The Instigator
AdCiv
Pro (for)
Winning
10 Points
The Contender
SX23
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

I'm a Utopian idealist - prove me wrong!

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/1/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,813 times Debate No: 12881
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (11)
Votes (4)

 

AdCiv

Pro

I believe that over the course of the next decade or two, makind can create a massive leisure society in which everyone has plentiful supplies of anything they could possibly want, without having to work for it. This will be made possible by automation, improving fabrication technologies, the Internet and the Open-source movement. It is possible because there exists an abundance of all necessary resources. The proposal is detailed at adciv.org

Automation (in the form of automated harvesting, processing and transporting of materials) will free create free resources. It is now techlogically feasible to have fully automated productive infrastructure, including self-repairing and self-maintaining machines. Automated infrastructure means effortless plenty.

Better fabrication technologies will allow for anyone to make anything they need: farming equipment, medical devices, housing, etc. Production of technology can become radically decentralized so that everyone makes for themselves the technology they need. This will reduce people's dependence on the corporate-economic infrastructure.

The Internet will allow people free access to education, medical advice and the designs needed to make the technologies mentioned in the previous paragraph. People can collaborate openly (as with Wikipedia and open-source software) to provide information of all kinds for free. Gradually, as more and more things become free, there will be no need to use money at all. Just like many people now have all the music they want without paying for it (by downloading) so all products and goods will become free and abundant. Because of advanced digital fabrication, we will be able to download hardware as well as software; people will download the design for a car, and fabrication devices will turn raw materials (scrap metal, plastic, carbon) into a car. There are huge amounts of these raw materials (our entire planet is made of them!) so that is not a limiting factor.

I propose that the world has more than enough of every resource we need: food, water, land, minerals, energy etc. The apparent scarcity of water, oil, food etc. can easily be overcome by applying the know-how we have to increase production or decrease consumption. To take one example, the apparent 'water crisis' can be neutralized by desalinating seawater with nanofilters. Our planet's surface ifs 69% water, so as long as we apply our know-how in utilising that water, there is no way we can run out. Similar logic applies to all essential resources. There is no reason to ration our resources any more, because they are so abundant at everyone can take their fill and there'll be plenty for everyone. It no longer has to be you-or-me.

This is the SparkNotes version. The plan is put forth in great detail at adciv.org.

Please offer some criticisms – tell me why this can't work, won't work, or shouldn't work, because I have been thinking about it for several months and can see no flaws in these arguments.
SX23

Con

First of all, thank you AdCiv for bringing in this interesting topic.

Arguments:

I would like to state that I must agree with you. In an ideal world, with amount of manpower and resources that would be quite high, nowhere near what we can muster at the moment, this economical theory would be quite useful. However, we are not in an ideal world. I will state below why:

"Quote"
The apparent scarcity of water, oil, food etc. can easily be overcome by applying the know-how we have to increase production or decrease consumption. To take one example, the apparent 'water crisis' can be neutralized by desalinating seawater with nanofilters. Our planet's surface ifs 69% water, so as long as we apply our know-how in utilising that water, there is no way we can run out. Similar logic applies to all essential resources. There is no reason to ration our resources any more, because they are so abundant at everyone can take their fill and there'll be plenty for everyone.
"End of quote"

First of all, the apparent scarcity of oil is not "apparent". Oil is used is many energy producing factories in nowadays technologies, and the direct impact is the loss of the said oil. In short term, we will come to lack oil as other energy resources are either high priced and therefore unavailable to most of in-development countries. The same problem applies to water. Even tough 69% of our planet is water, only 2 percents are drinkable. And only 0,65% are in surface and easy of access. For your alternative, we might be able to treat it so it can be non-saline and therefore potable, but it considers considerable amounts of energy, time, and money. Aspects that most in-development countries lacks. As for the food resource, I will come back on this point later on.

Also, the said theory lack two major points: Long term effects and Investments.
As you already probably noticed, the changes proposed by the theory requires large amounts of investments and a change of economic process, therefore cutting off the country from import/export.
Also, this will require everyone to be specialist in every single matter. As for an example, you cannot treat someone that suffered an injury or serious disease "on the spot" with Internet-related knowledge only. And you can't have a medicine unit ready to treat someone in time, unless your industry is instantaneous. Which is obviously not the case.

Another fact with your theory that does not compute well and work out is the raw materials management. We do indeed have large amounts of those, scattered around the globe. The main problem with it is that it's either untreated, such as iron coped with minerals, or too far buried to be of any use. The unsolved problem with the use of automatism to treat and extract those is that they will eventually need repairs and continuously use amounts of energy. For the first case, we do not yet possess the required technology for the self repairs capabilities, and even with it there would be need of a maintenance crew in case this precise piece breaks down.

My last point will point out the long term effects.
Even with the management you proposed, there will be a lack in resources some day, due to the simple overpopulation that will occur. With idea resources management you can indeed treat a vast numbers of human beings-- Up to 12-13 billions. But the fact is, that even with that management, we will outer pass this number some day, and it will lead to the precise situation you tried to avoid with the theory: It will lead to a "you or me" situation with people taking advantage of the situations to the detriments of others.

I'm eager to wait for your answer.
Debate Round No. 1
AdCiv

Pro

I thank my opponent for his answer. I feel that the points he raises are well-reasoned, but are based on an insufficiently detailed understanding of my case. In this post, I will point out what he overlooked.

