Kevin Kelly: How AI can bring on a second Industrial Revolution

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Who is this Al, and what makes him such a revolutionary?


A much more important question: why wouldn’t all the new wealth go straight to the top 0.01%?


We thought he was Al Gore, but in reality he was A.I. Gore all the time!


Not to worry. All that redundant biomass will make excellent feed stock for the 3D printers.


It might! That’s why universal basic income is important.


Bad start!
There’s already been a “Second Industrial Revolution”, which is what the rapid process in the last third of the 19th century is called.

For a supposed knowledgeable visionary, such a basic mistake tends very much decrease how much I think what he says isn’t just BS.

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It will. There is zero doubt.

It may well be that the legal structures we’ve set up are inappropriate to the new tech era.

Coulda seen it coming.


The Trump presidency is just the latest manifestation of the fact that Governments exist primarily for the corporations, and that people are merely tolerated as a side effect of corporations lacking sufficiently adept machines. I’m wondering when the right to vote will become weighted by wealth and when corporations will get to vote directly - I also think Trump is making a mistake by wanting to clamp down on ‘illegal’ immigration - surely it would be more conducive to his aims to normalise the presence a large disenfranchised section of society?


Noble goal though UBI is as a safety net, it doesn’t solve the persistent poverty of the wealth gap. When the wealth is concentrated only in the hands of hereditary elites, so is all power. While arguably marginally better than starving to death, life as a serf with no prospect for improving one’s quality of life, impact of reach or ability to contribute to the knowledge economy is a nightmarish scenario. Worse, if there’s no chance to get off the dole or exercise meaningful power, the masses will survive at the pleasure of the elites, a situation worse than precarious since it’s only a question of when, not if, they demolish the UBI and let it’s dependents starve. A safety net is a starting point, not a solution to poverty.

The only solution to poverty is to break the elite’s monopolies on the tools of the machine intelligence revolution. This requires restraining the kleptocratic hand of the technocratic class. And it requires a cultural commitment to universal lifelong learning as an investment in the republic. If we do that, then what a few elites could do with intelligent machines will absilutely pale in comparison to what a whole educated population can do with intelligent machines. Concentration of power and wealth is a bane to the growth potential of every nation. The nations that reject it will have a decisive advantage over the nations that embrace the new feudalism.


UBI is a stopgap. It will, at best, create a vast underclass existing only at the pleasure of the state which will inevitably be controlled by the owners of the algorithms or the hardware running them or the patents for all of the above who will have more money than we can imagine.

Capitalism, as a form of societal organization, is not compatible with the AI revolution. For capitalism to exist at all a tension must exist between capital and labor. Once most jobs are automated away, the tension breaks and labor, also known as most of humanity, is surplus to requirements.

Some people think that this dysfunction will create a permanent dystopia but I’m not sure. As Mark Blyth says, the Hamptons are not a defensible position.


A lot of business owners agree. The most likely explanation is he was lying.

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