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Algorithms and automation

#1 User is offline   Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

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Posted 08 July 2019 - 11:25 PM

View PostGrief, on 08 July 2019 - 06:27 PM, said:

View PostAzath Vitr (D, on 08 July 2019 - 05:51 PM, said:

Tax the whole professional sports enterprise, or at least the most exorbitantly and unnecessarily overpriced aspects of it (with tax incentives for making meaningful improvements). Taxes (or charities) should effectively be returning that value to the people. It then becomes a selective tax on people who spend money on professional sports. (Amateur, participatory sports are a social good, promoting exercise, teamwork, sociability, etc. (though exercise is counterbalanced by injuries, sociability by aggression and hostility, etc.); but highly exclusionary and absurdly expensive pro sports tickets are not a social good. Pro sports encourage people to sit around watching other people play sports instead of exercising; and while they may reinforce community bonds, they do so by encouraging hostility towards other communities.)


Sure, you could selectively tax people for spending on that particular hobby. Though personally I would tend towards simply taxing the higher-wealth brackets far more. Professional athletes are far from the least deserving of their wealthy peers.

View PostAzath Vitr (D, on 08 July 2019 - 05:51 PM, said:

Technology has made this much easier. (While it also makes hacking or sophisticated schemes a possibility, they're almost certainly only minor issues that wouldn't affect most of the volume.) In a lottery system, a simple option would be to require the name on the ticket to match the name on government-issued ID or a passport (could that get conservatives on board? realistically though, none of this will happen in the United States in the near future).


It has. Then you get into a debate over what the "correct" value of a ticket should be since it's not being set by a market but rather by a central authority. In the event where this money is taken from the athletes, you're essentially removing wages from the worker to give to the consumer. Which feels somewhat debatable in terms of morality. Watching professional sports isn't particularly more productive than playing them, after all.

View PostAzath Vitr (D, on 08 July 2019 - 05:51 PM, said:

The main advantages of capitalism---quickly and reliably matching supply to demand, providing motivation, etc.---will plausibly be superseded by ubiquitous real-time personal data collection, AI, the internet of things, and the administrative surveillance state. It's perhaps too bad that this will probably first be achieved in China, given their severe restrictions on intellectual freedom (among other things...).


If anything this makes the problem worse. Rather than superseding capitalism, the system you're describing is essentially hyper-capitalist. Algorithmic pricing discrimination works to more accurately gauge exactly what a consumer is willing to pay on the market (i.e, where on the demand curve they fall). What you're describing seems more like optimizing market-economics than superseding it, to me. It's a technological way to ensure that companies maximise their surplus while giving the minimum they can to the customer (i.e, selling at exactly the price point where consumers will buy, rather than customers being able to find bargains where the product costs less than they would pay).

Indeed, the potential for social harm and anti-competitive behaviour that is facilitated by algorithmic pricing has been a pretty hot topic in policy circles for the last few years (for one example see the OECD, Algorithms and Collusion: Competition Policy in the Digital Age).

View Postworry, on 08 July 2019 - 05:53 PM, said:

Grief is right (until we abolish capitalism).


Oh hello new sig quote it's been a while.



I was referring to the traditional advantages of capitalism over managed economies (for example, actually existing forms of communism, which relied on a top-down approach to data science that generally proved less effective, even though they tried to collect and process vast amounts of information with the tools then available; but advances in data collection and AI are now making a more bottom-up, real-time approach, with vastly more data and much better predictive models, seem feasible in the near future), and to using these tools in the context of a (primarily or fully) managed economy. In a way it would still maximize a sort of abstract 'capital' in the form of measures of efficiency, adapting the main positive aspects of capitalism. But the equivalent of 'corporate profit' would go to the general welfare, and motivation for human performance (to whatever extent human or transhuman labor it hasn't yet been automated away) would be based on fine-grained, data-driven scientific approaches to what actually motivates the individuals in question most effectively (that can also be ethically implemented, perhaps with virtual proxies---if people want power, for example, or prestige, or whatever 'wealth' in a post-money world might be abstracted into---human brains almost certainly didn't evolve to want 'money', or even to hoard gold, but what money provides, symbolizes, or allows).

But hypercapitalism of the sort you're referring to is already helping to create most of the information processing infrastructure necessary for a managed economy to replace capitalism.

Similarly, labor is increasingly going to be replaced by automation, including intellectual and even creative labor, rendering labor for capital superfluous. (The idea of labor as an intrinsic good is contrary to what major thinkers and authors in the western tradition believed until just the last few centuries. Aside from the potential for meditation (as an accidental consequence of interacting with human physiology, not logical necessity in the transhuman context), labor is odious. The idea that it's otherwise (not counting activities like self-perfection or cultivation), that work in itself is a positive, is an odious ideological tool for manipulating people to labor.
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#2 User is offline   Obdigore 

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 01:02 AM

View PostGrief, on 09 July 2019 - 12:06 AM, said:

Automation may encroach on large parts of the workforce, but it's not clear that we're going to see the 'end of work' in the near-term. Humanity is also very good at creating new jobs and AI still has major limits for all the evangelism around it. If we automate everything to such a post-scarcity and post-work extent I agree then we're looking at a totally different society which needs a totally different social contract. But this is far from a near-term trend.


I will say I fear you disregard the amount of people doing 'do this thing right 2000 times a day' jobs that our economies have. For instance, long haul truck drivers make up the largest proportion of single income households in many US states, of any job. When that gets automated, all those people are out of work. Many of them, and their wives/kids, don't have any other skills, and you can be sure things like stocking supermarkets using automation is right around the corner.

Remember that during the Industrial Revolution, hundreds of thousands of people died in Europe because they didn't have skills that translated to the new workforce, and thus couldn't feed/house/whatever themselves. While that is tragic, I think people are dismissing the effect of this massive economic shift in our current consumer economies. If people dont have money to buy things, and they don't have an income and so aren't being taxed, neither the government nor corporations will be bringing in money. No one is preparing for it, but it is happening very fast.
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#3 User is offline   Macros 

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 05:45 AM

Thread split required.

We already have automated check out systems, shelf stacking is next
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#4 User is online   Aptorian 

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 06:40 AM

Libraries are also increasingly seeing more and more automation and streamlining.

Many of our tasks are centralized. Manual work is reduced by more intelligent systems. Even finding books and restocking them is currently being planned for replacement by a robot on wheels.

Coupled with Copenhagen's administration's hard on for unmanned hours, one day soon there just might not be any librarians in public libraries. You'll have to talk to a screen instead.

That they'll probably outsource to India.
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#5 User is offline   Macros 

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 07:02 AM

thats cute, you think there will be libraries in the future.
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#6 User is offline   D'rek 

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 05:23 PM

An oldie but a goodie


View Postworrywort, on 14 September 2012 - 08:07 PM, said:

I kinda love it when D'rek unleashes her nerd wrath, as I knew she would here. Sorry innocent bystanders, but someone's gotta be the kindling.
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