I apologise if my use of the phrase "apparent scarcity of oil" led readers to think I meant oil is not running out. I do accept that oil is running out. I deny that this is problematic. Oil is good for two things: energy and plastics.
Non-oil sources of energy are so vast that to call them "abundant" would be like calling Pol Pot "eccentric". Even if all we has was solar panels, converting just 0.02% of the sunlight that falls on our planet to electricity would more than meet our needs for the foreseeable future. Nuclear fusion (which was successfully done last month) can liberate as much energy from a litre of seawater as 300 liters of oil. (That is to say, our oceans contain 10^31 joules of nuclear fuel.) Factor in space-based solar, wind energy, geothermal, wave energy, microbial fuel cells, nuclear fission etc. and we have a staggering abundance of energy.
As for plastics, I challenge my opponent to name a single case where oil-based plastics are used where an alternative material cannot satisfactorily replace them.
We are running out of oil. But that's ok, because humans are ingenious and can apply know-how to overcome such scarcity. Even if oil were irreplaceable (which I have shown it is not), scientists expect that we will soon be able to grow oil with bioengineered bacteria, and much progress has already been made in this direction

My esteemed opponent has claimed that only 0.65% of water is "easy of access". This is a matter of opinion; it depends on what one means by "easy". I consider all the water in the air around us, all the greywater in our buildings, all the water in our lakes and rivers and all the water in the sea to be "easy" to purify. I make this claim based on the fact that the most required is some carbon nanotube filters (made of carbon, using helium - both extremely abundant elements) and some ultraviolet LEDs - a very cheap, abundant technology.
Humanity's water resources and the technologies for harvesting water are analyzed in much greater detail at adciv.org/Water. You will find that nothing is needed that is not in fantastic abundance on Earth.
My opponent believes that desalination requires "considerable amounts of energy, time, and money". Desalination was once energy-intensive - true. (Though if you think we lack energy, you ain't paying attention!) But emerging technologies are changing this, specifically nanofiltration and microbial desalination. Nanofiltration slashes energy needs by a factor of four compared to the old membrane technologies, and microbial desalination actually generates electricity while desalinating.
The claim that we can't desalinate water because we lack the time to do so doesn't merit refutation.
As for money - money is not needed to desalinate water (nor to do anything else for that matter). Take seawater. Pass it through a nanotube filter. There, you desalinated it! The laws of physics (by which our technology functions) do not have meters on them. The laws of physics do not send us bills when we use them. They do not charge by the hour. Money is required by one thing and one thing only: the monetary system. An alternative to the monetary system is proposed in my first post; it is the free sharing of know-how and the local application of that know-how.

My opponent has claimed that an insurmountable problem with minerals is that they are unprocessed. I don't know what to say to this, except that it is a problem that was solved by the advent of the Bronze Age. Mining and smelting are now extremely well-developed technologies that we know a lot about. We have invented plenty of machines that do most of it for us. Mining and smelting (along with every other aspect of our infrastructure) are becoming more and more automated with each passing year. Extrapolating this trend, we will arrive at full automation.

(A general point about my thesis is worth repeating: it considers a world on the horizon in the next several decades. Some of the technologies I discuss are as yet in the prototype phase or are otherwise not fully mature. They are all very near though, and all considered entirely possible or inevitable by researchers.)

A weak point of our current automation is maintenance and repair. But scatter sensors throughout a machine to detect problems, have other machines ('repair bots') that can replace faulty parts, and build machines from smart, self-healing materials and there is no need for maintenance by humans. I do not claim that this has already happened; I claim that it is now possible with current technology and I expect it will be done soon. See adciv.org/Advanced_automation/Self-maintenance_and_repair for more details.

(Besides, even if infrastructure is not 100% automatic, if it becomes ninety-something percent automatic, that is enough to create a leisure society. And this has almost happened already, with logistics, loading and unloading ships and other aspects of infrastructure now automated, saving enormous amounts of human labour. The main obstacle to the leisure society is the monetary system, which as I've said, can be bypassed if open culture generates abundance.)

My opponent claims that "the changes proposed by the theory requires large amounts of investments". Let's be specific: The "changes" my thesis requires are some successful open-source projects, ones that will create free education, free healthcare, free fabrication etc. If my opponent was referring to some other "changes", I would ask him to be specify what changes he means.

At the risk of stating the obvious, open-source projects require very little money compared to private or public projects. In fact, they are often one or two orders of magnitude cheaper than equivalent private or public projects. This is because people work on them for free. Wikipedia has accrued over 100 million man-hours of labour for free. Linux is a world-class operating system (often considered better than Mac or Windows) put together by free labour. Open-source bypasses the monetary system, so money can be cut out of the loop in many areas.

However, as of 2010, money cannot be completely cut out. It is true that open-source projects do need some money to manage. (I have managed some myself.) This is because the monetary system is currently so dominant and so ubiquitous that one cannot avoid dealing with it. But the money is always forthcoming when the projects are worthy. The Wikimedia Foundation raised $8 million dollars in 2 months last year, surpassing its targets. OpenPCR raised 202% of its target. Diaspora raised 2006% of its target. (And all this happened in the middle of the most acute financial shortage in living memory!) The investments are forthcoming and that is the fact of the matter. I challenge my opponent to name a single open-source project scuppered by lack of funds.

