Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #151  
Old 08-11-2014, 01:05 AM
Mijin Mijin is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 7,824
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlackerInc
I was responding to the idea that if indigent people were shut out of the economy, with no social safety net, they could make clothes and shoes and trade them to each other.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evil Captor View Post
The bulk of the US population reduced to subsistence farming and handcrafting in a world where the wealthy own all the land and almost all of the goods?
It was an extreme example aimed to illustrate a point. And the point was that automation won't reduce our standard of living.
If no-one can afford robot-made goods / services, then there is no change to the current, modern economy. OTOH if robot-made goods / services displace human labour, it's because it's cheaper that way, and society benefits.

Now, when I say "society benefits", it may be the case that a lot of that benefit falls into the laps of the rich; that's quite possible and why I agree that government policy and societal attitudes are very important here. I don't think libertarian ideas are the right way to go in a hypothetical future where everyone's basic needs at least could be trivially met by a fraction of taxation.
  #152  
Old 08-11-2014, 10:23 AM
hkepotat hkepotat is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
It was an extreme example aimed to illustrate a point. And the point was that automation won't reduce our standard of living.
If no-one can afford robot-made goods / services, then there is no change to the current, modern economy. OTOH if robot-made goods / services displace human labour, it's because it's cheaper that way, and society benefits.

Now, when I say "society benefits", it may be the case that a lot of that benefit falls into the laps of the rich; that's quite possible and why I agree that government policy and societal attitudes are very important here. I don't think libertarian ideas are the right way to go in a hypothetical future where everyone's basic needs at least could be trivially met by a fraction of taxation.
It seems the problem of making your own goods to compete with the robotically produced goods is not going to be the cost of the goods themselves, but the input materials. We have determined that the robotic creation of the goods drives the labor value of the good towards zero, so the raw cost of the good becomes the largest factor in manufacturing.

If you can't afford the shoes the robots make, then you would not be able to afford the cloth, rubber, and/or leather required to make them, same with clothes, furniture, food or any other consumer item that is made mechanically rather than through human labor. They may be cheaper, but as you are even poorer, it moves such things even farther out of reach.

It may be possible to keep everyone alive through a minimal effort on the part of the robots at this point, but that would be at the whims of whoever (or whatever) is controlling the output and distribution of the goods and services produced. The throngs of pensioners would have little value to contribute to the effort of society, and therefore, there would be a continual effort among those who do believe that their contributions are valuable to cut off support to all the freeloaders, even if the support costs literally nothing to them.

The solution then, is to find something useful for all these unemployed people in a post- (or at least near post-) scarcity economy. This is actually easy in any scenarios where the human brain is still more complex than any computer system, which I believe should hold for much longer than Kurzweil or other singularityists (sp?) will. The brain is ridiculously complex, and intelligence is an emergence of that complexity. I do not see that complexity being emulated by designed electronic systems ever. Even if there are as many transistors on a chip as neurons in a human brain, they still will not have the complex and changing connections to each other as neurons do. Some may argue that quantum computing may change that, but quantum computing may also rely on fusion to operate.

Systems like Folding @ Home where human intuition is coupled with computer automation to accomplish modeling tasks that would take much longer with only computer brute force processing could be where the minds of many of the pensioners are focused. I can think of examples in metallurgy and biology that could also make use of this hybrid system. (I do not know of any current projects to use this, but I can think of how to design them.) Software and chip design would also be more enabled by an organic brain than by designed computer systems. Our free time would of course give our more creative types to extend the boundaries of our cultures art and entertainment, less of a concrete value, but valuable nonetheless.

There could be a very real and useful post scarcity economy based on pretty much everyone just sitting around all day and finding ways to make things better, while robotic systems tended to the basic needs.
  #153  
Old 08-11-2014, 10:42 AM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,285
Quote:
Originally Posted by hkepotat View Post
It may be possible to keep everyone alive through a minimal effort on the part of the robots at this point, but that would be at the whims of whoever (or whatever) is controlling the output and distribution of the goods and services produced. The throngs of pensioners would have little value to contribute to the effort of society, and therefore, there would be a continual effort among those who do believe that their contributions are valuable to cut off support to all the freeloaders, even if the support costs literally nothing to them.
That is taking a very dim view of human nature, one I believe is unwarranted. Sure, there will be Ayn Rand followers who think this way, but they are not going to get anywhere near a majority, especially as it approaches "costing literally nothing to them". The majority of people already reject this kind of ideology when it really is costing them something.

Quote:
The solution then, is to find something useful for all these unemployed people in a post- (or at least near post-) scarcity economy.
Nah, you just need the majority of voters to support the government's protecting their share of the pie by fiat.
  #154  
Old 08-11-2014, 11:01 AM
hkepotat hkepotat is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlackerInc View Post
That is taking a very dim view of human nature, one I believe is unwarranted. Sure, there will be Ayn Rand followers who think this way, but they are not going to get anywhere near a majority, especially as it approaches "costing literally nothing to them". The majority of people already reject this kind of ideology when it really is costing them something.
Have you met humans? Have you seen the way they treat and talk about the homeless and unemployed? I don't think it's a dim view so much as not being highly optimistic about the altruism of human nature.

If there are only a few hundred or thousand people who actually own the means of production, they are going to be the ones to determine who gets the products produced. They will have little interest in supporting what they see as dead weight.

