ev roboeconomy

Tesla, Optimus and the Roboeconomy

Tesla is developing a robot called Optimus, it will be a humanoid, biped, walking with arms. It is a big challenge as walking has been a notorious problem for many robot projects (which has been solved by Boston Dynamics), and manual dexterity is another. Tesla is still working with ‘statistical’ deep learning/transformer networks, and is only optimzing a few vectors (or one really) for its cars. A body needs many.

Elon Musks fear of AI is fair, it is becoming real easy to make machines perform tasks once reserved for humans. A board of $20 can recognize voices and objects, even has a camera. This can be used for good, but also for evil. You can with some hacking build a gun that can shoot specific targets, even a specific person from a distance. Who will get convicted for that crime? Real ‘autonomous’ AI today can only exist in the sky. Autonomous is between quotes because such device will have a ‘preference’ build in. But it is totally concievable to have it scan the ground for objects like guns mounted on cars, and destroy them without intervention.

We can go into a lot of AI risks here but it may be more interesting to expand om Elon’s insight during his ’21 Q4 Earnings call, where he wondered what the economy even means if there is no shortage of labour (which is possible if you have a general purpose android). I have written about this world often on this blog, and named it the Roboeconomy, in short the Roboeconomy is a world in which robots are powered by renewables (and AI is assumed to have progressed). I said this Roboeconomy is where humanity is heading, and it is completely different from the current fossil credit economy.

The question that shows the difference that I asked in my post on the Roboeconomy of 2011 is:

“If we had a machine that made everything we needed,

would we all be jobless and unable to afford anything,

or would everything be free?”

The basic difference between the current and the roboeconomy is that nobody owns the energy you use, so whatever you produce with it, you don’t need to share it with anyone. Of course if you don’t share others may have nothing. Does that mean others starve or do you still share because it you who owns the energy source and produced it do not experience any loss in doing so?

In the fossil credit economy most money ends up with either energy companies or banks, both have no real use for the money

In the fossil economy we always pay for things because there are first owners of the energy we use. Fossil companies and banks own the energy and the money we use to allocate it first, then we borrow it and consume the energy. This ties us into the ‘economy’ which maximizes the power and control of banks and fossil companies. We have to go back to the gas station and find new money to buy fuel. We are forced to live in expensive homes we have to pay a ‘mortgage’ on, which also forces us to go out and find/make money. Our environment is a desert because we can’t just find what we need in it (energy and money), we have to haggle with others for it. It is this dependency that is carefully maintained and protected by our banks, who also push right wing un empathic politics. They create the fossil economic machine that is destroying our environment and climate.

If the energy is renewable we are free, we can be located in the middle of nowhere as long as we have the technology to make what we need with the energy we harvest we are good. It was clear that AI and chip technology was going to make it easier to do that. 3D printing, maker bots, deep learning development where going to allow us to eventually make almost everything anywhere. It would take human ingenuity at first, but AI aided physics modelling and CAD systems would help and eventually you would practically end up with machines that can make anything we need in any quantity we want.

Elon has been able to bring about the environment and actions that are getting us so close to this reality, where I personally did not advance beyond thinking about it, tinkering with electronics and tiny robots at home. But the significance of this push with respect to the climate crisis can not be underestimated. This is what I wrote about before : The climate crisis can not be solved within the present economy, it has to be solved with renewables because fossil fuels would be a limiting factor and above that add CO2.

What we need to solve the crisis is a lot of manipulation of our planet and a lot of activity in places where nobody lives or wants or can live at the moment. High level AI driven robots are a solution to that challenge, and robots on renewables are an obvious requirement. With those two factors you can repair the planet’s eco system, fight problems where they occur, do so much that weak organic people can not or do not want to do.

If Tesla manages to build an Optimus robot that can assemble itself, that can organize the gathering of resources needed for its creation itself, that can process those raw materials to get the parts and components to create itself itself, the world can feel relieved because it could secure parts of the economy using the AI, and not have fallible people chase after things.

