Manna - Marshall Brain

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Manna - Marshall Brain

Postby john_titor » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:35 pm

Has anyone read this? While it certainly has a fan-fiction feel and declines after the first act, I find the ideas it raises interesting; robots do all the work and people are still poor. How realistic could this be?

One may read it for free and legally in its entirety here (doable over egg salad at lunch):

Wikipedia has this to say; "Manna is a 2003 science fiction essay by Marshall Brain that explores several issues in modern information technology and user interfaces, including some around transhumanism. Some of its predictions, like the proliferation of automation and AI in the fast food industry, are becoming true years later. ...

Controversial positions the novel seems to present as givens include

Insertion of an AI management system between workers and decision makers results in a loss of upward mobility in a society due to the impossibility of workers ever becoming actual managers.

The acceptance of nervous system modification and integration of human and machine consciousness into what is considered "human" is accordingly presented as a path to liberation and practical egalitarianism.

Capitalism is inherently hierarchical and cannot be easily reconciled with abundance, it will by definition move more resources into the hands of the property owners and destitute all others - the novel shares this assumption with classic Marxism.

Privacy is largely incompatible with human safety in an utopian environment.

Some technological and social themes explored :

brain-computer interface
enterprise resource planning
class structure
effect of artificial intelligence and robots on society
proper and improper uses of technology
the failings of capitalism to cope with technological development
welfare economics and a basic income

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