#IWasThinking About the future of society #S02E01

How do you see things unfolding in a world where technological advancements replace every major sector of the economy in which human beings play a major role?

No more humans necessary for manufacturing, health care (yes robot nurses and doctors for emergency surgeries, organ and tissue regeneration thanks to advanced stem cell technology, nanotechnology+biotech, custom dna drugs), transportation (self driving vehicles with 0.00000000001% error rates, no more taxi drivers, bus drivers, truck drivers, plane pilots, all the texting you want, no more designated drivers)…

what will we do with millions of useless people?

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How can we all own a robotic workforce?

As people become useless, how can capitalism survive?

As technology advances exponentially the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence will start taking over our jobs. More and more people already can’t find work, yet the nation is still very productive.
Yes, a lot in part due to globalization and cheaper foreign labor, but those cheap labor countries will only remain competitive against fully automated factories for so long.

Self driving vehicles will eventually be here, it’s just a matter of time before we think of driving ourselves as the most barbaric thing we ever did, our kids won’t believe we actually drove ourselves.

Self driving vehicles will take the jobs of millions of people, think bus drivers, truck drivers, taxi drivers, and these robotic vehicles will do their job infinitely better, not getting tired and for way less money.

Think Fedex, UPS, USPS announcing their first robotic delivery fleets, an then in a matter of years they start reducing their costs exponentially by letting go of +90% of their human workforce, shipping worldwide becomes faster and cheaper than ever.

If things keep going the way they are as they happen on the internet, only a handful of people will own powerful computers, shrinking economies due to technological efficiency and more wealth will be concentrated in a few.

If the same thing happens to robotized labor, we’ll find ourselves soon in civil war with so many “useless” people unemployed.

But I think there’s another end to it, while keeping capitalism.

If we are all smart about it, as we see robotization happening, we must make the decision to change a few things, without turning completely into a socialist country which in the case of latin america’s implementation of socialism, the result is usually an all too powerful government and oppressed citizens.

I believe that instead of handouts (like having a government that provides everything to people who are just useless thanks to robots being so useful) we should look at this as an opportunity to make everyone in society a stake holder of the robotic workforce.

If things would happen the right way, robots would be doing our job and we’d be getting paid for it while we play outside.

The only way this could happen would be to distribute the ownership of all the robots to as many citizens as possible. The implementation of such distributed ownership is the part that I still don’t have quite clear and I’d love for you to give me some ideas on how this could come true.

Perhaps it could all start with a law to avoid the ultimate inequality gap, as things are today the rich will be the only ones to own the majority of robots, ending up with a robotic workforce that produces goods that nobody will be able to afford since they’re all unemployed, then people would start talking about a communist revolution and we don’t want that, we need capitalism evolved. A nation made from a lot of rich people out of robotic production and a renassaince of American product exports.

I think if the people now living off of unemployment checks would own a portion of the robotic workforce, they would instead get larger and larger divident checks that come off their robot’s productivity (I see this as some sort of Robotic ETF that pays monthly dividends).

This ownership could initially come from a portion of their tax contributions/returns (through some initial law that would make as many americans as possible robotic-workforce-entrepreneurs by force), maybe there could be incentives toward robotic equity, such as people who continue to get a high level education getting tax credits or rebates on the price of the robotic labor ETF.

The first country to figure this out will be king, itwould have a society mainly composed of a highly educated and almost rich middle class, people that don’t have to spend 8 hours a day doing work that’s done 1000 times better by their robotic counterparts.

A society that would have a surplus of money they could use to travel the world, study, research, or invest in whatever they please, being highly educated an peaceful we’d find times to take mankind to far more interesting directions like clean and free energy research, space exploration and mining, medical advances, the pursuit of much longer life spans, and solving real problems affecting developing nations.

But the question remains, how do you motivate the currently rich elite to not eat/cook the whole robotic labor pie, or to somehow share it so that we all get to own a piece of it and live worry free, happily unemployed because robots are the ones that are supposed to work for us?

What will you do with an internet and devices millions of times more powerful?

I keep thinking about the inevitable exponential growth of technology and how it relates to CPU Processing power, Storage capabilities and Data transmission speeds, and then I ask myself what would I do with technology 1 billion times more powerful than the one we have.

If you haven’t noticed, things are getting really powerful, really tiny, and really fast already.

And companies like Google are starting to show hints of what should be done with all these.

Look at the new Google Maps, it’s pretty amazing, and it’s only going to get better.

When you interview at Google there’s one question that keeps coming to you almost from all the people that drill you “How would you make the internet faster?”

It seems Google’s answer is to take over the internet at every layer, they have indexed it like nobody else, they’ve created a browser that’s now taken the majority of the market share and made it really fast, they’ve built application layer protocols faster than HTTP (SPDY), they’ve also seen the exponential adoption of mobile devices and created an operating system for it, and devices for it, and more recently they’re even providing internet access at Gigabit speeds one small city at the time (which is all an experiment for what’s to come)

Then you see them experimenting with very primitive versions of wearable computers (Glass) and if you start putting the pieces together, for example, they were crazy enough to have cars driving around the world to have “Street View” in Google maps… how on earth would you be able to go all the way and digitize reality itself? You put computers on people’s heads and record everything into digital information.

