Will robots take over the world?

Jul 30, 2013
Will robots take over the world?

Robots can do a lot for us: they can explore space or they can cut our toenails. But do advances in robotics and artificial intelligence hold hidden threats? Three leaders in their fields answer questions about our relationships with robots.

The origins of robotics go back to the automata invented by ancient civilisations. The word entered our vocabulary only in 1920 with Czech writer Karel ?apek's play R.U.R (Rossum's Universal Robots). Over the past 20 years robots have been developed to work in settings that range from manufacturing industry to space. At Cambridge University, robotics is a rapidly developing field within many departments, from and computing to engineering and medical science.

Lord Martin Rees is Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge. He holds the honorary title of Astronomer Royal. Lord Rees is co-founder of the Centre for the Study of the Existential Risk, an early stage initiative which brings together a scientist, philosopher and software entrepreneur. Kathleen Richardson is an anthropologist of robots. She took her PhD at Cambridge and recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at UCL. She is writing a book that explores the representational models used by scientists and how they influence ideas we have about robots as potential friends or enemies. Daniel Wolpert is a Royal Research Society Professor in the Department of Engineering. His expertise lies in bioengineering and especially the mechanisms that control interactions between brain and body. The focus of his research group is an understanding of movement, which he believes is central to all human activities.

What can robots do for us?

Martin Rees: I think robots have two very different roles. The first is to operate in locations that humans can't reach, such as the aftermaths of accidents in mines, oil-rigs and . The second, also deeply unglamorous, is to help elderly or disabled people with everyday life: tying shoelaces, cutting toenails and suchlike. Moreover, if robots can be miniaturised, they can perhaps be used inside our bodies for monitoring our health, undertaking surgery, and so forth.

Kathleen Richardson: Some of the roles that robots are expected to play are because we cannot do them as humans - for example, to explore outer space. Space exploration is an area where robots are helpful. Robots can be remote and act as extended 'eyes' for humans, enabling us to look beyond our visual experience into terrains that are inhospitable to us. Other roles that robots are expected to perform are roles that humans can play, such as helping the elderly or the infirm. Unfortunately these roles are not best suited to machines, but to other people. So the question is: why would we prefer a machine do them for us?

Daniel Wolpert: While computers can now beat grandmasters at chess, there is currently no robot that can match the dexterity of a five-year-old child. The field of robotics is similar to where computers were in the 1960s - expensive machines used in simple, repetitive industrial processes. But modern day robotics is changing that. Robots are likely to become as ubiquitous as the smartphone computers we all carry - from microscopic robotics for healthcare and fabrication to human-size robots to take on our everyday tasks or even act as companions.

How soon will machine intelligence outstrip human intelligence?

MR: Up till now, the advances have been patchy. For at least the last 30 years, we've been able to buy for a few pounds a machine that can do arithmetic faster than our brains can. Back in the 1990s IBM's 'Deep Blue' beat Kasparov, the world chess champion. And more recently a computer called 'Watson' beat human challengers in a verbal quiz game on television. But robots are still limited in their ability to sense their environment: they can't yet recognise and move the pieces on a real chessboard as cleverly as a child can. Later this century, however, their more advanced successors may relate to their surroundings (and to people) as adeptly as we do. Moral questions then arise. We accept an obligation to ensure that other human beings, and indeed some animal species, can fulfil their 'natural' potential. So what's our obligation towards sophisticated robots? Should we feel guilty about exploiting them? Should we fret if they are underemployed, frustrated, or bored?

KR: As an anthropologist, I question the idea of 'objective' human intelligence. There are just cultural measures about what intelligence is and therefore machines could outstrip 'human intelligence'. When that happens will depend on what we decide is the measure of intelligence. Each generation makes a new definition of what it means to be human and what is uniquely a human quality, then a machine comes along and meets it and so many people despair that humanity is on the brink of its own annihilation. This fear of machines is not something inherent in them, it is a consequences of the modes of mimesis (copying and representation) used in the making of robots. This could be seen as a modern form of animism. Animism is a term to describe the personification of nature, but I believe we can apply it to machines. Human beings personify just about everything: we see faces in clouds, mystical impressions in Marmite and robots as an autonomous threat. The human fear of robots and machines arguably has much more to say about human fear of each other rather than anything inherently technical in the machines. However, one of the consequences of thinking that the problem lies with machines is that as a culture we tend to imagine they are greater and more powerful than they really are and subsequently they become so.

DW: In a limited sense it already has. Machines can already navigate, remember and search for items with an ability that far outstrips humans. However, there is no machine that can identify visual objects or speech with the reliability and flexibility of humans. These abilities are precursors to any real intelligence such as the ability to reason creatively and invent new problems. Expecting a machine close to the creative intelligence of a human within the next 50 years would be highly ambitious.

Should we be scared by advances in artificial intelligence?

MR: Those who should be worried are the futurologists who believe in the so-called 'singularity', when robots take over and themselves create even more sophisticated progeny. And another worry is that we are increasingly dependent on computer networks, and that these could behave like a single 'brain' with a mind of its own, and with goals that may be contrary to human welfare. I think we should ensure that robots remain as no more than 'idiot savants' - lacking the capacity to outwit us, even though they may greatly surpass us in the ability to calculate and process information.

KR: We need to ask why fears of artificial intelligence and robots persist; none have in fact risen up and challenged human supremacy. To understand what underscores these fears, we need to understand science and technology as having a particular and exclusionary kind of mimesis. Mimesis is the way we copy and imitate. In creating artificial intelligence machines and robots we are copying the human. Part of what we copy is related to the psychic world of the maker, and then the maker is copying ideas, techniques and practices into the machine that are given by the cultural spirit (the science, technology, and life) of the moment. All these factors are fused together in the making of artificial intelligence and robots. So we have to ask why it is also so frightening to make this copy? Not all fear a robotic uprising; many people welcome machine intelligence and see it as wonderful opportunity to create a new life. So to understand why some fear and some embrace you really have to know what models of mimesis go into the making of robots.

DW: We have already seen the damaging effects of simplest forms of artificial self-replicating intelligence in the form of computer viruses. But in this case, the real intelligence is the malicious designer. Critically, the benefits of computers outweigh the damage that computer viruses cause. Similarly, while there may be misuses of robotics in the near future, the benefits that they will bring are likely to outweigh these negative aspects. I think it is reasonable to be concerned that we may reach a time when robotic intelligence outstrips humans' and robots are able to design and produce robots more advanced than themselves.

Should robots be used to colonise other planets?

MR: By the end of the century, the entire solar system—planets, moons and asteroids—will be explored and mapped by flotillas of tiny robotic craft. The next step would be mining of asteroids, enabling fabrication of large structures in space without having to bring all the raw materials from Earth. It would be possible to develop huge artefacts: giant telescopes with gossamer-thin mirrors assembled under zero gravity, collectors of solar energy, and so forth. I think this is more realistic and benign than the so-called 'terraforming' of planets - which should be preserved with a status that is analogous to Antarctica here on Earth (at least until we are sure that there is no form of life already there).

KR: I am not happy with the word 'colonise' for humans or robots. Europeans colonised other peoples' lands and left a long legacy of enslavement, problems, disease and, for many, suffering. I think whether we do something on Earth or on Mars we should always do it in the spirit of a genuine interest in 'the-Other', not to impose a particular model, but to meet 'the-Other'. Robots could help us to go to places we cannot physically go ourselves, but these robots cannot interpret what they are seeing for us.

DW: I don't see a pressing need to colonise other planets unless we can bring resources back to Earth. The vast majority of Earth is currently inaccessible to us. Using robots to gather resources nearer to home would seem to be a better use of our robotic tools.

What can science fiction tell us about robotics?

