Author Topic: communism and robots  (Read 4612 times)

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Offline a sad cow

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communism and robots
« on: March 19, 2006, 09:33:57 am »
i'm reading about the cold war (from John Lewis Gaddis) and i'm beginning to think we will end up with communism whether we like it or not, just not through socialism as Marx predicts.

Marx put forth that there were 5 stages to society, the 3rd being capitalism, the 4th socialism and finally communism. socialism, as i understand Marx's interpretation, involves basically a holocaust of die-hard capitalists. Stalin was willing to execute millions of his countrymen for this ideal. what i'm wondering is how such an aggressive, militaristic, authoritarian approach can ever bring about the peace of true communism. it seems more logical to me for pacifism to be the 4th stage in Marx's little evolution than socialism.

the next thing i was thinking about was how Russia fell. communism is supposed to build off basic capitalist concepts like specialization and industrialization so that everyone can enjoy the fruits of life. however, no one is motivated to work harder if there's no extra pay (common sense over ideology). this leaves me wondering if communism would work in a state of robotic automation. i'm thinking if every job necessary to provide food, water, clothes, sanitation, etc was provided by robots, communism would allow us all to kick back and stop killing each other.

i'm also wondering if the necessary technology is available and under restraint in much the same manner as the atomic bomb in the late 40's and early 50's. atomic bombs were built but not used because the heads of state acknowledged what came to be termed as MAD (mutually assured destruction). i'm wondering if a similar fear of destruction or enslavement came (or will come) with the development of robot armies. we have such accurate pictures of what we want them to look like, the tools and precision to build them, and i think i could program some accurate AI some day. being that i think there are many people smarter than me in this world, i am left to conclude that a massive change is highly possible - people just don't know how to transition the world from A to B smoothly.

i know there's a lot there ^ but any thoughts?
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Offline Einkoro

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Re: communism and robots
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2006, 11:05:16 am »
Using violence to achieve such a 'revolution' or what have you would only end with more violence if history teaches us anything.

Who says 4th isn't socialism and pacifism? Canada is fairly socialist, a little less so than Sweden, and both countries seem to solve their problems peacefully other than the rare protest that turns into a riot (hi2u G8 summits). I imagine as technology improves we will become more 'communist' in the sense of Star Trek. That or we'll all blow ourselves up a few times over (USA anyone?).
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Offline A.C. Helm

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Re: communism and robots
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2006, 12:12:23 pm »
Lots of Robots already:

http://economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=5323427&no_na_tran=1

http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/200601/kt2006011617112710160.htm

http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=30306

I don't doubt that if people stop trying to use them for destructive purposes that we already have the technology available to have them do many of our daily jobs for us. Oh look, someone has the right idea:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-03/uow-rai030706.php
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Offline Frigger

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Re: communism and robots
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2006, 01:10:20 pm »
communism is a well meant, but idiotic idea.  man != other man.
marx was good at not just seeing, but also defining the problems of capitalism, but his suggested solution is against the human nature, so it wont work.
He was a bit stubborn, and tried to justify the future he imagined by a history(or a concept of history) he edited and highlighted(probably well meaning, but therefore biased) to fit his point. "who controls the past, controls the future".  (to quote Command&Conquer 2 ;])
honestly, humanity is to fucking complex for such a simplistic 5-point plan, that might sound good for the masses, since its an easy point to make, but it still is WAY to simple and idealized.

and, btw. Communism never existed. maybe the economic systems of some nations were kinda sorta communistic. but politically they were all dictatorships, with a strong party, and most of the time a strong leader. "Communism always got stuck in dictatorship", to quote my US-History teacher^^....

Capitalism is indefinetely better. but it's by far not as good as it would be possible. Much could be written now, i just wanna state that Adam Smiths idea of the market(which is often used to justify capitalism) is (a bit like Marxs idea of history) to easy, its a goddamn model, not more.
Smith assumed a market with equal participants, and he didn't realize that the market would be more than an organic complex. the idea was, that scarcity created the most profit, therefore it would be resolved first, so it wouldn't be a longscale problem. Since the entities of the market are not concentrating on simple "surviving" and getting a decent outcome but trying to reach maximum profit scarcity becomes a necessity. if a market is saturated you need new products, more advertising, new markets.
growth is god. profit is god. money is god. Nietzsche smelled it when he wrote the famous words "god is dead", there are still millions over millions of people who believe, but the thing which is most feared now is not having enough money, and not Gods wrath. (well, thats a really simplistic approach to really complex things, i hope you'll forgive that...)

with the current state of industrial science, every humans basic needs(a scarcity, as you'll probably agree) could be saturated. Capitalism is not about resolving scarcity but making profit of scarcity. Africans cant pay enough for medicine.

solutions? getting along works quite well, which is the vile thing about the current situation^^. becoming paranoid might be a good idea, wont get bored that way... or join buisness school and get to the top....

long post.... still hung over.... go find water..... bye :/
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Offline Xander

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Re: communism and robots
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2006, 12:39:47 pm »
Both two interesting posts - Cow seems to be good at getting these going =)

Personally, I can't help but feel that both Marx and Smith missed the most critical part of any market or economy. Greed. Marx thought everyone would happily get along if all pay was equal but failed to realise that the more someone works the more money they want. Some people just want more wealth than the other guy for no real reason, they just do. We all know the problems with Communism when it comes to putting a few people in power.

