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Our beloved Billionaire with a social conscious Bill Gates, chime in on how rapid advances in robotics, A.I. and software are going to further reduce labor demand.

http://www.businessinsider.com/...

Here, Gates is reiterating points that are now being more widely discussed in public policy circles such as the book Does Capitalism have a Future (Wallerstein, Mann, Collins, Derluguian, and Calhoun) or a recent Economist article, entitled the "The Future Of Jobs: The Onrushing Wave," which warns that technological advancements harbor the potential to spark an historically unprecedented wave of downsizing as jobs from taxi drivers, accountants, airline pilots and even journalist give way to AI automation.

http://www.businessinsider.com/...

Now back to Bill Gates, he rightly notes that this process of technological displacement--where capitalism essentially implodes on itself (hey we can make all kinds of cool stuff but no one has a source of income)-- is not something that citizens and governments are prepared for. Good point so far and then comes the bizarro non sequitur of Gates' being against raising the minimum raise because that will discourage hiring in the sectors where technology is going to replace everyone:

When people say we should raise the minimum wage. I worry about what that does to job creation ... potentially damping demand in the part of the labor spectrum that I’m most worried about."
So, let's work this logic through__technology is going to make many workers expandable because machines are much, much cheaper than workers. So, raising the minimum wage would be terrible because.........?? What is the implication here. Maybe this:

If you are willing to work for slave labor wages or even better nothing at all, then there is a chance down the not too distant road that corporations may, out of their good graces, hold off in replacing your soul crushing job with technology.

Awesome!! Bring on the Hunger Games!!

Glad to see that Gates is really thinking out of the box when it comes to this brave new economic world. I am a billionaire so listen to me - work for a pittance until that lay off slip inevitable comes and please, please get mentally prepared for this change!!!

Fortunately, others are actually thinking about how to reorganize economies so that meaningful work and economic self-sufficiency do not disappear into a matrix like web of technological power. If you want to be more than a human battery in Bill Gates envisioned Utopia (if you are a billionaire)/Dystopia (most everyone else), you might check innovators like Bergman's writings and projects on building a new work-new culture-new economy nexus:

http://newworknewculture.com/...

Or

Julie Schor's work on building the Plenitude economy:

http://www.julietschor.org/...

Poll

What would I like do to in the new economy

8%4 votes
4%2 votes
63%29 votes
13%6 votes
10%5 votes

| 46 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wow, tough crowd (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doc2

    Given that Gates is (or was) the most philanthropic individual on the planet, maybe some slack can be cut.

    It seems to me Gates was arguing from the perspective of societal utility and was alluding to the utility that comes from full employment. I happen to disagree with him, but at least he's not objecting on the grounds that labor should be grateful for the opportunity to work themselves to death for a non-living wage (as many on the right have done).

  •  Stick to computers Bill. Your social skills are (7+ / 0-)

    wanting...

    Totally clueless. Perhaps this is what Zuck is going to be like.

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 02:21:30 PM PDT

  •  Gates has a lot of money. (7+ / 0-)

    Some he chooses to use philanthropically.Neither fact,as you note,makes him much of a seer on US economic policy,income inequality, or the minimum wage. Will a rise in current minimum wage make the robots come sooner? Possibly true in some industries. So what? The tech is here and expanding,as Henry Ford said to the blacksmith.
    Fight for Fifteen! & President Obama's teensy tweak to OT regulation! and a Guaranteed Minimum Income! and a 32 hr. week! and,and,and.

    ps-thanks for plugging both Juliet Schor and Wallerstein.

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 02:33:22 PM PDT

  •  I wonder who's going to buy his products (6+ / 0-)

    When we're all been replaced by robots.

    As the head of the UAW once said to Henry Ford Jr - "No robot has ever bought a Ford".

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 02:53:26 PM PDT

    •  It doesn't matter to the (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina, greenotron, Cadillac64, Rashaverak

      uber wealthy that there will be no one to buy the products of their robots. All they need do is switch the robots over to producing better and more opulent luxuries for the investor class.

      What the wealthy have to worry about is when the machines get considerably smarter than their human creators. Competition (nanosecond speed hacking wars for example)will force them to give more and more autonomy to the machines. What happens then is, by definition, unpredictable.

      The world is a den of thieves and night is falling. -Ingmar Bergman

      by Pirogue on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 03:27:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The economy will collapse (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chi, Rashaverak

        Once it's reduced to Bill Gates and the Walton family selling their mansions to each other.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:40:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Look at Dubai (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Chi, Rashaverak

          if you don't think the uber-rich can think of ways for an economy of robots operating at a human level of intelligence to support a lifestyle at a level of luxury and opulence that would defy reason. Given their drive to outdo one another in terms of ostentatious display it is hard to think what would they might consider overly extravagant.

          Under these circumstances the rest of humanity becomes obsolete and unless we find ways for everyone to share in the increased productivity of advanced machine intelligence, then we are in danger of becoming completely redundant and therefore  relegated to subsistence at best. So far we are not doing very well given that the main beneficiary of machine intelligence and skill has been the ownership class and not the general population.

          If there is doubt that this is a realistic concern, I submit one is ignoring human nature. One only needs look at the the Southern U. S. during the slavery era to see that a wealthy class has no trouble justifying being surrounded by a disenfranchised underclass which is relegated to enduring a life of deprivation and abject living conditions.

          The trick is to demonize and despise those against whom they commit injustices. We see this all the time. It is based on the same psychological principle that Reagan exploited with his fictitious welfare queen.

          These are things we need to start thinking about because I can guarantee that the conservatives are not going to recognize the need for a new perspective.

          The world is a den of thieves and night is falling. -Ingmar Bergman

          by Pirogue on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:33:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Gates 'philanthropy' comes with strings (6+ / 0-)

    Gates has spent billions on privatizing public education & destroying the teaching profession.

    http://dianeravitch.net/...

  •  And 640k ought to be enough for anybody (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rashaverak

    In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move. -- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    by boriscleto on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 05:33:38 AM PDT

    •  640k ought to be enough for anybody (0+ / 0-)

      Lulz.  But he denies saying it.  It's lumped under Misattributed here.

      (If he's talking about dollars per year of earned and unearned income, he's got something there.)

      •  But he did say it (0+ / 0-)

        In 1981. And in 1981 640k was 10 times what you had in CP/M. But that 640k became a boat anchor until M$ finally ditched DOS and managed to move everyone to NT, 20 years later.

        In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move. -- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

        by boriscleto on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 06:53:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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