Primalmoose, It's just that you said : "Anyone who wants more and stronger government isn't worth the air it'll take to talk to them." But it's okay to fund the expansion of the police state.
When the US invaded Iraq, the rate of US soldier deaths (all causes) fell. Yes, there were more battlefield deaths, but those were more than offset by the reduction in traffic accident deaths, drunken brawl deaths, and so on. At the same time, the rate of Iraqi deaths (all causes) soared. Not only were there more battlefield deaths, but the rate of death from other causes also climbed. As such, the 2nd Iraq war can be viewed as an example of the US government's efficiency when it comes to waging war.
When the US invaded Iraq, the US rate of new and unfunded debt accumulation skyrocketed. Literally trillions of dollars in future obligations were incurred, obligations that had no direct source of funding and would therefore need to be paid by taxpayers. Arguably, the economic crisis which gained widespread attention in 2008 was triggered and/or made worse by that rapid accumulation of new debt. The total cost, therefore, is mind-bogglingly difficult to calculate and perhaps will not be known for decades. The positive result of this war was the formation of a new and independent oil-producing nation ideally situated to sell oil to...Europe and Asia. As such, the 2nd Iraq war can be viewed as an example of the US government's inefficiency when it comes to waging war.
One event, two completely different efficiency ratings. What is more, they are measured on different scales (lives vs. dollars) so cannot be compared in any meaningful way. That's why I'm not sure that efficiency is really key.
Say you have a business with 2 workers, each with a total compensation cost of 100,000 (that's salary, insurance, taxes, everything they cost you). Let's say you make 400,000/yr in revenue. If adding a 3rd 100,000-cost worker would increase your revenue to 600,000, should you? Of course. The marginal product is linear so every new worker adds directly to your bottom line. You should add more than one. Maybe you should hire three more, and be making 1,000,000/yr gross.
Now say that in order to hire a 6th employee you would need a bigger facility raising the cost per head, and you are already capable of making more widgets than your distribution channels/customers will buy. Adding that 6th head isn't going to give you the same return as the previous 5. Let's say that taken together they bring in enough to cover their own costs to the organization, so at 5 employees you are netting 500,000, and with 6 you would still net 500,000. Should you hire employee #6? Not nearly so clear. That's a decision businesses face every day, and the answer usually depends on what you think the potential is...sometimes having more people improves other areas (participant quality of life, resiliency, ability to grasp opportunity, etc) not measurable on the bottom line. Sometimes it makes things worse (increased management difficulty etc). Whether you take that on will depend on where you think your company is going. Let's say you do.
Now say that the AI market analysis software in an automated widget works does it's hourly public information scan and spots that according to your last tax returns you are grossing 1,000,000. It drills down and determines that you are selling one fairly simple widget. It analyzes your widget design, determines its function, and uses a genetic algorithm to design an equally functional object that can be produced using 3d printing technology. It calculates the total cost of producing a single widget (including CPU time for the design and costs that will be incurred if the item is purchased), does a set of photorealistic 3d renderings, and uses Amazon Market to post that widget for sale at 1.2x cost. It then goes looking for the next widget to make. Note that at this point it's total cost of doing business is some computer processing time. When/if a customer orders the widget, the automated widget works produces a single copy, boxes it, and notifies UPS to pick up and deliver the product. The AI system then monitors Amazon's feedback system for reviews. If the average review is <2 it decides whether to repeat the design process or to scrap that widget line. If the average is >4 it pre-makes several of the widgets and ships them to Amazon for Amazon fulfillment, and dedicates more resources to refining the design. In general it compares the revenue potential of its entire library of widgets to determine which items to continue to enhance but remember that CPU power, while finite, may be essentially free.
Among the many changes that would bring to your life: Now you have a competitor that has zero up front costs (until it sells a widget), doesn't have kids to feed, and is programmed to look for a 1.2x return instead of 2x. It's a safe bet that employee #6 has just gone from 0 to negative marginal product. You are going to have to RIF him and try to get back to the old 100,000/yr per employee costs, in the hope that the AI and 3d printing tech is really really expensive and you have a chance of competing. It is very likely you will have to drop your prices, and it's realistic to suspect that the widget works will still be able to produce those widgets for less than your humans. So it's not just employee #6, your other workers will go from having a positive marginal product to a negative marginal product. You may need to drop back down to 2 workers, and those workers would need to be more productive, just to stay afloat.
In that scenario you may find that there is a sub-market which, for reasons the AI widget works can't deal with (e.g. the market is made up of customers who prefer to buy human-made objects), that would support one or two workers with a positive marginal product. Maybe. Or it may be that your customers don't really care and you will need to invent a new product or go out of business.
Now one way of looking at that scenario is that it increased efficiency and put relevant information in your hands. Another way of looking at it is that 6 or 7 people lost their jobs to an AI-controlled factory that is just on the cusp of being technologically feasible today. We have computer controlled 3d printers. We have genetic algorithms, we have photorealistic 3d rendering, we have automated retail via Amazon, we have automated analysis of public information. We have AI, though we don't have the sort of AI that can do what I described. Incrementally improve the existing technologies, put them together in the right way, and what I described is not that far-fetched.
When that happens... when someone successfully builds a fully automated widget factory that can decide what to build and sell what it builds... it will have a disruptive effect. There will be a period when it's considered a novelty the way Japanese products were a novelty at one point. Then there will be a period when such products are considered cheap junk. Then we'll have no choice but to face the reality of billions of people worldwide who can no longer sustain a positive marginal product in the traditional business world. Such machines will also go from building toy cars for kids to push around, to automated material handling equipment to feed the 3d printers...or entire copies of itself, so long as each new automated widget works has a positive marginal product.
Is Asia a religion now?But I am just a naive lady in her early twenties, possibly biased from a religious, Asian perspective somehow. I had no interest in politics several months prior, and I only have a few years of business acumen. So I'd appreciate any thoughts on ripping apart my logic here
Last edited by Him; 01-30-2013 at 01:10 PM.
There are other intangible and tangible consequences to our entering the war, including trade with other countries or the opinion of the US in certain countries. All of that could have an impact on us as well, either immediately or a long time from now. Either way, it gets balanced out by something else, eventually, and you have us ending up being the most efficient with what we have, given our current knowledge and technology.
It's not necessarily bad that machines are displacing humans. It just reallocates humans to something to which they're more suited, at least relative to what other people value. Whether or not that is desireable to you depends on how creative you are in a certain area that the world currently values more than other creative assets. It is really terrible that those people are becoming jobless, but it should create new opportunities elsewhere where some creative job fits them, but the problem being that they don't know about it. Back to information and technology advancement.
The quest for efficiency and problem solving is what caused previous societies to eventually collapse
Joseph Tainter - The Colapse of Complex Societies
There's 7 videos
Would I be putting a grain-feed cow on a fad diet if I took it out of the feedlot and put it on pasture eating the grass nature intended?
Definitely something I'd want to watch when I get home, though.
I'd like to also add that a downfall of a society is also the result of the system rebalancing itself, not necessarily receding in technology since there is now history to learn from.
Last edited by sakura_girl; 01-30-2013 at 02:45 PM.
The Occupy protesters, as much as I disagreed with their ignorant love of big government, had every right to peacefully protest. However, once they started breaking laws, they became criminals and the city had every right to remove them from the specific area or park. When they start throwing rocks and bottles filled with piss at cops, they go from peacefully protesting to being a violent mob and for the general safety of everyone else around who actually live there and weren't bused in to bolster numbers, need to be stopped.