Post scarcity motivations

I think we should all examine the significance of the number 42.:whistle:
 
Security from hypothetical threats in unmapped space:


Is a post scarcity society necessarily a militarily secure one?

Unlike planet earth, we don't know what lies in the far reaches of the universe. There could be natural phenomena, hostile empires, or other threats out there, the mere possibility of which (being potentially "game-ending") we should never be complacent about.

Hopefully there isn't, and perhaps likely there isn't, but the stakes are heaven on (and off) earth, vs destruction (or indeed worse)

_

This is perhaps a dangerous line of thinking, because it might interfere with and take focus away from, things like:

conservation of what's good, safety in growth and development, not prioritizing unnecessary speed at the cost of unnecessrary harm, etc

-when the threat might be just and only that.


But- after the need to maintain and cultivate civilisation (so it doesn't fall apart on its own), -and tempered by it, I can't think of anything more important than 'protecting your civilisation'. (so it isn't destroyed from the outside)


I also think the need for the latter could be used as a tool to stave off the former. As per this thread, lack of purpose is a serious threat, but hopefully one which can be postponed until such time as we're able to weather a few ten-thousand years of it. -until we're truly secure.
 
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To my physicist's brain, that sounds like trying to get something for nothing, which never ends well.

quick reaction- Solar energy is not unlimted, but is being depleted at a constant rate regardless of what we do. Collecting it is not 'getting something for nothing' in a fundamental physical sense, just capturing already present resources rather than allowing them to dissipate.
 
Is a post scarcity society necessarily a militarily secure one?

Unlike planet earth, we don't know what lies in the far reaches of the universe. There could be natural phenomena, hostile empires, or other threats out there, the mere possibility of which (being potentially "game-ending") we should never be complacent about.

Hopefully there isn't, and perhaps likely there isn't, but the stakes are heaven on (and off) earth, vs destruction (or indeed worse)
No, it isn't secure against exterior threat. But going down that road supposes a couple of pretty questionable things:
1. That the risk of alien war is sufficiently high to preserve political institutions that are known to cause human war - including apocalyptic war.
2. That there is a path to defense from speculative alien threats that hide-bound military institutions are the most likely to discover.

As we learn more about our universe, the "alien threat" appears to either be non-existent, or operating at such a level of stealth that we can't even fathom the technology or mindset of those aliens. Developing effective defense against such aliens is like composing the perfect music for them - and they may not even have ears.

However, we do know that we have almost completely killed all life on our planet in a couple of instances in the '60s and '80s. Incidents that were, at their heart, competitive clashes between scarcity based economic systems. If the Drake Equation was extended to include the Doomsday Clock, the relative importance of ending economic-based competition in our solar system would surely overrule the possibility of alien civilization's interference or even existence.


The other objection I have is the notion that political, security or economic pressures are better and stronger motivators for scientific advancement than universal prosperity. We only think they are because we make so many advances due to war vs peace, but our peace isn't a post-scarcity peace. We have no idea how many farmers, beauticians and factory workers would make contributions to science if they didn't have to pay the bills with less sophisticated labors. With every person now able to contribute, more of them will, and our understanding of the universe will evolve more quickly. And that kind of knowledge will provide more insite into both the nature of threats and possible defenses against all threats - inside and out of our solar system.

Finally, the biggest reason for an alien civilization to see us as a threat is our current interest in territoriality and warfare. A prosperous, non-competitive and non-combative society has a much greater chance of being ignored or embraced rather than being feared or attacked. At the very least, post scarcity people are more likely to keep a low profile.
 
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@RX 79G

why are you hyperfocusing on the 'hostile empires'?

It is a member of the general class of external threats, including 'natural phenomena' -like black holes on collision course, or our sun going supernova (if that's possible), or destabilising and ceasing to be an energy source long before projections indicate.

A post-scarcity bubble in a vast and unknown expanse is not an endpoint. It may be all that's possible, it may not be possible in the first place, but it's not secure.


About hostile empires, the idea of falling on their mercy as plan A is just absolutely ridiculous. We've seen imperialistic cultures first hand on our planet. Do you want to find out first hand if that's as bad as it gets?

