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Shakespear
08-09-14, 12:49 PM
The Bright New Future

The advancement of robots that can do our jobs for us will create a class-divide not seen since the 19th century, a report by the Pew Research Centre in America has found.
As machines have continued to displace factory workers, personal assistants and receptionists over the last decade, advanced countries must adapt their education systems to turn average students into exceptional ones who can outperform a robot, sociologists told Pew."The jobs that robots will leave for humans will be those that require thought and knowledge," Howard Rheingold, an internet sociologist, told think tank Pew."Education systems in the US and much of the rest of the world are still sitting students in rows and columns, teaching them to keep quiet and memorise what is told to them, preparing for life in a 20th century factory."
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/robots-will-create-permanently-unemployable-underclass-1460177
You say there will be jobs maintaining the robots? Sure ;]]100 robots taken care by 1 maintenance robot.
Programing? Sure
Building parts and circuits? Suuurrrreeee.

Well we can still flip hamburgers, can't we ? Nope, it appears to be doable by robots as we speak,
http://singularityhub.com/2013/01/22/robot-serves-up-340-hamburgers-per-hour/

Mega
08-09-14, 08:16 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dq2Gsk-G6Eo

dcarrigg
08-09-14, 10:04 PM
Hogwash. The robots will take all our jobs future is nonsense propagated by the transhumanist cult.

It's not going to happen. 10 years ago they had automatic pizza vending machines being made (or imported?) in New Bedford, MA. They put them at college campuses. They were curious for a little while, then nobody wanted them and they're as dead as the "Personal Digital Assistant" that was supposed to get rid of all the secretaries 20 years ago. Ditto with the hamburger robot and Google's $320,000 self-driving car that they built on a $40,000 Prius. $280,000's a lot to pay for glorified cruise control. You ever see what hail can do to a LIDAR unit or a GPS array?

Besides, who needs robots when you've got dirt-cheap labor and no tariffs over seas?

This is the future of automation as much as all that singularitan nonsense:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_YnaHNcISw

Ghent12
08-09-14, 10:28 PM
The Bright New Future

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/robots-will-create-permanently-unemployable-underclass-1460177
You say there will be jobs maintaining the robots? Sure ;]]100 robots taken care by 1 maintenance robot.
Programing? Sure
Building parts and circuits? Suuurrrreeee.

Well we can still flip hamburgers, can't we ? Nope, it appears to be doable by robots as we speak,
http://singularityhub.com/2013/01/22/robot-serves-up-340-hamburgers-per-hour/


People will find gainful employment so long as they must do so to survive. Robots can and will vastly increase productivity, but only humans can stop other humans from being employed--typically through political means designed to destroy or relegate them to a subservient political status like minimum wage laws, but also through intimidation and threats of violence like labor unions use to minimize employment.

aaron
08-09-14, 10:35 PM
http://theweek.com/article/index/264652/introducing-the-iphone-6-made-in-china-by-a-robot


The worst kept secret of Apple and its Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn isn't their poor labor conditions. It isn't even the fact that they use robots to help bring together all the pieces that make up an iPhone. It's that their robots are now performing more and more human-like functions.
In the past, it's always been people that put the finishing touches on the popular devices. Well, that's all about to change.Foxconn parent company Hon Hai is set to deploy an army of 10,000 assembly-line robots to help meet the demands of producing the highly anticipated iPhone 6. Hon Hai CEO Terry Gou revealed in a recent shareholder meeting that Apple would be the very first customer of Foxconn's latest robots.


For now, we have humans building machines to replace human jobs. Next we will have robots building machines to replace those robot-building jobs. Will they need humans anymore after that?

IBM Develops a New Chip That Functions Like a Brain
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/08/science/new-computer-chip-is-designed-to-work-like-the-brain.html


Inspired by the architecture of the brain, scientists have developed a new kind of computer chip that uses no more power than a hearing aid and may eventually excel at calculations that stump today’s supercomputers.


The chip, or processor, is named TrueNorth and was developed by researchers at IBM and detailed in an article (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/345/6197/668) published on Thursday in the journal Science. It tries to mimic the way brains recognize patterns, relying on densely interconnected webs of transistors similar to the brain’s neural networks.


The chip contains 5.4 billion transistors, yet draws just 70 milliwatts of power. By contrast, modern Intel processors in today’s personal computers and data centers may have 1.4 billion transistors and consume far more power — 35 to 140 watts.

Things are moving very fast in the industry. "Neural chips" may be what keeps Moore's Law alive and well. Instead of 2d chips of today, we can use 3d chips.

dcarrigg
08-09-14, 11:51 PM
Sure. China's labor costs will rise. And eventually some more automation will hit there. And industry will flee to cheaper countries if it can, just like it did in the west. After all, since when did western workers ever work between the dies on a stamping press? But catching up to where US industry was decades or over a century ago isn't vast progress.

So far as the TrueNorth chip goes, maybe we'll get some eventual computer processing power out of it. But it's not a brain. That's just media hype and hogwash. We don't even have a good working theory of how the brain works. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/12/opinion/the-trouble-with-brain-science.html) We're not just going to crack it by messing around with digital transistors. All the computational power in the world won't get you a brain. Actually, they had a pretty good piece in the Atlantic a couple years ago. (http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/11/noam-chomsky-on-where-artificial-intelligence-went-wrong/261637/?single_page=true)

Does anyone else find a great irony in the fact that so many people today are quite literally committed to finding a ghost in the machine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Concept_of_Mind)?

One could arrange infinite transistors in infinite combinations powered by the very energy that set the cosmos in motion in the beginning, and the questions remain: From where comes the ghost? How and why?

It seems to me that the strong AI quest comes from a strange place of believing very simply that the ghost is an emergent phenomenon that simply occurs by some unspecified physical property of the universe when a sufficient number of calculations can occur over a short enough period of time in a single enclosed system.

But that belief is nothing more than raw faith. One could just as easily pronounce strong AI impossible because God will not allow machines to have a soul.

Or one could take the skeptic's route and simply say that not enough is known about how brains (even the brains of very simple organisms) work to replicate them artificially right now, and it's entirely possible that digital microchips will not be up to the task.

Sure, better search algorithms might make it so you need a couple fewer paralegals or something. Time moves on and jobs change. That much has ever been true.

But the hype of "neural chips" becoming brains is stepping beyond the pale.




"I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me, so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.”

santafe2
08-10-14, 12:40 AM
...the "Personal Digital Assistant" that was supposed to get rid of all the secretaries 20 years ago.

Long ago I built and sold a company that did just this, get rid of secretaries. It's not how we billed ourselves but that is what we accomplished. We were on the leading edge in Los Angeles but others accomplished the same feat in every major city in the US at about the same time. The majority of secretaries in the legal profession were gone in less than a decade. The thesis in this post is correct. Most people will not be employable in the future.

dcarrigg
08-10-14, 01:00 AM
Long ago I built and sold a company that did just this, get rid of secretaries. It's not how we billed ourselves but that is what we accomplished. We were on the leading edge in Los Angeles but others accomplished the same feat in every major city in the US at about the same time. The majority of secretaries in the legal profession were gone in less than a decade. The thesis in this post is correct. Most people will not be employable in the future.

Well then why not make this prediction a bit more concrete? By which year do you expect world labor participation rates to sink to which level? Use ranges if you so wish. Here's the current World Bank graph on the matter. (http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.CACT.ZS/countries/1W?display=graph) We're at 63.6% right now. Keep in mind that demographics and other economic forces than just technology will factor in here too.

What is it you predict? 40% by 2040? 10% by 2050? Somewhere between 40 and 50% by 2030? And how much of the drop is directly attributable to technology? Exactly how doom and gloom is the future employment scenario you envision?

I am genuinely curious to know how disastrously and quickly you predict the technological obsolescence of man will occur.

I disagree with you, but that's because I tend to side with old John Stewart Mill's 1848 observation on this one:

"Hitherto it is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day's toil of any human being."

And I think that deep down I'm pretty sure that whether we want people working or not is a policy choice. And technology doesn't dictate our policy decisions. Just ask the Amish about that one. In fact, I think I stole that line from Patrick Deneen in the American Conservative. (http://www.theamericanconservative.com/two-nations-under-mammon/)


Thus, a philosophy that places in the forefront a theory of human liberty arrives at the conclusion that certain historical, technological, and economic forces are inevitable, and it is futile to resist them. One might bother to ask the Amish if this is true, but they didn’t go to Harvard. Clearly, they don’t value human freedom, since they are not on the historical merry-go-round to inevitable human liberty—and degradation.

lakedaemonian
08-10-14, 03:53 AM
Long ago I built and sold a company that did just this, get rid of secretaries. It's not how we billed ourselves but that is what we accomplished. We were on the leading edge in Los Angeles but others accomplished the same feat in every major city in the US at about the same time. The majority of secretaries in the legal profession were gone in less than a decade. The thesis in this post is correct. Most people will not be employable in the future.

I would agree in terms of increasing commoditization of human labour on the lower rungs of the value added ladder.

But I'm still waiting for my flying car and rocket boots since Popular Mechanics promised it to me in 1972....so I'm thinking "robots taking over" isn't quite at the robopocalypse level of the book or Elon Musk's strange recent opinions.

But back to the less robot-y and more boring point of human productivity/capability and the average worker's position in the value chain......

The military has a term called "force multiplier effect". Where an individual or a technology dramatically increases the operational effectiveness of a unit.

It could consist of extremely well vetted/trained special forces soldiers attached to conventional soldiers to boost their effectiveness or it could be sensor data distributed to a unit that dramatically increases their battlespace awareness.

To me, the world of commerce(genuine non-FIRE commerce) is running into increasingly obvious "force multiplier" type opportunities that I guess you could call profit-multiplier or productivity-multiplier opportunities.

How much of a profit or productivity multiplier effect would the top 1% engineers in the world have in 1914?

How much of a profit or productivity multiplier effect would the top 1% engineers in the world have in 2014?

Or more importantly, what would be the profit/productivity multiplier difference between the average engineers and the top 1% engineers in 1914?

How about 2014?

Is it due to the fact that top 1% engineers in 1914 could not have their talent replicated and distributed like it can in 2014?

Is it due to the differences in discovery/distribution today compared to in the past?

For some reason I'm thinking non-FIRE commercial talent has entered a phase not unlike court jesters of old compared with their modern rock star peers?

A hundred years ago talented entertainers made a good living, but were limited by the ability to distribute their talent. Now the most successful court jesters make hundreds of millions.

Is it the end of court jester/vaudville employees and the start of therock star employe era?

And everyone else is a commoditized rock tour roadie living on scraps?

dcarrigg
08-10-14, 04:57 AM
But I'm still waiting for my flying car and rocket boots since Popular Mechanics promised it to me in 1972....so I'm thinking "robots taking over" isn't quite at the robopocalypse level of the book or Elon Musk's strange recent opinions.

Elon Musk, Tyler Cowen, and the rest of the techno-libertarian crowd have been hot-to-trot for this inevitable technological dystopia idea for some time now. (http://www.theamericanconservative.com/two-nations-under-mammon/) My guess is that somebody finally threw Vonnegut's Player Piano (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Player_Piano_(novel)) on their reading lists last year. Because it's essentially the same story told in that wonderful dusty old book from 1952.

But the real issue (or scare) here isn't technology, is it? The real issue is jobs going away...and actually, probably the more real issue as your post puts it is labor's declining share of income - at least for the bulk of labor, maybe not for a couple of superstars that are probably not getting most of their money via labor wages anyways...

As I've said several times here before, the technology explanation is very convenient, because it gets people off the hook. It takes every policy option to deal with labor's declining share of income off the table. It just says, "Well, that's inevitable, so they better get used to it. Nothing we can do. It's technology's fault! It's out of our hands!"

I think this is a cop-out. Economists call it the Luddite Fallacy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite_fallacy). And even the Luddites prove you can smash machines and fight with the police if you want to...

Regardless, "It's natural," or "It's technology," are not explanations that fit the empirical data we have on the declining share of income going to labor.

The latest UN report on global wages (http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---publ/documents/publication/wcms_194843.pdf) shows technological change being a positive factor for labor share of income in low-wage countries and a negative factor for high wage countries.

Basically, worldwide it's a wash.

http://imgur.com/Gim2ERX.png

But financialization, lopsided trade policy, and tax and welfare policy are the culprits too (the other three bars).

There's pretty convincing evidence that the order of culpability for labor's declining share of income is financialization, then trade policy, then tax, labor and welfare policy, and finally tech change.

There are plenty of empirical works that follow this line of thinking beyond this one. For one, there's Dean Baker's Technology Didn't Kill Middle Class Jobs, Public Policy Did. (http://www.cepr.net/index.php/op-eds-&-columns/op-eds-&-columns/technology-didnt-kill-middle-class-jobs-public-policy-did)

Orhangazi's 2008 paper (http://courses.umass.edu/econ711-rpollin/Orhangazi%20financialization%20in%20CJE.pdf) spoke to the issue of financialization. As did Greenwood and Scharfstein at Harvard (http://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.27.2.3).

The St. Louis Fed shows labor's decline in income share over time pretty clearly. (http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/PRS85006173) More on this in a moment...

Phillipon and Reshef speak to the issue too. (http://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.27.2.73) It's a serious area of study. (http://harr123et.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/futureoffinance-chapter11.pdf) Labor's declining share of income is something which the big boys are concerned about. (http://www.g24.org/PDF/pbno4.pdf) The IMF has done some work on the issue. (http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=Dj-4K2C7fMQC&oi=fnd&pg=PA4&dq=labor%27s+declining+share+of+income&ots=gSYx3tBCI_&sig=j8EwGAg_JL-xEt_Nb1yZUcCWodI#v=onepage&q=labor%27s%20declining%20share%20of%20income&f=false) Serious work has been done to assess what is the primary mover here (http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/39649/1/labor_share_2005.pdf), and there's some good evidence that it's not technology. And given partisan BS, I'm loath to say it, but Alan Krueger has weighed in on the matter too - over a decade ago. (http://wwww.rrojasdatabank.info/kruegerlabor.pdf)

So all of the techno-libertarians can get all in a huff and say there's nothing to be done but accept the fact that lower wages and the erosion of the middle class are an inevitable outcome of technological innovation.

But there's a growing body of empirical literature that supports his position that 1) financialization leads to a declining share of income flowing to labor, 2) unbalanced trade agreements lead to a declining share of income to labor, 3) tax and welfare policy can either mitigate or exacerbate these effects, and 4) technological change is not driving this plunge in income share.

So the way I see it, the problem here isn't technology. It's not really about more robots or whatever. The problem is labor's share of income. But look at the data. Labor's share of income only really hit its precipitous plunge after China's ascent to the WTO and during the last two financialization-inspired bubble collapses. Even if you believe the technology-only theory, the timing should make you pause and wonder...

http://imgur.com/lZKX4Jr.png


The question is not whether labor's share of income in the United States is declining. Everyone can agree on that.

The only differences are whether you think it's inevitable and whether you think it's a good or bad thing.

And the only way to make it inevitable is to 1) put all the blame on technology, and 2) claim that technology is destiny.

But I think that the problem with this argument is that: 1) there's pretty good data out there showing that it's not really technology that's the primary driver here, and 2) we have to power to regulate technology.

flintlock
08-10-14, 08:12 PM
Hogwash. The robots will take all our jobs future is nonsense propagated by the transhumanist cult.

It's not going to happen. 10 years ago they had automatic pizza vending machines being made (or imported?) in New Bedford, MA. They put them at college campuses. They were curious for a little while, then nobody wanted them and they're as dead as the "Personal Digital Assistant" that was supposed to get rid of all the secretaries 20 years ago. Ditto with the hamburger robot and Google's $320,000 self-driving car that they built on a $40,000 Prius. $280,000's a lot to pay for glorified cruise control. You ever see what hail can do to a LIDAR unit or a GPS array?

Besides, who needs robots when you've got dirt-cheap labor and no tariffs over seas?

This is the future of automation as much as all that singularitan nonsense:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_YnaHNcISw


You are correct. There will still be plenty of govt make work jobs, insurance salesmen, infomercial makers, telemarketers, software people to jam your computer with ads and bloatware, Lawyers, electronic gadget designers, code enforcement officers, community organizers, "charity" executives, porn stars, tattoo artists, religious leaders, spies, paramilitary police, race pimps, wall street brokers, and of course, politicians.

Seriously though, we've already turned the corner on this issue and will look back at this decade as the beginning of a new economy, for better or worse. People are simply not as relevant as they used to be economically. Not most of them at least. If anyone doubts this all they have to do is look at how much advertising and harassment we all receive daily in an attempt to sell us something we neither need nor want. Huge amounts of time are wasted in inefficient attempts at compliance with mindless rules and laws. Endless complexity. It's all intended to make work where no need previously existed. Some people cry for legal or tax reforms but frankly, if that happened the economy couldn't take the hit the job losses would be too huge. I can't help but see a time where people are paid for doing nothing and it becomes perfectly acceptable. But then again, we are already there to some degree.

flintlock
08-10-14, 08:22 PM
Throw away our welfare state and we'd make Dickens' England look like the good old days. That alone shows that at least some of us have been replaced to some degree. And it's not really about whether robots will replace people, its about how much faster the population will grow vs the number of jobs for humans. But don't worry, some war will probably fix things.

Ghent12
08-10-14, 09:07 PM
Throw away our welfare state and we'd make Dickens' England look like the good old days. That alone shows that at least some of us have been replaced to some degree. And it's not really about whether robots will replace people, its about how much faster the population will grow vs the number of jobs for humans. But don't worry, some war will probably fix things.
You can only throw away the welfare state if you also throw away the various forms of working "protection" enacted in law. The major protection afforded by the law is to protect people from employment.

With the abolishment of the minimum wage, labor laws, and the various forms of social safety nets, you will see a huge calamity immediately, followed by coping and then ultimately thriving as people adjust to the new normal. The new normal would very likely include things like personal servants and/or live-in nannies for just about everyone currently calling themselves middle class, along with other things currently considered impossible under current economic circumstances. People will do what they must to survive, and other people will "take advantage" of that situation by offering things like a place to live and other payment-in-kind types of arrangements.

Throwing away the welfare state and seeing the initial reaction doesn't prove that some people have been replaced to some degree. All it would prove is that some people are accustomed to not needing to do anything meaningful to survive. Take away the checks which only require them to fake a back injury or any of the other social safety nets and people will do what it takes to survive. Initially that probably means an increase in crime and less than savory desperate measures, but most of humanity is far more adaptable than you evidently believe.

flintlock
08-11-14, 11:08 AM
You can only throw away the welfare state if you also throw away the various forms of working "protection" enacted in law. The major protection afforded by the law is to protect people from employment.

With the abolishment of the minimum wage, labor laws, and the various forms of social safety nets, you will see a huge calamity immediately, followed by coping and then ultimately thriving as people adjust to the new normal. The new normal would very likely include things like personal servants and/or live-in nannies for just about everyone currently calling themselves middle class, along with other things currently considered impossible under current economic circumstances. People will do what they must to survive, and other people will "take advantage" of that situation by offering things like a place to live and other payment-in-kind types of arrangements.

Throwing away the welfare state and seeing the initial reaction doesn't prove that some people have been replaced to some degree. All it would prove is that some people are accustomed to not needing to do anything meaningful to survive. Take away the checks which only require them to fake a back injury or any of the other social safety nets and people will do what it takes to survive. Initially that probably means an increase in crime and less than savory desperate measures, but most of humanity is far more adaptable than you evidently believe.

First of all, was not advocating anything, merely pointing out facts. Yes, people will adapt. But do you really expect society to revert back to the middle ages, with 30-40 year average life spans, hand to mouth existence, constant war, etc? Because the only thing holding that off now is the welfare state. Sorry but we can't go back. The damage was done with the adoption of the welfare state and the unintended consequences it produced. Pandora's box was opened, it's too late to close it.

Anyone who can't see that the need for the labor of people has been greatly reduced by mechanization is just in denial. Why lament it? Its a good thing( for those with skills still needed). So what if one smart programmer can develop software that reduces the work load of millions? Or a CAT D11 can do the work of 10,000 Egyptian slaves? Human existence for thousands of years was basically about food, sex, shelter. Anything else was a luxury. Humans haven't changed, only their expectations. Historically nations and religions were always trying to increase their numbers, for military and economic reasons. Why? Because strength was measured in the number of people, not so much the quality/education of them. That has now been totally reversed. Of course those that advocate infinite growth Ponzi economics will tell you otherwise. Today it's the countries with rapid population growth that have the biggest problems, not the stable ones. You can't have infinite growth on a finite planet and expect otherwise.

don
08-11-14, 12:02 PM
More often than not prosperity brings a lower birthrate. We also appear to be hardwired for a higher birthrate to replace those lost in a crisis, like in a war with heavy casualties.

Fox
08-11-14, 12:33 PM
Hey, Just back from vacation and getting caught up on things.

I'm not sure if anyone has hit on this angle, but as it turns out I just went through this whole "Robots destroying jobs" thought argument the other day while watching Wall-E. Its social commentary about sloth and consumerism aside, it does raise this question at the logical extreme. If robots did everything so all goods and services are free, why would you need a job anyways?

Now, of course goods can never be produced for free, however, massive automation can produce goods and services very cheaply. So again, What is wrong with cheap goods? Yes it means less manual labor jobs, but when all goods and services are very cheap, how much of a job do you need?

The fact is, you don't. If the cost of living is reduced to $5,000 a year or less, you can work a part time job and have the rest of the time for leisure. This was premiss for the whole "work 3 days a week future" they envisioned back in the 50s and 60s.

However all the automation and mechanization we have today has not brought us that future. Why? Because all of this is EXTREMELY deflationary. And Deflation is unacceptable in today's world of Central bank controlled economy. So our daily reality of the average person working harder and affording less despite productivity at unprecedented levels in human history is because, the FED is forcing inflation down our throats in a naturally deflationary point of human social and technological history.

The end result is while we and our robots work harder, Inflation devalues the increase in productivity so we have to work more to afford less.

If we had a 0% inflation policy with true economic statistics (ie a defacto gold standard without having to deal with gold) then you would see that robots and productivity improvements area a good thing.

But that also means governments have to accept their insolvency and TPTB will have to accept less power; and that will never happen. And so robots will become our imprisoning masters and not our liberating servants.

verdo
08-11-14, 01:11 PM
As a society, we've been having this "machines will replace us!!!" argument for centuries. We're all still chugging along just fine.

gwynedd1
08-11-14, 02:49 PM
Again? So what happens when robots become so cheap even poor people can own them?

Products of human labor is not the problem. Anytime anyone tries to convince otherwise please repeat "products of human labor are not the problem". Therefore cheap and abundant products of human labor are not the problem. The problem is scarcity and monopoly.

metalman
08-11-14, 06:38 PM
Again? So what happens when robots become so cheap even poor people can own them?

Products of human labor is not the problem. Anytime anyone tries to convince otherwise please repeat "products of human labor are not the problem". Therefore cheap and abundant products of human labor are not the problem. The problem is scarcity and monopoly.

really? this debate goes on here at the tulip? sheesh.

let me get this straight. when new tech replaces a boring, shit job the poor sot who used to do that job gets a pink slip & is then off to the poorhouse for gruel & water but no new & more inneresting jobs get created by the very same new technology?

riiiiiight.

these gals...

http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/uploads/r/null/7/4/749167/df2f2200-c84b-4e9c-ace6-2c3fedba488a-A13201.jpg

...lost their jobs to these machines...

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cc/Lucent_5ESS_GSM_Mobile_Switching_Centre.jpg

but these guys...

http://www.electroschematics.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Computer-Engineering.jpg

& these guys...

http://uanews.org/sites/default/files/styles/blog_image_large_600px_w/public/story-images/familia2010_web.jpg?itok=uxE4n07-

plus software writers & tech writers ;_TU etc get jobs that didn't exist before.

these guys...

http://www.fordbarn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/assemblyline.jpg

...lost their jobs to these robots...

http://blog.iqsdirectory.com/wp-content/uploads/files/automation%20equip%201.jpg

what is this 'class' of worker doing today?

flipping burgers is the flip answer ;]]

bs. only if they do not bother to get training & new skills for the new jobs.

but, but don't they have to go into crazy debt for that? aren't they too busy living paycheck to paycheck?

nope. technology has an answer for that, too...

cheap online learning... at your own pace. (http://education.yahoo.net/articles/online_degrees_for_careers.htm)

who's the evil dog who put these gals out of work?

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-8DCXOg3R0S0/UQU0yhWLQmI/AAAAAAAAGos/Le7zYOLRb2g/s1600/clerical-work.jpg

lost their jobs to...

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/416adVu2eGL._SL500_AA300_.jpghttp://www.salisbury.edu/careerservices/students/images/Email/email3.gifhttp://risenetworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/internet-globe.jpg

who to blame? Bill Gates, Shiva Ayyadurai & Al Gore? no!

why that's you & me. we all do our own typing... on a computer keyboard... & send it via email over the internet.

oh, no! i've stolen a boring job from a woman in a black-and-white photo! only women, mind you. no man did that job in those days. do now, tho.

no more this...

http://envisioningtheamericandream.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/office-dictation-scan_pic0813.jpg?w=710

now it's...

http://img.pandawhale.com/post-30966-Jim-Carrey-furiously-typing-on-y8cP.gif

now... about the burger robot. what if one of the 9 jobs that will destroy your soul (http://www.cracked.com/blog/9-types-job-that-will-destroy-your-soul/) goes away? boo hoo!

wonder if tech is creating any NEW jobs in the mean time... (http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/2012/05/11/10-jobs-that-didnt-exist-10-years-ago/)

vt
08-11-14, 06:59 PM
+1,000 and millions of new, interesting jobs.



Not this:


Lud·diteˈlədˌīt/
noun



a member of any of the bands of English workers who destroyed machinery, especially in cotton and woolen mills, that they believed was threatening their jobs (1811–16).

a person opposed to increased industrialization or new technology








Fear Not Luddties. Help is here!


http://freedomoutpost.com/2013/05/rand-paul-obamacare-122000-new-diagnostic-codes-your-dr-will-use-to-inform-govt-about-your-injuries/


Thousands of new jobs!

gwynedd1
08-11-14, 07:15 PM
really? this debate goes on here at the tulip? sheesh.




In care is it not clear, we are in agreement.

metalman
08-11-14, 07:49 PM
In care is it not clear, we are in agreement.

i'm saying i cannot believe there's anyone on the other side of this argument here.

what next, creationism?

google search 'burger robot 360 (https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS506US506&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=burger%20robot%20360)' & guess the site that list #3 peddling a fast food kitchen robot as the end of min wage jobs?

did ya guess zerocred?

Meet "Smart Restaurant": The Minimum-Wage-Crushing, Burger-Flipping Robot

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-01-12/meet-smart-restaurant-minimum-wage-crushing-burger-flipping-robot

Ghent12
08-11-14, 11:09 PM
Anyone who can't see that the need for the labor of people has been greatly reduced by mechanization is just in denial. Why lament it? Its a good thing( for those with skills still needed). So what if one smart programmer can develop software that reduces the work load of millions? Or a CAT D11 can do the work of 10,000 Egyptian slaves? Human existence for thousands of years was basically about food, sex, shelter. Anything else was a luxury. Humans haven't changed, only their expectations. Historically nations and religions were always trying to increase their numbers, for military and economic reasons. Why? Because strength was measured in the number of people, not so much the quality/education of them. That has now been totally reversed. Of course those that advocate infinite growth Ponzi economics will tell you otherwise. Today it's the countries with rapid population growth that have the biggest problems, not the stable ones. You can't have infinite growth on a finite planet and expect otherwise.
Without getting too much into Malthusian nonsense, I will say that the demand for certain types of labor has certainly changed due to the human discovery of mechanization, but that doesn't render any person superfluous in the slightest. There is always work to be done, and people willing to trade for that work to be done. It's as simple as that. The reason why people can survive and in some cases "thrive" (by their own standards anyways) while doing no productive work is because that option was offered to everyone and some people took that deal as offered. A stereotypical welfare queen is not superfluous to the labor force, but merely a human niche-filler who made a decision to survive in a circumstance offered to her.

The welfare state is not at all what keeps us from the middle ages. That is utterly ridiculous. The welfare state is a political tool designed to corral political power from people and concentrate it, and so long as one person has one vote (legally speaking), the welfare state will continue to be an effective tool to harness political power. If the rules of political power were to change (i.e. less democratic, which could be very good or very, very bad, depending on numerous factors), the welfare state could vanish overnight. Politicians do things useful to politicians. Political players do things useful to political players. It's as simple as that.

Woodsman
08-12-14, 08:36 AM
i'm saying i cannot believe there's anyone on the other side of this argument here.

what next, creationism?

Young Earth or Intelligent Design?

LazyBoy
08-12-14, 09:59 AM
The major protection afforded by the law is to protect people from employment.

With the abolishment of the minimum wage, labor laws, and the various forms of social safety nets, you will see a huge calamity immediately, followed by coping and then ultimately thriving as people adjust to the new normal. The new normal would very likely include things like personal servants and/or live-in nannies for just about everyone currently calling themselves middle class, along with other things currently considered impossible under current economic circumstances. People will do what they must to survive, and other people will "take advantage" of that situation by offering things like a place to live and other payment-in-kind types of arrangements.


Servants for the middle class sounds like India. So, people would "thrive" like the servants in India do? Should that be our goal?

Thailandnotes
08-12-14, 10:15 AM
Rode my bike five bridges up along the river today. About 50 km. The irrigation roads through the rice and flower farms are narrow, about five feet wide with rushing water on both sides, no vehicles except for the occasional farmer on a motorcycle with a long bamboo pole or a sack of fertilizer.

There’s no green like new rice plantings stretching to the horizon.

Saw several pairs of drongos
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesser_racket-tailed_drongo)

and two snakes.

No robots.

This whole topic would be alien to most of the world.

(Population Chiang Mai metro area 1-2 million.)

Woodsman
08-12-14, 10:31 AM
Servants for the middle class sounds like India. So, people would "thrive" like the servants in India do? Should that be our goal?

Nonsense! Clearly the preference here is for Victorian England, happy were the days.

http://crazyemailsandbackstories.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/homelessboys.jpg

tastymannatees
08-12-14, 11:30 AM
The Bright New Future

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/robots-will-create-permanently-unemployable-underclass-1460177
You say there will be jobs maintaining the robots? Sure ;]]100 robots taken care by 1 maintenance robot.
Programing? Sure
Building parts and circuits? Suuurrrreeee.

Well we can still flip hamburgers, can't we ? Nope, it appears to be doable by robots as we speak,
http://singularityhub.com/2013/01/22/robot-serves-up-340-hamburgers-per-hour/



I am in full agreement here

Like Asimov's robot novels with a whole planet of robot plantations with 1 plantation owner and 5 thousands robots- what's the point a person ? I suppose plenty of time to contemplate your Belly button on the issue.

Of course there are the warehouse robots.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWsMdN7HMuA

http://money.cnn.com/2014/05/22/technology/amazon-robots/

http://www.wimp.com/kivarobots/

Plenty of jobs are being replaced daily, locally there are no more electric meter readers as it is read remotely and if you have not paid your bill they even disconnect you by remote. In many professions you can see the writing on the wall as in do we even need 90% of the postal employees ? or can the business of mail sorting/delivery be mostly automated as in the warehouse video?

I believe this is the government motivation/drive for socialization of the economy as what do you do with all the employment slack or unemployed people? I know the response is that they will employed in "Tech" jobs however I think the idea is limited, most of the forum members here are probably high IQ types and see a tech or STEM job as no problem but to make a point here is that if you think of the average person and then recognize that 50% of the population is below that a tech replacement job is a stretch.

Additionally in my travels to third world countries with no means of wealth production as in manufacturing, mining or export of raw materials, food production etc. they are minimalist service economies as there is no wealth available to support the services. I think today we are mostly a third world type service economy here in the developed world we just don't recognize it yet I see the signs every where.

For example I recently had a procedure done at local Yale New Haven hospital and in my overnight stay I was walking the floor at 2 am with a bad reaction to some medication. In my little walk over a couple of hours I noted 9/10 employees on duty but only a couple seemed busy the rest were having water cooler discussions and surfing the Internet.

In a recent Zerohedge article it was noted that since about 1980(?) US population increased approx 50% but hospital(&college employment) staffing in the same period increased 80%. So while the private economy had significant productivity increases the slack in labor was at least partially absorbed by government subsidy.

This for me is reminiscent of one experience where I spent 4 hours going through customs in Egypt as I had to processed by about 20 customs agents, not that they truly needed that many but they had a job and a pension but basically it was all make work otherwise they would have no job at all. My waiter at the Hotel was an engineer and as the economy was below the threshold for wealth creation there were no engineering jobs> This is what a service economy looks like.

Minus government subsidy (+deficit spending) there is a natural unemployment rate to all this and I would not be surprised if it was more like a 30% third world rate.



As far as the ghost in the machine it probably does not matter much if you don't know the difference if there is a conscious soul there or not, 20 years ago they fooled nobody This year they fooled 30% ten years from now perhaps 50%? thirty years 90%?

http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/has-the-turing-test-really-been-passed-20140710-zt2h3.html


You could be talking to one now. Perhaps I am a chatbot;_CC

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140609-how-online-bots-are-tricking-you

gwynedd1
08-12-14, 11:42 AM
i'm saying i cannot believe there's anyone on the other side of this argument here.



If no one is willing to take the other side of the position we should make self hating robots that do.




what next, creationism?


On a serious note I actually like creationism because they were pretty good critics of evolution's flaws. It broke the evolutionary monopoly and kept driving the debate. Speaking of robots , we should program them to think they evolved to make them more human.




google search 'burger robot 360 (https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS506US506&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=burger%20robot%20360)' & guess the site that list #3 peddling a fast food kitchen robot as the end of min wage jobs?

did ya guess zerocred?

Meet "Smart Restaurant": The Minimum-Wage-Crushing, Burger-Flipping Robot

http://www.zerocred.com/news/2014-01-12/meet-smart-restaurant-minimum-wage-crushing-burger-flipping-robot


All variations on broken window fallacy, rent etc...

In the US land was so cheap labor was scarce. Everytime someone was hired to work the land they would just go off on their own. Same thing if cheap machines made restaurants require no labor . Everyone could open a restaurant . Many people just can seem to understand that economics tries to manage the problem of scarcity. There is not problem with plenty.

tastymannatees
08-12-14, 02:53 PM
and there goes another one

Hotel Robots

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101911755

Shakespear
08-12-14, 03:49 PM
and there goes another one

Hotel Robots

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101911755
;_TU they will need oiling so we have a chance.

Company CEO Steve Cousins told CNBC he sees a huge market for service robots.

dcarrigg
08-12-14, 04:42 PM
Everyone could open a restaurant .

I don't know about that. Lack of capital to buy the initial equipment/investment seems to me to be a much larger barrier to such a thing than labor costs you can cover with cash flow - even without robots.

tastymannatees
08-12-14, 04:57 PM
And there are

Noodle bots - A couple of grand a robot, they never need a raise and won't sue you for sexual harassment

Robot chefs taking over China's noodle bars (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukNkCnNJuR8)

tastymannatees
08-12-14, 05:08 PM
Costs are dropping -Baxter from rethink in boston costs 20K and should last two years

http://www.rethinkrobotics.com/products/baxter/

http://www.rethinkrobotics.com/resources/videos/

DSpencer
08-12-14, 05:59 PM
I know the response is that they will employed in "Tech" jobs however I think the idea is limited, most of the forum members here are probably high IQ types and see a tech or STEM job as no problem but to make a point here is that if you think of the average person and then recognize that 50% of the population is below that a tech replacement job is a stretch.

I think this is a key point in the recurring robots vs jobs debate. By no means do I think humans are on the brink of being replaced by robots on the whole. However, the low ability population may face a struggle and personally I think they are already being affected by this problem. If not because of actual humanoid robots, then due to one person with a machine doing the work of 10.

To follow up your point about everyone getting tech jobs. Go to a Walmart store. Ask yourself how many of the customers could work as robot designers. Or more to the point, ask yourself how many of the cashiers could be trained to design/refine/repair the self checkout machines. I'm guessing it's less than 10% and I'm trying to be generous.


For example I recently had a procedure done at local Yale New Haven hospital and in my overnight stay I was walking the floor at 2 am with a bad reaction to some medication. In my little walk over a couple of hours I noted 9/10 employees on duty but only a couple seemed busy the rest were having water cooler discussions and surfing the Internet.

In the hospital's defense, night shift is partially a just-in-case staffing scenario. If your medication reaction had resulted in a code button being pressed, I'm guessing at least some of the internet surfers would have sprung into action.



This year they fooled 30% ten years from now perhaps 50%? thirty years 90%?

http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/has-the-turing-test-really-been-passed-20140710-zt2h3.html


As discussed in another itulip thread, this story of a chatbot passing the Turing test is, in my opinion, a complete joke. Only by creating a persona as a 13 year old who doesn't speak English fluently was it even remotely believable and even then I can't understand how anyone was fooled at all.

Why not ask someone to distinguish between a computer and a 2 year old with a keyboard? Or a computer and a person pretending to be a computer?

llanlad2
08-12-14, 08:17 PM
Well then why not make this prediction a bit more concrete? By which year do you expect world labor participation rates to sink to which level? Use ranges if you so wish. Here's the current World Bank graph on the matter. (http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.CACT.ZS/countries/1W?display=graph) We're at 63.6% right now. Keep in mind that demographics and other economic forces than just technology will factor in here too.

What is it you predict? 40% by 2040? 10% by 2050? Somewhere between 40 and 50% by 2030? And how much of the drop is directly attributable to technology? Exactly how doom and gloom is the future employment scenario you envision?

I am genuinely curious to know how disastrously and quickly you predict the technological obsolescence of man will occur.

I disagree with you, but that's because I tend to side with old John Stewart Mill's 1848 observation on this one:

"Hitherto it is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day's toil of any human being."

And I think that deep down I'm pretty sure that whether we want people working or not is a policy choice. And technology doesn't dictate our policy decisions. Just ask the Amish about that one. In fact, I think I stole that line from Patrick Deneen in the American Conservative. (http://www.theamericanconservative.com/two-nations-under-mammon/)

But what was the employment rate back when Mill made his statement? I imagine it was close to 100% and that would include pretty much everyone 5 and over. And how many hours did they work? The current 64% rate starts at age 15 and includes everyone "economically active". So anyone retired is not included which must already push the numbers down. People on sick are not included etc. I think it's fair to say that hours worked per capita are already way less than half of those worked in 1848 and it is almost exclusively down to technology. And why is the technological obsolescence of man such a disaster anyway?

Having said that I don't see employment or unemployment disappearing any time soon as servants will always be in demand and people will always need to serve to survive until populations stop growing. You mentioned a quote regarding the Amish as avoiding certain technological and economic forces. However their increasing population (having large families is part of the culture) will force cultural change on them. Soon they will not be able to avoid servitude.


Thus, a philosophy that places in the forefront a theory of human liberty arrives at the conclusion that certain historical, technological, and economic forces are inevitable, and it is futile to resist them. One might bother to ask the Amish if this is true, but they didn’t go to Harvard. Clearly, they don’t value human freedom, since they are not on the historical merry-go-round to inevitable human liberty—and degradation.

Traditionally Amish males farmed pretty much exclusively. However the need to buy land for their burgeoning population has forced many men to seek alternative employment outside of their traditional communities. The Amish are not free of economic forces after all.

dcarrigg
08-12-14, 09:41 PM
But what was the employment rate back when Mill made his statement? I imagine it was close to 100% and that would include pretty much everyone 5 and over. And how many hours did they work? The current 64% rate starts at age 15 and includes everyone "economically active". So anyone retired is not included which must already push the numbers down. People on sick are not included etc. I think it's fair to say that hours worked per capita are already way less than half of those worked in 1848 and it is almost exclusively down to technology. And why is the technological obsolescence of man such a disaster anyway?

According to the Historical Statistics of the United States: Millennial Edition, Vol. 2, pp. 2-77 to 2-82; the labor participation rate 2 years later was 51.8%. Of course, the survey back then was Whites only, thanks to slavery. And the split was 88.1% male and 13.1% female. Far more men had jobs. Far fewer women did. Overall, labor participation is higher now than then.


The Amish are not free of economic forces after all.

Never said they were. Just saying that technology does not have to run one's life. We have a choice in the matter. That's all.

gwynedd1
08-12-14, 10:17 PM
I don't know about that. Lack of capital to buy the initial equipment/investment seems to me to be a much larger barrier to such a thing than labor costs you can cover with cash flow - even without robots.

If its so expensive then cheap labor will compete against it.

gwynedd1
08-12-14, 10:19 PM
I just realized that a paradise with no wants or needs will cause everyone to be part of the permanently unemployable underclass.

charliebrown
08-12-14, 10:22 PM
Many good posts here and things to consider.

I can add this. I work at a fortune 500 company that employs lots of low wage, low skill labor.
I work in the "robot" department trying to either make employees more productive (reducing the labor costs) or replacing them. We have replacements for people but so far, they have been too costly to do the job. You can buy a lot of labor for a 500K robot. And the person is a bit more flexible than the one task robot. However .... the recent push for moving the minimum wage from about 8.00 an hr to 15.00 per hour will re-evaluate uses of automation at our company. Some of these jobs will be eliminated.

santafe2
08-13-14, 02:42 AM
I am genuinely curious to know how disastrously and quickly you predict the technological obsolescence of man will occur.

I disagree with you, but that's because I tend to side with old John Stewart Mill's 1848 observation on this one:

"Hitherto it is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day's toil of any human being."

My statement was aimed at the US labor market, not the world market. Their time will come but not as quickly as ours approaches.

This problem, automation happening faster than we can replace jobs, is more troubling today than it was 40 years ago, much less in Mill's time. The rate of change continues to increase and as it does, replacing work which pays a meaningful wage with new work also paying a meaningful wage, will continue to become more difficult.

It was Keynes that observed in 1930-ish the phenomenon of technological unemployment. "This means unemployment due to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour."

In the US we already have a bifurcated system of employment developing where the middle class is being hollowed out and jobs are often low paying service jobs or high paying jobs that require problem solving skills and/or strong social skills. These valued skills are not easily resolved with an algorithm but much more complex machine learning and mobile robotics will make more complex, non repetitive jobs go away as well. Think, truck and taxi drivers, construction workers, tax preparers, accountants, bank tellers, loan officers, real estate brokers/sales people, cashiers, paralegals, etc.

There are two great destroyers of jobs in the US, off-shoring and automation. I would argue that off-shoring is largely driven by computerization and is simply a sub-set of the automation issue. Both will continue to hollow out the US middle class.

We've redefined unemployment from U6 to U3 to hide the current 12.2% unemployment rate and we've classed 2.4MM Americans as criminals and hired another 2MM Americans to catch them, process them and watch them. We also have another 1.5MM people on active military duty. Automation is breaking our social contract in the US and we're grasping at straws to find meaningful employment for people.

I am surprised that this is a controversial issue. The rate of automation is moving too fast today and the pace will continue to pick up over the rest of this century. I can't imagine a scenario where more Americans have employment value in the future than they have today.

Adeptus
08-13-14, 04:19 AM
Lots of great comments here. Am enjoying the thread.


There are two great destroyers of jobs in the US, off-shoring and automation. I would argue that off-shoring is largely driven by computerization and is simply a sub-set of the automation issue.

I'd agree with your first statement, but not the second. Off-shoring to china was not driven by computerization, but rather much cheaper labour. Sure, they have all kinds of advanced factories there (i.e. foxconn), but these were created because overall operational costs were cheaper there - most of which are comprised of labour. In other words, it was the cheap labour that allowed for the move and setup of the advanced computerized factories, not the other way around.

Due to bitcoin related research, I've recently learned that PCB (printed circuit board) manufacturing for medium to large volume sales all went to China. I thought it was a near fully automated robotic process, but it turns out (VIDEO) its actually still a very labour intensive process (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIV0icM_Ujo) (look at all the humans!) despite a lot of processes having been automated in the past 2 decades. Much if it has to do with the sheer number of options in how it can be made (size, # of layers, types of holes/vias, material type for operational environment/temperature, type and quantity of metalic elements, countless finishing options, countless chemical baths along the way, etc) combined with human inspections required along the way for nearly every step, to say nothing that each robot/machine requires a human standing by to perform some task unique to that PCB - and that's just the bare PCB. The "assembly" of 'doo-dads' (i.e. capacitors, oscillators, chips, resistors, etc) onto the bare PCB is a whole other sector of the industry (VIDEO) with its own complexities and humans (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8unH7T6ONMM) (look at all the humans!) required, despite also including massive amounts of automation.

