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It is thought that if only artificial intelligence proceeds apace, and computing power increases apace, that the knowledge and information demands imposed by the economic problem could conceivably be dealt with, and then socialist central planning could succeed.

It is thought that if only men were angels, then we could run an economy without having to rely on the self-interest of the butcher and the baker.

We could argue for years about whether in fact that is true.

But …

… IF we had amazing computing power and AI, and IF we had men act as angels … we would not need socialism or central planning in the first place.

 

2 Responses to “Technology, Clay and Socialism”

  1. Jose Fernandez says:

    Suppose that supercomputers and AI could solve the computation problem. (A paper only a few years old estimates that it would take computers some 10 quintillion years to distribute consumer goods to 6 billon consumers, so I doubt that this problem will ever be solved.) Even if a computer could come up with the correct calculations, it would be virtually impossible to gather the relevant information for the calculations. Consumers would have to somehow convey their preferences. We would then have to somehow calculate prices. Ignore the fact that rapid change quickly renders centralized plans obsolete almost immediately and assume that the world is static. We would have to somehow gather all of the information about the demand for and quantity of consumer goods (to calculate prices). Even if the only problem was gathering that information (assuming that inputting the data into the supercomputers would immediately create a new centralized plan), it would take forever to collect it all. Just think of how complicated a census is. This problem would make the census look like addition.

    • wintercow20 says:

      But think about advances in the “internet of things” and in algorithms. Soon we are all going to be walking microchips, beaming data endlessly (with no carbon emissions of course, just never mind those server farms in Iowa that no one ever visits) to all manner of supercomputers about all kinds of things we are doing and even thinking – we are not going to need prices at all, indeed the algorithm will know what we need and want before it even enters our own conscious mind! What say you then anti-planner?

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