My opponent was worried about population growth. Population just means having a lot of people around. I think having a lot of people around is a good thing. I find people to be hilarious and sexy. I think the problem you have in mind is not a surfeit of people per se, but rather a lack of resources relative to those people. Correct? If so, what resource is lacking? Minerals are not lacking; our planet is made of them. Water is not lacking; the surface of our planet is covered in it. Food (and land to grow it) is not lacking; we have enough farmland to grow food for 80 billion people (and enough plant nutrients to grow for hundreds of billions more with controlled-environment growing). See adciv.org/Food for a more detailed analysis of the amount of food that can be grown on this planet.
SX23

Con

I believe I have been misguided in your original goal. If this one is to state that those changes could be made with the current state of technology in the next decades, I will have to agree with it. After all, promising technologies are indeed being researched.

However, if you believe that it will be DONE in the next few decades, then I will have to strongly disagree, as per simple reasoning and the consideration of human nature thorough it.

--ENERGY PRODUCTION--

First of all, the problem with oil is that it is needed for many countries which lacks the money to change to otherwise. Notable examples of these would be China and India. If they would ever decide to put in use your theory, creating energetic infrastructures for a mere 2 billions inhabitants, (more or less) is not an what we could call an "open-source project." First of all, it needs considerable funds to implement the alternative energy source, and a large numbers of those sources cannot be used everywhere. As for example, you need a strong current river and a fairly large amount of plain land to achieve hydroelectric barrages, and once again, they do cost much more than what those countries can afford. As for nuclear energy, it does have several downsides, such as constant human monitoring, as I doubt we would trust automatic systems to watch over a potentially radiation catastrophe. Also, nuclear defect's need space and special conditions to be stored, and we do not know the full extent of environmental impacts the liberation of those defects into the soil could have.

--JOBS AND SELF-MAINTENANCE ISSUES--

On this side, most of the technology that are required will entertain heavy research cost and operating cost until they are fully implemented. And there is no guarantee (we're quite far away from it actually) that it will come to a potentially lucrative technology in the next decades. Even with fully automated systems, you still need an human operator that will need to supervise that last part of the chain. I am forced to agree with you that we could achieve a leisure society this way. However, hundreds of domains, notably cinematic, music, art design and such do still need human creativity to be achieved. If money is retired, there will be no point in having an individual that is forced to work for other's entertainment. Not to mention the years of training those domains require. My last point will be in link with security issues. As I already stated, if one fall into a cardiac arrest before your own eyes, you cannot hope to save him with knowledge that is related to Internet only. You would need medical facilities, most of them which cannot be automated unless incredible advance in the A.I. technology (We are talking about centuries, or even more), and the same problem applies: Why would one decide to work if it is to provide security for his neighbourhood , while those are having some leisure time, from morning to evening? The same problematics applies for other security related jobs, such as policeman, judges, advocates, etc.

--WATER ISSUES--

On this side, I would agree with you. Modernized countries with funds have no problem with water extraction, as they can afford the high cost. Passing seawater through a nanotube filter does not require money nor extravagant amount of time. However, producing a nanotube filter require advanced technologies that are quite costly and not accessible to all. Of course, the raw materials for the said filters are easy to find and to process. We still have an interesting problem: The creation of those tubes is incredibly complex due to the required size and as such requires advanced facilities. Once again, having those facilities at everyone's disposal is not what I would call an "open-source project."

--POPULATION AND FOOD ISSUES--

We are currently 8 billions (More or less) individuals on Earth. And nothing indicates that the population growth will stop someday. If we base ourself on the fact that someday we will be forced to use more than what Earth can offer (Due to population growth, not to mention lack of space to establish residence), both in resources and food, you will be forced to find an alternative solution to it than: "Find a way to exploit the grounds". Now, it is true that we could sustain more than 80 billions people with experimental technology and maximized utilization of EVERY arable land on Earth, along with modifications of POSSIBLE arable land. Before this pay off, it would once again use an huge amount of resource and money. Now, the main problem with arable land is that most of it is underneath civilization and residences. Do you propose to relocate population so that we can use their lands to farm? Also, this problem is directly linked with overpopulation. The more of us are there, the more land we need to establish. However, unless you consider establishing residence in hostile environment, the problem will only get worse with time

--CONCLUSION--

Your theory is inviable in the next few decades as it would require hundreds of change in actual industries, jobs along with security and enternainement-related departments. Those changes would then require massive funds and cannot considered as "open-source projects", making the whole theory fall apart, at least for the next decades.
Debate Round No. 2
AdCiv

Pro

= MEDICINE =
You claim that human-level medical AI is "centuries" in the future. This is absolutely flat wrong; it is 35 years in the past. An AI called MYCIN (http://en.wikipedia.org...) in the 1970s outperformed expert human diagnosticians. Today's AI are well over a billion times more powerful; think what they could do!

Medical diagnosis requires calculating the outcome of a huge amount of interdependent data: symptoms, family history, lifestyle, proteomic and genomic data, test results, results of scans etc. AI already does this sort of analysis much better than humans. Medical AI has been proved in practise, so I needn't argue it too much.

Beyond diagnosis, things like dispensing drugs are easily done by automated systems and digital reminders. Autonomous surgical robots are also under development.

Adciv.org/Medicine presents in more detail what is becoming possible in medicine.

