Many are the reasons as to why humans fear a machine takeover of our economy: Some say the problem lies within man himself since he happens to be a creature with irrational fears, always overemphasizing the negative instead of the positive in an attempt to avoid pain and death. Others will say it is our economic ignorance; afterall, few are economically literate, contemplating production and utility in any great detail. Yet others present a far more nefarious tale as to why Mankind is constantly told to be on the lookout for job loss by way of machine automation. There may be a sinister reason as to why we are bombarded with negative imagery of machines.
SUPPLY VERSUS DEMAND
Technological unemployment is based on supply versus demand. Increase the supply of workers via robots and eventually no worker will have any value. That logic is sound economic science. The laws of economics say that as supply rises the value of everything goes down. Thus, can it be said that as we add more and more robots your value as a human will drop? Devaluation of labor via competition is why astute minds loathe mass immigration and migrant workers. They do not want to compete with the added supply of labor. And yet supply only tells a partial tale. Cost is also a key component often overlooked in our debate regarding technological unemployment.
And yet those who believe in unemployment by way of robots use this sound logic to make a vastly absurd claim, that being that no one will have a job.
- A member of any of the bands of English workers who destroyed machinery, especially in cotton and woolen mills, that they believed was threatening their jobs (1811–16).
- A person opposed to increased industrialization or new technology.
Nearly two hundred years after the Luddites first destroyed textile machinery in an attempt to save their jobs, humanity still wishes to rage against the machines. Are those who fear for their economic futures “Neo-Luddites” or are their concerns warranted? Indeed, machines have replaced labor throughout history. And indeed new jobs have always been created. And yet is there reason to believe that this time will be different?
OUR THREE TALES
We present three tales highlighting three possible futures. We will go through three potential scenarios of Technological Unemployment. We will refer to them as the Great, The Bad and The Ugly scenario. One hopes that this exercise may empower you with a new perspective in regards to our coming machine age.
TECHNOLOGICAL UNEMPLOYMENT: THE GREAT SCENARIO
We begin with the best of all possible worlds: Robotic Abundance. This is the Great scenario, in our tale of three outcomes. It is the outcome one should wish for, unless one happens to be sadistic or masochistic in nature and actually roots for humans to toil in labor or live in poverty.
ANYONE CAN WORK
Technological unemployment begins with the greatest of lies – Unemployment.
There is no such thing as unemployment. Anyone who wants to work, can work. Unemployment is yet another big lie perpetuated by the Masters of society. You may not like your job and you may resent your wage, but you can work – especially for yourself.
We now live in a world where work is defined by a job. However, for most of human existence work was defined by putting yourself to use in order to eat and survive. There is nothing preventing people from going back to a lifestyle where they cater for themselves, where they own a piece of land and live off the land.
THE MINIMUM WAGE
Another method by which the economy is destroyed is the Minimum Wage.
People are prevented from working by artificially creating a higher wage. Thereupon, jobs are shipped overseas or worse yet the economic function is automated out of existence. We get more stories of doom and gloom upon a machine inevitably taking over for an overpriced human labor. However, was it the machine or was it the artificial wage increase that led to automation?
The cost of a robot is the prime variable in our equation. And yet it may be the variable that is the least discussed. Cost will determine who gets unemployed by robots. Whenever someone discusses technological unemployment ask yourself how much their robot will cost. No other argument matters. Do not let their sophistry overwhelm you or allow them to use verbal sleight of hand or some emotional argument. Do not let them convince you that the robot is free. Nothing is free. All discussions are moot if there is no cost associated with a robot.
UNIVERSAL THINKING AND DOING MACHINES
Let us now imagine the perfect robot. It is a “universal thinking and doing machine.” It can think anything. It can do anything. It is the robot you have been trained to fear. The U T D M, or U M for short, is not free. It has an operational cost.
If the cost of a U M is $100 an hour then only those who get paid more than $100 an hour should worry about their livelihood. Why would anyone use a $100 an hour robot to replace a $10 an hour human worker? U M’s would replace the higher paid workers in society, leaving lower paid jobs untouched. Who amongst us has a problem with this scenario?
