The Black Gate

Rod Dreher writes in The American Conservative:

I hope Christians will read the Kahneman-Harari interview closely. This is the future. If you are not part of a church community that is consciously resisting this vision, then your children, or at best your children’s children, will be lost to the faith. There is no thought more corrupting to the human soul than the Serpent’s promise in Eden: “Ye shall be as gods.”

Here‘s the thing itself. Among much thought-provoking material:

[Hariri:] … generally speaking, when you look at the 20th century, it’s the era of the masses, mass politics, mass economics. Every human being has value, has political, economic, and military value, simply because he or she is a human being, and this goes back to the structures of the military and of the economy, where every human being is valuable as a soldier in the trenches and as a worker in the factory. […] But in the 21st century, there is a good chance that most humans will lose, they are losing, their military and economic value. This is true for the military, it’s done, it’s over. The age of the masses is over. We are no longer in the First World War, where you take millions of soldiers, give each one a rifle and have them run forward. And the same thing perhaps is happening in the economy. Maybe the biggest question of 21st century economics is what will be the need in the economy for most people in the year 2050.

[…] And when you look at it more and more, for most of the tasks that humans are needed for, what is required is just intelligence, and a very particular type of intelligence, because we are undergoing, for thousands of years, a process of specialization, which makes it easier to replace us. To build a robot that could function effectively as a hunter-gatherer is extremely complex. You need to know so many different things. But to build a self-driving car, or to build a “Watson-bot” that can diagnose disease better than my doctor, this is relatively easy. […] And this is where we have to take seriously, the possibility that even though computers will still be far behind humans in many different things, as far as the tasks that the system needs from us are concerned, most of the time computers will be able to do better than us. And again, I don’t want to give a prediction, 20 years, 50 years, 100 years, but what you do see is it’s a bit like the boy who cried wolf, that, yes, you cry wolf once, twice, three times, and maybe people say yes, 50 years ago, they already predicted that computers will replace humans, and it didn’t happen. But the thing is that with every generation, it is becoming closer, and predictions such as these fuel the process.

There’s been a wave of excellent writing on such themes just recently — both of these are especially worth a look (and maybe this too).

March 6, 2015admin 39 Comments »
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39 Responses to this entry

  • The Black Gate | Neoreactive Says:

    […] By admin […]

    Posted on March 6th, 2015 at 4:30 pm Reply | Quote
  • Erebus Says:

    Harari: “Let me give you an example that I’m thinking about a lot today, concerning the future of humankind in the field of medicine. At least to the best of my understanding, we’re in the middle of a revolution in medicine. After medicine in the 20th century focused on healing the sick, now it is more and more focused on upgrading the healthy, which is a completely different project. And it’s a fundamentally different project in social and political terms, because whereas healing the sick is an egalitarian project … you assume there is a norm of health, anybody that falls below the norm, you try to give them a push to come back to the norm, upgrading is by definition an elitist project. There is no norm that can be applicable to everybody.”

    This statement is so misguided, I don’t know where to begin.

    I’ll start here: Just the other day $21B was spent to buy half (!!) the rights to a single cancer medication. Not a fifth of that amount was ever spent by Big Pharma on “upgrading the healthy.” In fact, in medical/pharmaceutical circles, upgrading the healthy is looked upon with grave ethical concern.

    …It’s also a regulatory black hole. The FDA simply doesn’t have a process for approving chemicals or devices which upgrade the healthy. Fancy prosthetic limbs? Sure. Beyond that? Not quite yet. Even brain-computer interfaces are in a sort of regulatory grey-zone, which makes them difficult to invest in. (The FDA’s Euro counterparts are even more stringent.)

    Harari’s statement betrays such enormous ignorance that it casts everything else he’s said into doubt. And, indeed, many of his subsequent statements are also nonsense. That said, I think that his central points are reasonable. Whether they’re tractable or not is an entirely different matter. (He talks about Alzheimer’s as though it were a simple technical problem, when in fact, and despite billions of dollars and eons of man-hours, we don’t even understand the mechanism behind it yet. Amyloid is just a hypothesis — and one that’s looking worse all the time.)

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Isn’t the whole point that positive medicine is not going to be a public project?

