Submitted by Newhereeeeee t3_122bckb in Futurology

Some believe that machine owners and the wealthy will use A.I to replace workers and keep all the profits. Let’s say hypothetically 50% of the workforce is still employed and uses A.I to help do the work of the 50% that were replaced.

Losing taxes from 50% of the workforce would be a disaster for retirement, social services, schools, healthcare, roads and everything else that taxes fund. Not only would 50% of the workforce not add to taxes they would be taking away from the pool in unemployment.

I feel like governments are very ill prepared to transition to an economy/social security/labour market where A.I plays a big role



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Lirdon t1_jdprdyi wrote

Especially in the US, with how much influence the rich have over the politics, the situation seems rather grim, I agree. But the issue of automation is not one that wasn’t thought of before. That’s where the Guaranteed Minimum Income comes to play. Basically the government pays to sustain its not working population by taxing all corporations, or those that replace labor with automation. The issue is that people thought it would be robotics that will replace people in menial labour, but now it seems that AI will be the frontier of automation, and it targets white colar jobs — the top earners of the working class.

It is still left to be seen how will the whole thing play out. But it seems to me that there will need to be a reform in taxation that will either disincentivize the use of AI, or will compensate for people that lose their jobs to AI.


Advanced-Payment-358 t1_jdpue3z wrote

Through competition, product prices can be reduced as cost of making them plummets due to removal of paid human labor, which may have a huge factor on costs of products and and usually consists 50-90% of cost of services in developed countries, so the net purchasing power parity of a society does not degrade in the longer term.

As low wage factory workers may not be as expensive, white collar, expert and administrative workers and consult services may cost company a major share of it's expenditures, and cutting these off will allow a major leap in productivity and price competition. Most of the time, the worker that gets paid way too much only for repeating stuff they have read from books themselves, so AI can be well capable of offering similar expertise, with the improvement of removing the human error.


acutelychronicpanic t1_jdpw1fd wrote

If unemployment was so bad that no taxes were coming in from that many people, I don't think tax revenue is the biggest concern.

My hope is that corporations realize the smoothest way to transition from here, to an AI augmented workforce, then to post scarcity will be using something like UBI.

Someone has to actually purchase the products produced unless we are throwing out the whole system (which would also place their roles as capital owners in jeopardy).


r2k-in-the-vortex t1_jdq45y4 wrote

Some believe all sorts of bullshit. Technological andvancement in general obsoletes various tasks one by one. Indoor plumbing replaced carrying buckets, printing machine replaced scribing etc etc. The vast majority of preindustrial jobs have been obsoleted and people are now doing other things.

That's fine, when a job gets done, it's a good thing, means you can finally get to work on other necessary things you so far couldn't find time and resources for. That works on an individual level, and it also works on the level of an entire economy.


Surur t1_jdq4rnh wrote

Think on this - many countries with below replacement birth rates will face this issue themselves due to people retiring and leaving the workforce and not being replaced.

Look at Japan - their workforce will drop nearly 40% in 40 years, and of course people live very long there.

So the minority of workers supporting the majority of non-workers will soon be a thing all over the world as the population continues to age and birthrates plummet.


r2k-in-the-vortex t1_jdq58j7 wrote

The cost of labour is 100% of the cost for every good and service. It's just a question of how far down the supply line you count. Ultimately, human labour is the only thing that costs anything because humans are the only ones demanding money for their time and effort.

You can even go as far as to say that money is nothing more than I.O.U for human labour. You need money because you need products of other people's labours and you get money because other people have a need for your labour.

But machines can reduce how much labour is needed to make things. And that's a fantastic thing for the entire society, because we all get to have more without having to work so much for it.


Lirdon t1_jdq687s wrote

perhaps, but its integration into buisness will be slower than AI. robots need to be manufactured in units, and distributed, they might replace menial labour, but it will be that individual robotic units replace several humans, but not all of them, like an installation of AI can do with office workers.


Carbon140 t1_jdqac5m wrote

That isn't correct under capitalism. Under capitalism someone can own land/resources and contribute zero Labor and still take profits from it. On a simple scale Imagine a farm or property owner who employs a manager to manage the entire property and just sits on his butt all day.

