Guessing the roots of economic crisis
In 2013 the world is crossing through lots of uncertainty, economic difficulties and fear of environmental collapse. In a previous document I had suggested a few reasons to this state of things: oil price, disappearance of some industries, automation, shift of popular interest in cars and some other. But maybe there are other problems like the worldwide conflict between keeping contaminating technologies such as oil fuels and the need of more environmentally friendly ones. Another cause for economic downgrade might be that the private sector just reduced personnel to an optimum. I mean, maybe there was some sort of employment boom, in which there were many job positions not being really necessary. Perhaps outsourcing to less developed countries killed many work positions in the developed world. This should have led to better living standards in poor countries where the outsourcing economy created jobs. But it seems it did not happen. I guess one essential cause for economic difficulties is technological stagnation, I mean not searching for revolutionary options but only improving what already exists.

Cutting edge tech
Up until now technology and perhaps science, have been only refining what had been under development from the beginnings of twentieth century: airplanes, engines, computers, rockets, etc. Reaching the sky is a very expensive endeavor that prevents humanity from conquering new worlds or make use of minerals in the moon or somewhere else. Oil price rises every passing day, which reduces the chances to transportation, commerce and recreational travel. But reducing its cost would lead to higher atmospheric contamination. Renewable resources are reaching exhaustion limits which is a threat to human success on earth. Mineral reserves are decreasing. All of these issues require a true revolution in technology and science in order to guarantee humanity's sustainability and our expansion to new worlds.

What does it take
So far the only motor to technological revolutions has been worldwide war. The US financial crash of early twentieth century was resolved by entering World War II. Atomic technology came out of the war with a great financial cost. After the war all those German engineers and scientists were recruited by the USA and Soviet Union. As a result from this, rockets took people to the moon, airplanes evolved from wooden bodied ones to metallic jets capable of beating the sound barrier. But now planetary war does not seem likely due to nuclear weaponry and its devastating menace. There is a theoretical vision developed by The Club of Rome, which states that human race will collapse by 2040. Now we are experiencing depletion of sea-fishing resources, air pollution, metals shortage and climate change that seem to be confirmations of that doomsday scenario. A nuclear worldwide war is possible when economic crisis deepens to unmanageable. Maybe the world will not end, but atomic weapons apparently model a war to last just days or weeks, until parties at conflict negotiate a truce or someone just loses the fight. This would not allow time enough for a revolution in science and technology. So maybe the engine to this foundational shift will come after reaching the doomsday scenario suggested by the Club of Rome.

A final clarification
I decided to write this document without any Internet research. This is because I think when being too methodical, one misses creativity and our own biases are usually corrected without trace. So maybe I will develop a second document with data gathered from the web so I can check how close to reality I was.



It's a common idea that robots will take most jobs and people won't work anymore. This would lead us to either fall into misery or enjoy a life of abundance, according to different views of the future. But this is an oversimplification of robotics. We assume robots are almost-human-machines with emotions and moral thought. That's far distant from reality. Currently robots are just tools with very limited capabilities and lots of technical issues. Except for drones, robots can't get freely around. They are like trees, stuck to a fixed place or requiring human supervision to move between locations. And there is another major problem: machine-understanding of visual content (watching things) is just at its beginnings. For now any image or video, is just a bunch of pixels that no computer can see as we humans do. So there is no way for a robot to process its surroundings in a human-like way. Finally, I think machines with some kind of consciousness will be ready in at least 30 years. Then, The Judgment Day is away. But robotics will have overcome most of current challenges when conscious machines arise. Therefore, perhaps robots will be ready to beat humanity when that day comes.

In 2013 the world economy is going through a crisis that could worsen. Automation is blamed for this and robots are perceived as a close danger for employment. How much of that is true? I searched the Internet and found the opposite: robotics boosts job creation! There is a double explanation for this. First, as I already explained, robots are unable to behave or move like humans. This means any job that requires understanding what's around, walking or simply casually interacting with people, needs human workers. The second reason is that robotics (broadly automation) at factories dramatically increases production. This leads to more distribution and sales forces that only can be met by humans (more jobs.) New technology usually leads to lower prices which allows people to buy other things, which leads to new companies and new jobs. Automation in general does not affect highly and lowly paid jobs but middle level ones seem to be decreasing either in manufacture or services. Then, maybe this is the big concern for most.

After all these marvelous ideas were written, the world economy remains in great turmoil. I searched for causes and found that everything started with banks uncontrolledly lending money in the US, for real state acquisitions that led to a financial crash when people failed to pay their debt. But why did banks follow this trend? Something is still missing. My next suspect was oil price, but I found that in the 80s it was even relatively higher than today. Then come all those gone industries: music-records, film-photography and even the current publishing-books industry victimized by the Internet and people like me at blogging. Have all those gone jobs not recovered? My last suspect is the car industry. The developed world has been spinning around cars and parts factories. But it seems production reached its peak and now people are not so interested in buying more of them. Maybe the technological shift to a more automated world is taking its toll.

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