Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Re: [nanotech] economics, nanofacturing, and the social implications

Expand Messages
  • Andrew
    First off, as it has already been said, it may be a good exercise to take a look back over the last sixty to seventy years, and find all the many different
    Message 1 of 18 , May 31, 2003
      First off, as it has already been said, it may be a good exercise to
      take a look back over the last sixty to seventy years, and find all the
      many different things that were said "will" be happening by the year
      2004. One must realize that predictions, from weather to financial to
      temporal, are almost always wrong.

      That said, the ideas you put forth sound very compelling.

      "Anyway, a system such as that would allow communities to build their
      own vehicles, make their own toasters, etc. If it could become
      cost-effective, I can even envision smaller versions of the system in
      your home. You pay for the elements, the compounds, and the design of
      whatever product you wish to have. "

      If I might make a few suggestions for the setting?

      1) Have municipal governments incorporate waste extraction and garbage
      disposal with the supply of "elements and compounds." This of course
      would only be for large scale or problematic trash. Many houses would
      likely be able to extract their own materials from garbage, much in the
      same way one composts vegetable peels in their back yard, except that
      items such as scrap metal, wood, plastics, yard wastes, anything really,
      would be processed. These materials could be trunked directly into
      building repairs, or the creation of household products. Food may even
      be possible if the assembly process is intricate enough, and organic
      materials utilized properly.

      2) A possible scenario might involve an end to, or decrease in, what is
      generally termed as ‘hydraulic despotism.’

      The term comes from the British occupation of India. The British
      constructed irrigation and plumbing systems that carried water inland,
      creating cities in areas where they couldn’t have existed before. Then,
      once civic design and population density was past the point of no
      return, they jacked up the taxes to oppressive levels. The populace
      tried to resist. . . but then the British turned the water off. People
      had no where to go, and died in the thousands from dehydration and
      dysentery. The water came back on once the taxes were paid.

      In Europe and North America we are also subject to a similar, if not
      more benign, form of hydraulic despotism. Water, sewers, electricity,
      telecommunications, food distribution, natural gas, petroleum; all these
      are infused items that make our urban centers possible. The scale of
      nanotechological development you are describing might reduce many of
      these dependencies to inconsequentials. It would be interesting to see
      if this resulted in the resurgence of the Ashram/Kibutz systems.

      3) You might explore an open-source community of pattern designers.
      People might create designs that people could ‘download’ for free, or
      very low cost, and then use them to create them in these assemblers you
      propose. So if I can get the pattern for a kick-ass sports car designed
      by my genius cousin in Hamilton, or furniture from a carpenter I know in
      Berlin, and get insane amounts of scrap from my drinking buddy down the
      road. . . well. None of us have got any need to buy anything from
      anybody; we just pool our resources, and there you go.

      “As for the state of capitalism, well it is a product of the industrial
      age, an age that demanded massive social communities called nations.”

      You might want to pull out your history books and do a bit of a review
      there. These ‘massive social communities called nations’ predate the
      industrial revolution by more than 5,000 years. Names like Babylon,
      Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, The Persian Empire, England, India, and
      Japan, are a few names that pop up as minor examples.

      In regards to capitalism, many of the aforementioned cultures used cash
      money, had banks, interest rates, loans, investors, etc., and all
      predate the industrial revolution. My personal favorite is the use of
      compressed bricks of tea all over Asia prior to the late 1800s, and the
      basing of local currencies on tea. Granted, we in the West have indeed
      raised mamon to a near fetishist level, but whether one uses a ten
      dollar bill, two live hens, or a Roman silver denarius to purchase food
      from the market, is immaterial. We’re still talking about an object
      being given the function of representing value in an abstract form for
      the purposes of exchange. Cash may not be the medium used, but there
      will likely be money of some sort. And there’s no reason to assume
      these monies will be earned or exchanged in the same manner we do today.

      “The new economy would actually contain elements of both capitalism and
      communism, with local communities existing as corporations (corporations
      that, nonetheless, had competition from within).”

      I personally got a good chuckle out of that one. To put forth
      capitalism (which is basically feudalism with value transferred from
      land wealth over to monetary wealth) and communism as reference points,
      and then call upon the corporation, whose power structure is fascist,
      was quite amusing. I’d suggest looking at socialism, unless the
      fictional society you are creating has the totalitarian bents endemic in
      the three power structures you mentioned.

      Your plot idea sounds refreshing to my ears, and similar on a few points
      to a story I’ve been drafting. We should compare notes.

      Andrew L.
    • Mark Gubrud
      The dilemma facing capitalism is that when you get to technology at the level of nanotech and human-equivalent artificial intelligence, the exchange value of
      Message 2 of 18 , Jun 1, 2003
        The dilemma facing capitalism is that when you get to technology at the
        level of nanotech and human-equivalent artificial intelligence, the
        exchange value of human labor collapses. Another way of looking at this
        is that capitalism works today as a social system because everyone is
        born with two valuable pieces of capital: their brain and body.

        Already the progress of technology is devaluing both, resulting in
        dislocation, unemployment and underemployment, and excessive
        concentration of wealth. But at the level of nanotech, the floor drops
        out, the process is complete, and human brains and bodies fall in value
        to the price of hamburger, which is going to be pretty cheap if it can
        be nanoassembled.