Quote:


Nah, you just need the majority of voters to support the government's protecting their share of the pie by fiat.
While I actually agree with this statement, I fear that we would actually be voting with the minority on it.
  #155  
Old 08-11-2014, 11:07 AM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,285
What's your evidence for that dour opinion? Look at how much of the federal budget is already essentially transfer payments from the wealthy to the less wealthy. And that is increasing all the time. There are certainly right wing/libertarian think tanks that grouse about this, but they are not winning the day. Votes still count more than money.
  #156  
Old 08-11-2014, 11:19 AM
hkepotat hkepotat is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlackerInc View Post
What's your evidence for that dour opinion? Look at how much of the federal budget is already essentially transfer payments from the wealthy to the less wealthy. And that is increasing all the time. There are certainly right wing/libertarian think tanks that grouse about this, but they are not winning the day. Votes still count more than money.
Without reading it, I think you posted my cite for my "dour opinion." Republicans and especially tea-partiers would vote away those transfer payments in a heartbeat. While they currently do not have enough power to actually do so, it is not a given that they will not eventually take it. I hope that our society tends towards altruism, but I certainly do not take it as a given. I certainly would not want to depend upon such altruism to support humanity indefinitely.

Point being, there are tasks that can be done by those forced out of the labor market that have enough value to remove the argument that the transfer payments are supporting "dead weight", and instead that people are being paid and supported for performing a useful function in society.
  #157  
Old 08-11-2014, 11:55 AM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,285
I think you should read the cite! :P
  #158  
Old 08-11-2014, 12:14 PM
hkepotat hkepotat is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlackerInc View Post
I think you should read the cite! :P
I had skimmed it, without reading it before to get an impression of what it said. Now that I have read it, I still feel that that cite proves my point that here are plenty out there that are quite resentful about the current state of transfer payments. I do not see them agreeing to increasing them to a growing population of unemployed.

From the last line of the article, "This raises an obvious and troubling question: Is it reasonable or fiscally responsible to ask the top 20 percent of households to pay for the government benefits of the other 80 percent of households?"

I assume the article wishes us to answer the question "no", and would continue to do so as the numbers went to 10%/90% or 5%/95% or further.

Whether the article represents the majority opinion is a different matter, obviously at this very moment, it seems that the majority is okay with this situation. I do not see any guarantee that that will remain the case, and that those who would promote or follow the thoughts behind those in your cite will never prevail.

We do need to be ready for there to be a use for all of the unemployed labor workforce, or they will be simply pensioners at the whim of their benefactors, and that is not the most stable arrangement.
  #159  
Old 08-11-2014, 12:20 PM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,285
I'm not deadset against your proposal, I just see it as unnecessary. Why wouldn't these kinds of conservatives and libertarians grow increasingly more marginalized as the percentages go upward?
  #160  
Old 08-11-2014, 12:35 PM
hkepotat hkepotat is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlackerInc View Post
I'm not deadset against your proposal, I just see it as unnecessary. Why wouldn't these kinds of conservatives and libertarians grow increasingly more marginalized as the percentages go upward?
As far as their personal vote, sure. Their ability to influence legislation, I am not so sanguine. Their ability to convince voters to vote against their own best interests has been demonstrated already in the last few elections.

My proposal is a simple one. Instead of being unemployed and sitting around doing nothing "productive" for society, one can sit around and fold proteins, furthering our scientific knowledge. They can help to create new alloys or model drug interactions too. These are valuable things to society, and things that computers will be a long time catching up to the ability of a human brain.

This is something we probably ought to be doing now. Creating productive games, and incorporating them into current games would be a good start. I could see a pharmaceutical company paying an MMORPG to add a protein folding game into it's quest system. I see many games with fairly complex puzzles to solve for in game rewards, having a puzzle game that has real world benefits would be a simple step most gamers wouldn't even notice. If you had to fold a protein, or model an alloy, or even help plan a Hamiltonian route, in order to open a chest or create an artifact, then your gaming is now helping society, and in return, society has reason to continue supporting you for more than esoteric "humanitarian" reasons.
  #161  
Old 08-11-2014, 12:43 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lair
Posts: 20,890
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
It was an extreme example aimed to illustrate a point. And the point was that automation won't reduce our standard of living.
If no-one can afford robot-made goods / services, then there is no change to the current, modern economy. OTOH if robot-made goods / services displace human labour, it's because it's cheaper that way, and society benefits.

Now, when I say "society benefits", it may be the case that a lot of that benefit falls into the laps of the rich; that's quite possible and why I agree that government policy and societal attitudes are very important here. I don't think libertarian ideas are the right way to go in a hypothetical future where everyone's basic needs at least could be trivially met by a fraction of taxation.
What do you mean "may be the case"? As US society is structured right now, it WILL be the case. With 1 percent of the population controlling 47 percent of the wealth, we are definitely in oligarchy territory, and heading there faster and faster thanks to the political power of our conservative brethren and prevailing cultural mores in the US. And I don't have much faith in the wealthy to see things the smart way, because most of them are probably only a little above average in intelligence. For every Elon Musk, a person we should all probably be glad has lots of money and power, there is a Robert Richards IV, an heir to the duPont fortune whom a judge allowed to skip jail because he "would not thrive in prison" after being convicted of raping his three year old daughter. (Actually, the whole duPont family is kinda rotten, if you read this article).

