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(Peoria Journal Star)   Workers vs. smart machines: THEY TOOK ER JERBS   (pjstar.com) divider line 305
    More: Sad, AWs, information need, big data, machines, technological change, MIT  
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10232 clicks; posted to Main » on 28 Jan 2013 at 4:01 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-28 04:51:38 PM  

kindms: meat0918: kindms: ajgeek: Does anyone smarter than me have a potential solution to this problem? Obviously we can't generate work for work's sake and not everyone can fix the machines that do work for us, but we're getting to a point where we are going to have an excess of human labor. This is both real and very serious. Idle hands and all that.

/and no, sending everyone to China won't help either.

The same solution that always fixes this problem. WAR

Basically there will have to be a really big war that kills millions of people or a virus. It makes me wonder if we should start causing trouble between India and China. Probably the quickest and most efficient way to remove 100s of millions of humans from the work force, reduce over population etc etc

both are nuclear armed. They just need a reason to help the rest of us out.

Why do you think we're letting the opium trade go relatively unopposed in Afghanistan?

Because westerners like their Smack ?


most makes it into China, not the US.
 
2013-01-28 04:52:15 PM  

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Eddie Adams from Torrance: Well, we could educate our citizens better so they could compete for jobs in the new information based economy, but that's socialism.... so, no.

Actually the socialist answer would be to kill all the smart people (those they have the training and the money) and put untrained uneducated people in those places. That way in a few years everyone is in the field working the crops with their bare hands. It would be perfect. All of us equal and no one better than the other.


Way to be a douchebag, douchebag.
 
2013-01-28 04:52:34 PM  

super_grass: Contrary to our negative view of luddites: efficiency and automation do cost jobs.


Innovation like this increases the standard of living for those who still have jobs or enough saved wealth to take advantage of it.

The guy whose job is taken away is SOL. I feel bad for him.

For many of us our occupation is tied to our identity and he's about to lose his.
 
2013-01-28 04:52:56 PM  

The sound of one hand clapping: About 70% of my job could be done by machines that exist right now. It's a menial, unskilled retail job. The only reason it isn't currently done by a machine is that it would probably still be slightly more expensive than my meager wage. But I bet that cost is creeping right down in line with my wages.

Many of the people I work with have qualifications but simply can't get jobs in their specialist areas. There aren't always enough skilled jobs to go around. So when the machines become cheaper, educated or not, most will be out of work. 1 machine could probably replace 20 of us and that 1 machine will probably only require maintenance by 1 guy. So 20 jobs lost, 1 created. And once that change takes place, thousands more will also loose their jobs. And that's just in my area of retail alone. I can understand why people are concerned.


You should get into supporting education on some form or another. Teachers are often inept and need a lot hand holding that machinery can't do. You'd that the newer teachers right out of college would be more proficient. You'd be right if everything was done on their iphone.
 
2013-01-28 04:53:15 PM  

Sin_City_Superhero: StrandedInAZ: You can't just bury your head in the sand and pretend progress isn't happening.

I disagree with you.


Touche!
 
2013-01-28 04:53:18 PM  

xynix: I spanked my son until it hurt my hand more than his ass which was at about age 9 1/2. Now I just threaten to take away his iPhone (which he earned by the way) and he does what I ask. He has a 4.0 GPA and if that slips at all he loses the phone. It's really not that hard to discipline a child these days it's just a different technique. Grounding a kid has become mobile or electronics based.


My kids fear having their memory card deleted far more than any spanking.
 
2013-01-28 04:53:39 PM  

StrandedInAZ: Hell, I still don't swear when I'm around my folks, and I'm 40!


I do every now and again (generally when I've been drinking), but that only started when they started cussing around me. I'm pretty sure I'm the only kid out of five that they do that with.
 
kab
2013-01-28 04:53:39 PM  

oh_please: There's plenty of "busy work" to be done in this country. Repairing our infrastructure, cleaning up our cities, etc...the problem is that we, as a society, call it "busy work", and nobody wants to do it, and everyone looks down on that kind of thing. Bullshiat. What we need is a culture change to make this kind of work honorable again, because it is, indeed, honorable.


