An "Idiocracy" is the next logical phase economic evolution

The Industrial Revolution brought about a permenant shift from an agrarian to an industrial based economy. Later computers and the internet ushered in the information age where manufacturing has declined and information services gained prominance.

My theory is that the next logical phase is a sort of “Idiocracy” (yes, like the Mike Judge film). Unlike the film, it has nothing to do with dysgenics. As automation reduced the need for manual labor, automated information and decision support systems will ultimately reduce the need to make intelligent decisions. The proliferation of social media sites like Facebook will reduce the need for direct human interaction. The ultimate result is that like how modern humans mostly no longer have the skills required to hunt and survive in the wilderness, future humans will allow their social skills, manners, critical thinking and reason to attrophy.

With most of our physical needs provided by automation and outsourcing and most of our cognitive needs provided by our various information systems, most of societies needs and wants will revolve around being entertained from the mindless boredom of their lives. And what’s more entertaining than some idiot trying something stupid and filming it?

In addition to the traditional forms of mindless entertainment like movies and sports, expect to see a proliferation of reality TV shows, daytime talk shows, “gothcha” shows designed to catch people doing stupid shit and other media designed to consolidate and categorize and make profitable the vast amount of stupidity out there.

How to best prepare your children for the future? Forget wasting your time and money educating them at fancy colleges so they can go work in some declining industry. Teach them to play an instrument or act. Imbue (too big a word?) in them the importance of being attractive, good looking. Make them understand the importance of going to the gym so they can get abs like The Situation. Help them to learn that they will never be successful like Paris Hilton or Lindsey Lohan unless they learn how to act outlandishly in public.

If they really insist of being “intellectuals”, don’t consider them a disappointment. There is still money to be made in the trades as a snarky blogger or Comedy Central clip show editor.

How about the people who have maintain all the computer and technical systems?

I dunno, its not like the majority of people spent most of their time solving Partial Differential Equations back when there was very little automation or media entertainment. My image of the average 19th century factory worker isn’t someone who spends all day making difficult and complex decisions and thus training their mental facilities.

If anything, I’d say most intellectual pursuits are recreational, or at least, they’re related to jobs that do more then provide basic materialistic goods or services. So as technology decreases the amount of man/hours needed to put a roof over everyones head and food on the table, we’ll spend more time thinking and less digging ditches.

I wouldn’t argue that that will necessarily make people smarter, but I can’t see that it would make you dumber.

They’ll evolve into Morlocks.

Morlocks were supposed to the working classes of HG Wells’ times which the technicians won’t be.

That’s what technicians are; workers.

Forget about acting - writing and directing, maybe. We’re going to have CGI people as good as real within ten years, and systems that can convert a director’s instructions into movement soon after that.

The people who do thinks computer’s can’t do, like writing and teaching, are going to be fine. Everyone else will have hobbies, some of them actually intellectual. I don’t think people will get any dumber, though. When my parents retired they took classes for fun. I can doing that.

As for the economy, I more and more see Mack Reynold’s future coming true. We already have the ability to trace people through use of credit cards and phones. His United States had a universal company, and all citizens got shares of stock which paid dividends, kind of like a dole. If you actually worked, you got some better stock paying more, but everyone had (and could not sell) shares of Universal Basic.
The companies will make a fortune on high productivity and very little labor, but pay most of their profits in taxes in order to keep the people from revolting.

If we have systems that can convert a director’s instructions to movement (presumably without the director spending tens of thousands of man-hours coding the details), then systems that can write and teach aren’t far off.

I’ve speculated a mostly-post-scaricity future, and it ended up looking much like this, except that the corporation pretended to be the government and instead of dividends it was an explicit dole.

Highly payed, professional, and skilled workers.

Not very well payed, or well treated. And what makes you think that the “working class” doesn’t have either professionalism or skill?