I think we ultimately will reach a system where everybody benefits from automation to the extent of getting their basic needs taken care of. But I fear a horrible transition in the US, with much needless suffering and waste of human life and potential.
  #162  
Old 08-11-2014, 01:47 PM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,285
Quote:
Originally Posted by hkepotat View Post
As far as their personal vote, sure. Their ability to influence legislation, I am not so sanguine. Their ability to convince voters to vote against their own best interests has been demonstrated already in the last few elections.
Huh? This comment reads like it was written in 2005.
  #163  
Old 08-11-2014, 02:09 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lair
Posts: 20,890
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlackerInc View Post
Huh? This comment reads like it was written in 2005.
Poor and middle class voters do not matter at all, according to some recent studies. They show that Congress listens to the wealthy and to well-funded special interest groups, especially on economic issues. Where middle class and poor interest groups have interests that are opposed to the wealthy, their influence as reflected in Congressional votes is ZERO, or so close to it as to be statistically insignificant.
  #164  
Old 08-11-2014, 02:36 PM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,285
Bologna.
  #165  
Old 08-11-2014, 04:44 PM
Omar Little Omar Little is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Within
Posts: 11,673
The "haves" and "have nots" are nowhere near equal in number, yet the voting % would indicate otherwise. Must mean that the "have nots" have a greater % of politically apathetic than the "haves". Voter turn-out is a must.
  #166  
Old 08-11-2014, 04:47 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lair
Posts: 20,890
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlackerInc View Post
Bologna.
I've got a cite of a well-known research study. You have balogna. I wonder which is more convincing to the disinterested observer?
  #167  
Old 08-11-2014, 04:54 PM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,285
I've got the Congressional Record, which shows scads of stuff passed by the Pelosi Congress in 2009 and 2010 that gave the Koch brothers serious heartburn and sparked a huge Tea Party conniption on Wall Street. You are asserting that this was all some kind of feint?
  #168  
Old 08-11-2014, 07:04 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The Middle of Puget Sound
Posts: 21,059
Thing is, Tea Partiers and Republicans like to squawk about entitlements and welfare, but they don't like to actually cut benefits for people. It's easy to complain about freeloaders, but when we're talking about Grandma's social security, and Dad's disability payment, and Bubba's unemployment, and Sister's student loans, and Junior's GI benefits, nobody actually wants those things cut.

Oligarchs don't hate paying for welfare because they're inhuman bastards, they hate paying for shit because that means less money for them. But as I've argued before, all this disruption isn't just for blue collar jobs, it's going to affect white collar jobs as well. How will lawyers run things when automated systems provide better legal advice than human lawyers? Obviously, by passing a law that says that you can't use automated legal advice. But why is it that "plutocrat" is a job that only a human being can do? Why aren't captains of industry subject to the same sorts of disruptive innovation that lawyers and doctors and burger-flippers are? Why does a pension-fund manager make millions of dollars in 2214, when an automated system can manage a pension much more efficiently?

The only a fraction of what we call "the rich" today will still be "the rich" in 100 years. But as I've said before, owning a factory that churns out widgets will be a sucker's game in 2114. It will be impossible to get rich by owning facilities for turning raw materials into finished goods. Even today it is extremely hard to make money by owning a factory where iPads are assembled, since Apple can get tab A inserted into slot B anywhere in the world. How do you make money serving ads to people with no money? How do you make money selling widgets to people with no money?

The remaining oligarchs will have to agree to social insurance, because otherwise what are they going to sell? What are they going to own? What are they going to produce? Yes, the economic disruptions we're going to experience are going to be rough. But nobody's going to starve to death, I can reasonably guarantee that in 2114 "the poor" will be fatter than ever, barring miracle weight loss cures invented by local moms that nutritionists hate.
  #169  
Old 08-12-2014, 01:47 PM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,285
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
But as I've argued before, all this disruption isn't just for blue collar jobs, it's going to affect white collar jobs as well. How will lawyers run things when automated systems provide better legal advice than human lawyers? Obviously, by passing a law that says that you can't use automated legal advice.
I don't think such a law would do all that much. What you will probably see is that a single lawyer can take on much more in the way of work because he or she mainly becomes the human face who interacts with clients--while all the research and analysis is done by the computer. Which still puts a lot of lawyers out of work, but it is less obvious superficially. Still, those unemployed lawyers will be a powerful political force. Maybe they will lean on the government to create more white-collar jobs of dubious necessity.

I agree with you though that in the medium term, the rich will not be able to make profits without a large mass of consumers to buy their products or services.
  #170  
Old 08-12-2014, 03:04 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 36,997
Wll, there are companies now buying water rights all over the place, so if everybody has to pay, they can keep the per person cost relatively low, and still make huge profits

And eventually, there will be a water subsidy for the low-income people.

Air is next.
  #171  
Old 08-12-2014, 04:36 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lair
Posts: 20,890
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
The only a fraction of what we call "the rich" today will still be "the rich" in 100 years. But as I've said before, owning a factory that churns out widgets will be a sucker's game in 2114. It will be impossible to get rich by owning facilities for turning raw materials into finished goods. Even today it is extremely hard to make money by owning a factory where iPads are assembled, since Apple can get tab A inserted into slot B anywhere in the world. How do you make money serving ads to people with no money? How do you make money selling widgets to people with no money?

The remaining oligarchs will have to agree to social insurance, because otherwise what are they going to sell? What are they going to own? What are they going to produce? Yes, the economic disruptions we're going to experience are going to be rough. But nobody's going to starve to death, I can reasonably guarantee that in 2114 "the poor" will be fatter than ever, barring miracle weight loss cures invented by local moms that nutritionists hate.
Well let's discuss this and see if we aren't talking past one another. Let's say that it's 2035, and there are about 3.5 million oligarchs worldwide who own 90 percent of the arable land and 90 percent of the automated production facilities. I've got no basis for those numbers, just throwing them out. (For comparison, in America the top one tenth of one % owns 40% of the wealth, so that's 350,000 people right there, and we are still the wealthiest nation on Earth). These oligarchs do need SOME people ... the ones who run and maintain their factories and the machines that grow and harvest crops. Plus there are service jobs they will need ... people to maintain their homes, pave their roads, prepare their meals, etc. And the people who work for them will need people too ... it's a familiar stepladder, but it can only go so far. Let's say that the net effect of this is that for every oligarch, 100 total people are needed, everyone else having been displaced by automation. That's 350 million people needed to provide housing, food, clothing, etc. in a world of seven billion people.

Now, what do those oligarchs need the rest of us for if their machines have displaced us? You may see, to keep up their fortunes, but hell, they can sell to the 350 million oligarchs and their necessary people, who DO have funds. Why do they NEED to sell CDs to everyone in the world? (They don't.)

