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Capitalism will die - but will it take us with it?

- Introduction -
- Possible types of jobs lost -
- Automated restaurants -
- Comments on AI art -
- Will new jobs just replace the old ones? -
- Is social media influencing the shiny post-robotics career? -
- Why no unemployment crisis yet? -
- Response to ZeroHedge -
- Responses / solutions -
- The Endgame -

Introduction

When a child is born - in the vast majority of cases - its ideal life path is already decided. It will go to school, get good grades, enter a good university, choose a profitable career path, then put in good work, climb the corporate ladder, "earn a living" and become financially secure (we will skip considering the extremely rare possibility of running your own business - which depends on hundreds of the game players who didn't manage that, anyway). If it fails at any of these steps, it incurs all the blame. Maybe it wasn't doing good enough in school, didn't enter a good enough university, chose the wrong career path, or didn't perform well enough as a worker. It seems our entire society is based on this little game of justifying your own existence by performing well in it. But what if I told you that this setup is inevitably going to collapse soon? That your son or daughter born today, will almost certainly not be playing the same "game" as you or your parents were - and might not be able to play any game at all?

What am I even talking about? Cutting to the chase, the increasing automation will decrease the amount of available jobs, meaning more pressure on the player to perform well in the game. But, you're still in charge - and if you do well enough, you will still succeed, right? Not necessarily; even if you fulfill all the steps well, it might not be enough if thousands of others did so as well - but the amount of relevant positions has decreased by half. More than that - some jobs will disappear completely or become very rare - and we don't necessarily know which ones, or when. What seems like a "secure job" could become an insecure one in a flash. Therefore, even good performance in the game doesn't guarantee a positive result. Anyway, what I'm going to do here is examine the likely types of job losses, and try to predict the consequences, as well as ways of getting us out of the mess a "post-game" world will bring about. I will also attack some criticisms of this idea; but first - let's start with step one, showing the jobs most likely to be replaced by automation:

Possible types of jobs lost

Delivery - Amazon has invented a drone that can carry a product with a weight of less than 2.6 KG directly to a customer: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/14/amazon-claims-first-successful-prime-air-drone-delivery (archive) (MozArchive). This has some problems for now, like needing a certain weather and obviously the limited weight, but it will get better.

Restaurant service - Pizza Hut debuts a robot waiter: https://insideretail.asia/2016/12/07/pizza-hut-china-debuts-robot-waiters/ (archive) (MozArchive)

Making burgers - A robot can make 400 burgers per hour: https://www.eater.com/2016/7/1/12077990/robot-burgers-san-francisco-momentum-machines (archive) (MozArchive)

Bartending - https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2017/01/30/robotic-barista-now-serving-really-fast/95888780/ (archive) (MozArchive) - The first robotic barista in the U.S., nicknamed "Gordon," started serving up to 120 coffee drinks an hour Jan. 30.

Factory work - http://www.wnd.com/2017/02/chinese-factory-replaces-90-of-human-workers-with-robots/ (archive) (MozArchive) - While the factory used to be run by 650 employees, only 60 of those people still work at the factory and their primary job is to make sure the machines are running properly

Fruit picking - https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/9160576/brexit-fruit-picking-robots/ (archive) (MozArchive) - The robots are able to pluck more than 25,000 raspberries per day while human workers manage around 15,000 in an eight-hour shift

Nursing - Robot nurse finds vein and takes blood: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iKQweBsnDQ

Taxi driving - https://www.travelweekly-asia.com/Travel-News/Travel-Technology/World-first-as-Singapore-tests-self-driving-taxis (archive) (MozArchive) - World first as Singapore tests self-driving taxis

Teaching - http://blog.firebrandtalent.com/2016/11/lost-job-robot/ (archive) (MozArchive)

Saya had been teaching for seven years. Her impressive but short CV included stints in a few rural areas, overseas and as a substitute teacher. Not bad for someone only seven years into the role. The difference is Saya is a remote controlled robot who taught her first class of 10-year olds in 2009.

News writing - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3668837/Your-days-numbered-sports-writer-Associated-Press-using-AI-write-Minor-League-Baseball-articles.html (archive) (MozArchive) - This AI reporter is capable of analyzing data from the games, pulling out the most important highlights to formulate well-constructed and informative stories. UPDATE January 2023: now CNET is using AI to write its stories (MozArchive), even financial advice. You know all the big sites that drop 15 seemingly factory produced news pieces every day? Soon they will all be AI-generated, and we're not prepared. Hey, when's the time for AI fact checkers? Those look suspiciously robotic to me. Maybe they're already here :D.

