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Cyborg Labor Under Late-Capitalism

capitalism automation cybernetic labor productivity competition transhuman choice force robots

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#1
zEVerzan

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We here at FT love our cyborgs, don't we folks? The flesh is weak after all, and replacing the decay of blood and bone with the cold certainty of silicon and steel is the price to pay for progress. After all, progress leaves us no choice - automation is going to come for all of our sorry organic hides, and transforming humanity into a race of badass cyborgs is the only thing that's going to keep humanity competitive.

 

The way things are going right now, productivity is always rising, and yet wages are stagnant, lowered, or outsourced. The final conclusion of this way of thinking is that human labor is replaced with full automation. Think about it from the perspective of capitalist industrialists: machines that can be productive 24/7, only cost the initial price, maintenance and the power it takes to run them, vs annoying fleshy humans that can only be productive 8-9 hours on weekdays and need annoying things like bathroom breaks, food, rest and other amenities. The choice is obvious once it becomes viable, and this upper class of people will jealously own their automated means of production privately.

 

Hard and manual labor is in the process of being automated away as we speak, and specialized labor is well on its way. If humans want to avoid becoming obsolete by the hyper-competitive machines, then becoming machines ourselves is our only choice.

 

Only, I'm not so sure I'm terribly fond of this idea anymore.

 

I'd rather not live in a world where a hyper-competitive atmosphere essentially forces us 1.0 humans to undergo expensive and invasive surgeries to remain relevant and pay for our needs, replacing our limbs and brains with cheap mechanisms of plastic and lithium that would need regular maintenance/replacement like a common smartphone. Think about how terribly bleak that is for a second.

 

And if you think that's bad, the class divide between rich and poor will continue to grow, only this time the hyper-competitive nature of the business class will require attitudes and augments that drive them further from this vestigial, obsolete aspect of humanity and tending more toward detached cruelty in the name of efficiency and profit.

 

If I want to become a badass cyborg transhuman, I'd rather that be on my own terms instead. I'd rather not be a one-eyed lobotomized quadruple-amputee borgalike just because being so would qualify me for work.

 

If that indeed turns out to be the world we end up with, I hope it's a temporary phase that leads to people realizing the futility of capitalism and a subsequent revolution where the fully automated labor force can be owned collectively, freeing up our lives for individually fulfilling work that helps us to reach our potential. That's what true progress would look like.

 

Under a better system that cares for public well-being rather than brute efficiency, having work automated away would be a dream come true - but under capitalism, that dream is actually a nightmare.

 

What are your thoughts?


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I always imagined the future as a time of more reason, empathy, and peace, not less. It's time for a change.
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#2
Yuli Ban

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We here at FT love our cyborgs, don't we folks? The flesh is weak after all, and replacing the decay of blood and bone with the cold certainty of silicon and steel is the price to pay for progress. After all, progress leaves us no choice - automation is going to come for all of our sorry organic hides, and transforming humanity into a race of badass cyborgs is the only thing that's going to keep humanity competitive.
 
The way things are going right now, productivity is always rising, and yet wages are stagnant, lowered, or outsourced. The final conclusion of this way of thinking is that human labor is replaced with full automation. Think about it from the perspective of capitalist industrialists: machines that can be productive 24/7, only cost the initial price, maintenance and the power it takes to run them, vs annoying fleshy humans that can only be productive 8-9 hours on weekdays and need annoying things like bathroom breaks, food, rest and other amenities. The choice is obvious once it becomes viable, and this upper class of people will jealously own their automated means of production privately.
 
Hard and manual labor is in the process of being automated away as we speak, and specialized labor is well on its way. If humans want to avoid becoming obsolete by the hyper-competitive machines, then becoming machines ourselves is our only choice.
 
Only, I'm not so sure I'm terribly fond of this idea anymore.
 
I'd rather not live in a world where a hyper-competitive atmosphere essentially forces us 1.0 humans to undergo expensive and invasive surgeries to remain relevant and pay for our needs, replacing our limbs and brains with cheap mechanisms of plastic and lithium that would need regular maintenance/replacement like a common smartphone. Think about how terribly bleak that is for a second.

