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Self Healing infrastructure means the end of a compensation requirement...

In a post I submitted to Facebook regarding the rise of automation and robotics and the fear of mounting unemployment a discussion occurred in the comments and the question below was asked by Bill Davidson:

"There will have to be a revolution in how we "compensate" people. "

In response I wrote the following hypothetical scenario in the vein of this post and this post that I've written that paint the possible future in a story. The gist being here that over time the *need* to compensate will become obsolete since the agents that we would be getting services from won't require payment. We like wise won't *need* to be performing work to get payment the self healing infrastructure that we construct would just provide it for us.

Imagine this scenario:

You go to bed at 11 pm and promptly at 7 am your robotic assistant raps at your door bidding you to wake. The assistant has already prepared breakfast which is waiting hot in your kitchen. You open the bedroom door and find your slippers placed for your use. You head down stairs and sit down and your assistant asks if you'd like coffee or orange juice, you motion which and it pours it for you. After breakfast you are ready for a shower, the robotic assistant had already left the kitchen while you were eating and prepared a bath and towel. You go up and take your shower and as you exit the bathroom the assistant heads in to clean it. After you've gotten dressed you head for the door to go take a walk, you open the door to find 2 of your other robotic assistants at work, one is planting germanium's near your hedges and another is trimming one of two apple trees you have in the front yard. As you head down the path the assistants of many of your neighbors are also at work. Here, one is replacing the screws on a mailbox door...there, another is walking another neighbors dogs, there further off two robotic assistants are helping a new neighbor move in and are carrying in a couch. Just as you are about to walk down the street a vehicle pulls up and a robot gets out and recognizing you, calls at you and indicates that your weekly groceries have arrived. You continue walking and tell it to go ahead and place the groceries on the stoop and notify your assistant to place them inside.

You continue walking down the street and see robots doing things like sweeping the street, watering lawns and repairing traffic lights. For you this is an average day, you don't have a job to do because the Robots do everything...the groceries you were delivered were not "compensated" for but instead were delivered as part of the active infrastructure established by the local community years before. The milk in the milk container was synthesized using custom organisms that are fed the constituent elements and excrete milk as a by product, these organisms were designed not by humans but by other robots which have rapidly advanced the field of synthetic biology. The meat you are delivered is varied in type and all fresh cuts of genetically engineered tissues all grown in factories run by robots, among the cuts you enjoy are lamb, pork , bison and chicken...all of it virtually indistinguishable from killed animals but none of it required the death of any animal to procure. The cells having been gathered using non invasion swabs and used to create stem cells which were then re-differentiated to express entire tissues and organs desired for human consumption.

The vegetables and tubers packed in the robots container also come from various hydroponic and aquaponic and traditional farms...all fielded and managed by robot farmers. The question of how this infrastructure is powered is the only remaining one and it is answered by the many highly efficient solar power panels on homes all over your neighborhood and in fields in the country side. Super efficient graphene and nanotube constructed batteries store excess energy for months of power even during the winter months. All robots run on highly efficient battery packs that are available at pack exchange stations all over, as you continue walking you pass the nearby one and notice a a few robot assistants leaving the location having received fresh packs...others have plugged themselves into outlets available for any use to charge up. One might still wonder though where all the raw materials for this seeming utopia come from, the answer is as one would expect from extraction of natural resources as always except the agents performing the prospecting, analysis, mineralogy, mining, refining and delivery are all robots all fed by the continuous power infrastructure. Where liquid fuels are still utilized they are derived fuels derived from again ...robot designed synthetic organisms designed to produce all manner of chemical or neutralize compounds molecule by molecule as needs demand.

As you continue your walk you smile to yourself as you recall your childhood of 185 years previous. 185 years and you barely look a day beyond 26 as that is about the age when you started taking various genetic upgrades and treatments to stave off senescence. Today you have blue eyes but was born with brown and in your life have had every shade in-between as suited your fancy. You were born in 2023 in the midst of the creation of the many technologies that today you are fully surrounded by and supported by, in those days people actually used to have to work for food, supplies and to keep their homes tidy!! The children that people your neighborhood mostly have no idea what that is like as their every need is catered for them either by their parents or via proxy of their robot assistants but you remember a time when a living self healing infrastructure didn't exist and you thank the march of technology for making it so.


Thomas Lukasik said…

I think that at least one flaw in your vision of an "everything is free" future is complete disregard for the effects of selfishness and greed.

Sadly, there will always be those who are not satisfied with having "everything they need" or being equal with their neighbor, and will want to have more than they need, and more than their neighbor has.

Even today, greed is killing our chances for a better present. So IMHO, unless you know how we can change that tendency in people, I don't see how all the altruistic and selfless robots that you could possibly build would enable such a future.

David said…
Thomas, you aren't pointing out anything I haven't thought about. I indicated that it just takes one altruistic business owner in the scenario I described initially but that doesn't take into consideration the fact that people will be buying and making more of these robots themselves. Especially when the robots can produce themselves...all you'd need then is the raw materials and those also will be provided by robot "manned" infrastructure elements.

Also, people seem to place far too much emphasis on "greed" is if human beings are these petty creatures. I like to be far more optimistic about Man as if we were so greedy so many technologies that have benefited the world wouldn't be available. Bill Gates may have been a ruthless business man but he's also nearly single handedly wiped out Malaria deaths in Africa. The power of good far over rides the power of greed and more importantly, good spreads better.

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