According to this future projection graph which extrapolates a 17%/yr Chinese Wage growth (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-s1O_FRvzhlw/Tr6kpznKH2I/AAAAAAAAQNk/w1h30CdfmKY/s1600/china.jpg), we get the following result:
http://i.imgur.com/LW9cv8e.jpg

At some point before the two lines touch, manufacturing will be offshored to the next cheapest country - Somewhere in Africa or other East Asian countr(ies)? I guess it depends on sector and what is being offshored - telemarketing? design? production? assembly? post-sales support? Either way, my point again is that the decline of many labour related jobs is not due to advancement in robots that can replace humans, but that cheaper 3rd world labour humans continue to replace 1st world humans:

http://i.imgur.com/p2LtZ83.jpg


Now, to play devil's advocate, my borrowed theory will break hard in the near (10-40 years?) future once we hit the theorized 'Technological Singularity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity)' of AI. That is, not when machines find their ghost or acquire one, but when their synthetic intelligence achievable by not-yet-existent *real* quantum computers that provide it its immense processing power, allow a machine's 'brain' power to exceed not only that of a human, but that of all humans on Earth combined. At that point, the AI machine(s) create exponential advancements such that in a mere year or two (or less) we enter into a Star Trek Economics (https://medium.com/@RickWebb/the-economics-of-star-trek-29bab88d50) situation whereby technological advancements not only replace nearly all hard labour, but also consumption can be endless at no cost and every human is free to do as they wish with their entire live's worth of free time.... or all hell breaks loose!... As per the recent hollywood thriller:

Transcendence Official Trailer #1 (2014) - Johnny Depp Sci-Fi Movie HD


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCTen3-B8GU

PS. I don't buy for 1 second the idea that consciousness can be transferred to a machine, that aside, the movie is not bad.

touchring
08-13-14, 04:39 AM
Another automation that will destroy many jobs, higher end professional and managerial jobs, not $1 per hour factory, is Cloud computing and Cloud services. Even coders that program Cloud services will become redundant in a matter of time, as when the code is mature, fewer people are needed to maintain code.

A factory worker can become a waiter working in a restaurant or train to become a call center operator. But people holding onto the higher end jobs will find it most difficult to switch career.

Fox
08-13-14, 12:39 PM
Ok, I'm just going to skip all that as you guys missed the point entirely and are debating your previous arguments and not mine. Have any of you watched Wall-E?

I did not say "Technology destroys jobs and we're all going to be poor"

Mine point in very simple black and white terms is "When Technology replaces someone's job, that person should NO LONGER NEED to work"

Technology improvements frees up human labour so we can pursue other endeavors. This should appear as the cost of living (a proxy for the demand on your time to meet your needs) dropping, and thus REDUCING your need to actually work; because a machine is doing the work for you. However despite the highest and most efficient use of human labour in history we now have to work longer/harder than we use to.

True leisure time and prosperity has been steadily increasing since the industrial revolution. However between the "Space Age" and the "Information Age" we went from 1 income family with little debt to maintain a standard of living to 2 income families, live at home adult children, multi generational homes, and lots of debt to maintain a standard of living.

Why hasn't production gains from technology allowed us to at least live/work as before to maintain our standard of living? (let alone the slow decline we have today)

My feeling is that Central banks, and capitalist oligarchs have created a "skim" off the top of these labour improvements. During the days of the baby boom this skim was easily fed by a growing population. However now the worm of population growth is turning and the Skim has grown proportional larger against the now declining working population. The result is that technology improvements AND our labour increases are now going to feed the Skim (manifested as increased inflation, debt, and taxes, on reduced wages).

The truth is we actually need robots and technology to care for people in our inverted age pyramid as well to become more efficient in a time of declining per capita resources. However the current economic structure means we, the actual workers, will receive only as much benefit as necessary to keep us placated; TPTB on the other hand will gain everything else.

dcarrigg
08-13-14, 05:50 PM
Now, to play devil's advocate, my borrowed theory will break hard in the near (10-40 years?) future once we hit the theorized 'Technological Singularity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity)' of AI.

I'd bet that the Second Coming of Christ will happen before the "Technological Singularity" A.K.A. Nerd Rapture.

Strong AI requires a ghost from the machine before 'the singularity.'

Like I said, all the transistors and processing power in the world != intelligence or conscious thought. Even quantum computers. It's not the same thing. They don't think on their own. They're not going to start any time soon. At MIT they've been trying to get even a flatworm-level understanding of how this works for decades. They're not done yet.

This idea that Moore's Law -> Thinking Machines -> the plot for Terminator is absolutely insane to me. But then again, it comes from a man who says he's going to live forever and pops hundreds of untested pills per day to try to do so.

But here's what I really think:

Transhumanism is a cult, Kurzweil is their prophet, and the Singularity is their millenarian motivator.

Heaven's Gate - the white Nikes and mass-suicide by Kool-Aid guys - were also transhumanists who thought they could download their consciousness and live forever. In fact, everything Kurzweil has been saying is ripped almost directly from their playbook.

dcarrigg
08-13-14, 07:38 PM
I don't know Fox. Every anthropologist I know says there was more leisure time in the past. More people = more resource consumption is part of the equation. The cost of living doesn't go down if the cost of heat and land stays high. And they're not making new cheap oil or land.

But aside from that, it's partially a choice. Law sets up the work environment. People getting money for nothing but leisure are reviled. So it goes. You're right about TPTB, but not how. Give labor less of the pie; keep more for capital. That's the gameplan. It's as old as the day is long.

lektrode
08-15-14, 01:16 PM
heres the 'new economy' cheerleading section's take on the sitch:

What Today's Economic Gloomsayers Are Missing (http://online.wsj.com/articles/joel-mokyr-what-todays-economic-gloomsayers-are-missing-1407536487)


Science is enabling invention like never before and in ways that will improve life but isn't captured by GDP statistics.



By Joel Mokyr


Updated Aug. 8, 2014 6:22 p.m. ET
There is nothing like a recession to throw economists into a despondent mood. Much as happened in the late 1930s—when there was a fear of so-called secular stagnation, or the absence of growth due to a dearth of investment opportunities—many of my colleagues these days seem to believe that "sad days are here again." The economic growth experienced through much of the 20th century, they tell us, was fleeting. Our children will be no richer than we are. The entry of millions of married women into the workforce and the huge increase in college graduates that drove post-1945 growth were one-off boons. Slow growth is here to stay.
What is wrong with this story? The one-word answer is "technology." The responsibility of economic historians is to remind the world what things were like before 1800. Growth was imperceptibly slow, and the vast bulk of the population was so poor that a harvest failure would kill millions. Almost half the babies born died before reaching age 5, and those who made it to adulthood were often stunted, ill and illiterate.
What changed this world was technological progress. Starting in the late 18th century, innovations and advances in what was then called "the useful arts" began improving life, first in Britain, then in the rest of Europe, and then in much of the rest of the world.


Why did it happen? In brief: Science advanced. One reason science advanced so rapidly is that technology provided the tools and instruments that allowed "natural philosophers" (as they were known then) to study the physical world. An example is the barometer. Invented by a student of Galileo's named Torricelli in 1643, it showed the existence of atmospheric pressure. That scientific insight spurred the development of the first steam engines (known as atmospheric engines).
In 1800 another Italian, Alessandro Volta, invented the "pile"—the first battery. It served primarily as a tool for chemical research, allowing chemists to map out the newly discovered world of elements and compounds that unleashed the chemical industries of the 19th century.
In that fashion technology pulled itself up by its bootstraps: An invention in one area stimulated progress in another. The germ theory of disease and the subsequent revolution in medical technology might never have occurred without improved microscopes.
Compared with the tools we have today for scientific research, Galileo's look like stone axes. We have far better microscopes and telescopes and barometers today, and the digital codification of information has penetrated every aspect of science. It has led to the reinvention of invention. Words like "IT" or "communications" don't begin to express the scope of the change. Huge searchable databanks, quantum chemistry simulation and highly complex statistical analysis are only some of the tools that the digital age places at science's disposal.
The consequences are everywhere, from molecular genetics to nanoscience to research in Medieval poetry. Quantum computers, though still experimental, promise to increase this power by orders of magnitude. As science moves into new areas and solves problems that were not even imagined, inventors, engineers and entrepreneurs are waiting in the wings to design new gizmos and processes based on the new discoveries that will continue to improve our lives.
In the speculation on what the new technologies will look like and do, robots and artificial intelligence remain front and center, at once wished for (who likes making beds?) and feared as job-killers. We haven't seen a fraction of what is possible in information and communication technology. But the most unexpected advances may come from less glamorous corners, such as material science.
Materials are the core of our production. The terms Bronze and Iron Ages signify their importance; the great era of technological progress between 1870 and 1914 was wholly dependent on cheap and ever-better steel. But what is happening to materials now is a leap far beyond any of the past, with new resins, ceramics and entirely new solids designed in silico, (that is, on a computer) developed at the nanotechnological level. These promise materials that nature never dreamed of and that deliver custom-ordered properties in hardness, resilience, elasticity and so on.
One example is graphene, a sheet of very thin carbon whose molecules can be arranged to make it either the strongest or the most flexible material on earth. It conducts electricity and heat better than any material ever discovered. In the future graphene is likely to replace silicon in transistors, solar cells and other applications we cannot yet imagine.
Genetic modification is another area of expanding frontiers. Plants will be designed to fix nitrates in the soil or to absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and that can adapt to more extreme temperatures and rainfall. These could be our best defense against environmental degradation, climate change and other nasty side effects of earlier, cruder agricultural techniques. "Nanobombs" that physically penetrate bacterial membranes are the next weapon in mankind's never-ending war on microbes.
The breakthroughs are not "on the horizon." They are here. The economy may be facing some headwinds, but the technological tailwind is more like a tornado. Fasten your seat belts.
So: If everything is so good, why is everything so bad? Why the gloominess of so many of my colleagues? Part of the story is that economists are trained to look at aggregate statistics like GDP per capita and measure for things like "factor productivity." These measures were designed for a steel-and-wheat economy, not one in which information and data are the most dynamic sectors. They mismeasure the contributions of innovation to the economy.
Many new goods and services are expensive to design, but once they work, they can be copied at very low or zero cost. That means they tend to contribute little to measured output even if their impact on consumer welfare is very large. Economic assessment based on aggregates such as gross domestic product will become increasingly misleading, as innovation accelerates. Dealing with altogether new goods and services was not what these numbers were designed for, despite heroic efforts by Bureau of Labor Statistics statisticians.

The aggregate statistics miss most of what is interesting. Here is one example: If telecommuting or driverless cars were to cut the average time Americans spend commuting in half, it would not show up in the national income accounts—but it would make millions of Americans substantially better off.

Technology is not our enemy. It is our best hope. If you think rapid technological change is undesirable, try secular stagnation.

Mr. Mokyr is professor of economics and history at Northwestern University. His most recent book is "The Enlightened Economy: An Economic History of Britain 1700-1850" (Yale, 2012)."

EJ
08-15-14, 07:49 PM
My work has over the past decades placed me on several occasions among experts in robotics and machine vision. The intersection of automation and economics interests me.

While this does not make me an expert by any means, I can say without hesitation that hamburger making robots are not The Next Industrial Revolution, as the Momentum Machines ludicrously claims, nor do these robots present a serious challenge to low-skill physical labor. It is high skill physical labor that has the most to fear from automation.

McDonalds sank millions into similar robots before decided that the humans were cheaper and more flexible to provide the full variety of food items they serve, and frequent changes to the menu to keep up with evolving consumer tastes. Momentum Machines' mission to "democratize access to high quality food by making it available to the masses" is as foolish as the value proposition of an expensive robot that can only create variations on a single food item. Only in California could such an idea get funded. It will fail and be forgotten within a year. Then it will pop up again in five to ten years and get the same breathless coverage all over again as if it never happened before, such is the rigorous standard of research done by the tech media.

The introduction of robots that perform low-skilled or semi-skilled tasks better than humans -- faster, more accurately, and without tiring or getting bored -- has always raised concerns among reasonably sympathetic persons who are inclined to worry that low-skilled labor will eventually be made irrelevant by robots. But building robots that replace people is an expensive proposition. Often letting the humans do it is more economical.

Some apparently semi-skilled tasks turn out to be harder than they look, as many shoppers learned when they first tryied to check themselves out of a store at an self-checkout machine.

Others, such as repetitive assembly line work, lend themselves to automation by robots, and a robotic solution that works at one site can be minimally altered to work well at others; the market for the robots is scalable and so the investment in developing the robotic system is likely to pay off.

But the most promising advances in robotics are arriving from combinations of machine vision, tactile sensing, and high speed motion. The result is robots that can perform tasks as no human can.


<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/-KxjVlaLBmk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Combine the capabilities of the robotic assemblies ertainly within 20 years robots will perform highly complex tasks, such as common surgeries. Consider a robotic system that can perform an appendectomy in 15 minutes versus one or two hours, or a tumor biopsy or a colonoscopy in minutes.

Maybe it isn't the low-wage, low-skill worker who has the most to fear from robots in the long run. The savings that can be achieved by automation at the low end of the skill-set curve is marginal compared to the savings at the high end. It is the ultra-expensive, high-skill worker, such as the surgeon, who along with the rest of the support staff and equipment charge $147 per minute for the service, who is more likely to be replaced by a robot that costs a few dollars per hour in amortized purchase and maintenance costs. That robot will save a lot more money than a hamburger robot, and that's the point of creating a robot in the first place.

Thailandnotes
08-16-14, 05:24 AM
the meme
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU#t=887

Thailandnotes
08-16-14, 05:25 AM
posted twice

Polish_Silver
08-16-14, 08:27 AM
My work has over the past decades placed me on several occasions among experts in robotics and machine vision. The intersection of automation and economics interests me.


Others, such as repetitive assembly line work, lend themselves to automation by robots, and a robotic solution that works at one site can be minimally altered to work well at others;

Maybe it isn't the low-wage, low-skill worker who has the most to fear from robots in the long run. T. It is the ultra-expensive, high-skill worker, such as the surgeon, . . ..

This process is already well along (http://www.intuitivesurgical.com/).

However, in electronics, the assembly line paradigm has proved very powerful in eliminating low/medium skill jobs.
The jobs not eliminated have been the high skill ones: circuit design, process engineers, software engineers, test engineers.

The question to ask is, does this task really require human thinking? I suspect that robotic surgery will make each human surgeon more efficient, so that he can do 10 operations/day instead of 2. That could reduce the total number of surgeons needed.

Shakespear
08-16-14, 08:50 AM
Well I am may not see the full fruits of this work (I hope), but this one gives me the shivers.

http://www.eecs.harvard.edu/ssr/projects/progSA/kilobot.html

In current robotics research there is a vast body of work on algorithms and control methods for groups of decentralized cooperating robots, called a swarm or collective. These algorithms are generally meant to control collectives of hundreds or even thousands of robots; however, for reasons of cost, time, or complexity, they are generally validated in simulation only, or on a group of a few 10s of robots. To address this issue, we designed the Kilobot, a low-cost robot designed to make testing collective algorithms on hundreds or thousands ("kilos") of robots accessible to robotics researchers. Each robot has the basic capabilities required for a swarm robot, but is made with low-cost parts, and is mostly assembled by an automated process. In addition, the system design allows a single user to easily and scalably operate a large Kilobot collective, such as programming, powering on, and charging all robots. systems.
"cooperating robots, called a swarm or collective", like Swarm of Killer Bees or a Commie Collective ala Soviet Union ? ;_FP

Southernguy
08-16-14, 09:56 AM
"Consider a robotic system that can perform an appendectomy in 15 minutes versus one or two hours, or a tumor biopsy or a colonoscopy in minutes. "
Used to be a general surgeon long time ago. I could perform and appendectomy (provided lean patient with a normal abdominal wall) in about 20 minutes. And I was no exceptional guy by any means.
Surgery is not only about technical skills. Is medicine, and medicine is about human empathy. While the techical aspects of the profession are important there shall always be a need for the human intercourse which is essential part of the game.
Technology is changing much of medical diagnostis and treatment. Laparoscopic surgery is proof of that. But, and maybe I am an old dinosaur, there shall not be a substitution of man by machine here.

Polish_Silver
08-16-14, 10:07 AM
Hogwash. The robots will take all our jobs future is nonsense propagated by the transhumanist cult.
the "Personal Digital Assistant" that was supposed to get rid of all the secretaries 20 years ago.




Engineering departments employ a small fraction of the clerical staff that they used to. The few remaining are greatly enhanced by word processors, spread sheets, printers. The number of secretaries needed has gone way down.

Ghent12
08-16-14, 10:42 AM
Engineering departments employ a small fraction of the clerical staff that they used to. The few remaining are greatly enhanced by word processors, spread sheets, printers. The number of secretaries needed has gone way down.
A shift in the labor force of a certain industry due to technological advances doesn't provide strong evidence that technology displaces all jobs of a certain type, leave alone all jobs of a certain skill level. Engineering departments may have shed their administrative payrolls a bit, but I'll wager that dozens of other industries were able to capitalize and bulk up their administrative profiles due to the increased productivity of such laborers thanks to technology. The Jevons Paradox generally applies to labor just as it does to all other resources.

As for the "need" for surgeons decreasing, I doubt that will ever happen. If surgeons are made vastly more productive due to technology, then more patients can be served more cheaply. Additionally, surgeons might have time to expand their specialties and skill sets.

Polish_Silver
08-16-14, 12:15 PM
"Consider a robotic system that can perform an appendectomy in 15 minutes versus one or two hours, or a tumor biopsy or a colonoscopy in minutes. "
Used to be a general surgeon long time ago. I could perform and appendectomy (provided lean patient with a normal abdominal wall) in about 20 minutes. And I was no exceptional guy by any means.
Surgery is not only about technical skills. Is medicine, and medicine is about human empathy. While the techical aspects of the profession are important there shall always be a need for the human intercourse which is essential part of the game.
Technology is changing much of medical diagnostis and treatment. Laparoscopic surgery is proof of that. But, and maybe I am an old dinosaur, there shall not be a substitution of man by machine here.


I think the need for empathy varies greatly with the patient and the medical problem. I also wonder if you need medical school
and exhorbitant fees to offer empathy to the patient.

seobook
08-16-14, 02:23 PM
Some apparently semi-skilled tasks turn out to be harder than they look, as many shoppers learned when they first tryied to check themselves out of a store at an self-checkout machine.
...
Maybe it isn't the low-wage, low-skill worker who has the most to fear from robots in the long run. The savings that can be achieved by automation at the low end of the skill-set curve is marginal compared to the savings at the high end. It is the ultra-expensive, high-skill worker, such as the surgeon, who along with the rest of the support staff and equipment charge $147 per minute for the service, who is more likely to be replaced by a robot that costs a few dollars per hour in amortized purchase and maintenance costs. That robot will save a lot more money than a hamburger robot, and that's the point of creating a robot in the first place.
It seems almost every time you post something counter-meme like this, there's a confirming news headline the following day which I run into without even actively seeking it out :)
http://online.wsj.com/articles/wal-mart-pledges-to-staff-checkout-lanes-during-holidays-1408112765

In an attempt to lure more customers this holiday season, Wal-Mart Stores (http://quotes.wsj.com/WMT) Inc. is promising to staff each of its cash register from the day after Thanksgiving through the days just before Christmas during peak shopping times.

The move, called the "checkout promise," is aimed at addressing one of the retailer's biggest customer complaints: long waits in checkout lines, which can cause even more frustration when positions aren't fully staffed.

lektrode
08-16-14, 02:28 PM
....
...
McDonalds sank millions into similar robots before decided that the humans were cheaper and more flexible to provide the full variety of food items they serve, and frequent changes to the menu to keep up with evolving consumer tastes. Momentum Machines' mission to "democratize access to high quality food by making it available to the masses" is as foolish as the value proposition of an expensive robot that can only create variations on a single food item. Only in California could such an idea get funded. It will fail and be forgotten within a year......
...
..
Some apparently semi-skilled tasks turn out to be harder than they look, as many shoppers learned when they first tryied to check themselves out of a store at an self-checkout machine.
...



well.. i can think of at least one other state, where even goofier things get showered with taxpayer funding...

but looks like even big bad wallyworld has figured this out:

Wal-Mart Brings Back Human Cashiers (http://www.bidnessetc.com/24245-walmart-brings-back-human-cashiers/)


Wal-Mart promised customers that it will bring back human cashiers to all its cash registers for a limited time, to curtail the long waits at its checkout lines

<time datetime="2014-08-16 12:19:51"> Published: August 16, 2014 at 12:19 pm EST</time>By: George Zack (http://www.bidnessetc.com/authors/george-zack/)
Click Ticker to See live coverage

WMT (http://www.bidnessetc.com/company/wmt/)
TGT (http://www.bidnessetc.com/company/tgt/)
DLTR (http://www.bidnessetc.com/company/dltr/)
DG (http://www.bidnessetc.com/company/dg/)


Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT (http://www.bidnessetc.com/company/wmt/)) said it will reduce customers’ waiting time at checkout lines by staffing all its cash registers. The all-staffing promise, which can vary by store, will generally be applicable in the time after Thanksgiving and before Christmas, and for weekend afternoons only.

Previously, Walmart replaced some of its staffed cash registers with automated checkout systems in an attempt to cut down labour costs. However, the measure led to huge checkout lines at staffed checkout counters, exacerbated by customers who sought to use discount coupons or price matching.

In order to resolve these complaints, the company made the checkout promise, to win back its lost customers by providing them an opportunity to get in and out of its giant stores quickly.

The long wait at Walmart’s super shopping centres has been a major reason for the shift in consumer spending toward smaller stores such as Dollar Tree, Inc. (DLTR (http://www.bidnessetc.com/company/dltr/)) and Dollar General Corp. (DG (http://www.bidnessetc.com/company/dg/)). These small stores – known as Neighborhood market stores – are more convenient as they allow customers to shop quickly.

For this reason, Walmart opened 22 Neighborhood market stores in the last quarter, and plans to open 180 to 200 more by the end of current fiscal year. The shifting trend is further highlighted by the fact that for the second quarter, the company posted flat growth in comparable store sales (comps) for Sam’s Club and Walmart US. However, comps at its Neighborhood market stores surged 5.6% from the previous quarter.

Furthermore, the company’s checkout promise is another attempt to attract more customer traffic amid declining soft retail sales and lower consumer spending. The retail sales for July were flat month-over-month (MoM), missing analysts’ estimate of 0.2% growth.

Target Corporation (TGT (http://www.bidnessetc.com/company/tgt/)), Walmart’s major competitor, made a similar attempt to increase customer traffic to its stores, extending its closing hours by an hour. Its stores will now remain open till 10 pm or 11 pm on Sundays, while for the rest of the week days, they will remain open till 11 pm or Midnight.

lektrode
08-16-14, 02:33 PM
It seems almost every time you post something counter-meme like this, there's a confirming news headline the following day which I run into without even actively seeking it out :)
http://online.wsj.com/articles/wal-mart-pledges-to-staff-checkout-lanes-during-holidays-1408112765

+1
;)

vt
08-16-14, 06:48 PM
This is how they will mollify the masses:

http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/188047-by-2025-sexbots-will-be-commonplace-which-is-just-fine-as-well-all-be-unemployed-and-bored-thanks-to-robots-stealing-our-jobs

Shakespear
08-17-14, 02:28 PM
"Today there's no legislation regarding how much intelligence a machine can have, how interconnected it can be. If that continues, look at the exponential trend. We will reach the singularity in the timeframe most experts predict. From that point on you're going to see that the top species will no longer be humans, but machines."

These are the words of Louis Del Monte, physicist, entrepreneur, and author of "The Artificial Intelligence Revolution (http://www.amazon.com/Artificial-Intelligence-Revolution-Serve-Replace-ebook/dp/B00K1PNIR6)." Del Monte spoke to us over the phone about his thoughts surrounding artificial intelligence and the singularity, an indeterminate point in the future when machine intelligence will outmatch not only your own intelligence, but the world's combined human intelligence too.The average estimate for when this will happen is 2040, though Del Monte says it might be as late as 2045. Either way, it's a timeframe of within three decades.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/louis-del-monte-interview-on-the-singularity-2014-7#ixzz3AfgyxNiA

But I don't buy this one.


most of the human race will have more leisure time, and we'll think we've never had it better.

Polish_Silver
08-17-14, 04:33 PM
A shift in the labor force of a certain industry due to technological advances doesn't provide strong evidence that technology displaces all jobs of a certain type, leave alone all jobs of a certain skill level. Engineering departments may have shed their administrative payrolls a bit, but I'll wager that dozens of other industries were able to capitalize and bulk up their administrative profiles due to the increased productivity of such laborers thanks to technology. The Jevons Paradox generally applies to labor just as it does to all other resources.

As for the "need" for surgeons decreasing, I doubt that will ever happen. If surgeons are made vastly more productive due to technology, then more patients can be served more cheaply. Additionally, surgeons might have time to expand their specialties and skill sets.

To some extent this is true. But look at the labor market now. How many openings for unskilled or semiskilled workers do you see?
and how many of these are the type of work that prepares employees for higher skill work later on?

DSpencer
08-18-14, 10:32 AM
the meme
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU#t=887

Haven't watched the whole video, but I couldn't get over this line about automated checkout registers:

"What used to be 30 humans is now 1 human overseeing 30 cashier robots"

Has anyone ever seen a situation even remotely approaching this? The typical setup I encounter is more like 1 human overseeing 4 robot cashiers. And often times it is only 2-3 because some are down for maintenance.

sutro
08-18-14, 10:37 AM
Haven't watched the whole video, but I couldn't get over this line about automated checkout registers:

"What used to be 30 humans is now 1 human overseeing 30 cashier robots"

Has anyone ever seen a situation even remotely approaching this? The typical setup I encounter is more like 1 human overseeing 4 robot cashiers. And often times it is only 2-3 because some are down for maintenance.

I agree for Safeway seems to only have 6 or 8 self-checkout statons per human in my area.

seobook
08-18-14, 10:51 AM
I agree for Safeway seems to only have 6 or 8 self-checkout statons per human in my area.

They have 6 in our area. Typically one is down for maintenance. Then of the remaining 5, there's usually at least one open due to the manager & people in line not paying attention to see there is an open slot. So really that takes you from 6 to 4. And if people have more than just a couple items they are way slower than a cashier for a couple reasons:


they may not know the codes for items / may need to look them up
they might have issues trying to scan coupons
the machines kick errors for item weight shifts on the scale part, and tell the person to wait for the cashier
people who are stacking up the groceries themselves are more likely to make errors like dropping / breaking eggs
a person using a traditional checkout can bag up their groceries, enter their store loyalty card number, and swipe their credit card while the cashier runs things through


Given all the above, there's no way that the efficiency of the end customers is even half the efficiency of a regular cashier & it is probably closer to maybe 25% to 33%. If it is 33% then the overall set up would only be 50% more efficient than a typical checkout (ignoring the cost of the equipment, maintanence of 6 rather than 1, higher break rate with lesser skilled users, using 3 checkout lines worth of space, etc). If it is 25% then the average work output would be flat against a single cashier (ignoring the cost of the machines and that they are taking up 3 checkout lanes worth of space rather than one).

flintlock
08-18-14, 12:05 PM
Hey, Just back from vacation and getting caught up on things.

I'm not sure if anyone has hit on this angle, but as it turns out I just went through this whole "Robots destroying jobs" thought argument the other day while watching Wall-E. Its social commentary about sloth and consumerism aside, it does raise this question at the logical extreme. If robots did everything so all goods and services are free, why would you need a job anyways?

Now, of course goods can never be produced for free, however, massive automation can produce goods and services very cheaply. So again, What is wrong with cheap goods? Yes it means less manual labor jobs, but when all goods and services are very cheap, how much of a job do you need?

The fact is, you don't. If the cost of living is reduced to $5,000 a year or less, you can work a part time job and have the rest of the time for leisure. This was premiss for the whole "work 3 days a week future" they envisioned back in the 50s and 60s.

However all the automation and mechanization we have today has not brought us that future. Why? Because all of this is EXTREMELY deflationary. And Deflation is unacceptable in today's world of Central bank controlled economy. So our daily reality of the average person working harder and affording less despite productivity at unprecedented levels in human history is because, the FED is forcing inflation down our throats in a naturally deflationary point of human social and technological history.

The end result is while we and our robots work harder, Inflation devalues the increase in productivity so we have to work more to afford less.

If we had a 0% inflation policy with true economic statistics (ie a defacto gold standard without having to deal with gold) then you would see that robots and productivity improvements area a good thing.

But that also means governments have to accept their insolvency and TPTB will have to accept less power; and that will never happen. And so robots will become our imprisoning masters and not our liberating servants.

That's it in a nutshell.

Also some people are too hung up on the "work ethic" thing to realize that there are more ways to contribute than by just earning a big paycheck. Some see working anything less than a 60 hour week as some sort of moral degeneration. Maybe if people could work less they could become better parents, happier and less stressed. Maybe they wouldn't have to ship their kids off to daycare and govt schools to get their values instilled. Maybe people would have more time to take better care of themselves, exercise, and actually cook decent meals instead of hitting the drive-thru. Then again, maybe they won't!;_CC
I can see how we are going to run out of WORTHWHILE full time jobs for everyone. Others believe the conspicuous consumption economy will fill the gap. But is that really a good solution?

Polish_Silver
08-18-14, 12:12 PM
Long ago I built and sold a company that did just this, get rid of secretaries. It's not how we billed ourselves but that is what we accomplished. We were on the leading edge in Los Angeles but others accomplished the same feat in every major city in the US at about the same time. The majority of secretaries in the legal profession were gone in less than a decade. The thesis in this post is correct. Most people will not be employable in the future.

"most people" is far too strong. Certain types of employment have been made obsolete, or reduced by technology. Law firms still employ secretaries, but their responsibilities are rather different. I agree that "finding work" will be more and more problematic as time goes on, but "most people" will still be employed. There is so much that computers cannot do, such as THINK.

I'd like to see my desktop go a single day without a crash.

flintlock
08-18-14, 12:21 PM
As a society, we've been having this "machines will replace us!!!" argument for centuries. We're all still chugging along just fine.

Depends who you are talking about and what you consider "just fine". YOU and I may be chugging along just fine. A quick look at the welfare rolls and the number of people crossing our borders tells me not everyone is. Machines will not replace humans, just the military and economic need for so many.

flintlock
08-18-14, 12:43 PM
Love the perpetual growth/ let them eat cake argument. "Why doesn't everyone just go out and get an MBA? Problem solved!";]]All economic theory goes out the window in a welfare state with wide open borders. A quick look at Ferguson, MO will give a glance into the Utopian dreamers reality. It doesn't work. People can come here faster than you can find a "high tech job" for them. And the workers they displace vote you know? We continue to ignore the burgeoning "underclass" at our own peril. Enjoy your attempts at capitalism under your newly elected hard line Socialist leaders. ))O Don't kill the messenger. I certainly am not anti-technology. Just pointing out a lack of technology is not our most pressing problem and tech is not the answer to all future problems.

flintlock
08-18-14, 01:00 PM
I am in full agreement here

Like Asimov's robot novels with a whole planet of robot plantations with 1 plantation owner and 5 thousands robots- what's the point a person ? I suppose plenty of time to contemplate your Belly button on the issue.

Of course there are the warehouse robots.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWsMdN7HMuA

http://money.cnn.com/2014/05/22/technology/amazon-robots/

http://www.wimp.com/kivarobots/

Plenty of jobs are being replaced daily, locally there are no more electric meter readers as it is read remotely and if you have not paid your bill they even disconnect you by remote. In many professions you can see the writing on the wall as in do we even need 90% of the postal employees ? or can the business of mail sorting/delivery be mostly automated as in the warehouse video?

I believe this is the government motivation/drive for socialization of the economy as what do you do with all the employment slack or unemployed people? I know the response is that they will employed in "Tech" jobs however I think the idea is limited, most of the forum members here are probably high IQ types and see a tech or STEM job as no problem but to make a point here is that if you think of the average person and then recognize that 50% of the population is below that a tech replacement job is a stretch.

Additionally in my travels to third world countries with no means of wealth production as in manufacturing, mining or export of raw materials, food production etc. they are minimalist service economies as there is no wealth available to support the services. I think today we are mostly a third world type service economy here in the developed world we just don't recognize it yet I see the signs every where.

For example I recently had a procedure done at local Yale New Haven hospital and in my overnight stay I was walking the floor at 2 am with a bad reaction to some medication. In my little walk over a couple of hours I noted 9/10 employees on duty but only a couple seemed busy the rest were having water cooler discussions and surfing the Internet.

In a recent Zerohedge article it was noted that since about 1980(?) US population increased approx 50% but hospital(&college employment) staffing in the same period increased 80%. So while the private economy had significant productivity increases the slack in labor was at least partially absorbed by government subsidy.

This for me is reminiscent of one experience where I spent 4 hours going through customs in Egypt as I had to processed by about 20 customs agents, not that they truly needed that many but they had a job and a pension but basically it was all make work otherwise they would have no job at all. My waiter at the Hotel was an engineer and as the economy was below the threshold for wealth creation there were no engineering jobs> This is what a service economy looks like.

Minus government subsidy (+deficit spending) there is a natural unemployment rate to all this and I would not be surprised if it was more like a 30% third world rate.



As far as the ghost in the machine it probably does not matter much if you don't know the difference if there is a conscious soul there or not, 20 years ago they fooled nobody This year they fooled 30% ten years from now perhaps 50%? thirty years 90%?

http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/has-the-turing-test-really-been-passed-20140710-zt2h3.html


You could be talking to one now. Perhaps I am a chatbot;_CC

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140609-how-online-bots-are-tricking-you

You are spot on. The well educated nature of this forum shows itself in threads like this one. Many just cannot get their heads around the fact that there are HUGE numbers of people in this country who simply cannot (or are not willing) to perform complex jobs. The White collar/blue collar gulf is as large as ever and I'm thinking many members simply cannot relate to the reality anymore. Well I live in both worlds and believe me, I have a hard time finding people who can do the most basic chore. I'm an electrical contractor and if a lot of you knew how crappy the wiring job was in your homes you'd move. A combination of low education and poor motivation has meant a huge decline in the quality of work in the last 20 years. And these are considered the "good paying" jobs!;_CCCan't imagine the training/education level of those making less! Yet we are to believe they will be repairing robots soon? Maybe it's their own fault, but that does not change the fact that ever stronger competition for low paying jobs is not likely to change this trend. The fact is, some will do better, some will do worse in the future. The problem comes when those doing worse don't sit idly by and come for yours too.

flintlock
08-18-14, 01:06 PM
Many good posts here and things to consider.

I can add this. I work at a fortune 500 company that employs lots of low wage, low skill labor.
I work in the "robot" department trying to either make employees more productive (reducing the labor costs) or replacing them. We have replacements for people but so far, they have been too costly to do the job. You can buy a lot of labor for a 500K robot. And the person is a bit more flexible than the one task robot. However .... the recent push for moving the minimum wage from about 8.00 an hr to 15.00 per hour will re-evaluate uses of automation at our company. Some of these jobs will be eliminated.

Yes, you have to look at this subject in relation to the political environment its in, not in a bubble like the economic theorists like to do.

flintlock
08-18-14, 01:08 PM
Without getting too much into Malthusian nonsense, I will say that the demand for certain types of labor has certainly changed due to the human discovery of mechanization, but that doesn't render any person superfluous in the slightest. There is always work to be done, and people willing to trade for that work to be done. It's as simple as that. The reason why people can survive and in some cases "thrive" (by their own standards anyways) while doing no productive work is because that option was offered to everyone and some people took that deal as offered. A stereotypical welfare queen is not superfluous to the labor force, but merely a human niche-filler who made a decision to survive in a circumstance offered to her.

The welfare state is not at all what keeps us from the middle ages. That is utterly ridiculous. The welfare state is a political tool designed to corral political power from people and concentrate it, and so long as one person has one vote (legally speaking), the welfare state will continue to be an effective tool to harness political power. If the rules of political power were to change (i.e. less democratic, which could be very good or very, very bad, depending on numerous factors), the welfare state could vanish overnight. Politicians do things useful to politicians. Political players do things useful to political players. It's as simple as that.

Agreed. Just don't bitch about your taxes or when your home gets burglarized.;_TU

wayiwalk
08-18-14, 03:59 PM
I know I made these comments before on these boards, butthey do apply to this discussion.<o:p></o:p>
I’m definitely seeing the idea of only a limited few beingable to find jobs. In my industry(environmental consulting), which isn’t a growth industry but is a matureindustry with limited growth in the last 5 years (for our company), I recently reviewedresumes to replace a junior engineer who was leaving to go to grad school.

Our HR prescreens the resumes, the ones Ilooked at (8 in all) were all well qualified, and academically, superb(cumulative averages above 3.0, with three of them above a 3.5). We interviewedthem, and I narrowed my list down to 3 excellent candidates, and unfortunatelycould only hire one. This was in earlyJuly, when graduates that (at least on paper) look this good usually alreadyhave jobs lined up.

This was absolutelycrazy. What will the other kids do? It really sucks for our youth, and in thissmall sample group, some really terrific kids who worked hard in middle school,high school, through college, and for what?

I know, they need to keep trying, something comes up. I only hope they aren't carrying much in terms of student loans.

wayiwalk
08-18-14, 04:06 PM
I know I made these comments before on these boards, but they do apply to this discussion.

I’m definitely seeing the idea of only a limited few being able to find jobs. In my industry(environmental consulting), which isn’t a growth industry but is a mature industry with limited growth in the last 5 years (for our company), I recently reviewed resumes to replace a junior engineer who was leaving to go to grad school.

Our HR prescreens the resumes, the graduates I looked at (8 in all) were all well qualified, and academically, superb(cumulative averages above 3.0, with three of them above a 3.5). We interviewed them, and I narrowed my list down to 3 excellent candidates, and unfortunately could only hire one. This was in early July, when graduates that (at least on paper) look this good usually already have jobs lined up.

This was absolutely crazy. What will the other kids do? It really sucks for our youth, and in this small sample group, some really terrific kids who worked hard in middle school,high school, through college, and for what?

I know, they need to keep trying, something comes up. I only hope they aren't carrying much in terms of student loans.

LazyBoy
08-18-14, 04:46 PM
At the current rates of work/person we've got too many people for
the work needed, from burger flippers to environmental engineers.

We've gotten good at growing food and making stuff. It doesn't really
matter if it's automation or outsourcing or something else. Those
things aren't going to stop.

We can
1) Force growth. Make us want more stuff.
2) Reduce people. Have large wars. (Also provides short term employment.)
3) Change the work/person ratio. Reduce the work week.
4) Accept that some people are going to be long term unemployed.

I'd prefer 3 or 4. I'm not sure which is more practical.

lektrode
08-18-14, 05:27 PM
....We can
1) Force growth. Make us want more stuff.
2) Reduce people. Have large wars. (Also provides short term employment.)
3) Change the work/person ratio. Reduce the work week.
4) Accept that some people are going to be long term unemployed.

I'd prefer 3 or 4. I'm not sure which is more practical.

+1
it seems to have worked (for awhile anyway) in countries like.... france and/or scandinavia ?

but then we get back to the dreaded "S word (https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism)"...

DSpencer
08-19-14, 02:10 PM
At the current rates of work/person we've got too many people for
the work needed, from burger flippers to environmental engineers.

We've gotten good at growing food and making stuff. It doesn't really
matter if it's automation or outsourcing or something else. Those
things aren't going to stop.

We can
1) Force growth. Make us want more stuff.
2) Reduce people. Have large wars. (Also provides short term employment.)
3) Change the work/person ratio. Reduce the work week.
4) Accept that some people are going to be long term unemployed.

I'd prefer 3 or 4. I'm not sure which is more practical.

The problem I see with number 3 is competition. I think this is the root of why technological progress rarely if ever results in fewer hours worked. If one person with a combine can do the work of 100 farmers, it would be fine to work 1/100th as much if he was the only one that had a combine and was happy making the same amount of money as before. Neither of those is the typical case though. Instead the price of food is lowered by increased supply and soon he has to work about as much as before to stay competitive.

If the USA mandates a 20/hour work week and no reduction in wages then every company's labor cost will roughly double to maintain the same output. Overnight those companies lose any ability to compete internationally. Locally based companies (like restaurants) will have to raise prices so that everyone effectively has a lower standard of living. They will have more leisure time, but will probably need second jobs to make up for the higher prices. Not to mention the first problem will crash the whole economy.