Let's make it bleaker: capitalism won't even wait for you to undergo such transformations.
7ovIzbi.png


  • Erowind likes this

And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#3
funkervogt

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We here at FT love our cyborgs, don't we folks? The flesh is weak after all, and replacing the decay of blood and bone with the cold certainty of silicon and steel is the price to pay for progress. After all, progress leaves us no choice - automation is going to come for all of our sorry organic hides, and transforming humanity into a race of badass cyborgs is the only thing that's going to keep humanity competitive.
 
The way things are going right now, productivity is always rising, and yet wages are stagnant, lowered, or outsourced. The final conclusion of this way of thinking is that human labor is replaced with full automation. Think about it from the perspective of capitalist industrialists: machines that can be productive 24/7, only cost the initial price, maintenance and the power it takes to run them, vs annoying fleshy humans that can only be productive 8-9 hours on weekdays and need annoying things like bathroom breaks, food, rest and other amenities. The choice is obvious once it becomes viable, and this upper class of people will jealously own their automated means of production privately.
 
Hard and manual labor is in the process of being automated away as we speak, and specialized labor is well on its way. If humans want to avoid becoming obsolete by the hyper-competitive machines, then becoming machines ourselves is our only choice.
 
Only, I'm not so sure I'm terribly fond of this idea anymore.
 
I'd rather not live in a world where a hyper-competitive atmosphere essentially forces us 1.0 humans to undergo expensive and invasive surgeries to remain relevant and pay for our needs, replacing our limbs and brains with cheap mechanisms of plastic and lithium that would need regular maintenance/replacement like a common smartphone. Think about how terribly bleak that is for a second.

Let's make it bleaker: capitalism won't even wait for you to undergo such transformations.
7ovIzbi.png

 

Should the paralyzed person instead wallow in joblessness and stare at a wall for the rest of their lives? Are they better off that way, knowing definitively and for sure that they contribute nothing to the world? 


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#4
funkervogt

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We here at FT love our cyborgs, don't we folks? The flesh is weak after all, and replacing the decay of blood and bone with the cold certainty of silicon and steel is the price to pay for progress. After all, progress leaves us no choice - automation is going to come for all of our sorry organic hides, and transforming humanity into a race of badass cyborgs is the only thing that's going to keep humanity competitive.

 

The way things are going right now, productivity is always rising, and yet wages are stagnant, lowered, or outsourced. The final conclusion of this way of thinking is that human labor is replaced with full automation. Think about it from the perspective of capitalist industrialists: machines that can be productive 24/7, only cost the initial price, maintenance and the power it takes to run them, vs annoying fleshy humans that can only be productive 8-9 hours on weekdays and need annoying things like bathroom breaks, food, rest and other amenities. The choice is obvious once it becomes viable, and this upper class of people will jealously own their automated means of production privately.

 

Hard and manual labor is in the process of being automated away as we speak, and specialized labor is well on its way. If humans want to avoid becoming obsolete by the hyper-competitive machines, then becoming machines ourselves is our only choice.

 

Only, I'm not so sure I'm terribly fond of this idea anymore.

 

I'd rather not live in a world where a hyper-competitive atmosphere essentially forces us 1.0 humans to undergo expensive and invasive surgeries to remain relevant and pay for our needs, replacing our limbs and brains with cheap mechanisms of plastic and lithium that would need regular maintenance/replacement like a common smartphone. Think about how terribly bleak that is for a second.

 

And if you think that's bad, the class divide between rich and poor will continue to grow, only this time the hyper-competitive nature of the business class will require attitudes and augments that drive them further from this vestigial, obsolete aspect of humanity and tending more toward detached cruelty in the name of efficiency and profit.

 

If I want to become a badass cyborg transhuman, I'd rather that be on my own terms instead. I'd rather not be a one-eyed lobotomized quadruple-amputee borgalike just because being so would qualify me for work.

 

If that indeed turns out to be the world we end up with, I hope it's a temporary phase that leads to people realizing the futility of capitalism and a subsequent revolution where the fully automated labor force can be owned collectively, freeing up our lives for individually fulfilling work that helps us to reach our potential. That's what true progress would look like.

