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(Slashdot)   Google's self-driving car could destroy the middle class. Bet you didn't see *that* one coming   (slashdot.org) divider line 55
    More: Interesting, Google, Google Ventures, Uber, speculative fiction, knowledge workers, regulatory body, adaptability, cars  
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5465 clicks; posted to Geek » on 26 Aug 2013 at 5:48 PM (48 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-08-26 05:21:56 PM
Hell of a day, isn't it?

s11.postimg.org
 
2013-08-26 05:47:38 PM
There's a middle class?
 
2013-08-26 05:50:05 PM
Former drivers will have to work security to prevent 'road pirate' from hijacking shipments from self driving cars.  Problem solved.
 
2013-08-26 05:56:17 PM
Those are middle class jobs?

We have to face the facts.  As automation creeps into more and more facets of life, we need to figure out what people will do.

If the automated burger line ever gets cheaper than hiring someone for minimum wage, that's going to hurt a lot of people.
 
2013-08-26 05:57:38 PM
But if this happens, how will Zorg be able to cool down an overheating economy?
 
2013-08-26 06:02:11 PM
Navi-geddon?
 
2013-08-26 06:04:02 PM

meat0918: We have to face the facts. As automation creeps into more and more facets of life, we need to figure out what people will do.


As soon as we figure out how to automate lawyers, accountants and CEOs. Until then, just deal with it. The much vaunted "productivity" you supposedly get from technology somehow never ends up in your hands.
 
2013-08-26 06:04:43 PM
Obvious tag on vacation?
 
2013-08-26 06:06:03 PM

Mugato: There's a middle class?




They're the ones that don't think they are slaves.
 
2013-08-26 06:12:19 PM
Google must have stolen this innovation from Apple again. Darn Google.
 
2013-08-26 06:20:40 PM
Wasn't it just a few years ago that a computer controlled vehicle could barely navigate a contest obstacle course?

/cannot remember what contest it was.
//there were several entries.
///I think only 1 managed to finish and that well outside the time limit.
 
2013-08-26 06:32:08 PM

sparkeyjames: Wasn't it just a few years ago that a computer controlled vehicle could barely navigate a contest obstacle course?

/cannot remember what contest it was.
//there were several entries.
///I think only 1 managed to finish and that well outside the time limit.


You are probably referring to the 2004 version of this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DARPA_Grand_Challenge
 
2013-08-26 06:39:45 PM

Mugato: There's a middle class?


Nope.

i.imgur.com
 
2013-08-26 06:42:22 PM
Sounds a lot like the ATMOS system from Doctor Who.
 
2013-08-26 06:48:24 PM
Eventually we're going to have to stop and admit that not every soul in a society has to work to keep the society running. If people didn't have such a stick up their asses about every man, woman, and child justifying their right to live via mindless meaningless tasks we'd all be better off.

Automation is a blessing. Let it do its thing so people can go enjoy the short time they have on this Earth.
 
2013-08-26 06:52:42 PM

Esroc: Eventually we're going to have to stop and admit that not every soul in a society has to work to keep the society running. If people didn't have such a stick up their asses about every man, woman, and child justifying their right to live via mindless meaningless tasks we'd all be better off.

Automation is a blessing. Let it do its thing so people can go enjoy the short time they have on this Earth.


If people had free time, they might get an idea of whats going on and start to get angry about it. Better to keep them working 50 hours a week to keep food on the table.
 
2013-08-26 06:58:15 PM

Esroc: Eventually we're going to have to stop and admit that not every soul in a society has to work to keep the society running. If people didn't have such a stick up their asses about every man, woman, and child justifying their right to live via mindless meaningless tasks we'd all be better off.

Automation is a blessing. Let it do its thing so people can go enjoy the short time they have on this Earth.


Back in the 60s, they thought we'd all have 20 hour work weeks, but still get paid just as much. The corporations said, "Hell no! We'll get one guy to do the work of two, and pay him 25% less, because now "the computer does all the work," and if he doesn't like it, there's thousands of out-of-work people who can take his job!"
 
2013-08-26 07:03:16 PM

bingethinker: Esroc: Eventually we're going to have to stop and admit that not every soul in a society has to work to keep the society running. If people didn't have such a stick up their asses about every man, woman, and child justifying their right to live via mindless meaningless tasks we'd all be better off.

