Rise of Technosocialism
* Book: The Rise of Technosocialism. By Brett King and Dr. Richard Petty.
on "the rise of a technology-driven collective social consciousness and purpose".
"The 21st century is going to be the most disruptive, contentious period humanity has ever lived through. It will challenge our most sacred ideologies around politics, economics and social constructs. It will force humanity to adapt in ways we can’t yet imagine.
There is much to be highly optimistic about, but it will require humanity to unite in respect to our collective goals and purpose. With the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) we are on the verge of perhaps solving the biggest mysteries of the universe, but AI will also allow us to automate society to provide untold abundance and prosperity. We will soon have the technology to extend our lifespan, to make humanity a multi-planetary species, and to provide for the basic needs of every man, woman and child on the planet.
Within a decade or two, we will have retooled most of the world’s energy systems to be completely renewable, and we are starting a journey to reimagine education, healthcare, housing, consumption, food and agriculture with economies built for the 21st century."
2. Peter J. Boettke and Rosolino A. Candela:
"In their manifesto, The Rise of Technosocialism Brett King and Richard Petty define technosocialism not as a political movement, but as a “social outcome” (2021: 38) based on “long-term sustainability, equality and the advancement of humanity as a whole” (2021: 39). The means by which to achieve this outcome, according to King and Petty, is the advanced computational power of artificial intelligence: “With the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) we are on the verge of perhaps solving the biggest mysteries of the universe, but AI will also allow us to automate society to provide untold abundance and prosperity” (2021: 15)."
Peter J. Boettke and Rosolino A. Candela:
"Capitalism isn't in crisis, the argument goes; it is the crisis. But technological advances in AI provide the solution to the ills that plague contemporary society throughout the world.
Sound utopian? Perhaps, but so have all socialist proposals throughout history, e.g., the Paris Commune to the Bolshevik Revolution. The historical problem is that reality fell far short of the promised utopia, and in fact produced hell on earth. Technosocialism, like the previous Marxist and non-Marxist versions of socialism, promises the transformation from the Kingdom of Necessity to the Kingdom of Freedom. No matter how much the current advocates insist that their project cannot be equated with the older project to transform society, they share this common element – the rationalization of production to such an extent that a burst of productivity will result in material abundance. In short, the economic problem of society will be solved.
However, we argue that the proposal provided by technosocialism is analogous to putting old wine into an irrelevant new bottle. What seems to be a novel proposal to deliver the age-old aspiration of socialism is not fundamentally different from the market-socialist model which had been proposed by Oskar Lange and Abba Lerner in the 1930s in response to Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek, both of whom had argued that economic calculation under socialism was impossible. Lange would later propose the following in response to Mises and Hayek: “Let us put the simultaneous equations on an electronic computer and we shall obtain the solution in less than a second. The market process with its cumbersome tâtonnements appears old-fashioned. Indeed, it may be considered as a computing device of the pre-electronic age” (emphasis in original; 1967: 158).
The promise only works, however, if the technology is actually capable of rationalizing production as advertised. The organization of society through AI must, as was the case with proposals for comprehensive central planning or decentralized market-socialist planning before it, be able to achieve the goal of rationalization and thus eliminate the inefficiency, instability and inequality that is claimed to plague capitalism. Thus, the question remains fundamentally one that is subject to the economic analysis of the feasibility of the social system to achieve its stated ends via its chosen means, and not a dispute over the ends of technosocialism.3
Therefore, we propose to tackle this feasibility question by restricting our analysis only to means-ends assessment, and in particular, focus on the question of whether modern information technology can meet “knowledge problem” challenge that Mises, Hayek, Kirzner and Lavoie raised during the socialist calculation debate and after. As Cockshott and Cottrell (1993: 111) so clearly state: “The problem of information has a social as well as a technical aspect. We need the right hardware and software, but we also need the right measures and incentives, so that it will be in people's interest to supply accurate information.” It is clear that effective comprehensive planning requires the transmission of vital information quickly and correctly. To most technosocialist enthusiasts, the market process with its price adjustments, its profit-and-loss accounting, and shifting pattern of resource ownership is merely an old-fashioned computing device of a pre-electronic age, as was argued by Lange (1967). However, Lange's assessment, like that of technosocialism, is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the economic problem of society as being of a computational nature rather than a “knowledge problem” that must be addressed and the nature of how the market process in fact does address the problem."