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Robots Work, Human Beings Perform

"Robots work, human beings perform" was an idea proposed by the American psychologist and writer Tim Leary. He meant that it was an insult for any human being to be forced to do a job that can be done better by a machine.

Looking at the trend of technological unemployment and the suffering as a result of that, it seems that we are more than ready to push forward a technological revolution on a global scale that will improve the lives of mankind.

Aspiring towards this new paradigm, many futurists and social activists such as Jacque Fresco, the founder of The Venus Project have proposed a global redesign of our economic, social and cultural systems to a holistic, collaborative and sustainable system that meet the needs of all people and not just a selected few.

Imagine a world where all repetitious, monotonous, boring and dangerous jobs and labor, that wastes human talent, creativity and ingenuity, were fully and deliberately automated by machines, so that human beings could do what they really want to do and focus on whats really important to our happiness and our very survival.

The question remains. Are we ready for a new paradigm, a technological revolution that will improve our lives many times over, meet the needs of mankind that will truly liberate us from the shackles of our current outdated socioeconomic system?

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    Gail . 50+

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    Oct 4 2012: If we are not ready now, we may be when the economy collapses.
    • Oct 4 2012: The lost faith in the current system and the bio-social pressures that emerges as a result of a collapse would definitely increase the chances of people looking for an alternative. Hopefully for a sustainable one. I don't subscribe for a collapse however. It would be nice if we could get a new set of values that value collaboration, common good and sustainability instead of narrow self-interest and private ownership before it collapses.
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        Oct 5 2012: I agree, but religion (Abrahamic) has too much power.
        • Oct 5 2012: I think we should at least try to bridge the differences and see if we can come through to them. Actually, most religions has many core values that talks about common good and collaboration, but doesn't show how. If we can pitch how a technological revolution would become a "second garden of Eden", I think we could have a chance on getting through.
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        Oct 5 2012: I don't. Most religions do have stated core values that talk about common good, but I live in America, and what the christians do is not consistent with their stated core values. Need to fix that in order to restore the equality that would allow and encourage an equitable alternative to thrive
        • Oct 7 2012: I agree that most religious people don't fully understand the core values of their religion thus their behavior is not consistent with their stated core values of that religion, however, I think this is merely an educational issue. If people are shown the benefits of access over ownership, regardless of religions and ideology, they will eventually move towards that society. This is why communication is so important. We need to find common ground with all people and show them the future.
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        Oct 5 2012: I do suspect that an actual collapse would render economy disfunctional enough that the economies of scarcity (what we have now) would come back in full strength. Does it matter if we have the factories and the materials to produce everything for cheap, if the owners had no reason to turn them on? And taking them over by force would easily lead to material destruction, which again would cause scarcity.

        What we would need is governments that approached the supply of more "zero price" goods the way we approach urban sanitation. We don't build and maintain sewage as if it was an economic industry itself, but because it enables economic activity. We should be moving more stuff from the goods category into the infrastructure category, including food, shelter, access to information and basic professional certification.
        • Oct 7 2012: "I do suspect that an actual collapse would render economy disfunctional enough that the economies of scarcity (what we have now) would come back in full strength."

          I fear that too. But a military dictatorship, as a result of a collapse, can only sustain for that long. People will eventually invade and demand a fairer distribution of wealth.

          "Does it matter if we have the factories and the materials to produce everything for cheap, if the owners had no reason to turn them on? And taking them over by force would easily lead to material destruction, which again would cause scarcity."

          This is an educational issue. When people see the benefit of access over ownership, the society will hopefully move towards that in a peaceful way. I'm not saying it's going to be easy, but it's something that we should at least strive for.
  • Oct 10 2012: At the level of the basic unit, the fetch-execute cycle, computers (robots have brains which are computers) are open-loop devices. The other term which is similar to open-loop is 'feedforward'. They just do stuff, and dont worry about the consequences. Humans and animals use the closed-loop principle at the basic unit level. Some people (Clark Hull, Nikolaas Tinbergen) call this 'drive-based', but the term that is used most these days is 'feedback'. These basic units do stuff too, but they are concerned about the consequences - they sense the effects of their actions, which are 'fed back', usually in order to self-regulate these actions, ie maintain homeostasis. Sometimes they are used for 'positive feedback' - a cascade, eg a sneeze, an orgasm, cell mitosis/meiosis, neuron action impulse. These two systems are not dissimilar- in fact, a feedback cycle is just a feedforward link (eg an amplifier, a neural network -really any function block) with a feedback circuit added on.
    Computers do have feedback circuits, but not at the hardware data level. We program them in at the software level - sometimes. As in other areas of mathematics, we have discrete (integral) types and analog (continuous) types. a discrete type of feedback is the IF-THEN loop. The IF condition is a switch- it uses fresh 'outside' (its own level) information to select which 'inside' procedural path to take. Therefore, using feedback produces computing units that are self-regulating, but also self-indeterminate. They rely on information in other units to achieve completion.
    However, the basic criticism of the 'von Neumann bottleneck' remains- every bit of data must pass through a narrow feedforward funnel; very, very, very fast. To use feedback to regulate and correct these data, eg at the software level, involves introducing indeterminacy, and slows the whole machine down. Turns and roundabouts. To make an intelligent computer means mastering these two systems -feedforward vs feedback.
  • Oct 9 2012: I do not believe that we are ready for the change. And it seems it will take a while for 'us' to get there. Without a revolutionary change in educational system that will not work at all. Such a change would have to take at least few generations and I still cannot fathom the outcome. It sounds like an utopia to me.

