What attracted you to Act in the first place?
For me, classical liberal values of individual life and individual liberty, combined with pragmatic reality of the need for responsible action in ecological and social contexts.
Add in to that the inescapable logic that markets fail as effective measures of value when faced with exponential technology that is capable of delivering universal abundance of an expanding set of goods and services.
So it is the liberal values aspect that has me here, not any sort of faith in markets, and that is said acknowledging the huge utilities of markets in our past and the many very complex roles they play even now in terms of distributed governance, distributed information processing and the contribution those make to liberty.
Technology now promotes concentration of wealth in ways never before possible, at the same time as it makes universal high standards of living and security possible, market based thinking denies that possibility to the majority (which in the long term denies it to everyone).
The rapidly approaching reality of indefinite life extension adds a further set of dimensions to an already highly dimensional strategic landscape.
For the first time in history universal empowerment, universal liberty and security is a real option, yet in a market environment that possibility is a low probability outcome, as markets concentrate wealth and force every greater numbers into subsistence and insecurity.
For me – ACT has always been about those fundamental human values – Individual life (human and non human, biological and non biological) and individual liberty (for all individuals capable of claiming it – no exceptions). And that demands of us high levels of ecological and social responsibility – not any sort of naive freedom to follow whim.
As I see it, it is only such values that offer any of us a reasonable probability of a long and secure future.
This is the sort of conversations I had with Roger and Richard into the small hours, that had me stand as an Act candidate in the first two elections.
The greater the level of automation, the less security any of us have, as the more likely it becomes that our current occupations and the security they provide will be automated out of existence, and the next job available will pay less, and have a greater probability of offering even less security.
I am not making any sort of claims for a static amount of wealth being present – quite the reverse.
I am making a strong claim (supported by economic data) that middle and low income people are seeing reduction in real income, and reduction in job security.
Some form of universal basic income seems to be the most viable transition strategy, as we move from scarcity based thinking to abundance based thinking, and that transition will be difficult for many.
Can you substantiate the claim “Automation creates more desirable jobs”.
As someone who has owned and operated a software business for 31 years, I can see the end of software businesses rapidly approaching, as fully automated coding systems come online.
Driverless cars are now a physical reality, and as the legal systems adapt, driving will soon cease to be an occupation.
The only reason any of us pay for information is laws on IP – it is only legally decreed scarcity that makes information a marketable item.
The trends are clear – well documented.
Paradigms that worked in the past are failing in this new reality.
It is a non-trivial set of issues.
The only effective risk mitigation strategy I see is a strong set of values based on individual life and individual liberty, applied universally.
First level automation was using water and animals to replace human labour.
Next level was automating manufacture to various levels.
Now we have fully automated information processing.
Advances in neural net technologies, explorations of strategy and algorithm spaces and reduction in power consumption mean machines are getting better than humans in ever more areas.
Currently we have jobs in the areas of complexity landscape that are above the rising tide of automation, but those peaks are relatively static, and the tide is rising ever faster. The last of those peaks will likely submerge inside 20 years.
This is different, fundamentally different, to anything that has happened before.
More people need to become aware of it, and need to start seriously considering what sort of world we want, and what sort of incentive structures are needed to create it, and what sort of choices we need to make now, to have the sort of world we want to live in in 30 years time.
In a noisy environment, where “noise” is at 5%, if you wait for an exponential trend to emerge above the noise, it is only 5 doublings from 100% – with doubling times in key technologies now under a year – that doesn’t give much time to respond.
One needs to see the trends long before they become obvious.