Automation is a blessing. Let it do its thing so people can go enjoy the short time they have on this Earth.

Back in the 60s, they thought we'd all have 20 hour work weeks, but still get paid just as much. The corporations said, "Hell no! We'll get one guy to do the work of two, and pay him 25% less, because now "the computer does all the work," and if he doesn't like it, there's thousands of out-of-work people who can take his job!"


Yes, but that isn't automation's fault. That's the fault of the upper classes who hold on the cards and won't let everyone else join their little club. Because then it wouldn't be a club anymore and they'd no longer be special and powerful.
 
2013-08-26 07:28:50 PM
Automation is not the problem. Unrealistic expectations and slave labor conditions created by employers aren't the problem. A failing education system isn't the problem.

The real problem is overpopulation. Our societal framework has changed. At the same time that our world no longer needs drooling masses of unskilled workers, circumstances are creating drooling masses of unskilled workers.

There's a pretty simple solution to this problem. It's called population control. STOP BREEDING. It's that simple. We don't have to euthanize anyone, we don't have to make questionable decisions about who gets to live and who has to die, we just need real sex ed, visible and affordable (or free) sterilization options, and more advocacy and less stigmatization of adoption and fostering.
 
2013-08-26 07:33:02 PM
Yes, subby, this will "destroy the middle class" the same way that not needing guys on the street to shovel horse poop caused the great depression.
 
2013-08-26 07:34:34 PM
The corporation of the future

sweasel.files.wordpress.com

A single employee to a single manager pushing the buttons to keep the machinery working.

Actually, the future is probably full of artisanal production. Hey, if women are willing to pay $200 for that perfect pair of jeans I bet custom fitted jeans made by someone who's happy to make $600-$800 a week knocking out a few pair of exceptional jeans is about to emerge.

In the end, remember that humans are orthogonally robust. We can reason our way out of unexpected and unusual events to an extent that androids probably won't replace plumbers and mechanics, although they might be capable assistants.
 
2013-08-26 07:43:43 PM
No vehicles that don't have passengers allowed on the road.  Fixed.
 
2013-08-26 07:54:07 PM

meat0918: Those are middle class jobs?

We have to face the facts.  As automation creeps into more and more facets of life, we need to figure out what people will do.

If the automated burger line ever gets cheaper than hiring someone for minimum wage, that's going to hurt a lot of people.


This... when did unskilled labor jobs become middle class?
 
2013-08-26 07:58:40 PM

Esroc: Eventually we're going to have to stop and admit that not every soul in a society has to work to keep the society running. If people didn't have such a stick up their asses about every man, woman, and child justifying their right to live via mindless meaningless tasks we'd all be better off.

Automation is a blessing. Let it do its thing so people can go enjoy the short time they have on this Earth.


Yup, but have you ever tried raising that issue with people? I tried a few times at work, big BIG mistake.
 
2013-08-26 08:01:04 PM
Regardless of what you do, if the only reason you still have a job is because you're cheaper than the computer/robot that could replace you, you should start figuring out something else to do because it's just a matter of time.
 
2013-08-26 08:39:03 PM

Fear the Clam: Regardless of what you do, if the only reason you still have a job is because you're cheaper than the computer/robot that could replace you, you should start figuring out something else to do because it's just a matter of time.


Darwin approves of this message.
 
2013-08-26 09:01:10 PM
www.productivitybits.com
 
2013-08-26 09:06:15 PM

Esroc: Eventually we're going to have to stop and admit that not every soul in a society has to work to keep the society running.


Or better yet, society can run just fine if every person puts in just 20-30 hours of work per week, leaving more leisure time for family, self-betterment, or artistic pursuits.

Not likely to happen, though, because it would necessarily mean a reduction in income (or at least purchasing power) to the people who are working 60+ hours per week.
 
2013-08-26 09:33:04 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: meat0918: We have to face the facts. As automation creeps into more and more facets of life, we need to figure out what people will do.

As soon as we figure out how to automate lawyers, accountants and CEOs. Until then, just deal with it. The much vaunted "productivity" you supposedly get from technology somehow never ends up in your hands.


See, you say that...

Lawyers are being automated. Much of accounting is already automated. I would expect a properly programmed computer could do a better job than most CEO's for many tasks already.

Much of what we take for granted today will certainly be taken care of by computers and robots in the future.
 