Acting is a creative craft now, because the actor has to define a character from often very vague directions from the writer and director. The actor must also remove his or her normal reactions to a certain extent. With no interior life, this latter is no problem for a CGI character, and the former may require more work by the writer and director. But I forgot voice actors, who might still be needed. Look at cartoons. In the best of them you can get good acting from drawn characters with no people behind them at all - and we are still very primitive. I don’t buy computers writing until we have strong AI which won’t be for a long time yet.

Another possibility is that the government will nationalize the corporations and pretend to become one, so the shares are in the government - which is I think what Reynolds did. He was a red diaper baby, and a socialist.

I meant compared to the population they are better off. Usually engineers and computer programemrs and etc. are upper middle class.

I believe you grossly underestimate the effort, skill, and (yes) creativity that animators put into making a 3-d rendered character (or even an animated character) look alive. I’ve dabbled in animation, and I’ve watched a couple of hundred hours of DVD special features about the process (:D) and I assure you that there’s a fair amount more to animation than you seem to think.

Not to say that writing is necessarily easier - but to get a computer that can take “do that again, but with more feeling” and give you anything at all back, you’ll need strong AI, at which point writing seems equally in reach.

Well, there will be some people who do that just like there are still farmers. But the general trend with all technology is to make it simpler, more automated, more modular. No one gets tvs repaired anymore. You just toss it and buy a new one. In the future, computers and technical systems might need relatively little maintenance. They would effectively be disposable “black boxes” connected by idiot-proof cables or wireless signals.

I don’t think people would be dumber per se. They would just act dumber. Statistically, people are taking longer to reach what we consider “adulthood”. With less pressure to work real jobs and conform to professional standards, I see a lot of people who exhibit behavior that in the past would have rendered them unemployable will now be able to live comfortibly. Take the cast of the Jersey Shore. Those retards are probably earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year exhibiting behavior that my generation was more or less expected to grow out of once we graduated high school.

Perhaps in such a society artificial militarization (in the sense of a Federal Service) is needed to keep young people fit and have a sense of civic duty and to mature earlier?

Your problem is, you write like a fag and your shit’s all retarded.

That being said, I don’t really see the information age’s havoc on traditional “social skills” as a negative - frankly, based on experience, purely textual internet communication seems more “honest” to me. It factors out appearances, clumsiness or social graces, sex and sex appeal, annoying tones of voice, fashion and adherence thereto, height, weight, accent, skin colour and a whole slew of similar bullshit factors. You get the job solely on the grounds that you can do it right and your name sounds Euro-American or not.

OK, so we’re not completely over the bullshit stuff. But IMO, it’s a step forward, not an alienation.

As for manners and fookin’ rudeness and idiocy such, well, were they ever critical to moving society forward ? Or hindrances, for that matter ? Rome happily watched midgets being mauled by atheist lions (or something), it didn’t stop them from codifying laws that inspired our own and building the Sistine Chapel (or something ;)). Panem and circenses evolve, but so do orators and Pythagorases.

You know, there was a time in this country when smart people were considered cool. Well, maybe not cool, but smart people did things like build ships and pyramids and they even went to the moon. And there was a time in this country, a long time ago, when reading wasn’t just for fags and neither was writing!

Actually, Facebook is great because it allows me to communicate and stay in touch with friends accross the country I might rarely see again. But IMHO it doesn’t replace actually going out for a beer with them.

They aren’t unless you need to interact with people to get stuff done. That’s the point. As technology allows us more independence and freedom, there will be less of a need for “soft skills” and “bullshit stuff” like negotiating, facilitating and cooperating with others. If you can do the work of 5 people, you don’t need to learn how to manage a team of people to accomplish an objective. It frees people up to do what they want when they want and in my observations, when people get to do whatever the heck they want they often want to act like jackasses.