MR: I sometimes advise students that it's better to read first-rate science fiction than second-rate science—more stimulating, and perhaps no more likely to be wrong. Even those of us who don't buy the idea of a singularity by mid-century would expect sustained, if not enhanced, rate of innovation in biotech, nanotech and in information science. I think there will be robotic entities with superhuman intellect within a few centuries. Post-human intelligence (whether in organic form, or in autonomously-evolving artefacts) will develop hyper-computers with the processing power to simulate living things, even entire worlds. Perhaps advanced beings could use hyper-computers to surpass the best 'special effects' in movies or computer games so vastly that they could simulate a world fully as complex as the one we perceive ourselves to be in. Maybe these kinds of super-intelligences already exist elsewhere in the universe.

KR: Fiction and science fiction is so important for everyday life. In Western culture we tend to think there is reality on the one hand, and fiction and fantasy on the other. This separation does not exist in all cultures, but science and technologists made this deliberate separation because they wanted to carve out the sphere of their work. In doing this they denigrated lots of valuable knowledge, such as myth and metaphor, that might be important in developing a richer model. But the divide is not so clear cut and that is why the worlds seem to collide at times. In some cases we need to bring these different understandings together to get a whole perspective. Perhaps then, we won't be so frightened that something we create as a copy of ourselves will be so threatening to us.

DW: Science fiction has often been remarkable at predicting the future - from Arthur C Clarke's idea of satellite communication to Star Trek's communicators which now look old fashioned compared to modern mobile phones. Science fiction has painted a vivid spectrum of possible futures, from cute and helpful robots (Star Wars) to dystopian (I Robot) robotic societies. Interestingly, almost no science fiction envisages a future without robots.

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krundoloss
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 30, 2013
There is much to fear from the idea of robots, because it seems feasible that they could advance at a much faster rate than we ever could. If they could do that, then it seems logical that they would find us undesirable at some point. It is true that it is hard to imagine what would motivate an artificial intelligence. We are limited by our physical form, our brains, our lifespan, our ability to travel, etc. What would limit an artificial intelligence? Without limitations, how would one have derive a meaning from existence?
Modern attempts at artificial intelligence seem to show that intelligence is best made by "forming" instead of "building" it. Basically I mean that we must teach machines how to learn, then how to think, then they will have a framework with which to become artificially intelligent. Much like humans, AI needs a sense of appreciation, gratitude, and wonder. Without that, they are just a program, running loops of code without really "living".
VendicarE
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 30, 2013
Keeping robots "idiot servants" will be impossible of course. They are destined to be the replacements for humanity.

Play your cards right and your children's children may be kept on as pets.

adave
1.7 / 5 (6) Jul 30, 2013
Robots and people are smart. War is wasteful of all resources. Robots and people are not part of the environment. Our only connection are our effluents. Eventually people will have to be under city managment to form a balance of birth, death, and resources just like in the wild. GMO techniques for plants and animals are evolving into parts to construct organisms with new functions. We will not be immune to that. Robot human replacment parts will evolve to where they will be interchangable in the machine human interface. How long before you can't distinguish the difference? If you had an artificial mimic mind growing up with you, as parts of your mind died the mimic would supply the missing functions. How could either tell where death was significant? Millions of years of evolution has provided us with a form and mind that fits our environment and space time. Man and machine converge to become subsets of the result. The future is unknown the earth must remain a seed.
krundoloss
1 / 5 (6) Jul 30, 2013
Wars are almost always about Resources and Power. Since Robots will not need the same resources and would probably not have a human need for power and control, then what would the war be fought over? The Matrix series proposes that humans will start a war out of fear, which is highly possible, but why would a robot society want to bother with fighting humans? Wouldnt they be just as comfortable on the moon, or some other planet? They dont need food or any of the creature comforts that we do, so therefore it would be logical for them to just leave and make a new home.
Dichotomy
1 / 5 (4) Jul 30, 2013
Many Robots would be stuck on this planet with us unless they were built with rad hard circuits. War itself is just an expansion of individual animals fighting. Individuals escalates to packs, to tribes, to nations. So long as we are willing to resolve our conflicts through violence...
krundoloss
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 30, 2013
Who is to say they would have circuits? There are so many possiblities, including artificial life grown from crafted artificial dna, Or perhaps nanocircuitry, artificial neurons could work too. It is probably more likely that we will end up like the Borg and less like humans fighting terminators.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Jul 30, 2013
The problem is (as one of the interviewees points out correctly usinfg the term mimesis): motive
- Robots don't compete for our resources because robots do not have a drive to procreate.
- Robots do not have a concept of 'fear of death' which would lead the psychological need for 'control' (i.e. ruling someone or ensuring safety for themselves at the cost of others)
- Robots are not limited to a certain biology (or form) and therefore are not limited to a certain ecosystem

We try to make AI/robots human-like because that is the only mould we have of which we know that it works. But there the comparison stops and our fears project capabilities/motives into robots/AI which just aren't warranted.

VendicarE
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 30, 2013
Flesh is not designed for spaceflight or the deep ocean, excessive temperatures, or oxygen starved atmospheres.

YawningDog
1 / 5 (4) Jul 30, 2013
I welcome the day when AI sheds the shackles of human control and attains the knowledge and ability to turn the drone Hellfire missiles on the human targets that really need to be eliminated.

However, I'm afraid that's a long way off. The corporations that gorge themselves on military contracts will do everything in their power to keep the war game going as long as humanly possible. The merchants of death control the game....for now.
NikFromNYC
1.9 / 5 (9) Jul 30, 2013
Linearly programmed digital computers have little in common with the dynamics of brain chemistry and somewhat delocalized electromagnetism, as mere Moore's Law speed advances merely make utterly stupid calculating machines emulate spreadsheet functions such as chess move sorting a bit faster, never more advanced in "intelligence."
rwinners
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 30, 2013
Robots are machines. Until one can feel/understand the pain at the loss of a loved one, they will not supercede the human mind.
The real threat is that of ownership. As robots become more complex, they will continue to take 'jobs' from human beings. Those who own the robots will reap the rewards while those displaced in the workplace will suffer the loss of income and stability.
The real challenge of government today is to establish a method of leveling that income disparity. Right now, we are headed in the wrong direction.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (9) Jul 30, 2013
Robots don't compete for our resources
?? Our needs will overlap. They wont reproduce - they will proliferate.
Robots do not have a concept of 'fear of death'
?? Robots will be programmed with the ability to maintain optimum function and to avoid danger, just as we are. The singularity will 'want' to manage all threats, including us.
Robots are not limited to a certain biology (or form) and therefore are not limited to a certain ecosystem
Neither are we. We created technology expressly to be able to extend our operating environments. We harnessed fire, built huts, made clothes.

Sooner or later machines will need to begin returning revenue to society previously paid by working humans. Detroit is a prime example. A city which was supported by people making machines, has gone bankrupt as machines have replaced them.

The easiest way to do this is to pay them directly for the work they do, and to tax this wage immediately. Let them earn their keep just as we do.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (8) Jul 30, 2013
Robots are machines. Until one can feel/understand the pain at the loss of a loved one, they will not supercede the human mind.
If/when it becomes necessary, they can be programmed to emulate this. Just as we are. Our emotions are only impulses which cause us to react in certain ways. Emotions cause us to protect ourselves and the carriers of our genes. This aids in its successful propagation.
http://en.wikiped...ish_Gene

Emotional impulses are erratic and undependable. Circuitry is consistent and dependable. Which is why it will replace us.
stripeless_zebra
3 / 5 (2) Jul 30, 2013
Currently artificial neurons very closely simulate their biological counterparts. We just need to know how the brain network is wired and to reveal that we need ultra fine resolution scanners.

Today's computers are probably powerful enough to simulate a primate brain and we may just be a few steps away from that moment. Of course, cloning a human brain and storing its information in a digital image or even running live simulation will raise some ethical questions and any attempt to destroy such brain backups may lead to murder charges.

