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(Phys Org2)   Automation is responsible for the wage gap   (phys.org) divider line
    More: Obvious, Employment, Economic inequality, Economic growth, MIT economist Daron Acemoglu, newly published study, labor-shifting device, income inequality, low-skill service workers  
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795 clicks; posted to STEM » on 21 Nov 2022 at 3:04 PM (11 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2022-11-21 2:08:13 PM  
There will come a point where low-skill jobs will not require humans.
There will simply be more humans than there are jobs.
What then?
Beuller?
 
2022-11-21 2:13:01 PM  
You know, there was also a systematic destruction of unions, pensions and a wholesale shift of all low-education high paying jobs to overseas factories...

So simply screaming ROBOTS DID IT is not exactly being intellectually honest.
 
2022-11-21 2:14:36 PM  
That's grossly wrong.

Greed is responsible for the wage gap.

Unregulated capitalism enables it.

Automation has merely helped it be possible.

It would be useful if we stopped pretending like these things are inevitable by passively assigning responsibility. Someone somewhere actively makes the choice to underpay you. Other people makes the choice to help them. Every additional dollar in your boss's pocket or (name a rich person)'s pocket is a deliberate choice and doesn't have to be made. It isn't unavoidable.
 
2022-11-21 2:18:18 PM  
"Stop blaming your betters for society's problems, peasant."
 
2022-11-21 2:19:41 PM  
Cutting taxes on rich people, somehow never the problem.
 
2022-11-21 2:41:32 PM  
Can't we just pay the robots less?
Or put them in an old car and roll them off a cliff?
 
2022-11-21 3:10:41 PM  
Whenever people throw out graphs like this:

Fark user imageView Full Size


That is the direct result of automation
 
2022-11-21 3:16:39 PM  
"If you introduce self-checkout kiosks, it's not going to change productivity all that much," says MIT economist Daron Acemoglu. However, in terms of lost wages for employees, he adds, "It's going to have fairly large distributional effects, especially for low-skill service workers. It's a labor-shifting device, rather than a productivity-increasing device."

As a person who exclusively uses self-checkout unless I'm doing a massive shop (which I never do) I absolutely disagree with this.

3 full-size checkouts make way for 10 or so self-checkouts. They are absolutely a productivity-increasing device. I can walk into a medium busy shop, grab one thing, wait in little or no line, then complete the transaction in under two minutes. The 7 fewer checkouts meant that prior to that I would often get stuck in a line behind people with trolleys loaded to the brim with goods.
 
2022-11-21 3:21:00 PM  
Other countries do not have this problem. This study is flawed, and isn't science.
 
2022-11-21 3:29:55 PM  

SpectroBoy: There will come a point where low-skill jobs will not require humans.
There will simply be more humans than there are jobs.
What then?
Beuller?


There will come a time when high skill jobs will not require humans.
 
2022-11-21 3:38:15 PM  
If it can be effectively automated, it should be effectively automated.  The "unskilled" will have to focus on things that are harder to do.
 
2022-11-21 3:38:31 PM  
This smells like horse shiat to me.
 
2022-11-21 3:39:19 PM  

NewportBarGuy: You know, there was also a systematic destruction of unions, pensions and a wholesale shift of all low-education high paying jobs to overseas factories...

So simply screaming ROBOTS DID IT is not exactly being intellectually honest.


I'd imagine that when the price of automation comes down those cheap overseas factories will also be automated.
 
2022-11-21 3:41:17 PM  

sleze: If it can be effectively automated, it should be effectively automated.  The "unskilled" will have to focus on things that are harder to do.


There will literally be more people than jobs.
 
2022-11-21 3:53:32 PM  

NewportBarGuy: You know, there was also a systematic destruction of unions, pensions and a wholesale shift of all low-education high paying jobs to overseas factories...

So simply screaming ROBOTS DID IT is not exactly being intellectually honest.


Also

They didnt mention the fact of all the profits produced by labor going to lazy sit at home stock owners vs enough going to labor.

