Discussion: AGI and the incoming economy bust

Hi everyone,

I’m sort of just having some thoughts on the future of the economy and how it would handle AGI and I believe I’ve come to the conclusion that it won’t, and it’s hit me in this really deep way today. I’m going to offer some thoughts on this and if you’d like to offer yours than great!

State of tech / Economy
Given the recent announcements of Co-Pilot and other IDE tools using GPT, and the prediction that the first “AI Full Feature Film” will be produced in 2024… I just don’t see how five years from now any intellectual property has any value at all. If anyone can do anything, everything loses value. Why should an investor invest in your idea if he himself can just make it happen? So than one might say, “oh well that’s the same logic of our current predicament” True, except its not at the click of a button or a couple sentences to create a full app. There is going to be massive unsustainable price collapse. If no product has a MOAT, than you have no reason to create. If you remove all necessity, there is no invention.

The idea that AI could democratize the creation of apps, art, music, and even films challenges the existing economic models which are based on scarcity and unique human creativity. This democratization could lead to a sudden price collapse, a significant shift in how value is perceived and what motivates investment.

How can I be motivated to invest in your IP if there is no more IP? This radically shifts what the criteria for investment will be, if any. I can’t imagine how the current market will respond to that once it figures it out? Does anyone else see the domino effects here? Taking out one or two industries could just have these huge ripples of actions and reactions that cause unforeseen events that we had absolutely no way of predicting. What I mean by this is the labor displacement, how do we know that for instance, replacing 30% of the medical workforce, and replacing 30% of the customer service workforce, wouldn’t have some unforeseen effect on every other existing market? I’m not so sure we can accurately predict any of those outcomes. This idea that we will “scale into AGI” potentially doesn’t make sense for this reason. How are we measuring how safe that scaling is not just in the respect to each sector of the market, but also the market as a whole and how their working parts affect each other part? If we scale too heavily in one sector versus another, how can we be so sure that it won’t cause an problem?

The bigger problem still, is a price collapse.

Ego collapse
One trope I keep hearing is that “people will just have more free time to do what they love” - it’s not so simple. People want a heroes journey, they want to be able to feel like they are contributing to life, to the community, to their families. This idea that people will gladly accept sitting around and “trying to learn that hobby you’ve always wanted to” will be enough for a good life, a whole life… It simply won’t be. The bulk of people who didn’t learn guitar pre post-labor economics, aren’t going to suddenly have the motivation to learn it after post-labor economics. Because learning guitar never ACTUALLY made them feel fulfilled. What makes people feel fulfilled is seeing themselves as temporarily embarrassed millionaires. They need hope that they can become famous, or become involved in something important.

A tier up from that would be people whom are actually involved in what they want to be doing (arts, music, programming, film, writing, law, sales, entrepreneurship) and we’re sort of rendering all of those disciplines and the skills it takes to become competent at those things, useless. We (Americans) go through so much trauma by our own government. Someone fights and fights to get to a position they want to be in in life, in a career they want to be in, and they’re supposed to just accept that a robot is replacing their job? I don’t think we’re giving enough attention to the emotional backlash this is going to receive when people actually grasp they can be replaced by AGI

False-consensus effect
This is a cognitive bias that we tend to think others think the way we do. I see this cognitive bias from almost every AI spokesperson. And what I mean is…

No one is actually looking at how dumb the general public is

Right now AI is some boogie man in a closet, but once you let AGI out, once you let agent swarms out, all of a sudden it becomes real. People only care about something when its at their doorstep. I just fear that we’re underestimating peoples inability to understand or grasp this technology and the paradigm that comes with it. Because once there is no barrier to me and you as a programmer, or a musician, or an artist - what is there for me to reify my sense of self with? People hold these words ‘programmer’, ‘musician’, in their internal map of the world, these words FORM their internal map of the world. For many people, if they’re not an artist - then they’re nothing. I fear this takes that from them. It takes that “badge” away from them. Now everyone gets every badge. How does that work?

