The STEM fallacy (also known as the Other Robot fallacy) is the refutation of the Luddite fallacy, claiming proponents of the Luddite fallacy only consider physical automation, and fail to account for intelligent automation that is capable of learning new tasks. Its name comes from the saying "STEM-educated people will always have jobs," despite the nature of artifical intelligence, as well as the saying "But who will build and repair the other robots" without consideration of AI's role in this.

Argument[edit | edit source]

Those who use the STEM fallacy as an argument do not deny the Luddite fallacy is correct— only that it exists up to a certain point, after which the Luddite fallacy completely collapses, and those positing otherwise are committing to a new fallacy. Due to the nature of artificial general intelligence, the same abilities humans possess, i.e. learning new tasks and gaining new skills, is also possessed by AI. Once AI becomes cheaper and more productive than humans, a mass commitment to using AI will unfold, and humans will be left unemployed.

When making the Luddite fallacy, one assumes that any new technological innovation will lead to the replacement of workers by technology and ultimately cause economic collapse. Historically, this has been proven completely false— the creation of new technologies leads to new jobs and skills and raises the quality of life for all by reducing the price of goods and services, while also making production more efficient, hence the Luddite fallacy.

While this has remained true for history hitherto the present moment, there are indicators that it will not remain so in the near-future. The Luddite fallacy is based upon the fact all automation has been physical in nature, incapable of being used for tasks beyond their original, specialized purpose. The creation of artificial general intelligence and AGI being cheaper to employ is seen as the 'event horizon.'

When brought up, it's usually in terms that robots will replace humans in the workforce. The common criticism goes that "who will repair and maintain the robot?", pointing out that the original robot may lack the ability to do so. The response is "another robot," which leads to the origin of the phrase: "Who will construct and maintain the other robot?" This can continue on and on, with the answer always being "another robot", and the question being "who will repair that robot?" This is considered a fallacy because it completely fails to consider the possibility that an artificial intelligence may also learn how to do these tasks. At which point, the argument is centered around who built the first artificial intelligence, which is a human programmer who rendered him/herself obsolete upon creation of the programme.

The Parable of the Capitalists[edit | edit source]

The Parable of the Capitalists is a parable explaining the Luddite and Other Robot fallacies, and is usually set in a highly industrialized city. The capitalists are engaged in fierce competition to earn the biggest profits, and begin automating some processes. While this unemploys some, it leads to hundreds more (including some who had been laid off) gaining high paying jobs that allow them to contribute to the economy to an even greater extent than before. This economic balance is completely upended by the introduction of general AI, which initially seems like a great investment but wind up undoing the cycle, leading to a total economic collapse due to the capitalists failing to account for the lack of any consumers.

The moral is that automation created new jobs until the creation of a tool that could learn any new tasks at a rate faster than humans. The capitalists failed to adapt due to a solidly entrenched belief that new jobs would always been created.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.