Long term isn't there way to reduce population that doesn't involve atrocities? What about tax breaks or even payment to people to not have children?

lektrode
08-19-14, 02:26 PM
The problem I see with number 3 is competition....
...
Long term isn't there way to reduce population that doesn't involve atrocities? What about tax breaks or even payment to people to not have children?

but then... we come back to 'free' birth control... (and other 'lifestyle subsidies')

altho - typing as one who made the decision quite early on that i was NOT going to have any 'accidents' - and something less than satisfied with the outcome of MY decision - seeing as i also eliminated the potential for a supply of 'inhouse cheap labor'.. (something a self-empl'd tradesman type could actually get some benefit from ;)

IMHO, the .gov needs to GET OUT of the biz of SUBSIDIZING the 'production of tax deductions'

and allow (or mandate, depending on ones POV) the individual/family to cover the costs of their own lifestyle decisions

as in: you want to have children?
then YOU pay for em

vt
08-20-14, 12:09 AM
This is the long version:

http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/08/06/future-of-jobs/ (http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/08/06/future-of-jobs/)

This is a shortened version John Mauldin posted on his free blog:


AI, Robotics, and the Future of JobsBy Aaron Smith and Janna Anderson
Key FindingsThe vast majority of respondents to the 2014 Future of the Internet canvassing anticipate that robotics and artificial intelligence will permeate wide segments of daily life by 2025, with huge implications for a range of industries such as health care, transport and logistics, customer service, and home maintenance. But even as they are largely consistent in their predictions for the evolution of technology itself, they are deeply divided on how advances in AI and robotics will impact the economic and employment picture over the next decade.
Key themes: reasons to be hopeful:1) Advances in technology may displace certain types of work, but historically they have been a net creator of jobs.
2) We will adapt to these changes by inventing entirely new types of work, and by taking advantage of uniquely human capabilities.
3) Technology will free us from day-to-day drudgery, and allow us to define our relationship with “work” in a more positive and socially beneficial way.
4) Ultimately, we as a society control our own destiny through the choices we make.
Key themes: reasons to be concerned:1) Impacts from automation have thus far impacted mostly blue-collar employment; the coming wave of innovation threatens to upend white-collar work as well.
2) Certain highly-skilled workers will succeed wildly in this new environment—but far more may be displaced into lower paying service industry jobs at best, or permanent unemployment at worst.
3) Our educational system is not adequately preparing us for work of the future, and our political and economic institutions are poorly equipped to handle these hard choices.
Some 1,896 experts responded to the following question:
The economic impact of robotic advances and AI—Self-driving cars, intelligent digital agents that can act for you, and robots are advancing rapidly. Will networked, automated, artificial intelligence (AI) applications and robotic devices have displaced more jobs than they have created by 2025?
Half of these experts (48%) envision a future in which robots and digital agents have displaced significant numbers of both blue- and white-collar workers—with many expressing concern that this will lead to vast increases in income inequality, masses of people who are effectively unemployable, and breakdowns in the social order.
The other half of the experts who responded to this survey (52%) expect that technology will not displace more jobs than it creates by 2025. To be sure, this group anticipates that many jobs currently performed by humans will be substantially taken over by robots or digital agents by 2025. But they have faith that human ingenuity will create new jobs, industries, and ways to make a living, just as it has been doing since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.
These two groups also share certain hopes and concerns about the impact of technology on employment. For instance, many are concerned that our existing social structures—and especially our educational institutions—are not adequately preparing people for the skills that will be needed in the job market of the future. Conversely, others have hope that the coming changes will be an opportunity to reassess our society’s relationship to employment itself—by returning to a focus on small-scale or artisanal modes of production, or by giving people more time to spend on leisure, self-improvement, or time with loved ones.
A number of themes ran through the responses to this question: those that are unique to either group, and those that were mentioned by members of both groups.
The view from those who expect AI and robotics to have a positive or neutral impact on jobs by 2025JP Rangaswami, chief scientist for Salesforce.com, offered a number of reasons for his belief that automation will not be a net displacer of jobs in the next decade: “The effects will be different in different economies (which themselves may look different from today's political boundaries). Driven by revolutions in education and in technology, the very nature of work will have changed radically—but only in economies that have chosen to invest in education, technology, and related infrastructure. Some classes of jobs will be handed over to the ‘immigrants’ of AI and Robotics, but more will have been generated in creative and curating activities as demand for their services grows exponentially while barriers to entry continue to fall. For many classes of jobs, robots will continue to be poor labor substitutes.”Rangaswami’s prediction incorporates a number of arguments made by those in this canvassing who took his side of this question.
Argument #1: Throughout history, technology has been a job creator—not a job destroyerVint Cerf, vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google, said, “Historically, technology has created more jobs than it destroys and there is no reason to think otherwise in this case. Someone has to make and service all these advanced devices.”
Jonathan Grudin, principal researcher for Microsoft, concurred: “Technology will continue to disrupt jobs, but more jobs seem likely to be created. When the world population was a few hundred million people there were hundreds of millions of jobs. Although there have always been unemployed people, when we reached a few billion people there were billions of jobs. There is no shortage of things that need to be done and that will not change.”
Michael Kende, the economist for a major Internet-oriented nonprofit organization, wrote, “In general, every wave of automation and computerization has increased productivity without depressing employment, and there is no reason to think the same will not be true this time. In particular, the new wave is likely to increase our personal or professional productivity (e.g. self-driving car) but not necessarily directly displace a job (e.g. chauffeur). While robots may displace some manual jobs, the impact should not be different than previous waves of automation in factories and elsewhere. On the other hand, someone will have to code and build the new tools, which will also likely lead to a new wave of innovations and jobs.”
Fred Baker, Internet pioneer, longtime leader in the IETF and Cisco Systems Fellow, responded, “My observation of advances in automation has been that they change jobs, but they don't reduce them. A car that can guide itself on a striped street has more difficulty with an unstriped street, for example, and any automated system can handle events that it is designed for, but not events (such as a child chasing a ball into a street) for which it is not designed. Yes, I expect a lot of change. I don't think the human race can retire en masse by 2025.”
Argument #2: Advances in technology create new jobs and industries even as they displace some of the older onesBen Shneiderman, professor of computer science at the University of Maryland, wrote, “Robots and AI make compelling stories for journalists, but they are a false vision of the major economic changes. Journalists lost their jobs because of changes to advertising, professors are threatened by MOOCs, and store salespeople are losing jobs to Internet sales people. Improved user interfaces, electronic delivery (videos, music, etc.), and more self-reliant customers reduce job needs. At the same time someone is building new websites, managing corporate social media plans, creating new products, etc. Improved user interfaces, novel services, and fresh ideas will create more jobs.”
Amy Webb, CEO of strategy firm Webbmedia Group, wrote, “There is a general concern that the robots are taking over. I disagree that our emerging technologies will permanently displace most of the workforce, though I'd argue that jobs will shift into other sectors. Now more than ever, an army of talented coders is needed to help our technology advance. But we will still need folks to do packaging, assembly, sales, and outreach. The collar of the future is a hoodie.”
John Markoff, senior writer for the Science section of the New York Times, responded, “You didn't allow the answer that I feel strongly is accurate—too hard to predict. There will be a vast displacement of labor over the next decade. That is true. But, if we had gone back 15 years who would have thought that ‘search engine optimization’ would be a significant job category?”
Marjory Blumenthal, a science and technology policy analyst, wrote, “In a given context, automated devices like robots may displace more than they create. But they also generate new categories of work, giving rise to second- and third-order effects. Also, there is likely to be more human-robot collaboration—a change in the kind of work opportunities available. The wider impacts are the hardest to predict; they may not be strictly attributable to the uses of automation but they are related…what the middle of the 20th century shows us is how dramatic major economic changes are—like the 1970s OPEC-driven increases of the price of oil—and how those changes can dwarf the effects of technology.”
Argument #3: There are certain jobs that only humans have the capacity to doA number of respondents argued that many jobs require uniquely human characteristics such as empathy, creativity, judgment, or critical thinking—and that jobs of this nature will never succumb to widespread automation.
David Hughes, a retired U.S. Army Colonel who, from 1972, was a pioneer in individual to/from digital telecommunications, responded, “For all the automation and AI, I think the 'human hand' will have to be involved on a large scale. Just as aircraft have to have pilots and copilots, I don't think all 'self-driving' cars will be totally unmanned. The human's ability to detect unexpected circumstances, and take action overriding automatic driving will be needed as long and individually owned 'cars' are on the road.”
Pamela Rutledge, PhD and director of the Media Psychology Research Center, responded, “There will be many things that machines can't do, such as services that require thinking, creativity, synthesizing, problem-solving, and innovating…Advances in AI and robotics allow people to cognitively offload repetitive tasks and invest their attention and energy in things where humans can make a difference. We already have cars that talk to us, a phone we can talk to, robots that lift the elderly out of bed, and apps that remind us to call Mom. An app can dial Mom's number and even send flowers, but an app can't do that most human of all things: emotionally connect with her.”
Michael Glassman, associate professor at the Ohio State University, wrote, “I think AI will do a few more things, but people are going to be surprised how limited it is. There will be greater differentiation between what AI does and what humans do, but also much more realization that AI will not be able to engage the critical tasks that humans do.”
Argument #4: The technology will not advance enough in the next decade to substantially impact the job marketAnother group of experts feels that the impact on employment is likely to be minimal for the simple reason that 10 years is too short a timeframe for automation to move substantially beyond the factory floor. David Clark, a senior research scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, noted, “The larger trend to consider is the penetration of automation into service jobs. This trend will require new skills for the service industry, which may challenge some of the lower-tier workers, but in 12 years I do not think autonomous devices will be truly autonomous. I think they will allow us to deliver a higher level of service with the same level of human involvement.”
Jari Arkko, Internet expert for Ericsson and chair of the Internet Engineering Task Force, wrote, “There is no doubt that these technologies affect the types of jobs that need to be done. But there are only 12 years to 2025, some of these technologies will take a long time to deploy in significant scale…We've been living a relatively slow but certain progress in these fields from the 1960s.”
Christopher Wilkinson, a retired European Union official, board member for EURid.eu, and Internet Society leader said, “The vast majority of the population will be untouched by these technologies for the foreseeable future. AI and robotics will be a niche, with a few leading applications such as banking, retailing, and transport. The risks of error and the imputation of liability remain major constraints to the application of these technologies to the ordinary landscape.”
Argument #5: Our social, legal, and regulatory structures will minimize the impact on employmentA final group suspects that economic, political, and social concerns will prevent the widespread displacement of jobs. Glenn Edens, a director of research in networking, security, and distributed systems within the Computer Science Laboratory at PARC, a Xerox Company, wrote, “There are significant technical and policy issues yet to resolve, however there is a relentless march on the part of commercial interests (businesses) to increase productivity so if the technical advances are reliable and have a positive ROI then there is a risk that workers will be displaced. Ultimately we need a broad and large base of employed population, otherwise there will be no one to pay for all of this new world.”
Andrew Rens, chief council at the Shuttleworth Foundation, wrote, “A fundamental insight of economics is that an entrepreneur will only supply goods or services if there is a demand, and those who demand the good can pay. Therefore any country that wants a competitive economy will ensure that most of its citizens are employed so that in turn they can pay for goods and services. If a country doesn't ensure employment driven demand it will become increasingly less competitive.”
Geoff Livingston, author and president of Tenacity5 Media, wrote, “I see the movement towards AI and robotics as evolutionary, in large part because it is such a sociological leap. The technology may be ready, but we are not—at least, not yet.”
The view from those who expect AI and robotics to displace more jobs than they create by 2025An equally large group of experts takes a diametrically opposed view of technology’s impact on employment. In their reading of history, job displacement as a result of technological advancement is clearly in evidence today, and can only be expected to get worse as automation comes to the white-collar world.
Argument #1: Displacement of workers from automation is already happening—and about to get much worseJerry Michalski, founder of REX, the Relationship Economy eXpedition, sees the logic of the slow and unrelenting movement in the direction of more automation: “Automation is Voldemort: the terrifying force nobody is willing to name. Oh sure, we talk about it now and then, but usually in passing. We hardly dwell on the fact that someone trying to pick a career path that is not likely to be automated will have a very hard time making that choice. X-ray technician? Outsourced already, and automation in progress. The race between automation and human work is won by automation, and as long as we need fiat currency to pay the rent/mortgage, humans will fall out of the system in droves as this shift takes place…The safe zones are services that require local human effort (gardening, painting, babysitting), distant human effort (editing, coaching, coordinating), and high-level thinking/relationship building. Everything else falls in the target-ri ch environment of automation.”
Mike Roberts, Internet pioneer and Hall of Fame member and longtime leader with ICANN and the Internet Society, shares this view: “Electronic human avatars with substantial work capability are years, not decades away. The situation is exacerbated by total failure of the economics community to address to any serious degree sustainability issues that are destroying the modern ‘consumerist’ model and undermining the early 20th century notion of ‘a fair day's pay for a fair day's work.’ There is great pain down the road for everyone as new realities are addressed. The only question is how soon.”
Robert Cannon, Internet law and policy expert, predicts, “Everything that can be automated will be automated. Non-skilled jobs lacking in ‘human contribution’ will be replaced by automation when the economics are favorable. At the hardware store, the guy who used to cut keys has been replaced by a robot. In the law office, the clerks who used to prepare discovery have been replaced by software. IBM Watson is replacing researchers by reading every report ever written anywhere. This begs the question: What can the human contribute? The short answer is that if the job is one where that question cannot be answered positively, that job is not likely to exist.”
Tom Standage, digital editor for The Economist, makes the point that the next wave of technology is likely to have a more profound impact than those that came before it: “Previous technological revolutions happened much more slowly, so people had longer to retrain, and [also] moved people from one kind of unskilled work to another. Robots and AI threaten to make even some kinds of skilled work obsolete (e.g., legal clerks). This will displace people into service roles, and the income gap between skilled workers whose jobs cannot be automated and everyone else will widen. This is a recipe for instability.”
Mark Nall, a program manager for NASA, noted, “Unlike previous disruptions such as when farming machinery displaced farm workers but created factory jobs making the machines, robotics and AI are different. Due to their versatility and growing capabilities, not just a few economic sectors will be affected, but whole swaths will be. This is already being seen now in areas from robocalls to lights-out manufacturing. Economic efficiency will be the driver. The social consequence is that good-paying jobs will be increasingly scarce.”
Argument #2: The consequences for income inequality will be profoundFor those who expect AI and robotics to significantly displace human employment, these displacements seem certain to lead to an increase in income inequality, a continued hollowing out of the middle class, and even riots, social unrest, and/or the creation of a permanent, unemployable “underclass”.
Justin Reich, a fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, said, “Robots and AI will increasingly replace routine kinds of work—even the complex routines performed by artisans, factory workers, lawyers, and accountants. There will be a labor market in the service sector for non-routine tasks that can be performed interchangeably by just about anyone—and these will not pay a living wage—and there will be some new opportunities created for complex non-routine work, but the gains at this top of the labor market will not be offset by losses in the middle and gains of terrible jobs at the bottom. I'm not sure that jobs will disappear altogether, though that seems possible, but the jobs that are left will be lower paying and less secure than those that exist now. The middle is moving to the bottom.”
Stowe Boyd, lead researcher at GigaOM Research, said, “As just one aspect of the rise of robots and AI, widespread use of autonomous cars and trucks will be the immediate end of taxi drivers and truck drivers; truck driver is the number-one occupation for men in the U.S.. Just as importantly, autonomous cars will radically decrease car ownership, which will impact the automotive industry. Perhaps 70% of cars in urban areas would go away. Autonomous robots and systems could impact up to 50% of jobs, according to recent analysis by Frey and Osborne at Oxford, leaving only jobs that require the 'application of heuristics' or creativity…An increasing proportion of the world's population will be outside of the world of work—either living on the dole, or benefiting from the dramatically decreased costs of goods to eke out a subsistence lifestyle. The central question of 2025 will be: What are people for in a world that does n ot need their labor, and where only a minority are needed to guide the 'bot-based economy?”
Nilofer Merchant, author of a book on new forms of advantage, wrote, “Just today, the guy who drives the service car I take to go to the airport [said that he] does this job because his last blue-collar job disappeared from automation. Driverless cars displace him. Where does he go? What does he do for society? The gaps between the haves and have-nots will grow larger. I'm reminded of the line from Henry Ford, who understood he does no good to his business if his own people can't afford to buy the car.”
Alex Howard, a writer and editor based in Washington, D.C., said, “I expect that automation and AI will have had a substantial impact on white-collar jobs, particularly back-office functions in clinics, in law firms, like medical secretaries, transcriptionists, or paralegals. Governments will have to collaborate effectively with technology companies and academic institutions to provide massive retraining efforts over the next decade to prevent massive social disruption from these changes.”
Point of agreement: the educational system is doing a poor job of preparing the next generation of workersA consistent theme among both groups is that our existing social institutions—especially the educational system—are not up to the challenge of preparing workers for the technology- and robotics-centric nature of employment in the future.
Howard Rheingold, a pioneering Internet sociologist and self-employed writer, consultant, and educator, noted, “The jobs that the robots will leave for humans will be those that require thought and knowledge. In other words, only the best-educated humans will compete with machines. And education systems in the U.S. and much of the rest of the world are still sitting students in rows and columns, teaching them to keep quiet and memorize what is told to them, preparing them for life in a 20th century factory.”
Bryan Alexander, technology consultant, futurist, and senior fellow at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education, wrote, “The education system is not well positioned to transform itself to help shape graduates who can ‘race against the machines.’ Not in time, and not at scale. Autodidacts will do well, as they always have done, but the broad masses of people are being prepared for the wrong economy.”
Point of agreement: the concept of “work” may change significantly in the coming decadeOn a more hopeful note, a number of experts expressed a belief that the coming changes will allow us to renegotiate the existing social compact around work and employment.
Possibility #1: We will experience less drudgery and more leisure timeHal Varian, chief economist for Google, envisions a future with fewer ‘jobs’ but a more equitable distribution of labor and leisure time: “If ‘displace more jobs’ means ‘eliminate dull, repetitive, and unpleasant work,’ the answer would be yes. How unhappy are you that your dishwasher has replaced washing dishes by hand, your washing machine has displaced washing clothes by hand, or your vacuum cleaner has replaced hand cleaning? My guess is this ‘job displacement’ has been very welcome, as will the ‘job displacement’ that will occur over the next 10 years. The work week has fallen from 70 hours a week to about 37 hours now, and I expect that it will continue to fall. This is a good thing. Everyone wants more jobs and less work. Robots of various forms will result in less work, but the conventional work week will decrease, so there will be the same number of jobs (adjusted for demograp hics, of course). This is what has been going on for the last 300 years so I see no reason that it will stop in the decade.”
Tiffany Shlain, filmmaker, host of the AOL series The Future Starts Here, and founder of The Webby Awards, responded, “Robots that collaborate with humans over the cloud will be in full realization by 2025. Robots will assist humans in tasks thus allowing humans to use their intelligence in new ways, freeing us up from menial tasks.”
Francois-Dominique Armingaud, retired computer software engineer from IBM and now giving security courses to major engineering schools, responded, “The main purpose of progress now is to allow people to spend more life with their loved ones instead of spoiling it with overtime while others are struggling in order to access work.”
Possibility #2: It will free us from the industrial age notion of what a “job” isA notable number of experts take it for granted that many of tomorrow’s jobs will be held by robots or digital agents—and express hope that this will inspire us as a society to completely redefine our notions of work and employment.
Peter and Trudy Johnson-Lenz, founders of the online community Awakening Technology, based in Portland, Oregon, wrote, “Many things need to be done to care for, teach, feed, and heal others that are difficult to monetize. If technologies replace people in some jobs and roles, what kinds of social support or safety nets will make it possible for them to contribute to the common good through other means? Think outside the job.”
Bob Frankston, an Internet pioneer and technology innovator whose work helped allow people to have control of the networking (internet) within their homes, wrote, “We'll need to evolve the concept of a job as a means of wealth distribution as we did in response to the invention of the sewing machine displacing seamstressing as welfare.”
Jim Hendler, an architect of the evolution of the World Wide Web and professor of computer science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, wrote, “The notion of work as a necessity for life cannot be sustained if the great bulk of manufacturing and such moves to machines—but humans will adapt by finding new models of payment as they did in the industrial revolution (after much upheaval).”
Tim Bray, an active participant in the IETF and technology industry veteran, wrote, “It seems inevitable to me that the proportion of the population that needs to engage in traditional full-time employment, in order to keep us fed, supplied, healthy, and safe, will decrease. I hope this leads to a humane restructuring of the general social contract around employment.”
Possibility #3: We will see a return to uniquely “human” forms of productionAnother group of experts anticipates that pushback against expanding automation will lead to a revolution in small-scale, artisanal, and handmade modes of production.
Kevin Carson, a senior fellow at the Center for a Stateless Society and contributor to the P2P Foundation blog, wrote, “I believe the concept of ‘jobs’ and ‘employment’ will be far less meaningful, because the main direction of technological advance is toward cheap production tools (e.g., desktop information processing tools or open-source CNC garage machine tools) that undermine the material basis of the wage system. The real change will not be the stereotypical model of ‘technological unemployment,’ with robots displacing workers in the factories, but increased employment in small shops, increased project-based work on the construction industry model, and increased provisioning in the informal and household economies and production for gift, sharing, and barter.”
Tony Siesfeld, director of the Monitor Institute, wrote, “I anticipate that there will be a backlash and we'll see a continued growth of artisanal products and small-scale [efforts], done myself or with a small group of others, that reject robotics and digital technology.”
A network scientist for BBN Technologies wrote, “To some degree, this is already happening. In terms of the large-scale, mass-produced economy, the utility of low-skill human workers is rapidly diminishing, as many blue-collar jobs (e.g., in manufacturing) and white-collar jobs (e.g., processing insurance paperwork) can be handled much more cheaply by automated systems. And we can already see some hints of reaction to this trend in the current economy: entrepreneurially-minded unemployed and underemployed people are taking advantages of sites like Etsy and TaskRabbit to market quintessentially human skills. And in response, there is increasing demand for ‘artisanal’ or ‘hand-crafted’ products that were made by a human. In the long run this trend will actually push toward the re-localization and re-humanization of the economy, with the 19th- and 20th-century economies of scale exploited where they make sense (cheap, identical, disposable g oods), and human-oriented techniques (both older and newer) increasingly accounting for goods and services that are valuable, customized, or long-lasting.”

Shakespear
08-20-14, 03:53 AM
This is where I see a BIG PROBLEM.

Combat drones used by the Air Force and CIA are controlled remotely by a human pilot, often sitting thousands of miles away. The Navy drone is designed to carry out a combat mission controlled almost entirely by a computer.
http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-drone-fighter-jet-operations-20140818-story.html

This type of information just flows like a river today. So not to be aware that trouble is coming is to be blind. But then we are in trouble already.

dcarrigg
08-20-14, 01:18 PM
Great post, vt!

I think I'd like to write down who said what just to get a sense of it, and figured I'd post it here.

People who expect AI and robotics to have a positive or neutral impact on jobs by 2025

- 1 Google VP
- 1 Microsoft Researcher
- 1 Economist "for an internet non-profit"
- 1 Cisco Systems fellow
- 1 Professor of Computer Science at U Maryland
- 1 CEO of Webmedia
- 1 Science writer for the New York Times
- 1 "Policy analyst"
- 1 US Army Col. (Retired)
- 1 Psychiatrist and head of the Media Psychology Research Center
- 1 PhD in Psychology at Ohio State
- 1 Senior Research Scientist at MIT's Artificial Intelligence Lab
- 1 Ericsson "internet engineering task force chair"
- 1 former EU official
- 1 director of research at Xerox
- 1 head lawyer at the Shuttleworth Foundation
- 1 president of tenacity5 media
- 1 Chief scientist at salesforce.com

People who expect AI and robotics to displace more jobs than they create by 2025

- 1 founder of the Relationship Economy eXpedition
- 1 "internet pioneer"
- 1 "internet law and policy expert"
- 1 Digital editor for the Economist
- 1 Program manager for NASA
- 1 Fellow at Harvard's Beckman Center for Internet
- 1 Lead researcher at GigaOM Research
- 1 "author of a book on new forms of advantage"
- 1 "writer and editor based in Washington, D.C."
- 1 Chief Economist for Google
- 1 "filmmaker" for an AOL web series
- 1 retired computer software engineer for IBM
- 1 Professor of Computer Science at RPI
- 1 "technology industry veteran"
- 1 Senior Fellow for the Center for a Stateless Society
- 1 director of the monitor institute
- 1 "self-employed writer, consultant, and educator"
- 1 technology consultant, futurist, and senior fellow at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education

Thoughts - with the caveat that this is a small group and extrapolating here might be silly

- Computer scientists, journalists, and economists seem split, at least in this group
- Industry researchers seem to believe that "technology will not replace jobs"
- Psychologists seem to believe that "technology will not replace jobs"
- Consultants seem to believe that "technology will replace jobs."
- Futurists seem to believe that "technology will replace jobs."
- FWIW, there are a lot more people with tenuous job titles / positions / credentials in the "technology will replace jobs" camp, at least in this group. One almost gets the sense that they wanted "balance" so went out of their way to find people on the "will replace" side to make the room a 50/50 split.
- FWIW, it's interesting that a libertarian/anarchist think-tank (C4SS) is in the mix without a corresponding conservative or liberal think-tank.

vt
08-20-14, 01:51 PM
DC,

Wikipedia says they are non partisan:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pew_Research_Center

They are also non profit.

dcarrigg
08-20-14, 05:46 PM
Oh, I wasn't talking about the whole study by Pew. I was just talking about the one guy they interviewed in the process of the study from the Center for a Stateless Society. That's a libertarian/anarchist group. It was just weird to pull a political think-tank into a discussion of technological unemployment, or at least it was interesting that the one think thank they did pull in came from there rather than say Heritage or New America or Brookings or something.

vt
08-20-14, 06:45 PM
DC,

Understood. I agree than they didn't need that guys input.

dcarrigg
08-20-14, 07:12 PM
Yeah. My theory was they wanted a 50/50 split on viewpoints and had a hard time finding enough people to go on the "robots will decrease employment" side of room, so they had to dip down to that guy and a couple others. But who knows. It's all conjecture.

It was a great read that put the whole thing in perspective, though.

don
08-21-14, 04:59 PM
To what degree is the robot scare a diversion from 40-years of saying Bye Bye to middle-class job offshoring?

dcarrigg
08-21-14, 06:22 PM
To what degree is the robot scare a diversion from 40-years of saying Bye Bye to middle-class job offshoring?

If you ask me, that's everything. I pretty much spit it out here. (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/27453-Robots-Will-Create-Permanently-Unemployable-Underclass?p=284514#post284514)


As I've said several times here before, the technology explanation is very convenient, because it gets people off the hook. It takes every policy option to deal with labor's declining share of income off the table. It just says, "Well, that's inevitable, so they better get used to it. Nothing we can do. It's technology's fault! It's out of our hands!"

lektrode
08-21-14, 08:10 PM
Originally Posted by don: To what degree is the robot scare a diversion from 40-years of saying Bye Bye to middle-class job offshoring?



If you ask me, that's everything. I pretty much spit it out here. (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/27453-Robots-Will-Create-Permanently-Unemployable-Underclass?p=284514#post284514)



+2
after my 1st 10years in the labor market - spent nearly entirely in manufacturing - and by the mid80's deciding there wasnt much future in it - decided that my only REAL 'job security' was owning my tools and knowing how to use em - and so began my going on 30years as a 'freelancer' - that and discovering the answer to this under-appreciated question:

whats the difference between the self-employed and the UN-employed?
.
.
.
wait for it....
.
.
.
having a savings account and NO debt.

= the best question i ever learned (the hard way) the answer to...

Polish_Silver
08-21-14, 09:31 PM
The problem I see with number 3 is competition. I think this is the root of why technological progress rarely if ever results in fewer hours worked. If one person with a combine can do the work of 100 farmers, it would be fine to work 1/100th as much if he was the only one that had a combine and was happy making the same amount of money as before. Neither of those is the typical case though. Instead the price of food is lowered by increased supply and soon he has to work about as much as before to stay competitive.

If the USA mandates a 20/hour work week and no reduction in wages then every company's labor cost will roughly double to maintain the same output. Overnight those companies lose any ability to compete internationally. Locally based companies (like restaurants) will have to raise prices so that everyone effectively has a lower standard of living. They will have more leisure time, but will probably need second jobs to make up for the higher prices. Not to mention the first problem will crash the whole economy.

Long term isn't there way to reduce population that doesn't involve atrocities? What about tax breaks or even payment to people to not have children?


A shorter work week implies lower total salary. There is NO WAY around that. I think shorter hours (accompanied by lower salary) would be a good thing over all. However, we'd have to get health care down to an affordable level. It is bankrupting the country!

touchring
08-21-14, 11:05 PM
I've some doubts about this thread because I don't believe that automation is the only reason or even the primary reason for creating the "permanently unemployable". If you watch science fiction movies like Startrek, Starwars, Battlestar Galactica, Alien, there's still a lot of work that cannot be done by robots.

Other more important reasons that I can think of:

1. Discrimination by race/religion.
2. Expensive education.
3. Uncontrolled immigration/excessive population growth.
4. Misallocation of economic resources, e.g. too much into military.


http://www.cnbc.com/id/101938819


Japan firms hit by labor crunch, many see profits squeezed

Some 60 percent of Japanese firms are finding it increasingly difficult to secure sufficient workers, hit by a pervasive labor shortage that is pushing up hiring costs and starting to eat into profits, a Reuters poll showed.


Stemming from a rapidly ageing society where immigration is limited, the labor crunch has emerged amid an economic turnaround engineered by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and threatens to drag on growth.


Some restaurant chains and retailers such as home improvement firm Komeri Co have said they have been forced to rethink expansion plans, while others have actually shut stores. At the same time, a dearth of construction workers needed after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and ahead of the 2020 Olympics has pushed up building costs for all sectors.


Read MoreAsian labor activists team up to press wage claims


But even firms that are not as badly affected are worrying about a jump in labor costs, the pressure of having to scramble to attract qualified employees and to retain the ones they have.


"The hiring situation has become very severe," Yoshiki Mori, vice president at retailing giant Aeon Co, said at an earnings briefing last month. He said Aeon is embarking on a range of initiatives to encourage part-timers to work more hours and is looking to employ more retirees and foreigners.


By sector, 80 percent of retail firms and 72 percent of companies in construction and real estate said they were finding it more difficult to secure enough workers, the Reuters Corporate Survey found. Among manufacturers, 70 percent of firms in the auto sector, which includes suppliers, said they are having more difficulty.


Read MoreJapan has fallen victim to the Keynesian scam


The survey, conducted from Aug. 4-18 by Nikkei Research for Reuters, polled 487 firms capitalized at more than 1 billion yen ($9.6 million) which responded on condition of anonymity. Around 270 firms answered questions on hiring.


Asked about the impact of the labor shortage on profits, 44 percent of firms said corporate earnings could be squeezed this financial year, with most of those firms predicting recurring profits could fall between 1 percent and 10 percent.


The remaining 56 percent said they did not expect any impact, with some respondents saying they were able to absorb costs as profits were growing.


"Even though labor costs are rising, this leads to a better life for employees and eventually to increased consumer spending. It is not all bad," wrote an executive at an electronics firm.


One third of respondents said they plan to hire more workers in the next financial year while around 60 percent said they expect the number to be flat.


But for firms unable to secure sufficient workers or pass on the extra costs to customers, the labor shortage will continue to be an intractable problem. Japan's working age population is expected to shrink by 13 million people by 2030 and talk of immigration reform garners little interest in the homogeneous country.


Read MoreJapan exports rise in July offering hope for economic growth


"From the perspective of 30 to 50 years, maybe there will be a chance to reverse this trend, just like France did, but in the next five to 10 years the trend may continue," said Shintaro Okuno, a partner at consultants Bain & Co Japan, who reviewed the results of the survey.


Japan's economy is expected to grow between 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent this financial year - down from an average 0.7 percent after a hike in the sales tax resulted in a sharp contraction during the April-June quarter.


With Japan keen to curb runaway government debt, Abe must soon decide whether that sales tax hike - from 5 percent to 8 percent - will be followed by another planned increase to 10 percent next year. The survey found that companies were largely resigned to the prospect, with more than half saying it is unavoidable, compared with about one fourth saying Abe should postpone or scrap it.

Ghent12
08-22-14, 01:22 AM
At the current rates of work/person we've got too many people for
the work needed, from burger flippers to environmental engineers.

We've gotten good at growing food and making stuff. It doesn't really
matter if it's automation or outsourcing or something else. Those
things aren't going to stop.

We can
1) Force growth. Make us want more stuff.
2) Reduce people. Have large wars. (Also provides short term employment.)
3) Change the work/person ratio. Reduce the work week.
4) Accept that some people are going to be long term unemployed.

I'd prefer 3 or 4. I'm not sure which is more practical.
There are a number of other options. The most obvious being to remove the safety traps (aka safety nets) which allow people to live fairly well while being long-term unemployed. Also, and more critically, we can collectively reduce or end the absolutely gigantic drain on wealth that political actors siphon off--essentially go full-bore, absolutely unfettered free-market to the maximum extent which is politically possible. Unlikely options, of course, and one of your options are already reality, but your options are poor choices and we are capable of better than that via multiple other avenues.

Specifically, option 1 is ridiculous. Demand for "stuff" is effectively infinite if the price point is low enough--produce more very cheaply, and more will be consumed.
Option 2 is absolutely ludicrous. If you enjoy things like a nice standard of living while not willing to execute the political power necessary to become your own dictator, you need a very large economy or access to one via trade. If you want things like more science, you need more scientists. If you want things like more stuff, you need more people making stuff (and buying stuff, which creates markets for a broader array of stuff).
Option 3 is a zero-sum game and a pointless shift.

Woodsman
08-22-14, 07:59 AM
...essentially go full-bore, absolutely unfettered free-market to the maximum extent which is politically possible.

And then the alarm clock rings and we are overcome by the same depressing realization; just another Ayn Rand wet dream. But it seemed so real, this fevered vision of utopian feudalist capitalism. Oh hit the snooze; just five more minutes ... to dream ... again ... zzz ... zzzz ... zzzzz ...
http://wonkette.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/page1b.jpg
http://wonkette.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/page-2-b.jpg



http://wonkette.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/3b.jpg

metalman
08-22-14, 09:39 AM
old argument is old...

First Series, Chapter 20

Human vs. Mechanical Labor and Domestic vs. Foreign Labor

I.20.1

Destroying machinery and interdicting the entry of foreign goods are alike in being both founded on the same doctrine.I.20.2

Those who at the same time applaud the appearance of a great invention and nevertheless advocate protectionism are most inconsistent.I.20.3

What is their objection to free trade? They charge it with encouraging foreigners who are more skillful than we are, or who live under more advantageous economic conditions than we do, to produce things that, in the absence of free trade, we should produce ourselves. In short, they accuse it of injuring domestic labor.I.20.4

But then, should they not, for the same reason object to machinery of every kind, since, in enabling us to accomplish, by means of physical instruments, what, in their absence, we should have to do with our bare hands, it necessarily hurts human labor?I.20.5

In effect, is not the foreign worker who lives under more advantageous economic conditions than the French worker a veritable economic machinethat crushes him by its competition? And, in like manner, is not a machine that performs a particular operation at lower cost than a certain number of workers a veritable foreign competitor that hamstrings them by its rivalry?I.20.6

If, therefore, it is expedient to protect domestic labor from the competition of foreign labor, it is no less expedient to protect human laborfrom the competition of mechanical labor.I.20.7

Therefore, whoever supports the protectionist system, should, in all consistency, not stop at interdicting the entry of foreign products; he should also outlaw the products of the shuttle and the plow.I.20.8

And that is why I much prefer the logic of those who, in denouncing theinvasion of foreign goods, have at least the courage to denounce also theoverproduction due to the inventive power of the human mind.I.20.9

Such a one is M. de Saint-Chamans. "One of the strongest arguments against free trade and the excessive use of machinery," he says, "is that many workingmen are deprived of employment, either by foreign competition, which depresses manufacturing, or by the machines that take the place of men in the workshops."78* (http://www.econlib.org/library/Bastiat/basSoph4.html#n78)I.20.10

M. de Saint-Chamans has grasped perfectly the analogy—or, rather, the identity—that exists between imports and machines; that is why he outlaws both of them. It is indeed a pleasure to deal with those who are consistent in their reasoning, for even when they are in error, they boldly carry their argument to its logical conclusion.I.20.11

But just see the difficulty that is waiting for them!I.20.12

If it is true, a priori, that the domain of invention and that of laborcannot expand save at each other's expense, then it must be in the places where there are the most machines—in Lancashire, for example—that one should expect to find the fewest workers. And if, on the contrary, it is proved that in fact machinery and manual labor coexist to a greater degree among rich nations than among savages, the conclusion is inevitable that these two types of production are not mutually exclusive.I.20.13

I cannot understand how any thinking being can enjoy a moment's rest in the face of the following dilemma:I.20.14

Either man's inventions do not lessen his opportunities for employment, as the facts in general attest, since there are more of both among the English and the French than among the Hurons and the Cherokees; and, in that case, I am on the wrong track, though I know neither where nor when I lost my way. I should be committing the crime of treason to humanity if I were to introduce my mistake into the legislation of my country.I.20.15

Or else, the discoveries of the human mind do limit the opportunities for the employment of manual labor, as certain facts would seem to indicate, since every day I see some machine replacing twenty or a hundred workers; and then I am obliged to acknowledge the existence of a flagrant, eternal, and irremediable antithesis between man's intellectual and his physical capacities—between his progress and his well-being—and I am forced to conclude that the Creator should have endowed man either with reason or with physical strength, either with force of character or with brute force, but that He mocked him by endowing him at the same time with faculties that are mutually destructive.I.20.16

The problem is an urgent one. But do you know how we extricate ourselves from the dilemma? By means of this remarkable maxim:I.20.17

In political economy, there are no absolute principles.I.20.18

In plain and simple language, this means:I.20.19

"I do not know which is true and which is false; I have no idea what constitutes general good or evil. I do not trouble myself about such questions. The immediate effect of each law on my personal well-being is the only principle that I consent to recognize."I.20.20

There are no absolute principles! You might as well say there are no facts; for principles are only formulas that summarize a whole array of facts that have been fully established.I.20.21

Machines and imports certainly do have some effects. These effects may be either good or bad. On this point there may well be differences of opinion. But, whichever position one adopts, it is expressed by one of these two principles: Machinery is a good; or, machinery is an evil. Imports are beneficial; or, imports are injurious. But to say that there are no principles, is certainly to exhibit the lowest depth to which the human mind can descend; and I confess that I blush for my country when I hear so monstrous a heresy expressed in the presence of the members of the French legislature, with their approval, that is, in the presence and with the approval of the elite of our fellow citizens; and this in order to justify their imposing laws upon us in utter ignorance of their consequences.I.20.22

But, I may be reminded, all this does not constitute a refutation of thesophism. It still has to be proved that machines do not injure human labor,and that imports do not injure domestic labor.I.20.23

In a work of this kind, such demonstrations cannot be really exhaustive. My purpose is rather to state difficulties than to resolve them, and to stimulate reflection rather than to satisfy the thirst for knowledge. The mind never fully accepts any convictions that it does not owe to its own efforts. I shall try, nevertheless, to put the reader on the right track.I.20.24

The mistake made by the opponents of imports and machinery is in evaluating them according to their immediate and temporary effects instead of following them out to their general and ultimate consequences.I.20.25

The immediate effect of an ingenious machine is to make a certain quantity of manual labor superfluous for the attainment of a given result. But its action does not stop there. Precisely because this result is obtained with less effort, its product is made available to the public at a lower price; and the total savings thus realized by all purchasers enables them to satisfy other wants, that is, to encourage manual labor in general to exactly the same extent that it was saved in the particular branch of industry that was recently mechanized. The result is that the level of employment does not fall, even though the quantity of consumers' goods has increased.I.20.26

Let us give a concrete example of this whole chain of effects.I.20.27

Suppose that the French people buy ten million hats at fifteen francs each; this gives the hatmaking industry an income of 150 million francs. Someone invents a machine that permits the sale of hats at ten francs. The income of this industry is reduced to 100 million francs, provided that the demand for hats does not increase. But the other fifty million francs are certainly not for that reason withdrawn from the support of human labor.Since this sum has been saved by the purchasers of hats, it will enable them to satisfy other wants and consequently to spend an equivalent amount for goods and services of every kind. With these five francs saved, John will buy a pair of shoes; James, a book; Jerome, a piece of furniture, etc. Human labor, taken as a whole, will thus continue to be supported to the extent of 150 million francs; but this sum will provide the same number of hats as before, and, in addition, satisfy other needs and wants to the extent of the fifty million francs that the machine will have saved. These additional goods are the net gain that France will have derived from the invention. It is a gratuitous gift, a tribute that man's genius will have exacted from Nature. We do not deny that in the course of the transformation a certain amount of labor will have been displaced; but we cannot agree that it will have been destroyed or even lessened.I.20.28

The same is true of imports. Let us revert to our hypothesis.I.20.29

Let us say that France has been making ten million hats whose sales price was fifteen francs. Foreigners invade our market by supplying us with hats at ten francs. I maintain that opportunities for domestic labor will in no way be thereby lessened.I.20.30

For it will have to produce only to the extent of 100 million francs in order to pay for ten million hats at ten francs apiece.I.20.31

And then, each buyer will have available the five francs saved per hat, or, in all, fifty millions, which will pay for other commodities, that is to say, other kinds of labor.I.20.32

Therefore, the total of employment will remain what it was, and the additional commodities produced by the fifty millions saved on the hats will comprise the net profit from imports under a system of free trade.I.20.33

And people should not try to frighten us with a picture of the sufferings that, on this hypothesis, the displacement of labor would involve.I.20.34

For, if the restrictive measures had never been imposed, labor on its own initiative would have allocated itself in accordance with the law of supply and demand so as to achieve the highest ratio of result to effort, and no displacement would have occurred.I.20.35

If, on the contrary, restrictive measures have led to an artificial and unproductive allocation of labor, then they, and not free trade, are responsible for the inevitable displacement during the transition from a poor to a good allocation.I.20.36

At least let no one argue that, because an abuse cannot be suppressed without injuring those who profit from it, the fact that it has existed for a time gives it the right to last forever.

Economic Sophisms
First Series, Chapter 20
Human vs. Mechanical Labor and Domestic vs. Foreign Labor (http://www.econlib.org/library/Bastiat/basSoph4.html#S.1, Ch.20, Human vs. Mechanical Labor and Domestic vs. Foreign Labor)
Bastiat, Frédéric
(1801-1850)

Polish_Silver
08-22-14, 09:55 AM
DC, this kind of question is too vague. They need to talk about what kind of jobs are in more or less demand. There might be lots of demand for "robot polishers" and machine vision engineers, and none for switch board operators, assembly line workers, etc.

At my 10 year high school reunion (1989) not a single person worked on an assembly line. (That is about 200 people from a lower middle class town and not a single one working on an assembly line)

Polish_Silver
08-22-14, 09:59 AM
Unfortunately, Greenspan's policy decisions had precious little to do with Rand's ideas.

If they had, there would be no buying of
T bonds by printing money, no bank bailouts, peso bailouts, LTCM bailouts , manipulating interest rates, funding deficit budgets, etc.

sutro
08-22-14, 10:05 AM
The Bright New Future

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/robots-will-create-permanently-unemployable-underclass-1460177
You say there will be jobs maintaining the robots? Sure ;]]100 robots taken care by 1 maintenance robot.
Programing? Sure
Building parts and circuits? Suuurrrreeee.

Well we can still flip hamburgers, can't we ? Nope, it appears to be doable by robots as we speak,
http://singularityhub.com/2013/01/22/robot-serves-up-340-hamburgers-per-hour/



I agree with the point someone made that currently off-shoring is having a bigger impact than automation on employment. But, I'm wondering what the employment picture would look like now if we had all of the "extra" people we lost in WWI and WWII? There were 77 million deaths in those two wars that happened at the tail end of the move from farms to cities. The WWII die off was 2.5 % of the world population.

Woodsman
08-22-14, 10:58 AM
Unfortunately, Greenspan's policy decisions had precious little to do with Rand's ideas.

If they had, there would be no buying of
T bonds by printing money, no bank bailouts, peso bailouts, LTCM bailouts , manipulating interest rates, funding deficit budgets, etc.

Ah, I see. No true Scotsman.

DSpencer
08-22-14, 12:38 PM
Ah, I see. No true Scotsman.

Do you actually believe Alan Greenspan was implementing Rand's ideas through those policies and that saying otherwise is some kind of logical fallacy? Or are you just saying that because you think it scores you some kind of points on the internet?

When a priest molests a child and someone claims that they aren't following the teachings of Jesus Christ, do you scoff and say "Ah, I see. No true Scotsman"?

Anyone who knows Rand's ideas and Greenspan's policies can see they are clearly at odds.

Polish_Silver
08-22-14, 01:26 PM
I agree with the point someone made that currently off-shoring is having a bigger impact than automation on employment. But, I'm wondering what the employment picture would look like now if we had all of the "extra" people we lost in WWI and WWII? There were 77 million deaths in those two wars that happened at the tail end of the move from farms to cities. The WWII die off was 2.5 % of the world population.

A war or epidemic does little to change the picture. More people would mean more workers and more consumption. What changes the picture is the number of people needed to serve the consumption, or the distribution of types of work relative
to the numbers of people available to do them. Both automation and trade affect these things.

Woodsman
08-22-14, 01:52 PM
Do you actually believe Alan Greenspan was implementing Rand's ideas through those policies and that saying otherwise is some kind of logical fallacy? Or are you just saying that because you think it scores you some kind of points on the internet?

When a priest molests a child and someone claims that they aren't following the teachings of Jesus Christ, do you scoff and say "Ah, I see. No true Scotsman"?

Anyone who knows Rand's ideas and Greenspan's policies can see they are clearly at odds.

Interesting analogy, priesthood/Rand/molestation. Anyway, it was curiously reminiscent of talk I used to hear from the fellow travelers back in school. It went something like this:



[clouds of smoke and sounds of bubbling water]

FT: Dude..cough, cough. That's reactionary bullsh!t.

W: What do you mean?

FT: Cough, cough. [exhales cloud of smoke] Cough...Man, there's never really been a true socialist country; not like Marx envisioned. The Russians got it all wrong, man...cough.

W: Ah yes, no true Scotsman

As for Internet Points, is that like Green Stamps or airlines miles I can exchange for stuff? Where do I sign up?


Greenspan Admits Errors to Hostile House Panel (http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB122476545437862295)

Returning to Capitol Hill amid a financial crisis rooted in mortgage lending, Mr. Greenspan said he had been wrong to think banks' ability to assess risk and their self-interest would protect them from excesses. But the former Fed chairman, who kept short-term interest rates at 1% for a year earlier this decade, said no one could have predicted the collapse of the housing boom and the financial disaster that followed....

Lawmakers read back quotations from recent years in which Mr. Greenspan said there's "no evidence" home prices would collapse and "the worst may well be over."

"The 82-year-old Mr. Greenspan said he made "a mistake" in his hands-off regulatory philosophy, which many now blame in part for sparking the global economic troubles. He quoted something he had written in March: "Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholder's equity (myself especially) are in a state of shocked disbelief.

He conceded that he has "found a flaw" in his ideology and said he was "distressed by that." Yet Mr. Greenspan maintained that no regulator was smart enough to foresee the "once-in-a-century credit tsunami."

dcarrigg
08-22-14, 01:55 PM
DC, this kind of question is too vague. They need to talk about what kind of jobs are in more or less demand. There might be lots of demand for "robot polishers" and machine vision engineers, and none for switch board operators, assembly line workers, etc.

At my 10 year high school reunion (1989) not a single person worked on an assembly line. (That is about 200 people from a lower middle class town and not a single one working on an assembly line)

No doubt, PS. But the way it looks to me, that's because you had the reunion in the wrong country, not because technology made them obsolete...

Check the tags on the stuff around your house. It's no mystery where the assembly line jobs went. And they didn't disappear to rural Chinese village enterprises because they had the best robots...

http://imgur.com/3397xcN.png

don
08-22-14, 02:03 PM
[clouds of smoke and sounds of bubbling water]

FT: Dude..cough, cough. That's reactionary bullsh!t.

W: What do you mean?

FT: Cough, cough. [exhales cloud of smoke] Cough...Man, there's never really been a true socialist country; not like Marx envisioned. The Russians got it all wrong, man...cough.

W: Ah yes, no true Scotsman

It's taken centuries for the purest expression of capitalism - the inevitable monopoly stage - to arrive in force. Placed in that time frame socialism as the dominate political economy has hardly begun. Stillborn it may remain. I have more faith in ongoing change, not any future 'perfect, final' system, certainly not an End to History. Of course time being what it is, it may seem like the final stage to all of us. Further concentration, endless stagnation.

dcarrigg
08-22-14, 02:17 PM
Do you actually believe Alan Greenspan was implementing Rand's ideas through those policies and that saying otherwise is some kind of logical fallacy? Or are you just saying that because you think it scores you some kind of points on the internet?

When a priest molests a child and someone claims that they aren't following the teachings of Jesus Christ, do you scoff and say "Ah, I see. No true Scotsman"?

Anyone who knows Rand's ideas and Greenspan's policies can see they are clearly at odds.

I always figured it was just a long con to discredit the Fed so they think about destroying it. :)

Greenspan did live with Rand at her cult HQ for years. They co-authored a book together (http://www.amazon.com/Capitalism-Unknown-Ideal-Ayn-Rand/dp/0451147952). I don't think he's the equivalent a Priest in your analogy. If Ayn Rand's the god you worship, Greenspan has got to be at least an apostle, or maybe a pope or a cardinal at the furthest stretch.

I'd say if you think Ayn Rand's god, Greenspan's probably her St. Peter, sent to Rome, wouldn't you?

After all, this god didn't come 2,000 years ago. She came down to earth to give us her wisdom only a few decades ago. And we have plenty of pictures of her and her apostles.

Your new god.

http://imgur.com/auHJoyU.png

Our old God.


http://imgur.com/Eu0116a.png

dcarrigg
08-22-14, 02:55 PM
Interesting analogy, priesthood/Rand/molestation.

Aye. Easy enough to do. Take everything Jesus ever said in the New Testament, and write down the opposite. There. You've got Ayn Rand in a nutshell.

Let's do a quick comparison:


Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

Amen, I say to you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

And again I say to you: It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

And many that are first, shall be last: and the last shall be first.

One thing is wanting unto thee. Go, sell whatsoever thou hast and give to the poor: and thou shalt have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me.

Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God?

For the poor you have always with you: and whensoever you will, you may do them good: but me you have not always.

Blessed are ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.




Ask yourself whether the dream of heaven and greatness should be waiting for us in our graves - or whether it should be ours here and now and on this earth.

And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride. This god, this one word: 'I.'

This miracle of me is mine to own and keep, and mine to guard, and mine to use, and mine to kneel before...The fortune of my spirit is not to be blown into coins of brass and flung to the winds as alms for the poor.

Do you believe in God, Andrei? No. Neither do I. But that's a favorite question of mine. An upside-down question, you know. What do you mean? Well, if I asked people whether they believed in life, they'd never understand what I meant. It's a bad question. It can mean so much that it really means nothing. So I ask them if they believe in God. And if they say they do—then, I know they don't believe in life. Why? Because, you see, God—whatever anyone chooses to call God—is one's highest conception of the highest possible. And whoever places his highest conception above his own possibility thinks very little of himself and his life. It's a rare gift, you know, to feel reverence for your own life and to want the best, the greatest, the highest possible, here, now, for your very own. To imagine a heaven and then not to dream of it, but to demand it.

