We, Robots

Futurist science fiction author Lui Cixin predicts that artificial intelligence will put 90% or more of Americans out of work. Will politicians plan ahead for the coming end of work as we know it? Ha!

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  • «Futurist science fiction author Lui Cixin predicts that artificial intelligence will put 90% or more of Americans out of work.» You got the chap’s surname correct in the cartoon itself, Ted, but not in the text above : it’s «Liu», not «Lui». More importantly, what’s the time frame for that prediction, and did it refer only to residents of the United States – can you provide a link ?…


    • ?

      • I tried, mein verehrter Lehrer, to find a link to any such prediction on the part of Mr Liu but failed, so I was interested if Ted could provide more details….

        (I can mention here that I’ve read two books in Mr Liu’s trilogy Remembrance of Earth’s Past (地球往事), The Three-Body Problem (三体) and Death’s End (死神永生), in English translation of Ken Liu, which I managed to find in my local branch library….)


      • Thanks, Mae, for some reason this article didn’t turn up in my search results….

        «In this future, creativity is highly valued. We sport ever more fantastic makeup, hairstyles and clothing.» I see that there is creativity and creativity. But what Mr Liu fails to take up, and which might be nearly as important as «fantastic makeup, hairstyles and clothing», is the fact that while «the aristocrats [who] ruled nations» were dependent for their very existence on the labour of the so-called lower classes, and thus generally did not attempt to exterminate them, neither the AI machines which he envisions running the show in the future, nor the economic aristocrats who do so today, have any such need of large, impoverished populations to serve them, if machines do all the work and, moreover, reproduce themselves. Quite the contrary….


      • @ mhenriday –

        Allow me also to thank Mae for that link — which avoided my search attempts as well. The article is obviously what Ted depicted in his cartoon.

        [BTW, my “?” in a previous post was not intended to question your comment. It was merely a “marker” to get me back to this discussion by means of email notification of subsequent comments — since I had nothing to say on the subject at that time.]

      • Thanks Mae

  • Automated looms were going to cause mass unemployment … then the automobile was going to put all those horsey people out of business … then the computer. But with the auto came manufacturing jobs, auto mechanics, gas station attendants, gas truck drivers, etc, etc. Each revolution in the past has actually created more jobs than it’s destroyed.

    But we’re getting closer to the day when that trend changes. Eventually, we will get to a point where machines can do everything we can do. We *could* take the utopian path as above – but would we really be happy with no work to do? Would we really all become artists and writers?

    … and when the singularity eventually happens, will we get Skynet? … weakly godlike intelligences ruling the universe? … will Multivac create light (again)?

    • Some say that without being constrained to labour, humanity will flower ; others that it will blow itself up. Which of these are the optimists and which the pessimists,I leave to wiser heads than my own to decide….


    • In Brave New World, TPTB tried reducing work days to 4 hours because that was all that was needed, but found that people were less happy than with 8. So back to 8 it was.

  • The ruling elite will do what they always do when a surplus population presents a problem for them:

    They start a war between the People and the People, first to discipline them and then to reduce their troublesome numbers to a manageable level. The People can always be counted on to beat each other into a submissive bloody pulp in the name of a state.

    • «The People can always be counted on to beat each other into a submissive bloody pulp in the name of a state.» «[T]he name of a state» will do, Glenn, but historically it pales when compared to the name of a religion or, even better, the name of a mythical «People» (Volk, Folk)….


      • See Carl Schmitt’s writing on political theology. The mythical Volk and religion are encompassed in his political theology.

        Schmitt’s support of the Nazi Party does not diminish his thesis. People are quite willing to murder and be murdered for god and country.

        Plus, state is a state of mind. People are quite able to justify atrocities when in an agentic state of mind. Nearly 2/3 of people (by Milgram’s study) are willing to kill with a good conscience, which is often indistinguishable from the inability to feel guilt or responsibility when acting as an agent of authority.

  • According to the Sci-Fi Author Frank Herbert, we haven’t even got anywhere near to the Butlerian Jihad yet.


  • Even Keynes figured this out, 80 years ago. And Marxists have been saying this for a lot longer than that. The problem is of course that we’re hitting the end of work before the revolution. We’re screwed until then.

  • “History shows that those who haven’t had to work — aristocrats, say — have often spent their time entertaining and developing their artistic and sporting talents while scrupulously observing elaborate rituals of dress and manners.”

    “Entertaining and developing their … sporting talents…” in that greatest sport, the sport of kings, war.

    From: They Became What They Beheld, by Edmund Carpenter, Hubert “Humphrey’s pro-Vietnam War speeches—A glorious adventure and great fun, isn’t it?”

    http://www.slideshare.net/madsholmen/they-became-what-they-beheld, scanned with bad character recognition.

    would be played Hitler‘s ranting. bombs & earns, then Humphrey’s pro-Vietnam War speeches —“/ A glorious adventure and great fun, isn’t it? “—while in background the guns & screams continued.

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