So where does that leave the remaining 6.65 billion of us? In a very unhappy place, I fear.

You might argue that the oligarchy needs the 6.6 billion to buy their stuff, but why? All we are really doing is cluttering up the best ski resorts, the nicest restaurants, the best places to build homes ... with the rest of us gone, there's lebensraum to spare! As has been stated, manufacturing cheap items for everyone is a fool's game. So why wouldn't the wealth concentrate on their 350 million elite and let the rest go hang?

Last edited by Evil Captor; 08-12-2014 at 04:39 PM.
  #172  
Old 08-12-2014, 11:27 PM
Wallaby Wallaby is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Melbourne, Far South
Posts: 708
I think it's worth pointing out that, at this moment, the entire population of Mars is robots - and that population is slowly rising.

Last edited by Wallaby; 08-12-2014 at 11:28 PM.
  #173  
Old 08-13-2014, 01:28 AM
Mijin Mijin is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 7,824
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evil Captor View Post
You might argue that the oligarchy needs the 6.6 billion to buy their stuff, but why? All we are really doing is cluttering up the best ski resorts, the nicest restaurants, the best places to build homes ... with the rest of us gone, there's lebensraum to spare! As has been stated, manufacturing cheap items for everyone is a fool's game. So why wouldn't the wealth concentrate on their 350 million elite and let the rest go hang?
Then they need us to build and run the ski resorts, the restaurants, homes etc. just for starters.

OTOH if you're saying robots in this scenario are doing all of that, then why is it only the top 10% that are using them? Why don't other businesses and individuals invest in robots to manufacture goods or perform services?
If they're too expensive for all but the super rich to afford, why are the super rich wasting their money like that, when they can pay average joe to do those tasks?
  #174  
Old 08-13-2014, 04:05 AM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,285
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallaby View Post
I think it's worth pointing out that, at this moment, the entire population of Mars is robots - and that population is slowly rising.
LOL, true dat.

In seriousness: I think Mijin makes a good point. Even without government intervention (which is almost inevitable), it's hard to picture a way for the vast majority of people to get totally shut out of all economic activity if they are not provided even a basic safety net. Seems to me it's more likely to be problematic a little earlier in the evolutionary process to a "post-work" society, like maybe ten or twenty years from now. It doesn't have to be, but that's a stage where libertarians and conservatives can still be in denial and cling to their Protestant work ethic, write off the masses not in the workforce as lazy people who ought to "get a job". And they might from time to time still get enough voters to buy into it.

But fifty years from now? Fuggedaboudit. That dog just will not hunt by that point.
  #175  
Old 08-13-2014, 04:12 AM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,285
Tried to add, but just missed the edit window:

This is why the main premise of the film Elysium made no sense. (No spoilers here unless you consider the setup, revealed in the first few minutes, to be spoiler-y.) The super rich, who lived in what was essentially a gated subdivision called Elysium orbiting the Earth, had machines that looked like tanning beds that could heal basically any injury or illness, in a few seconds: cancer, serious trauma, whatever. In fact, each household had one, sitting near the fireplace and grand piano. But the hoi polloi on Earth, who labored away in factories making robots for the corporate CEOs that lived up in Elysium, had no access to these magical healing beds. They had big county hospitals, but with more or less the same tech we have in hospitals now. When of course the reality would be that there would have to be some middle level between "having one in your home" and "you can't get one five-minute session in one per year or per lifetime, even with health insurance or by putting up your life savings".
  #176  
Old 08-13-2014, 11:52 AM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lair
Posts: 20,890
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlackerInc View Post
LOL, true dat.

In seriousness: I think Mijin makes a good point. Even without government intervention (which is almost inevitable), it's hard to picture a way for the vast majority of people to get totally shut out of all economic activity if they are not provided even a basic safety net. Seems to me it's more likely to be problematic a little earlier in the evolutionary process to a "post-work" society, like maybe ten or twenty years from now. It doesn't have to be, but that's a stage where libertarians and conservatives can still be in denial and cling to their Protestant work ethic, write off the masses not in the workforce as lazy people who ought to "get a job". And they might from time to time still get enough voters to buy into it.

But fifty years from now? Fuggedaboudit. That dog just will not hunt by that point.
Well of course, long term, it won't work. Problem is, I see the technology moving a lot faster than our cultural and political mores are moving, and what's even worse, the cultural and political mores among the wealthy in the US are moving in the exact opposite direction of what would work for the emergent societies where most don't need to work to provide goods and services. Even in Europe, the wealthy ends of society are moving toward conservative/libertarian views. In the US it's especially alarming because control over wealth and political power are shifting rapidly to these wealthy elites. So we got robotics rendering more and more people unemployed, while the wealthy elites move toward less and less concern for the poor and the middle class, with the poor and the middle class having less and less political power.

I'm sure things will improve eventually, but it's the transition that worries me: it sure looks like a formula for disaster for the people caught in that transition.