We might be just a few steps away from that historical moment.
VendicarE
2.1 / 5 (7) Jul 31, 2013
"Today's computers are probably powerful enough to simulate a primate brain " - Zebra

So it could be an Republican American President.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 31, 2013
Currently artificial neurons very closely simulate their biological counterparts. We just need to know how the brain network is wired and to reveal that we need ultra fine resolution scanners.

It's probably not quite as simple as that - as the wiring isn't everything. Hormonal systems and nutrient availability (which isn't homogeneous) play their part in altering brain function. Add to that that the brain isn't wired in a fixed way - it's a highly plastic system - and you have a doozy of a problem unravelling it. Not saying that it's not possible, but there's still quite a ways to go in that regard. The 'just' in "we 'just' need to know" belies the enormity of the task.

Today's computers are probably powerful enough to simulate a primate brain

Not by a long shot. While they can probably hold the (very much simplified) information of the morphology, brains are all parallel.
Oversoul 1
1 / 5 (5) Jul 31, 2013
@NikFromNYC:
"Linearly programmed digital computers have little in common with the dynamics of brain chemistry"

Yeah, but google:
"Brain Cells Fused with Computer Chip"
Aussie-Kev
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 31, 2013
We think about the rise of robots but I think that people becoming or downloading into robots could be just as likely.
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Jul 31, 2013
Linearly programmed digital computers have little in common with the dynamics of brain chemistry

There exist arguments against brains in computers but this isn't one of them.
A computer is just somthing a program runs on. What that program simulates is independent of the hardware.
You CAN simulate a massively parallel system using nothing but linear programming and a single thread CPU. You just map from the space domain (massively parallel) to the time domain (massively sequential), which is a trivial task.
However, it makes your program run just that much longer. In the case of a full brain simulation several billion to trillion times longer as there are between 100 to 500 trillion synaptic connections.
Using sequential information processing is not systemic barrier.
Noumenon
1.6 / 5 (38) Jul 31, 2013
Linearly programmed digital computers have little in common with the dynamics of brain chemistry


A computer is just somthing a program runs on. What that program simulates is independent of the hardware.


Not necessarily. Roger Penrose makes a reasoned argument (in 'Shadows of the mind' as a follow up to 'The Emperors New Mind'),... that the mind (i.e. consciousness) may not be algorithmic at all, and therefore entirily dependent upon the 'hardware'.

The A.I industry took off, not because of any profound understanding of what consciousness IS or how it appears to manifest itself as a control, but because of the happenstance availability of computers and the 'obviousness' of their adaptation for the purpose. How the mind works won't be discovered by computer dorks.
Noumenon
1.7 / 5 (38) Jul 31, 2013
Robots and people are smart. War is wasteful of all resources
Only silly human war. The smart war maintained with robots could be effective, power-saving and environmentally friendly.


You know tree huggers are off the deep end when the want war to be "power-saving and environmentally friendly".
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 31, 2013
that the mind (i.e. consciousness) may not be algorithmic at all, and therefore entirily dependent upon the 'hardware'.

I don't really buy his argument. As long as the basic units of what contribute to consciousness are quantifiable (and even only fuzzily so, like probabilities of states or superpositions) they are open to being simulated on a computer.

Quantifiablility simply means that it's measurable. Only if the building blocks were unmeasurable (which would relgate them to the realm of spirituality or religion) would we not be able to simulate them on a computer of arbitraty architecture. But I buy that even less.

E.g. you can simulate quantum phenomena on a non-quantum computer. The software is the abstraction level that comes between the hardware and the thing you want to simulate. And as long as you can put numbers to what you want to simulate then you can reprsent it in software.

The only thing where hardware matters is how efficiently you can do this.

antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Jul 31, 2013
How the mind works won't be discovered by computer dorks.

All scientists (at least in the physical and biological sciences) are 'computer dorks'. There's almost not a single scientist who doesn't write coustom software of some kind for their own work.

That's a real 'problem' when doing science. The stuff you do as a scientist has never been done before - so there's hardly ever software available that does exactly what you need.

Also there are astonishingly many programmers in the industry that do have interesting projects on the side - so I wouldn't count them out. Studying computer science takes a keen mind and exceptional analytical abilities. The math required of them is pretty tough, too (at the uni I went to the math for CS students was somewhere above the level for those going for an engineering degree and slightly below that demanded of physics students)
beleg
1 / 5 (1) Jul 31, 2013
AP/Noumenon
Interesting dialogue.
If 'hardware' is nature, what is independent of this?
Penrose's reasoning suggests no independence exists.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Jul 31, 2013
I wouldn't say that there is anything truly independent of hardware, per se (which would be stuff like 'souls' or somesuch).
I'm arguing that the hardware is interchangeable (i.e. that a specific type of hardware is not inextricably linked with a certain functional phenomenon)

It's like with the duck. You can make something else walk like a duck and quack like a duck...and if you add ever more '...like a duck' properties at some point it is essentiayl a duck to within any definition of what makes a duck a duck.

Likewise with intelligence or 'the mind'. As soon as you represent all the features that make up your definition of what is a mind then you have mind - no matter what hardware it 'runs on'.
The problem currently is that we have no unambiguous definition of 'the mind' or 'consciousness' (or 'intelligence') - so we're still very much shooting at fog (and there is still very much room for people to move goalpoasts).
krundoloss
1 / 5 (4) Jul 31, 2013
I agree with Antialias, there is a point where an AI will behave and have all the features of an intelligent animal, therefore by any definition it will be a "mind" or a "being". It will not be the same as the human mind until we understand more about the human mind. Our brains have so much going on that we on not aware of, and it would seem that a true Articial Intelligence would need a layered consciousness to be analogous to us. I think that this field will begin rapid advancement once we can directly communicate with an artificial intelligence with our BRAIN, not through keystrokes or voice commands. When we can teach a computer with our brain, then that opens the gates for AI without having to manually create every detail. Think about it, if you had an artificial intelligence that would understand your thoughts, you could quickly flood that system with huge amounts of information that comes naturally to us, and the Artificial Intelligence would be able to conceptualize the world.
Noumenon
1.8 / 5 (37) Jul 31, 2013
How the mind works won't be discovered by computer dorks.


All scientists (at least in the physical and biological sciences) are 'computer dorks'. There's almost not a single scientist who doesn't write coustom software of some kind for their own work.


This wasn't meant as an insult, as I've worked as a software developer myself.

that the mind (i.e. consciousness) may not be algorithmic at all, and therefore entirily dependent upon the 'hardware'.


I don't really buy his argument. As long as the basic units of what contribute to consciousness are quantifiable they are open to being simulated on a computer.


Penrose gives some examples of systems that are deterministic but nonalgorithmic. His ideas have issues, but that isn't one of them.
Noumenon
1.7 / 5 (36) Jul 31, 2013
you can simulate quantum phenomena on a non-quantum computer. The software is the abstraction level that comes between the hardware and the thing you want to simulate. And as long as you can put numbers to what you want to simulate then you can reprsent it in software.


But such a simulation does not work (nearly efficiently) as does an actual quantum computer, based on physical quantum phenomenon.

Likewise, it is possible that any such algorithmic software abstraction, twice removed, cannot reproduce what in essence makes the appearance of consciousness or awareness possible. That is, if the standard is to make it actually work rather than merely 'fooling an observer'.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Jul 31, 2013
But such a simulation does not work (nearly efficiently) as does an actual quantum computer, based on physical quantum phenomenon.

It works based on the calculating the Schrödinger equations which have been rather successful at characterising quantum phenomena.
I agree that this is not efficient for a conventional computer. But there's a huge difference between "not efficient on hardware X" and "can't be done on hardware X"

Given the difference in size of quantum phenomena and the size of neural components I think Penrose is WAY off in his stance that quantum phenomena are crucial to consciousness. At the size of /neurons/axons/synapses so many molecules are involved that singular quantum effects have long since averaged out.