The less labor gets the more those shiat eating do nothing stock owners get.

Math
 
2022-11-21 3:54:22 PM  

weddingsinger: That's grossly wrong.

Greed is responsible for the wage gap.

Unregulated capitalism enables it.

Automation has merely helped it be possible.

It would be useful if we stopped pretending like these things are inevitable by passively assigning responsibility. Someone somewhere actively makes the choice to underpay you. Other people makes the choice to help them. Every additional dollar in your boss's pocket or (name a rich person)'s pocket is a deliberate choice and doesn't have to be made. It isn't unavoidable.


Sit at home stock owners kinda like things the way they are.....
 
2022-11-21 3:54:44 PM  

King Something: "Stop blaming your betters for society's problems, peasant."


Let them eat cake!!
 
2022-11-21 3:55:11 PM  

aleister_greynight: Cutting taxes on rich people, somehow never the problem.


So wierd that is
 
2022-11-21 3:56:15 PM  

SpectroBoy: There will come a point where low-skill jobs will not require humans.
There will simply be more humans than there are jobs.
What then?
Beuller?


There will never be a point when there are (far) more humans than jobs. There WAS a period - a rather long period - when there were humans than (good paying) jobs: it stretched from the dawn of human civilization up until around the 1830s, when gosh, industrialization and automation became more ubiquitous. Then suddenly, we had a huge number of jobs (at least in those countries where industrialization and automation took hold), and people who were otherwise living in an impoverished life had decent paying jobs.

Back before 1830, there were about 1 billion people on earth. About 94% were living in abject poverty, defined as living at $1/day income in today's $ value. That's 940 million people. Today, we have 8 billion on earth. The abject poverty rate is around 10-14% At 14%, that's 1.12B people, and at 10%, it's 800 million people. The number of people living in abject poverty either has not gone up substantially, or actually has gone down in absolute quantity, while the population exploded from 1 to 8 billion. We now have far more (decent paying) jobs than ever before, and wherever industrialization and automation appeared, more jobs appeared alongside.
 
2022-11-21 3:58:02 PM  

drewsfarkthrowaway: Other countries do not have this problem. This study is flawed, and isn't science.


Its corporate propaganda

Imagine that.

In merica of all places
 
2022-11-21 3:58:23 PM  

mcreadyblue: SpectroBoy: There will come a point where low-skill jobs will not require humans.
There will simply be more humans than there are jobs.
What then?
Beuller?

There will come a time when high skill jobs will not require humans.


A.I.
 
2022-11-21 3:59:15 PM  

SpectroBoy: sleze: If it can be effectively automated, it should be effectively automated.  The "unskilled" will have to focus on things that are harder to do.

There will literally be more people than jobs.


There has always been literally more people than jobs.
 
2022-11-21 3:59:46 PM  

sleze: If it can be effectively automated, it should be effectively automated.  The "unskilled" will have to focus on things that are harder to do.


And they will have to accept less pay to do it so the lazy sit at home stock owner can get his hard earned Precious.
 
2022-11-21 4:01:00 PM  

SpectroBoy: NewportBarGuy: You know, there was also a systematic destruction of unions, pensions and a wholesale shift of all low-education high paying jobs to overseas factories...

So simply screaming ROBOTS DID IT is not exactly being intellectually honest.

I'd imagine that when the price of automation comes down those cheap overseas factories will also be automated.


Any way we can automate crapital hill??

I bet it would be an improvement
 
2022-11-21 4:06:16 PM  
I'm fully in favor of automation. What unions (if they are involved in anyway here) should do is not resist it, but learn more about it and go into helping their workers learn how these autonomous tools are used, and go sell for those companies. Nothing sells better than, "I was paid $50,000 a year, but this machine does my work for just $30,000 a year, and it doesn't have sick days, doesn't make mistakes, and won't steal from you."

