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Technological Unemployment News and Discussions

technological unemployment automation Luddites technism Venus Project robots basic income 4th Industrial Revolution unemployment artificial intelligence

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#281
caltrek

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Here is something I recently posted in the Military & War News Discussion thread:

 

 

Jon Wolfsthal on the link between nuclear strategy and the nuclear modernization budget

 

https://www.tandfonl...02.2019.1555990

 

Jon Wolfsthal served as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and senior director at the National Security Council for arms control and nonproliferation. In regards to the issue raised in the article cited immediately above, it is interesting to note that Wolfsthal believes that “the United States does not yet, nor is it likely to any time soon, have the capability to defend the United States from strategic nuclear strikes.” The following are other excerpts from an interview with Wolfsthal published in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.  

 

Quote

I firmly believe the United States has far more nuclear weapons than it needs.

 

That was the determination of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Obama. 

 

…if you adopt a very modest nuclear strategy, one that is geared only for deterring our adversaries from considering an attack on us or our allies, then all sorts of things are possible in changing the nuclear arsenal and major cost savings can be the result.

 

… And the savings for not replacing the current arsenal (of ground-based, long-range ballistic missiles) on procurement alone is over $100 billion. When you take in procurement and operation, the management, and personnel, you’re rapidly over $200 billion over the next 30 years.

 

…we don’t need to have the 12 Columbia-class nuclear submarines that are currently called for….I don’t see why we couldn’t live with 10 permanently. And again, if you change nuclear targeting requirements, you might be able to bring that number down to as low as five or six submarines, with each submarine costing upwards of $10 billion dollars to buy. 

 

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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#282
starspawn0

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Right, and the defense department's plans also have a consumer input.  Companies want prices to be predictable, and markets, expanding.  They -- and consumers -- don't want the price of oil to shoot way up (except oil companies maybe; they would settle for stable prices + increasing supply and demand); or political instability to wreck stock prices; or supply chains to be disrupted.  Investors in companies want to see their retirement savings rise; profit needs to increase. So, pressure is applied to keep the oil and other ingredients flowing, and to keep consumers abroad, expanding.  Bolton:
 
http://time.com/5516...las-government/
 

Perhaps most brazenly, Bolton appeared in an interview on Fox Business and disclosed that the U.S. government was in talks with American corporations on how to capitalize on Venezuela’s oil reserves, which are proven to be the world’s largest.

“We’re in conversation with major American companies now,” he said. “I think we’re trying to get to the same end result here. … It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.”


The same was true in Iraq.


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#283
caltrek

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I guess I am a bit of an agnostic on this whole question. I do see the danger of a possible dystopia in which a hand full of ultra-wealthy control the means of production with massive unemployment resulting; and little or no government action to address the problem through such measures as a Uniform Basic Income distribution scheme. However, I also see historic trends in which technology simply shits the nature of the work environment rather than destroying jobs on a wholesale basis. While the article cited below may be naively optimistic in some respects, it does raise some interesting points worthy of consideration in this debate.

 

https://www.counterp...-jobs-industry/

 

Extract:

(Counterpunch) Replacing human labor with technology is a very old story. It’s called “productivity growth.” We’ve been seeing it pretty much as long as we have had a capitalist economy. In fact, this is what allows for sustained improvements in living standards. If we had not seen massive productivity growth in agriculture, then the bulk of the country would still be working on farms, otherwise we would be going hungry.

 

However, thanks to massive improvement in technology, less than 2 percent of our workforce is now employed in agriculture. And, we can still export large amounts of food.

If the robots taking our jobs industry were around a hundred years ago, it would be warning about gas powered tractors eliminating the need for farm labor. We would be hearing serous sounding discussion on our radio shows (we will steal radios from the 1919 future) with leading experts warning about how pretty soon there would be no work for anyone. They would tell us we have to prepare for this dark future by fundamentally reorganizing society.

 

Okay, that story is about as wrong as could possibly be the case, but if anyone buys the robots taking our jobs line, then they better try to figure out why this time is different. After all, what difference does it make if a worker loses their job to a big tractor or they lose their job to a robot?

 

Getting Serious About Robots and Productivity Growth

 

The basic story of robots taking our jobs is one of a massive increase in productivity growth. Instead of people driving taxis and trucks, stocking store shelves, and working checkout counters, all this work and more will be dealt with by robots. 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#284
starspawn0

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https://www.axios.co...11af9ec1d7.html
 

Workers who lost their jobs in the wave of manufacturing layoffs in the early 1980s, for instance, were still earning 15%-20% less in their new work 20 years later, according to the Aspen report.

"The individuals impacted by automation in manufacturing over the last 40 years — they did not get the exact same job at the same pay," Fitzpayne said. "They experienced profound difficulty finding a new job. If they found one, they took lower pay and lower benefits."


