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(Some Guy)   Robots tuk oor jerbs   (voxeu.org) divider line 37
    More: Interesting, Real GDP, jobless recovery, blue-collar workers, visual routine  
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1766 clicks; posted to Business » on 06 Nov 2012 at 8:41 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-06 05:15:15 PM
Subby, I believe you mean: Robots t011101 Z11 oor je0111 0010bs
 
2012-11-06 05:26:58 PM
Beep op ork ah-ah.
 
2012-11-06 05:27:45 PM

Jubeebee: Subby, I believe you mean: Robots t011101 Z11 oor je0111 0010bs


OOOO, I got filterpwned.
 
2012-11-06 05:41:57 PM
don't worry, the robot is only trying to take obama's job
 
2012-11-06 09:44:32 PM
i.qkme.me
 
2012-11-06 10:00:48 PM
This is nonsense.
 
2012-11-06 10:15:38 PM
Is this a repeat from 1987?
 
2012-11-06 10:58:20 PM
Ironclad2

Smartest
Funniest
2012-11-06 10:15:38 PM
Is this a repeat from 1987?


No. It's a repeat from 1967. It's been clear since the mid-60s that repetitive motion jobs were being eliminated as the cost to automate them fell below the cost of labor. Some classmates laughed at me when I took a partial scholarship in engineering where I would have to work my way through school instead of going to work in an auto plant or steel mill where unskilled labor paid more than an engineer. Not many folks showed up for my 40th reunion as their unemployment checks wouldn't cover the cost.
 
2012-11-07 12:23:07 AM
ssl.gstatic.com

FARK YOU ROBOTS!!!!
 
2012-11-07 12:55:56 AM
More than just machines and repetitive motion jobs. Happening with skilled and semi-skilled jobs as well. Most trades on Wall Street are made by sophisticated algorithms, not flesh and blood traders. An algorithm and not a loan officer decides if you qualify for financing. Legal zoom and the DIY legal industry has took a big chunk of the work that used to go to actual lawyers
 
2012-11-07 02:15:19 AM
It's not automation at my wife's place of employment. Since 2008, her dept has been downsized from 16 to 4. Total workload for the team is higher today than then(it was severely down for a while), so her workload has more than effectively quadrupled. There were inefficiencies before that have been removed from the equation, but not enough to gain 4x productivity. No, instead they are told to cut corners by management, severe corners, and the people downstream suffer greatly for it, but since the program is government mandated, no one higher up cares because funding will never go away.
 
2012-11-07 06:05:31 AM

Pumpernickel bread: More than just machines and repetitive motion jobs. Happening with skilled and semi-skilled jobs as well. Most trades on Wall Street are made by sophisticated algorithms, not flesh and blood traders. An algorithm and not a loan officer decides if you qualify for financing. Legal zoom and the DIY legal industry has took a big chunk of the work that used to go to actual lawyers


I was all with you until you mentioned the lawyers. I hope the robots run on their tears.

/seriously, screw those guys
 
2012-11-07 06:58:57 AM

jgk3: It's been clear since the mid-60s that repetitive motion jobs were being eliminated as the cost to automate them fell below the cost of labor.


The problem is that we still insist people should work for a living. It's kind of hard to get a job when robots don't collect paychecks.
 
2012-11-07 07:27:29 AM

dragonchild: jgk3: It's been clear since the mid-60s that repetitive motion jobs were being eliminated as the cost to automate them fell below the cost of labor.

The problem is that we still insist people should work for a living. It's kind of hard to get a job when robots don't collect paychecks.


So much this. We need to recognize that our society essentially has a surplus of production and a shortfall of work to be done. Something as simple as making our work weeks 35 instead of 40 hours might open up enough space in the job market to make up the difference in unemployment numbers. Otherwise it's going to be Vonnegut's Player Piano, where the only people with jobs are engineers and the service industry, and everyone else is in the military or on government work gangs, endlessly improving infrastructure.

You know, that or revolution when income disparity gets too high for people at the bottom to survive.
 
