Talk Points for

PARDON THIS DISRUPTION

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Pardon The Disruption addresses the exponential expansion of technology, and how it is now disrupting the law itself and our ability to govern.  We have lost our privacy as technology stripped it from us while we were willing participants.  We have numerous laws that are now unenforceable because the internet does not respect boundaries nor our sovereignty.  Left uncontrolled, we will be entering an age where robotic labor will replace all human labor setting up incredible pressure to reinvent ourselves as a society.  In addition, we are on the verge of creating a robotic consciousness that will call into question what it means to be human or conscious.  Human enhancements will also bring into question how far we are willing to go.  There is a raging debate between many computer scientists concerning Artificial General intelligence (AGI).  It represents an existential threat to our survival but calls to have it banned are unrealistic given are inability control other countries such as Iran or North Korea.  Moore’s Law and exponential expansion of technology will be explained.

 

What issues do you see that will be most seriously impacted?

 

1)  Our loss of privacy is occurring as we speak. 

Big data is a short cut to knowing many things about you just based on your transactions.  All cell phone communication is recorded and stored.  All computer searches, credit card transactions.  Any bad decision made as an adolescent or while intoxicated is now readily available for friend a foe alike forever.  We are becoming a very unforgiving society.  We no longer have a reset button on information.  (P. 52)

2)  Our loss of sovereignty in our own countries

Internet passes across all boarders.  Two examples are pornography and gambling.  The internet site will emanate from a country that has no laws of prohibition but is a direct violation of the other countries laws.  Presently there is no way to stop it.  Germany prohibits denial of holocaust.  Done in US all the time on internet.  Muslim nations prohibit criticizing the prophet or desecrating the Koran.  Western nations do it all the time with immunity.

3)  Genetic manipulation of the human race. 

Will cure horrible diseases first and then will be used to enhance, raise IQ, lengthen life span, improve vision, etc.  Man has taken over evolution and it is now goal directed.  (P. 99)

4)  fMRI brain scanning as a foolproof lie detector test

Test case is on appeal out of Maryland, state v. Gary Smith from a murder trial.  What happens when no one can lie?  Huge changes will occur.  P. 24

5)  Robotic labor displacing all human labor.  

This has been happening in major industry for the past 3 decades. The auto industry, for example, uses 36% fewer employees because of robotic assembly. Scientists are working on a robot that will cost only $10,000 robot that is easily trained to do most human tasks.  Robotic transportation will do away with all commercial drivers.  People are freed from drudgery but to do what?

6)  Artificial augmentation of the human mind

MIT computer 1960 was 29,000 lbs. in a basement.  The IPhone is 1 million times cheaper, 100,000 times smaller (4 oz.), and 1,000 times more powerful.  IPhone 5 is equal to supercomputer of 1997 and gives access to communication that Pres. Clinton had in 1992.  Going 20 years into the future they will be the size of a postage stamp.  At some point we will augment the human brain with communication devices as well as chips and microprocessors.  We are then a two tiered society – the enhanced and the unenhanced.  Brain implants already exists with thousands treated for Parkinson’s with deep brain stimulation.  Paraplegics are now able to move a cursor on a computer screen.

7)  Eventual Artificial General intelligence. 

The computer can actually think and learn and discover 1 million times faster than a human.  6,000 years of discovery done in 6 months. 

8) Robotic Consciousness is a Real Possibility.

Theoretical Physicist, Michio Kaku, in his new book, The Future of The Mind, Kaku defines consciousness as “the process of creating a model of the world using multiple feedback loops in various parameters [such as temperature, space and time] in order to accomplish a goal [such as finding shelter, mates or food]”. If this is correct then Robotic "Consciousness" is inevitable. He goes one step further stating that at some point in the not to distant future it may become possible to upload our brain to a computer, neuron for neuron; send thoughts and emotions around the world on a "brain-net"; control computers and robots with our mind; push the very limits of immortality; and perhaps even send our consciousness across the universe. A recent SciFi motion picture, Transcendence demonstrates the real possibility of Robotic Consciousness.

9)  How will technology affect job growth & productivity. 