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#285
Alislaws

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I guess I am a bit of an agnostic on this whole question. I do see the danger of a possible dystopia in which a hand full of ultra-wealthy control the means of production with massive unemployment resulting; and little or no government action to address the problem through such measures as a Uniform Basic Income distribution scheme. However, I also see historic trends in which technology simply shits the nature of the work environment rather than destroying jobs on a wholesale basis. While the article cited below may be naively optimistic in some respects, it does raise some interesting points worthy of consideration in this debate.

 

https://www.counterp...-jobs-industry/

 

Extract:

(Counterpunch) Replacing human labor with technology is a very old story. It’s called “productivity growth.” We’ve been seeing it pretty much as long as we have had a capitalist economy. In fact, this is what allows for sustained improvements in living standards. If we had not seen massive productivity growth in agriculture, then the bulk of the country would still be working on farms, otherwise we would be going hungry.

 

However, thanks to massive improvement in technology, less than 2 percent of our workforce is now employed in agriculture. And, we can still export large amounts of food.

If the robots taking our jobs industry were around a hundred years ago, it would be warning about gas powered tractors eliminating the need for farm labor. We would be hearing serous sounding discussion on our radio shows (we will steal radios from the 1919 future) with leading experts warning about how pretty soon there would be no work for anyone. They would tell us we have to prepare for this dark future by fundamentally reorganizing society.

 

Okay, that story is about as wrong as could possibly be the case, but if anyone buys the robots taking our jobs line, then they better try to figure out why this time is different. After all, what difference does it make if a worker loses their job to a big tractor or they lose their job to a robot?

 

Getting Serious About Robots and Productivity Growth

 

The basic story of robots taking our jobs is one of a massive increase in productivity growth. Instead of people driving taxis and trucks, stocking store shelves, and working checkout counters, all this work and more will be dealt with by robots. 

 

I find a lot to disagree with in that article. 

 

A) "robots haven't taken the jobs yet, as you can see USA productivity is increasing slowly" Fair enough... "therefore robots are no threat to jobs"... Um... you made a big leap there!

B) author seemingly has no understanding of why the automation of cognitive labour is different from the automation of physical labour. 

 

C) Author points to agriculture and says "you see, a few hundred years ago we needed 90% of people to work in agriculture, now we need just 2% so robots(or improved productivity) are no threat to jobs!" which seems good evidence of the reverse?

 

 

 

Instead of people driving taxis and trucks, stocking store shelves, and working checkout counters, all this work and more will be dealt with by robots. There are three problems with this story:

1) It has not been happening;

2) No one involved in designing policy expects to happen;

3) It would likely mean more rapid wage growth and improved living standards if it did happen.

1) No one has made a fully autonomous driverless car yet, so obviously no one has lost their job to a driverless car yet, in no way proves it won't happen. 

2) fucking terrifying. 

3) A) Why would wages increase with higher demand for jobs and lower numbers of jobs available? Lots of competition for each role = lower wages

B) Maybe improved living standards for the majority due to cheaper transport, but not for the newly unemployed who's only marketable skill was driving. 

 

He says a lot more about the lack of visible automation job losses, (while still failing to address the cognitive vs annual labour issue), and then says some stuff about how IF it happened it would be fine because we would just change our capital ownership structure and copyright/patent law to stop the increase in inequality, which seems absurdly naïve. 



#286
Yuli Ban

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p03e8dU.png


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#287
wjfox

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Exclusive: Amazon rolls out machines that pack orders and replace jobs
 
MAY 13, 2019 / 11:08 AM / UPDATED 4 HOURS AGO
 
Amazon.com Inc is rolling out machines to automate a job held by thousands of its workers: boxing up customer orders.
 
The company started adding technology to a handful of warehouses in recent years, which scans goods coming down a conveyor belt and envelopes them seconds later in boxes custom-built for each item, two people who worked on the project told Reuters.
 
Amazon has considered installing two machines at dozens more warehouses, removing at least 24 roles at each one, these people said. These facilities typically employ more than 2,000 people.
 
That would amount to more than 1,300 cuts across 55 U.S. fulfillment centers for standard-sized inventory. Amazon would expect to recover the costs in under two years, at $1 million per machine plus operational expenses, they said.
 
The plan, previously unreported, shows how Amazon is pushing to reduce labor and boost profits as automation of the most common warehouse task – picking up an item – is still beyond its reach. The changes are not finalized because vetting technology before a major deployment can take a long time.
 


#288
Alislaws

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Well, this is the obvious and inevitable response to all the "Amazon treats it's workers badly" news stories. 

 

I'm never sure what those articles mean to do, if we all stop buying from amazon, those abused people will probably lose their jobs. If they had other options they'd be working elsewhere, so that would be a disaster for them. 

 

If amazon raises prices to pay workers better, or to hire more workers to take some of the pressure off then they lose sales and then need less warehouses so people lose jobs again. 

 

If we all keep buying amazon products they will automate those jobs eventually and everyone loses their jobs. 

 

I think the only good way to approach the problem is to force amazon to treat its workers well, even if it means smaller profits, or to ensure there are good jobs available for people so they can quit jobs that abuse them. but that would be government interference/regulation, or it would be government investment and subsidies neither of which can happen in the USA under this Govt. 