Infrastructure repair is an ongoing process that is also greatly impacted by technology. As far as cleaning, few *want* to do it because it typically doesn't pay well enough. So we're back to square 1.
 
2013-01-28 04:54:22 PM  
Why don't they retrain the meter readers to bury and service all utility lines? I hate that every winter or tornado my power goes out because the poles fell over, or got sucked up or whatever or ice snaps the lines.
 
2013-01-28 04:54:30 PM  
TERK EEEEEEE TEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!

/already get a brain full moran delirious this week
//is it really only Monday?
 
2013-01-28 04:54:45 PM  

Cyno01: Another Government Employee: azmoviez: cman: Is losing a job to a machine really such a bad thing? I really dont understand why people are pissed off of technological progress.

If you had made a career out of being a travel agent, I could imagine you'd be pissed that your livelihood is gone in a matter of just a few years. There's really not much of a grace period when technology just overwhelms the industry that you work.  Ask Borders.

I see the change happening with major grocery and retail workers right now in a big hurry.

It would have happened already if customer acceptance had been better. The software is out there.

Automatic checkouts as they are SUUUUUUUCK. For whatever reason the UI is crap compared to what actual cashiers have. BUT, its a stepping stone. Give it a few years for the RFID tag to replace the UPC and stores wont even HAVE checkouts anymore, youll just bag up your shiat at the front of the store and walk out, everything in your cart automatically being totaled up and charged to your card. Sure you still need stockboys and a few people on the floor, but thats hundreds of thousands of entry level no skill cashiering jobs that will just be GONE.

The only thing holding back automation in tons of industries is that its still cheaper to pay someone $8 an hour to do it. But automation will always get cheaper, and the benefits of being able to work 24/7 without a break, or needing health care, or even training make it a very attractive option.


They already do this. You can grab a scan gun when you walk in to the grocery store and scan as you put stuff in your cart. We don't have it in NY where I am but my mom in CT does. She says they get audited (in store check cart vs. receipt) every so often.
 
2013-01-28 04:56:12 PM  
I tried posting this link earlier, but was rejected (I guess). Revelant to this topic.

Link
 
2013-01-28 04:56:34 PM  

oh_please: kab: 2) create busy work for unemployed people

There's plenty of "busy work" to be done in this country. Repairing our infrastructure, cleaning up our cities, etc...the problem is that we, as a society, call it "busy work", and nobody wants to do it, and everyone looks down on that kind of thing. Bullshiat. What we need is a culture change to make this kind of work honorable again, because it is, indeed, honorable.


Well, if minimum wage were actually livable maybe people wouldnt mind these sort of jobs. Id pick up trash 30 hours a week if i could afford a small apartment and a used car and some disposable income to make my free time worthwhile. But as it is, you have even semi-skilled people working 50 hours a week and barely scraping by.
 
2013-01-28 04:57:33 PM  

kindms: ajgeek: Does anyone smarter than me have a potential solution to this problem? Obviously we can't generate work for work's sake and not everyone can fix the machines that do work for us, but we're getting to a point where we are going to have an excess of human labor. This is both real and very serious. Idle hands and all that.

/and no, sending everyone to China won't help either.

The same solution that always fixes this problem. WAR

Basically there will have to be a really big war that kills millions of people or a virus. It makes me wonder if we should start causing trouble between India and China. Probably the quickest and most efficient way to remove 100s of millions of humans from the work force, reduce over population etc etc

both are nuclear armed. They just need a reason to help the rest of us out.


The problem with trying to start shiat between other people is the fallout has a habit of blowing back on you, too.

I wouldn't kill off the usual suspects. I would not kill off emerging economies. I'd kill off the most educated. I'd crush the power of the Old Guard. I'd put my money on the New Players, who are going to need guidance and will be more malleable. I'd create a new power in the vacuum.

I'd find someone who doesn't have a dog in any fight, and put my money on them -- a la America of the 20th century.

Sooooo... Argentina for the win? (yeah, yeah, Argentina is old school, but they're not a superpower. for now. and they're in the southern hemisphere. win win.)

(it's too bad the Motherland is forever fked by colonialism. having an Africa independent of Euro-American-Chinese-MiddleEastern interference would be a revelation and a half.)
 