It would also possibly have to deal with the freedom of these AIs, with their desires and needs, as these AIs would have to have drives other than servitude to a master. I wrote about this (some posts are missing, the last 7 years due to a WP update). The risk of a freely roaming android to humans can be protected by giving it a detailed sense of what humans are. We could also give them a detailed sense of what Earth is (for which I suggested to build an ‘Earth simulator’ that can also be used to see effects of climate action). Of course basic ‘do not touch’ rules and auditory sensitivity (for calls of distress) would be good ‘demotivators’ of intentions.

It is exciting to think about robots restoring the ecology, as it is to think about a robot you can send on an errant. The fluidity will depend on the computational capacity that these androids can carry, humans basically always want to do everything, but our environment usually only allows us to do what we can safely or decently do. It seems the Tesla cars have to filter the situation they see and select abilities for specific situations in a more exclusive manner, but they can in principle switch much more often than humans (we are stuck with 100 ms at least and longer for realities we did not expect at all). We can probably do a lot already with way less capable AIs and control systems.

It seems logical for Elon to go after productivity enhancing versions of the android first, then after the humanoid aspect and then after the Generalized AI aspect. The bots will take jobs away, but make production cheaper, and this is where the conondrum of the Roboeconomy becomes important to answer. I have suggested that if such reality comes about, the people do not need jobs, but they are not starving for lack of income because the receive a basic income. Because they just allocate energy to the producers of the products they like, and the energy is free because it is renewables, people can enjoy a free life as if they are living in a garden of Eden.

Wealth is a function of Energy, Raw materials and Skills, money is not a factor!

We forget our media really needs to capture our attention in order to teach us we need to buy products and live a certain lifestyle. The constant reminder of the existence of shiny people in huge shiny mansions with white teath, fair skin, lush hair, cozy families and interiors, is not to make us happy, but to make us consume fossil fuels and generate cashflow for banks. They world without those forces also has different people in them, people that are more content with less, that are free to travel and do good, people not stuck in horrible jobs. Once we can escape the fossil credit economy, we will not know why we ever accepted it.


Splitting the Economy

The world economy does not like renewable energy, it does not understand it. The problem is that renewables can be owned by you and me or local companies or municipalities. This means the energy can used to do stuff, but no money needs to change hands. This in turn leads to banks losing control over their economy. I say ‘their’ because it is a fact that the world economy is created by banks, run by banks, protected by banks, all in service of banks.

Banks fight the dying of their light, which was their role in distributing and allocating fossil fuels. Renewables will mostly be generated where they are needed. The proponents of more grid are trying to make it so energy can come from far away, once again requiring the use of money to trade it, but smart people will reject the creation of a long distance energy market as a waste of prescious time to fight climate change.

There is little hope for many countries though, as the political system seems to reject anyone who does not first look at economistic interests (meaning the security of banks). If you don’t you just don’t get elected, you are not taken seriously. Even if you do you still use the same money as everybody else, you can not differentiate that you want to use renewables to do what you want to do. This also means that banks can lend to competitors of renewables, directly or by lobbying governments, while not lending to people who drive growth of renewables or their supporters.

The best way to solve this problem is to split the economy in two : A fossil/nuclear one and a renewable powered one. I wrote about a way before, which would be to create a separate currency the Joule (renewable) vs the Euro for fossil/nuclear. A third currency would be for labour (the Auro) but this may be unnecessary seeing the speed of automation and development of AI.

Why would you create a Joule economy next to a Euro economy? The reason is that in the Joule economy products and services payed with Joules are priced vs the availability of renewable energy (either directly or stored in batteries). The emission of Joules into the (what I call) is different from a bank writing out a loan (after having concluded all the money+interest will be retured eventually), which is quite simple and introduces many risks (inflation, delflation, bubbels etc.). Instead the amount of Joules will be given to the owner of the renewable energy source, based on the analysis of what will be done with it. At the same time part will be ‘taxed’ and given to the people living close to the renewable energy source. This means the government manages this allocation of Joules. It can not just create them, because the capacity of renewable energy sources is hard limited.

