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Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

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  • #61
    Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

    "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." 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...#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.

    Comment


    • #62
      Re: Robots vs secretaries

      Originally posted by Ghent12 View Post
      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?

      Comment


      • #63
        Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

        Originally posted by Thailandnotes View Post
        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.

        Comment


        • #64
          Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

          Originally posted by DSpencer View Post
          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.

          Comment


          • #65
            Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

            Originally posted by sutro View Post
            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).

            Comment


            • #66
              Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

              Originally posted by Fox View Post
              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!
              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?

              Comment


              • #67
                overstating the case

                Originally posted by santafe2 View Post
                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.

                Comment


                • #68
                  Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

                  Originally posted by verdo View Post
                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

                    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. 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.

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

                      Originally posted by tastymannatees View Post
                      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/tech...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/educa...710-zt2h3.html


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

                      http://www.bbc.com/future/story/2014...e-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!Can'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.

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

                        Originally posted by charliebrown View Post
                        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.

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

                          Originally posted by Ghent12 View Post
                          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.

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

                            I know I made these comments before on these boards, butthey do apply to this discussion.
                            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.

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

                              I know I made these comments before on these boards, but they do apply to this discussion.

                              Iím definitely seeing the idea of only a limited few being able to find jobs. In my industry(environmental consulting), which isnít 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.

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

                                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.

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