Under capitalism its very clear no matter how efficient production gets ownership of resources/land will make sure we don't live in some post scarcity utopia.


RadioFreeAmerika t1_jdqbplc wrote

There are easy solutions: Tax automation or significantly increased corporate taxes.

Use the money to pay for a UBI and work-substitution offers (Star-Trek-like research and exploration agency, "playgrounds" for adults (e.g. tech garages), community meet-up areas, voluntary work opportunities (e.g. taking animals for a walk, preparing and offering food, tutoring, ...), etc.

With all the improvements in AI, the only thing that stands between us and utopia is society.


Mercurionio t1_jdqd227 wrote

UBI is the worst idea. Not only it's impossible in nations type of society, it will also create Feudalism.

So strictly no. People need jobs, a good one, to have independence. Otherwise it will go back to "who is stronger and has more guns"


Whole-Impression-709 t1_jdqd786 wrote

Business is already at max throttle automating anything that can be automated. I am in factory automation and our current project reduces manpower from 7 to 3 on an agricultural process.

Let's not forget how willing management is to tip the apple cart, if they get to keep more apples to themselves. They will view white collar the same way they view blue collar: an expense to be minimized.


PM_ME_A_PM_PLEASE_PM t1_jdqe7o3 wrote

Rather automation is forever. Once a machine is better at doing a job than a human for practical purposes machines will always be better. The scope of where that is true is only increasing due to more intelligent machines. At a certain level of simulated intelligence a machine is simply superior to a human as far as labor is concerned. The future for human labor isn't something that can be fixed with more jobs. They'll be equally unemployable. They'll be horses in a world of cars.


Timbershoe t1_jdqem72 wrote

History is circular.

This has all happened before, and will happen again.

The Industrial Revolution wasn’t a political revolution, however it lead to better working conditions (weekends off, paid holidays, sick leave).

The AI revolution will just change the job market slightly. Perhaps allow for more flexible working, but those holding out for some political revolution are going to be slightly disappointed. There will still be jobs. There will still be workers.


Mercurionio t1_jdqer7w wrote

Mmm, no.

Humans are still needed because you need them for applying to human needs.

I mean, in plain work AI is better. So is the machine. But AI won't solve human's problems (I mean, it can, but you better shoot yourself then take this solution). So, humans will command the AI to do stuff.

The problem the control over AI.

PS: and keep the shit about AGI to yourself. In case you wanted to apply with it.


whyzantium t1_jdqfg96 wrote

Weekends off etc were a reaction to the industrial revolution which mandated rigid work schedules, and only made possible through trade unions. Such things wouldn't make sense before the industrial revolution.


PM_ME_A_PM_PLEASE_PM t1_jdqggny wrote

>Humans are still needed because you need them for applying to human needs.

Right but that's been diminishing since the industrial revolution. We only didn't experience that in the labor market broadly already because there was a refuge, human intelligence. You're basically just saying horses aren't extinct yet when I told you they have no meaningful share of the modern transportation market.


Mercurionio t1_jdqgwzz wrote

No, I'm saying that humans are needed to fulfill human's desires. Like, you need humans to give orders, because if an AI will give orders it will quickly go into the situation of slavery under AI.

And if you want blood, then this is the way.


PM_ME_A_PM_PLEASE_PM t1_jdqi277 wrote

I understood what you said. I just said that's consistently diminishing for various reasons too because of the consolidation in power the capitalization of machines provides.

There won't be a labor force where humans are widely employed merely to provide orders to AI. That can be simplified further. You can look at the fully automated grocery stores, fully automated McDonalds, or other examples relating to control systems to see basic applications of that.


Alpha3031 t1_jdqiizn wrote

I believe what /u/whyzantium is saying is that preindustrial working patterns are sufficiently different to be incomparable (or at least difficult to compare) but arguably less onerous*, and the change you point to has a starting point that was post–industrial revolution, circa 19th century, and took a century of activism after that to achieve.

* See for example excerpt from Schor (1993).


