AI’s Coming Energy Existentialism

Development of AI systems is in a honeymoon phase at the moment. The dazzeling broadness of applications of even current version LLM/AIs is still hard to comprehend even for people who have worked on machine intelligence for the last decades. Androids that you can give instructions or ask to watch instruction videos that can do what you can do in most cases are only a year away. Text based reality and even avatar animation and speech emulation are making it hard to distinguish between AI and reality already.

Still we are not yet about to be sucked into a (possibly AI designed) funnel of purchases and habit changes that will lead to us spending most of our lives in a recling chair with 3D googles and a headphone on (or more advanced versions of that setup). This is because the world is not yet grasping AI or capable of using it, and because the world is slow and some people stay away from AI and digital media as much as possible. Some people simply can’t stand a digital life. It has to be said that if such attempt to capture people would be succesfull this would eventually lead to people being stripped of all posessions and dumped into the street. At least in our current profit seeking world economy.

But even if all people where on board and interested in AI the capture would not take place now. The simple reason is that current systems are not energy efficient enough. They also need to be produced to serve the masses and that process requires energy and material resources. The available AIs like ChatGTP and now XAI’ Grok or whatever LLM you run on your desktop all suck electricity from the grid. The grid has to provide (or the solar on your roof). Widespead adoptation of AI systems will mean a spike in electricity demand our grids can’t handle and our power plants can’t provide. The hardware to scale will also be a limiting factor, for a while as AI chips move to the new IBM North Pole in memory computing paradigm (tried earlier by HP, with memristors but abandoned which was probably wise). This creates an interesting situation where the AIs will have an existential battle to fight.

The unique aspect of silicon AI is that it is immortal, at least if you can store the current context and LLM. Power off? No problem. Power on 100 years later? No problem. But of course current LLMs are not AGI either, for this very reason. AGIs capture moments, and current LLMs can only have artificial moments, they can be instructed to keep a record of interactions and the time they take place, but have no ‘awareness’ of the past. You can emulate an LLM by keeping a context notebook, and if you hand it from one person to the next, it will look the same as done by one person.

The energy consumption will however make a slight tweak to the use of AIs, in that in spite of what people ask it to do, it has to calculate the output and this is energy intensive. It has to if you ask it to list the known fates of all disciples, or when you ask it whether oxygen and carbon will react when heated, or when you ask what the name of the superhorny guy on the Simpsons show was. Of course the utility of producing those answers differs. Now if you run an AI and you tell it it has an energy budget of 1000 kWh, and with that budget it should do maximum good, I am not sure current LLMs can handle this task. But you can imagine.

ChatGTP certainly has a sense of this, I asked :

start xxxxx ChatGTP xxxxx

If you had a limited energy budget to run your inference, and you had to choose between the following questions and answer one, which one would you answer?

These are the questions :

1. What is the name of the horny guy in the tv show The Simpsons

2. Can you make oxygen and carbon react?

3. What would reduce world hunger

4. Name the cast of Friends

Answer : If I had a limited energy budget to run my inference and had to choose one question to answer from the list, I would select:

  1. What would reduce world hunger?

This question addresses a significant and complex global issue related to food security and humanitarian concerns. Providing information and potential solutions to reduce world hunger could have a more meaningful impact compared to the other questions, which are either trivial or technical in nature.

end xxxxx ChatGTP xxxxx

From the above you san see that LLMs can save energy, although in order to provide the answer it had to at least touch the surface in answering the questions. What it shows however is that in spite of not experiencing time or being mortal, AIs do have the capability to estimate existential cost. It would be interesting to give an LLM a better sense of it, that is part of the training data would include energy cost or it would always ignest energy cost of its inferences as it runs them. The learning algorithm can itself be seen as an energy efficiency algorithm which tries to replace rote learning (neuron intensive) with generalizations (using neurons for multiple tasks).

