From the point of view of its largest financial backers, the fact that Bitcoin combines 21st century computer science with 17th century political economy isn’t an unfortunate limitation. It’s what they want it for.
We asked “Should we promote higher minimum wages even if they accelerate technological unemployment?” Of the 134 of you who responded to our poll, one in six were OK with promoting higher minimum wages because you are skeptical of technological unemployment, and one in four questioned promoting higher minimum wages because you are skeptical of the feasibility of achieving a basic income guarantee. A little more than half of you thought working for higher minimum wages was OK either because a basic income guarantee is inevitable, or because we can simultaneously promote higher minimum wages and a BIG.
Prominently known as the “noir prophet” of the cyberpunk subgenre, sci-fi novelist William Ford Gibson once said, “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”
We are living in a point of time in which we can conceivably recognize the emergence of a future once envisioned throughout science-fiction literature. Unfortunately, as stated by Gibson, the future doesn’t appear to be evenly distributed. Whether or not this is merely the hallmark of a future emerging from its infancy, only to then mature over time, shouldn’t prevent us from recognizing the current problems laid before us.
The conversation around technological unemployment, which assumes that we will see increasing amounts of social tension due to automation replacing human work in all sectors, hides a more fundamental issue. Technology must be designed and deployed in order to support human dignity, the building of sustainably meaningful lives, and the creation of resilient communities.
“When I retire from work, I will finally live the life I’ve always wanted.”
Employment. Earning a living. Our life’s work. Career. Vocation.
Retirement. Freedom. Doing what I really want. Finally free.
What’s the deal with our relationship to work? When I was young, I was told to get a good job, earn a living, then retire and live a life free of work. I would listen to the adults around me and wonder what it meant. As if the only work we do is for another in order to receive money. Where does this idea come from? For if it’s true, then the human being doesn’t do a lick of work before getting that good job, and then after sixty, doesn’t work again.
Machines have long been displacing human labour, from the wheelbarrow and plough to the smartphone and self-driving car. In the past, this has had dramatic effects on how society is organised and how people spend their days, but it has never really led to long-term structural unemployment. Humans have always found other economically productive ways to spend their time.
A common first question in response to the idea of unconditionally guaranteeing a monthly cash stipend to everyone sufficient to meet their basic needs is in regards to a potential need for differing amounts of basic income. Let’s examine this question from two perspectives: that of the individual and that of the location.
In a world that has decided to turn away from the experiment of planned economies, Cuba’s loyalty to the failed model kept its society in a state of suspended animation.
Millions of people live lives that can’t fulfill their full potential. The lifting of the US embargo is not only going to bring Cuba into the world stage of trade and commerce. This vibrant Caribbean culture has the opportunity to allow it to leapfrog into the 21st century by embracing new generations of technologies that are better performing and create a sustainable socio-economic model.
A l’heure des technologies émergentes, alors que l’intelligence artificielle et l’adaptabilité des robots va grandissante, peut se poser un problème nouveau : la machine va-t-elle accaparer tous les postes actifs de la société ? Cette crainte, déjà d’actualité, a permis la réactualisation et la modernisation de la pensée luddite.(1)
Suddenly, your boss doesn’t seem so bad. Japanese firm Hitachi is now using artificially intelligent managers, in what may be a world’s first. These AI bosses can not only issue workflows and employee duties in real time, they can even find ways to improve employee efficiency.
A week ago, Hitachi announced its new initiative via this press release:
Through the fundamental invention of the Blockchain, https://blockchain.info/ we now have a tool that, through the use of planet-wide communications networks and smartphones that are available to anybody, can put a Western city-dweller and an Indonesian fisherman on equal footing, to participate in global commerce, maximizing their mutual advantage, and heightening incentives to achieve local and global food security.
Pourquoi et comment est-il possible de concevoir une évolution transhumaniste dans un contexte de Décroissance?
Une opposition en apparence
À la lecture des publications proposées par le courant des “objecteurs de croissance”, on pourrait être amenés à penser que ce mouvement n’a strictement rien à échanger avec le Transhumanisme. Leur présentation relève de la critique la plus radicale, la plus hostile même, se confondant avec celle d’une organisation comme l’association Pièce et Main d’Oeuvre. Leurs rédacteurs n’hésitent pas à reprendre pour eux le qualificatif de “néoluddites”, à savoir, ceux qui se disent prêts à détruire les outils de la technologie, les machines.