= ENERGY =
Your vision of the Chinese and Indian governments rolling out alternative energy in grand top-down projects completely misses the point; advancing fabrication technologies, along with open-source know-how, are giving people the ability to take care of their own needs of technology (including power-generation). We no longer have to rely on the bureaucratic arrangements of government projects or free-market enterprises to create abundance. Nor do people have to rely on the monetary system, which circumvents the "not enough money" snafu that you keep bringing up.

Your arguments about nuclear power have some validity, but nuclear power is not essential to what I am proposing - I brought it up merely as one of many available energy sources. (Besides, most of what I said was about fusion, which doesn't have the same waste problems as fission.)

= MAINTENANCE =
You claim "I doubt we would trust automatic systems to watch over a potentially radiation catastrophe". I find it hard to see your logic here; don't we already rely on automatic systems to monitor surges in our power-plants, to diagnose problems in our aeroplanes, to calculate radiation doses for our chemotherapy, to drive certain train networks, and to do any one of hundreds of tasks with human lives at stake? People rightly trust AI more than human monitoring for such vital tasks, because we know how error-prone humans are. Again, your speculations have ignored the facts of the world.

= WATER =
Creating nanotubes is easy; you heat carbon with a laser in a helium chamber. The technology is far from being "incredibly complex", as you claim, and is frequently done on small scales in university labs and the like. The raw materials are graphite, helium and a cobalt-nickel catalyst - all cheap, abundant and ubiquitous. That is why carbon nanotubes are so cheap now, about two or three dollars per gram.

The Tata Swach is a nanofiltration device for water that costs just $21. Doesn't that prove that nanofiltration is cheap and feasible?

= ABUNDANCE OF FOOD RESOURCES =
Your claim that growing more food means a land-grab is totally wrong. Increasing food-production means using better strains of plants, better pest management and all-round smarter farming to increase the amount of food grown per unit of land. The UN predicts that 90% of our food-production increase will come from increased yield, with only 10% coming from expanding farmland (http://www.fao.org...).

We currently have 31.8 trillion square meters of farmland. If we grow high-yield crops in dense intercropped systems and intelligently apply scientific knowledge, we can grow food for a person on 400 square meters. (This is taking a pessimistic estimate. For a list of sources on the farmland needed per person, see adciv.org/Talk:Food. There will obviously be regional variations; in some places just 20 square meters have fed people.)

31.8 trillion divided by 400 is 79.5 billion. That is the number of people that could be fed without expanding farms one inch.

If we expanded into the deserts and remediate bad soil, we could increase food-production by another 25%. If we learn to grow meat in-vitro, we could feed billions more. Densely-packed aeroponic greenhouses could feed hundreds of billions more than that. Growth-promoting bacteria can increase yields 10-25%. These are just a few examples of what is possible. We have the resources to feed hundreds of billions (maybe a trillion), yet our population is not expected to grow beyond 9-15 billion. Just as with energy, there is a marvellous superabundance of agricultural resources. More importantly, there is an enormous amount of knowledge about how to utilise these resources. This know-how is being spread around the world for free through the open digital culture.

"Now, the main problem with arable land is that most of it is underneath civilization and residences." Where on earth did you get this from? Only a few percent of the world's land is under human developments. Please check your facts before making claims like this.

= POPULATION =
"nothing indicates that the population growth will stop someday." I don't know where you keep getting these claims. There are many such indications and they are widely documented. Population is in decline in many countries in Europe. As countries in Africa, Asia and South America are developing, their birth rate is decreasing. Everything indicates that population will peak around 2050, at 9-15 billion, in line with UN projections (http://www.un.org...). But, as I have shown, the Earth can carry hundreds of billions.

= ORGANIZATIONAL ISSUES =
You twice claimed that the changes needed are too big and would require massive top-down, heavily funded projects. That is not what I am talking about at all. I am talking about technology enabling people to create abundance locally, without reliance on governments, big business or the monetary economy.

Digital fabrication technologies are improving and will continue to improve. We currently have Fab Labs that can make any electronic or mechanical device, and cost less than $50,000 (http://www.ted.com...). In the next two or three years, we will have self-replicating Fab Labs for under $20,000. (This is called RepLab; it is a project I am helping manage.) Fabrication is getting to the point of the molecular assembler (http://en.wikipedia.org...) which can make anything from anything by rearranging the atoms. Extrapolating miniturization (http://www.singularity.com...) predicts we will have molecular assemblers around 2025, while the nanotech industry roadmap says 2022-2037 (http://www.productivenanosystems.com...).

Understanding the societal impact of these fabrication technologies is key to understanding the AdCiv thesis, so I'm gonna stress it a bit more. When such fabrication technologies become widespread, technology becomes decoupled from monetary needs, government intervention and market forces. Do you see that? Without digital fabrication, people must rely on government and business to provide their needs. With digital fabrication, this reliance falls away, and with it go the bureaucratic, financial and economic obstacles to abundance. People will no longer need money to provide their needs; they will need only raw materials plus information. Raw materials are ubiquitous and cheap; information is freely available through open digital culture.

In exactly the same way that music has become free and abundant by cutting out the monetary aspect, so it will be for all the things needed for a wealthy life.

I see no roadblocks to this happening. I started this debate in the hope that someone would point out a roadblock that I had overlooked, but you have not done so.
SX23

Con

My argument here will be brief and I will restate something that I might have misunderstood.

