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Will AI destroy capitalism?

SLD

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So John Stewart had a long diatribe last night about AI and how it will destroy jobs. He then had as his guest, the chair of the FTC, Lina Khan talking about antitrust and AI.

While antitrust issues are not at the top of the agenda for most people and their relationship with AI is even further out in left field, I think the impact is too huge to ignore. In fact, AI may fundamentally transform society as we know it. It may take away ALL jobs. Or if not all, so many that work will become scarce and pointless. Maybe art will become the only job worth doing.

Once it really reaches this point, how will capitalism be transformed?

If there’s no value in labor anymore, will everything become free? You want a sandwich for lunch? A robot will grow and harvest the wheat, mill the flour, bake the bread and other ingredients and make you a sandwich. Want to sail around the Caribbean for fun? A robot will mine the materials necessary to build the boat, form the steel, fiberglass and other things and build you a boat. You will learn to sail by a robot teacher, who can take over if it becomes too complicated. In fact you won’t own the boat. What’s the point? You’ll just use it for as long as you want and then give it to someone else to take care of for awhile. You then fly to Vail with a robot pilot to go skiing.

Seems to me that capitalism dies and we have a true communist utopia. Maybe not that good. Maybe AI is used by capitalists, who control our legislature, to effectively return us to serfdom.

I don’t know. But I do see a radical transformation of society and it must be properly controlled or we could find the vast majority of us on the losing side of it.

Here is an interesting article about this:

 
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There is no reason whatsoever to think that AI replacing knowledge/office type jobs would destroy capitalism or put everyone out of work. What would be expected is wages for jobs that can't be replaced by AI to go up, job creation in those areas (think personal services, construction, education, health care, hospitality). In addition, the prices of products/services produced by AI will massively decline. With the decline in prices, people will then allocate more money towards other products/services produced with methods not so easily replaced by AI, resulting in job expansion.

The additional tax revenue will also make the social spending programs and debt much more managable.

What we really need more than ever, imo, is more housing and better public infrastructure. If we can get employment to expand in the areas providing these then we will all be much better off. There needs to be far less red tape with adding additional housing.

A valid worry is the kind of wealth concentration that the creators of the best AI will gain, but that has always been an issue with any transformative industry.

I am far more worried about disinformation that AI will make easier to spread and more convincing. Don't know what the solution is here.
 
I do see a radical transformation of society and it must be properly controlled or we could find the vast majority of us on the losing side of it.
I feel like there is some natural limit to the extent to which AI can realistically "take over" our lives. It needs platforms, operating systems and dedicated infrastructure to "do" anything of note. And all of that, depends on human oversight and ability to intervene. Just to operate as it does now, as a language modeling program, requires vast input and maintenance just to keep it 'acting' as if it has any relevance. The big problem with the gloom and doom scenarios IMO is that AI doesn't give a fuck. It doesn't care if it's wrong, it's still doing its job. It doesn't care if it's right, either. So it isn't going to fall in line with reality to any extent other than that to which it has been instructed. IOW, it will never advance in the absence of human intervention, as most fears seem to anticipate that it will.
 
There is no reason whatsoever to think that AI replacing knowledge/office type jobs would destroy capitalism or put everyone out of work. What would be expected is wages for jobs that can't be replaced by AI to go up, job creation in those areas (think personal services, construction, education, health care, hospitality). In addition, the prices of products/services produced by AI will massively decline. With the decline in prices, people will then allocate more money towards other products/services produced with methods not so easily replaced by AI, resulting in job expansion.

The additional tax revenue will also make the social spending programs and debt much more managable.

What we really need more than ever, imo, is more housing and better public infrastructure. If we can get employment to expand in the areas providing these then we will all be much better off. There needs to be far less red tape with adding additional housing.

A valid worry is the kind of wealth concentration that the creators of the best AI will gain, but that has always been an issue with any transformative industry.

I am far more worried about disinformation that AI will make easier to spread and more convincing. Don't know what the solution is here.
So...you believe the propaganda.

If this were remotely the case, shouldn't there even be a little bit of a trend in that direction that we would be seeing, or do you think it's too early in the development?

I don't think that's going to happen, as noted in Jon Stewart's piece, TPTB have been saying that for 30+ years, but we just keep seeing a downward/flat trend in wages and continuous reduction of the workforce.