Robotic labor will have the greatest impact, as it allows for massive growth in productivity.  Production Robots work all day long, require no health benefits, are absent of labor disputes, at no costs other than the initial purchase, electricity and the occasional repair. Robotic production is massively more precise and faster than any human by huge margins. 

10) What are the effects of these technological advances on the economy?

In the book we highlight several industries that have already been disrupted by rapidly advancing technology: manufacturing, newspapers, the music business and others.  In every case, productivity skyrocketed.  Costs dropped. Quality, almost universally, improved.  Once they reach scale, there are scores of industries – (again) manufacturing, health diagnosis and drug delivery, energy and food production – that will see another series of stair-stepped advances that will lower costs, provide better diagnosis and treatment, and lower the cost of living. 

11) Will these advanced technologies provide more jobs?

In a word: No. Technological unemployment is real.  Since the dawn of the industrial revolution we have always encountered some measure of job displacement from technology, but now it has gone on steroids.  Robotics, artificial intelligence, internet connectivity, increased computing power, and 3-D printing (soon) are providing those who are responsible for production the means to cheaply and efficiently produce output without the need for human labor. 

In the past, when technology displaced jobs whole new industries arose (think railroad, airplanes, and computers) – perhaps bigger than the one they replaced – that provided more jobs than ever.  But this time it’s different. 

12) Why is it different now?

Because the pace of technological advancement has gone from a linear progression to an exponential progression (Moore’s Law in action), the advances have far outpaced the ability of the individual and society to keep up. Wholesale work displacement is occurring – and will continue to do so – until the bulk of our labor is performed by non-human participants.

This changes everything. This is a whole new economic era we are entering.  It is a workplace engagement paradigm shift that initiates the end of the jobs era that began with the Industrial Revolution.

13) How has the reaction to tech advances played out in the past?

Historically, when one technological advancement occurs, some are adversely impacted as they are displaced or diminished by the newer technology.  And we haven’t liked it. This happened 250 years ago with the invention of the “Spinning Jenny” that reduced the amount of work it took to make yarn.  Legend has it that not long afterwards, a young man named Ned Ludd led angry workers to destroy stocking frames in a violent response to technological advances that threatened their livelihoods.  Since the late 18th century, “Luddites” have fought technological advances – especially as it impacted labor and jobs.  It didn’t work then.  It won’t work now.

14) Are there other factors at work besides technology?

Yes, the largest of which is the fact that those who have the potential to hire – aren’t.  They got lean during the Great Recession – for necessity and also, profitability – and learned that it’s not a bad thing for survival or for shareholders.  They have moved to more contract work, project work, part-timers and temps. The full-time employment concept from yesteryear is becoming a thing of the past.  It doesn’t fit project, seasonal or even daily company needs.  Hence, the move to alternate workplace engagement relationships.

15) How is this playing out now?

These trends are confirmed by employment and manufacturing output data. Since year 2000, the U.S. has added 34 million people.  Since year 2000, the private sector of the economy has added virtually zero net new jobs.  Zero net new jobs. In my home state of North Carolina, nearly 400,000 manufacturing jobs disappeared between 1990 and today. Yet manufacturing output increased.  The reasons are clear: Technological unemployment and potential employer aversion to adding human labor – especially employees. 

16) So what’s the end result of all of this?

If these technological advances will lead us to an abundant future (and I believe there’s a good chance they will), we will go through a transition period to get there.  Calling it a “rough patch” minimizes this impact greatly.  As technology continues to displace the need for human labor, and as potential employers shun anyone but the most essential, our productivity will increasingly be done by fewer and fewer people.  The economic and social impact of the convergence of these trends can be astounding.  We may have a scenario where tens of millions of willing-to-work Americans are seeking a livelihood in an economy that doesn’t need or want their production – or even their attendance.  That is not a scenario for societal tranquility.  All of this has an impact on our economic system and even our system of governance.  Leaders need to recognize this and begin preparations to minimize or mitigate the impacts of these developments immediately.

Productivity will explode while job growth will be impaired. Robotic labor will displace human labor.  It remains to be seen but if they displace all human labor we are on a collision course for disaster unless we change economy to account for this.  What happens when man cannot trade labor for wages?  Our entire economy is based on this simple plan.  Latest study from Oxford looked at last 500 years and determined that technology is now destroying more jobs than it creates.

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