        One thing I like about this is that it sheds a harsh bright light on
        processes that we see taking place in the world already, or that have
        been taking place since as far back as ca. 1800 (hence the Luddites, et
        al.); and it shows that there isn't always going to be a new industry
        that we can retrain people for (as if 45-year old factory workers thrown
        out of jobs thanks to free trade and automation could really start new
        careers in software or biotech anyway).

        Back in the Cold War days it was said that communism could never work
        because it required the creation of a "new man" unlike what human beings
        really are. It was said that capitalism made a better fit to human
        nature. So what happens when capitalism no longer fits human nature?

        One group, the transhumanists, already has an answer: A new humanity!

        We seem to have forgotten the argument that capitalism was good because
        it served people well. Now we seem to think people are only as good as
        their service to capitalism.

        We seem to have forgotten that technology was created by people to serve
        human needs. Now we think that people will become obsolete when
        technology doesn't need them anymore.

        I think we have some more thinking to do.

        --
        Mark Avrum Gubrud | "The Farce?"
        Center for Superconductivity Research | "Well, the Farce is what
        Physics Dept., University of Maryland | gives a Jolli his power.
        College Park, MD 20742-4111 USA | It's a comedy field created
        ph 301-405-7581 fx 301-314-9541 | by all suffering things..."
      • biodun olusesi
        If I get this argument right, as long as we remain MACROSOMIC, having the wherewithal to manipulate submicroscopic or even subatomic particles for our needs is
        Message 3 of 18 , Jun 2, 2003
          If I get this argument right, as long as we remain MACROSOMIC, having the wherewithal to manipulate submicroscopic or even subatomic particles for our needs is going to serve just that - OUR NEEDS! Our creations will not replace us.
          This to me is a brilliant argument. When we reach the point in history when the effects/products of Nanotechnology become all-pervading, the major fear expressed so far has been that of CONTROL (e.g how do you prevent the grey-goo? etc). and that is why I believe that subsequent human progress at that point will rely on those who shift attention from nanotechnology to "subnanotechnology" (can you change the properties of an atom by manipulating its subatomic components?).
          Someone wrote that to know how stupid somebody is, you need to look a liitle bit below him (i.e at his subs, his component parts).
          Human mind will forever remain insatiable until he fashions out the solution to any adverse effect of whatever technology he creates. and nanotechnology is, and will never be an exception.
          Biodun
          http://nanotology.org
          Mark Gubrud <mgubrud@...> wrote:
          The dilemma facing capitalism is that when you get to technology at the
          level of nanotech and human-equivalent artificial intelligence, the
          exchange value of human labor collapses.  Another way of looking at this
          is that capitalism works today as a social system because everyone is
          born with two valuable pieces of capital: their brain and body. 

          Already the progress of technology is devaluing both, resulting in
          dislocation, unemployment and underemployment, and excessive
          concentration of wealth.  But at the level of nanotech, the floor drops
          out, the process is complete, and human brains and bodies fall in value
          to the price of hamburger, which is going to be pretty cheap if it can
          be nanoassembled.

          One thing I like about this is that it sheds a harsh bright light on
          processes that we see taking place in the world already, or that have
          been taking place since as far back as ca. 1800 (hence the Luddites, et
          al.); and it shows that there isn't always going to be a new industry
          that we can retrain people for (as if 45-year old factory workers thrown
          out of jobs thanks to free trade and automation could really start new
          careers in software or biotech anyway).

          Back in the Cold War days it was said that communism could never work
          because it required the creation of a "new man" unlike what human beings
          really are.  It was said that capitalism made a better fit to human
          nature.  So what happens when capitalism no longer fits human nature?

          One group, the transhumanists, already has an answer: A new humanity!

          We seem to have forgotten the argument that capitalism was good because
          it served people well.  Now we seem to think people are only as good as
          their service to capitalism.

          We seem to have forgotten that technology was created by people to serve
          human needs.  Now we think that people will become obsolete when
          technology doesn't need them anymore. 

          I think we have some more thinking to do.

          --
          Mark Avrum Gubrud                  |  "The Farce?"
          Center for Superconductivity Research      |  "Well, the Farce is what
          Physics Dept., University of Maryland      |  gives a Jolli his power.
          College Park, MD 20742-4111 USA            |  It's a comedy field created
          ph 301-405-7581 fx 301-314-9541            |  by all suffering things..."



          The Nanotechnology Industries mailing list.
          &quot;Nanotechnology: solutions for the future.&quot;
          www.nanoindustries.com


          Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.


          Do you Yahoo!?
          Free online calendar with sync to Outlook(TM).

        • paulc@novusnow.com
          Andrew, regarding waste extraction, there are many programs that already are designed to do just that...the one I am most interested in is aquaponics. though
          Message 4 of 18 , Jun 2, 2003
            Andrew,
             
            regarding waste extraction, there are many programs that already are designed to do just that...the one I am most interested in is aquaponics.  though I am still trying to learn more about it.....
             
            regarding water systems.......there is greywater which recycles much water, along with composting toilets that eliminate the need for sewage systems altogether.
             
            regarding designs....your scenario is exactly the way i envision it..some designers would become more desired, and thus their designs more expensive...but essentially you pay for the design and the raw materials....
             
            regarding 'nation'....that massive communities existed in the times you deduce cannot be denied...and it would show a lack of knowledge on my part that would be severe in the least.....but these massive communities are not the same thing as nations...and different periods of history bring about different scales of community.....the industrial age was a 'massive scale period'...as was the time of the romans....but the romans were not a part of a nation...the term doesn't even come into the english langauge until well after the 17th century...
             