There's no real motivation for the supposed positive aspects of this technology when they can just keep bleeding us for more profits.
 
The additional tax revenue will also make the social spending programs and debt much more managable.
What makes you think the oligarchs that control the machines will allow tax revenue to increase? Tax revenue as a share of wealth from the small number of entities that control the vast majority of the capital has been going down for decades. The Ryan/McConnell/Trump tax give-away of 2017 is a fine example. The way we do things in Florida with wage earners getting hammered with fees/tolls/sales tax to cover state expenses and also expected to pay to clean up pollution while developers are encouraged to dump negative externalities on the commons is a model for the people that control AI to follow.
 
There is no reason whatsoever to think that AI replacing knowledge/office type jobs would destroy capitalism or put everyone out of work. What would be expected is wages for jobs that can't be replaced by AI to go up, job creation in those areas (think personal services, construction, education, health care, hospitality). In addition, the prices of products/services produced by AI will massively decline. With the decline in prices, people will then allocate more money towards other products/services produced with methods not so easily replaced by AI, resulting in job expansion.

The additional tax revenue will also make the social spending programs and debt much more managable.

What we really need more than ever, imo, is more housing and better public infrastructure. If we can get employment to expand in the areas providing these then we will all be much better off. There needs to be far less red tape with adding additional housing.

A valid worry is the kind of wealth concentration that the creators of the best AI will gain, but that has always been an issue with any transformative industry.

I am far more worried about disinformation that AI will make easier to spread and more convincing. Don't know what the solution is here.
So...you believe the propaganda.

If this were remotely the case, shouldn't there even be a little bit of a trend in that direction that we would be seeing, or do you think it's too early in the development?

I don't think that's going to happen, as noted in Jon Stewart's piece, TPTB have been saying that for 30+ years, but we just keep seeing a downward/flat trend in wages and continuous reduction of the workforce.

There's no real motivation for the supposed positive aspects of this technology when they can just keep bleeding us for more profits.
Wages and income have been increasing. Just not as rapidly as many people would like. One huge reason for the lackluster real wage growth is the cost of rent/housing. One huge part of the solution to that is supply, supply, supply. Governments need to get out of the way and make it easier/less costly to add more supply, and massively more supply. Medical price inflation is also a huge issue and far more complicated.

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/fredgraph.png?g=1jtuM
 

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The additional tax revenue will also make the social spending programs and debt much more managable.
What makes you think the oligarchs that control the machines will allow tax revenue to increase? Tax revenue as a share of wealth from the small number of entities that control the vast majority of the capital has been going down for decades. The Ryan/McConnell/Trump tax give-away of 2017 is a fine example. The way we do things in Florida with wage earners getting hammered with fees/tolls/sales tax to cover state expenses and also expected to pay to clean up pollution while developers are encouraged to dump negative externalities on the commons is a model for the people that control AI to follow.
There hasn't been much decline in government share of revenue over time. See the chart here. In fact it has been pretty consistent, hovering between 15%-20% of GDP.

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FYFRGDA188S

So economic growth from AI will almost certainly mean more tax revenue.
 

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There is no reason whatsoever to think that AI replacing knowledge/office type jobs would destroy capitalism or put everyone out of work.
That is exactly what it is designed to do!
What would be expected is wages for jobs that can't be replaced by AI to go up, job creation in those areas (think personal services, construction, education, health care, hospitality).
We've been told those jobs are worthless. Also, you think AI won't be able to do an education plan? Yes, construction, health care procedures, arts, hospitality can be people still, but AI is going to kill a huge number of jobs and we need to figure out how we will adapt to that because that is going to be a shock to the system
In addition, the prices of products/services produced by AI will massively decline.
Will they? You think AI engines are going to offer this service for free? Costs will drop, but not massively.
The additional tax revenue will also make the social spending programs and debt much more managable.
Tax revenue will drop due to employment dropping.
What we really need more than ever, imo, is more housing and better public infrastructure. If we can get employment to expand in the areas providing these then we will all be much better off. There needs to be far less red tape with adding additional housing.
Red tape isn't stopping housing. People are stopping housing, unless it is rich people housing.
 
There is no reason whatsoever to think that AI replacing knowledge/office type jobs would destroy capitalism or put everyone out of work. What would be expected is wages for jobs that can't be replaced by AI to go up, job creation in those areas (think personal services, construction, education, health care, hospitality). In addition, the prices of products/services produced by AI will massively decline. With the decline in prices, people will then allocate more money towards other products/services produced with methods not so easily replaced by AI, resulting in job expansion.