ALAS, INCOME EQUALITY
Having a cap on the hourly wage of top income earners is the dream of all economic socialists. It would be their Utopia. It would mean that no one in society could ever earn a wage higher than a U M. Imagine a world in which Wall Street Bankers could not earn more than $99.99 an hour because anyone could rent a U M for $100 an hour to manage their equities portfolio. Imagine a world in which CEOs of major corporations never made more than $99.99 an hour because a sum greater would be an immediate reason to replace your CEO with a U M. No more million dollar bonuses. No more surgeons earning $500 an hour. No more college professors earning $200 an hour.
Everyone would be richer – except those at the top!
No more income inequality Rejoice, yee avid devotees of Marx.
LOWERING U M COSTS
As technological improvements decreased the costs to operate U M’s from $100 an hour to $50, to $10, etc, they would then begin to displace lower and lower wage workers. This is where people get frightened. They ought not to. Only good can come of this as well.
UNDERBIDDING A U M
One could always underbid a U M to stay employed so long as your productivity per hour or per unit was higher than the U M. A CEO could charge $49 per hour and stay employed in a world in which a U M costs $50 an hour. The equation would stay the same even as the price of U M’s declined. We would all simply charge less for our labor to stay employed.
Underbidding the competition is happening all over the world right now. The Chinese have underbid the Americans for many jobs. In the eyes of Chinese people, an American is a U M that they need to underbid in order to remain employed at a certain position.
In Austrian Economics, a reduction in labor costs and a decline in overall prices is regarded as a healthy economy. Wages and prices do not determine the prowess of an economy. Production determines economic prowess. If you made $2 an hour but could buy 10 times as much at $2 an hour than you could making $15 an hour then it should not matter to you that you made less in terms of dollars.
PRICES BEGIN TO FALL
Imagine a world in which no one could be paid more than $2 an hour due to robots putting a cap on how much we could all demand for our labor. What would the be price of healthcare or education if a U M cost $2 an hour? The price of some of our most valuable services would decline over night. This is not a nightmare scenario. This is a wonderful scenario. The price of everything would fall. Competitive markets driving down the prices of goods and services is the natural outcome of Capitalism. Long has mankind dreamed of a world in which we work very little due to massively productive machines.
Hamburgers would costs 5 cents.
Your uber ride would be a dollar.
Movies could be made at bargain basement prices.
Think of any good or service and divide its price by 99. That is what an all robot world could potentially bring you. Again, one must ask, why is this regarded as bad?
GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM #1 – DEBT BASED ECONOMY
Some may have already deduced that our robot economy would lead to massive deflation. Deflation due to higher productivity should be regarded as a positive. It is how we get richer. Unfortunately, for governments around the world it is regarded as a bad. A gentleman by the name of Jim Rickards has pointed out the following: “Governments know how to tax inflation. They have not yet devised a scheme in which to tax deflation.” However, our goal is not to save government coffers. It is to prove that a world of robots would do wonderous things for mankind.
Deflation would cause debt to collapse, bankrupting banks, businesses and Governments in the process. The bankruptcy of the aforementioned institutions would be beneficial for your average saver. It would allow them to buy up all of these assets at bottom barrel prices. The average person would get rich as companies went bust.
In the deflationary scenario outlined above, our issue would not be the robots but our debt based economy. However, we can save the monetary policy discussion for another day.
GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM #2 – THE MINIMUM WAGE
The second dilemma you may have noticed is a conflict with the minimum wage. How does one charge $8 per hour to underbid a $9 an hour U M if the minimum wage is $10 an hour? One does not. This is why the minimum wage is a foolish idea, especially in the age of machines.
The idiocracy of the minimum wage can be illustrated by a simple thought experiment. Imagine if every country in the world had a minimum wage of $5. Imagine a world in which U M’s could do any job for $4 an hour. Would we then live in a world in which no one would be allowed to work for someone else? I assume the answer would be no. Governments would recognize the absurdity of their policies and lower the minimum wage to below $4 so people could actually work or get rid of the minimum wage entirely.
Perhaps they should get rid of it entirely now…
In any case, just like the minimum wage today does not allow people to compete for 100’s of millions of jobs, a minimum wage in the future will prevent people from competing for Billions of jobs.
