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12 March, 2016

What if robots could replace consumers too?

by system failure

As we enter rapidly the era of hyper-automation, capitalism destroys the human labor force. Multinational cartels have penetrated in key decision centers and lobbyists managed to occupy nearly every key position in governments and institutions. Therefore, one of the key policies promoted, is the systematic elimination of the small-medium businesses (e.g. through TTIP-type agreements), as one of the last barriers against the absolute sovereignty of megabanks and multinationals.

The rapid rise of hyper-automation, is today one of the key factors for unprecedented unemployment rates, even in the most developed countries. Governments struggle to "mask" the real unemployment figures through various tricks. Even when people work only for the half days (or less) of the week, or much less hours than the standard 8-hour/day, they are placed together with the full-time workforce. Government agencies reduce unemployment rates by putting groups of people into the unable-to-work category.

In another world, the less hours for the workers would not mean necessarily reduced wages and benefits. In the worst scenario, wages would be stabilized and workers would have plenty of free time for other activities of their choice, maintaining a relatively high-quality level of life. But in this world, because of one of the most fundamental rules of the obsolete Capitalist system, workers struggle to win the unbeatable enemy of hyper-automated machines in the arena of competitiveness.

Therefore, the continuously upgraded technology and the production of more and more efficient machines, is pushing down, violently, wages and labor rights.

Not very far in the future, the impact on unemployment due to the extermination of the small-medium businesses together with the ongoing hyper-automation, will be more than evident. At this point, many people justifiably wonder: if all the production is automatized and the workers lose their jobs, who will consume the products?

A probable answer to this question would be that there is a huge potential of consumers due to unprecedented human population. Once wages are equalized everywhere, there will be plenty of consumers to buy more products. However, this will be only a transition phase. Once the elites reach the point to control all the resources and the means of production, the model will change from Capitalism to global Feudalism.

But things can become ever more Dystopian. With all the resources and the means of production in their hands of the elites, human population needs could become literally irrelevant. They could be left out of a closed system where robots would become the new consumers. Whether we are talking about humans, machines, viruses, computers, or any other kind of biological entity, or machine, one thing is common to all these: energy consumption.

One should understand the way of thinking, the psycho-synthesis if you like, of these people in power who form the 1%. They don't care about the 99% majority, at all. They have no moral barriers. All they want is unlimited power. They don't care if people will struggle to survive.

In this new "robo-Capitalism", the machines will be the perfect servants, far more efficient than the unpredictable human beings. In this system, all the economy and research will be guided by the need for increasingly efficient machines. But a sub-scenario of this case has been already examined: The super-intelligent machines could probably wipe out every human presence.

But there are plenty of scenarios on how things could evolve beyond the era of hyper-automation. Not all of them are dark and Dystopian. Under certain circumstances, hyper-automation could lead to unprecedented levels of prosperity, not only for a tiny elite, but for the entire human population.

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous14/3/16 19:40

    The chains here that sell flooring offer to put down floors in your whole house for $99...Home Depot, etc.
    They give no personal service beyond the minimum and have a long list of added fees for everything from delivery to pulling up the nails in your old floors...how this adds up!!!
    The small flooring companies offer real, knowledgeable help. They have all day...they know what's best for kids, pets, singles, rentals, everybody. They have actual prices for every grade of mats and floors.
    If you think people are going to flock to the chains and get ignored and cheated, putting the locals out of business, you're in need of some educating.
    This is true about many other lines of business.
    Everything isn't Walmart. And even in the US people like to be treated with respect, given time to ask questions, and just talk with a good sales person before they plunk down the plastic!!!

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  2. The above article is an interesting spin on automation and robots. Here is another.

    We should all try to be grownups and face the fact that robots have uses other than moving things around the factory floor. Sex-bots could make our human spouses obsolete, someone had to say it. A word of caution, Women should not get too smug about their place in society, and neither should men.

    Many women don't think we are all that we are cracked up to be or show all the qualities they might desire in a mate. More than one women has said the words, "I don't know why I put up with him" and often more than once. The provocative article below makes the case for replacing your spouse for a better model.

    http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2015/10/sex-bots-could-make-spouse-obsolete.html

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  3. I see nothing but years of protracted frustration with the fourth industrial revolution. Not on the side of technology and techno-visionaries, but a battle against human nature itself.

    It will take a lot (a global reset of sorts) to get over 20th century sentiments and consumerist pearl clutching, but that can happen in relative short order as our generations die off.

    For instance, what happens to labor organization and unions in the automation transformation? The biggest disruption in the next 10 to 15 years is going to be to delivery and transportation. What will the teamsters and their displaced constituents do? Perhaps the labor unions roles will change as arbiter for the displaced worker in facilitating a lifelong severance package from their former employer for taking away the workers livelihood in what was considered a lifelong skilled and secured job. But that is extremely short-sighted on their part, and who could conceive, at this point, politics without big union involvement? No more SEIU in 50 years? Seems unthinkable. Then we're getting into the territory of massive corporate taxation, similar to carbon tax schemes, as punishment against automation. One factor, among many, of frustration.

    Culturally, new consumer movements similar to the fair trade movement, etc., could rally against fully automated businesses for certified businesses with products made by real people. More frustration.

    I mean, there are so many complicated directions it could all go into, but at least intitially, I see great frustration toward the automation revolution and serious problems in geopolitics in regard to the necessary funding needed to fuel the transformation. All of which is only conceivably possible through the 20th century consumption model of economics, a model which is dying. This is all going to be incredibly complicated, the most complicating factor is human nature, the very thing that automation is thought to overcome.

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