 

Under a better system that cares for public well-being rather than brute efficiency, having work automated away would be a dream come true - but under capitalism, that dream is actually a nightmare.

 

What are your thoughts?

I agree with parts of what you said and disagree with other parts. 

 

Yes, Human 1.0 is bound for obsolescence, and people like us will someday be nothing more than economic liabilities. 

 

If humans have any kind of productive future through upgrading, I don't know if it will take the form of grafting on cyborg limbs. You might be of more use if you had your brain removed from your body, put in a jar, and then plugged into something like The Matrix where your mind would serve as a data processing node, or where you could remotely control robots that did physical labor. 



#5
Erowind

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Let's make it bleaker: capitalism won't even wait for you to undergo such transformations.
7ovIzbi.png

 

Should the paralyzed person instead wallow in joblessness and stare at a wall for the rest of their lives? Are they better off that way, knowing definitively and for sure that they contribute nothing to the world? 

 

 

If they want to serve drinks in a cafe through a physical avatar or some other job fair enough. If they're forced to make income that's extremely unethical by even classical conservative standards. Perhaps they'd like to make art, or science or spend time with their family in whatever capacity they can instead of make money for someone else for eternity? It boggles the mind to think that anyone would consider wage slavery ethical, let alone for someone paralyzed from the neck down. And the condition of wage slavery still persists for most today. The company town never went away, it just became more abstract and decentralized. And I understand that it's hard to see that because our culture is built around obscuring this truth, but forcing paraplegics to work has got to be one of the coldest things I've heard in a while. 

 

Don't attempt to turn the conversation around on the other foot. No one here is arguing that a person should rot in lack of joblessness. No one here is arguing that working people are incapable of finding meaning outside their slavery to profit. It's insulting to assert that a person in absence of a job would be so daft, stupid and devoid of meaning that they would stare at a wall for their entire lives and doubly so that the solution to their plight is for someone to extract wealth from them. 

 

Edit: This post is hostile I'm openly admitting that. Those words up there really rubbed me the wrong way and come from a profound ignorance of reality. I have watched my my mother work herself to the bone for 40 years for practically nothing and every day all she dreams about is having a modest garden and a place to enjoy her family in peace. To imply that her life would be meaningless outside her work that she hates is just unbearable. And when someone is so callus as to apply this reasoning to a paraplegic the logic surely applies to everyone else who isn't one. I'm sure most of us here could tell a similar story either about someone dear to us or even ourselves.

 

Double Edit: There's more to contributing to the world than making money. Women as an example have done the majority of caring labour in the western world for generations now and without their emotional labour taking care of their husbands and family society would rapidly collapse. More often than not they don't get payed anything for this work and it is just as vital as any other work keeping the gears of humanity churning. In conclusion, our lives are meaningful and valuable regardless of financial compensation and reducing all human value to market forces is fatalistic and meaningless, please stop. 


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#6
Erowind

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Okay, me getting triggered aside. This whole thread reminds me a lot of this short comic from Dresden Codak. Be sure to check out his whole page for the full thing if you're interested. 

 

tumblr_p8pbvqlhfL1qcbajko1_1280.jpg

 

https://dresdencodak...k-science-85-is



#7
funkervogt

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Let's make it bleaker: capitalism won't even wait for you to undergo such transformations.
7ovIzbi.png

 

Should the paralyzed person instead wallow in joblessness and stare at a wall for the rest of their lives? Are they better off that way, knowing definitively and for sure that they contribute nothing to the world? 

 

 

If they want to serve drinks in a cafe through a physical avatar or some other job fair enough. If they're forced to make income that's extremely unethical by even classical conservative standards. Perhaps they'd like to make art, or science or spend time with their family in whatever capacity they can instead of make money for someone else for eternity? It boggles the mind to think that anyone would consider wage slavery ethical, let alone for someone paralyzed from the neck down. And the condition of wage slavery still persists for most today. The company town never went away, it just became more abstract and decentralized. And I understand that it's hard to see that because our culture is built around obscuring this truth, but forcing paraplegics to work has got to be one of the coldest things I've heard in a while. 