THE GREAT SCENARIO
You will find a whole host of positive events within our “Great” scenario. We all become extremely wealthy due to declining prices, to a point in which many of the things we value today are essentially free. One can start a company with ease to compete against even the largest of firms using cheap, abundant robot labor. Our production capacity would reach such heights that even people devoid of any education could potentially live like Kings. In the “Great” scenario, you worked very little to earn a sizable amount – the same way you work far less than your ancestors to earn 100 X more. It is a world in which Robots become one of the greatest gifts humanity has ever received, one in which we are all thankful for Robots.
Now, let us examine darker scenarios…
TECHNOLOGICAL UNEMPLOYMENT: THE BAD SCENARIO
There is a point at which you will no longer be able to underbid a robot to remain employed since your wage will be lower than the subsistence wage, the lowest wage upon which a worker and his or her family can survive. There is a point at which the subsistence wage for a robot is lower than the subsistence wage for an average human. What this means is that it takes less money to keep a robot turned on than it takes to keep you alive. A robot charges $1 an hour but a human needs $1.10 an hour to survive.
CAPITAL, BE NOT THY NAME
To make matters even worse, you own neither land nor capital. You are unable to work for yourself. You cannot grow crops for food or buy a robot to cultivate resources from your land so as to trade with others. However, you are not alone. There are billions who find themselves in an identical predicament. Society becomes dualistic. You either own resources or the means of production. No other function in the economy matters.
WHAT IS AN ECONOMY?
The economic game is built on four prime variables:
One must own land, capital or information in a world in which your labor has no value.
Due to the nature of our current division of labor most of us no longer own land, know how to work the land, or even have any regard for natural resources. We have traded economic security for economic efficiency. We have become like a body that no longer stores fat because we falsely believe the supermarket will always be open. The supermarket in our analogy are firms which employee the good majority of us. Big city dwellers or people who live in the 1st world mainly work service sector jobs or jobs that deal with information. We have no desire to buy a piece of land that can supply us with any resources. Even as we pocket very good income from our current jobs, none of our current income goes into buying up resources that might safeguard us from a world in which our labor has no utility. Our income only goes into consumption. It never goes into land or capital for future production. A lifestyle in which one is the owner of capital is completely foreign to the majority. And yet, a wholly self-reliant and self sustaining Man and his land, was all that mattered not so long ago.
OUR EVOLUTIONARY END
We face the following dilemma: In essence, our future world is one in which synthetic life forms require less energy to function than biological life forms. We have been doomed by fundamental physics. In a cruel twist of irony, we have created a lifeform that is more efficient at being us, then us. We have reached our evolutionary end. Nature wishes for us to go the way of the Neanderthals. And yet, we wish to remain alive.
THE UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME. THE U B I
The main action item being pushed by the Elites is the U B I or Universal Basic Income. There are a wide variety of reasons to question the U B I from an economics point of view. Afterall, money does not lead to productivity. Productivity leads to money. However, let us suspend belief and assume that the U B I is a viable economic option. We will still have to contend with additional problems in the days of the U B I.
THE GLOBAL ZOO
The U B I would turn humans into animals living in a global zoo. We would simply be kept around out of guilt, not out of merit. This is not the life of free men.
There have been studies done in the past in which mice were put under “perfect” conditions. Utopia for the mice. Instead of thriving, they all died out. We link to the Mouse Utopia Experiment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Z760XNy4VM
We are quite certain that the eventual collapse that occurred in the Mouse Utopia Experiment is the calamity that will befall upon man when billions of people have no upward mobility at all or when they do not own anything or have any chances of tomorrow being better than today.
Confucius say: People who have no hope for tomorrow often waste today… People on the U B I would live the same day over and over again – like the movie Groundhog’s Day. Get U B I. Spend U B I. Wait for more U B I. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
JEALOUSY SETS IN
Both those who rely and rely not on the U B I are equally as useless members of society. However, the “non-U B I” members of society, now considered the Elites, had the foresight or luck to invest in capital, land and information as the value of labor began dwindling. Instead of wasting their money on consumption, they began to purchase the means of production.
The Elites will go on to create a sustainable economy, one in which they use robots to cultivate the resources they own so as to trade it with other land owners. Thus, a small minority of people will be living out their dreams in a Robot Utopia while a vast majority of individuals will be left to lament over what could have been had they only made better choices by investing in land and capital. Everyone on the U B I – every zoo animal – will look upon non U B I humans with jealous eyes. This will lead to the breakdown of society. They will ask themselves “What makes the elites better than us? They too do nothing productive and yet they have many more resources than us.”
