So what are we going to do when robots take all our jobs

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Francis Buck

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« on: January 22, 2016, 03:43:30 am »
Spawning from a conversation between the Supreme Leader and I, in the Book of Faces:

Automation appears to be something that, by all rational accounts and notwithstanding a sudden and unexpected global catastrophe, is going to have pretty radical effects on our current system and understanding of “work”. I think it could end up being one of the defining characteristics of the 2020's, in fact.

Recent reports from industry professionals suggest, almost universally, that by the year 2020, self-driving cars will be widely used at least in the form of commercial taxi and public transport services. I won't go too much into self-driving cars since we have a thread on that already, but I do not really doubt they will be a success. Yes, people will inevitably be resistant to such a change, but if they serve their purpose well, then the gigantic benefits will quickly outweigh the perceived negatives (nobody needed a cellphone – now people don't remember how to live without them).

But the average joe's opinion on this matter may not be especially relevant, since self-driving vehicles are, basically, an advantageous money-maker/money-saver to basically everyone else...unless it's your job to drive an automobile. Truck driving, for example, is seemingly one of the more common jobs in the US on a state by state basis. How fast do you think giant corporations are going to switch to automation when their truck drivers don't need to sleep, eat, shit, or do ANYTHING other than drive?

Beyond that, I feel the arrival and eventual acceptance (even partially) of self-driving cars will soften the blow of other automated systems – fast-food being a big one. 

And these are, shall we say, the relatively easy and/or obvious examples. Considering that employment is already a problem, it seems fairly inevitable that the issue will only grow.

Personally I feel that, over the 2020's (and certainly beyond it), a revolution regarding the entire concept of  a job will occur. Even if we assume technology decides to halt progress for some mystical reason, and push this issue 20 years down the road (an almost absurd amount of time as far as I'm concerned), then it will still be a problem, and arguably a larger one.

A standard, mandatory “income” for everyone – everyone – seems inevitable, and while I'm not expecting that any time too soon, I also think it's a helluva of a lot closer than most people realize (you know, like self-driving cars and virtual reality). The question then becomes, what the hell do you with all the people who aren't engaged in typical “work”, and are no longer quite as obligated to do so without their lives depending on it?

Mandatory volunteer work seems like a possibility, but that's a band-aid and only goes so far (and once that automation ball starts rolling, the list of things to volunteer for is going to shrink). Appeal to pride? Paint the healthy non-worker as a “burden”, or at least worrisome non-contributor? This seems like a bad idea at first blush – and initially I think it would be – but with time it could be a good way to get older people back to school so that they might learn a profession the robots haven't already gotten too good at...

DISCUSS

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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2016, 01:03:40 pm »
Well, I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

More seriously though, while the path is fret with serious questions about what it will bring, I can't help but not be nostalgic for what we have now.  Simply, the system we live under now has really done few of us many favors.  In my younger days, I often wondering what the point of it all was?  All this labor, endlessly spent achieving nothing but subsistence (for the most part).  My question was often, why not spend it on something more productive?

I'm not sure I follow that people will be paid living wages, since where does this money come from?  That would drastically increase the amount of currency in circulation, wouldn't it?  Then vast inflation would mean it's all worthless though, wouldn't it?  I am no economist though, so maybe I misunderstand...
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasűrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira

Francis Buck

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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2016, 07:09:32 pm »
I actually agree that the current system is largely...not great. I think this will be a good thing in the long run (but then I'm an optimist). As for the wages, I sort of phrased that weirdly. There doesn't so much need to be an actual income, but people will need to be guaranteed a basic standard of living (food, shelter, etc.) once automation becomes pervasive enough. Nothing less will be acceptable, since it will no longer be a matter of "finding work"", because there literally won't be work.

Where to get that money from? I have no idea, since I'm probably less of an economist than you are. In the case of the USA, my suggestion would be to start with taking a little chunk out of the budget from our cartoonishly gargantuan military industrial complex.

Wilshire

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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2016, 09:22:48 pm »
Some jobs will take longer to replace. Doctors and Lawyers come to mind, but other things exist as well. But the larger questions, what will most people do when most jobs requiring no or minimal education or expertise, still stands.

Amazon on paper looks like they haven't made money in a decade, but it's because they have been revolutionizing the distribution industry. They spend almost all their cash flow on automated warehouses and other improvements. Pretty soon they will only need to employ one or two foremen at each facility.

Truck and taxi driving are great examples. They employ huge numbers of people.
Fast food, ot most jobs on that industry, is perhaps not such a great example. Food prep is more complex than it seems, and would require a lot of investment that restaurants just don't have.

Trade skills, or any kind of skilled labor, will become highly sought after. This will lead to market flooding and driving down cost making wages unlikable without huge unions propping up prices.

Automation of farming, and the move to vertical  farming, will gut that industry of jobs.

I think people will want to see people behind registers at stores, human waiters at restaurants, so it won't be a total collapse of lower end jobs, but it certainly isn't a great outlook.