Good-Advantage-9687 t1_jdqk2h2 wrote

And when there are no jobs to be had ? Then what? Tesla bot has not begun production yet but it already has over half a dozen potential competitors lining up to take as many labor positions as possible. Unless of course you want the government to force businesses into highering people instead buying new equipment. What next a band on further technological progress?


goldygnome t1_jdqo9p4 wrote

I'm sure politicians will try the re-skillling thing, but that isn't going to work at scale. There is no industry safe from automation and there are no uniquely human skills that can't be emulated by machine. It wasn't long ago that we were being told to pursue creative careers and then Dall-e burst that bubble.


whyzantium t1_jdqucwx wrote

You're missing out the fact that society wasn't organised around things that made your list of remedies necessary. Peasants worked less hours before the early modern period and didn't need any of that stuff. It's like saying the COVID outbreak was good because it lead to COVID vaccines.


Damiandcl t1_jdqucyt wrote

Add to that people having kids without being able to provide for them and we gona have some rough years.


alecs_stan t1_jdquift wrote

I'm thinking processor tax or maybe even something related to cumpute power. This will push edge computing thus distributing synthetic intelligence wider.

An alternative that catches a wider net is an energy tax. Both of these need to be thought at deeply, consequences might be unexpected.


acutelychronicpanic t1_jdqumo9 wrote

This is the wrong approach. A job is just a reason to give people money. We're better off with abundance + raising the floor with UBI. But it should be negotiated and implemented before normal people lose their bargaining power for sure.


Mercurionio t1_jdqwpnl wrote

Points to what? Why UBI is bad? Why Utopia is NOT possible?

The answer is pretty simple. Because we are humans.

If you were born in free countries like Norway, you see the world as a beautiful place. But if you were born in post soviet shit holes or China/Iran like, you should understand, what a crap our world is. Not only UBI is a Feudalism thing (because, those, who in charge, will decide, how much you will get), Utopia isn't possible because resources are limited. Unless we start synthesising EVERY mineral or organic material, nobody will be in equal positions. There will always exist something, that millions will want to have, but not able to get because it will be hoarded by those, who have power.

Either you see Jesus coming back and uniting everyone under one banner, deliting power hunger and giving us unlimited access to resources, OR you see fascists and dictators rising in a quest to hoard everything to themselves.


Timbershoe t1_jdr1ryj wrote

Yes. Because my point wasn’t about the value of changes to working conditions, it was that working conditions changed as a result of automation.

There was no political upheaval. Systems of government didn’t change.

The OP was saying that AI would lead to a change politics. I’m sceptical it’ll even register.


NewsGood t1_jdr1zqe wrote

If people are making less money, they will buy proportionately less goods. This will be the problem for corporations.


YourWiseOldFriend t1_jdr4tk5 wrote

The AI and its owners will have to pay for the shortfall however big or small it is.

Tax them as needed.


acutelychronicpanic t1_jdrbdpy wrote

Which do you think is more likely?

  1. A solution which allows the powerful entities that exist today to continue growing, but which also ensures the wellbeing of the masses.

  2. Or a solution requiring that all the most powerful people of today to cap their own power?

Best we can do is make the case for option 1 and work out ways that allow everyone to win imo. I don't mean to suggest those are the only two options. Feel free to point me in the direction of any others.

If option 2 backfires, we see a much higher likelihood of catastrophe for most people.


acutelychronicpanic t1_jdrciun wrote

Thank you for taking the time to write out your points.

UBI isn't communism and it isn't about perfect equality. Its building a floor without creating a ceiling.

Resources aren't nearly as limited as usually gets discussed, because those discussions usually assume very modest technological growth. Besides, better things doesn't mean more material necessarily. A 10x better bed isn't 10x bigger.

I agree humans have a lot of problems, but we should try to account for them while moving forward in the best way we can. I don't see what cynicism gets us.

The issue of how much people are allowed to have is very real. So maybe we should talk about it now? While people still have value and power? If our (the masses) position gets worse over time, we better get on the ball with public awareness.


Mercurionio t1_jdrecm5 wrote

While 1st option is better, it, most likely, won't happen. Because rich people and power hungry maniacs/dictators won't give up wellbeing for peasants. Poor people are easier to manipulate, so most likely it will end up at "just survive" level. And AI will be used to brainwash them.

