Not to sound like a snob, but "too many brilliant, innovative geniuses" is NOT the problem here; it's "too many people who, for most of history, would have been unskilled laborers, but now robots do that kind of work, and good luck making a physicist out of a guy with an IQ of 100."thoreau wrote:I don't have a good answer for the size, but the mechanism behind my assertion is that throwing more people at a problem is not the only way to get innovation. Having them interact is another way to get innovation. A world of a thousand geniuses who sit in isolated places laboring in obscurity is probably less innovative than a world in which 300 of those geniuses start talking to each other.Eric the .5b wrote:What's the "certain size", and what's the mechanism to justify your intuition on this?thoreau wrote:Once the world is above a certain size, it's not clear to me that adding more is the best way to get innovation.
We no longer need armies of seamstresses to keep the population clothed, not when one robot in one factory can spit out more clothes in an hour than a human weaver and human tailor working together could make in their entire lifetime. We don't need half the population raising food for the other half, not when chemical fertilizers and industrial farming equipment do much of the heavy lifting for us. Even assembly-line workers are being replaced by robots. The idea "the only way to increase wealth is to increase the population" became outdated once the industrial revolution started. Even now, with America's declining birth rates, productivity is going UP. For all the economic problems facing us today, none of them boil down to "there just aren't enough people to do everything that needs doing."