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What's the Meaning of Life If Society Doesn't Need You Any Longer? - Singularity HUB
"If you have a job, odds are society benefits from your work, and theoretically, the compensation you receive is how the marketplace values your contribution. All other things being equal, the better you are at your job, the better the compensation. But the vast majority of people in the world aren't the best at what they do (think about the math for a moment). Truth is, most of us aren't rockstar anythings...we're just doing the best we can, but hey, we're still contributing as evidenced by a paycheck.

At the same time, most people aren't really satisfied with their jobs — possibly because a lot of positions aren't necessary. Most would rather do some other kind of work that more closely aligns with their passions or hobbies. But people need a certain amount of money to live, so they take work that meets their and their family's needs. It's a tradeoff, but most feel it's more ethical to sacrifice your interests for stable pay.

That's the world of today, but in the future, could both of these notions get upended?

Possibly. Some will soon find that the contributions they make to society are no longer valued compared to what artificial intelligence and robotics can achieve. Instead of just some humans being better at your job than you, low-cost technologies will be. As machines take over this work, would we really want to fight for these jobs? After all, if the contributions we're making to society aren't really what we care about anyway, why fight for jobs we can't stand, especially if a universal basic income was instated?

At a recent Executive Program hosted by Singularity University, four faculty members —Paul Saffo, Jeremy Howard, Neil Jacobstein, and Kathryn Myronuk — explored these topics during the Future of Work panel. The issue at hand: What are people going to do in the face of these disruptive changes?

Neil Jacobstein, co-chair of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, offers one possible route forward: "You have to spend some time educating people about how they can do self-development, how they can move up Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs — that's part of what education should be about."

Approached from another angle, Kathryn Myronuk, who focuses on Synthesis and Convergence, suggested the parts of society that are soon to be automated will become part of the 'background infrastructure', like roads, electricity, and Internet access, that enables our lives."

[See also:

“Meaningful Lives Without Jobs?”

“The End of Meaningless Jobs Is a Win For Us All” ]
via:willrichardson  2015  universalbasicincome  economics  meaning  purpose  work  labor  future  davidhill  kathrynmyronuk  paulsaffo  jeremyhoward  neiljacobstein  society  ubi 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Links 2013 ["Bret Victor: It’s the end of 2013, and here’s what Bret fell in love with this year"]
"What is the difference between scientific and non-scientific thinking? Thinking within a consistent theory versus thinking haphazardly?

I'm crucially interested in the problem of representing theory such that intuitions are fruitful and theoretically sound, and representations suggest analogies that stay true to the theory. That's not diSessa's problem, but I feel that his viewpoint has some powerful clues."

"Hofstadter says that all thinking runs on analogy-making. Sounds good to me! If he's even partially correct, then it seems to me that a medium for powerful thinking needs to be a medium for seeing powerful analogies. And a medium for powerful communication needs to be designed around inducing the dance he's talking about up there."

Kieran Egan: "Thinking about education during this century has almost entirely involved just three ideas—socialization, Plato's academic idea, and Rousseau's developmental idea. We may see why education is so difficult and contentious if we examine these three ideas and the ways they interact in educational thinking today. The combination of these ideas governs what we do in schools, and what we do to children in the name of education.

Our problems, I will further argue, are due to these three ideas each being fatally flawed and being also incompatible with one other."

Bret Victor: "If you're going to design a system for education, it might help to understand the purpose of education in the first place. Egan points out how modern education is implicitly driven by a cargo-culty mish-mash of three lofty but mutually-incompatible goals. Good luck with that!"

"The cultural importance of the printing press doesn't have much to do with the technology -- the ink and metal type -- but rather how print acted as a medium to amplify human thought in particular ways.

Print was directly responsible for the emergence of a literate and educated society, which (for example) made possible the idea of societal self-governance. The US Constitution could only exist in a literate print culture, where (for example) the Federalist papers and Anti-Federalist papers could be debated in the newspapers.

As you read and watch Alan Kay, try not to think about computational technology, but about a society that is fluent in thinking and debating in the dimensions opened up by the computational medium.
Don't think about “coding” (that's ink and metal type, already obsolete), and don't think about “software developers” (medieval scribes only make sense in an illiterate society).

Think about modeling phenomena, modeling situations, simulating models, gaining a common-sense intuition for nonlinear dynamic processes. Then think about a society in which every educated person does these things, in the computational medium, as easily and naturally as we today read and write complex logical arguments in the written medium.

Reading used to be reserved for the clergy, to hand down unquestionable Revealed Truths to the masses. Today, it's just what everyone does. Think about a society in which science is not reserved for the clergy, to hand down unquestionable Revealed Truths to the masses, but is just what everyone does."

[Reading tips from Bret Victor:]

"Reading Tip #1

It’s tempting to judge what you read: "I agree with these statements, and I disagree with those."

