Submitted by lorepieri t3_xzwt0c in singularity

A society in which all basic human needs are provided at zero or very low cost without significant human work can be defined as basic post-scarcity.

Our civilization is getting close to the point where this is technically feasible.

To reach this milestone as soon as possible, we introduce here the Basic Post-scarcity Map project, an effort to map the current technological state of the art and to understand how far we are from a basic post-scarcity society. We are currently in alpha stage, and we are releasing early to gather feedback and collaborators.

This project is an attempt to provide unbiased answers to the following questions:

  • What technological advancements are needed to reach basic post-scarcity?
  • What is the state of the art, what resources are available to learn about it and who is currently working on improving it?
  • How far are we from achieving basic post-scarcity and what are the bottlenecks?

To accomplish this, the basic idea is to build two maps: the first where we will deconstruct the basic needs needed to reach basic post-scarcity and the technical milestones needed to satisfy them with minimal human work at the minimum cost. The second in which we input and update the state of the art for each of the technical milestones.

References to the current state of the art and the resources needed to learn more about it are collected in separate pages forming a shared library.

This is an open source and collaborative project. All contributions are fact-based, with no projections, opinions, marketing or propaganda.

We believe that having a searchable and living assessment of the state of the art will enable people who want to work towards this goal to know what is needed, what is currently feasible and who is currently working on what.

We are aware of the many limitations of this approach and in particular we know that technical bottlenecks are not the only roadblocks to a basic post-scarcity civilization. However, we also think that it is not unreasonable to assume that reducing the cost and the manpower associated with fulfilling basic needs will make it easier for public and / or private actors to provide them as widely as possible.

Our goal is to make this project simple to contribute and update. At this stage we need help creating technical milestones. Domain experts are particularly welcome to shine light on the state of the art for the relevant milestones in their respective fields.
Additionally, anyone with reference materials and / or knowledge of people currently involved in solving these problems can contribute by sharing their resources in the library.

The project is currently live at:

If you want to join us as part of the team and contribute regularly, we also have a Discord server:

We welcome feedback and contributions of any size.



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OsakaWilson t1_irp2iaj wrote

I assume you are aware of the book Fully Automated Luxury Communism.


lorepieri OP t1_irsikeu wrote

>Fully Automated Luxury Communism

Yes, even though I believe it to be a bit overkill. We don't need that level of tech advancement to reach basic post scarcity. No need for asteroid mining, AGI, self-replicating machines, breaktroughts in biotech or related.


Lawjarp2 t1_irqsvve wrote

Fully automated luxury capitalism, where everyone is rich enough to thrive and can choose their own destiny


OsakaWilson t1_irqup87 wrote

Capitalism no longer works in conditions of post scarcity. Just do a few mental experiments with it. It does not work.

They could still coerce people to work if they created false scarcity, but still that would not resemble Capitalism as we know it.

Post scarcity, communism/socialism is the system that will be compatible with the technology, just as Capitalism was most compatible with the technology of industrialization. Post scarcity communism/socialism is the only way that everyone could be rich enough to choose their own destiny.


lorepieri OP t1_irsku5j wrote

What if capitalism continues, but applies only to luxury and the higher levels of the Maslow's hierarchy of needs? It's very likely that the majority of people will not satisfied just with the basics.


OsakaWilson t1_irtpzlb wrote

No doubt markets would continue to some degree, but they would no longer drive the primary economic engine. Therefor, no longer an Capitalism.


Lawjarp2 t1_irrv20b wrote

Capitalism needs capital not human labour. Robots will be working that's what fully automated means.

Communism will never work in any scenario. To think money is the cause of all issues is stupid. The problem is with people. Remove all money and power will still exist in one or other way causing the same problem. Only shit heads think it will work.


epSos-DE t1_irpik83 wrote

Excellent idea :


Very good visual map for finding constraints in the development of a country or region.


Could be a nice tool for municipalities, regions who want to grow wealth.


postscarcitymap t1_irs0ky5 wrote


In fact, I personally believe that "catching up" is underrated when it comes to impact on human progress.

Directly, it is a much lower hanging fruit than pushing the frontier forward as it is easier to go through existing levels of technological development. Additionally, it helps the existing state of the art scale faster since the user base will grow larger.

Indirectly, it also supports novel technological development since it increases the proportion of the global population living at the state of the art and therefore capable of making contributions to improve upon it.


