Author Topic: Robots and their impact on the future  (Read 226669 times)

tomsang

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Robots and their impact on the future
« on: January 22, 2014, 08:09:20 AM »
I am not really a futurist, but I have a lot of clients that are involved in automation and technology.  This has provided me the opportunity to think about the future and how it will impact the equilibrium of the haves and have nots. As technology and automation replaces all of the "manual" jobs", what is the role in the undereducated class?  If they are unable to provide value as their jobs are automated by technology created by engineers and scientists, how as a society do you create jobs and meaning to this class?  It seems like technology has the potential to further the divide between the haves and have nots. Anyone else think about this and how it impacts Financial Independence and our children?

Interesting article:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2542113/Will-robot-jobocalypse-make-YOU-obsolete-2014-year-droid-takes-job-say-experts.html


hybrid

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2014, 08:29:31 AM »
Yes, I think about this quite a bit.  I think there is quite a bit of good news in regards to further developments in automation.  For starters, the less labor it takes to produce something, the more other cosrts come into play in regards to how much it costs to produce, distribute, and sell a good.  For example, labor is dirt cheap in developing countries but transportation costs from those countries are often not cheap (China is nearly half a world away after all).  As such there is a small but growing trend toward onshoring many manufacturing jobs that left the US over the past decades, as robotics can provide competitive labor costs when the discounted transportation costs are factored in.  That's good news for American workers going forward.

And there are always going to be jobs that robotics cannot provide for in the foreseeable future.  People that work with their hands outside of an assembly line job are very difficult to replace.  There are no robot plumbers, HVAC mechanics, auto mechanics, construction workers, etc.  There is still plenty of good work in the future for people who do not want to work a desk job.

Robotics will help generate even more wealth over time.  100 years ago 1 in 3 Americans worked on a farm, today 2 in 100 do, freeing up 31 people to do something else while still producing more than enough food.  This principle carries forward with robotics.  Yes, it will be disruptive in the short term for people who are displaced but arguably the people being displaced are often in overseas manufacturing facilities.

Another interesting trend is how more and more service jobs are being done away with.  All you younguns out there may not be aware that at one time in the US people did not pump their own gas at the service station (it was called a service staion for a reason, and it was highly inefficient compared to today).  The same sorts of things are happening throughout retail.  People are scanning their own items, fast food restaurants are rolling out terminals where people order and pay for their own food, doing away with the need for cashiers.  Banks need less tellers as the switch to online banking becomes more and more prevalent.

This is scary stuff for the person whose job is becoming an anachronism, much like the service station attendant of yore.  But in the long run everyone benefits from greater efficiencies.  This is one reason why I am so bullish on Costco.  They have developed a fabulous system for selling goods at a deep discount by doing away with many of the inefficiencies that plague retailers while simultaneously paying their staff handsomely compared to their retail counterparts.

Greater efficiency benefits everyone in the long term.
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AlanStache

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2014, 08:50:51 AM »
read The Lights in The Tunnel a bit ago, deals with a lot of these issues like "what will people do in the future".

I think there is a free pdf version.  http://www.thelightsinthetunnel.com/

It has been a while so I am sure I have forgot the details but basically he argues that a good percent of the population will be paid to read/write, educate themselves and others without much tangible or commercial to show.  But there will always be a subset of people that will work there butt off and innovate and create wealth and they will have a higher standard of living but people will have the option to have an OK standard of living by getting four Phd's over the coarse of there life time.  This will be a gradual transition obviously perhaps taking as long as a few centuries...

I am mostly in the "This Time It Is Different" camp as 'machines' are able to do more and more intellectually 'creative' work replacing doctors, lawyers, accountants and other who have significant intellectual training.  Only saving grace that may keep us humans in the game is augmenting our brains directly with computers-and enter the Matrix. 

The Lights in the Tunnel is a good read, strongly recommend.  Cant agree with it all but worth the time.
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GuitarStv

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2014, 09:37:06 AM »
Once we invent cheap, attractive sex bots (and get over that uncanny valley issue) I fully expect the human race to die out in a single generation . . . maybe two at the most.

AlanStache

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2014, 09:57:29 AM »
but people could still adopt kids-right?
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tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2014, 10:33:27 AM »
And there are always going to be jobs that robotics cannot provide for in the foreseeable future.  People that work with their hands outside of an assembly line job are very difficult to replace. There are no robot plumbers, HVAC mechanics, auto mechanics, construction workers, etc.   There is still plenty of good work in the future for people who do not want to work a desk job.