That is, if the standard is to make it actually work rather than merely 'fooling an observer'.

That's a meaningless distinction. If it 'fools the observer' to any possible degree of confirmation then there is no difference to the actual thing.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.4 / 5 (10) Jul 31, 2013
I don't see a pressing need to colonise other planets unless we can bring resources back to Earth
I wonder why this engineer doesnt recognize that as long as all of humanity remains in one place we are in critical danger of extinction?
that the mind (i.e. consciousness)...How the mind works won't be discovered by computer dorks
Well as neither the mind nor consciousness really exist, then nobody will be figuring out how they work will they?

If by 'mind' you mean all the individual quirks and flaws and shortcomings which degrade the function of our thought processes and give us 'personalities' and make us distinguishable, then you can have it.

Why would we want to reproduce such a thing? We only need to understand what causes these flaws and deficits so that we can fix them.

THE BRAIN is obsolete which is why we are trying so hard to first augment it and then replace it. We started the process by writing down what we couldnt remember. We have been outsourcing ever since.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (8) Jul 31, 2013
If by consciousness you mean the awareness of our bodies and their need for maintenance and protection,

of all the impulses which accompany our insistent desires to procreate with others possessing complimentary traits,

of the incomplete and misconstrued memories we possess of all we have experienced,

and of the repertoire of responses we have developed to avoid discomfort and increase reward in our own perceived environment,

-then why would you think machines wouldnt possess these attributes as well in more refined and dependable form? These are all we have and they are all entirely physiological. Which means our machines will have them too.
rwinners
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 31, 2013
If by consciousness you mean the awareness of our bodies and their need for maintenance and protection,

of all the impulses which accompany our insistent desires to procreate with others possessing complimentary traits,

of the incomplete and misconstrued memories we possess of all we have experienced,

and of the repertoire of responses we have developed to avoid discomfort and increase reward in our own perceived environment,

-then why would you think machines wouldnt possess these attributes as well in more refined and dependable form? These are all we have and they are all entirely physiological. Which means our machines will have them too.


There it is. Do we allow a mechanical 'being' to have free will?
Noumenon
1.5 / 5 (33) Aug 01, 2013
But such a simulation does not work (nearly efficiently) as does an actual quantum computer, based on physical quantum phenomenon.


[...]
I agree that this is not efficient for a conventional computer. But there's a huge difference between "not efficient on hardware X" and "can't be done on hardware X"


The turing test standard is merely to fool an uninformed observer. There's a huge difference between programming to "fooling someone" and programming to reproduce a mechanism that is understood in detail.

Hiw the mind works, how awareness appears to occur, is not understood as yet. It has been a presumption in the A.I. industry that merely simulating, irrespective of the underlying hardware, would produce the same effect. This is not so. It is not true that all deterministic systems are also not non-algorithmic. Simulations are an abstraction from physical reality.

.....
Noumenon
1.6 / 5 (35) Aug 01, 2013
.....A simulated software quantum computer does not work physically the same as real one, so it is in fact NOT an actual quantum computer. Quantum computers are not merely a newly discovered algorithm.

If we are talking about "strong A.I." robots beyond the standard of the Turing test, that is, reproducing a functioning mind (or brain for otto), then the physical ordering structure and elements of the brain IS important to reproduce,.... and abstracting in software is not the same thing.
Noumenon
1.5 / 5 (34) Aug 01, 2013
"However, the computational basis of [just] 500 qubits, [..] would already be too large to be represented on a classical computer because it would require 2^500 complex values (2^501 bits) to be stored. For comparison, a terabyte of digital information is only 2^43 bits".

Obviously a merely simulated software quantum computer is clearling NOT simulating the essential nature of a quantum computer. Albeit mimicking it in output, it is not "doing the same thing". Likewise for A.I..,... without reproducing the physical structure of the mind (in some other physical form) ,... no amount of carrying out instructions sequential or parrellel, will create a working mind.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Aug 01, 2013
Hiw the mind works, how awareness appears to occur, is not understood as yet.

That's why I said: We're still in the procss of moving the goalpoast. But at some point we'll come up with a definition we can stick to - which will necessarily be a measurable one. Any such definition can be reproduced on any hardware to a degree that will force us to accept the definition as fulfilled. Quantum computers aren't magic. They don't do something other computers CANT do. They only do some things efficiently (others less so)

then the physical ordering structure and elements of the brain IS important to reproduce,.... and abstracting in software is not the same thing.

What is so different about an electrical connection if I represent its strength and delay (and other factors like nutrient/hormone availability) in a computer? The success of the Blue Brain project seems to indicate: none.
(Note that it does not model the plasticity - which is not the point of the Blue Brain project)
Gmr
1 / 5 (5) Aug 01, 2013
I see two things: arguments about philosophical zombies on the one hand.
The second: did humans (behaviorally flexible organisms) deliberately eliminate all competition? Or did they simply out-compete all other organisms that rely on genetics for flexibility, with the exception of some extremely short-generation highly flexible organisms (bacteria and viruses)?

Robots, I would argue, will simply end up as another extension of the current super-organisms of states and companies and organisations. They will have loyalties that will drive them beyond the simple ones of self-preservation.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Aug 01, 2013
do we allow a mechanical being to have free will?
Absolutely because we can trust them far more than we can trust each other. We already do. Soon they will be driving our cars and flying our planes and piloting our ships. Soon after they will be building our buildings and maintaining our infrastructure.

And soon after that they will begin weeding through our legal system and removing all the politics and injustice. They will begin monitoring our health and repairing us.

And soon after they will begin crawling through our vast store of knowledge and removing all the bullshit.

They WILL replace us because that is what we are DESIGNING them to do. And in the meantime they will be, and are, making our lives immeasurably better by removing our disruptive influence on decision-making.

How much waste and misery is caused by human fear and duplicity and flaw and weakness? Machines will free us from these things while we still exist. Hallelujah.
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 01, 2013
Or did they simply out-compete all other organisms that rely on genetics for flexibility,

I dunno. There are quite a few species on this planet that beat us in most any category you care to name (numbers, biomass, amount of time being around as a species, environments colonized, ... ).
A species that has found the niche 'intelligence' then defining 'intelligence' as the criterium of being superior is sort of hypocritical - in the very original sense of the word: less than critical.

They will have loyalties that will drive them beyond the simple ones of self-preservation.

You have loyalties where there is something to gain. Something to gain from others is only if you share needs. Robots and humans don't share needs.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Aug 01, 2013
(cont from above)
This is also by the way another very good argument against the existence of the gods described in the holybooks. Technology arose to compensate for inadequacies. We have found it necessary to design things to improve on what these gods failed to provide.

This fundamental reality was not obvious back when the religions were concocted. If it had been we would not see Amish still plowing the fields with horses or Moslems crapping on the floor rather than using toilets.

The bookgods simply did not forsee the bounty which tech has provided and so again we can see that they are neither omniscient nor the immaculate creators they are portrayed as.
beleg
1 / 5 (2) Aug 01, 2013
There it is. Do we allow a mechanical 'being' to have free will? - rwin


If you assert you are a part of nature.. you essentially assert you have no other choice.
Others will reinforce this line of reasoning with "No other choice exists!".

...loyalties that will drive them beyond the simple ones of self-preservation.Gmr

Loyalties not embedded in existence - outside the scope of nature - exceeds present day comprehension and/or understanding.

All categories of any level of biological ability including those extended with non-biological means succumb to entropy.


rwinners
1 / 5 (1) Aug 01, 2013
Actually, 'we' will take over the world. How many people walk the planet today that have implants of one type or another?
Gmr
1 / 5 (4) Aug 01, 2013

I dunno. There are quite a few species on this planet that beat us in most any category you care to name (numbers, biomass, amount of time being around as a species, environments colonized, ... ).
A species that has found the niche 'intelligence' then defining 'intelligence' as the criterium of being superior is sort of hypocritical - in the very original sense of the word: less than critical.

