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Comment Re:And it all comes down to greed (Score 1) 541 541

"Automation of the service sector" is meaningless. There is an infinite number of services that can be provided, and they can't all be automated. If you could really replace every single service sector job with robots, you'd have sentient androids, and in that case, they would probably value their own labor and become market participants.

If we're talking about 100% automation I agree, however what we're more likely to see is a situation more like what has happened with agriculture and manufacturing. What was once a source of many jobs asymptotically approaches zero over time. Within our lifetimes you're going to see a situation where less than 10% of the population can add more value than it costs to employ them. That will still mean nearly a billion people working, but what exactly are the other nine billion going to do? In the past the answer was to move to another sector of the economy, this time that seems unlikely.

Comment Re:And it all comes down to greed (Score 1) 541 541

People have never starved to death because their jobs were eliminated by automation; most simply find better jobs instead.

This entire discussion is based around the idea that this time is different. If automation of the service sector means that everyone finds jobs in some new fourth sector of the economy that we don't currently know about then the rest of the discussion is moot. I find that unlikely but it is possible.

Comment Re:And it all comes down to greed (Score 1) 541 541

Terms like "cost" and "free" don't make any sense when nobody has anything to trade.

The word "nobody" is misleading. There will still be plenty of individuals with things to trade after the laborers with less value than robots starve to death.

Should "a small percentage of the population" hold the rest of the population hostage in that situation, that's not capitalism, it's simple totalitarianism.

You're confusing political systems with economic systems.

But there is an even more basic error with geoskd's premise: when machines can make most of our material needs for free, labor won't lose any value. There is an infinite demand for labor.

Actually no. There are infinite wants, but a diminishing marginal utility of wealth. There is infinite demand for labor only at price zero.

Comment Re:Insecurity culture.... (Score 1) 541 541

Kind of yeah. In general, humans prioritize starting with self and moving outwards rather than starting with species and moving inwards. This means there will always be someone who wants to seize power. Grant more power to the state and you create more openings for this to occur. Does that mean we're doomed or should embrace anarchy? No, but it means that bigger government isn't intrinsically good and comes with risks. That means we need to choose carefully what we allow our government to do and how big we allow it to grow. Like many things a little is good, more is a bit better but a lot is bad.

Comment Re:better late than never (Score 2) 76 76

How do you prosecute people for not forseeing a double-whammy overcoming triple redundancy?

Japan is known for both earthquakes and tsunami, I hardly think the event was unanticipated. They merely decided that a lower level of protection was cheaper and they'd probably be long gone from that organization before any negative events occurred. Hurrah for focusing on quarterly profits over safety!

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)