 

Don't attempt to turn the conversation around on the other foot. No one here is arguing that a person should rot in lack of joblessness. No one here is arguing that working people are incapable of finding meaning outside their slavery to profit. It's insulting to assert that a person in absence of a job would be so daft, stupid and devoid of meaning that they would stare at a wall for their entire lives and doubly so that the solution to their plight is for someone to extract wealth from them. 

 

Edit: This post is hostile I'm openly admitting that. Those words up there really rubbed me the wrong way and come from a profound ignorance of reality. I have watched my my mother work herself to the bone for 40 years for practically nothing and every day all she dreams about is having a modest garden and a place to enjoy her family in peace. To imply that her life would be meaningless outside her work that she hates is just unbearable. And when someone is so callus as to apply this reasoning to a paraplegic the logic surely applies to everyone else who isn't one. I'm sure most of us here could tell a similar story either about someone dear to us or even ourselves.

 

Double Edit: There's more to contributing to the world than making money. Women as an example have done the majority of caring labour in the western world for generations now and without their emotional labour taking care of their husbands and family society would rapidly collapse. More often than not they don't get payed anything for this work and it is just as vital as any other work keeping the gears of humanity churning. In conclusion, our lives are meaningful and valuable regardless of financial compensation and reducing all human value to market forces is fatalistic and meaningless, please stop. 

 

Don't comment when you're mad. 



#8
Erowind

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Let's make it bleaker: capitalism won't even wait for you to undergo such transformations.

 

Should the paralyzed person instead wallow in joblessness and stare at a wall for the rest of their lives? Are they better off that way, knowing definitively and for sure that they contribute nothing to the world? 

 

 

 

Don't comment when you're mad. 

 

 

*I'm just a rationalist and facts don't care about your feelings* 

 

Who are you to tell people when they should and shouldn't comment? Despite my hostility there is a real argument there that you completely ignored. Emotions, in this case anger, only invalidate a position when the rest of the position doesn't add up. For example. If King Robert of Flandonia burned a village because he didn't like their criticism of his policy and then the people of Flandonia said, "here's an argument as to why that was wrong also die under a bridge you vile swine." The people of Flandonia would have a valid argument, and moreover their disposition towards the king wouldn't invalidate or obscure that argument. Beyond that classical philosophical texts are drowning in emotion and most modern writers are too. Anger specifically lead to some of the greatest writings of the founding of the United States among countless other historical examples. Thomas Paine's Common Sense comes to mind with the whole text burning with a revolutionary fervor while laying out political, logistical and military strategy and providing some of the spiritual and material justification for breaking with the Crown. Le internet rationalism and its rhetorical devices are a plague that are removed from genuine philosophical reasoning. 

 

I'm not saying that formal logic is invalid either, just that you're not using formal logic here and that formal logic doesn't apply to every circumstance. One could say my whole post is reading too much into your words. I'd counter that your words, like many words, carry millennia of layered reason that have weight which often goes unaddressed.


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#9
zEVerzan

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I agree with parts of what you said and disagree with other parts. 

 

Yes, Human 1.0 is bound for obsolescence, and people like us will someday be nothing more than economic liabilities. 

 

If humans have any kind of productive future through upgrading, I don't know if it will take the form of grafting on cyborg limbs. You might be of more use if you had your brain removed from your body, put in a jar, and then plugged into something like The Matrix where your mind would serve as a data processing node, or where you could remotely control robots that did physical labor. 

 

 

I'll be honest, that doesn't sound much better. Again I'd prefer it be on my own terms rather than because some capitalist thinks I'd be of "more use" as a processor.

 

 

Don't comment when you're mad. 

 

Don't tell my boy what to do, foo

 

 

Let's make it bleaker: capitalism won't even wait for you to undergo such transformations.
7ovIzbi.png

 

Well that's depressing. Even losing your limbs won't save you from service industry hell.