Line judging - In tennis, an automatic line calling system has replaced the line judges (in one tournament so far - but will surely extend to others): https://www.tennis.com/news/articles/hawk-eye-set-to-replace-officials-at-next-gen-atp-finals-in-italy (archive) (MozArchive). And the players like it: https://www.reuters.com/article/tennis-nextgen-hawkeye-idINKBN1D72YA (archive) (MozArchive).

Football judging - Something similar is happening in football. The Premier League is using goal-line technology (which automatically detects if there was a goal or not) since 2013: http://www.goal.com/en/news/9/english-football/2013/08/17/4193970/goal-line-technology-makes-premier-league-debut (archive) (MozArchive). If football goes the tennis way, it will also use the automatic out detection, and referees will be just for fouls.

Military - Robotic mules are already being tested: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-12/us-army-tests-new-robotic-assistant-pack-mule-combat-zones (archive) (MozArchive) - These guys go through pretty rough terrain, all weather conditions. Fighter robots are also being developed - https://www.irishmirror.ie/news/weird-news/robot-wars-russia-unveil-humanoid-8061197 (archive) (MozArchive) - the droid is designed "to replace the person in the battle or in emergency areas where there is a risk of explosion, fire, high background radiation, or other conditions harmful to humans.

Automated restaurants

Did you know they already have fully automated restaurants in China and Singapore? Imagine the amount of possible jobs lost. There are 15 million (archive) (MozArchive) restaurants in the world, with 32 workers (archive) (MozArchive) per restaurant on average. So, the technology already exists to replace almost 500 million working people worldwide (real stats will be lower, since that site considered "cafes" as restaurants, as well). But hey, I even doubt that the cafe employees are somehow irreplacable, so might as well take the 500 million figure as it is.

Comments on AI art

Since AI can now draw (MozArchive) things (MozArchive) like (MozArchive) these (MozArchive), I guess it's appropriate to give it a section. I see this is hard to take for people, whom I've seen claim that only bad artists will be affected, or that artists can just use AI as yet another tool (a tool, that can do everything alone? Some tool...), or even that coming up with a prompt is some great skill (lol, what a ridiculous cope). People just can't give up their jungle mindset, where everyone simply must be divided into better or worse - which is exactly what will doom us before we realize it's too late to rise up against the machines. Realistically, AI art means yet another career down the drain, as I can't imagine commissions staying around for much longer - unless you're really unique; but again, that wouldn't be much help to the majority of artists that will be replaced. And if this is such a nothingburger, why are artists protesting so hard? Let's wake the fuck up, and divorce creativity from earning a living already. This won't fix the problem of meaning, but at least people won't starve...

Will new jobs just replace the old ones?

A common argument against the idea that robots will replace us is that machines were being invented for a long time, and they've always created more jobs than they took. The problem is - those machines were not intelligent; they still required a human to operate them. This is different; a robot can now clean, cook, serve, teach, work at a factory, drive, refer sporting events, write articles, draw without human assistance, pick fruit or play a support role in the military, etc. all by itself. And this list will only get longer.

What possible new jobs can these robots create? Repairing them? Programming them? Great, but that will surely be much less than all the factory and restaurant jobs they're going to take. And not everyone is qualified to do repair or programming. What about all the people that aren't? Even if they could all do repair and programming, we just don't need that many of those (certainly not 500 million and probably not even 50 million). Maybe watching the robots over will be the new, big job opportunity - yes, I suspect that could be a nice scam to keep the corpse of capitalism twitching for a little longer.

Expert predictions (archive) (MozArchive) indicate a huge effect of the robot revolution soon - We estimate that between 400 million and 800 million individuals could be displaced by automation and need to find new jobs by 2030 around the world). Even engineers aren't safe - 56% are expected to be replaced by automation (archive) (MozArchive). Even though - as the sports have shown - the displacement process could be slow, and the exact date pushed further - it is inevitable. Better prepare earlier than later.

Is social media influencing the shiny post-robotics career?