Blockchain technology, as revolutionary as it is, is perhaps most revolutionary in exposing the corner of a whole new philosophy of economics that can be formulated as a Network Economics of Abundance.
Not just a new economic theory, but a new philosophy of economics is required because the entirety of existing economic theory has been constructed around the assumption of scarcity, and reconfiguring our economic thought around abundance instead as a central parameter requires rethinking economics so profoundly as to be a new philosophical position that is outside the field of economics.
I wonder if people in the United States understand what it means that the Labour Party in London now has a peace activist in charge of it. Jeremy Corbyn does not resemble any U.S. politicians. He doesn’t favor “only the smart wars” or prefer drone murders to massive invasions. Corbyn opposes wars, and he works to end militarism.
For a while now robots have been back in the news with a vengeance, and almost on cue seem to have revived many of the nightmares that we might have thought had been locked up in the attic of the mind with all sorts of other stuff from the 1980’s, which it was hoped we would never need.
The possibility of creating true network economies of abundance and designing personalized economic systems raises a host of issues about what kinds of behavior might result from programmed economic parameters. In moving from indirect advertiser-supported models to direct peer-supported models, for example, one first issue might be the business model - which parts of the system should (can) be free and which paid? For any paid parts, certain externalities and artificial behaviors might be created.
Blockchain thinkers or DAC Brains are the notion of having DAO/DAC entities running with smart contracts on blockchains for the purpose of conducting thinking operations. The genesis of blockchain thinkers could be organic or inorganic: human mindfile lifelogs and uploads, and any variety of brain emulations and AI ML/DL algorithms (artificial intelligence machine-learning deep-learning algorithms). One idea is to instantiate your mindfile on the blockchain as a lifelogging tracker and standalone ideation tool: your own mind as an AI DAC.
Within the Anglo-American, and then specifically American political discourse, the dominant paradigm for around two generations right now is that the main guarantor of liberty (defined as the absence of physical force) is the institution of private property, and the main threat against private property and thence liberty is the state. While the purest expression of these sentiments reside amongst Market Libertarian elements, these thoughts have come to dominate a lot of the thinking within political economics in the west, and thence in the world.
Swarthmore College Professor Barry Schwartz just published an op-ed in The New York Times, “Rethinking Work.” The essay begins by noting that a “survey last year found that almost 90 percent of workers were either “not engaged” with or “actively disengaged” from their jobs.” So 9 out of 10 “workers spend half their waking lives doing things they don’t really want to do in places they don’t particularly want to be.” But Why?
About a year from today, Americans will line up at the polls to vote for the 45th President of the United States. Whether Zoltan Istvan will represent the Transhumanist Party on that ballot remains to be seen, but it seems likely that he’ll be the first Transhumanist candidate to run for office.
Fringe political parties are not new, though ‘Transhumanist’ does have a novel ring to it. In a recent TechEmergence interview, I asked Zoltan, why is this the time, the 2016 election, for the Transhumanist party to make an entrance?
“For the modern mad men and wolves of Wall Street, gone are the days of widespread day drinking and functional cocaine use. Instead, in this age of efficiency above all else, corporate climbers sometimes seek a simple brain boost, something to help them to get the job done without manic jitters or a nasty crash.
For that, they are turning to nootropics,” writes Jack Smith IV on the cover story for an April 2015 edition of the New York Observer.
1. Wealth Gap: The playing field is not level. The median wealth of a white household in the United States is over 13 times that of a black household, and the gap is widening. Most black households have less than $350 in savings. It takes money not just to make money but to get a start, to live near good schools, to live free of lead paint poisoning, or to address the special needs that every person has.
For millennia, Humans have been crafting tools. We don’t hold a monopoly on the trade, but we’ve done it better than any other species. So good, our entire evolution has been crafted around our dependence on them. With our anatomical features and vulnerabilities, it was perhaps predestined that we would not only master tool making, but become dependent upon it. What came first, the human or the tool?
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