Sunday, December 4, 2016

Bitchwork Bots: Not Terminator, But Might As Well Be

So, I see that recently another push in the hoaxing media for a $15 minimum wage. Usual retorts--robots, software, etc.--get said, but there is something left out. The workers are protesting, sure, but they have one valid point: not everyone can get past this level of unskilled, often menial, bitchwork.

It's not just a few. The majority of people across the globe will never become good enough to qualify for something better than bitchwork jobs. The rampant issues with academic fraud in India, China, and so on exists not merely for family and individual status, but also due to the fact that bitchwork in most places might as well be fending for yourself with a side of serfdom. The corruption and incompetence that comes from such issues arises because basic work is so ill-paid that you would better off staying on the farm or tending the flock/herd than ever go anywhere else or do anything else.

Don't tell me that this ain't so. I've ghosted amongst them, listening to them talk frankly during their daily hustles, and I talk with others who've walked among them--here and elsewhere--be it as cops, missionaries, medics, managers, etc. and eventually we all have our stories of how we come across someone who just can't do a goddamn thing without supervision. My time in the bitchwork trenches showed me plenty of people who never would leave them; they lacked the ability, the mindset, the skills, or (often) some combination thereof. For them, the only hope they had was to increase their wages or dip into crime to satisfy their image of how life should be, or (often) both.

Automation is an existential threat to billions of people because it takes away the only things they will ever do. Bitchwork is called that for damn good reasons, but it's something, and those thinking Basic Income will come are delusional: those who own the machines will never be so magnanimous.

So, what do you do with a massive base of people who are incapable of honest upgrading of their capacities to get useful work in an age where all of the bitchwork is done by robots and software? Governments are already straining (where they are honest, which is few) to deal with those on assistance as it is; this will not endure after any economic collapse. We're going to see balkanization regardless of how successful automation is, but automation will only make it happen worse and faster, because those permanently displaced by bitchwork bots will have all the time in the world to fight against the diversity in proximity that competes for what remains in terms of viable paths to securing food and shelter.

It turns out that there is a choice to make here: go with the bots (and end up killing billions) or scrap them (and accept limits to technological growth). Count on the corpse piles.

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