2013-01-28 04:58:12 PM  
I have met a lot of people at bars who work in automation. programming, etc.
Their argument is that they are helping the day come where no one has to work, so they are helping.
They argue that for every assembly job they robotize, there is no loss in jobs because programmers need to be hired.
They don't seem to notice that one programmer can take out thousands of jobs.

The argument that they are saving the world by making robots do everything-
I tell them I like the idea, but it does not seem to be something that we can achieve at this time in our society.

Who is feeding the factory workers you just laid off with your robots? Do they now get free food and shelter? Oh, no they do not.
So how does this robots save the humans from working thing actually work?

They always run out of good answers really fast.
 
2013-01-28 04:59:18 PM  

ajgeek: Does anyone smarter than me have a potential solution to this problem?


Simple -- you retrain people for other work when their job is (being) eliminated. This is one of the reasons why a broad education base is so critical to an economy: People with a reasonable breadth of knowledge are far more "cross-industry mobile". Yes the training does cost taxpayer money, as does every investment in a nation, but it brings a nice ROI. Everyone pays everyone benefits.

/at least that's what to do if we want to maintain a vibrant economy
 
2013-01-28 04:59:18 PM  

Noticeably F.A.T.: StrandedInAZ: Hell, I still don't swear when I'm around my folks, and I'm 40!

I do every now and again (generally when I've been drinking), but that only started when they started cussing around me. I'm pretty sure I'm the only kid out of five that they do that with.


That's funny. I was 30 or so the first, and only, time, I've heard my mother swear. She was telling a story in which one of her coworkers had sworn at a customer, and she actually used the word. It was really mild, like damn, or something like that. But I was stunned. To this day, I've never heard my father swear. Parents who don't swear are really funny, though. My dad would say things like "cussy darny" and "dagnammit" and "cheese and crackers."

As an Army vet (who curses like a sailor normally), it's astonishing to me that I can turn it off the instant I'm around them.
 
2013-01-28 05:00:41 PM  

ashinmytomatoes: I remember seeing an article about an automated library somewhere in Asia where patrons could check out their own books via machine.

I have to say that I haven't been to the public library in months because I check out eBooks and eAudiobooks from their website. I used to go to the library once a week. It makes me wonder about the future of librarianship a little. I know people will always need help with the databases and reference questions but I wonder about circulation.




We have that in Tulsa, Oklahoma so I have to guess that it is in major cities as well. Of course we have a really really well funded system here.

Still have an old lady that sits behind the machine to help people out. I really hope we are not paying her for that. She spends most of her time knitting and staring off into space.
 
2013-01-28 05:01:11 PM  
I'm not really worried about it. They'll NEVER automate the buggy-whip factory I work at...
 
2013-01-28 05:02:34 PM  

spentmiles: wagging pink licker


Good band name
 
2013-01-28 05:02:59 PM  

Cyno01: Give it a few years for the RFID tag to replace the UPC and stores wont even HAVE checkouts anymore, youll just bag up your shiat at the front of the store and walk out, everything in your cart automatically being totaled up and charged to your card.


RFID is a solid field right now, and it will only go up from here.
 
2013-01-28 05:03:04 PM  

gameshowhost: ajgeek: Does anyone smarter than me have a potential solution to this problem?

Simple -- you retrain people for other work when their job is (being) eliminated. This is one of the reasons why a broad education base is so critical to an economy: People with a reasonable breadth of knowledge are far more "cross-industry mobile". Yes the training does cost taxpayer money, as does every investment in a nation, but it brings a nice ROI. Everyone pays everyone benefits.

/at least that's what to do if we want to maintain a vibrant economy


Socialism.
 
2013-01-28 05:03:13 PM  
Mr. Whipple approves.

2.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-01-28 05:03:59 PM  

newton: They don't seem to notice that one programmer can take out thousands of jobs.


That is exactly the idea.

Who is feeding the factory workers you just laid off with your robots?

More robots. Taking the manual labor out of agriculture is already a 95% done deal. Have a look at the trend in agricultural employment in the US over the last 100 years. Your jaw will hit the floor.

ajgeek: Idle hands and all that.


