LMTF Podcast Episode 8: GDP 2.0

Measurable Metrics for a Better Society: GDP is fundamentally flawed as a measure of happiness. In this episode we discuss potential replacement measures. Recorded 16 July 2017.




Episode Machine Transcript (unedited and uncorrected)

Let’s make the future.

Good morning good morning good evening good afternoon thanks so much everybody.

Do everything for just one more suggestion is this measurable metrics for a better society so what are metrics that maybe a government or whatever and since should and should use to measure progress of country I would propose that we simply take a vote of ideas on the table right.


Look at it all to.


I would about you don’t you.


Let’s make the future a discussion about future training technologies and their implications for human society.

Let’s introduce ourselves I’m Michael Curry I was raised in Canada and I enjoy computer programming planning new businesses and discussing historical events and future trends and I move on.

I’m happy talk to you about it.

Currently breaks the music so.

I’m interested in social entrepreneurship and innovation and the.

People in the world My name is not same quality had taken from Iran living in Michigan. By medical technology the current.

Thank you everybody for coming to let’s make the future this week we’ve just had it and we decided to talk about measurable metrics. For a better society and Daniel I think you have some more ideas about what that means yes so I think the topic came up once we were talking about different cultural ideals and what we would think would maybe be ideal to be an ideal to actually have a positive impact on the whole society so to give an example of what has been happening in the process for example we have a very significant metric the G.D.P. that is always being center of attention for many countries and societies in order to improve track and improve that and hence also and from some decisions in politics and economy so now the question is how can we maybe adapt this metric to be more positive on the overall society and overall world maybe because the G.D.P. has obviously some flaws like increasing the G.D.P. will not benefit the society of the G.D.P. which got increased so instead of the G.D.P. imagine the happiness index as it is and do Tom do you think that would be something that would be a good idea to put attention on asking if it is a good metric or I think could be improved upon I think they’d been a lot on a rant get it paid not being made with measure because it’s basically.

They don’t do population of a country could use them to model the G.D.P. and then you have. Competition. Like D.P. You know that people right and there you have you to get we just didn’t have a go G.D.P. divided by the population so it. Made.

A living hand of the people doesn’t really demolish that we’re quite sure ain’t that living and not being a measure of production of the population on a living still one of the back streets and I should be looking at so given the fact that we’re going to want in that area pollution right now and today the need for Konami to be more inclusive you know to Cabinet carry out to be sure inclusiveness and try everybody the law so one. I don’t message will be you know Frank you know won’t put up a wind chill dude reckoned up with the right.

Should we get that if you don’t want to do much I agree with you Michel that we want to have a metric that focuses more closely on what we actually want which is people to be happy like tons idea of having a gross happiness index but it seems to me like the problem is human nature because in human nature what we want is to be better than our neighbors more than we want to be actually in absolute terms better off and this is been shown in study after study that if you survey different countries their absolute level of happiness doesn’t really change even if they have widely varying G.D.P. levels for example or I guess this is saying oh maybe then we should try to change our measure from G.D.P. but it seems like any other metric that you can think of it doesn’t really work because it’s all relative so if I have a thousand dollars but my neighbors all have nine hundred dollars then I’m going to be happier than if I have two thousand dollars and all my neighbors have five thousand dollars It’s sad but it seems to be true so obviously I did better and I have.

The Fairy range of quarters in question to ask it is register future master and the foreign.

Nation from N.P.R. And yes it might also be shared personal articles aside because they simply aren’t charging you for and you can see some of these open ended question it is hard to actually be friends from my end of year.

Signing some kind of status sharing and. Concern each society has been in that well and trying to analyze terrorists and strain Al Why does and concerns that it will face in Rand’s difference with Star Wars Oh I’m trying to come time compression That’s right and I mean that not just a generalizing actually the.

Do you think he means money in a sense of how he can.

Immigrate and that’s really actually me defining a measure in a sense I.E. surprise how do you. Actually measure happiness and songs and then question whether we need to have climbed Yes I am old fashioned Yes or non-conscious natural checks and what is there are.

Twenty five will not accept money that I have.

