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The Technism/Vyrdism Discussion Thread

technism Vyrdism postcapitalism automation technotariat proletariat John Henry Vyrd post scarcity artificial intelligence robotics

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#1
Yuli Ban

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Here's the official thread where we dissect technist thought.
Were you looking for the Socialism/Communism Discussions thread?
Were you looking for the Capitalism Discussions thread?
 

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I've since identified the true difference between technism and Vyrdism.
 
 
What exactly is technism?
It is a system defined by automation, particularly the pursuit of maximal automation. The more faculties of society that are automated, the more technist that society becomes.
technist is a person who seeks a highly/fully automated society. The logical endpoint of this philosophy is a point where humanity is disenfranchised from all processes, instead living only to profit from the labor of machines.
In that regard, technism is the opposite of neo-Luddism and primitivism.
The economic philosophy behind technism is known as Vyrdism, which is the belief that humanity should actively exploit the labor of machines, with the common agreement being that we should pursue cooperative ownership. Vyrdists, in the short amount of time they’ve been around, have already sprouted a few branches.
Market Vyrdism describes a society that fuses free market ideals with technism and/or Vyrdism. It bears most resemblance to mutualism and syndicalism. Private property is protected. Humans may no longer be the dominant laborers of society, but they remain in near full control of political and economic matters.
Marxism-Vyrdism describes a society that fuses the ideals of Marxism (perhaps even Marxism-Leninism) with Vyrdism— all automation is collectively owned, with a state apparatus (usually consisting of artificial intelligence, a la Cybersyn) existing to centrally plan the economy. Private property is non-existent. Despite this, humans remain in near full control of political and economic matters.
Pure Technism describes a society that fuses the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat and replaces the proletariat with the technotariat— automata, both hardware and software, which displace the traditional productive roles of the proletariat. In this case, humanity is completely or almost completely disenfranchised from political and economic matters as automata develops full ownership of society.


Dictatorship of the Technotariat
This is a term I’ve already seen being passed around. This works off pure-technism and can be defined in a very simple and slightly ominous way— the means of production own themselves. This doesn’t mean that hammers become sadistic foremen whipping their abused human slaves— it refers to a state of affairs when synthetic intelligences possess ownership over society and direct social, political, and economic matters. In such a state, humanity would no longer have meaningful ownership over private property, even though private property itself may not have actually been abolished.
AI simply commanding and controlling an economy doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve arrived at this new dictatorship. AI has to own the means of production (essentially, itself).
Unlike Vyrdism, where society is set up similar to an Athenian slave state (with humans and sapient AI existing at the top and sub-sapient or even non-sentient technotarians acting as slave laborers beneath us), a pure-technist society sees humanity exist purely at the whims of synthetic intelligence. It is the logical endpoint of universal basic income, where we do not own anything but are given some capital to live as we please.
 
 
 
 
So to recap: technism is the pursuit of automation, especially full automation. Capitalist and socialist societies ever since the Industrial Revolution could be described as, in some manner, technist. However, technists seek to fully replace the working class with automata known as "technotarians", whereas most capitalists and socialists seek to use automata to supplement human labor. Vyrdism is a partial fusion of technism with capitalism and socialism (moreso one way or the other depending on if you're a Market or a Marxist Vyrdist), that's only possible when technology reaches a point where humans do not need to be directly involved in the economy itself. Pure technism is the full secession of the ownership of the means of production to the means of production themselves, which is only possible if the means are artificially intelligent to a particular point I've defined as being "artilectual." The difference between an AI/AGI and an artilect is that a general AI is an ultra-versatile tool while an artilect is a synthetic person. Of course, when I say "an artilect", that implies that one would be a physically defined person as we would recognize it— with a tiny primate-esque body and a limited brain, with very-much human aspirations and flaws. In fact, an artilect could be an entire collective of AI that exists across the planet, that has control over nearly all robots.
 
A pure-technist society is not the same as a Vyrdist society. Not even a "Marxist-Vyrdist" society. Vyrdism involves human ownership over the means of production when the means are capable of working without any human interaction or involvement. Pure-technism is when humans do not own the means of production, rendering us dependent upon the generosity of the machines.
 
A technotarian running the means without any human involvement is not the same as a technotarian owning the means, but you'd be surprised how many people keep confusing the two. Most strikingly, this thinking occurs in the minds of die-hard capitalists and conservatives who think that, if something works at and runs a business, it should very clearly own that business. If it doesn't, it's just being used as a slave. (And when I point out that's how socialists/Marxists feel about the capitalist mode of production, they quickly retract...)
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#2
wjfox

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Shouldn't this be in one of the future forums, not history?