2013-08-26 09:33:15 PM
Neither Slashdot nor NYTimes articles explained in any way how self-driving cars were going to destroy the middle class.  Taxi drivers and delivery drivers, sure, but how the middle class was going to be destroyed by robocars wasn't covered.

i43.tinypic.com
 
2013-08-26 09:36:40 PM
Fark threw away my WSJ link about lawyers being automated, so here's a different one.
And one about computers moving into the realm of reporting (they're already writing stories in newspapers for us). And another one about computers doing sports reporting.
 
2013-08-26 09:37:14 PM

GilRuiz1: Neither Slashdot nor NYTimes articles explained in any way how self-driving cars were going to destroy the middle class.  Taxi drivers and delivery drivers, sure, but how the middle class was going to be destroyed by robocars wasn't covered.

[400x400 from http://i43.tinypic.com/30k4uxc.jpg image 400x400]


Are the police middle class?  This will end revenue generation off DUIs and other vehicular violations.  Cops will have to find their meal ticket off of other "violations".
 
2013-08-26 09:47:02 PM

meat0918: Those are middle class jobs?

We have to face the facts.  As automation creeps into more and more facets of life, we need to figure out what people will do.

If the automated burger line ever gets cheaper than hiring someone for minimum wage, that's going to hurt a lot of people.


images.gizmag.com
 
2013-08-26 09:57:36 PM
This isn't new. Throughout history some jobs have become obsolete, and those people need to find new skills. It's the price you pay for being average.
 
2013-08-26 10:23:41 PM

Alexei Novikov: Automation is not the problem. Unrealistic expectations and slave labor conditions created by employers aren't the problem. A failing education system isn't the problem.

The real problem is overpopulation. Our societal framework has changed. At the same time that our world no longer needs drooling masses of unskilled workers, circumstances are creating drooling masses of unskilled workers.

There's a pretty simple solution to this problem. It's called population control. STOP BREEDING. It's that simple. We don't have to euthanize anyone, we don't have to make questionable decisions about who gets to live and who has to die, we just need real sex ed, visible and affordable (or free) sterilization options, and more advocacy and less stigmatization of adoption and fostering.



Approves (NSFW)
 
2013-08-26 11:13:07 PM
I'm not entirely certain why automated cars would be a negative...

Some of the positives I can think of immediately would be:

1. Allow poorer people that can't afford a car to have access to one for a minor fee

2. Faster travel to and fro since all the cars would be communicating and the flow of traffic should basically be efficient as hell

3. Allow the elderly easy access to get places

4. Pretty much kill the concept of drunk driving (and I assume lower the rate of hitting people)

5. Allow for doing things on the way and from work instead of focusing on driving (that hour a day or more some people spend driving would certainly be used better)
 
2013-08-26 11:17:06 PM

Alexei Novikov: Automation is not the problem. Unrealistic expectations and slave labor conditions created by employers aren't the problem. A failing education system isn't the problem.

The real problem is overpopulation. Our societal framework has changed. At the same time that our world no longer needs drooling masses of unskilled workers, circumstances are creating drooling masses of unskilled workers.

There's a pretty simple solution to this problem. It's called population control. STOP BREEDING. It's that simple. We don't have to euthanize anyone, we don't have to make questionable decisions about who gets to live and who has to die, we just need real sex ed, visible and affordable (or free) sterilization options, and more advocacy and less stigmatization of adoption and fostering.


To get them to stop breeding, we'd need to make healthcare and contraception universally--globally--available.  Good luck changing  thosesocial mores.  And that doesn't solve the problem of the people who are already here, as well as the fact that certain jobs just aren't going to be necessary (and thus available) in the future, meaning we're going to have to work a lot less while continuing to sustain ourselves.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." - H. L. Mencken
 
2013-08-26 11:22:27 PM
Good thing I inherited my great-grandpappy's buggy whip manufacturing plant.  I'm set for life!
 
2013-08-26 11:33:43 PM
Unfortunately in rural America, as farming jobs become more automated, and regular people move to cities to try to find a way to make a living, we have a quiet scourge moving in that reproduces like rabbits and gobbles up all available land.

They are... the Amish.

They depress the local economy by dealing mainly only amongst themselves, and make it harder for regular Americans to get modern services that are available in metro areas, like cellphone coverage and high speed Internet.