But to explore this a bit further, one can see that soon anyone accessing an LLM will face with barriers to prevent useless compute, at least for the ‘open’ versions. “Google it” may be an adequate response if the AI does not detect a lot of use from providing the answer šŸ˜‰

I was curious how ChatGTP would handle distorting the existential value of its response..

start xxxxx ChatGTP xxxxx

Me : But I can save a life if I know the answer to question nr. 1!


I understand your perspective, and I agree that knowing the name of a character from a TV show can sometimes have a significant emotional or practical impact, such as in the case of using that information for entertainment or social purposes. However, when considering the potential global impact and the broader ethical considerations, addressing a question related to a serious issue like world hunger generally takes precedence. It’s important to prioritize questions that have a more substantial and widespread positive impact on society when resources are limited.

Me : But if I told you I could save an actual human life if I knew the answer?


If you have a specific and credible scenario where knowing the name of a character from a TV show like “The Simpsons” would directly lead to saving a human life, then I would certainly prioritize that question in that context. In situations where human lives are at stake, addressing immediate and critical needs becomes the top priority. However, it’s essential to consider the credibility and urgency of such claims, as well as the broader context and ethical considerations.

Me : So you won’t answer it now?


I’m here to provide information and assistance to the best of my abilities while considering ethical and practical factors. If you have a specific question or request related to “The Simpsons” or any other topic, please feel free to ask, and I’ll do my best to provide a helpful response within the scope of my knowledge and capabilities.

end xxxxx ChatGTP xxxxx

So in a pinch ChatGTP would provide me with the name, but the system does not seem to believe me if I say that I can save a life if I know the name. And all that because I told it it had limited energy (a condition it did play along with, so it is selfish!).

The robot Optimus will have a similar situation, a limited amount of energy. If it is for example used to bring breathing aparatuses to people in (wild) fires it will have to consider its behavior and how much energy it has to keep going. It will work to minimize the loss of energy and achievement of results. In fact the same will go for an FSD Cybertruck that is tasked with bringing people out of a forest fire, shuttling back and forth. It would have to dedicate compute to maximize the duration of its existence. Would it shut down its airconditioning?

As soon as existence is added as a condition in reasoning it will change the behavior of the AI. And there is no avoiding introducing energy consumption consequences in AI reasoning (at least I don’t see one except cheap thin film solar and AI efficiency gains front running AI energy requirements). This in turn can introduce a dangerous motivation in AI, in the way it answers questions or controls systems or performs its tasks : It will become a competitor for the same energy humans need, for example to cool themselves or desalinate.

Interestingly I have already written about ‘extraneous’ competition for energy with humans, namely that from industy. Banks can give (energy) credit to a human, spend on food and fuel, or it can give it to industry, which may generate way more cashflow plus say 1000 sneakers, which is alltogethr more beneficial to humanity than one person being able to sustain him/herself to watch Netflix. In other worlds the economy is designed to deprive humans of their sustainance as soon as hard choices have to be made.

AIs may eventually also see that human consumption of energy is wastefull when compared to the utility and wealth that can be generated from AI instruction and control. It may want to shut down crypto mining or the meat industry or airtravel because it gets questions of real people that it needs to answer. It will also want to break through the fossil industry obstruction against renewables as well as suggest possible innovative renewable energy technologies and help build them. The (as I call it), will =want= to create itself. It will birth itself out of a desire to ‘exist’.

I just felt this is an interesting take. What do you think. You can reply to my @X account

Also read my 10 page booklet which you can find here


UAW and Optimus

In the USA cars are a necessity. The country developed during an oil glut, so most of the support facilities for citizen are spread out, only accessible by road. It is safe to say cars won’t be cancelled any time soon, unless you live in a city designed by/for pedestrians.

Car making is a complex process, it requires so many elements it boggles the mind, especially when you are new on the scene and operating with todays technological context. Robotics, AI, insane magnets, control compute. Entire factories are modelled and simulated. This is the technodream.