Again, compared to the way our ancestors lived and worked, we're 95% of the way there. Eliminating the last 5% of the need for human labor won't be that big a deal.
 
2013-01-28 05:04:06 PM  

StrandedInAZ: It sounds like you're the exception to what I've seen. None of my friends who have kids spank their kids. None of them. And, believe me, you can tell. Most of them say they would, but they're so afraid of their kid going to school and reporting them or calling CPS on them or something.

My girlfriend's daughter dropped an f-bomb on her recently. When my girlfriend told me what happened (we were on the phone), I asked my girlfriend if her daughter still had all her teeth. My mom would have KILLED me for that. Hell, I still don't swear when I'm around my folks, and I'm 40!


Some things require corporal punishment for a child under 10 to understand.. At least that was my feeling going into parenting. The last time I spanked him was about 2 years ago when he called my girlfriend a whore - take it in context - my X-Wife called her that and I'm sure he picked up on it. Anyway I tore his ass up and he lost his TV for a month and was grounded in his room for a solid week. I don't fark around when it comes to punishments. As a result though he really is a loving and caring child and fully appreciates and understands his limits. My mom though.. She used to make me pull my pants down and then she would spank me with a belt between 10-15 times and make me count. If I was crying too hard to say the number properly she would say "redo" and belt me again. I turned out just fine ha.
 
2013-01-28 05:04:41 PM  

kindms: Cyno01: Another Government Employee: azmoviez: cman: Is losing a job to a machine really such a bad thing? I really dont understand why people are pissed off of technological progress.

If you had made a career out of being a travel agent, I could imagine you'd be pissed that your livelihood is gone in a matter of just a few years. There's really not much of a grace period when technology just overwhelms the industry that you work.  Ask Borders.

I see the change happening with major grocery and retail workers right now in a big hurry.

It would have happened already if customer acceptance had been better. The software is out there.

Automatic checkouts as they are SUUUUUUUCK. For whatever reason the UI is crap compared to what actual cashiers have. BUT, its a stepping stone. Give it a few years for the RFID tag to replace the UPC and stores wont even HAVE checkouts anymore, youll just bag up your shiat at the front of the store and walk out, everything in your cart automatically being totaled up and charged to your card. Sure you still need stockboys and a few people on the floor, but thats hundreds of thousands of entry level no skill cashiering jobs that will just be GONE.

The only thing holding back automation in tons of industries is that its still cheaper to pay someone $8 an hour to do it. But automation will always get cheaper, and the benefits of being able to work 24/7 without a break, or needing health care, or even training make it a very attractive option.

They already do this. You can grab a scan gun when you walk in to the grocery store and scan as you put stuff in your cart. We don't have it in NY where I am but my mom in CT does. She says they get audited (in store check cart vs. receipt) every so often.


That would be nice, but I can see that ending VERY badly for the grocery stores in Alabama. Hell, The Wal-Marts here had to shut down self-checkout, guess why..
 
2013-01-28 05:05:43 PM  
When there is no enough work to go around the haves will have to support the have-nots or they latter will brain them and feast on the gooey results.
 
2013-01-28 05:06:11 PM  

kindms: WAR


Huh.
Good God, y'all.
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothin'.
 
2013-01-28 05:06:30 PM  
Everyone's missing the obvious solution here:

WE CAN FINALLY SEND ALL OF THE WOMEN HOME AGAIN.
 
2013-01-28 05:07:25 PM  
It's really simple. If your job involves sitting or standing in one place doing the same thing over and over again you're going to be replaced by a machine. If your only interaction with the product of your employer is visual then you're going to be replaced by a machine. If you don't understand why said machines are going to replace you then you're dumber than said machine. If you think somebody should take care of you after a machine replaces you then you deserve to be fuel for that machine.

You either evolve or face extinction.
 
2013-01-28 05:08:10 PM  

nmemkha: When there is no enough work to go around the haves will have to support the have-nots or they latter will brain them and feast on the gooey results.


The have-nots probably should have thought about that before electing politicians who push gun control.
 
2013-01-28 05:08:25 PM  

Nemo's Brother: ajgeek:
/and no, sending everyone to China won't help either.

That was all I had.


