TED Conversations

Ray Malinda

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Laboring by the human race will someday be extinct. We've been working on eliminating the need for employment since the start of thinking.

All our creativity has been constantly moving in this direction throughout the ages of mankind. We invent either so we can loaf or to take what somebody else's labor has produced so we don't have to produce it. Since the start of the industrial revolution we have been inventing ways to eliminate the human in production. We're reaching a point to where human labor will someday, and that day may not be far away, will no longer be necessary. What do we do with our time then? What will happen to all the humanoids that never opted into being human? They only know how to act like animals: behaving according to primitive drives without regard for human qualities.
Our abundance of food has produced overpopulation which is the sacred cow of any discussion. It is very rarely approached except to try to conceive of ways to produce more supply rather than reducing the demand. Is it better to have billions of people on a crowed planet or less enjoying the bounties of nature without the crowding and shortages?
As smart as we are it takes us a long collective time to figure these basic things out. We have to stop thinking just in terms of keeping as many humans alive as possible to planned parenthood for the planet basing our decisions in the framework of this tiny speck of dust in the void.

Topics: overpopulation
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  • Jul 28 2012: I concur.

    There will always be people here, but we may assume we all need to work smarter. Inventions, as I have heard over many years, are to "save time" and energy----human body energy. It is difficult to imagine a situation in which no human labor is needed. The strong likely will always command the weak, but love must be at the core of all relationships. We need the "worker" class. Will it ever disappear?

    You ask a good question--what will we do with our time. And this might be the question of the millennium!!!!! Being lazy and useless isn't attractive. Seeking constant full time self entertainment seems superficial. So what will we do?

    Turn self into service and let that service do what is best for all.

    As I see it, we are not "playing God" when we desire to manage everything well, including the ratio of people per mile. What is the desirable ratio for balance and efficient living, including balanced use of natural resources? The TED community may want to address this question. Let TEDsters discuss and present ideas for a thousand years on this one!

    Fascinating topic. I am interested in what thoughtful responses we may see here.
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    Aug 3 2012: I am so grateful there is a TED translation service. I may speak in English but I try to use a variety of metaphors to illustrate what I am saying. The capitalist economic model ultimately is as flawed as the socialist model because both models make inappropriate use of the labour market. Yes the ultimate resource is people as all the new emerging economies know. The pace of change is too fast for the world to keep up with either in the supply of resources to the production of stuff or the toxic waste left by the process. People have always been the primary resource - the socialist model uses people physically, the capitalist model uses people's knowledge rather than their bodies. They miss the point, it is people's collective knowledge and energy that the answer lies not in the collective physical energy or their collective intellectual knowledge. India and Brazil are using child labour and producing inferior quality goods because their adult knowledge base is insufficient. Russia and China are using their adult knowledge base and the community knowledge base. All four are utilising resources in a way that is using up global resources at a faster rate than they can be successfully replaced and postively recycled. Russia has the oil reserves, China is extracting water, Brazil has been stripped of it's wood and plant crops and India's people are suffering through flooding. Think of what is driving these economies, it is about what is happening to the people.
  • Aug 3 2012: "As smart as we are it takes us a long collective time to figure these basic things out."