    [Reply]

    Erebus Reply:

    Oh, absolutely. And I’m not saying that advances in the implementation of positive medicine won’t or aren’t taking place. What I’m saying is that Harari’s hyperbole-ridden talk of an imminent “revolution in medicine” is, at this point and into the foreseeable future, nonsensical. His comments are utterly detached from reality. I’d estimate, conservatively, that there are at least two thousand capable researchers in “treatments and cures” for every one in “upgrades.” (And most of the latter work in brackish scientific backwaters like the nutritional supplement or cosmetics industries, where they’re not taken entirely seriously by the rest of the scientific community, and where nothing they’ll do will ever amount to much.)

    Small scale pet-projects for oligarchs and their children might exist. Have existed since Qin Shi Huang, if not earlier. Might be taking place right now. God only knows what DARPA and its Chinese and Euro equivalents are doing. (Well, we have some idea.) That sure as hell doesn’t make for a paradigm shift or a “revolution in medicine.”

    …If anything, I’d argue exactly the opposite. Thanks to bureaucratic black holes, legal red tape, ethical concerns from on-high, and thus a globally unfavorable investment climate, we’re seeing a lot less positive medicine than we should be seeing. We’re not seeing a revolution, but the opposite — we’re seeing progress stifled.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Sure, progress isn’t going to happen without going dark. (I deliberately routed around the medical discussion when citing, because it tends to maximize moral panic and cognitive short-circuit.)

    SVErshov Reply:

    Medicine for upgrading humans exists and it is behind closed door in companies like Novartis and Merk. Also approval process and laboratory and clinical manuals for stem cells been issued by FDA long time ago. Buying a company with advanced medical solutions by big pharma is a common practice. For example Merk paid 1 bill USD for SIRNA Therapeutics in 2006. Perhaps Hariri does not have complete picture in details, but his assessment right to the point. In 2000 in CIA world book report they said about stem cells: – Stem cells treatment will be available for Americans and very reach individuals from other countries in 2015. They did not clarified if it will be available for all Americans or only for some Americans, seems like for some.

    [Reply]

    Erebus Reply:

    Literally everything you’ve just written is wrong.

    You’re implying that SIRNA Therapeutics is something other than a traditional cure-focused biotech company. It’s not. It focuses, exclusively, on curing diseases — not upgrading the healthy. Moreover, its complex treatments are not easily re-purposed, and are impossible to duplicate or modify in cut-rate Chinese basement labs.

    You must be unaware that (A) stem cell therapy is only approved in the USA for bone marrow transplants; (B) by law, it can only be approved to treat medical conditions; (C) that while trials for nerve regeneration and other therapeutic aims is ongoing, there are no companies pushing it for human enhancement. None. At this point, it’s nothing more than a very limited treatment.

    Merck and Novartis are public companies. They patent aggressively, they report regularly to their shareholders, their clinical trials can be publicly searched. If you’re arguing that there’s some shadowy conspiracy, you’d better have some sort of proof.
    …It’s true that certain drugs can be re-purposed for physical/metabolic or cognitive enhancement, but this is not something that companies like Merck bother thinking about. If they’re working on an AMPK activator, it’s exclusively to treat cardiovascular disease, not make people better runners.

    [Reply]

    SVErshov Reply:

    “He talks about Alzheimer’s as though it were a simple technical problem.”

    he is right, Alzheimer’s is a simple technical problem and can be completely cured by two drugs testosterone and letrozole. It is a bit naive to think that medical researches conducted in search for cure, it is conducted in search profit first of all. What profit can be made from having reliable testosterone replacement therapy – NON. So, we still do not have such therapy which been approved by WHO. It is not a medical blog but if there is any interest I can explain in details how testosterone can cure Alzheimer’s.

    [Reply]

    Erebus Reply:

    Proof or GTFO. I’d suggest you quit while you’re ahead, before you embarrass yourself further.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 6th, 2015 at 5:29 pm Reply | Quote
  • neovictorian23 Says:

    @ErebusThe FDA doesn’t regulate the PRC…

    [Reply]

    Erebus Reply:

    I live and work in Hong Kong. Suffice it to say that I have some idea of what people in the PRC are working on. If you’re implying that China is some sort of human-enhancement utopia, or unregulated, you’re mistaken.

