Zero cost of The Machine


#1

The Machine operating at zero cost seems to defy thermodynamics. Entropy breaks everything down, and there must be material and energetic fuel.

Instead of asking how would we use it, let’s consider how *could we use it? There must be an input to The Machine, at some cost.


#2

The goal is near zero marginal cost. Solar energy is zero cost and water should be relatively low cost. Additional materials have some cost, but the machine should prefer low value materials when possible.

Actual zero cost is not really possible (though solar energy is zero marginal cost, yeah?), but the point is to go for the lowest marginal cost that is reasonably possible. This is in contrast to how I see things now, which is that we have lots of redundant costs and waste due to competition that could be eliminated with cooperation. Of course, competition can encourage more efficient use of resources so there is always a balance.

But we don’t organize society for near zero cost now. Take driving a car to work. Not zero cost, but we consider it a worthwhile cost to perpetuate the system of wage labor. If everyone could work from home, total cost of survival would go down due to the reduction in automobiles.

The point of reboot is to think about how we can lower costs, not about how to actually achieve zero cost.


#3

I agree a renewable energy source is the right choice, be it solar, geothermal, or other. But a significant energy source may also be recycled products of TM itself - if a part breaks, the replacement part will be essentially identical from an energetics standpoint. Every molecular bond that takes energy to form during production can return the energy upon disintegration.

The maximal recycling concept supports both the energy and material input needs of TM; any product not destined for external consumption (e.g. food) but rather utility (e.g. clothing) should be carefully chosen for recyclability.

Despite any best efforts, however, inefficiencies are unavoidable. I imagine TMs churning through energy and material in a tight cycle, but one that is ever migrating toward an ineluctable state of exhaustion and disrepair.


#4

I think it’s important to keep in mind that The Machine replaces an already perpetually churning machine in the form of society. And it may be true that we are ever migrating toward exhaustion and disrepair!

But our use of resources is not infinite, and despite the issues we have caused lately, we continue to be able to get the resources we need. The Machine does not avoid this, but the goal is instead to engineer away inefficient parts of the economy and produce something more efficient. This has been tried and failed before (central planning), but I think when people are taken out of the works it gets easier to really engineer something that beats what we’ve created now.

Thoughts?