If your thesis is : CAN we, according to nowadays technologies, achieve a leisure society in the next decades?
Then the answer is yes on all fronts, except for the specific case that requires moral and creativity. Those, as for example, judges, advocates, policeman, musician, film makers/producers, etc, will still be in need of several years of practice and education.
Therein lies the problems: Why would you bother if you are offered the possibility to achieve your life without as much as the tough of work crossing your mind? Why would you work for beings that passes their whole days achieving nothing? Why would you even be tempted to receive the education as you can afford a whole life of leisure?
Another fact is that we might trust A.I. for basic security (and even more complex) functions. Personally, I do think they could achieve the whole security functions. Now, could you tell me one instance of where we had a nuclear power facility working without any personal to watch over? What would happen with a system breakdown, or a lack of power at a moment where it needs to be watched?

This is a considerable roadblock, as a society without moral jurisdiction or entertainment will quickly fall into chaos.

However, if your debate is based on: WILL we achieve it in the next few decades, then I'm afraid it won't happen, as too many factors would require massive amounts of change within the current society.
First of all, China and India were mere examples of WHY it cannot happen. The fact is that you create a paradox, as being independent to money due to self-serving industry would require an enormous amount of money to create at first aspect. Energy creation and water filtering requires facilities that cannot be created and maintained, at first, by open-source project. As for a quick example, even if you consider heating carbon in an helium chamber to be easy, it cannot be done at home, as the prerequisite are not what we could call affordable for many that lives in in-development countries.

As for food production, many of the enhancing soils capabilities do require GMO, which we do not know long-term effect on living organism, or technology that are, for the most part, still in the experimental phase.

As for the medical AI, it does still require a doctor to enter the answers to the specific questions this one will need to establish a diagnostic, but this may indeed change in the next years.
Debate Round No. 3
AdCiv

Pro

One key point in my theory is that there exists such a superabundance of everything that it need not be you-or-me. My opponent resisted this with regard first to water, then with regard to population, then with regard to farmland. He has now graciously conceded this aspect of the debate, so I will consider the question as settled.

These resources are the building blocks of the post-scarcity society. With them in place, let's now move on and look at the organizational and psychological aspects –

= HUMAN MOTIVATION TO WORK =
My opponent says, apparently in full seriousness, that he worries about what will happen if no one is "forced to work for other's entertainment".

This brings us to an important point. What motivates human beings to work? What do we know about why people do what they do?

My opponent (like most economists, business managers and politicians of the old guard) assumes that people work only if tempted by rewards or coerced by poverty or threats. To get people to do something, you offer them a shiny something; to get them not to do something, you threaten to take away their stuff. I call it the carrot-and-stick theory of human motivation. It resembles the most primitive forms of behaviourist psychology. It may be true of some lower mammals - gerbils or something - but it doesn't explain the complexity of even a rat's behaviour, and it is hopelessly oversimple when it comes to explaining Man's behaviour.

Why have people spent a hundred million hours editing Wikipedia? Why do people, when they are fully fed and clothed and sheltered, go looking for something to do? Why not just sit around? Why do people jump out of planes, do adventure races across South America, or climb Mount Kilimanjaro? Why do people train tens of thousands of hours in ballet or music or meditation? Why did I spend more than twenty hours last week working on open-source projects that don't stand a chance of making me money? I once heard about a sadhu who travelled from Delhi to Lumbini, pushing a radish along the ground with his nose the whole way. Clearly, there is more to human motivation than money.

My opponent argues that no one will dance or sing or write if they are not forced to by harsh economic conditions. Ridiculous! Do you think that Dante wrote The Divine Comedy because his month's rent was due?

Every psychological theory of motivation since at least the 70s has recognized that people have needs beyond bodily and material needs: Maslow's theory, Heider's, Bandura's, Reiss's, Herzberg's, Alderfer's, Robbins's, etc. etc. etc. The carrot-and-stick theory of motivation has gone the way of the dinosaurs and rightly so, because the evidence against it is overwhelming. It explains nearly nothing about our lives.

While most economies hitherto existing have used mostly carrot-and-stick motivation, it is clear that Man has other desires than just stuff. Man has the need for a purpose, a mission. Man has passions. Man can be moved by empathy, compelled by compassion or stirred by passion. My opponent argued that if you take away the economic carrots and sticks, you take away motivation. The opposite is true: by taking away the drudgery caused by money and by incomplete automation, you create an environment in which people can pursue their real motivation and live according to their real passion.

= THE MONEY QUESTION =
"The fact is that you create a paradox, as being independent to money due to self-serving industry would require an enormous amount of money to create at first aspect."
Maybe I'm missing something here; are you claiming that it's somehow logically impossible to use money to get rid of money? Say a fat guy lifts weights, gets in shape, and so loses weight. Is that a paradox? I mean, he couldn't possibly have used weights to get rid of weight, right?! Can ivy choke trees? Or is it too "paradoxical" for plants to get rid of plants?

We are building free resources from ones we paid for. It is not a paradox. It's not even news to anyone. Most of the readers of this have probably done it themselves. Someone buys a computer, buys some CDs, and shares the music for free on the Internet. They have created free resources by spending money. And all over the world, hour-by-hour, more and more free resources are becoming available. The Internet is doubling in size every two years (http://www.singularity.com...) and before long it will contain (nearly) all useful knowledge, including designs for useful machines, medical knowledge, scientific data, complete educational curricula etc. It can be done surprisingly cheaply, as the workers are mostly volunteers. And there are millions of good people working at this. Many of them - like Alan Kay or Jimmy Wales - are rich.

