The last message Stephen Hawking posted to a public internet forum was an answer to a question in a Reddit AMA, querying how humanity will weather an age of technological unemployment.
Professor Hawking's answer said that there was no problem with robots taking jobs -- only with the dividends from that robotic efficiency accruing solely to the capital classes thanks to market dynamics, rather than being broadly shared through redistributive state intervention.
(See also: Why Socialism? by Albert Einstein)
If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.
Stephen Hawking AMA [/r/science/Reddit]
(via Late Stage Capitalism)
When teachers from the largest school district in America walked off the job this week, they were not campaigning for wages: rather, they were demanding smaller classes; more librarians, counselors, aides and special-ed teachers; and to rein in the Charter school movement, and that last demand is the key to understanding the whole thing.
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