Lion of the Blogosphere

Humans soon to become useless

Article at The Guardian:

Modern political and economic structures were built on humans being useful to the state: most notably as workers and soldiers, Harari argues. With those roles taken on by machines, our political and economic systems will simply stop attaching much value to humans, he argues.

Perhaps that Harari guy has been reading my blog? In 2011 I wrote:

What will happen when we are able to produce robots that can do even more jobs currently done by humans?

The prevailing wisdom is that people will move on to higher level work, like robot engineering and programming or creating art and literature. But that ignores the truth of HBD. Most people aren’t smart enough to do any of these things. And as far as robot engineering goes, I suspect that smart Chinese engineers will do this for a lot less money than smart Americans.

The standard libertarian response is “don’t worry, the free market will take care of everything,” but believing that the free market can take care of everything is almost like believing that God will take care of everything. Libertarians already vastly overestimate the efficiency as well as the actual freeness of the market, and we are moving into uncharted territories here.

I think that with the libertarian model, as the majority of humans become useless, we will, quite ironically, be afflicted with mass poverty even though we have moved into an era in which vast amounts of goods can be produced with hardly any labor. What incentive will there be to give the poor people even a fraction of this bounty if their labor contributions are worthless compared to more efficient robots?

As usual, other people get credit for being forward thinkers when I was thinking about this stuff five years ago.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 20, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Posted in Robots

113 Responses

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  1. This has always been one of your most astute points.


    May 20, 2016 at 1:01 pm

  2. “As usual, other people get credit for being forward thinkers when I was thinking about this stuff five years ago”

    If you want credit you’ll need to stop being anonymous. Now that you are retired you might want to consider it. Of course the level of credit you get will still be very low.


    May 20, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    • The movie Wall-E covered this well before Lion. And I’m sure sci-fi writers from long long ago imagined a robotic future. It’s almost impossible to come up with an original idea.


      May 20, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    • Right. If I was retired and had no wife and no kids, I would be an awesome dissident, in my own name. My wife gets the vapors if I go too far.


      May 20, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    • Maybe if Lion had been drawing cartoons 5 years ago he could be famous now for making entirely apparent observations.

      Panther of the Blogocube

      May 20, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    • Maybe if Lion had been drawing cartoons 5 years ago he could be famous now for making entirely apparent observations.

      A comic strip drawn by Lion would look suspiciously like Dilbert. A complete rip-off in fact. But it would give Scott Adams an arch-nemesis cartoonist to keep him on his toes.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      May 20, 2016 at 5:36 pm

  3. Becoming prole-less: I’ve lost my taste for many appetites and material things, perhaps sex is the only exception.


    May 20, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    • You are losing the evolutionary battle, and in your case it maybe a good thing.


      May 20, 2016 at 4:15 pm

      • How?


        May 20, 2016 at 5:51 pm

      • The only thing you have left is sex drive and that is decoupled from procreation. You are a dinosaur.


        May 20, 2016 at 6:50 pm

  4. I’m sure you were being facetious Lion, but of course people were thinking of it long before you.

    The following articles are REQUIRED READING for anyone who seriously wants to understand the nature of work and the *utter morality* of the reduction of work and the Basic Guaranteed Income. (Of course, the accomplishment of a truly decent society is *incumbent* a basically decent and responsible populace. And that can’t occur because of all the usual reasons).

    IN PRAISE OF IDLENESS by Bertrand Russell




    May 20, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    • People on the right end of the bell curve *perhaps* could use idleness profitably.

      Yet we may note that today, in the Western world, we have more comfort, safety, and leisure time than ever before in human history. Has this resulted in intellectuals and artists producing using that time profitably to produce the greatest works in human history? NO. They produce utterly worthless shit. If anything the quality of artistic and intellectual works has DECLINED with the rise of modern luxury.

      Meanwhile, nothing good will come of proles not having to work. Their idle hands will do the Devil’s work.


      May 20, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      • people who fetishize old stuff like movies, music, classic art, tend to be altsberger types who are just missing a time when white men were charge, so they’re drawn to things from that era. they don’t like modern art or music because they don’t like modernity.


        May 20, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      • They don’t like modern art or music because it’s shit.


        May 21, 2016 at 12:36 am

      • they also have a tendency to think they’re the arbiters of taste, goes back to the entitlement thing. “anything that isnt lynyrd skynyrd or father knows best is shit because it doesnt cater to the sensibilities of white beta males”


        May 21, 2016 at 3:00 am

      • America was never about self actualization, not even close. It is strictly about money, and now that it is run by a group of crony capitalists, there is an emphasis for strivers to become more money hungry than ever, and it’s a tragedy, given our post scarcity world.

