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DukkyDrake t1_ja3e3op wrote

Given abundant robot labor, I expect the largest component of costs will be the cost of energy and raw materials.

That can mean much cheaper goods and services in general, that's an important part of his $1200/month UBI idea. While you can count on the labor part being cheap, it's not a given the raw materials will be a lot cheaper. There will be massive demand for materials as people spread out from cities, even with massive increase in raw materials production with cheap robot labor. The labor part of installing utilities may not be a prob, but certain equipment you're just not going to make onsite. The most expensive things will still be those made in other people's factories. You just can't hope to be 100% self-sufficient and live a technologically modern lifestyle, even with robot labor.


Pug124635 OP t1_ja3gcgh wrote

Right okay I understand. Do you actually believe we will get ai robots in 20yrs capable of installing waters main etc? It just seems such a complex task for a robot.


civilrunner t1_ja3jnd9 wrote

Maybe? But if it is it will likely be one of the last things automated. General purpose robotics that are humanoid or can do all the same tasks as a human are likely the most complicated to make. With that being said no one truly knows where AI and therefore robotics will be in 20 years and it's definitely possible.

I wouldn't worry about job security though, if that were to happen we would likely have had UBI or something for a long while due to other mass automation (trucking, manufacturing, generative design, creative, etc...).

Even if you can't make everything on site, the cost of shipping and resources will still be just the cost of those robots and energy (which would also be built up by robotics and if we had that level of robotic production it's likely that fusion has been built out so energy would be near free), and then the cost to make those robotics would also be the cost of the robots that built them.

If robots build robots which can then build everything else including general contractor work (aka general purpose robotics) without the need for any human bottleneck then you start this absurdly powerful compounding growth trend that drives the effective cost of anything to near 0. The only limits would be land and raw materials. Land could be optimized if labor is effectively free by building vertically (vertical farms, lab grown meat, etc...). Raw materials could be mined from asteroids if we have said level of full automation and fusion propulsion driven reusable spacecraft (it's unlikely we would do this otherwise since the cost to get said materials is prohibitively expensive compared to just mining them on earth).

So could a robot at one point become general enough to do all the work of construction? Of course it can. will that happen in 20 years? No one knows. Should you be concerned? Probably not since at that point the whole economy would have to be rewritten and well we'd have plenty of abundance for everyone.


visarga t1_ja4402m wrote

I think raw materials might not be needed anymore if we can recycle everything. At some point we will have to treat industrial materials like biology, they will have an ecosystem of their own. Of course if we want to expand we need new materials and space.


civilrunner t1_ja453uu wrote

I agree, though I also think we'll still want to build with new materials since we'll want to expand and increase the standard of living and such, but yes we'll be able to recycle a lot (or everything) so we won't need as much and won't have nearly the same environmental impact.


IcebergSlimFast t1_ja5v8v9 wrote

Presumably there will be a massive amount of salvageable and reusable materials in the thousands upon thousands of office buildings people will no longer be using.


Interesting-Corgi136 t1_ja6vle5 wrote

Yes if we want the AI can bend our environment into ideal shapes. It can be all natural stuff they use and create, structures good for the environment. It all depends what it prioritizes but things like structure for humans is an easy problem for a super intelligence I'd think.


DukkyDrake t1_ja3wj9x wrote

I think we won't really know timings until after ~2027(Intel's target) when zetta scale compute starts to come into economic reach. If you tried to build that with today tech, you'll need around 20 nuclear power plants to power it.

The possible futures are wide open.

The Economics of Automation: What Does Our Machine Future Look Like?


IluvBsissa t1_ja46hnt wrote

AMD said 2035 for zettascale...who will win the bet ?


DukkyDrake t1_ja67ct2 wrote

Intel & co haven't exactly been delivering the goods recently, so not high confidence.


ruferant t1_ja4e3k7 wrote

I do a lot of repairs on 100-year-old houses for Less well off homeowners. Frequently whatever I'm dealing with has already had one or two repairs sometime in the last century, it's head scratching stuff that will be difficult for an AI to duplicate. this robot is like 5 years old. Materials aren't sourced on site, and it requires an operator, but it's doing the work of several Masons and only requires a minimal amount of expertise from the worker. TBH I didn't watch this video but I've watched a bunch of individual ones, and this said it had 10. If a robot comes along halfway through and puts in piping for water and electricity can you not imagine a robot that can build an entire home. The amount of clay in any location can vary a lot, but almost every location has some clay. Maybe we go back to the ancient Mesopotamia style of living in mud brick home


SoylentRox t1_ja6om4a wrote

Well there is a solution to this. Instead of assuming the AI can figure out how to repair any arbitrary house (though it might actually be doable), if houses were factory built, the robots/AI can be much more limited.

Basically, make the whole house/office building out of flat panels and other objects designed to fit into the dimensions of a max size load truck and easy to assemble on site. Robot trucks haul the pieces to the job site, robot cranes lift them into place, robots probably ride the piece up (no OSHA standards for them!) and use their arms to pull it into alignment and bolt/weld into place.

So the solution would be to basically take a 100 year old house and replace it with a brand new house where it's been made to look externally like the same house.

The new stuff would be robot repairable, with everything behind panels that robots can easily remove and subdivided into modules that can be easily removed and replaced.


Talkat t1_ja5aj44 wrote

I personally think absolutely. 20 years is a very long time. Tesla will start mass manufacturing their robot in 2-3 years. They will use all the robots produced for 2-5 years.

So 4-8 years they will start selling them. They will be connected to the data center where a strong AI will understand the command/job given it, and then it will send back simple instructions to the robot.

I think send driving will be solved well before then so they will have lots of compute to help with training.

Connecting utilities is a walk in the park. However I believe the housing will likely be built off-site with options to be self sufficient. Otherwise the robots just connect it to the utilities.

Additionally by then you will have autonomous heavy machinery as well (eg bulldozers) so the AI at HQ will be able to create the plans for the entire project and then send the instructions to hundreds of humanoid robots and heavy machinery with Tesla cars/semis to move everything around


aaron_in_sf t1_ja6s1qh wrote

I think the best way to interpret this is to always ask whether there is something fundamentally limiting or constrained about a given issue, because if not, the broader assertion is that when the relative cost of energy and computation go towards zero, anything that is amenable to solution via application of those factors becomes on a long enough time scale just an engineering problem. A simple matter of engineering as they say.

Eg the question of being on or off grid presupposes that there is a grid in the sense we mean it today and more importantly that it is a fundamental determinant of what is plausible.

The thrust of this idea about robot built houses is undoubtedly not just that grid connection will be a trivial and well solved problem, but that it may be a red herring because it may not be necessary in the sense it is today.

With enough energy, you can pull water out of the air; and with the right energy and tech you can dispense with gray water and wastewater.

That's probably the far down the line extreme but the theory is the same for incremental improvements.

There is a world in which the limits we have are the limits of physics.

I don't expect to see it and don't have a great deal of faith anyone will, given current obstacles, but I think it's a lot less far fetched and a lot more plausible than we would have thought conceivable only a couple decades ago.