Greater efficiency benefits everyone in the long term.

I agree with most of what you said, and specifically your last sentence.  Based on what I am seeing, I believe that plumbers, HVAC mechanics, automechanics, construction workers, will be replaced by robots within 30 years and most likely within 15 years.  Currently cars are being made by robots, see the Tesla Video http://video.wired.com/watch/the-window-tesla-inside-a-tesla-model-s-electric-car

Robotic technology and its use is growing exponetially.  The simplistic robotics of 15 years ago are the thing of the past.  Boeing just signed a 10 year agreement with their union.  I believe a major portion of that is that robotic technology is going to be ready in 10 years to replace the workers.  Robotics are currently doing the precision and challenging working in the factories, but the amount of robotics in the construction of a plane is accelerating.  Factories are incorporating robotics into every aspect of the process.  They work longer, faster and are much much more accurate.  They don't make mistakes and they don't demand healthcare and raises. 

The areas of the workforce that will be out of work with self driving cars/trucks:  Taxi drivers, delivery drivers(see Amazon's drone delivery), longhaul drivers, bus drivers, etc.  This will occur within the next 15 years.  At some point it will be illegal to drive your car as you will be too dangerous.

As more buildings, equipment, boats, machines are designed on CAD/CATIA type computer generated design platforms the easier it is to transfer that data to an automated robot to build the final project.  You will not have architects complaining that their construction crew screwed up their building as the robots will be following their drawings down to the millimeter.

From what I hear, Amazon is building and renovating completely automated factories.  All those grandmas and grandpas that help out during the holidays are not going to be welcome in 2 to 5 years.  You can't have them being run over by a robot that is 100 times faster and more accurate. 

Interesting thoughts.  I think a lot of Mustachian behavior will help the transition, but when I hear that you don't need a higher education then you better plan on being off the grid.  For our kids if they are not getting a STEM type education then I think the future is going to be challenging.  Those glory jobs of doctors, lawyers, pilots, are going to be replaced by the guy running the machine.  Having a nurse to take your bp, temp, weight, etc. is going to be gone within 10 years.  A robot can do that and upload all the information into the computer.  No mistakes, no salary, fairly simple robot.

3d printers are looking more like Star Trek!  Next thing we don't need factories!

For us, having the capital to buy the stocks that control the technology will be beneficial.  As they squeeze those who are not deemed productive because they were replaced by robots, profits will increase.  Until no one is needing anything.  That is when having a government that can support the changes and deal with inequality will be needed.

Like everything it goes back to the essential needs.  Food, Shelter, and Love.  Robotics are on their way in all of those categories.  Which of the crazy Matrix, Terminator, Star Trek or other sci-fi movie will we evolve or devolve into?


   


Le Dérisoire

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2014, 10:37:30 AM »
Ancient Rome had a similar problem. Not with robots, but with slaves.

Jobs that didn't require any particular knowledge or skill were all taken by slaves. The uneducated Roman citizens could not find a job because they required a salary and so were more expensive to hire.

To keep these people occupied, the state would give free food to every citizen (bread) and would organize free circus games and other kind of entertainment. Otherwise, the hungry and idle plebeian would have revolted.

tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2014, 11:55:37 AM »
Another interesting article on technology and the impact on jobs.  There may be hope if you are on the right side of the line! 

“We were lucky and steadily rising productivity raised all boats for much of the 20th century,” he says. “Many people, especially economists, jumped to the conclusion that was just the way the world worked. I used to say that if we took care of productivity, everything else would take care of itself; it was the single most important economic statistic. But that’s no longer true.” He adds, “It’s one of the dirty secrets of economics: technology progress does grow the economy and create wealth, but there is no economic law that says everyone will benefit.” In other words, in the race against the machine, some are likely to win while many others lose.
http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/515926/how-technology-is-destroying-jobs/

New technologies are “encroaching into human skills in a way that is completely unprecedented,” McAfee says, and many middle-class jobs are right in the bull’s-eye; even relatively high-skill work in education, medicine, and law is affected. “The middle seems to be going away,” he adds. “The top and bottom are clearly getting farther apart.” While technology might be only one factor, says McAfee, it has been an “underappreciated” one, and it is likely to become increasingly significant.


AlanStache

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2014, 12:17:05 PM »
Yep the middle class jobs are a definite target, in The Lights in The Tunnel, they look at how it is economically worth it to try to automate good paying jobs especially those that require less manipulation of the real world. 

