Pessimism

By Hal Canary, 2003-08-14 03:27:28 (link)
#robots

HST is a bit of a pessimist about things, huh?

The American nation is in the worst condition I can remember in my lifetime, and our prospects for the immediate future are even worse. I am surprised and embarrassed to be a part of the first American generation to leave the country in far worse shape than it was when we first came into it. Our highway system is crumbling, our police are dishonest, our children are poor, our vaunted Social Security, once the envy of the world, has been looted and neglected and destroyed by the same gang of ignorant greed-crazed bastards who brought us Vietnam, Afghanistan, the disastrous Gaza Strip and ignominious defeat all over the world.

The Stock Market will never come back, our Armies will never again be No. 1, and our children will drink filthy water for the rest of our lives.

The Bush family must be very proud of themselves today, but I am not. Big Darkness, soon come. Take my word for it.

Hunter S. Thompson

Then there's this essay-in-progress: Robots in 2015. Marshall Brain predicts that better robots (ATM-like waiters, AI, self-checkout lanes, robotic shelf sockers, and RFID tags) will cause massive layoffs in the service industry. This will lead to the end of the world as we know it.

The simple fact is: we as a global society are going to have to learn to evolve quickly. We are going to have to learn to sit up and pay attention to the world.

What we need:

  1. Direct Democracy: we badly need a proof of concept on this one. Problems: how to prevent massive deficits and bread & circuses? How do we protect basic civil rights? how do we keep corporate oligarchies from running things? How does one maintain a dialog that noone is left out of?
  2. Ways to educate the lower class out of the low end jobs that will shortly cease to exist for them. Have we ever been successfull at this? Is this a manageable goal?
  3. An economy that works when there is nothing to export and no jobs for 50% of the populations. Real wages per hour worked will have to go up even while prices fall; that way we can all take turns at the jobs that do exist. In other words: shorter work weeks, long periods of unemplyment, and long vacations. Two weeks of vacation a year at Epic was bullshit. That's why I quit. Eighteen month vacation is more like it.

(back)