        Meriprolestan has always been a country of proles, with intellectual and artistic elites spattered here and there, who don’t create anything interesting, because their sole objective is making money.

        Even with women’s rights in full swing, emphasizing full equality on par with men, Meriprolesses are barbarians, far behind European women, who have more interesting and fulfilling roles. I’ve met quite a number of young French, Spanish and Italian women who are bookshop owners. Your typical American b*tch has low brow hobbies like yoga, pets and petty consumption, that one finds in places like Manhattan.


        May 21, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      • Also, the Anglosphere, and America, especially, is ugly, lacking in taste and refinement. The entire country is a throwback of early industrial America.


        May 21, 2016 at 1:25 pm

      • Americans and Anglo proles in general, are poor designers, with poor concepts of aesthetics.

        Take this quintessential wine stall in NYC for SWPLs, as a good example. Poorly designed, tactless, typical of all Anglo proles who lust materialism, but with very bad taste.

        Now look at this: SAQ, the Walmart of Alcohol in the French Province of Quebec.

        And Montrealites earn significantly less than New Yorkers, but they do things better by a mile.


        May 21, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      • Great comment.


        May 21, 2016 at 2:12 pm

      • The great arts and philosophies were created by the LEISURE CLASS that DID NOT HAVE TO WORK! Aristotle himself says as much.

        Today, virtually *everyone* in America is working non-stop; regardless of class or gender. We have created more work, not less.

        And I’m not talking about idleness. I’m talking about FREE TIME and less coercion from others. Only in our workophile/corporatist mindset would that mean people reverting to degenerates.

        If I were dictator, I would transfer all the welfare that goes to the truly worthless parasites and give that amount to the working and middle class. It is they who have proven responsible who should get that money/time. And it is they who could actually use that freedom to find a new and better way for themSELF.


        May 21, 2016 at 4:37 pm

      • If I were dictator, I would transfer all the welfare that goes to the truly worthless parasites and give that amount to the working and middle class.

        At a minimum there is room for mandating that companies grant 25 days of vacation as in Europe. So much office time is already wasted on people chatting at the water cooler or checking Facebook that there won’t be any loss in productivity, provided, of course, that time off doesn’t rise above a certain threshold of diminishing returns.

        Shorter, focused time in the office is how Swiss workers use their work time and no one considers them to be slackers.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        May 21, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      • ‘ I’ve met quite a number of young French, Spanish and Italian women who are bookshop owners.’

        Where? Lolz! You found nothing better to show as an example of your cultural superiority then a wine store? You are a clown.

        Listen, read’ The story of my proletarian life’ by Bartolomeo Vanzetti and then talk. Specifically read the section ‘My intellectual life and cread’.


        May 21, 2016 at 9:26 pm

      • At a minimum there is room for mandating that companies grant 25 days of vacation as in Europe.

        The Angry Savages (the Anglo Proles) don’t deserve any of this. To compare Europe with America, and how it should emulate the Old World is irrelevant. This country needs to unwind and cease to exist. The damage is beyond repair. White youths are projected to be less than 50% of the American population in 2020.

        Expensive New York City might vote for a black mayor again!


        May 22, 2016 at 12:15 am

      • I dunno why Americans need a 25 days vacation. My boss had actually added another week to mine and I have 25 days now. But Americans don’t need it. 2 weeks is all they need. What would an American do with 25 days? This is lazy and not part of American culture. Americans like working.

        I mean it was nice for me, I came back from Israel after two weeks and had money waiting for me. He hadn’t told me so it was a neat surprise. But I really can’t picture Americans having 25 vacation days. Just doesn’t make sense. Maybe even one week is enough, but not 25 days. 25 days is extreme.

        I think my boss is gonna give another week in a couple of years. I make money for him and this is the way he is. I’ve seen him savage plenty of people, but to me he is nice. This is American business that takes care of the people that take care of the bissiness. America is the best!


        May 22, 2016 at 1:56 am

      • What would an American do with 25 days? This is lazy and not part of American culture. Americans like working.

        Time in office does not equal work as I demonstrated in the case of Switzerland where they work very productively for shorter hours. Americans are in the office more frequently but only a fraction of that time is used to create value. Most likely we waste at least a few weeks on unnecessary powerpoint presentations, a week or two on idle chit-chat about minor league soccer, or checking Facebook.

