Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Irving Wladawsky-Berger offers projections about the new technological environment. "Machines have started to exhibit associative intelligence," he writes, "Associative intelligence is no longer just housed in the brains of human workers, but emerges from the constant interactions among machines, software and processes." It made me think of e-Trucks interacting with each other to form convoys, for example. Then I began to imagine road construction priorities being automatically determined by automated vehicles reporting bottlenecks and slowdowns. Anyhow, Wladawsky-Berger identifies several key changes in our political economy that result from this trend (quoted):

  • The criteria for assessing policies will change from 'growth' to 'job creation' (or maybe simply access to goods and services)
  • The criteria for measuring the economy will change, as virtual goods "generate unmeasured benefits for the user, cost next to nothing, and are unpriced"
  • Free market economies will be regulated. "In the distributive era free-market efficiency will no longer be justifiable if it creates whole classes of people who lose."
  • "The next era will not be an economic one, but a political one... until we've resolved access we're in for a lengthy period of experimentation"

I think these changes mught be even more significant than depicted here. If we're looking decades ahead, as Wladawsky-Berger, we may be looking at the replacement of money as a mechanism for exchange, as the assumulation of trillions of unused dollars in secret accounts has undermined its effectiveness for the purpose of regulating commerce.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Oct 01, 2023 01:41 a.m.

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