It's also quite possible 'they' may have no mercy to give- Apart from terrible culture/attitude (perhaps produced in an incubator of war, or other local negative-sum-game), there's also the possibility of people/AIs literally programmed to merciless conquest. As you note, war is not a great thing- in fact it can have quite some 'race to the bottom' aspects, and that's a pretty obvious potential endpoint for such a race.

I'm not happy to just assume that this (or something similar) has never happened anywhere in the universe. 'Not likely' isn't good enough



About relative importance of ending scarcity vs economic. Okay I think I see what the whole problem is. This thread is about motivations in a post scarcity society. I'm taking post scarcity as a starting point.

You're talking about a bunch of particular stuff anachronistic to right now, like particular poltical or military structures, 'competition' (is this a reference to capitalism?), untapped potential of people who must do repetitive tasks all day, etc. I don't understand what you're referring to mostly, (except the last one), but as far as I can tell none of it pertains to my post, which is talking about the nature of post scarcity in general (as per the thread).

(which will likely be long in the future, if ever, and who knows what political structures etc we have then.)

Also, I did say really directly in my post that this external security should be a secondary priority to maintaining and cultivating civilisation internally, and should be tempered by those needs. (seeing as external threats are in this case potential while internal ones are guaranteed)


About composing different appropriate defence for aliens: well raw power and general cultural readiness are bound to be important. I can't imagine any custom threats would require a significantly different approach, but if it's possible, that would simply be part of being ready. If our tech levels are 3000 years higher because we didn't imagine 'post scarcity' is the endpoint, it's probably a very different story.



And yes of course we can learn more as we go on. Maybe after some time we learn enough about the universe to say such threats are impossible, and/or that we have all threats covered. If so obviously, the game changes. (I assumed this was implicit)


Anyway, this was way too long an explanation post. Maybe I should just leave it when someone seems to understand something completely different by what I said than what I (at least in my head) was talking about
 
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why are you hyperfocusing on the 'hostile empires'? It is a member of the general class of external threats, including 'natural phenomena' like black holes on collision course, or our sun going supernova (if that's possible), or destabilising and ceasing to be an energy source long before projections.
I'm not. I'm saying that all of the possible threats - natural or otherwise - are best met with the largest possible body of general knowledge, rather than by an assigned committee. Those natural threats are more likely to be from things we don't even understand than the very predictable and long term breakdown of our sun. So creating a society where more people have access and time to devote to science increases our security against the unknown more than any specific, guided process could.

About hostile empires, the idea of falling on their mercy as plan A is just absolutely ridiculous. We've seen imperialistic cultures first hand on our planet. Do you want to find out first hand if we've plumbed the depths of bad culture and bad attitude?
I certainly don't think falling on anyone's mercy is a good idea. I'm saying that we have no idea how to resist an alien threat, and the answer isn't going to be found in our own military history or technology. The most advanced missile ever built is still just a Chinese firework compared to star-crossing technology.

Did you take my comment about keeping a low profile to mean that we should disarm ourselves? I meant that a good way to avoid hostilities is to not even be noticed in the first place - while the testing of superweapons in space is a great way to bring "peace keepers" to our door.

I'm not happy to just assume that that's never happened anywhere in the universe. Not likely isn't good enough
I didn't say "not likely". I meant that we have to prioritize, and what I thought was your suggestion that permanently solving the major economic roadblocks to human advancement is a lower priority than "alien threat" sounds like a paranoid conspiracy theory. We currently don't have enough of a handle on our resources to prevent despots, get CO2 under control or look for dangerous orbiting objects - you want to add an even less unlikely problem that we don't have a clue how to deal with and then make it a top priority?

About relative importance of ending scarcity vs economic. Okay I think I see what the whole problem is: This thread is about motivations in a post scarcity society. I'm taking post scarcity as a starting point.