Aichdeef t1_irqc37y wrote

Needs should include energy (heating, cooling, refrigeration, cooking, transportation) and connectivity (wired/wireless/satellite). Universal Basic Services.


postscarcitymap t1_irs2ehp wrote

You are right. The current version is incomplete, especially when it comes to needs, as it is meant more as a way to show our approach and get early contributors on board.

If you are interested in sharing your thoughts on what the needs should be and/or how to break them down in technical milestones, feel free to join our Discord anytime. Everything is and will remain open source.


CoachAny t1_irqpu2z wrote

You can't just abolish scarcity. You would hurt the feelings of rich people.


lorepieri OP t1_irshwwy wrote

OMG, you are right. Closing the project right now. :)


OsakaWilson t1_irqvozx wrote

Oh, they will behave in a sufficiently detestable manner when scraping to maintain their amount of the wealth that people will not be averse to hurting their feelings.


SteppenAxolotl t1_irovmm2 wrote

AI driven post-scarcity in at least one metric is close at hand.


FranciscoJ1618 t1_irqm622 wrote

Very interesting article. I couldn't read it completely but I guess that it misses that misinformation is a multiplayer game.


ada201 t1_irqp9ph wrote

"Our civilization is getting close to the point where this is technically feasible" Why do you think this to be true? This could be a milennium or several more away. I don't disagree that there are exciting things happening in the field of AI research but I think that's extremely optimistic.


lorepieri OP t1_irs6te1 wrote

The goal of the project is basically estimating how much tech development is needed. Yea, you may say that the statement is a bit optimistic, but is based on the belief that we need advancement in robotic and AI, but nothing as crazy as AGI.

See also here for some background on the optimism:


ada201 t1_irs94v0 wrote

I see, I understand now. Seems like a pretty interesting project, good luck!


purple_hamster66 t1_irrjcqw wrote

Brilliant idea, but the trend does not imply it will ever happen IRL over a large population.

Anything can be automated, even “thought” can be automated (which is what AI does), but it’s a long way from “it can be done” to “people will want to do this”. Why?

  • Because competition is inbred. Siblings fight over attention. People compete over ideas, credit, honors, and being heard. Even when people are alone, they compete with themselves to better their condition & sharpen ideas. Large-scale Communism fails because it ignores these basic human behaviors. (Small-scale Communism actually works well, because it embraces the behaviors, ex, my group against your group).
  • Only 10% of the world has Uber or computers. The rest is working on it, but needs to find clean water & a stable political systems first.
  • If you can automate production, you can also automate destruction, like war robots, virus based weapons, info system invasion, and computer-destroying nanobots. You can’t get rid of bad guys by imagining them away.

lorepieri OP t1_irto4l9 wrote

All true, but if automation of the work activities becomes straightforward, it's a very unstable situation which can collapse to post-scarcity at any time. And it's enough for one state to do it to create a domino effect. So it's enough to have a single country revolting, a single new election, a carismatic leader. All in all, over the long term, I see this as highly likely.


Lawjarp2 t1_irqty5z wrote

If we are willing to give up on growth and accept inefficiency we can have basic necessities for free.


There is no point in keeping agriculture and agricultural land in free market. Most of the countries subsidise agriculture heavily already. Take all the land, form a giant distributed drone farm network, make it compulsory for everyone to take part in it like video games. Bonus if it's fully automated or has VR.

Reason nobody does this is the massive failure of communism which tried to do the same. The difference I believe was that they still needed people and falsely assumed that money is the problem while people are always the source of problem with or without money.

Difficulty: insanely hard. Every mf who has read history will oppose it.


Stop using homes as financial instrument and fix land and home rates. A free market here also makes little sense. Some land becoming more valuable doesn't straight away help get more of the same. Sure there will eventually be more built if there is an option to. But most of the times it's just expensive because it's expensive

Difficulty: insanely hard. It will cause an economic reset


ArgentStonecutter t1_irqemly wrote

There's actually a sub for this, and it's only marginally relevant at best to singularity theory.


frenetickticktick t1_irpeb88 wrote

Until the oil starts becoming scarce... you're kidding right?


[deleted] t1_irpwwns wrote



Mechalus t1_irq6x22 wrote

There was a time when the average person spent every waking minute in search of food and resources. In time, technology made their life easier. And eventually, they only had to work about 10-12 hours a day to survive. Further technological advances eventually resulted in the 8 hour work day. And in recent times, that has dropped to less time, more flexible schedules, and/or work from home for many people. That’s certainly not the case for all. But these are growing trends.

And the nature of the work changed. We went from hunting and gathering to Grubhub and 3D printing.

Since we figured out fire, every minute of humanity’s existence has been devoted to achieving more with less. That trend has rarely slowed and never stopped.

