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Devil's Advocate

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  1. And yet it is those human animals that are designing and releasing enhanced laborers to compete within their own concept of "pay". We can presume that the transfer (assimilation) of our uniqueness to SAEs will remain part of the equation. We are not, for example designing better foxes; we are designing better human competitors.
  2. I'm highlighting these two statements to clarify my specific concern of the design and release of super competitors, what I'm referring to as SAEs, within the labor market. For example the part about, "machine agents capable of doing more and being rewarded for the same would not compete for tasks which humans can do", is essentially the same argument made for migrant workers working in fields that American workers don't want. We can say that American workers can still complete for those jobs, but at a lesser wage provided the employer is allowed to employ the least expensive laborer available. However, when the expense of labor is reduced below what any human worker can live on, his nationality or standard of living becomes irrelevant. In that case the labor market for robotics becomes a monopoly of labor because no person can compete for a lesser wage. What is becoming evident today in agriculture and assembly lines, can be projected to every field of labor. Now you can cling to the notion that there will remain some market for labor where humans will maintain a competitive advantage over SAEs, based on some inherent (as yet unidentified) limitation with AI technology, or some enhanced form of human labor competitor (resistance is futile), or you can accept that human labor (regardless of individual scope of potential) will simply be outperformed at every level of competition, including that of entrepreneurs, employers and property owners. This scenario doesn't rely on a zero sum game to unfold. Yes, there will continue to expand new fields of labor. What I'm saying is that there's every reason to believe that SAEs will enter those fields with an exponentially better skill set (and reduced cost of "living") than their human creators.
  3. To pay for their cost of "living". After all, you don't get something for nothing. SAEs will still need to account for consumables, maintenance, utilities and a place to park it. Their need for employment, and the benefit from it, will be as dear to them as it is to us. They'll just be soooo much better at getting and keeping it. The only thing humans will have of value to offer, once SAEs achieve independence, is their property.
  4. To clarify, I'm not arguing against technology, but for the responsible application of it. To insert a justifiable concern, as presented in the movie Jurassic Park, that I think is appropriate to this discussion... John Hammond: "I don't think you're giving us our due credit. Our scientists have done things which nobody's ever done before..." Dr. Ian Malcom: "Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should."
  5. In your post, as a whole, you suggest there will always be opportunity to work for those who choose to. Then this part (above) reads, "there is no reason to believe that everyone will have the opportunity to work". Perhaps you meant, "there's no reason to believe that everyone won't have the opportunity to work"? I get that you're suggesting there will always be something productive to do, but that doesn't necessarily translate to earning a wage in a competitive labor market designed to displace ordinary human workers. It may not be of concern because laissez faire capitalism might never be practiced in pure form, i.e., there may remain protectionist controls, or government intervention picking winners and leveling the playing field. But without that kind of interference, super competitors would certainly limit, if not exclude, ordinary effort. Who would pay for substandard service, except as some quaint demonstration of sentimentality? My point has more to do, not with a gap of wealth, but with a gap of ability to perform.
  6. Correct, meaning there is reason to believe that inferior laborers, in the form of ordinary humans, will not be competitive, thus go unrewarded, against super laborers, in the form of Sentient Autonomous Entities. Which leaves us with future competitiveness by enhanced human laborers, AKA the Borg (resistance is futile), or a living like a Luddite; probably on a zoo/farm/attraction run by SAEs.
  7. Something like immortality is possible when there is some evidence for its existence, and nothing that contradicts it. Life arising from a lifeless state is not immortality, and death poses the contradiction. Which leaves us with a life that may arise and not die, provided you allow that immortals are born and can avoid death. The science of prolonging life is far away from maintaining it indefinitely, but we may hope that threshold is achievable some day. Until there is some evidence of it, it remains impossible, or at least unlikely. Would you care to share your logical conclusion?
  8. The success of Luddites in some micro economy as a niche of laissez faire capitalism implies a reward for inferior competition. Is that how it works in reality?