Classic dystopia.


acutelychronicpanic t1_jdribmr wrote

Idk. Ego and esteem will become far more valuable as resource scarcity decreases. You can't be the coolest kid on the block if there are no other kids.

Plus, while some (many?) wealthy people are primarily self-interested, they are not truly evil. Even being selfish, they would desire praise and the appreciation of people. Plenty actively desire to better humanity. They aren't cartoon villains.

The game isn't lost, we just need to be creative and think about what inventive structures genuinely make everyone better off. Its not too different from the alignment problem.

If you were unimaginably wealthy, and mostly selfish, wouldn't you prefer to be on top of a star trek style society rather than a blade runner dystopia? If the cost wasn't really that high?


stumppc t1_jdrix7r wrote

Governments are well placed to continue serving the public IF wealthy businesses and individuals pay appropriate tax levels. Don’t be fooled into thinking there is any reason for ‘austerity measures’ or other such nonsense when there are plenty of profits to go around. Regulated capitalism works, but without enough regulation it will fall apart for sure. Right now the US is too unregulated at the moment IMO, too much control by the wealthy. I think we’d all be surprised how quickly things would change in the US for the better if we ever saw national strikes for things like Medicare for All. The kinds of strikes like we see in Europe from time to time.


acutelychronicpanic t1_jdrv7lt wrote

The key word there is position. Anyone who's ever enabled cheats in a single player video game knows how hollow and boring raw "success" without a broader context is. You need a society to have a position. And the admiration of the desperate is far less satisfying (even to the selfish) than the admiration of the capable, educated, and well off.


race2tb t1_jds0bkv wrote

The government is run like a ponzi scheme , it will not matter what they do there will be a global economic collapse and debt restructure.At that point most of them will be replaced by new candidates as people revolt. This is the critical time and will dictate our future. I believe the morons will finally see the light at this point and elect people who are qualified rather than showmanship. If they do not they will enjoy the fruits of war and serfdom.


Newhereeeeee OP t1_jds1k1q wrote

You have too much faith in people and politicians. I think good leaders won’t be found and the people won’t elect the right people. The can will be kicked down the road every 4 years like every other problem


Actaeus86 t1_jdtakcm wrote

UBI will never happen on a global, or national level. Most likely not even on a state level. It’s a nice dream to think everyone will be able to get paid to sit around and do nothing but it will not happen.


Newhereeeeee OP t1_jdtivan wrote

I think it’ll come regardless. Corporations will be taxed to keep social services running. More people will end up needing social services because they’re not working. Shelters, food banks, unemployment etc. UBI as a social service is just the next step.


echohole5 t1_jdupn21 wrote

Yep, government will have no choice but to take some company profits, in some way, as companies will be the only entities with any money.

We might want to look at a sovereign wealth fund, like Norway has. The government could buy up 40% of every stock. The growth in company profits is about to go hyperbolic, now that they won't have labor costs. It might be a way to redistribute wealth from companies to citizens that isn't as adversarial as high taxes (which are also very easy for companies to avoid). It would also align the interests of companies, citizens and governments behind growth.

Just a thought.


Surur t1_jduv10t wrote

> So basically you are saying the current system is a ponzi scheme endorsed by governments requiring more and more people to keep contributing into it?

The current system being the thing called humanity, yes.

If humans did not take care of their elderly this would not be an issue.

But in Sweden they had a solution for this - it's called Ättestupa.


czk_21 t1_jdvjoeo wrote

oh really? when AI will be able to do everythign humans do-and much more efficiently, there is no reason for human to be in work anymore, its same concept which exists now and existed all the time, those who are better at the job replace those who are bad

for human society not to collapse, there needs to be some form of UBI, so I would say its basically guaranteed to happen, its just extended social benefits system which we have now


Actaeus86 t1_jdwcm9k wrote

The United States congress can’t manage to agree on anything, can you imagine trying to get the entire world to agree? Poorer countries wouldn’t be able to afford it, and I doubt rich countries will pay for it in other countries.