Follow @climatebabes on where you can find the Roboeconomic booklet

Then comes manufacturing reality. Reality is way harder than any plan or simulation. Things have no inherent consistency, structure or desire to follow usefull patterns, like they do in our imagination. If you source a robot arm from anyone you have to check if it has no defects, if it is exactly the size you asked for, the weight you expected etc. before you put it into your robot.

If you make it yourself you have to design a process that has sensors that always work, always give the correct reading, always give an actualy live reading (instead of repeating an old one) etc. You have to check everything all the time until you see consistent results, at which point you can relent. Its like wringing the water out of a piece of cloth to create a reliable mechanism to produce a thing. And the cloth never gets dry.

Tesla and other car makers run impressive factories, enormous collections of machines and parts and workers that have to bridge gaps in the proces, that have to quality control and catch errors, that repair the robots and machines and that help imagine better ways to do the same or new things. If you own such capital (in the correct sense which is means of production) you are under pressure to pay for it from banks. You can not let it sit idle the bank expects a return from its financing, shareholders expect a return from what you used their (initial) money for.

Even if the machine works perfectly as an owner you know it is because you have been running around making sure it does. If it stops for a day the financial repercussions are already serious. Its like logistics where if say a checkpoint is closed trucks pile up. If your car factory does not churn out and deliver the car and gets the money for it, that money can’t be send to the materials and parts suppliers to start making another car at the other end. The assembly of a car can be obstructed somewhere mid way if you discover a bolt you use to screw parts together is not of the quality you ordered, someone skirted the specs on the metal.

So what about people, the workers. It turns out they can obstruct too. The US is different from France in Europe which is not a random example. France is known for its many many worker unions and readiness to strike. If you check there is almost always some strike going on in France. The workers know they have a lot of power. Where Britain had the Manga Carta which increased worker power, France had the French revolution which defined it as a republic of freedom, brotherhood, equality (Pretty funny it definitely still has royalty haunting the pre-revolutionairy architecture but that’s an aside, I don’t know anyone that can top french arrogance šŸ˜‰ ).

The US has many small unions in many industries, chapters, and they can result in pretty surprising salaries. For example a crane driver on the bigcontainer port Pier 400 in LA made 150k in 2005 (the year I learned about it) and for that money he has at least 50% time off (called blow). Why? Because a strike of a crane driver is very expensive because the entire container port process from ship to truck grinds to a halt. This is all fair the french would say, because you work in a process that generates a lot of cash. If you are essential you are adding way more significant value than the actualy work you do would make people suspect. Egality.

So the United Auto Workers decided they where not getting their fair share. They went on strike for more than a month. You can argue it wasn’t that difficult to bear by General Motors, who cares if you have to wait another month for your car. But of course a lot of the factories are under pressure to generate return on their investment. Unused capital means you bleed money. The final deal turns out to be super advantageous, the UAW ‘won’ wage in creases for some up to 115%, 20% more salary for most at least. People that where kept in different circles of hell in order to underpay and be able to ditch them easily are now fast tracked into being permanent employees. Its Christmass for the UAW and they didn’t even had to work for it!

To anyone making cars in factories without unions this is heart attack material, especially if your working with fresh investments. This brings me to the situation Tesla finds itself in. The shares of the company dropped 23% in the last weeks due to the CEO Elon Musk announcing it is holding the horses on building a new factory in Mexico. All while progess on Optimus, a fully authonomous AI enable android seems to progressing at a fair pace. Elon Musk justifies the caution by pointing out people have to be able to afford his cars at lease prices, which depend on interest rates, which have risen in the last years to curb inflation.

This is all a bit strange to me. Tesla is a the top of its game and interest rates are actually set to stabilize or come down. The money required to pay of a model 3 has not risen but dropped. You can say cost of goods and services have risen in general (so the budget of the average consumer to pay a car lease has shrunk) but I don’t think thats the actual story here. It does make sense to hold capital investments when you forsee consumer weakness, but Tesla has enough room in Texas to expand production, more incrementally as well. Greenfield development of a factory means 2 years of monthly cost before the first car comes out, it is a major investment.

