Technological Unemployment and Decentralization
Too often we get wrapped up in dichotomies that may or may not be likely. This could be the case with notions about Technological Unemployment. It’s a subject that is strange to our understanding as it has no precedent. Our concerns seem to stem from our definition of an economic system. We consider ourselves players in a global economic game. This model may however be unsustainable. Consider the basic purpose of an economic system. It’s merely a system of sustaining a populous with acquisitions from the environment. It could be that in time we become extremely proficient at sustaining ourselves. We may become so adept that we are essentially locally self sustaining.
We have been defining economic systems as collections of markets for so long that we have begun to assume that they are essential. This may not be the case. For instance, manufacturing could decentralize with CNC, 3D printing and even Drexlerian Nano-Tech. This could in theory replace a wide variety of markets with the addition of mesh networked telecom and open recipes. This may also translate to food stuffs as well. With research being done with technologies such as in vetro meat, it’s possible that nano-tech could help sustain us in that regard as well. Considering that nano-tech would essentially be the perfect recycling solution, this may include waste disposal as well. This is of course something to think about when sipping ones “Earl Gray hot”. As disturbing as it might be on the surface, it could actually be a quite elegant solution.
There are many more ways that economic subsystems can be decentralized; not only to create local economic solutions to technological unemployment, but also to create a more closed loop that could reduce the entropy with “externality”. There are many advantages to solving problems locally; and many relate to technological unemployment. local self sustenance is a goal that could aid in our movement toward homeostasis and prevent us being a proverbial pet to an AI overlord. The most important consideration seems to be that humans are capable of sustaining themselves. It seems that decentralization is likely to have the most favorable outcome.
There are systems that might be difficult to decentralize however. Transportation is one that has been stumping me for a while now. Most of our solutions for transport require some infrastructure. This is even the case with the most decentralized form of transportation that we have now. Even if we could home manufacture some sort of car, it may be that traffic could be controlled by networking the vehicles with each other, but roads would still be required. I’m not sure if this is something that could be crowdsourced or if some emergent form of transportation like flying cars could solve the issue, but it’s a problem worth some thought.
We as humans identify with our jobs. It’s a large part of not only our lives but also our self image. Technological Unemployment isn’t just concerning us with regard to our ability to contribute to the greater good. It also has us worried about losing purpose. This of course is a very uncomfortable topic at the moment for this reason. This may also be where the dichotomy of contributor vs benefactor is coming from. It could be rooted in the way that we feel about not being a contributing member of the top of the food chain. All in all, it does seem as though we, as humans could at least pull our own weight; and do so with coordination with the ecology. Niche’ existence is the overwhelming tendency here on the biosphere. Accelerated advancement just doesn’t seem to be sustainable in conjunction with Natural Selection. The legacy form may be cresting it’s potential however it may be enough to produce a proficient steward. That’s not such a bad purpose.
Me however, I intend to be a contributing cyborg with multiple backups, in case of catastrophe. 3, 2, 1 Bitches! 😉