There was that sub-story from the movie, Hidden Figures, about the black women mathematicians at NASA. Olivia Spencer played Dorothy Vaughan, a mathematician who saw the appearance of the computer. Rather than being a luddite and try to fight it out (which, since she was a smart person, she realized she'd lose that fight), she decided to teach herself and others in her group FORTRAN, and they became the main programmers for the machines, thereby ensuring that they had job security for at least another decade or two.

If union heads were smart, learn how those things work, and become the in-house maintenance person. Learn how to alter it to do other, but similar tasks. Use that new technology to become even more indispensable.
 
2022-11-21 4:24:34 PM  

NewportBarGuy: You know, there was also a systematic destruction of unions, pensions and a wholesale shift of all low-education high paying jobs to overseas factories...

So simply screaming ROBOTS DID IT is not exactly being intellectually honest.


Unions have pretty much destroyed themselves.  Unionized companies are rarely competitive with non-union companies and thus most unions are in areas where they aren't subject to meaningful competition.

Pensions--I actually like this.  A pension ties you to an employer and thus denies them their most powerful weapon for raising their income: their feet.  There's also too much room for shenanigans.  401ks/IRAs are better, although the limits should be raised.

High paying jobs to overseas factories--no.  Most of those jobs have gone to machines, not overseas.  A high pay factory worker is generally doing something that by now a robot can do better.  More and more factory jobs have shifted to feeding the robot rather than actually doing the job.  I spent 20 years with a factory and watched this happen--production increased roughly 20x over that time for maybe a 5x increase in the labor force.  We bought a lot of machines that replaced a human making decisions with a human feeding a machine that did a lot more of the same work.  We even built some of our own machines when the market didn't provide.  (I was on the software side of this.)  Nothing went overseas.  A small percentage was outsourced to other companies but that was for specialized stuff that we wouldn't be doing enough volume to economically produce in-house.

SirDigbyChickenCaesar: Whenever people throw out graphs like this:

[Fark user image 474x375]

That is the direct result of automation


Yup.  What keeps getting ignored with graphs like this is there really are three pieces of pie, not two.  It's not workers/owners, it's workers/tools/owners.  The owners buy the tools so that part of the budget is "allocated" to "profit" by those who think the workers deserve more.  However, a realistic picture needs to look at the tools as a separate category.  I never saw the numbers for the factory I used to work with but just the labor cost for those of us improving the system was probably 10% of the labor cost of the factory workers and I would be surprised if the equipment costs weren't even higher.
 
2022-11-21 4:26:59 PM  

dyhchong: "If you introduce self-checkout kiosks, it's not going to change productivity all that much," says MIT economist Daron Acemoglu. However, in terms of lost wages for employees, he adds, "It's going to have fairly large distributional effects, especially for low-skill service workers. It's a labor-shifting device, rather than a productivity-increasing device."

As a person who exclusively uses self-checkout unless I'm doing a massive shop (which I never do) I absolutely disagree with this.

3 full-size checkouts make way for 10 or so self-checkouts. They are absolutely a productivity-increasing device. I can walk into a medium busy shop, grab one thing, wait in little or no line, then complete the transaction in under two minutes. The 7 fewer checkouts meant that prior to that I would often get stuck in a line behind people with trolleys loaded to the brim with goods.


I have the exact opposite experience with self-checkouts. They seem to always be infested with ruggedly individual idiots who move like a Tim Conway character in one of his sketches. And the machine itself is aggravatingly inferior ("I *DID* PUT THE DAMNED ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA!")

It's almost always faster to get on a manned checkout line, even if the person ahead of me has a full cart. Plus I just have plain resent the store management using me as unpaid labor.
 
2022-11-21 4:33:06 PM  

dericwater: I'm fully in favor of automation. What unions (if they are involved in anyway here) should do is not resist it, but learn more about it and go into helping their workers learn how these autonomous tools are used, and go sell for those companies. Nothing sells better than, "I was paid $50,000 a year, but this machine does my work for just $30,000 a year, and it doesn't have sick days, doesn't make mistakes, and won't steal from you."

