Automating CEOs is more fiscally responsible than automating labor

Honestly I often thought of services like Uber, or Air BnB to be a sort of “automating from the top”. Unfortunately it didn’t really work out the way I imagined.

Maybe when the software developers behind all the open source tools for writing software get along far enough they will start working on open platforms that allow for co-ops of services like uber?

I remember in the 90’s all the software developers all seemed excited about the social/democratizing/decentralizing nature of technology and the network. Then they became successful capitalists chasing dollars =(


To me, this always seemed like (or, anyway, ought to have been) the other shoe of Libertarianism*. Instead, Libertarianism is content with a half-pair of shoe even if (or, because) it’s someone else who’s beneath the shoe.

*e.g. where does Taft-Hartley sit on that stack of insidious regulations to overturn?


Maybe if this catches on, the genius and vision of R. Buckminster Fuller can become a reality.
Silly man, he thought that to work, a utopia must include everyone.


“Replace management with robots” is a fun bit, but it endorses a faulty premise, which is that the point of automation is to save money.

Automation isn’t cheaper than human labor; sweatshops are plenty cheap. Automation is a weapon in the war against workers who demand anything better than sweatshop conditions. It’s a tactic to entrench and centralise power.

Because this is the thing: corporations are not driven by profit. That’s how they want you to criticise them, because in a capitalist society, the profit motive is always excusable in the end (“Chevron killed all those people in Ecuador for profit, but hey, everyone’s gotta eat”). The more you deride them for seeking profit, the less heat they get over their true agenda, which is rent.

Jeff Bezos isn’t rich because Amazon’s retail business is so profitable (it isn’t). He’s rich because anyone who wants to sell stuff needs Amazon’s permission to do it. Amazon don’t deserve that power, but they have it, and the system pays tribute to Bezos because of it. Essentially, if he wants a yacht, global capital will buy him a yacht, because he is the feudal warlord of the land of retail. It has nothing to do with whether Amazon’s warehouses are efficiently run or not, but it is affected by how much of an iron grip Bezos has over his serfs, which is why Amazon will burn money on vaporware deivery drones to discourage those serfs from unionizing.


Most of what we think of as human labor will be automated and algorithimized in the near future (20 years).
Including novel-writing, film-making (including the acting), lawyers, chefs…they’ll even build all the creativity in.
We’re highly predictable after all. See Hallmark Christmas Movies.

I agree (I :heart:'d it and everything) but I think a big problem in understanding capitalism is the distinction between rent and profit. I think the distinction goes to the Wealth of Nations where Smith breaks up three ways of making money: rent on land, profit on stock and wages of labour. We’ve expanded out concept of rent to apply to things other than land, but I don’t think we’d expanded it far enough. Profit is rent. It’s just society paying you for owning something in the first place.


I think that is what the “over time” is for. There’s no reason in principle you couldn’t set things up for that to mean you get paid based a bonus on performance over the next 10 years or more. Isn’t that basically what startup CEOs are doing?


Automated CEOs are such a small step that we shouldn’t notice toward automating ransomware payments.

Overpaid mgmt is parasitic. They’re vampires.


While I don’t mind that CEO’s are paid more then other employees, the balance in salary is completely lost. I have calculated once that a CEO of a large company in the Netherlands earns, on average, as much as one hundred people earning median wages. The median wage is well above minimum wage.

If that one CEO would suddenly disappear the company would have a bit of a problem, but that problem would be a lot less, and a lot shorter, then the problems that would arise if a hundred employees who earn an average salary would suddenly disappear. So, personally, I can’t see any good reason for this pay differences. The reasoning that otherwise a good CEO would go to a company that pays more just suggest that that CEO has no interest what so ever in the company that (s)he works for.

As for AI taking the role of a CEO, who gets to define the goal of that AI? If it has to do what is best for the shareholders it will make different decisions than when it has to act in the best interest of all employees. And that would be different from decisions that are best for the planet.


I can’t decide if I care that the next movie/book/media I love is AI generated or if I think that’s some sort of ultimate dystopia.

In any case maybe folks creating art for the sake of $ will be pushed out of the market? but there’s a lot of people who make art for the act of creating art so I don’t expect that to change. I can imagine whole sub cultures popping up around “human made ‘analog’ art” and then the resulting anger/fall out when it turns out one of the most popular artists in the subculture isn’t really human after all. Maybe Corey’s already written the story?

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Yet it turned out to be a new form of serfdom. Essentially a way to carry out a service without the regulation associated with the industry that generally protects workers and consumers.

So you have livery/delivery services where drivers are not properly compensated and insured and hotel services which create hazards normally avoided by legitimate operators. A predatory nature was baked into the very premise of the online services.


Totally agree, but I always envisioned something more CO-OP in nature where the users owned the platform. Transaction fees would be enough to support the infrastructure needed to run the service. I also suffered under the delusion that computer science and programming would also be ensconced in our education system much like reading/writing/arithmetic so that any user of a system would also be capable of contributing to it. Ah to be twenty something again and full of idealism.


The problem is, the nature of web services are they are top/bottom affairs by nature of their technical requirements. Sites have to be created, servers housed somewhere, moderation…

If there is a way for people with money to impose autocratic policies, they will do so.

These “gig economy” sites avoid associated costs of providing services by either breaking laws or encouraging users to do so.

Hotels are zoned as such for a reason. Because a property with constant transient guests poses hazards to residential neighbors without some form of separation.

With Uber/Delivery apps, the insurers for the drivers deliberately try to shift risk of losses/accidents onto the driver’s personal insurance. Ignoring any of the Workers Compensation/Business use liability issues. (Yes I know they allegedly have insurance for their drivers, but they are notoriously corrupt in their claims practices)

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I live in a tourism hot spot and automobile rentals have skyrocketed to 500 or more a day. So lots of locals are doing ?Turo? basically renting their cars out to tourists. Supposedly they have insurance but apparently getting them to pay it out is next to impossible.

Not all web services need to be top down. There are mesh networks and peer to peer networks. There were all sorts of open source community driven services back in the early days. Just most of them have been crushed.

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I can’t see that ending well for car owners or locals.

From the school of “yes, and,” yes, and, I’ve only stayed at a handful of air bnbs, but one of them had flagrant safety violations. Dangerous electrical connections, bare sockets, no CO detectors but with gas appliances. I’m glad we weren’t traveling with children, it would’ve been a stressful stay.

I remember talking to a colleague in NY (Bronx) a while back, and I was complaining about Uber and other “disrupters” and that I wished they would turn their talents toward solving actual problems. She said that in her neighborhood, the lack of taxis was an actual problem, so that was kind of surprising to me. When I lived in DC, it was never an issue. Where I live now is more rural, so it’s difficult to compare.


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