Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Welcome, Robot Overlords. Please Don't Fire Us?

Scott stirs the pot again. Today he sent out a link to a story in Mother Jones about how real smart computers may be here in ten or twenty years. The story makes use of an interesting example of exponential growth. That's all fine and wonderful, but the title (I stole the title for this post) is what worries me. If computers are doing all the work, nobody will have a job. On one hand it's paradise, you can just lie around and eat grapes all day. Ha. Who's buying the grapes? We have lots of people with nothing to do right now, and a lot of them are using their new found leisure time to make trouble. Dealing drugs, trafficking in arms, running credit card scams, dreaming up new class action law suits, starting religious revivals, recruiting jihadists, starting political action committees, the list just goes on and on. The more automation we have, the more people don't have any direction and the more trouble they get into. Maybe that's why the government is growing Homeland Security so much. Not because there are threats, but because we need something for people to do so they aren't out making trouble. We need a new model for society.
    Perhaps the expanding organic-free-range farming business will start employing more people. For it to expand enough to make a difference would mean people would have to give up some of their shiny new toys, and that could impact corporate profits, and lord knows we can't have that. I see trouble no matter which way we go.
    Update: Somehow I missed page two of the Mother Jones story, and that part talks about my concerns. He doesn't have any solutions either. Maybe join the Amish.


Anonymous said...

The photo is an anacronism; I can't date teh rifles, but they're sure not from 1492.

Charles Pergiel said...

The photo is contemporary. These guys have been on the job since 1492, and as of last week, they were still on the job, which is when this photo was taken.