There was that sub-story from the movie, Hidden Figures, about the black women mathematicians at NASA. Olivia Spencer played Dorothy Vaughan, a mathematician who saw the appearance of the computer. Rather than being a luddite and try to fight it out (which, since she was a smart person, she realized she'd lose that fight), she decided to teach herself and others in her group FORTRAN, and they became the main programmers for the machines, thereby ensuring that they had job security for at least another decade or two.

If union heads were smart, learn how those things work, and become the in-house maintenance person. Learn how to alter it to do other, but similar tasks. Use that new technology to become even more indispensable.


Henry Ford II: Walter, how are you going to get those robots to pay your union dues?


Walter Reuther: Henry, how are you going to get them to buy your cars?
 
2022-11-21 4:37:56 PM  

Loren: NewportBarGuy: You know, there was also a systematic destruction of unions, pensions and a wholesale shift of all low-education high paying jobs to overseas factories...

So simply screaming ROBOTS DID IT is not exactly being intellectually honest.

Unions have pretty much destroyed themselves.  Unionized companies are rarely competitive with non-union companies and thus most unions are in areas where they aren't subject to meaningful competition.

Pensions--I actually like this.  A pension ties you to an employer and thus denies them their most powerful weapon for raising their income: their feet.  There's also too much room for shenanigans.  401ks/IRAs are better, although the limits should be raised.

High paying jobs to overseas factories--no.  Most of those jobs have gone to machines, not overseas.  A high pay factory worker is generally doing something that by now a robot can do better.  More and more factory jobs have shifted to feeding the robot rather than actually doing the job.  I spent 20 years with a factory and watched this happen--production increased roughly 20x over that time for maybe a 5x increase in the labor force.  We bought a lot of machines that replaced a human making decisions with a human feeding a machine that did a lot more of the same work.  We even built some of our own machines when the market didn't provide.  (I was on the software side of this.)  Nothing went overseas.  A small percentage was outsourced to other companies but that was for specialized stuff that we wouldn't be doing enough volume to economically produce in-house.

SirDigbyChickenCaesar: Whenever people throw out graphs like this:

[Fark user image 474x375]

That is the direct result of automation

Yup.  What keeps getting ignored with graphs like this is there really are three pieces of pie, not two.  It's not workers/owners, it's workers/tools/owners.  The owners buy the tools so that part of the budget is "allocated" to "profit" by those who think the workers deserve more.  However, a realistic picture needs to look at the tools as a separate category.  I never saw the numbers for the factory I used to work with but just the labor cost for those of us improving the system was probably 10% of the labor cost of the factory workers and I would be surprised if the equipment costs weren't even higher.


It's time to stop blaming unions and get to the real culprit.  Fast Food.

Subaru can't build electric cars in the US because of unions McDonalds.


Subaru is struggling to compete with McDonald's on wages as the automaker says soaring U.S. labor costs will halt new investments. The company said Q3 net income nearly doubled to $350.2 million.
https://www.autonews.com/automakers-suppliers/subaru-inflation-high-wages-stalling-us-ev-investment
 
2022-11-21 4:54:34 PM  

mcreadyblue: dericwater: I'm fully in favor of automation. What unions (if they are involved in anyway here) should do is not resist it, but learn more about it and go into helping their workers learn how these autonomous tools are used, and go sell for those companies. Nothing sells better than, "I was paid $50,000 a year, but this machine does my work for just $30,000 a year, and it doesn't have sick days, doesn't make mistakes, and won't steal from you."

There was that sub-story from the movie, Hidden Figures, about the black women mathematicians at NASA. Olivia Spencer played Dorothy Vaughan, a mathematician who saw the appearance of the computer. Rather than being a luddite and try to fight it out (which, since she was a smart person, she realized she'd lose that fight), she decided to teach herself and others in her group FORTRAN, and they became the main programmers for the machines, thereby ensuring that they had job security for at least another decade or two.

If union heads were smart, learn how those things work, and become the in-house maintenance person. Learn how to alter it to do other, but similar tasks. Use that new technology to become even more indispensable.