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#289
wjfox

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Robots find a new job: Skyscraper window washers

 

Updated 1910 GMT (0310 HKT) May 24, 2019

 

Tel Aviv (CNN Business)A skyscraper window washer regularly ranks among the toughest jobs in the world.

 

The role, which can pay an upward of $27 an hour, often requires workers to hang hundreds of feet above the ground. The high wages and steep turnover rates have made the industry ripe for automation.

 

Read more: https://edition.cnn....sher/index.html

 

 

mnEupvW.jpg


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#290
starspawn0

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Quote:

In this paper we analyze the effects of exposure to industrial robots in the Chinese labor market. Using aggregate data from Chinese prefectural cities (2000-2016) and individual longitudinal data from China, we find a large negative impact of robot exposure on employment and wages of Chinese workers. Effects are concentrated in the state-owned sector and are larger among low-skilled, male, and prime-age and older workers. Furthermore, we find evidence that exposure to robots affected internal mobility and increased the number of labor-related strikes and protests.


https://papers.ssrn....ract_id=3390271

China deploys tech faster than the U.S. As AI continues to advance, the impacts will be even greater.
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#291
starspawn0

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McDonald’s is Testing Kitchen Robots and AI-Powered Drive-Thrus.

https://thespoon.tec...its-about-time/

Speech recognition is now up to the task of taking customer orders.

If fast food restaurants start automating these jobs, the impact on employment will be large.
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#292
starspawn0

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Robots 'to replace 20 million factory jobs'

https://www.bbc.com/...siness-48760799

#293
wjfox

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Robots 'to replace 20 million factory jobs'

https://www.bbc.com/...siness-48760799

 

 

As usual – and is so common with reports of this type – the article says more jobs will be created (so nothing to worry about!).

 

I find this increasingly hard to believe. Surely many of these "new" jobs will, themselves, be capable of being automated as time goes by? This won't be the same as previous decades and centuries where human muscle power was replaced by machines. In future decades, we're talking about actual cognition and brain power that's going to be replaced.


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#294
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It all depends on how fast the automation unfolds. If one sector gets heavily automated, but another doesn't, and jobs can open up there, then a tech unemployment disaster can be delayed. Perhaps it's best to view it like a set of corpuscular motions of people from one job to another; things only become problematic when there is too much stretching and squeezing, too many places at once.

I think it's entirely possible the worst-case scenarios can happen. On the research side of things, AI is improving much, much faster than most AI scientists have predicted. It's funny seeing people who were previously skeptical about the advances of Deep Learning on language understanding starting to seem a little nervous about the pace of the advances; and note that really good language understanding could lead to the automation of an enormous number of jobs. Oren Etzioni is one example. A few years ago, I never would have dreamed he would write an article like this:

https://hbr.org/2019...i-based-forgery

And there have been advances since even that recent article was written, that probably have made him even more nervous -- e.g. the progress on Winograd Schemas. And there is no end in sight.

Things on the implementation side may lag a few years, but the lag seems to be shrinking with time.
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#295
Raklian

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When we reach the tipping point in terms of people getting laid off in massive cascading waves likes of which we've never seen, we'll have no choice but to implement the basic income and levy a tax on AI-powered production and services from which the proceeds will fund the basic income.

 

I just don't see any other way for us to get by in a world dominated by artificial intelligence. The basic income, in its various forms (doesn't necessarily need to be monetary), is the very mechanism we need to create a harmonious relationship between humans and our artificial brethren. 


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What are you without the sum of your parts?

#296
Erowind

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Another method is to just give up on the profit motive entirely. If we operated our economies based on human need and want things would be better. I fear that basic income could be a patchwork maneuver to keep capitalism afloat. The issue there that should scare us is that a capitalism where few work and most live on government dole funded by capitalists sounds a lot like feudalism. And I don't think anyone here wants feudalism. I'd be much less opposed to a basic income if the corporations in question that are to be taxed were cooperatively owned and or state owned by local uncorrupt governments. Large ventures like space exploration could be a collective effort of any coops and towns that desire to participate.

The point being, if the people receiving the basic income don't have direct control over its distribution, as decentralized and democratic as that control should be, then those who do control it will likely abuse that control just as rulers in the past have. I don't want to live by the grace of "benevolent" others, that's slavery with different paint. I, and others I'm sure, demand the right to control our own destinies.

Edit: this critique is more general. Non means tested, truly universal basic incomes that come from directly taxing profit are good. The issue is I don't trust governments to do that. Basic income that includes welfare harassment, means testing and poverty shaming like most modern welfare can only make things worse. Moreover if we stop at a ubi and never push the bar further that would also be bad.

Current status: slaving away for the math gods of Pythagoras VII.


#297
starspawn0

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Spurred by Amazon, Supermarkets Try Swapping Cashiers for Cameras

https://www.wsj.com/...ras-11562491800





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: technological unemployment, automation, Luddites, technism, Venus Project, robots, basic income, 4th Industrial Revolution, unemployment, artificial intelligence

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