Real Wealth Society

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Will the Singularity Destroy Capitalism? By James Jaeger

> The Singularity is characterized by the emergence of "Strong" artificial intelligence that massively supercedes ordinary humans.

And makes it, by definition, impossible to predict anything.

> But before that, we will see the development of machines that have - at the very least - the intelligence and problem-solving ability of an average human.


>Given that such a machine may control, remotely or directly, another machine with which to manipulate the environment (a humanoid robot is the classic example) the following scenario presents itself: The first batch of such general problem-solving robots with average human intelligence are purchased by companies with mining interests for example, and put to work in the mines for many reasons:

1. Most of the company's work force can be replaced with what are essentially capital investments: overhead is massively reduced and stock performance / profitability can more accurately be forecast.

2. Safety efforts can be relaxed and with no compensation to pay to injured humans, insurance premiums drop significantly.

3. Loss of production caused by the work force changes to a maintenance issue (robots fixing robots) instead of a strike / HR issue where negotiations / bribing of unions is required.

4. I'm sure you can think of others.

True. 1 - 4 will all probably happen given the robots can do the work the human did.

>This phenomenon then spreads with robots replacing other labour intensive jobs such as construction worker, check-out operator, bus driver, council worker (actually, the robots we have today can probably replace most council workers!), factory line worker, etc., etc. Issues concerning the desirability of humans to interact with robots are not relevant to this discussion; neither is the fact that many of these jobs wouldn't require a robot, just a "black box".

And as humans are not needed, the population of the planet will decline from 6 - 12 billion (what ever it is at the time) to probably 1 - 2 billion or less.

>The point is, of course, that pretty soon, driven by the obligation to maximise profits, 97% of the work force loses their jobs and are replaced.

In the short-term. But in the longer-term they simply won't be born. Thus all the "profits" will accrue to a smaller number of people. Eventually there be no "poor" or "middle class." Everyone will be "rich." Remember, you can theoretically cut the planet's population down to zero in just 80 years. No one gives birth.

>Exporting jobs to cheap overseas labour markets becomes the least of our worries. The other 3% is replaced the following year with a smarter version 2 that possesses greater than human level creativity, longterm strategic planning, empathy, and other attributes that enabled these other workers to keep their jobs.

When cheap labor can be performed by robots, there is no out-sourcing of labor problem.

>However, money - or currency -

Money is only gold and silver. Currency is NOT money. Currency is only paper that REPRESENTS money, i.e., gold OR silver. These are the traditional definitions.

>is to our Capitalist society what red blood cells are to our bodies, and so too the network of exchange and trade to our body's circulatory network. But when people lose their jobs and are no longer paid, they cannot buy "stuff" - the money stops circulating. Much like our body, their is a limit to how many circulatory nodes you can cut-off from receiving any red blood cells / energy / money before the whole system rapidly collapses. This limit is of course reached long before the 97% loss presented above. Money becomes worthless.

Money and currency in and of themselves have no value. It's the PRODUCTS (and services) created by humans (or robots) that have value. Thus the blood of society is products and services. Money only represents these products and services and there should be a DIRECT ratio between the creation of money and the creation of products/services. The agencies that insert themselves into the equation, the banks, do so ostensibly to facilitate the exchange of products/services but they have discovered over the decades/centuries that they are also in a position to SIPHON off some of the productivity of society if they create excess currency. This is currency that's not represented by products and services. This is known as FIAT CURRENCY. See

>So former workers have no money to purchase products from the companies that formerly employed them, these companies don't make any money, and are forced to commit the cardinal Capitalist sin: they halt production. Standards of living plumet.

One of the liabilities of a complex civilization that depends on paper currency or money to facilitate transactions is that people loose site of the fact that a JOB is not money or based on money. A job is DOING something. A job is MAKING something. A job has to do with ACTION. People get together and MAKE things. To make things, one does not need to have a middle man, i.e., a central bank. Of course you and I have been brainwashed by the "money-cult" to feel that this is not possible when the fact is that money is only a medium of exchange, one medium of exchange.

>So does the singularity destroy Capitalism?