Last edited by Evil Captor; 08-13-2014 at 11:55 AM.
  #177  
Old 08-13-2014, 12:05 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lair
Posts: 20,890
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlackerInc View Post
Tried to add, but just missed the edit window:

This is why the main premise of the film Elysium made no sense. (No spoilers here unless you consider the setup, revealed in the first few minutes, to be spoiler-y.) The super rich, who lived in what was essentially a gated subdivision called Elysium orbiting the Earth, had machines that looked like tanning beds that could heal basically any injury or illness, in a few seconds: cancer, serious trauma, whatever. In fact, each household had one, sitting near the fireplace and grand piano. But the hoi polloi on Earth, who labored away in factories making robots for the corporate CEOs that lived up in Elysium, had no access to these magical healing beds. They had big county hospitals, but with more or less the same tech we have in hospitals now. When of course the reality would be that there would have to be some middle level between "having one in your home" and "you can't get one five-minute session in one per year or per lifetime, even with health insurance or by putting up your life savings".
Yes, Elysium makes no sense in that there surely will be some transition between the wealthy and the poor. And the outer-space element makes very little sense. But the gap between the haves and have nots WILL be especially galling as medical breakthroughs occur permitting life extension and healthier living in general for those who can afford it. What attitude do you suppose wealthy libertarians will have toward life extension for the new unemployables?
  #178  
Old 08-13-2014, 12:17 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 36,997
The outer space element for the rich makes sense -- to protect the rich from all the pitchfork wounds and torch burns that the rioting mobs of poor would apply if they were in reach.
  #179  
Old 08-13-2014, 12:35 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lair
Posts: 20,890
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyo Jim View Post
The outer space element for the rich makes sense -- to protect the rich from all the pitchfork wounds and torch burns that the rioting mobs of poor would apply if they were in reach.
Well I haven't seen the movie, just trailers for it, which have not looked all that intriguing to me, but I note that in the US the rich live comfortably among us. For example, if I wanted to run amuck and kill me some ultra wealthy folks in my immediate surroundings, I know just where to go. There's not a lot in the way of security to stop an armed mob at any of those locations. I live within walking distance of some of them. So I wonder how realistic that element is. I know in Mexico and other Third World countries, kidnapping the rich is pretty much an industry, and wealthy people DO live in gated enclaves protected by armed guards there.
  #180  
Old 08-13-2014, 01:09 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The Middle of Puget Sound
Posts: 21,059
Except, how does "owning a factory" make you an oligarch? Building and making stuff can't make you rich if the marginal cost of making stuff is zero.

This is what I keep objecting to in this thread, the notion that ownership of the "means of production" will continue to be concentrated in smaller and smaller hands, and that said ownership will be more and more profitable.

In fact, ownership of the means of production will get less and less profitable. Providing services will get less and less profitable. Owning stuff will get less and less profitable. We're already seeing this at the low end--I know tons of struggling families, and their houses are packed to the roof with cheap crap. They may struggle to pay the rent, but they've got dishes and clothes and food and all sorts of things, because those things are dirt cheap to produce. The guy who owns the factory in China that is churning out 10 cent plastic plates isn't getting super-rich doing it. And his potential for profit is just going to fall, when automated fabricators can be set up anywhere and everywhere.

This doesn't result in concentration of ownership of factories and automated systems--and remember that automated services are going to be even more ubiquitous than automated production of goods. Imagining that the oligarchs of the 22nd century are going to be industrialists and businessmen is like imagining that the oligarchs of the 20th Century would be feudal landholders. That entire system of obtaining and maintaining wealth fell apart in the face of the industrial revolution. Yes, there will be vast inequalities of wealth--Bill Gates has a net worth greater than the entire planet Earth in the middle ages.

But that wealth will be used to allocate different scarce resources than we're used to, here in 2014. What resources are going to be scarce in 2064? Land? There are millions of acres of cheap land in the midwest and Canada. Bill Gates isn't buying up the Great Plains is he? When you have mega-rich people, the very most desirable plots of land can get bid up to astronomical levels. That doesn't mean you can't buy acres of desert scrub or taiga for cheap. But what are you going to do with your plot of wilderness? Live there? Maybe, if you don't need a job because all the goods and services you need for a decent life are provided by automated systems and pensions--money you earn just by breathing.
  #181  
Old 08-13-2014, 01:21 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The Middle of Puget Sound
Posts: 21,059
But note that the situation in Elysium doesn't make sense either. Everyone on Elysium is rich, right? They live up on a space station and don't have any reliance on the hordes below.

But the movie implies that the rich couldn't be rich without keeping the masses in poverty. But that makes no sense. The space station is self-sufficient. Everything they need they already have. So what's the point of oppressing the huddled masses?

In previous times, to live a comfortable life you needed lots of workers supplying you with those comforts. You needed the whole Downton Abbey panoply of servants attending to your needs. Industrialists needed workers in their factories and plantations, otherwise the factories wouldn't run.

What do the "rich" folks in Elysium need from the masses on Earth? Nothing. They aren't siphoning off Earth's wealth to consume for themselves. So why are the folks on Earth so poor? A serf is poor because his agricultural surplus is constantly taken away by guys on horseback, and if those guys on horseback get killed there are plenty of horsemen ready to take their place. So if all the feudal aristocrats bugger off to a space station, in a generation a new breed of aristocrats take their place.

So why, after all the rich people on Earth bugger off to Elysium, are the people on Earth still poor?
  #182  
Old 08-13-2014, 04:02 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lair
Posts: 20,890
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
Except, how does "owning a factory" make you an oligarch? Building and making stuff can't make you rich if the marginal cost of making stuff is zero.

This is what I keep objecting to in this thread, the notion that ownership of the "means of production" will continue to be concentrated in smaller and smaller hands, and that said ownership will be more and more profitable.

In fact, ownership of the means of production will get less and less profitable. Providing services will get less and less profitable. Owning stuff will get less and less profitable. We're already seeing this at the low end--I know tons of struggling families, and their houses are packed to the roof with cheap crap. They may struggle to pay the rent, but they've got dishes and clothes and food and all sorts of things, because those things are dirt cheap to produce. The guy who owns the factory in China that is churning out 10 cent plastic plates isn't getting super-rich doing it. And his potential for profit is just going to fall, when automated fabricators can be set up anywhere and everywhere.

