Human-Competitive Android Workers Flood Event Thought Experiment

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A Human-Competitive Android Workers Flood Event Thought Experiment is a thought experiment where Human-Competitive Android Workers appear suddenly into the work force.



References

2014

  • (Brynjolfsson & McAfee, 2014) ⇒ Erik Brynjolfsson, and Andrew McAfee. (2014). “The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in the Time of Brilliant Technologies." W W Norton & Company. ISBN:0393239357
    • QUOTE: Imagine that tomorrow a company introduced androids that could do absolutely everything a human worker could do, including building more androids. There’s an endless supply of these robots, and they’re extremely cheap to buy and virtually free to run over time. They work all day, every day, without breaking down. Clearly, the economic implications of such an advance would be profound. First of all, productivity and output would skyrocket. The androids would operate the farms and factories. Food and products would become much cheaper to produce. In a competitive market, in fact, their prices would fall close to the cost of their raw materials. Around the world, we’d see an amazing increase in the volume, variety, and affordability of offerings. The androids, in short, would bring great bounty. They’d also bring severe dislocations to the labor force. Every economically rational employer would prefer androids, since compared to the status quo they provide equal capability at lower cost. So they would very quickly replace most, if not all, human workers. Entrepreneurs would continue to develop novel products, create new markets, and found companies, but they’d staff these companies with androids instead of people . The owners of the androids and other capital assets or natural resources would capture all the value in the economy, and do all the consuming. Those with no assets would have only their labor to sell, and their labor would be worthless.