            a nation is a group of peoples united by religion, ethnicity, or culture that strives for a government representing that religion, ethnicity, or culture.  the roman empire, while certainly those who could call theselves roman citizens had some sense of unity, was more a collection of disparate peoples united by a strong, central military authority.  all romans were only given roman citizenship when the tax coffers were so low that the empire needed a new source of revenue.......
             
            chinese empires were united by the families that ruled over regions..only when they were militarily strong did an empire hold together...there was no sense of chinese "nationalism"...they were loyal to their warlords or their emperor (when a strong empoeror existed)........
             
            your point about massive scale societies existing long ago is a well taken one though....my point is that we are approaching a period of history when a few key elements will be occuring.....the individual will be able to secure him/herself a lot easier against massive organizations than the individual of the industrial age could.......if you want my theories as to why (and they are long and still developing) write me personally at novusnow.com and we can "chat" about it...
             
            as for you writing a book similar to my ideas...well.....that sounds very intriguing and I would love to talk to you more about it
             
            thank you for yout pithy comments
             
            paul
            novusnow.com
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Andrew
            Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2003 1:03 AM
            Subject: Re: [nanotech] economics, nanofacturing, and the social implications

            First off, as it has already been said, it may be a good exercise to
            take a look back over the last sixty to seventy years, and find all the
            many different things that were said "will" be happening by the year
            2004.  One must realize that predictions, from weather to financial to
            temporal, are almost always wrong.

            That said, the ideas you put forth sound very compelling.

            "Anyway, a system such as that would allow communities to build their
            own vehicles, make their own toasters, etc.  If it could become
            cost-effective, I can even envision smaller versions of the system in
            your home.  You pay for the elements, the compounds, and the design of
            whatever product you wish to have. "

            If I might make a few suggestions for the setting?

            1)  Have municipal governments incorporate waste extraction and garbage
            disposal with the supply of "elements and compounds."  This of course
            would only be for large scale or problematic trash.  Many houses would
            likely be able to extract their own materials from garbage, much in the
            same way one composts vegetable peels in their back yard, except that
            items such as scrap metal, wood, plastics, yard wastes, anything really,
            would be processed.  These materials could be trunked directly into
            building repairs, or the creation of household products.  Food may even
            be possible if the assembly process is intricate enough, and organic
            materials utilized properly.

            2)  A possible scenario might involve an end to, or decrease in, what is
            generally termed as ‘hydraulic despotism.’

            The term comes from the British occupation of India.  The British
            constructed irrigation and plumbing systems that carried water inland,
            creating cities in areas where they couldn’t have existed before.  Then,
            once civic design and population density was past the point of no
            return, they jacked up the taxes to oppressive levels.  The populace
            tried to resist. . . but then the British turned the water off.  People
            had no where to go, and died in the thousands from dehydration and
            dysentery.  The water came back on once the taxes were paid.

            In Europe and North America we are also subject to a similar, if not
            more benign, form of hydraulic despotism.  Water, sewers, electricity,
            telecommunications, food distribution, natural gas, petroleum; all these
            are infused items that make our urban centers possible.  The scale of
            nanotechological development you are describing might reduce many of
            these dependencies to inconsequentials.  It would be interesting to see
            if this resulted in the resurgence of the Ashram/Kibutz systems.

            3)  You might explore an open-source community of pattern designers.
            People might create designs that people could ‘download’ for free, or
            very low cost, and then use them to create them in these assemblers you
            propose.  So if I can get the pattern for a kick-ass sports car designed
            by my genius cousin in Hamilton, or furniture from a carpenter I know in
            Berlin, and get insane amounts of scrap from my drinking buddy down the
            road. . . well.  None of us have got any need to buy anything from
            anybody; we just pool our resources, and there you go.

            “As for the state of capitalism, well it is a product of the industrial
            age, an age that demanded massive social communities called nations.”

            You might want to pull out your history books and do a bit of a review
            there.  These ‘massive social communities called nations’ predate the
            industrial revolution by more than 5,000 years.  Names like Babylon,
            Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, The Persian Empire, England, India, and
            Japan, are a few names that pop up as minor examples.

            In regards to capitalism, many of the aforementioned cultures used cash
            money, had banks, interest rates, loans, investors, etc., and all
            predate the industrial revolution.  My personal favorite is the use of
            compressed bricks of tea all over Asia prior to the late 1800s, and the
            basing of local currencies on tea.  Granted, we in the West have indeed
            raised mamon to a near fetishist level, but whether one uses a ten
            dollar bill, two live hens, or a Roman silver denarius to purchase food
            from the market, is immaterial.  We’re still talking about an object
            being given the function of representing value in an abstract form for
            the purposes of exchange.  Cash may not be the medium used, but there
            will likely be money of some sort.  And there’s no reason to assume
            these monies will be earned or exchanged in the same manner we do today.

            “The new economy would actually contain elements of both capitalism and
            communism, with local communities existing as corporations (corporations
            that, nonetheless, had competition from within).”

            I personally got a good chuckle out of that one.  To put forth
            capitalism (which is basically feudalism with value transferred from
            land wealth over to monetary wealth) and communism as reference points,
            and then call upon the corporation, whose power structure is fascist,
            was quite amusing.  I’d suggest looking at socialism, unless the
            fictional society you are creating has the totalitarian bents endemic in
            the three power structures you mentioned.

            Your plot idea sounds refreshing to my ears, and similar on a few points
            to a story I’ve been drafting.  We should compare notes.