Seen shall I and you find that the economist has a live ability index where they rank cities on their livability like do they have parks do they have nice roads so that you don’t spend too much time commuting are there nice shops are able to shop at what is the city’s overall cleanliness appearance that sort of thing it seems to me like people’s happiness in many cases is more at the city level than at the country level pleasantness of New York is very different than the pleasantness of Cheyanne Wyoming it’s very different even though the United States it’s all the same country they’re right they’re both cities are in the same country so maybe if we focus on metrics to do with individual cities we can get at what makes people happy or we can have better metrics like how many roads you have amount of living space you have commute time maybe these are the right metrics to be focusing on to kind of wrap up the things this year and add my own points I would say what I understand is that every country they’re not completely the same so I think every country has different characters countries that are more or collective like Middle Eastern countries countries they’re more individual it’s like Western countries and I don’t think metrics can be the same as long as it’s entire man tricks like the ones. Well for the economic hole societal and physical metrics that discuss so for they are different in different countries but I just. Get into the internal aspects of happiness which is the policy or psychology that would be a more generalized approach that can be applied to all human beings and if you ask me even animals so there are cats that are happier in the US and their cats are miserable in our country so believe me they’re not the same so I guess some implants in the future would be the answer to measure or mono battle says the people and of course they won’t be just for that let’s say you know right now Google get serious every so I could see him and Google Drive By the same time collects a lot of information from their users they don’t even think about it so in the future biological implants that say there’s a glue cause a sensor that is implanted to a body and has a lot of sensors that can measure hormones recorded so and when your stress is high you can be happy if you ask me when I’m stressed I happy I’m not going to say I’m happy because I have a job I’m not going to say I’m happy because I have food to put in my mouth and I’m not going to say I’m happy because I have shelter I’m just going to sound miserable because I have an exam tomorrow so it’s this stress level is today he interactions of all that I think would be the most accurate data for happiness unless you go on a social level which is different you want to be generally want to be simple form factors that G.D.P. and so on and so forth but I honestly don’t get this I don’t buy any on the outcome of pay to collections of happiness so if the metric is hormone levels then couldn’t governments just distribute free heroin to everybody and then they would maximize that metric Yeah I mean you can see that maybe not heroin but other drugs because heroin it’s super ad big event the problem with that vision is that recently. Those are tight and people can afford it if you can give harrowing to everybody for ever they’re going to be the happiest weight people on earth that I think you’re going to.

You know that’s I don’t a problem which you’re going to double down on that that was a reductive go ahead and you want to say to make it sustainable like a sustainable happiness and next it needs to be constructive in terms of like also benefiting the economy at some point then I feel like there will be a problem with heroin I cook.

The precise here I want to say human biology isn’t this one form heroin is just a one way to make you happy if when you’re in a group and your status is a good in a situation then you also feel happy because your hormones change if you get a new job get rewarded there are multiple multiple ways that your biology can respond to the environment drugs are direct It is a choice people are even making right now right to a lot of people don’t make that choice think about it but Hans just to clarify is your measurement system is it distinguishing between the kind of happiness that you get from a drug and the kind of happiness that you get from doing well at your job or are you saying that people have the personal choice to achieve happiness in whatever way they want and you don’t see a distinction in the preference of whether Here’s a correction factor I can think of when I give you that I’m saying person it’s fifty nine percent have a person why is the person I happy using these measurements I am going to also tell you the information that you are kind of licensed living let’s say is an astronaut who is fifty nine percent I’m going to tell you the homeless person who is thirty two percent happy and these are homeless person who is ninety eight percent happy because he’s got heroin Well I don’t want to think it is so the information of happiness cannot go alone you have to do it in settings what it is settings.

You’re going to. BE What kind of they have the. I don’t think this is happy or easy. I guess we always leave then for.

An end not the last point and I maybe move on to the next one will be I’ll be defined up in what you have to be content with and if you can’t it well it could happen and and. The well being that is living a good life though I think that if any thinking if you have something for anything in your life you have begun Lang level happiness we’re not saying that people need to be on the back happy they did point out night I think we do and if I knew what level it should you not good to look because even you don’t have to be if you can appy all the time but you’ve got to be happy. That you got it may not be very happy you know your date on the not but in your life and that is so we can find it be what little hypothetical we need to then question right now what I’m paying you know Webby coffee you know a lot of been spreading you know that will give you that never will copy you don’t want to if they could live they are trying to make it work out of living you know I mean what should I have out of that and know that some basic income and they think that I’m only you know I you in law or you die I love you happy job you do you know that just some fat and basic things that make you need nimbly happy not naturally baby happy I think there are so many problems going on with measurement I think that also what you said Mike of also place in the center action how do you measure like there’s short term happiness there’s long term happiness and it’s hard to find a way to save power the overall happiness about a longer period of time is and it’s a question if one should try to just have a bounce and not let people fall below that or try to maximize happiness but I want to well what was that like oh now I was a new baby pretty quick was there bound there when you said that I’m not sure. OK Didn’t OK So this is happy planet in next dot org website where they have their method of measuring happiness and the top three countries with the highest courts across the recover Mexico and Columbus all countries that are probably not the most stable not the most of accredited also not the most safe once so they say again and that’s maybe something Husni to explain us with his proposed method of measurement so what the difference a perceived happiness measured like biologically measured happiness is and also hold a place to short term presence long term happiness and how you can explain these results.