That's what some people suggest, but it won't work. First of all, how many influencers actually end up succeeding? Even though theoretically, anyone can make a YouTube (or OnlyFans, etc), that doesn't translate (archive) (MozArchive) to sustaining themselves through it - The typical OnlyFans creator earns about $180 per month, or roughly $140 after taxes. In the globally connected age, everyone has access to the same celebrities, and most niches are already taken. If you want to be a fitness influencer, or maybe strip for lonely gamers, you'll be competing with Liver King and Amouranth (plus a few others) that have already grabbed your would-be audience years ago. But maybe you have something unique to offer, something no one else has thought of yet, and it goes viral and you "win". Well, now you have blocked this path for all the others, and are also forced to chum out content constantly, lest a copycat takes your place. And, there are just not that many unique things out there, and they will be quickly grabbed and "ruined". "Influencing" is just another dead end that doesn't fix the problem of job losses at all, and presenting it as a viable career choice is just setting up the vast majority of people for failure. It is also not something that I believe should be encouraged either way; Liver King took huge doses of steroids to get his build, while pretending that it was the result of his primal principles. While Amouranth had to fake being single, then finally reveal that she had a boyfriend that was actually running the entire operation (MozArchive), making her stream all day and night. So fraud, abuse and sacrificing your health is what makes you a successful influencer these days. Is this the world we want to show our kids? Why does no one want to question the base premise? That we need to make ourselves valuable so that our property owning overlords will graciously feed us? I guess the libertarian / right-wing macho brainwashing is too effective these days. Does no one really see the dehumanization inherent in having to satisfy arbitrary whims of the rich just so they can throw us some breadcrumbs? And when "real" jobs dry up, I fear we will be reduced more and more to just being circus animals for the elites in hopes of being one of the few% of people that don't get thrown into the sausage maker. That is why we absolutely need to take over the infrastructure soon, instead of pretending the current system is still viable.

Why no unemployment crisis yet?

Looking at all the occupations listed above, we see that millions of jobs are in danger. Why don't we have an unemployment crisis yet, then? Well, there are many steps to take from the invention of a technology to widespread adoption. You need to create the necessary amount of machines and have businesses buy and install them. They can cost quite a lot of money (archive) (MozArchive) (more than one human worker per year). The Hawk-Eye tennis ball tracking system has been invented in 2006, but it took until 2017 to use it in an official tournament (for line judging), then another 3 years until it was used in a Grand Slam. Hundreds of small tournaments all over the world still can't afford it. Perhaps social factors also come into play; most people are conformists and I suspect that bosses / company owners don't want to rock the boat in terms of robot inclusion until that idea is more socially accepted, or when they are confident they won't lose in profits, etc.

Response to ZeroHedge

I was supposed to leave this article alone already, but recently, ZeroHedge published a piece (archive) (MozArchive) (which is actually a repost from some obscure blog) trying to dismiss the effects of robotics on job availability, which directly attacks my thesis. Funnily, it uses the same old and tired arguments that have already been covered here. But I know a lot of people will read it and be convinced by it, so let me give a direct reply. The first example they use as support is the fact that ATMs supposedly did not decrease the amount of banking jobs:

Graph showing the amount of banking jobs available over time and the amount of installed ATMs over time

I can't find the study this graph comes from, but it doesn't matter. It doesn't prove what they think it does. If you look at the year 1990, the amount of banking jobs is the same as in 2010, while the demand for them is more than four times as much - it is simply fulfilled by the machines. Also, I'd guess that if you went further in time, the human jobs would keep decreasing. Let's remember the situation in sports, where it took over a decade to just start automating things. And many things are kept around by simple inertia - we already have ways to automate restaurants, it's just that noone's picking them up. So this clearly isn't the example to prove that technological development somehow results in some job creation utopia. Their second is The Internet, which I would have never claimed would decrease jobs, so let's skip it. Their third is The Industrial Revolution - which again, is just things that still require human operation, so not relevant here. Let's just go straight to the interesting parts of their article. About automated writing, they say:

Copywriting and marketing: ChatGPT and other generative AI technologies such as JasperAI have swiftly changed the way content is created. For example, at the technology company I founded, our copywriter used to take several days to produce an article, which had to be edited before distribution. In total, the end-to-end process took about a week which meant the company was producing 4 articles per month. Since beginning to leverage JasperAI, the company now produces 3-4 articles per week. That translates into more leads, which translates into more customers, which turns into higher revenue growth, and more hiring. Is our copywriter’s job safe? You bet. Using AI technology doesn’t replace the need for her or her role, it supercharges it and helps the company scale faster, leading to more hiring, not less.