You can make more money by automating away a lawyer or legal assistant than you can automating away a hotel maid and in the law you dont have to worry about emulating a human hand or bending over to an awkward corner of a room, more of the work and inputs are already digital.

Also it is not an all or nothing deal, if this year you can automate 6 legal assistants down to 5, then a few years latter down to 4 all the while doing more volume for less cost everyone but the out of work assistants are making more money.  Some argue that those two legal assistants would then get better jobs writing software for the bots but I find argument this unpersuasive. 
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tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2014, 01:39:29 PM »
Yep the middle class jobs are a definite target, in The Lights in The Tunnel, they look at how it is economically worth it to try to automate good paying jobs especially those that require less manipulation of the real world. 


Thanks AlanStache!  I started reading the book you recommended and it is eye-opening.  If anyone want the free PDF, here is the link.
http://ieet.org/archive/LIGHTSTUNNEL.PDF

I will let you know what I think after I finish the read.

Leisured

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2014, 10:11:10 PM »
As Le Derisoire has alluded to, mechanization and automation are both a form of slave labor, but the slaves are mechanical. Sugar planters cut sugar cane with slave labor in 1770, with paid labor in 1870, and now cut cane with machines. Slave labor, paid labor and machines are interchangeable. Slaves and machines exist at a subsistence level, but paid labor, we hope, lives above subsistence. In the modern world, paid labor competes with machines, including automatic ones, such as industrial robots, and machine slaves usually win. 

In the future, we expect to see automation displacing labor on a large scale, and this idling of labor can be seen as a form of market failure, in this case the labor market. Rich countries accept that in it is appropriate for the government to intervene in the case of partial market failure. All rich countries have state supplied education and (except for one country) national health insurance, because education and health are not always satisfactorily supplied by the private sector. These government interventions are seen as legitimate. I suggest that, in the future, rich countries will provide a universal Basic Income to overcome the problem of permanent, automation induced unemployment, and such a move will also be seen as legitimate.

US GDP is about $50K for every man, woman and child in the country, and all these goods and services were purchased. Assume a Basic Income of $20K for all Americans 18 and over, and this means that about a third of GDP will be purchased with the Basic Income, allowing for the fact that children will not receive the Basic Income. This means a large tax increase for the wealthy, and will hurt, but economically the Basic Income is possible. It is more of a social and political matter.

There is no pressing need for a Basic Income now. I am looking ahead 15 years, by which time US per capita GDP will be substantially higher, in real terms.

Ian

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2014, 10:22:53 PM »
This is an issue I've given some thought to, but I can't add much to this thread because people have already posted most of the articles and books I've read on the subject. I think that while there are historical precedents we can look to, like any event it also has unique factors that will change how it plays out. I think much of the impact of automation has been cushioned by the number of essentially unnecessary jobs that have proliferated in recent decades.

Khanjar

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2014, 06:27:36 AM »
I think the reason the inequality is such an important issue, is that if we continue down this path, where investors are the ones to reap the rewards of production, where labor is the main source of value that one can gain by his existence, but where robots and owners of robots are quickly displacing the lower end is unsustainable. I don't -want- full blown socialism. But, I think a guarenteed basic income, replacing all of our spotty and terribly inefficient welfare system, where people can definitely afford to provide for themselves a basic shelter, food and electricity is something we must seriously start considering.

I'm not sure how much I subscribe to the singularity, as I think that there is a finite limit to the speed of technological progress, which is the speed of manufacturing at a minimum, but I think it's something worth thinking over. The speed of technological progress is something that everyone should realize by now. Almost any smartphone today can connect to Google or Apple's servers, and do speech recognition. OCR has followed a similar path. Driverless cars as well, from not even passing the DARPA Grand Challenge in a desert 10 years ago to millions of miles travelled in cities today.

This will all be a great boon to humanity, as we live better lives then the kings of the past, but without controlling that inequality problem, allowing the boons of all of this technological advancement to go primarily to the owners of capital, we may move into a terrible society.

Manna, a look at two societies in the future:
http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm

Paul Krugman, where the productivity went:
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/28/where-the-productivity-went/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

Paul Krugman, where are the manufacturing jobs?:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/21/opinion/krugman-profits-without-production.html

Four futures article:
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2011/12/four-futures/

tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2014, 06:36:49 PM »
Robots to replace troops on the battlefield!

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/robots-replace-troops-battlefield-111500084.html

"If more advanced robots are used in battle, it would be years down the line. Lt. Gen. Keith Walker told Defense News that widespread use of robots could not occur until the “deep future” - sometime between 2030 and 2040."