Henry Ford II: Walter, how are you going to get those robots to pay your union dues?


Walter Reuther: Henry, how are you going to get them to buy your cars?


Reuther had a good comeback. But if he used used my suggestion, "Henry, my union workers can build robots just as well as they can build cars," he'd have an even greater leverage over Ford or other auto companies.
 
2022-11-21 5:04:28 PM  
I blame Agile.
 
2022-11-21 5:12:07 PM  

MusicMakeMyHeadPound: dyhchong: "If you introduce self-checkout kiosks, it's not going to change productivity all that much," says MIT economist Daron Acemoglu. However, in terms of lost wages for employees, he adds, "It's going to have fairly large distributional effects, especially for low-skill service workers. It's a labor-shifting device, rather than a productivity-increasing device."

As a person who exclusively uses self-checkout unless I'm doing a massive shop (which I never do) I absolutely disagree with this.

3 full-size checkouts make way for 10 or so self-checkouts. They are absolutely a productivity-increasing device. I can walk into a medium busy shop, grab one thing, wait in little or no line, then complete the transaction in under two minutes. The 7 fewer checkouts meant that prior to that I would often get stuck in a line behind people with trolleys loaded to the brim with goods.

I have the exact opposite experience with self-checkouts. They seem to always be infested with ruggedly individual idiots who move like a Tim Conway character in one of his sketches. And the machine itself is aggravatingly inferior ("I *DID* PUT THE DAMNED ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA!")

It's almost always faster to get on a manned checkout line, even if the person ahead of me has a full cart. Plus I just have plain resent the store management using me as unpaid labor.


In my experience self-checkouts are rarely in a vacuum, they tend to supplement the old-people-checkouts rather than replace them all entirely. Everything I've seen is say, 10 old-people-checkouts, replace 3 of them with 10 self-checkouts, resulting in 17 total checkouts and everyone wins.
 
2022-11-21 5:52:40 PM  
dyhchong:

I've never seen it done that competently. Maybe that's the source of our disagreement.

Also, my job is in automation. If it can be done in a way that creates a benefit without screwing over the worker or consumer then I'm all about it. But I haven't seen that with self-checkouts.
 
2022-11-21 6:08:57 PM  

MusicMakeMyHeadPound: dyhchong:

I've never seen it done that competently. Maybe that's the source of our disagreement.

Also, my job is in automation. If it can be done in a way that creates a benefit without screwing over the worker or consumer then I'm all about it. But I haven't seen that with self-checkouts.


You sound totally unbiased.
 
2022-11-21 6:13:37 PM  

MusicMakeMyHeadPound: dyhchong:

I've never seen it done that competently. Maybe that's the source of our disagreement.

Also, my job is in automation. If it can be done in a way that creates a benefit without screwing over the worker or consumer then I'm all about it. But I haven't seen that with self-checkouts.


Uhh okay then, remind me not to hire you for any automation jobs.

Are you literally saying you've only ever seen self-checkouts replace the existing ones entirely with absolutely zero supplementation?

Like, you've never in your life seen a self-checkout next to a staffed one?

Something like this is a completely foreign concept to you? (the yellow box is self-checkouts, the others are manned)

gapsolutions.com.auView Full Size


I don't care what your job is, jobs always have a range of skill levels of people who are both good at their job and suck at them.
 
2022-11-21 6:17:00 PM  
It is a mixed bag. Automation has created leisure time in the home at least as much as it has created it in the work place. The battle has been over who controls that leisure time surplus. Who controls that work productivity surplus? The US basically has a flawed social contract. Just very basically, business owners are accepting very little enterprise risk and are taking nearly all of the reward.

Many other countries are balancing things out, and often very much in favor of workers, but they make deals such as buffering owners from risk... look at VW and how the German government hit them with a stick, but them propped them up with various subsidies.

Immigration in the US is keeping labor so cheap that it is going to get exploited by automation rather than augmented by automation. Everything Japan invents just to keep businesses going in an aging society will be used by American companies to replace workers where possible.
 