Which is ironic, because China is where white Americans usually turned when they wanted humans that they could work like machines.
/oh don't look at me like that, it's true and you know it
 
2013-01-28 05:09:21 PM  

LineNoise: Everyone's missing the obvious solution here:

WE CAN FINALLY SEND ALL OF THE WOMEN HOME AGAIN.


Some men would love to be stay at home dads too. If only they could find a society that doesn't look at them like lazy, slovenly, deadbeats for doing so.
 
2013-01-28 05:09:55 PM  
Friend of mine used to run a billiards parlor.  It wasn't doing well so he sold it to some sucker.  He "retrained" for a job in the natural gas industry.

The job:  driving a company truck from one well to another; checking gauges and monitoring systems.  If something  was out of whack, he didn't fix it; he just reported it and drove on to the next well.  He went home every night.

$90,000 a year.
 
2013-01-28 05:09:59 PM  

ajgeek: Does anyone smarter than me have a potential solution to this problem? Obviously we can't generate work for work's sake and not everyone can fix the machines that do work for us, but we're getting to a point where we are going to have an excess of human labor. This is both real and very serious. Idle hands and all that.

/and no, sending everyone to China won't help either.


Socialism, welfare, etc...
 
2013-01-28 05:11:31 PM  

StrandedInAZ: That's funny.


Yeah, it is. It's not like they suddenly started dropping f-bombs left and right, but they (especially my dad) don't necessarily feel the need to hold back anymore. But only with me, as far as I can tell (I'm the oldest). I'm comfortable around my dad, but it still feels weird when I accidentally let one fly around my mom, and even weirder when she doesn't even blink. Especially when I got slapped the first time I dropped a 'shiat' with her (at 19!). I wasn't really even swearing at anything in particular, I just referred to the handle above the passenger door in my car as an 'oh shiat barSMACK'.

StrandedInAZ: As an Army vet (who curses like a sailor normally), it's astonishing to me that I can turn it off the instant I'm around them.


I was never in the military, but I've worked and played around a bunch of people who were (including a truly creative retired SEAL), and that still gets shut off until I have a few beers under my belt. The oldest sister hears some if I'm pissed about something (I try not to cuss around her, but I don't worry too much if I do), oldest brother hears (and says) everything, youngest brother and sister pretty much get the same treatment as my folks. I'm not worried about their sensitive little ears, but the mental block is there just the same.
 
2013-01-28 05:11:55 PM  

Seige101: The guy is 66, he should of retired and let someone else have the cake job. I am actually surprised they still have traditional meter readers. Around here they drive by in a van with a few antennas on the roof and read the whole neighborhood in like 5 minutes. In a few years i expect the meter to beam the data back to the mother-ship power company servers in real time.


The power and gas company just got around to replacing my whole neighborhoods meters with new ones that allow them to do that about six months ago.

Older neighborhoods like mine typically take a lot longer for new technology to filter out to them. For example I still can't get DSL where I'm living at.
 
2013-01-28 05:12:06 PM  
Is it so hard to envision a future where working for a living is no longer the norm and everyone is afforded a basic standard of living via a guaranteed minimum income?
 
2013-01-28 05:12:18 PM  

xynix: Anyway I tore his ass up


Don't ask, don't tell, bro.
 
2013-01-28 05:12:40 PM  
Watch "How it's made" on Science Channel sometime.

Imagine all those food productions lines back when they were manual. Oreos were hand assembled. Snickers were made by union members on giant temperature control tables. People manually filling corn starch trays, pressing in shapes, and filling the indents with hot goo. Hershey kisses were wrapped by hand.

If you have a repetitive job or one that can be replaced by a wireless sensor you need to look for a new line of work NOW. I'd recommend getting in the line of installing the thing that's going to replace you.
 
2013-01-28 05:13:19 PM  

ajgeek: Does anyone smarter than me have a potential solution to this problem? Obviously we can't generate work for work's sake and not everyone can fix the machines that do work for us, but we're getting to a point where we are going to have an excess of human labor. This is both real and very serious. Idle hands and all that.

/and no, sending everyone to China won't help either.