There is big, big, big money going into researching and developing the enabling technologies to a post-scarcity society. Take nanotechnology: in 2008, $18.2 billion was spent on nanotech R&D (http://www.whitehouse.gov...). In solar power: the US government gave $237 million in 2009 for solar R&D (http://www.photon-expo.com...). The EU is giving fifty billion euro – fifty billion! – over seven years to photovoltaic research companies (http://www.rdmag.com...). Private sector funding likely matches that, and China are certainly spending hundreds of millions, or billions on solar R&D.

You are right that it requires money to develop technology (under the current system). But, if you think that financial obstacles are stopping either free resources or new technologies from being created, you have the facts strongly against you.

= CH-CH-CH-CHANGES =
SX23: "the changes proposed by the theory requires large amounts of investments"
AdCiv: "Let's be specific: The "changes" my thesis requires are some successful open-source projects, ones that will create free education, free healthcare, free fabrication etc. If my opponent was referring to some other "changes", I would ask him to be specify what changes he means."
SX23: "Your theory is inviable in the next few decades as it would require hundreds of change in actual industries" .... "too many factors would require massive amounts of change within the current society."

This is the only part of the debate I haven't demolished yet, and you are being incredibly vague. My theory won't work because it requires too many changes? I would be grateful if you could show me the specific changes it requires that aren't already happening. Post-scarcity requires automation; automation is happening. Post-scarcity requires a massive stockpile of free digital resources; this too is happening. Post-scarcity requires the development of small, cheap, self-replicating digital fabrication technologies; this is happening.

= AUTONOMOUS NUCLEAR REACTORS =
My opponent asks for examples of autonomous power stations. Alright, there's the Toshiba 4S and the Small Sealed Transportable Atomic Reactor (SSTAR), both of which I believe are on the market now. They are fully autonomous. The Soviets apparently had hundreds of autonomous nuclear microreactors powering remote lighthouses (http://englishrussia.com...) (though that didn't end well).
SX23

Con

Human Motivation To Work:
If you're naive enough to think that humans will rise and work for years only to serves other's needs, which, by the way, would be living through leisure only, well I must say that most of people would disagree with you. Of course, learning music is an entertainment, but the real question is, would you agree to receive 15 years of education to gain the ability to learn it? While you can content yourself, for the moment, with the already existing art labour from the old industry, and pass a life dedicated to pleasure and leisure?

Your argument with open-source project such as Wikipedia stands no ground: It has been done by individual that already had specialization in the field they've wrote about, specialization acquired through, once again, multiple year of education. Another remnant problem with a leisure society would be the long-term research stop, as one will certainly not embarrass himself with 20 years of education for research in a very limited field.

------------------------
This sole argument destroy your thesis, as a society with more than 50% of his population working thorough law, entertainment, research, and security cannot be considered as a "leisure" society.
------------------------

As for the paradox part, your example is nothing more than a logical fallacy, while mine stands real ground. (No offence intended, of course)
First of all, unless you are, once again, being incredibly naive, a country's work production being redefined into automation cannot be considered as a "free-source" project. To achieve such considerable changes, you will first need large amount of investor, (the one's you cited were made to serve either national security purposes, or to augment production-- To gain more money, that is), and even with automatism, you would still need considerable amount of resource to achieve it in the first time: and this is even more true with in-development countries.

------------------------
Now, my question is, and I would like a direct answer: Considering huge amounts of money being needed for international export/import, military needs, energy production costs, and etc, do you think that a country such as India would use his welfare to research expansive and uncertain technologies (Most of them, are, at best, in the experimental stage) to be able to let down money?
------------------------

Another problem with the automation, indirect control and energy production: It can (and probably will) be very easily turned into a massive military project with incredible outcomes for the government. In some part, it already has,
view: http://www.whitehouse.gov.... Considering this, the average company or citizen will probably not be able to access them, preventing free-source project to see the day.

------------------------
Those are the change I assert : The resources needed for the development of those very technologies, while so many other issues are at hand, The need for employees thorough law, entertainment, research, and security due to the inability for AI's to take over those sectors, and the unavailability of such prized and valuable technology by military means, preventing the creation of free-source project against them.

P.S: I am talking about massive energy centres, such as current nuclear facilities. The sole tough of them being free of watch over is unacceptable, as a default, an energy rupture or else would disrupt computer's functions.
Debate Round No. 4
AdCiv

Pro

=THE DEBATE ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT PEOPLE DO THINGS THEY LIKE WITHOUT BEING PAID TO=
I didn't claim that people would work "only to serves other's needs". I said that people are motivated by factors other than money. Kindness is one of these factors, but there are others.

The evidence screams that humans have intrinsic motivators – needs for things like self-expression, purpose and autonomy – not just extrinsic motivators like money.