    Chinese regulations are more lax in some respects…

    -There are far fewer ethics reviews to deal with,
    In vivo experiments are cheaper and easier,
    -The chemical industry’s a complete free-for-all, where anything can be had at a decent price,
    -Commercial laws — labor laws and patent laws — tend to be business friendly, (with a huge caveat below,)
    -There’s not a lot of regulatory oversight. Fewer FDA-style inspections, for one thing…

    …But China is also a sort of anarcho-tyranny where the government/regulators can shut down your research or your business on any pretext. The laws are full of catchall clauses and the word “etc.” is carefully placed in the text of the laws for maximum vagueness. This makes it an unstable legal environment, so investment in Chinese pharma/bio research is quite limited. Especially foreign investment. (Which is why I work out of HK and not mainland China.)

    The pharma/chem community also tends to be a relatively small one — I mean, it’s full of bench-chemist and bench-biologist drones, but there are only a few hundred decision-makers, eminent professors, and enterprise owners. One keeps running into the same people, at the same expos, with the same skills, working on the same projects. If there’s some overarching shift from “medicine” to “upgrades”, it’s news to all of ’em!

    Harari talks of a “revolution in medicine” — from a focus on healing to a focus on upgrading. That’s just not happening here, and it’s certainly not happening in the USA or Europe. It’s total nonsense.

    Another argument against your comment would relate to Harari’s use of the word “focus”. Do you really think that the PRC would waste any effort “upgrading” its wretched farmers and peasants? Quite the opposite, I think! Most of them didn’t even have access to some of the WHO’s “essential medicines” until quite recently. Some of them — the more isolated millions among them — probably still don’t.

    [Reply]

    neovictorian23 Reply:

    Thanks for the facts on the ground, Erebus–I’m familiar with these general outlines, though the details are enormously helpful. However, your own words contain a seed of what my laconic comment implied. If the Chinese elites really want upgrading for themselves and their families, the few and lax ethical guidelines are meaningless. They can buy or steal the best from the rest of the world and have no squishy Prog compunctions about testing them on peasant “volunteers” to iron out the bugs.

    Or at least that’s my understanding of how China works, if the stakes are high enough.

    [Reply]

    Erebus Reply:

    On that point we’re in complete agreement! Hell, these Chinese elites (an inscrutable bunch!) are willing to pay obscene amounts for a fungus with extremely vague and dubious medicinal properties. They’d crawl over a few miles of broken glass for meaningful upgrades. Ethics and regulations be damned.

    …But there’s still way more money and prestige in medicines, and working on treatments and cures also offers a rather more stable legal/regulatory position, so that’s where mainstream research and development is at. As far as I know, there are no Chinese oligarch-funded secret transhumanism projects. (Of course, I wouldn’t know, would I?) In any case, these would have to be relatively small projects. And they certainly wouldn’t represent a paradigm shift in medicine.

    admin Reply:

    This is what people are looking at. Hype? — sure. But hype cycles are the sign of something tidal taking place.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 6th, 2015 at 7:05 pm Reply | Quote
  • coyote Says:

    The Serpent and his Sabbatean worshipers will always make promises they cannot, and will never keep. Satan rules this earthly vale; his minions continue to lie as they always have and always shall. Active resistance can be entertaining in somewhat bloody sense, yet acceptance of revealed truth is all that matters to those passing beyond our mortal flesh. The witty warriors of eternal damnation jest they can “resist anything but temptation”. Exciting techno-toys and flashy dreams of god-hood lure the weak; this is only the latest chapter in a long story, they all end the same way for those who fall from grace. The Victorians had far better writers than today to warn of the perils of fantasized god-hood; Lewis and Chesterton did their best, the Mandate of Heaven has passed from Western Civilization to an unknown (as yet) inheritor.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 6th, 2015 at 7:42 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    PRC is anarcho-tyranny-??
    -Perhaps what we call anarcho-tyranny is simply average government then.
    Perhaps well ordered government is the exception.
    =============================
    As for the rest of it we may remain confident they’ll collect a lot of money for these loathsomely selfish purposes and probably not deliver, we can count on TAC and pretty much everyone else to “resist” that is whine about it and DO NOTHING. Unless whining…oh excuse me resistance comes with any actual cost at which point that will cease as well.

