If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Mother Jones)   Enjoying your three day weekend? Don't worry--in twenty years or so, your job will be performed by unpaid robots, so all your days will be days off. Enjoy the barbecue   (motherjones.com) divider line 108
    More: Sad, Tyler Cowen  
•       •       •

1585 clicks; posted to Business » on 31 Aug 2013 at 10:27 AM (47 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



108 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Last | Show all
 
2013-08-31 10:44:53 AM
At the present time, robots are capable of doing one or two very specific tasks with a high degree of quality and reliability. Stuff like welding car unibodies on an assembly line, or filling containers to a pre-determined level with a product.

The leap from today's robots to robots with interpersonal skills that can handle multiple priorities and solve complex problems is not an insignificant one. Much like the Singularity, it will happen eventually, ceteris paribus. But I don't think it will happen anytime soon.
 
2013-08-31 11:03:22 AM
Pfffft whatever. I have been a full time student for seven years now and I am still a year and a half away from getting my B.A.

Like to see a robot pull that off.
 
2013-08-31 11:10:06 AM
As long as we have replicators and synthehol, I don't care.

/Seriously, FARK, up your image size limit.
 
2013-08-31 11:27:30 AM
I'm at the office so I'm getting a kick...

Spadababababababa Spadina Bus: The leap from today's robots to robots with interpersonal skills that can handle multiple priorities and solve complex problems is not an insignificant one


The vast majority of the jobs do not require handling multiple priorities, solving complex problems and would be done better if you didn't try to use your interpersonal skills. Most projects only need these things because people try to make things more difficult then they need to be. But if they didn't make them more difficult then they needed to be they wouldn't be able to praise themselves and bitach about the low wages. If they actually understood how easy and simple their jobs could be then they would have to deal with the crushing knowledge that they were over paid and could be replaced easily.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-08-31 11:29:10 AM

Spadababababababa Spadina Bus: At the present time, robots are capable of doing one or two very specific tasks with a high degree of quality and reliability. Stuff like welding car unibodies on an assembly line, or filling containers to a pre-determined level with a product.

The leap from today's robots to robots with interpersonal skills that can handle multiple priorities and solve complex problems is not an insignificant one. Much like the Singularity, it will happen eventually, ceteris paribus. But I don't think it will happen anytime soon.


Many jobs can be replaced by machines now.  There are already self service checkout lines that replace cashiers.  There are plans for RFID chips to replace bar codes so you don't even have to check out.

I think self driving trucks will replace most truck drivers.  Factories are becoming even more automated.

It's a slow process, but we are moving toward a point where there will be far fewer jobs than there are people. Either we create make-work jobs, or we have some sort of comprehensive welfare system or we have something like the movie Elysium.
 
2013-08-31 11:30:17 AM
Wouldn't be so bad if this was Gene Roddenbury's future vision of technology fixing many of society's ills (hunger, poverty, etc); but instead the wealthy's small penises (even the women) read Ayn Rand and decide their contest is getting themselves more rich than the other rich people, in order to show off, with no caring of who it hurts.
 
2013-08-31 11:30:21 AM
Contracting economy due to farking Boomers bowing out and dying off, technology simplifying jobs, it's a perfect storm of suck.

Plumbers still necessary.
 
2013-08-31 11:31:18 AM
But I have people skills!!!
 
2013-08-31 11:31:26 AM
I'd get my revenge on the robot by letting it.
 
2013-08-31 11:32:34 AM
When they build a robot that can put your car on a lift, remove the starter or alternator, take it over to a work bench, disassemble it, identify the failure, pull the appropriate replacement component(s) from stock, clean it, reassemble it, paint it, and replace it in your vehicle, I'll start to worry.  Until then I, along with my employees, will continue to make nice livings.  See?  People tend to not want to spend $500 at a dealership to have a defective starter/alternator replaced when I can do it for HALF that, often less, and give them the same warranty.

/ yes, my hands get dirty
// no, I didn't go to college
/// yes, I make more money than most of my contemporaries who did
//// bonus slashie; Pro-tip:  Learn a trade.  The automotive industry is starving for talent with computer backgrounds at the moment
 
2013-08-31 11:33:48 AM
Until they have machines that can program the other machines, I'm feeling pretty good.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-08-31 11:36:11 AM
This is an interesting read.  It's a review of Elysium but it looks at the socio-economic aspects.  It looks like this is what we are headding for to me.
 