Interesting person here and eternity as I am I like happiness and can sometimes examine concern we have that and don’t think of plain us caring happy in the sciences because Aronsen hear about the problems and Iran to solve in their just like Bush interests they don’t really think as happiness as a very true life in a sense when in their hundred years probably has and my sister and saying since we’re talking about the speech you’re going to shit in future thing in a. Way I’m interested if you know what society will look like and then all will be different if you’re secretly methods measurement would also. And have been saying and that there is a fundamental fundamental question and transmission in. AI unknown by the.

Environment or society.

Interests also involves adversity just society or not and it is in that race unless earner that he same society in return is actually marched into the issue that is is there to measure so it’s kind of same brother question having a structure a future measurement for the future society I do agree. With Parnia that Go ahead Daniel but I just also wanted to agree that this might be a good idea to focus on the bigger picture because right now we’re only focusing on happiness and the question is because also the topic up during the answer oh oh oh it’s about this old trick probably the question also is what is the metric we would suggest to measure So for example we were talking a lot about like Should everybody be like a very successful entrepreneur or should everybody just be happy as in I don’t know Columbia but maybe like that well it’s progress whatever you call progress but we so are so what are the right metrics we want to she for like this for her Jadick good world I think this issue is very pressing because we’re facing a jobless future where automation makes it possible for all of the goods and services that currently comprise our G.D.P. to be produced by to be completely automated to be produced by robots and so in such a world it makes no sense to equate prosperity with the amount of goods and services that can be produced because humans are no longer involved in the production of those goods and services so of course if we as humans enjoy those goods and services then that should factor into the equation somehow but I think it’s important that we start caring about other measures given how G.D.P. is going to be much less connected to how people live their day to day lives sure will be consuming products and so the metric should have something to do with our consumption of the products but it should be something different that accounts for the fact that we’re no longer earning our living by producing these products and instead we’re essentially at the mercy of the small number of people that will own all of the commanding heights or in fact the artificial intelligences that will control the commanding heights No I have little interest in what I think of that one is all I’m going to hang on to be a massive new structure and adopt me and huge gap in the society. And he.

Complained. I’m turned on you’re wrong and you see on the mission I’m not on there all of them are still missing and.

Are all your special problems and it’s hard to see also.

That I know you’re on the road and it’s going to be a huge gap what should I see I tweeted this today that robots will sponsor larger purses at sporting events in the future to help keep humans busy and to stave off a human rebellion after technological unemployment so I wonder if robots will devise complicated games for us to play that will be sort of like the Facebook algorithms are today in the very insidiously designed to keep us addicted and keep us like vaguely happy and as a result we will continue to you know live in the society and behave well even though there’s nothing for us to really do anymore because the robots are doing everything for us so you’re saying we are some future scenario will become pets off robots that’s interesting essentially and then basically the metric or the measurable metric for our happiness will be some complicated algorithm the robots have designed which is like probability of a rebellion plus the probability of something else some algorithm designed to minimize the chance that we’re going to cause a big hassle for them going to comment something here that addresses all the points about Michael you say you said and it’s all this future and create value you can say that but yes I want to say we can’t create our needs so you’re not going to be happy maybe you.

Feel in a way because I’m going to eat an example you know all of us when somebody sends a template meant e-mail to us right then some think it’s automatic even if it’s if even if it’s what we need we don’t like what because I think any goods and services that are for. The spiral about it loses value after what even though they create sustainability even if they so stain every create your food your shelter all that repeatable Al Gore it’s going to work is going to be replaced by machines that’s right but does it mean we’re going to be on happy not doing those things no honestly let me tell you something the reason that humans like the jobs that are algorithmic the only reason is that they can share that with other human beings and they can feel useful so in a society that all that equipment court is going to be replaced with machines which will never get there because I think the always updates any kind of activity will get to the point that it becomes algorithmic So it’s an endless I guess journey first of all so I don’t think it’s a point that there’s no other algorithmic work and everything else is just created because anything you do even if it’s not do we just use the person speaking the machines got him asking that if you like what you want if you like what he was about to say sundry very interesting and I’m not sure what it was having but it was a great introduction for what you would have said but I don’t know what it is now well I hope he joins in a moment to finish his time somebody else has a start they want to someone else can talk to.