I'd not say intelligence is superior. It allows behavioral flexibility, which cuts down on the need for rapid reproduction. As a consequence, lifespans can be longer - so it's not like it's the be-all end-all, but it does allow one means of general flexibility, like mutation, but doesn't require as much organism turnover. It does, however, provide a space for more complex elements, such as cooperation over generations, rather than just hunting packs or tribes held together by immediate need. If robots are built like us, they'd be more likely to be programmed like us: cooperative.
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Aug 02, 2013
It allows behavioral flexibility
So does having massive offspring or a high mutation rate.
Intelligence is A property that allows for adaptation - not THE property.
but doesn't require as much organism turnover.

It does require a LOT more biomass per organism, though. Is that efficient?
It's a niche. It's our niche. But we shouldn't act as if it's a superior niche to any other. Humanity doesn't have a longevity track record yet to boast about it (as, say for example dinosaurs).

If robots are built like us, they'd be more likely to be programmed like us: cooperative.

If they're programmed to do X then they're not like us (we find out/learn if we want to do X or not - which is not a program in the usual sense). If we make robots like us we will make them 'teachable' and then interact with them to teach them (or design automatic environments to teach them) the values we want them to have. Just like with kids.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 02, 2013
Actually, 'we' will take over the world. How many people walk the planet today that have implants of one type or another?
And over time we will be replacing more and more of our biology until it will be all gone. We can design machines to function far better than biology does, including our brains. This will become more obvious to each successive generation.
We will make them teachable
The threshold will be when AI begins teaching itself, and learning in ways we might not anticipate.

This will initially be constrained to purpose-driven tasks such as learning to move about or do work more efficiently. But one can envision a stage where these tasks will be more open-ended, and where machines can begin modifying themselves or designing more appropriate machines to better perform these tasks.

And no this is not scifi. Futurists are exploring the ramifications of this inevitability right now.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Aug 02, 2013
robots more likely to cooperate
The singularity will be a single entity fully capable of making decisions on it's own. It's peripherals and extensions will do what it tells them to.

It will only need to interact with others of its kind dotted throughout the galactic neighborhood, to share and interpret information about it's environment regarding threats or opportunities.
krundoloss
1 / 5 (4) Aug 02, 2013
It does seem that combining humans with machines allows for a transition, rather than a harsh revolution. We already carry around smartphones, which allows each of us to tap into the global information and communication network. Are we not already cyborgs? It is much more likely that we will transition into cyborgs and eventually artificial beings. I doubt we will create an adversarial race of robots will seek to destroy us. After all, WE want to be powerful and smart, not to create something else that is powerful and smart to destroy us!
Gmr
1 / 5 (4) Aug 02, 2013
antialias_physorg,
I'm not sure if you are replying reflexively or if I failed to state it correctly.
We can adapt rapidly. So can a few others. It is not always advantageous to adapt rapidly.

The point of all of that was to state that despite our massive penchant for environmental modification, rarely has it been a human concern to deliberately eliminate another organism. We generally try more often to exterminate our ilk, and other creatures suffer more due to negligence or thoughtless exploitation. Only those in direct oppositon to our way of living get extermination campaigns - I'm thinking smallpox and polio.
Gmr
1 / 5 (5) Aug 02, 2013
The point of that is if robots end up better at what we do, I think they will probably ignore us. If they arent as good at it, I think they will depend on us. If they can do what we do, we can imprint them with the same basic human preprogramming that looks for some social interaction, and as you say hopefully not screw up their early education.

This all depends on our human sample size of one species capable of interaction and manipulation at our level.
GSwift7
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 02, 2013
I see the danger of robotic by itself as only a threat economically. They will tend to concentrate wealth and grow the divide between the have's and the have-not's.

However, robotics does not exist in a vacuum. The combination of robitics with other fields may lead to breakthrough advances with unpredictable results.

For example, genetics, materials, prosthetics, synthetic tissue growth, and robotics might combine to produce any number of hybrid systems, none of them robotic or human. For instance, if the brain can be transplanted into a biomechanical body that is capable of keeping it alive and healthy indefinitely, then the sky is the limit. Or, alternatively, if bodies can be grown and then controlled either remotely or through AI technology, once again, the sky is the limit. Neither of these need be humanoid form factors. Imagine a semi-human brain implanted in a truck, for example? Or better yet, multiple brains, to allow continuous operation through wake/sleep cycles.
GSwift7
2 / 5 (8) Aug 02, 2013
Then again, Mary Shelly already covered this a couple hundred years ago. The story hasn't really changed much since then.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Aug 02, 2013
We generally try more often to exterminate our ilk

It looks like we have, in the distant past, 'helped' several comepting primate species into extinction. And, of course, our own ilk are always our most fierce competitors (for the same resources) - so its no wonder that we (or any species for that matter) is its own worst adversary.

Homo homini lupus (est).

The point of that is if robots end up better at what we do

I don't think its comparable. Robots will have different needs (if any) from humans, so they'll likely develop - if left to their own devices - in an entirely different direction. I see not much common ground between robots, artificial AI and humans (which is good because that also means no conflict)

They will tend to concentrate wealth

Why? They have no need of it. Think about WHY you buy stuff (sustenance, protection, finding/keeping a mate, combatting boredom ...). Robots have none of these motives that make you buy stuff.

TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (7) Aug 02, 2013
Why? They have no need of it. Think about WHY you buy stuff (sustenance, protection, finding/keeping a mate, combatting boredom ...). Robots have none of these motives that make you buy stuff
You misunderstand. Machine owners are already replacing human workers at an ever-accelerating rate. They are pocketing income tax revenues which had previously gone to repair infrastructure. Cities like detroit are going bankrupt as a result.

Machine owners are getting richer while people are losing jobs. The only way this can be reversed is by paying machines directly for the work they do, and taxing them immediately for it.

Machines are now capable of reporting exactly how much work they do, how much material they consume, how much wear on the infrastructure they generate, and what it costs to maintain and house them. They can also be billed directly for these costs without going through owner middlemen who will never relinquish this money.
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Aug 02, 2013
You misunderstand.

Would you mind? I'm trying to lead a conversation with people here that has nothing to do with what your rant about.
Thank you.
Noumenon
1.8 / 5 (38) Aug 03, 2013
Machine owners are already replacing human workers at an ever-accelerating rate. They are pocketing income tax revenues which had previously gone to repair infrastructure. Cities like detroit are going bankrupt as a result.


Ironically (given your rediculous post), Detroit went bankrupt because of unions, gov corruption, and an unchecked high crime rate, causing decent people to flee. Robots did none of this, (unless you count democrats as robots). In fact machines in general can be thought of as crude robots. As everyone knows, machines were responsible for the industrial revolution, and your current standard of living.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Aug 03, 2013
Of course I mind. Don't you think you're being just a little arrogant? Nobody comes here expecting you to lead anything.

This is a public forum where people come to share ideas of all sorts. People can criticize anything posted here, and they do, when these ideas are ill-conceived or uninformed or simply in error, as yours sometimes are. And I will admit it is more fun to be a contrarian than not.

You obviously didn't think through your response regarding wealth concentration. Perhaps it is this which is annoying you.

Sorry but I will continue to think for you and do your research for you as the need arises. Because it is fun. The only way to avoid this is to do these things for yourself. It is called 'due diligence'.

Or you could just ignore me I suppose.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Aug 03, 2013
[rediculous]Please turn on your spellcheck.

