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  • Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

    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...rclass-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...gers-per-hour/


  • #2
    Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

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    • #3
      Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

      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:

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

        Originally posted by Shakespear View Post
        The Bright New Future

        http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/robots-will...rclass-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...gers-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.

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        • #5
          Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

          http://theweek.com/article/index/264...ina-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 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.

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          • #6
            Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

            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. 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.

            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?

            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.”
            Last edited by dcarrigg; 08-10-14, 12:10 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

              Originally posted by dcarrigg View Post
              ...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.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

                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.
                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. 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.

                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.
                Last edited by dcarrigg; 08-10-14, 12:07 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

                  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.
                  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?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

                    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. My guess is that somebody finally threw Vonnegut's Player Piano 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. 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 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.



                    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.

                    Orhangazi's 2008 paper spoke to the issue of financialization. As did Greenwood and Scharfstein at Harvard.

                    The St. Louis Fed shows labor's decline in income share over time pretty clearly. More on this in a moment...

                    Phillipon and Reshef speak to the issue too. It's a serious area of study. Labor's declining share of income is something which the big boys are concerned about. The IMF has done some work on the issue. Serious work has been done to assess what is the primary mover here, 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.

                    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...




                    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.
                    Last edited by dcarrigg; 08-10-14, 04:08 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

                      Originally posted by dcarrigg View Post
                      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:


                      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.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

                        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.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

                          Originally posted by flintlock View Post
                          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.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

                            Originally posted by Ghent12 View Post
                            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.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Robots Will Create 'Permanently Unemployable Underclass'

                              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.

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