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Supercomputer utopian

  1. Jun 1, 2009 #1
    Consider a future human society scenario where a 'supercomputer' was entrusted by all of humanity to divy out the jobs and tasks of all the citizens on Earth. The citizens all put faith in the correctness of each and every decision the supercomputer made, ranging from the grandest of humanity's goals to the smallest minutia of daily chores. And they are right to do so, because it turns out that the supercomputer indeed does manage the earth's resources and as well, the interrelationships of individual humans and their wants and needs, much better than in fact the humans can themselves. This supercomputer would be not officially an AI, but its programming input would come directly from the individual citizens. Each citizen would have a sensor/transmitter on his body that monitored all life functions and senses felt by the citizen. These in turn would be transmitted to the supercomputer who would run a series of algorithms on the information and decide the best route for everyone to take. The algorithms would themselves be programmed by each individual citizen as they go about their daily lives naturally finding improvements and efficiencies in life and industry. We humans would update the supercomputer like some wikipedia entry and each update would hyperlink to many others, thus creating some hyperplexus of information.

    It would be nice to think, 'Oh, I need some milk, I better go to the store.' And twenty seconds later a neighbour rings your bell and delivers a 2L, because the supercomputer told him that, since your neighbour was already at the store and planning on going home, that it is a more efficient decision for humanity in general and for the wants and needs of the individual, if he picks up the milk and delivers it to you. Of course this means you must consider the flip side of the coin which is that you will be called upon to add random tasks to your daily routine, but I think that would be quite an amusing life and it certainly holds the charm of a well natured spontaneity.
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  3. Jun 1, 2009 #2


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    It certainly would be a different sort of life...but how could it function in a capitalist society, where there are winners and losers?

    I guess it couldn't. It would have to be 100% socialist. How would the system deal with lazy people?
  4. Jun 1, 2009 #3
    What happens if someone decides they don't want to get milk for their neighbor? Is cooperation voluntary or compulsory? What are the consequences for disobedience? Are voluntary actions outside of those decreed by the computer acceptable?

    I'm fond of my right to fail if I so choose. Yes, a computer could make better decisions than I could, but they wouldn't be my decisions. I wouldn't get any personal satisfaction by having decisions made for me. Without making my own decisions I have no influence over my identity.

    I'd rather get milk for my neighbors because it pleases me to help them and not because it is more efficient for humanity.
  5. Jun 2, 2009 #4
    hmmm, I need a million dollars... guess I'll just wait here 'til some guys bring them to me.
  6. Jun 2, 2009 #5
    I believe that if we got to such a point in society we would probably use economic/political models that were much more evolved than present day capitalism or socialism.
  7. Jun 2, 2009 #6
    Consider this analogy:

    Society ----> Community of cells.

    Supercomputer ----> brain

    Today's society ------> Stromatolite

    Future society controlled by supercomputer ---> human body controlled by the brain
  8. Jun 2, 2009 #7


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    Read Asimoiv's "The Evitable Conflict".
  9. Jun 3, 2009 #8
    Check out the book "We" by Zamaytin. It was written before computers, but the idea is pretty much the same.
  10. Jun 3, 2009 #9


    No spontaneity nor individuality at all.

    I don't see anything "amusing" in your scenario... :confused:
  11. Jun 4, 2009 #10
    As outlined in the scenario, the wants and needs of the individual will be tranmitted to the supercomputer, so if you didn't want to get milk, the supercomputer would never have asked you in the first place. Of course you may, say, 'but something made me change my mind at the last moment.' to which there is no argument and we spiral into a free choice debate. The Idealized supercomputer would waste little time querying citizens to do tasks that they would not other wise do, but sure, as you point out there would be small errors among many successes. You can call that error choice if it, makes you free warm and fuzzy on the inside :)
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