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A "free market" is one based on voluntary interactions and non-force-based interference, private property, and a legal system that recognizes these rights and attempts to protect *from* force-based interference with free/voluntary trade and protect private property rights. It has never been tried anywhere - not even closely. E.g. laws against sex work, for example, are a severe force-based interference on free/voluntary trade. This is just one small example of the massive amounts of force in the system, from fiat currency laws, exchange regulations, customs, border controls, patents and other "Intellectual Property" laws, protectionism, visa and other laws against freedom of movement, immigration law, etc. We live and breathe force in our current "market system" in every way, every day.
the poor won't be able to afford AI to work for them. Right now, if I needed an AI to do anything, I just couldn't afford it
Your tenses are mixed up - you jump from future to present but juxtapose them as if inaffordability "right now" implies inaffordability decades from now.
Imagine you made this comment in 1970: "The poor won't be able to afford mobile phones. Right now, if I needed a mobile phone, I couldn't afford it" - AC 1970. That's what you just did.
A person can be highly competent at something that people don't value. How would that situation be handled?
My dog can jump through hoops. He's great at it, but nobody really cares. His masters still feed and house him. So the trick is to program our new robot "masters" to feed and house us
Your cynicism is misplaced, but not lacking in point entirely: In certain respects, the future can and probably will be post-scarcity - e.g. I suspect things like 'food, water and basic housing' will be possible to produce at relatively tiny marginal cost once largely automated - possibly even some kind of replication for food.
What will NOT be easy "post-scarcity" will be *land allocation* - rich people will live in the most beautiful, prime locations - e.g. scenic seaside areas - so you will have your free food, free 'basic house', free running water - but the area itself will probably be less than wonderful, unless you were fortunate enough to have inherited enough wealth to live in a nice area.
This is mostly similar to today, come to think of it, except for the post-scarcity part.
A few other brief points:
1. There are NO active projects anywhere to build space elevators. The technology doesn't exist. @GP AC: Nobody is spending your tax money on space elevators, so stop hysterically hyper-ventilating about non-existent straw-men.
2. In the long run, colonizing other planets and star systems will be the single-most important achievement we'll ever make as a species. Ever. Nothing can top it - it will be the most historical event in human history, bar none. It takes a small mind not to grasp this. Contrast that against the tiny budget we allocate to it, it's actually absurd. We spend more on booze each year.
3. The idea we should cancel all space programs because "wow, we found a new species of fish at >8000m!" is retarded.
4. Unlike finding a new type of fish, being a multi-planetery species will help ensure our survival - there are many potential Earth-wide human-extinction events that will eventually statistically occur - not "might occur", but *will occur* - e.g. asteroids have wiped out most life on earth *multiple times* in the planet's history.
To be fair, Android/iOS are not exactly innovative either - they just managed to get themselves in the 'right place and right time' for the smartphone trend - but if you look at "innovation", the only thing they've innovated, is the business models (e.g. "app store" distribution cartels that reap 30% from ISVs).
Microsoft haven't done squat in the past, but they have a new CEO with a very new approach - I'll be watching them closely. This is not the Microsoft of old. And Google has already become the new Microsoft, engaging in the same dirty tactics Microsoft used to.
If it's sentient, it will be a "life form". The tricky part is devising a scientific test for sentience - that's beyond our current level of knowledge - however, it might not be in future.