You're talking about a bunch of particular stuff anachronistic to right now, like particular poltical or military structures, 'competition' (is this a reference to capitalism?), untapped potential of people who must do repetitive tasks all day, etc. I don't understand what you're referring to mostly, (except the last one), but as far as I can tell none of it pertains to my post, which is talking about the nature of post scarcity in general (as per the thread).
If you're talking about post scarcity as a starting point, why are you talking about global projects like defense? It is going to be awful hard to get a referendum through the UN when all the member countries stopped existing. Countries exist to safeguard resources and organize economic processes, and both of those won't exist. So when you said "Is a post scarcity society necessarily a militarily secure one?", I assumed you were pitting the two concepts against each other.

But if you are assuming that we are talking about a post scarcity, post government world, I think there will be people who become interested in threats real and speculative, and they will devote their time to those problems. The issue is that there won't be a body politic to mandate their interests, so the effectiveness of any specific program is going to come from the number and intellect of the individuals that take an interest, and the amount of external research that applies.

However, I don't see a leaderless post scarcity world as being more ineffective at dealing with threats than we already are. We currently don't deal with things we know are a problem. Free 7 billion people from drudgery and a lot of stuff might start getting done, including some sort of volunteer human defense league. But whatever form that might take, it will go out the window the moment humankind finds out the shape of the actual threat and begins reacting to it. Those folks who have been involved longest might find themselves quickly sidelined by an entire planet of ideas and home factories.
 
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I'm not. I'm saying that all of the possible threats - natural or otherwise - are best met with the largest possible body of general knowledge, rather than by an assigned committee.

As it happens, probably so would I. That's neither here nor there. This thread is about motivations in a post scarcity society.

Questions like 'why should I get out of bed in the morning' 'why should I make the most of myself' etc have a strong answer available- because humanity needs you, and everybody, -we're not out of the woods yet. Such existential problems can be ameliorated/postponed until we are secure as well as post-scarcity. (to an extent)

I certainly don't think falling on anyone's mercy is a good idea. I'm saying that we have no idea how to resist an alien threat, and the answer isn't going to be found in our own military history or technology. The most advanced missile ever built is still just a Chinese firework compared to star-crossing technology.

As I said, you are being anachronistic to right now for some reason. Who said anything about our military history or technology? This is all you. Again, I'm not taking any particularities of current society as a starting point, my sole starting point is 'post scarcity'.


I didn't say "not likely". I meant that we have to prioritize, and your idea that permanently solving the major economic roadblocks to human advancement is a lower priority than "alien threat" sounds like a paranoid conspiracy theory. We currently don't have enough of a handle on our resources to prevent despots, get CO2 under control or look for dangerous orbiting objects - you want to add an even less unlikely problem that we don't know how to deal with and make it a priority?

(emphasis added)

I didn't say anything like that though. You just made it up.


I said pretty much the opposite on multiple axes: 1. internal civilisation cultivation and maintenance is more important (I specifically said this in my very first ****ing post) 2. as per the thread, post scarcity is the starting point, this question doesn't even arise.

and said it ****ing twice, in my first post, and the clarification post. This isn't some complex thread of meaning we differ on, you're just telling me I said the opposite of what I said. TWICE




If you're talking about post scarcity as a starting point, why are you talking about global projects like defense? It is going to be awful hard to get a referendum through the UN when all the member countries stopped existing. Countries exist to safeguard resources and organize economic processes, and both of those won't exist.

Post scarcity doesn't mean post government, and even if it did, it wouldn't mean post pooling-your-resources. Somehow if we have more than we need it becomes impossible to cooperate? somehow the asteroids go away? -Am I dreaming or did you really imply post scarcity means no cooperative projects?

By post-scarcity I don't mean that everyone is ****ing omnipotent. current this, UN that.. this is a ****ing sci fi thread. Where are you even getting 'current' from?


So when you said "Is a post scarcity society necessarily a militarily secure one?", I assumed you were pitting the two concepts against each other.

Okay, but when you make a mistake, once you notice it, you can just stop making it. Feel free to drop that complete hallucination at any moment you choose.



But if you are assuming that we are talking about a post scarcity, post government world, I think there will be people who become interested in threats real and speculative, and they will devote their time to those problems. The issue is that there won't be a body politic to mandate their interests, so the effectiveness of any specific program is going to come from the number and intellect of the individuals that take an interest, and the amount of external research that applies.