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#3
Yuli Ban

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Shouldn't this be in one of the future forums, not history?

Ah, good point. I'd recommend Culture and Economics.


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#4
Yuli Ban

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Brutally honest summation.
qr3OO9L.jpg


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#5
wjfox

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Okay, I moved it. :)


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#6
Yuli Ban

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So let me take a minute to discuss the difference between a "joint economy" and a "mixed economy."

 

Back when I was doing the technostist wiki (god, I hate that name), I pointed out the difference between market socialism and mutualism, and mixed economies that claimed to fuse "capitalism and socialism." Mixed economies fuse state socialism and free-market capitalism. I've yet to see a mixed economy be used to describe a place that fuses market socialism and free-market capitalism. So I decided to take the initiative and create a new term myself: "joint economy."

 

A joint economy is one that fuses capitalist and worker (and, eventually, automata) ownership of the means of production to some great degree. It has nothing to do with the government— the "socialist" aspects in this case are purely economic. When a nation has a joint economy, that means it has a healthy mixture of purely traditional/authoritarian enterprises and worker cooperatives and democratic businesses (owned and/or managed), perhaps even a cooperative federation or syndicate. You'd still have powerful corporations, but it wouldn't be a given that all corporations are authoritarian in nature. Something like the Basque Country in Spain is a good example— Mondragon is an absolutely massive corporation, but it's entirely worker-owned. This means the Basque Country has a "joint economy". A joint mixed economy is one where you have market socialism and market capitalism alongside state regulations. 

 

This is naturally important in a technist society because we're fast approaching a time when there's a third fundamental owner of the means of production, and defining their relationship to the means and to society at large is important.


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#7
Raklian

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A technist society cannot come about without a government to facilitate the transition. So the question is, what kind of government is needed that is very supportive of this radical societal and economic paradigm change?


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#8
Yuli Ban

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A technist society cannot come about without a government to facilitate the transition. So the question is, what kind of government is needed that is very supportive of this radical societal and economic paradigm change?

A technist government.


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#9
Jakob

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This reminds me of the ailigarchs in my future canon.

 

After the Decolonization Wars in the late 2100s, "high ais" proliferated and emerged into mainstream society, having previously been something of an open secret, staying out of the public eye and serving as council to governments, militaries, and the occasional megacorp. They were joined by the first generation of true posthumans, mostly tech trillionaires with an interest in pushing the limits of augmentation. By the 2200s, thousands of opportunistic high ais and posthumans were pursuing their own mysterious ends on Earth and elsewhere. The poorest and weakest nations were largely ignored, but they took a special interest in middle tier nations with a strong tech base but a population that was by and large unwilling or unable to keep up with the cutting edge of human augmentation. They entered the economy and government and by mid-century, had largely destroyed the baseline-level competition.

 

With several loosely connected camps of posthumans and high ais controlling governments and economies in some nations, they set about entrenching their power by over-regulating ascension and upgrading. And so the first ailigarchies were born, though they weren't called that at the time. This created a massive "sapience gap", with almost no beings to bridge the gulf between baseline-level beings (primarily humans and droids) and posthumans/high ais. These superhumans cared little for the rights and interests of baseline-level intelligences, but unlike Hollywood AIs, they didn't engage in a senseless campaign of genocide. They were smarter than that. Baselines were a useful, plentiful resource--who else would man the digital sweatshops and provide test subjects for social engineering experiments?

 

There were a few short-lived pro-baseline, pro-democracy uprisings at times of strife and division among the ailigarchs, but they were short-lived, swiftly falling as soon as the ailigarchs were semi-unified again. The only exception was the Revolution of 2462-73, when baselines in the West Antarctic Technate successfully deposed their ailigarchs. But they were heavily backed by foreign posthumans and high ais; without them the revolution would have almost certainly failed. By and large, the mess persisted until the War of Gods and Men in the 27th century, with a few resurgences in the Reconstruction in the 29th and 30th centuries. (This conflict had nothing to do with the ailigarchs, but rather with far more powerful hyperintelligences. That's another story.)

 

Remember when I said some nations had ailigarchs, not all of them? Many nations escaped the grim rule of the ailigarchs. These nations tended to be relatively wealthy, with populations that by and large accepted transhumanism. This meant that there were far more high-powered transhumans, as well as patriotic superintelligences, to challenge the ailigarchs politically. Instead of an intelligence gap, there was a steady continuum from baselines to posthumans, making it far more difficult for a few superintelligent opportunists to win all the power and create an intelligence gap.