So like in 16 years we could be using Terminator in our wars!

marty998

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2014, 08:14:19 PM »
Yes but I don't think Arnold will come and save us this time.

We're boned.

Leisured

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2014, 04:16:25 AM »
Thankyou AlanStache and Khanjar for the links.

I suspect that many, perhaps most people, will react to the prospect of large sale automation by obstructing it. From what I have seen, it appears that there are unspoken rules to such obstruction. Machines which do heavy lifting, or dangerous work, are allowed to do their tasks. Computers which do boring work such as storing and retrieving records, and adding up columns of numbers, will also be allowed to do their tasks. I suspect that in the future, organized labor will move to suppress, or in some cases roll back, the automation of certain tasks. These tasks could include back office work for accountants, architects, engineers and lawyers.

I have witnessed two examples of resistance to automation, one in the financial industry, and the other in manufacturing. This resistance was not sabotage, more obstruction. Existing computers or existing machines were not allowed to perform certain tasks. It is not a serious problem now, but could become more widespread in the future.

Such obstruction will seem like common sense to most people, but will be seen as absurd by more intelligent, scientifically minded people.

I see an advanced society being a combination of H G Wells and Jane Austen, that is gracious living supported by an automated economy. Jane Austen’s gentry were supported by workers and peasants, and in an advanced modernist society, machines will replace workers and peasants, and will, over time, make possible a wealthy, leisured society.

I suspect that in the future many people will refuse to accept such gracious living.


Khanjar

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2014, 04:56:55 AM »
And a new day, a new article on income inequality.

Possible apologies to anyone with a conservative bent(DailyKos is a... very progressive website):
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/01/26/1272199/-What-is-the-path-to-an-America-beyond-capitalism

http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/working-for-the-few-economic-inequality

And that's really the crux of the matter I think. Sure prices will drop as the cost of labor, warehousing, and transportation drop due to improved automation, reduced labor inputs(automated trucks, automated warehouses), but to benefit from that you kind've have to be have some access to money to begin with.

But to benefit from this in today's society, you have to be employed, or have capital working for you. Anyone who hasn't already bought into the system(what is Mustachianism if not that?) needs to attempt to gain the capital to buy into the system.

And subsidizing the cost of low-wage employers with government benefits...

As Bill Maher said. Either Colonel Sanders pays his employees enough to live on, or Uncle Sam will.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4InCis9FH6c

Edit:
Quote
In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90% became poorer.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2014, 05:03:54 AM by Khanjar »

Chuck

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2014, 05:15:36 AM »
The last time society had no use for a too-large uneducated class, live in servants were a thing. As late at the 1950's some 40% of US households employed at least one full time houseworker (nanny/cook/maid).

I think that we'll see a return to that soon. In my area (DC) it's already starting to happen. More nannies and Au Pairs than you can shake a stick at around here.

Edit: Also, the arts will make a big time comeback.

tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2014, 03:53:33 PM »
CNBC -  Rise of the machine from today
http://www.cnbc.com/id/101362018

"At the beginning I was kind of nervous, but now I like it, I got used to it," she said. "I have extra time now to do other stuff." She may end up having lots of extra time in the next few years as the technology advances.

"Budnick, who paid $25,000 for Baxter, said he would have paid more. The robot has increased his company's productivity so he can bid on more jobs—and hire more employees to meet increased demand."

Replace a worker for $25k!  He throws in that they can hire more employees because they are more competitive.  Which means that his competition goes out of business or invests in a robot so they can be more efficient.  In the big scheme of things employees are being replaced which effects someone.  It may be eliminating jobs overseas as the work can be competively done within the US, but overall jobs ar being eliminated, which will be disruptive to those currently doing the grunt work.

"The economic disruption that we have seen in the past 10 years is really just a small glimmer compared to what we will see in the next 10 years," Brynjolfsson said. "If we do it right, it will be mostly a good story. We will have much better health, we will be able to solve a lot of economic problems that we couldn't have solved before, but it is not going to be a smooth ride."

By preparing oneself for the changes in the future, it avoids being a frog slowly boiling in a pot on the stove.

Leisured

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2014, 03:07:33 AM »
AlanStache and tomsang I read the book 'Lights in the Tunnel' and it was good. I suggest you post it on the category Mustchean Book Club.


ch12

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2014, 04:34:08 AM »
If you guys like Lights in the Tunnel, then you should try out Race Against The Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy as well as The Second Machine Age, by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson.