However, I don't see a leaderless post scarcity world as being more ineffective at dealing with threats than we already are. We currently don't deal with things we know are a problem. Free 7 billion people from drudgery and a lot of stuff might start getting done, including some sort of volunteer human defense league.

Okay so some more stuff about how you think I'm talking about current existing institutions, after I explicitly said I wasn't, and how my post was about a referendum on post scarcity, when I was implicitly taking a starting point of post scarcity (as per the thread), and then made this explicit in an explanatory follow up post. And how I'm somehow against "freeing 7 billion people" to release the -I'm gonna quote MYSELF here- to finish your ****ing sentence:

"untapped potential of people who must do repetitive tasks all day"


...gee what an unsympathetic, downright "fasco-capitalist" framing of automatable work. ..I wonder what this guy thinks of UBI?


Like, do I have to start calling you "comrade" before you can let go of some of these fever dreams? Or is it enough that our completely irrelevant "politics" already happen to be pretty close

_




So anyway does anyone else here like borscht?

What about universal basic incomes? It's great how they streamline so much of the wasteful cost of welfare systems, with all their bloated expensive admin, and their tendency to disincentivise work, and with automation coming they'll realistically be a necessity at some point, as the paradigm changes from a focus on employment to a focus on productivity.

*wink*
 
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Okay, but when you make a mistake, once you notice it, you can just stop making it. Feel free to drop that complete hallucination at any moment you choose.
I'm not sure why you are getting insulting over this. I wasn't attacking you, just disagreeing with what I thought you presented. If I got it wrong, you don't have to make that point 6 times with increasingly shrill language.

Otherwise, it sounds like you are agreeing with things that I wrote several pages ago about how like minded individuals who wanted to do things like explore space or form a physics research group would pool their talents and manufacturing. However, I do think that the idea of government is going to take awhile to come back into vogue because it wouldn't have mandate, control or funding from a constituency. It would just be a club like many others clamoring for attention from a disinterested populace - disinterested especially since most governments (and corporations) are going to make an embarrassment of themselves in their last days struggling for control and relevancy. Any group who wants to get a large project done is going to have to create something that the majority of people have no strong objections to, or do it well away from Earth where objectors can't interfere easily.

The primary problem in all of this is that very few people are going to feel the need to look to a representative to form policy or set societal expectations. Post-scarcity is post-public policy until such a time when enough people notice the same issue and feel it deserves the creation of consensus to deal with it. And that's going to take something very serious and fairly immediate - like an Earth bound asteroid discovered by one of the hundreds of millions of new amateur astronomers.

What I'm getting at by comparing the current climate to this future is that we don't currently consider alien or cosmological threats of great concern, so why do you think post scarcity people would be any more or less interested in the subject? They have a better chance of noticing what's going on and acting on it then we would.
 
I'm gonna quote MYSELF here- to finish your ****ing sentence:

"untapped potential of people who must do repetitive tasks all day"


...gee what an unsympathetic, downright "fasco-capitalist" framing of automatable work. ..I wonder what this guy thinks of UBI?
Missed this.

If you'd like to know what "this guy" thinks, you can ask me. You're not writing an op-ed piece for Salon.

And I'm not sure why referring to 'freeing' people from everything from boring office jobs to starvation subsistence level farming makes me the member of some fringe group. I take it that you glory in work so much that you never take weekends or holidays.
 
Regarding the possibility of external threats, I would like to suggest some sort of classification. Suggestion:

1. Internal threats we can do something about. Examples: supervolcano explosion, nuclear war, grey goo outbreak, runaway greenhouse. (Note that in some cases, the best we can do is mitigate the damage.)

2. Internal threats we can't do anything about. Maybe, just maybe, our heritage as evolved from plains apes is incompatible with survival in the long term. Or we get made extinct by the gradual disappearance of the Y chromosome - which is happening by the way. Or something else we haven't thought of.

3. External threats we can do something about. Examples: asteroid impact, solar superflares and coronal mass ejections. (A Carrington Event right now would likely end our civilisation.) Again, in some cases damage limitation is the best we can do.