        Workaholics will be free to leave vacation time unused if they desire.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        May 22, 2016 at 9:52 am

      • “Most likely we waste at least a few weeks on unnecessary powerpoint presentations, a week or two on idle chit-chat about minor league soccer, or checking Facebook.”

        And you forgot to mention how much time is wasted in meetings.

      • In Madrid, Paris and Florence.

        I can think of one woman in NYC who owns a bookshop.

        She hires surly black men to staff her store. Just another hardcore liberal who loves the multicult garbage that is unfolding in this country.

        Clown? Proles like you is the reason why America continues to exist.


        May 22, 2016 at 9:53 am

      • And you forgot to mention how much time is wasted in meetings.

        Powerpoint slides have become meetings haven’t they?

        The Undiscovered Jew

        May 22, 2016 at 11:16 am

      • Time spent making PowerPoint slides is time spent PREPPING for meetings.

      • Time spent making PowerPoint slides is time spent PREPPING for meetings.

        You’re right. In that case make it 35 days.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        May 22, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      • [America] is strictly about money, and now that it is run by a group of crony capitalists,

        Obviously and absurdly wrong. Why are you repeating the inane Leftist critique? America is not about money because we do an incredible amount of stupid shit that wastes money, destroys value, and employs the utterly worthless. We are a socialist country now and as in all socialist countries the ruling elite does not care about creating wealth (and doesn’t have the slightest understanding of how wealth is created) only in transferring it to favored groups and in sending ideological messages.


        May 22, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    • New York venture capitalist Albert Wenger has some interesting thoughts on this as well:

      David Pinsen

      May 21, 2016 at 5:38 pm

  5. if you read harari s books , you ll find that this idea was already in his books .
    he only devellops it more thoroughly.
    he is ab author who has said that nazism is a humanism, an evolutionairy humanism . he is a very Powerfull And logical thinker.

    Bruno from Paris

    May 20, 2016 at 2:07 pm

  6. And Skynet becomes self-aware in 3, 2, 1 . . .


    May 20, 2016 at 3:08 pm

  7. The issue is not useless, exactly. The problem is that welfare levels are high enough that people don’t need to work the crappy jobs that would be suitable to them.

    Could I use a maid waiting on me hand and foot for low pay? Of course. But people aren’t willing to do that, because that’s crappy compared to welfare.

    In India I could have 5 maids waiting on me hand and foot, all at once, and not wreck my budget. Not here.

    We would be on the verge of another “Downton Abbey’ era, but the American underclass is too spoiled and resentful to work downstairs for anybody.


    May 20, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    • “We would be on the verge of another ‘Downton Abbey’ era”

      That only sounds good to you because you think you’re going to be the guy who owns the castle and not one of the servants. But you could be wrong about your place in the new era.

      • I expect I’d be neither. I am at the higher end of middle class. It wasn’t either Lord or servant back then either. There was still a middle class back then also.

        The point is, the vast hoards of people on the lower economic rungs could be put to work quite easily but for
        (1) Their own bad attitudes and bad behavior
        (2) Minimum wage set above their value and
        (3) The fact that people can earn welfare much more easily.

        Still working as a servant in a great house would be better than being useless.


        May 20, 2016 at 6:06 pm

      • You make a point I’ve considered before — even if AI robots are more efficient and less expensive, unemployed humans would still be an untapped resource. It would still be worthwhile to employ them if the right system for doing so was engineered. In fact, this is what won me over to Leon’s “guaranteed minimum income”. I think Milton Friedman’s “negative income tax” would be the best way to implement it.


        May 20, 2016 at 7:10 pm

      • Yep, again, this is why the Soviet Union had a perfect solution for them – forced labor! No welfare or ANY social assistance for the able bodied. WORK OR DIE!


        May 20, 2016 at 7:51 pm

      • @Dan: (3) The fact that people can earn welfare much more easily.

        How does an able-bodied male w/o child custody earn ANY welfare? Yes, a low-income single male can collect, what $100, per month in food stamps; and, maybe, after a multi-year wait, and only in a few progressive cities, some minor housing and/or utilities assistance, but certainly not Section-8. He can’t get on Medicaid, but would be eligible for a relatively generous obamacare subsidy.

        And, besides, thanks to former Pres. Bill Clinton and the 1996 Republican Congress, “welfare” or what is technically known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) by definition is not available to a single male (or female).

        “Welfare” is not available to single people, that’s why many seek Social Security disability.

        E. Rekshun

        May 20, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      • E.R. — It’s very difficult for a single person without kids to get welfare. And single men almost never have custody. I’m thinking the men on welfare have unusual circumstances like a serious disability. Or a disabled relative they’re taking care of. Or perhaps they have custody because baby momma be in jail or rehab.