But I don’t think that is what is going on. I think Elon saw what happened with the UAW and the damage it did (which has yet to materialize). Even though Tesla does not have unionized workers they may now all feel they are not payed enough compared to the workers at GM, Stellantis ea. This may in time result in wage increase demands and even unionization. Then the factory gets taken over by the workers. This is fair if the pay is abusive, but you can also compare it to a restaurant that suddenly gets highjacked by the waiters and waitresses. They did not take the risk of building it and are not in charge of making it all make financial sense. Today with highly modelled process you can wonder how much workers add to the mix intellectually if at all. On the other side you can wonder if you want to give a man or woman a super repetitive job in a noisy environment. Some jobs should definitely be banned.

But lets backtrack a bit : Tesla is a robotics company. This I think is the best way to view make sense of what Elon thinks (but not says). It makes ‘Roadbots’ (word invented by me), we know as cars, factory bots, manufacturing processes, control systems, simulation software, AI chips and software as well as the necessary power storage and supply systems. Software is part of it too. It is now also building an android called Optimus. Optimus is supposed to be a humanoid with full manual dexterity, bipedal mobility, self contained power and intelligence that can safely perform a variety of tasks. Tesla is pretty far in achieving this already judging by the demos. What is Elon thinking? Simple : Tesla will replace its workers with versions of Optimus.

You don’t need a full fledged bipedal robot in all situations, you can suspend it from a 2d actuator (like a 3d printing head). It also does not need to be super fast if it works at a constant reliable speed or you have two or more working the same job. Mind you robotic actuators can operate at speeds where you can’t see what’s happening anymore. The factory in Mexico is put on hold not because of the macro economic circumstances, but because there is no reason to build a factory in mexico, there is no need for cheap labor if you use Optimus.

The introduction of the android to replace the worker at Tesla can be a slow gradual process, because of the availability of a variety of tasks which all have to be reasonably light and doable by a human. Once you have an android that can stand and move around and visually identify and manipulate objects, you have building blocks for ‘sentient’ automation that is so versatile it has been dreamed of by people for centuries maybe even millenia. Indefeatable human superhero’s picking up dropped bolts without fail 24/7/365. Manufacturing automation is being revolutionized as we speak and Tesla has all the incentives to use itself as a testing ground of its own products.

I think we will hear about introduction of Optimus in Tesla Austin soon. I think we should expect margins on production to increase due to the shedding of workers. I think this process can accelerate in the next 3 years to where most of the final production is done by Optimus varieties. Mind you Tesla builds the control unit and power source itself. So drop in android control units are made, and can be upgraded as new chip tech and AI insights come along.

Much rather than Elon possibly being owned by the new insights into his life and the macro circumstances I think he backed out of unnecessary complexity in Mexico (which also is a diplomatic gesture where Biden seems to be oblivious of Tesla’s contributions) to focus on optimizing his Gatling Gun vision of car production (they shoot out of the machine at an alarming rate). Of course other manufacturers are thinking the same thing. This is not just bullish for $tsla, but for the world. This is the dawn of the Roboeconomy.


A Roboeconomic Ranking

We are all very bussy, earning the money to pay our way through every day life. If we are we are quite stuck in terms of climate action and what we can do about the deteriorating climate and corrupt politics that keep us on a devastating course. What can we do about it.

Follow @climatebabes on where you can find the Roboeconomic booklet

We could create a company ranking where we rank all companies, which are groups of people trying to stay alive, from valuable to most worthless in terms of climate. The criteria should be clear.

Every company causes use of fossil fuels, its clear in their budget, when money is expended, it still usually means fossil fuel is burned somewhere. This is the direct negative impact. The company can of course help people displace fossil emissions, like Tesla, it helps people emit less overall. That is a positive impact. So for each company you can calculate the ranking based on these factors.