4. External threats we can't do anything about. This includes such things as the galactic core flaring up into a quasar, a nearby GRB and, relevant to some other discussions, external sapient threat from extrasolar aliens.

I think I should explain why I've put hostile aliens in 4. above. Simply put, it's the huge disparity between civilisational and cosmic timescales, combined with the exponential growth characteristic of the former. It's been about 8-10,000 years between the invention of farming and today. This is likely to be the same for aliens - roughly, at least. Now: It's likely that conditions on at least some planets in this galaxy have been suitable for life for perhaps 8 billion years; the Sun is a fifth-generation star. Which means it's at least possible that one of the planets out there gave birth to a technological civilisation three billion years ago. Even without this extreme, do the maths - the likely time gap between aliens and us is about a million years. What will we doing in one million AD?

Which means: If there are aliens and they don't like us, they will squash us like a bug. And if they don't want to be seen, we won't see them - ever.

One more thing: One of the best arguments for space colonisation is to be able to move threats from 2. and 4. above to 1. and 3. Some events are so dangerous that the best defence is not to be there when they happen.
 
@RX-79G

Otherwise, it sounds like you are agreeing with things that I wrote several pages ago

My post was a reply to this thread, not the direction which it had taken in the meantime, so if it agrees or diasgrees with what you were saying, it's purely a coincidence. I hadn't even read pages two to five when I posted.

The first underlined line is the "post scarcity motivation" I wished to put forth /highlight, from within the assumed context (as per the thread) of a preexisting post scarcity society.

If you'd like to know what "this guy" thinks, you can ask me. You're not writing an op-ed piece for Salon.

And I'm not sure why referring to 'freeing' people from everything from boring office jobs to starvation subsistence level farming makes me the member of some fringe group. I take it that you glory in work so much that you never take weekends or holidays.

The 'this guy' I was referring to was me- I wasn't saying it was a fringe position, I was saying that obviously I agree with you. -I don't see "must perform repetitive tasks all day" as a position to aspire to on of other people's behalf. In the same post, I also referred to such jobs as "automatable".

If I got it wrong, you don't have to make that point 6 times with increasingly shrill language.

Well I hope not. This is already no 3/6 though. (and the 4th time I'm saying some of these things)



So again, my post was never an indictment of 'post scarcity'- it had exactly zero such elements, from my POV. Any which you see were either accidental, or interposed by you yourself- perhaps based on an assumed context as part of your ongoing conversation rather than as a reply to the thread. (Or, 3rd possibility, that I don't understand myself what I really meant)

You don't have to believe me, but when I've specifically said I don't mean something, the procedure is normally to either say you don't believe me, or to nominally (if only nominally) accept my word for it.

Compare:

You said X. No I didn't. Okay so based on this X thing you said...
You said X. No I didn't. Yes you did.
You said X. No I didn't. I don't believe you, and this is why..
You said X. No I didn't. Didn't you? isn't that inconsistent with this other thing Y which you said?

_

What I'm getting at by comparing the current climate to this future is that we don't currently consider alien or cosmological threats of great concern, so why do you think post scarcity people would be any more or less interested in the subject?

My answer is implicit in my first post, but I'll rephrase it in a longer and clearer way: I expect them to be far more interested in the subject, because obviously priority #1 (by far) is to get our house in order.

How long has gone without a life ending external catastrophe? A very long time. It's far lower priority than sorting ourselves out.

To put it another way, we're not at the point of post scarcity, so definite existential threats, are a much higher priority than potential (and perhaps unlikely) existential threats.

In the scenario stipulated, most of the definite existential threats have been dealt with, so it's time to start worrying about potential ones. (It's a simple question of prioritisation).


Because after all once (if) we have a utopia established, we want it to last for a really long time. A long enough time that 'almost never happens' is bound to happen, even if it's only when the sun finally starts burning down.

objective 1: create a prosperous and good society. objective 2, protect it. When 1 is not achieved, 2 is impractical. When 1 is achieved, 2 becomes the primary remaining potential (catastrophic) existential threat.

I know that's a lot of words in a row, but I'm trying to be precise here, and they should make clear why it's a lower priority than achieving post scarcity etc, and beyond that point why it's something to seriously think about.