        Over 90% of people on welfare are single mothers. That’s not surprising since it’s difficult for a single parent to work. Unless they have enough education and skills for a decent job they won’t make enough to afford food, housing, daycare, etc. They’re priced out of the job market and forced to live on welfare. The only good thing about HeadStart is that it actually provides free daycare to get some of these women back in the workforce.


        May 21, 2016 at 12:08 am

      • ““Welfare” is not available to single people, that’s why many seek Social Security disability.”

        They say that’s the new welfare. As of 2015, it was close to 10 million Americans and 126 billion per year.

        This compares to an American workforce of 144 million, so its a substantial chunk.


        May 21, 2016 at 9:15 am

      • Individuals like Yakov is the reason why Meriprolestan exists. And it needs more of them. If I was a wealthy elitist, my propaganda spiel would be more consumption, more debt, and more hustling for the petty consumption life. This is the reason why the 1% has significantly more money, than the entire bottom half of America.


        May 21, 2016 at 1:50 pm

      • [He can’t get on Medicaid, but would be eligible for a relatively generous obamacare subsidy.]

        I thought lion was on medicaid?

        slithy toves

        May 21, 2016 at 4:10 pm

      • If the middle class is in danger of becoming outdated by automation then we’ve certainly reached the point where blacks and Hispanics are completely useless as citizens. While the middle class might be able to shift towards odd service jobs without rioting, the minorities will be doing literally nothing except collecting a check and reproducing their own poverty.

        Welfare for sterilization will become even more essential as low-skill jobs dry up.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        May 21, 2016 at 5:27 pm

      • Can’t we at least agree that if you want some sort of Basic Income you shouldn’t either already have children or plan to have them? There should be a price for a lifetime of idleness and uselessness, paid for by the few remaining employed people, and it should be that you don’t reproduce any more people who are just going to need a basic income.

        Mike Street Station

        May 22, 2016 at 5:08 pm

  8. I’m pretty sure Kurt Vonnegut was 50 years ahead of you both.


    May 20, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    • To expand on the glib line, pretty soon after the von neumann architecture computer was developed people were seriously thinking and writing about the fact that eventually these things were going to replace a lot of human decision making and “creativity”. People in the 40s saw the road ahead with mechanical automation and computers. They weren’t wrong and the punditry now isn’t better. It’s worse.


      May 20, 2016 at 8:32 pm

  9. Back in the USSR we were taught that labor had turned a monkey into a human being. This maybe an I ovesmplification, but idleness will surely turn a human being into a monkey.


    May 20, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    • Back in the USSR

      I just downloaded this great Beatles song to my playlist!

      E. Rekshun

      May 21, 2016 at 6:25 am

      • Like most Beatles songs it has great music, but shallow meaning. This song is meant to be humorous and it’s not bad for that silly group.


        May 21, 2016 at 10:05 pm

  10. I’m sorry to say the idea has been around since the 60s in sci-fi work but actually I’ve always argued in response that robots will not be able to replace high touch services like entertaining, social work, prostitution (very high touch), services, ideology work, and so on.

    You can then make a fair argument that the people that will do well economically (aside from the rentier owners of capital) in this new order will be nicer people than the people that currently do well from the current status quo; sociopath sharks in large bureaucratic organisations, industrial cartels and natural resource extraction.

    Predicting the future is a mugs game in any case.

    Further, why would you need capital investments in robots when open borders means you can pay people happy meals to fix your car, build your mansion, wipe your ass and dance crudely in women’s clothes for your sadist needs?

    The Philosopher

    May 20, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    • Further, why would you need capital investments in robots when open borders means you can pay people happy meals to fix your car,

      Because the minorities suck at those jobs too. When I’m on the road and need to stop to eat I would love to have fast food workers replaced with robots so I don’t have to deal with the attitude of surly minorities.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      May 20, 2016 at 7:30 pm

      • It’s really only the blacks who are surly, and honestly, white trash who work at McDonald’s are surly too. Hispanics tend to either be really zoned out or even friendly.

        Otis the Sweaty

        May 20, 2016 at 7:56 pm

      • I’m finding the attitude of Hispanics is worse than previous years.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        May 20, 2016 at 9:29 pm

      • McDonalds and most corporate retail are heading towards a NAM demographic base.

        Whole Foods in Manhattan, although pricey, staffs itself with plenty of surly blacks. I never had an issue with any of its White and Hispanic employees.


