Robotic universal human unemployment looming large

By : Shreepal Singh

The World Technology Network ( is a community of the world’s most innovative individuals and organizations in science,  technology, and in related fields.  It is launching the first World’s Summit on “Technological Unemployment” on September 29, 2015, at the Time Life Conference Center in New York City.

It is how they introduce the theme and the need to hold such summit.

Accelerating technological unemployment will likely be one of the most challenging societal issues in the 21st Century.  Never before in history are so many industries being simultaneously upended by new technologies.

Though “creative destruction” , in which lost jobs are replaced with new ones, will be a factor,  our newest technologies have the clear potential to eliminate many more jobs than we create.

With technology advancing at a geometrical pace,  robotics,  artificial intelligence,  3D-printing,  and other innovations with enormous disruptive potential will soon hit the mainstream.  Billions of people worldwide are currently employed in industries that will likely be affected – and billions of new entrants to the workforce will need jobs.

While much has been written about the coming collision of rapidly advancing technology and an increasingly displaced workforce (a recent Oxford study predicts 47%  of  US jobs gone from technology within two decades), there has been no structured attempt at any level of government,  academia,  or industry to define,  address,  and even begin to conceive solutions to what may well be the greatest threat to our social fabric in the years ahead.  Until now.

What do you guess of the future?

Do we need to change the way we share our planetary resources?

Change in ” Mode of Production ” that is happening rapidly today shall end ” Capitalism ” soon

By: Shreepal Singh

Today in the 21st century, the “Capitalist Mode of Production” (that is, industries powered by machines, which need human beings to work them up, and the capacity of capital to hire those human beings who can work those machines) is giving its way to a “New Mode of Production” based upon the new technology, which is called automation and is powered by a new invention known as Artificial Intelligence.

The Artificial Intelligence makes the production of commodities completely automatic, obviating the need of human beings in the production process.

In an economic system (that is, in Capitalism) where the production-activity is carried on solely with a motive to earn more and more profit, the technological capacity of Artificial Intelligence to obviate the need of human-employment will create a situation where the major part of humanity would be rendered unemployed for the want of work. It will result in a volatile global civil-war like situation. We will consider this situation in the emerging world scenario.

Let us continue with the concept “Mode of Production” and, in that light, identify a “New Mode” that we can see today emerging on the horizon and find out how or which way that “New Mode” is qualitatively different from the present “Capitalist Mode” of production.

We are talking here of a new mode of production of commodities.

How that new mode, which we can sense coming soon as an economic way of life, is different from the capitalist mode that we follow today and so very well understand?

What is that element in the capitalist mode of production which makes it qualitatively different from all other past modes of production? Let us understand it.

How the capitalist mode of production is qualitatively different, say, from the agricultural mode of production? And, how is the agricultural mode of production qualitatively different from the slaved-humans’ mode (which was a short-lived aberration) or from the primitive people’s hunting-gathering mode of production?

That element which determines all these mode’s “difference of quality” would provide us the touch-stone to judge the new emerging mode’s status in this respect.

Humans have evolved out of animals. Humans are still animals, except that they make “tools” of production and animals do not. (Humans need to make tools to produce commodities and this tool-making activity has evolved their brain from an animal’s state to the state of a human).

What is the “utility” of a tool in the process of producing commodities?

The utility of a tool is that it “saves human labor” in the process of producing commodities.

Consumption of commodities by humans is the means of their (humans) survival in their struggle against the forces of Nature. Animals also consume food (which is not commodity in their case) to survive, which they do not produce. Humans also consume food (and many other things, which almost all are commodities), which they produce with the help of tools.

And, humans are wise; they want to save their labor in the matter of commodity-production.

Let us see, how humans have fared in this labor-saving exercise over the long period of their history.

In the primitive society, humans were almost bare-handed in the matter of producing commodities, which were items of flesh taken out of the hunted prey; horns, bones etc. of the killed animals to be used by them as scrappers, borers etc.; collected honey; gathering wild fruits; etc.

The “tools” used by primitive people for these food-collection activities (technically, production of commodities) were crude bone-made and stone-made scrappers, borers, harpoons, axes, hammers etc.

