94

So, you are planning a rapid rise to power and wealth without it being so conspicuous that you draw attention from the people that could discover your secret. Should be easy for someone of your genius, right? Your primary challenge is that whichever "industry" you use for a cover, you absolutely will draw the attention of competitors in that area. The more ...


83

Programming It is my belief that programming cannot be automated. Hear me out. I'm a programmer by trade, and I've often had this discussion with people outside of the field. The most common objection is, "Well, what happens when we get computers/programs/AI's sufficiently complex that we simply have to speak what we want our program to do, and the AI ...


62

No. The question after this becomes rather opinion based. Are there jobs that shouldn't be automated? Considering the possibilities of the next 30 years it's entirely possible that everything from conception and maternity* onwards could be automated. But would you really want to? There are also jobs where it's probably not cost effective to automate ...


55

I for one welcome our new robot overlords Who said the dictator had to be human? The robots could be programmed to serve and protect humans and the best way to do that is rule them with a literal iron fist. Everybody is fed and cared for. They want for nothing and are kept safe and happy but they don't run the place anymore. The robots run everything and ...


52

What about community service hours? You could even make the punishment fit the crime in some cases. If the person is found guilty of jaywalking, make them to spend their days off as a crossing guard. If the person is found guilty of littering, make them to pick up trash on the side of a highway. And so on... This kind of alternative sentencing is already ...


52

Let's change the question a bit just to prove a point. What would make a painting expensive in a world where you can photocopy anything? About now you should see where I'm going right? You can get a painting of Monét fairly cheap (the cost of royalty and frame), but the original would still be super expensive. And with precious minerals it would be the ...


51

Yes Reading this question made me recall my answer to Can humans interact meaningfully with the economy when robots are better at everything? To quote it: There are always two products that a human can produce that [an AI] cannot: A product produced by human labor An employed human Any job whose description includes that it be performed ...


48

There's no such thing as a post-scarcity society Even if you have completely free energy and Star Trek-style replicators that get around any sort of precious metals limitations, some things will still be scarce. For example, living space. If you're confined to Earth, it only has a finite amount of space. OK, maybe the population is low enough that ...


44

Initially, don't use your machine to create end products, use it to create raw materials that you sell to other companies. For example, buy or create a real platinum mine (or any other high-value naturally occurring commodity) and run it as a real mine. Employ real people doing real mining to obtain real product. Just supplement it with large quantities of ...


44

When everything desirable is available to all, the only commodity that continues to have value is the obedience of others. The dictator benefits from the deference of his subjects in a world where no other motivation for such deference will work. You cannot bribe the rich to obey you because they no longer need your bribes and you cannot bribe the poor ...


39

If you live in a post-scarcity society, it won't cost you anything to just throw the guy in jail. And honestly, even if your society is full of immortals, time will always be a commodity. Also, even if it's post scarcity, there will still be regulation (no, Timmy, you can't fabricate a nuke until you've finished your vegetables). If someone breaks the law, ...


37

I question your premise. Who says that human labor will become unnecessary? People have been predicting that this will happen since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution -- some predicting a utopia of leisure, others a nightmare of unemployment and poverty, but either way. Yet today, 250 years later, most people still have jobs. It is certainly true that ...


32

Very good question. Nothing can prevent a patient post-singularity civilization to spread all over the galaxy. Milky Way is around 100K LY across, so even at a slow 10% speed of light spreading (to allow rebuild/refuel spaceship at each new planet reached), most of the Galaxy should be visited in mere 1 million years. Compared with 4 billion years from the ...


31

Skip building wealth Rather than making yourself wealthy. Why not skip the wealth building phase and go straight into your real objective. After all, your machine can make pretty much anything you need. What do you need money for? Provide services For instance, your device could be used as the energy production for an exceedingly powerful rocket engine....


30

Yes Art We have no idea how to write software that emulates the creative processes used by people who write music, compose novels, write poetry, or do other kinds of art. Every attempt at this, even recent efforts, has significant flaws. I would argue that just a linear or geometric increase in computing power isn't enough; we need to develop not just ...


