Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Robots Don't Buy Much, Neither do Blacksmiths or Scribes

In reading the NY Times one is often better informed by reading the comments to the article. The article was on Amazon, its purchase of a robot company, and the automating of its distribution sites. One comment from a Canadian was:

Robots don't buy much. Eventually, unless we come up with some form of guaranteed annual income, there won't be any customers for their output. 

Now there is more insight here in this short comment than any of the long run on sentences.  Perhaps because the writer is Canadian we may dismiss it as per se socialistic ramblings, but it does portray the views of many. No robots don't buy anything, yet the people who create them create value, the people who extract the minerals create value, the people who create the software create value. The value chain is a moving and living entity. To participate in it one must be prepared, educated, and willing to take a risk.

In contrast the solution is a guaranteed income. First where is the money coming from, second what are the unintended consequences. Had we kept our scribes busy, we would not have had a typewriter, and if we kept our typists busy we would not have had the word processor etc.

The logical disconnects in this single comment, two sentences, reflects the problem in our society, a culture of many who have neither the capabilities nor the insight to what has made America. Also the "demand" for those who are willing to risk and produce to fund those who are clueless is truly pathetic.