2012-11-07 07:50:38 AM
Make it safer they said. Make it faster they said. Make it smaller they said. Make it so I don't have to do "X" anymore they said.

Well, it took a lot of effort, research, and time but we finally did.

Make us necessary they said.
 
2012-11-07 08:01:52 AM

dragonchild: jgk3: It's been clear since the mid-60s that repetitive motion jobs were being eliminated as the cost to automate them fell below the cost of labor.

The problem is that we still insist people should work for a living. It's kind of hard to get a job when robots don't collect paychecks.


This, combined with infinite supply of anything that can be digitized, will mean that Capitalism will need to be replaced with another system. Our current model is unsustainable.
 
2012-11-07 08:14:27 AM
This is going to be the big, massive issue of the 21st century (well, besides overpopulation, global warming, and dwindling resources): employment.

As automation replaces the jobs that humans used to do, we're going to see an increasing amount of society capable of running itself. And when it gets to a point where only a fraction of full-time jobs exist and the system is capable of supporting up to 80% unemployment without totally collapsing1, we're going to have to rethink the values that our system is based on. Chiefly, why we work and what, really, are we working for? Because there won't be enough jobs to sustain our standard of living.

Why do we work? To make money, obviously. Why do we want to make money? So we can buy stuff that makes our lives more comfortable. Why does this stuff cost money? Because there is only so much of it about. If there's not enough of something, it has value. It's worth something. Rarity is expensive. Everything abundant is worthless. It is free. I'll come back to this point later.

10,000 years ago, 100% of the population worked on providing enough food to sustain everyone in the tribe.
5,000 years ago, 80% of the population worked on providing enough food to sustain everyone in the city-state.
1,000 years ago, 60% of the population worked on providing enough food to sustain everyone in the kingdom.
200 years ago, 40% of the population worked on providing enough food to sustain everyone in the country.
Today, less than 10% of our population actively work on feeding the rest of us.

This level of efficiency will soon spread to all industries. Automation, industrial processes, manufacturing and mass production will provide for all, with very little human labor required. Some companies are already so streamlined and efficient that they can execute business operations and move product with a skeleton force that keeps shrinking. Additionally, with service-oriented architecture, one man can run a complete business all by himself without the need for employees. His business operations are modular -- he hires labor when needed....part-time, temporary, contract work.

So what then? What happens when a businesses can be run perfectly fine without employees? Without payroll? Without uou? What happens when one man can do the job of one million (like farmers do now)?

We are rapidly approaching that age. The age of post-scarcity and post-capitalism.

We've seen what happens to media (cf. internet) when it reaches a state of absolute abundance -- it becomes worthless. It becomes free. It becomes accessible to everyone everywhere, equally, all the time. Now stretch this same paradigm across all sectors, all industries, all segments of human consumption. What happens?

Maintenance and upkeep of our system is being handled by fewer and fewer personnel. Automation makes things cheaper, more efficient, more abundant. Without scarcity, there is no value. No value, no cost. No cost, no need to pay for it. And if you don't need to pay for anything, then why need money? And if you don't need money, then why work?

Since Capitalism is a resource-based system that requires scarcity to operate, it will ultimately be discarded -- abundance makes it meaningless. What will people live/work for then? Since everything is taken care of, social acceptance within a peer group and self-actualization become prime goals (youtube is a perfect example of this: When people can't find work, they invent their own things to do...even if its just dumb Gangnam style parodies).

I like to envision a Star Trekian future where the essential work (the 2%ers) is handled by different segments of the population during different stages of their lives, like shifts. It would be a mandatory service thing (ie: every 10 years, you must put in six months of labor) that rotates through the populace. So in an average life, most people would only work about 6000 hours. The rest of their lives they do whatever they like.

But I can't see any of this being a feasible reality for another century or so, when technology/AI improves and money becomes even more of an abstraction than it is now. But the key economic indicator is scarcity: Things have value because they are rare. We obtain them by exchanging them with other rare/finite things, namely currency. Once we get over this notion and officially annihilate scarcity (and the need to work for it), then Capitalism will be truly dead and done away with.

