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Where are we at with robots per human?

That aside, it's a fair point— lots of people are working on robots. But we should be building more robots. We shouldn't be talking about "how can we create American jobs," we should be talking about "how can we replace every American job with a robot."




If we are going to talk about "how can we replace every American job with a robot", we'll have to talk about how replace humans can live ennobling lives of leisures rather than either pushing shopping carts or experiencing empty hedonism.

It would be a good conversation. I don't hear it starting. In fact, there was discussion of these issues in the 1960's and 1970's. By now, with the various crises on our heals, no one wants to consider the problems in this fashion.


I think it's way late to start talking about that. In America, we have this puritanical ideal that working leads to happiness— or that working is, itself, happiness. Scientifically speaking, that's bollocks. To take the classic case study, people who win the lottery aren't any happier or unhappier than their workaday peers. They are exactly as happy.

Real happiness seems to come from something like the Buddhist ideas of mindfulness and acceptance, and that's true whether you're a poverty-sworn monk, a janitor, a CEO, or a pot-smoking layabout.

The idea of "rewarding work" vs. "empty hedonism" is an arbitrary Western construct with little basis in reality.


Forgive me if I've misread, but I think what you're putting forth as acknowledged fact here is in fact controversial. You seem to be referencing the 1978 study "Lottery Winners and Accident Victims: Is Happiness Relative?" as well as, perhaps, the idea of the Hedonic Treadmill. Brickman's ideas are considered outdated.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/690806 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedonic_treadmill

That's not to say that working, alone, producing happiness is a correct idea, but it might make sense that accomplishment does. And these levels of accomplishment - cleaning the floor well for a janitor, for instance - can differ. Most people desire to "make a difference," another way of saying the same thing. If you're talking about deathbed wishes when looking back on a life, the more positive impact your life visited on others, the better.


My guess is that people with low skills will still find work but not as much (part-time) and consequently their pay will be lower. However, if robots are doing all the work then production becomes cheaper which means products become cheaper which again means that people can buy more with less money. So in reality people will not become poorer. The economic level will stay the same or probably increase. The purchase power will probably increase. Question is, what do you do with all that extra time?

Well, this is only one scenario of the things that can happen.


However, if robots are doing all the work then production becomes cheaper which means products become cheaper which again means that people can buy more with less money.

That's a big assumption there. More likely, companies will experience higher profit margins rather than pass along the entirety of the cost savings.


True,but it only takes a startup with nothing to lose to enter the market and undercut everybody.


Where are we at with robots per human?

What exactly is that a measure of?


It's a measure of the ability of automation to replace human labor.

Let's say that, as a middle-class American, I consume enough to employ ten manual laborers full-time. If we have ten robots for every person, then everyone can live like me and no one has to do the physical labor.




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