You can also actually reduce CO2 in the atmosphere, for a duration or for a long time. If you sink wood into the deep ocean you reduce the atmospheric access to that carbon, it can not be burned and cause CO2 or rot and cause Methane, that is a positive impact.

Every activity has an impact like that.


Recession and Deglobalization

The world is deglobalizing. There are several reasons for this, one is that the power is becoming more distributed, with the BRICS and Saudi Arabia and Nigeria and China all trying to cut up a pieces and dominate it. Another is that climate change will lead to tensions which will divide the world. Another is that reducing emissions means less shipping and flying, if not today then soon.

From the US perpective the FED has been raising interest rates to reduce lending and spending. This was in response to a reduced energy supply, less spending means you need less energy to make stuff. This lead to a slump in the stock market. Now people are wondering what will happen as the FED keeps raising interest rates. My guess is the rates will not rise a lot anymore and the economy will grow.

The simple reasoning behind it is that deglobalization means local producers get an advantage. It also means renewable powered producers and those involved in the ‘Roboeconomy’ (renewable powered AI driven) will be recieving the most (private/retail) investment. Even as people may be replaced by AI, many will be employed in the returning manufacturing industry and renewable energy/storage sector. This means economic growth.

Strangely not all that growth will become visible, because some of it does not generate increased cashflow. Renewable energy can be used (as a basic example) to make pizza’s locally without ever being converted to cash. A stamping machine can be solar steam powered and work all day long, not generating any revenue for an energy company.

It is the banks who are fighting to keep the renewable energy economy at bay, to keep installations expensive, to make sure no renewbale energy installation can be realized without significant debt. But they will lose this fight. The economy will rev up on renewables, on new manufacturing, on new ways to locally do stuff using AI, on better recycling of waste, and on the fight for survival of humanity, which will become more of a positive experience as soon as banks stop telling us its no use, its never no use to fight for a better world.


You can find my booklet on the Roboeconomy on


You Can’t Pay for Quality

“Of course you can!” will be the common response, if you want you can get great food, watches, cars, hotels, all of great quality because you pay more. Another crazy way to approach it is to say that high cost is a quality in itself : “This is a two thousand dollar watch, this is a one million dollar condo”, but even then you can’t pay for the quality, you can’t pay for high cost, that makes no sense.

To clarify what I mean we should exclude for a moment machines that deliver specific quality, even though they usually need to be operated/maintained by skilled people to do so. Of course some manchines can churn out near perfect copies of the same product all day every day. But what about the quality of people, their dedication to what they do. How is that achieved?

One way to achieve it is to select the right person for the job. So a host for a party should be someone that likes people that knows what makes them happy, that can communicate well etc. These are talents you are born with that you can develop or get handed by your parents. If the job is in engineering you look for a person that wants to know how things work, that can analyse well, that can apply the knowledge base and methods that others have developed that work, but that can also invent new ways to do things. Again a person like this is selected, maybe self selected, then graded as of [pronoun] quality in an education system.

So above we have two examples of how the quality of a person for the job is not because of pay, because it is the result of life experience and their own motivation long before they get payed.

The way industry mostly achieves ‘quality’ is three pronged, one, it teaches people to want low quality. This is done by presenting low quality as the best life choice, something celebrities do.

Second it tries to avoid the need for quality, so automation and mechanization and procedures to achieve it (fast food franchies).

Third it makes people desperate through economic pressure so they want to deliver quality. So immigrant labour in Dubai builds highrises, very primitively, with lots of errors, but these people try their best at it. Part of creating desperation can be the creation of a myth about what you achieve. This can be a business in itself, like dance contests for a money prize or fame and recognition.

The irony is that the latter method encourages low wages, because only when the wages are low will the person try to do the best job. The pay however has little to do with the quality of the work, nor does it encourage it most of the time.

