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Why should we fight that? That's no different from taxi companies fighting Uber, or how Intuit lobbies congress to avoid automatic filing of taxes. Hampering progress for the greater good just because it harms you in the short term is never a good idea.



This wouldn't harm me in the short term alone, it would be a lost career and a life catastrophe. A taxi driver can work as an Uber driver. I cannot become an automated programmer. So I don't give a damn about the "greater good" in this context, and question that premise also: Sibling mentions getting used to everybody being retirees, but what I see is collective poverty with token conveniences. Time will tell, etc.


A Taxi driver can't become an Uber driver when all Uber cars are self driving, which will happen and likely happen far sooner than programming gets automated away.

HN doesn't bat an eye at Uber, AirBnB, Netflix, Amazon disrupting and taking away jobs. But it's interesting once programming jobs are threatened, some become defensive.


In any case, HN is not one person, and you will not find me defending those businesses.


Are you saying you don't think Uber, Amazon, etc should exist? Why? Because they are disruptive and potentially taking away jobs?


That's not what you said. You said no one on HN doesn't bat an eye at Uber, AirBnB, etc. I personally think the way those two companies in particular flaunt laws is unethical, and I think they should be punished until they start following them. That's not the same as thinking they shouldn't exist.


I think that's a different issue. And I also agree with you, I personally don't give AirBnB business because of ethical issues. But, I was entirely referring to how they are disrupting things.


How does Amazon flaunt the law?


"Those two companies in particular" were Uber and AirBnB, the only two companies I named in my comment. I never said Amazon flaunted the law.


If I had an AI that could write code better than I it would be AMAZING. As a solo game dev I could be 1000000 times more productive and spend all of my time designing and balancing the game with the help of the greatest dev of all time!


Yeah but: how are you going to turn your labor into "food" and "shelter".


If he's a game dev, he could sell his game?


Retirees aren't the richest bunch, true. Collective poverty isn't an unlikely outcome for the vast majority of humans. Still, "poverty" need not be uncomfortable when "token conveniences" like a private home, food, entertainment, and opportunities for (even if economically useless) creativity and learning are in abundance.

An interesting analysis on a world with increased automation via emulated brains of the best of humanity: http://ageofem.com/


> Hampering progress for the greater good just because it harms you in the short term is never a good idea.

I'd love to hear your thesis for this, in a way that doesn't whitewash away the negative effects on the individual. If you're going to claim we should all be throwing ourselves on the burning pyre of progress no matter what I'd love to hear more of a compelling argument than "never a good iea".


Not OP, but I'd like to offer up a reframing. Progress gives us the opportunity to grow, to adapt, and to learn new things. Do you want to be the person who is stuck as the person they were when they first entered the workforce? Wouldn't you rather be someone who remains present in whatever moment in history it is now, and constantly redefines themselves according to the environment they are.

There's no reason why you have to think "I'm a software engineer, therefore any attack on software engineers is an attack on me." You could, just as easily, define yourself by "I'm a person. I do software engineering because the money is good right now and that is what the economy happens to need right now, but if in the future society ceases to need software engineers, I'll retrain with whatever skill is highly valued then."

I remember coming out of college, happy to learn about the world, and thinking how sad it was that people's identities were so wrapped up with their jobs that they were broken when their jobs were eliminated. I felt that shift happening soon after I turned 30, where I started to get just a little bit too comfortable and too proud of what I was rather than what I did, and then quit so that I'd have that opportunity to grow again.


You always have these great insights - you should blog! Or at least tell us what you have been reading...


>I'll retrain with whatever skill is highly valued then.

Software development has been invaded by mouth-breathers who don't give a shit about what they're doing, and I don't see a way to switch careers as an adult chasing money without becoming one of those.


Well, it might involve respecting fellow human beings and acquiring a bit of humility.

And I don't meant that facetiously - interpersonal skills matter. A lot more than pure technical skills, because they allow you to leverage groups of people to achieve bigger goals.


One way to do that would be to give a shit about what you're doing even after you switch careers.


But I'm not whitewashing away the negative effects of the individual. We'd all be personally very screwed if programming was automated. But I've never seen anyone on HN ever stand up and defend truck drivers, lawyers, taxi drivers, hotel workers, factory workers etc all who currently have their job threatened to various degrees. The double standard is what I'm complaining about. You can't have it both ways.


I'm not the person you asked. But for me, I think we have for too-long "fought" pure progress in the name of social-welfare and protection. So much so that that effort affects and pervades every facet of life. Just look around you and think how many jobs would not exist, or how many generations of people would not have made it this far if it weren't for societal-level intervention on the part of a state. The net-result of that is that if we were to now have some sort of revolutionary piece of progress, it would displace millions if not billions of individuals. Of course that is bad.

I know it sounds cruel to talk about people like a resource or as an animal, but that is precisely how I see society as treating lots of us in the name of a greater good. Under the guise of social-welfare we've increased our numbers to levels that never would have occurred naturally by us simply taking care of the really needy.

So now we're stuck in this predicament. Either we progress our society, and potentially affect a lot of people negatively. Or help everyone slightly-struggling and below out by preventing a technological-revolution so we can grow a bit at a time, and delay the problem for the next generation.


Maybe it's never a good idea at a species/progress level. But it's acceptable that trying to stop progress is a good (albeit selfish) idea at the individual level.




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