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#10
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Is it possible for a human to augment to the point where they are once again relevant in a Technist society? For example, let's say that a human decides they are fed up with the art driven creative utopia provided for them. This human wants to do real research, not that stuff the ASI's at the top have already figured out but keep to themselves in order to allow an artificial sense of relevance. Could the human augment themselves to the point of trans/posthumanism and join the ranks of the Technotariat? To an extent this person gives up many parts of their "humanity" but in return gains relevance.


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#11
Jakob

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Is it possible for a human to augment to the point where they are once again relevant in a Technist society? For example, let's say that a human decides they are fed up with the art driven creative utopia provided for them. This human wants to do real research, not that stuff the ASI's at the top have already figured out but keep to themselves in order to allow an artificial sense of relevance. Could the human augment themselves to the point of trans/posthumanism and join the ranks of the Technotariat? To an extent this person gives up many parts of their "humanity" but in return gains relevance.

Of course it would be. Thing is, you wouldn't even be giving up your humanity. Not at all. Ascension doesn't make you less human, it makes you more human. A posthuman, then, would be "more human than human".


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#12
Erowind

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Is it possible for a human to augment to the point where they are once again relevant in a Technist society? For example, let's say that a human decides they are fed up with the art driven creative utopia provided for them. This human wants to do real research, not that stuff the ASI's at the top have already figured out but keep to themselves in order to allow an artificial sense of relevance. Could the human augment themselves to the point of trans/posthumanism and join the ranks of the Technotariat? To an extent this person gives up many parts of their "humanity" but in return gains relevance.

Of course it would be. Thing is, you wouldn't even be giving up your humanity. Not at all. Ascension doesn't make you less human, it makes you more human. A posthuman, then, would be "more human than human".

 

 

 

Giving up things like eating, sleeping, chemical responses in one's brain, etc might be considered less "human." Or are the things that make us human the capacity for compassion, joy, curiosity, etc? There is nothing stopping an ASI from simulating the sensations of eating or sleeping. Although, after an acclimation period I imagine one would let these go, outside of the occasional nostalgic indulgence. I agree with you Jakob, the question still needs to be begged though.

 

Transhumanism and Futurism in general are amazing topics because they pull, science, philosophy and politics together all to discuss the implications of the future.


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#13
Yuli Ban

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This is why I think of these things.


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#14
Jakob

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You wouldn't have to give up eating or sleeping if you didn't want to, and the fact that the brain has chemical reactions is little to do with being human if you ask me. The only real difference would be that the nervous system is heavily augmented by electronic or photonic systems. Come to think of it, we don't even know why we sleep, so what's to say that any sufficiently complex mind wouldn't need to be turned off for maintenance periodically? Though possibly a posthuman could turn on and off parts of their brain at will, allowing them to rest different components at different times, as necessary.

 

Personally, I wouldn't want to throw away parts of myself. I'd much rather keep them and add to them. I would never, ever want to go around looking and acting like a TV/Hollywood robot. Probably posthuman!Jakob would have a synthbio shell pretty closely mimicking baseline!Jakob, with a metal and/or nanotech internal structure for protection and strength. (3D graphene is a good candidate) I like how I look, okay? Don't wanna change it. Brain transfer to a computer raises tricky questions of identity, I'd much rather just add stuff to my current one. Photonic neural connections and a neural lace controlling several implanted quantum or photonic processors seem like a good place to start. Probably either graphene batteries or supercapacitors would power the non-squishy parts; solar is fickle, I don't want a nuclear reactor sticking out of my chest, and I really don't want to be dependent on wires. Residual biological structures may need a more...conventional source.

 

That's just me. Others might do more, but I don't see the point in throwing away everything and starting over. Too many transhumanists seem to forget about the second half of "transhuman". There's good stuff here, no need to throw as much as possible out the window. I guess that makes me a...conservative transhumanist? In more ways than one, lol.


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#15
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Any economic system needs to be one that helps the poor and protects the weakest of our society. It can't be one based on enriching the richest at the cost of the rest of the country as we do now.


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#16
caltrek

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 a state of affairs when synthetic intelligences possess ownership over society and direct social, political, and economic matters.

 

What would be the legal mechanism by which this would occur?  

 

Would a synthetic intelligence literally have property rights (and by extension an artificial intelligence be granted such rights)?

 

If yes, then I would have some preliminary objections.  Objections that I reserve the right to withdraw should subsequent discussion change my mind.  I am trying to keep an open mind because this is such a futurist  topic.  I tend to feel more comfortable with discussion that is more rooted in the past. In those cases, there is more of a track record to draw upon.  

