Re: [unrev-II] Availability of Knowledge & Consequences of Efficiency

From: Eric Armstrong (
Date: Fri Oct 05 2001 - 21:55:40 PDT

  • Next message: Henry K van Eyken: "Re: [unrev-II] Cascading Effects?"

    David Kankiewicz wrote:

    > P.S. Some how, you've made me convince myself that it has to be
    > created,
    > no matter what the cost... Hmm, I'm still thinking...

    Super discussion David. I wish we had the kind of collaboration tool
    we've been
    envisioning to carry it on, IBIS-style. I feel like we have a common
    goal -- to
    arrive at, or predict the arrival of, some kind of system that "works",
    and we're
    both struggling with a series of obstacles, alternatives, and
    implications that we're
    trying to make sense of.

    In my contracting, I've found that the majority of weeks, I work 32
    hours. That
    gives me enough time to be productive, and leavs time for things I'm
    in. I usually do that in 5 days. (I'd rather work 4 days, but cutting
    back to 24
    hour weeks would be financial suicide, and I find I just can't sustain
    consistent level of productivity for 8 hours.)

    I suspect the transition will involve cutting down work weeks like that
    -- but
    that transition assumes a big enough wage that its feasible.

    As a walked away earlier, I was thinking about your major premise --
    over time, fewer people will needed to do things we need them for now.
    I buy that premise. Even though I am less sanguine about how far or fast

    that trend proceed, I suspect it is inevitable -- barring a comet,
    running out
    of energy, running short of food, etc.

    That thought produces *two* interesting paths for the future:
      1) We render lots of people obsolete, by virtue of automation and
           knowledge-based systems.

       2) We press the reset button, and wind up having to rebuild
           after a long, dark age.

    Each of those scenarios has a strong probability. The status quo appears

    to me to be the lowest probablity future in the bunch.

    However, to return to your point -- what DO we do as we transition from
    a human-powered civilization to an increasingly machine-driven
    that takes advantage of automated knowledge systems?

    How will that transition play out? At first, we'll see increasing
    but it won't be so severe that it causes alarm. Later that number will
    If we're on the ball, we'll probably enact social legislation to reduce
    weeks, etc, so that we can keep consumers in enough coin to keep the
    economy moving -- otherwise, it could fall down for lack of people to
    spend money!

    Eventaully, we may well work our way down to 2 hour days. I hope
    so. I wonder how much suffering will occur as a result of the lag
    between our step-wise transition to that level, and the unemployment
    that precedes each step?

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