re: Will programming be automated? (A Slack Chat and Commentary) VIEW POST


Guys, not technically but philosophically speaking doesn't this Law cancels (to some degree) automation downsides like so called 'mass unemployment'?

Tog's Law of Commuting:

"The time of a commute is fixed. Only the distance is variable." Translation? People will strive to experience an equal or increasing level of complexity in their lives no matter what is done to reduce it. Make the roads faster, and people will invariably move further away.

My point – we'll find stuff to do and create new ways of spending of lives – space exploration, huge projects, advanced gaming etc.


It could, but only if that Law holds true. If, at any point, people stop worrying about the preservation of complexity, then problems might arise.

In addition, automation downsides like "mass unemployment" can still be a problem because it may take time for society to slowly compensate for the reduced complexity of its actions. This "mass unemployment" might be temporary (for some definition of "temporary"), but it would still cause social turmoil and chaos. It also doesn't help that there's no "end-state" to strive for...automation isn't going to stop. As soon as we develop new jobs and new work, those new jobs are in danger of also being automated away (for us to worry about even newer jobs and even newer work) . Society could quickly cycle between "mass unemployment" and "full employment", depending on the speed of our technological progress.

EDIT: "Retraining" and "retooling" existing people for new jobs would also become very expensive, especially when those new jobs can quickly become obsolete thanks to automation (forcing another round of "retraining" and "retooling"). If people are complaining about JavaScript Fatigue now, what do you think is going to happen when all fields start experiencing churn?


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