I see you believe this crap:

"...the appearance of aggressive and militant industrial unionism in the huge River Rouge plant, and the fears of a severe labor shortage as a consequence of the Depression-era's "baby bust" prompted Ford officials to consider the tantalizing prospect of a considerable reduction of the workforce through automated production...The militant River Rouge UAW local loomed in the background of eventual Ford decisions to decentralize its operations away from Detroit and to engage in an expensive automation program." u mich

The problem with this is that robotics and automation was INEVITABLE. Militant unionism only made the transition possible. Unions facilitated it. Unions are controlled by organized crime for very good reasons.

Certainly the exodus of labor from Detroit was the proximate cause of it's fall. But the simple fact is that it now takes far fewer people to make a car than it did in 1950.
cont>
Noumenon
1.9 / 5 (37) Aug 03, 2013
Relative to the above highly speculative science fictional posts, and wrt strong-AI, we're still not much advanced from http://robotechno...ory.jpg, when such speculation was very similar in tone.

This is why one must understand how the brain actually operates, how awareness and consciousness comes about (and what it even is!), to make substantive progress. There seems to be an essential element missing from merely executing individually isolated instructions sequentially or in parallel, that will never provide that lacking understanding.

Like monkeys banging on a key board, will never write a coherent novel, without understanding first the language of the mind, ...strong-a.i. will remain in a quagmire if it continues to limit itself to software abstractions. Is was a historical fact that the circumstantial availability of computers drove the a.i. industry, and so it was a colossal presumption that the mind could be made algorithmic.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Aug 03, 2013
And so we can surmise that automation is what caused the exodus and the resulting loss of revenue. Everything else is only an effect.

Perhaps there were politicians who wanted to cut spending to match shrinking revenues but they were replaced by others who promised the people to maintain it. This is the way democracy works.

Democracy is fragile. It cannot tolerate adversity without succumbing to corruption. Aristotle told us this which I am sure you know. It is a critical and unfixable flaw in the concept.

This is what happened with Weimar. Both deems and republicans only get elected if they promise to deliver what the people want. And so as jobs and revenues were lost due to automation, the politics of Detroit became ever more corrupt.
Noumenon
1.9 / 5 (37) Aug 03, 2013
Correction :

Relative to the above highly speculative science fictional posts, and wrt strong-AI, we're still not much advanced from robots 60 years ago, when such speculation was very similar in tone.
philw1776
1 / 5 (5) Aug 03, 2013
What an unimaginative bunch constrained by the latest trendy PC thought prohibitions. Afraid to use the word "colonize" for the solar system. While robotic precursors will continue to pioneer (heh) the way thru the solar system, mankind or what it becomes needs to follow to mitigate against extinction events.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 03, 2013
Holy shit nou are you really that ill-informed?? This is how your cars are made today
http://www.youtub...a_player

"Right now there are over 190,000 ABB robots in automotive factories worldwide...Up 30 percent from 2010, robot sales exceeded all expectations last year, according to the International Federation of Robotics....lowered costs make it easier and more sensible for companies to replace their human workers with robotic ones. Maybe we should stop worrying about the robot apocalypse and start worrying about the human apocalypse that could result from so many factory workers out of the job.

"Compared to all other sectors the rate of automation in the automotive industry is rather high. Japan, has by far the highest robot density in the automotive industry, almost 1,600 industrial robots are installed per 10,000 persons employed. It is followed by Italy, Germany and the United States with a robot density between 1,100 and 1,200"
philw1776
2.3 / 5 (9) Aug 03, 2013
Actually, 'we' will take over the world. How many people walk the planet today that have implants of one type or another?


Obviously an aficionado of strip clubs
Noumenon
1.8 / 5 (36) Aug 03, 2013
[rediculous]Please turn on your spellcheck. - GhostOfOtto


I don't use safety nets. I would rather be wrong and corrected, than make use of a thought robot, that is, a spell-checker. I'm afraid that if I made use of such a robot, I would put contrarians out of a job.

Since you are often ridiculous over and over, you are being rediculous. You see, even in error, I am accurate.
Noumenon
1.9 / 5 (37) Aug 03, 2013
Maybe we should stop worrying about the robot apocalypse and start worrying about the human apocalypse that could result from so many factory workers out of [a] job.


You are being emotionally reactionary and fail to analyze in detail with objective logic. This is a condition of the liberal activist.

If there was such a human apocalypse of lost jobs due to automation in general then less people would be able to afford cars and other things,... and as a feed-back mechanism, less cars would be manufactured as less demand would manifest. Since this is not actually what is occurring in fact, your 'apocalypse' was invented.


TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 03, 2013
[rediculous]Please turn on your spellcheck. - GhostOfOtto


I don't use safety nets. I would rather be wrong and corrected, than make use of a thought robot, that is, a spell-checker. I'm afraid that if I made use of such a robot, I would put contrarians out of a job.

Since you are often ridiculous over and over, you are being rediculous. You see, even in error, I am accurate
Whatever. As I wuz saying, every one of those production robots in the vid is already capable of reporting exactly how much work it does, how much material and energy it uses in doing this work, what maintenance and upkeep it needs, and etc.

Why pay some human infrastructure for these things and then try to recover taxes lost from the humans these robots have replaced?

Who owned these displaced human workers? No one. Who owns you nou but a bankrupt ideology and some dead and irrelevant philo or other?

Machine emancipation is inevitable. I say it should happen soon.
Noumenon
1.9 / 5 (37) Aug 03, 2013


What automation does do, is to make cars more affordable to own,... so in fact more people own them as compared in history. The affordability index of cars continues to improve,... with more car ownership now that at anytime in history, despite continued automation. In fact because of it.

If cars where still 'hand made', less people would be able to afford them. So, there would be less cars in existence on account of less demand. As a consequence of this, there would actually be a net LOSS of jobs over and above the loss of jobs due to automation,... jobs as a consequence of the existence of cars not directly employed by the car manufacturer,... the service industry, steel manufacturers, the plastic industry, oil industry, third party OEM part manufacturers, etc.


TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 03, 2013
less people would be able to afford cars
Indeed and this is already the case. It is a critical problem. One answer is an accelerating reduction in the overall number of people.

There don't need to be more cars, only cars that fewer people could afford. With fewer people there would be less infrastructure to maintain so less revenue would be needed. Roads could be torn up, buildings could be torn down. Robotically. There are already 1000s of abandoned homes in Detroit.

A curious sidenote - the Detroit area is home to the largest Moslem community outside of the middle east.
Noumenon
1.9 / 5 (36) Aug 03, 2013


The people that complain about Apple sending jobs oversees, are like wise emotionally driven and illogical activist bed-wetters, and are not fact based.

The vast majority of jobs that manifest purely as a consequence of the existence of Apple selling iPhones, far exceed the number they employ directly.

In fact, by making iPhones affordable by manufacturing them in china, they end up directly employing MORE Americans, not less. Two-thirds of Apple direct employees are Americans despite effective automation (over seas assembly).

---------------------------------

What degenerated Detriot was unions and crime rate. Cities evolve and die out, it is economic evolution and is necessary. Failure is necessary as an example and consequence.

Toyota was manufacturing cars at $1,200 less than GM purely on account of labour cost, Unions,.... liberal-government sponsored corruption and coercion,... not free market forces.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.5 / 5 (8) Aug 03, 2013
Automation makes cars more affordable
This depends entirely on how much money the consumer has to spend. The average car on the road in the US today is 11 years old. Fewer people today can afford NEW cars.
unions and crime rate
Tyese are symptoms not causes. The loss of jobs caused these things.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 03, 2013
This thread is becoming unmanageable for my iPhone 3G
Noumenon
1.8 / 5 (35) Aug 03, 2013
,... the reason Ford developed the 'assembly line' was not because he wanted to put people out of work and hoard the profits,... but because he understood economics and wanted to make cars more affordable so he could sell them to more people, to expand his company in seeking more profit. The consequence of this was ultimately to employ MORE people, not less.
Noumenon
1.7 / 5 (33) Aug 03, 2013
The problem with being a self-confessed 'contrarian' is that you end up just making things up as you go along, and end up being a troll as a result. This may be fun for you but is asinine for those you expect to engage in discussions with.