The governor on the point being made I think the Rocketeer point where humans would have no book to be may be I think will always be human beings like to change things will probably continue to update things haven’t gone to become stale and I will keep getting old but like the future that will be I’m just kind of like my you know it’s a way you have everything so you just mean that only a few people actually have really stopped a few on mashing two on the scale I’ve been watching it would control the future so that was the economically I thing that would be added for very very few would be if you bury you know powerful people and we’re just going to be everybody off by one in the brain or our social structure in terms of money power and access a different thing. And I might might know and I wonder how that will play out on the level. I agree Michel that there will be extreme inequality in the future just projecting on current trends there will be a small number of individuals that control a large amount of the capital that’s producing our G.D.P. And yet I disagree with you that most people will be in poverty because or will be unable to own machines because in the future keep in mind everything will be cheaper too because that’s just the economics of the singularity and so a very very small amount of money will go a very long way in the future and so I think as long as we’re not talking about trying to make everyone’s relative posterity high which of course as we know is mathematically impossible and if we’re just focused on making people’s absolute happiness high then I think it’s totally possible I’ll also add one of the sayings we think about tradition and kind of second feature society we decry in the human being we are too late. For anybody talking about how we’re going to change in that society because we sing them fear going to remain in a physical format in their mental.

And in the same way that we are today and they sing about this she shared and they consider ourselves we do today we are seeing our intelligence for example in Britain in crazy many different ways we my in prison friends censor to understand the author and the my English I mean different types of simulations climb into a life remain my.

A symbol of might exist gives us a hopeless future into the future that we combine many different types of reality and our internet friends perception of them to hear us East is here to finish a piece to us please. I’m back sorry I was.

Too I was saying but I’m down right now as you were talking about the reason humans like algorithmic jobs Yeah more or less I was saying that people do jobs not because they’re Al Gore eat meat or dairy creative they do that because it creates value for other human beings and there is always a chase of algorithm of automation of value so let’s say today I create a new electronic device today US makes an electronic us everyone loves it and because of that there’s just a scar city where it gets one billion dollars each but after wipe other people or other sites of the client they see oh there’s a lot of people there’s a lot of demand here so they try to compete and they try to make that he was themselves to compete and also create that value that people want and then on the path what happens is that they’re going to make it more efficient so they automate the process and everything and then after a while the value of the product drops essentially to zero because the supply gets too much then everybody has it and no one likes it in him it’s like a lot of products that we take for granted today and they don’t make us happy and so hoss I’m with the example sorry finish your thought sorry nobody really likes nobody really enjoys just having a cell phone anymore because everyone has a makes people happy is an Asian For example their friends they use it before it’s a novel idea so I don’t know if you’re getting to a point I’m trying to make here with feedback I also think it’s more like a journey some of the poems are just changing also presuppose maybe food is a good example OK because there’s like a natural demand OK maybe something basic some but still people change their diet changed the choices they have with food and also with smartphones if you like they’re becoming to friends to like sort of different music that’s always under constant development and also I still think the parish a lot of people are still. Stokes’ about getting a smartphone I think that’s just something that person needs to distribute or there’s like always this like early adopters thing where our home and all there were large markets and I’m not really sure if it ends like this and drops to zero I feel like this dropping to zero it’s not really happening just like a continuous transformation I think cos what you’re getting at is the inequality that I was alluding to at the beginning and in fact that we discussed in the first episode of let’s make the future asshole technologies where some technologies are status goods and when you buy them your happiness from buying it comes from the fact that other people don’t have it and so when everyone has it you are the last happy for having it it’s like buying a Rolex watch if every other human being owned a Rolex watch people wouldn’t be very happy with their Rolex watch the whole point of it is to distinguish yourself from other people and I remember in our episode about asshole technologies I think we all sort of realize that it’s impossible to base a society around getting everyone to have asshole technologies because by their very nature you can’t have everyone be happy from having them people have to derive their happiness from more fundamental things and we almost like I think I come so far as to make a moral judgment on those kinds of goods and to say that’s not the kind of good we want to be promoting in society it’s very bad good societies that are focused on the acquisition of goods that are all about permuting your status in society it’s inherently impossible to make everyone prosperous or happy in that society because it’s not like everyone can have that prosperity good it’s better to have a society where everyone can enjoy happiness in some way like a society where everyone values spending time in the countryside or watching television or movies things that aren’t about distinguishing yourself as being better than other people and we wrap this somehow back to the thought of a like metric. Not global but like societal metrics Yeah I had a proposal I guess you can come out of business idea trying to teach OK Daniel if you have time for that or do you need to go into the sewage that’s keep it crisp and concise OK so no comments on these business ideas how about that Go ahead Michael are you going to say I figure the metric you’re going to do you know. Yeah maybe the business competition is a metric so each of us proposes one metric How about that I like that OK So everyone let’s take thirty seconds to think of a metric as I haven’t thought of one in my head yet unless someone is ready to go already it’s time for the elevator pitch let’s speak anyone who was to start OK I’m ready to.

