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I Robot, You Unemployed.

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II RRoobboott,, 
YYoouu UUnneemmppllooyyeedd 
Robin Hanson 
George Mason University

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“This Time Is Different” 
“Machines were … the weapon 
employed by the capitalist to quell 
the revolt of specialized labo...

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Economics of Robots 
• Staple of fiction – ancient legends to TV now 
• If have more of X, do you want Y more 
(complement...

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I Robot, You Unemployed.

  1. 1. II RRoobboott,, YYoouu UUnneemmppllooyyeedd Robin Hanson George Mason University
  2. 2. “This Time Is Different” “Machines were … the weapon employed by the capitalist to quell the revolt of specialized labor.” “History discloses no tragedy more horrible than the gradual extinction of the English hand-loom weavers” • Luddites 1815 • Karl Marx 1847, ‘67 • Anarchists 1880s • Metropolis 1927 • “Automation” 1960s • Expert Systems 1980s • DotCom Bubble 2000 • Deep Learning 2014
  3. 3. Economics of Robots • Staple of fiction – ancient legends to TV now • If have more of X, do you want Y more (complement) or less (substitute)? • Machine as Substitute to human labor – Ricardo 1821, most science fiction – Wages fall to machine cost • Automation as Complement to human labor – Wicksell 1923, modern economics consensus – Wages have risen as automation cost have fallen • So are robots a substitute or complement?
  4. 4. Robots Substitute On Task, But Tasks Are Complements Human Advantage Substitute For Task Useful Mental Tasks Humans Do These Machines Do These Tasks Are Complements
  5. 5. A Rising Tide Human Advantage Useful Mental Tasks
  6. 6. A Rising Tide Human Advantage Useful Mental Tasks
  7. 7. Ways To Make Smart Robots 1. Keep writing better software – AI experts say: in 20yrs gone 5-10% to human – That says: will take 2-4 centuries to full AI – Hardware slowing, if half rate, 4-8 centuries 1. Discover a grand theory of intelligence – Or grand theory of how to learn (= “foom”) – But likely doesn’t exist, as w/ bacteria, cities 1. Port software from where it already exists
  8. 8. Needed To Emulate Brains 1 Computers (many, parallel) 2 Scan – fix, slice, 2D scan 3 Model each brain cell type
  9. 9. RRoobboott Implications TTrraavveell IImmmmoorrttaalliittyy NNaattuurree CCooppiieess
  10. 10. Labor Supply & Demand Quantity Price wage1 Supply of Human Workers Demand for Labor wage3 wage2 New Demand for Labor SSuuppppllyy ooff RRoobboottss
  11. 11. Four Ways To Grow
  12. 12. 1. More Machines
  13. 13. 2. More Humans
  14. 14. 3. Better Machines
  15. 15. 4. More Robots
  16. 16. Book Draft Topics Motivation, Method, Biases, Precedents, Factors, Dreamtime, Limits, Emulations, Opacity, Hardware, Security, Time, Space, Reversing, Climate, Cooling, Buildings, Virtuality, Overlays, Fakery, Copying, Darkness, Fragility, Retirement, Death, Wages, Selection, Enough, Competition, Eliteness, Spurs, Power, Institutions, Growth, Finance, Manufacturing, Careers, Age, Prepare, Train, Cities, Speeds, Transport, Software, Inequality, War, Clans, Nepotism, Firms, Teams, Governance, Law, Innovation, Mating, Signaling, Identity, Ritual, Conversation, Synchronization, Coalitions, Profanity, Divisions, Culture, Stories, Humans, Unhumans, Intelligence, Psychology, Alternatives, Transition, Critics, Evaluation, Policy, Charity, Success
  17. 17. Guestimating Growth 1. AK growth models easily x10-1000+ faster – Now double ~15 yr., 100x => 1.8 mo. 1. Factories now double mass in 1-3 mo. 1.3D printers in week? – Self-replicate plans double in 6-12 mo.? 1. History of forager, farmer, industry modes – Doubled 225Myr, 900yr, 15yr => 1-4 weeks • Guess: ~1 month doubling time

Editor's Notes

  • Goes by the name “uploads” and “whole brain emulation”.
    Others focus on technical feasibility, timing, philosophy of identity and consciousness. I’ll focus on social science.
  • Immortality – but can most afford?; Travel – transmit to new body (but is secure?); Nature – don’t need ecosystems to survive
    Copies!; Train once, use many; each job few sources; Population explosion, Rapid growth economy doubles monthly?
    Wages fall to near hardware cost; only Draconian global law can stop
    Standard econ growth models say our growth limited by rate at which grow labor, diminishing returns to capital

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