Robin Hanson – When robots rule the earth

Work, Love, and Life when Robots Rule the Earth, with Robin Hanson

Robots may one day rule the world. But what will a robot-ruled Earth be like?

“Why aren’t corporations more cooperative?”

That question is easy to answer David.

Corporations are based in the notion of profit.
Profit is founded in the notion of scarcity.
The more scarce something is seen to be, the more profit is available from it (look at the case of diamonds for the obvious example).

Universal abundance has a negative value in such a system.

Real people value universal abundance, as it is in their personal self interest, even if the economic system gives it a negative value.

Therefore, any money based system will, in the case of full automation of production, produce negative human outcomes.

Corporations and money will optimise for profit at the cost of human freedom (in the case of fully automated production being available).

Thus money and markets, as a means of valuing and thinking about value, are now the single greatest threat to individual life and liberty that currently exists.

Automation changes everything.

The assumption of continued unrestrained reproduction leading to severe survival competition is not valid. Once it becomes common knowledge that such reproduction is clearly not in anyone’s self interests, it will stop.

The only way to have a reasonable probability of living a very long time is to ensure that survival is founded in cooperation – enlightened self interest. All other strategies tested thus far (as per Axelrod and Maynard Smith et al) lead to long term high risk profiles.

If you want to live a long time, with any sort of security – start looking out for the life and liberty of everyone else, which means universal abundance of survival needs and education of these facts.

[followed by]

Hi Richard,

Money is not “simply” an expression of utility.

Money is a very complex thing, and at heart it is a market based measure of exchange value.
In order for people to be willing to exchange something they have which is scarce (money) the thing they want must be scarce. Hence there cannot be any exchange value in anything universally abundant. Evidence air, arguably the most valuable commodity to any human being, yet of no monetary value due to universal abundance.

When almost everything was scarce, this wasn’t a problem.

Now that we have automation and robotics, we have the technical capacity to deliver a large and exponentially expanding set of goods and services in universal abundance. But to do so would break the monetary system.

The systemic response to date has been to artificially create scarcity, with things like IP laws. Now that automation is starting to move strongly into the realm of physical goods and services, the problems are much more profound.

If AI really is intelligent, then everything is strategy in a sense.

Money needs to become a “quaint historical artefact” if any of us are going to have reasonable chance of living a very long time.

[followed by]
At what level compare?
Why would you need to compare?
[followed by]


Hi Richard,

We will all have limits on the amount of energy available, but they will be the sort of limits that allow for quite a bit.

[followed by]
Hi Richard et al

OK this is getting complex, and we seem to be talking straight past each other at present, probably because we do not have agreement about the basics as yet.

So I am going to take it back out to a new main thread.

[Note – started a new page on my blog for the continued discussion also. ]

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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1 Response to Robin Hanson – When robots rule the earth

  1. Pingback: Robots with Robin Hanson – Continued | Ted Howard NZ's Blog

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