As these tools were crude, they “saved” very little “human labor”. Then, almost “the entire labor” was done by humans by the force of “using their hands; getting together as a group to kill an isolated prey; agility of their body to climb the trees or run to kill animals”. Thus, at that stage, the tools “saved very little human labor”. Then, the quantum of labor saved by tools was the “minimal” in the primitive stage of the development of human history.

We leave the slaved-humans mode of production (which is obvious and is not so important part of human history in respect of the commodity-production).

We come to the agricultural mode of production and see how much “quantum” of the saving of human labor was achieved by the agricultural tools in the feudal society.

In transiting from the stage of the primitive society and its stone and bone tools to that of the agricultural or feudal society, humans had/have much developed their tools of production (like iron-plough, horse/oxen, wheels etc.), which save much of their labor.

How has this saving of the human labor been achieved in this agricultural society?

This saving of the human-labor required for producing commodities has been achieved by “taking this labor away from the humans and imposing it on the animals”.

The origin of the natural clash of interests between two antagonistic classes in a given type of uman society lies in the human tendency/nature to somehow get oneself free from the labor (which is necessarily required for producing commodities) and impose this labor on somebody else.

It is only for this reason alone that, except in the primitive human society (where the extreme odds of Nature made tribal people to jointly share this labor for the sake of their very survival), in the slaved-humans stage, the labor needed for commodity-production was shifted by a group of “intelligent and powerful” people from themselves to the slaved-humans (serfs). Then in the next and another type of society, this needed labor was shifted by such group of people from themselves to horses/oxen and these animals’ drivers (tillers of land). Again in another type of society, the needed labor was shifted by such group of people from themselves to machines and these machines’ operators (workers in industries).

And, now in the 21st century today this needed labor is in the process of being shifted by such group of people from themselves to  the automatic robots working by artificial intelligence.

We are concerned here with the “quantum” of labor that is saved by a particular kind of tools.

This quantum determines the question whether the new production-tools (or, means of production) are qualitatively different from the old ones or not.

We find that in the primitive tribal society, the production-tools like stone hammer or bone spear save “negligible” human labor.

In the next serfdom stage, slaved-humans save “considerable” amount of human labor.

Further on, in the agriculture based feudalist society, the animals-driven plough etc. save “great amount” of human labor.

In the modern machine-driven industrial society, there is the “greatest or the maximum” saving of human labor.

Today, in the 21st century, the new technology known as “Artificial Intelligence and Artificial General Intelligence” is slowly replacing the old tools known as “machines”.

How much amount of the human labor is “saved” by this new technology in the matter of commodity-production? What is the “quantum” of this saved labor?

The new technology of the 21st century makes humans completely “free” from labor in the matter of commodity-production. There is the “total” saving of human labor here.

It is a new “Mode of Production”, which is qualitatively different from the old “machine-driven industrial” mode of production.

We know that in the primitive tribal society the people who lived by hunting animals and gathering wild fruits, it were the ferocious odds of Nature (the question of their very survival) that forced them to live united (or collectively). Their primitive tools – stone-hammers and axes, bone-spears and piercers – were not enough to make them survive against wild animals and hunger. In addition to these tools, these people needed the strength of their unity as a tribe or family and the superiority of their number. Then, in the struggle for survival there was no scope left for them for any social discord or division among them. It was a primitive society.

We leave this subject at that. For the time being we are not touching the question of how this new technology (or the new mode of production) would cause “total unemployment” of humanity.

At the end, we note that from the primitive tribal society, where their tools saved almost “negligible” amount of human labor in the matter of the production of commodities, to the 21st century of today, where our tools are saving almost “complete” amount of human labor in this respect, there is the completion of one cycle.

It is a full cycle commencing with the arrival (by way of evolutionary transformation from animals etc.) of the primitive tribal humans and ending with the modern humans, who are able to fabricate artificial intelligence.

It is one complete phase of life’s evolution on Earth.

And, a new evolutionary cycle awaits us.

This time,  it is not the “Mode of Production ” alone (and acompanied with a new type of social order) that is going to change; it is the human race – as we know it – that is going to change this time.

It is an interesting subject and the most vital one, and humanity must ponder over it.

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