 

Basically everything Erowind said - the notion that one must earn the right to continue their survival through monotonous labor is barbaric and needs to be grown past. People are going to work and create things on their own terms regardless of whether they NEED to!

 

Okay, me getting triggered aside. This whole thread reminds me a lot of this short comic from Dresden Codak. Be sure to check out his whole page for the full thing if you're interested. 

 

tumblr_p8pbvqlhfL1qcbajko1_1280.jpg

 

https://dresdencodak...k-science-85-is

 

This comic, I like it. Seems like good worldbuilding - I'll check out the rest! 


I always imagined the future as a time of more reason, empathy, and peace, not less. It's time for a change.
Attention is currency in the "free marketplace of ideas".
I do other stuff besides gripe about the future! Twitter Youtube DeviantArt +-PATREON-+

#10
caltrek

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Well, I for one would be the very last to criticise somebody for posting while they are angry.  For me to do so would be hypocrisy.

 

Getting back to the point made in the original post, I think there is an obvious alternative to becoming a cyborg in order to compete in the job market. Think "Universal Basic Income."  If that doesn't do it for you, then think "collective ownership of the means of production."  If everybody owns a share of the new army of robots about to descend upon us, then the problem disappears. Remember, the problem as posed is that of quantity, not quality.  Robots/automation can produce more for less. That does not mean that humans can therefore not produce. Just that they cannot produce as much.  If there income is supplemented by dividends and capital appreciation, then they don't have to worry about producing as much.  

 

A cousin of my wife is retired. She basically lives off of social security, her and her husband's pension fund, and property she inherited.  She is also a gifted painter.  Her husband likes to work with wood.  Together, they produce all sorts of items that they sell at craft fairs and the like.  He doesn't really care whether his manufactured items sell or not, or whether he can make a living off of their sale because he already has more than enough income to live comfortably. 

 

To me, that is the example to be made large.  Now, some may shrink back in horror with protests that this is paramount to advocating socialism.  Hogwash.  The main reason capitalists become wealthy capitalists is because the rules have been written in their favor.  Re-tweak the rules and you can redistribute wealth.  

 

Look at the early history of this country. The wealthy became wealthy because for some reason or another they had an inside track to receiving the benefits of government largesse.  They were proprietors that were granted large tracts of land by the crown to develop as they saw fit.  Fast forward to the 19th century and you find railroad moguls again granted large tracts of land as incentive to develop railroads.  Did they build those railroads?

 

Not entirely. That is to say that laborers built those railroads, yet were only paid a portion of what their labor was truly worth. Today, there is all sorts of infrastructure that benefits also sorts of industry. Who built that infrastructure?

 

You got it, laborers.  Who built the factories? Who built the distribution networks that utilize the infrastructure to deliver goods and services?  

 

These folks deserve a share of the accumulated wealth. That past rules prohibit them from sharing in that wealth says more about the inequality at the core of those past rules than it says about whether they should be changed to allow for a more equitable distribution of wealth. 

 

Yet many buy into this nonsense that we have to overincentivitze capitalists in order to create wealth. That is what supply side economics is all about.  All to the capitalist and nothing for the consumer.  Then wonder what has caused the last recession/depression. 


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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


#11
funkervogt

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Let's make it bleaker: capitalism won't even wait for you to undergo such transformations.

 

Should the paralyzed person instead wallow in joblessness and stare at a wall for the rest of their lives? Are they better off that way, knowing definitively and for sure that they contribute nothing to the world? 

 

 

 

Don't comment when you're mad. 

 

 

*I'm just a rationalist and facts don't care about your feelings* 

 

Who are you to tell people when they should and shouldn't comment? Despite my hostility there is a real argument there that you completely ignored. Emotions, in this case anger, only invalidate a position when the rest of the position doesn't add up. For example. If King Robert of Flandonia burned a village because he didn't like their criticism of his policy and then the people of Flandonia said, "here's an argument as to why that was wrong also die under a bridge you vile swine." The people of Flandonia would have a valid argument, and moreover their disposition towards the king wouldn't invalidate or obscure that argument. Beyond that classical philosophical texts are drowning in emotion and most modern writers are too. Anger specifically lead to some of the greatest writings of the founding of the United States among countless other historical examples. Thomas Paine's Common Sense comes to mind with the whole text burning with a revolutionary fervor while laying out political, logistical and military strategy and providing some of the spiritual and material justification for breaking with the Crown. Le internet rationalism and its rhetorical devices are a plague that are removed from genuine philosophical reasoning. 