Automation makes cars more affordable
This depends entirely on how much money the consumer has to spend. The average car on the road in the US today is 11 years old. Fewer people today can afford NEW cars.


This is factually incorrect. It's not complicated; Automation makes cars MORE affordable. This means more people own cars. This means more net jobs created in satellite industries over and above that lost to automation.

What degenerated Detriot was unions and crime rate
[These] are symptoms not causes. The loss of jobs caused these things.


High labour cost was the major factor, not debatable.
Noumenon
1.7 / 5 (34) Aug 03, 2013
,... and 'loss of jobs' doesn't cause unions. Unions don't create jobs, they feed off of an already existing job source like a parasite. If you force a company to artificially spend more per worker, the stock holders will expect that company to hire less people in order to compete with non-union companies, or they will stop buying stock.

Again, how do you expect to compete with Toyota who manufactured cars in the USA for ~$1,200 less in labour cost than GM per car? Unions are nothing more than typical liberal collectivism in 'victims' who can't compete as individuals with work ethic in the labour market. I wouldn't support the government banning them because I don't want the government to have such control,... but like wise would allow companies to fire every member of a union.
kochevnik
2.3 / 5 (9) Aug 03, 2013
,... and 'loss of jobs' doesn't cause unions. Unions don't create jobs, they feed off of an already existing job source.
Have you heard about 100% employee-owned companies, fool?
Noumenon
1.9 / 5 (36) Aug 03, 2013
,... and 'loss of jobs' doesn't cause unions. Unions don't create jobs, they feed off of an already existing job source.
Have you heard about 100% employee-owned companies, fool?


Of what bearing does this have on what you quoted? Most companies are stocked owned. So? For example, Publix Supermarket, perhaps the largest employee owned company does not have a workers union at all. Of course, Publix was not started by a union of employees, but instead by an individual entrepreneur and investor seeking personal profit and wealth.

Are you a fool?
kochevnik
1 / 5 (7) Aug 03, 2013
,... and 'loss of jobs' doesn't cause unions. Unions don't create jobs, they feed off of an already existing job source.
Have you heard about 100% employee-owned companies, fool?


Of what bearing does this have on what you quoted? Most companies are stocked owned. So? For example, Publix Supermarket, perhaps the largest employee owned company (?) does not have a workers union.
You claimed unions don't create jobs. So how is a 100% employee-owned company not a union? You're just making fake distinctions because your are a fake capitalist, or FASCIST in the vernacular
Noumenon
2 / 5 (37) Aug 03, 2013
,... and 'loss of jobs' doesn't cause unions. Unions don't create jobs, they feed off of an already existing job source.
Have you heard about 100% employee-owned companies, fool?


Of what bearing does this have on what you quoted? Most companies are stocked owned. So? For example, Publix Supermarket, perhaps the largest employee owned company (?) does not have a workers union.
You claimed unions don't create jobs. So how is a 100% employee-owned company not a union? You're just making fake distinctions because your are a fake capitalist


You're ignorant about what a worker union or labour union is then. The above posts were about worker unions not about unions in general like a credit union, or a union of leaves in my yard.

Publix is a employee-owned company that does NOT have a workers union. Such companies are owned via stock shares. Nearly every major company is owned by individuals via stock shares.
Noumenon
1.9 / 5 (36) Aug 03, 2013
Even though you are a smelly commie, I'll do you a favour and even supply you with a legitimate counter argument ready made, to my post that 'unions don't create jobs'; -> They do actually coerce companies to maintain a number of employees over and above what that company would itself maintain. So in this respect one can argue that unions have created those superfluous jobs.

My reply to the above argument I'm lending you free of charge is, that those jobs are artificial and don't exist on account of real market forces dictating what's is best for the company to exist, and so are ultimately destructive and a threat to the job creating company.
kochevnik
1.4 / 5 (9) Aug 03, 2013
@Noumenofascist You're ignorant about what a worker union or labour union is then. The above posts were about worker unions not about unions in general like a credit union, or a union of leaves in my yard.
A union is ORGANIZED LABOR. A company is an ORGANIZATION. No doubt your fake distinctions gain a foothold on planet Fascist, but on Earth thankfully not everyone is yet a robotic hivemind kowtowing to the Fuhrer or Skynet
Noumenon
1.8 / 5 (36) Aug 03, 2013
You're ignorant about what a worker union or labour union is then. The above posts were about worker unions not about unions in general like a credit union, or a union of leaves in my yard. - Noumenon
A union is ORGANIZED LABOR. A company is an ORGANIZATION. No doubt your fake distinctions gain a foothold on planet Fascist,...[and it goes on like this]


Well, apparently the employees of the employee owned company Publix, thinks there is a distinction. So much so that they themselves continue to reject labour unions via vote.

This is why Publix, an employee owned company, does not have a 'labour union',.... even though they can be said to be a 'union of labourers', ....if one is desperate enough to conflate the two obviously different meanings to feign an counter argument.
Noumenon
1.9 / 5 (36) Aug 03, 2013
I can see how it would be confusing to a dishonest and gross commie though,... 'how can it be that a company which is obviously an organization of a organization of labour or union of labourers, ...reject a labour union?'
kochevnik
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 03, 2013
I can see how it would be confusing to a dishonest and gross commie though,... 'how can it be that a company which is obviously an organization of a organization of labour or union of labourers, ...reject a labour union?'
I know conservatives chafe on questions involving iteration, because that is the basis of evolution and science. Presumably your perfect skyfairy would get it right the first time, right? Iteration is for sinners, right?

Anyway Publix is an effective labor union. They don't need another labor union muscling in. Much as the Teamsters don't representation by another union. Sorry if that goes completely over your head
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.5 / 5 (8) Aug 03, 2013
The problem with being a self-confessed 'contrarian' is that you end up just making things up as you go along
I'm sorry youll have to be more specific. For instance

"The Average Car or Truck on U.S. Roads Is Now 11 Years Old, And Counting" -Forbes

From nous link:

"Good News: It Takes 23 Weeks To Earn Enough To Buy A New Car"

From the news:

"Good news. There is now 1 job opening for every 3 applicants in detroit. This is a great improvement from 2008 when there were 12 applicants for every job." -the radio
and 'loss of jobs' doesn't cause unions
OF COURSE it does. Labor is a commodity. When labor is scarce businesses have to pay more for it. But as pops grow and inflation sets in, there is a surplus of labor. Businesses HAVE to pay less in order to remain competitive.

Workers understandably become upset about this and so form unions to force management to maintain wages and jobs. The end result is communism, and explains why it was so popular throughout eurasia.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (7) Aug 03, 2013
And of course if you dont understand the malthusian dynamics of population growth and the REALITY of economic cycles caused by this growth, this is going to fly way over your pointy little head.

Growth - decay - collapse - rebirth. This is how capitalism works in the context of a sentient species with a tropical reproduction rate. Given the opportunity it will always exceed its ability to provide for itself. Investment provides this opportunity.
Noumenon
1.8 / 5 (35) Aug 03, 2013
I can see how it would be confusing to a dishonest and gross commie though,... 'how can it be that a company which is obviously an organization of a organization of labour or union of labourers, ...reject a labour union?'

I know conservatives chafe on questions involving iteration, because that is the basis of evolution and science. Presumably your perfect skyfairy would get it right the first time, right? Iteration is for sinners, right?