Automotive manufacturing is highly automated and will likely only get more so. If people pay auto taxis for on demand service, maybe people will stop buying cars and demand will plummet.



More and more automation, I don't know where that leaves the largest base of the workforce. Shit out of luck is my guess. The people who control things won't be able to push through change fast enough, poverty will bankrupt social safety nets, charismatic leaders promising change will be elected, leading to wars breaking out, extermination of most population centers, that'll fix the job thing. The rich will survive, automate everything else, and will support some critical minimum of human servants to maintain an easy life.


All in all, it'll be great for the planet once the dust settles, assuming it's dust and  not nuclear fallout.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 08:07:51 pm by Wilshire »
One of the other conditions of possibility.

Wilshire

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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2016, 09:31:08 pm »
Another option is the world goes totally socialist, stripping drivers for people to work hard. Innovation will grind to a halt as people pursue lesure rather than knowledge....

at some point something would kill the useless meatbags we become. A new disease we can't stop, or a meteor will just hit us and kill off us lazy humans. I'm sure our AI children will have a contingency and save themselves, leaving the meat to die and going off to do whatever untethered, immortal, self evolving, super-intellects would go do.
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Alia

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« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2016, 10:00:51 am »
I think you should read Gibson's Peripheral. The world in the book (or worlds, as it is) is pretty much created around that question (especially the part set in the new London).
The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

Wilshire

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« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2016, 07:35:27 pm »
That sounds cool. I've seen it around but never picked it up. Might add it to the shelf if I see it again.
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Francis Buck

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« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2016, 08:47:29 am »
Another option is the world goes totally socialist, stripping drivers for people to work hard. Innovation will grind to a halt as people pursue lesure rather than knowledge....

at some point something would kill the useless meatbags we become. A new disease we can't stop, or a meteor will just hit us and kill off us lazy humans. I'm sure our AI children will have a contingency and save themselves, leaving the meat to die and going off to do whatever untethered, immortal, self evolving, super-intellects would go do.

I actually semi-disagree with this turn of events, mostly because I think the idea that:

A.) Knowledge and leisure are not mutually exclusive.
I may -- and I expect many others here but I can only speak for myself -- count knowledge and learning as a leisure in-and-of-itself. Sure, that's not exactly the most common quality as expressed by the general populace, but I think it's happening beneath the surface for most people regardless. There's a reason that virtually all cultures equate endless leisure with inevitable dissatisfaction and ultimately boredom: we're not leisure machines, we're problem-solving machines. Yes, we like leisure-- love it. But leisure only has relevance when some form of "work" (and I use that broadly) is subtracting from it. Wildly rich people still work, often quite hard. Why, when they can afford anything they could want?

Because work you ENJOY isn't the same kind of work most people deal with. You might say that it then becomes a leisure in itself -- and to some extent I'd agree -- but even then the idea of working implies some form of problem solving, either a wrong that needs to be righted, or a question that needs to be answered. The former may resolve it eventually, but the latter? Who can say? The concept of "no more questions are left" doesn't even work with a typical, baseline human being. And that's ignoring if whether there are actually answers to the questions anyway. 

What do you think made people from 15,000 years ago explore the area outside the valley lived in? Resources are obvious, but even in times of plenty (like right now for example, in much of the world), there are always people who just want to know what's outside the valley. And even if you don't agree in any such sentimental "will of the human spirit" argument, then talk strictly of resources. Unless we discover the answer to infinite energy, then we'll need to ACT eventually -- and if we did discover infinite energy, a thing beyond the scope of our wildest imagination, you really think no one would bother checking it out? Seeing what else it can do other than give them VR porn and digital drugs?

For what it's worth, I'll mention that I find any kind of sudden, apocalyptic scenario happening my lifetime to be unlikely. Not because I'm optimistic -- but because I think it's too dramatic. We're not special. We're not some pinnacle of biology that must soon be destroyed because we've exhausted all "work". From my perspective, we're just another layer of complexity upon the thing that is Earth-Life. What good reason do we have to assume it somehow ends here, when people have routinely expected looming apocalypse since before recorded history?

2.) We're useless meatbags that get replaced
I actually kinda/sorta agree with this, though not for the same reasons I think, and not in the same fashion. I do think that -- without some truly globally catastrophic disaster the likes of which I can't imagine aside from, I dunno, a gamma ray burst -- eventually there will no longer be purely, as-we-know-it biological humans. However, I don't think it's going to be some abrupt purging of our race by robotic overlords, and again I don't find most other doomsday scenarios particularly likely -- not to the extent of utterly wiping mankind off the face of the earth. Rather, I think the transition from one to the other (that is, organic to artificial) will be gradual, even if happens fast. Cellphones happened fast as shit compared to basically any other technology in human history. 20 years ago, if you told someone that they'd have a machine in their pocket, scarcely larger than their hand, which you could literally ask (verbally, with your voice) almost any rational question and actually watch as that device produces more answers than you need...what do you think people would say? Outside of pure ridicule, there would surely be dissent from various groups. "It will stop the pursuit of knowledge" seems like a good possibility...after-all, when most of humanity's knowledge lay at our finger tips, near instantly, why would anyone bother ever learning something?