 

I'm not saying that formal logic is invalid either, just that you're not using formal logic here and that formal logic doesn't apply to every circumstance. One could say my whole post is reading too much into your words. I'd counter that your words, like many words, carry millennia of layered reason that have weight which often goes unaddressed.

 

I stand by everything I said. When you comment while angry and act hostile (by your own admission), it poisons the well and makes it all the harder for people to share ideas.

 

Everyone's mad about something these days. 



#12
caltrek

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Well, there is a difference between posting while angry and posting insults and other forms of personal abuse. As the Christians say, you can hate the sin and love the sinner.  

 

I am not going to get into any further argument between others as to who might, or might not, have cast a personal insult. I would just urge folks to focus on the ideas being debated rather than getting personal egos involved. Focusing on egos rarely has a constructive conclusion. In real life, it does sometimes help to sort out the pecking order.  Still, in this forum there is no need to act like a bunch of birds.   

 

Edit: Oooops.  Did I just insult somebody?

 

Oh well. No intention to focus on any particular individual was involved in that "insult." 


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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


#13
Yuli Ban

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We here at FT love our cyborgs, don't we folks? The flesh is weak after all, and replacing the decay of blood and bone with the cold certainty of silicon and steel is the price to pay for progress. After all, progress leaves us no choice - automation is going to come for all of our sorry organic hides, and transforming humanity into a race of badass cyborgs is the only thing that's going to keep humanity competitive.
 
The way things are going right now, productivity is always rising, and yet wages are stagnant, lowered, or outsourced. The final conclusion of this way of thinking is that human labor is replaced with full automation. Think about it from the perspective of capitalist industrialists: machines that can be productive 24/7, only cost the initial price, maintenance and the power it takes to run them, vs annoying fleshy humans that can only be productive 8-9 hours on weekdays and need annoying things like bathroom breaks, food, rest and other amenities. The choice is obvious once it becomes viable, and this upper class of people will jealously own their automated means of production privately.
 
Hard and manual labor is in the process of being automated away as we speak, and specialized labor is well on its way. If humans want to avoid becoming obsolete by the hyper-competitive machines, then becoming machines ourselves is our only choice.
 
Only, I'm not so sure I'm terribly fond of this idea anymore.
 
I'd rather not live in a world where a hyper-competitive atmosphere essentially forces us 1.0 humans to undergo expensive and invasive surgeries to remain relevant and pay for our needs, replacing our limbs and brains with cheap mechanisms of plastic and lithium that would need regular maintenance/replacement like a common smartphone. Think about how terribly bleak that is for a second.

Let's make it bleaker: capitalism won't even wait for you to undergo such transformations.
7ovIzbi.png

 

Should the paralyzed person instead wallow in joblessness and stare at a wall for the rest of their lives? Are they better off that way, knowing definitively and for sure that they contribute nothing to the world? 

 

I'm just replying to OP, not decrying this method of getting income.


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#14
Erowind

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Let's make it bleaker: capitalism won't even wait for you to undergo such transformations.

 

Should the paralyzed person instead wallow in joblessness and stare at a wall for the rest of their lives? Are they better off that way, knowing definitively and for sure that they contribute nothing to the world? 

 

 

 

Don't comment when you're mad. 

 

 

*I'm just a rationalist and facts don't care about your feelings* 

 

Who are you to tell people when they should and shouldn't comment? Despite my hostility there is a real argument there that you completely ignored. Emotions, in this case anger, only invalidate a position when the rest of the position doesn't add up. For example. If King Robert of Flandonia burned a village because he didn't like their criticism of his policy and then the people of Flandonia said, "here's an argument as to why that was wrong also die under a bridge you vile swine." The people of Flandonia would have a valid argument, and moreover their disposition towards the king wouldn't invalidate or obscure that argument. Beyond that classical philosophical texts are drowning in emotion and most modern writers are too. Anger specifically lead to some of the greatest writings of the founding of the United States among countless other historical examples. Thomas Paine's Common Sense comes to mind with the whole text burning with a revolutionary fervor while laying out political, logistical and military strategy and providing some of the spiritual and material justification for breaking with the Crown. Le internet rationalism and its rhetorical devices are a plague that are removed from genuine philosophical reasoning. 