However, a great thinker who has spent decades on an unusual line of thought cannot induce their context into your head in a few pages. It’s almost certainly the case that you don’t fully understand their statements.

Instead, you can say: "I have now learned that there exists a worldview in which all of these statements are consistent."

And if it feels worthwhile, you can make a genuine effort to understand that entire worldview. You don't have to adopt it. Just make it available to yourself, so you can make connections to it when it's needed.

Reading Tip #2

Carver Mead describes a physical theory in which atoms exchange energy by resonating with each other. Before the energy transaction can happen, the two atoms must be phase-matched, oscillating in almost perfect synchrony with each other.

I sometimes think about resonant transactions as a metaphor for getting something out of a piece of writing. Before the material can resonate, before energy can be exchanged between the author and reader, the reader must already have available a mode of vibration at the author's frequency. (This doesn't mean that the reader is already thinking the author's thought; it means the reader is capable of thinking it.)

People often describe written communication in terms of transmission (the author explained the concept well, or poorly) and/or absorption (the reader does or doesn't have the background or skill to understand the concept). But I think of it more like a transaction -- the author and the reader must be matched with each other. The author and reader must share a close-enough worldview, viewpoint, vocabulary, set of mental models, sense of aesthetics, and set of goals. For any particular concept in the material, if not enough of these are sufficiently matched, no resonance will occur and no energy will be exchanged.

Perhaps, as a reader, one way to get more out of more material is to collect and cultivate a diverse set of resonators, to increase the probability of a phase-match.

Reading Tip #3

Misunderstandings can arise when an author is thinking in a broader context than the reader. A reader might be thinking tactically: :How can I do a better job today?" while the author is thinking strategically: "How can we make a better tomorrow?"

The misunderstanding becomes especially acute when real progress requires abandoning today's world and starting over.

We are ants crawling on a tree branch. Most ants are happy to be on the branch, and happy to be moving forward.


But there are a few special ants that, somehow, are able to see a bigger picture. And they can see that this branch is a dead end.


They can see that if we really want to move forward, we'll have to backtrack a long ways down.

They usually have a hard time explaining this to the ants that can only see the branch they're on. For them, the path ahead appears to go on forever.

bretvictor  brunolatour  andreadisessa  douglashofstadter  place  cognition  science  sherryturkle  kieranegan  terrycavanagh  stewartbrand  longnow  julianjaynes  davidhestenes  carvermead  paulsaffo  tednelson  dougengelbert  alankay  reading  toread  2013  gutenberg  printing  print  modeling  simulation  dynamicprocesses  society  progress  thinking  intuition  analogies  education  systemsthinking  howweread  learning  ideas  concepts  context  readiness  simulations 
january 2014 by robertogreco
What Matters: Get ready for a new economic era
"Now we are entering a third age in which the central economic actor is someone who both produces and consumes in the same act. I like the term “creator,” as this new kind of actor is doing something more fundamental than the mere sum of their simultaneous production and consumption. Creators are ordinary people whose everyday actions create value…

Not everything in the creator economy will require interaction, any more than manufacturing disappeared during the consumer economy. But the most successful companies will be the ones that harness creator instincts, and the biggest winners will be the companies who harness the smallest creative acts."
paulsaffo  2009  via:preoccupations  economics  cocreation  creativity  creation  consumerism  consumption  production  coproduction  business  future  google  youtube 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Americans should talk about politics more
""The Martins are coming to dinner - be sure you don't bring up politics." That familiar injunction may make for domestic tranquillity, but it is also killing our democracy.

Americans don't talk politics enough. We have outsourced the conversation to quarrelsome politicians and talk show celebrities. The consequence is that Americans are failing at the most basic task of civics: the obligation to fully understand the issues facing us and participate as informed citizens in running our country.

