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08 May, 2016

Varoufakis: IT technologies will overthrow Capitalism


The former Greek Minister of Finance, Yanis Varoufakis, ended his recent speech on the Future of Capitalism, at the New School, New York, with some interesting remarks.

As he said:

The world we live in, is increasingly rudderless, in a constant slow burning recession, while at the very same time, the increasing concentration in the IT sector is creating the new technologies that will do that which the Left has failed to do: overthrow Capitalism. It is really very simple.

The moment machines pass the Turing test properly, and you pick up the phone and you do not know whether the person you are talking to is a human being or a machine˙ the moment we are going to have 3D printers operating as public utilities - you can send any blueprint to it and it can print from one pin to a motorcycle, or to a car - the moment that this happens, we have not just a process of Schumpeterian creative destruction, but we have a process where economies of scale and the whole logic of corporate Capitalism collapses.

And at that point we have a major rapture that the political system which has been completely depleted of any semblance of Democracy, will not be able to regulate. At that point, humanity will be facing a juncture: will either move to a Star Trek-like Utopia, where technology becomes our slave and we manage to utilize its wealth creating capacity for the purpose of the common good, which will be democratically determined and not technologically, or, we are going to move towards a Matrix-like Dystopia where humans, independently on whether are the owners of these magnificent machines or the masses who are miserable and completely cut off productive society, will all become servants to the machines.

The choice will depend on Democratic politics. The choice is everyone's.


*****

The ruthless elites are now breaking the social contract due to hyper-automation. They own the corrupted politicians and are using them to deregulate the system completely, according to their interests. The Greek experiment could be used as a model for this process.

One dangerous illusion of the elites is that they can go away, as always in the past, in case of a massive, ugly collapse. But, if there will be any Revolution in the 21st century soon, it will be done by those who became statistical figures of poverty, unemployment, inequality and social exclusion by this brutal system. People with no hopes and dreams, no better future to seek, no class consciousness. People who have nothing to lose. It will be bad, chaotic, unpredictable and rather doubtful that someone could call it "Revolution".

Their other dangerous illusion, is that they think they can escape from what actually Varoufakis implies here, that in a completely deregulated system, where the political power will be vanished and all the processes will be determined exclusively by the power of technology, even the elites will eventually end to obey the extremely advanced, hyper-automated machines. This is the road to the Matrix Dystopia for everyone.

We can only hope that things will end differently towards the "Star Trek Utopia" that Varoufakis describes. As mentioned in previous article: “The thirst for more power and profit may drive the biggest companies into a new cycle of fierce competition. Furthermore, it may not be that easy for them to keep the monopoly of technology too long. Eventually the technology of hyper-automated machines will escape from the monopolies, and a new sequence of small-medium businesses will become active in the field. Soon, we could see a similar scenario to that of the computers and the internet. However, in this case the impact to the societies will be much more profound. If hyper-automated machines become more and more cheap and accessible to millions of households, it could seriously boost the quality of life for millions of people into unprecedented levels.

However, the odds are totally against this perspective, exactly because the elites are using their increasingly concentrated power to pull societies away from it. We all need to fight in order to change this balance. We need to bring back the political process at the center of all critical decisions which will determine our future. To use the technology for the benefit of all. Otherwise, 'The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.', as Stephen Hawking, among other scientists, already warned.

Watch the whole speech:


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3 comments:

  1. World is not ruderless people get the goverment they deserve. How many of americans yelled yeah yeah while bombs payed by them were killing inocent children!! now who cares if their backs break if they approved wars with their money don't they deserve to be poor?

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  2. 80% of human beings are greedy idiots. That is why capitalism cannot be defeated.

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    1. Even the greediest eventually has his fill. Capitalism is ending because we are automating work and trivializing access to whatever goods or services such work could be exchanged for. And this is hardly bad news Mehrdad - we may finally be rid of a primeval trade of apples for oranges.

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