Be stricken. Face OK I’ll start.

Michael So my measurable metric for a better society is minimum income and it’s not what you think it’s let’s say there’s a country of thirty million people you find the person in society with the lowest income and that’s the metric so we try to improve that number.

That’s next goodnight.


So my Yeah and measuring would be to look at the fight.

So I think you know if you look at YOU GOT MY felt like there you know how much money do you need to make and.

Live your life you have minimal life you know how much money you know me and so that would be OK if you are in a job that you that you know the government that you didn’t have enough to talk to you know if you want to be on a job everybody was going to job to qualify for that and.

Plucked out there by.

Each person and why you’re not and all money and. So you know. You want to more people who don’t that and more at the bigger level you know. They could be. Very very minimal but I’m not you must say you cannot and you know that amount.

Of T.V. go bankruptcy if they don’t buy the blotchy.

Larkin love it so Google makes. Three Daniel Vallance whale so I was just going to ask I feel like our metrics Well these are they’re really great metrics we just take the product out of them or something because some are local like person wise as Michael’s and some are like contextual or global on a societal level like Michael was about school so mine would be another factor which would be ecological footprint I think that’s something a country needs to care about but not only or it should like improve their own society but improve overall world society in terms of that it’s like an intra societal improvement metric so you’re part of a society with us well and more of a whole supply chain sort of group. Called.

Me on America today where you need not have to have climbed from tree to match breaks but I have a chapter in the sometimes match exclamation and different communities and.

Kind of match in their friends rates and so I’m going to say sions and then people involved and kind of have.

An metrics or sense depends on how we relate in the program so I say. That in general OK you know highs and lows.

Oh right the man six I would suggest is a collection of hormonal sensors implanted into the body monitoring human hormones and neurochemistry twenty four seventh’s that’s the ultimate sensor for happiness and of course if you go with macro level.

Can’t cheat with drugs though if you want to come up with in this that if you’re on drugs than.

You not being eligible to be measured you know.

All right so should we take a vote here I’m going to read off the different metrics OK so Michael See minimum income of the poorest person Michael Oh how much money you need to make to have a reasonable life Daniel ecological footprint Parnia decentralized metrics based on different communities Haase a collection of hormonal sensors monitoring human chemistry OK so you all know the drill on three to wait hold on everyone has to think of a person I haven’t thought of somebody yet.

OK I’m ready three two one Daniel Michael Oh.

OK I think Haas you got two votes there right Michael Oh did you vote for Hearts Yeah OK I believe that makes Kos The winner congratulations and I just quickly want to thank you congratulations to us and I quickly want to clarify that with Michael I meant like the product of both metrics both Michael’s remove the quotient the quotient right I need to run unfortunately guys it was really fun having you I wish all of you a great day or a good nights and we’ll see us next week I had a great time to thanks Daniel it was cool very spontaneous nice I like it. So much by it’s great having. Well thank you Michael again you’re forts on editing and connecting to Kristen great Perny you got a goodbye also Or maybe she dropped or yes she had it was so good who are all like.

OK Well splice her goodbye in from last week all right great part of a great party. For this was actually really good and thank you so much Daniel for the topic idea I think you did a great job thinking of this topic so thank you very much thanks bye bye bye bye bye everybody. We should have been a.

The future.


Music and editing and Pelton spoke.


G.D.P. (13) bye bye bye (3) long term happiness (2) measurable metric (4) human beings (6) rolex watch (3) business idea (2) short term (2) homeless person (2) huge gap (2) people happy (3) commanding heights (2) ecological footprint (2) small number (2) hormonal sensors (2) good idea (2) asshole technologies (3) metric (35) happiness (63) society (30) country (19) people (35) happy (63) future (24) congratulations (2)


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