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)
Smarter people than me have pointed out that "work-life balance" says the quiet part out loud, implicitly confirming that you stop living when you're at work. Miles Matrix's Dungeons and Deadlines makes all this much realer with acerbic wit and rockin' chiptunes. My spouse left me after five turns. (via Four Short Links)
The China Law Blog (previously) is one of my favorite sources of insight into the secret workings of the businesses that produce the majority of the world's daily-use goods.
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