    We can also count on soldiers not being over. We’ve been hearing this one for a century as well. You are claiming Force is over, or rather [oh jesus christ] Force being the province of the nerds who code their killer droids – to hunt down the Jocks from High school and avenge themselves BWAHHH!!!

    And we can count on every “Dark Gate opening” appearing in the reactosphere as long as whatever Nihilism comes through the Gate is at a safe distance.

    [Reply]

    Aeroguy Reply:

    Wars will still be fought by men, but it is becoming more like the days before conscription, fought primarily by professionals from the higher classes, the bar for qualification isn’t just fitness standards and as the technology progresses the demands get higher. The rifle made men equal on the battlefield, it doesn’t require much skill or training to use such that even a little girl could operate it with lethal effectiveness. Suddenly everyone could be an effective soldier. So began a bloody and awful era of egalitarian warfare fought by conscripts from the lowest classes because quantity was a quality of it’s own.

    Yes there will always be a need for boots on the ground but the lethality of that soldier is always subject to upgrade, and the right upgrades can change the game completely, conscripts are obsolete, if there ever was a draft they would be put to work behind the lines as mechanics and technicians. The days of the stupid grunt are coming to close, the soldier of the not too distant future is a de facto squad leader with a pack of quadcopter size small arms equipped drones to assist him controlled with his eyes. Door to door urban combat with 80% casualty rates becomes a logistics matter of supplying fresh drones.

    I know you’re familiar with the term force multiplier. I also hope you know enough about military history to know that historically 90% of the casualties actually came from indirect fire like artillery and mortars. The Air Force is already there, 90% of it’s force is mechanics and technicians supporting a highly trained officer (made up of athletic nerds and smart jocks, who’d have thought?) who engages in the actual combat, and even pilots find themselves obsolete even as the fighter mafia dominated brass drag their feet and insist on shit sandwich projects. The F-22 was already set up with drone wingmen in mind which would make every pilot a de facto flight leader.

    Navy ships are also increasingly automated which saves valuable space on ships as crew complement gets smaller and more technical, just knowing how to clean and shot isn’t enough, they have to know how to use and potentially fix increasingly complex equipment. The days of impressment are long over, advanced navies have no use for dullards and the standards are only getting higher.

    The field of battle changes with technology. Horses are no match for tanks, and air superiority is a contest of economic output, technological capability, and specialized skill set. As technology becomes sophisticated enough that only a minority are able to operate it, then soldiers will be recruited from that minority. This is a good thing, we are witnessing the return of K-selected warfare. We should be happy to see a return of city-states being able to resist continents.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “Yes there will always be a need for boots on the ground …” — ‘Always’ is a long time.

    [Reply]

    Aeroguy Reply:

    With regard to always I mean in the context of “only the dead have seen the end of war”. So long as there is physical territory to be held, there will be boots to secure it. Wars are about taking and holding as often as they are about killing and breaking things, the definition of holding something is having boots on it. Even in an era of super intelligence I take for granted war and the boots that must accompany war, the terrifying nature of post-human ground troops and whether they even have legs is entirely to imaginations and circumstances beyond our recognition.

    Hegemonizing Swarm Reply:

    (agreeing with Aeroguy’s reply above)

    > We can also count on soldiers not being over.

    I’m sure of that too. I’m also sure the military is the likely place where ‘improved’ humans are being developed first.
    There will be an arms race. Letting ‘them’ have medically and technologically enhanced soldiers before ‘we’ do is unacceptable. Same for human-brain interfaces which slice a few milliseconds from the trigger latency.

    For the forseeable future mid-to-high-level decisions will still be made by humans (machine learning is not too good at adaptive strategies and such). But it’s clear that the “High-frequency warfare” battlefield is not a place for non-augmented humans. There is an analogy to how the role of traders changed since high-frequency trading.

    Also, less glamourous but lots of people are needed to build, maintain and support all the technology. The logistic issues of war are far from over, but their character changes. Where will all those microchips come from if Intel is on the other side? Or destroyed? Fabs capable of creating state-of-the-art chips are extremely rare, so they will have great strategic value.

    … thinking about it, if hell really breaks loose between two world powers, beyond the current proxy conflicts, we’re may be back to sticks and stones. High technology depends on these delicate networks and supply chains, which are really hard to protect from determinied attackers.