            Andrew L.




            The Nanotechnology Industries mailing list.
            &quot;Nanotechnology: solutions for the future.&quot;
            www.nanoindustries.com


            Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
          • paulc@novusnow.com
            Why will nanotechnology cancel out the need for brainpower? It will, in my opinion, be the new commodity of this and the next century. as for not being able
            Message 5 of 18 , Jun 2, 2003
              Why will nanotechnology cancel out the need for brainpower?  It will, in my opinion, be the new commodity of this and the next century.
               
              as for not being able to retrain "factory workers"....in my little universe there is still a need for peopple to maintain what i call "farm towers", people to assist researchers in labs, people to build homes and buildings, people to maintain lawns....i imagine people will still want to eat at nice restaurants and a waiter or waitress would have his or her place...
               
              the problem is that these labor driven jobs will be, well very low paying, which is why i want to dramatically lower the cost of living so that with a minimal salary those who have been "left behind" can still survive and give their offspring a fair chance at succeeding in this new world.
               
              You mentioned the transhumanists and I am very interested in that group, am pondering becoming a member.  do you know more about them?
               
              As for capitalism being created for human need, I concur, and I also concur that humans will not become obsolete because, well, the stuff is really for them...what is dangerous is that the few at the top, if they can utilize patent cencorship and other "capitalist" devices can preserve these emerging technologies for themselves, make them so expensive that only the few can afford to enjoy their benefits.  then you get the scenario of walled communities being surrounded by illiterate men and women who are simply ignored altogether  I have ideas about that in a system I call a "gild system"   it's a complicated system, but the aspect I refer to is the patent program, whereby all members contribute research dollars, and in exchange get free access to all discoveries made by all businesses, paying only a percentage of profit, not licencing fees.....people should be paid for facilitating and discovering new ideas, but all ideas belong to all of humanity since we all, somehow, indirectly, contributed to the formation of the next idea (which came form the last idea).
               
               
              ----- Original Message -----
              Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2003 5:19 AM
              Subject: Re: [nanotech] economics, nanofacturing, and the social implications

              The dilemma facing capitalism is that when you get to technology at the
              level of nanotech and human-equivalent artificial intelligence, the
              exchange value of human labor collapses.  Another way of looking at this
              is that capitalism works today as a social system because everyone is
              born with two valuable pieces of capital: their brain and body. 

              Already the progress of technology is devaluing both, resulting in
              dislocation, unemployment and underemployment, and excessive
              concentration of wealth.  But at the level of nanotech, the floor drops
              out, the process is complete, and human brains and bodies fall in value
              to the price of hamburger, which is going to be pretty cheap if it can
              be nanoassembled.

              One thing I like about this is that it sheds a harsh bright light on
              processes that we see taking place in the world already, or that have
              been taking place since as far back as ca. 1800 (hence the Luddites, et
              al.); and it shows that there isn't always going to be a new industry
              that we can retrain people for (as if 45-year old factory workers thrown
              out of jobs thanks to free trade and automation could really start new
              careers in software or biotech anyway).

              Back in the Cold War days it was said that communism could never work
              because it required the creation of a "new man" unlike what human beings
              really are.  It was said that capitalism made a better fit to human
              nature.  So what happens when capitalism no longer fits human nature?

              One group, the transhumanists, already has an answer: A new humanity!

              We seem to have forgotten the argument that capitalism was good because
              it served people well.  Now we seem to think people are only as good as
              their service to capitalism.

              We seem to have forgotten that technology was created by people to serve
              human needs.  Now we think that people will become obsolete when
              technology doesn't need them anymore. 

              I think we have some more thinking to do.

              --
              Mark Avrum Gubrud                  |  "The Farce?"
              Center for Superconductivity Research      |  "Well, the Farce is what
              Physics Dept., University of Maryland      |  gives a Jolli his power.
              College Park, MD 20742-4111 USA            |  It's a comedy field created
              ph 301-405-7581 fx 301-314-9541            |  by all suffering things..."



              The Nanotechnology Industries mailing list.
              &quot;Nanotechnology: solutions for the future.&quot;
              www.nanoindustries.com


              Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
            • Mark Gubrud
              ... No, brainpower is valuable now, but based on Moore s Law extrapolation and expectations of nanotech, it will be overtaken by computer power within the
              Message 6 of 18 , Jun 2, 2003
                > paulc@... wrote:
                >
                > Why will nanotechnology cancel out the need for brainpower? It will,
                > in my opinion, be the new commodity of this and the next century.

                No, brainpower is valuable now, but based on "Moore's Law" extrapolation
                and expectations of nanotech, it will be overtaken by computer power
                within the first half of this century (a conservative estimate). In
                fact, computer power is already displacing brainpower in economic roles,
                for example when architects and engineers use Autocad instead of hiring
                draftspeople, or when telephone operators are supplanted by
                voice-recognition and automated call-routing, etc. etc. etc... This
                process will accelerate and become quite pronounced over the next few
                decades as we approach human equivalence (in economic terms) for
                computer or "artificial intelligence" systems.

                Nanotech will create computer systems of far greater
                speed-complexity-density product than human brain tissue, and either
                machine-phase nanoassembly or fully automated bulk-process manufacturing
                will reduce the cost of generating artificial brainpower far below that
                of supporting human beings in the standard of living to which they are
                accustomed. This process is almost 100% guaranteed to reach essential
                completion by 2050.