This doesn't result in concentration of ownership of factories and automated systems--and remember that automated services are going to be even more ubiquitous than automated production of goods. Imagining that the oligarchs of the 22nd century are going to be industrialists and businessmen is like imagining that the oligarchs of the 20th Century would be feudal landholders. That entire system of obtaining and maintaining wealth fell apart in the face of the industrial revolution. Yes, there will be vast inequalities of wealth--Bill Gates has a net worth greater than the entire planet Earth in the middle ages.

But that wealth will be used to allocate different scarce resources than we're used to, here in 2014. What resources are going to be scarce in 2064? Land? There are millions of acres of cheap land in the midwest and Canada. Bill Gates isn't buying up the Great Plains is he? When you have mega-rich people, the very most desirable plots of land can get bid up to astronomical levels. That doesn't mean you can't buy acres of desert scrub or taiga for cheap. But what are you going to do with your plot of wilderness? Live there? Maybe, if you don't need a job because all the goods and services you need for a decent life are provided by automated systems and pensions--money you earn just by breathing.
I am having trouble seeing your point. Say you own a fully automated factory that can make a popular product: DVD players. It's really cheap for you to make those DVDs in your fully automated factory, but you still have to make enough to cover the cost of the production machinery and its maintenance over time, however low that cost might be. (Robots will be building your robots, I suppose.) So when you sell your DVDs, you factor in those costs, plus however much you need to make a profit for yourself and your shareholders. Say you need a dollar in profits for every DVD player. The parts cost five dollars, the production, 25 cents. So you sell your DVD player for $6.25, and because it's so cheap and so good, you sell 300 million of them. You've made $300 million on that DVD player. You are not broke.

Others with similar factories might want to undercut you, but they'll want to make a profit too. They might cut their profit margin to 50 cents and only make $150 million. Well you can whittle down the profits only so far before you are charging profits so small that least little production cost overrun will sink you. So there's a natural limiter on how low profits can go. That's Capitalism 101. So how are the factory owners not making money? The only way I see them not making money is if nobody has money to buy their products ... and I DO see that as a potential problem -- in fact, THE potential problem. All those unemployed in a conservative/libertarian society will not be buying even the cheapest goods.

Last edited by Evil Captor; 08-13-2014 at 04:04 PM.
  #183  
Old 08-13-2014, 04:45 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 78,508
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evil Captor View Post
Well I haven't seen the movie, just trailers for it, which have not looked all that intriguing to me, but I note that in the US the rich live comfortably among us.
You mean . . . they're adapting . . . copying our DNA.
  #184  
Old 08-13-2014, 05:20 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The Middle of Puget Sound
Posts: 21,059
But in real life all sorts of businesses go under because they can't make a profit. So you're selling DVD players, and making a $1 profit on each unit. Another guy decides to get in on your action, and undercuts you, making a $0.50 profit. Another guy jumps in and tries to get some of that, and his profits are even less. Pretty soon a guy tries to get into the industry, but it turns out that he made a mistake and takes a $0.50 loss on each player. Sucks to be him, but it also sucks to be everyone else trying to compete against him because the market is flooded, and pretty soon you're giving away DVD players in cereal boxes.

Like, literally. I remember, and this was 20 years ago, that I saw a box of Captain Crunch, and the prize in the box was a digital watch. That's when I knew I lived in the future. Yes, it was the cheapest, crappiest digital watch you can possibly imagine. No, cheaper than that. But still. Imagine in 1974 being told that a digital watch would the the prize in a cereal box.

And the point is, in the future world of the future, ramping up a factory to produce a widget is going to be easier and easier. The capital goods needed to produce arbitrary widgets will get cheaper and cheaper, and more easy to customize. It's pretty easy to imagine a "factory' where you just download the specs from bittorrent and you can churn out as many widgets as you have feedstock for. The hard part isn't making them, it's putting them on shelves and somehow convincing people to pay money for them.
  #185  
Old 08-13-2014, 07:44 PM
Der Trihs Der Trihs is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: California
Posts: 38,296
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
But note that the situation in Elysium doesn't make sense either. Everyone on Elysium is rich, right? They live up on a space station and don't have any reliance on the hordes below.

But the movie implies that the rich couldn't be rich without keeping the masses in poverty. But that makes no sense. The space station is self-sufficient. Everything they need they already have. So what's the point of oppressing the huddled masses?
In order to feel superior to them. You can't be rich without poor people to be richer than. A post/semi-post scarcity society doesn't have poor people for them to feel superior to or push around, so of course the wealthy will do everything they can to prevent one from emerging.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
What do the "rich" folks in Elysium need from the masses on Earth? Nothing. They aren't siphoning off Earth's wealth to consume for themselves. So why are the folks on Earth so poor?
Deliberate manipulation of the economy by the wealthy, likely. In a class dominated society a major preoccupation of the upper class is to make sure that the lower class stays lower class, and has their lower class status rubbed in their face at every turn. Which is a likely reason for them to all move to a space station rather than something like an island or fortified enclave; it's so they can literally look down on everyone else and sneer at their poverty and illness.

The poverty and lack of "healing beds" could be enforced by some form of sumptuary laws.
  #186  
Old 08-13-2014, 08:38 PM
DingoelGringo DingoelGringo is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 795
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlackerInc View Post
Let's leave aside for the moment all the dystopian visions of doom from an automated future (The Machine Stops, The Terminator, The Matrix, etc.), not because they couldn't happen but because I have another question in mind.

When we look around us and see ATMs, Roombas, GPS operated farm combines, iPhone's Siri, etc., it's not so hard to imagine that if we were to jump forward a few more decades or a century, we could find ourselves in a time where the vast majority of drudge work (from janitorial services, to construction and agriculture, to cooking and waiting tables at a restaurant, to manufacturing everything including the manufacturing robots themselves) is done by "robots". Not C-3PO or R2D2, but computer-guided machinery of one sort or another. Perhaps there will be a few humans needed to guide things (almost like George Jetson, pushing buttons), plus of course artistic and creative vocations like political punditry or ballet; but the stuff that maintains people's basic Maslow hierarchy needs (shelter, food, etc.) will be taken care of without human labour, as will additional layers of luxury.