Well, neither do I (though there certainly is a category of “friends” you kinda want to hold at Facebook length ;)), but that’s neither here nor there. Your argument as I understand it was that nowadays people strive for worthless fame by doing objectively stupid or worthless stuff on YouTube. Which is true to an extent, but then again I also knew a guy whose only claim to fame was to be able and willing to sneak pictures of his junk on every camera in the party. And another who would stuff panties up his nose. It’s not like attention whoring imbeciles are a brand new thang. Hell, if anything, holding discourses on Plato’s cavern while everyone around’s busy getting smashed is a form of attention whoring in and of itself. I should know :wink:

And I’m not sure Facebooking, tweeting and whatnot actually replace real social experience - I don’t do either, and I feel like I’m getting closer to get-orf-mah-lawn territory by the day, but I used to be a part of a very incestuous “blogosphere” (shut up, I hate that word too) and one of the first things we did once we realized there was a bunch of us including wimmin was schedule a big IRL meet. Then make it a monthly thing. Which devolved into the usual intestine intrigues, friendly backstabbings and “who’s fucking whom right now ?”. You know, social life. It’s just that the social impetus these days is based more on core values (i.e. do you think Ke$ha’s an empowering female icon, or that my MySpace pic is hot) rather than circumstantial and happenstance considerations (i.e. we go to the same uni and met at the big kegger). Beyond that, the social experience of shoving quarters up your nose to get attention is pretty much intact :slight_smile:

Yes. How is that a bad thing ? Or do you figure people were less of a bunch of cunts when they had to pretend to like each other at the cafeteria ?

Most people have social interactions with coworkers because they have to, not because they care to. Since coworkers typically come from every walk of life, they are by definition idiots (by the popular acception of the word : people who don’t think like I do). The worst problem that comes from a derth of socializing with other “kinds” of people is a fractioning of the population into autistic, independant circles, a polarizing of society like the one we observe in politics. But it’s not like castes & cliques are a new thing either, even in the “adult” setting of a corporation or similar entreprise. The new social groups merely require new and different soft skills - whether it’s spelling, or snark, or the art of trolling. And again, if anything they’re more honest than before, because they’re out in the open, albeit maskerading behind usernames and noms de plume.

Now, there *is *an issue in that if u lern 2 spik lk dis n !know btr, then no coworker or human being above the age of 12 is going to take you seriously, ever (please, God, make it so. I beg U). But, again, that’s just another set of soft skills to figure out, neither better nor worse than what came before. Just as working with or leading others is something you’re going to have to learn if your job entails it, period. It’s either that, or you find a way to earn the bennies on your own.

I’m sorry, but the whole “oh, people aren’t interacting as much because it’s all friendface and twitter and sexting and the interwebs nowadays” thing smacks of the age-old “old-people-not-understanding-the-young-people” phenomenon (yes, I’m sure there are plenty of 85 y olds on Facebook, but you know what I mean). Facebook, along with the ease of communication brought on by email, texting, and cell phones has definitely increased the amount of actual face-to-face socialization in my case, and in most users in general I’m sure. In just three words and a number, I can organize a happy hour after work. I can make sure I wish every one of my friends family and co-workers a happy birthday. Last-minute parties, get-togethers, and potlucks can be organized in a snap. Not to mention all the people that I’ve lost touch with, that I suddenly have at least some connection with. At my 5-year college reunion I didn’t have to awkwardly walk up to old classmates for an awkward “this is what I’ve been doing for 5 years” conversation. I could say “Hey, I saw on FB you have a kid!” or “Did you go on a diving vacation recently? I remember you posting pics…” It’s like having a big rolodex where you can actually see and hear from the people.

[quote=“msmith537, post:17, topic:555787”]

You know, there was a time in this country when smart people were considered cool. Well, maybe not cool, but smart people did things like build ships and pyramids and they even went to the moon. And there was a time in this country, a long time ago, when reading wasn’t just for fags and neither was writing!

I don’t know if I’m right msmith, but I saw kobal’s comment as sarcastic, imitating the loss of manners, social skills, and other adolescent behavior that your OP refers to…

Woosh, son, woosh (we were both riffing on Idiocracy, since he name-dropped the movie in his OP).

Unless I’m being meta-wooshed, in which case : uncool, bro.