An experiment was done on chimpanzees which proved that even animals get very angry when they think they have been treated unfairly. The chimps eventually rejected free items when they thought other chimps were receiving better free items for no good reason. The U B I will ultimately prove to be disastrous.
You can do your own research on the chimpanzee fairness experiment.
EQUITY IS THE KEY
Our real economic problem has nothing to do with Robots or Wages. The real problem has to do with equity. We agree with what so many before us have stated: Our current economic system is not designed to make the average person wealthy. It is designed to keep the State and its allies in control of everyone’s life. So long as the State limits economic liberty, so long as the Banking cartels control the money supply, then a handful of individuals will continue to fund newly burgeoning companies or purchase the world’s resources. The Average Joe will never get wealthy. This is what happens today. It is the reason why the same group of people own a piece of every company.
HOW TO SPEND YOUR U B I
Astute individuals would begin using their U B I credits to purchase land or capital so as to regain their independence. For once in their life, instead of consuming, they would begin saving. Perhaps they would save a crypto currency like bitcoin since it would be the most scarce asset or they would save to buy land, for a robot, for anything that would allow them to gain ownership of society instead of being owned by society. After all, once you have land, resources and robots, what good are the elites to you? It would also be incredibly wise to save your U B I to buy robots, perhaps ones that could go into outer space so that you could mine your own asteroid and then have a nearly infinite amount of resources instead of the paltry resources you could purchase from your monthly allotment of U B I. However, the elites may make it illegal for anyone who receives U B I to own land – or perhaps anything. Perhaps those who wish to receive U B I would have to forfeit all their rights and remain mindless consumers until the day they die.
TECHNOLOGICAL UNEMPLOYMENT: THE UGLY
Our “Ugly” scenario begins with a very simple yet devious premise: The owners of land and capital decide they no longer want to keep unproductive members of society around. They are tired of paying for us through welfare programs. We are not the best zoo animals either. Insanity sets in from living off the U B I, like members of the mouse utopia experiment. We are constantly asking the elites for more. We have worn out our welcome. Worst of all, we want what the elites have: Land and Capital. We want their resources. We want wealth redistribution. We want the game we lost to start anew.
There is no modern term that describes killing off the useless in a world populated by robots. We use the term “Technoside” to denote genocide via technology.
WHO ARE THE ELITES?
Let us identify our elites. Elites are individuals who earn revenue from a method that could not be replaced by our U M’s, Universal Thinking and Doing Machines. Elites most likely owned land, capital or information. Perhaps they created faux demand for their services by inventing such things as FIAT currency or Carbon Credits that only they controlled. They may be the inventors, artists or athletes of society, all of whom were not replaceable by robots. They may work jobs in which humans demand human interactions such as Spiritual leaders, therapists, sex worker, etc.
AFRICA AND OUR FUTURE
Firstly, we begin with a reason as to why the Owners of capital will not decree eradication. Africa is a continent in which a vast majority of people have no employment value in a modern economy. However, the developed world has never attempted to commit genocide on the people of Africa. Steal from them, yes. Genocide, no. They let them live in their shanty towns and keep their traditions. They even send them money.
Therefore, the elites of the new robot world may not enact a Technocide on all of humanity. They may simply let people die off naturally or send all who they deem useless to war it out on a small piece of land; perhaps in the ultimate game of survival of the fittest.
Let us assume that the Elites do decide to indulge in their homicidal impulses. What would this post Technoside world look like? Imagine a world in which 500M people kill off everyone else. Now, you have a world with 500M Elites with perhaps 1 Billion U M’s as their slaves. One could even envision a world in which the elites kept alive a large number of people with favorable biological attributes as well so as to see if they could spawn children with athletic, artistic or scientific value. Or perhaps, the Elites may already have enough “good genes” within their ranks.
A POST TECHNOSIDE WORLD: POPULATION CONTROL
Once the elites kill off everyone, they would have to then enter a world of population control lest the want to return to a world that they just ended. It would be foolish of the elites to kill off people they deemed unneeded only to let their seeds go out and multiply. Thus, there would clearly be downward pressure on population so as to prevent expansion. Perhaps a global resolution would be passed. Perhaps they would trade child reproduction credits. Everyone gets 2 credits, but if one wishes to have more children they would have to trade with someone who only wants 1 child or no children.