But it will come naturally, through social and technological progress, not through revolution. And it will come gradually, over the course of several generations. Not all at once, and certainly not within our lifetimes.

But before all that, we have to evaluate what we live and work for, and why. And we must come to accept the notion that a life of work isn't our destiny (even if we want it). We must evolve beyond the the idea that our lives are governed by the salary and the paycheck.

/1 You might think this will never be possible, but we're already almost there. Society is humming along now taking care of a great number of people who don't contribute any value to the system: The very poor, the very rich, the handicapped, the disabled, the sick, the elderly, children, students, and the unemployed, underemployed and unemployable are all being supported quite comfortably by the people who are..... and somehow this is not a net negative on society.
 
2012-11-07 08:25:59 AM
 
2012-11-07 08:34:05 AM
Dammit Ishkur, your wonderful vision of a post scarcity world is deliberately NOT addressing the one issue that makes me sh*t myself with rage:

Society is humming along now taking care of a great number of people who don't contribute any value to the system: The very poor, the very rich, the handicapped, the disabled, the sick, the elderly, children, students, and the unemployed, underemployed and unemployable are all being supported quite comfortably by the people who are..... and somehow this is not a net negative on society.

Then WHY am I constantly being screamed at by the allegedly commie librul media that these "useless eaters" should crawl away and die!?
 
2012-11-07 09:02:03 AM
well to be fair - the amount of stuff we buy that requires human hands to make is shrinking rapidly, the only things in recent decades that required it in a big way - and thus boosted the economy - was housing... when that bubble burst in the worst possible way (creating demand destruction en masse on top of a saturated market on top of financial doom), we were left only with infrastructure (hence the stimulus package)... which as a whole is a component of a flourishing economy but can't replace housing as an economy driver

thus we're back to embracing the service economy which got us in trouble in the first place - and even that is being threatened by the digital sector
 
2012-11-07 09:02:30 AM

Ishkur: So what then? What happens when a businesses can be run perfectly fine without employees? Without payroll? Without uou? What happens when one man can do the job of one million (like farmers do now)?


What happens? Riverworld happens.
 
2012-11-07 09:11:17 AM
edit: forgot about healthcare, which is technology-driven but also hugely care-driven as well, that will probably be the leading service sector for years to come
 
2012-11-07 09:32:51 AM
Mexican robots?
 
2012-11-07 09:50:18 AM

Kittypie070: Dammit Ishkur, your wonderful vision of a post scarcity world is deliberately NOT addressing the one issue that makes me sh*t myself with rage:

Society is humming along now taking care of a great number of people who don't contribute any value to the system: The very poor, the very rich, the handicapped, the disabled, the sick, the elderly, children, students, and the unemployed, underemployed and unemployable are all being supported quite comfortably by the people who are..... and somehow this is not a net negative on society.

Then WHY am I constantly being screamed at by the allegedly commie librul media that these "useless eaters" should crawl away and die!?


Many people who are successful in the current system will fight its death kicking and screaming. But assuming we don't end up annihilating ourselves and starting over from scratch, it will happen.
 
2012-11-07 09:53:21 AM

AdamK: edit: forgot about healthcare, which is technology-driven but also hugely care-driven as well, that will probably be the leading service sector for years to come


Software is a huge and still growing part of the service sector as well though it's very chaotic on an individual job level. I think that'll last for a while. When the robots learn to program themselves... all bets are off.
 
2012-11-07 09:59:11 AM

Kittypie070: Then WHY am I constantly being screamed at by the allegedly commie librul media that these "useless eaters" should crawl away and die!?


A tragically ironic result is that the labor surplus has resulted in wage deflation. Ideally, as fewer people are needed to make more stuff, there's that much more to go around with less work. But the way capitalism is set up, prices are determined by supply and demand. And considering the supply of labor is UP and the demand for labor is DOWN, that means that capitalism doesn't value workers in a society of abundance.

