Aging Populations & Robots [was Re: Spreading Transhumanism]

Robert J. Bradbury (
Tue, 7 Sep 1999 11:04:25 -0700 (PDT)

> Anders Sandberg <> wrote:

> Less young people = less capital invested in homemaking, schools and
> other activities involving the young and setting up families.

While the housing industry is a significant part of an economy with a growing population (like the U.S.) or a population with a small minority migrating significantly upscale (Russia/China) it is not a major economic component in countries with stable populations. Schools might simply change from educating children to educating adults (esp. universities).

I don't see a decline in children as a significant economic drag. After all they aren't productive contributors to the economy for the first 20 years of their life. The money spent on children gets spent on adult toys (or goes into savings - that decreases capital costs allowing cheaper financing and more investment funds for health care & nanotech startups).

> A decreased population may have a hard time keeping the economy afloat,
> especially if a large percentage is retired.

Shifts have to occur. The *critical* questions for aging populations are (a) shifting the retirement age upward in lock-step with health improvements; (b) ensuring that the retired individuals pensions (social security, etc.) and health care costs don't result in an overly taxed young people so they can't invest (I think the prediction is something like 3 young taxpayers supporting 1 retired person by ~2020-2030 in the U.S.). We have to balance on the edge of the knife until nanoSanta arrives.

> Robotization doesn't occur magically overnight.

Sure it does! Says right here in my September 1999 Popular Science: Prorobotics' Cye compact personal robot can pull a wagon laden with beverages or steer a vacuum cleaner. All for only $695 (wagon or vacuum, $89.00 extra).

If I take a peek at, and attempt to order one, they say UPS *NEXT DAY* delivery to my home in Seattle is $51.50. No magic required, though I suspect the shipping costs to Sweeden are a bit more.

And just think, this thing is running on a 133 MHz pentium, when Merced's get as cheap, this thing will be able to do my dusting and filing (please god, I hope).

[DANGER EXTROPIANS!!! !!!SEXISM ALERT!!! DANGER, DANGER] [Said in the voice of the Robot from Lost in Space...]

Now, if they would just make it look like Ricky Martin or Jennifer Tilly...