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

From: Peter Jones (
Date: Sun Oct 07 2001 - 10:44:34 PDT

  • Next message: Alex Shapiro: "Re: [unrev-II] Lucid Thinking"

    I heard this from my Mum (so it must be true ;-), but I believe in France
    they have cut the working week down to four days.

    Now add job-sharing to the soup: a concept that has been very difficult to
    maintain in all but a few narrow occupations in the past.
    Augmentation could make a success out of that.


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Eric Armstrong" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Saturday, October 06, 2001 5:55 AM
    Subject: Re: [unrev-II] Availability of Knowledge & Consequences of

    > 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
    > interested
    > 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
    > any
    > 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 --
    > that
    > 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
    > civilization
    > 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
    > civilization
    > that takes advantage of automated knowledge systems?
    > How will that transition play out? At first, we'll see increasing
    > unemployment,
    > but it won't be so severe that it causes alarm. Later that number will
    > rise.
    > If we're on the ball, we'll probably enact social legislation to reduce
    > work
    > 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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