AI and Capitalism

As humans get displaced by robots, how is the overall economic system supposed to work? Who will be the customers of the products produced by cavernous automated factories? At the end of the 20th century, the story was that humans would be the roboticists. But to paraphrase Thomas Malthus, productivity grows exponentially for a linear increase in AI development, so the humans who can participate are at best logarithmic in those who are shut out by the system. It used to be true that unions and tariffs would constrict the labor supply and raise wages. Now robots fill the gap almost instantly. The boundary between labor and capital is vanishing. So how is the Brave New AI Economy supposed to work? Are we in a positive feedback loop that will explode into social chaos of the sort we are seeing around the world today?

Today’s blurb was written by Professor Kevin Kelly, who suggested the topic. The blurb above is an excerpt chosen for its stylistic consistency with our other blurbs. The full text provided by Professor Kelly can be found in the original email.