2022-11-21 6:23:32 PM  
When you use self-checkout machines in supermarkets and drugstores, you are probably not-with all due respect-doing a better job of bagging your purchases than checkout clerks once did.


But then again, I don't have to talk to anybody so....
 
2022-11-21 6:24:26 PM  
dyhchong:

They installed self checkouts at my local supermarket.  It looks like your map from the air, but the reality is the manned check outs are usually empty unless a little old lady needs help or something and the rest of the time the (now fewer) staff that are there are bussing the self checkouts. And you need them to scan an employee card to buy booze.  So maybe it's great for you personally, but overall it's less convenient and people have lost income.

Plus, sharing fingers with everyone in the time of pandemics? Grody
 
2022-11-21 6:30:25 PM  
If productivity rises faster than new kinds of jobs are created, there will be unemployable people.  The longer this situation continues in a capitalist society, more more wealth concentrates.  The more wealth concentrates, the less likely it is new jobs will be created.

The richest have no more right to their wealth than you do - they did not work a billion times harder than you, they're not a billion times smarter than you.  Their wealth was built within a complex society and they're NOT paying their dues to it.
 
2022-11-21 6:35:32 PM  

SpectroBoy: There will come a point where low-skill jobs will not require humans.
There will simply be more humans than there are jobs.
What then?
Beuller?


Probably something like this:

"Depending on how you want to think about it, it was funny or inevitable or symbolic that the robotic takeover did not start at MIT, NASA, Microsoft or Ford. It started at a Burger-G restaurant in Cary, NC on May 17. It seemed like such a simple thing at the time, but May 17 marked a pivotal moment in human history...."

https://marshallbrain.com/manna1
 
2022-11-21 6:37:28 PM  

dyhchong: MusicMakeMyHeadPound: dyhchong: "If you introduce self-checkout kiosks, it's not going to change productivity all that much," says MIT economist Daron Acemoglu. However, in terms of lost wages for employees, he adds, "It's going to have fairly large distributional effects, especially for low-skill service workers. It's a labor-shifting device, rather than a productivity-increasing device."

As a person who exclusively uses self-checkout unless I'm doing a massive shop (which I never do) I absolutely disagree with this.

3 full-size checkouts make way for 10 or so self-checkouts. They are absolutely a productivity-increasing device. I can walk into a medium busy shop, grab one thing, wait in little or no line, then complete the transaction in under two minutes. The 7 fewer checkouts meant that prior to that I would often get stuck in a line behind people with trolleys loaded to the brim with goods.

I have the exact opposite experience with self-checkouts. They seem to always be infested with ruggedly individual idiots who move like a Tim Conway character in one of his sketches. And the machine itself is aggravatingly inferior ("I *DID* PUT THE DAMNED ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA!")

It's almost always faster to get on a manned checkout line, even if the person ahead of me has a full cart. Plus I just have plain resent the store management using me as unpaid labor.

In my experience self-checkouts are rarely in a vacuum, they tend to supplement the old-people-checkouts rather than replace them all entirely. Everything I've seen is say, 10 old-people-checkouts, replace 3 of them with 10 self-checkouts, resulting in 17 total checkouts and everyone wins.


If you buy alcohol, you can't use the self-checkouts (at least not in CA). So they still have to have manual checkouts for those of us who buy alcohol.
 
2022-11-21 6:42:56 PM  

leeksfromchichis: dyhchong:

They installed self checkouts at my local supermarket.  It looks like your map from the air, but the reality is the manned check outs are usually empty unless a little old lady needs help or something and the rest of the time the (now fewer) staff that are there are bussing the self checkouts. And you need them to scan an employee card to buy booze.  So maybe it's great for you personally, but overall it's less convenient and people have lost income.

Plus, sharing fingers with everyone in the time of pandemics? Grody


Those former checkout folks didn't just lose their livelihood and became homeless, impoverished beggars. They found jobs doing something else in some other field. We still have thousands of unfilled positions and unemployment is down to around 3.5% or lower.

