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A different way of living: Change-TV interviews Federico Pistono

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-Federico you are from Italy -I am -And you wrote a book This book: "Robots will steal your job, but that's ok" That's the title of the book What is it about? Well, as the title says, I believe automation has been eroding human labour, that means that means works we do, usually, evermore faster; and it will increase in speed. So jobs will be taken away by machines and artificial intelligence and computers and robots, faster and faster and faster. In fact faster than we can ever hope to remediate, because we adjust to changes in a linear manner and technology expands exponentially. So, I think this gap will widen and this will eventually bring the entire economy to a catastrophic collapse. That's my prediction and that is a very bad thing if the "business as usual" goes on. But I think on the flip side if we change our perspective we can transform this crisis into a solution; and that's what I hope to inspire with this book. -And what is the solution? -Well, a solution in my mind would be to utilise the same technologies that are creating the problem, namely automation becoming so efficient and so intelligent that humans are less and less required to emancipate ourselves from the shackle of working for survival, labour for income. You work, you get money, you buy things. That's the cycle of consumption-production that's been going on for a few thousands of years. This can be changed; at least for the necessities. I am not interested in luxury goods like what if somebody wants, you know, gold platted handles and doors and I don't care. What I'm talking about is food, water shelter, warmth, energy, the things we need to survive and to have a decent life. These things can be quite easily produced through automation, and it would be very easy to do on a global scale but I don't believe very much in governments nor in corporations, as an institution the conglomerate of corporations to provide for people. So I believe individuals and communities are the solution. And these technologies, luckily, are becoming more and more democratised because they are more widely available, they cost less and less money and can be replicated through open source, because with open source if something is open, it can access the specifics the code that defines what that thing is, even if it is a hardware thing like a physical objects. If I make a 3D printer that prints itself I can 3D print other 3D printers and each one of them can print objects of any sort of any kind so we don't need the manufacturing industry. I believe we can do it now by working less and by using our intelligence and our cognitive abilities to find smarter ways not to find new jobs and work more but to find smarter jobs and work less and hence have more free time, be less dependent on money and enjoy more our lives and do what we want. -OK, this means that our society should use technology in a way that everything is in a way free for everybody -We should use technology in a smart way and by this I mean that we should use it for things we need, first, So instead of keep trying to produce for an economy that makes things that we mostly don't need, and don't increase the quality of our life we should first focus on what we actually need and try to provide that as efficiently as we can by working less and less and less and having the maximum efficiency We have distributed technologies for producing our own green energy. We have photovoltaic we have micro-generation for wind power We've got ways of capturing the rain water and filter it down and then make it potable. So we can drink that we can produce food easily within the doors of our own house with vertical gardens, with hydroponics you can have a small garden in your backyard and use techniques such as permaculture that allows you to work less and produce more -So everybody should become a small farmer in his own house? -Why not? You just have to take care of that, maybe an hour a day and that reduces, so a family of 4 can reduce their food bill up to 2000 euros a year just by having a small garden and producing some vegetables and fruits and beans and that can be done, so why not? Plus, it also increases the quality of your life because you spend time with your family, you do some physical activity it's bonding time, so you getting comfortable with nature again and your kids ask you how does this work and then you explain them the cycle of life and how things are connected and you can explain botany and then biology and then you start to talk about physics and curiosity kicks in So it's a virtuous cycle to be more independent and to be more smart about what you do. And also you don't have to , everything you do has to be within your own house. You have a community. So you can ask your friends, you can share things with your neighbour maybe you'll see your neighbour for the first time after 20 years, you'll be "oh look, are you my neighbour? Yeah I've been here. How long? 25 years. Oh OK." -Who will be doing the dirty work? -Give me an example of dirty work? -Cleaning the streets -Robots. They do that already in Japan; in Germany there are some experiments running and look, every dirty job could be easily, easily, quite easily automated. The reason we have so many jobs that people shouldn't do is because we need to employ people because we need to give them money because we need to keep the cycle going so if we really cared about what we need and not just give people money, which is the purpose of the economy, to keep the monetary system running, we could phase out 90% of jobs, easily. Easily, and still provide for everyone else For everyone Like farmers are paid NOT to produce. Some farmers they destroy their crops, they burn them they throw the milk in the sewage because they are out of the market, the price is too low who would pay 20 cents for rice and milk? It would destroy the market This is nonsense If we produce in abundance then the prices should go down but they don't -So do you think everybody should not get a basic income? Because there is a whole movement of basic income -I don't believe in basic income Like, I believe an entity which could be the community itself self organised or the state, I don't care The point is people shouldn't be worried about their survival anymore It was a problem when we didn't have the technology but right now I think it's becoming detrimental So, I wouldn't give people 1000 euros a month, regardless; because that creates lots of trickle down psychological problems. So loss of meaning, loss of responsibility there are lots of things because people aren't ready for that. But you could give them access to resources so instead of giving you money I give you access to a certain amount of resources so for instance you could provide a certain amount of water, a certain amount of food a certain amount of everything for free which is I don't know, defined by the WHO as the minimum requirement, whatever. And then if you want more then you pay and you pay exponentially more. So if you consume 100 times energy that you need you pay millions. But if you consume just the energy that you need you pay nothing This would be the state approach. But I don't believe in the state because I think