A Modest Proposition

Consider the following scenarios:

(A) Humanity develops strong artificial intelligence.

(B) Both of:
B1: The incarceration rate of blacks is not statistically significantly different than for whites in the US.
B2: The gender wage gap is not statistically significant in the US.

Perhaps I am too immersed in the tech world, but would anyone actually take an even-money bet on side B happening first?

And if not, what do all our efforts towards social progress and equality even mean?

One Reply to “A Modest Proposition”

  1. Regarding A, we can’t assume a continuous rate of exponential growth. Moore’s Law has been on life support the last 10 years and it’s been in critical condition the last 2 years. I don’t see A happening in our lifetime if you’re defining A as reaching a sentient AI living being. Conventional computing is hitting a brick wall and is reverting to linear progress rather than exponential.

    Regarding B, I think your premise is partially flawed. The gender gap is not “77 cents for women on the dollar for a man”. Once you factor in the same job, same hours & commitment, same experience, and same performance levels, the wage differences vanish. Moreover, the average young woman without kids actually makes more money than men of her age.

    As for married women with/without kids who make little to no money *on paper*, they’re doing pretty damn well being entitled to at least half of their husband’s past, present, and future income regardless of their future marital status. It’s the poor working bastard putting in 60 hours at the office that has the raw end of the deal compared to social clubs & yoga classes while the kids are at school. If you’re talking 100+ years ago, working in a coal mine was a pretty raw deal too, or dying on a battlefield during WWI and WWII.

    Women are actually doing better than men when you look at the rate that they’re attending and graduating college. Boys are far more likely to fall behind in school and dropout or not attend college. Traditional men’s jobs like manufacturing are being automated and many of them are putting a bullet in their own head to escape the pain. Read the Atlantic article called “Singles Ladies” and it talks about a lot of this.

    Regarding incarceration in general, I think it’s idiotic that we’re paying $45K a year to treat people inhumanely. Where inmates risk rape and assault everyday and occasionally face solitary confinement. I think the solution is to put prisoners who are a lesser violence risk in a 100 to 200 sqft shelter with constant tracking and monitoring and extremely strict curfew times. Give them food and Wi-Fi and let them have a job if they can get one. Then they pay taxes and rent. Even if they can’t get a job, such living arrangements would only cost $5000 a year which would save us $40K a year. While we’re at it, put homeless people in the same shelters. This is far more feasible than a Universal Basic Income, and the recipient gets more benefits. I mean think about how far $10K a year in UBI can take you in most cities? They can’t even afford rent.

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