2013-08-31 11:36:46 AM
Someone still has to design. build, program, install and repair the robots. I'm sure us humans will do fine.
 
2013-08-31 11:39:40 AM

ReapTheChaos: Someone still has to design. build, program, install and repair the robots. I'm sure us humans will do fine.


Someones got to sell them.

:)
 
2013-08-31 11:40:18 AM
Robotic capabilities of that level are quite a ways off but the general gist of the article makes sense - I find it very unlikely that the current (first world) status quo where most people work to earn money to support themselves would be maintained.

That level of technology would certainly create either a relative paradise or a living hell.  Guess it depends on what type of people control it when it becomes available.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-08-31 11:40:22 AM

ReapTheChaos: Someone still has to design. build, program, install and repair the robots. I'm sure us humans will do fine.


Yes, and how many people will that take?  Maybe 0.00001% of the population?  Certainly only the most talented and technically inclined.

I do think there will always be a demand for human butlers, maids and prostitutes, so it's not all bad.
 
2013-08-31 11:43:17 AM
Welcome to Elysium
 
2013-08-31 11:44:27 AM
My job in the future will be to occasionally press a single large red button.  When I get home I'll take my dog for a walk on a treadmill suspended over the 3 mile drop outside my apartment in the sky.  I will then wait for Jane to stop that crazy thing.
 
2013-08-31 12:00:30 PM
2525 is only twenty years away?
 
2013-08-31 12:00:41 PM

AllYourFarkAreBelongToMe: When they build a robot that can put your car on a lift, remove the starter or alternator, take it over to a work bench, disassemble it, identify the failure, pull the appropriate replacement component(s) from stock, clean it, reassemble it, paint it, and replace it in your vehicle, I'll start to worry.  Until then I, along with my employees, will continue to make nice livings.  See?  People tend to not want to spend $500 at a dealership to have a defective starter/alternator replaced when I can do it for HALF that, often less, and give them the same warranty.

/ yes, my hands get dirty
// no, I didn't go to college
/// yes, I make more money than most of my contemporaries who did
//// bonus slashie; Pro-tip:  Learn a trade.  The automotive industry is starving for talent with computer backgrounds at the moment


I can't imagine a robot taking apart and putting together a car.

Crazy.
 
2013-08-31 12:03:16 PM

vpb: It's a slow process, but we are moving toward a point where there will be far fewer jobs than there are people. Either we create make-work jobs, or we have some sort of comprehensive welfare system or we have something like the movie Elysium.


I think we already have more people than jobs, and the existence of subsistence farmers--people who manage to feed themselves (maybe) without having a "job"--covers the difference.  As subsistence becomes less and less possible--hey, that farmland could be used to grow sugar, chocolate, or cocaine--we are headed towards "Elysium" without the space program.
 
2013-08-31 12:04:47 PM

sendtodave: AllYourFarkAreBelongToMe: When they build a robot that can put your car on a lift, remove the starter or alternator, take it over to a work bench, disassemble it, identify the failure, pull the appropriate replacement component(s) from stock, clean it, reassemble it, paint it, and replace it in your vehicle, I'll start to worry.  Until then I, along with my employees, will continue to make nice livings.  See?  People tend to not want to spend $500 at a dealership to have a defective starter/alternator replaced when I can do it for HALF that, often less, and give them the same warranty.

/ yes, my hands get dirty
// no, I didn't go to college
/// yes, I make more money than most of my contemporaries who did
//// bonus slashie; Pro-tip:  Learn a trade.  The automotive industry is starving for talent with computer backgrounds at the moment

I can't imagine a robot taking apart and putting together a car.

Crazy.


Yeah, with all due respect to sendtodave all of that sounds very automation-friendly, at least with the help of cars designed with the automation of that kind of maintenance in mind.
 
2013-08-31 12:08:49 PM

Wireless Joe: As long as we have replicators and synthehol, I don't care.

/Seriously, FARK, up your image size limit.


It's not 1998 anymore?
 
