Jeff discusses the upcoming technology singularity where tech gets so good that we can’t tell what great new thing is coming next. VR! Driverless cars! Artificial intelligence! Nanotech! Life extension! He then explores why he’s optimistic about technological unemployment, not so optimistic about the idea of a “basic Income guarantee” and a new idea on how to do singularity-style charity. The last hour is Jeff’s appearance on the Singularity Bros podcast where he mostly talks homeschooling to some very friendly and smart futurists, Zach, Tom and Scott.
Pasted below is my outline. Don’t read it, it’s just for the search engines:
Singularity Bros and My BIG Problem.
I’m a people person?
Trump: You’re fired.
Loved the show
Define the singularity
Learned so much about things I wouldn’t normally think about
Driverless cars and child mobility
Clip from “sleeper”
Two things to be more optimistic about: technological unemployment and BIG
Read article from Twitter (140 jobs lost)
Is the singularity like other major labor savers? E.g., combustion or electricity? Or computing?
First time somebody uses a wheelbarrow to haul potatoes.
Someone who used to coal mine with a candle or stand behind a plow would see me in my shorts in an air conditioned room and would say “there’s no work in the future!” But work seems endless.
He doesn’t even have a shovel!
The thing is, we don’t ever know what the new jobs will be. They are always a mystery.
Some precedent, the 1934 world trade fair saw the end.
The depression was an emergency, but if they implemented something like BIG the boom that followed might not have happened the same way. Or any time there was large scale technological unemployment.
I am optimistic about the benefits. Every time something like this happens it’s a boon of wealth for everybody, even those at the bottom.
The two worries they have are joblessness and people starving because of it. Someone seeing engines or electricity had to have the same fears.
- Nobody brings this up, but the great depression happened right after electricity was largely adopted. Duh duh duh!
Schooling for two generations back won’t help. If we are going post (Taylor Person End of Jobs) phases of economy – agricultural, industrial, knowledge,
Starting a business, everybody will have increased access to the tools of production, it’s Marx’s vision.
The bros seem to get stuck here every episode and there’s this general lack of faith that work is endless, that jobs we can’t imagine will exist and that a changing of the work week and identity models will be problematic. It ends with BIG. And maybe we would need it.
It might be the right way to go, but I have a few objections. I didn’t bring it up in our talk because it could’ve been hours and a bad redirect from our schooling discussions.
It seems stunningly unimaginative giving how much the market is giving to just have a program by the government (the same one who kills and imprisons people, whose chained to the banking sector, etc.) just write blanket checks. Esp. considering the wealth and unimagined wonders being created in the market.
First, I have a well worn anarchist objection that it’s force.
- Not everybody has to have poorness charity as their own. People should give back in ways that they are passionate about and specialize in. Like the SB podcast.
- We’ve been trained that it’s the governments job to be charity for the poor, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
- Checking a box to have third party to third party.
- We’ve lost our imagination and our genuine passion help.
- If Elon musk or google want to give us free internet, what brave soul figures out free food. Isn’t that easier?
Second, we have some precedent.
- Welfare and foodstamps as BIG 1.0
- It seemed to inspire complacency, the opposite of productivity and creativity.
- Less wealth overall
- Not making a ‘work ethic’ or ‘deserves’ or ‘fair share’ argument.
- Created what looked like a safety net, but it was actually a spider web that consumed and kept people poor.
- If you subsidize something, you get more of it.
- It became intergenerational.
- Destroyed fatherhood.
- Gangs > black market > crime
- Kept people dependent.
- It would be politicized, every election would be Ted Cruz and Clinton threatening to take everybody’s income away
- Russian woman joke – would income be taught that way in school?gfdgh
- What if these dependent people lose it? And we don’t have a multi-pronged approach in place? 17 trillion in debt.
- Plus it would be expensive, unresponsive and inefficient like government cares to be. HAHS has like 70K people on payroll.
- If we installed it ahead of time and it’s just a more robust, de-stigmatized version, it will last forever. Organizations mission to survive and grow.
- Regardless of the real change created by technology and markets would more quickly lift people out of poverty as it has.
- For us much as we care, it would probably reduce mobility (because they weren’t learning and adding) and create a permanent underclass.
- The knowledge to grow wouldn’t be passed on, we know school doesn’t do it. And their parents won’t know how. If they are permanently separated from the creative class, the uppers will look like space aliens to them.
- Maybe this doesn’t matter if the cost of resources becomes so low, the money won’t hurt the receivers of it.
- Or maybe since everyone’s is getting it, it produces an automatic inflation in prices to a new baseline.
Third, it’s stunningly unimaginative and uninspiring. The world is so great that everybody is on welfare
- If the singularity is producing totally awesome stuff, wouldn’t we expect charity be awesome too?
- Well, not if it were done in the ole’ crusty, financially incompetent government.
- Just like almost everything with the singularity, I don’t know what it would look like. If it were anything good, it would catch us by relative surprise like Uber.
- Why use an idea thousands of years old?
- but if the singularity forces were involved, some of the features would probably be:
- Could be voluntary. We have big groups of liberals and Christians.
- Tons and tons of choices, from low cost to expansive for both givers and recipients
- Completely digital and contextual
- It would personalized to each individual reciepients needs and personalized to each givers’ preferences. Many poor people don’t necessarility need a check, in fact a check would be bad for some. Others might need some therepy, some training, jobs placement, relocation, separation from bad actors, a pill, etc.,
- It would use deep analytics to learn all sorts of stuff, from givers and users behavior, to the causes of poverty, to what solutions work, to monitoring fraud and abuse, to optimizing resources across geographies
- It would be social networked so family and friends can be part of the solution and to extend the sense of ‘community’ (regardless of locale) in helping people down on their luck.
- Highly efficient with almost no need for beurecrats or administrators.
- Would utilize resources we wouldn’t expect. Perhaps by redirecting surplus housing or food and goods, or monitor the best use of life-providing resources by real market prices.
- Incentivized to work, not sustain
- Solve the dependency trap, and the cross-generation trap. But I don’t know how. But this is the beauty
- Profitable? Maybe their mutualized insurances by neighborhoods or towns, like disability. Nobody wants a deadbeat on their street and nobody wants to be in a lurch.
- Tithe to google? Maybe a program where the 25% that went to health and human services goes to Amazon’s or Google’s human care program:
- – Politically ridiculous, but
- – They are more efficient, easily without the 70K employees
- – It could live next the the state program, taxpayers would opt to either the private care or public (net same cost) and participants could choose whether they want US care or Amazon care
- – Ads? Free model and freemium?
- – Poor people need information. They are defacto, ugly as it is, the most financially incompetent
- – Financial tools, shopping tools for the best deals (they can bulk order these for even better pricing), nutrition tools, smoking cessation, AA/drugs remedies
- – Job tool: Look there’s intense job demand 90 minutes north, all you need to do is take this online class and hide your tattoos. When we help secure the job the driverless truck will move you to your Airbnb housing
- Ultimately these companies would want to develop customers because they would have a better margin than being stuck on the care program.
- Rent your brain? Or maybe every kid works to get his first 3-d printer and he makes his own robotic monkey butler.
Lastly we don’t know.