Smith thought scarcity would sort itself out and then we'd all have plenty. But scarcity = profit so artificial scarcity settled in. Something I've been looking into a lot lately is the Music Industry. The whole thing is supported on Artificial Scarcity. Music is possibly the most available commoddity known to man. Everyone can make it, everyone can appreciate it. You don't need an education, you only really need one sense. But music is more expensive than a lot of things in the world. Surely with Smiths model it should be one of the cheapest? The record labels realise that scarcity = profit and so create scarcity. Only some music gets mass distributed.

Personally - I agree with Cow. But on a different logic. I think robots would work. I do honestly believe it will be machines which will free us from our current state. There is one universal truth for all living beings in this world. We all must eat and we all must drink. Robots do not have this applied to them. They must have electrical energy.

So we apply machines to a support model.

Take 10 Robots
3 robots make enough energy for all 10 (maintain their power generator and repair the others and themselves)
5 robots make enough food for 50 humans (work on farms)
2 robots make enough water for 50 humans (work in the water purification works)

We now have 10 robots working, supporting themselves and each other. They also look after 50 humans. These 50 humans now no longer have a NEED for money. People NEED money for food and water. Everything else they only WANT money for. Using this system we can now work up Maslows Heirarchy just adding more robots to cover more jobs.

The reason this system would work is because we eliminate human greed. Slowly, admittedly, but we factor greed out. The robots would not create scarcity, they would not want profit. They simply follow their programming and if things start going pear-shaped we just remove the generators.

As for the removal of Human greed, we start first at the base levels: food and water. Once food and water are being made for free (except for the cost of the robots, and even that would go eventually as robots work in the mines) then everything else will follow. Robots would distribute the food perfectly equally as they would have no need to hoard the food (as humans have done each time this has been tried) so everyone would have their base needs met. From food and water we move to shelter, then to menial jobs (data entry, admin, the really repetitive stuff), advanced jobs and so on until all jobs are being done for free. Humans would then find themselves released from their own bondage.

Admittedly, some would react badly. Some people have their work as their only thing in life. How to deal with these kind of people is something for the psychologists. Others would rejoice in this. Their lives are theirs to pursue as they wish. Dedicating your life to meditation would become a completely viable option for the people who wish to do this. Which, honestly, I think would be awesome.
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Re: communism and robots
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2006, 06:35:35 pm »
A few MAJOR problems exist though.

Retail. Robots sell the goods correct? No-one has a job as robots have them all. No job = no money, as no-one supports the welfare state either. No money = no goods, no wants fulfilled. So what, we go back to bartering?

You missed out two major factors:

1) PEOPLE ARE STUPID
2) PEOPLE ARE GREEDY


Without any real form of currency, do you really think that society will co-exist peacefully?

Personally, I would love to see crap given away based on a person's worth to society, instead of someone robbing a bank, and buying a load of useless shit. Limiting money to the socially responsible, nice idea, NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.

The only way humans will EVER co-exist peacefully, will be if there is only one left. Conflict is in our very nature, it's how we survive, by competing. With robots taking over, there is no competition. Without any way to compete, what will humans do? Slowly become worthless? Or fight back against the robots? Look at point 1, and tell me the answer.

Offline a sad cow

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Re: communism and robots
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2006, 07:06:18 am »
i'm happy to see i didn't lose you by creating a new topic Xander :P  I do like your model especially as it applies to music.

However, Fiindil poses a really good problem with human greed/stupidity. Adding to this, we can see it quite evident in World War 1. Industrialization had really gotten kicking on a national scale and what do people do with it? Fighter a longer, more brutal war. I really don't think another major technological revolution is held back by anything more than a few people in power who realize that a philosophical revolution has to come first. If we have have robots supplanting our economy, the money we are given or make would be used for luxuries. Even if we don't use technology to kill ourselves, we would have rampant greed in at least a few who would try something stupid - like collecting a million cars or other pursuits of material gain.

I think Marx had a real insight into the extremes of capitalism and communism but he failed to account for many aspects of that which is gray in between. Consequently most communist leaders evaluated all non-communist nations with the expectation of capitalist extremes. I think the extremes can most accurately be seen in the percentage of taxes a nation imposes. Although this deviates from Adam Smith's model, i believe a true model of capitalism is a nation with no taxes whatsoever. Under the assumption that people will pick up the slack in the nature of profit (aka greed), this system would theoretically solve any shortage issues. Conversely, I see true communism existing with 100% taxes (or no money if you care to think that way). In this model people are motivated purely on goodwill.

Obviously both extremes, left unchecked, are quite naive. For our level of technology, I think the middle ground taxes most of our most civilized nations impose is most practical. Since most people are bored by the concept of either extreme, this middle ground provides the greatest level of intellectual freedom. I hope that this leads to increased intellectual awareness and hopefully a greater tendency towards goodwill.

