Stephen Hawking: robots could give us all material abundance, unless rich people hoard all the wealth


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Oh, that’s good, then! I mean, why would they hoard all the wealth, they are already wealthy? Clearly an absurd proposition! Excellent, good to hear our future is looking not all Mad Max-y here in the Land of the Frave.

(apologies for the advertainment)


Universal basic income. It’s the only answer that does not end in total dystopia.


You assume the people with the power are opposed to dystopia?


Too late, Stephen, it’s already happening.

Also, I’m pretty sure this what Marx was talking about all those years ago.


My conservative relatives and acquaintances usually tell me to shut up right around the time I ask them why a trust-fund recipient who has never worked is more deserving of respect than a worker displaced by automation. I keep waiting for someone to posit a cogent response.


Kind of. Mostly he referred to the movement of capital for purposes of financial “productivity” and away from tangible advances in manufacturing that would be of use to more than a small segment.

According to Marx, it’s the extraction of surplus value from the labor force that allows capital to accumulate. So, automation would actually be a step backwards for a company since they can’t really “cheat” a robot out of time or money. Marx also believed that a labor force with plenty of free time on it’s hands would be more open to alternate forms of economics and would hasten the end of capitalism.


Spoiler below:

Rich people amass all the wealth.


Not at all. I’m just saying if we as a society want to oppose dystopia, we need to be looking at basic income as a serious option.


The word ‘lobby’ kind of makes it sound like the result isn’t a forgone conclusion.


Anarchist communism.

(“Be realistic. Demand the impossible.” – Herbert Marcuse.)


Stick to the maths Stephen, your warnings about killer AI and humanity-destroying aliens are a bit sixth-formish, as is this pronouncement. Being very clever in one subject does not give one great intelligence in all areas automatically.


Not really, because they don’t value the same things that I do. How people define wealth depends upon their individual goals and values, if indeed they have any.


I think Stephen is just trying to get all his thoughts on things out there while he’s still upright. Guy does not look like he’s got a long future ahead sorry to say.


That’s what they said in 1963.
The guy’s clearly a very clever astrophysicist and mathematician, and a great inspiration, but he’s way-off on other things too.


That leftmost street urchin in the pic looks properly surprised at the sudden appearance of an anomalously colour-toned, grinning, floating future astrophycisist’s head in his otherwise Dickensian reality…


What’s the point of material abundance if nobody is suffering?!

How would you know to be happy?


I’m not sure this would feasible. I think communism* failed because it required people that is willing to live the underlaying philosophy. Mankind at large is not good and egoistic actions (as contrast to the social behaviour needed for the common good) can bring down the system really fast.

Socialism and communism does not work because humans are arseholes. There, I said it.

*) not the actually existing kind but the platonic ideal


There, I fixed it for you.


It’s perfectly okay with me if you want to advocate material abundance for all the world’s 7.3 billion people. I think that’s a very worthy goal.

But if you want that, you also need to be in favor of generating all the electricity needed to provide that abundance, and all the transport of raw materials and finished goods from where they are mined/grown/made to where the recipients live. Are you??