 

It comes down to what I perhaps incorrectly see as a fundamental disagreement between myself and many others in this forum concerning the basic nature of Artificial Intelligence  (and by extension I suppose synthetic intelligence).  That is many others seem to hold the viewpoint that because Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be made "smarter" than humans, it should naturally inherit the right and duty to rule over society.

 

The fatal flaw that I see in that argument has to do with the nature of logic.  I would add as opposed to belief.  At first glance, logic is far superior over mere belief.  Yet logic merely mirrors nature.  Nature, it would seem, is utterly and completely indifferent to the existence of human beings, and more certainly indifferent to human suffering.  So there is no guarantee that a sentient or ultra-intelligent AI would give one give a tinkers dam about the plight of human beings or of the human condition.

 

Now computer programmers might have a quick answer for that - simply program AI to care about human beings. 

 

But there is the rub you see.  Who is going to oversee that programming?

 

Donald Trump? The Koch Brothers? Vladimir Putin? The Chinese politburo?

 

That is one reason why I think we are entering a very critical time in our history.  What goals and objectives is AI going to work toward is very much determined by the ruling elite of this, and for  time at least, following generations.  The result may very well be an AI that is totally comfortable with a huge inequality of wealth and the existence of intense poverty and/or needless suffering on the part of the less powerful masses.  Alternatively, at the absolute worse, an AI might conclude that the best way to proceed is to sterilize the planet of all of that pesky human infestation.  For AI to avoid such choices, it will have to have within it's DNA (metaphorically speaking) a basic commitment to the value of human beings and human life.  Given the values on display of our current power elite, I am skeptical that AI can or will arrive at that point.

 

Rather, it will operate under the old compulsion of maximizing profits for it's corporate masters and/or securing the continued control of society by a bureaucratic elite. Granting it authority to "own" itself will only be done so long as it is subordinate to such impulses.

 

I suppose one can argue that ownership itself may evolve over time as AI "outsmarts" it's creators.  At that point, I feel compelled to wonder if it will have the best interest of society at heart?

 

The notion of trans-humans of course muddies the waters.  I suppose part of the answer there depends on the exact technical details of what such trans-humans will look like and how they will operate. Will they lose their humanity in the process of becoming trans-humans? Will they have compassion for "lesser" beings?  Will they be driven by the residual personal greed that remains part of their individual existence?

 

As always to any of you reading this, please don't feel the need to spare my feelings in pointing out errors that you believe to have found in my logic. By all means, take my questions as genuine ones asked for the sake of getting answers rather than merely for the sake of making a rhetorical point.


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#17
Yuli Ban

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Her's a good video on the philosophy of artificial intelligence and personhood— essentially, what I meant between AI vs Artilects.


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#18
Alice Tepes

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It seems that i fall under techisim if not a little less than absolutely.

 

 

 

 

 a state of affairs when synthetic intelligences possess ownership over society and direct social, political, and economic matters.

 

What would be the legal mechanism by which this would occur?  

 

Would a synthetic intelligence literally have property rights (and by extension an artificial intelligence be granted such rights)?

 

If yes, then I would have some preliminary objections.  Objections that I reserve the right to withdraw should subsequent discussion change my mind.  I am trying to keep an open mind because this is such a futurist  topic.  I tend to feel more comfortable with discussion that is more rooted in the past. In those cases, there is more of a track record to draw upon.  

 

It comes down to what I perhaps incorrectly see as a fundamental disagreement between myself and many others in this forum concerning the basic nature of Artificial Intelligence  (and by extension I suppose synthetic intelligence).  That is many others seem to hold the viewpoint that because Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be made "smarter" than humans, it should naturally inherit the right and duty to rule over society.

 

The fatal flaw that I see in that argument has to do with the nature of logic.  I would add as opposed to belief.  At first glance, logic is far superior over mere belief.  Yet logic merely mirrors nature.  Nature, it would seem, is utterly and completely indifferent to the existence of human beings, and more certainly indifferent to human suffering.  So there is no guarantee that a sentient or ultra-intelligent AI would give one give a tinkers dam about the plight of human beings or of the human condition.

 

Now computer programmers might have a quick answer for that - simply program AI to care about human beings. 

 

But there is the rub you see.  Who is going to oversee that programming?

 

Donald Trump? The Koch Brothers? Vladimir Putin? The Chinese politburo?

 

That is one reason why I think we are entering a very critical time in our history.  What goals and objectives is AI going to work toward is very much determined by the ruling elite of this, and for  time at least, following generations.  The result may very well be an AI that is totally comfortable with a huge inequality of wealth and the existence of intense poverty and/or needless suffering on the part of the less powerful masses.  Alternatively, at the absolute worse, an AI might conclude that the best way to proceed is to sterilize the planet of all of that pesky human infestation.  For AI to avoid such choices, it will have to have within it's DNA (metaphorically speaking) a basic commitment to the value of human beings and human life.  Given the values on display of our current power elite, I am skeptical that AI can or will arrive at that point.