2013-08-31 12:09:51 PM

Fizpez: Robotic capabilities of that level are quite a ways off but the general gist of the article makes sense - I find it very unlikely that the current (first world) status quo where most people work to earn money to support themselves would be maintained.

That level of technology would certainly create either a relative paradise or a living hell.  Guess it depends on what type of people control it when it becomes available.




Yep and that's why we will cheer when the first emperor ascends his God-given throne.
 
2013-08-31 12:10:59 PM

flondrix: vpb: It's a slow process, but we are moving toward a point where there will be far fewer jobs than there are people. Either we create make-work jobs, or we have some sort of comprehensive welfare system or we have something like the movie Elysium.

I think we already have more people than jobs, and the existence of subsistence farmers--people who manage to feed themselves (maybe) without having a "job"--covers the difference.  As subsistence becomes less and less possible--hey, that farmland could be used to grow sugar, chocolate, or cocaine--we are headed towards "Elysium" without the space program.


Once the vast ranks of peons are eliminated from the mass-manufacturing equation, who the fark is going to buy the products of said manufacturing?  Rich people by fewer things--more expensive things, but they still aren't the primary driver of the economy.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-08-31 12:13:04 PM

flondrix: I think we already have more people than jobs, and the existence of subsistence farmers--people who manage to feed themselves (maybe) without having a "job"--covers the difference.  As subsistence becomes less and less possible--hey, that farmland could be used to grow sugar, chocolate, or cocaine--we are headed towards "Elysium" without the space program.


Now that I think of it, the industrialized nations ARE Elysium relative to the third world.  We even have the immigration laws to keep the poors out while we scarf up their raw materials and use them for cheap labor.

In the future i think it's going to be more about class than geography because of globalization.  If you aren't exceptionally talented or born into the right family then you will be an peasant.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-08-31 12:25:22 PM

Yankees Team Gynecologist: Once the vast ranks of peons are eliminated from the mass-manufacturing equation, who the fark is going to buy the products of said manufacturing?  Rich people by fewer things--more expensive things, but they still aren't the primary driver of the economy.


That's because we have a consumer economy.  If you look at it from a world perspective we already have a minority of people living well at the expense of the rest.

Even if we could industrialize the entire world there aren't enough resources for everyone to live as well as the developed world does.   That is slowly happening and as it does where you live becomes less important and who owns the industry becomes more important.
 
2013-08-31 12:27:41 PM
Coding and networking are no-brainers for computer logic. Computer lawyers. Surgeons are will have no place in the future due to the precision of robots. Construction, forget it.
 
2013-08-31 12:29:53 PM
As long as we are set up for a post scarcity economy I dont have a problem with this. Status will eventually be based on participation and ingenuity not how many resources you hoard.

Just the logical next step towards the singularity.
 
2013-08-31 12:30:22 PM

AllYourFarkAreBelongToMe: When they build a robot that can put your car on a lift, remove the starter or alternator, take it over to a work bench, disassemble it, identify the failure, pull the appropriate replacement component(s) from stock, clean it, reassemble it, paint it, and replace it in your vehicle, I'll start to worry.  Until then I, along with my employees, will continue to make nice livings.  See?  People tend to not want to spend $500 at a dealership to have a defective starter/alternator replaced when I can do it for HALF that, often less, and give them the same warranty.

/ yes, my hands get dirty
// no, I didn't go to college
/// yes, I make more money than most of my contemporaries who did
//// bonus slashie; Pro-tip:  Learn a trade.  The automotive industry is starving for talent with computer backgrounds at the moment


You are assuming that in 20 years cars will be still be run on fossil fuels.  The way tech is advancing, that seems unlikely.
 
2013-08-31 12:32:36 PM

Yankees Team Gynecologist: Once the vast ranks of peons are eliminated from the mass-manufacturing equation, who the fark is going to buy the products of said manufacturing? Rich people by fewer things--more expensive things, but they still aren't the primary driver of the economy.


Bingo.   One SF dystopia is a world where people's needs could be met inexpensively, but there's no profit in doing so, so it doesn't happen.  The starving, rebelling masses do not constitute a "market", because they have nothing to pay with.
 
