RE: No Singularity?

Robin Hanson (
Fri, 19 Nov 1999 10:45:31 -0500

Hal Finney wrote:
> > For economists, this distinction is already very blurred. Economists
> > think of "labor" as the time people put into work, and "human capital"
> > as all the investments that people make in themselves which make them
> > more productive, such as education and health. Economists have long
> > accepted that most capital is human capital. All that other stuff,
> > machines, companies, buildings, etc. actually gets less income than
> > human capital.
>How would you think this distinction be applied when intelligent
>robots, or AIs, or uploaded/simulated humans start to become available?
>What would be the distinguishing factor which would make us call the time
>they spend "labor"? Presumably robot working hours are not currently
>considered labor.

But they could be, and there is no good reason not to, other than believing that robots now don't actually care whether they work or not, so there is no real labor/leisure tradeoff for them.

You could sensibly talk about a labor/leisure tradeoff for animals, who do care how much they work, so a beast of burden like an ox does "labor".

There are actually few issues in robot/human relations that don't come up in animal/human relations. If you're clear-headed in dealing with animals, you're probably mostly ready for robots.

Robin Hanson Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323