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Your Thoughts on the Future
#1
I suppose this is where this post is most relevant? I was just curious about what any users think is a likely scenario for where the world will be in the year 2100; the climate, society, nations, technology, the space industry, basically anything you want to chime in on. Was having a chat with Rynn on the discord about it and wanted to see where everyone else's head was at with this topic, since I seem to have been hopelessly optimistic about it, although not naively so, I just didn't seem to think the situation on Earth would become ridiculously terrible to the point where it would be unlivable, but if this is a prevailing train of thought I'll definitely look into it more. Mostly just want to compare how everyone else is thinking to my own thoughts and each other, hopefully to get a better understanding of what a sample size feels about this topic, and not just a string of articles online. 

Thanks to anyone that shares a response, I look forward to reading them!
Baseline -> Neb -> Tweak -> Su -> Po (Gradual Upload)
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#2
This may sound glib (it's not intended to be), but I actually wouldn't be shocked if the world in 2100 is rather similar to the way we describe it in OA. Somewhat without really meaning to, and somewhat against our own principles, we've put a good bit of thought, discussion, and work into describing the period from 2000 to 2100. For an overview of what we've done in this area see HERE.

This is not to say that I think the future will turn out exactly as we describe it - but I think the general trends we describe:
  • Climate change is going to make life tough for a while, but people are going to find ways to adapt and eventually fix it. But there may be a horrible cost to the environment and a lot of suffering in the interim.
  • Space travel and development will advance into something far beyond what we have now - but built on techs that are not what is 'traditionally' expected.
  • Biotech and AI and automation will develop to what we in RL would consider amazing levels - and will cause massive social changes as a side-effect.
  • Some unexpected or unpredicted advances will pop up here and there along the way.
  • The values/the way people think and behave we generally consider 'the norm' now - will probably change a lot in various ways

are all pretty likely.

My 2c worth,

Todd
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#3
Starting in the next few years (and I mean few) we're going to start the process of replacing all forms of human labor with automation. Until we get that worked out, and until we get away from the old notions of "economics" and "money" and "the welfare state" and actually sit down as a species and talk about these notions and work out that neither socialism nor capitalism can address widespread automation - both of those ideas were crafted before automation was thought of. Even the "solutions" put forth by the most "out-there" social and political leaders (namely UBI) is little more than a 'bag-on-the-side' of our current system that doesn't address the root problem.

If we don't sort this out soon, and find a replacement model for wage labor, there's a technology on deck right now that's going to put something like 10 million Americans out of work - self-driving cars.

Post-scarcity economy would be great, and we've thought about how those work. What about low-scarcity economies? How does the transition from wage labor to Star Trek's replicator work? What do we do when 99% of the people in the world _can't_ make a meaningful, useful contribution to the economy because they just aren't needed? Let them starve? That means demand goes down, less profit, more layoffs and fewer people participating in the economy (which means less profit and more layoffs)!

I keep telling my RL people "This isn't some far-off sci-fi froo froo crap. This is happening right now." and I feel like a little dutch boy with his finger sticking in a hole in the dike. Then I get a bunch of political talking points thrown in my face and nothing gets changed.

The short term future I foresee is like the movie "Elysium"....only worse. Matt Damon wouldn't have had the robot-painting job, because a robot could do it quicker, safer, and more accurately with no sick days, no lunch break, less waste and no industrial accidents.

Maybe this transition to "post-scarcity" is one of the Great Filters that explains the Fermi Paradox? I f***ing hope not, because we're completely unprepared for it and running at it with our eyes closed at a dead sprint.
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#4
(04-21-2019, 04:36 AM)rom65536 Wrote: The short term future I foresee is like the movie "Elysium"....only worse. Matt Damon wouldn't have had the robot-painting job, because a robot could do it quicker, safer, and more accurately with no sick days, no lunch break, less waste and no industrial accidents.

Unless liberal democratic states collapse into the world of Snow Crash, there’s a rather straightforward solution to avoiding a dystopian rampant unemployment scenario: we get laws passed to make implementation of automation in enough jobs illegal, at least until we can figure out a better way. 

In the driverless vehicle case, when you really want the automation, it’s possible to require companies to hire a “driver” for each of their self-driving vehicles and pay them for the machines’ work. You get the increased vehicular safety without leaving former-drivers without a source of income. 

Also, I think you’re seriously overestimating the arrival of human worker obsolescence. Yes, robots are advancing rapidly in physical capability, but they’re still really, really stupid, dumber than most any mammal. I’m not losing my job to a gerbil anytime soon.
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#5
(04-21-2019, 08:21 AM)JohnnyYesterday Wrote: I’m not losing my job to a gerbil anytime soon.

That's not the point. The point is that 500 people around you WILL lose their jobs, the economy tanks....AND THEN you lose your job.

It's not the robot taking any individual job that's a problem, and if robots did all the jobs it wouldn't be a problem - it's when large portions of the workforce get automated away. Like I said, it's the transition that's going to be hard. When all jobs are automated, things will be all "Big Rock Candy Mountain". When 20% of the jobs are automated, it's "Working Man". But when HALF the jobs are automated away, it's "Another Day in Paradise".
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#6
Re how we might handle the impact of automation - A few notions that come to mind:

a) Shift the economy to a 'living on income from capital' model. More specifically - the working people whose jobs are being displaced by automation are assisted in becoming 'shareholders' - making their money not from their direct labor but from the labor of the robots that they have an ownership stake in. This shift might be facilitated by a combination of private and public efforts (private companies providing ownership stakes to their workers facilitated by some combination of government regulation, financing, and loans perhaps).

b) Arrange things such that rather than flat out replacing workers with automation, the automation is instead provided to the workers who use it to earn a living until retirement. As workers retire out of the workforce, they are gradually replaced with automation. An example of this re driverless cars (actually trucks) - As driverless trucks become available, governments arrange to allow truck drivers to get driverless trucks, possibly via low interest loans or some form of grant. The trucks transport goods while the drivers do some combo of living off the income and/or having a second job to earn additional income. Possibly the drivers handle negotiation of new business with customers, rates, troubleshooting etc. They need not actually be with the trucks to do this and might work from home.

c) Depending on the design of the robots, possibly institute a system in which a single robot is provided to each citizen as a right. The robot can presumably do anything the citizen can in terms of labor (and possibly more skill or education based jobs if AI is sufficiently capable). The robot is sent out by the citizen to do a given job and the citizen earns the money from the job. The citizen may or may not work to earn more more beyond what is provided by their robot's labor.

On a different note re whether or not or how soon robots/AI will replace any given job - There was a time when games such as chess and Go were believed to be beyond the ability of AI. There was a time when doing things like picking winning stocks was seen as a purely human endeavor, yet now AI plays a major role in such things. All in all, a lot of what we like to think of as 'uniquely human' or requiring human level intelligence - turns out to not really need it after all.

There may very well be some tasks or problems that absolutely require 'human level intelligence' to handle. But based on our experience so far an ever growing number of tasks and problems have turned out to not actually require this such that it's not entirely clear where that line is.

My 2c worth,

Todd
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#7
The important polities in 2100 will be India, China and Africa (or rather certain factions within Africa). The West and the Middle East will be in decline compared to their influence today.

But I'm hopeful that the West and other current big players will maintain a lot of influence, because of cultural factors. I do tend to think that our current Western culture has many advantages, and I'd like to see these advantages extended to the rest of the world in some form or another.
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