I wrote my senior thesis on the migration of production from overseas to back home. Everyone talks about how there used to be good manufacturing jobs, but now they are gone.
Skills Gap
Some are coming back, but there's a skills gap; my generation hasn't been raised to become machinists. Obama's trying to change that, and there was a bit of hullabaloo when he was in Wisconsin right after SOTU to underline the initiative to train workers for the jobs that exist. http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/president-obama-lands-in-milwaukee-for-visit-to-waukesha-plant-b99194747z1-242766711.html?subscriber_login=y

Rana Faroohar is a big proponent of the six-year high school model, where kids graduate with a high school diploma and an associate's degree. http://business.time.com/2013/10/25/foroohar-to-compete-america-needs-6-year-high-schools/
Automation
Beyond the skills gap, automation is one reason why people can afford to bring manufacturing back. Tesla is a prime example; how else could you manufacture cars efficiently near Silicon Valley? Manufacturing is coming back, but it's not a magic cureall for unemployment. Robots are getting a good portion of those jobs.

Income inequality is going to widen, as we've already seen. Some will own the robots. Others will be replaced by robots. You want to be on the right side of the line.

tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2014, 01:14:05 PM »

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2014, 02:45:41 PM »
Personally, I look forward this. "Affluence" is the word that comes to mind. I am an admitted optimist, and I can imagine a world where all the needs are handled by robots, while innovation, art, music, and adventures are done by those who have the desire to do so. Hopefully, by the time that happens, people will have some kind of philosophy of life, or at least an understanding of health. The only thing that concerns me about this is the self-destructive tendencies I've seen that are so prevalent. The other side of the coin is like the passengers on the remaining spaceship of Wall-E. :)
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Tyler

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2014, 03:36:47 PM »
Robots will definitely change job roles in the future, but the tipping point will not be when someone invents a relatively expensive robot to do flexible manual labor.  It will be when AI reaches the point where "knowledge workers" are out of a job due to formless and basically free software .  For example, a lot of formerly very well off people will be out looking for manual labor gigs once Google invents a virtual engineer floating in a server array that can write new code. 

Easy to replicate manual labor will definitely be automated.  But so will easy to replicate white collar jobs, and those are arguably even easier to replace in many cases.  Think about all the high-paying engineering jobs being outsourced to Asia -- those are the real targets of the robot inventors, not the barista down the street.
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ch12

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2014, 07:06:57 PM »
Robots will definitely change job roles in the future, but the tipping point will not be when someone invents a relatively expensive robot to do flexible manual labor.  It will be when AI reaches the point where "knowledge workers" are out of a job due to formless and basically free software .  For example, a lot of formerly very well off people will be out looking for manual labor gigs once Google invents a virtual engineer floating in a server array that can write new code. 

Easy to replicate manual labor will definitely be automated.  But so will easy to replicate white collar jobs, and those are arguably even easier to replace in many cases.  Think about all the high-paying engineering jobs being outsourced to Asia -- those are the real targets of the robot inventors, not the barista down the street.

Yep.

Speaking of manual labor being replaced by technology - There's a guy who invented 3D printed houses, and he talked about it in a TED talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehnzfGP6sq4

He envisions houses printed in 20 hours replacing today's slums, which house 1 billion people. NASA is funding his research, since they're interested in sending robots to the moon which will be capable of building hangars and the like. I'm very interested in his work from the perspective of cutting cost and environmental waste, which is a value that Mr. Money Mustache has and many Mustachians share.

My brother-in-law is an energy engineer (job=making large companies/universities more energy efficient), and he did a project on a net-zero house. A few years ago, when he dreamed it up (alongside other project members), the cost was prohibitive around $350,000. I talked to my BIL about prefab houses that were net zero, and he liked the idea. Clayton had some at 160,000 (since discontinued), which he thought was great.

Frankly, baristas have already been automated out of a job.
http://www.hometone.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/bemoved-coffee-machine-douwe-egberts_EYffT_1822.jpg
I first saw a Douwe Egberts machine in a Delta SkyLounge, and I fell in love then. I foresee a coffee shop model where you get unlimited superb coffee (mocha cappucinos, anyone?) for a set monthly price. You'd also be able to park and work, like many people do in coffee shops everywhere. It's like renting an office, except the space is centered around the experience, and less about the utmost productivity from you.