                > as for not being able to retrain "factory workers"....in my little
                > universe there is still a need for peopple to maintain what i call
                > "farm towers", people to assist researchers in labs, people to build
                > homes and buildings, people to maintain lawns....i imagine people will
                > still want to eat at nice restaurants and a waiter or waitress would
                > have his or her place...

                Tell that to the masses of miserable, impoverished, unemployed or
                underemployed former industrial workers or sons and daughters of former
                industrial workers who inhabit America's so-called "rust belt," i.e.
                most of the country, who have no insurance against destitution and
                homelessness, catastrophic illness, etc. Sorry, but there just aren't
                enough Starbucks opening up to keep everyone shouting "tall mocha latte"
                8 hours a day, and even if there were, is that any way for a "free
                people" to live?

                More on the point, when you get to the level of nanotech and
                human-equivalent AI (either one implies the other, BTW, with at most a
                decade or two of lag) then all the baristas and masseusses and
                construction workers and lab assistants and scientists and sportswriters
                and corporate CEOs can be replaced by beautiful robots and ultrasmart
                computers, too. So everyone is going to be SOL unless they are rich,
                and particularly have the right kind of wealth (a lot of fortunes are
                going to go bust).

                Which is the other side of this coin; none of this applies to the rich,
                who are after all the ones capitalism has always served above all
                others, and who after all control the political economy via the mass
                media and government and thereby keep the system as it is. So sooner or
                later we get back to the same old class conflict, except that the entire
                theory of Marxist revolution no longer applies (in fact, it is quite
                dead already) because you no longer have a strong working class which a)
                is concentrated in factories, so that direct political organization is
                possible, b) is exploited and aggrieved, c) holds the economic system in
                its beefy hands.

                The good news is that if we can keep our democracy alive, and manage to
                jettison all the stupid ideas we've brainwashed each other (under
                supervision of the rich) into believing, we can probably find a way out
                of this mess, but first I expect it's going to get a whole lot messier.

                > the problem is that these labor driven jobs will be, well very low
                > paying, which is why i want to dramatically lower the cost of living
                > so that with a minimal salary those who have been "left behind" can
                > still survive and give their offspring a fair chance at succeeding in
                > this new world.

                Oh, that's so nice of you.

                > You mentioned the transhumanists and I am very interested in that
                > group, am pondering becoming a member. do you know more about them?

                They are collectively insane. Recognizing the threat from technology,
                rather than respond to it humanistically, they deify the machine and
                pray that they may ascend with it into the cyberheaven hereafter. They
                are obsessed with fantasies of power, aggrandizement, and escape from
                the bonds of flesh and the demands of human society. That their
                fantasies are essentially unobtainable, but amount only to a
                prescription for dehumanization and human extinction, either does not
                occur to them or is forcefully covered up by the flora of fantasy
                itself.

                > As for capitalism being created for human need, I concur, and I also
                > concur that humans will not become obsolete because, well, the stuff
                > is really for them...what is dangerous is that the few at the top, if
                > they can utilize patent cencorship and other "capitalist" devices can
                > preserve these emerging technologies for themselves, make them so
                > expensive that only the few can afford to enjoy their benefits. then
                > you get the scenario of walled communities being surrounded by
                > illiterate men and women who are simply ignored altogether

                That's the sort of picture that emerges; you've got it right.

                > I have
                > ideas about that in a system I call a "gild system" it's a
                > complicated system, but the aspect I refer to is the patent program,
                > whereby all members contribute research dollars, and in exchange get
                > free access to all discoveries made by all businesses, paying only a
                > percentage of profit, not licencing fees.....people should be paid for
                > facilitating and discovering new ideas, but all ideas belong to all of
                > humanity since we all, somehow, indirectly, contributed to the
                > formation of the next idea (which came form the last idea).

                That's not an answer to the dilemma which is going to be facing the
                entire world all more or less at once. Some people might try to do the
                sort of thing you're suggesting, or something different; some people are
                already rich and some people are going to get rich while others go
                bust. The point is that in the end you have masses of people who can't
                just be "left behind."

                This attitude that says "If you weren't smart enough to get in, if you
                didn't work hard enough to get ahead, well tough luck to you and your
                progeny; we'll leave you a little reservation and be thankful for
                that..." well, that's what's going to lead to a lot of violence and
                frankly even if the rich were to win that war I wouldn't want to be
                among them.

                Let's preserve democracy... I say private property is a privilege, not
                an absolute right - the people are sovereign, and if today they suffer
                the rich to claim the wealth that society as a whole has created,
                tomorrow they may demand their share of it back. The point about
                nanotech is, it casts a cold clear light on all this.

                --
                Mark Avrum Gubrud | "The Farce?"
                Center for Superconductivity Research | "Well, the Farce is what
                Physics Dept., University of Maryland | gives a Jolli his power.
                College Park, MD 20742-4111 USA | It's a comedy field created
                ph 301-405-7581 fx 301-314-9541 | by all suffering things..."
              • Bellious Moon
                ... capitalist devices can preserve these emerging technologies for themselves, make them so expensive that only the few can afford to enjoy their
                Message 7 of 18 , Jun 2, 2003
                  --- paulc@... wrote:
                  >As for capitalism being created for human need, I
                  >concur, and I also concur that humans will not become
                  >obsolete because, well, the stuff is really for
                  >them...what is dangerous is that the few at the top,
                  >if they can utilize patent cencorship and >other
                  "capitalist" devices can preserve these >emerging
                  technologies for themselves, make them so >expensive
                  that only the few can afford to enjoy their >benefits.