28

The thing is, we have a misguided idea that people need to be 'gainfully' employed. One of the ideas behind a utopia is people are able to do what they want, this could mean sitting around all day watching every soap opera episode ever made. Most of the jobs would be mental or philosophical in nature. It could be monitoring robots doing specific jobs, (...


24

If your beings have completely transcended all biological forms and are now incredibly powerful computers, why would they want to go to other systems? They don't need any more space, or energy, or materials. They are self-sufficient computers. There is no biological urge to reproduce or procreate. There is nothing to explore that they can't simply observe ...


24

I've come up with: Pain Execution Imprisonment Withhold certain resources Humiliation Forced labor Banishment If it can be administered relatively quickly after the crime was committed, Pain, is probably the single most powerful motivator to the human psyche. A post-scarcity society is not necessarily a non-barbarous society. Something simple, like ...


23

What you are describing is essentially the world in Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, by Corey Doctorow. Jules is a young man, barely a century old. He's lived long enough to see the cure for death and the end of scarcity, to learn ten languages and compose three symphonies…and to realize his boyhood dream of taking up residence in Disney World. ...


23

Yes. A culture where the wish for a specific type of social approval surpasses people's desire for material possessions. The core reason why our current day societies favor "bullies" and not kind people is that what most people desire above (almost; we'll get to that soon) all else is money. Money is power. Power lets you make even more money. And so the ...


22

What "will happen" is exactly what's slowly happening today, just far worse. The rich will get richer, and the poor poorer. I think the movie "Elysium" (with Matt Damon) more or less encompasses the outcome. Automation As you've pointed out, a lot of jobs, from manufacturing, to agriculture, to the service industry are disappearing due to automation. ...


21

If you assume AIs will be able to do anything that humans can do: Priest (in any mainstream religion) Sure, AIs might have their own religions one day, but if the job description requires a divine calling, immortal soul, or blessing by the spaghetti monster, AIs just need not apply If you assume what AIs can realistically achieve in the foreseeable future:...


20

Status symbols vs decoration Historically, jewelry performs two distinct roles - ornamental and decorative, and also as a way of displaying status. Precious metals and gemstones fulfilled both roles effectively, as they are scarce, highly visible (shininess helps), and also gold and silver are easier to craft into intricate decorations than harder metals ...


20

Power-lust If there is one thing we can see in our current world is that, no matter where a country is in the wealth ranking, the dynamic of its rulers are no different: they crave for the subtle trill of power, some hiding it behind the noble slogans of progress, democracy, equality, etc., some behind fear related arguments (people with 3 nostrils first!). ...


17

When talking about trade, people forget Ricardo. Even if AI based robots have an absolute advantage in terms of production, people will still do it if they have comparative advantage. In other words, if we can't get robots to do the work for us (because we have nothing they want), we have to do the work ourselves. So there are really two possibilities ...


17

There are a lot of options available to you in such a world. During my thought-sessions on communism and driving (this'll make sense in a second) I've come up with some ways to punish misbehaving citizens. In a post-scarcity economy you can reward citizens who work for the good of the public, and put marks against those who break minor rules and generally ...


16

Any job can be automated: The human brain is essentially an extremely complex computer. Therefore, a sufficiently advanced artificial intelligence could mimic human thought while also omitting human flaws. From a purely scientific standpoint, there is nothing that really makes the human brain unique when stacked against sufficiently advanced technology. ...


15

This went long so let me put conclusions at the top with details at the bottom so you don't have to waste your time if I didn't come close to answering the question. A "post-scarcity" economy is impossible because: Some desired or needed objects and services will always be scarce i.e. objects that can't be manufactured, services of human beings. We will ...


15

Nothing Why do we punish crime? To discourage repetition of the problematic behaviour. So why do we need to discourage the behaviour? Because it's harmful. So (if you want a properly-managed society) you need to have punishments that are appropriate to the scale of the harm caused by the infraction. Let's ignore speeding (which is more difficult because ...


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