        May 21, 2016 at 2:08 pm

      • Some minorities have attitudes, some don’t: the Mexican girls who work the counter at McDonalds are polite and efficient. I never read in the news about them coming to blows, as I do about Blacks, over who’s going to prep the apple pies.

        Jonathan R. Silber

        May 22, 2016 at 8:23 am

      • @silber

        Aren’t you married to a Mexican?


        May 22, 2016 at 8:59 am

      • Hispanics peak in the first generation. The newest immigrants are docile but second and third generation become worse. And anyway I’d still rather have the most efficient Hispanics replaced with cheerful white teenagers if for no other reason than I’m sick looking at ugly minorities.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        May 22, 2016 at 9:57 am

      • “I’m finding the attitude of Hispanics is worse than previous years.”

        Ahh the wonders of assimilation!

        Mike Street Station

        May 22, 2016 at 5:10 pm

  11. To be fair, The Guardian is almost guaranteed to be ten to twenty years behind on EVERYTHING.


    May 20, 2016 at 5:54 pm

  12. We don’t have to wait for the robots to take over to learn how mass idleness will affect society. Today, in 1 in 5 American families, no one works.

    Mark Caplan

    May 20, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    • If I’m reading this correctly, wouldn’t a retired married couple count as one of these non-working families?

      Herb Dregs

      May 21, 2016 at 3:09 am

  13. There isn’t enough demand for “higher level work.” There’s no labor shortage anywhere as it is. There are already more than enough capable people to do all the engineering etc. that is needed. The problem isn’t just not enough jobs for lower-IQ people to do, there won’t be enough jobs for high IQ people to do. If there are, say, 3 million people in the US with IQs over 130, there are only 500,000 jobs that require an IQ that high. (rough numbers, of course)


    May 20, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    • Replacing the intelligent will have to wait for the development of AI that amounts to more than pre-programmed actions and is comparable to human consciousness. That may still be a way’s off since, so far, there’s no satisfactory scientific definition of what consciousness is .

      The Undiscovered Jew

      May 21, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    • My father was a senior engineer and always had a problem finding qualified people. The shortage was so acute that his boss, who was also the owner of the firm, after seeing my SAT score had urged me to study hydrogeology and promised me a job in his firm. Today when I’m old and wise I understand what a fantastic offer it realy was.

      There is a shortage of qualified HVAC service techs right now.

      Many trades are in high demand. Maybe there is no shortage of office bums and guys to flip burvers, but I dunno about that.

      Anyway, if robots make our lives miserable, we’ll go after them. Well make an anti-robot revolution and just wipe them out. I don’t think it will ever happen though. Just saying not to worry about those robots.


      May 22, 2016 at 12:40 am

      • @Jakov:

        always had a problem finding qualified people [at the salary offered]

        There is a shortage of qualified HVAC service techs right now [at the salary offered]

        There, fixed it.

        E. Rekshun

        May 22, 2016 at 5:31 am

      • Wrong attitude of lazy people. If you are in the field already, you look for an opportunity to prove yourself and make a contribution and a difference. Not ‘shown the money first’, but ‘lemme show you what I can do’ approach.


        May 22, 2016 at 9:29 am

      • Do you think robots could be programmed to replace all HVAC work?

        The Undiscovered Jew

        May 22, 2016 at 9:54 am

      • Never, robots are too stupid. HVAC isn’t accounting, you know. Can a robot:

        1 . install duct? No.
        2. Run piping? No.
        3. Hang units? No.
        4. Brase? No.
        5. Diagnose a problem? Yes, can be helpful, but it ain’t gonna fix it.
        6. Find a leak and fix it? No.

        Robots are overrated.

        Plasma machine did take out the manual skill from duct manufacturing though. That used to be a very specialized thing, no more.


        May 22, 2016 at 10:19 am

      • Never, robots are too stupid.

        Interesting. For the immediate future, and until a ‘smart’ robot is invented, try hiring a guido instead of a Tajik who may or may not be following ISIS videos when you’re not looking.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        May 22, 2016 at 1:46 pm

      • 1. You ain’t gonna get a Guido with a mechanical engineering degree for $12. This guy realy knows motors. I’ve learned a lot from him. When I take him for side jobs I pay him $20.

        2. I don’t do the hiring.

        3. This Tajik is against islamists, but in general you are right. The best helper I’d ever had was a wahabbist from Dagestan. Just a fact, nothing profound to be derived from it.


        May 22, 2016 at 4:09 pm

      • You ain’t gonna get a Guido with a mechanical engineering degree for $12.