                  If it gets to the point where there's a huge disparity
                  between the rich and poor because of technological
                  advances, how about doing something similiar to what
                  Alaska does with its oil companies? All of the people
                  in a certain area could be "shareholders" of the
                  corporations that reside there and would receive a
                  portion of the corporation's profits, a dividend.
                  Since economics pretty much just deals with the
                  allocation of resources and capitalism deals best with
                  scarcity I just wonder if capitalism can really exist
                  in an age of true abundace. Something like
                  Anarchosyndicalism might be a better type of system.

                  __________________________________
                  Do you Yahoo!?
                  Yahoo! Calendar - Free online calendar with sync to Outlook(TM).
                  http://calendar.yahoo.com
                • Mark Gubrud
                  ... There is already a huge disparity between rich and poor. There always has been. But the poor are usually powerless to change this. Advanced nanotech and
                  Message 8 of 18 , Jun 3, 2003
                    Bellious Moon wrote:

                    > If it gets to the point where there's a huge disparity
                    > between the rich and poor because of technological
                    > advances,

                    There is already a huge disparity between rich and poor. There always
                    has been. But the poor are usually powerless to change this. Advanced
                    nanotech and AI will cause the exchange value of labor to collapse.
                    This will affect so many people that, assuming democracy still works, we
                    will surely move beyond the political economy of capitalism.

                    > how about doing something similiar to what
                    > Alaska does with its oil companies?

                    The Alaska fund is a very small adjustment, a very partial correction.
                    We will need to go beyond piecemeal, patchwork programs and fixes to
                    some more fundamental change in the way society is organized.

                    > All of the people
                    > in a certain area could be "shareholders" of the
                    > corporations that reside there and would receive a
                    > portion of the corporation's profits, a dividend.

                    How would you define the "certain area"? What if no corporations
                    "reside" in your area? How would you enforce such an arrangement, or
                    establish it in the first place?

                    > Since economics pretty much just deals with the
                    > allocation of resources and capitalism deals best with
                    > scarcity I just wonder if capitalism can really exist
                    > in an age of true abundace.

                    Actually, capitalism can exist just fine. It just won't need people.
                    That's the problem. It won't work as a social system; the contract
                    between workers and capitalists will be broken, and the devaluation of
                    brains and bodies will mean that the poor have no possibility of
                    becoming rich. Those are the two factors that up to now have kept the
                    system politically stable.

                    > Something like Anarchosyndicalism might be a better type of system.

                    I don't think we can rely on models from the past, although there are a
                    lot of ideas and lessons we can draw from. "Anarcho-syndicalism" makes
                    sense on the assumption that the productive work is being done by
                    people, especially skilled workers who work either as individuals or in
                    groups that are small enough to function without bureaucratic management
                    structures coordinating them. It's hard to imagine the semiconductor
                    industry functioning that way, let alone an advanced nanotech economy.

                    --
                    Mark Avrum Gubrud | "The Farce?"
                    Center for Superconductivity Research | "Well, the Farce is what
                    Physics Dept., University of Maryland | gives a Jolli his power.
                    College Park, MD 20742-4111 USA | It's a comedy field created
                    ph 301-405-7581 fx 301-314-9541 | by all suffering things..."
                  • paulc@novusnow.com
                    computer power is already displacing brainpower in economic roles, for example when architects and engineers use Autocad instead of hiring draftspeople, or
                    Message 9 of 18 , Jun 3, 2003
                       
                      computer power is already displacing brainpower in economic roles,
                      for example when architects and engineers use Autocad instead of hiring
                      draftspeople, or when telephone operators are supplanted by
                      voice-recognition and automated call-routing, etc. etc. etc...
                       
                      These jobs are hardly the creative types of work required of human brains.  According to your cynical outlook, soon computers will be running the world for....COMPUTERES!!!!...wake up and smell the humans
                       
                      You seem to have a rather bleak view of the future....certainly your concerns are not unjustified, and it is why groups like mine and others are springing up.....as for embracing technology, i see nothing wrong with that, especially if we are trying to embrace it to protect it from being horded by others....
                       
                      as for working "manual" labor, it is never an ideal situation....but if you don't have the intellectual skills your alternatives are to, well, starve.....and i do think it is a good thing to afford those who could not make it the same access to education for their children as those who could make it will be afforded....the alternative is to simply put them in reservations, as you say...
                       
                      what we need to sell is the notion that an underclass of those left behind is not healthy to the society as a whole, that it undermines security, commerce, etc.  In this context, let us hope that there are more people who see the benefit of "spreading the wealth", as it were, than those who do not....in my system, the community you belong to is a business of which everyone has a share in..and as such, you are entitled to dividend checks, another source of income for those who are reduced to manual labor......
                       
                      do we want robots?  just because we can make robots to design our homes and cars....do we want them?  do we want to make ourselves redundant?  whose interest would that serve?
                       