And again, this was from the context of a pre existing post scarcity society. It's not that such a society should be geared around war production or something, it's that if we ever get to that stage, we shouldn't forget that we aren't done yet. (thread was about motivations, remember)


Lets say there's an 'alien war machine scenario' threat. The difference isn't going to be made by short term war production, it's going to be made by the prior ten thousand years where humanity either continued to advance or rested on its laurels. -The assyrians, persians, or mongols may have been more warlike than us, but they'd lose to any modern day military, because we've had so much development time since then.

It's the same as in the case of the black hole, where our ability to move out of its way is going to be dictated by our preexisting technology levels, and our general mental readiness, not short term paranoia about black holes. (Which is why I listed them as two members of the overall class. The hostile empires threat is actually the wackier less central one by quite a bit.)
 
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Regarding the possibility of external threats, I would like to suggest some sort of classification. Suggestion:

1. Internal threats we can do something about. Examples: supervolcano explosion, nuclear war, grey goo outbreak, runaway greenhouse. (Note that in some cases, the best we can do is mitigate the damage.)

2. Internal threats we can't do anything about. Maybe, just maybe, our heritage as evolved from plains apes is incompatible with survival in the long term. Or we get made extinct by the gradual disappearance of the Y chromosome - which is happening by the way. Or something else we haven't thought of.

3. External threats we can do something about. Examples: asteroid impact, solar superflares and coronal mass ejections. (A Carrington Event right now would likely end our civilisation.) Again, in some cases damage limitation is the best we can do.

4. External threats we can't do anything about. This includes such things as the galactic core flaring up into a quasar, a nearby GRB and, relevant to some other discussions, external sapient threat from extrasolar aliens.

I think I should explain why I've put hostile aliens in 4. above. Simply put, it's the huge disparity between civilisational and cosmic timescales, combined with the exponential growth characteristic of the former. It's been about 8-10,000 years between the invention of farming and today. This is likely to be the same for aliens - roughly, at least. Now: It's likely that conditions on at least some planets in this galaxy have been suitable for life for perhaps 8 billion years; the Sun is a fifth-generation star. Which means it's at least possible that one of the planets out there gave birth to a technological civilisation three billion years ago. Even without this extreme, do the maths - the likely time gap between aliens and us is about a million years. What will we doing in one million AD?

Which means: If there are aliens and they don't like us, they will squash us like a bug. And if they don't want to be seen, we won't see them - ever.

One more thing: One of the best arguments for space colonisation is to be able to move threats from 2. and 4. above to 1. and 3. Some events are so dangerous that the best defence is not to be there when they happen.

great system. (imo)

About aliens, I think that aggressive aliens are likely to have some of the flaws which naturally go with that attitude, like arrogance, relative disinterest in technological advancement, proneness to infighting, proneness to failures in maintenance and other 'boring' work, etc. Will an empire with that attitude last three billion years? I can't say it's impossible, but I find it more likely that aggressive aliens would be fleeing from their last f*ck up and not particularly well organised.

It's also possible there simply comes a point of diminishing returns in research and advancement. We've done a few thousand years of active development, and without tools like the printing press or internet for most of it. We have no idea what the curve looks like at say ten thousand years, starting at our current rate.

Maybe the difference between 10k and 10 million isn't so much, if 6k (at internet speeds and up) is when you mostly run out of secrets of the universe to unravel.

Then there's also the point that if this ever happens, it could indeed be millions or billions of years in the future. On our sun alone, we have 5 billion years, but it could be a lot more if we can indeed expand or at least transport ourselves from there. I'm sure that 3 billion years of a good society developing, is going to absolutely trash 15 billion years of some moron space orcs. -A curve going exponentially upwards is very quickly going to beat one that's barely treading water, no matter how long its had. (or indeed possibly 6k)


Possible exception is AIs or other beings literally programmed for war, -thus having greater possibility for great intelligence and purposefulness alongside such stupidity, but hopefully these would be exploitable in some way, and anyway like you said it's not guaranteed that this universe works out well.
 
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@RX-79G



My post was a reply to this thread, not the direction which it had taken in the meantime, so if it agrees or diasgrees with what you were saying, it's purely a coincidence. I hadn't even read pages two to five when I posted.