Further, this level of automation should mean that no one is wretchedly poor, that everyone will be able to live in at least reasonable comfort without having to "work for a living". Right? Again, maybe those who do "extra" could have additional reward for doing so, but if robots can do all the stuff I described, and assuming population is under reasonable control, no one should want for the basics.

So here's my question: what does the transition to this state of affairs look like? Before we get to the point where people say "duh, this is obviously stupid to make people work for paychecks and pay for everything", it strikes me that capitalist tech entrepeneurs will try to enrich themselves by taking over sectors of the economy that used to require human labour. After all, when washers and dryers and dishwashers were invented, they weren't just passed out to families with a benevolent wish that housewives liberate themselves from drudgery. They were (and are) sold at a profit, just like those automatic GPS-driven farm combines.

So when the janitorial robots become cheaper than hiring people, janitors and hotel housekeepers will be thrown out of work. Same thing for taxi drivers when automated cars are perfected. And so on and so forth. At what point then, and in what way, does it cross a rubicon from creating mass unemployment (which is bad) to obviating the need for employment at drudgery (which is good)? Will the robot-making companies find themselves increasingly with fewer and fewer customers because no one will have a job? Will governments just take over, Tea Partiers be damned? Or will it somehow happen organically without great turmoil? I can see the end result, but that transition is a muddle. Whaddaya think?
This was a whole genre of science fiction mostly British in the 70's. While Harlen Ellison was refusing to print in California anything that didn't have the F word in it there was a lot of stories about automation taking over and I loved it, lived it, and breathed it.
  #187  
Old 08-13-2014, 08:46 PM
DingoelGringo DingoelGringo is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 795
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evil Captor View Post
I've got a cite of a well-known research study. You have balogna. I wonder which is more convincing to the disinterested observer?
Actually a disinterested observer would by definition not be interested.
  #188  
Old 08-13-2014, 08:59 PM
DingoelGringo DingoelGringo is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 795
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
But in real life all sorts of businesses go under because they can't make a profit. So you're selling DVD players, and making a $1 profit on each unit. Another guy decides to get in on your action, and undercuts you, making a $0.50 profit. Another guy jumps in and tries to get some of that, and his profits are even less. Pretty soon a guy tries to get into the industry, but it turns out that he made a mistake and takes a $0.50 loss on each player. Sucks to be him, but it also sucks to be everyone else trying to compete against him because the market is flooded, and pretty soon you're giving away DVD players in cereal boxes.

Like, literally. I remember, and this was 20 years ago, that I saw a box of Captain Crunch, and the prize in the box was a digital watch. That's when I knew I lived in the future. Yes, it was the cheapest, crappiest digital watch you can possibly imagine. No, cheaper than that. But still. Imagine in 1974 being told that a digital watch would the the prize in a cereal box.

And the point is, in the future world of the future, ramping up a factory to produce a widget is going to be easier and easier. The capital goods needed to produce arbitrary widgets will get cheaper and cheaper, and more easy to customize. It's pretty easy to imagine a "factory' where you just download the specs from bittorrent and you can churn out as many widgets as you have feedstock for. The hard part isn't making them, it's putting them on shelves and somehow convincing people to pay money for them.
Late 70's we were in the extermination business rats mostly was our specialty. Our basic charge was $25.00 per month for controling rats in a restaurant or such. Then came a branch of a company in Arkansas and they were doing it for $15.00 and a bit later someone decided to guarantee you you wouldn't have rats in your establishment for a year for a one time payment of $25.00 We got out of the business entirely, but continued to get calls for several years.
  #189  
Old 08-13-2014, 09:10 PM
Larry Borgia Larry Borgia is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Washington DC
Posts: 9,888
Quote:
Originally Posted by DingoelGringo View Post
Actually a disinterested observer would by definition not be interested.
That's not what the word "disinterested" means.
  #190  
Old 08-14-2014, 02:56 AM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lair
Posts: 20,890
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
But in real life all sorts of businesses go under because they can't make a profit. So you're selling DVD players, and making a $1 profit on each unit. Another guy decides to get in on your action, and undercuts you, making a $0.50 profit. Another guy jumps in and tries to get some of that, and his profits are even less. Pretty soon a guy tries to get into the industry, but it turns out that he made a mistake and takes a $0.50 loss on each player. Sucks to be him, but it also sucks to be everyone else trying to compete against him because the market is flooded, and pretty soon you're giving away DVD players in cereal boxes.

Like, literally. I remember, and this was 20 years ago, that I saw a box of Captain Crunch, and the prize in the box was a digital watch. That's when I knew I lived in the future. Yes, it was the cheapest, crappiest digital watch you can possibly imagine. No, cheaper than that. But still. Imagine in 1974 being told that a digital watch would the the prize in a cereal box.