There is no such thing as duty. If you know that a thing is right, you want to do it. If you don't want to do it—it isn't right. If it's right and you don't want to do it—you don't know what right is and you're not a man.

The highest thing in a man is not his god. It's that in him which knows the reverence due a god. I am my highest reverence.

There are only two means by which men can deal with one another: guns or logic.

The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.

Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter.

The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed. The moral is the rational, and reason accepts no commandments.

The alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind.

You just kind of take whatever the opposite would be, write it down, and there you have it.

Anti-Christiandom.

Mammon's own daughter come-to-earth.

ddn3f
08-22-14, 03:39 PM
Yea I can see that problem. A qualified pilot will only be needed for for the 10 minutes or so it takes to drop the bomb. The rest of the time, someone just needs to watch the screen for alerts and call a qualified person if there's an alert.


This is where I see a BIG PROBLEM.

Combat drones used by the Air Force and CIA are controlled remotely by a human pilot, often sitting thousands of miles away. The Navy drone is designed to carry out a combat mission controlled almost entirely by a computer.

http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-drone-fighter-jet-operations-20140818-story.html

This type of information just flows like a river today. So not to be aware that trouble is coming is to be blind. But then we are in trouble already.

Polish_Silver
08-22-14, 05:09 PM
The Bright New Future

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/robots-will-create-permanently-unemployable-underclass-1460177
You say there will be jobs maintaining the robots? Sure ;]]100 robots taken care by 1 maintenance robot.
Programing? Sure
Building parts and circuits? Suuurrrreeee.

Well we can still flip hamburgers, can't we ? Nope, it appears to be doable by robots as we speak,
http://singularityhub.com/2013/01/22/robot-serves-up-340-hamburgers-per-hour/



Is there today, anywhere in the world, a robot performing maintenance on anything without a human guiding it's
every move?

We've been hearing claims of sophisticated computers, robots, etc from the AI community for years.

It's reasonable to expect incremental improvements in robotics, which will certain absorb some routine jobs.

Meanwhile Microsoft can't even come up with an operating system that works properly.

LazyBoy
08-22-14, 07:07 PM
We can
1) Force growth. Make us want more stuff.
2) Reduce people. Have large wars. (Also provides short term employment.)
3) Change the work/person ratio. Reduce the work week.
4) Accept that some people are going to be long term unemployed.

I'd prefer 3 or 4. I'm not sure which is more practical.


There are a number of other options. The most obvious being to remove the safety traps (aka safety nets) which allow people to live fairly well while being long-term unemployed.

...

Option 2 is absolutely ludicrous. If you enjoy things like a nice standard of living while not willing to execute the political power necessary to become your own dictator, you need a very large economy or access to one via trade. If you want things like more science, you need more scientists. If you want things like more stuff, you need more people making stuff (and buying stuff, which creates markets for a broader array of stuff).


"Remove the safety nets" IS EXACTLY option two. U3 is ~7%. U6 is ~12%. How many millions is that? What jobs would you have them do? The jobs don't exist.

Do you expect those millions to quietly starve to death? Lash out? What?

Yes, hunger is a powerful motivator, but that doesn't make jobs spring into existence. It does make people commit crime, though.

Seriously, I can't find it. Someone translate the U3 and U6 rates to numbers of people so we can decide where to employ them.

Ghent12
08-22-14, 08:18 PM
It's taken centuries for the purest expression of capitalism - the inevitable monopoly stage - to arrive in force. Placed in that time frame socialism as the dominate political economy has hardly begun. Stillborn it may remain. I have more faith in ongoing change, not any future 'perfect, final' system, certainly not an End to History. Of course time being what it is, it may seem like the final stage to all of us. Further concentration, endless stagnation.
Monopoly isn't inevitable or even likely under capitalism. Monopoly requires complete ownership of something unique or complete ownership of all the means to produce and acquire a good or service within an economy of a given size. Monopolies in the United States are almost exclusively government-sponsored, government-supported, or otherwise products of political practices and not capitalist economic ones.

Let's play a game. You name a monopoly you think is a result of capitalism, and then you can take a turn explaining how that monopoly is not a product of the legal environment it resides in. Look to the laws which restrict competition and it should become apparent really quickly.

Ghent12
08-22-14, 08:25 PM
And then the alarm clock rings and we are overcome by the same depressing realization; just another Ayn Rand wet dream. But it seemed so real, this fevered vision of utopian feudalist capitalism. Oh hit the snooze; just five more minutes ... to dream ... again ... zzz ... zzzz ... zzzzz ...

It's clear you do not possess an understanding of the role politics plays in the economy, nor do you understand the terms you sling together like noodles and refrigerator surfaces. Do you prefer that politicians run the economy, or that economic gains be distributed politically?

dcarrigg
08-22-14, 08:39 PM
Let's play a game. You name a monopoly you think is a result of capitalism, and then you can take a turn explaining how that monopoly is not a product of the legal environment it resides in. Look to the laws which restrict competition and it should become apparent really quickly.

Let's play a game. You name a market you think is a result of capitalism, and then you can take a turn explaining how that market is not a product of the legal environment it resides in. Look to the laws which establish private property rights and limited liability, and it should become apparent really quickly.

Unfair game is unfair.

aaron
08-23-14, 04:12 AM
"Remove the safety nets" IS EXACTLY option two. U3 is ~7%. U6 is ~12%. How many millions is that? What jobs would you have them do? The jobs don't exist.

Do you expect those millions to quietly starve to death? Lash out? What?

Yes, hunger is a powerful motivator, but that doesn't make jobs spring into existence. It does make people commit crime, though.

Seriously, I can't find it. Someone translate the U3 and U6 rates to numbers of people so we can decide where to employ them.

With a few different decisions in the past (or now, I would guess) from our leaders, we would have tons of jobs. The U.S. government can borrow trillions. Those trillions could be spent to modernize our infrastructure. China has demonstrated that it can be done. There is at least $20 trillion worth of improvements that could be made in the infrastructure in the U.S. After that is done, perhaps we can talk about jobs springing into existence.

China has shown how to pull 100's of millions of people out of poverty, not through hand-outs, but through jobs. I cannot believe the U.S., with all its current resources (including credit), could not make a few tens of millions of jobs. It is laughable.


Lack of leadership. That is all.




-----------------------------
Now, if you are talking about reality, where we have no leadership, no talent in government, and the largest bureaucracy in the history of the world, I think you are right. Feed them so they do not eat the rest of us.

Shakespear
08-23-14, 04:22 AM
In a move that will rock the job security of night watchmen everywhere, the world’s first commercially available security robot is set for mass production in the US.Designed by Denver-based Gamma 2 Robotics, the robot will now be manufactured entirely in the States, with a process that can be scaled up to full mass production as demand grows.The robot, which is known as the Vigilant MCP (mobile camera platform), features a digital camera and an array of sensors to detect the presence of unauthorised intruders, and will activate the alarm and send out an alert should it find someone where they shouldn’t be.

http://www.factor-tech.com/robots/7247-bots-on-patrol-mobile-security-robot-to-be-mass-produced/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY0WxgSXdEE


With a few different decisions in the past (or now, I would guess) from our leaders, we would have tons of jobs. The U.S. government can borrow trillions. Those trillions could be spent to modernize our infrastructure. China has demonstrated that it can be done. There is at least $20 trillion worth of improvements that could be made in the infrastructure in the U.S. After that is done, perhaps we can talk about jobs springing into existence.

China has shown how to pull 100's of millions of people out of poverty, not through hand-outs, but through jobs. I cannot believe the U.S., with all its current resources (including credit), could not make a few tens of millions of jobs. It is laughable.


Lack of leadership. That is all.
We can see very clearly that today's "leadership" is completely devoid of people who think like you, but probable closer to the way Ayn Rand thought.

My first introduction to Ayn Rand.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ooKsv_SX4Y

What splendid ideas she birthed into the world,

“the men of the mind, the intellectuals of the world, the originators and innovators in every line of industry go on strike; when the men of creative ability in every profession, in protest against regulation, quit and disappear.”

“I am destroying d’Anconia Copper, consciously, deliberately, by plan and by my own hand. I have to plan it carefully and work as hard as if I were producing a fortune- in order not to let them notice it and stop me, in order not to let them seize the mines until it is too late ... I shall destroy every last bit of it and every last penny of my fortune and every ounce of copper that could feed the looters. I shall not leave it as I found it- I shall leave it as Sebastian d’Anconia found it- then let them try to exist without him or me!”

“We produced the wealth of the world- but we let our enemies write its moral code.”

“We’ll survive without it. They won’t.”

sutro
08-23-14, 05:00 AM
A war or epidemic does little to change the picture. More people would mean more workers and more consumption. What changes the picture is the number of people needed to serve the consumption, or the distribution of types of work relative
to the numbers of people available to do them. Both automation and trade affect these things.

But didn't per capita gdp go up in Europe (where most of the death and desruction occured) right after the WWII?

Woodsman
08-23-14, 08:25 AM
It's clear you do not possess an understanding of the role politics plays in the economy, nor do you understand the terms you sling together like noodles and refrigerator surfaces. Do you prefer that politicians run the economy, or that economic gains be distributed politically?

I understand nothing. You understand everything. It's perfectly clear you are the ideal man. Heroic, really.
http://wonkette.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/10b.jpg

don
08-23-14, 12:06 PM
The Tolkien Factor

If you’re a girl and you’re old and you’re grey and you’re the size of a hobbit, who’s going to get angry at you? If your predecessor had all the qualities anyone could look for in a garden gnome, and his predecessor was known mainly as a forward drooling incoherent oracle, how bad could it get? Think they select Fed heads them on purpose for how well they would fit into the Shire?

Ghent12
08-23-14, 01:05 PM
Let's play a game. You name a market you think is a result of capitalism, and then you can take a turn explaining how that market is not a product of the legal environment it resides in. Look to the laws which establish private property rights and limited liability, and it should become apparent really quickly.

Unfair game is unfair.
No market is truly free and unfettered, but they can be the result of capitalism hindered to various degrees by political restraints. You can trace the origins of many aspects of a market or economy in general to a variety of parameters, just as you can trace virtually every single monopoly directly to government policy.

A robust legal environment is critical for capitalism to succeed. A corrupt legal environment is necessary for monopolies to develop.

Ghent12
08-23-14, 01:12 PM
"Remove the safety nets" IS EXACTLY option two. U3 is ~7%. U6 is ~12%. How many millions is that? What jobs would you have them do? The jobs don't exist.

Do you expect those millions to quietly starve to death? Lash out? What?

Yes, hunger is a powerful motivator, but that doesn't make jobs spring into existence. It does make people commit crime, though.

Seriously, I can't find it. Someone translate the U3 and U6 rates to numbers of people so we can decide where to employ them.
Poverty in America is, to some extent, voluntary. People magically find jobs in large numbers after various effective welfare reform measures. You don't need to bother trying to find employment for them--they will do that on their own.

Ghent12
08-23-14, 01:16 PM
I understand nothing. You understand everything. It's perfectly clear you are the ideal man. Heroic, really.

You should change your handle to Strawsman. I am sure you understand a great many things, just not the details of the intersection of politics and economics.

dcarrigg
08-23-14, 03:51 PM
No market is truly free and unfettered, but they can be the result of capitalism hindered to various degrees by political restraints. You can trace the origins of many aspects of a market or economy in general to a variety of parameters, just as you can trace virtually every single monopoly directly to government policy.

A robust legal environment is critical for capitalism to succeed. A corrupt legal environment is necessary for monopolies to develop.

Define robust. Define corrupt. I don't remember my old college econ text books saying "it's always the gubermint's fault when there's a monopoly."

How did the US government make Microsoft Windows a monopoly with 97% market share until it got busted up by the European Commission? How did the the US government force the NFL and MLB to be monopolies in their respective sports? How did the government make Standard Oil Rockefeller's own personal monopoly, and what will it do after Exxon-Mobil and Chevron merge and the humpty dumpty's back together again? How did Google become a monopoly in search? Did the government just start shooting Yahoo!s in the head? Did they kick down the doors at Duck-Duck-Go and fine it with regulatory non-compliance? Did they send Seal Team 6 into Digital and shut down Altavista for insider trading? Or did Google just get ahead, find a natural space for a monopoly and buy up any start-up that could possibly threaten it early on?

I mean, mergers and acquisitions and buyouts happen just fine on their own. Private equity makes sure of that. How long until an AT&T-Verizon-Comcast-Time Warner merger reassembles the new Ma Bell? It's not like they're not trying it as we speak. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/22/us-comcast-timewarnercable-fcc-idUSKBN0GM1QN20140822)

Seriously. They are. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-kushnick/deny-the-merger-the-collu_b_5562362.html)

And you can retort with, "Well, doesn't the government regulate natural monopolies for cable?" And sure it does. It doesn't mean they weren't forming anyways in history before they were regulated. Nobody is setting up a redundant second set of telephone poles with a separate set of wires just to compete. And the poles are all owned by Verizon and AT&T.

Regardless, there's no equivalent in cell phones, and we're down to Verizon and AT&T holding 70% of the market share anyways. How is it that the companies who own just about all the telephone poles in the US just happen to also be the only two standing who own just about all of the cell phone contracts and are still huge cable and landline players too?

It seems to me the textbooks might be right.

It seems to me that Plato might have illustrated the example of Thales buying options on every olive press to get rich quickly via monopoly just fine in The Republic a couple thousand years ago.

Turns out when you can corner a market, there's a lot of profit potential in it. And businessmen like profit.

Ghent12
08-24-14, 11:48 AM
Robust means that the playing field is level. It means harm is recognized, and therefore laws against theft, physical violence, and fraud are enacted and enforced.

Corrupt means the government serves the interests of specific groups of people or industries. License and burdensome regulation are the tools most often used to stifle competition to preserve the existing firms in the market.

Microsoft enjoyed its status for so long not because of the principles of a "natural monopoly" but rather because of intellectual property laws. Supporters of IP laws unknowingly often support monopolies and retarding of scientific and technological progress--see the Wright brothers for another example.

As for cable companies, they are among the most obvious examples of government-sponsored monopolies. Look to the cables themselves. In these cases, it's local governments which are the corrupt agents of the large corporations.

An opinion piece, but you will not find evidence to contradict it:
http://tbo.com/list/news-opinion-commentary/dont-blame-comcast-and-time-warner-for-cable-monopolies-20140305/

To my knowledge, Standard Oil was a major success story in America by bringing oil to customers at ridiculously low prices. Besides, that was a monopoly that didn't engage in much monopoly pricing until after Rockefeller's departure. Government support of this monopoly was far less than in the other examples you mentioned, so this is an example which mostly works in your favor. However, the story of Standard Oil is very convoluted and while government support of the firm/trust wasn't as overt, it still certainly existed in critical periphery industries which drastically influenced Standard Oil and the kerosene industry. You seem to know the standard textbook case against Standard Oil, so you might try this link for a more complete perspective on the subject:
http://www.masterresource.org/2011/08/vindicating-capitalism-standard-oil-i/

If you think the cell phone industry is an example of monopoly, you are utilizing pointless definitions. A single firm having 90% market share is an acceptable case of a monopoly. Two firms at 70% (your claim for the cellular industry), with a dozen or more filling the rest of the market, is hardly acceptable.

LazyBoy
08-24-14, 12:23 PM
With a few different decisions in the past (or now, I would guess) from our leaders, we would have tons of jobs. The U.S. government can borrow trillions. Those trillions could be spent to modernize our infrastructure. China has demonstrated that it can be done. There is at least $20 trillion worth of improvements that could be made in the infrastructure in the U.S. After that is done, perhaps we can talk about jobs springing into existence.

China has shown how to pull 100's of millions of people out of poverty, not through hand-outs, but through jobs. I cannot believe the U.S., with all its current resources (including credit), could not make a few tens of millions of jobs. It is laughable.

I like the infrastructure idea and it should definitely be done. (Anything that helps!) But I worry that it won't scale enough. Builders want 1 trained backhoe operator not 50 ditch diggers. If we're trying to employ "everybody" than we need a difficult mix of jobs.

Regarding China: China did it building cities that weren't needed. The people in poverty were subsistence farmers, so at least they were eating. And it's not clear that China's pulled-up workers live better than our unemployed. So Ghent12 will tell us that we have to knock them down first. (Which may be a fair point in theory, but it's brutal in reality.)


Poverty in America is, to some extent, voluntary. People magically find jobs in large numbers after various effective welfare reform measures. You don't need to bother trying to find employment for them--they will do that on their own.
"To some extent" is quite a qualifier, but at least you acknowledge the need for magic.

"Remove the safety nets" and people will find jobs "to some extent". And the rest? What happens with the safety nets gone? I wonder what your acceptable success rate is.

Ghent12
08-24-14, 12:47 PM
I like the infrastructure idea and it should definitely be done. (Anything that helps!) But I worry that it won't scale enough. Builders want 1 trained backhoe operator not 50 ditch diggers. If we're trying to employ "everybody" than we need a difficult mix of jobs.

Regarding China: China did it building cities that weren't needed. The people in poverty were subsistence farmers, so at least they were eating. And it's not clear that China's pulled-up workers live better than our unemployed. So Ghent12 will tell us that we have to knock them down first. (Which may be a fair point in theory, but it's brutal in reality.)


"To some extent" is quite a qualifier, but at least you acknowledge the need for magic.

"Remove the safety nets" and people will find jobs "to some extent". And the rest? What happens with the safety nets gone? I wonder what your acceptable success rate is.
You might ask what happens to "the rest" after minimum wage laws increase and bring new people into the ranks of the permanently unemployable.

Enough of the poor in America live in poverty by choice as to make my statement valid. You can misconstrue what I've said as much as you want, but the facts speak for themselves--when welfare is reduced, people suddenly find jobs as if by magic. People often take care of themselves pretty effectively, and with the exception of the socially dead (i.e. the substance addicted homeless), they have every incentive to do so when their sugar daddy stops paying for their lifestyle. On a related note, American poverty can, statistically speaking, be reduced by greater than half if poor unwed mothers married the fathers of their children. Welfare setups are designed in such a way as to disincentivize that basic human association as well.

Regardless, and back on the main subject, technological increases in productivity through automation can only help the poor very substantially. It sucks to be poor, but it's better to be poor when prices of things you need are falling generally because they can be produced much more cheaply.

Milton Kuo
08-24-14, 03:46 PM
Microsoft enjoyed its status for so long not because of the principles of a "natural monopoly" but rather because of intellectual property laws. Supporters of IP laws unknowingly often support monopolies and retarding of scientific and technological progress--see the Wright brothers for another example.


I don't believe that a substantial private software industry would exist without intellectual property laws. That is, if government did not have laws against software piracy, I don't think the software industry would be where it is today since very few people truly enjoy writing that much software for practically nothing. Outside of government laws prohibiting software piracy, Microsoft's monopoly came about due to the relative quality of their software. What I'm saying is that if we allow for reasonable intellectual property laws--and I'm saying anti-software-piracy is reasonable--Microsoft created a virtual monopoly without any other government interference.

The very nature of networked systems creates an environment where monopolies are practically guaranteed to arise. Once a company gets enough users into its system, it becomes very difficult for competitors to mount a credible threat to the big player. Facebook, Google, Amazon, and eBay are very clear examples of the winner-takes-all aspect of these systems. In the old days, the network was AT&T's telephone system. The next monopoly is something to do with cloud computing. That's why Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are throwing so much money to develop the dominant platform.

These are monopolies that are developing without government interference.



If you think the cell phone industry is an example of monopoly, you are utilizing pointless definitions. A single firm having 90% market share is an acceptable case of a monopoly. Two firms at 70% (your claim for the cellular industry), with a dozen or more filling the rest of the market, is hardly acceptable.

The cell phone industry, strictly speaking, is an oligopoly where AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile probably control well over 90% of the market. However, isn't it peculiar that prices for cell phone service from each of the big vendors in the U.S. is practically the same? Furthermore, cell phone service in other wealthy, developed nations is far less expensive than in the U.S. despite being better in quality.

I wish I had saved it but there was a Bloomberg article recently that detailed why foreign investors are so interested in buying into the U.S. telecommunications market. The reason was that over the past five years, the profits of mobile phone plans and Internet service fell in most developed nations. However, in the U.S., it grew by over 20%. For all of the purported competition of capitalism present in the U.S. markets, I find it strange that socialist countries trounce us on pricing for communications.

If I can find the news article, I'll post it here. Between that article and what I've seen of communications costs in other countries, something is clearly very wrong with the U.S. markets.

--

Update: And here is the relevant quote from the Bloomberg article, "Why Billionaires Salivate over the U.S. Wireless Market (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-04/why-billionaires-salivate-over-the-u-s-wireless-market.html)."

Americans have kept on paying a steady rate for wireless services as speeds get faster and new features like video are added to their plans. U.S. carriers got an average of $48.17 a month in revenue per user in the fourth quarter, compared with $32.51 in France, according to researcher Informa Plc.


Wireless revenue per capita rose 17 percent in the U.S. from the beginning of 2009 through the middle of 2013, compared with a 4 percent decline for the rest of the developed world, according to MoffettNathanson LLC.


“We have witnessed a jaw-dropping 21 percent divergence between the U.S. and the rest of the world in just four short years,” analyst Craig Moffett (http://topics.bloomberg.com/craig-moffett/) wrote in a January report. “The U.S. wireless market has steadily grown, first on the back of wireless voice and now, more recently, on the back of wireless data.”

dcarrigg
08-24-14, 03:53 PM
Unfair game is unfair.

You can point to intellectual property law as proof of "Government involvement."

I can point to all property law as proof of "Government involvement."

That means not only are all monopolies caused by government according to your new expanded definition.

All markets and businesses bar none are caused by government if you want to give government so much credit for business results that it becomes responsible for the success of Microsoft et all.

Show me one land with no government where markets and business are booming. Show me a place that respects property rights without government, police, law, and courts. Even if you come up with an example, I bet I can find a strongman/strongmen that are acting as a government.

See?

Unfair game is unfair.

You can redefine terms as you want. But if you go looking for any government connection whatsoever to "prove" all bad things are 100% the government's fault, you're falling into a conspiracy theorists' fallacy.

It becomes clear you think all businesses are angels and all governments are devils. But the way I see it, if government gets 100% of the credit for "bad" monopolies in your story, it should get 100% of the credit for "good" competitive markets too.

Either that or maybe you should rethink the "all business results that interact with law become the government's fault" position.

Because the government and the market are not antithetical. In fact, the two always go together. Every single time. Without private property rights and law, there is no market.

So yes, you can say the NFL, MLB and such are because of intellectual property law. You can say that US Steel and Standard Oil were "good" monopolies. You can say that Ma Bell was because of state law.

But all property is protected by law. And law establishes the fact that land is for sale and the rule by which it is sold.

Without law, it's just might makes right.

No way a frail 60 year old white woman gets to automatically and safely inherit $63,700,000,000 from WalMart without law. Someone in Arkansas would just come up and take "their share." Without law, what's to stop them?

Law's what makes the whole damn system work.

So just saying "laws were involved" doesn't make me think monopolies are "unnatural" in any way sense or form. Because if it did, then markets themselves would be "unnatural."

And this "natural" "artificial" thing is a fool's distinction anyways.

In the beginning there were hunter-gatherers. They lived like they were on a permanent camping/hunting trip. Carrying a lot of extra stuff was a pain in the ass. They didn't have private property. They didn't own land. They didn't have law. Everything was shared within the tribe. Just like you might share everything in your house with your family without charging them any money now.

Then came the agricultural revolution. And people grew crops. But to do this they had to stay in one spot. And they had to protect that spot. Staying put let them generate and store surplus food. The farmland was held in common and food and everything else was shared. But the surplus could be traded with other tribes outside. The beginning of the gift/reciprocity economy formed.

And so the seeds were sown with those first fields for governments and trade both. Warriors needed to protect an exclusive geographic area from other men and other animals. Surplus existed for the first time and allowed pre-market gift-style trading. All because people learned how to farm.

So law and trade arrive around the same time.

Both as natural as farming ever was for man.

The two go together like peas and carrots.

Shakespear
08-25-14, 05:05 AM
If you’ve seen a sci-fi flick with autonomous robots in the last 40 years, you may be wary of giving robots any semblance of control.But new research coming out of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) suggests that letting robots have control over human tasks in manufacturing is not just more efficient — it’s actually preferred by workers.While manufacturers have long recognized the benefits of automation in streamlining processes and freeing humans from tedious tasks, such as aisle-running, there’s always a concern that workers may feel devalued or even replaceable.“In our research we were seeking to find that sweet spot for ensuring that the human workforce is both satisfied and productive,” says project lead Matthew Gombolay, a PhD student at CSAIL. “We discovered that the answer is to actually give machines more autonomy, if it helps people to work together more fluently with robot teammates.”

http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/want-happy-worker-let-robots-take-control
Bring them on. I am waiting for the take it to bed version.

The subject of robots will not go away. Will it be for the better or worst for mankind ? WILL SEE. But I am certain of one thing, there are technologies that are beyond our control, as best as can be ascertained in public today. And Fuckushima (poisoning Pacific as we speak) is one such example, though the rest of the nuclear industry cadavers are well shielded from public discussion or attention. In this area there is complete loss of control by the nation, because control is with corporations.

don
08-25-14, 08:06 AM
Shakes, you have some catching up to do. Fukushima was solved here on the 'tulip months ago ;_Y

Shakespear
08-25-14, 10:05 AM
Shakes, you have some catching up to do. Fukushima was solved here on the 'tulip months ago ;_Y
Great. All that worrying for nothing. ;]]

don
08-25-14, 02:58 PM
Great. All that worrying for nothing. ;]]

drink up!

vinoveri
08-25-14, 03:56 PM
Because the government and the market are not antithetical. In fact, the two always go together. Every single time. Without private property rights and law, there is no market.



The framers understood the goal and challenge before them. They succeeded in part, but wealth and power has succeeded in corrupting the gov to serve only those interests at present.
How many American children read or are taught the substance embodied in Federalist Papers? Not many. Why?
Who's fault is it? The plutocrats who want a dumb down population? The leftist reformers who never heard of a white westerner they didn't want to demonize?

Please, any educators in the audience tell me why? I learned and read then 35 years ago; they are important; they go to the heart of how this country's government was to be set up and embody the principles of liberty, commonwealth, consent of the governed etc.

But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.


http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa51.htm

Ghent12
08-25-14, 06:55 PM
Unfair game is unfair.

You can point to intellectual property law as proof of "Government involvement."

I can point to all property law as proof of "Government involvement."

That means not only are all monopolies caused by government according to your new expanded definition.

All markets and businesses bar none are caused by government if you want to give government so much credit for business results that it becomes responsible for the success of Microsoft et all.

Show me one land with no government where markets and business are booming. Show me a place that respects property rights without government, police, law, and courts. Even if you come up with an example, I bet I can find a strongman/strongmen that are acting as a government.

See?

Unfair game is unfair.
Intellectual property ownership as a concept is not very similar to the concept of physical property ownership. Physical property ownership extends from the notion that you own your own body and are entitled to the fruits of your labor. Intellectual property ownership extends from no similar notion, but rather from the playground notion of "winners keepers, losers weepers." Physical property ownership as a concept says that if you create an object, you are entitled to own that object. Intellectual property ownership as a concept says that if you create an object which is sufficiently different from other objects as determined through arbitration, you are entitled to prevent others from creating that or similar objects.

While the concept of intellectual property ownership may spur on some innovation, it also serves to retard technological progress and invention by quashing the interaction which would normally take place in a more free society. For every successful new technology or idea to survive the patent process, there are an unseen number of others which are quashed by people seeking to stop others from using "their" discovery (occasionally more efficiently) or by corporations buying and squatting on huge numbers of patents for various (typically nefarious) reasons. You talk about an unfair game, but in reality there is no fairness in economics beyond voluntary transactions. You cannot clearly see the damage done by intellectual property schemes, you can only clearly see some of the benefits. However, in terms of principle, "intellectual property rights" means, exclusively, the use of force to stop innovation.

Another problem with intellectual property rights is the arbitrary nature of them. Physical property ownership is principled--I own my body, my labor, and the fruits of my labor in accordance with whatever agreements I make to exchange either my labor or the fruits of my labor. Intellectual property rights are arbitrary--I own an intangible idea and all arbitrarily-defined similarities to it, and I own this idea for who knows how long (increasingly, due to government capture, the limit of ownership of an idea goes to infinity as time goes to infinity) before I lose ownership of it, then it becomes free domain.

No, intellectual property is not at all similar to private property.

As for laws, they are a mechanism to enforce private property rights and any other "rights" invented under any political/economic system. They are as necessary for capitalism as they are for socialism, communism, feudalism, or any other -ism. A technical distinction is that a free and unfettered market wouldn't have laws (except against laws), but a capitalist economy would have legal protection for private property (including life) and agreements (contracts). The legal environment sets the stage for the economy, and the economy can be defined by the legal environment. We do not live in a capitalist economy, but rather in a capitalist-like economy rife with various forms of politically palatable corruption. The government works in the interest of various sectors of the economy, and that's okay to Joe the Voter because those poor farmers, poor poor people, poor domestic companies, poor union members, poor state government employees, poor energy companies, poor green companies, poor auto companies, poor foolish financial companies all need a little help from time to time, amiright?

By the way, Lucas will own Star Wars for 75 years after his death. How's that for an impressive incentive to be creative?

dcarrigg
08-25-14, 10:15 PM
I assume you're saying you believe private property is a Natural Right handed down from God a la John Locke. Even then, there's a social contract component once money comes into the picture and theological components against letting surplus spoil and starving out the poor through property ownership. That's the basis of the Two Treatises.

Regardless, let's say you do believe that you own yourself as private property, like any other slab of beef or slave on the auction block at the slave market.

And let's say from there that you believe you own the fruits of your labor since God granted man dominion in Genesis. Why would you not also own the fruits of your intellectual labor? Is your brain not part of you? Are your thoughts not your own? Do you not have the same right to intellectual labor as you do physical labor?

And sure, Lucus' heirs will get to own Star Wars for 75 years after his death, you're right.

Then again, Christy Walton gets to be a multi-billionaire homemaker who never went to school or had a job because Sam Walton willed it.

Property law dictates what's allowable.

Of course a free and unfettered market would have laws. You need contract laws. You need laws banning theft and fraud. You need laws establishing a medium of exchange. In the end of the day, you probably even need a couple naval groups to keep tariffs out, ensure trade, and deter piracy. As they like to say in the service, "Freedom isn't free."

There is no free market in a vacuum. Never has been. Never will be. It always comes with a government attached.

So I don't see to much point in arguments that begin, "Well, if laws just did not exist, then..."

That doesn't mean you can't take on laws or regulations you feel are wrong or unnecessary as they come up.

But to lay all the blame for all monopolies, market failures and externalities squarely at the feet of Uncle Sam is absurd.

And to assert that market failures would not occur if the government didn't exist is equally absurd.

It's like saying that gravity wouldn't occur if the mass didn't exist.

It's a meaningless statement.

Shakespear
08-26-14, 03:54 AM
Robo Brain – a large-scale computational system that learns from publicly available Internet resources – is currently downloading and processing about 1 billion images, 120,000 YouTube videos, and 100 million how-to documents and appliance manuals. The information is being translated and stored in a robot-friendly format that robots will be able to draw on when they need it.To serve as helpers in our homes, offices and factories, robots will need to understand how the world works and how the humans around them behave. Robotics researchers have been teaching them these things one at a time: How to find your keys, pour a drink, put away dishes, and when not to interrupt two people having a conversation. This will all come in one package with Robo Brain.

http://phys.org/news/2014-08-robo-brain-robots-internet.html

I like this comment, though I think the guy is a wild conspiracy theory lover.

This "Robo Brain" will be like the Brain Bug in Starship Troopers, directing and coordinating huge swarms of flying and crawling robots to kill us all. It will take minimum time to replicate the bug robots by the billions. If you think that they can be programmed to respect the sanctity of life, think again. Then look at those Youtube videos of people pouring molten aluminum into ant colonies with no regard of the hundreds of thousands of lives that they are killing in the most horrible way. When robots became intelligent, we will be just like those ants and suffer the same fate.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-08-robo-brain-robots-internet.html#jCp

I would change this sentences to as follows,

Then look at those Youtube videos of people pouring molten aluminum into ant colonies with no regard of the hundreds of thousands of lives that they are killing in the most horrible way.
to

Then look at those Youtube videos of intelligent beings pouring molten aluminum into ant colonies with no regard of the hundreds of thousands of lives that they are killing in the most horrible way.

touchring
08-26-14, 05:47 AM
With a few different decisions in the past (or now, I would guess) from our leaders, we would have tons of jobs. The U.S. government can borrow trillions. Those trillions could be spent to modernize our infrastructure. China has demonstrated that it can be done. There is at least $20 trillion worth of improvements that could be made in the infrastructure in the U.S. After that is done, perhaps we can talk about jobs springing into existence.

China has shown how to pull 100's of millions of people out of poverty, not through hand-outs, but through jobs. I cannot believe the U.S., with all its current resources (including credit), could not make a few tens of millions of jobs. It is laughable.


Can individual state governments go ahead and begin their own massive investment in infrastructure? Just wondering. Especially California and state of New York?

Thailandnotes
08-26-14, 07:18 AM
By the way, Lucas will own Star Wars for 75 years after his death

Recent trade agreements force countries to rewrite intellectual privacy laws to match America’s. The agreements dissolve worker rights and screw up court systems for decades. The need for IP is clear, but the pendulum has swung so far toward corporate monopoly, libertarians are making a good case for no IP at all.

Ideology vs. Ideology. Compromise and common sense are dumped.

As any Thai rice farmer would tell you the world has gone screwy. Texas “Jasmati” took market share with a tweak, a patent, and multiple lawsuits.

Government and corporate/business interests have always had tremendous overlap, but currently one circle seems to fit perfectly on top of the other. The revolving door is spinning at RPM’s up there in the red zone. Corruption is an amazing thing…the tolerance of it, its creeping expansion, the new markets it creates, the way people see it in other cultures, but not their own.

Polish_Silver
08-26-14, 07:56 AM
Monopoly isn't inevitable or even likely under capitalism. Monopoly requires complete ownership of something unique or complete ownership of all the means to produce and acquire a good or service within an economy of a given size. Monopolies in the United States are almost exclusively government-sponsored, government-supported, or otherwise products of political practices and not capitalist economic ones.

Let's play a game. You name a monopoly you think is a result of capitalism, and then you can take a turn explaining how that monopoly is not a product of the legal environment it resides in. Look to the laws which restrict competition and it should become apparent really quickly.

How did public policy create the AT&T monopoly on phone service? Activities which have large economies of scale can become monopolies without any political/legal action. If AT&T had raised rates too much, competition might have appeared. But the difficulty of putting an an alternative network of phone lines would have given them lots of margin to play with.

Regional railroads might have been in a simlar state before autos arrived.

don
08-26-14, 01:00 PM
The best and most useful definition of monopoly is the state of concentration reached where price competition is essentially over, replaced by competition for market share between a handful of large corporations. It heralds the rise of advertising as an outlet for traditional investment capital which has fewer places to go in a monopoly environment.

Thailandnotes
08-27-14, 02:35 PM
The best and most useful definition of monopoly is the state of concentration reached where price competition is essentially over, replaced by competition for market share between a handful of large corporations. It heralds the rise of advertising as an outlet for traditional investment capital which has fewer places to go in a monopoly environment.

http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2014/08/time-warner-cable-internet-outage.print

Ghent12
08-27-14, 11:06 PM
I assume you're saying you believe private property is a Natural Right handed down from God a la John Locke. Even then, there's a social contract component once money comes into the picture and theological components against letting surplus spoil and starving out the poor through property ownership. That's the basis of the Two Treatises.

Regardless, let's say you do believe that you own yourself as private property, like any other slab of beef or slave on the auction block at the slave market.

And let's say from there that you believe you own the fruits of your labor since God granted man dominion in Genesis. Why would you not also own the fruits of your intellectual labor? Is your brain not part of you? Are your thoughts not your own? Do you not have the same right to intellectual labor as you do physical labor?These are excellent questions and I appreciate the engagement. The answers, in order, are that you do own the fruits of your intellectual labor, your brain is a part of you, your thoughts are your own (though ideas can be shared at very little cost), and you do have the same right to [the fruits of and the effort of] intellectual labor as you do to for physical labor. However, none of these matters can ethically (or practically) be used to thwart another from deriving on their own or learning of through other means your idea (as the domain of the mind is fairly private and may be influenced by many, but only controlled by one person), nor can it be ethically used to stop the creation of an object either entirely based upon your idea or based on an improvement, modification, or permutation of your idea by others, regardless of how that idea came to find its way into the minds of others. As a practical matter, defining exactly what you can deny others the ability to do based upon you making a certain discovery is arbitrary and can be absurd.

To clarify why you simultaneously have a right to the fruits of your intellectual labor yet have no ethical right to prevent others from enjoying the fruits of their labor (even if a blatant copy of your idea), is that the fruits of your intellectual labor are specifically the actual idea itself and the opportunity to exploit the world's ignorance of your idea. Failing to exploit the advantage you create for yourself by "being first" does not entitle you to use men with guns to stop others from working, just as failing to exploit the resources you own in any physical sense as effectively as someone does not entitle you to be able to halt the exploitation of their resources.

If you create an object, can you patent creation itself? If you create an object out of iron, can you patent all metalwork? Obviously these are not recent discoveries, but in the course of patent law there are a number of cases where the arbitrary legal nature of the act of denying people the ability to create things has been taken to absurd extremes. The Wright brothers created aircraft which utilized wing-warping as the means to effect controlled flight, yet the effect of their patents were to de facto outlaw controlled flight itself except through license.

Imitating someone or their work is not a form of theft. You do not deprive someone of their idea by utilizing their idea--all you deprive them of is the opportunity for monopoly of their idea. You seem to be against monopolies (evidenced by you casting them in negative light and defending assertions that capitalism and/or a free market can not only create them but encourage them), yet being in favor of intellectual property rights is, in reality, being in favor of (possibly temporary) monopolies. That is a seemingly contradictory position to hold. Perhaps you make an exception for someone who has "earned" such a monopoly privilege?



Of course a free and unfettered market would have laws. You need contract laws. You need laws banning theft and fraud. You need laws establishing a medium of exchange. In the end of the day, you probably even need a couple naval groups to keep tariffs out, ensure trade, and deter piracy. As they like to say in the service, "Freedom isn't free."

There is no free market in a vacuum. Never has been. Never will be. It always comes with a government attached.

So I don't see to much point in arguments that begin, "Well, if laws just did not exist, then..."

That doesn't mean you can't take on laws or regulations you feel are wrong or unnecessary as they come up.A truly free and unfettered market, at least by the definition I am using, means that there is no political transaction between people and there are exclusively economic or social transactions between people. A truly free and unfettered market, in order to actually be truly free, must be free from all laws which regulate or affect the market (what else would a free market be free from?). No contract laws, no laws against theft or deceit, etc. Obviously this condition almost assuredly can't happen and is perfectly theoretical, but it doesn't negate its usefulness as a principle or from a philosophical perspective. It's an "ideal" if you want to call it that, similar to utilizing "massless, frictionless pulleys of zero radius" in the study of elementary physics to see the bigger picture items of work, mechanical advantage, and etc. (As an aside, a purely free market can theoretically function and include regulation, but not via the law. Perfectly voluntary regulation by means of brands, reputation, and the relationships between supply, demand, and prices serve to keep markets regular and would still be in effect to various degrees in a purely free market. However, this digression is not pertinent and not the point I'm trying to make.)

Laws which cover exclusively the "no harm" principle, depending on how you define it and who you ask, can turn a purely free market society into a capitalist one--essentially any society where political power is used almost exclusively to outlaw harm and protect all economic activity (i.e. contract law) can be considered a fairly pure capitalist society. In other words, a capitalist society is a society which protects the formation of capital, and a free market society is a society based upon markets solely and free of laws. But these distinctions aren't necessary for the points I've been making. American laws reach far beyond that scope and, to varying degrees, restrict economic activity. Can a society be a free-market society when so many markets (some drugs, some foods, some sex services, some weapons, virtually all very cheap labor, etc.) are outright illegal or very heavily restricted? Can a society be a capitalist society when so many laws exist to restrict the formation of capital in and entrance into so many markets (i.e. licensing of all kinds)?

Specifically, monopolies exist largely because it is government policy that they exist. The monopolist is protected from competition directly by government policy within that monopolist's market, or indirectly through necessary secondary markets. There need not be laws overtly stating "Time Warner Cable shall be the only cable provider in Corpus Christi" for TWC to be the monopolist in the Corpus Christi cable market as a direct result of government policy.

This isn't an unfair game at all. Name a monopoly you think exists without the aid of some law which restricts competition in its relevant markets, and anyone will likely be able to point towards the law which restricts that monopoly's competition.

Ghent12
08-27-14, 11:17 PM
How did public policy create the AT&T monopoly on phone service? Activities which have large economies of scale can become monopolies without any political/legal action. If AT&T had raised rates too much, competition might have appeared. But the difficulty of putting an an alternative network of phone lines would have given them lots of margin to play with.

Regional railroads might have been in a simlar state before autos arrived.
That is the textbook case, and yes it is true that large capital barriers to entry can tend towards some monopoly. However, as markets develop and "mature" it is almost impossible for a monopoly to exist for very long without the aid of governments. AT&T or "Ma Bell" essentially formed as the market for telephones was under rapid development, and it metastasized as a government sanctioned monopoly ironically as a result of anti-trust efforts in 1913.

Theoretically, if a private enterprise were to assemble the capital for something big enough, like a space ladder, there likely would be a monopoly for an indefinite period of time. These large accumulations of capital do occur on smaller scales in smaller markets, and the risk of a long-running monopoly is accordingly much smaller.

dcarrigg
08-27-14, 11:37 PM
Ghent12: I agree with you generally that IP protections go on for too long. But I don't see another practical way to do it just yet other than to keep IP law, but shorten the timeframe. Otherwise, what's to prevent you from copying Star Wars, changing one scene slightly, and selling it for $1 per copy the day after it comes out? What's to stop you from taking all of the Windows code and putting out an operating system that's identical with a line or two different in the background and selling it to IBM clones for cut rate prices? Or what's to stop Dell from copying it and just putting it out as it's own? Clearly there needs to be something there. It's not fair otherwise.


Obviously this condition almost assuredly can't happen and is perfectly theoretical, but it doesn't negate its usefulness as a principle or from a philosophical perspective

This was the same argument that Marxism used. And so I'm very, very wary of it.


Name a monopoly you think exists without the aid of some law which restricts competition in its relevant markets, and anyone will likely be able to point towards the law which restricts that monopoly's competition.

I'll say it for the third time: Name a market you think exists without the aid of some law which protects private property and establishes relevant markets, and anyone will likely be able to point towards the law that allows free market competition.

LazyBoy
08-29-14, 02:05 AM
"Remove the safety nets" and people will find jobs "to some extent". And the rest? What happens with the safety nets gone? I wonder what your acceptable success rate is.


You might ask what happens to "the rest" after minimum wage laws increase and bring new people into the ranks of the permanently unemployable.

Enough of the poor in America live in poverty by choice as to make my statement valid. You can misconstrue what I've said as much as you want, but the facts speak for themselves--when welfare is reduced, people suddenly find jobs as if by magic. People often take care of themselves pretty effectively, ...

Thank you for not rising to my pokes and keeping things civil. I apologize for my tone.

But, respectfully, some of the things you posted sound to me more like hardcore belief in an ideology than thoughtful solutions. Yes, people often find a way to survive during true hardship. But other people die. And people are softer, more numerous and less cooperative than they were in, say, the Great Depression era.

Removing the safety nets would encourage some fraction of the unemployed to take any job for any wage. But I don't see how hungry workers and lower wages creates 10's of millions of jobs for unskilled workers. DOING WHAT???

The only job growth I see in this scenario is private security and prison guards.

Polish_Silver
08-29-14, 07:06 AM
You can only throw away the welfare state if you also throw away the various forms of working "protection" enacted in law. The major protection afforded by the law is to protect people from employment.

With the abolishment of the minimum wage, labor laws, and the various forms of social safety nets, you will see a huge calamity immediately, followed by coping and then ultimately thriving as people adjust to the new normal. . . .
Throwing away the welfare state and seeing the initial reaction doesn't prove that some people have been replaced to some degree. All it would prove is that some people are accustomed to not needing to do anything meaningful to survive. . ..
e.

It this is correct, what country has used this policy? Any historical examples?

Many of those unemployed now I would not want in my house as a nanny, though as lawn mower they might be acceptable.

I have been around homeless people and some will just not fit in due to chronic mental illness: schizophrenia, manic-depression, etc.

On the other hand, I agree that the system discourages some capable people from working. The only viable solution I see is to make work a better alternative than welfare, by subsidizing (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/12/11/nobel-winner-edmund-phelps-on-his-plan-to-help-low-wage-workers-without-raising-the-minimum-wage/)low wage work.

Countries with no safety net usually have tons of beggars. Taiwan is the only one I have seen that doesn't have this problem, and they do have some beggars. I doubt that the US could replicate Taiwan's policies. Taiwan has these advantages:

1) strong extended families
2) minimal regulations and taxes
3) highly cost effective health care.
4) low cost living alternatives
5) mild climate (no need for heating in winter)


It's somewhat like the argument that, if you take away the humane society, all the stray dogs will find owners.

Polish_Silver
08-29-14, 07:18 AM
. . .


In the beginning there were hunter-gatherers. They lived like they were on a permanent camping/hunting trip. Carrying a lot of extra stuff was a pain in the ass. They didn't have private property. They didn't own land. They didn't have law. Everything was shared within the tribe. Just like you might share everything in your house with your family without charging them any money now.