    [Reply]

    Hegemonizing Swarm Reply:

    > Fabs capable of creating state-of-the-art chips are extremely rare, so they will have great strategic value.

    Speaking of that, this seems to have flown under the radar:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/01/us-asml-hack-idUSKBN0LX1IP20150301

    China, or at least a group that looks like them (attribution is so difficult…), is very interested in semiconductor production processes.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 6th, 2015 at 8:41 pm Reply | Quote
  • Amon Khan Says:

    That whole Harari piece reads like Dajjal/NWO/Elders of Zion propaganda to me. What he’s describing is the world they want to bring into existence: the masses (“goyim”) impotent and irrelevant, small groups of technological elites (“clever Jews”) controlling the economy, the military, religion, the culture — essentially having all the power.

    He notes that this will lead to a problem of “meaninglessness”, but suggests that video games and drugs will be a suitable replacement, and is quick to dismiss Islam and Christianity as sources of meaning. Then, to cap off this insane screed, he touts Silicon Valley and Ray Kurzweil’s Singularitarian religion as the wave of the future.

    If I could create a caricature of the Dajjal/Zionist intellectual that worries the Muslims and other traditionalists, this Israeli professor would pretty much be it. He casually rattles off all these insane, extreme, Satanic ideas; does he also understand why so many people hate and fear his kind?

    [Reply]

    VXXC Reply:

    My ‘names not groups’ modus mortus gets thinner every day.

    Then again my Cobbler did a good job on my new TEVA [Israeli] boots.

    So my Cobbler’s OK.

    As far as TAC and Christians must resist ah…see above.

    Of course TAC shares floorspace with CNAS…so it’s hard not to laugh.

    [Reply]

    SanguineEmpiricist Reply:

    I did not get that at all. I must be listening to a different lecture. His topic is generally right in line with what admin has been roughly discussing for a while now. I do not see how the elders of zion relates to this whatsoever. It was just a conversation.

    [Reply]

    Kgaard Reply:

    Yeah I am torn between what your view and Amon Khan’s take. The more I thought about this thing after listening to it, the more I thought he’s limited in his concept of what meanings man might come up. I’ve been thinking myself that “drugs and video games” are becoming the STOP-GAP answer to meaninglessness. But they can’t be a long-term answer. So people are gonna come up with something better. Perhaps the 21st century will bring us many interesting experiments in new and better meaning creation. If drugs and video games prove vacuous — which they surely do over time — people will come up with something else. That process is already underway, for instance with the communities of American and Canadian groovies down in Costa Rica.

    [Reply]

    Aeroguy Reply:

    I see two groups, wireheads and self improvers (technically a spectrum). Wireheads are hedonists who seek amusement and typically are easily bored. Self improvers are never bored because there is always something for them to improve upon or an ambitious project to pursue. One of the great things about religion is that if done right it can turn a wirehead into a self improver. Giving hedonists the tools to upgrade themselves would be as counter productive as feeding Africans.

    admin Reply:

    “… does he also understand why so many people hate and fear his kind?” — Given his analysis, why should he care about that? Near-future history isn’t a popularity contest.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 6th, 2015 at 8:42 pm Reply | Quote
  • The Black Gate | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on March 6th, 2015 at 9:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    All I have to say about the Benedict Option is apparently anything is better than fighting for what’s yours and a decent life.

    Benedict took that option because it was already the world he was born into….they didn’t have a strong society they fled from rather than defend.

    Why would progress of all the barbarians in history allow these partial withdrawals? Only ten’s of thousands of nuclear weapons are keeping Russian Boys from being gay sex tourist attractions.

    Benedict with nukes? Might work.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 6th, 2015 at 9:43 pm Reply | Quote
  • Asher Says:

    A few years ago I was discussing declining crime rates with a standard hardcore conservative Republican. I told him that drugs and video games were probably the single biggest factor for this decrease. He couldn’t comprehend it.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 7th, 2015 at 6:01 am Reply | Quote
  • Hegemonizing Swarm Says:

    I like this article, maybe it is a bit hyperbolic, but that’s what it takes to get through these days.

    > You look at Japan today, and Japan is maybe 20 years ahead of the world in everything. And you see these new social phenomena of people having relationships with virtual spouses… that this is impossible, yet we see that it is possible. Apparently, Homo Sapiens is even more malleable than we tend to think.