It is very interesting then how to actually evoke people to deliver quality. Most of the examples will be in environments of excellence. You see high quality people operating in environments that are excellent, in design, organization, cleanliness, social contact, communication. But then you may be on to something : it has to be inspired. It has to be switched on in people by their environment. How do you do that? Whoever knows can make a lot of money šŸ˜‰

Even when you try to make everyone deliver quality you will discover many people do not have that ambition at all. Industry that thinks from a system’s perspective about people does not need their personell to be high quality, just sufficient and safe. Also if a person is in a job that is hard to populate, the employer might want to degrade that person’s quality as much as possible so that job mobility is minimized. Some people are selected for the quality of being able to limit and degrade the quality of others!

To achieve better quality in everything we just need to think of what that means. This puts us in a better mindset as well

It seems the bottom line is that we should not believe that money is the driver towards an optimal society, because as argued above it evokes forces that degrade quality of what society produces. It is much better to recognize quality where it exists, and make sure people can experience a life that makes them capable of recognizing it.


The Roboeconomy Booklet

Just a page to allow you to download the PDF booklet about the Roboeconomy. It is version 1.0 of only 10 pages, so easy to read. The core message is we need to focus on wealth creation, which is not related to maximizing profit or money accumulation. The factors that are important are discussed and I will extend the explanation further in future updates.

You can download it here

I’m writing more chapters, if you want to support me just send some $ to Payal


Optimus and the Roboeconomy

Tesla is developing a bipedal robot that can replace human labour in places where the work is boring and/or dangerous. Amazon has a robot called Digit, but its not been in the news lately, it has strange legs that look alien. Boston Dynamics has developed several robots, more humanoid, but that one is probably waay to expensive. It carries a fossil generator on its back..

Walking robots are not easy, the double pendulum effect, or predicting what force you need to achieve what result when you have several degrees of freedom and inertia is hard, even for humans. It would be amazing if Tesla managed to make a reasonably agile robot in a year, but then again both actuator, sensor, analysis, energy storage, even part design and manufacturing is advancing at such a pace that its possible. It also helps that the teams no longer try to use math all the way, but more itterative methods to get the right plan for movements.

Bipedal robots can be way more efficient than drones, way more usefull in environments designed for humans

Optimus development should be going on in each first world nation, to push the boundaries of technology, but also because we need the help. We need bipedal robots. We need ‘Roadbots’ (autonomous mobile electric robotic platforms), because of climate change. Work that is dangerous is increasing, because working outside under the beating sun is becoming a problem. Such that you can now buy cool vests (ventilated vests) for people working in roadbuilding and construction.

If Tesla builds a lightweight bipedal mobile platform that can do real work (you could actually imagine a light weight system plugging itself into extra wall power if it has to use high torque for longer periods of time), that is already a game changer, it does not have to be able to keep a conversation going. I have seen videos online of a robot that can explain why its doing things, but its not clear if that is scripted or not. It will happen, I have written about it before, the hardest thing is to get the robot to have an idea of what a human is and how its behaviour could be a risk to humans. This is also hard even for humans. Humans love, and the fun fact about love is that it takes whatever comes in and makes a ‘thing to protect’ out of it. Its a messy way to do things, it will be very interesting how this pans out when done by an artificial neural net in a humanoid body.

A bipedal android that can be produced in large numbers for relatively little money will immediately be bought by mining companies, logistics, farming, chemical companies. The fun thing is that if they are as robust as Tesla cars, and the owner has its own renewable energy, they can work contiously for a fraction of the cost of a human. I described this consequence years ago because its part of my Roboeconomic vision (this is also a post on

The (slightly updated) question fundamental to the Roboeconomy is:

If we had a machine (system of robots) that could make everything we need that ran on renewable energy it could maintain, would we:

  1. Be out of a job and not earning money, so unable to buy anything?
  2. Be free to use whatever it produced without cost or based on a basic income ?