I can see a future where Google will be able to ask you to record whatever you see around you, inside or outside a building, they’ll have your position, your orientation, and best of all, since there will be so many of us willing to collaborate in exchange of some stupid incentive (or perhaps none), they will be able to record reality from almost any angle possible to have a full representation of reality, perhaps even in real time, I think these are the kinds of things that are possible when you have incredibly fast CPUs, incredibly huge storage, and incredibly fast transmission speeds when you have incredibly ubiquitous internet access (remember that Balloon project?)

And that’s just what this little mortal has thought of in relationship to their Google Maps product.

I think Google Glass and an application of this sort will bring forth interesting legal challenges, like, what if you don’t want the inside of your home or office to be in google? how do you prevent anyone from capturing everything and making it public?

Other scary applications that I see possible are real-time face recognition coming from a Google Glass facebook app, then the name “facebook” will really make sense. And best of all, a lot of people (after major debate and laws have been passed with respect of not being scannable by strangers) will actually want to be recognized by strangers, maybe there will be social benefits to complete unanimity, it will all be really interesting.

The tables are turning

The internet already allows for zero cost content distribution to large amounts of people with technologies like BitTorrent.

As the time goes by, labels will be lucky if they’re still getting artists signed, sites like Bandcamp and YouTube empower artists to go directly to their fans.

The tools at hand no longer create barriers for non popular genres to reach their audiences, the adoption and advance of smartphones and mobile networks will make it even easier to distribute content to your fans, right to the palm of their hand.

I believe the long tail of music taste is a far bigger market than the one the big labels have been focused on all these years, and that long tail is very reachable today by anybody with internet access (which is starting to spread massively on mobile devices).

When most content creators in the planet realize this, the attention of file sharers will be scarce and I think it will come to a point on which they’ll be willing to pay to reach the very audiences that will care about their work, at that point they will pay to share (think Google Adwords for content). Relevant discovery and recommendation tools are be very important for the massive amount of independent content being created every day.

Bands already want to share, Creative Commons licenses are here to show us what copyright should be like on the internet, The tables are turning and the channels are here and getting better and better.

Now extrapolate to every form of content.

How babies watch cartoons in 2011

Baby watches polish cartoons for free, on demand, on YouTube, on a Tablet, on WiFi - Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Here’s my 18 month old, watching Polish cartoons on YouTube right after waking up. Think of all the technology* that had to come together to make this happen and how technology helps to preserve and spread culture.

Just 10 years ago this wasn’t possible. She would’ve had to be in Poland or we’d have to buy a special cable package with a polish channel (which would probably not be available in South Florida since there’s not that many polish people down here). If we had gotten a polish channel, we’d probably have to have her watch tv at a certain time and the cartoon she’s watching is probably too old to be aired.

She’s able to watch Polish cartoons and her mom is happy to know her daughter is having a similar cultural experience as the one she had during her childhood, to reinforce the language.

I’m able to teach her so many things with a few creative YouTube searches or with Google/Bing image search (for vocabulary and object recognition exercises), my baby’s cognitive development and language development eclipses mine probably by 3 fold when I was that age.

Her vocabulary is not only far larger than mine at that age, she knows most of it in spanish, polish and english (there’s just no other way for her to interact with the grand parents). She’s probably listened to more music since she was in the womb than all the music I heard up until age 4.

I think we should all be making our babies consume as much knowledge as possible, the rate of change they will have to go through during their lifetimes will be brutal, and they’ll need the tools to handle it and stay current. It will be amazing to see what these babies will be able to do for the world once they grow up.

High level Technologies worth mentioning for this to happen.
C, C++, Linux, Android, High Speed Inter networks and all of their stack which is too big to mention (the internet), WiFi, Dual Core cpus (and all the technology to make that happen starting from nanoscale transistors), Flash Memory, capacitive touchscreen, lithium batteries, Liquid Cristal Displays, Video Codec Technology, YouTube.

VIZIO Forge TV Superbowl ad. Starting the race for Internet TVs and slow death of cable channels

Not only this ad makes a stand in front of Sony and other big TV brands out there telling them “We have just advertised an Internet TV in front of 100 million viewers, you better get something out there soon or we’ll crush you”, but it also should tick you as a software developer. Now you’ll be able write software for the living room.

“VIZIO’s platform also includes support for the Adobe(R) Flash(R) Platform for the Digital Home, an optimized implementation of Flash technology that enables developers and content providers to deliver HD video, rich applications and other Web content to Internet-connected televisions, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and other devices in the digital home.”

VIZIO Internet Apps (VIA(TM)) — Connecting to the Future of Television

(Good luck on killing Flash Steve Jobs)

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