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People in the comments both here and on the Guardian website seem critical, but I think this is a fantastically fun idea. Sure, you can say it's egotistical, or that it's 'not how history's supposed to work' but if they keep finding critically acclaimed or well-liked authors like Atwood to go along with this, it could be a huge deal - imagine today's readers getting to look forward to a huge compilation of last century's great novelists' unseen works for publication today. And sure where's the harm in a bit of egotism? These authors will now get to fantasise about being part of a collection looked forward to for a whole century. Not that Atwood's work won't survive that long anyway - as has been pointed out, The Handmaid's Tale is already nearing its 30th anniversary!
Hopefully there would be no reason for a sentient system to eradicate humans... especially if it was programmed to consider human life as valuable as we ourselves consider human life - it would be like humans trying to eradicate ourselves. Even if it wasn't given some kind of morality, there's no reason why an organism which was created artificially rather than naturally would care about its own well-being over that of anything else - consciousness doesn't necessarily imply all of the things that we take for granted, such as self-preservation.
I love the idea, but I haven't seen the button on any websites I like yet, if I did maybe I would use it. I'm surprised content creators haven't adopted Flattr more quickly - I really can't think of any downsides. It even takes guilt away from bloggers etc. who are squeamish about asking for money, as donors pay the same amount no matter how many people they Flattr.
Excellent article. The whole idea of a post-work society is interesting, because the way our economy is structured means that unemployment on a large scale is always going to be bad for those of us who find ourselves without a job. But if we look into the far future, and consider that in theory, there is no job a human can do that a machine can't do equally well, it seems logical that eventually we'll end up with a post-Singularity world where every task needed to keep the world running is done by machines. The question is, how are we going to transition from our current economy to the new machine-led one?
If machines take over one job at a time, as they have been doing since the Industrial Revolution, surely unemployment will gradually worsen as fewer and fewer jobs need to be done by humans? I know that people have been prophesying this kind of thing since the Luddites, and maybe it won't happen this decade or even this century, as jobs in new areas of technology spring up. Eventually, though, we'll have to find some way to adapt, whether it's creating made-up jobs just so people can earn, or adopting some kind of entirely new system.