 

I'm not saying that formal logic is invalid either, just that you're not using formal logic here and that formal logic doesn't apply to every circumstance. One could say my whole post is reading too much into your words. I'd counter that your words, like many words, carry millennia of layered reason that have weight which often goes unaddressed.

 

I stand by everything I said. When you comment while angry and act hostile (by your own admission), it poisons the well and makes it all the harder for people to share ideas.

 

Everyone's mad about something these days. 

 

 

Did you even read what I wrote? I clearly defended my own anger and you've fail to address the central point of my argument as to why. You've also failed to address any of what I've said about your blatant classism stating that paralyzed people would be zombies staring at walls devoid of meaning without work. With that in mind what statements do you have to stand by at all? There are none here for anyone to see barring the initial one you made. To bring us back on track let's examine that statement again.

 

Look at your own statement compared to a nearly identical one where I change a few words but retain the core concept. 

 

Original ~ "Should the paralyzed person instead wallow in joblessness and stare at a wall for the rest of their lives? Are they better off that way, knowing definitively and for sure that they contribute nothing to the world? "

 

Modified ~ Should [black people] instead wallow in [idleness] and [eat watermelon] for the rest of their lives? Are they better off that way, knowing definitively and for sure that they contribute nothing to the world? 

 

Added context: The modified statement sounds word for word how many plantation owners would have responded to the idea of freeing African slaves with a tiny amount of creative liberty to replace that word which shall not be uttered.



#15
zEVerzan

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Getting back to the point made in the original post, I think there is an obvious alternative to becoming a cyborg in order to compete in the job market. Think "Universal Basic Income."  If that doesn't do it for you, then think "collective ownership of the means of production."  If everybody owns a share of the new army of robots about to descend upon us, then the problem disappears. Remember, the problem as posed is that of quantity, not quality.  Robots/automation can produce more for less. That does not mean that humans can therefore not produce. Just that they cannot produce as much.  If there income is supplemented by dividends and capital appreciation, then they don't have to worry about producing as much.  

 

Collectivize ownership of the automated means of production, or we have barbarism.

 

I have so many problems with UBI - Under UBI industry is still owned privately and will thus only be used in the interest of the few rather than the whole. You have this much production power in the hands of a few industrialists who will at the end of the day only want to make/keep more money than they could last quarter and find ways to avoid taxes -- and under UBI those taxes are necessary for the gov't dole for an underclass of jobless proles for whom hyperconsumption is their public duty so the companies can profit so the gov't can have their taxes so the underclass can be paid and survive. It's a wretched cycle that's basically neo-feudalism.


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I always imagined the future as a time of more reason, empathy, and peace, not less. It's time for a change.
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#16
caltrek

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I think it boils down as to what gets defined as a right.  Having a share of ownership is easier for people to understand as a basic right.  UBI is likely to be defined as more provisional in nature.  "You can have a UBI on account of our current level of abundance, but if that changes we may yank that support away from you."  

 

Yet either one involves a basic shift in understanding.  A shift in who should have property rights, or who should have rights to a basic income. 

 

A UBI can solve the problem of sustaining aggregate demand.  As zEVerzan points out, it does not necessarily address the problem of highly unequal political power. At least not without further organizing.


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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


#17
TranscendingGod

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Being "forced" to upgrade is not necessarily a bad thing. Humans have had to upgrade in the past. Today education is essential is one wishes to thrive. This is technically a forced "upgrade" where one spends years and tens of thousands of dollars to acquire knowledge and skills. Humans in the future will undergo upgrades that are necessitated by the occupations of the time as we always have been. Certainly some will be expensive and invasive. Now some may argue, as perhaps you were, that in the future this will alter some sort of defined sense of humanity but this line has already been blurred and continues to be blurred albeit not usually for practical or economic purposes. 