    What is more important I cannot understand why people want to stop working? I cannot imagine living in a word where you do not have to work. Boredom is first thing that comes up my mind and out of boredom people do nasty things.
    Look at the current camps for 'troubled' youth. They can actually get to terms with them self's by work. It gives purpose.
    • Oct 10 2012: "What is more important I cannot understand why people want to stop working?"

      When I say 'robots work, human beings perform' I mean people doing _meaningful_ jobs that improve themselves and the community around them. Jobs and labor that can easily be automated such as the production and distribution of goods and services, which is currently 70% of all jobs and labor out there, should be automated, so that people are freed up to do what they _really_ want and should be doing - curing cancer, eliminating illness, space exploration and becoming problem solvers to their environment.
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    Oct 7 2012: I'm a huge fan of Timothy Leary... but I have to say, I would rephrase that statement. "I have money, now dance poor people...". Leary would never have thought that way... but that's the way rich people see the future of robotic labor, it will turn poor people into entertainment and sex slaves.
    • Oct 7 2012: Why would you rephrase the statement to something that doesn't have anything to do with this post? Suggesting that I'm rich and that I want to turn people into sex slaves due to robotic labor makes no sense.
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        Oct 7 2012: I didn't suggest you were rich, or you wanted to turn people into sex slaves.

        70% of America is now employed in the customer service industry... That industry used to be referred to as the servant class. This is a very serious issue, phrased in a less than serious manner. I am talking about the hidden pathway which has emerged, under the polite rhetoric of how lucky we would all be if we didn't "have" to have jobs.
        • Oct 7 2012: "I am talking about the hidden pathway which has emerged, under the polite rhetoric of how lucky we would all be if we didn't "have" to have jobs."

          But I am talking about a society based on access over ownership. I do not subscribe to the idea that a financial elite should be the one that own the automation of all jobs and labor thus turning people into miserable slaves for the elite. That wouldn't work.
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        Oct 7 2012: When you have an example of one, tested and proven to work... I'm all for it. Everyone who has ever tried has failed, we need a pioneer, or it simply doesn't work... I'm not sure which.

        I do know, that under the current system there is much philosophy, being worked on, based on the concept that soon people will no longer need to labor... At the same time, labor standards, are plummeting, and respect for human labor has almost ceased to exist. I see this as related, and a negative trend.
        • Oct 7 2012: "When you have an example of one, tested and proven to work... I'm all for it."

          In order to test a global design, that calls for access over ownership, it has to be implemented globally, not locally. Locally or nationally will never work because the already established system, the monetary system, will not allow it to work. The educational groundwork of such a system has to be established first of all and then it's up to the people to decide whether or not we want such a system implemented.

          "Everyone who has ever tried has failed, we need a pioneer, or it simply doesn't work... I'm not sure which."

          Are you familiar with Jacque Fresco's work? He's been working on his designs for over 75 years and has come up with technical drawings of how we can manage the Earth in a sustainable and holistic way where the primary function would be to maximize the quality of life rather than profits. http://www.thevenusproject.com/en/the-venus-project/aims-a-proposals

          "I do know, that under the current system there is much philosophy, being worked on, based on the concept that soon people will no longer need to labor... At the same time, labor standards, are plummeting, and respect for human labor has almost ceased to exist. I see this as related, and a negative trend."

          I agree, I don't want to see people suffer in the current system due to automation, and that is why we need to aspire towards an access based system that goes beyond money, private property and social stratification. Our current system will continue to instal automation due to the logic of the monetary system. Forget about ethics and humanity, these concepts doesn't exist in the monetary system.