Unlike with fossil credit (Euro,USD etc.) there is no global competition for who can get the most and produce the most, which for example causes a lot of oil to go into China now that used to go into the US manufacturing base. Instead every region has locally allocated Joules and get distributed Joules as a basic income. The people in the region must use the Joules to make stuff to serve their needs. The products can be bought with Joules, so the Joules can be used to produce them, mine the raw materials, transport what is needed to where it is needed by the producers.

In a Joule based economy the more renewable resources you have the better. But if you place a factory in the middle of the desert, say one that makes sneakers from synthetic molecules made in chemical processes powered by renewables, those sneakers have next to no real cost and no Joules payed from other regions will help produce it, because the energy those Joules represent is not available in the desert. This seems different from the situation with fossil fuels, but it is not, because say to produce a sneaker from oil in a factory in China, someone has to bring the oil to the plastic factory and then the plastic to the sneaker factory, at the cost of fuel. This logistic challenge associated with fossil us usually hidden from view, until the trucks go on strike or the ships get stuck in the Suez Canal.

The introduction of the Joule currency could happen by government initiated local renewable energy projects the currency is part of. The local governments can also invest, as can companies. The currency then gets distributed to the people involved as well as to the owners of the energy source (who get rewarded for their maintenance and intiative). It would make sense to start with essential services like bakeries, fertilizer factories, logistics companies, etc. These can then buy energy with the Joules allocated with them and earn Joules or other currencies with their products and services.

The economy would become split as banks would have nothing to do with the Joules, while the communities would enjoy basic products and services from their own Joule economy. This is like people in Spain not paying for gas in the winter, because the sun keeps them warm without it. The economies would never meet, but could if people wanted to replace their fossil credit Euros for Joules and owners of Joules would want to buy Euros, for instance for a plane ticket. As regions would not really compete but take care of themselves for most basic needs, there would be no ‘global market’, production of goods and services could however increase as more renewable energy capacity was build and these products could be shared with regions with energy shortages.

As you can see the Joule based Roboeconomy would be completely different from the fossil credit (Euro, Dollar etc. ) based ‘world economy’. The world economy could not sabotage the Joule economies because these would not want or need fossil credit or fossil fuels. They could exist side by side in the beginning, like we now have homes that require no energy between homes that still burn gas. This system can help us transtion without banks or fossil being an anchor dragging us back..

cars ev solar

Solar Powered Cars

Ford will come out with a car with solar panels integrated in the roof. It is a nice gesture and it will increase the visibility of solar panels, but also a risk because it seems to claim such panels are somehow enough to make it run.

Of course cars can run on panels, if it is sunny enough and the car is specialized to do so. This is the idea of the (sHell sponsore) Solar Challenge. There are even solar challenge car designs for the public road.

Efficiency is not an issue with renewables, as it is not an issue with fossil fuels. Car engines convert about 15% of the energy in gasoline into forward motion, and that gasoline itself cost gasoline to get it into the car. This makes the efficiency of a car a screaming example of insanity compared to the low loss convesion of solar energy in electrical motors or stored in batteries.

anyone can make a car 

The output of a solar panel, usually light that would not be used in any other way, is stored with about 15% loss in a battery. It is used with the same loss in an electric motor. Storing solar electricity in hydrogen (as was the industy’s suggestion) always implies a 50% loss when converting it back to electricity again, as well as losses from compression and cooling, not to speak of the manufacturing of the storage tank. But hey, it’s economical (meaning it generates a lot of cashflow)!

reaches 88,5 km/h strictly come solar..

Truly solar cars are not actually necessary, we can have NH3 powered cars, which is like having diesel cars without the soot or CO2. Several wind projects have aimed to produce NH3 as a usefull liquid fuel, but usually these projects get killed or dragged out to prevent farmers from smelling freedom, check out Freedomfertilizer ! Making NH3 out of wind means some loss of energy, but the wind is free, and it is a great way to utilize so called ‘stranded wind’, wind turbines the energy company charged to much to connect them to the grid..

Of course the best is to improve public transport and build homes close to the workplace. But in our economy that is discouraged in favour of making sure people work in offices and use a car to get there. That sells gasoline, office furniture, office real estate and keeps people from realizing their office job could be done as efficient at home or not at all 😉