To re-circle around, my point is this: people expect the worst of new things -- new technology, societal upheaval, whatever -- for a few big reasons. The most obvious is fear of the unknown, and though that is true, I think it's more nuanced. I think that people who attempt to think as rationally as possible have a tendency to resort to excessive pessimissim. Which makes sense and is actually a good thing -- we need, desperately, for people to suggest the possibility that things are not okay. Certainty isn't helping anyone, regardless of the subject. The third major reason, and the least appeciable from my POV, is the bubble of ignorance. Why folk since the beginning of human existence have expected -- and at root, I suspect -- perversely desired catastrophe. It's why some people obsess over the end of times -- Y2K, Doomsday preppers, Mayan Calendar, and so on. Not because they truly, actually believe the world is ending (though a few might), but because the affectation of it creates drama in their life. Suddenly, their life becomes special in a sort of hollow pessimism -- I say it's hollow because most who entertain such concepts with serious conviction, do so only because they imagine that if the end of times actually DID occur...certainly they'd be among the survivors. Just like they'd have taken the gun from that bank robber, unlike the milquetoast they saw in the news earlier. Or how they're such great drivers, that they couldn't POSSIBLY be exceeded in skill by a robot, even as they express that opinion by speaking to a crude A.I. that translates their voice into accurate text which can then be cast across the globe through the digital network enveloping every human goes online.

TL;DR
The robots already won, we just haven't noticed yet, and when we finally do, it'll be because we are the robots. Technology is not distinct from nature, it's an extension. It's the form evolution takes when organisms become smart enough to evolve themselves. Automation is your heart beating, your eyes blinking, your lungs breathing. It's all the shit you don't need to think about so you can spend energy on more interesting things -- not because they're useful -- but because eventually you get bored and want a challenge, even if it doesn't feel like it. Especially when it doesn't feel like it.





Wilshire

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« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2016, 08:29:35 pm »
Ah but there is something extraordinary happening now. We are approaching events in all sectors of our existence that we are un-equipped to deal with.

Population has grown exponentially for the past several centuries. This must stop in the next century or we'll consuming everything that is consumable.

AI singularity predictions range from 20 to 200 years. An aggressive 60 years puts that within our lifetime.

Peak Oil will be in the next is predicted within the next 20 - 100 years, depending on how conservative you are and who is paying the researchers. Once that happens, for the first time in human history we will be operating at an energy deficit - and exponential decrease in available energy (in direct opposition to the exponential increase we've seen for all human history).
On that note, we could also be within 100 years of fusion energy - limitless free energy for everyone! Yeah right, but it would be unprecedented.

Climate change - regardless of its cause - is accelerating and is happening globally faster than any other point in recorded history.

Quantum computers, following Rose's Law (similar to Moore's law) predicts computational capacity within the next few decades that go well beyond theoretical limits of traditional computing [solving problems that would take traditional computer longer than the age of the universe to solve].

We aren't talking about the jump from bronze to steel, or from hunter-gathering to farming. We are talking about releasing energies capable of destroying the planet. Not flight from ground to sky, but landing unmanned spacecraft on hurtling asteroids.

--


The problem, as I see it, is we will be able to create something that will be infinitely more adaptable to change, infinitely more quickly, than ourselves. There is no reason for such a thing to tether itself to its creator. There is a reason its called a Technological singularity - we can't predict what might happen once that point is reached.
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EkyannusIII

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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2016, 05:02:36 pm »
The end result of mass automation will be the return of the sort of social structure you see in Downton Abbey: a relatively small class of very rich aristos and a larger class of people who sell their labor as domestic servants.  This will occur because there is one thing a servant can give an employer that no machine ever will: the prestige of being able to command another human being.  People crave status, rank, distinction, and power, and being able to issue orders to people who are recognizably your inferiors generates social status like little else in the world.  Once it becomes clear that employment has undergone a permanent structural shift, this will become acceptable within a generation. 
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R. SCOTT RAP3ZT TERRIBLEZ LOLZ.

if Kellhus was thinking all of this, he's going to freak out when he get's back and Kelmomas is all "i lieks to eatum peeples da"

the whole thing is orchestrated by Kellhus who is wearing a Bashrag as if it were a suit

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« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2016, 08:19:38 pm »
Robots cant take all the jobs. you will need thousands to control the bots  and maintain them creating different types of jobs. Just take a look at the amount of positions at companies like Intel.

Callan S.

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« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2016, 09:59:48 am »
Well, your economic system is based on old kings who needed to feed and clothe their armies to conquer lands and hold conquered lands - a conquest system. And a ponzi based one at that.

That's why robots taking your jobs is such a threat - because the remnant rich who fancy themselves lords don't need you to run their empires anymore.

In the end I'm not even sure why there's some 'People wouldn't be working...OMG! Something so wrong!'.

I suspect because it drains meaning from the lives of those who want to work as an expression of their own 'agency'.