        You get what you pay for.

        The best helper I’d ever had was a wahabbist from Dagestan.

        I hope you didn’t debate theology with him.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        May 22, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      • We actually did, lolz. I agree with wahabbist monotheistic creed. We were kindred spirits in that sense. I did disagree that CIA and Mossad had blown up the WTC though. We had good times together. Many people thought that we were father and son.


        May 22, 2016 at 11:48 pm

  14. ‘The standard libertarian response is “don’t worry, the free market will take care of everything’

    No, the Libertarians are driving things via their SMILE platform which anticipates all this stuff.


    May 21, 2016 at 12:45 am

  15. Lion,

    DNA discoverer says he has been ostracized and lost most of his income for noting IQ tests show Africans have lower IQ overall.


    May 21, 2016 at 2:00 am

    • Yep, worked in a house with black tenants today. You don’t need to be a Nobel laureate to know that they are very different. Upstairs woman was nasty, but the Hispanic boyfriend easy nice. The downstairs woman was very nice, but her son was a thug. She was coming out to smoke pot in the back yard while I was working and we had an animated conversation about nothing. It’s actually fun to deal with these people occasionally. Off course they are hopeless, but still.


      May 22, 2016 at 11:58 pm

  16. if USA is a population of 300m , having 240m équivalent full Time jobs, it would be easy to finance 1 m jobs, And if you set a very high standard like 145 iq (Sd 15) you ll need 80% foreigners to fulfill those jobs.
    the thing is that 100 capitalist ripped an added value équivalent to 100m actual jobs, you need to tax them.
    it could be an opportunity to allocate resources in a new way .
    low iq couple could be undefinanced And high iq overfiananced to allow the population to change as jew did in the Middle ages.

    Bruno from Paris

    May 21, 2016 at 3:55 am

  17. Many of the ones I meet regularly are already useless.


    May 21, 2016 at 3:44 pm

  18. There is an article in the nytimes about limited welfare payments, the law championed by bill clinton.

    Most of the comments deride the “freeloading indigents” who milk the system. The commenters seem entirely blind to the fact that even intelligent, FTO people may soon risk no employable function; the ones at the bottom are already essentially useless in terms of wage earning.

    I once watched a documentary about a shelter for pregnant women, run by a pro-life couple. One of their “guests” was a crack addicted prostitute in her 40s, now saddled with a newborn son. The couple spoke brightly about her “job training” and employment prospects; she was barely literate and had never touched a computer. It was like some kind of sad joke.

    I guess the options are population control, however brutal (china, not that it’s helped them) or light (no increase in benefits for multiple children)… the poor living in the streets like Calcutta… or a “mincome” paid to people just for existing.

    slithy toves

    May 21, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    • The couple spoke brightly about her “job training” and employment prospects;

      This is like the pundits and politicians that claim blacks could be software engineers if only more job training was made available!

      E. Rekshun

      May 21, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    • The dregs of society are essentially useless, because they are like the robots that will replace them. They have no intellect, no relevant hobbies and curiosity, and no insight to anything, just work, play and the cycle repeats.


      May 22, 2016 at 9:35 am

      • Well the robots are better behaved.


        May 22, 2016 at 11:35 am

    • Well I guess the term crack whore didn’t come from nowhere.


      May 22, 2016 at 11:34 am

  19. Many already are useless and have been for some time. Except if one wants to work on law enforcement skills or target practice.


    May 21, 2016 at 4:42 pm

  20. I’m pretty sure as long as there is an internet, I’ll be able to make the equivalent of 5-10 an hour doing academic work, clerical, customer service, or something. What happens after my lifetime, I don’t know, but those who are born then will be adapted differently.

    I would recommend getting into property management. That way you are becoming part of the “owner class,” collecting rent, and not relying totally on work for income. The stock market is a fool’s gambit. It’s peaked now anyway. You can conceivably make 200% every ten years by buying gold and silver at their low point, and selling at or near the high point. It’s not that hard because the cycle moves slowly. Take 50K you made from that, supplement it with your work income, and invest in a property in a lawful but poorer country like Czech Republic. If you do it right you can start stacking properties and rents. Some people even take out a mortgage and have the renters pay their mortgage, although that is of course more risky.


    May 21, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    • Good lucking collecting rent from deadbeats. Bad tenants are abound. Those who make great ones do not come easily, unless you’re a landlord for a residential in Manhattan, asking for market rate payments.