Being a checkout person isn't a career defining position by any means. It's just a way to earn some income while they figure out what they want to do. If they get canned, there are plenty of other jobs that they can go into to do the same thing, or perhaps an actual career defining job.
 
2022-11-21 6:47:31 PM  

dyhchong: "If you introduce self-checkout kiosks, it's not going to change productivity all that much," says MIT economist Daron Acemoglu. However, in terms of lost wages for employees, he adds, "It's going to have fairly large distributional effects, especially for low-skill service workers. It's a labor-shifting device, rather than a productivity-increasing device."

As a person who exclusively uses self-checkout unless I'm doing a massive shop (which I never do) I absolutely disagree with this.

3 full-size checkouts make way for 10 or so self-checkouts. They are absolutely a productivity-increasing device. I can walk into a medium busy shop, grab one thing, wait in little or no line, then complete the transaction in under two minutes. The 7 fewer checkouts meant that prior to that I would often get stuck in a line behind people with trolleys loaded to the brim with goods.


In theory, sure. In practice, three of those self checkouts are occupied by people furiously trying to scan a single item that won't, two are scanning slower than you can possibly imagine, four are waiting for the single attendant to come over and help them look up something dumb and the last is screaming at said attendant because the pricing is different than the shelf because the store fired all but three of their employees and everything is being run so tightly that the smallest mistake blows up into a storewide disaster.
 
2022-11-21 6:48:38 PM  

StatelyGreekAutomaton: dyhchong: "If you introduce self-checkout kiosks, it's not going to change productivity all that much," says MIT economist Daron Acemoglu. However, in terms of lost wages for employees, he adds, "It's going to have fairly large distributional effects, especially for low-skill service workers. It's a labor-shifting device, rather than a productivity-increasing device."

As a person who exclusively uses self-checkout unless I'm doing a massive shop (which I never do) I absolutely disagree with this.

3 full-size checkouts make way for 10 or so self-checkouts. They are absolutely a productivity-increasing device. I can walk into a medium busy shop, grab one thing, wait in little or no line, then complete the transaction in under two minutes. The 7 fewer checkouts meant that prior to that I would often get stuck in a line behind people with trolleys loaded to the brim with goods.

In theory, sure. In practice, three of those self checkouts are occupied by people furiously trying to scan a single item that won't, two are scanning slower than you can possibly imagine, four are waiting for the single attendant to come over and help them look up something dumb and the last is screaming at said attendant because the pricing is different than the shelf because the store fired all but three of their employees and everything is being run so tightly that the smallest mistake blows up into a storewide disaster.


Oh, and there's another twenty self checkouts that are broken or are just not available for reasons.
 
2022-11-21 7:00:13 PM  
I would suggest that a large proportion of it comes from shipping jobs to Asia.
 
2022-11-21 7:40:50 PM  

dericwater: SpectroBoy: There will come a point where low-skill jobs will not require humans.
There will simply be more humans than there are jobs.
What then?
Beuller?

There will never be a point when there are (far) more humans than jobs. There WAS a period - a rather long period - when there were humans than (good paying) jobs: it stretched from the dawn of human civilization up until around the 1830s, when gosh, industrialization and automation became more ubiquitous. Then suddenly, we had a huge number of jobs (at least in those countries where industrialization and automation took hold), and people who were otherwise living in an impoverished life had decent paying jobs.

Back before 1830, there were about 1 billion people on earth. About 94% were living in abject poverty, defined as living at $1/day income in today's $ value. That's 940 million people. Today, we have 8 billion on earth. The abject poverty rate is around 10-14% At 14%, that's 1.12B people, and at 10%, it's 800 million people. The number of people living in abject poverty either has not gone up substantially, or actually has gone down in absolute quantity, while the population exploded from 1 to 8 billion. We now have far more (decent paying) jobs than ever before, and wherever industrialization and automation appeared, more jobs appeared alongside.


