Intelligent Systems And Their Societies Walter Fritz

Economic Effects

 

The massive existence of IS's will produce a new economic revolution. This revolution has already started with the use of computers. It will still be quite some time before really intelligent, cheap, and general purpose robots become available. At that time we can expect a new economic revolution to get underway. Similar as in the first economic revolution, many jobs will become obsolete, persons will have to be relocated to other jobs and the daily working hours will have to be reduced. In the past, newly invented weaving machines replaced manual weaving. The invention of cars replaced horses, stables and cart manufacturing. Nevertheless due to inventions and technological change we today live far better than people 200 years ago.

Today's average level of living, in the cities of prosperous nations, is far better than that of the fabulously rich king Louis XIV of France. The king had no central heating in his drafty palace, only an open fireplace. He read by the light of flickering candles. He could not just switch on the light in any room or corridor. When he wanted warm water, he had to call a servant to fetch it and wait. We just open the tap. When he wanted music, he had to call an orchestra. We just switch on our electronics, be it radio, TV or whatsoever. Messages were send by horse and the answer was received hours or month later. We just lift the telephone and talk immediately to anybody on earth. All these differences are the result of technology; of the ever increasing help the machines give to us humans.

On the long run, at the end of this economic revolution, it seems that work, a paid activity, will diminish sharply or even cease to exist. Persons will be active at whatever they wish, but they may not bother to request payment for their efforts. Robots, mobile IS's, together with intelligent special purpose machines, will provide all material needs.

There are many ways that this transition from a society with "work" can be done. One proposal is the "social dividend" that we explained in the chapter on Proposals for Improving Government and Society. (For continuous reading, like a book - do not enter here now).

 

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Walter Fritz
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