      May 23, 2016 at 11:14 am

  21. If you haven’t watched the british series “Humans” do so… they must be reading your blog. Androids make humans irrelevant. And there are sex robots too!

    slithy toves

    May 21, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    • I enjoyed that show and saw that it’s coming back for season two this summer. It only obliquely addresses the issues we’re talking about, like automation and AI replacing human labor, but it’s at least showing it. There is a scene were a bunch of working class types are protesting the androids taking their jobs.

      Mike Street Station

      May 22, 2016 at 5:15 pm

  22. No, no, no. Not going to happen. As someone who DID work on AI, in the security area, I can tell you AI is very overblown. There are two types, “machine learning” i.e. bayesian filters, AI learns what is spam and what is not by general patterns as you train it; and neural networks which when shoved at say investment strategies, get things wrong very spectacularly.

    And here is the benefit and LIMITS of AI. AI is very good at automating boring stuff, but has no judgement. AN AI system for example can’t determine a toddler crawling on the floor of McDonalds WILL stick his fingers in the cleaning brushes so turn the damn thing off until Mommy can get him and sweep him away. Neural nets have more promise, but still are fragile. They can’t and don’t know general information, and have the wide range of judgement that humans have. They are very good at running through all sorts of permutations rapidly, but can’t “know” that say a sharp blade presents a danger to soft human flesh. Or that new information (people start behaving differently in some areas) makes old decisions now worthless (rap fades, guitar heavy rock has a rebirth, or say vinyl becomes a fad instead of streaming).

    AI is just another tool. It will enhance and replace some workers, certainly head count at most places will go down. But the enhancement also allows all sorts of other possibilities. Such as for example, private security for a fee finding your stolen belongings, the person who assaulted you, etc. But for the most part human judgment being more wide and far less fragile will still be indispensible. Even in manufacturing, particularly for high tolerance stuff like the ball in the ball point pen (which China still cannot make and must import from Germany or the US or Japan).


    May 21, 2016 at 10:57 pm

  23. The Japanese have created a very thin wire, actually so thin they cannot measure it. They sent a sample to engineers in the US, Switzerland and Germany and ask them to measure the wire for them.
    US answers: Which sample of wire?
    Switzerland answers: The wire has a diameter of less than 10 nanometers but we cannot be more specific
    Germany answers: The wire has a diameter of 8.787 nanometers. What do you want us to do? Should we drill a hole in it or tap a thread on it?


    May 22, 2016 at 4:36 am

    • The most accurate german joke I have ever come across. My dad would never hang up a picture unless he gauged it with at least two different levelers. And when he went on a cross country trip with my mom recently, he created 3d schematics on how to most efficiently pack the car trunk, down to the last centimeter. And god forbid we put elbows on the table during dinner.

      slithy toves

      May 22, 2016 at 6:52 pm

  24. lion, is it prole for mature, successful men to play video games? Stefan molyneux randomly dropped a DOOM review:


    May 22, 2016 at 6:02 am

  25. There’s already “Basic Income,” and for a growing number of people: underclass welfare bums, illegal aliens, and trust fund babies, lottery winners, among others: not much in the way of art & literature being created—or even a Canadian-quality liquor store.

    Most people, of whatever I.Q., need to be under the necessity of earning their living, for their own mental and emotional well-being, and to prevent them from being a nuisance to the rest of the world; the yoke of 9-5 gives them a connection to reality, however slight, that they would otherwise lack.

    If most people found themselves looking at a life of leisure, and thrown back on their own inner resources to fill their days, they would quickly go off their rockers—and take some others with them.

    Jonathan R. Silber

    May 22, 2016 at 7:46 am

    • …or even a Canadian-quality liquor store

      If you are referring to SAQ, it is a liquor chain, found exclusively in the Canadian Province of Quebec.

      The entire Anglo-World looks like a pigpen, lacking in refinement. Money is abound, but good taste, not so much. And we haven’t discussed its out of control multiculturalism and other pathological ideologies.


      May 22, 2016 at 9:24 am

    • America is not conducive to self actualization. It inherent nature is all about money and work that produces it — along the lines of the commenter, Yakov. The majority of the people in this country are generally tactless, obnoxious, and boorish.

      Women in America are given full rights and abilities, on par with those of men, yet most of them act like children, not being able to capitalize on them (the same would apply to the black american demographic).


      May 22, 2016 at 9:41 am

      • I find Americans nice. Why is this, eh? Mate, I think the problem is with you. If you don’t fit, you move somewhere else, but stop dising America. Enough already. You don’t like Italians, who are very nice, either. I like pretty much most people, so I think it’s definitely you.