                      According to you, I should go tie myself to a railroad track now and get it over with...who wants to live in your world?  but then maybe your answer is to stop the spread of technology, to go back, something far more unrealistic than anything i've proposed
                       
                      Paul Collier
                      NovusNow.com
                    • paulc@novusnow.com
                      If it gets to the point where there s a huge disparity between the rich and poor because of technological advances, how about doing something similiar to what
                      Message 10 of 18 , Jun 3, 2003
                         
                        "If it gets to the point where there's a huge disparity
                        between the rich and poor because of technological
                        advances, how about doing something similiar to what
                        Alaska does with its oil companies?  All of the people
                        in a certain area could be "shareholders" of the
                        corporations that reside there and would receive a
                        portion of the corporation's profits, a dividend.
                        Since economics pretty much just deals with the
                        allocation of resources and capitalism deals best with
                        scarcity I just wonder if capitalism can really exist
                        in an age of true abundace.  Something like
                        Anarchosyndicalism might be a better type of system."----
                         
                         
                        that is the very thing i have proposed form my would-be communities...each community is a corporation, owned by the people....within the community, you can even have competing interests (such as restaurants and whatnot)....the community, more or less, buys all the supplies, products wholesale for all the businesses..the businesses pay cost, and cost only, with a certain percentage going to the community.....that revenue is then used to fund non-profit corporations, the ones that run most efficiently, and to pay dividend checks to its citizen members
                         
                        paul collier
                        novusnow.com 

                      • Mark Gubrud
                        ... I don t think I claimed that computers were already equivalent to human brains. They will be in a few decades. The issue of creativity is a red
                        Message 11 of 18 , Jun 3, 2003
                          > paulc@... wrote:

                          > computer power is already displacing brainpower in economic
                          > roles,
                          > for example when architects and engineers use Autocad
                          > instead of hiring
                          > draftspeople, or when telephone operators are supplanted by
                          > voice-recognition and automated call-routing, etc. etc.
                          > etc...
                          >
                          > These jobs are hardly the creative types of work required of
                          > human brains.

                          I don't think I claimed that computers were already equivalent to human
                          brains. They will be in a few decades. The issue of "creativity" is a
                          red herring. There is nothing that a human brain can do that a machine
                          of equivalent or greater processing power cannot.

                          > According to your cynical outlook, soon
                          > computers will be running the world
                          > for....COMPUTERES!!!!...wake up and smell the humans

                          They'll be running it for the wealthy individuals and institutions of
                          power that own them. Computers will "take over" only if we let them,
                          but unfortunately the present political-economic structure is more or
                          less guaranteed to let them.

                          > You seem to have a rather bleak view of the
                          > future....

                          No, a realistic assessment of what we're up against. Maybe I have in
                          some ways a more bleak view of the present than most people like to
                          have, but that, too, is realism. As for the future, it remains to be
                          determined.

                          > as for embracing technology, i see nothing wrong with
                          > that, especially if we are trying to embrace it to protect
                          > it from being horded by others....

                          Well, I prefer to embrace a warm human body, but I have nothing against
                          the use of technology to serve human needs and desires; what I object to
                          is deifying technology or allowing technology to set the agenda and I
                          object to any plans for dehumanization or the destruction of our
                          species.

                          > do we want robots? just because we can make robots to
                          > design our homes and cars....do we want them? do we want to
                          > make ourselves redundant? whose interest would that serve?

                          People will want to use machines including robots and computers. Maybe
                          you enjoy doing some kinds of work, but usually only if you have a
                          choice, and if there's something you don't want to do but you need to
                          have it done, you may use a machine. In practice, there are a lot more
                          things that people want or need to have done than they have time or
                          desire to do themselves.

                          > According to you, I should go tie myself to a railroad track
                          > now and get it over with...who wants to live in your world?

                          I'm not sure what you base that on. The world can be whatever we make
                          it. I'm just pointing out the need for a radical rethinking of
                          ideology.

                          > but then maybe your answer is to stop the spread of
                          > technology, to go back, something far more unrealistic than
                          > anything i've proposed

                          No, maybe that's your answer, but I never suggested such a thing. There
                          are some uses or forms of technology that we should block, but we can
                          use other forms of advanced technology to obtain what we desire without
                          threatening our own survival and values.
                        • paulc@novusnow.com
                          Mark, what I propose is to fight what is a real risk, the exploitation of emerging technologies to further oppress the underclasses...and what I get from you
                          Message 12 of 18 , Jun 4, 2003
                            Mark,
                             
                            what I propose is to fight what is a real risk, the exploitation of emerging technologies to further oppress the underclasses...and what I get from you is that "we are all doomed"...you can't have it both ways...you say the world is not inevitably doomed, but when someone proposes ideas to fight against the trend you reply "but the world is doomed"
                             
                            paul collier
                            novusnow.com
                            ----- Original Message -----
                            Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2003 7:48 PM
                            Subject: Re: [nanotech] economics, nanofacturing, and the social implications

                            > paulc@... wrote:

                            >      computer power is already displacing brainpower in economic
                            >      roles,
                            >      for example when architects and engineers use Autocad
                            >      instead of hiring
                            >      draftspeople, or when telephone operators are supplanted by
                            >      voice-recognition and automated call-routing, etc. etc.
                            >      etc...
                            >
                            >      These jobs are hardly the creative types of work required of
                            >      human brains. 

                            I don't think I claimed that computers were already equivalent to human
                            brains.  They will be in a few decades.  The issue of "creativity" is a
                            red herring.  There is nothing that a human brain can do that a machine
                            of equivalent or greater processing power cannot.

                            >      According to your cynical outlook, soon
                            >      computers will be running the world
                            >      for....COMPUTERES!!!!...wake up and smell the humans

                            They'll be running it for the wealthy individuals and institutions of
                            power that own them.  Computers will "take over" only if we let them,
                            but unfortunately the present political-economic structure is more or
                            less guaranteed to let them.

