RE: [SL4] AI --> Jobless Economy

From: mike99 (
Date: Sun Feb 29 2004 - 19:30:24 MST

You're correct that productivity is rising. So are corporate profits. And
the unemployment rate is not going up. But neither is the employment rate
increasing by much. With the economy expanding this much and yet not
creating many new jobs, we are perhaps seeing the effects of
computer-assisted productivity increases combined with job-outsourcing
(sending jobs overseas).

The net result for the US economy is a nice growth rate with low inflation.
But the effects upon many individual Americans -- the aggregate of the
unemployed and the underemployed (those who lost high-paying jobs and have
had to settle for much lower-paying jobs) -- is not at all reassuring.

I suspect that Samantha is right in predicting that this situation will get
worse; that is, this may be the "new normal" and it will continue and

The danger this poses for Singularity efforts stems from the likelihood that
this growing mass of disaffected people may give up hope and lash out at the
high-tech they believe to have caused their suffering. By high-tech I don't
mean only the machinery, but also those people who are associated with the
creation and use of it. Those of us who are benefiting materially from
high-tech right now through our jobs or investments could become targets.

We can't (or shouldn't) try to tell them "Just hold on, in a few more years
we'll make everyone rich through super-high-tech." They'd laugh in our
faces. And rightly so. Try telling an unemployed, 50-year-old engineer whose
job has been sent to India that it's OK that he lost his house because he
couldn't make the mortgage; and it's OK that his pension has gone away, too;
just hang on and it will all be right in, oh, maybe 10 or 20 years."

But don't stand too close when you say this because he's liable to punch you
right in the nose.

The "Friendliness" we want to see in the SI must begin even sooner with us.
If we can't help people to get through the tough times right now, those
same people may prevent us all from seeing an FAI arise at all.


Michael LaTorra

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf Of Tomaz
> Kristan
> Sent: Sunday, February 29, 2004 5:24 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [SL4] AI --> Jobless Economy
> On Sun, 29 Feb 2004 01:06:12 -0800, Samantha Atkins
> wrote:
> >
> > It is a total let's pretend game. Millions of people
> > are out of work
> > who are not doing fine and who don't have another
> > source of income. I
> > suspect it will get worse.
> >
> Sure, millions are out of work. Nobody denies that.
> What I am suggesting is, that this is not the whole
> picture. There is a surprising fact, that the
> productivity goes up, not very many new jobs, and not
> such a big unemployment, one would therefore expect!
> Something must be the reason for such an apparent
> paradoxical situation.
> There is no paradox, of course. Jobs are left behind by
> those, who don't need them anymore, as they use to.
> If this is not a(n SL4) shock for economists, I don't
> know, what it could be.
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