we can't have 3 children and decide we never have to go to graduate school. Maybe we can't get a job out of high school at the corner grocery store anymore. Things change and it's uncomfortable, even when it's good for us or at least for those who come after us. *Man, I'm glad I didn't buy those Cheetos to eat in front of the computer right now... pats bee pollen smoothie*

But in response to the OP, I've felt the same fear about the ethics of going into one or another job before. I'm thinking about doing CS after my undergrad (like a lot of people here), so it's always interesting to hear people's thoughts on this subject.
 

dark+matters

Active Member
Local time
Today, 01:51
Joined
Oct 25, 2014
Messages
463
#39
when I think about software/automation/robotics being used to accelerate what is an already extremely unhealthy societal trend i.e. giving more power and money to the masters --> high-tech plantation + welfare society...I'm bothered.
Good point. I think that we need (as always) to stay on top of how we check and balance power, but that that problem of how to balance power is on a separate dimension from the creation of technology.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_Eutci7ack

^(Have I posted this already? Sorry if I have.)
 
Top Bottom