Then came the agricultural revolution. And people grew crops. But to do this they had to stay in one spot. And they had to protect that spot. Staying put let them generate and store surplus food. The farmland was held in common and food and everything else was shared. But the surplus could be traded with other tribes outside. The beginning of the gift/reciprocity economy formed.

And so the seeds were sown with those first fields for governments and trade both. Warriors needed to protect an exclusive geographic area from other men and other animals. Surplus existed for the first time and allowed pre-market gift-style trading. All because people learned how to farm.

So law and trade arrive around the same time.

Both as natural as farming ever was for man.

The two go together like peas and carrots.

I think that's an excellent starting point for thinking about economics and our responsibility to each other.

You didn't mention how the agricultural revolution led to gender inequality, inheritance of social status, plague diseases, sexual repression, and 10 other things. But that's a matter (http://www.pbs.org/gunsgermssteel/)for full length books (http://www.sexatdawn.com/). Empathy (http://www.emory.edu/LIVING_LINKS/empathy/)is the only thing keeping us going, tempering the dynamics of both Darwinism and capitalism.

Woodsman
08-29-14, 07:46 AM
It this is correct, what country has used this policy? Any historical examples?

Czarist Russia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/February_Revolution)had a good run while it lasted.

Woodsman
08-29-14, 07:49 AM
...The only job growth I see in this scenario is private security and prison guards.

Surely men of a certain organizational bent would thrive.
http://img.rt.com/files/politics/communist-leader-war-zyuganov-455/deputies-bolsheviks-communist-party-222.si.jpg

don
08-29-14, 09:20 AM
Is the 'Huxley Period' over?

flintlock
08-29-14, 09:29 AM
Was talking to a customer yesterday about his company. Seems they use automatic welders. Set up a track and the welding machine just runs about doing it's business in fuel storage tanks, buildings, etc. Pretty amazing what tech there is out there today. He said they are not that much quicker than humans after set up time is considered, but more precise, can work longer hours, and don't get sick or lay out of work.

Ghent12
08-29-14, 04:42 PM
Thank you for not rising to my pokes and keeping things civil. I apologize for my tone.

But, respectfully, some of the things you posted sound to me more like hardcore belief in an ideology than thoughtful solutions. Yes, people often find a way to survive during true hardship. But other people die. And people are softer, more numerous and less cooperative than they were in, say, the Great Depression era.

Removing the safety nets would encourage some fraction of the unemployed to take any job for any wage. But I don't see how hungry workers and lower wages creates 10's of millions of jobs for unskilled workers. DOING WHAT???

The only job growth I see in this scenario is private security and prison guards.
It is very hard to see what isn't current reality. Technically it's impossible, of course, but with enough consideration we can visualize what might be likely to happen.

Let's start off with the case of the unskilled worker. To clarify, no such entity exists by real definitions because in order to be a worker you must apply some labor skill, so let's call people who might normally be called unskilled workers a more accurate term: very low-skilled workers. These people have very distinct advantages in the labor market of the United States, and the threat they pose to higher-skilled workers in established markets is the reason why it is illegal for very low-skilled workers to be employed at wage rates generally commensurate with their skill level. The term "skills" is very broad, so it can be useful to list some examples of skills such as: the ability to be punctual, the ability to speak English and to what degree (or any other language), the ability to do any of the myriad levels of physical labor to include bending over to pick up a dropped pen all the way to lifting heavy crates and relocating them, the ability to follow instructions to any degree of exactness, and so forth. Things you might not normally think of as skills are actually lacking in a number of people which is why the term "unskilled worker" is even in your parlance.

As an example of the threat posed to highly-skilled workers by low-skilled ones, if you need a good-sized hole dug then you can hire a highly-skilled machine operator who is licensed, bonded, insured, and pays his dues to the local union chapter. Alternatively, if we were to scrap the laws originally designed to keep black and Polish people out of the labor market (namely the minimum wage laws), you could hire a dozen very low-skilled workers with shovels for probably less than half the price.

Now you might wonder how people would be able to survive on such a low amount of income as would be earned by wages commensurate with a very low skill level, but that is a problem best solved by the people in that situation. Various techniques are universally utilized, such as minimizing living space (i.e. stuffing a dozen or more people into a dwelling "meant" for a single family), carpooling, and so forth. These techniques are used by most teenagers if they are capable of finding work because they may seek an income while benefitting from their parents' transportation and living situation. The huge benefit to people who are able to work, even in jobs requiring very little skill, is that all of these jobs will impart additional skills and "resumé bullets" to those who work on them. The ability to "live efficiently" (a rather cynical but accurate description of, for example, immigrant family situations) required during periods where one is only able to command the wages of a very low-skilled worker can actually impart some valuable skills on these individuals as well.

Of course it would be a great Kumbaya moment if everyone could simply get a paycheck and live well no matter what they do for a living, no matter how well they do it, and no matter what their skill level is. However, that cannot be a sustainable reality (except in absolute poverty like in hunter-gatherer days). If you want to improve the quality of life of human beings, you must have incentives for each individual to improve their own lot in life. Poor people in America aren't poor because they don't have money, and they don't stay poor because they lack income or skills. The poor in America are that way either from "bad luck" circumstances out of their control or through decisions of their own making, and those who stay in poverty almost always remain in that state because they lack the willpower to live differently. The preceding might not be a complete description of the situation, but those statements are absolutely true given that the contrapositives are invariably true.

The worst enemies of the poor in this country are those who drone on about how bad the poor have it, how the game is rigged against them, and how the poor need help. Is that something you would do to your child? "Give up, your efforts are useless, I'll provide for you your entire life." If you're going to tell the truth to poor people, like that the game actually is rigged against them, then you need to tell them the whole truth, meaning that you need to add that there is a way out through their own effort.

The following is edited for clarity:
Now we find ourselves in a very cynical situation where politicians (mostly Democrats) poison the well and have created a self-licking ice cream cone for the votes of large numbers of "the downtrodden," and the people who find themselves on a steady diet of this cynicism about their life and situation are trapped socially, economically, and politically by, respectively, those who tell them they shouldn't bother, those policies of welfare which disincentivize efforts to escape poverty, and those politicians who pander and reinforce both aspects of the poverty trap.

As a more concrete example, ask yourself what a poor black family of four (a mother and three children ages 5, 15, and 17) could do with an extra $2200 (pre-tax) a year. That's how much is being kept from them purely and exclusively by minimum wage and child labor laws when their 15-year-old and 17-year-old can't find work for 10 weeks during the summer earning $5 and $6 an hour, respectively, for 20 hours a week. That's a slightly bigger apartment, a second (quite used) car, a tutor, a babysitter for the youngest, healthier food, or any number of other things which that family (or more likely the mother) decides might improve their lot in life.

The reason for that example is that it is illustrative of the situation faced by innumerable poor families and, frankly, more likely among black families with a female head of household. Youth unemployment is high, and black youth unemployment is higher still. The old racists who passed the minimum wage laws would be so proud of the Democrats and the Occupy Wall Street crowd today, not to mention a lot of Republicans.

dcarrigg
08-29-14, 07:03 PM
Now we find ourselves in a very cynical situation where politicians (mostly Democrats) own whole plantations of voterstock


Really? Really? It's 2014. Those types of references to black folk were already wholly inappropriate 100 years ago.

don
08-29-14, 08:11 PM
Now we find ourselves in a very cynical situation where politicians (mostly Republicans) own whole cohorts of senior white males.

Polish_Silver
08-30-14, 12:11 PM
Was talking to a customer yesterday about his company. Seems they use automatic welders. Set up a track and the welding machine just runs about doing it's business in fuel storage tanks, buildings, etc. Pretty amazing what tech there is out there today. He said they are not that much quicker than humans after set up time is considered, but more precise, can work longer hours, and don't get sick or lay out of work.

The human welder gets $30-$40/hour ? I'm guessing the machine pays for itself in 3 years, and is essentially free welding after that.

But human welders will not quickly be replaced, due to the need for thinking and versatility in non-repetitive tasks. It is only the repetitive ones that will be done by machine. I'd be surprised if most auto factory welding has not been done by machine since 1980.

dcarrigg
08-31-14, 02:38 AM
MIT says Google cars still way more fantasy than reality.
(http://www.technologyreview.com/news/530276/hidden-obstacles-for-googles-self-driving-cars/?smid=tw-upshotnyt)

Would you buy a self-driving car that couldn’t drive itself in 99 percent of the country? Or that knew nearly nothing about parking, couldn’t be taken out in snow or heavy rain, and would drive straight over a gaping pothole?If your answer is yes, then check out the Google Self-Driving Car, model year 2014.

Ghent12
08-31-14, 05:18 PM
Really? Really? It's 2014. Those types of references to black folk were already wholly inappropriate 100 years ago.
I made no reference to black folk. You are making a racist inference, and I can only assume this is so because you are a racist or otherwise preoccupied with race. It is largely the Democrats who claim to champion the poor, but really they corral the poor and treat them as a farmer would livestock--they cultivate and harvest them, but never let them leave the ranch. If you think the word "plantation" is racist, you're wrong. If you think some people aren't considered to be purely reliable votes, then you're equally wrong.

Regularly on iTulip the members refer to "the people" as "the sheeple" and nobody bats an eye. But refer to poor people as voterstock on a politician's plantation and everyone loses their freaking minds!

My example used a black family, but that was only to enhance its realism (since youth unemployment among blacks is substantially higher than other demographics). Take any example of poor people in this country, and you will likely find them assaulted and insulted by politicians who spout how those poor poor people have the whole world against them, and the only solution to your plight in poverty is to get everyone to pay their "fair share," and I'm going to make those greedy bastards pay their fair share, and then finally somehow magically you poor poor people will be okay, because I'm a champion of the poor and I'm on your side.

Ghent12
08-31-14, 05:20 PM
The human welder gets $30-$40/hour ? I'm guessing the machine pays for itself in 3 years, and is essentially free welding after that.

But human welders will not quickly be replaced, due to the need for thinking and versatility in non-repetitive tasks. It is only the repetitive ones that will be done by machine. I'd be surprised if most auto factory welding has not been done by machine since 1980.
Machines require maintenance, space, and typically power from electricity or some type of fuel. There's no free lunch with machines, just as there's no free lunch with anything.

Ghent12
08-31-14, 05:23 PM
Now we find ourselves in a very cynical situation where politicians (mostly Republicans) own whole cohorts of senior white males.
I don't understand your point. What does a person's skin color have to do with anything? Are you a racist?

vinoveri
08-31-14, 08:22 PM
I don't understand your point. What does a person's skin color have to do with anything? Are you a racist?

unfortunately racism is now officially institutionalized in our culture as a matter of law - e.g., routine questions on applications for employment, credit, etc. request individuals to identify their race (oh yeah, and we're sexist too)

lektrode
08-31-14, 10:41 PM
....racist or otherwise preoccupied with race. It is largely the Democrats who claim to champion the poor, but really they corral the poor and treat them as a farmer would livestock--they cultivate and harvest them, but never let them leave the ranch. If you think the word "plantation" is racist, you're wrong. If you think some people aren't considered to be purely reliable votes, then you're equally wrong....

exactly right and its the BIGGEST BS STORY EVER TOLD (mostly by the lamerstream media op/ed depts)
maybe back in the days of FDR and MAYBE up thru LBJ - but after that....???

and believe it or not - theres a whole bunch of people (mostly not around anymore) who happen to think they were lucky to have lived on plantations (http://www.judyvorfeld.com/sugarindustry.html)... hell, they're tourist attractions (http://www.dole-plantation.com/History-of-the-Pineapple) these daze...

but of course there are some - mostly on the same team that keeps the poor enslaved - who'll do anything to maintain the illusion that their people are "the only ones who stand up for the poor" because its 'the right thing to do' - mostly because it keeps them and the 'social welfare advocacy industry' - and its industrial-complex - employed at mostly .gov jobs that pay WAAAAAAY MORE than the 'typical' working stiff will EVER see - and they keep BS'n em into voting the same way, decade-in and decade-out (http://townhall.com/columnists/johnhawkins/2011/09/13/5_reasons_black_americans_should_give_up_on_the_de mocratic_party/page/full)

all the while the lamerstream media allows THE REAL ROBBER-BARRON-CLASS (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/untouchables/) to pick their pockets, along with The Rest of US - by ignoring anything that isnt flattering to their own team's interests...

like i said, its THE BIGGEST BS STORY EVER TOLD....

dcarrigg
08-31-14, 11:49 PM
I'm not calling you racist. I'm not calling you anything. Don't take it personally.

I just think you could choose your words better.

When you talk about Democrats "owning" "plantations worth" of "voting-stock," you do realize it sounds like a bad old reference to slavery, don't you? You have the word "plantation" right in there with the word "own" and you're implying something maybe you didn't mean. But you're it's certainly not what Michael Dawson is talking about in "Behind the Mule. (http://www.amazon.com/Behind-Mule-Class-African-American-Politics/dp/0691025436)"

You could choose your words more carefully if you don't want people thinking you mean anything nefarious about race.

Otherwise, you might sound like you were criticizing an entire race of people for being unthinking morons who are hoodwinked into voting against their own personal interests and incapable of independent critical thought.

And if that's not what you meant, then there had to be a better way to have expressed what you actually did mean.

santafe2
09-01-14, 02:08 AM
I'm not calling you racist. I'm not calling you anything. Don't take it personally.

I just think you could choose your words better.

When you talk about Democrats "owning" "plantations worth" of "voting-stock," you do realize it sounds like a bad old reference to slavery, don't you? You have the word "plantation" right in there with the word "own" and you're implying something maybe you didn't mean. But you're it's certainly not what Michael Dawson is talking about in "Behind the Mule. (http://www.amazon.com/Behind-Mule-Class-African-American-Politics/dp/0691025436)"

You could choose your words more carefully if you don't want people thinking you mean anything nefarious about race.

Otherwise, you might sound like you were criticizing an entire race of people for being unthinking morons who are hoodwinked into voting against their own personal interests and incapable of independent critical thought.

And if that's not what you meant, then there had to be a better way to have expressed what you actually did mean.

I thought you were appropriately calling out the worst sort of racist comment iTulip has let live in a while. Eric and his support staff should be ashamed they did not call it out before you took the time to do it. Plantations are places of slavery and voterstock or votingstock is a clear reference to domestic animals, to livestock. Don't apologize, demand that this board moderate itself more closely. I could care less how often iTulip is correct economically if this board will allow loathsome bigots to cloak their racial hatred in cheap rhetoric with no official challenge.

dcarrigg
09-01-14, 02:27 AM
I thought you were appropriately calling out the worst sort of racist comment iTulip has let live in a while. Eric and his support staff should be ashamed they did not call it out before you took the time to do it. Plantations are places of slavery and voterstock or votingstock is a clear reference to domestic animals, to livestock. Don't apologize, demand that this board moderate itself more closely. I could care less how often iTulip is correct economically if this board will allow loathsome bigots to cloak their racial hatred in cheap rhetoric with no official challenge.

Yeah. That was my initial reaction. I was moving on to offering a bit of benefit of the doubt and assuming the words may have been chosen by some sort of mistake. Maybe I shouldn't have. But either way, there is no justification for sentences like:


Now we find ourselves in a very cynical situation where politicians (mostly Democrats) own whole plantations of voterstock

If you mean those words earnestly, you are being completely inappropriate, and we need to strive for better.

Techdread
09-01-14, 11:09 AM
Machines require maintenance, space, and typically power from electricity or some type of fuel. There's no free lunch with machines, just as there's no free lunch with anything.

The fact that the universe exists, renders that over used statement false.

FRED
09-01-14, 12:09 PM
I thought you were appropriately calling out the worst sort of racist comment iTulip has let live in a while. Eric and his support staff should be ashamed they did not call it out before you took the time to do it. Plantations are places of slavery and voterstock or votingstock is a clear reference to domestic animals, to livestock. Don't apologize, demand that this board moderate itself more closely. I could care less how often iTulip is correct economically if this board will allow loathsome bigots to cloak their racial hatred in cheap rhetoric with no official challenge.

We cannot moderate every post on every thread in the public forums nor do we feel that this is good policy. We allow community members to work through differences of opinion and misunderstandings (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/27453-Robots-Will-Create-Permanently-Unemployable-Underclass?p=285578#post285578). Unless a post is reported by multiple community members we will not intervene.

Threads that become overly divisive are moved to Rant and Rave where rules of conduct are less stringent. Members who do not appreciate that kind of environment can choose to stay away from Rant and Rave.

New members who are consistently hostile to management or to other members (aka trolls) are banned. We have had to do this only three times since 2006 when the forums opened.

We consider the banning of trolls, the moving of threads that do not adhere to iTulip standards of civility, and otherwise allowing community members to work through differences to be a successful policy to produce lively, varied, thoughtful and civil discussion.

don
09-01-14, 12:48 PM
I don't understand your point. What does a person's skin color have to do with anything? Are you a racist?


senior white males are not considered a voting cohort? Can't help you there, pal.

Polish_Silver
09-01-14, 09:52 PM
. . .

But the real issue (or scare) here isn't technology, is it? The real issue is jobs going away...a

So the way I see it, the problem here isn't technology. It's not really about more robots or whatever. The problem is labor's share of income. But look at the data. Labor's share of income only really hit its precipitous plunge after China's ascent to the WTO and during the last two financialization-inspired bubble collapses. Even if you believe the technology-only theory, the timing should make you pause and wonder.

. . . .

But I think that the problem with this argument is that: 1) there's pretty good data out there showing that it's not really technology that's the primary driver here, and 2) we have to power to regulate technology.

Very thoughtful post, and I wish I could read some of the references you quoted.

I have to disagree about controlling technology. It would not be easy to control, and nations that tried to limit technology usually did not end up very well. If you outlaw a particular machine, it will go underground, or offshore.

I do agree that blaming labors plight primarily on technology is premature. You did not mention immigration, which is really "worker trade policy". The US immigration policy is much more liberal than most other OECD nations.

One way to look at the effect of technology is the attitude towards education. As late as 1980, many thought anything past high school to be superfluous, and to some extent they were right. Now we have a national obsession with trying to get everyone into a 4 year college, clearly a practical impossibility if academic standards are to be at all maintained.

santafe2
09-02-14, 02:01 AM
We cannot moderate every post on every thread in the public forums nor do we feel that this is good policy. We allow community members to work through differences of opinion and misunderstandings (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/27453-Robots-Will-Create-Permanently-Unemployable-Underclass?p=285578#post285578). Unless a post is reported by multiple community members we will not intervene.

Threads that become overly divisive are moved to Rant and Rave where rules of conduct are less stringent. Members who do not appreciate that kind of environment can choose to stay away from Rant and Rave.

New members who are consistently hostile to management or to other members (aka trolls) are banned. We have had to do this only three times since 2006 when the forums opened.

We consider the banning of trolls, the moving of threads that do not adhere to iTulip standards of civility, and otherwise allowing community members to work through differences to be a successful policy to produce lively, varied, thoughtful and civil discussion.

That may be true but you read my post so I can only assume you read dcarrigg's response as well as the original post. In any event, the original post is now well known to the Fred community and apparently, it's OK for the OP to continue his racist comments as long as the OP is clever enough pretend he doesn't understand the historical context of his comments and the Freds are free to pretend this is 1920 and we have a difference of opinion or a misunderstanding.

The thread is a good one. The thread does not deserve RnR ranking, the OP's post deserves a reprimand. There was a time on iTulip where that sort of race baiting, (definition: The act of using racially derisive language, actions, or other forms of communication in order to anger or intimidate or coerce a person or group of people), would not be tolerated. Now we have to be concerned that we're not creating too much divisiveness and assisting a good thread toward the iTulip bore hole.

I hope iTulip's standards of civility are based in the 21st Century. If so, you will censure overt racism from all posters and not require your subscribers to call it out.

metalman
09-02-14, 10:56 AM
That may be true but you read my post so I can only assume you read dcarrigg's response as well as the original post. In any event, the original post is now well known to the Fred community and apparently, it's OK for the OP to continue his racist comments as long as the OP is clever enough pretend he doesn't understand the historical context of his comments and the Freds are free to pretend this is 1920 and we have a difference of opinion or a misunderstanding.

The thread is a good one. The thread does not deserve RnR ranking, the OP's post deserves a reprimand. There was a time on iTulip where that sort of race baiting, (definition: The act of using racially derisive language, actions, or other forms of communication in order to anger or intimidate or coerce a person or group of people), would not be tolerated. Now we have to be concerned that we're not creating too much divisiveness and assisting a good thread toward the iTulip bore hole.

I hope iTulip's standards of civility are based in the 21st Century. If so, you will censure overt racism from all posters and not require your subscribers to call it out.

the phrase 'plantation of voterstock' did raise an eyebrow on this reader but ghent explained he did not intend to say anything about race & dcarrigg accepted this... so what's the beef?

dcarrigg is one of the most if not the most articulate 'liberal' voice here & ghent an equally high quality 'conservative' voice here... put those terms in quotes... not to say these 2 gentlemen can be so crudely summarized but the distinction is roughly true. the fact that they coexist in one community like this is a marvel & what makes this place special to me. kinda sad when they start calling each other names but looks as though they got past it. glad the tulip isn't taking the censorship direction... that'd ruin everything.

dcarrigg
09-02-14, 01:47 PM
Very thoughtful post, and I wish I could read some of the references you quoted.

I have to disagree about controlling technology. It would not be easy to control, and nations that tried to limit technology usually did not end up very well. If you outlaw a particular machine, it will go underground, or offshore.

I do agree that blaming labors plight primarily on technology is premature. You did not mention immigration, which is really "worker trade policy". The US immigration policy is much more liberal than most other OECD nations.

One way to look at the effect of technology is the attitude towards education. As late as 1980, many thought anything past high school to be superfluous, and to some extent they were right. Now we have a national obsession with trying to get everyone into a 4 year college, clearly a practical impossibility if academic standards are to be at all maintained.

Thanks! But I think maybe you misunderstand me somewhat here. I'm not talking about limiting or banning technology in the way it seems to me you might be thinking about it. I'm talking about regulating technology. We have the power to regulate technology, and we do it all the time.

In Oregon and New Jersey, people can't pump their own gas. In even sub-acute medical environments there are minimum staffing requirements for RNs and CNAs California and other states. Fire stations have minimum staffing requirements in all 50 states. Advanced military technology is kept from civilian hands all the time and in all nations. Machine operators have licenses in many states and countries. Electricians are supposed to be licensed and insured. In fact, licensing for occupations is pretty widespread. Certification is ever more widespread still. You can think of a million more examples with pharmaceutical drugs and agriculture/food and everything else under the sun.

We regulate the use of technology all the time. Sometimes for health and safety, sometimes just for make-work programs, and sometimes for other reasons in between. But if a technology comes along and really messes up everybody's life, there are democratic ways we can regulate the use of it so that it becomes less "disruptive" (to take a valley term and throw it on its head).

What I'm saying is just that there are plenty of ways to regulate technology - from gas pumps to medical devices to modern fire engines to F-35s to new circuit-breakers and backhoes to whatever - and use these things in a controlled and realistic way. If anything, we might even get rid of a lot of the more dangerous hospital / firefighting / construction / etc. scenarios we run into today in the process.

Half of the 'disruption' of new technology is just finding legal loopholes around what we already built. Uber gets away operating what used to be called an illegal taxi service by calling it a rideshare and funneling the taxi-cab hail through an iPhone app. Driving a cab - a formerly middle class job that required a hack license - now becomes a below-minimum-wage contract opportunity through Uber. But we had these in Boston before - people just called them 'gypsy cabs' or 'illegal cabs' instead of 'uber,' you waved your hand on the street or called from a payphone instead of waved your hand on a screen or called from a cell phone, and not a single venture capitalist or tech geek in San Francisco made billions off it by skimming 20%.

Just imagine the pitch without the app: "I'm going to start a nationwide taxi cab business. I'm going to pay workers as contractors - less than minimum wage on average. I'm going to make them use their own cars. And I'm going to have them circling around the city all the time so they can get to any point within three minutes of a call." They'd tell you you were crazy. But if you say: "I'm going to make an app. It allows me to start a nationwide taxi cab business. I'm going to pay workers as contractors - less than minimum wage on average. I'm going to make them use their own cars and circle the city all day." It becomes "technological innovation." GQ did an article on what it's like to drive for them. (http://www.gq.com/news-politics/newsmakers/201403/uber-cab-confessions?currentPage=1)

And guess what? Just today Uber was banned in Germany by a Frankfurt court. (http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-29027803) How many other countries/states will follow? Technology doesn't control people. People control technology and decide what behaviors/transactions they want in their communities.

We also had AirBnB back in the day too. It was called an illegal boarding house. You can find illegal past analogues to a lot of these new tech companies. Not all of them. But a fair number of them.

How many other tech startups are doing the same thing and just using technology as a gimmick to otherwise break the law but claim because there's an app involved it's new or 'innovative' when really it's just skirting law and regulation for the sake of it with technology as legal cover?

And then there's the even darker tech apps that we can regulate out of existence and probably should. Techcrunch did a good piece on them called #Jerktech. Some of them let you resell city parking spaces that don't belong to you or automatically dial and make reservations on restaurants you don't intend to hold just so the place is booked up solid with fake patrons and you can sell reservations off for higher money later. It's just crap that verges on criminal. Check the piece out. (http://techcrunch.com/2014/07/03/go-disrupt-yourself/)

There are always ways to set standards around the use of any given technology. This idea of technology running wild with nobody at the switch whatsoever is crazy to me. Even in little ways we always have to power to regulate how technology is used in our communities. That's one of the key things about local democratic control.

Plus I think a lot of this technology talk is overblown anyways - and purposefully so - to prop up stocks that aren't worth anything close to their current valuations. Do you know what percentage of total retail sales happen online? In Q2 2014 it was still less than 6% of all retail sales. It has been growing slowly, surely, and it will probably be 12% somewhere down the line in the 2020s.

But if you listen to the techno-chicken-littles and the buy-a-share-of-amazon-at-any-price crowd, brick and mortar retail is already dead. Even though it's over 90% of the entire retail market.

http://imgur.com/lD2ptGH.png

So far as immigration goes, you're right, it counts, and it didn't play a big role in that UN report. My guess would be it is a similar but more muted effect as globalization/trade policy - with capital flows moving faster and harder than labor flows - but I don't have any hard numbers on it to speak of.

lektrode
09-02-14, 04:51 PM
the phrase 'plantation of voterstock' did raise an eyebrow on this reader but ghent explained he did not intend to say anything about race & dcarrigg accepted this... so what's the beef?

dcarrigg is one of the most if not the most articulate 'liberal' voice here & ghent an equally high quality 'conservative' voice here... put those terms in quotes... not to say these 2 gentlemen can be so crudely summarized but the distinction is roughly true. the fact that they coexist in one community like this is a marvel & what makes this place special to me. kinda sad when they start calling each other names but looks as though they got past it. glad the tulip isn't taking the censorship direction... that'd ruin everything.

+1
its VERY illuminating to see BOTH POV's and dc's is MOST APPRECIATED in that he at least acknowledges the issues of the opposition

and good to see you mm.

lektrode
09-02-14, 05:06 PM
.... becomes "technological innovation." GQ did an article on what it's like to drive for them. (http://www.gq.com/news-politics/newsmakers/201403/uber-cab-confessions?currentPage=1)
..........
....
How many other tech startups are doing the same thing and just using technology as a gimmick to otherwise break the law but claim because there's an app involved it's new or 'innovative' when really it's just skirting law and regulation for the sake of it with technology as legal cover?

And then there's the even darker tech apps that we can regulate out of existence and probably should. Techcrunch did a good piece on them called #Jerktech. .....

+1
EXCELLENT summation of the 'disruption syndrome', dc
my motto on a lot of this stuff thats popped up the past 15years or so is:

"just because they can, doesnt mean they oughta..."
(with about 90% of the 'features' on most of microsquish's 'apps' in this category = 90% of users will NEVER even know exist, never mind actually USE - it just sounds good to the marketing types when they pitch it all to corp amerika...)

Ghent12
09-03-14, 01:02 AM
I'm not calling you racist. I'm not calling you anything. Don't take it personally.

I just think you could choose your words better.

When you talk about Democrats "owning" "plantations worth" of "voting-stock," you do realize it sounds like a bad old reference to slavery, don't you? You have the word "plantation" right in there with the word "own" and you're implying something maybe you didn't mean. But you're it's certainly not what Michael Dawson is talking about in "Behind the Mule. (http://www.amazon.com/Behind-Mule-Class-African-American-Politics/dp/0691025436)"

You could choose your words more carefully if you don't want people thinking you mean anything nefarious about race.

Otherwise, you might sound like you were criticizing an entire race of people for being unthinking morons who are hoodwinked into voting against their own personal interests and incapable of independent critical thought.

And if that's not what you meant, then there had to be a better way to have expressed what you actually did mean.
Your point is well taken, and I should have been more careful. Thank you.

santafe2
09-03-14, 01:06 AM
the phrase 'plantation of voterstock' did raise an eyebrow on this reader but ghent explained he did not intend to say anything about race & dcarrigg accepted this... so what's the beef?

dcarrigg is one of the most if not the most articulate 'liberal' voice here & ghent an equally high quality 'conservative' voice here... put those terms in quotes... not to say these 2 gentlemen can be so crudely summarized but the distinction is roughly true. the fact that they coexist in one community like this is a marvel & what makes this place special to me. kinda sad when they start calling each other names but looks as though they got past it. glad the tulip isn't taking the censorship direction... that'd ruin everything.

Fair enough MM, thanks for your feedback. I may still disagree but the overall discourse on this thread is more important than my opinion on this point.

Ghent12
09-03-14, 01:25 AM
Ghent12: I agree with you generally that IP protections go on for too long. But I don't see another practical way to do it just yet other than to keep IP law, but shorten the timeframe. Otherwise, what's to prevent you from copying Star Wars, changing one scene slightly, and selling it for $1 per copy the day after it comes out? What's to stop you from taking all of the Windows code and putting out an operating system that's identical with a line or two different in the background and selling it to IBM clones for cut rate prices? Or what's to stop Dell from copying it and just putting it out as it's own? Clearly there needs to be something there. It's not fair otherwise.

I will have to address this when I can devote more time to a post, but the direct answers to your questions are, in order: no legal force but there's still plenty of economic inertia to overcome, the same answer, and again the same answer. And in response to your last two sentences: "fairness" and justice cannot truly come from arbitrary standards, but rather only from stern application of a systematic method to promote a particular and consistent set of values (i.e. life, quality of life, enlightenment, etc.). I'll have to expound more on that later.



This was the same argument that Marxism used. And so I'm very, very wary of it.Well all of economics requires some smoothing for its basic premises to make sense. Does the model of "Perfect Competition" make you wary too?




I'll say it for the third time: Name a market you think exists without the aid of some law which protects private property and establishes relevant markets, and anyone will likely be able to point towards the law that allows free market competition.In a roundabout way, every black market fits this example, and every "No Man's Land" in history provides a sort of case study. This isn't to say that these are ideal situations or even what a transformation into an idealized unfettered free market would look like since those real world examples are typically the "leftovers" of already established legal frameworks and there was an artificial pressure on "the bad guys" to move from civil society into the "No Man's Land" areas. Again I'll have to expound more later.

lektrode
09-04-14, 05:06 AM
..... Again I'll have to expound more later.


+1

LazyBoy
09-08-14, 04:40 PM
As an example of the threat posed to highly-skilled workers by low-skilled ones, if you need a good-sized hole dug then you can hire a highly-skilled machine operator who is licensed, bonded, insured, and pays his dues to the local union chapter. Alternatively, if we were to scrap the laws originally designed to keep black and Polish people out of the labor market (namely the minimum wage laws), you could hire a dozen very low-skilled workers with shovels for probably less than half the price.

Day laborers go for about $10/hr where I live and they need transportation. (Probably more per hour. I'm out of touch.) That's more than the minimum wage -- more than a fast food worker and untaxed. How will scrapping the minimum wage laws reduce this? When McDonalds pays $3/hr, do you see many McDonalds workers picking up shovels and competing with the current day laborers?

Again, there are 10s of millions of unemployed. How many holes do you need? Tell me about some industries or areas that will explode with cheaper labor.



As a more concrete example, ask yourself what a poor black family of four (a mother and three children ages 5, 15, and 17) could do with an extra $2200 (pre-tax) a year. That's how much is being kept from them purely and exclusively by minimum wage and child labor laws when their 15-year-old and 17-year-old can't find work for 10 weeks during the summer earning $5 and $6 an hour, respectively, for 20 hours a week. That's a slightly bigger apartment, a second (quite used) car, a tutor, a babysitter for the youngest, healthier food, or any number of other things which that family (or more likely the mother) decides might improve their lot in life.

Exactly what jobs wait for the teenagers at $5 and $6 an hour? Are they new jobs?


Is there a historical source for the ideas that (U.S.) minimum wage laws were to keep people out of the labor market?

Ghent12
09-14-14, 06:17 PM
[/COLOR][/FONT]Day laborers go for about $10/hr where I live and they need transportation. (Probably more per hour. I'm out of touch.) That's more than the minimum wage -- more than a fast food worker and untaxed. How will scrapping the minimum wage laws reduce this? When McDonalds pays $3/hr, do you see many McDonalds workers picking up shovels and competing with the current day laborers?

Again, there are 10s of millions of unemployed. How many holes do you need? Tell me about some industries or areas that will explode with cheaper labor.


Exactly what jobs wait for the teenagers at $5 and $6 an hour? Are they new jobs?


Is there a historical source for the ideas that (U.S.) minimum wage laws were to keep people out of the labor market?If the "floor" is removed, labor prices generally will inevitably trend downward (or at least less upward than their present trend) because of the unleashed competition. While you can find people illegally working at higher than the minimum wage, their pool of competition is generally limited to those who meet the criteria of, say, a day laborer--one who is willing to work illegally and one who is willing to actually complete the work. The employer, in that case, has his/her own concerns which are plainly visible if you look up how much to hire a day laborer online and read the comments: pay them enough so that they don't come back and rob you, etc. Why should work be illegal in the first place? If it were legal to hire people at any wage, you might indeed see more teenagers or others of limited skill sets wielding hammers to support their XBox Gold Membership or whatever else is important to them. If you want to think in broad terms, there is a wide gap between the current minimum wage and zero dollars per hour; sources to fill that gap will come from the current unemployed and from the current employed, as those are the only two sources of labor.

I don't think most McDonald's will be able to keep a sufficient staff of high enough quality workers at $3 an hour, but perhaps some might. Well, that is only my assessment of their current positions. Perhaps there is room for additional employees when all the wage rates below the minimum wage become legal, and maybe the Play Place at McDonald's won't reek of ketchup and dozens of feet because the store and its employees can decide for themselves what is worth doing and at what price, rather than making it illegal to hire people for racist or altruistic reasons. We can dream, can't we?

We can't be certain what jobs will exist if and when minimum wage laws are either repealed or become voluntary (my preference is for a $25 voluntary minimum wage). We know that many jobs do not exist which used to exist, and other jobs have ceased to exist except where it is illegal for them to not exist (gas station attendants, although they don't pop your hood and check your tire pressure like the eager beaver teenagers who had those jobs before that "career" became a political football in a couple of states). The only certainty we can have is that more jobs will exist than at present, outside circumstances discounted. We can be certain of this because those who enact the minimum wage are themselves quite certain of it; the exceptions for minimum wage for restaurant staff are not the only ones.
Welcome to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Section 14(c) AdvisorThis Advisor provides guidance on Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which authorizes employers, after receiving a certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD), to pay special minimum wages—wages less than the federal minimum wage—to workers who have disabilities for the work being performed. The certificate also allows the payment of wages that are less than the prevailing wage to workers who have disabilities for the work being performed on contracts subject to the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA) and the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA). The Regulations applicable to FLSA Section 14(c) are contained at 29 CFR Part 525.

As for which jobs await at $5 per hour, that is not for me or you to decide. I will defer to the people who have created and agreed upon the jobs at $7.25 an hour, $9.25 an hour, $15.75 an hour, and all the rest. We have absolutely no right to make it illegal for people to agree to a job at $5 an hour.

dcarrigg
09-14-14, 07:17 PM
We have absolutely no right to make it illegal for people to agree to a job at $5 an hour.

We have every right to elect representatives who make the law. And they have every right to legislate.

The Supreme Court already settled this matter in regard to the minimum wage and "freedom" to contract for less in West Coast Hotel v. Parish.

Although I'd question what kind of "freedom" it is to forcefully subject people to the will of their employers in company towns or on company boats paid in scrip.

You and a few other fringe folks may want to go back to the bad old Lochner Era days from the turn of the 20th century full of child labor and long, barely compensated work in dangerous conditions, no recourse for employees, and bloody battles between workers and Pinkertons.

But the rest of America clearly doesn't agree. (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/03/04/polls-show-strong-support-for-minimum-wage-hike/)

And God Bless the Republic of the United States of America for giving her people a voice in the matter, and not simply subjecting them as servants to the unbridled will of their employers.

Work environments are clearly better today than 100 years ago.

And I think that probably anybody who reads history or who has bothered to have long talks with their grandfather while he was alive thinks likewise.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIfu2A0ezq0


I learned my lesson - this time I'll use the Tennessee Ernie Ford version...;_Y

santafe2
09-15-14, 01:54 AM
You and a few other fringe folks may want to go back to the bad old Lochner Era days from the turn of the 20th century full of child labor and long, barely compensated work in dangerous conditions, no recourse for employees, and bloody battles between workers and Pinkertons.

I happened to be watching "The Roosevelts" tonight and Ken Burns used this image from tenement life in NYC. I think it makes the point well. If a person has the "right" to work at $5 an hour, then logically they have the right to work for $4 or $2 and hour. They have the right to work in conditions we would recognize as slavery. The theoretical bottom for this sort of system is starvation or another such end.

http://i.imgur.com/erFB9In.jpg

santafe2
09-15-14, 02:57 AM
While I think the minimum wage should be higher, an interesting issue with it in 2014 is that the median household income for families in the US has fallen 6.6% since 2000 and the minimum wage has increased over 40% during the same period, ($5.15-$7.25). Since the percentage of workers making minimum wage is only 2.6%, (all hourly and salary workers), we should probably be much more concerned with median household income if we're going to pull out of this.

lakedaemonian
09-15-14, 03:45 AM
While I think the minimum wage should be higher, an interesting issue with it in 2014 is that the median household income for families in the US has fallen 6.6% since 2000 and the minimum wage has increased over 40% during the same period, ($5.15-$7.25). Since the percentage of workers making minimum wage is only 2.6%, (all hourly and salary workers), we should probably be much more concerned with median household income if we're going to pull out of this.

I assume that's in nominal dollars?

So what's it in real dollars/purchasing power?

How can government effectively respond with policies to promote an increase in real median income instead of getting stuck in the pigpen mud slinging over minimum wage?

flintlock
09-15-14, 11:14 AM
Yet another new low on Itulip.com open forums. The decent into PC mind control. Ghent didn't write anything racist. The mere mention of race provokes such a knee jerk reaction these days. At worst it showed a reluctance to worship at the alter of political correctness. Blasphemy! Bow down and submit!

Substitute any word you want for "plantation" but both parties are doing their best to put Latinos in the same "place". Poor, poorly educated, and dependent on govt. Can't bring them in fast enough. Both sides think they can buy votes by circumventing the constitution. So far Democrats are doing a better job at this but I have faith the Republicans will make a comeback.
Talk about racism! The idea that Latinos don't care about things like law and order. That they need the US to "rescue" them, because only here can they make a better life. If people really gave a damn they'd advocate sending military aid to finance revolution in these countries, so they could actually improve their own lot and not rely on table scraps from their gracious "superiors". But then who would spread the mulch, or clean all the Mac-Mansions? God forbid mediocre yuppies might no longer be able to live above their means and pretend they are rich by having "servants" like they are some 18th century Lord. Such a lot of condescending drivel.

Ghent12
09-20-14, 06:24 PM
We have every right to elect representatives who make the law. And they have every right to legislate.

The Supreme Court already settled this matter in regard to the minimum wage and "freedom" to contract for less in West Coast Hotel v. Parish.That explains the current law, but gives it no basis in moral legitimacy. The Supreme Court has upheld numerous legal standards of conduct which we would rightfully revolt if they existed today. The Supreme Court doesn't "settle" matters, it simply removes rights from people or allows people to exercise their rights, depending on the whim of the justices--justices we cannot elect, but justices who nonetheless "make" the law what it is. Would you support the "every right [of legislators] to legislate" no matter what they did? Have you no values or ethical philosophy of your own?

The argument you are using is an appeal to authority logical fallacy, combined later with a bandwagon logical fallacy. I mean no offense when I say that there is no logic reasoning behind your contentions.


Although I'd question what kind of "freedom" it is to forcefully subject people to the will of their employers in company towns or on company boats paid in scrip.

You and a few other fringe folks may want to go back to the bad old Lochner Era days from the turn of the 20th century full of child labor and long, barely compensated work in dangerous conditions, no recourse for employees, and bloody battles between workers and Pinkertons.

But the rest of America clearly doesn't agree. (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/03/04/polls-show-strong-support-for-minimum-wage-hike/)

And God Bless the Republic of the United States of America for giving her people a voice in the matter, and not simply subjecting them as servants to the unbridled will of their employers.

Work environments are clearly better today than 100 years ago.

And I think that probably anybody who reads history or who has bothered to have long talks with their grandfather while he was alive thinks likewise.Thanks for the concession via strawmen arguments and ad hominem. If you wanted to concede this, you could have just said, "I have no logical reason to support minimum wage laws, I just think they are right." That would have been more honorable.



I happened to be watching "The Roosevelts" tonight and Ken Burns used this image from tenement life in NYC. I think it makes the point well. If a person has the "right" to work at $5 an hour, then logically they have the right to work for $4 or $2 and hour. They have the right to work in conditions we would recognize as slavery. The theoretical bottom for this sort of system is starvation or another such end.
Indeed, without a minimum wage everyone would be free to choose to work for any wage rate. Your worries about the theoretical bottom for "this sort of system" are largely unfounded. The discussion about work conditions isn't a part of the conversation about minimum wages--that is a strawman brought forth in desperation by dcarrigg.

It might surprise you to learn that it is currently legal to work for $0 per hour. It's called an unpaid internship, and those who choose to accept such an employment contract work for compensation other than monetary wages--almost exclusively for the hopes of gaining relevant skills and networking in the industry they are doing the internship for. Why should they never be able to accept some amount of money per hour between $0 and the arbitrary minimum wage rate? It might also surprise you to learn that disabled people can be paid below the minimum wage. It probably won't surprise you to learn that there are already huge numbers of people already working well below the normal minimum wage in the food service industry. Did you know that if the minimum wage was raised to $10.10 an hour three years ago, you would have no idea what jobs might exist at $7.25 an hour today?

I sometimes wonder if the supporters of minimum wage laws actually think about the consequences of the law. There is no moral reason, which has been articulated in this thread, to make it illegal to work until you can get paid some arbitrarily high amount of money--supporting the minimum wage is like saying it should be a law that people cannot buy food unless they buy at least 800 calories per purchase, or they cannot rent an apartment or buy a house unless it has at least 900 square feet per person. What is the actual moral basis for the minimum wage law? That it helps workers? Then how come every proponent of the first implementation of a minimum wage law argues that the minimum wage is necessary to protect certain types of workers from other types of workers?

On a personal note, I delved deep into this subject after my first child was born. As I was thinking of his future, I realized that one of the challenges he will face as he approaches adulthood will be employment. Still on a personal note, I get extremely angry that it is and will likely remain illegal for my son to choose to work for, let's say, $6 an hour at age 15. Do the proponents of the minimum wage not see what they are doing?

Finally I will note the intense irony that the people supporting the minimum wage are actually doing the bidding of Wal-Mart, McDonald's, and other large corporations. If you understand cause and effect, you will know what I am speaking of. Proponents say that the large corporations can afford to pay their workers more, but they never seem to mention those businesses which cannot afford it. In this sense, the minimum wage law is like licensing and Obamacare and all of the other burdensome regulations placed on businesses which can be annoying to some businesses and crippling to other ones. This isn't as ironic as those who earn $8 an hour and picket for a $15 an hour minimum wage, because it takes a special type of person to want to make their current job illegal.

dcarrigg
09-20-14, 06:48 PM
Oh, man, Ghent. If you're going to drop the level of conversation to writing out a laundry list of logical fallacies like this is some high school debate class instead of a discussion forum, while claiming anyone who disagrees with you is desperate, then I'm going to have a little fun with it! ;_Y

______________________________________________

All hail libertarians, Kings of Logic! Woe is me, for I didn't pledge my undying allegiance to Von Mises and take His Holy Word to be my Gospel in rejecting the scientific method and empirical studies in favor of His True and Holy word through Praxeology, Amen!

For as Disciple Ghent points out, it is only through my desperation I disagree with him! No logic could ever disagree with Libertarianism! Oh, Market, Let me give up my heretical ways and embrace Libertarianism with all my heart!

For we knoweth that Government is the Devil and Markets art thine Lord! In Rothbard's name! Amen!

And woe be to him who doesn't praise all axiomatic deduction from first principles! Let him forgo his blasphemy and turn towards all that is holy - and let him take Lew Rockwell into his heart and know that thine Markets are LORD! For on the first day His Lord Holiness on high the good Baron Von Mises hath told us that Humans Act. And from there we know the Truth!