politics is inadequate To say the least. So I believe in individuals and communities -What about weak people, ill people who will be caring for them if the can't provide for their own food for instance -I don't believe in absolute individualism Of course, just like now the state has programmes for people who need help in the same way the state should provide or the community should provide or an integration of the two. There are so many people doing voluntary work. It's amazing and they do that regardless of the fact that they have to work on useless jobs 9 to 5 If they had more free time, we'd have more people helping others helping the elderly, helping people with handicaps just because it gives us meaning it's good, it feels good to help other people and if you have more free time, you would even more So it's a good idea to stop what I think this nonsense of earning a living in 2012 which is dreadful, just the idea that with this kind of technology we still have to earn a living just as if it was the 17th century and have more free time, and the free time that you have you can use it as you wish and when you actually give free time to people who are educated about the problems, about society, about the universe what happens is that people do cool things they study, they start projects, they start communities they help other people. This is what happens when you give people free time and you give them a sense of responsibility and education and a sense of perspective I don't believe any single monetary or political thing, agenda or programme, can solve any problem. It is a cultural problem. So that's why I think we should change our perspective -The importance of money would decrease if we follow this model Which decreases the debt, which decreases dependence on banks, which decreases the problem So, yes, reduce the importance of money and keep money only for the things that are unnecessary for survival but are "wishes" I don't mind having a monetary system as long as it does not undermine the ability for people to live which now it does. We produce enough food I think for 17 or 18 billion people. There is 7 billion of us we should be doing quite good but there are 2 billion people starving That's not "economy" An economy is the intelligent management of the household and having twice or three times as much food as you need and not being able to provide for everyone I think it shows the absolute inefficiency of the market system and of the monetary system. It is a problem of distribution and it's absolutely inadequate -Who do you think will be against your model I am thinking about the rich people -Rich people who are smart understand that we are all part of the system and that when everyone benefits they will benefit they will benefit themselves Like, you don't want it's a simple example but I think it illustrates You know in Batman, Bruce Wayne, he has his parents who are super rich and they are trying to help the city and there is so much poverty, and what happens? They get shot by a random guy in the street who's trying to get their money If that person wasn't poor and wasn't desperate it wouldn't have happened So if you increase the quality of life of everyone, everyone is better off, everyone is safer -What feedback do you get when you present your model in public -Typically two reactions First of all no one is indifferent. No one is like "yeah, ok" They either hate it with a passion or they are absolutely in love with it and they subscribe to the idea and say "Yes, this is what I was waiting for" Very few people hate it. And those who do usually they don't disagree, It's not like they think that it doesn't work They just say "people are too stupid, societies they take too long to change" They say it's possible but in 10 generations, not in 10 years. And I believe that it is possible well within 10 years. then we can start the transition any time. In fact I suspect that if we all if there was a massive event such as the USA falling the USA economy falling, which I think that it's not likely within 5 years but it's possible. Then the change could happen even more rapidly -OK if we look around the world we can see that obviously something is crushing down. If you look in Spain what happens in Spain right now -Yes. In Spain, Greece, Italy, Ireland It's like a domino effect. They are all falling And they all will fall We might think that France and Germany, because they are the big ones in Europe they'll never fall but they could just as well fall. Because, the monetary paradigm that is based on interest and infinite growth is unsustainable to begin with. Mathematically unsustainable, because you create more requirement for money. Then there is no money. Because when you create 100 billion euros and you lend it with a 2% interest that 2% interest doesn't exist in the money supply. So there is no way to get it back. It's physically and mathematically impossible to pay all the debt in the world What you can do is you move the debt geographically. So you move the debt the German debt, you move it to Italy. So Italy has a debt. To Germany and to France. It's like half of our public debt, national debt that we have. But if we were to extinguish that, we'd have to do it at the expenses of someone else. So someone else would be in debt. So it's a problem that can't be solved. It's just moved around geographically. It's nonsense. Eventually it will hit everyone -Is your model applicable to Europe and to industrialised countries or are you also thinking about countries of the South -Oh absolutely -Because I mean, they are not, they don't have this amount of technology at their disposal -They absolutely do. I mean today's technology allows you to leapfrog entire generations of older technology. Why would you get a 5 year old technology if you can get one now. and once the technology gets to 1000 euros or less it becomes basically available to everyone If you go to Nigeria, people have smart phones. They might not have food but they have smart phones. Because they are cheap and available and they work. The same will happen with 3D printers, the same will happen with 3D printed circuits and computers. Now there is the "one laptop per child project", 70$ tablet with a touch-screen. The Rasberry Pi, an 18 euro computer. These things are cheap. Even if you live in Uganda or you know, Cambodia, you can afford it. -So Federico, what should people do if they want to adopt your model and change the paradigm? -I think people should find out more information starting point would be my book, where I present, there are 70 pages dedicated to advice and solutions I mean, this chapter is called practical advice for everyone I think it's -It sounds very practical. -Yeah It sounds very practical. Here's another chapter called "How a family can live better by spending smart" So finding more information Here is just an outline, a few suggestions. And there are references to lots of websites and other places where you can get more detailed information and things you can do in your house tomorrow. So, you know, find more information. -So let's change the world -Yeah

Video Details

Duration: 20 minutes and 42 seconds
Country: Austria
Language: English
Views: 87
Posted by: 4v4l0n42 on Jun 25, 2013

Interview by Teresa Arrieta, right after TEDxVienna 2012.

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