So you can whip out 4 times more shitty articles than before. Great. But how does this result in more jobs? Oh, it's because "your company grows", but it can't do so infinitely. Eventually it will stop, and then the fact that people have been automated away won't be possible to hide anymore. Also, if your "company grows", others have to shrink, meaning less jobs there - since there is limited space in the market for shitty articles. So the absolute amount of jobs does not increase just because your particular company has "grown". Let's also realize that - if the articles are being written by the AI and the human only serves as the proofreader - there's nowhere to go beyond that. No magical new jobs will be created in this field. The peak has been reached, and the human shoved aside. Again, ZeroHedge just shoots itself in the foot here, by admitting that the human is now playing only the second fiddle. But wait, the funniest example of theirs is yet to come. Brace yourselves for the cherry on top:

Autonomous delivery robots: Starship Technologies is a high-profile technology company that has successfully completed over 4 million deliveries using its autonomous fleet of robots. It’s true that these robots have put humans out of work by replacing the need for people to physically deliver items. It’s also true that this technology has created hundreds of new, specialized, higher-paying jobs for technicians, managers, operations, and logistics specialists that ensure these robots get from point A to point B as intended. Plus, it’s helping solve a very real problem for retailers that unlocks growth and margin: last mile delivery.

One part of this quote in particular sticks out:

It’s also true that this technology has created hundreds of new, specialized, higher-paying jobs for technicians, managers, operations, and logistics specialists that ensure these robots get from point A to point B as intended.
Franziska von Karma from the Ace Attorney games asking for proof

Bring me all those people that you allege this technology has created jobs for. Certainly none of them are mentioned on Starship's website. This is just so stupid on its face. Why even invent this stuff, if it doesn't actually result in less need for human work? Hey, I know this thing surely needs programmers and some builders, etc. But again, this is way way less than the amount of delivery people it's going to replace; otherwise it wouldn't exist! Another attempt by ZeroHedge to save jobism richochets against them, this time being a fatal headshot for their thesis. But the corpse still has something to say, so let's read further:

It’s important to note that the impact of AI on the labor market will not be uniform across all industries and skill levels. Some industries and job categories will likely see significant job losses. However, it will be important for businesses and policymakers to prepare for these changes by investing in reskilling and upskilling programs to help workers transition to new industries and job categories.

So they admit significant job losses in some industries. But they think reskilling and upskilling will fix it. I've already talked about this. Again, not everyone can be a programmer or some other advanced job. Nor should everyone have to be. Technological development will kill teenage jobs almost entirely, for one. Which is clearly a negative. But in the end, the raw amount of jobs will heavily decrease, affecting everyone; and eventually, no amount of skill will save you if the required amount of workers decreases by half or whatever. ZeroHedge can keep living in the stone age, while we - people with eyes - actually observe what's going on. And what's going on is everyone's dumping their (skilled - Google even called them incredibly talented) workers. Amazon (archive) (MozArchive), Twitter (archive) (MozArchive), Google (archive) (MozArchive), Microsoft (archive) (MozArchive), Netflix (archive) (MozArchive) and surely others. Where do they go now, ZeroHedge? WHERE?

Now this is besides the point, but an article like this would usually make me call an outlet controlled opposition. Though there is some good material on ZH, whenever an important topic comes around, they just end up defending the current power structure somehow. Big guy stepping on the little guy. As they do here (and I have many other examples). Either way, I just want you to realize that even media that pretends to be alternative isn't always reliable. And - in my opinion - it is really important to follow me on this issue instead of ZeroHedge. It might determine whether we find ourselves cooked inside that boiling pot, or manage to jump out in time. Edit: hey, let's examine the guy who wrote this crap (archive) (MozArchive):

Michael Johnston is a Technology Advisor and Columnist at Evergreen Gavekal. Michael is also the Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer at TEAL, a high-growth, venture-backed Internet of Things (IoT) networking company headquartered in Seattle, WA. Michael is a member of the Forbes Technology Council and has held several Board and Advisory positions at early-stage technology companies and philanthropic foundations.

And the corpo he's writing for (archive) (MozArchive):

We serve high net-worth individuals, families and endowments, providing expert guidance and personalized solutions for building a secure financial future.
Our key areas of expertise are private wealth management, family office services, tax planning, alternative investments, and macroeconomic research.

A guy running a company, sitting on advisor positions in others, and also writing for another company that serves high net-worth individuals (AKA the rich). Quite the conflict of interest! Obviously this isn't just an innocent analytical article, but one designed to shill jobism at all costs. What this guy wants is to keep himself and his rich buddies in power. It is so obvious; I mean look at their Family office page (archive) (MozArchive) - to create a continuity bridge encompassing their legacy intentions with an overarching goal of growing and transferring wealth across generations. AKA the rich (and their kids) stay rich, while the poor stay poor. Hahaha. That's why he has to make you believe there's just no way out of jobism, ever. Because to attack jobism is to come closer to UBI or (gasp!) communism - meaning wealth transfer towards the poor and away from this guy and his rich buddies (who never did any real work, BTW; only abuse and trickery through "investing"). And ZeroHedge - by republishing this parasite - shows that they support the conspiracy of the rich to keep the poor down. Therefore, they are controlled opposition.