The additional tax revenue will also make the social spending programs and debt much more managable.

What we really need more than ever, imo, is more housing and better public infrastructure. If we can get employment to expand in the areas providing these then we will all be much better off. There needs to be far less red tape with adding additional housing.

A valid worry is the kind of wealth concentration that the creators of the best AI will gain, but that has always been an issue with any transformative industry.

I am far more worried about disinformation that AI will make easier to spread and more convincing. Don't know what the solution is here.
I’m a bit skeptical it will be so nice. Although maybe with the right laws and policies it could be. If AI results in price declines, then tax revenues will decline too. Especially sales taxes. But those are state governments. Furthermore, I do think AI will replace a host of traditional office jobs, including even lawyers. With AI systems, a lawyer may still be required to manage the process, but leagues of associates doing the research and writing the briefs will become a thing of the past. Thus we could see a huge drop in legal work. Many other white collar jobs as well. Engineering may be as simple as talking to AI to make the design for something. Maybe there’s a human in charge, but he doesn’t need a team anymore as he uses AI.

Oh, there will be other needs for humans I suspect, but AI could make the demand for such much less. With massive unemployment will come a demand for government sponsored social services, and that will require a revenue source.

The real issue will become who will control AI? A few, very few, capitalists? Bezos, Gates, Zuckerberg, Larry Page and Brin? A few others? If so, income inequality will soar to unmanageable levels. But with AI they can control the population maybe. Think of the film Elysium, a dystopian future where basically Capitalists own everything and live on a space station above a desert earth.

Or do we the people take control of it through democratic institutions? We use antitrust laws, high marginal tax rates, and eminent domain to nationalize and control it.

I truly don’t know the solution or best ways to get through this.
 
It's really hard to take anyone seriously that says 'government should get out of the way' to let ...just about anything.... happen.

Now, our (the US in particular is atrocious when it comes to this) zoning laws should be drastically overhauled/updated to bring them more in line with most European countries type city zoning, but there's a reason for most regulations. Mostly good reasons, although there are certainly plenty of edge cases where the actual laws are kinda stupid given their supposed motivation.
 
It's really hard to take anyone seriously that says 'government should get out of the way' to let ...just about anything.... happen.

Now, our (the US in particular is atrocious when it comes to this) zoning laws should be drastically overhauled/updated to bring them more in line with most European countries type city zoning, but there's a reason for most regulations. Mostly good reasons, although there are certainly plenty of edge cases where the actual laws are kinda stupid given their supposed motivation.
The thing with AI though is that the only thing it enables is "stuff we could already do", EXCEPT in terms of autonomous physical action.

I think the result is that we shouldn't actually regulate AI because it ends up being regulation on how you THINK about what you do, rather than aiming regulation at the actual behavior itself.

The caveat to this that whole "autonomous physical action" bit.

Lots of bad stuff can be accomplished only with "physical access" and so "physically motile platforms" enable a large class of activity that we would have vested interest in regulating no matter who or what was doing the thing.

The result is that AI should not be regulated but drone bodies of any sort should be locked up and well tracked.

Instead we should regulate the well-named activities that nobody should do no matter how they do it.
 
One huge reason for the lackluster real wage growth is the cost of rent/housing. One huge part of the solution to that is supply, supply, supply. Governments need to get out of the way and make it easier/less costly to add more supply, and massively more supply.

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/fredgraph.png?g=1jtuM
But the biggest cost to rent/housing is not regulation its the cost of the land. The Peoples Republic of China allowed all kinds of housing to be built everywhere and at low cost. But what you see today are ghost cities with no one living there, yet continued extreme high cost housing in the places where the jobs are (Shanghai). Even in a post AI world, are people actually going to want to live in the ghost cities? Or will they just continue to pack into high density areas like LA?

For better or worse, it does appear the local government I live (St. Louis area) seems to be taking to heart building a LOT more apartments. For example our local shopping mall is being converted to apartments. And as well, the local golf course was just sold to be another apartment complex. Honestly, I was wondering where the hell all these new people will be coming from? Especially considering the rust belt jobs are pretty scarce and no one is moving to St. Louis these days.....
 
