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Free Money From the Robots!

By: Gary North

 -- Published: Wednesday, 8 June 2016 | Print  | Disqus 

By: Gary North

Here is a headline: This AI expert says that a robot economy will force us to give people unconditional free money. The article is in Business Insider.

In the future, giving people unconditional free money might be the fairest way to deal with a robot-powered economy.At least, that’s what data scientist and artificial intelligence expert Jeremy Howard believes.

According to Howard, the pool of displaced workers will just keep growing exponentially, and the solution is to level the playing field.

There are lots of articles like this one these days. (Are they being written by commie algorithms?)

I ask these questions:

First, why is an AI expert uniquely qualified to analyze the fundamentally most important of all practical economic questions, the one going back to Genesis 3:17-19: scarcity?Second, how does a robot economy make this social decision — an undesigned system?

Third, what is the meaning of “force”?

Fourth, how can any system of wealth redistribution give if it does not first steal?

Fifth, is anything in life unconditional? If so, what? Theologians may say “God’s grace,” but then these questions arise: “Based on the meeting of which judicial conditions, by whom, when, and awarded on what basis?” Also this: “Grace is a pure gift. It is not given to everyone.” Also this: “God doesn’t have to take any grace from person A in order to award it to person B.”

Sixth, how does money work in a non-market economy?

The article mentions none of these questions.

It rests on the universal assumption of all socialist thought, namely, the assumption that nature imposes no inherent limits. Therefore, scarcity is the product of evil institutions — institutions based on private ownership. “Property is theft,” announced Proudhon. So, socialists conclude, the state should steal it back from the thieves and give it to everyone. This has been the socialist party line for 200 years.


Here is the threat, we are told: universal job replacement by machines and computers. The crucial question today is this: “Is the pace of employee replacement about to become exponential?” We are told it is just about here.

Problem: this is not visible in the job market. People who want to work find jobs. They may not be great jobs, but they are jobs.

Uber is not using self-driving cars yet. Indian call centers are not using algorithms yet.

If overnight replacement hits any employment area, there will be no agreed-upon answers. Society can voluntarily adjust through market pricing: lower wages for displaced specialists.

In contrast, politicians can respond only through force.

I will now tell you who will not act with speed that is sufficient to deal with an exponential trend: Congress. Congress will also not respond wisely. It will pass laws that make things worse.

I don’t need an algorithm to let me conclude this. Past experience is sufficient.

Those AI experts who call for universal free money are kids who took a sociology course as undergraduates. They have long since bought into the socialist paradigm. They offer knee-jerk responses. They do not employ artificial intelligence. They employ real unintelligence.


If algorithms are the only things able to adjust fast enough to exponential change, which is what some AI experts tell us is the case, or soon will be, then algorithms should decide who gets what. The computers really should be in control. In any case, they soon will be. This is a familiar science fiction scenario.

Why should anyone expect that a single worldwide algorithm will come up with a comprehensive economic plan that old-time socialists favor?

Why should we think that algorithms will agree with each other?

Why should we expect algorithms to issue rules beneficial to people rather than computers?

These AI experts think that they, acting as old-time socialists, are smarter than algorithms, present or future. I ask: If these people are correct about the power of algorithms to replace human decision-making, why don’t they conclude that 19th-century socialist solutions are outmoded?

Garbage in, garbage out. Socialism in, a failure out.

Read the Whole Article

Gary North

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 -- Published: Wednesday, 8 June 2016 | E-Mail  | Print  | Source:

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