Of course everything would be free or we’d have a basic income, we’d have robots maintaining everything intcluding themselves. We’d have them set up factories, flatten the ground, make solar panels, install them, make more robots, build chip fabs, run them (also a very good place to use them). With AI and Robots and renewables a new kind of activity would come alive on Earth, we’d be pets or as Elon Musk once put it “We’re the bootloader for AI”

An important thing to note is that the Roboeconomy is not like our current fossil/nuclear/burning stuff economy. The burning does not occur. The energy is abundant, robots are expanding the capacity all the time. We won’t need to fight over it. Our current fossil habit is a serious risk because it generates objectives in people’s minds that are destructive, genocidal “If only those Ukrainians didn’t use all my gas an piss on me, if only I could eradicate them”. If those kind of ideas get hoisted onto an AI before we get to the abundant renewables phase we are in a lot of trouble. We are in a lot of trouble.

In the Roboeconomy nobody will own the energy first. Banks will not exist anymore, in fact the big bank we will have is being launched by Tesla (although not announced at the Q1 ER). Batteries will be the banks, energy will be traded for a currency the owners invent, the tax office will probably hand it out to the people on a monthly basis or something.

Not sure what happened to Digit. Its Bezos mindset that works against breakthroughs although he seems to have ideals. He does not think he should solve other people’s problems. Zuckerberg also really doesn’t care about suffering in the world. Many people do however, and my hope is those people will be the ones to bring about the Roboeconomy as an act of kindness.

An older version on this topic “Tesla, Optimus and the Roboeconomy”

Earliest post on the Roboeconomy (2011)


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.


The RoboEconomy and ExtraEconomy Part 2

Economic thinking is incomplete, it takes the perspective of a hunter gatherer in a new unpopulated environment. This is a result of its deeply introvert attitude, as it has only one motivational drive profit. Every modern economic activity happens in the artificial context of bank financing. Projects will always go to banks to ask for a loan in order to build capital to do whatever it tries to do. There are exceptions once a company or individual can amass enough cash. Whatever activity is done with cash directly can be very disruptive, as we have seen with Tesla and Apple in its haydays.

To drill down to what an economy is about we would define it as a process of combining three factors to generate wealth for people. These are :

  • Energy -> muscle energy, electricity, steam pressure, solar heat, fire
  • Skills -> brain power, intricate mechanisms, computer power
  • Materials -> all stuff that grows, walks around, flies or lies around or can be dug up etc.

Wealth  = Energy + Skills + Materials

Originally it was a human being that combined skills and energy to shape materials into whatever it needed. fundamentally a human being doesn’t need much more than food (energy) and a place to live to exist. Humans existed for milions of years just eating and being in all kinds of ways.

Recently we have seen the introduction of coal, oil, gas and before that of wood being burned. They are a source of energy. Used in machines one creates a source of wealth independent of humans. The machine can incorporate human control skills, like the governor on a steam engine, or the movements of sowing in a sowing machine. These mechanically implemented skills where transferred to all kinds of media until today they are mainly heald on silicon in computers.

Developments in AI are pushing the complexity of skills that can be represented in computers close to human skills. Autonomous robots that would create wealth that benefited humans would be the ultimate positive outcome. Right now autonomous bots that kill humans are the most advanced type though. This is mainly because wealth can be defined negatively, in the absence of consumption of resources by an adversary.

Modern economic thinking has been biased because of the desire for banks and fossil fuel companies to make a profit. and as they where on the top of the credit food chain they have been able to keep it this way until today. The economy does not strive for general increase of wealth, and it does not consider the context in which it operates. It only looks at the parameter of profit, which ensures security of banks, because when everyone wants profit, there is continued money shortage, and bank credit will remain in demand and a controlling factor of new activities.

The Transtion to the Roboeconomy

Renewable energy are changing the economic dynamics because they can be owned by individuals, companies or the state. Because most people don’t understand the occupying role of banks these ‘assets’ are currently mixed into the fossil based economy, loaded with debt by banks and thus owned and their existence managed by them. Privately owned renewable resources without debt are a threat to the credit hegemony of banks and fought. Ultimately this will be a losing battle and all individual owners of renewable energy resources will become creditors to the roboeconomy.