All pragmatic blasphemers who point to unholy academic studies in which the minimum wage is found to have near zero disemployment effects be Heretics! They stand with the Devil Government, who must be purged from the Holy Land! They have no logical argument to stand on because a posteriori scientific knowledge is not Real Knowledge! History matters not! Courts matter not! Rule of law is rule by the Devil! The wisdom of the crowds matters not! Democracy is meaningless! Let them eat cake! The Republic is the One True Satan! The only real knowledge was handed down to us by Von Mises in Human Action and through his holy profit Rothbard and the good deeds of his spirit Rockwell!

For we must shun the non-believers in the academy! They do not pay homage or fall to their knees for the holy books of Libertarianism! They do not call themselves Austrian, like all holy True Believers do! They believe in mainstream economics supported by DATA! And their views are so illogical, they actually UPDATE them based on new data when it comes out!

Oh, woe be to the heretics who do not regurgitate his holy word and dismiss the Devil's data. For we all know the word statistics comes from STATE, that unholiest of devils, and the Union, whose name must not be spoken for it lets evil into our hearts, is merely tricking the non-believers with mathematics and a supposed science, which we know to be untrue thanks to our ONE TRUE AUSTRIAN CANNON!

May we all tithe to the one LOGICAL TRUTH, and may Hayek's grace rain down upon the ONE TRUE AND HOLY LOGICAL MARKET and may we dismiss all non-believers and let them know that THEY HAVE NO LOGIC IN THEIR HEARTS!

And we shall exercise the Devil from the non-believers by saying the TRUE AND HOLY WORDS:

AD HOMINEM!

STRAW MAN!

APPEAL TO AUTHORITY!

For we shall never consider what thoughts the heretics may write or speak at face value, but we shall ourselves accuse them of the FALLACY of worshiping EVIL and move on to end all conversations with the nonbelievers!

SHOUT IT AGAIN!

AD HOMINEM!

POST HOC ERGO PROPTER HOC!

BANDWAGON!

Let the unbelievers be sure that THERE IS NO LOGIC BUT THROUGH LIBERTARIANISM! Ignore their shouts back of ARGUMENTUM AD LOGICAM and continue to assert the ONE TRUE AND HOLY LOGIC HANDED DOWN FROM MARKET ON HIGH THROUGH HIS HOLY PROFITS!!!!!

In the name of Mammon, Rand, and Rothbard!

AMEN!

Thailandnotes
09-20-14, 08:42 PM
Washington Post...


Beginning in the 1980’s, the private sector began an effort that continues to this day to reduce the proportion of the cost of selling goods and services attributed to labor. This takes many forms, including limiting wage growth, outsourcing, union busting, sending jobs overseas, transferring jobs to right-to-work states, increasing the ratio of part-time to full-time employees, not translating workplace productivity gains into wage increases, shifting more health care costs to employees, ending defined benefit pensions, reducing employer contributions to defined contribution pensions and switching to once-a-year, lump sum contributions, classifying employees as independent contractors to avoid paying benefits and workingman’s compensation contributions, increasing the number of unpaid internships, hiring new workers through temp agencies, requiring employees to sign non-compete agreements, and layoffs, not only during recessions, but also after mergers and acquisitions. Non-cyclical layoffs have become a permanent feature of the new economy.

santafe2
09-21-14, 02:28 AM
Indeed, without a minimum wage everyone would be free to choose to work for any wage rate.

Or chose to starve. Ruanda in America. Luckily we're not there yet.


Your worries about the theoretical bottom for "this sort of system" are largely unfounded. The discussion about work conditions isn't a part of the conversation about minimum wages--that is a strawman brought forth in desperation by dcarrigg.

Thanks but I really don't need your condescending tone or for you to tell me how I've formed my ideas.


It might surprise you to learn that it is currently legal to work for $0 per hour. It's called an unpaid internship, and those who choose to accept such an employment contract work for compensation other than monetary wages--almost exclusively for the hopes of gaining relevant skills and networking in the industry they are doing the internship for. Why should they never be able to accept some amount of money per hour between $0 and the arbitrary minimum wage rate? It might also surprise you to learn that disabled people can be paid below the minimum wage. It probably won't surprise you to learn that there are already huge numbers of people already working well below the normal minimum wage in the food service industry.

It's not pretty but you have to appreciate it when a true fascist reveals their character. They revel in this ugly sea where some people, some very educated people, are forced to work for nothing. Where service folks work for almost nothing because they have the power to starve or work for what is offered.


On a personal note, I delved deep into this subject after my first child was born. As I was thinking of his future, I realized that one of the challenges he will face as he approaches adulthood will be employment. Still on a personal note, I get extremely angry that it is and will likely remain illegal for my son to choose to work for, let's say, $6 an hour at age 15. Do the proponents of the minimum wage not see what they are doing?

In our community our minimum wage is $10.66 an hour. Folks like you in our community railed against it several years ago but we've found a way to make it work. Marginal businesses have gone away and better ones have taken their place. McDonalds pays their workers $10.66 and hour and magically they still turn a profit. I donate my time to a small non-profit here and we run it well enough to pay our kids $10.66 an hour. Some of them are 15. As adults we have a responsibility to run our business well enough to pay our employees a good wage. You live in a community where the adults would be lazy and choose to use children and pay them $6 an hour. I think you should be ashamed.


Finally I will note the intense irony that the people supporting the minimum wage are actually doing the bidding of Wal-Mart, McDonald's, and other large corporations. If you understand cause and effect, you will know what I am speaking of.

Walmart pays everyone here our minimum wage and apparently they're doing fine, they just opened up a Super Center. The "cause and effect" is that people paid well enough to buy what they need to live do just that, spend their money and support other businesses.

Here's the bottom line: Fascists hate humanity. I can't explain it. They expect people to work for nothing or close to nothing. They would let their kids do it and support the fascists enslaving them. I don't know how you live with yourself and your ideas but apparently you're fine being intellectually lazy and expect your kids to accept the world of near slavery you envision for them. Luckily for them, most of us respect them and will work harder to build businesses strong enough to pay them a decent wage.

astonas
09-22-14, 01:34 PM
We have every right to elect representatives who make the law. And they have every right to legislate.


That explains the current law, but gives it no basis in moral legitimacy.

Sorry, Ghent12, but elections are in fact the ONLY way to claim a basis in moral legitimacy for a nation.


"morality" refers to personal or cultural values (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Value_(personal_and_cultural)), codes of conduct (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_of_conduct) or social mores (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mores). It does not connote objective claims of right or wrong, but only refers to that which is considered right or wrong. (italics added by me)


Morality is therefore based on the consensus of a given group of people (for example, people who share a given religion, or live in a given nation) while ethics seeks to determine right and wrong by establishing an objectively defensible logical framework for decision-making.

So if the majority of people in a nation vote for something, it is by definition the moral consensus of those voters, regardless of whether it is considered moral by a sub-group of that nation (such as a religious right-wing subset). The explanation for the difference in opinion is simply whether the sub-group is defining as intrinsically worthless the opinions of all those not in their local tribal clique. Such attitudes are common, but obviously dismissible as pure arrogance.

It should be noted that there have been plenty of cases where societies have acted morally but not ethically (eg. the election of Hitler) and cases where leaders have acted ethically but not morally (a government making a logically necessary but unpopular decision). Neither morality nor ethics is therefore infallible, and the concept of a republic and the structure of our government were invented specifically to take input from both ethical and moral considerations.

Now, since it is entirely obvious that libertarianism is not considered moral for this nation as a whole, if you wish to assert that libertarian principles are ethical though not moral you must first explain and justify a valid and logically self-consistent ethical framework, that defines what may be considered "good" and "bad" for society as a whole. This is precisely what thinkers like Ayn Rand have attempted, but failed ridiculously at doing. I have yet to see an attempt that is not more full of holes than a colander, and Rand's is so patently absurd that it doesn't withstand even a first glance.

But by all means, I'd love to see another attempt. It will be fun. :)

Ghent12
09-22-14, 09:37 PM
In our community our minimum wage is $10.66 an hour. Folks like you in our community railed against it several years ago but we've found a way to make it work. Marginal businesses have gone away and better ones have taken their place. McDonalds pays their workers $10.66 and hour and magically they still turn a profit. I donate my time to a small non-profit here and we run it well enough to pay our kids $10.66 an hour. Some of them are 15. As adults we have a responsibility to run our business well enough to pay our employees a good wage. You live in a community where the adults would be lazy and choose to use children and pay them $6 an hour. I think you should be ashamed.



Walmart pays everyone here our minimum wage and apparently they're doing fine, they just opened up a Super Center. The "cause and effect" is that people paid well enough to buy what they need to live do just that, spend their money and support other businesses.

Here's the bottom line: Fascists hate humanity. I can't explain it. They expect people to work for nothing or close to nothing. They would let their kids do it and support the fascists enslaving them. I don't know how you live with yourself and your ideas but apparently you're fine being intellectually lazy and expect your kids to accept the world of near slavery you envision for them. Luckily for them, most of us respect them and will work harder to build businesses strong enough to pay them a decent wage.
I am a bit confused on your message. Are you saying your community is full of fascists, but the current laws force them to pay more than they otherwise would?

Also it seems as if you are confused about my message. It should be obvious that Wal-Mart and McDonald's will be doing relatively well under higher minimum wages--minimum wages generally HELP large, profitable corporations in industries which use minimum wage labor. In fact, minimum wage laws help in proportion to how profitable a business is currently; they tend to act like a profit ratio booster. The reason is simple; the laws help to drive away the competition. Businesses which are not profitable are not sustainable. Increased labor costs across a whole industry will reduce the profit of all businesses in that industry. Those businesses which were barely sustainable before the increased labor costs can be made unprofitable and bankrupt as a result of the increased costs; and further, those firms which were contemplating entering the market are further deterred by the artificial increase in costs. All of this tends to serve the interests of the largest and most profitable businesses in those industries quite nicely.

Ghent12
09-22-14, 10:10 PM
Sorry, Ghent12, but elections are in fact the ONLY way to claim a basis in moral legitimacy for a nation.

(italics added by me)


Morality is therefore based on the consensus of a given group of people (for example, people who share a given religion, or live in a given nation) while ethics seeks to determine right and wrong by establishing an objectively defensible logical framework for decision-making.

So if the majority of people in a nation vote for something, it is by definition the moral consensus of those voters, regardless of whether it is considered moral by a sub-group of that nation (such as a religious right-wing subset). The explanation for the difference in opinion is simply whether the sub-group is defining as intrinsically worthless the opinions of all those not in their local tribal clique. Such attitudes are common, but obviously dismissible as pure arrogance.

It should be noted that there have been plenty of cases where societies have acted morally but not ethically (eg. the election of Hitler) and cases where leaders have acted ethically but not morally (a government making a logically necessary but unpopular decision). Neither morality nor ethics is therefore infallible, and the concept of a republic and the structure of our government were invented specifically to take input from both ethical and moral considerations.

Now, since it is entirely obvious that libertarianism is not considered moral for this nation as a whole, if you wish to assert that libertarian principles are ethical though not moral you must first explain and justify a valid and logically self-consistent ethical framework, that defines what may be considered "good" and "bad" for society as a whole. This is precisely what thinkers like Ayn Rand have attempted, but failed ridiculously at doing. I have yet to see an attempt that is not more full of holes than a colander, and Rand's is so patently absurd that it doesn't withstand even a first glance.

But by all means, I'd love to see another attempt. It will be fun. :)
I think you are confusing terms. While it is cute that your source is Wikipedia, and further it is rather adorable that you only accept the third of the three terms in the list while ignoring the rest (personal or cultural values and codes of conduct), if you want to deal only with what the people perceive then I suppose that can be done. You also seem quite careless with other terms, so let us be very clear if we are going to try to argue semantics in this pit.

While I cannot speak for other nations, it seems that the majority of the people in the United States have never once voted for any one candidate for office. You made the mistake which politicians seem to live in--you conflated people with voters. In fact, you contradicted yourself in the sentence I highlighted. People are not votes, and people are not merely voters. If you think that the actions of President Obama or that his election are moral because the majority of people in this country voted for him, then you are objectively wrong. Only 23% of the people in this country voted for him in 2008, and even fewer elected him in 2012. Even discounting children and teenagers, the point still stands.

Perhaps I am not getting what you said. Perhaps you are claiming that only voters are a part of society, and the 50% or so of people who live in this country who cannot or will not vote should not be considered to be a part of society? It would seem I have your permission to discount that possibility as pure arrogance.

While I am all for republicanism in general, I prefer the logical arguments in favor of it, as opposed to your apparent perception. Evidently you drink the rah-rah Kool aid and believe in the "consent of the governed" and that the "majority rules" and all that. If you cannot or will not see how distorted that view of our current "social contract" is, but want to expand your horizons, I would recommend watching or reading a lot more diversity in opinion. At the very least you can look at the census data and conclude that small minorities actually create law.

Polish_Silver
09-22-14, 10:32 PM
Or chose to starve. Ruanda in America. Luckily we're not there yet.

Thanks but I really don't need your condescending tone or for you to tell me how I've formed my ideas.


. . .

I have mixed feelings about minimum wage laws, but much can be said against them. The proponents point out that it raises the wages of some workers . What they never discuss is that some people cannot be hired at all because the employer cannot afford them at the minimum wage, though he might be able to at some lower wage. So the minimum wage law probably puts people on welfare who could work in some capacity.

If you are starving, the option to work for $3/hour might be a lot nicer than the options of stealing or starving.

This country has no guaranteed income. You have to "qualify" somehow for almost every type of assistance. Meaning that there are probably people who can't find work and can't qualify for welfare.

There are also people trying to live on pensions or savings, for whom that $3/hour might make the difference between staying afloat and going down.

A minimum wage solves one set of problems by creating another set. I have never seen an empirically based argument decide one way or the other.

Germany, for many years, had no minimum wage, but they did have very generous unemployment, creating a defacto minimum wage.

It's hardly a defect on the employers behalf to offer someone a low paying job. A man who accepts it has no better choice.

It's not clear that workers have better choices because of minimum wage laws .

An alternative solution would be for the government to guaranty a minimum income, or to subsidize low wage work.

astonas
09-23-14, 12:04 AM
Perhaps I am not getting what you said.

This is evidently the case.

I was trying to make one main point in my post, and I clearly labored it with sufficient supporting information to confuse a reader. Sorry for that.

That point was as follows: A claim to a "moral" basis for extreme libertarian positions like complete elimination of the minimum wage, and creating a market free of any law or government, is absurd.

If one uses the earlier parts of the definition of morality, such as a set of personal values, then one is inherently assuming that it is acceptable to apply one's personal values over a large population that does not share them. (In my post I described this as "pure arrogance", though the semantics are not critical to the argument. The non-technical usages of megalomania, or psychopathic might serve just as well.)

If you use the definition's latter concepts of shared values, then it is clear that this nation simply does not share your values. No matter how small a fraction of people vote in a given election, that number is still absolutely vast in comparison to the portion that would follow your prescription - eliminate the minimum wage entirely, have a completely unfettered free market, etc. A good indicator here is to see what fraction of the population votes for the libertarian party in any given election. However strongly you may hold your views, the fraction of people who agree with you in these more extreme positions is simply miniscule.

(I could go on for a long time about why I think morality should have a smaller role in selecting government leaders than it does, but that tangent is best left for later.)

To return: you simply do not have a moral argument here. If I were you, I'd focus on the ethical argument. There at least you have a chance to make a case, however long the odds.

The ethical branch of the discussion is also the only one of the two in which it is worth trying to convince another party of anything, since it demands that appeals must be made to logic, rather than individuals' personal or cultural beliefs. Thus, the moral argument is not only indefensible, it is also unproductive.

LazyBoy
09-23-14, 10:46 AM
(deleted)

Polish_Silver
09-24-14, 07:06 AM
. . .

That point was as follows: A claim to a "moral" basis for extreme libertarian positions like complete elimination of the minimum wage, and creating a market free of any law or government, is absurd.

If one uses the earlier parts of the definition of morality, such as a set of personal values, then one is inherently assuming that it is acceptable to apply one's personal values over a large population that does not share them. .

If you use the definition's latter concepts of shared values . . .

To return: you simply do not have a moral argument here. If I were you, I'd focus on the ethical argument. There at least you have a chance to make a case, however long the odds. . . .


In the dictionaries (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/moral)I could find, ethical and moral mean nearly the same thing.

I'd also like someone to answer Ghent's argument, that if it is legal to work for 0$/hour ( volunteers) why it is illegal to work for 3$/hour?

The reality is we don't like it that there are low paid people, but does making low paid work illegal really help them?

What about changing the public benefits structure so that everyone has an incentive to work---ie not losing food stamps if you have a bottom rung job?

I don't see a lot of people registering libertarian. But I don't see a lot of people critical of the FED and obsessing about FIRE either. But more states are legalizing marijuana, and one has legalized prostitution. In
Europe, entire nations have legalized these things.

astonas
09-24-14, 12:16 PM
In the dictionaries (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/moral)I could find, ethical and moral mean nearly the same thing.

Nearly is not the same as exactly.

Even in the link you cite, both personal and shared values are mentioned, and this definition also bases the judgement on values held by an individual or group:


: based on what you think is right and good: considered right and good by most people : agreeing with a standard of right behavior




Note that ethics leaves out the question of personal or shared values, and instead seeks to apply a logical framework to find objective standards for right and wrong. (It is technically classified as a branch of philosophy, while morality is generally classified under religion or culture.) That is the essential difference. Even though they both refer to evaluating "what is right and wrong" and hence appear very similar at first glance, they claim different sources of legitimacy for that judgement, and hence remain very distinct concepts.

There may well be valid arguments for Ghent's positions. If so, they must be made logically, since moral legitimacy is absent. But arguing them based on personal moral outrage is absurd.


I don't see a lot of people registering libertarian. But I don't see a lot of people critical of the FED and obsessing about FIRE either. But more states are legalizing marijuana, and one has legalized prostitution. In
Europe, entire nations have legalized these things.

These are yet more reasons why morality should be less important than it is in forming government policy. It also demonstrates that the popular (moral) is quite clearly not always the same as what should be done based on logic (ethical). Again, this highlights both the difference between the moral and ethical solutions to a given problem, and also demonstrates the danger of letting too much morality into governance in the first place.

But none of this counters the assertion that the solutions Ghent proposes have no moral legitimacy.

LazyBoy
09-24-14, 02:52 PM
Good, relevant video to the Robot question. (Not Rant and Rave material.)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU

Polish_Silver
09-25-14, 07:44 AM
Nearly is not the same as exactly.
. . .
Even in the link you cite, both personal and shared values are mentioned, and this definition also bases the judgement on values held by an individual or group:


. ..


This link (http://www.diffen.com/difference/Ethics_vs_Morals)makes the distinction as personal judgement vs cultural judgement. But it's hard to get that distinction from the dictionary (see below) . To the extent that "ethics" means cultural judgement, that is hardly method of deciding right and wrong, for a citizen or a legislator. It may help the legislator be re-elected to vote according to the ethics of his constituents, however.

Both Pritchard (https://ndpr.nd.edu/news/23527-moral-writings-and-the-right-and-the-good/)and Ayer challenged the idea that ethical statements are matter of truth and falsehood, in the sense that 2+2 = 4, or the sun will rise at 5:30am tomorrow.

Ayer believed that ethical statements reflect an emotional reaction. (which might be shared by many people)

The matter might be clarified by resorting to empathy: "an immoral action reflects a lack of empathy on the part of the actor". When Ayer was writing the neurological basis of empathy was unknown.


The dictionary places a slightly stronger emphasis on personal judgement for "moral", but the difference is so small, I don't think it's worth quibbling about.

"accepted" by the who?

An individual , a group, what % of people, and over what range of history and culture?

_______________________________________

From the same dictionary, emphasis mine:
eth·i·cal adjective \ˈe-thi-kəl\ : involving questions of right and wrong behavior : relating to ethics


: following accepted rules of behavior : morally right and good






Full Definition of ETHICAL1
: of or relating to ethics (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ethics) <ethical theories>

2

: involving or expressing moral approval or disapproval <ethical judgments>


3
: conforming to accepted standards of conduct <ethical behavior>

Polish_Silver
09-25-14, 01:28 PM
ethics leaves out the question of personal or shared values, and instead seeks to apply a logical framework to find objective standards for right and wrong.

Astonas,

I misinterpreted your post.

The distinction you make between ethical and moral is not between cultural and personal values, it is about
the distinction between a decision framework and personal beliefs.

I would agree that public policy should be justified by a logical appeal to stated values or goals.

However, I think almost every judgement people make has some kind of rationale behind it, and so comes closer to what you call "ethics". People generally do not justify a moral judgement by appealing to popular opinion, but by referring to a value they belief in. The "objective standards" question is the whole sticking point.

There was, for sometime, a movement in philosophy called "anti-theoretical ethics". This arose from the realization that none of the traditional theories of ethics worked well in every practical situation, or seemed very relevant to how people make decisions.

lektrode
09-25-14, 01:40 PM
was wondren where this one went - now eye see why it was 'relegated to the abyss'

but it IS a very interesting battle y'all got goin here (but well off the 'economics' scale, in any case?)

santafe2
09-26-14, 02:57 AM
I am a bit confused on your message. Are you saying your community is full of fascists, but the current laws force them to pay more than they otherwise would?

This is a bit harsh but thanks for trying to put words in my mouth.


Also it seems as if you are confused about my message. It should be obvious that Wal-Mart and McDonald's will be doing relatively well under higher minimum wages--minimum wages generally HELP large, profitable corporations in industries which use minimum wage labor.

Sorry, this is just a goofy idea. Walmart fights tooth and nail to keep wages as low as possible. If your idea made any sense at all they would be standing arm-in-arm with Obama demanding $10.10 an hour as the national minimum wage. Quite obviously they'll never do that.



In fact, minimum wage laws help in proportion to how profitable a business is currently; they tend to act like a profit ratio booster. The reason is simple; the laws help to drive away the competition.

Let me try to follow this logic. Minimum wage laws boost profitability by helping to drive out incompetent businesses that can't make a profit without very low wages. OK, I'm good with that.


Businesses which are not profitable are not sustainable.

Small businesses which are not profitable are hobbies. A business is either profitable or it's stakeholders are able to convince other people the business is so special they should invest. The 3rd option is that the business should go out of business. In your world the 3rd option is wage slavery. I choose to punish the incompetent business owner. You choose to punish the employees. We have a different point of view.


Increased labor costs across a whole industry will reduce the profit of all businesses in that industry. Those businesses which were barely sustainable before the increased labor costs can be made unprofitable and bankrupt as a result of the increased costs; and further, those firms which were contemplating entering the market are further deterred by the artificial increase in costs. All of this tends to serve the interests of the largest and most profitable businesses in those industries quite nicely.

I am a business person and I think a very successful one. I suspect you are not and this rhetoric is something you find emotionally satisfying. Possibly you worked for an incompetent company driven out of business by a larger and more competent company. Just guessing but these arguments make no sense to anyone who's run a successful business in the US. At best this is spreadsheet logic. Any real business is designed to attract the best people and the best people are attracted to businesses with a great plan, great process and other great employees.

santafe2
09-26-14, 03:10 AM
If you are starving, the option to work for $3/hour might be a lot nicer than the options of stealing or starving.

I think the votes are in. When people are driven to this level of desperation many would rather put a gun in your face than work. The way our system is designed, we underpay the lowest among us and when they react badly to the $15k they make on minimum wage, much less your suggested $6k, we put them in jail. That is, we give them a $50k job. Complete upgrade for the economy. Take a minimum wage loser and give him/her a total middle class income. They may not actually get any of the $50k but to the economy it doesn't matter. More people in jail = less roads more jails...same economic outcome.

lektrode
09-26-14, 12:32 PM
I think the votes are in. When people are driven to this level of desperation many would rather put a gun in your face than work. .... Take a minimum wage loser and give him/her a total middle class income. They may not actually get any of the $50k but to the economy it doesn't matter. More people in jail = less roads more jails...same economic outcome.

interesting way to look at things - also helps explain why the private sector jail biz is booming (and illustrates why state/local govs are in on 'the game' - ie: pushing the enforcement of the letter of the law = more 'crime' = more fed money for 'enforcement' = more 'revenue' for the local govs = more people in jail)

santafe2
09-27-14, 01:47 AM
interesting way to look at things - also helps explain why the private sector jail biz is booming (and illustrates why state/local govs are in on 'the game' - ie: pushing the enforcement of the letter of the law = more 'crime' = more fed money for 'enforcement' = more 'revenue' for the local govs = more people in jail)

For better or worse, I will take credit for this idea as I've espoused it among my friends for over 30 years. The seeds of this idea came to me when Reagan was governor of California and began systematically closing treatment facilities for the "mentally challenged". It's expensive to try to treat and possibly cure the insane. It's much less expensive to let them out on the street and then arrest them for their inevitable social transgressions. I think the beginning of jailhouse American began here and shortly afterward, smart capitalists began to understand that prisoners made great consumers. No layoffs here. Once Johnny signs up for a 20 year loan on his life, you've got a gold card consumer. He's not going to default, he's paying his "debt" to society.

We've obviously come a long way over the last 30+ years in our incarceration growth business. But to keep it moving forward, we need more prisoners. So here's how it's going to work in the future. If you can't earn $50,000 a year, you're more valuable to the economy in jail than out of jail. If you earn less than $25k, you should watch your back. It's not personal, it's just business.

Polish_Silver
09-27-14, 12:51 PM
For better or worse, I will take credit for this idea as I've espoused it among my friends for over 30 years. The seeds of this idea came to me when Reagan was governor of California and began systematically closing treatment facilities for the "mentally challenged". It's expensive to try to treat and possibly cure the insane. It's much less expensive to let them out on the street and then arrest them for their inevitable social transgressions. I think the beginning of jailhouse American began here and shortly afterward, smart capitalists began to understand that prisoners made great consumers. No layoffs here. Once Johnny signs up for a 20 year loan on his life, you've got a gold card consumer. He's not going to default, he's paying his "debt" to society.

We've obviously come a long way over the last 30+ years in our incarceration growth business. But to keep it moving forward, we need more prisoners. So here's how it's going to work in the future. If you can't earn $50,000 a year, you're more valuable to the economy in jail than out of jail. If you earn less than $25k, you should watch your back. It's not personal, it's just business.


The prison population is artificially swelled by prosecuting crimes such as marijuana possession and prostitution.

The over all crime rate is going DOWN, not UP.

California has had several governors since Reagan. Have any of them reversed this decision?


What percent of prisoners have clinical mental health problems that would have landed them in treatment centers Pre-Reagan?

When I was encountering homeless people, I thought that many of them suffered from schizophrenia, paranoia, etc.

santafe2
09-28-14, 01:28 AM
The prison population is artificially swelled by prosecuting crimes such as marijuana possession and prostitution.

The over all crime rate is going DOWN, not UP.

California has had several governors since Reagan. Have any of them reversed this decision?


What percent of prisoners have clinical mental health problems that would have landed them in treatment centers Pre-Reagan?

When I was encountering homeless people, I thought that many of them suffered from schizophrenia, paranoia, etc.

We agree with regard to the prison population. It's huge in the US because it's a business. Medicine in the US is not unlike prisons but that is a much larger conversation.

As for "crime", if you're building a business, you need to build your customer base. This is a core tenant of capitalism. As criminals continue to become consumers and products of our capitalist system, more Americans will "choose" to become criminals and prisoners.

There is a point where Americans will no longer support prisons as a major part of our economy but I've no idea when we'll all understand that everyone is at risk.

Polish_Silver
09-29-14, 12:51 PM
We agree with regard to the prison population. It's huge in the US because it's a business. Medicine in the US is not unlike prisons but that is a much larger conversation.

As for "crime", if you're building a business, you need to build your customer base. This is a core tenant of capitalism. As criminals continue to become consumers and products of our capitalist system, more Americans will "choose" to become criminals and prisoners.

There is a point where Americans will no longer support prisons as a major part of our economy but I've no idea when we'll all understand that everyone is at risk.


I agree that "for profit prisons" are a bad idea because of the moral hazard they create. Especially since they the corporations would have close ties to the legal system. Just selectively prosecute political opponents for marijuana possession, vices, what have you. (I think that's what brought down the NY governor, who had the cajones to pursue Wall street crooks).

dcarrigg
09-30-14, 03:32 PM
To be fair to SF & PS, I think it might have been me that got this thread cast into the great beyond. (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/27453-Robots-Will-Create-Permanently-Unemployable-Underclass?p=286463#post286463)

Although, maybe it was SF after all (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/27453-Robots-Will-Create-Permanently-Unemployable-Underclass?p=286469#post286469)?

Don't think neither of us reacted well to the tone in this one here (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/27453-Robots-Will-Create-Permanently-Unemployable-Underclass?p=286462#post286462).

Civility shattered.

astonas
09-30-14, 05:59 PM
However, I think almost every judgement people make has some kind of rationale behind it, and so comes closer to what you call "ethics".

A rationalization is not the same thing as a logical framework. Most people judge right and wrong by what they were told as children, never actually wondering whether the values learned then are consistent with a minimal set of axioms, let alone derivable from them. It is only after the judgment itself that they rationalize why that must be the right judgement.

Aside: There's actually some fascinating neurological imaging that's been done on the subject. The logic centers of the brain light up AFTER most decision have been made, and even acted on. But the memory of "making a logical decision" is how the brain records the event after the fact, even when the opposite can be shown to have occurred. It takes considerable conscious effort to counteract this innate misremembering. So I would argue that most judgments are in fact quite disconnected from any logic at all.


People generally do not justify a moral judgement by appealing to popular opinion, but by referring to a value they belief in. The "objective standards" question is the whole sticking point.

The "objective standards" was indeed the thrust of my posts. They are commonly claimed in political arguments (once the delusion of "morality" is appropriately dismissed). But in my experience so far, a set of self-consistent standards that supports a dramatic and unpopular suggestion has always been entirely absent, when the discussion is examined with sufficient rigor. It takes a huge amount of effort to build a framework that does hold up, so it is not surprising that they are rare.


It is in fact precisely "objectivity" that Ayn Rand claimed as the basis for her reactionary philosophy in the famous speech of John Galt, written in her work "Atlas Shrugged". While alive, she referred to herself as an Objectivist, and her movement as Objectivism, and claimed (incorrectly) that all morality can be derived from objective principles.

The problem is that she made such a pig's breakfast of her facts and logic, not only does it not represent the moral stance she hoped it would eventually become, it doesn't even stand up as the ethical framework it claimed to already be at the time. It would be funny if it weren't so sad.

The REAL problem is that so many people have read her work uncritically. Of course, since the statements therein justify the reader taking ever more and more from any other people who have less and less, this is hardly surprising. In the words of Jonathan Swift: "There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know." Selfishness is certainly convenient, even when not justifiable, and it is far more comfortable to be philosophically blind than to admit to holding immoral and unethical, but self-enriching, positions.

Dramatic political views (whether the reactionary ones discussed above, or equally abhorrent revolutionary ones on the other side) when analyzed properly and in detail, seldom wind up having either a moral or ethical basis. But for some reason, they almost always do serve those offering them up very well indeed, at least as long as they go unexamined.

This site (to me) is at least in part about examining them.

Polish_Silver
10-01-14, 03:47 PM
To be fair to SF & PS, I think it might have been me that got this thread cast into the great beyond. (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/27453-Robots-Will-Create-Permanently-Unemployable-Underclass?p=286463#post286463)

Although, maybe it was SF after all (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/27453-Robots-Will-Create-Permanently-Unemployable-Underclass?p=286469#post286469)?

Don't think neither of us reacted well to the tone in this one here (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php/27453-Robots-Will-Create-Permanently-Unemployable-Underclass?p=286462#post286462).

Civility shattered.

I'll have to agree with Ghent that a supreme court decision does not decide how I think about an issue.

Phelps, a distinguished labor economist refused to weigh in on minimum wage laws. Instead, he recommends subsidizing low wage work.

Also remember the effective marginal tax rate is said to be very high on minimum wage earners, so if you raise the wage , they may lose a lot of benefits.

It seems heartless not to want a minimum wage, but when you think about details, it gets a lot more ambiguous.

Woodsman
10-01-14, 09:11 PM
Civility shattered.

Yeah, but then I saw this and felt better.


http://youtu.be/K9mJpVf4dkc

dcarrigg
10-02-14, 02:36 AM
Yeah, but then I saw this and felt better.
]

The truth is a lot of programmer types fall into this trap. I don't blame them. They just assume that the world works this way. Begin with defining variables. Doesn't matter if it's C++ or Von Mises. Define them then bring them through a tortuous logic chain. The singularity is coming soon. Insist that your mode of thought is correct. Ignore empiricism. Hate science. Insist that your truth is the only logical truth.

Thus is the beginning of Objectivism.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBwqdA7_4lo

dcarrigg
10-02-14, 02:45 AM
You're free to agree with him. But I think if there were a strong normative argument to bring back child labor and bottomless women labor, then the Supreme Court would have done so. Should you think they should do so even though they haven't, you're out of step with polls. Should you think you're smarter than the electorate, you can believe they're dumb and they'd be better served by no child and minimum wage law whatsoever. But they don't agree.

So what's the endgame here? Ignore republicanism? Force them to work for pennies on the hour and have no political say whatsoever? Seriously? If the Supreme Court isn't convincing on this one, then how do you think?

Does your thinking point you to sweat shops? What matters to you? Why force the wage of millions of Americans down into the dirt?

Cui bono ? Who works que perdiderit?

vt
10-06-14, 10:10 PM
http://www.computerworld.com/article/2691607/one-in-three-jobs-will-be-taken-by-software-or-robots-by-2025.html

We need better education to create new industries to keep ahead of automation. We are woefully unprepared for the future.

I took a tour of the BMW factory last week in Munich; 95% of the assembly process is done by robots, which I saw at most steps of the process

Polish_Silver
10-07-14, 12:10 PM
http://www.computerworld.com/article/2691607/one-in-three-jobs-will-be-taken-by-software-or-robots-by-2025.html

We need better education to create new industries to keep ahead of automation. We are woefully unprepared for the future.

I took a tour of the BMW factory last week in Munich; 95% of the assembly process is done by robots, which I saw at most steps of the process

You almost wonder if robots can take away more jobs than they already have. That is very true in assembly line types of industries, such as electronics. But I wonder if the "unpreparedness" isn't more genetic than educational.

In this country we seem to launch an education reform every 5 years. And how many actually work?

This woman wrote a book comparing schools systems across countries. She thinks some work better than others.

One of her recommendations was to make teaching more of an elite profession. Make it hard to become a teacher.

Teachers would gain prestige from this, if not pay raises.

I think this approach might be more effective for public employee areas. There is no concerted attempt to make it more difficult to become an engineer, yet most companies are able to find competent engineers. The companies select employees based on in depth interviews and evaluations of the person's experience. The weeding is done by the corporations.

The author thinks that the school principals cannot do the weeding, and maybe they can't.

don
10-11-14, 07:54 PM
http://www.itulip.com/forums/webkit-fake-url://04DB03C5-0B7E-48CD-8992-EAA526544EBA/Robot+on+Wheels.png

Airport officials on Thursday rolled out a customer-service robot to help answer passenger questions. The bot will complement its guest services desk but not replace it.
The airport is the first in the nation to use the system, and officials say it solidifies the airport's reputation as one of the most user-friendly.
Called Double Robot, it will allow airport agents to interact with passengers through an iPad, propped on top of a roller wearing a customer-service shirt — sort of a Segway with a video-screen head.
The robot costs $2,500, plus the price of the head, er ... iPad. It is made by Double Robotics.

don
10-30-14, 11:32 AM
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Sp9176vm7Co" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe>

OSHbot




Goodbye Retail Associates, Hello Robots

The future of shopping has arrived, and it's not human.

Not only do robots cost less than humans, they don't complain, they speak multiple languages, and most importantly, by scanning aisles they know where every item is in the store and can take you straight to it.

Meet "OSHbot"

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-mLnBVt1XyGM/VFFM7SNohRI/AAAAAAAAbHo/g-irn--cb98/s400/OSHbot2.png (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-mLnBVt1XyGM/VFFM7SNohRI/AAAAAAAAbHo/g-irn--cb98/s1600/OSHbot2.png)

OSHbot is the newest member of the "Fellow Robots (http://fellowrobots.com/robots)" family, and developed in partnership with Lowes Innovation Labs.

The future of shopping has arrived

Retail Robotics is an exciting and fast growing new market and Fellow Robots is at the forefront. Advances in sensors, wireless networking, voice recognition and design prototyping are enabling us to build the smart retail robots that can autonomously navigate through stores, help communicate with customers to understand what they need and locate it quickly.

OSHbot incorporates the latest of these advanced technologies. For example, a customer may bring in a spare part and scan the object using OSHbot’s 3D sensing camera. After scanning and identifying the object, OSHbot will provide product information to the customer and guide them to its location on store shelves.
OSHbot Specs



[*=left]Front Screen: 19.5 inches
[*=left]Back Screen: 29 inches
[*=left]Height: 5 ft
[*=left]Weight: 85 pounds


OSHbot Technologies



[*=left]Voice recognition
[*=left]Advanced sensors
[*=left]Autonomous navigation
[*=left]Scanning
[*=left]Obstacle avoidance


Making Science Fiction a Reality

The robot will come up to you and say in a pleasant tone "Hello I am OSHBot, your store robot helper. What can I help you with."

Show OSHbot a screw, and OSHbot will scan the item and take you to the exact match, or tell you if it's out of stock. Not even the most knowledgeable human clerk can do that.

OSHbot Articles

The Wall Street Journal reports Newest Workers for Lowe’s: Robots (http://online.wsj.com/articles/newest-workers-for-lowes-robots-1414468866)

The LA Times says Robot sales clerk? 'OSHbot' to debut in San Jose (http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lowes-robots-20141029-story.html)


OSHbot Experience

Would you rather deal with an associate who may be unfriendly and typically does not know where things are, or OSHbot?

I would take OSHbot 7 days a week.

I suspect so would most. And even if you wouldn't, it's guaranteed to happen anyway.

Robots do not complain, they show up on time, they want to help, they don't ask for overtime, and they do not need medical insurance, Social Security, or pensions.

All of the greeters and helpers at WalMart, Lowes, Home Depot, Target, and retailers in general will give way to "Fellow Robots". And that will happen sooner than anyone realizes.

Deflationary Forces

OSHbot, competition, and technology in general are inherently price-deflationary.

With that thought, I suggest that the Fed, Central Banks, and Governments are on a failed mission. Sure, they can raise the minimum wage and engage in inflationary policies, but they cannot halt the march of technology and create jobs at the same time.

Every hike in minimum wages or healthcare subsidies is an extra added incentive for corporations to use hardware and software robots.

Inept Central Bank Policies

Asset bubbles of increasing magnitude over time coupled with rising income inequality is a direct consequence of inept central bank deflation-fighting exercises.

For further discussion please consider Challenge to Keynesians "Prove Rising Prices Provide an Overall Economic Benefit".

Inquiring minds may also wish to consider James Grant Conference Video: Inflation Expectations, Growth, Policy Problems; Europe Has Become Japan.

The next asset bust, as well as the Fed's response to it, are likely to be spectacular.

Addendum

A few interesting comments came within minutes. Here are a couple of them.

Gordon writes "This is great for the mom and pops of the world but ask the robot about the hammer and what actually works instead of just trying to sell someone a hammer and it cannot tell you."

Jon responds: "Good catch. I can't tell you how many times I've gone to Lowe's or Home Depot with a DYI project and the guy walked me around and told me how to do the same thing at half the cost that I budgeted. All at the expense to the company's margins of course. But those dudes are the best."

My reply: Robots will never replace everyone, just a huge portion of such workers. Moreover, and over time, these robots will get smarter and smarter, complete with how-to videos.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

Polish_Silver
10-30-14, 12:01 PM
But didn't per capita gdp go up in Europe (where most of the death and desruction occured) right after the WWII?


No it did not. Most countries involved in the war were plunged into poverty for years. The US and Canada were exceptions because the war was fought elsewhere.

The war destroyed the productive capacity, probably including agricultural capacity.

Germans were on the brink of starvation, and raised rabbits in the yard as a source of meat.
German boys gathered cigarettes dropped by allied soldiers to gather the tobacco for barter.
Many Germans moved to North America at this time.

Italy was no better off. Watch "The bicycle thief".

Britain complained for years that it had won the war but lost the peace.

Polish_Silver
10-30-14, 12:06 PM
Very impressive if the Robot can actually recognize parts.

However, I fail to see the advantage over a stationary help kiosk with voice recognition.

Suppose I walk up to it and say "Sliding door roller bearing". The kiosk says "sliding door rollers are on aisle 5, section 3". I don't need a robot to walk me there. As for the "how to video", how can that compete with google on my desk top? You usually need help with the unusual aspects of the problem, which the little robot will not be able to show you.

don
10-30-14, 01:11 PM
Perhaps accepting their stated goal too literally is a mistake. Eliminating labor while dazzling customers with new technology in the transition to less service may be closer to the mark. That would be consistent with many of the the big box store's no-employeees phenomenon.

don
11-15-14, 04:04 PM
<article style="border: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 15px; background-color: transparent; font-family: 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 18.200000762939453px; color: black !important;">The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1137278463?ie=UTF8&tag=thneyoreofbo-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1137278463)

by Jeremy Rifkin
Palgrave Macmillan, 356 pp., $28.00
</article><article style="border: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 15px; background-color: transparent; font-family: 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 18.200000762939453px; color: black !important;">Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire, and the Internet of Things (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1476725632?ie=UTF8&tag=thneyoreofbo-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1476725632)

by David Rose
Scribner, 304 pp., $28.00
</article><article style="border: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 15px; background-color: transparent; font-family: 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 18.200000762939453px; color: black !important;">Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1492348430?ie=UTF8&tag=thneyoreofbo-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1492348430)

by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, with a foreword by Marc Benioff
Patrick Brewster, 225 pp., $14.45 (paper)
</article><article style="border: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 15px; background-color: transparent; font-family: 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 18.200000762939453px; color: black !important;">More Awesome Than Money: Four Boys and Their Heroic Quest to Save Your Privacy from Facebook (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0670025607?ie=UTF8&tag=thneyoreofbo-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0670025607)

by Jim Dwyer
Viking, 374 pp., $27.95

Sue Halpern (NYRB)

Every day a piece of computer code is sent to me by e-mail from a website to which I subscribe called <acronym style="border: 0px; padding: 0px; background-color: transparent;">IFTTT</acronym>. Those letters stand for the phrase “if this then that,” and the code is in the form of a “recipe” that has the power to animate it. Recently, for instance, I chose to enable an <acronym style="border: 0px; padding: 0px; background-color: transparent;">IFTTT</acronym> recipe that read, “if the temperature in my house falls below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, then send me a text message.” It’s a simple command that heralds a significant change in how we will be living our lives when much of the material world is connected—like my thermostat—to the Internet.

It is already possible to buy Internet-enabled light bulbs that turn on when your car signals your home that you are a certain distance away and coffeemakers that sync to the alarm on your phone, as well as WiFi washer-dryers that know you are away and periodically fluff your clothes until you return, and Internet-connected slow cookers, vacuums, and refrigerators. “Check the morning weather, browse the web for recipes, explore your social networks or leave notes for your family—all from the refrigerator door,” reads the ad for one.

Welcome to the beginning of what is being touted as the Internet’s next wave by technologists, investment bankers, research organizations, and the companies that stand to rake in some of an estimated $14.4 trillion by 2022—what they call the Internet of Things (<acronym style="border: 0px; padding: 0px; background-color: transparent;">I</acronym>o<acronym style="border: 0px; padding: 0px; background-color: transparent;">T</acronym>). Cisco Systems, which is one of those companies, and whose <acronym style="border: 0px; padding: 0px; background-color: transparent;">CEO</acronym> came up with that multitrillion-dollar figure, takes it a step further and calls this wave “the Internet of Everything,” which is both aspirational and telling. The writer and social thinker Jeremy Rifkin, whose consulting firm is working with businesses and governments to hurry this new wave along, describes it like this:

The Internet of Things will connect every thing with everyone in an integrated global network. People, machines, natural resources, production lines, logistics networks, consumption habits, recycling flows, and virtually every other aspect of economic and social life will be linked via sensors and software to the <acronym style="border: 0px; padding: 0px; background-color: transparent;">I</acronym>o<acronym style="border: 0px; padding: 0px; background-color: transparent;">T</acronym> platform, continually feeding Big Data to every node—businesses, homes, vehicles—moment to moment, in real time. Big Data, in turn, will be processed with advanced analytics, transformed into predictive algorithms, and programmed into automated systems to improve thermodynamic efficiencies, dramatically increase productivity, and reduce the marginal cost of producing and delivering a full range of goods and services to near zero across the entire economy.

In Rifkin’s estimation, all this connectivity will bring on the “Third Industrial Revolution,” poised as he believes it is to not merely redefine our relationship to machines and their relationship to one another, but to overtake and overthrow capitalism once the efficiencies of the Internet of Things undermine the market system, dropping the cost of producing goods to, basically, nothing. His recent book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism, is a paean to this coming epoch.

And the fact is, the Internet of Things is happening, and happening quickly. Rifkin notes that in 2007 there were ten million sensors of all kinds connected to the Internet, a number he says will increase to 100 trillion by 2030. A lot of these are small radio-frequency identification (<acronym style="border: 0px; padding: 0px; background-color: transparent;">RFID</acronym>) microchips attached to goods as they crisscross the globe, but there are also sensors on vending machines, delivery trucks, cattle and other farm animals, cell phones, cars, weather-monitoring equipment, <acronym style="border: 0px; padding: 0px; background-color: transparent;">NFL</acronym> football helmets, jet engines, and running shoes, among other things, generating data meant to streamline, inform, and increase productivity, often by bypassing human intervention. Additionally, the number of autonomous Internet-connected devices such as cell phones—devices that communicate directly with one another—now doubles every five years, growing from 12.5 billion in 2010 to an estimated 25 billion next year and 50 billion by 2020.