Good luck getting the Amish to control their population numbers. They are willfully ignorant of the environmental and societal issues facing the rest of us, and only educate themselves up to about an 8th grade level, and even then only in the most basic skills of reading, writing, and math.

When it comes to their impact on the environment, the "old fashioned horse 'n buggy" image you see on the road is mostly a sham. At home they use high-polluting small gas engines and kerosine/gas mantle lighting, to do the same jobs that the rest of us are doing with more efficient centralized power.

Rural areas of America are eventually going to become a sea of exploding populations of Amish, as they continue to pop out babies at a rate of 5-10 per family, and there is eventually no available land for their children to take over and "homestead".
 
2013-08-26 11:50:19 PM
Part of the problem with the "middle class" is the definition of the term itself.

We are only losing middle class jobs if you use the inflated grouping/definition of middle class work that was prevelant in the US in the 50s through the 90s.

In short, many of the middle class jobs (police officer, mechanic, construction worker, auto worker, etc) are not part of the traditional definition of middle class, which had been the realm of the professional/educated careers (doctor, lawyer, architect, middle management, entrepreneur, scientists, teachers).

The United States had been lucky post WW2 to be the only true economic superpower, so there was much surplus wealth in the nation, due to a lack of any real competition. We were not only the biggest market, we were also the only supplier, and the only delivery system. That, obviously, is not the status quo of the world anymore. We 'enjoyed it while it lasted', as it were.

No, we haven't 'lost' middle class jobs, we are just reverting back to the traditional definition. In a world economy with stiff competition and market places we no longer maintain full control over, we have to accept that we can no longer pay service, labor, and manufacturing jobs at the middle class level.
 
2013-08-26 11:53:50 PM

Fooby: Unfortunately in rural America, as farming jobs become more automated, and regular people move to cities to try to find a way to make a living, we have a quiet scourge moving in that reproduces like rabbits and gobbles up all available land.

They are... the Amish.

They depress the local economy by dealing mainly only amongst themselves, and make it harder for regular Americans to get modern services that are available in metro areas, like cellphone coverage and high speed Internet.

Good luck getting the Amish to control their population numbers. They are willfully ignorant of the environmental and societal issues facing the rest of us, and only educate themselves up to about an 8th grade level, and even then only in the most basic skills of reading, writing, and math.

When it comes to their impact on the environment, the "old fashioned horse 'n buggy" image you see on the road is mostly a sham. At home they use high-polluting small gas engines and kerosine/gas mantle lighting, to do the same jobs that the rest of us are doing with more efficient centralized power.

Rural areas of America are eventually going to become a sea of exploding populations of Amish, as they continue to pop out babies at a rate of 5-10 per family, and there is eventually no available land for their children to take over and "homestead".


We have the same problem here in New York City, except we call them Hasidics. Almost word for word to you post, too.
 
2013-08-27 12:33:00 AM
Argh, since I'm living in a major Amish population center, I feel I have to defend them now even though I'm pretty sure that was a troll comment.  (Lancaster, PA)

The Amish are generally cool people, and they lose a fairly large amount of their kids because of Rumsprigga, and unless you're in the field of quilt making, barn raising, or selling your produce at the local farmer's market, your job is safe.  They do cheat their farking tax returns like crazy, and hoard cash money though.  So if you're going to biatch about them, stick with that.

The Amish are probably half the reason we even have a taxi service in this county.  Granted, they ride like 8 to a single mini-van taxi, but at least they pay back in.  The Mennonites around here piss me off more than the Amish around here.  They cheat their taxes, find a reason to justify using current technology, and still act like righteous dock holes, and oh yeah, breed like rabbits.

/rant off
 
2013-08-27 06:50:05 AM

poot_rootbeer: Esroc: Eventually we're going to have to stop and admit that not every soul in a society has to work to keep the society running.

Or better yet, society can run just fine if every person puts in just 20-30 hours of work per week, leaving more leisure time for family, self-betterment, or artistic pursuits.

Not likely to happen, though, because it would necessarily mean a reduction in income (or at least purchasing power) to the people who are working 60+ hours per week.