It is time to take the conversation back. Our democracy is utterly dependent upon an informed and engaged citizenry. We must talk to each other about politics to form thoughtful opinions and maybe learn something that will help us run our communities. We may as well start at home…"
politics  us  debate  democracy  paulsaffo  citizenship  citizenry  2011  participation 
august 2011 by robertogreco
The Technium: Predicting the Present, First Five Years of Wired
"I was digging through some files the other day and found this document from 1997. It gathers a set of quotes from issues of Wired magazine in its first five years. I don't recall why I created this (or even if I did compile all of them), but I suspect it was for our fifth anniversary issue. I don't think we ever ran any of it. Reading it now it is clear that all predictions of the future are really just predictions of the present. Here it is in full:"
kevinkelly  technium  future  futurism  guidance  history  quotes  trends  value  90s  web  wired  death  dannyhillis  paulsaffo  nicholasnegroponte  peterdrucker  jaychiat  alankay  vernorvinge  nathanmyhrvold  sherryturkle  stevejobs  nealstephenson  marcandreessen  newtgingrich  brianeno  scottsassa  billgates  garywolf  johnnaisbitt  mikeperry  marktilden  hughgallagher  billatkinson  michaelschrage  jimmetzner  brendalaurel  jaronlanier  douglashofstaster  frandallfarmer  rayjones  jonkatz  davidcronenberg  johnhagel  joemaceda  tompeters  meaning  ritual  technology  rituals 
may 2010 by robertogreco
The World Question Center: The Edge Annual Question — 2010: How is the internet changing the way you think?: Paul Saffo: A Third Knowledge
"The Internet has changed our thinking, but if it is to be a change for the better, we must add a third kind of knowledge to Johnson's list — the knowledge of what matters. Two centuries ago the explosion of print demanded a new discipline of knowing where to find knowledge. When looking up was hard, one's searches inevitably tended towards seeking only what really mattered. Now that finding is easy, the temptation to chase down info-fluff is as seductive as a 17th century Londoner happily wallowing in books with no purpose. Without a discipline of knowing what matters, we will merely amuse ourselves to death."
paulsaffo  2010  edge  internet  importance  information  attention  infooverload 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Saffo: journal - Save that old TV - there's a message in the 'snow"
"A TV antenna is a sponge for radio energy, collecting lots more than just the desired signal. Snow is the result of the TV attempting to turn stray signals into an image, signals from radio stations, emissions from power lines, transformers or appliances, or even from the electrical noise of the circuits in the TV itself...result is the strangely-calming ant-dance of black on white that we call snow. But snow has another source, a source far from this planet in both time & space. Mixed in with the noise of Earthling civilization are radio echoes of the Big Bang, the moment of the Universe's creation 13 Billion years ago...universe started out very small & very hot & has been expanding and cooling ever since. As it cools, the Big Bang's fossil radiation sheds radio energy in the same way a cake on a cooling rack gives up heat. & when those indescribably ancient radio waves run down the rabbit ears and into your analog TV, the TV's circuitry interprets it as an image & voila! - Snow."

[see audio version here: ]
paulsaffo  analog  tv  television  noise  whitenoise  snow  obsolescence 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Saffo: journal - Be Afraid When Cops Wear Masks -- and Crooks Don't
"picture below – the cops are hiding behind masks while the prisoner, Mexican Drug Lord Vicente Zambada, stands in calm defiance, showing his face to the cameras. As a forecaster, I look for “inversions” – events that turn the expected upside down – as powerful indicators that a fundamental shift is about to unfold. Zambada's image represents an inversion from a time when the bandits wore the masks, and the square-jawed cops proudly showed their faces to the world... This picture tells us that Mexico has become a place where the cops are fearful and the crooks are defiant, where the government is weak and the cartels are the innovators. It is an indicator that Mexico’s lurid drug war is merely prologue to something much bigger. Three years ago I wrote here that major social unrest – possibly a revolution-- in Mexico was no longer unthinkable. Zambada’s defiant profile suggests that the unthinkable is now frighteningly likely."
mexico  crisis  warondrugs  politics  government  society  defiance  inversion  paulsaffo 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Saffo: journal - Since the mid-1980s, my mantra for this process is “strong opinions, weakly held....Allow your intuition to guide you to a conclusion, no matter how imperfect -- this is the “strong opinion” part. ”
"...Then --and this is the “weakly held” part-- prove yourself wrong. Engage in creative doubt. Look for information that doesn’t fit, or indicators that pointing in an entirely different direction."
forecasting  future  futurism  opinion  paulsaffo  predictions  flexibility  creativity  information  decisiveness 
july 2008 by robertogreco
ABC News: Obama's 'Cybergenic' Edge: How McCain and Obama Operate in Cyberspace Could Determine Election's Outcome
"To win, candidates must now be "cybergenic" — able to surf, blog, IM and twitter their way into the hearts of activist "netizens...mediagenic contrast between Obama and McCain also is not tilting in McCain's favor"
twitter  barackobama  smartmobs  cybergenics  media  elections  politics  2008  johnmccain  internet  web  cyberspace  microblogging  paulsaffo 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Saffo: journal: Davos and Gates Foundation 2.0
"Now history is about to repeat itself, as the charitable innovations of the Google founders and Bill Gates inspire their peers to meet – and exceed—their visions."
paulsaffo  billgates  microsoft  google  competition  davos  generosity  innovation  history  foundations  change  future 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Saffo: journal: Google and Gold Race Towards $850
"change...clustering at schizophrenic extremes...powerful indicator...much more fundamental change lies ahead. Listen carefully...can hear doppler whistle of something approaching and it isn’t merely hubub over rising price of Google--or gold."
economics  google  gold  future  change  paulsaffo 
november 2007 by robertogreco

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