 

If we observe actual trends then we see that people are working less hours on average, have higher real incomes, and enjoy a higher quality of life than ever before. The continuation of the majority of these trends does not portend some dystopic future. Rather the empirical facts show that what we are suffering from is not dystopia but dysphoria propagated and promulgated by the media which feeds on our evolutionary biases that predispose us to seek the negative.  Of course you can point to certain trends such as the stagnation of incomes in the United States and ignore the continued progress of the vast majority of other nations and thus claim that the end is nigh. Too often people conflate problems within a system as a failure of the system writ large. 

 

Certainly capital is winning over labor in the end as Marx rightly predicted. However simple solutions are available to this conundrum such as UBI, diffusing capital, social safety nets, and a myriad other things. I do not fundamentally believe that inequality is bad simple because it is unequal. Rather if inequality were the root cause of problems then it should be targeted but if it is simply the result of a lopsided system then we must target those facets of said system that would rig it. This does not mean completely discarding any such system but rather implementing measures to ameliorate any undesired condition. 

 

Can we be free while making .0001% of an extremely fortunate capitalist? Yes. Is it right that millions starve, lack access to basic medical care, cannot attain a decent education, and suffer many other maladies while these uber-wealthy capitalist wallow in their putrid wealth? No. What is the solution? I don't know. Will technology exacerbate these squalid conditions? Perhaps. Can it ameliorate them via making technologies more affordable and thus granting everyone a decent standard of living? Certainly. For example how many of you would like to go back and live in the 1970s even if you had twice the amount of money you currently do? Very few because the standard of living and quality of products today is so much higher for even those of us suffering from relative poverty. 


The growth of computation is doubly exponential growth. 


#18
caltrek

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For example how many of you would like to go back and live in the 1970s even if you had twice the amount of money you currently do? Very few because the standard of living and quality of products today is so much higher for even those of us suffering from relative poverty. 

 

 

Actually, I wouldn't mind.  In the seventies, I lived in a luxury house stocked with a decent collection of books in a very nice neighborhood.  We also had color TV, radio, telephones, etc.

 

Was the technology inferior?

 

Well, take telephones.  No.  We had land lines.  You could talk to somebody on the other side of the country and it would sound like they were just next door.  Clear as a bell.  Now, I find myself screaming into the cell phone as the customer complaint department keeps asking me to speak up so that they can hear me.

 

Of course, that is if I can make my way through the darn phone trees:

 

"Press one if you would like a menu in Spanish.

Press two if you would like to pay a bill.

Press three if you would like to upgrade your service.

 

Otherwise, get lost."

 

I think the only thing I would miss is my computer and a couple of aps on my cell phone.

 

I am also thinking of getting one of those new-fangled flat screen "smart" TVs.  


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


#19
TranscendingGod

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For example how many of you would like to go back and live in the 1970s even if you had twice the amount of money you currently do? Very few because the standard of living and quality of products today is so much higher for even those of us suffering from relative poverty. 

 

 

Actually, I wouldn't mind.  In the seventies, I lived in a luxury house stocked with a decent collection of books in a very nice neighborhood.  We also had color TV, radio, telephones, etc.

 

Was the technology inferior?

 

Well, take telephones.  No.  We had land lines.  You could talk to somebody on the other side of the country and it would sound like they were just next door.  Clear as a bell.  Now, I find myself screaming into the cell phone as the customer complaint department keeps asking me to speak up so that they can hear me.

 

Of course, that is if I can make my way through the darn phone trees:

 

"Press one if you would like a menu in Spanish.

Press two if you would like to pay a bill.

Press three if you would like to upgrade your service.

 

Otherwise, get lost."

 

I think the only thing I would miss is my computer and a couple of aps on my cell phone.

 

I am also thinking of getting one of those new-fangled flat screen "smart" TVs.  

 

Tongue in cheek i presume 


The growth of computation is doubly exponential growth. 






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