2013-08-31 12:34:27 PM
accounting jobs are being eaten by software/exported overseas

lots of back office jobs in banking are being eaten by software/exported overseas

cashiers are being replaced by self-checkout machines

prep cooks (especially in fast food) will be replaced by machines

http://gizmodo.com/5962656/this-robo+griller-can-flip-360-burgers-an -h our

truckers will be replaced by machines as well. taxi drivers will probably follow suit.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142412788732414430457862422180477 4 116.html
 
2013-08-31 12:34:36 PM
What about when they come for our medicine?

i291.photobucket.com

/and they will
 
2013-08-31 12:38:17 PM
hey techies:

if a majority of Americans take your advice and jump into comp sci/engineering, what do you think will happen to your amazing salaries and benefits?
 
2013-08-31 12:39:50 PM

vpb: That's because we have a consumer economy. If you look at it from a world perspective we already have a minority of people living well at the expense of the rest.

Even if we could industrialize the entire world there aren't enough resources for everyone to live as well as the developed world does. That is slowly happening and as it does where you live becomes less important and who owns the industry becomes more important.


I'm pretty liberal economically (at least compared to today's GOP) and I think it's fair to characterize third-world manufacturing as a form of exploitation.  However, it's still not the same as this scenario being floated, where the wealth gap keeps increasing and once-middle class workers are squeezed out of the labor force.  The reason it's different is that sweatshop workers usually come from conventional "third-world" village conditions (e.g., move from western China to the urban eastern areas) seeking a "better" life with a steady paycheck.  Whether they really are better off is debatable, but it's not the same as the auto worker or IT guy who now has to life off dirt.  While that regression could happen, it has to compete with the consumer-economy opposite force.  Peasants becoming sweatshop workers on the other hand does not have that opposite force, if anything it goes in the same direction.
 
2013-08-31 12:40:31 PM

Nemo's Brother: Coding and networking are no-brainers for computer logic. Computer lawyers. Surgeons are will have no place in the future due to the precision of robots. Construction, forget it.


The day robots can repair and maintain other robots is the day I'll lose my job...

/ I'm not quite smart enough to design them ( also not intellectually capable of earning a MSME...)
// math is hard...
 
2013-08-31 12:43:55 PM

mtbhucker: //// bonus slashie; Pro-tip: Learn a trade. The automotive industry is starving for talent with computer backgrounds at the moment

You are assuming that in 20 years cars will be still be run on fossil fuels. The way tech is advancing, that seems unlikely.


His bonus slashie sounds like it could apply just fine to vehicles that run on something other than petroleum.

If electric cars ever really take off, expect to see customizers that will install a bizzare configuration of Li-ion, NiCd, and supercapacitors for idiots who like to drag race at stoplights.
 
2013-08-31 12:45:39 PM

dumbobruni: hey techies:

if a majority of Americans take your advice and jump into comp sci/engineering, what do you think will happen to your amazing salaries and benefits?


The odd thing is that when comp-sci/engineering folks aren't lording it over the liberal arts with their job prospects, they are complaining about how H1-Bs are destroying their job prospects.  Listening to them complain, I wouldn't enter their field either.
 
2013-08-31 12:48:16 PM

flondrix: Bingo. One SF dystopia is a world where people's needs could be met inexpensively, but there's no profit in doing so, so it doesn't happen. The starving, rebelling masses do not constitute a "market", because they have nothing to pay with.


Without those masses however the people on Elysium can't maintain their wealth.  At best they can leverage their existing wealth to engineer and implement a self-sufficient utopian closed system, but even then I give it 20 years before their break out into their own internal version of class warfare.
 
2013-08-31 12:52:29 PM
We always say, "This time it's different," and eventually this will probably be true, but it's anyone's guess if that's the case here. In this instance if the future looks like the article describes then my prediction is that government would tax the producers and provide some base-level of subsistence to the citizens in a form like the Earned Income Tax Credit. With infinite leisure, possibly legalized drugs, and lacking a sense of purpose it's hard to envision what that world would be like but it sounds like it has the potential to be pretty unpleasant.
 
2013-08-31 12:54:07 PM

Wireless Joe: As long as we have replicators and synthehol, I don't care.

/Seriously, FARK, up your image size limit.


