Manna: Two Visions of Humanity’s Future

Written on June 18, 2014. Written by .

I really like how this book addressed the issue of technological unemployment. It depicts a future in which an artificial intelligence called “Manna” is used to direct low-paid employees through headsets to optimize their performance. It would give step-by-step instructions to employees for how to cook a hamburger, take out the trash, or restock the shelves. This eventually leads to a fairly dystopian society where most people are on welfare. On the other hand, Australia ends up being a robot-managed co-op that is depicted as a utopia. I think it might be difficult to setup such a large co-op system, but if it could be setup it might be a better alternative. Even if a co-op were established, it would likely rapidly fall behind the pure capitalist economies because capitalism is more economically efficient, despite the fact that a large portion of the population could be left behind. So there were some aspects that were a bit implausible, but the technological unemployment example was very interesting.

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