There are things that humans do better than machines. Knowing your neighborhood barista is an experience that you don't get with a machine, regardless of how beautiful, efficient, and effective it is. My job has already been automated, and yet I still have a Quality Assurance job at a software company. Being able to talk to the person who found a bug is easier than digging up other stuff.

tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2014, 11:53:03 PM »

greentea

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2014, 01:01:07 AM »
I don't have much to add accept this futurist website I came across recently:

www.futuretimeline.net

What fascinates me most is the "intelligence enhancement" that this website discusses.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #27 on: March 04, 2014, 03:53:46 AM »
Personally maybe I am Naive but the workforce will always out pace the need for Robots in Developed countries.  We have been listening about robots and flying cars and the movies they were in those years have already gotten old.  I think Robots will continue to become part of assembly, technical aspects and so on but if anything will create more of a market for humans. But the country s that get to this first will be the ones to benefit from it. Just like technology that's all robots are and you will need computers etc... but i am old school.
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BlueMR2

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #28 on: March 04, 2014, 04:08:34 PM »
White collar, blue collar they all can be replaced.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/dc895d54-a2bf-11e3-9685-00144feab7de.html#axzz2uyStDWm3

Link no worky for me.  However, it's very true that all color collars are in danger.  Supercomputers can already out think CEOs, lawyers will not be far behind.  Service robots are very rapidly approaching the ability to replace nurses.  Diagnostic apps are already better than human doctors.  Given those abilities, it wouldn't be much further along until the robots could build/maintain/upgrade themselves fast/better than we can, so even technology isn't safe.

So, what's left for us?  A life of leisure and arts?  Sure, until the robots decide that we're wasting valuable resources.

I just don't see any way that this can end other than in a very bad way for us.  I love transhumanism fiction, but I don't see that happening.  By the time the upload capacity is there for our brains, there'd be no point, we'd drag the system down.  The singularity may happen, but it's unlikely people will make the jump...

tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #29 on: March 04, 2014, 06:18:19 PM »
The title of the article is Rise of the Replicants at ft.com  Try this link.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/dc895d54-a2bf-11e3-9685-00144feab7de.html


tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2014, 05:29:47 PM »
Interesting article. 


"These transitions have happened before,"  "What's different this time is that technological change is happening even faster, and it may affect a greater variety of jobs."


"The advances, coupled with mobile robots wired with this intelligence, make it likely that occupations employing almost half of today's U.S. workers, ranging from loan officers to cab drivers and real estate agents, become possible to automate in the next decade or two, according to a study done at the University of Oxford in the U.K."

http://www.dailyfinance.com/2014/03/12/smarter-computers-and-robots-may-take-half-of-americas-jobs/




MrCash

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #31 on: March 12, 2014, 05:32:51 PM »
I can't wait for advanced personal home robots.  Hopefully I'll be FI by then so it won't adversely affect my FI date.
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Mykl

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #32 on: March 13, 2014, 02:56:07 PM »
I want Pauli's robot from Rocky IV.


greaper007

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #33 on: March 14, 2014, 12:27:00 PM »

tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #34 on: April 27, 2014, 11:05:31 AM »
Interesting article. Oxford University say that robots could replace half of the current workforce in the next 10-20 years. It is coming, make sure you and your children have an education/career that will be in demand in the future.

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20140427/NEWS/304279955/as-robots-take-jobs-experts-ask-if-humans-will-keep-up

Edited to fix bad link
« Last Edit: April 27, 2014, 11:13:49 AM by tomsang »

arebelspy

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #35 on: April 27, 2014, 11:11:36 AM »
Interesting article. Oxford University say that robots could replace half of the current workforce in the next 10-20 years. It is coming, make sure you and your children have an education/career that will be in demand in the future.

http://www.fool.com/retirement/general/2014/04/26/dont-panic-your-retirement-number-is-lower-than-yo.aspx

I think you cut and paste the wrong link.  :)
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tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #36 on: April 27, 2014, 11:15:49 AM »
Interesting article. Oxford University say that robots could replace half of the current workforce in the next 10-20 years. It is coming, make sure you and your children have an education/career that will be in demand in the future.

http://www.fool.com/retirement/general/2014/04/26/dont-panic-your-retirement-number-is-lower-than-yo.aspx

I think you cut and paste the wrong link.  :)

Thanks for the heads up I think I fixed the link. Darn technology!