Ownership of all the resources, along with a world of Robots and population control, is what many conspiracies regarding the Globalist Agenda or Agenda 21 are built upon. And yet in a world in which Universal Thinking and Doing Machines are created, the scenario does not seem very far fetched, but rather a logical conclusion. At some point those who were smart enough to become the owners of capital may simply see those who wasted their lives consuming instead of saving as inferior humans, lacking the foresight to be worthy of life itself. The elites of society may want to live on a planet surrounded by like minded individual who were planning and preparing for our robotic future. They may regard forward thinking individuals as the Master Race, the only one worthy of preservation.
A WORLD OF ELITES – MISALIGNED INCENTIVES
We can see that there is pressure to prevent the population from expanding. However, there would be legitimate pressure to make the population contract even further.
Always remember that the elites are as equally useless as the people they killed off. They would have to live in constant fear that others might kill them off as well. Always remember that the elites of the post technoside world are not alive because they have any special skills to offer mankind. They are only alive because they were smart enough to accumulate capital and land while you frivolously squandered capital as the world of labor was becoming exceedingly valueless.
If you have a world with 500M humans and 1 Billion Robots, why not have a world with 100M people, or 5M or 1M or even 100,000? Indeed, one has to wonder why not have a world in which it is 1 Elite and 1000 supermodels and 1 billion robots?
A WORLD OF ELITES – FAMILIES AT WAR
Imagine this scenario. The Bush family decided to keep 100 close family members alive while killing off their remaining kin. The Clinton Family decides to their clan at 25 family members. Does one Bush own all of the family resources or is it equally spread between them all? Same question goes for the Clintons. If one Bush owns everything and is simply letting the other 99 live off his resources, than we could certainly see a world in which the 99 other members of the Bush family simply decide to kill off the Clintons and take what they own. Remember, we are living in a world in which those who remain alive recently committed Technoside on the entire world’s population, including many of their own family members. Why should one believe they will not kill each other off so as to have a larger share of the pie? Plotting and scheming to rid yourself of additional humans would be everywhere.
The Elites will not be able to trust their robots. It will be far too easy to implant memories into the minds of machines. Conversations or videos recorded by machine eyes can always be faked by advanced AI capable of producing lifelike, digital content. Did your AI truly see your brother plotting against you with your worst enemy? Or are the memories you are watching falsehoods implanted into the mind of your machine by your diabolical sister who wishes for you to kill on her behalf? These “Demonic Viruses” could potentially convince everyone to hate one another, further cementing the era of distrust.
Interfamilial conflict or families wanting to kill off other families to steal their resources might lead to a world in which numerous babies are born so as to ensure people have heirs incase of a calamity. They would break their own 2 child policy. This would be a world of Technological Tribalism. The new world would resemble the old old world where fathers had 10 sons so as to protect the family lineage; or perhaps people would have to waste all their resources on building robots that protected their resources. A post technoside world is not an optimal world whatsoever. It is not the elitist Utopia that many people imagine – at least not from a peace of mind of mind point of view.
In a world in which humans have no value, we constantly must question as to who should stay alive. Thus, we end up with infinite regress. Death begets death begets death. At first, we eliminate people who were not smart enough to own capital in a world in which labor was becoming valueless. Then, it would simply be survival of the greediest as people would realize that their wealth is only limited by the population around them. It is impossible to predict where a natural equilibrium between humans and resources and violence would occur.
CONCLUSIONS: OUR ROBOTIC FUTURE
Where will our love affair with robots take us? What lays at the end of our unending curiosity and creativity? Is it a world of abundance, a global zoo in which we become animals kept alive by our masters, or do we die a cold death at the hands of Technoside?
There are many who dream of a world in which robots begin to walk the Earth. That dream seems more likelier than ever. Man and machine are on a collision course. We may become as spiritually linked as man and his dog or man and his car. We who love robots see a glorious future ahead; and yet we cannot deny that disaster may too lie at roads’ end.
It must be noted that our three tales dealt with our long term future. Thus, one must understand the difference between Technological Unemployment and Technological Displacement. Losing a job and finding a new skill is no trivial task. We make no claim that humanity will not be severely disrupted by machines even on our way to robot Utopia.