Recent discussions about the “advent of robots” have some rather unusual features. The threat of robots replacing humans is seen as something truly novel possibly changing our civilization and way of life. But in reality this is nothing new. Introduction of machinery to replace repetitive (or even more creative) labor has been applied on a significant scale since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Robots are not different from any other machine.Dessas "falácias", a que me parece menos falaciosa ainda é capaz de ser a última (as duas primeiras parecem-me logicamente erradas, enquanto a terceira pode ser empiricamente falsa, mas em teoria poderia ser perfeitamente verdadeira).
The obsession with, or fear of, robots has to do, I believe, with our fascination with their anthropomorphism. Some people speak of great profits reaped by “owners of robots”, as if these owners of robots were slaveholders. (...) It could happen that the distribution of net product will shift even more toward capital, but again this is not different from the introduction of new machines that substitute labor—a thing which has been with us for at least two centuries.
Robotics leads us to face squarely three fallacies.
The first is the fallacy of the lump of labor doctrine that holds that the new machines will displace huge numbers of workers and people will remain jobless forever. Yes, the shorter our time-horizon, the more that proposition seems reasonable. Because in the short term the number of jobs is limited and if more jobs are done by machines fewer jobs will be left for people. But as soon as we extend our gaze toward longer-time horizons, the number of job becomes variable. We cannot pinpoint what they would be (because we do not know what new technologies will bring) but this is where the experience of two centuries of technological progress becomes useful. We know that similar fears have always existed and were never justified. (...)
The second “lump” fallacy which is linked with the first, namely our inability to pinpoint what new technology will bring, is that human needs are limited. The two are related in the following way: we imagine (again, looking only at any given moment in time) that human needs are limited to what we know exists today, what people aspire to today, and cannot see what new needs will arise with a new technology. Consequently we cannot imagine what will be the new jobs to satisfy the newly created needs. (...)
The third “lump” fallacy (which is not directly related to the issue of robotics) is the lump of raw materials and energy fallacy, the so called “carriage capacity of the Earth”. There are of course geological limits to raw materials simply because the Earth is a limited system. But our experience teaches us that these limits are much wider than we generally think at any point in time because our knowledge of what earth contains is itself limited by our level of technology.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Publicada por Miguel Madeira em 12:23