Abject poverty is a definition that is a bit squishy for earlier times.

When 95% of your population is directly dirt farming enough food to make it to the next planting season, what's poverty?  Not owning your own dirt?
 
2022-11-21 7:53:48 PM  

Bonzo_1116: dericwater: SpectroBoy: There will come a point where low-skill jobs will not require humans.
There will simply be more humans than there are jobs.
What then?
Beuller?

There will never be a point when there are (far) more humans than jobs. There WAS a period - a rather long period - when there were humans than (good paying) jobs: it stretched from the dawn of human civilization up until around the 1830s, when gosh, industrialization and automation became more ubiquitous. Then suddenly, we had a huge number of jobs (at least in those countries where industrialization and automation took hold), and people who were otherwise living in an impoverished life had decent paying jobs.

Back before 1830, there were about 1 billion people on earth. About 94% were living in abject poverty, defined as living at $1/day income in today's $ value. That's 940 million people. Today, we have 8 billion on earth. The abject poverty rate is around 10-14% At 14%, that's 1.12B people, and at 10%, it's 800 million people. The number of people living in abject poverty either has not gone up substantially, or actually has gone down in absolute quantity, while the population exploded from 1 to 8 billion. We now have far more (decent paying) jobs than ever before, and wherever industrialization and automation appeared, more jobs appeared alongside.

Abject poverty is a definition that is a bit squishy for earlier times.

When 95% of your population is directly dirt farming enough food to make it to the next planting season, what's poverty?  Not owning your own dirt?


Yeah, they didn't own their dirt, either. Feudalism was the way things were. You grew things and gave most of it to the Lord of the manor or whatever that landowner was called. And you didn't have enough food to make it to the next planting season. That's why families had 6-10 kids, with about 2 ever getting to adulthood: the others died of starvation, privation, or disease. And feudalism lasted well into the early 1900s (some nations did not abolish feudalism until the 2000s).
 
2022-11-21 8:36:14 PM  

SpectroBoy: There will come a point where low-skill jobs will not require humans.
There will simply be more humans than there are jobs.
What then?
Beuller?


There is no such thing as a low-skilled job.

There are only low-skilled workers.

There have always been jobs for low-skill workers and there always will be. The problem happens when capitalists try to avoid paying skilled workers by 1) paying low-skilled workers shiatty wages to do jobs they aren't skilled enough to do or 2) paying skilled workers shiatty wages to do jobs far below their potential.
 
2022-11-21 9:01:14 PM  

Unsung_Hero: If productivity rises faster than new kinds of jobs are created, there will be unemployable people.


Not possible. Not every business is capable of maximal productivity; not every business can afford complex automation or knows how to implement it. Not every INDUSTRY even has roles that can be further optimized my technology; laundromats and dry cleaners are already about as automated as they're going to get, for example.

For any particular activity, there's a saturation point where further improvements to productivity require either huge expenditures for small gain or a complete technological paradigm shift. Most of our industries have already hit that point; mining and energy extraction hit it years ago; bulk manufacturing is almost there. Even business computing is basically at that point which is why everyone is pushing this Everything As A Service bullshiat: there's just so little room for improvement in the functionality of business applications that developers take it as a given that they'll never be able to convince anyone to buy their software more than once.

Lots of Very Serious People have been touting the benefits and problems of automation for decades, but the predictions are all based in magical thinking. It's the same mindset of people who think super-intelligent AI will be able to instantly take control of the entire world and nobody will be able to stop it because being really really smart means the laws of physics, economics or causality no longer apply for some reason.
 
2022-11-21 9:35:06 PM  

SpectroBoy: NewportBarGuy: You know, there was also a systematic destruction of unions, pensions and a wholesale shift of all low-education high paying jobs to overseas factories...

So simply screaming ROBOTS DID IT is not exactly being intellectually honest.

I'd imagine that when the price of automation comes down those cheap overseas factories will also be automated.


China is already sourcing areas in Africa and Oceania for cheap factory labor.
 
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