For years, a cohort of technologists, most notably Ray Kurzweil, the writer, inventor, and director of engineering at Google, have been predicting the day when computer intelligence surpasses human intelligence and merges with it in what they call the Singularity. We are not there yet, but a kind of singularity is already upon us as we swallow pills embedded with microscopic computer chips, activated by stomach acids, that will be able to report compliance with our doctor’s orders (or not) directly to our electronic medical records. Then there is the singularity that occurs when we outfit our bodies with “wearable technology” that sends data about our physical activity, heart rate, respiration, and sleep patterns to a database in the cloud as well as to our mobile phones and computers (and to Facebook and our insurance company and our employer).

Cisco Systems, for instance, which is already deep into wearable technology, is working on a platform called “the Connected Athlete” that “turns the athlete’s body into a distributed system of sensors and network intelligence…[so] the athlete becomes more than just a competitor—he or she becomes a Wireless Body Area Network, or <acronym style="border: 0px; padding: 0px; background-color: transparent;">WBAN</acronym>.” Wearable technology, which generated $800 million in 2013, is expected to make nearly twice that this year. These are numbers that not only represent sales, but the public’s acceptance of, and habituation to, becoming one of the things connected to and through the Internet.

Recent revelations from the journalist Glenn Greenwald put the number of Americans under government surveillance at a colossal 1.2 million people. Once the Internet of Things is in place, that number might easily expand to include everyone else, because a system that can remind you to stop at the market for dessert is a system that knows who you are and where you are and what you’ve been doing and with whom you’ve been doing it. And this is information we give out freely, or unwittingly, and largely without question or complaint, trading it for convenience, or what passes for convenience.

In other words, as human behavior is tracked and merchandized on a massive scale, the Internet of Things creates the perfect conditions to bolster and expand the surveillance state. In the world of the Internet of Things, your car, your heating system, your refrigerator, your fitness apps, your credit card, your television set, your window shades, your scale, your medications, your camera, your heart rate monitor, your electric toothbrush, and your washing machine—to say nothing of your phone—generate a continuous stream of data that resides largely out of reach of the individual but not of those willing to pay for it or in other ways commandeer it.

That is the point: the Internet of Things is about the “dataization” of our bodies, ourselves, and our environment. As a post on the tech website Gigaom put it, “The Internet of Things isn’t about things. It’s about cheap data.” Lots and lots of it. “The more you tell the world about yourself, the more the world can give you what you want,” says Sam Lessin, the head of Facebook’s Identity Product Group. It’s a sentiment shared by Scoble and Israel, who write:

The more the technology knows about you, the more benefits you will receive. That can leave you with the chilling sensation that big data is watching you. In the vast majority of cases, we believe the coming benefits are worth that trade-off.


So, too, does Jeremy Rifkin, who dismisses our legal, social, and cultural affinity for privacy as, essentially, a bourgeois affectation—a remnant of the enclosure laws that spawned capitalism:

Connecting everyone and everything in a neural network brings the human race out of the age of privacy, a defining characteristic of modernity, and into the era of transparency. While privacy has long been considered a fundamental right, it has never been an inherent right. Indeed, for all of human history, until the modern era, life was lived more or less publicly….

In virtually every society that we know of before the modern era, people bathed together in public, often urinated and defecated in public, ate at communal tables, frequently engaged in sexual intimacy in public, and slept huddled together en masse. It wasn’t until the early capitalist era that people began to retreat behind locked doors.


As anyone who has spent any time on Facebook knows, transparency is a fiction—literally.Social media is about presenting a curated self; it is opacity masquerading as transparency. In a sense, then, it is about preserving privacy. So when Rifkin claims that for young people, “privacy has lost much of its appeal,” he is either confusing sharing (as in sharing pictures of a vacation in Spain) with openness, or he is acknowledging that young people, especially, have become inured to the trade-offs they are making to use services like Facebook. (But they are not completely inured to it, as demonstrated by both Jim Dwyer’s painstaking book More Awesome Than Money, about the failed race to build a noncommercial social media site called Diaspora in 2010, as well as the overwhelming response—as many as 31,000 requests an hour for invitations—to the recent announcement that there soon will be a Facebook alternative, Ello, that does not collect or sell users’ data.)

These trade-offs will only increase as the quotidian becomes digitized, leaving fewer and fewer opportunities to opt out. It’s one thing to edit the self that is broadcast on Facebook and Twitter, but the Internet of Things, which knows our viewing habits, grooming rituals, medical histories, and more, allows no such interventions—unless it is our behaviors and curiosities and idiosyncracies themselves that end up on the cutting room floor.

Even so, no matter what we do, the ubiquity of the Internet of Things is putting us squarely in the path of hackers, who will have almost unlimited portals into our digital lives. When, last winter, cybercriminals broke into more than 100,000 Internet-enabled appliances including refrigerators and sent out 750,000 spam e-mails to their users, they demonstrated just how vulnerable Internet-connected machines are.

Not long after that, Forbes reported that security researchers had come up with a $20 tool that was able to remotely control a car’s steering, brakes, acceleration, locks, and lights. It was an experiment that, again, showed how simple it is to manipulate and sabotage the smartest of machines, even though—but really because—a car is now, in the words of a Ford executive, a “cognitive device.”

More recently, a study of ten popular <acronym style="border: 0px; padding: 0px; background-color: transparent;">I</acronym>o<acronym style="border: 0px; padding: 0px; background-color: transparent;">T</acronym> devices by the computer company Hewlett-Packard uncovered a total of 250 security flaws among them. As Jerry Michalski, a former tech industry analyst and founder of the <acronym style="border: 0px; padding: 0px; background-color: transparent;">REX</acronym> think tank, observed in a recent Pew study: “Most of the devices exposed on the internet will be vulnerable. They will also be prone to unintended consequences: they will do things nobody designed for beforehand, most of which will be undesirable.”

For many of us, it is difficult to imagine smart watches and WiFi-enabled light bulbs leading to a new world order, whether that new world order is a surveillance state that knows more about us than we do about ourselves or the techno-utopia envisioned by Jeremy Rifkin, where people can make much of what they need on 3-D printers powered by solar panels and unleashed human creativity. Because home automation is likely to be expensive—it will take a lot of eggs before the egg minder pays for itself—it is unlikely that those watches and light bulbs will be the primary driver of the Internet of Things, though they will be its showcase.

Rather, the Internet’s third wave will be propelled by businesses that are able to rationalize their operations by replacing people with machines, using sensors to simplify distribution patterns and reduce inventories, deploying algorithms that eliminate human error, and so on. Those business savings are crucial to Rifkin’s vision of the Third Industrial Revolution, not simply because they have the potential to bring down the price of consumer goods, but because, for the first time, a central tenet of capitalism—that increased productivity requires increased human labor—will no longer hold. And once productivity is unmoored from labor, he argues, capitalism will not be able to support itself, either ideologically or practically.

What will rise in place of capitalism is what Rifkin calls the “collaborative commons,” where goods and property are shared, and the distinction between those who own the means of production and those who are beholden to those who own the means of production disappears. “The old paradigm of owners and workers, and of sellers and consumers, is beginning to break down,” he writes.

Consumers are becoming their own producers, eliminating the distinction. Prosumers will increasingly be able to produce, consume, and share their own goods…. The automation of work is already beginning to free up human labor to migrate to the evolving social economy…. The Internet of Things frees human beings from the market economy to pursue nonmaterial shared interests on the Collaborative Commons.


Rifkin’s vision that people will occupy themselves with more fulfilling activities like making music and self-publishing novels once they are freed from work, while machines do the heavy lifting, is offered at a moment when a new kind of structural unemployment born of robotics, big data, and artificial intelligence takes hold globally, and traditional ways of making a living disappear. Rifkin’s claims may be comforting, but they are illusory and misleading. (We’ve also heard this before, in 1845, when Marx wrote in The German Ideology that under communism people would be “free to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, [and] criticize after dinner.”)

As an example, Rifkin points to Etsy, the online marketplace where thousands of “prosumers” sell their crafts, as a model for what he dubs the new creative economy. “Currently 900,000 small producers of goods advertise at no cost on the Etsy website,” he writes.

Nearly 60 million consumers per month from around the world browse the website, often interacting personally with suppliers…. This form of laterally scaled marketing puts the small enterprise on a level playing field with the big boys, allowing them to reach a worldwide user market at a fraction of the cost.


All that may be accurate and yet largely irrelevant if the goal is for those 900,000 small producers to make an actual living. As Amanda Hess wrote last year in Slate:

Etsy says its crafters are “thinking and acting like entrepreneurs,” but they’re not thinking or acting like very effective ones. Seventy-four percent of Etsy sellers consider their shop a “business,” including 65 percent of sellers who made less than $100 last year.


While it is true that a do-it-yourself subculture is thriving, and sharing cars, tools, houses, and other property is becoming more common, it is also true that much of this activity is happening under duress as steady employment disappears. As an article in The New York Times this past summer made clear, employment in the sharing economy, also known as the gig economy, where people piece together an income by driving for Uber and delivering groceries for Instacart, leaves them little time for hunting and fishing, unless it’s hunting for work and fishing under a shared couch for loose change.

So here comes the Internet’s Third Wave. In its wake jobs will disappear, work will morph, and a lot of money will be made by the companies, consultants, and investment banks that saw it coming. Privacy will disappear, too, and our intimate spaces will become advertising platforms—last December Google sent a letter to the <acronym style="border: 0px; padding: 0px; background-color: transparent;">SEC</acronym> explaining how it might run ads on home appliances—and we may be too busy trying to get our toaster to communicate with our bathroom scale to notice.

</article>

don
11-15-14, 04:13 PM
First, I apologize for the heavy italicizing - if one word in your copy/paste is in italics, all following copy will be as well, and as often as not, un-italiziable. Yes, it's a bitch.

This PR ploy has been around at least since the 50s. I guess Asimov (I, Robot series) could be excused on grounds of naiveté and having to publish, but that's long past. Who today, among the working stiffs, in the midst of the 2nd Great Depression, would buy a care-free digitalized life to come. Well, right, nobody, except perhaps a 14-year old somewhere at an internet cafe. Good grief. Prepare yourself, as the author notes, for fewer jobs, more unemployed warehousing (prisons, welfare schemes, etc.) and a commercial penetration of life undreamed of.

vt
11-15-14, 07:03 PM
Could the ability to code help some, and inability hurt others?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2835479/Knowing-program-computer-key-success-Upstairs-Downstairs-society-reality-school-leavers-unable-write-code.html

vt
12-16-14, 01:49 AM
Maybe technology will replace some high price jobs where creating even more moderate income ones:

http://theweek.com/article/index/273612/how-computers-will-replace-your-doctor

But workers will still have a problem:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/16/upshot/as-robots-grow-smarter-american-workers-struggle-to-keep-up.html?abt=0002&abg=1

metalman
12-19-14, 07:53 PM
Young Earth or Intelligent Design?

wow. there's whole sites devoted to this crapola... amusing is this one...

http://www.rationalskepticism.org/creationism/ode-to-a-young-earth-creationist-t17784.html

Robert Byers, the mildly irritating creationist based in Canada, today tried to prove his theory that Polar Bears are white because they are scared of people. The photographer that accompanied Bob Byers, one Ray Comfort, took the picture below.

http://www.rationalskepticism.org/images/spacer.gifhttp://img716.imageshack.us/img716/3013/byers.jpg

As one can see the encounter with the bears did not go well for Byers. However Byers learned, all be it very briefly, that evidence trumps superstition and speculation every time. He was heard to scream just before he died 'For fucks sake Ray throw the fooking bananas!' Why he said this is not known although there is some speculation that Byers believed that at some point Polar Bears were vegetarians that ate bananas. Comfort was said to be pleased that Bob was now in Heaven shearing bananas with Jesus. The Bears were heard to complain that Byers hadn't tasted very nice because; 'He was so full of shit.'

lektrode
12-20-14, 06:23 PM
.... The Bears were heard to complain that Byers hadn't tasted very nice because; 'He was so full of ....'

guess HE should've ett the 'nanas...

lakedaemonian
12-20-14, 07:29 PM
wow. there's whole sites devoted to this crapola... amusing is this one...

http://www.rationalskepticism.org/creationism/ode-to-a-young-earth-creationist-t17784.html

Robert Byers, the mildly irritating creationist based in Canada, today tried to prove his theory that Polar Bears are white because they are scared of people. The photographer that accompanied Bob Byers, one Ray Comfort, took the picture below.

http://www.rationalskepticism.org/images/spacer.gifhttp://img716.imageshack.us/img716/3013/byers.jpg

As one can see the encounter with the bears did not go well for Byers. However Byers learned, all be it very briefly, that evidence trumps superstition and speculation every time. He was heard to scream just before he died 'For fucks sake Ray throw the fooking bananas!' Why he said this is not known although there is some speculation that Byers believed that at some point Polar Bears were vegetarians that ate bananas. Comfort was said to be pleased that Bob was now in Heaven shearing bananas with Jesus. The Bears were heard to complain that Byers hadn't tasted very nice because; 'He was so full of shit.'

I have a few friends who've worked both Poles in the US Coast Guard.

One of them is still serving and might just have the record for Pole visits for current serving USGC.

He showed me a number of polar bear photos taken by him and his friends over the years(he says he's never seen more anecdotally than on a trip in recent years).

Apparently a polar bear feeding on a seal can be seen from QUITE a distance(as exemplified above).

He told me one of the most disturbing things he ever saw was a polar bear quite close(say 100m) covered in blood from the "waist" up just quietly sitting there and watching them as the icebreaker passed by.

vt
12-21-14, 01:05 AM
Dominant life form in cosmos probably super intelligent robots:

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-dominant-life-form-in-the-cosmos-is-probably-superintelligent-robots

don
12-28-14, 05:20 PM
http://static01.nyt.com/images/2014/12/28/sports/28camelracing_show-slide-57M6/28camelracing_show-slide-57M6-jumbo.jpg
<figure class="media slideshow promo lede layout-large-horizontal" id="slideshow-100000003418979" data-media-action="modal" aria-label="media" role="group" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="http://static01.nyt.com/images/2014/12/28/sports/28camelracing_show-slide-57M6/28camelracing_show-slide-57M6-jumbo.jpg" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 15px 45px 0px; position: relative; width: 675px; float: left; clear: left;">

</figure>




ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Not long after sunrise one recent morning, a camel race here began, as they all do, with two starts. First, there was the expected opening: About a dozen camels pressed their noses against a dangling metal barrier, and when a man in a sparkling white robe gave the signal, the gate lifted and the herd surged forward, necks bobbing and humps hopping as spindly legs galloped off into the fog.

A beat later came the second wave. As the camels sprinted toward their first turn at Al-Wathba racetrack, a fleet of sport utility vehicles, five or six wide, shifted into gear and zoomed after them, tailing the animals on the paved roads that flanked both sides of the soft dirt track. To the uninitiated, it looked like a presidential motorcade locked in a low-speed chase with a pack of Bedouins. To the more familiar, it was simply camel racing, modernized.

Inside one of the vehicles, Hamad Mohammed watched the action from the passenger seat. Mohammed, who works for an Emirati sheikh and trains numerous camels, was tracking his entry, Miyan, while a friend navigated through the glut of semidistracted drivers circling the 3.7-mile track. Miyan broke from the starting line and quickly pulled away from the typical jumbling. She settled on an inside position and churned along, flanks heaving beneath green silks.



http://cdn.thedailybeast.com/content/dailybeast/articles/2013/12/07/dubai-s-camel-races-embrace-robot-jockeys/jcr:content/image.crop.800.500.jpg/1386387440260.cached.jpg<figcaption class="image" style="box-sizing: border-box; outline: 0px; margin: 7px 0px 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 0.8em; vertical-align: baseline; text-rendering: optimizelegibility; font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-style: italic; line-height: inherit; color: rgb(127, 127, 127); text-align: right; min-height: 15px;">Christopher Furlong
</figcaption>
The car was quiet, save for the thundering tones of the radio announcer calling the race from a van about 15 feet away, also following the camels. As the race neared its midpoint, Mohammed picked up a walkie-talkie, leaned his face against the window and began to make a clucking sound.

It was not a word — not in Arabic or any other language — but more of a murmur, a throaty noise like one might use to coax a hesitant dog. Mohammed made the sound over and over, and Miyan, who was at least 20 yards away, responded, surging forward a bit.

“Good,” Mohammed said softly to his friend. “The robot is working.”




http://static01.nyt.com/images/2014/12/28/sports/28camelracing1/28camelracing1-articleLarge.jpg

<figcaption class="caption" itemprop="caption description" style="font-size: 0.8125rem; line-height: 1.0625rem; font-family: nyt-cheltenham-sh, georgia, 'times new roman', times, serif; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); width: auto; position: static; right: 0px; bottom: 23px;">
The robots, which are made to look like tiny jockeys, weigh only a few pounds each.

Track Conditions May Vary . . .



http://s3-ec.buzzfed.com/static/2013-11/enhanced/webdr02/17/15/enhanced-buzz-wide-18179-1384721008-10.jpg
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vt
01-03-15, 03:50 PM
http://venturebeat.com/2015/01/02/robots-can-now-learn-to-cook-just-like-you-do-by-watching-youtube-videos/



<header class="entry-header" style="box-sizing: border-box; outline: none medium; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Robots can now learn to cook just like you do: by watching YouTube videoshttp://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Robot-apple-Erik-Charlton-Flickr-780x657.jpgImage Credit: Erik Charlton/Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/erikcharlton/1008995194)


<time class="the-time" title="2015-01-02T16:30:58+00:00" datetime="2015-01-02T16:30:58+00:00" style="box-sizing: border-box; outline: none medium; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">January 2, 2015 4:30 PM</time>
Jordan Novet (http://venturebeat.com/author/jordan-novet/)
526 (http://venturebeat.com/2015/01/02/robots-can-now-learn-to-cook-just-like-you-do-by-watching-youtube-videos/#)

738 (http://venturebeat.com/2015/01/02/robots-can-now-learn-to-cook-just-like-you-do-by-watching-youtube-videos/#)

56 (http://venturebeat.com/2015/01/02/robots-can-now-learn-to-cook-just-like-you-do-by-watching-youtube-videos/#)

83 (http://venturebeat.com/2015/01/02/robots-can-now-learn-to-cook-just-like-you-do-by-watching-youtube-videos/#)




</header>Researchers have come up with a new way to teach robots how to use tools simply by watching videos (http://venturebeat.com/2015/01/02/robots-can-now-learn-to-cook-just-like-you-do-by-watching-youtube-videos/#) on YouTube.
The researchers, from the University of Maryland and the Australian research center NICTA, have just published a paper (http://venturebeat.com/2015/01/02/robots-can-now-learn-to-cook-just-like-you-do-by-watching-youtube-videos/#) on their achievements, which they will present this month at the 29th annual conference of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.
The demonstration is the latest impressive use of a type of artificial intelligence called deep learning. A hot area for acquisitions as of late, deep learning (http://venturebeat.com/2014/07/30/andrew-ng-baidu/) entails training systems called artificial neural networks on lots of information derived from audio, images, and other inputs, and then presenting the systems with new information and receiving inferences about it in response.
The researchers employed convolutional neural networks, which are now in use at Facebook (http://venturebeat.com/2013/12/09/zuckerberg-to-talk-about-facebooks-artificial-intelligence-plans/), among other companies, to identify the way a hand is grasping an item, and to recognize specific objects. The system also predicts the action involving the object and the hand.
To train their model, researchers selected data from 88 YouTube videos of people cooking (http://www.cse.buffalo.edu/~jcorso/r/youcook/). From there, the researchers generated commands that a robot could then execute.
“We believe this preliminary integrated system raises hope towards a fully intelligent robot for manipulation tasks that can automatically enrich its own knowledge resource by “watching” recordings from the World Wide Web,” the researchers concluded.
Read their full paper, “Robot Learning Manipulation Action Plans by ‘Watching’ Unconstrained Videos
from the World Wide Web,” here (http://www.umiacs.umd.edu/~yzyang/paper/YouCookMani_CameraReady.pdf) (PDF).

vt
01-05-15, 09:22 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/01/05/in-10-years-the-job-market-will-look-totally-different-heres-how-to-make-sure-youre-ready/

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/019b3702-92a2-11e4-a1fd-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3O03OIpfY

don
01-12-15, 04:31 PM
Deal Makers Invade CES, the Land of Geeks


David Carr (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/david_carr/index.html) THE MEDIA EQUATION (http://www.nytimes.com/column/the-media-equation)


As I walked past the booth staffed by robots selling robots, the plants that water themselves and the prototype Mercedes with no driver at the International CES trade show last week, it occurred to me that the future of human existence might not require many humans.

At CES, the huge technology event in Las Vegas, reality is reconfigured and purportedly improved by the presence of software and machines and the absence of actual people. I watched one guy put on a pair of virtual reality glasses, then get strapped into a big, complicated contraption that mapped his movements as he trotted along hunting with a futuristic gun. I wanted to tell him: Find some friends, go outside, play paintball, run in three actual dimensions.

Huge crowds gathered around a robot from Toshiba named ChihiraAico, who smiled and gestured as she spoke to the crowd. Her performance, including preprogrammed winks, was equal parts cheesy and charming. As I watched her, I was reminded that the future never seems to quite arrive, and it ages quickly if it does. The spooky presence of the communications android brought to mind Disneyland animatronics (http://www.waltdisney.org/storyboard/early-days-audio-animatronics%C2%A9) from half a century ago and served as a reminder that people still cannot wait to have a robot for a friend.
<figure id="media-100000003440991" class="media photo embedded has-adjacency has-lede-adjacency layout-small-vertical media-100000003440991" data-media-action="modal" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="http://static01.nyt.com/images/2015/01/12/business/carr/carr-master180.jpg" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" aria-label="media" role="group" style="margin: 6px 30px 45px 135px; position: relative; float: left; clear: left; width: 180px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: nyt-cheltenham, georgia, 'times new roman', times, serif; font-size: 16px;">http://static01.nyt.com/images/2015/01/12/business/carr/carr-master180.jpg

<figcaption class="caption" itemprop="caption description" style="font-size: 0.8125rem; line-height: 1.0625rem; font-family: nyt-cheltenham-sh, georgia, 'times new roman', times, serif; color: rgb(102, 102, 102);">Toshiba’s Chihira Aico robot.CreditRobyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images </figcaption></figure>Not to say that the spectacle wasn’t enjoyable. You can’t spend the day looking at butterfly cages full of tiny drones bathed in blue high-definition lights (from the vast television sets that are everywhere) and not be taken by the gee-whiz of it all. Sure, a lot of the stuff will never find traction any place besides the convention hall, but the concentration of ingenuity, design and wonder is remarkable to behold.

Then again, some, if not a good portion of the almost 200,000 people at the trade show never made it to the 2.2 million square feet of exhibit space. What used to be a gathering of geeks hugging themselves over new technology has become, along with the Cannes Lions festival in June, a kind of Woodstock for marketers, brands, agencies and media companies. Google, Facebook and Twitter were there, but so were Procter & Gamble, Toyota and Wells Fargo.

All day and every day last week, the people who run huge companies were having top-to-top meetings in various hotel suites to set up deals for the next year, while their underlings prowled the floor looking for the next big thing. In the evening, those hordes took over the mega-clubs of Vegas to toast common interests and good fortune. It’s a parallel universe that has little to do with the technology being showcased.

CES now has a gravitational pull beyond gadgets — everyone goes because, well, everyone goes. On Tuesday night, MediaLink, a media consulting company, hosted what it called a dinner but was really a full-on poolside bacchanal for the kings and queens of Silicon Valley and all the streets — Madison, Vine, Wall — frolicking together in the Foxtail nightclub at the chic, new SLS hotel. It was a target-rich environment for anyone who wanted to gain access to capital, technology, know-how or power.

Michael Kassan founded MediaLink, and many people blame him for blowing the whistle that turned CES from a nerd curio into a bonanza for marketers, agencies and media organizations.

“Originally, it was about bringing together the people who wear the pocket squares with the people who wear the pocket protectors,” he said by phone on Friday, the day CES ended. “There’s been a mash-up between chief technology officers and chief marketing officers as what they do becomes more interrelated. Now it has taken off, and it’s the place where Google talks with Unilever and Facebook gets together with Kraft.”

The ancient trope of the convention-goer in bad ties making bad decisions far from home has been replaced by something much sexier. Instead of golf and cigars, it was bottle service and exclusive seating at a Snoop Dogg concert. Top executives from technology and consumer brands met at a kind of convention over the convention, far from the floor and whatever gewgaw happened to be wowing the attendees.

At Cannes Lion, which takes place in the south of France, a similar explosion in marketing and advertising has emerged. The event was conceived as a site for creative talent in the advertising world to share ideas, but then big brands wanted insights into the creative process, and the account executives and media sellers soon followed.

CES gives people who market products a look at the context those products will soon fall into. People complain, trash-talking Vegas or the unwashed nerds who make it all possible, but they show up in bigger and bigger numbers every year.

“At CES, we end up seeing people that we also see in New York, and it can be sort of silly,” said Matt Seiler, global chief executive of IPG Mediabrands. “But we travel in packs, and because everyone is in the same place at the same time, good things tend to happen.”

Technology has come to so dominate culture that it can run over many things in its path. Car companies aren’t waiting for the auto shows to unveil products, because cars are now rolling data centers. Mark Fields, the chief executive of Ford Motor, gave a keynote address at CES this year, and Mercedes-Benz unveiled a prototype of a self-driving car called the F015 that looked more like a pod for consuming media than a road vehicle.

In the same way, Dish Network didn’t wait for the television critic’s convention to announce Sling, its low-cost, over-the-web package of cable channels that just happens to include ESPN — it did so at CES last Monday. (In case people didn’t grasp how big a deal it was, Dish’s president and chief executive, Joseph Clayton, came in banging a huge drum as he led a marching band accompanied by a bunch of people in kangaroo costumes.)

Watching it all, I had a feeling that consumers will be traveling around in big bubbles of data that will, if all goes as planned, make the things around them smarter and their own lives better, with much of the technology driving it barely visible.

Rather than emphasizing an individual product, this year reflected the growth of cheaper and smarter sensors, signal-gatherers that can be hacked together to create an interconnected life. Imagine your smart car pulling up to your smart house where your smartwatch will download your health data to a smart kitchen so it knows what you should have for dinner, while your smart television tunes in to programs it knows you want to see.

If you are in the business of marketing products that are going to be in that refrigerator or on those screens, you’d want to be in Las Vegas to see what is coming next. And while you are at it, you’d be more than happy to cut a deal with the abundant digital and traditional publishers who were there vying for attention and money. Think about it: What better place to explore the world of virtual reality than Vegas, a place where both Venice and New York are rendered as casinos?

The crush of all those people looking for a peek over the hill makes getting around a bit of a challenge. I was staying at the Mandalay Bay, at the opposite end of the strip from the convention center. The cab line was hopeless and I was relieved when a shuttle to the show pulled up. And just in case I’d forgotten where I was, the van was equipped with mood lighting and a stripper pole right in the middle. For all I know, the pole was embedded with a number of sensors, and at CES sometime soon, there will be a hologram dancing around it.

don
03-23-15, 10:33 AM
The Glass Cage: Automation and Us (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0393247570?ie=UTF8&tag=thneyoreofbo-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0393247570)

by Nicholas Carr
Norton, 276 pp., $26.95
<header style="margin: 0px 20px 0px 0px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; font-size: 17px; line-height: 23.799999237060547px;">Sue Halpern (http://www.nybooks.com/contributors/sue-m-halpern/)

<time>APRIL 2, 2015 ISSUE (http://www.nybooks.com/issues/2015/apr/02/)</time>
</header><section class="article_body" style="clear: both; margin: 0px 20px 0px 0px; padding-top: 20px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; font-size: 17px; line-height: 23.799999237060547px;"><section class="reviewed_articles" style="clear: both; width: 599px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-color: rgb(204, 204, 204); padding: 20px 0px; margin: 0px 0px 20px; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.3em;"><article style="padding: 0px 0px 15px;">NYRB</article></section></section>http://www.nybooks.com/media/photo/2015/03/11/halpern_1-040215_jpg_250x1296_q85.jpg (http://www.nybooks.com/media/photo/2015/03/11/halpern_1-040215.jpg)<figcaption style="font-style: italic; line-height: 1.3em; padding: 5px 0px 0px; text-align: center; width: 250px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;"><small style="font-size: 10px; display: block; padding: 0px 0px 5px; float: right; clear: both;">CCI/Art Archive/Art Resource</small>
Artwork for the cover of a 1959 issue of the French science fiction magazine Galaxie</figcaption>

In September 2013, about a year before Nicholas Carr published The Glass Cage: Automation and Us, his chastening meditation on the human future, a pair of Oxford researchers issued a report predicting that nearly half of all jobs in the United States could be lost to machines within the next twenty years. The researchers, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, looked at seven hundred kinds of work and found that of those occupations, among the most susceptible to automation were loan officers, receptionists, paralegals, store clerks, taxi drivers, and security guards. Even computer programmers, the people writing the algorithms that are taking on these tasks, will not be immune. By Frey and Osborne’s calculations, there is about a 50 percent chance that programming, too, will be outsourced to machines within the next two decades.

In fact, this is already happening, in part because programmers increasingly rely on “self-correcting” code—that is, code that debugs and rewrites itself* (http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/apr/02/how-robots-algorithms-are-taking-over/#fn-*)—and in part because they are creating machines that are able to learn on the job. While these machines cannot think, per se, they can process phenomenal amounts of data with ever-increasing speed and use what they have learned to perform such functions as medical diagnosis, navigation, and translation, among many others. Add to these self-repairing robots that are able to negotiate hostile environments like radioactive power plants and collapsed mines and then fix themselves without human intercession when the need arises. The most recent iteration of these robots has been designed by the robots themselves, suggesting that in the future even roboticists may find themselves out of work.

The term for what happens when human workers are replaced by machines was coined by John Maynard Keynes in 1930 in the essay “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren.” He called it “technological unemployment.” At the time, Keynes considered technical unemployment a transitory condition, “a temporary phase of maladjustment” brought on by “our discovery of means of economizing the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour.” In the United States, for example, the mechanization of the railways around the time Keynes was writing his essay put nearly half a million people out of work. Similarly, rotary phones were making switchboard operators obsolete, while mechanical harvesters, plows, and combines were replacing traditional farmworkers, just as the first steam-engine tractors had replaced horses and oxen less than a century before. Machine efficiency was becoming so great that President Roosevelt, in 1935, told the nation that the economy might never be able to reabsorb all the workers who were being displaced. The more sanguine New York Times editorial board then accused the president of falling prey to the “calamity prophets.”

In retrospect, it certainly looked as if he had. Unemployment, which was at nearly 24 percent in 1932, dropped to less than 5 percent a decade later. This was a pattern that would reassert itself throughout the twentieth century: the economy would tank, automation would be identified as one of the main culprits, commentators would suggest that jobs were not coming back, and then the economy would rebound and with it employment, and all that nervous chatter about machines taking over would fade away.

When the economy faltered in 1958, and then again in 1961, for instance, what was being called the “automation problem” was taken up by Congress, which passed the Manpower Development and Training Act. In his State of the Union Address of 1962, President Kennedy explained that this law was meant “to stop the waste of able- bodied men and women who want to work, but whose only skill has been replaced by a machine, moved with a mill, or shut down with a mine.” Two years later, President Johnson convened a National Commission on Technology, Automation, and Economic Progress to assess the economic effects of automation and technological change. But then a funny thing happened. By the time the commission issued its report in 1966, the economy was approaching full employment. Concern about machines supplanting workers abated. The commission was disbanded.

That fear, though, was dormant, not gone. A Time magazine cover from 1980 titled “The Robot Revolution” shows a tentacled automaton strangling human workers. An essay three years later by an <acronym>MIT</acronym> economist named Harley Shaiken begins:

As more and more attention is focused on economic recovery, for 11 million people the grim reality is continued unemployment. Against this backdrop the central issue raised by rampant and pervasive technological change is not simply how many people may be displaced in the coming decade but how many who are currently unemployed will never return to the job.


Unemployment, which was approaching 10 percent at the time, then fell by half at decade’s end, and once more the automation problem receded.

Yet there it was again, on the heels of the economic collapse of 2008. An investigation by the Associated Press in 2013 put it this way:

Five years after the start of the Great Recession, the toll is terrifyingly clear: Millions of middle- class jobs have been lost in developed countries the world over.



And the situation is even worse than it appears.



Most of the jobs will never return, and millions more are likely to vanish as well, say experts who study the labor market….



They’re being obliterated by technology.



Year after year, the software that runs computers and an array of other machines and devices becomes more sophisticated and powerful and capable of doing more efficiently tasks that humans have always done. For decades, science fiction warned of a future when we would be architects of our own obsolescence, replaced by our machines; an Associated Press analysis finds that the future has arrived.


Here is what that future—which is to say now—looks like: banking, logistics, surgery, and medical recordkeeping are just a few of the occupations that have already been given over to machines. Manufacturing, which has long been hospitable to mechanization and automation, is becoming more so as the cost of industrial robots drops, especially in relation to the cost of human labor. According to a new study by the Boston Consulting Group, currently the expectation is that machines, which now account for 10 percent of all manufacturing tasks, are likely to perform about 25 percent of them by 2025. (To understand the economics of this transition, one need only consider the American automotive industry, where a human spot welder costs about $25 an hour and a robotic one costs $8. The robot is faster and more accurate, too.) The Boston group expects most of the growth in automation to be concentrated in transportation equipment, computer and electronic products, electrical equipment, and machinery.

Meanwhile, algorithms are writing most corporate reports, analyzing intelligence data for the <acronym>NSA</acronym> and <acronym>CIA</acronym>, reading mammograms, grading tests, and sniffing out plagiarism. Computers fly planes—Nicholas Carr points out that the average airline pilot is now at the helm of an airplane for about three minutes per flight—and they compose music and pick which pop songs should be recorded based on which chord progressions and riffs were hits in the past. Computers pursue drug development—a robot in the UK named Eve may have just found a new compound to treat malaria—and fill pharmacy vials.

Xerox uses computers—not people—to select which applicants to hire for its call centers. The retail giant Amazon “employs” 15,000 warehouse robots to pull items off the shelf and pack boxes. The self-driving car is being road-tested. A number of hotels are staffed by robotic desk clerks and cleaned by robotic chambermaids. Airports are instituting robotic valet parking. Cynthia Breazeal, the director of <acronym>MIT</acronym>’s personal robots group, raised $1 million in six days on the crowd-funding site Indiegogo, and then $25 million in venture capital funding, to bring Jibo, “the world’s first social robot,” to market.

What is a social robot? In the words of John Markoff of The New York Times, “it’s a robot with a little humanity.” It will tell your child bedtime stories, order takeout when you don’t feel like cooking, know you prefer Coke over Pepsi, and snap photos of important life events so you don’t have to step out of the picture. At the other end of the spectrum, machine guns, which automated killing in the nineteenth century, are being supplanted by Lethal Autonomous Robots (<acronym>LAR</acronym>s) that can operate without human intervention. (By contrast, drones, which fly without an onboard pilot, still require a person at the controls.) All this—and unemployment is now below 6 percent.

Gross unemployment statistics, of course, can be deceptive. They don’t take into account people who have given up looking for work, or people who are underemployed, or those who have had to take pay cuts after losing higher-paying jobs. And they don’t reflect where the jobs are, or what sectors they represent, and which age cohorts are finding employment and which are not. And so while the pattern looks familiar, the worry is that this time around, machines really will undermine the labor force. As former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers wrote in The Wall Street Journal last July:

The economic challenge of the future will not be producing enough. It will be providing enough good jobs…. Today…there are more sectors losing jobs than creating jobs. And the general-purpose aspect of software technology means that even the industries and jobs that it creates are not forever.


To be clear, there are physical robots like Jibo and the machines that assemble our cars, and there are virtual robots, which are the algorithms that undergird the computers that perform countless daily tasks, from driving those cars, to Google searches, to online banking. Both are avatars of automation, and both are altering the nature of work, taking on not only repetitive physical jobs, but intellectual and heretofore exclusively human ones as well. And while both are defining features of what has been called “the second machine age,” what really distinguishes this moment is the speed at which technology is changing and changing society with it. If the “calamity prophets” are finally right, and this time the machines really will win out, this is why. It’s not just that computers seem to be infiltrating every aspect of our lives, it’s that they haveinfiltrated them and are infiltrating them with breathless rapidity. It’s not just that life seems to have sped up, it’s that it has. And that speed, and that infiltration, appear to have a life of their own.

Just as computer hardware follows Moore’s Law, which says that computing power doubles every eighteen months, so too does computer capacity and functionality. Consider, for instance, the process of legal discovery. As Carr describes it,

computers can [now] parse thousands of pages of digitized documents in seconds. Using e-discovery software with language-analysis algorithms, the machines not only spot relevant words and phrases but also discern chains of events, relationships among people, and even personal emotions and motivations. A single computer can take over the work of dozens of well-paid professionals.

Or take the autonomous automobile. It can sense all the vehicles around it, respond to traffic controls and sudden movements, apply the brakes as needed, know when the tires need air, signal a turn, and never get a speeding ticket. Volvo predicts that by 2020 its vehicles will be “crash-free,” but even now there are cars that can park themselves with great precision.

The goal of automating automobile parking, and of automating driving itself, is no different than the goal of automating a factory, or pharmaceutical discovery, or surgery: it’s to rationalize the process, making it more efficient, productive, and cost-effective. What this means is that automation is always going to be more convenient than what came before it—for someone. And while it’s often pitched as being most convenient for the end user—the patient on the operating table, say, or the Amazon shopper, or the Google searcher, in fact the rewards of convenience flow most directly to those who own the automated system (Jeff Bezos, for example, not the Amazon Prime member).

Since replacing human labor with machine labor is not simply the collateral damage of automation but, rather, the point of it, whenever the workforce is subject to automation, technological unemployment, whether short- or long-lived, must follow. The <acronym>MIT</acronym>economists Eric Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, who are champions of automation, state this unambiguously when they write:

Even the most beneficial developments have unpleasant consequences that must be managed…. Technological progress is going to leave behind some people, perhaps even a lot of people, as it races ahead.1 (http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/apr/02/how-robots-algorithms-are-taking-over/#fn-1)


Flip this statement around, and what Brynjolfsson and McAfee are also saying is that while technological progress is going to force many people to submit to tightly monitored control of their movements, with their productivity clearly measured, that progress is also going to benefit perhaps just a few as it races ahead. And that, it appears, is what is happening. (Of the fifteen wealthiest Americans, six own digital technology companies, the oldest of which, Microsoft, has been in existence only since 1975. Six others are members of a single family, the Waltons, whose vast retail empire, with its notoriously low wages, has meant that people are much cheaper and more expendable than warehouse robots. Still, Walmart has benefited from an automated point-of-sale system that enables its owners to know precisely what is selling where and when, which in turn allows them to avoid stocking slow-moving items and to tie up less money than the competitors in inventory.)

As Paul Krugman wrote a couple of years ago in The New York Times:


Smart machines may make higher <acronym>GDP</acronym> possible, but they will also reduce the demand for people—including smart people. So we could be looking at a society that grows ever richer, but in which all the gains in wealth accrue to whoever owns the robots.


In the United States, real wages have been stagnant for the past four decades, while corporate profits have soared. As of last year, 16 percent of men between eighteen and fifty-four and 30 percent of women in the same age group were not working, and more than a third of those who were unemployed attributed their joblessness to technology. As The Economist reported in early 2014:

Recent research suggests that…substituting capital for labor through automation is increasingly attractive; as a result owners of capital have captured ever more of the world’s income since the 1980s, while the share going to labor has fallen.


There is a certain school of thought, championed primarily by those such as Google’s Larry Page, who stand to make a lot of money from the ongoing digitization and automation of just about everything, that the elimination of jobs concurrent with a rise in productivity will lead to a leisure class freed from work. Leaving aside questions about how these lucky folks will house and feed themselves, the belief that most people would like nothing more than to be able to spend all day in their pajamas watching <acronym>TV</acronym>—which turns out to be what many “nonemployed” men do—sorely misconstrues the value of work, even work that might appear to an outsider to be less than fulfilling. Stated simply: work confers identity. When Dublin City University professor Michael Doherty surveyed Irish workers, including those who stocked grocery shelves and drove city buses, to find out if work continues to be “a significant locus of personal identity,” even at a time when employment itself is less secure, he concluded that “the findings of this research can be summed up in the succinct phrase: ‘work matters.’”2 (http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/apr/02/how-robots-algorithms-are-taking-over/#fn-2)

How much it matters may not be quantifiable, but in an essay in The New York Times, Dean Baker, the codirector of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, noted that there was

a 50 to 100 percent increase in death rates for older male workers in the years immediately following a job loss, if they previously had been consistently employed.


One reason was suggested in a study by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1990), who found, Carr reports, that “people were happier, felt more fulfilled by what they were doing, while they were at work than during their leisure hours.”

Even where automation does not eliminate jobs, it often changes the nature of work. Carr makes a convincing case for the ways in which automation dulls the brain, removing the need to pay attention or master complicated routines or think creatively and react quickly. Those airline pilots who now are at the controls for less than three minutes find themselves spending most of their flight time staring at computer screens while automated systems do the actual flying. As a consequence, their overreliance on automation, and on a tendency to trust computer data even in the face of contradictory physical evidence, can be dangerous. Carr cites a study by Matthew Ebbatson, a human factors researcher, that

found a direct correlation between a pilot’s aptitude at the controls and the amount of time the pilot had spent flying without the aid of automation…. The analysis indicated that “manual flying skills decay quite rapidly towards the fringes of ‘tolerable’ performance without relatively frequent practice.”


Similarly, an <acronym>FAA</acronym> report on cockpit automation released in 2013 found that over half of all airplane accidents were the result of the mental autopilot brought on by actual autopilot.

If aviation is a less convincing case, since the overall result of automation has been to make flying safer, consider a more mundane and ubiquitous activity, Internet searches using Google. According to Carr, relying on the Internet for facts and figures is making us mindless sloths. He points to a study in Science that demonstrates that the wealth of information readily available on the Internet disinclines users from remembering what they’ve found out. He also cites an interview with Amit Singhal, Google’s lead search engineer, who states that “the more accurate the machine gets [at predicting search terms], the lazier the questions become.”

A corollary to all this intellectual laziness and dullness is what Carr calls “deskilling”—the loss of abilities and proficiencies as more and more authority is handed over to machines. Doctors who cede authority to machines to read X-rays and make diagnoses, architects who rely increasingly on computer-assisted design (<acronym>CAD</acronym>) programs, marketers who place ads based on algorithms, traders who no longer trade—all suffer a diminution of the expertise that comes with experience, or they never gain that experience in the first place. As Carr sees it:

As more skills are built into the machine, it assumes more control over the work, and the worker’s opportunity to engage in and develop deeper talents, such as those involved in interpretation and judgment, dwindles. When automation reaches its highest level, when it takes command of the job, the worker, skillwise, has nowhere to go but down.


Conversely, machines have nowhere to go but up. In Carr’s estimation, “as we grow more reliant on applications and algorithms, we become less capable of acting without their aid…. That makes the software more indispensable still. Automation breeds automation.”

But since automation also produces quicker drug development, safer highways, more accurate medical diagnoses, cheaper material goods, and greater energy efficiency, to name just a few of its obvious benefits, there have been few cautionary voices like Nicholas Carr’s urging us to take stock, especially, of the effects of automation on our very humanness—what makes us who we are as individuals—and on our humanity—what makes us who we are in aggregate. Yet shortly after The Glass Cage was published, a group of more than one hundred Silicon Valley luminaries, led by Tesla’s Elon Musk, and scientists, including the theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, issued a call to conscience for those working on automation’s holy grail, artificial intelligence, lest they, in Musk’s words, “summon the demon.” (In Hawking’s estimation, <acronym>AI</acronym> could spell the end of the human race as machines evolve faster than people and overtake us.) Their letter is worth quoting at length, because it demonstrates both the hubris of those who are programming our future and the possibility that without some kind of oversight, the golem, not God, might emerge from their machines:

[Artificial intelligence] has yielded remarkable successes in various component tasks such as speech recognition, image classification, autonomous vehicles, machine translation, legged locomotion, and question-answering systems.



As capabilities in these areas and others cross the threshold from laboratory research to economically valuable technologies, a virtuous cycle takes hold whereby even small improvements in performance are worth large sums of money, prompting greater investments in research….



The potential benefits are huge, since everything that civilization has to offer is a product of human intelligence; we cannot predict what we might achieve when this intelligence is magnified by the tools <acronym>AI</acronym> may provide, but the eradication of disease and poverty are not unfathomable. Because of the great potential of <acronym>AI</acronym>, it is important to research how to reap its benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls.



The progress in <acronym>AI</acronym> research makes it timely to focus research not only on making <acronym>AI</acronym> more capable, but also on maximizing the societal benefit…. [Until now the field of <acronym>AI</acronym>] has focused largely on techniques that are neutral with respect to purpose. We recommend expanded research aimed at ensuring that increasingly capable <acronym>AI</acronym> systems are robust and beneficial: our <acronym>AI</acronym> systems must do what we want them to do.