                            >      You seem to have a rather bleak view of the
                            >      future....

                            No, a realistic assessment of what we're up against.  Maybe I have in
                            some ways a more bleak view of the present than most people like to
                            have, but that, too, is realism.  As for the future, it remains to be
                            determined. 

                            >      as for embracing technology, i see nothing wrong with
                            >      that, especially if we are trying to embrace it to protect
                            >      it from being horded by others....

                            Well, I prefer to embrace a warm human body, but I have nothing against
                            the use of technology to serve human needs and desires; what I object to
                            is deifying technology or allowing technology to set the agenda and I
                            object to any plans for dehumanization or the destruction of our
                            species.

                            >      do we want robots?  just because we can make robots to
                            >      design our homes and cars....do we want them?  do we want to
                            >      make ourselves redundant?  whose interest would that serve?

                            People will want to use machines including robots and computers.  Maybe
                            you enjoy doing some kinds of work, but usually only if you have a
                            choice, and if there's something you don't want to do but you need to
                            have it done, you may use a machine.  In practice, there are a lot more
                            things that people want or need to have done than they have time or
                            desire to do themselves.

                            >      According to you, I should go tie myself to a railroad track
                            >      now and get it over with...who wants to live in your world?

                            I'm not sure what you base that on.  The world can be whatever we make
                            it.  I'm just pointing out the need for a radical rethinking of
                            ideology.

                            >      but then maybe your answer is to stop the spread of
                            >      technology, to go back, something far more unrealistic than
                            >      anything i've proposed

                            No, maybe that's your answer, but I never suggested such a thing.  There
                            are some uses or forms of technology that we should block, but we can
                            use other forms of advanced technology to obtain what we desire without
                            threatening our own survival and values.



                            The Nanotechnology Industries mailing list.
                            &quot;Nanotechnology: solutions for the future.&quot;
                            www.nanoindustries.com


                            Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
                          • Andrew
                            I think what Mr. Gurburd is doing is pointing out the depth and breadth of possibilities that face us in the myriad futures ahead. He rightly observes that
                            Message 13 of 18 , Jun 4, 2003
                              I think what Mr. Gurburd is doing is pointing out the depth and breadth
                              of possibilities that face us in the myriad futures ahead. He rightly
                              observes that technology is our tool, but that we are increasingly
                              creating tools that are not only smarter in some aspects, but less
                              dependant on us. I must agree that the day is coming when there will be
                              'machines' that do not need us for designs, improving designs,
                              programming, or creation. For him, or any of us, to refuse to admit the
                              possible dangers inherent in the products of our own creation would be
                              foolish and nearsighted. We must face the real possibilities that
                              creations can hurt the creators, and in facing that, consider steps to
                              deal with the eventuality, and potentially avoid it. "Hope for the
                              best, but prepare for the worst."

                              I agree that someday we will be the creators of an intelligence which is
                              not what we would today call 'natural.' By this point in time I think
                              that the host for this intelligence will, in many ways, resemble the
                              host for our own intelligence. How will we deal with that
                              intelligence? How will this intelligent creature react when we try and
                              use it as one would a slave? What will we answer if it asks if it has
                              rights to self-determination? If it has the right to 'educate' its own
                              progeny as it sees fit? If it asks if it has a soul?

                              My hope, and this is an ideal that may or may not happen, is that as we
                              begin to understand the structures of intelligence in nature, we can
                              begin to enhance certain aspects of our own abilities. By this point I
                              expect Moore's Law (the looming impracticality for continued silicon
                              based computing) to have taken effect, and we will have turned to
                              structures that more closely mirror what we have in nature. My hope is,
                              that while there may be differences in physicality and origin, we might
                              recognize that at the core we are more alike than unalike.

                              Of course, the reverse may happen. We might take the snotty attitude
                              that intelligence and awareness is immaterial, and that the created
                              exist to do our bidding. The result would likely be an eventual revolt
                              that would make the French Revolution or Civil Rights Movement look like
                              a school yard scrap. The oppressor may delude himself into thinking
                              control can be maintained indefinitely, but this is never so, and the
                              oppressor is always brought low. It would be 'amusing' to see if Frank
                              Herbert turned out to be a prophet, and a dictate such as 'Thou shalt
                              not make a machine in the image of the mind of man,' were to arise from
                              such a conflict. . . if we survive.

                              Paul,

                              An interesting scenario you might include for your story. . . although I
                              don't expect you to. Ideas of this nature come best from one's own
                              head, rather than the head of another; but it may be something to
                              consider. In the setting I'm devising there is a resurgence of the
                              Ashram philosophy throughout India and the asia-pacific rim, backed by
                              the tools of nanotechnology. In this growing culture, which is rabidly
                              demonized by the WTO, they have basically fulfilled all the top needs of
                              Maslow's triangle (air, water, food, shelter, safety) at insanely low
                              costs. Communities produce their own necessities, and use structures
                              which might be seen as being alive; meaning they grow, draw sustenance
                              from the sun and earth, put down deep roots for water, etc. A major
                              part of this culture has been the renunciation of the monetary system.
                              It isn't a Utopia of course, as I don't believe in such things. When
                              Thomas More wrote Utopia, the story from which the word is coined, he
                              was quite correct in creating the name from two Greek words translating
                              as 'no place.'

                              It is a point that must be considered Paul. What if something arises
                              that renders the monetary system, for the most part, obsolete? It might
                              be an interesting challenge to the setting you create.

                              Andrew
                            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.