        Who needs this crazy wine store? It’s fine to get your wine in a local supermarket. What are you already? A prince? Then go to England. America doesn’t care about about the phony royalty. Everybody is equal here. Obama and Trump can be presidents. Obama shoots hoops and listens to rap and Trump eat McDonald’s and does miss Universe. Wrap your head around this fact and process it. Stop comparing America to emasculated Europe.

        Incidentally, I like Canada a lot, but it has a certain whimpiness about it, which is strange considering its weather. Canada should be a very manly country. Maybe it’s the French? Russia has the same weather, but it ain’t whimpy like that.


        May 22, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      • No, I don’t like the guidos, who are the Italian Americans.

        Americans are all equal? Who’s your audience? Martians?

        America has the starkest class distinctions and disparities in the entire Western World. Highest gini coefficient in its vibrant cities, comparing to place like Montreal, which by the way, has more social equality than anyplace downstate, including Ellis Island, Manhattan.

        You lack tact, and artistic inclination, because most Americans are proles, whose immediacy is a $buck. Just look at our American elites, the same effing mentality. Bottom line, no refinement, no culture and no tact.


        May 22, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      • When Trump becomes God-Emporer he should build a wall around JS.

        And make the people of Quebec pay for it.

        prolier than thou

        May 22, 2016 at 1:51 pm

      • @JS, I worked closely with senior management in my 20 years on Wall Street. I was treated fine, nobody looked down on me. Again, I think it’s you, man. Look in the mirror.

        I don’t see anybody dissing me because Im an HVAC mechanic. America respects working people, or at least this has been my experience. Many people get savaged, but they kinda deserved it, you know. You take care of business and the business will take good care of you.

        I don’t think I would have any problem talking to Obama or Trump. What class? I don’t know what they measure over there in academia, I talk about the real life.


        May 22, 2016 at 4:16 pm

      • What’s tact? Like how Canadians have tact and Americans don’t?

        Proles that have talent are artistic and make nice things. My uncle was a prole married to a prole woman and they were very nice. She made great blankets and raggedy Ann dolls. You can’t buy stuff like that anywhere. She painted too. What, you think a prole can’t paint like Lion? Depends on the prole, plenty can.

        So what the hell is tact to you? I think liking people around you, being cheerful and greeting everyone with a pat on the back is better then tact, whatever that tact means. I think you equate tact with being phony. Originally it meant something else, but in your case I think it’s this phony mask that you hide behind. This ain’t no tact.


        May 23, 2016 at 12:36 am

      • I don’t how know American readers, with the comments they make here, could tolerate and stomach the insanity, immaturity and the rudeness of the people around them, who are essentially proles in living in a cultural wasteland.

        Furthermore, the legions of lower order racial minorities in some of these big cities, are enough to drive one insane.

        Canada is cleaner, the people are more polite, and in the case of the French Province of Quebec, I don’t have to deal with Angry Proles (that’s what the French Speakers call their Anglo subjects) everyday.


        May 23, 2016 at 11:20 am

      • Relatively comparing, Anglo Canadians are a nicer breed than their American counterparts. But still suffer from the same angst of income inequality and superficiality that plagues all of Britain’s domains, hence the word, angry.


        May 23, 2016 at 11:25 am

  26. Most people find leisure-time burdensome and search around for something—anything—to distract themselves from themselves; as often as not, what they fix upon is not “self-actualizing,” but self-destructive.

    Though these people don’t know it, they’d be happier working on the chain gang.

    Jonathan R. Silber

    May 22, 2016 at 8:06 am

    • Most people find leisure-time burdensome

      I greatly enjoy my leisure time, but it’s damn expensive!

      E. Rekshun

      May 22, 2016 at 12:35 pm

      • American proles work their asses off to accumulate money, so they can be like you!

        What is the point to all of this? It seems redundant.


        May 22, 2016 at 1:08 pm

  27. JS – Only insular proles think Montrealers are called Montrealites.

    Jules Roy

    May 23, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    • I call them for Montrealites for a reason, because it sounds cooler and it’s easier on the tongue. You fail!


      May 24, 2016 at 12:03 am

      • Please stop shitting up this site.

        King George III

        May 26, 2016 at 6:14 pm

      • You can tell that to Yakov!


        May 27, 2016 at 12:35 am

  28. […] Just how much work will get blown away, and whether or not the lost jobs will be replaced by the same or a greater number of spiffy new jobs, is much debated.  A good entry point for the discussion is Lion of the Blogosphere’s May 20th blog post under the alarming title “Humans Soon to Become Useless.” […]

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