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10 Comments

Moore's Law for Everything

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    > In the next five years, computer programs that can think will read legal documents and give medical advice. In the next decade, they will do assembly-line work and maybe even become companions. And in the decades after that, they will do almost everything, including making new scientific discoveries that will expand our concept of “everything.” This technological revolution is unstoppable.

    It's always a bit hard to believe in any given prediction about a sweeping societal change.

    For example in the weeks before COVID, there was plenty of evidence. But it was still hard to fathom that we really could have a global pandemic and lockdowns for a year, because it was just so unprecedented in our lifetimes.

    So I'm not super optimistic that we'll change and improve society ahead of the sweeping AI-driven changes that are coming. My bet is they'll hit us, and then we'll react after the fact, like usual.

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      I agree.

      But I'm a bit more optimistic.

      I don't think Sam's views are that radical.

      He argues that 1. innovation progress will accelerate and 2.the best way to manage this change for the economic benefit of all is a new tax.

      The second claim around universal basic income is the most radical but this idea is becoming more popular - as evidenced by widespread support for economic stimulus checks in the face of covid.

      What I actually found most interesting was a vision of the future that marries capitalism with economic inclusivity.

      The question I would most want to hear from the indie hacker crowd:

      If the tax on capital Sam proposes were introduced, would you support? Why or why not?

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      Society, the law and government runs at a much slower pace than technogical evolution. It always has, since the days we realised we needed safety mechanisms on the new looms in mills, or needed traffic lights for new fangled cars. AI will be no different.

      It is impossible to sweep ahead and prepare society for new tech because we simply cannot predict how the tech will behave and how people will react to it.

      Given the pace of changes in the past 20-30 years (which is certainly following Moore's Law in the pace of change) perhaps we need a break from new tech for 10 years whilst society and laws catch up. Obviously that's never going to happen. But without it I do wonder if the issues are compounding and we're heading for an almighty pileup.

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      This is a really good point. The visionary mindset towards may have held a bigger place in the mainstream until the 80s or 90s, but (most) people have been very wary about extrapolating out from exponentials since the dotcom bust.

      From the impacts of social media to the pandemic to the very real and rising risks of nuclear war, we've mostly discounted and ignored the downside. And as a society we've also derided the upside—blockchain, Tesla, SpaceX, fusion power, anti-aging technologies, etc, etc, etc.

      However, black swans are still becoming increasingly common as the world is getting connected and our technological lever grows longer. The question is, can people get used to sweeping societal changes on a meta level. After seeing them occur more and rapidly, it may be possible to internalize the pattern.

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    An insightful read - and I want to believe in the vision so badly because I agree that the coming changes really could (even if only partially fulfilled) lead to something amazing. But my feeling is that the typical issues we see now (where we're already in a golden age for wealth, technology and prosperity) will just be exacerbated.

    Technology will change, but can people?

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    Very in-depth and well-thought-out article. I agree with many of your points, especially the basic thesis that we need to make the social/economic transformation work for everyone.

    However, I question our (i.e. the voters' and the politicians' they elect) ability and willingness to actually change the policy framework on the scale required. Our evolution-induced cognitive misguidances (think discount rate, tribal thinking etc.) are after all what defines us, and politicians that are both visionary and are actually in a position to have a true impact are a rarity. Most don't seem to be able to think further ahead than the next election anyway.

    But I am still a believer in our democratic system and hope we can avoid a trade-off with a desirable future. Hence I believe providing good education is key, as only well-informed voters will do what is sensible and are less inclined to fall foul of their instincts. And promoting accessibility to education regardless of background and financial means is something many politicians are willing to stand up for and which can even be improved within one election cycle, so my hopes lie there.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    Sam says "capitalism for everyone" here, but it seems like he means "capitalism for America". There would still be plenty of people in the Global South that would be left out of American social democracy.

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    Don't want to sound pessimistic, but I really don't believe that goverment and society will change, and that AI will be able to do human work in near decades. I have 2 reasons to think so.

    1. In order to create truly general AI, we need to understand how human consciousness works. I believe we don't
    2. Society and goverment is not willing to change to a system, where everybody is a stakeholder of the whole society. There was a guy, Jacque Fresco, with his Venus Project. Really awesome man, he was an engineer, had tons of patents, lots of life experience, he had seen the great depression, the World War II and etc – my point is, he was really smart and experienced. His Venus Project was an attempt to create a world with resource-oriented economy instead of money-oriented. He told, that his research shows that with our current technology and resources we're able to provide every human being on earth with shelter, food, water, education, etc. Bu somehow we're not doing it. I believe the problem is not in the lack of resources, or the slow pace of production. It's not a resource problem, it's a human problem
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      A lot of inventions rely on discoveries. We don't fully understand every law of physics we rely on. The Ancients did not understand all the maths and physics involved in building temples, but they knew the right proportions. True AI could be discovered although it's very unlikely with the hardware that's available.

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        Who knows. We're just speculating :)

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