Capitalism is NOT concerned with money. Capital is NOT money. It's the means of PRODUCTION. Only one school of thought considers MONEY to be capital. Capital is actually: LABOR, RAW MATERIALS, MACHINERY and KNOW-HOW. MONEY is thus not a part of capitalism. So-called MONEY only REPRESENTS elements of capitalism. Thus money is derivative. It is not that important. Money has been made overly-important by those who seek to manipulate it.

A bank and its urination of money are little more than a parasite on the productivity of humans.

>Am I stating the bleedingly obvious? Or am I displaying economic sensibilities of a similar calibre to Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe who has his country's inflation churning away at 1600%? If you DO think that the singularity will destroy capitalism: is this a good thing and what will it be replaced with, a form of democratic socialism*?

SOCIALism is when the government attempts to take care of all SOCIAL needs and wants. To the degree a government prints up currency, and declares it valid (fiat money), it is able to PAY for more and more. As this happens the PEOPLE become OWNED by the government rather than OWNING the government, as stipulated in the Constitution. Because you are allowing the government to steal a sliver of all your products and services through the fiat money they create, you are empowering socialism. When the guns come out, then that socialism has turned into communism.

>Are economic concerns somewhat trivial in the face of the lead-up to a genuine singularity? Given Ray's timelines, should I ditch my 401K / Superannuation plan if I'm under 40?

As we approach the Singularity it will mean that CAPITALISM will intensify. Since the Singularity is the ultimate INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION, a revolution so intense even humans can't comprehend it, all that will happen is the elements of CAPITALISM will radically intensify. These elements will continue to be: LABOR, RAW MATERIALS, MACHINERY and KNOW-HOW. The only difference will be, LABOR and MACHINES will probably merge into "robots," MATERIALS will be recycled, invented, and mined off-planet; and KNOW-HOW will be increasingly provided by AI and enhanced humans.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong or scary about any of this.

Where the problem comes in is: with greater productivity comes the possibility of greater abuse of currency. If currency can be printed up out of thin air on the grounds that it needs to represent a greater number of products, it may be increasingly tempting to print up way too much. But prior to that, money will probably end up being represented by electrons because, with the Singularity, products will be produced so quickly no bank will be able to print up enough money to keep up. And don't look now, there is now underway a movement to get rid of currency and to hide its amount. The Fed as of around March 2006, no longer reports M3 or refinance agreements.

But this is what may eventually happen: MONEY will reach an end game whereby it is no longer useful to "keep score" with. All material items on the planet in a post-Singularity world will instantly be available and all totally "free" (meaning it takes me less effort to do my part in the manufacturing of your wanted product than it does for me to send you a bill). Thus the idea of using a MEDIUM to "facilitate" the "exchange" of matter (products) and actions (services) may not be necessary. Further, we will have the computing power to create products on-demand with virtually no energy limitation. As the population decreases towards say 1 billion, it will be increasingly easy to create a "living complement" for every human. A living complement is the list of material necessities a human needs to exist on a planet with a reasonably high standard of living. A compliment with include things like:

1. 12 pairs of underpants.
2. 6 shirts.
3. 2 cars.
4. 1 5,000 SF house.
5. 2 tooth brushes.
6. 1 short-range jet.
7. 10 trash cans.
8. 3 pairs of shoes.
9. 1 hose.
10. etc...

Being "rich" will thus transition into being something else. Hopefully the psychological problems pertaining to wealth will be handled soon, for one of the major reasons people seek to become wealth is because they are dysfunctional in the area of ego. Stupid people are often rich because, not having mental ability, or being too lazy to put in the study-time, they seek to compensate by ownership. The subtext of a stupid rich person is always: I will own so I can control and dominate you. The fundamental reason for this is they are scared of intelligence. Thus, you can look to this mentality to fill the ranks of the Ludite opposing the Singularity. Smart machines? Very scary to them. As scary as smart humans.

It's been said that the super-rich foster wars so that the proceeds of civilization can be wasted thus abetting the stratification of society. I will bet this is not entirely untrue. After all if society were able to become so productive that everyone could have a Mercedes and a Gulfstream, how could the rich man differentiate himself? The answer, of course, is: After cherrying out this planet, they can colonize new planets and start over. Every new planet will go through a period of time whereby there is a social stratification, thus, this mentality can get it's enjoyment of domination while doing something productive for the universe.


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