I'm getting real tired now so i'll post and hope i haven't grossly fucked up here. I guess the root of this post and consequently this whole thread is the hope that technology can compensate for laziness, and education can compensate for greed. maybe if i wasn't so tired i'd make some neat paragraphs from that thesis rather than these ramblings that go on and on and on and on and when will this sentence end OH NOES!!!!!1!1!1111!!1!1!!
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Offline Irrationalist

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Re: communism and robots
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2006, 08:16:12 am »
Regardless, Democracy or Communism, either is going to end up being fascist. Exps =
WW2 Russia, and the US right now ( where i am living ) I mean we are taking away peoples privacy so the STATE can be safe where a democracy SHOULD value the PEOPLES rights over the welfare of the state.

Offline Xander

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Re: communism and robots
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2006, 11:26:12 am »
Findiil: In regards to point 1 I cover that with "Admittedly, some would react badly"

You've got a damn good point on human greed and stupidity though. But I offer you the example of Buddhist monks. These people sustain themselves through growing their own food. Because they can meet the two Needs of humanity (food and water) they also have no Need for money. These people dedicate their lives to meditation, art, physical and mental discipline in the hope of one day understanding the world. The model does work. The problems kick in when governments come banging on the door for taxes. That's about the only other time humans Need money.

But if everything was provided by a self-sustaining automaton population (where as in the past this has been peasants and such) then surely the tax bill would go away. I accept this isn't an overnight policy. I accept that, in Europe especially, when kings and knights had all their food provided by their peasants they promptly left to get more land and peasants. It's these attitudes that would have to go. And there in lies the problem. It's such an innate part of humanity that it's something that could really be a bitch to get rid of.
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Offline Irrationalist

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Re: communism and robots
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2006, 01:49:30 am »
Your government is

Mine is Democracy, US
Urs is _________,_________

Do you like it
Me = Yes
U = ???

Improvements
Mine = Less power to executive branch, more people voting, less stupid people voting......
Urs =

Fill in the blanks without my responses

Offline a sad cow

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Re: communism and robots
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2006, 03:07:26 am »
I think i'm in the right frame of mind to write now - listening to some old school Bosstones - Illegal Left. Good shit.

Marx wrote about about economic personalities by evaluating both extremes of goverment control over economic development. Although his insight was revolutionary and well above many of his contemporaries, it still fell well short of completely accurate due to a failure to consider multiple variables and the possibilities for change between the extremes. In short, I belive he used a lot of big words to make up for a lack of analysis - much the same as my last sentence :P I hope i'm making progress irregardless.

The only 2 situations i see Marx considering are Capitalism (which i previously stated and still believe exists at 0% income tax) and Communism (100% income tax). The implication is that any middle ground is unstable until it reaches an extreme. This may be true on an individual level to a certain extent, but I do not believe it is true on a national level in any nation I know of, past or present.

Apart from government economic control, I think it's also to consider personal motivation. Some individuals are quite motivated and some are not. I also believe it is inaccurate to directly correlate this to government economic control. I can see lazy and motivated capitalists, and lazy and motivated communists. Mathematically, we need a 2 dimensional axis to graph this, and I still highly doubt it's accurate. But it's a start.

The United States solves the problem of government control though extensive beauracracy (imho) that produces half-ass laws. As stupid as it sounds, i think this is great because neither the greedy bastards or the bleeding heart liberals come out on top - and the majority of people get along just fine. I would complain about the homeless but with standards at minimum wage jobs as low as they are - i can't help but think they're all lazy bastards at best. Because this works, other nations are slowly beginning to emulate us.

People are generally motivated but I would like to raise the bar. I don't think I have to rant about stupidity anywhere - we all know it exists. If we had an infrastructure that sustains itself  - a network of robots - we could use our freetime to unfuck the rest of the world. Hopefully this would compensate for the lazy extreme.

To compensate for the motivated extreme all I can believe in is education. If we ditch politically correct policies, we might get enough diverse points of view across to our world's youth that they may just grow up to be educated and morally responsible. Of course this hinges on the Spiderman theory - "with great power comes great responsibility". I have to believe that if people really see how fucked things are and/or could be, they will make the morally responsible choice. Of course political correctness isn't the first obstacle - getting the right books to the right people is. Before this can happen we need to knock down international barriers of all kinds and institute an infrastructure that can sustain a population of people who are students first - breadwinners second. I think this is why I like Bush so much - even if he doesn't know it, he's breaking down barriers in the Middle East and slowly breaking them out of their "let's go back to the time of Muhammed because the world's going to end soon" philosophy.
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Offline Bates

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Re: communism and robots
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2006, 10:53:18 pm »

Offline L'homme magique

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Re: communism and robots
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2006, 11:35:00 pm »
I really hate Descartes.
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Offline PrescriptiveBarony

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Re: communism and robots
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2006, 12:00:24 am »
Me too. I simply kant hegel him.


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Offline Outboundlight

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Re: communism and robots
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2006, 12:50:03 am »
Philosophy jokes kill baby kittens.