There will be plenty for us to do after the drone wars. Watch how fast militaries switch to autonomous combat capabilities. This is what's going to (d)evolve and fast. If China does, and China will, we will have to follow suit. Just like we followed them on hypersonics. We had no choice. With minimal projected loss of life and an abundance of less expensive combat equipment, commitment to battle will be an easier decision. This is what will likely get away from us. Not because some system made some stand-alone decision to attack. No. That will be highly controlled. But because we will more readily commit to combat that will quickly get away from us.

You think there can be some AI utopia without us beating the hell out each other first? Excuse me. Have you met earthlings?
 
his is what will likely get away from us.
I agree. The only way to control it is to have designated battle areas and a consensus that all conflicts will take place there.
Wars could be the permanently top rated broadcast events. Glorified, high stakes battlebots! Love it.
 
One huge reason for the lackluster real wage growth is the cost of rent/housing. One huge part of the solution to that is supply, supply, supply. Governments need to get out of the way and make it easier/less costly to add more supply, and massively more supply.

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/fredgraph.png?g=1jtuM
But the biggest cost to rent/housing is not regulation its the cost of the land. The Peoples Republic of China allowed all kinds of housing to be built everywhere and at low cost. But what you see today are ghost cities with no one living there, yet continued extreme high cost housing in the places where the jobs are (Shanghai). Even in a post AI world, are people actually going to want to live in the ghost cities? Or will they just continue to pack into high density areas like LA?

For better or worse, it does appear the local government I live (St. Louis area) seems to be taking to heart building a LOT more apartments. For example our local shopping mall is being converted to apartments. And as well, the local golf course was just sold to be another apartment complex. Honestly, I was wondering where the hell all these new people will be coming from? Especially considering the rust belt jobs are pretty scarce and no one is moving to St. Louis these days.....
The housing certainly needs to be built where people want to live and costs are high, not these government ghost cities.

Take San Francisco, as an example. There are these three storey old historical housing units everywhere in prime areas. Makes absolutely no sense. They should be replaced by high rises with studio, one bedroom and two bedroom units, and there should be tons of them.

The reason there isn't is because the city government in coordination with the NIMBYs strictly prohibit it. And where it isn't strictly prohibited, it takes many years to get the permits, endless studies and city meetings, reams of paperwork, and all sorts of concessions have to be made to the city (design review requirements, paying for other city amenities around the property, etc.), and after doing all that the permits may still end up being denied (therefore losing all the money that was spent on the process).

And this same thing is happening in almost every major city.
 
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AI will destroy capitalism, in exactly the same way that watermills, steam power, electricity, internal combustion, radio, electronics, television, transistors, integrated circuits, computers, and jet aircraft destroyed capitalism.

Almost every new technology since the seventeenth century has been predicted to destroy capitalism, throw everyone out of work, and lead either to a communist post-scarcity utopia, where anybody can have anything they want for nothing; Or to a neo-feudalist artificial scarcity dystopia where only a tiny hyper-wealthy elite can have anything at all, while everyone else starves.

So far, neither consequence seems to have occcurred; I rather doubt that either will arise this time around.

Things will change; Some people will be worse off, more people will be better off. That's what new technology has always done, and there's no reason to expect this one to be any different.
 
One huge reason for the lackluster real wage growth is the cost of rent/housing. One huge part of the solution to that is supply, supply, supply. Governments need to get out of the way and make it easier/less costly to add more supply, and massively more supply.

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/fredgraph.png?g=1jtuM
But the biggest cost to rent/housing is not regulation its the cost of the land. The Peoples Republic of China allowed all kinds of housing to be built everywhere and at low cost. But what you see today are ghost cities with no one living there, yet continued extreme high cost housing in the places where the jobs are (Shanghai). Even in a post AI world, are people actually going to want to live in the ghost cities? Or will they just continue to pack into high density areas like LA?
The ghost city problem in China is because the government is messing with the market. China was maintaining a 7% economic growth rate--fine while they were playing catch-up but no modern economy can sustain that. Rather than admit that economic growth has to fall substantially they kept propping it up. While officially private enterprise Beijing's thumb is very clearly on the scale--those ghost cities are a form of pork.

And they're not all in the middle of nowhere. I have been in a huge mall with a very low occupancy rate in Shanghai.