JamesL

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #37 on: April 27, 2014, 12:34:39 PM »
I'm getting into accounting as a career, and with the increased technology I could see us becoming more and more obsolete. Legislation could easily make accounting (i.e. tax accountants) 100x easier. For example- a flat tax so everyone could do their own taxes and not have to worry about the complexities of our current tax standards. Simplify the system and it means people are more self sufficient and a lot of the people that currently implement those laws are out of a job. Turbo Tax and Tax Act already make doing taxes for the majority of people the way to go.

deborah

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #38 on: April 27, 2014, 05:17:52 PM »
Some people have mentioned 3D printing. I think this will be the real revolution. Imagine - going to your local 3D print store, and getting exactly the washing machine you want, with only the cycles you actually use, the exact size to take your normal wash. The next customer might want a bicycle, or a couch or even another 3D printer. Transportation would only be of gloop for the 3D printers rather than finished goods - this would dramatically decrease the volumes shipped, as most shipping is air. Each "manufactured" good would be downloaded via the internet to the 3D printer and have an enormous variety of options.

As each community would only need 1 3D printer, communities could be smaller to receive a high standard of equipment. The problems that people in remote regions have getting anything (a huge problem in as sparsely settled a place as Australia) would be reduced, encouraging a reversal of cities sucking people from the country.

Contrary to other writers, I think people providing services will increase.

warfreak2

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #39 on: April 28, 2014, 06:22:37 AM »
Some people have mentioned 3D printing. I think this will be the real revolution. Imagine - going to your local 3D print store, and getting exactly the washing machine you want, with only the cycles you actually use, the exact size to take your normal wash. The next customer might want a bicycle, or a couch or even another 3D printer.
Cutting down on the amount of air being shipped is not going to reduce costs, because most of those costs are associated with weight rather than size. A lorry can pull a shipping container full of washing machines, but not a shipping container full of solid steel pellets. Also, carrying air is much more efficient than heating every single gram of every material in an object to melting point and assembling it in liquid form one wafer-thin layer at a time.
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AlanStache

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #40 on: April 28, 2014, 07:00:41 AM »
3d printing, things are going to change.  Not sure we will ever get to Diamond Age (Neal Stephenson) in home production but retail will be very much affected.  It is not just transportation and thermal heating.  Something like half the cost of an item in a shop is taken by the retailer, I think there is much efficiency (to the consumer) to be gained here even if wide spread home printing never really takes off.  That is, we can have smaller shops that carry a much wider variety of products if they can be made more or less on demand.  And there will be lower costs as unsold items will not be shipped, made or disposed of.

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deborah

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #41 on: April 28, 2014, 02:56:07 PM »
Some people have mentioned 3D printing. I think this will be the real revolution. Imagine - going to your local 3D print store, and getting exactly the washing machine you want, with only the cycles you actually use, the exact size to take your normal wash. The next customer might want a bicycle, or a couch or even another 3D printer.
Cutting down on the amount of air being shipped is not going to reduce costs, because most of those costs are associated with weight rather than size. A lorry can pull a shipping container full of washing machines, but not a shipping container full of solid steel pellets. Also, carrying air is much more efficient than heating every single gram of every material in an object to melting point and assembling it in liquid form one wafer-thin layer at a time.
Shipping will change (as against lorries). I didn't say it would reduce costs - just that it would be a revolution, because it will change the entire production line, and probably the entire consumable culture. It could also reduce pollution and energy consumption.
  • It makes obsolete the cost efficiency of making millions of exactly the same thing.
  • It changes the distribution system
  • It is often touted as reducing waste in manufacture, as everything that is used in a 3D print is part of the product, or is still gloop, and can just go back into the machine to be used in the next print. Manufacturing waste is often about half of the materials used or more!
  • Nothing is created until it is actually required by the consumer - manufacture-on-demand. I know that when we introduced print-on-demand (printers not printing paper until the person was actually at the printer and said they wanted the document) it saved more than half the paper consumption.
  • Just the previous two items will reduce transportation significantly
  • If you had a recycling (a gloop extraction unit for articles not needed any more) next to the 3D printer, you would get the majority of your gloop on site, and not need to transport much gloop
I am talking about a large 3D printer - capable of producing big products. Not about the small 3D printers that are already ubiquitous and quietly revolutionizing processes such as dentistry (does your dentist have a very small 3D printer to print teeth?). 

warfreak2

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #42 on: April 28, 2014, 03:51:09 PM »
It makes obsolete the cost efficiency of making millions of exactly the same thing.
This is the main problem - it never will. 3D printing just requires so much energy. If you're making steel out of molten iron, it's much more efficient to form it into the shapes you want while it's still molten, rather than cutting it into pellets, letting them cool, and then melting and remolding the pellets later. You talk about waste, but what about wasted energy?