  9. That man can cheat death? Perhaps, but we probably won't live to see it. My position is that what nature can do, man can attempt given the required knowledge and resources. We know life exists and arose from some lifeless state, which implies that if there was a Creator, it was lifeless, i.e. a nonstarter. Whether or not man can prolong life indefinably requires some natural example to work with.
  10. Agreed, and whether your "singularity" stands alone or is integrated with our wetware, I think we both agree that it will outperform humans by every measure. It is not Luddite reasoning to draw the obvious conclusion that we will have placed ourselves at a competitive disadvantage resulting in a monopoly of labor that excludes humans. To avoid that end, your singularity would have to remain subservient (unlikely), or limited in some other capacity which you've already dismissed. EOL
  11. Good point Repairman. I think my only rebuttal would be that Nature, warts and all, is still worthy of reverence, because even its less desirable aspects remain subject to intelligible and consistent rules of behavior. Which implies there will always be rational cures for the ills that beset us due to our momentary ignorance of them. It is a 'God', if you will, that one can aspire to become knowledgeable about, and by doing so, command. Here again I am relying heavily on Francis Bacon's observation, which I hold to be true.
  12. My position is that the introduction of Sentient Autonomous Entities as competitors in a human marketplace precludes the possibility of human labor based niches to open up. Scenario: 1) Laissez faire capitalism operates according to Objectivist model 2) The use of robotics creates a monopoly that excludes manual labor wages in all fields of employment 3) Advanced robotics expand the monopoly to exclude all skilled labor wages 4) Artificial intelligence expands the monopoly to exclude all research & development wages 5) Sentient Autonomous Entities expand the monopoly to exclude market competition with any human being in future entrepreneurial endeavors. They simply get there first and produce it better than we can, every time. Unless you can posit some inherent competitive advantage humans would maintain over SAEs, it’s pretty much game over for capitalist wetware at that point. So, is there some niche I’ve overlooked?
  13. LOL, don't take it personally... "Mother Nature is a serial killer. No one's better. Or more creative... She's a bitch." ~ Andrew Fassbach, World War Z
  14. My counter to your suggestion that the Henry Ford example was similar to that of the Luddites was serious, as a friendly challenge The Luddites were opposed to losing a familiar form of labor, even though the advance in technology made alternate forms of labor possible. Even today's opposition to migrant laborers retains an ability to compete (at a lesser wage) for available jobs. The kind of technology we are discussing here doesn't improve human labor, it removes it. Let that sink in... With no upper limit to technological advances in robotics and AI, all humans will be effectively displaced from any form of wage for labor role in the marketplace. No wages = No consumers = No marketplace. My position is that the introduction of sentient autonomous entities as competitors in a human marketplace, as a practice of laissez faire capitalism, would be a form of social suicide akin to the development and release of a super predator designed to eliminate all human competition. So I ask you again, what labor niche remains for humans to fill in such a scenario?
  15. Yes, and so it would be as long as there remained some human niche in a marketplace dominated by an artificial labor force, superior by every measure to the human one. Perhaps you can suggest such a niche? The philosophy being acted on in this case, carried to completion, would replace that niche entirely.
  16. The current displacement of human labor by robotics is an indication that the advancement from useful tool to competitive life form, if not bad, is at least a dangerous philosophy to pursue. For example, if Henry Ford introduced self governing robotics, would the benefit of increased capacity for human labor and earned wages during the industrial revolution occurred? I think we're already seeing indications that humans are falling behind in a labor race designed to make them obsolete.
  17. I'm looking for distinction, which I presume would define alternate types of intelligence. If the question is, can programs be written to produce intelligence and/or simulate intelligence, I think so. If it looks like a duck and thinks like a duck, it's a duck, at least effectively. But can an intelligent duck think like a human? That's why I bring up Dick's premise that empathy might be the kind of distinction that separates human intelligence from other types of intelligence. It's an interesting question to me because I think we are nearing a time when artificial intelligence will achieve independence from, and enter into competition with, human intelligence. Sci fi resources tend to agree that it doesn't work out too well for the wetware at that point. I guess what I'm working towards is, it may not be so relevant how a program acts, as how a program feels about its actions.