    It’s not unprecedented in nature, this always reminds me of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ophrys_apifera : “It is believed that male bees would preferentially select orchids with the most bee-like lips and attempt to mate with them, transferring pollen in the process.”

    Not Homo Sapiens changing so much, but also the environment around them using Homo Sapiens drives to extract profit. Marketing perfected. The human world is like any other ecosystem, it takes more complexity to do this with people, and technology as well as research into psychology has made it possible. Technology can substitute, even though it’s not a perfect replacement.

    > People today actually manage to live, many people, as isolated, alienated individuals

    But people don’t feel alone and isolated when say, using social media. Technology succesfully intermediates.

    > a combination of drugs and computer games as a solution for most … it’s already happening

    Exactly. Entertainment is king. At least we can feel like hunter-gatherers again in our virtual worlds.

    > The Middle East is not very important.

    Ideologically, sure. But strategically it is only as important as natural resources are? Even if high-tech civilization manages to divest to other forms of energy. We need our plastics, our chemicals.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “Technology successfully intermediates.” — Crucial point. Nobody’s romantic lament is going to trump the ‘solution’ coming out of the machine.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 7th, 2015 at 9:36 am Reply | Quote
  • bob sykes Says:

    When I graduated with my BSCE in 1966, engineering offices were full of junior engineers doing calculations with slide rules, mechanical adding machines and log/trig tables (7 places). They’re almost all gone, replaced by desk top computers and spreadsheets. (I learned on paper spreadsheets.) The armies of secretaries and IBM Selectrics are gone. The armies of accounts with green eye shades are gone. The three man (often 4 or 5) survey parties are now one man, and the survey notes (on thumb drives) are processes by CAD systems.

    Automatiion has bit hard in the engineering profession, which is probably mere justice for having invented it. It is now gnawing on the legal profession, and doctors are up next.

    The point is that the educated professions are the easiest to automate. Carpenters, electricians, plumbers et al. are hard.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 7th, 2015 at 1:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • g. w. Says:

    As an antidote:

    http://www.nextnature.net/2015/02/interview-bruce-sterling-on-the-convergence-of-humans-and-machines/

    [Reply]

    Erebus Reply:

    His central point: “Computation is not thinking”.

    His position is essentially a vitalist one, and vitalists have a bad track record. Even if he’s correct, computers can fake it, can’t they? “The Chinese room” & all that…

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    The only people compelled to pursue this argument are FAI proponents trying to get the ‘problem’ taken seriously enough to stop. “You’re right, nothing at all to be concerned about …” works fine for everyone else.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 7th, 2015 at 1:26 pm Reply | Quote
  • Leif Erikson Says:

    Are these technovangelists not simply a new breed of progressive that believes human perfectibility will be achieved via technological innovation rather than state or political social engineering? I have long struggled to comprehend how this type of thought can be attractive to neoreactionaries.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    I don’t think anyone in NRx is attracted by Transhumanist utopian lunacy.

    [Reply]

    Jesse Reply:

    Have any NRx thinkers given any thought to the concept of machine self-replication and the “post-scarcity economy” that figures in many science fiction speculations about the future? Even leaving aside transhumanism and the possibility of true human-like AI, I think it’s plausible that in the next few decades robots will have gotten sufficiently talented at navigating physical environments and performing straightforward physical tasks that basically all the physical labor that goes into the production of most manufactured goods can be fully automated. If that’s the case, and if the manufacturing robots themselves can be produced in an automated way, then that would open up the possibility of self-replicating robot factories. Any firm that can afford the costs of a single robot factory could then create an ever-increasing number of them for only the costs of the raw material, energy, and land…and because of capitalist competition, this would tend to drive down the price of any other goods produced by these factories (cars, say) to only slightly more than the cost of the raw materials and energy that went into that good (which means that energy harvesting machines like solar panels would also become much cheaper, driving down the cost of energy, and if raw material extraction and recycling was fully automated as well then the cost of raw materials would drop as well). In this case the cost of most manufactured goods would drop dramatically, which would change society in a major way–is this “utopian lunacy”?

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 7th, 2015 at 4:26 pm Reply | Quote

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