Here is a tiny corner of the evidence; I don't have room to go into detail:
1971 - Deci finds that financial rewards make people less interested in doing tasks (http://www.garfield.library.upenn.edu...)
1973 – Lepper et al. find that children are less interested in tasks if given rewards (http://courses.umass.edu...)
1990s – Many experiments demonstrate that humans are hardwired for empathy (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov..., http://home.uchicago.edu..., http://www.bcn-nic.nl..., http://dx.doi.org..., http://cat.inist.fr...). In other words seeing someone in suffering is neurologically very similar to being in suffering oneself. We care about others whether we want to or not; it's the way our brain is built.

I have spent the past 6 years obsessively studying human motivation, both theoretically and in-field. Every job I've ever had has centred around understanding human motivation. I do not think I am "naive" on these subjects.

The people who have spent time studying human motivation – advertisers, salesmen, social scientists, cognitive scientists, neuroscientists, child development experts, evolutionary psychologists, lamas etc. – all accept intrinsic human motivation. The masses who have never taken an interest in really looking at human motivation are the ones who groan that Man works only for money. They're the na�ve ones.

I am aware that it is fashionable to say that people are selfish, cold and greedy, and to label anyone who admits that people can be cooperative, compassionate and creative as "naive". This is only a fashion - and a cynicism. It is not scientific; it ain't even commonsensical. Look at how you and your friends spend your time – it is obvious that people do a lot of things for fun, curiosity, for self-expression or for other intrinsic reasons. This whole website runs on intrinsic motivation.

Do people study music for years without being paid? The answer is yes, of course. I know many such people, and I'm sure most of my readers do too.

My opponent also tries to deny that people can learn out of passion. There is so much evidence for intrinsic motivation in education that I can barely scratch the surface of it here. Studies show that people are motivated to learn by curiosity, intellectual stimulation, to meet people, to broaden ther horizons, and a host of other reasons. Career and money considerations are only one motivator among many (http://www.jstor.org..., http://www.aclacaal.org..., http://www.jalt-publications.org...). The evidence also shows that people who are motivated by interest learn better and have more fun than those who learn to help their career (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com..., http://www.citeulike.org...).

I am saying nothing more controversial than "People do things they like to do." To argue that people must be paid or they won't play guitar is tantamount to saying that people must be paid to do the things they like, which is pretty absurd.

=WHAT IS LEISURE?=
"This sole argument destroy your thesis, as a society with more than 50% of his population working thorough law, entertainment, research, and security cannot be considered as a "leisure" society."

By "leisure society" I meant a society in which people do things they like. "Leisure" extends beyond sipping pina coladas on a beach and includes very active things.

=IS THIS SENTENCE A PARADOX?=
"As for the paradox part, your example is nothing more than a logical fallacy, while mine stands real ground. (No offence intended, of course)"
You're asserting that you are right and I am wrong; this is not an argument. I said that one can buy resources with money and use them to create free resources, and that people do this all the time. Could you please specify what kind of fallacy this is?

=PRIVATE INDUSTRY AND PIRATE INDUSTRY=
"a country's work production being redefined into automation cannot be considered as a "free-source" project."
Nowhere did I claim that public and private sectors will become open-source. To repeat my basic idea: The open culture will create abundance using a) free information and b) sophisticated, small, self-replicating fabrication devices. Meanwhile, public and private sectors will continue to do what they do. Private industry will move towards automation (as it always has) because automation saves money.

= R&D FUNDING =
My opponent wants a direct answer on whether I think India would spend money on R&D. I do not "think" that they "would"; I simply wish to point out that they do, to the tune of $5.8 billion a year and rising (http://www.nature.com...).

= RESTRICTION ON INFORMATION =
That technology can be restricted, rather than free, is a good point. I'm glad you raised it.

AdCiv is not possible if repressive authorities (military, governmental, corporate – it does not matter) suppress knowledge. I accept that it is a possibility. However, I think it is unlikely to happen for three reasons –

Some know-how is patented or kept secret. But this doesn't negate the existence of the open domain. When the open domain contains enough know-how for people to create abundance, then it doesn't matter that other information is restricted.
Second, the cat's out of the bag. There are already a lot of free resources and there is no mechanism by which information, once free, can later be made unfree.
Third, even if a totalitarian dictatorship took over (unlikely) and tried to hide every scrap of useful knowledge from public use (unliklier still), they would almost certainly fail. Communication is now international, so the totalitarian state would have to take over the entire world to stop the flow of information. The ability to set up pirate internets (Dark Webs) is already so widespread that Dark Webs are estimated at 500 times the size of the Internet. Basically I think the trend of governments being monumentally unsuccessful in stopping file-sharing will continue.

= TURN AND FACE THE STRANGE CH-CHANGES =
My opponent specifies three changes he thinks are unlikely to be achieved in a few decades –

He claims that R&D won't happen for lack of money. This is massively inaccurate, as I have shown repeatedly.

Automation is almost inevitable. If technological development continues in the future, automation will certainly come with it. Automation will not cover 100% of jobs, but that's ok, because people do things they like to do.

I dealt with freedom of information above.

=CLOSING STATEMENT=
The claim of effortless abundance within a few decades is very radical to many people. It may naturally cause some incredulity at first. But it is simply the outcome of a number of trends that are in themselves quite uncontroversial – that technology is advancing, that technology is leading to automation, that the Internet provides free information, that information is becoming of supreme importance, that there is an open value chain that bypasses old organizational structures, that open resources are gonna continue to grow, that fabrication devices are becoming better, smaller, digitally-controlled and self-replicating, and that free resources enable people to d
SX23

Con

First of all, I believe that a definition would be appropriated.
Leisure Definition:
Leisure or free time, is a period of time spent out of work and essential domestic activity. It is also the period of recreational and discretionary time before or after compulsory activities such as eating and sleeping, going to work or running a business, attending school and doing homework, household chores, and day-to-day stress.
Having 50% of your population (Or more) attending to tasks is not what we could call a leisure's society.
Working on a matter you like is NOT leisure.