This frustrates people because they'll see "freeloaders" collecting benefits comparable for what they work full-time hours to earn. Those who control wealth have little incentive to change this problem, at least as far as wages go, partly because they're sociopathic but largely because wage deflation actually works in their favor. If anything, they want to dismantle social welfare programs not realizing that entitlement programs are a large chunk of their demand these days. With so little work to go around, who else is going to buy crap but those collecting welfare, pensions or Social Security checks? For the rest of us, entitlement programs and wages are approaching parity, which is causing huge social unrest.
 
2012-11-07 10:03:57 AM
Concusions?
 
2012-11-07 10:18:08 AM
I expect to see a reemergence of a bespoke industries producing items that are unique and or of a type where it would not be economical to mass produce.
 
2012-11-07 10:24:59 AM
Here's a job that a robot couldn't take away from a human.

fairfoodfight.com
 
2012-11-07 10:51:08 AM
The only problem I see is that robots aren't taking away jobs from humans fast enough.

A few years ago I read about fast food joints (I think it was Taco bell) trying out an automated ordering system, and I thought that was great. Press buttons for type of food, get a total, insert money and order flashes on kitchen screen for prep. Done.
 
2012-11-07 12:12:35 PM

Metaluna Mutant: The only problem I see is that robots aren't taking away jobs from humans fast enough.

A few years ago I read about fast food joints (I think it was Taco bell) trying out an automated ordering system, and I thought that was great. Press buttons for type of food, get a total, insert money and order flashes on kitchen screen for prep. Done.


Arby's did that in the early 90s with touchscreen ordering. Didn't work out so well because the investment and maintenance cost of equipment is more than a min wage job.
 
2012-11-07 12:22:01 PM

Summer Glau's Love Slave: Here's a job that a robot couldn't take away from a human.


You sure?
farm9.staticflickr.com
 
2012-11-07 02:02:36 PM
Thank you, dragonchild, for the logical and concise explanation. Much appreciated.

The non-rational side of me, however, would still like to rip off the condemner's heads and sh*t down their necks.

I'm sick of listening to their repulsive moral brain rot.
 
2012-11-07 03:12:49 PM

Tyrone Slothrop: dragonchild: jgk3: It's been clear since the mid-60s that repetitive motion jobs were being eliminated as the cost to automate them fell below the cost of labor.

The problem is that we still insist people should work for a living. It's kind of hard to get a job when robots don't collect paychecks.

This, combined with infinite supply of anything that can be digitized, will mean that Capitalism will need to be replaced with another system. Our current model is unsustainable.


I'm predicting either the Midas Plague or Logan's Run.
 
2012-11-07 04:27:58 PM

Summer Glau's Love Slave: Here's a job that a robot couldn't take away from a human.


If the rise of statistics-based modelling is any indication (cf. Nate Silver), it's not a stretch to suggest that a computer algorithm could probably serve as President in no less than a 100 years from now, and could fulfill the wishes of the American at a level of efficiency and accuracy that no human President could ever hope to be.

And if not President, then almost certainly as the President's most trusted adviser.
 
2012-11-07 05:31:12 PM
More opportunities for automation:

- Self-driving semis - eliminates millions of truck drivers (can drive 24x7, needs no sleep breaks)

- forklift robots - eliminates millions of warehouse workers

- crop picking robots - set of robotic grasp/cut arms and 3D cameras for each row of strawberries, on a 20-row picker/collector (can work 24x7 without breaks)

- product distribution robots for store shelves, putting out new product, tidying up shelves

- road crack tarring machine, which in one pass automatically finds and grinds out crevasses, heats them, applies hot tar and paper anti-stick covering


Damn all these unskilled low-class people on food stamps! What are we gonna do with all of them??
 
2012-11-08 12:17:31 AM

Summer Glau's Love Slave: Here's a job that a robot couldn't take away from a human.

[eal of the president image 300x290]


no, you'll have to fight a steel cage match for that...
/didn't any further than this post, so if i was beaten to it, oh well!
 
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