If we take peoples sense of identity, and don’t offer anything of value in return - I fear people will riot. This idea that we won’t be the “main contributors” isn’t compatible with human social networks and hierarchies. If AI is better than us, than AI is always the competitor in some sense and always the enemy because it will always be “the threat” from their eyes.

;TLDR

Advanced AI might disrupt the economy by making in tellectual property, like music, film, art and software, less valuable. This could lead to job loss and impact investments. People might struggle with losing their professional identity and purpose, potentially leading to societal unrest.

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Given my Copilot, I think what we’re going to see is the value of reading walls of text being reduced, when they could be cranked out in a minute by what turns out to be a vapid AI…

A plausible word sequence maker made chatty by incorporation of a million simulated chats gives us a facade of intelligence that breaks down pretty quickly.

You didn’t really address any of the points I was making. I never made a point of whether it was “sentient” or not?

The main hypothesis is that if anyone can quickly create professional grade IP, be it music, film, apps, videogames, other forms of entertainment…then all forms of that IP lose value by factors of like 100. If I can construct an Hollywood film from my basement, be it this year or in five years, that then causes a massive price reduction in Hollywood’s films. And that therefore affects all the workers in that industry, and then all the VFX artists and videographers and stage hands say “What the f***? What do we do now?”

What if musicians have access to studio-quality digital audio workstations, cameras capable of filming in 4k, and an editing bay in their basement for fractions of the price of decades past?

Then all the VFX artists and videographers and stage hands say “why do we need this industry acting as a gatekeeper to our creativity now?”

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I think to add to _j’s point, these systems might make it easier for everyone to do stuff, but I’m still not sold that it will actually help everyone do stuff well. AI is more like overclocking your own intelligence. If you had a bad idea before AI, AI isn’t going to be able to turn it into a good idea.

Remember: Garbage in, garbage out.

People also want IP rights, and companies need IP rights to certain works, so it’s not like everyone is suddenly going to stop caring about that. People are going to pay what they need to pay so they can have the rights to monetize their own work or brand.

Let’s also not forget the achievements of WGA and SAG-AFTRA right now. Doomers are quick to cite these kinds of potential IP issues yet scoff at what’s actually been done about it. If we are to have this kind of public discourse, we can’t brush off the legal rulings and union efforts as meaningless, because they’re not, and there’s no evidence suggesting they won’t suddenly be so in the future.

True art has no guardrails. A paintbrush doesn’t tell me “no”. AI might make stuff, but I haven’t seen work that’s truly impactful yet. Last time I made some art pieces to put up for sale, one of my favorites was a painting I did of Zelenskyy smacking Putin in the same angle that Will Smith smacked Chris Rock. An AI will most likely not let me make that, unless I take the time to download, set up, and handle all this crap for an uncensored model. Even then, there’s no guarantee it’d come out the way I want, or how much editing work I’d have to do to make it look the way I want after it’s generated.

Which, speaking of, brings me to my final point: Until it’s easier and faster to get exactly what I envision in my head through prompting and generative AI, gen AI is not an alternative to the main tool, like a brush, or a pen, or camera. It might help make some tasks easier, but it’s not a replacement. No matter how detailed or intricate my prompting can be, censored or not, everything it comes up with is just slightly off from what I actually wanted. Also, if you look closely at most of the works produced by AI, it makes a bunch of these optical illusions almost, where something looks correct, but when you squint, you realize the perspective is distorted and inaccurate. Therefore, why am I gonna spend all this prompting something that I know isn’t gonna turn out how I want, when I could just spend the same amount of time, likely less, just doing it myself?

It might lessen the barrier to creativity, and it might be a handy tool in speeding up tedious work, but it’s not going to allow an inexperienced artist to outperform a genuine artist. Hell, half the time, it’s not even allowed to produce the kind of artwork that has propelled art for centuries (ahem nudity).

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This is an incredible quote.

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