As you did not refuted my point on the matter, I believe that alone destroy your whole theory.

Human motivation for work: This is the source of the money paradox. If you decided to suspend money, it *MIGHT* work in the long-term, if it wasn't human motivations. You claim that human beings do not need money (material gain) to work. In some way, I would agree with you. However, would you get to work each day so that your lovely neighbourhood can be happy and have a leisure time?
I'm quite certain it wouldn't compose something near to 50% of the population, as most of workers don't always get their "perfect" job.
And unless you constantly see suffering that is in DIRECT relation to your actions,
This: "" In other words seeing someone in suffering is neurologically very similar to being in suffering oneself. We care about others whether we want to or not; it's the way our brain is built. "" is not applicable.

My second point and his claims to the need for money to achieve an abundance society are still unchallenged. The link you provided only mentioned:
The largest allocations are for atomic energy (71.7 billion rupees), the space programme (49.6 billion rupees) and defence research (47.6 billion rupees)
--http://www.nature.com...

I will now restate my question while putting emphasis on a few parts:

Considering huge amounts of money being needed for international export/import, military needs, energy production costs, and etc, do you think that a country such as India would use his welfare to research EXPANSIVE and UNCERTAIN technologies (Most of them, are, at best, in the experimental stage) to be able to let down money?

As mentioned up above, India is not even near considering investing in domains such as self-generating nano-technologies materials or experimental phase production.

The Information Restrictions:
First of all, governmental affairs are known to keep military-grade project as states secrets. As some of the technologies you required needs considerable fundings with incredible outbreaks, there is a lot to bet that we will very soon reach a stalemate, with government censure on the most recent technological outbreaks. If, however, the technologies you mentioned are achieved by corporation whose only goal is wealth, I doubt they will ever publicized something that would lead them to the first production industry in the world. There is, actually, good chances that the means of fabrication will be kept private and secret.

The paradox:
I clearly wrote why underneath it, and if I may quote you, you now agree with me:

SX23: "a country's work production being redefined into automation cannot be considered as a "free-source" project."
Adciv---""Nowhere did I claim that public and private sectors will become open-source. ""---

Really?
Then what about this?

Adciv--""AdCiv: "Let's be specific: The "changes" my thesis requires are some successful open-source projects, ones that will create free education, free healthcare, free fabrication etc."

You are being somewhat inconsistent...

----------------------
Concluding words:
----------------------
Due to my opponent inconsistency and very misguided view of the word leisure, to the intrinsic problem of the motivation required to work, the resources needed for the development of those very technologies, while so many other issues are at hand, the need for employees thorough law, entertainment, research, and security due to the inability for AI's to take over those sectors, and the unavailability of such prized and valuable technology by military and governmental means, preventing the creation of free-source project against them; I'm afraid that humanity will not be able to achieve a leisure society within the next few decades.
Debate Round No. 5
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Rob1Billion 6 years ago
Rob1Billion
Adciv: you have similar views to myself, although you approach them in more of a scientific/technological way while I approach them in more of a moralistic/sociopolitical fashion. You should join into the political forums sometime as these views are grossly underrepresented, currently.
Posted by left_wing_mormon 6 years ago
left_wing_mormon
http://www.youtube.com...

one of the funniest peoples on youtube. check out their videos
Posted by Marauder 6 years ago
Marauder
@SX23:
did you even read the resolution? you were to prove that he is an Utopian idealist, not that his views of utopia would fail. In other words that he was lying about what he believes.
Posted by SX23 6 years ago
SX23
Nope, Quebec from origin; French is.
Posted by AdCiv 6 years ago
AdCiv
SX23, is English your native language?
Posted by SX23 6 years ago
SX23
Whether you agree or not is of no relevance. Six thousands years of history make Esuric right on this one. We do wish to do further, but to serve our own interests.
Posted by AdCiv 6 years ago
AdCiv
I don't disagree with you, Esuric. Man always wants to grow, to go Furthur, and that's beautiful. I was talking about something different, as I think is clear enough from my post.
Posted by Esuric 6 years ago
Esuric
Scarcity can never be eliminated since human desires are never truly and fully satiated. All of the technology in the world can never change this categorical law. Mankind has come a long way, both socially and technologically, but the desire to better one's own condition remains absolutely stable.
Posted by Sarcasm 6 years ago
Sarcasm
Deffintion of wrong: Adciv is worng there i have proved you wrong ^^
Posted by Cerebral_Narcissist 6 years ago
Cerebral_Narcissist
Such an easy argument for con. I should take it myself but I am busy.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by ajcbencomo 6 years ago
ajcbencomo
AdCivSX23Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:50 
Vote Placed by TVPchallenge 6 years ago
TVPchallenge
AdCivSX23Tied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:50 
Vote Placed by sagarous 6 years ago
sagarous
AdCivSX23Tied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:00 
Vote Placed by Marauder 6 years ago
Marauder
AdCivSX23Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:00