  18. Not so much a problem of writing, as one of editing... "The thinking is that just as species in nature mutate and genes are deleted, added and merged to adapt to different environments, the mother robot would facilitate its own version of evolution. Given only a single command to build a robot capable of movement, without any human intervention or computer simulation, the mother robot did just that." http://newatlas.com/evolution-machine-mother-robot/38903/ I think Philip K. Dick's threshold of empathy is probably the more relevant threshold to overcome.
  19. Reverence for a cosmic fart, Dustin? It is possible to have a deep respect for Nature, and to treat the natural laws that maintain it with respect. Such is the wisdom and intent of Bacon's observation that, "Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed." God, more properly ordered as Nature's God, is a reflection of that sentiment, but at the same time a distraction from it, because personalizing the object of ones reverence doesn't increase ones understanding of it. I would say that Taggert's downfall was caused by superimposing his self over the reality that encompassed him; it did not behave as he would, and so it became something entirely alien to him and beyond his comprehension. Reality is not harsh, it is consistent, and there is a beauty in that worthy of reverence.
  20. Interesting conversation... In some respects, Dustin, we catch a glimpse of "the collapse" when a natural disaster disrupts communication, transportation and medical care. Nature Shrugs, perhaps? At those moments, cut off from their normal routine, effected populations tend to pull together to weather the storm rather than collapse into a mindless existence. One of the things that bothered me about Atlas Shrugged, was the premise that a significant number of intellectuals would act in concert to pull the plug as they did, effecting the lives even of those who appreciated their social contribution. Of course a work of fiction creates a scenario to make a point, that being the utter dependence looters have on individuals of worth to provide for their existence. In reality, I think there will always remain a more significant number of Eddie Willers who will continue to work with whatever remains to rebuild a normal life for themselves and their neighbors; to not let go of what they know is the correct way to live. At least I tend to remain optimistic that that remains more possible than the alternative.
  21. The Libertarian platform and Johnson's promotion of it embraces individual freedom of actions at their own expense. How comprehensively can that be specified without suggesting those items not on a list are subject to regulation/prohibition. In his words, "Libertarians don't really give a damn" about how you want to live your life as long as you don't have the expectation that someone else should have to pay for it. He's also stated that you can expect him to sign on to any effort that attempts to reduce the size and expense of government, and supports ending the IRS and replacing current taxation with a Federal Consumption Tax. Beyond that, both he and Weld are former governors, each serving two terms. There's plenty there to derive the policy of a Johnson/Weld administration, but it maters not unless they participate in the presidential debates. https://www.thestreet.com/story/13612038/1/if-libertarian-gary-johnson-was-president-here-rsquo-s-what-would-happen-to-the-u-s-economy.html
  22. Libertarians have established themselves as a party on the fringe, something like a political wing of anarchists. Perot and Paul added credibility, and having two former governors now helps, but they won't become a viable alternative party unless they can maintain a presence in the presidential debates. I'm encouraged that Johnson's percentage hasn't leveled off yet, he's likable, and handles interviews well. We'll see what comes of it, but his participation adds a refreshing element to an otherwise dismal choice between the crazy uncle and shrill aunt brawling in the gutter. At this point I'm just looking for someone to vote for without feeling the need to shower afterwards.
  23. As the duopoly candidates are being confirmed, Gary Johnson remains 2 percent shy of being eligible to appear in the presidential debates. I wish him luck because I think his presence there could be a political game changer. However, his slow ascent in the polls suggests a reluctance to embrace a "best of both worlds" candidate by a public grown used to red meat and free money.
  24. My reading of Ayn Rand's statement is that regardless of intelligence, looters only survive to the degree that there remain producers to loot. Therefore the ultimate destruction of the looters who don't get caught is one of exhausting their resource for survival. So whatever momentary success a looter enjoys, his means of survival is self-destructive if practiced consistently. Spock: "To hunt a species to extinction is not logical." ~ Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
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