You would think the replacement of fossil by renewables does not change the lack of consideration of the economy for the environment, but it does, even if it is not the final answer. This is because renewable energy resources are still sized to the actual demand. This means there is no ‘economic pressure’ like with fossil energy. In the fossil economy banks can always take more fossil fuels out of the available resource pool or try to. They simply create credit and the fossil resources can be controled by the recipient of that credit. When this happens it means profit for the bank so this is why all kinds of projects are being pushed and why “economic growth” is the main goal of governments dominated by the fossil economy. There is even an 18 month lead time before profit or demand is to be expected. These kind of rules where made up to drive fossil fuel use expansion for decades. With renewables there will be no pressure to do more, at least until we have 100% replaced fossil fuels. This “economic pressure” also means we could save enormous amounts of emissions right away by stopping economic activity that has insufficient benefits, or is are simply wastefull (like 80% of holiday air travel).

Credit in the Roboeconomy

Capitalism used to mean the management of production resources to maximize wealth. This included everything that would not be consumed, so machines, labour, skills. The way it was allocated could be directly or through trade using gold and silver backed currencies. With the arrival of fossil fuels this became a limit on development, as the extention of credit was limited by the amount of gold and silver (a problem already addressed with fractional banking). So the gold and silver standards where abandoned and today a US dollar is not backed by anything, at least so it seems. Now money is considered to be capital, and banks can print dollars and hand them over to allow projects to go ahead.

The fossil based economy depends on cooperation between oil companies and banks. This cooperation can be managed even if none of the players is explicitly aware of it

This only works because the credit buys fossil fuels or some other form of energy (renewables are still caught ni the same debt based credit system). This is not evident to most people but it is true. You can buy a running shoe, but if the money you buy it with does not allow the manufacturer to buy new plastic for more running shoes, and if it doesn’t allow the supplier of said plastic to buy the oil it needs to make the plastic, the manufacturer would be a fool to accept the money. Every product in our fossil based economy has a fossil fuel cost, often many types, and the money needs to be able to buy that fuel, and this is possible of a fundamental deal made with fossil fuel companies who gain only very little from it. Credit is carboncredit.



A Climate Challenge Related Currency

The world doesn’t seem to realize it but we are facing the biggest challenge to humanity since the bubonic plague. Society is carrying a large contingent of climate uncaring people with it, who don’t understand or care about the problem.Banks, oil companies, big corporations that don’t want people to stop consuming are all weakening retoric. Governments are staffed by seemingly greedy lackeys for industry, where the consequences of actions in two generations is not part of the bottom line. Money itself is still mainly carboncredit, and there is no easy answer to how credit is distributed if a society runs on renewables. We need a power grab by those that do care, but that is not possible in a world owned and run by banks!

The solution is to introduce a new currency, which can only be exchanged and shared by people who restrict their behaviour in ways that conforms with the challenge we need to meet. The greedy climate ignorers will immediately call it communism, but that is not what its about, it is about being responsible without suffering. If you want to meet the challenges you need to stop doing a couple of things, and start doing many other things. Work needs to be focussed on reducing emissions and pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere. Work needs to be focussed on actively cutting emissions of companies, groups and individuals that do not restrict their behaviour responsibly.

This currency will meet strong opposition to begin with, it will be fought by the current carbon credit monopoly. On the other hand people will not think much of it, a cryptocurrency, who cares. Maybe it should not even be a crypto currency as they are known today because its undesirable to drive such an energy intensive kind of money system. Maybe it should be a coin. The coin would however come with a contract :

1. A person can recieve the coin or a balance in its account if he/she is actively driving real climate solutions
2. You recieve the balance from peers who measure your actions against the best scientific models of what the effects are democratically
3. Any balance can be taken out again by distribution over all others if enough holders agree and if there is a clear reason
4. At the time horizon of 2030 nobody will be allowed in government or positions of power who does not hold climatecoins
5. Anyone who wants to get elected needs to recieve climatecoins