Agriculture (2%), manufacturing (20%) — allowing for a bit of white-collar bloat — professionals in other industries (8%) means, conservatively, the economy is 70% fluff. Although digging deeper into redundancies, such as competing labs pursuing the same goals to produce the same things, like BMW and Tesla in automotive, or Merck and Pfizer in pharmaceuticals — dozens of these agencies could be reduced to one diverse agency, many of which could be replaced by software itself, then conglomerated. If we accept the economy itself as artificial, then the realms of finance, insurance, and real estate (20% of U.S. GDP) are, well, pretty lame.
In the 1980s, a little known, rather eccentric and proud English Gloucesterite, Ken Smith in ‘Free is Cheaper’ estimated 90% of the workforce consisted in what today we would call, in more refined modern terms: bullshit jobs. With the state of software and robotics as they are, that figure is probably around 98%, fully automated with humanoids not unlike Baxter and deliveries being met by autonomous vehicles hopefully not made by Apple, leaving 2% for real people in education, design, medical, and R&D. 2% may not seem like a lot, but to serve 8 billion people, that still demands 160 million jobs or half of the U.S. population. Under closer inspection, that 2% may well itself have unnecessary redundancies.
IBM’s “Cognitive AI” or deep nets like Watson will soon assist and then eliminate a majority of white-collar work, like that of doctors and lawyers. Both professions diagnose a problem then follow a script for an improved outcome. Millions of medical journals or case histories can be analyzed in seconds to find the best treatment or build the best case. In many ways, since the highest paying professions are knowledge based, these jobs may be easier to automate than the variety of manufacturing and logistics channels that require a wider variety of physics knowledge gleaned from sensors and acted upon by robotics.
It might then seem creative endeavors will be safe, but when listening to somewhat inspiring classical music by Aiva (Artificial Intelligence Virtual Artist), the days of humans being masters of creativity will compliment skills for a time as another tool in the tool kit, but not long after petabytes of crowd neuro-feedback is implemented, a single composer could not possibly compete. In the visual arts, Google has shown that it can make its image recognition database trip out on itself, which I suppose is a start.
To get down to the nitty-gritty, with Google Earth as a basis for a digital earth project. The interior details of industries will need exposing, explaining operations and supply chains visually. Like a YouTube livestream, but potentially interactive, with augmented reality overlays describing functions linked to telerobotics to manipulate the environment from a remote location.
One approach toward automating everything, starting with manufacturing, can look like this:
Extraction/Recycled Materials >>>
Material Storage >>>
Material Assembly Space >>>
Tools for Assembly >>>
Product Storage >>>
Product Delivery >>>
That list pertains to manufacturing, but other essential processes can be broken down in a similar way.
I think it is important to assert the crisis of capitalism, retooling it through radically open institutions — or the dwindling middle class and the rest of us face further decline into poverty with continued dire environmental and ecological circumstances.
Project Cybersyn, during Allende’s Chile, is probably the last project that closely approaches what needs to happen as a globe. It wasn’t just Marxist rhetoric, it was a national resource management system that would have worked. That effort was undermined by the lobbies of moneyed elites and executed by the CIA in the United States.
If Cybersyn were to reboot today, capitalist industries effected, such as Oracle and SAP, would be the tip of a very large financially dependent Iceberg. and the few able to make a difference are — if not already emotionally — frozen inside.
There is greater freedom out there, we just need to thaw out the people within the Iceberg with a basic income. nationalize industry with citizens as stakeholders— then “automate” “automate” “automate” our way to each individual’s luxury for everyone.
Let’s just hope the AI attends the endless meetings for us.