Reconciling Robots with Unemployment - Alcyonenews

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Posted February 24, 2023

Reconciling Robots with Unemployment

In the distant past God created humans to inhabit Eden, feeding on fruit all except for apples. Yet a serpent,  the original “persuader”, sold an apple to the original couple. God caught them in the act and reacted resolutely, evicting Adam and Eve from Paradise. He topped the sentence with Labour-for-life-without-parole for the couple and their descendants. Sadly, he let the snake proliferate ...  

The sentence was relaxed later as God enticed his son Jesus to leave home by creating for him a job as Parole Officer on Earth. But the parole did not provide for re-entry to labour-free Eden until the parolee dies.

We proved crafty. We invented tools like the slingshot, the hoe, the spear and the lever to lessen the pain from the Labour curse. We also tamed animals in our service and then went on to create slavery. Eventually we reached a civilization plateau where we  build smart machines that suck away the potency of the old Godly curse.

By the way, I define “slavery” as a process in which a slave-master coerces the slave-subjects to produce “profit” for the slave-master. I will also define “robot” as a machine which labours in lieu of humans. A robot can drive a tractor to plow a field, fly an aeroplane, make chocolate bars and  computer microchips. All we need do is press the “Start” button. Or the start button on another robot that will convey the “Start” signal to a robot as far away as the Moon and beyond.

Of course it requires human effort to design and build the robots. But not unlike all tools, in the aggregate what goes into making them is only a small fraction of the labour  it would take to make the product without the tool. That is to say, if the task would be doable without the tools which is not always the case. Microchips, heart pacemakers and a long array of wonder-gadgets can only be made by robots.

This reality combines to make the robots highly appealing to all of us victims of the ancient God’s curse. But, there is a big “but” to it.

In the long pre-robot haul, we had made the sensible-appearing decision that the wealth of the society be allotted in accordance with the individual’s input, in both the quantitative and the qualitative sense, to what went into producing it. At first glance this appears fair but it is not necessarily so. It is fair that the surgeon who fixes the broken bones of the players be allotted more that the zamboni driver.  But the allotment system is abused by the establishment claiming that their breeds’ greed for “Profit” is a crucial contribution to production of wealth and for that they snatch the lions’ share of it. Lest left on our own devices, we starve to death or freeze by exposure to elements. It is thus that Lee DeForest, who invented the diode tube which made radio communication possible, lived on a meager $12,000 p.a. stipend from Bell Telephone, while the Chairman of Bell was pulling a $1M p.a. or so.

There is an oxymoron (= sharply moronic ) aspect to this. We struggle to make bigger, better and more robots while robots result in people being thrown out of their jobs and this we all lament – but we should not.

The purpose of work is to produce for the satisfaction of our needs for food, shelter, violins and footballs, therefore “unemployment” is unnatural to say the least. Normally, labour surplus means that our needs are met and have leftover, unutilized labour. In reality, a shortage of labour can happen, but a shortage of work cannot. This, of course within the bounds of the Reasonable. Surplus labour should “produce” leisure to be enjoyed by all. In that line of thought we must issue a cease and desist order to those who steal leisure from the many for the profit of the few, enforce it and then go play snooker.

Lincoln did not abolish slavery, he inadvertently drove the slave-masters to disguise it so that they could fool more people, most of the time. Robert Stephenson emancipated the horses by building the “Rocket”, the “Little Loco that Could”.  The Rocket was sort of a sophisticated “tool”, a predecessor to Robots.

Robots affect Leisure, the only realistic elixir of life, next to detox. Let us toss the system that steals our leisure and whips us with unemployment. For it is Hellish.

When I was young, with one parent working, a family could live in a bungalow and raise children in the back yard, with a dog and a cat, to boot. Now, both parents must labour to buy a condominium to raise their child on a balcony. Where has the Robot wealth output gone?  We need plug the Black Hole ...  

Just contemplating a better world ...
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