But most of those types of jobs that actually do any work are under-paid already. There are plenty of management jobs that justify their pay by claiming similar hours, but the vast majority of "management" work is unnecessary bs, particularly in the office work environment. It's absolutely ridiculous that your average copy-editor has 5 or 6 functionaries looking over their shoulder everyday, insisting that be "in the loop" of approving their work before it goes on to the actual boss, while your average car repair shop is owned by one guy and staffed by 20-30. Outside of "blue-collar" work, there is such an absurd inflation of management, and most of it purely nepotistic considering that it is now common knowledge that the vast majority of "job openings" aren't really "open" at all, being already staffed but made public for the sake of appearances.

Get rid of those jobs and you could afford to pay actual workers more, but since their employment has far less to do with the needs of business and far more to do with ego and perpetuating the upper-class that's not likely to happen.
 
2013-08-27 07:42:22 AM

Heron: But most of those types of jobs that actually do any work are under-paid already. There are plenty of management jobs that justify their pay by claiming similar hours, but the vast majority of "management" work is unnecessary bs, particularly in the office work environment.


As a manger I agree way too much of my time is spent on BS.

Like having to deal with unionized employees who will claim that they don't need supervision but double their break whenever a supervisor isn't around or go outside and smoke for the last half hour of their shift while waiting for the punch clock. If we didn't have to deal with unproductive assholes we could spend our time on things that actually mattered like improving processes and upgrading equipment.
 
2013-08-27 07:58:04 AM
No one's going to ride in a slow-ass cab that obeys traffic laws.
 
2013-08-27 09:15:59 AM
You will never have a database clean enough to support a self driving vehicle. It would also require standardized markings for construction sites at all levels and in all jurisdictions. The politics of that would make it impossible. You will always have a couple of DoTs that will be contrary just to make a point.

I drove a big rig for a bit, now I drive a cargo van over the road. I also have a MS in geographic information science. There is no database available that can get you to specific properties. Even TIGER, the USGS files used by the post office, doesn't match the actual property lines exactly and in some areas they are off by a block or more. Google Maps is good but they also can be off by far more distance than a single residential plot.

This is something where less than perfect is going to be unacceptable. Otherwise the vehicle is a danger to everyone else. And I would never trust a company that insisted their database was that dependable. The human element always adds error. And in the case of self-driving cars, an error would be likely to be undetected because the occupants are doing something else. Boom, machine-responsible accident. No same insurance company should touch a self-driving car for a long, long time. That will make them unsellable.
 
2013-08-27 09:29:15 AM
Yeah I did. Automation is coming for the middle class. While middle and upper management jobs may be the last to go, they will eventually go. All ready AI and Expert Systems can make faster, better, decisions and handle more paperwork then 90% of all middle managers. The future is obvious, if you are not a creative type a content creator then you are going to fall out of the middle class.

The real question is not will this happen, but how will the US respond. Right now we are resistant to the welfare state, but when most of us are no longer needed what then? Do we allow hundreds of millions of people to exist at near starvation levels so the 1% can have nearly unlimited wealth or do we force those 1% to share?
 
2013-08-27 09:59:47 AM

meat0918: Those are middle class jobs?

We have to face the facts.  As automation creeps into more and more facets of life, we need to figure out what people will do.

If the automated burger line ever gets cheaper than hiring someone for minimum wage, that's going to hurt a lot of people.


I think about this a lot. Not everyone can handle a high-skill job. What happens to all the people currently doing simple labor for a living? What jobs will teenagers be able to get?

And don't get me started on the technological www.educationfutures.comsingularity. One a computer system can design a slightly smarter computer system we are cooked.
 
2013-08-27 10:03:58 AM

Alexei Novikov: Automation is not the problem. Unrealistic expectations and slave labor conditions created by employers aren't the problem. A failing education system isn't the problem.

The real problem is overpopulation. Our societal framework has changed. At the same time that our world no longer needs drooling masses of unskilled workers, circumstances are creating drooling masses of unskilled workers.

There's a pretty simple solution to this problem. It's called population control. STOP BREEDING. It's that simple. We don't have to euthanize anyone, we don't have to make questionable decisions about who gets to live and who has to die, we just need real sex ed, visible and affordable (or free) sterilization options, and more advocacy and less stigmatization of adoption and fostering.


It would help if religions stopped preaching the gospel of "go forth an multiply like farking rabbits" and "birf control is teh debil"
 
2013-08-27 10:56:58 AM
The technology underlying Google's "moonshot" project could radically change industries that currently depend on human labor.

The end-goal of ALL technology is to radically change industries that currently depend on human labor.
 
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