So why do you believe, as technology continues to improve faster every day, it is going to stop now?


purple_hamster66 t1_irrh9iy wrote

Who is this “we” you speak of? I think you mean the 10% of the world that has grubhub & 3D printing, right? You are projecting your first-world experiences onto people who spend all day finding clean drinking water, for whom $25 is a major investment. 45% of Chinese people have no computer in the house. 4% in rural India have access to a computer.


Mechalus t1_irsb5qn wrote

All true. And you think it will remain that way forever? We are all advancing. Some faster than others for sure. But we're all headed in the same direction.


purple_hamster66 t1_irsd3rm wrote

We might be in the first phases of a societal evolution, but looking back at the technological revolution of the last 100 years and how it’s only affected 10% of the populace, I have my doubts. I don’t see the upper castes in India sharing this with the lower castes, nor do I believe the lower castes would accept it because they think their place is to serve others, not to share in the bounty of others.

I don’t see bad guys deciding that they have all their basic needs met and so they don’t need to be bad anymore. They steal because they want more than basic. They cheat because that’s how they were brought up. They harm others because they were harmed.


Mechalus t1_irssb72 wrote

> the last 100 years and how it’s only affected 10% of the populace

Every nation on earth has been drastically impacted by the last 100 years of technological growth. A quick Google search indicates approximately 63% of people in the world have access to the internet. That means 63% of the world can learn anything, at any time. How many people could research a topic on Wikipedia, learn a skill from a Youtube video, have a conversation with an AI, or stream Netflix 100 years ago?

100 years ago most people didn't own a book, only about 20% could even read, and they had likely never spoken to anyone outside of their home town. Now 63% have access to the accumulated knowledge of the human race, and can have real-time conversations with people on the opposite side of the planet.

So no, it's not just the evil greedy rich people that benefit.

That said, yeah, there will always be people who have more. But post-scarcity as a concept doesn't necessarily contradict that. The idea is that the baseline for everyone is raised. Not everyone will be able to own a mega-yacht. But everyone will be able to eat and have their basic needs met. That's the goal.


purple_hamster66 t1_irstien wrote

Only 4% of rural China has a computer in the house. 40% of India citizens lack a computer, too. 1B people have no hope of sharing in the improvements of tech, let alone the improvements you’re hoping for the rest of the world.

The impact of tech on these people has been negative! The main concerns in their lives are finding enough clean drinking water — because the local Pepsi plant is using it — and not dying from diseases brought by tourists. When the nearest healthcare is a day away, and almost no one has a motor vehicle, you don’t really care about Wikipedia.


Mechalus t1_irsuvph wrote

Yes. The world still sucks for some people.

And I'm not saying that all of the world is perfect for everyone today. Nobody has said that, or is even attempting that argument. But compared to 100 years ago, it is far better for most. And all historic trends indicate that it will get better for more people over time. Technology and the capabilities it offers is spreading, not receding.

> 1B people have no hope of sharing in the improvements of tech, let alone the improvements you’re hoping for the rest of the world.

But around 7 billion do, and that number grows every day. Do you really believe it's just going to stop?


purple_hamster66 t1_irtddbm wrote

I think that people will continue the current trend of descending into poverty. There are already a considerable percentage of people in the US who have to decide whether to take meds or to eat, because they can’t pay for both, and those folks, who have gotten the benefits of, say modern household heating, are suffering to the point where they don’t care if Wikipedia exists or not.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t do it. I’m saying that it won’t solve most of our societal issues.


Mechalus t1_irudslw wrote

> I think that people will continue the current trend of descending into poverty.

On average, the number of people living in poverty, throughout the world, has diminished every year since at least the 1820’s.

And yes, you can find some county in some state that got worse within the last year or some other specific window of time. And yes, you can point to people in undeveloped nations, or even in the US, who still live in absolutely horrific conditions. I’m not blind to that. It just has nothing to do with my point. Because the number of people suffering is shrinking, not growing.

We’re talking about a global trend that started thousands of years ago, continued in a very specific direction, never stopped, gets faster every year, and ends with post-scarcity.

It’s not going to happen tomorrow. And it’s not going to be easy. It most likely won’t be an entirely pleasant transition. And not everyone is going to experience it at the same time. But nothing has ever stopped it. And I see no reason to believe that a shrinking number of poor people in China or the latest round of rich douchbags is going to suddenly reverse the momentum of technological advancement and proliferation across the world. Nothing ever has. Nothing can. It’s human nature. We, as a species, are never willing to stop looking for ways to make our lives easier and happier.

