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Ahh! The Machines!





Zampano
Alright: Machines effects on a nation's liveability and the people in it.
Good? Bad? And for whom?

I think that it will be ultimately for the demise of people: Those at the top will make tremendous profit from laying off their workers with machines. The workers will be demoralized and lose their pride. Eventually when can't afford the products made by the machine the whole thing will collapse.
bogger
Zampano wrote:
Alright: Machines effects on a nation's liveability and the people in it.
Good? Bad? And for whom?

I think that it will be ultimately for the demise of people: Those at the top will make tremendous profit from laying off their workers with machines. The workers will be demoralized and lose their pride. Eventually when can't afford the products made by the machine the whole thing will collapse.


Em, hardly, machines tend to bring the bottom up too, just compare pre and post machination economies, and you'll see that posst machination economies may have the rich a lot richer, but the poor are a bit less poor, machines help us

Hell, we wouldn't even be talking right now without machines,

Ergo, Good
Montressor
bogger wrote:
Em, hardly, machines tend to bring the bottom up too, just compare pre and post machination economies, and you'll see that posst machination economies may have the rich a lot richer, but the poor are a bit less poor, machines help us
Not to mention the fact that in order to have machines take over the jobs of workers, you need more workers (and higher paid workers) to invent, install, market, manufacture and maintain those machines
bogger
That would only be a capital investment though Montressor

In the long run, people would hypothetically be out of work

So the question is whether the long run losses are worth it for the short term gain.

I say that as long as I die before the aforementioned loss comes about, then short term gain is the way to go
Montressor
bogger wrote:
That would only be a capital investment though Montressor

But a continual capital investment in that we are continually reinvesting in better and better machines, and continually inventing newer machines. Until we make the machines themselves the primary inventors and delegate to them the responsibility of human nature, then we will still be needed (As per "The Lost Little Robot", and the Robot series by Asimov). It is quite possible (and probable) that there will be less need for innovation, repair and other such currently-human tasks and a lower percentage of humans in the "labor" force, but not to the extent that we die off (until we reach the Asimov stage if at all).
Zampano
I suppose eventually it comes to our own judgement of what machinery will help us and at what time it will help.
gluingquarters
You also have to consider that machines make everything cheaper. Cars are cheaper, clothes are cheaper (at least, there are cheaper clothes that one can buy; they may not always be pretty, but they work), computers are even cheaper now. The use of machines in my work, for example, has made custom framing cheaper for the consumer. There are always jobs for the lower class (myself having been one of them all my life) in some degree. People need to run the machines; people need to flip the burgers; people need to sweep the floors and empty the trash and make lattes. The lack of unskilled jobs has actually forced many into colleges and technical schools where they might not have gone before.

I also love the market which has sprung up for artisan-quality, handmade items. These items sell for a premium now because they are *not* made by machines; they are original and often unique. Industrialization is not a bad thing.
bogger
[/b]@montressor: [/b]Ah, I was working under the assumption that the machines in question had proper intelligence (P.I.), thus investing any remaining capital investment themselves, which they could earn themselves.

I don't actually know Asimov's theory, any chance of a link?

@gluingquarters: I think you'll find that there is nothing that a person can do better than a machine, they just do more of those things less well.

One could make a machine that flipped burgers if one wanted to, it would just require research, and there wouldn't be any hair in it!
People who buy handmade items merely do it to be different, when computers with P.I. come about, they'll be able to make many items with subtle differences. If people buy them just because they don't like the idea of something being made by a computer, then they're just luddites
Montressor
@Bogger His "theory" as per his science fiction series Robots, was (although not explicitly stated) that machines would develop and endeavor to keep (for humans) another "universe" that we would live in and enjoy while the machines live in the real world doing all the real stuff. This is very similar to his award winning Foundation series, which just had the psychologists (technically "psychohistorians") living in the real world, fabricating a happy (false) existence for the rest of us (he later merged the series where us normal folks live in a universe fabricated/controlled by the psychologists, who themselves live in a universe run by robots...)

This is similar to "The Matrix" series and the notion of hyperrealism
Which, interestingly enough, has a cameo per se in "The Matrix" in that Neil (when he was still a subject in the matrix, hid his contraband in a book written by Jean Baudrillard, a famous philosopher who studied/pioneered hyperrealism)

So perhaps the machines (if they eventually develop and maintain P.I.) would "displace" humans, but we might end up with the same lives anyway... Nobody likes the notion of living in a "matrix", but you can't deny the possibility that we do.

This isn't the most satisfying answer, but humanity will adapt and will always strive for more. That's not to say that we will adapt in a positive manner, or that our desires will ever be fulfilled, but that we can at least try. And the "trying" is what actually makes us "human", not the success.

Note:I have only seen the majority of the first movie and none of the others, and therefore I derive most of my opinions about the hyperreal from other science fiction sources.

I didn't quite figure out what Asimov thought we should do about all of this (I didn't really like the ending of the series), but I think it had something to do with developing a collective consciousness and a bunch of other sci-fi mumbo.


So, in answer to your question, Asimov basically stated, "it'll happen, let's just be certain to make them benevolent machines".


There's also the question of whether or not the machines with P.I. would actually be "human" themselves... another thing science fiction writers love to delve into; the definition of human/humanity, and the qualities that make us human.
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