3D printing fills an important niche, which will surely grow over time, but it will never economically compete with centralised mass production and distribution.
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deborah

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #43 on: April 28, 2014, 05:28:28 PM »
3D printing fills an important niche, which will surely grow over time, but it will never economically compete with centralised mass production and distribution.
Sorry to disagree, but it already is. For instance, 3D printing of clothes is occurring, and a high percentage of clothing made from polyesters rather than natural fibres. Clothing is one of the major manufacturing industries in which waste is astronomical.

There have been recent advances with metal and 3D printing that look very promising. But, metal is only part of what we use, and the amount of metal in products has steadily declined over the years.

AlanStache

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #44 on: April 28, 2014, 06:18:22 PM »
3d printing would seem to be very largely a commercial technological revolution as opposed to a governmental or military one so economics will play a very large roll in what becomes printed vs stays mass produced.
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Ian

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #45 on: April 28, 2014, 06:23:00 PM »
I find myself in an odd place in this discussion, because I feel there are compelling cases for two contradictory trends. Robots and 3D printing could very well revolutionize parts of our society. However, there's good reason to believe that peak energy will be a large concern over coming decades.

Most people who believe one seem to discount the other. I wish I could find thinkers or communities considering the confluence of these trends.

sol

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #46 on: April 28, 2014, 08:02:38 PM »
This is scary stuff for the person whose job is becoming an anachronism, much like the service station attendant of yore.

One of my sisters is attached to a mechanical watch repairman, and my other sister is attached to a manual typewriter repairman.  Both of these dudes are making a living working on outdated obsolete technologies, in jobs that were once deemed dying professions. 

3D printing just requires so much energy.

In the very long run, Earth has a much larger supply of energy than it does of raw materials. 

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #47 on: April 30, 2014, 06:12:32 AM »

Is automation a threat or an opportunity? It is easy to overlook the point of automation, which is to live the Good Life, a Mustachian life. A society living the Good Life explores the furthest reaches of knowledge, art and experience, lives in surroundings and landscapes of beauty and grandeur, and is supported by an automated economy. Machines and human labour are interchangeable, and an advanced society will exploit machines to the full. The road is open.

I see an advanced society being a combination of H G Wells and Jane Austen, that is gracious living supported by an automated economy.

How does one live, when work and a career are no longer important? Aristocrats have lived such lives since the days of the pharaohs. Dornford Yates was a British novelist of the twenties and thirties, and his comic novels are similar to the comic novels of Wodehouse, but with an edge to them. His characters lived off investments and did not work. Dornford Yates was a snob, but now, machines are replacing the working class, or soon will, so any distaste felt about Yates’ snobbery becomes irrelevant.  Try ‘The house that Berry Built’, ‘And Berry Came Too’, and ‘Jonah and Co.’

sol

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #48 on: April 30, 2014, 09:12:04 AM »
Manna, a look at two societies in the future:
http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm

This was an interesting read, for a piece of speculative fiction.  Which isn't usually my thing.

It's 8 web-page sized chapters long, and I wasn't terribly happy with ending, but the larger theme of how automation and robotics strongly influencing the direction of capitalism is a meaty one.  You could easily write a much larger book based on this little story.

The summary for people who can't be bothered:  As software and robots start to replace management jobs, instead of just manual labor jobs, the traditional roles of people controlling computers will be reversed and people essentially become the laborers being controlled by computers.  This leads to phenomenal increases in productivity and standard of living for some people, but ever larger portions of the population end up in these minimum wage jobs that don't require any thinking because a computer is telling you what to do all day.

This greatly stratifies the distribution of wealth in the country, and eventually leads to a corporate elite with untold wealth and the bulk of the population basically living in high tech slums, with robot-supplied food and housing like the "guaranteed income" we have discussed here before.  These people are sectioned off from rich society because nobody likes to look at homeless people, so they can't really leave.  They are not exactly oppressed, just effectively confined because they lack the means to live anywhere else.

This is the society of our automated capitalist future, where almost everyone is reduced to the lowest common denominator.  By contrast, the later chapters focus on an alternative system of collectivism where nobody owns anything or has any privacy, but everyone shares the benefits of the collective and this greatly raises the standard of living for people who are allowed to participate in it because robots are doing all of the work.  The story makes this sound like a fantasy heaven without really exploring the negative consequences of such an arrangement, which is why I think there is a much larger book to be written based on these ideas.

401Killer

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #49 on: April 30, 2014, 09:37:08 AM »
<-- Is a FANUC robot specialist at a major car manufacture. FANUC is the world leader in industrial robots. I'm not worried about my career going away.

=D