    Why do you say that we are smart? I see much more denial than intelligence.
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      Aug 3 2012: Smart in the technology we're able to keep advancing while still behaving like primitives in our social structures.
      • Aug 3 2012: This is a disconnect between the objective consciousness and the subjective consciousness which will eventually cause the destruction of our culture
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    Jul 29 2012: I believe your thinking only in terms dictated by the current structure which is evolving exponentially more rapidly every day. IF, and that's a big if, we survive the destruction of civilization when the environmental tipping point is reached and the delicate structure that supports us collapses into chaos, which it very well may, we will have a lot less people and a chance to structure things without the inherent flaws in the old system of operating. Of course, the ability to run the machinery of modern life as well as the access to the raw materials needed to supply them may be lost and if everything was digitized the knowledge of how to put that aspect of the society back together may be inaccessible all together. It's not just pessimism I'm working from her but a realistic view of how fragile everything is. That was made evident with the economic collapse when the roots of it were there all along being exposed to people who saw it coming but were ignored because self interests was driving all the players to the cliff we all fell off.
    My idea of the end of labor is rooted in the possibility of us doing the unlikely and evolving into a kinder, gentler culture run by humanoids that have opted in to being human. In my definition: those that work with the whole as their main consideration after their immediate needs are met. They exhibit those traits exclusive to human beings: compassion, language, art, the ability to bind time and space through the solidifying and preserving of ideas that transcend individual death by passing collective knowledge to future generations and therefore the whole of mankind to build on it.
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    Jul 29 2012: I think we need to re-think our attitude towards science and technology. We should appreciate it for its advancement and innovation; but we should also keep in mind the importance of the human being.
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      Jul 29 2012: I believe the conversation has to be moved toward the fundamentals at work in our "society" of the west. In my opinion it is the battle for the all powerful masses and their awakening from their sheeple state they exist in completely unaware of the manipulation by the extremely small predatory humanoids that have learned how to efficiently manipulate them into supporting their base desire for power over them. This is where the technology is currently being used most effectively in destroying anything in the way of the quest for power as so well represented and quantified in money.
      Capitalism is very good at motivating but the cutting side of it is that it promotes the morally corrupt into positions of power where there is never enough money acquired to satiate the thirst for it and no price they are not willing to pay for its maintenance and acquisition.
      Just look at the "debate" about the destruction of the environment and other species. The rich and powerful would accept the extinction of the human race to maintain their positions of power while the mass of people sleep as their world crumbles in around them rather than confront their handlers.
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    Jul 29 2012: IN MY VIEW:
    Extinction of forced laboring is always welcome but the condition is; all humanity gets to share the outcome of automation rather than few corporation. What I mean is technology should be applied for greater good than just to increase profit of some individual or corporate. When we become free of forced labor we will be able to explore more and might accomplish greater understanding of our existence.
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      Jul 29 2012: Absolutely. Technology in the hands of despots is just as powerful a force for evil as it would be for good in the hands of opted in humans. It seems to be taken over by the animal humanoids much more quickly than by the opted in humans who would use it with benefits for everyone as their prime directive. The reptilian brain directives of the 2 legged animal is the obstacle to any kind of civilized cultural organization.
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      Aug 3 2012: apple does not provide iphones to millions of people? suzuki does not provide cars? walmart does not offer heaps of stuff? i don't understand how would modern industry only serve a few. it seems that everyone is benefited.
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        Aug 4 2012: you talk about what is happening right now and I am talking about how it may or should happen. I think production of any kind should be public owned and automated whether it's iphone, cars or even houses. People in general should concentrate on newer technological achievements and such achievements should be implemented by public owned (global scale) production places so that even if there is profit it gets distributed equally.

        Current structure of private ownership or limited ownership has caused unnecessary conflict and created obstacle in implementing technology which are truly good. Greed has made us blind so unlimited public ownership should be the key.
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          Aug 4 2012: why would it suddenly happen differently? automation is ongoing for thousands of years. always happened to the benefit of the masses. the majority of this progress happened in the 19th and 20th century, in capitalist economies. you seem to live in an imaginary world.
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        Aug 7 2012: krisztian, we all are living in somebody's imaginary world today cause all change comes from imagination so why not to imagine.

        reason it should happen differently is felt more by people who don't have than people who have, I don't know which side you belong but I belong to the have not. But I do agree imagination alone will do nothing so I am working on it as well.

        Regarding the progress that happened in the 19th and 20th century we all know the extent of damage we have done to our habitat. I also feel that all things that grow big and strong aren't necessarily good and I seriously feel the type of economy I see today is more evil than good.
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          Aug 7 2012: evasive maneuver followed by the shift of goalpost.

          that imaginary world and dream idea, i don't know where it came from and what does it have to do with our discussion. my claim was that you hugely benefit from all these advancements. you are the consumer that uses more advanced, less expensive products. you wear clothing that was made on a weaving machine, you use a cellphone that was made in a modern factory. you claim to be a havnot, but 400 years ago, the same annual income was the norm in europe and US too. what changed it is the industrial revolution brought about by free market capitalism. everything we have is result of that.

          and then you suddenly move the goalpost to damaging habitat. quite a journey from not having any benefits to this.
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    Jul 29 2012: if it was true, majority would not work today. in the beginning of time, everyone worked on food production. as technology got more advanced, many people left agriculture, and started doing other things, and industry was born. but as technology continued to progress, less and less people were needed in the factories. so people moved to offices, and either started to work on managing/organizing production, or they started providing services which have never existed before. this will continue. as the jobs that exist today gets automatized, other kinds of jobs emerge.

    one can imagine it as a list of possible activities, the most important at the top. we assign people for the jobs until we run out of people, any jobs on the list below that will not be done. we don't have the resources to do them. but as jobs gets automatized, people freed up, and we can assign them to the next jobs on the list.

    the list is endless, limited only by our imagination how can we make our lives even better, more interesting, entertaining or otherwise complete. for this reason we can never run out of jobs.
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    Jul 29 2012: That's if we continue with the current paradigm but I think you have to see that the unemployment situation that currently exist is showing how this system of working for money can't work forever. At some point in our evolution we're going to gradually eliminate the need for work all together because the labor-saving devices will do it all. We're already seeing it in most manufacturing. Companies don't even run their machinery all the time because it is so highly productive they'd just keep piling up inventory. If you look at most manufacturing it is handled even now by very few people.
  • Jul 29 2012: It could never happen because, the majority of the worlds population needs to do labor in order to survive. People need to do physical labor or mental labor at their job in order to make money, so they can survive by buying food and shelter.