And the point is, in the future world of the future, ramping up a factory to produce a widget is going to be easier and easier. The capital goods needed to produce arbitrary widgets will get cheaper and cheaper, and more easy to customize. It's pretty easy to imagine a "factory' where you just download the specs from bittorrent and you can churn out as many widgets as you have feedstock for. The hard part isn't making them, it's putting them on shelves and somehow convincing people to pay money for them.
It sounds like you think the future of factories will be not factories as we know them but something like a Star Trek replicators. That may occur, but I don't think 3D printers are going to morph into Star Trek replicators anytime soon. I'm talking about changes that will occur in a handful of decades at most -- Star Trek replicators, if they are even possible, are probably a century or three out there.
  #191  
Old 08-14-2014, 02:58 AM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lair
Posts: 20,890
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton View Post
You mean . . . they're adapting . . . copying our DNA.
I guess the rich ARE different from the rest of us!
  #192  
Old 08-14-2014, 05:24 AM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,285
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
What do the "rich" folks in Elysium need from the masses on Earth? Nothing. They aren't siphoning off Earth's wealth to consume for themselves.
Actually, the Matt Damon character toils, with poor, unsafe working conditions, in a factory making robots for the corporation owned (or at least run) by one of the super-rich Elysium residents, who periodically comes down to visit, travelling in an armored car with robot bodyguards. But what I kept thinking about was the middle-manager type who wore a short sleeved dress shirt and tie. He bossed Damon around, but the CEO treated him like a peon who was apt to infect him with something (though why he'd be afraid of germs with that med-bed back home is another good question). That was the kind of guy I would think would have, as a job perq, at least access to a communal med-bed if he really needed one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evil Captor View Post
Well of course, long term, it won't work. Problem is, I see the technology moving a lot faster than our cultural and political mores are moving, and what's even worse, the cultural and political mores among the wealthy in the US are moving in the exact opposite direction of what would work for the emergent societies where most don't need to work to provide goods and services. Even in Europe, the wealthy ends of society are moving toward conservative/libertarian views. In the US it's especially alarming because control over wealth and political power are shifting rapidly to these wealthy elites.
I was mostly agreeing with you until that last bit. I don't see where the Koch brothers or Sheldon Adelson are wielding a ton of political power. They are trying, but so far not accomplishing much. And I don't see GOP prospects in 2016 as any better than 2012.
  #193  
Old 08-14-2014, 12:41 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lair
Posts: 20,890
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlackerInc View Post
I was mostly agreeing with you until that last bit. I don't see where the Koch brothers or Sheldon Adelson are wielding a ton of political power. They are trying, but so far not accomplishing much. And I don't see GOP prospects in 2016 as any better than 2012.
Not only do the wealthy elites control American policy (while economically average Americans have little to no control) but it has been that way for at least the last thirty years. Don't take my word for it: a couple of political scientists have conducted a study that makes it very clear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilens and Page
"Not only do ordinary citizens not have uniquely substantial power over policy decisions; they have little or no independent influence on policy at all," the researchers write in the article titled, "Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens."

Affluent Americans, however, "have a quite substantial, highly significant, independent impact on policy," Gilens and Page write. Organized interest groups also "have a large, positive, highly significant impact upon public policy."

Last edited by Evil Captor; 08-14-2014 at 12:43 PM.
  #194  
Old 08-14-2014, 12:49 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The Middle of Puget Sound
Posts: 21,059
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlackerInc View Post
Actually, the Matt Damon character toils, with poor, unsafe working conditions, in a factory making robots for the corporation owned (or at least run) by one of the super-rich Elysium residents, who periodically comes down to visit, travelling in an armored car with robot bodyguards.
So...the humans toil all day in sweatshops, making robots that do all the other work. Is there anything wrong with this picture?
  #195  
Old 08-14-2014, 12:54 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lair
Posts: 20,890
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
So...the humans toil all day in sweatshops, making robots that do all the other work. Is there anything wrong with this picture?
Other than it not making a lick of sense?
  #196  
Old 08-14-2014, 05:06 PM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,285
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evil Captor View Post
Not only do the wealthy elites control American policy (while economically average Americans have little to no control) but it has been that way for at least the last thirty years. Don't take my word for it: a couple of political scientists have conducted a study that makes it very clear.
The facts are plain, regardless of what some political scientists spin things to say. The wealthy, antigovernment, anti-regulation, anti-tax libertarian types you keep referring to spent hundreds of millions of dollars in 2012 and got jack-diddly for it.
  #197  
Old 08-14-2014, 05:29 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lair
Posts: 20,890
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlackerInc View Post
The facts are plain, regardless of what some political scientists spin things to say. The wealthy, antigovernment, anti-regulation, anti-tax libertarian types you keep referring to spent hundreds of millions of dollars in 2012 and got jack-diddly for it.
There is a distinction to be made between policy (what laws are passed) and politics (who gets elected). It seems that no matter WHO gets elected, the man on the street does not get heard unless they are in agreement with the wealthy elites, who DO get heard.
  #198  
Old 08-20-2014, 02:10 AM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lair
Posts: 20,890
Interesting video on the ways IBM's Watson is being used and its capacity expanded. It kind of demonstrates my notion that the current wave of joblessness is different from all the others, because the computers are flexible and can expand into new areas very easily. If I were a knowledge worker of any kind, I'd be nervous as hell.

And in China, the first move toward replacing human waiters and waitresses by robots is under way. (Another video, sorry, but interesting, I think.)
  #199  
Old 08-20-2014, 08:50 AM
Crazier Catlady Crazier Catlady is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 57
I do think stuff will continue to get cheaper with more automation regardless of scarcity of materials. After all, the materials from the products we've used go somewhere. There are already plans to mine landfills for some of those materials and I wouldn't be at all surprised if at some point there would be robots sorting rubbish in order to recycle it. At some point in future we might reach a point where recycling would get us all the raw materials we'd need and it'd be cheap because robots would be doing it.
  #200  
Old 08-20-2014, 02:59 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lair
Posts: 20,890
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazier Catlady View Post
I do think stuff will continue to get cheaper with more automation regardless of scarcity of materials. After all, the materials from the products we've used go somewhere. There are already plans to mine landfills for some of those materials and I wouldn't be at all surprised if at some point there would be robots sorting rubbish in order to recycle it. At some point in future we might reach a point where recycling would get us all the raw materials we'd need and it'd be cheap because robots would be doing it.
Good point, landfills will be mined and replaced by automated recyling centers. And of course, robots will replace miners as well, as it is one of the most difficult, dangerous jobs there is.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:52 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017