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Are You Ready For Corporate America’s Robot Economy?


Are You Ready For Corporate America’s Robot Economy?

Jim Hightower

It’s to be a plutocratic utopia designed by and for the corporate elite.

They’re creating a robot economy in order to displace you and me with inexpensive machines that don’t demand higher wages or health care, don’t take sick days or vacations, and don’t organize unions, file lawsuits, or vote for pro-worker politicians.


Let’s not use the usual jargon of corporate America, corporate elite, etc and get more specific. This should be focused on the mindset of the people in Silicon Valley. This is part of their dream of the future which includes freeing humans from work (they assume that is a good thing). They also are for creating transhumans (merging humans with artificial intelligence), and pursuing immortality (which seems to mean downloading a person’s brain into a computer). Should Americans ago along with this vision of the future? Is there anyway to stop it?

An even more concerning problem is that the further development of artificial intelligence could lead to human extinction as the superintelligent machines we create may find not need for us. A number of people have been issuing warnings about this possibility. We all should be thinking about it because it could be only a few decades away. One way to start is to read a book such as “Our Final Invention. Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era” by James Barrat. This is something that the Democrats should be taking up but seem to be ignoring or they are simply ignorant of what is happening in the field of artificial intelligence. If Hightower hasn’t looked into this threat he should. Simply recycling the same old left wing rhetoric as the world rapidly changes is going to result in failing to understand what is taking place.


C’mon Jim,
Kurt Vonnegut covered this with his first novel “Player Piano” in the 50’s.
In that novel, our hero, a successful engineer, realized that it wasn’t much of a economy
when the only workers were soldiers or road construction workers.
Now maybe if we had a universal income??? That might work.


What you mean-um “may”, Kemo Sabé?   Once we turn biological research over to highly intelligent ‘robots’, what’s to prevent them from realizing that humans are nothing more than a two-legged parasite infesting the planet and developing an improved version of the 1917 flu to cure the infection in a matter of days?


When we hit the singularity soon, all these machines will be connected to an artificially intelligent universal mind, billions of times smarter than people.

Why would this super intelligence place itself under the command of idiots?


When robots replace us all, who’s left to buy anything? Perhaps the “elites” envision a society of consumer robots to keep the cash flowing upwards. Otherwise there is no longer an economy at all, just robots building stuff for people who have no jobs or money. Kinda reminds me of that line from “American Dad” – “A world without children? Future generations will thank me!”


As we move to a economy with more robots, we need to move away from capitalism. The end point would be where human work is no longer needed, the robots would be owned by the State, and the items produced delivered free to the citizens. We need to start the transition now with higher taxes on corporations, so that the benefits of advancing technology can be shared equitably as the need for human work diminishes. This incidentally, it’s the exact opposite of what Republicans plan.

Robots with artificial intelligence, as far as I know, cannot be programmed with emotions, so they won’t “want” to do anything. A human with no emotions, regardless of its intellectual capacity, would not “want” to get out of bed (or go to bed, or do anything at all) - such a human would have zero motivation. It’s hard to see how a computer could develop its own emotions - it could never feel anything, and would not “want” to do anything at all. It would do according to its instructions, feeling nothing, with great capacity to figure out how to do according to its instructions.


Woody Allen’s 1973 movie “Sleepers” featured self-driving cars. Their sleek fiberglass body in white, probably set on a golf cart chassis, had a ‘dome’ (half an egg shell) opaque white roof with no transparent windows. There was one that did have clear windows in the dome, but passengers seemed very uncomfortable being able to view their world passing. Woody suggested individuals in this futurist society were more comfortable in isolation and ignorance throughout the movie.

The perfect sound track to any serious consideration of self-driving cars is Woody’s Klezmer ragtime band choreographed to vaudevillian antics. Future sycophants of self-driving cars desperately hope their Dear Leader’s nose will be successfully cloned to produce a new Dear Leader after the previous Dear Leader passes away. Laugh at ourselves and this pretentious technology while today’s nearer future world burns, floods and is blown away in gale force winds and genocidal warfare.


Uber feifdoms, not governments, intend to own the principle robotic self-driving cars, transportation as a service (TAAS), sending them out like taxicabs, supposed sharing. The advancing technology you speak of, self-driving cars, is a ruse and a fraud, impractical, ineffective, wasteful and no less accident-prone than today’s average.
My advice: Write self-driving car jokes and tell them to make people laugh.


I read an appalling story in a business magazine a few months ago. It was about how a factory owner brought in machinery to replace all the workers (I don’t remember what they produced), and did it in the most despicable way possible: no notice to a single worker, brought in the machinery under cover of night, and then chained the factory closed. He cited “fear” that the workers would be angry and sabotage the machines.

There is something seriously wrong with an individual like that. Does he have no sense of a social contract to those who work for him? He is so removed from them, that they aren’t even humans, deserving fair notice of his plans. Of course, the magazine thought that was a wise move.

It really is us vs. them. (note: incidentally, I work in a factory and could be replaced in a heartbeat by a machine).



“When robots replace us all, who’s left to buy anything?” Along the same lines, if robots can’t be taxed, doesn’t that mean that taxes should be borne by enterprises using robots to manufacture a product or perform a service?


They’re just cutting out the ground from underneath them. They want to see if they can dispense with the whole consumer population (that they need to buy their shit) so that right before nature collapses, they’ll be the winners. For Marx, the capitalist needed to keep the working class around, though workers were paid just barely enough so they could reproduce the labor that the capitalist needed. Very soon, workers will be totally unnecessary, so capital won’t even bother funding our survival sufficiently to reproduce. We’ll be angry as we recognize that we’re being left to starve, unneeded, and so they’ll probably have to kill us all with their robot hordes, made by the last MIT graduates to have jobs.


From “Network”



Robots have no heart. Corporation are robotic persons that don’t form communities. What am I going to do when they take my job? I would like to have more time at home, more time with the children, my friends. But I don’t know how to build a solar panel to get off the greed. I don’t know how to grow vegetables or grow a fruit trees. I don’t know how to do with less (i’m addicted to expensive boots) or be creative in my spare time. Could a thirty-hour work week help? Should we all move to small farms or should I just live in a jail or prison? I have smelled the food in prison (just visiting) I think what they call food is plastic. I don’t like eating plastic. I don’t think plastic is good for you. Plus I heard the health care for all in prison is not good coverage. I do like orange though. I just bought a pair of orange boots. Maybe I should join a religious group that will take better care of me than my government. Right? Maybe I’ll buy an army surplus tent and take a survival course. I am a creative thinker don’t you think?


Hey, this is a republican wet dream – no ordinary, hard-working human beings, no taxes, no government. Only very rich people in a gated community in Boca Raton.