I love it! Three olives, please....

i64.photobucket.com
 
2013-08-31 12:54:59 PM

dumbobruni: accounting jobs are being eaten by software/exported overseas

lots of back office jobs in banking are being eaten by software/exported overseas

cashiers are being replaced by self-checkout machines

prep cooks (especially in fast food) will be replaced by machines

http://gizmodo.com/5962656/this-robo+griller-can-flip-360-burgers-an -h our

truckers will be replaced by machines as well. taxi drivers will probably follow suit.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142412788732414430457862422180477 4 116.html


Accounting is booming job wise. Most of the easily replaceable jobs are low level clerk type deals, and SAP and Oracle have already cut those down significantly.
 
2013-08-31 12:55:36 PM
My sister is pretty smart in that she's a hairstylist (well, she does hair extensions and certified in other really expensive services, so she actually earns a VERY good paycheck).

Her job cannot be outsourced. Chances are, the general human population will shy away from automated robots with razor-sharp shears attached to them.
 
2013-08-31 01:00:53 PM
That won't happen.  Even if just because you need a consumer base, plus your elected representatives will protect your jobs to get your votes.

But robots are only good for repetitive tasks.  Anything that requires constantly changing or unclear variables doesn't really work. Robots certainly can't absorb new information and adjust as fast as fast as the dumbest sandwich shop worker.  Good luck getting robots to do any kind of customer service.

"My car makes a 'wumph' sound- figure it out and fix it while I yell at you."

"I want some pickles on the left half and a lot of mayonnaise but not too much.  Oh wait, is the bacon crunchy?  I don't want it crunchy. Find me some soggy ones."

"I need this product to be more 'edgy'.  Can you make it, you know, more 'proactive'?"
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-08-31 01:01:06 PM

Yankees Team Gynecologist: I'm pretty liberal economically (at least compared to today's GOP) and I think it's fair to characterize third-world manufacturing as a form of exploitation.  However, it's still not the same as this scenario being floated, where the wealth gap keeps increasing and once-middle class workers are squeezed out of the labor force.  The reason it's different is that sweatshop workers usually come from conventional "third-world" village conditions (e.g., move from western China to the urban eastern areas) seeking a "better" life with a steady paycheck.  Whether they really are better off is debatable, but it's not the same as the auto worker or IT guy who now has to life off dirt.  While that regression could happen, it has to compete with the consumer-economy opposite force.  Peasants becoming sweatshop workers on the other hand does not have that opposite force, if anything it goes in the same direction.


The cause is different, but the result is the same.  People in the third world weren't useful to industrialists because they weren't near the industry, people in developed countries are becoming less useful to industrialists because technology advances and fewer people are needed.  At the same time, globalization eliminates the advantage of being born in the right country.

It would be possible to create a global consumer economy, but that would involve massive redistribution of wealth and the people who control the economy (the people who own industry, not politicians) don't seem inclined to go in that direction.
 
2013-08-31 01:04:31 PM

PanicMan: "I need this product to be more 'edgy'.  Can you make it, you know, more 'proactive'?"


[robot installs wi-fi on the bar of soap]
 
2013-08-31 01:07:07 PM
I think I read this story.

Player Piano K. Vonnegut
 
2013-08-31 01:10:11 PM
My job could easily be replaced by a robot, barring unusual circumstances that could be covered by a single individual, much like those self checkout lanes at grocery stores.  But I doubt it'll happen any time soon as people who spend $90-$150 on a ticket want to hand it to a guy wearing a dress shirt and pants as opposed to a kiosk.
 
2013-08-31 01:11:36 PM
AllYourFarkAreBelongToMe:
//// bonus slashie; Pro-tip:  Learn a trade.  The automotive industry is starving for talent with computer backgrounds at the moment

No, don't.  I like having a career that can't be outsourced to Lower Bumfarkistan and has nobody entering the trade other than people who spend $100k to go to trade schools and then burn out after five years.

Seriously.  When I go to seminars and classes, I'm usually the youngest guy there and I've been in this biz for nearly twenty years.  NOBODY is entering it but the people who want the sweet dealership gigs that turn out to be not so sweet.
 
2013-08-31 01:13:23 PM
Subby, why the Sad tag? This will be the end of capitalism! Without workers selling their time to the bourgeoisie they'll be no consumers to buy their products.
 
Displayed 50 of 108 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Last | Show all

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report