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posted by takyon on Thursday July 30 2015, @01:01PM   Printer-friendly
from the it-depends-what-"it"-is dept.

In this wide ranging interview, Steven Wolfram [creator of Mathematica and Wolfram Alpha] talks about what he's been thinking about for the last 30+ years, and how some of the questions he's had for a long time are now being answered.

I looked for pull quotes, but narrowing down to just one or two quotes from a long interview seemed like it might send the SN discussion down a rabbit hole... if nothing else, this is a calm look at the same topics that have been all over the press recently from Hawking, Musk and others.

One interesting topic is about goals for AIs -- as well as intelligence (however you define it), we humans have goals. How will goals be defined for AIs? Can we come up with a good representation for goals that can be programmed?


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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by kurenai.tsubasa on Thursday July 30 2015, @06:53PM

    by kurenai.tsubasa (5227) on Thursday July 30 2015, @06:53PM (#215974) Journal

    Ok, so, in 2035¹ when I lose my robot technician job after inventing the robot technician robot (working for minimum wage to boot because there's an army of unemployed robot technicians who want my job, not to mention the hordes picketing outside the office demanding my head on a pike for inventing the infernal thing!), I suppose I'll become an artisan underwater basket weaver incorporating designs and themes from throughout Amazon history and legend. I'll probably be making even less than minimum wage, but I'm sure I could find buyers.

    How many artisan baskets will I need to sell to buy a brand new SRT Tomahawk X [wikia.com], and who will buy them from me? What happens when the robot technician robot makes an artisan underwater basket weaving robot that out-competes me?

    So, in that situation, what does our Randian bootstrapper do? Will we give her a loaf of bread, various basket-weaving materials, and a small dorm room with a work area so she might continue at least making artisan baskets (even if not underwater) for her fans or even just as a hobby, or does this demonstrate that she isn't a true Randian bootstrapper and thus should starve to death in the cold?

    If you want to raise job prices you want more goods made.

    This would be true if the workers owned the means of production (see Mondragon [wikipedia.org]). The idea doesn't even conflict with the free market. Then our genius Randian bootstrapper who invents herself out of a job would be raking in the cash (as would everyone else who bought one of her previous xyz making robot models) instead of starving to death.

    The problem is, worker cooperatives are extremely rare, and I doubt even in that model, displaced workers will be compensated for the output of the machine that replaces them.

    What else is there? Dividend-paying stock ownership, certainly. Better get in soon before your real wages [wikipedia.org] fall too far! And I better see my 401(k) go through the roof as automation displaces more and more workers since I'm a by-proxy owner of hundreds of corporations that will benefit. That's how I'll easily afford that SRT Tomahawk X in the automated future. It'll all be good, right? Right?

    ¹ Ok fine, it'll take more than 20 years for this to play out to the endgame.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 31 2015, @03:38AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 31 2015, @03:38AM (#216142)

    Well, maybe where you are.

    Go to northern Italy and they're as common as sparrows.
    This region [wikimedia.org] has them by the thousands. [googleusercontent.com] (orig)[1] [wikipedia.org]

    [1] The magic number as of this posting is "8,100".
    That's about 30 percent of their economy.

    Here's another region with lots of worker co-ops [wikimedia.org] (chiefly fruit producers, wineries, and dairies).

    One big reason co-ops are so big in Italy is that (decades ago) their politicians pulled their heads out of their asses.
    Professor of Economics Richard Wolff, PhD Discusses Neoclassical, Keynesian, and Marxian Economic Theories (and Cooperatives) [googleusercontent.com] (orig)[2] [counterpunch.org]

    [2] You're looking for "the Marcora Law" near the bottom of the page.

    -- gewg_