There are a few regressives out there. And there are certainly a lot of apathetic naysayers and doomsayers. But they never really amount to anything at the end of the day. On their best day they are a minor speed bump for the people who want to get shit done.

An asteroid impact, super-virus, or extinction-level global nuclear war might set the trend of advancement back. But that’d be about it.

Consider this. The last few years in the US saw the rise of a regressive President and outspokenly regressive political party, the worst pandemic since the Spanish Flu, the rise of the mega-billionaires, and the collapse of the global supply chain.

And at the same time, we saw the largest surge in technological innovation we’ve seen in our lifetimes, more frequent and more serious talks about UBI, and serious consideration for how we get work done in general.

Yes, some people in some places are worse off today than three years ago. But on average, across the world, we progressed. That trend continues.


purple_hamster66 t1_irw01m0 wrote

You make a convincing argument, overall, with 2 exceptions:

  1. housing is a basic need that’s neither scalable nor sustainable. Sure, we can bring costs down a little by 3D printing a house but we’re still going to pave over some forrest to make new land. We’re out of land in most major cities.

  2. One big fly in the ointment is the mega-billionaires, who accumulate assets needed for the shift. The shrinking middle class has been trending towards indentured slavery in the last decade, worldwide. As the saying goes: the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The powerful Uber-rich have to be convinced to change this trend, as they make money by keeping scarcity at the forefront. And they have not changed in 100 years so why change now?

Even China, who has centralized control over their business processes, allows mega-billionaires to accumulate wealth and power. People gladly sign up for 100-year leases on apartments in Shanghai, and call that progress because their salaries increased 4x in the last decade. They’re just production slaves, who have to cheat, steal, lie and work 70 hours/week to a maintain their places in the world, not equal partners with the billionaires, and that’s in a country that claims that everyone is equal.


Mechalus t1_irw6qrd wrote

> 1) housing is a basic need that’s neither scalable nor sustainable. Sure, we can bring costs down a little by 3D printing a house but we’re still going to pave over some forrest to make new land.

Population growth has slowed, and has begun to reverse in some places. In addition, pretty much every study done on the subject has indicated that access to technology, education, and a general better quality of life, results in a reduced birthrate.

Point being, population is not an issue. And in places where it is, better tech allows for more vertical expansion.

> We’re out of land in most major cities.

But we have plenty of land to make new cities, which is made easier and cheaper with better tech. Tech makes it easier to build in places that were once impractical.

>The shrinking middle class

Again, post-scarcity does not automatically mean equality. The goal isn't for the poorest person and the richest to have the same income. The goal is for the poorest to be able to live a better life. I don't care if Elon Musk can fly to Mars or buy another yacht. What's important is that the poor and sick get food, shelter and healthcare. And it'd be real nice if people didn't have to live in fear of a medical bill that would financially destroy them.

Also, I think you overestimate the impact and worth of the mega-billionaires. Out of curiosity, I did a quick search of the top 10 riches people on the planet, and their estimated worth. It totals to roughly $1.2 trillion. Another search indicates that humanity as a whole has around $40 trillion, with assets estimated at around $1.3 quadrillion.

Now, I'm sure all of those numbers took a lot of fuzzy math to work out. But the point is, the mega-billionaires really aren't all that important. They just seem important because everything they do becomes a feature of the 24 hour news cycle. If Amazon or Tesla goes bankrupt, we'll survive.

> apartments in Shanghai

Again, you are back to pointing out specific examples and when we're talking about a global trend.

> They’re just production slaves, who have to cheat, steal, lie and work 70 hours/week to a maintain their places in the world

And yet, it's better than it was 100 years ago. Most countries no longer allow children in factories. And as far as I know, the concept of the "company store" is dead.

Even though it still sucks, it is far better to be poor today than it was 100 years ago. And it will be better in 10 years.


genshiryoku t1_irqojfy wrote

It is. Historically change in wealth distribution never came from technological progress alone. It was always a social movement were people fought and gave their lives for the liberties and relative equality they have.

We're not going to get a post scarcity distributed economy out of itself. Lots of people are going to die to fight for that right which is going to take decades and the transition is going to be extremely bloody.


OsakaWilson t1_irqw4i2 wrote

Regardless of the votes that you get for this, what you said remains true.


lorepieri OP t1_irs7e6g wrote

You are probably right. The scope of this project is only to look at the tech side. It will not be the end of story, as political change is needed. But once the tech evidence is there and clearly mapped by an open source project, it will be easier to motivate people to make further steps.