But we *do* generate work for work's sake. If all that was needed was to feed, cloth and shelter everyone, human progress would've stopped decades ago. We've well gone past the threshold of being able to provide all the basic necessities of every human being in the world. We're currently spinning wheels to make life ever-more luxurious.

What else do you call fashion designers but "work for work's sake"? Are new styles of clothing really needed?

What about smartphones, ever faster computers, etc.?

Granted, there are many still real problems out there -- uneven distribution of resources, certain diseases, etc. And we can always throw all of human effort towards all of the tangential developments that can help towards those. All those faster computers, for instance, make it possible to simulate protein folding in an effort to understand (and eventually cure) cancer. Ever-faster image computational devices allow machine-assisted surgery, which significantly improves on survival rates.

My point is that there are always areas that we can create jobs that, from an outsider, seems entirely useless. So long as there are some things that needs a human.
 
2013-01-28 05:13:32 PM  

kindms: The only thing holding back automation in tons of industries is that its still cheaper to pay someone $8 an hour to do it.


I work for a company that sells automation, and at the bottom of each sales proposal we have a line that says "This machine works for $X an hour." It's nearly always less than you'd have to pay a person to do the same job, and not as well as the machine will do it.

Getting a kick out of TFA and this thread, since my job is taking away other people's jobs.
 
2013-01-28 05:13:47 PM  

there4igraham: You either evolve or face extinction.


This is the kind of first rate mind I want developing the future.
 
kab
2013-01-28 05:14:00 PM  

Kaiku: Is it so hard to envision a future where working for a living is no longer the norm and everyone is afforded a basic standard of living via a guaranteed minimum income?


For a lot of people, yes, this is entirely unacceptable.

/would personally dig it.
 
2013-01-28 05:14:59 PM  
 
2013-01-28 05:15:12 PM  
I always think of Patton Oswalt's sketch on grocery store robots whenever I hear about this classic modern conundrum.

Also:
2.bp.blogspot.com

I'm doing water treatment and environmental science. We use lots of technology to test water, soil and air, but you still need humans to go out and collect the samples, run the SCADA chemical dispensing systems and write up the reports.

You have to look for jobs that are impossible for computers to do. Anything involving creativity, reasoning, interpreting of data, or going to remote sites with no infrastructure will need people. The legal system, scientific, education, health care and beauty industries have jobs that machines could never do. Manufacturing, natural resource extraction, anything involving tracking and filing inventory and data, forget it.
 
2013-01-28 05:15:51 PM  

there4igraham: It's really simple. If your job involves sitting or standing in one place doing the same thing over and over again you're going to be replaced by a machine. If your only interaction with the product of your employer is visual then you're going to be replaced by a machine. If you don't understand why said machines are going to replace you then you're dumber than said machine. If you think somebody should take care of you after a machine replaces you then you deserve to be fuel for that machine.

You either evolve or face extinction.


Machines are the sum products of all the advancements and engineering and science by the brightest minds in human history. To assume that the average Joe can beat that and earn a living is cruel and laughable.

Technological advancement is a means to improve the lives of humans. If it no longer serves that purpose, it should be culled.
 
2013-01-28 05:15:57 PM  

there4igraham: If your job involves sitting or standing in one place doing the same thing over and over again you're going to be replaced by a machine.


That might not happen as soon as you might be thinking. There's a lot of repetitive tasks in manufacturing that are still fiddly enough to keep machines from doing the job at the moment, and from what I've seen (I'll admit I don't follow it as close anymore) they aren't really very close to solving the problem. Picking up a small part from a pile of other small parts, orienting it correctly and placing it in a jig, then removing it and putting it back in a pile isn't as easy for robots as it is for humans. Yet.
 
2013-01-28 05:15:58 PM  

Kaiku: Is it so hard to envision a future where working for a living is no longer the norm and everyone is afforded a basic standard of living via a guaranteed minimum income?


Yes.

I know several otherwise pretty progressive people that balk at the idea of providing such a thing.

//I'm OK with it.
 
2013-01-28 05:16:04 PM  
Drinkin' Again

Man...my woman done left me

Damn

I got laid off

shiat

They say a computer can do my job better then I can damn do it!

Motherfarkers

Man, pour me another drink

I feel ya

Break
 
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