The first underlined line is the "post scarcity motivation" I wished to put forth /highlight, from within the assumed context (as per the thread) of a preexisting post scarcity society.



The 'this guy' I was referring to was me- I wasn't saying it was a fringe position, I was saying that obviously I agree with you. -I don't see "must perform repetitive tasks all day" as a position to aspire to on of other people's behalf. In the same post, I also referred to such jobs as "automatable".



Well I hope not. This is already no 3/6 though. (and the 4th time I'm saying some of these things)



So again, my post was never an indictment of 'post scarcity'- it had exactly zero such elements, from my POV. Any which you see were either accidental, or interposed by you yourself- perhaps based on an assumed context as part of your ongoing conversation rather than as a reply to the thread. (Or, 3rd possibility, that I don't understand myself what I really meant)

You don't have to believe me, but when I've specifically said I don't mean something, the procedure is normally to either say you don't believe me, or to nominally (if only nominally) accept my word for it.

Compare:

You said X. No I didn't. Okay so based on this X thing you said...
You said X. No I didn't. Yes you did.
You said X. No I didn't. I don't believe you, and this is why..
You said X. No I didn't. Didn't you? isn't that inconsistent with this other thing Y which you said?

_



My answer is implicit in my first post, but I'll rephrase it in a longer and clearer way: I expect them to be far more interested in the subject, because obviously priority #1 (by far) is to get our house in order.

How long has gone without a life ending external catastrophe? A very long time. It's far lower priority than sorting ourselves out.

To put it another way, we're not at the point of post scarcity, so definite existential threats, are a much higher priority than potential (and perhaps unlikely) existential threats.

In the scenario stipulated, most of the definite existential threats have been dealt with, so it's time to start worrying about potential ones. (It's a simple question of prioritisation).


Because after all once (if) we have a utopia established, we want it to last for a really long time. A long enough time that 'almost never happens' is bound to happen, even if it's only when the sun finally starts burning down.

objective 1: create a prosperous and good society. objective 2, protect it. When 1 is not achieved, 2 is impractical. When 1 is achieved, 2 becomes the primary remaining potential (catastrophic) existential threat.

I know that's a lot of words in a row, but I'm trying to be precise here, and they should make clear why it's a lower priority than achieving post scarcity etc, and beyond that point why it's something to seriously think about.

And again, this was from the context of a pre existing post scarcity society. It's not that such a society should be geared around war production or something, it's that if we ever get to that stage, we shouldn't forget that we aren't done yet. (thread was about motivations, remember)


Lets say there's an 'alien war machine scenario' threat. The difference isn't going to be made by short term war production, it's going to be made by the prior ten thousand years where humanity either continued to advance or rested on its laurels. -The assyrians, persians, or mongols may have been more warlike than us, but they'd lose to any modern day military, because we've had so much development time since then.

It's the same as in the case of the black hole, where our ability to move out of its way is going to be dictated by our preexisting technology levels, and our general mental readiness, not short term paranoia about black holes. (Which is why I listed them as two members of the overall class. The hostile empires threat is actually the wackier less central one by quite a bit.)

Some of the threats are of recent origin, compared even with the history of our civilisation never mind that of our species. For example, a Carrington Event would have been of zero importance to the world of even a hundred years ago - because EMP is of no importance whatsoever to a low-tech society. Global warming and ozone depletion have been issues for only a little longer. And the grey-goo scenario is not even possible now; neither is a genetically-engineered superplague, which I didn't mention earlier. A nuclear war has had potential for really serious damage for maybe 60 years, maybe slightly less. (A nuclear war in 1953 would have been ghastly, but not civilisation-ending; there simply weren't enough, or powerful enough, weapons available.)

Regarding asteroids as a threat: It's a truism that there is no point in agonising about a threat about which one can do nothing. The threat from Dinosaur Killers only started being worthy of consideration in (maybe!) the mid-1970s, for just that reason. Maybe later, because to deal with a threat one has first to know it exists. A good estimate of the proportion of threatening asteroids we know about is 10%. Because we aren't looking!