For better or worse, it does appear the local government I live (St. Louis area) seems to be taking to heart building a LOT more apartments. For example our local shopping mall is being converted to apartments. And as well, the local golf course was just sold to be another apartment complex. Honestly, I was wondering where the hell all these new people will be coming from? Especially considering the rust belt jobs are pretty scarce and no one is moving to St. Louis these days.....
I've noticed apartments springing up in shopping malls around here, also. There isn't nearly the demand for retail stores that there used to be, area they left bare for future development is becoming apartments instead. The corpse of Sears appears to be mostly offices.

However, you should like seeing new apartments. That will reduce the cost of housing.
 
There will be plenty for us to do after the drone wars. Watch how fast militaries switch to autonomous combat capabilities. This is what's going to (d)evolve and fast. If China does, and China will, we will have to follow suit. Just like we followed them on hypersonics. We had no choice. With minimal projected loss of life and an abundance of less expensive combat equipment, commitment to battle will be an easier decision. This is what will likely get away from us. Not because some system made some stand-alone decision to attack. No. That will be highly controlled. But because we will more readily commit to combat that will quickly get away from us.

You think there can be some AI utopia without us beating the hell out each other first? Excuse me. Have you met earthlings?
I think hypersonics are more about prestige than weapons. You would only use an expensive missile against a high value target--and a high value target will have air defenses. If a missile is coming at you very fast it simply reduces the engagement time--the intercept isn't more complex, you just have less firing cycles to reengage missiles you missed the first time around. However, flying at hypersonic velocity plays havoc with the missile's seeker. It also paints a big thermal target for the defenders to shoot at. Ballistic makes for a harder defense situation because the defender can't identify the real targets until reentry strips away any decoys that were on the missile.
 
AI will destroy capitalism, in exactly the same way that watermills, steam power, electricity, internal combustion, radio, electronics, television, transistors, integrated circuits, computers, and jet aircraft destroyed capitalism.

Almost every new technology since the seventeenth century has been predicted to destroy capitalism, throw everyone out of work, and lead either to a communist post-scarcity utopia, where anybody can have anything they want for nothing; Or to a neo-feudalist artificial scarcity dystopia where only a tiny hyper-wealthy elite can have anything at all, while everyone else starves.

So far, neither consequence seems to have occcurred; I rather doubt that either will arise this time around.

Things will change; Some people will be worse off, more people will be better off. That's what new technology has always done, and there's no reason to expect this one to be any different.
I don’t recall anyone saying that any of these technologies would destroy capitalism. AI is fundamentally different than any other technology. For the first time in history, mankind could become economically inefficient. Why use a human when AI has a better brain and has far less cost.
 
AI will destroy capitalism, in exactly the same way that watermills, steam power, electricity, internal combustion, radio, electronics, television, transistors, integrated circuits, computers, and jet aircraft destroyed capitalism.

Almost every new technology since the seventeenth century has been predicted to destroy capitalism, throw everyone out of work, and lead either to a communist post-scarcity utopia, where anybody can have anything they want for nothing; Or to a neo-feudalist artificial scarcity dystopia where only a tiny hyper-wealthy elite can have anything at all, while everyone else starves.

So far, neither consequence seems to have occcurred; I rather doubt that either will arise this time around.

Things will change; Some people will be worse off, more people will be better off. That's what new technology has always done, and there's no reason to expect this one to be any different.
I don’t recall anyone saying that any of these technologies would destroy capitalism. AI is fundamentally different than any other technology. For the first time in history, mankind could become economically inefficient. Why use a human when AI has a better brain and has far less cost.
Why use human weavers, when a machine can do it faster, cheaper, and with fewer mistakes?

Why use human ostlers, farriers, stableboys and grooms, when we can replace horses with internal combustion engines?

Why use human runners or couriers, when messages can travel almost instantaneously via the telegraph?

Why use human computers, when a silicon chip can do far more calculations, faster, and with fewer errors?

What happened to all the file clerks? Where are the ditch-diggers, the typists, and the morse telegraphers?

EVERY technology has resulted in vast numbers of jobs disappearing, and in great fear that this will make human workers a needless and redundant expense.

And yet, we have six or seven billion more humans today than we had a century ago, and a larger fraction of them are in paid employment than ever before.

It's almost as though technology doesn't eliminate jobs, but instead just replaces old jobs with new ones.
 
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