Responses / solutions

Politicians all over the world have been scrambling to "create jobs" (this is in fact a common talking point for elections) - but there's only so much that they can do. The robot revolution cannot be denied, regardless of intentions. Many basic jobs are already being lost, but they will eventually come for the construction workers, doctors...maybe even politicians themselves, as well. Another mistake is to blame it all on the worker - tell him to get better education or skills, as many ancaps are fond of doing (archive) (MozArchive). You have no idea what kind of advanced technology people are going to invent, and just because you have a "skilled job" at the moment doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be saved. Why not just stop pretending, and get some compassion before this whole system kills us all? Sometimes I feel like we are all our own biggest enemies; the right-wingers / conservatives / libertarians / ancaps always find a way to blame the person below them, as long as they themselves have it a little better. But to the true elites, they are all as much plebeian. And they will be destroyed by the robot revolution just as easily, except maybe a few years later.

What can be done? Clearly, politicians will keep supporting the current - unsustainable - system (otherwise, they would face the fucking problem instead of pretending all is fine - we will just create more jobs) - while people are losing their jobs and dying. There's been an idea called "Universal Basic Income" which would give everyone a certain amount of money unconditionally. But to me, this is just another attempt to keep the current system alive. Eventually, we're going to have to face the fact that, to do everything society needs to function, not everyone needs to work. And it's better to admit it right now, and change the system so that not having a job isn't an immediate disaster. We need a society in which housing and food are human rights; without reference to the middleman known as money. Yes, we do have the resources for that many times over, it is only the jungle mindset of the aforementioned right-wingers that prevents it.

In a sane society, pushing for increased automation would be fine, to free people from a life centered on work faster. In reality, though, we will likely end up in a world where, over time, jobs are slowly replaced by machines - but the people who did them earlier are now starving and dying. Automation itself is not the problem, it is the idea that everyone must be constantly "earning a living". I just hope we can change culturally before the machines enforce the changes on us - and that we manage to do it without millions of corpses as collateral damage. Capitalism will die - but will it take us with it?

The Endgame

I did not want to "conspiralize" this report, but I guess I have to in the end. Originally I wrote it before COVID, but the lockdowns have given us lots of valuable information, so the report has to be updated with them in mind. The elites realized that the age of jobism (the idea that everyone needs to be earning a living) was soon going to be over. They've needed to start preparing the plebs (boiling frog style) towards the idea of joblessness earlier, so that there was not going to be too much immediate shock - avoiding a revolt. And so, COVID got released and gave the elites a believable excuse to freeze most jobs and prepare us for the mass job losses that would be coming soon. If they waited with COVID's release, there would have been no opportunity to prepare people for the robot revolution - and they might have incured a revolt when it came.

It is obvious everything is converging onto mass depopulation in a decade or two. The robot revolution, jab deaths, Ukraine war and the massive money transfer upwards, murderbots (MozArchive) to protect the system. We might even get an UBI for a few years to placate us (for some reason there's been lots of positive research done on it recently), before they pull the rug completely, and let us die. See, the elites are still going to need us for a decade or two, to bring them food and similar things. But that's soon going to be over, and then the purge will be coming. However, they can't do it without proper preparation; a sufficiently placated, gaslit and / or scared society and technological systems good enough to be able to prevent a revolt (the point of the murderbots). We do not have much time to prevent the dystopia, and we need the physical infrastructure right now. The legal system will not help us, neither will libertarianism which seems to exist only to justify abuse by higher-ups and teaching plebs to tolerate terrible conditions. See, when businesses finally start replacing people with robots, it is the supremacy of property rights that will prevent people's direct action against them. But those business owners will sooner or later be sacrificed by the true elites, as well. UPDATE January 2023: Hey, here is a "funny" reddit post (MozArchive):

It will definitely be a rough transition, but AI will still free us from most labor and force our society to adopt some form of socialism when capitalism ultimately collapses because workers replaced by AI have no money to spend.

And just why would you expect this to happen? Again, workers will be losing jobs gradually - not all at once. So the really rich people will still have the lower rich people as customers for a while. Until all that remains are the true elite and a few people who have managed to tend for themselves. Why assume that some form of socialism will be brought in and save all those people instead of simply letting them die? This is why everyone should be a conspiracy theorist, just so they can consider those possibilities. But the people that realize the problems of the robot revolution never are (clearly they missed the entirety of the corona scare) - in fact they scoff at the idea, which is what will doom us in the end.

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