Just who is this “we” who must ensure that robots, algorithms, and intelligent machines act in the public interest? It is not, as Nicholas Carr suggests it should be, the public. Rather, according to the authors of the research plan that accompanies the letter signed by Musk, Hawking, and the others, making artificial intelligence “robust and beneficial,” like making artificial intelligence itself, is an engineering problem, to be solved by engineers. To be fair, no one but those designing these systems is in a position to build in measures of control and security, but what those measures are, and what they aim to accomplish, is something else again. Indeed, their research plan, for example, looks to “maximize the economic benefits of artificial intelligence while mitigating adverse effects, which could include increased inequality and unemployment.”

The priorities are clear: money first, people second. Or consider this semantic dodge: “If, as some organizations have suggested, autonomous weapons should be banned, is it possible to develop a precise definition of autonomy for this purpose…?” Moreover, the authors acknowledge that “aligning the values of powerful <acronym>AI</acronym> systems with our own values and preferences [may be] difficult,” though this might be solved by building “systems that can learn or acquire values at run-time.” However well-meaning, they fail to say what values, or whose, or to recognize that most values are not universal but, rather, culturally and socially constructed, subjective, and inherently biased.

We live in a technophilic age. We love our digital devices and all that they can do for us. We celebrate our Internet billionaires: they show us the way and deliver us to our destiny. We have President Obama, who established the National Robotics Initiative to develop the “next generation of robotics, to advance the capability and usability of such systems and artifacts, and to encourage existing and new communities to focus on innovative application areas.” Even so, it is naive to believe that government is competent, let alone in a position, to control the development and deployment of robots, self-generating algorithms, and artificial intelligence. Government has too many constituent parts that have their own, sometimes competing, visions of the technological future. Business, of course, is self-interested and resists regulation. We, the people, are on our own here—though if the <acronym>AI</acronym> developers have their way, not for long.



*Carr discusses integrated development environments (IDEs) which programmers use to check their code, and quotes Vivek Haldar, a veteran Google developer: “‘The behavior all these tools encourage is not ‘think deeply about your code and write it carefully,’ but ‘just write a crappy first draft of your code, and then the tools will tell you not just what’s wrong with it, but also how to make it better.’” ↩ (http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/apr/02/how-robots-algorithms-are-taking-over/#fnr-*)
1The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies (Norton, 2014), pp. 10–11. ↩ (http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/apr/02/how-robots-algorithms-are-taking-over/#fnr-1)
2Michael Doherty, “When the Working Day Is Through: The End of Work As Identity?” Work, Employment and Society, Vol. 23, No. 1 (March 2009). ↩ (http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/apr/02/how-robots-algorithms-are-taking-over/#fnr-2)

don
04-05-15, 11:31 AM
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/didS3w498mU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe>



Caterpillar's Mining Automation Journey


Mining automation has long been a dream for those in the industry. Caterpillar is making it happen in a big way - and continuing it's journey to developing a fully autonomous mine site.

don
04-12-15, 07:46 PM
The perfect 21st-century female looks like a million bucks though costs a great deal more. In “Ex Machina,” Alex Garland’s slyly spooky futuristic shocker about old and new desires, the female in question is a robot called Ava (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/05/movies/ex-machina-features-a-new-robot-for-the-screen.html), a name suggestive of both Adam and Eve. Ava has a serene humanoid face and the expressive hands and feet of a dancer, but also the transparent figure of a visible woman (http://historyexplorer.si.edu/resource/?lp=artifacts&key=1091) anatomy model. Beautiful and smart, sleek and stacked, Ava is at once decidedly unsettling and safely under lock and key, which makes her an ideal posthuman female.

“Ex Machina” is itself a smart, sleek movie about men and the machines they make, but it’s also about men and the women they dream up. That makes it a creation story, except instead of God repurposing a rib, the story here involves a Supreme Being who has built an A.I., using a fortune he’s made from a search engine called Blue Book. Mr. Garland, who wrote and directed, isn’t afraid of throwing around big names or heavy ideas, and he has pointedly named the search engine after Ludwig Wittgenstein’s 1930s “Blue Book (http://digital.library.pitt.edu/u/ulsmanuscripts/pdf/31735061817932.pdf).” The trouble with thinking machines, Wittgenstein writes, isn’t that we don’t know yet if they can do the job, but “that the sentence ‘a machine thinks (perceives, wishes)’ seems somehow nonsensical.” And it seems so because such a machine is not (yet) known to us.

“Ex Machina” skips right over that little problem and, like all good science fiction, asserts that the apparently implausible (thinking machines) is absolutely here and now. It makes the imaginative leap, as does Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson (http://www.nytimes.com/movies/person/1672912/Domhnall-Gleeson?inline=nyt-per)), a software grunt who’s won a visit with his employer, the reclusive Blue Book mogul, Nathan (a terrific Oscar Isaac). Shortly after the movie opens, Caleb is being helicoptered to Nathan’s remote compound, a modernist retreat that’s part Zen palace, part patrician man cave, with verdant views, smart-house technology and one curiously mute female employee, a zomboid beauty named Kyoko (Sonoya Mizuno). This isn’t a house, Nathan explains while giving a tour; it’s a research facility in which he’s been working on an artificial intelligence project.

That would be Ava, a conceptual knockout played by the sensational young actress Alicia Vikander. Intricately rendered from her peekaboo belly to the mesh skin that covers much of her visibly artificial parts, Ava looks at once familiar and new, distinctly human and thoroughly machined, evoking by turns the robot in “Metropolis” and a parade of puppet and android vixens. With computer-generated imagery obscuring much of her body, Ms. Vikander builds her controlled performance incrementally, at times geometrically, with angled gestures, head tilts and precision steps. As Ava begins to expresses herself more, making eyes at the exit, Ms. Vikander, who studied ballet, may also remind you of that dancing doll Coppélia, if by way of a “Blade Runner” replicant.

Wowed by Nathan’s attentions or maybe by Ava’s proportions — and presumably by the whole groovy setup that makes the house seem like a docked spaceship — Caleb signs onto Nathan’s endeavors. These at first mostly involve the dudes’ hanging out and Caleb’s chatting with Ava through the thick glass partition that, inexplicably, separates her from the rest of the spread. To explain Caleb’s role, Nathan invokes the Turing test (http://www.turing.org.uk/scrapbook/test.html)(the imitation game named for its creator, Alan Turing), which hinges on the idea that if a person doesn’t know that he or she is talking to a computer, it makes sense to call the computer intelligent. Except that Caleb, as he points out, knows that he’s talking to a machine. Airily dismissing that nit, Nathan narrows his eyes and asks how Ava makes Caleb feel.

With that appeal to feeling, the movie is off and running. The lab starts to heat up, as does Caleb, who, even as he intellectually spars with Nathan (they’re not remotely in the same weight class), becomes emotionally invested in Ava, friendly chat by chat, shy smile by smile. If, as Wittgenstein also writes, “the human body is the best picture of the human soul” then Caleb’s body when he’s with Ava is an entire Instagram feed of male surrender, from his widening eyes to slackening mouth. Physiognomy is often destiny for actors, and a close-up of Mr. Gleeson’s slender, bobbing throat — stretched across the screen as if offering itself to a knife — nicely suggests why he landed this role.

Mr. Garland, a novelist turned screenwriter making his directing debut, sets an eerily, cleverly unsettled stage. The prowling camerawork establishes a sense of absolute control that fits with this strange fishbowl world and is accentuated by copious production design details, including the glass walls and ubiquitous security cameras. He plays with visual contrasts — Mr. Isaac’s compact, muscled body and Mr. Gleeson’s long, drooping one, picture windows that look out onto an expansively lush landscape and windowless rooms that register as upmarket prison cells — that dovetail with the narrative’s multiple, amusingly deployed dualities: confinement and liberation, agency and submission, mind and body. It sounds more serious than it plays because while Mr. Garland wants to tease your brain, he’s an entertainer, and in time ditches science and philosophy for romance and action.

Some of what follows conforms to template, though there’s more here than slick genre moves, including Mr. Isaac and Ms. Vikander, who suggest complexities not on the page. While Nathan’s charisma throws the triangulated drama off balance, “Ex Machina” belongs to Ava, whose depths of meaning enrich the movie and then engulf it. Ava has antecedents in “Pygmalion,” “Metropolis” and elsewhere. Yet even as she transcends the human-machine divide, she defies categorization because of the radical autonomy she shares with the weird sisters inhabited by Scarlett Johansson in “Her,” “Under the Skin” and “Lucy,” and Tatiana Maslany’s clones in the TV show “Orphan Black.” These are the new heroines: totally hot, bracingly cold, powerfully sovereign — and posthuman.


http://static01.nyt.com/images/2015/04/10/arts/10EXMACHINAJUMP1/10EXMACHINAJUMP1-videoSixteenByNine540.jpg

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/10/movies/review-in-ex-machina-a-mogul-fashions-the-droid-of-his-dreams.html?ref=movies&_r=0



<figure class="promo media video embedded has-adjacency has-lede-adjacency layout-large-horizontal " data-videoid="100000003608247" data-media-action="modal" data-share-options-url="" data-autoplay="false" data-embedded="false" aria-label="media" role="group" style="margin: 45px 0px 45px 135px; position: relative; width: 540px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: nyt-cheltenham, georgia, 'times new roman', times, serif; font-size: 16px;"></figure>

lektrode
04-12-15, 08:40 PM
ditto del'd

lektrode
04-12-15, 08:40 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/10/movies/review-in-ex-machina-a-mogul-fashions-the-droid-of-his-dreams.html?ref=movies&_r=0
<figure class="promo media video embedded has-adjacency has-lede-adjacency layout-large-horizontal " data-videoid="100000003608247" data-media-action="modal" data-share-options-url="" data-autoplay="false" data-embedded="false" aria-label="media" role="group" style="margin: 45px 0px 45px 135px; position: relative; width: 540px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: nyt-cheltenham, georgia, 'times new roman', times, serif; font-size: 16px;"></figure>

altho it would appear that 'she's hotter' in the movie than up close n personal ?

You Need to Get to Know Ex Machina’s Alicia Vikander (http://alicia-vikander.com/2015/04/you-need-to-get-to-know-ex-machinas-alicia-vikander/)

and hows this for a... uhhh... 'timely' title/storyline?

Tulip Fever (2015) Filming / Release TBA

Alicia as Sophia.
A 17th century romance in which an artist falls for a married young woman while he's commissioned to paint her portrait. The two invest in the risky tulip market in hopes to build a future together.

The in-demand actress spoke with Indiewire (http://www.indiewire.com/article/alicia-vikander-on-playing-a-robot-in-ex-machina-20150410) about her breakthrough performance in Alex Garland's acclaimed sci-fi.

vt
04-14-15, 12:43 PM
Will robots reduce FIRE? Probably not, but entry level positions will be in danger.

http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2015/04/14/pint-size-robot-helps-customers-at-japanese-bank/

santafe2
04-16-15, 12:18 AM
In September 2013, about a year before Nicholas Carr published The Glass Cage: Automation and Us, his chastening meditation on the human future, a pair of Oxford researchers issued a report predicting that nearly half of all jobs in the United States could be lost to machines within the next twenty years.

Although I do subscribe to the general thesis that over time, humanity as we know it is screwed, the US is well positioned to attract the best survivors and those who will thrive in the 21st Century. The US political and social system is designed to destroy the weak and promote the strong. This is not the country of kumbaya. If half of all jobs are destroyed in the US over the next 20 years, more jobs will be created from the bones of the unemployed. It's not pretty but that's how the US moves forward.

don
04-18-15, 10:15 AM
grin & bear it, the translation is Googles . . . .

The next 508 Peugeot lead only in traffic ...

by Emilien Ercolani, <abbr class="updated" title="2015-04-16T11: 41: 00Z">16 April 2015 11:41</abbr>

The French manufacturer does not intend to miss the train of the smart car: 2018 announces a future model of its 508 with "driving aids in bottling situation.

"This is a first step, in a way: Imagine a car that automatically adapts to a bottling situation ahead a little when necessary and "accordion made" for you. All drivers who have experienced this long minutes have dreamed, and Peugeot will do in 2018.

Indeed, it is the CEO of PSA Peugeot Citroën, Carlos Tavares, who made the announcement Wednesday at a hearing at the National Assembly: the next big sedan, model 508, is equipped with technology automated driving.

"This will be a first for our group" is it glad. And it will be especially a first step towards the era of cars more intelligent. After the cars are parked all alone So here come the cars that lead only in certain situations, before the cars that should ultimately lead by themselves for short!

Peugeot has not yet fully detailed his concept: it is not known if the driver will completely do something else for a traffic jam or if it will still "attend" the car in one way or another. Note that other manufacturers are working on these kinds of concepts, including the BMW-Mercedes-Audi Germans.

santafe2
04-23-15, 01:46 AM
It's an opinion piece from the NYT and breaks down along the usual lines at the end but it's worth reading.



CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — THE machine hums along, quietly scanning the slides, generating Pap smear diagnostics, just the way a college-educated, well-compensated lab technician might.

A robot with emotion-detection software interviews visitors to the United States at the border (http://www.wired.com/2013/01/ff-lie-detector/). In field tests, this eerily named “embodied avatar kiosk” does much better than humans in catching those with invalid documentation. Emotional-processing software (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/01/19/know-feel) has gotten so good that ad companies are looking into “mood-targeted” advertising, and the government of Dubai wants to use it to scan all its closed-circuit TV feeds.

Yes, the machines are getting smarter, and they’re coming for more and more jobs. Not just low-wage jobs, either.

Today, machines can process regular spoken language and not only recognize human faces, but also read their expressions. They can classify personality types, and have started being able to carry out conversations with appropriate emotional tenor.

Machines are getting better than humans at figuring out who to hire, who’s in a mood to pay a little more for that sweater, and who needs a coupon to nudge them toward a sale. In applications around the world, software is being used to predict whether people are lying, how they feel and whom they’ll vote for.

To crack these cognitive and emotional puzzles, computers needed not only sophisticated, efficient algorithms, but also vast amounts of human-generated data, which can now be easily harvested from our digitized world. The results are dazzling. Most of what we think of as expertise, knowledge and intuition is being deconstructed and recreated as an algorithmic competency, fueled by big data.

But computers do not just replace humans in the workplace. They shift the balance of power even more in favor of employers. Our normal response to technological innovation that threatens jobs is to encourage workers to acquire more skills, or to trust that the nuances of the human mind or human attention will always be superior in crucial ways. But when machines of this capacity enter the equation, employers have even more leverage, and our standard response is not sufficient for the looming crisis.

Machines aren’t used because they perform some tasks that much better than humans, but because, in many cases, they do a “good enough” job while also being cheaper, more predictable and easier to control than quirky, pesky humans. Technology in the workplace is as much about power and control as it is about productivity and efficiency.

This used to be spoken about more openly. An ad in 1967 for an automated accounting system urged companies to replace humans with automated systems that “can’t quit, forget or get pregnant.” Featuring a visibly pregnant, smiling woman leaving the office with baby shower gifts, the ads, which were published in leading business magazines, warned of employees who “know too much for your own good” — “your good” meaning that of the employer. Why be dependent on humans? “When Alice leaves, will she take your billing system with her?” the ad pointedly asked, emphasizing that this couldn’t be fixed by simply replacing “Alice” with another person.

The solution? Replace humans with machines. To pregnancy as a “danger” to the workplace, the company could have added “get sick, ask for higher wages, have a bad day, aging parent, sick child or a cold.” In other words, be human.
I recently had a conversation with a call center worker from the Philippines. While trying to solve my minor problem, he needed to get a code from a supervisor. The code didn’t work. A groan escaped his lips: “I’m going to lose my job.” Alarmed, I inquired why. He had done nothing wrong, and it was a small issue.“It doesn’t matter,” he said.

He was probably right. He is dispensable. Technology first allowed the job to be outsourced. Now machines at call centers can be used to seamlessly generate spoken responses to customer inquiries, so that a single operator can handle multiple customers all at once. Meanwhile, the customer often isn’t aware that she is mostly being spoken to (http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/12/almost-human-the-surreal-cyborg-future-of-telemarketing/282537/) by a machine.

This is the way technology is being used in many workplaces: to reduce the power of humans, and employers’ dependency on them, whether by replacing, displacing or surveilling them. Many technological developments contribute to this shift in power: advanced diagnostic systems that can do medical or legal analysis; the ability to outsource labor to the lowest-paid workers, measure employee tasks to the minute and “optimize” worker schedules in a way that devastates ordinary lives. Indeed, regardless of whether unemployment has gone up or down, real wages (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/10/09/for-most-workers-real-wages-have-barely-budged-for-decades/) have been stagnant or declining in the United States for decades. Most people no longer have the leverage to bargain.

In the 1980s, the Harvard social scientist Shoshana Zuboff examined how some workplaces used technology to “automate” — take power away from the employee — while others used technology differently, to “informate” — to empower people.

For academics, software developers and corporate and policy leaders who are lucky enough to live in this “informate” model, technology has been good. So far. To those for whom it’s been less of a blessing, we keep doling out the advice to upgrade skills. Unfortunately, for most workers, technology is used to “automate” the job and to take power away.

And workers already feel like they are powerless as it is. Last week, low-wage workers around the country demonstrated for a $15-an-hour wage, calling it economic justice. Those with college degrees may not think that they share a problem with these workers, who are fighting to reclaim some power with employers, but they do. The fight is poised to move up (http://raceagainstthemachine.com/) the skilled-labor chain.

Optimists insist that we’ve been here before, during the Industrial Revolution, when machinery replaced manual labor, and all we need is a little more education and better skills. But that is not a sufficient answer. One historical example is no guarantee of future events, and we won’t be able to compete by trying to stay one step ahead in a losing battle.

This cannot just be about machines’ capabilities or human skills, since the true solution lies in neither. Confronting the threat posed by machines, and the way in which the great data harvest has made them ever more able to compete with human workers, must be about our priorities.

It’s easy to imagine an alternate future where advanced machine capabilities are used to empower more of us, rather than control most of us. There will potentially be more time, resources and freedom to share, but only if we change how we do things. We don’t need to reject or blame technology. This problem is not us versus the machines, but between us, as humans, and how we value one another.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/19/opinion/sunday/the-machines-are-coming.html?_r=0

Woodsman
04-23-15, 04:34 PM
It's an opinion piece from the NYT and breaks down along the usual lines at the end but it's worth reading.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/19/opinion/sunday/the-machines-are-coming.html?_r=0

A complementary piece, wide-ranging and similarly worthwhile.


For most of human history, the top speed at which human beings could travel had been around 25 miles per hour. By 1900 it had increased to 100 miles per hour, and for the next seventy years it did seem to be increasing exponentially. By the time Toffler was writing, in 1970, the record for the fastest speed at which any human had traveled stood at roughly 25,000 mph, achieved by the crew of Apollo 10 in 1969, just one year before. At such an exponential rate, it must have seemed reasonable to assume that within a matter of decades, humanity would be exploring other solar systems.

Since 1970, no further increase has occurred. The record for the fastest a human has ever traveled remains with the crew of Apollo 10. True, the commercial airliner Concorde, which first flew in 1969, reached a maximum speed of 1,400 mph. And the Soviet Tupolev Tu-144, which flew first, reached an even faster speed of 1,553 mph. But those speeds not only have failed to increase; they have decreased since the Tupolev Tu-144 was cancelled and the Concorde was abandoned.
...


By the sixties, conservative political forces were growing skittish about the socially disruptive effects of technological progress, and employers were beginning to worry about the economic impact of mechanization. The fading Soviet threat allowed for a reallocation of resources in directions seen as less challenging to social and economic arrangements, or indeed directions that could support a campaign of reversing the gains of progressive social movements and achieving a decisive victory in what U.S. elites saw as a global class war. The change of priorities was introduced as a withdrawal of big-government projects and a return to the market, but in fact the change shifted government-directed research away from programs like NASA or alternative energy sources and toward military, information, and medical technologies.
...


But if there was a conscious, or semi-conscious, move away from investment in research that might lead to better rockets and robots, and toward research that would lead to such things as laser printers and CAT scans, it had begun well before Toffler’s Future Shock (1970) and Gilder’s Wealth and Poverty (1981). What their success shows is that the issues they raised—that existing patterns of technological development would lead to social upheaval, and that we needed to guide technological development in directions that did not challenge existing structures of authority—echoed in the corridors of power. Statesmen and captains of industry had been thinking about such questions for some time.
...


In fact, the United States never did abandon gigantic, government-controlled schemes of technological development. Mainly, they just shifted to military research—and not just to Soviet-scale schemes like Star Wars, but to weapons projects, research in communications and surveillance technologies, and similar security-related concerns. To some degree this had always been true: the billions poured into missile research had always dwarfed the sums allocated to the space program. Yet by the seventies, even basic research came to be conducted following military priorities. One reason we don’t have robot factories is because roughly 95 percent of robotics research funding has been channeled through the Pentagon, which is more interested in developing unmanned drones than in automating paper mills.

A case could be made that even the shift to research and development on information technologies and medicine was not so much a reorientation toward market-driven consumer imperatives, but part of an all-out effort to follow the technological humbling of the Soviet Union with total victory in the global class war—seen simultaneously as the imposition of absolute U.S. military dominance overseas, and, at home, the utter rout of social movements.

For the technologies that did emerge proved most conducive to surveillance, work discipline, and social control.
...


Competition forces factory owners to mechanize production, to reduce labor costs, but while this is to the short-term advantage of the firm, mechanization’s effect is to drive down the general rate of profit. For 150 years, economists have debated whether all this is true. But if it is true, then the decision by industrialists not to pour research funds into the invention of the robot factories that everyone was anticipating in the sixties, and instead to relocate their factories to labor-intensive, low-tech facilities in China or the Global South makes a great deal of sense.

Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit (http://www.thebaffler.com/salvos/of-flying-cars-and-the-declining-rate-of-profit)

don
05-03-15, 06:26 PM
Hands-Free Cars Take Wheel, and Law Isn’t Stopping Them

By AARON M. KESSLER<time class="dateline" datetime="2015-05-02" style="font-size: 0.6875rem; line-height: 0.75rem; font-family: nyt-cheltenham-sh, georgia, 'times new roman', times, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin-left: 12px;">MAY 2, 2015

</time>
A General Motors (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/companies/general_motors_corporation/index.html?inline=nyt-org) promotional film envisions the future: Drivers enter the highway, put their cars on “autopilot” and sit back as the vehicle takes over and heads for the horizon. The film’s date? 1956.

Sixty years later, automakers are making that dream a reality.

But the technology has sprinted ahead so fast that lawmakers and regulators are scrambling to catch up with features like hands-free driving that are now months away, rather than years.

<time class="dateline" datetime="2015-05-02" style="font-size: 0.6875rem; line-height: 0.75rem; font-family: nyt-cheltenham-sh, georgia, 'times new roman', times, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin-left: 12px;"></time>
This summer, Tesla (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/companies/tesla-motors-inc/index.html?inline=nyt-org), the maker of high-end electric cars (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/e/electric_vehicles/index.html?&inline=nyt-classifier), is promising to equip its Model S sedan to take over highway driving under certain conditions. In January, Audi will introduce a vehicle that can pilot itself through traffic jams. And next year, Cadillac will offer no-hands highway driving with its “Super Cruise.”

Limited forms of hands-free driving have already arrived. Luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti offer “lane keeping” features that allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel for periods of time on straight stretches of road.

But the innovations have prompted the question: Is it legal?

The vast majority of states do not have any rules at all. The few that do passed the laws primarily to allow research and testing. Only New York specifically requires that drivers keep one hand on the wheel, but that dates to a law from 1967.

As a result, automakers are pushing into a regulatory void.

“Where it’s not expressly prohibited, we would argue it’s allowed,” said Anna Schneider, vice president for governmental relations at Volkswagen, which owns Audi.

“We don’t need any change in legislation to put Super Cruise on the road,” said Dan Flores, a spokesman for General Motors. Tesla declined to comment on the issue.

On a recent afternoon, a Volvo official demonstrated its new XC90 sport utility vehicle along a leafy road in New Jersey. Set for release in June, the XC90 has a semiautonomous feature called “pilot assist” intended for congested traffic.

After a driver pressed a button on the steering wheel, sensors scanned the road and locked on to the vehicle a few car lengths ahead. A white icon lit up on the dashboard, and the wheel began moving on its own.

As the road curved, the Volvo steered itself through it, automatically adjusting the throttle and steering. The vehicle seamlessly kept on going, though after about five seconds, a subtle dashboard light asked the driver to keep a gentle touch on the wheel.

Not that it was needed — the Volvo could keep going hands-free for miles at speeds up to 30 miles per hour on a properly marked road. But for now Volvo has programmed the XC90 to start slowing down if a driver does not heed the warning light, making the vehicle a bridge between “lane keeping” and the truly hands-free technology set to hit the market soon.

“This is about making the tedious parts of people’s drives less stressful,” said Jim Nichols, a spokesman for Volvo. “We’re not talking about a driver simply checking out and not paying attention.”

Car manufacturers see hands-free technology as the natural next step in driving — an evolution that has gone from cruise control to anti-lock brakes to electronic stability control. None of those innovations required permission from regulators.

And legal experts say the automakers’ positions are most likely correct — that in the absence of specific laws against it, hands-free driving is legal.

“Most states don’t expressly prohibit automated vehicles,” said Bryant Walker Smith, a professor of law and engineering at the University of South Carolina.

But that does not necessarily mean drivers will not face scrutiny.

“It’s not just what’s on the books; it’s what’s enforced,” Mr. Smith said. “If a police officer sees you driving down the road with no hands, he could determine that’s reckless and still give you a ticket. Individual officers have a tremendous amount of discretion.”

No federal rules explicitly bar the practice, either. Part of why federal and state officials have struggled to define autonomous rules is that the issue cuts across traditional legal turf.

“The federal government largely regulates vehicle design, such as ‘Does it meet crash safety standards,’ ” Mr. Smith said. The states are the ones that have regulated drivers and their behavior, he said. “Now the car is becoming the driver.”

California, Nevada, Michigan, Florida and the District of Columbia legalized autonomous technology in certain circumstances — primarily to encourage testing. Several others are considering rules.

But for consumers, and local officials themselves, the fractured nature of what is allowed, and where, may create uncertainty.

dcarrigg
05-04-15, 12:22 AM
Hey, Santafe, I just realized how hostile that last post sounded when I re-read it just now.

Sorry about that. Lordy, lordy what was I bent out of shape about that night?

santafe2
05-05-15, 09:35 PM
dcarrigg;294698]Hey, Santafe, I just realized how hostile that last post sounded when I re-read it just now.

Sorry about that. Lordy, lordy what was I bent out of shape about that night?

Ha! I'm not sure which post that was dc but even if I knew, you'd get a pass. You've got too many thoughtful posts here and elsewhere on iTulip for me to be concerned about tone. After all, a few of us did get riled up and drive this thread into the abyss fighting the good fight against the evil forces of iLibertarianism....:)

don
05-20-15, 08:17 PM
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KdwfoBbEbBE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe>

dinner is served . . . .

vt
05-24-15, 04:02 PM
What to learn in to stay ahead of computers:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/24/upshot/what-to-learn-in-college-to-stay-one-step-ahead-of-computers.html?ref=business&abt=0002&abg=1

don
05-27-15, 01:57 PM
“I don’t understand why some people are not concerned.”
Bill Gates

“I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. I would be to summon the demon.”
Elon Musk

“the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”
Stephen Hawkings




Relax, the Terminator Is Far Away


By JOHN MARKOFF (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/john_markoff/index.html)<time class="dateline" datetime="2015-05-25" style="font-size: 0.6875rem; line-height: 0.75rem; font-family: nyt-cheltenham-sh, georgia, 'times new roman', times, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin-left: 12px;">MAY 25, 2015</time>


Not so fast. Next month, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (http://www.darpa.mil/default.aspx), a Pentagon research arm, will hold the final competition in its Robotics Challenge (http://www.theroboticschallenge.org/) in Pomona, Calif. With $2 million in prize money for the robot that performs best in a series of rescue-oriented tasks in under an hour, the event will offer what engineers refer to as the “ground truth” — a reality check on the state of the art in the field of mobile robotics.

A preview of their work suggests that nobody needs to worry about a Terminator creating havoc anytime soon. Given a year and a half to improve their machines, the roboticists, who shared details about their work in interviews before the contest in June, appear to have made limited progress.

In the previous contest (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/23/science/japanese-team-dominates-competition-to-create-rescue-robots.html?ref=topics) in Florida in December 2013, the robots, which were protected from falling by tethers, were glacially slow in accomplishing tasks such as opening doors and entering rooms, clearing debris, climbing ladders and driving through an obstacle course. (The robots had to be placed in the vehicles by human minders.)

Reporters who covered the event resorted to such analogies as “watching paint dry” and “watching grass grow.”

This year, the robots will have an hour to complete a set of eight tasks that would probably take a human less than 10 minutes. And the robots are likely to fail at many. This time they will compete without belays, so some falls may be inevitable. And they will still need help climbing into the driver’s seat of a rescue vehicle.

Twenty-five teams are expected to enter the competition. Most of their robots will be two-legged, but many will have four legs, several will have wheels, and one “transformer” is designed to roll on four legs or two. That robot (http://www.nrec.ri.cmu.edu/projects/tartanrescue/), named Chimp by its designers at Carnegie Mellon University, will weigh 443 pounds.

None of the robots will be autonomous. Human operators will guide the machines via wireless networks that will occasionally slow to just a trickle of data, to simulate intermittent communications during a crisis. This will give an edge to machines that can act semi-autonomously, for example, automatically walking on uneven terrain or grabbing and turning a door handle to open a door. But the machines will remain largely helpless without human supervisors.

“The extraordinary thing that has happened in the last five years is that we have seemed to make extradorinary progress in machine perception,” said Gill Pratt, the Darpa (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/d/defense_advanced_research_projects_agency/index.html?inline=nyt-org) program manager in charge of the Robotics Challenge.

Pattern recognition hardware and software has made it possible for computers to make dramatic progress in computer vision and speech understanding. In contrast, Dr. Pratt said, little headway has been made in “cognition,” the higher-level humanlike processes required for robot planning and true autonomy. As a result, both in the Darpa contest and in the field of robotics more broadly, there has been a re-emphasis on the idea of human-machine partnerships.

“It is extremely important to remember that the Darpa Robotics Challenge is about a team of humans and machines working together,” he said. “Without the person, these machines could hardly do anything at all.”

In fact, the steep challenge in making progress toward mobile robots that can mimic human capabilities is causing robotics researchers worldwide to rethink their goals. Now, instead of trying to build completely autonomous robots, many researchers have begun to think instead of creating ensembles of humans and robots, an approach they describe as co-robots or (inevitably) “cloud robotics (http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/25/the-robot-in-the-cloud-a-conversation-with-ken-goldberg/).”

Ken Goldberg, a University of California, Berkeley, roboticist, has called on the computing world to drop its obsession with singularity, the much-ballyhooed time when computers are predicted to surpass their human designers. Rather, he has proposed a concept he calls “multiplicity,” with diverse groups of humans and machines solving problems through collaboration.

For decades, artificial-intelligence researchers have noted that the simplest tasks for humans, such as reaching into a pocket to retrieve a quarter, are the most challenging for machines.

“The intuitive idea is that the more money you spend on a robot, the more autonomy you will be able to design into it,” said Rodney Brooks, an M.I.T. roboticist and co-founder two early companies, iRobot and Rethink Robotics. “The fact is actually the opposite is true: The cheaper the robot, the more autonomy it has.”

For example, iRobot’s Roomba (http://www.nytimes.com/video/technology/personaltech/100000002663490/roomba-880-a-clean-sweep.html) robot is autonomous, but the vacuuming task it performs by wandering around rooms is extremely simple. By contrast, the company’s Packbot (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/07/technology/robotica-navy-tests-limits-autonomy.html) is more expensive, designed for defusing bombs, and must be teleoperated or controlled wirelessly by people.

The first Darpa challenge more than a decade ago had a big effect on the perception of robots. It also helped spark greater interest in the artificial intelligence and robotics industries.

During the initial Darpa challenge (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/08/business/no-riders-desert-crossing-is-for-the-robots-only.html) in 2004, none of the robotic vehicles was able to complete more than seven of the 150 miles that the course covered. However, during the 2005 challenge (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/14/technology/14artificial.html), a $2 million prize was claimed by a group of artificial-intelligence researchers from Stanford University whose vehicle defeated a Carnegie Mellon entrant in a tight race.

The contest led to Google (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/companies/google_inc/index.html?inline=nyt-org)’s decision to begin a self-driving-car project, which in turn spurred the automotive industry to invest heavily in autonomous vehicle technology.

Developing a car to drive on an unobstructed road was a far simpler task than the current Darpa Robotics Challenge, which requires robots to drive and, while they’re walking, navigate around obstacles, remove debris, use vision and grasp with dexterity, and perform tasks with tools.

“We had a relatively easy task,” said Sebastian Thrun, a roboticist who led the Stanford team in 2005 and later started the Google self-driving-car project (http://www.nytimes.com/video/technology/100000002905026/demo-of-google8217s-self-driving-car.html). “Today they’re doing the hard stuff.”

His view about the relationship between humans and robots has been shaped by the two contests. “I’m a big believer that technology progresses by complementing people rather than replacing them,” he said.

Most of the Robotics Challenge teams receive university and corporate financing, and in some cases use a Darpa-funded, 6-foot-2 Atlas robot (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/12/science/modest-debut-of-atlas-may-foreshadow-age-of-robo-sapiens.html) that weighs 380 pounds. (All of the competitors must design their own software and controls.)

But one team of hobbyists will bring a homegrown robot financed with credit cards and the help of family members.

“We’re not a big company,” said Karl Castleton, an assistant professor of computer science at Colorado Mesa University and the leader of Grit Robotics (http://www.gritrobotics.co/), which has constructed a robot that rolls slowly on four wheels. “We’re just some guys who have a lot of love for what we’re doing.”

vt
06-01-15, 12:11 AM
Uber poaches 40 researchers from Carnegie Mellon:

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University is scrambling to recover after Uber Technologies Inc. poached at least 40 of its researchers and scientists earlier this year, a raid that has left one of the world’s top robotics research institutions in a crisis.
In February, Carnegie Mellon and Uber trumpeted a strategic partnership in which the school would “work closely” with the taxi-hailing service to develop driverless car technology.
But behind the scenes, the tie-up was more combative than collaborative.
Uber envisions autonomous cars that could someday replace its tens of thousands of contract drivers. With virtually no in-house capability, the San Francisco company went to the one place in the world with enough talent to build a team instantly: Carnegie Mellon’s National Robotics Engineering Center.
Flush with cash after raising more than $5 billion from investors, Uber offered some scientists bonuses of hundreds of thousands of dollars and a doubling of salaries to staff the company’s new tech center in Pittsburgh, according to one researcher at NREC.
The hiring spree in January and February set off alarm bells. Facing a massive drain of talent and cash, Herman Herman, the newly elevated director of the NREC, made a presentation May 6 to staff to explain the situation and seek ideas on how to stabilize the center, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The short presentation at the school here laid out the issues. In all, Uber took six principal investigators and 34 engineers. The talent included NREC’s director, Tony Stentz, and most of the key program directors. Before Uber’s recruiting, NREC had more than 100 engineers and scientists developing technology for companies and the U.S. military.
“If you want to do autonomous vehicles—we have a lot of people here doing that,” said Jeff Legault, the head of business development for NREC, in an interview. “I would have preferred [Uber] just come to us” to develop the vehicle rather than hire away scientists.”

don
06-11-15, 03:26 PM
<iframe width="480" height="373" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="true" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" id="nyt_video_player" title="New York Times Video - Embed Player" src="http://graphics8.nytimes.com/bcvideo/1.0/iframe/embed.html?videoId=100000003731634&playerType=embed"></iframe>





This is the fifth episode in a Bits video series, called Robotica (http://www.nytimes.com/video/robotica), examining how robots are poised to change the way we do business and conduct our daily lives.

Matt McMullen has proved that some people are willing to spend thousands on sex dolls.

Mr. McMullen, the creator of the RealDoll, says he has sold over 5,000 customizable, life-size dolls since 1996, with prices from $5,000 to $10,000. Not only can his customers decide on body type and skin, hair and eye color, but on a recent day in the company’s factory in San Marcos, Calif., a craftsman was even furnishing one doll with custom-ordered toes.

Mr. McMullen’s new project, which he is calling Realbotix, is an attempt to animate the doll. He has assembled a small team that includes engineers who have worked for Hanson Robotics, a robotics lab that produces shockingly lifelike humanoid robots.

Mr. McMullen is first focusing on developing convincing artificial intelligence, and a robotic head that can blink and open and close its mouth. He’s also working to integrate other emerging technologies, like a mobile app that acts like a virtual assistant and companion, and virtual reality headsets that can be used separately or in tandem with the physical doll.

One of the challenges that Mr. McMullen will have to contend with is the so-called uncanny valley. It is a concept first written about in 1970 by a Japanese researcher, that says people’s responses to robots will shift sharply from empathy to revulsion the more closely the robots resemble humans. In other words, something robotic that looks alive, but is not completely convincing, will creep people out.

In a paper (http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/humanoids/the-uncanny-valley), the researcher, Masahiro Mori, then a robotics professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, likened the experience to encountering a prosthetic limb.

“We could be startled during a handshake by its limp boneless grip together with its texture and coldness,” he wrote. When that happens, according to Mr. Mori, “we lose our sense of affinity, and the hand becomes uncanny.”

With Realbotix, Mr. McMullen is trying to avoid that sense of uncanny by creating products that still look like dolls and not, as he says, copies of people.

Mr. McMullen says the Realbotix head, which can be attached to the existing RealDoll body, will cost around $10,000, and be commercially available in two years. The full body, which he will begin developing next, will most likely range from $30,000 to $60,000. — Emma Cott

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/12/technology/robotica-sex-robot-realdoll.html

santafe2
08-08-15, 01:05 PM
Read Dilbert this morning and it made me think of this thread...

http://i.imgur.com/3cShkOz.jpg

astonas
08-08-15, 01:52 PM
Good one!

I was reading this article (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/04/us/hitchhiking-robot-safe-in-several-countries-meets-its-end-in-philadelphia.html), and had a similar but dissenting thought. It seems that different countries may have different responses to the robot transition:


Hitchhiking Robot, Safe in Several Countries, Meets Its End in Philadelphia

The creators, David Harris Smith and Frauke Zeller, two Canadian professors, said they had built the robot as “an artwork and social robotics experiment (http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/06/meet-the-cute-wellies-wearing-robot-thats-going-to-hitchhike-across-canada/372677/)” and had successfully sent it across Canada (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/canada/index.html?inline=nyt-geo), Germany and the Netherlands. Short and stocky, with a bucket for a body and the red LED lights of its face enclosed in plastic, the brightly colored bot would be difficult to miss.

Over its two weeks in the United States, hitchBOT made its way from Boston to New York — stopping to take photos in Times Square — and to Philadelphia. It made light, automated conversation and took photos of its surroundings about every 20 minutes, documenting its travels on its popular Twitter (https://twitter.com/hitchBOT), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/hitchbot?fref=nf) and Instagram (https://instagram.com/hitchbot/) accounts.

It had brief instructions written on its back to help the travelers who would guide it through its American bucket list (https://twitter.com/hitchBOT/status/619606764627980288), which included listening to jazz in New Orleans and being the fifth face in a photo of Mount Rushmore. But its creators said the robot’s journey was cut short by vandals — it was found early Saturday beaten and dismembered in Philadelphia’s historic Old City neighborhood.


Apparently not all societies are equally ready to embrace their new robot overlords. :)

Polish_Silver
08-12-15, 03:42 PM
Good one!

I was reading this article (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/04/us/hitchhiking-robot-safe-in-several-countries-meets-its-end-in-philadelphia.html), and had a similar but dissenting thought. It seems that different countries may have different responses to the robot transition:



Apparently not all societies are equally ready to embrace their new robot overlords. :)

In Philadelphia of all places? Aren't robots just mechanical brothers? These people have never seen the twilight Zone (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0734656/)!

don
08-13-15, 08:39 AM
The idea that you can augment yourself with technologies will become absolutely commonplace and a natural progression.


by Olivia Solon (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-12/authors/ASXeGCyLfpg/olivia-solon) (Bloomberg)

The future of the high-performance workplace is taking shape behind closed doors and kept quiet by non-disclosure agreements.

Across the U.K., hedge funds, banks, call centers and consultancies are installing tracking systems to link biosensing wearable devices with analytics tools once the preserve of elite sports.

“There isn’t a competitive sports team in the world that doesn’t adopt high-end analytics tracking the athletes on the field, off the field, at home, when they’re sleeping, when and what they're eating,” says Chris Brauer, Director of Innovation at Goldsmiths, University of London. “The workplace is heading towards that model.”

The new tools help link human behavior and physiological data to business performance. It’s a departure from typical wearable technology strategies, which tend to focus on operational efficiency or safety (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-12/www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-07/wearable-technology-creeps-into-the-workplace).

The power of the new tools is being evaluated privately, partly to avoid accusations of intrusive behavior, partly because those running the tests believe it gives them a competitive edge.

“Yes, it’s already happening, starting off with some of the big hedge funds,” says John Coates, a Cambridge neuroscientist (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2012-05-13/goldman-bred-neuroscientist-bares-secret-of-testosterone-trading) and former Goldman Sachs trader, who is actively working with companies to link biological signals to trading success.

His academic research focuses on understanding the physiological drivers of risk preferences (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-02/raging-bull-markets-how-young-men-s-hormones-unsettle-finance). “It used to be assumed that most things that you learned at business school were pure cognitive activity, and if you’re not doing well you need better information or psychological training,” he says.

However, science is starting to show that some hormones – including naturally produced steroids and testosterone – increase confidence and make us take more risks. Stress hormones like cortisol produce the opposite effect.

Wearable technology – be it heart-rate monitors or skin response sensors – can give this underlying influence more visibility, says Coates. “You need to figure out whether you should be trading or whether you should go home. If you are trading, should you double up your position because you’re in the zone?”

Coates says he is working with three or four hedge funds to implement such an early-warning system: “A lot of smart managers think their algos have gone as far as they can go. The next step is human optimization.”

While much is happening in secret, some companies across a range of sectors are open about their experiments with biosensing wearables.

The Military Tech Maker

Equivital (http://www.equivital.co.uk/) wireless human monitoring equipment comes from the battlefield. The firm’s Black Ghost chest-mounted wearable sensor measures heart rate, stress levels, breathing, skin temperature and body position. The company is currently working on a predictive system to flag when someone is 20 minutes away from heat stress.

Equivital’s systems are now creeping into industry, starting with oil and gas, mining and construction – still mostly for health and safety purposes. Chief Executive Officer Anmol Sood says that’s changing: “Companies are always looking at data to ensure their own business models are as effective as possible – it makes sense to bring that data from individuals working at the company.”

The Smart Badge Firm

Humanyze’s (http://www.humanyze.com/) smart work badges contain microphones and and precision positioning technology.

“We’re doing voice analysis in real time,” says CEO Ben Waber. The system looks at how much individuals talk, how loudly they speak, whether they interrupt or sound stressed. “We also look at how much you move around and interact with other teams.”

Bank of America used Humanyze’s technology within its call centers to find out what made employees most productive in terms of numbers of completed calls. Yet it found that the biggest predictor of productivity was how staff spoke to their colleagues. Those with the closest ties to others in their group were more productive and less likely to quit than those who worked alone. The bank added a 15-minute shared coffee break to daily routines: productivity increased by 10 percent and staff turnover dropped by 70 percent.

The Formula One Team

McLaren Applied Technologies (http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014-10-02/mclaren-uses-racing-expertise-in-data-driven-consulting) works on evidence-based systems to maximize human efficiency, and counts KPMG and GlaxoSmithKline among its clients. Internally the company has been exploring how to get its Formula One teams to recover from jet lag most effectively.

“Our teams are travelling around the world a lot. Some of them have to change wheels in the pit stop and be alert and fit, while others have to look at reams of data and need to be cognitively alert,” explains Duncan Bradley, Head of High-Performance Design.

By plotting data relating to travel schedules with heart rate variability monitors and tests to monitor cognitive alertness, the company was able to reorganize journey times and teams to suit the way different individuals coped with jet lag and stress.

The Lifestyle Monitors

Behavior outside the workplace impacts performance as well – including exercise, sleep, food, alcohol consumption and caffeine intake.

Peak Health (http://www.peakhealth.co.uk/) works with high-potential leadership within financial organizations on joining the dots between health and performance. Founder Dan Zelezinksi has worked with people at Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and various hedge funds. He gives clients wearables to track stress physiology while keeping a journal of activities.

“High net-worth individuals, portfolio managers and owners of organizations on the buy side are looking for any kind of edge,” he explains. The “easiest wins” tend to focus on recovery – eating well and getting good quality sleep.

“A lot of it is intuitive but you don’t know it until you see the data,” says Jason Rabinowitz, a consultant who used Zelezinksi’s services at Goldman Sachs. However, as Zelezinski points out, there’s still a big leap between physical performance and profit or loss. “We might be able to find some correlations, but it’s difficult to track.”

John Coates agrees: “The real problem is signal processing: having a deep insight into how your physiology is affecting your performance. Not a lot of people are doing that science. How do you link the data you are collecting to questions like, ‘Should I be trading today?’ ”

Even without those issues, there are glaring privacy and morale implications to consider.

“You can’t all of a sudden tell people to wear a load of sensors. That’s creepy,” says Humanyze’s Waber.

Chris Brauer believes the privacy debate will fade once people realize the potential of this sort of human performance analytics.

“High achievers are very competitive with themselves as well as others. So allowing them to track when they are most productive, focused and satisfied will help them understand the conditions when they perform best,” he says.