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11 October, 2015

Stephen Hawking confirms: The problem is Capitalism, not robots!


According to world famous physicist Stephen Hawking, the rising use of automated machines may mean the end of human rights – not just jobs. But he’s not talking about robots with artificial intelligence taking over the world, he’s talking about the current capitalist political system and its major players.

On Reddit, Hawking said that the economic gap between the rich and the poor will continue to grow as more jobs are automated by machines, and the owners of said machines hoard them to create more wealth for themselves.

The insatiable thirst for capitalist accumulation bestowed upon humans by years of lies and terrible economic policy has affected technology in such a way that one of its major goals has become to replace human jobs.

If we do not take this warning seriously, we may face unfathomable corporate domination. If we let the same people who buy and sell our political system and resources maintain control of automated technology, then we’ll be heading towards a very harsh reality.

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Having secured the new labor force through fully automated machines, what has left for the dominant elite now, is to take all the resources. Big corporations are grabbing huge cultivable areas especially in the developing countries in order to control food production.

Oil and natural gas fields in many areas of the planet are already controlled by big private corporations, ...


Hawking's note from the discussion on Reddit:

If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.


Professor Hawking is absolutely right. The problem is not automation itself, but the system under which is being developed. The obsolete Capitalism is being used - by the elites who have the economic power - as an intermediate tool to the new Dark Ages of modern Feudalism through which they will take total control of everything. Under such a Dystopian scenery, technology will be used to secure the dominance of the few, instead of improving the lives of billions.

The worse of all, is that Western societies have been 'compromised' with a culture according to which we can't have a better society out of Capitalism. It is a culture expressed by the myth of Thatcherian 'There Is No Alternative', or, Fukuyama's 'End of History'. This culture has been planted deeply in the Western thought especially in the last one hundred years, and became a building block of the Western neo-rationalism.

This culture has generated the destructive neoliberalism, which the elites are using as intermediate stage, destroying everything that the majority has conquered against them, over the past decades. The elites are breaking the social contract with the majority, exactly because they don't need human labor anymore. Societies are still living inside the 'Matrix' of this culture. They appear to be unable to liberate themselves, break the chains and fight for their lives.

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6 comments:

  1. To call what we have now as Capitalism, is just wrong. What we have bears little resemblance to even what I saw as a child in the US, let alone anything like what Adam Smith talks about. What we have is at best crony capitalism, and more likely straight corruption top to bottom, with a fake veneer of something called capitalism.

    The issues Steven Hawking describes are real and similar to what occurred during the industrial revolution. Economic systems had to adapt, and it is probable that Capitalism will also have to adapt to deal with the issues. But first the corruption and the bought and paid for "elected representatives" must be fixed, otherwise all is lost.

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    1. The first thing that has to happen is people have to realize capitalism is a human tool. Perfectly applicable in a farmers market wit local farmers. Not so prefect for instance with health care. One purpose of capitalism is to determine the relative wants of individuals. But, with health care that's like posing the question how much would you pay to stay alive? And if you add insurance it turns into how much of everyone else money would you use to stay alive. When the answer is simple "all money"

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  2. It took the better part of the last 250-300 years since the conception of this thing we call capitalism to even begin to approach the level of human decency that we westerners take for granted as the norm. Most of the social improvements in fact date no further back than the end of World War 2 or the 1850's at the earliest. Before then we had at least a thousand years of mediaeval absolutism before things began to change with the coming of the industrial and scientific revolutions. If we judge the wait for the new neo-feudalism being imposed upon us to wither and die by past history we will be waiting a very long time indeed before the human race sees the proverbial light at the end of a very long tunnel.

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  3. The current system, although not perfect, is probably the only one we know so far that can accommodate the changes needed to fix itself!
    It's all good and easy to point the finger at the problems and blame the system, but without alternatives being presented, is as good as nothing.

    I perceive the current issues as a result of the increasing optimisation of the services and production industries. Everything is turning into a fast moving, automatic, information technology. Robots are just the physical appearance of it.
    To use Taleb's words, services are part of the "extremistan". They suffer from winner takes all kind of scenario and are easily globalised so, we get very few winners in the whole world.

    I actually think this sort of optimisation is great! Provided there are better options for human labour, not just different options.
    I've been focusing more and more on the experience economy. I'm not talking about gifts and travel, but the actual Experience Design, a bit closer to what games are.

    Most people, even those underserved by the current economy landscape, have interests that are unique. These interests can be turned into experiences that others may want to pay for.
    The tourism industry has worked with this idea for a while now but, with the increasing optimisation, both the well-off and those without jobs will have more and more time in their hands. The time will be used looking for something else, enjoyable (in the case of the well-off), to do.

    Experiences, by the human nature of them, are very localised (most of the great ones require you to be in a specific location) and do not (yet) scale.
    There wouldn't be a winner takes all, at least not without a lot of middle men also profiting from it.

    Entertainment is a big aspect of today's society and that's a great thing, shows how much we don't have to just survive.

    The age of social unaware corporations may be ending, but I wouldn't blame the whole system. I'd try to balance it again by changing the definition of success.

    I would love to discuss more around this topic, personally I'm positive that with a big crisis, a big scare, the alternatives that come up soon may well be better and egalitarian (in opportunities).

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    1. Anonymous2/5/16 20:24

      http://www.isvoc.com/2016042684494.html

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  4. Without machines and technology Stephen Hawking would have died long ago. Seems he should be praising society's developments instead of criticizing the capitalist forces that make his existence possible. My advice to Hawking: Keep your day job.

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