The money spent on asteroid detection is considerably less than the American budget for lipstick. We do have a problem with priorities, don't we? (Substitute bodybuilding supplements or fake tan, if you want.)

By the way, although it makes no real difference to us I would like to make another comment about timescale. Earth doesn't have 5 billion years to live, without extreme measures we can't manage yet. I have seen estimates that around 500 million years from now, Earth will become uninhabitable for anything resembling current life - because the Sun is getting hotter as it ages.
 
Some of the threats are of recent origin, compared even with the history of our civilisation never mind that of our species. For example, a Carrington Event would have been of zero importance to the world of even a hundred years ago - because EMP is of no importance whatsoever to a low-tech society. Global warming and ozone depletion have been issues for only a little longer. And the grey-goo scenario is not even possible now; neither is a genetically-engineered superplague, which I didn't mention earlier. A nuclear war has had potential for really serious damage for maybe 60 years, maybe slightly less. (A nuclear war in 1953 would have been ghastly, but not civilisation-ending; there simply weren't enough, or powerful enough, weapons available.)

Regarding asteroids as a threat: It's a truism that there is no point in agonising about a threat about which one can do nothing. The threat from Dinosaur Killers only started being worthy of consideration in (maybe!) the mid-1970s, for just that reason. Maybe later, because to deal with a threat one has first to know it exists. A good estimate of the proportion of threatening asteroids we know about is 10%. Because we aren't looking!

The money spent on asteroid detection is considerably less than the American budget for lipstick. We do have a problem with priorities, don't we? (Substitute bodybuilding supplements or fake tan, if you want.)

Though I misphrased it (actually, perhaps misthought it), the thing about lower priority until stability/prosperity are achieved was specifically applicable to external life ending catastrophes like asteroid, black holes, evil aliens, galaxy-whatevers, etc.

(new threats like nuclear weapons, viruses, carrington vulnerability (catastrophic but not existential?) I was classifying as internal (-civilisational/local) threats), which I orginally said go in the higher priority class)

edit: about the sun, good to know, thanks. (And all the other info)
 
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I've been thinking about post scarcity societies in which nobody needs to work. I'm not concerned in how to get there, I have a clear idea of that for my WIP, but what happens next? What are your thoughts on such a situation, particularly what people do with themselves once they don't need to work? What motivates them? How do different people deal with this? <<snip>>

This is always fun to ponder and pull out the possibilities, but I think the answer relies a lot on the structure of a post-scarcity society. As others have mentioned, humans tend to fall back on hierarchical social structures, where even without money or capitalism as a driving force, people will fight (sometimes literally) for power and prestige. But with OR without that artificial structure, people tend to do things.

The fact is: humans strive. It's what we do. It's how we got here, now, and it is how we might someday get to a post-scarcity society in whatever form that takes. You want to know what humans do when they are not worried about a paycheck or a roof over their heads? Well, find you some children to watch (in a way that won't get you arrested or anything! :D). I mean young children who have not been indoctrinated with the irrational and unnatural social structures of "formal" education. Kindergarteners, at most. Look at what they do, how they interact. Those represent our most basic instincts. You will see some kinds taking things apart to find out how they work; some kids running until they fall down, breathless; some playing together, building block castles; some dancing for no reason, with or without music; some sitting in a corner with their picture books, "reading" by themselves. Some will start fights, and bully, and others will run away and hide...and then 15 minutes later they are all playing hide and seek together again.

You will rarely see one of those kids being lazy, unless they are just flat-out asleep.

It's possible to write that off as due to the energy of childhood and sure, that's how they keep going omg do they ever stop?!??!?! But their energy is just that: raw power. What they do with that energy? That's humanity. We do not particularly need external motivation, honestly. We think we do, for a myriad of reasons, and by the time many of us are adults we are convinced that we need motivation in the form of a paycheck or love or prestige or a new car etc. because we've been conditioned to that. We don't, though, not at heart. As Sir Ken Robinson points out: all children are scientists, all children are artists, all children are creators. So your question is really: what is humanity when that impulse is given free reign?

Dunno, but I'd love to live long enough to find out.
 

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