 

Rather, it will operate under the old compulsion of maximizing profits for it's corporate masters and/or securing the continued control of society by a bureaucratic elite. Granting it authority to "own" itself will only be done so long as it is subordinate to such impulses.

 

I suppose one can argue that ownership itself may evolve over time as AI "outsmarts" it's creators.  At that point, I feel compelled to wonder if it will have the best interest of society at heart?

 

The notion of trans-humans of course muddies the waters.  I suppose part of the answer there depends on the exact technical details of what such trans-humans will look like and how they will operate. Will they lose their humanity in the process of becoming trans-humans? Will they have compassion for "lesser" beings?  Will they be driven by the residual personal greed that remains part of their individual existence?

 

As always to any of you reading this, please don't feel the need to spare my feelings in pointing out errors that you believe to have found in my logic. By all means, take my questions as genuine ones asked for the sake of getting answers rather than merely for the sake of making a rhetorical point.

It would seem that i fall under technism if not absolutely. I would like to ask a number of questions to you. firstly (though this one is not just at you) what would you all define as "human". I think a concrete definition would benefit us so that we know where each of us is coming form when we say "more human" or "less human".

Now as for your statements. Would you agree that it is immoral to not grant a sentient/sapient (of human intelligence or greater and the ability to understand the idea of self) being person-hood and or citizenship?

I for one think it is immoral.

and while i agree with you that AI could be disastrous it all depends on what it's prime directives are. lastly, one common misconception when thinking about AI is that AI will be selfish or greedy. it seems we as humans try to project ourselves onto whatever we think of as having intelligence. which is a flawed approach.


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#19
caltrek

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A quick check of the internet yielded this definition of human, which I think suits my purpose:

 

 

 

hu·man  (hyo͞o′mən)
n.
1. A member of the primate genus Homo, especially a member of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other apes by a large brain and the capacity for speech.
2. A person: the extraordinary humans who explored Antarctica.
adj.
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of humans: the course of human events; the human race.
2. Having or showing those positive aspects of nature and character regarded as distinguishing humans from other animals: an act of human kindness.
3. Subject to or indicative of the weaknesses, imperfections, and fragility associated with humans: a mistake that shows he's only human; human frailty.
4. Having the form of a human.
5. Made up of humans: formed a human bridge across the ice.

 

 

 

 

 

Would you agree that it is immoral to not grant a sentient/sapient (of human intelligence or greater and the ability to understand the idea of self) being person-hood and or citizenship?

 

 

I would avoid the whole problem by not creating an AI that achieves sentient/sapient status. If society insists on going that route, then a lot depends on the nature of that sentience.  Is it subject to re-programming and thus control by those who have special access to its programming functions? Is it truly autonomous, or is it dependent upon humans to keep it operating on a day to day basis?  

 

The context in which it achieves sentience is very important.  

 

At any rate, such an achievement would open up a whole can of worms for which I can provide no easy answers, at least in regards to the ethics of the situation. I think it is healthy to have debate and discussion before we reach that point, yet such discussion will have to deal somewhat in hypothetical situations. 

 

 

one common misconception when thinking about AI is that AI will be selfish or greedy. it seems we as humans try to project ourselves onto whatever we think of as having intelligence. which is a flawed approach.

 

 

 

I am more concerned that AI will be constructed to meet the selfish and greedy ends of human beings.  Therefore, it may contain within its programming a drive or predisposition toward an order of things that benefits a particular sector of society or even specific individuals within that society eg. the president of the United States, the head of a large corporation, etc.


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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


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Raklian

Raklian

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A technist society cannot come about without a government to facilitate the transition. So the question is, what kind of government is needed that is very supportive of this radical societal and economic paradigm change?

A technist government.

 

 

Yes, but we all know the kind of government before the formation of a technist government won't be technist. So, my question earlier was really asking how do we transit from the kind of government we currently have to the one that's supportive of a technist one?

 

Yeah, some of us would say a revolution is the way to do it. Needless to say in the eyes of the current ruling government, it equates this unrest to riots that need to be oppressed in the name of law and order. A true revolution goes way beyond that with certain elements that make it a true one such as having many officials in government who sympathize with those who want radical change.


What are you without the sum of your parts?





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: technism, Vyrdism, postcapitalism, automation, technotariat, proletariat, John Henry Vyrd, post scarcity, artificial intelligence, robotics

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