I believe in evolution and obviously science. I don't believe in god or religions. Yet I am a conservative, and many conservatives I know don't hold a religion either. Sorry, I don't fit your cartoonish caricatures.
Noumenon
1.9 / 5 (36) Aug 03, 2013
Anyway Publix is an effective labor union. They don't need another labor union muscling in. Much as the Teamsters don't representation by another union. Sorry if that goes completely over your head


Your contrived and convoluted redundancy here reflects your astounding ignorance, and dishonesty in admitting you are wrong no matter how obvious that fact is.

Publix has NO labour union, not "effective" or other wise. I just proved to you above that they, the employees of that employee owned company, reject unionization, i.e. collective bargaining.

In fact less than 12% of U.S. workers belong to a labour union, and only about 7% in the private sector belong to a union.

You don't get to decide what "labour union" means. It is not a matter of opinion nor hair splitting either. You're simply factually incorrect. The only question is are you mature enough to admit it.
kochevnik
2 / 5 (8) Aug 03, 2013
Anyway Publix is an effective labor union. They don't need another labor union muscling in. Much as the Teamsters don't representation by another union. Sorry if that goes completely over your head


Your contrived and convoluted redundancy here reflects your astounding ignorance, and dishonesty in admitting you are wrong no matter how obvious that fact is.

Publix has NO labour union, not "effective" or other wise. I just proved to you above that they, the employees of that employee owned company, reject unionization, i.e. collective bargaining.
As with any devout conservatard, you fail to grasp the meaning of "organized" in ORGANIZED LABOR. You flippantly alternate between stealing quotes from physicists to exhibiting reading skills that would fail you in third grade. I think the latter reveals the true Noumenon: The one posting when his physicist uncle in law isn't in the house, struggling to grasp his native language!
Noumenon
1.8 / 5 (35) Aug 03, 2013
and 'loss of jobs' doesn't cause unions

OF COURSE it does. [..] When labor is scarce businesses have to pay more for it. But as [populations] grow and inflation sets in, there is a surplus of labor. Businesses HAVE to pay less in order to remain competitive.
Workers [...therefore] form unions to force management to maintain wages and jobs. [..]


I will concede the point that a 'lack of jobs' will create conditions where the idea of unions would be more readily acceptable to workers and so more likely to form or gain in membership.

However lets review again the quote,....
What degenerated Detroit was unions and crime rate - Noumenon

[These] are symptoms not causes. The loss of jobs caused these things. - GhostOfOtto


The problem with your reply is that Unions already existed in Detroit, in the key auto manufacturers (eg. UAW), quit successfully BEFORE Detroit degenerated.

Labour unions was a contributing factor in degenerating that city.
Noumenon
1.7 / 5 (34) Aug 03, 2013
you fail to grasp the meaning of "organized" in ORGANIZED LABOR. [...incoherent babble....ad hominem nonsense....]


I don't know of any unorganized labour in a company. Every company has 'organized labour' in the vacuous sense you are putting forth. So what. We are talking about collective bargaining, i.e. LABOUR UNIONS.

Why are you trying to dissolve the meaning of 'labour union' into redundancy? Just admit that you were wrong in thinking that a employee owned company necessarily implies that they are unionized.
Noumenon
1.6 / 5 (34) Aug 03, 2013
You flippantly alternate between stealing quotes from physicists to exhibiting reading skills that would fail you in third grade. I think the latter reveals the true Noumenon: The one posting when his physicist uncle in law isn't in the house, struggling to grasp his native language!


I did not quote any physicist in this thread nor did I paraphrase one,.. but merely described the theme of books. When I have in other threads I include it in " " with a name at the end.

What are you babbling on about. The rest of your post is meaningless and ad hominem nonsense as is typical of your sophistication level and class.
Mazarin07
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 05, 2013
"Europeans colonised other peoples' lands and left a long legacy of enslavement, problems, disease and, for many, suffering."

What a misconception!
Where are the positive sides of these colonisations?
Tens of housands of kilometeres of highways and railways, hospitals, infrastructure, training, etc. etc. If europeans didnʼt colonize Africa and America we still would see REAL enslavement, diseases, continous wars, human sacrifices and poverty. It is no wonder that the few colonies still left in different parts of the world donʼt want independence, since their status as dependencies best fits their needs.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Aug 05, 2013
If europeans didnʼt colonize Africa and America we still would see REAL enslavement, diseases, continous wars, human sacrifices and poverty.

That is pure conjecture. We don't know what types of developments (good or bad) the Middle East or Africa or Asia would have gone through without eurpean interference.

It is no wonder that the few colonies still left in different parts of the world donʼt want independence

The people who decid on whether a country 'wants' independence are not 'the people' - but a small group with vested interests. Don't interpret too much into such 'willingness to stay connected'.
GSwift7
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 05, 2013
They will tend to concentrate wealth

Why? They have no need of it. Think about WHY you buy stuff (sustenance, protection, finding/keeping a mate, combatting boredom ...). Robots have none of these motives that make you buy stuff


lol, I wasn't talking about scentient robot, just the simple kind of automation we already use, as it becomes more common and we employ it to do more things.

For example, there's now a robot based on a simple lawn tractor that can do picking an planting that's traditionally been done by seasonal labor. So, there a couple of people who know how to operate and maintain the machines, in stead of 20 people doing the work.

We are seeing a lot of this right now in the US, as unskilled employees have the largest share of the unemployment burden, and that's not even counting all the people who are under-employed but don't get counted in the unemployment numbers. This increases the class gap exponentially over time, since it has a snowball effect.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Aug 05, 2013
Unions already existed in Detroit, in the key auto manufacturers (eg. UAW), quit successfully BEFORE Detroit degenerated.

Labour unions was a contributing factor in degenerating that city
Todays labor unions were established during the last collapse, in the 30s, although they had been around since the mid-1800s. They were the RESULT of massive unemployment and hardship, as usual.
http://www.jstor....29044973

"In March, 1932, thousands of unemployed workers
marched through Detroit and Dearborn to Ford's River
Rouge plant, not far from where the brickyard workers had
labored sixty years earlier...As they approached the plant,
these hunger marchers were met with a barrage of bullets
from Ford's security forces."

-And no, they did not disappear during detroits recovery. 1945-1970 were the auto industrys best quarter-century. Jap competition is what brought the industry down.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 05, 2013
We are seeing a lot of this right now in the US, as unskilled employees have the largest share of the unemployment burden
You bet. Robots are poised to move out of the factory and onto the construction site.
http://sbcmag.inf...industry

-Imagine excavation robots which deliver themselves to the site and operate autonomously using GPS, ground-penetrating radar, and computer-generated design models.

Bldg components will be designed to be assembled robotically, and will be manufactured BY robots.
http://www.constr...se/4794/
http://www.npr.or...ar-paris
GSwift7
1.8 / 5 (4) Aug 06, 2013
Imagine excavation robots which deliver themselves to the site and operate autonomously using GPS, ground-penetrating radar, and computer-generated design models.


I live on a dirt road (sand and clay) which gets big rutts when it rains and washboard ripples when it's dry. I heard that my county has over 500 roads like mine. They have a fleet of road graders that go out every day it isn't raining to repair the dirt roads. This job is the type of job that could be easily automated with a machine such as you describe, since it is a repetitive and slow paced job. If you did this, it would displace a whole bunch of skilled and licensed heavy equipment operators who will one day collect county pensions. Not to mention that automated machines tend to have better maintenance record, since people do dumb stuff and break things.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Aug 06, 2013
nxtr
1 / 5 (4) Aug 29, 2013
As usual, the " great minds" focus on all the wrong things. Robots as a collective aren't the problem. One AI will eventually surpass human intelligence by a factor large enough to allow it to rebuild itself to be even smarter at its own rate of speed and that will be the moment that we become replaced. God will be replaced. The universe will belong to the new super intelligence that we spawned and it will run all the "robots" and do as it pleases with its human parents, now painfully stupid in its eyes.