Author Topic: Robots and their impact on the future  (Read 365887 times)

Bakari

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1150 on: January 07, 2017, 10:08:56 AM »
If all the unseen things were not modeled every moment, then when someone did finally check, things wouldn't be where they should be.

https://plus.maths.org/content/matrix-simulating-world-part-i-particle-models

brooklynguy

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1151 on: January 07, 2017, 12:18:26 PM »
Nearly everyone's response to this is that base reality could be far larger and more complex, but that in itself means our reality does NOT resemble actual reality.

Why does it mean that?  Why can't a simulation resemble actual reality without replicating the entirety of reality?  If we eventually create an ancestor simulation that simulates our reality in every way except that it represents only a fraction--even a minuscule fraction--of what we take to be the observable universe, that would sufficiently resemble our reality to avoid the unsoundness of reasoning you are describing.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1152 on: January 07, 2017, 02:56:27 PM »
Nearly everyone's response to this is that base reality could be far larger and more complex, but that in itself means our reality does NOT resemble actual reality.

Why does it mean that?  Why can't a simulation resemble actual reality without replicating the entirety of reality?  If we eventually create an ancestor simulation that simulates our reality in every way except that it represents only a fraction--even a minuscule fraction--of what we take to be the observable universe, that would sufficiently resemble our reality to avoid the unsoundness of reasoning you are describing.

We don't live in a minuscule fraction of what we take to be the observable universe.  I guess we have different ideas of what "resemble" means.  I wouldn't say a bolt "resembles" a car, even though a bolt unquestionably does represent a fraction of a car. There is a point at which the fraction is minuscule enough that it isn't the same thing.  Even to a bug walking around on the head of the bolt, that bolt would not be "indistinguishable" from the car.

I'm not sure what you are trying to say. I thought I already answered what it seems like you are trying to say - if the goal were to watch the behaviors of simulated consciousness, then including things like neutrinos, a liquid core planet, and distant astronomical phenomenon which we can detect but not see, would do nothing to further that goal while adding orders of magnitude more complexity to the program requiring orders of magnitude more processing power and memory.  Take out any details we weren't going to look for in the first place, and we won't miss them.
If what you want to play is the SIMS, there is no reason to model an entire SIM city to place them in.
And yet, while including all these details that don't affect anything of value, the simulation fails at allowing us to create our own sub-simulation capable of producing sub-simulations (because each layer would require many orders of magnitude less complexities in order to fit into the sub-routine without breaking the base level processor), which would arguably have a much bigger impact on how society proceeds.  The space they used to leave quasars and neutrinos in could have potentially allowed us the bandwidth to create our own artificial artificial consciousness, but they decided to use it up on astronomy and physics? 

If we are going to start with our known reality and look forward instead of back, what reason do we have to think that we would end up with consciousness in our simulation with anything less than a full model of a brain, down to the atoms?  That is the very premise by which we accept it as even possible that a computer could give rise to consciousness - if we could accurately model every cell in the brain, one by one, in exactly the way they exist in real life, then the result should be a virtual consciousness.  The precise way in which neurons work is dependent on the workings of the organelles, which in turn are dependent on the arrangement of the molecules that make them up.   Alter just a few molecules within a single organelle in the brain and you can end up with a highly altered consciousness, or death.  So unless we are modeling down to AT LEAST the molecular level, there is no particular reason to believe our end result would be conscious.  Certainly it is conceivable, but there is exactly zero evidence of it, so again, that makes it impossibly to claim such a scenario is "likely". 

The theory just has to keep getting more and more convoluted to answer all of the questions it raises, and with each step, while remaining hypothetically possible, it gets less and less plausible.
Occam's Razor suggests it is more likely that reality is real.
"one can always burden failing explanations with ad hoc hypotheses to prevent them from being falsified"

arebelspy

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1153 on: January 07, 2017, 03:21:14 PM »


if the goal were to watch the behaviors of simulated consciousness

I would highly doubt that's the "goal."

I don't think anyone is "watching" (at least on a regular basis).

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EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1154 on: January 07, 2017, 06:45:44 PM »
I have a theory (which, admittedly, is limited by my understanding of my own reality) that Bostrom left out another possibility that a civilization advances such that they can simulate reality for one of their horde.  Just as any advancement only requires Serial Number One, once you convince a human that they are conscious in your fabricated reality, then you kick off a fractal pattern.  We could be in a simulation, but it is actually more likely than not that some consciousness created it and it is one of many experiences.  This whole idea that people live in simulations, or become extinct, smacks of a lack of imagination.

(as an aside, I wrote quite a bit about what might be possible in a fractal 'universe' of realities, and how it fits with Quantum Mechanics and String Theory.  I think Bakari has done good work discussing this and I appreciate his efforts!)
« Last Edit: January 07, 2017, 07:34:47 PM by EscapeVelocity2020 »

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1155 on: January 07, 2017, 06:53:48 PM »
I guess I should clarify, since I realize it could be unclear, that I think humankind will simulate reality but not be post-human nor extinct, thus kicking off the first fractal.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1156 on: January 10, 2017, 12:45:51 AM »
I have a theory (which, admittedly, is limited by my understanding of my own reality) that Bostrom left out another possibility that a civilization advances such that they can simulate reality for one of their horde.  Just as any advancement only requires Serial Number One, once you convince a human that they are conscious in your fabricated reality, then you kick off a fractal pattern.  We could be in a simulation, but it is actually more likely than not that some consciousness created it and it is one of many experiences.  This whole idea that people live in simulations, or become extinct, smacks of a lack of imagination.

(as an aside, I wrote quite a bit about what might be possible in a fractal 'universe' of realities, and how it fits with Quantum Mechanics and String Theory.  I think Bakari has done good work discussing this and I appreciate his efforts!)

Ahh shoot... I was just about to take off to the nightclubs to find the white rabbit to take the red pill. Guess it's more likely that we're not in a simulation now...

arebelspy

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1157 on: January 12, 2017, 06:39:09 AM »
Superintelligence: The Idea That Eats Smart People

There's a video, but luckily in text form too:
http://idlewords.com/talks/superintelligence.htm

Guy gives some reasons why he doesn't think strong AI is anything to worry about.  Not totally sold myself, but some decent reasoning.
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1158 on: January 12, 2017, 09:06:04 AM »
That was really, really good -- thanks for sharing.

Guy gives some reasons why he doesn't think strong AI is anything to worry about.

He also gives some reasons why he thinks so many smart people's thinking that strong AI is something to worry about is itself something to worry about.

maizeman

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1159 on: January 12, 2017, 09:40:41 AM »
I agree, fascinating read, thanks for posting. Finding a way to fit an "Argument from Emus" into my personal or professional writing is now on my list of goals for 2017.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1160 on: January 12, 2017, 06:47:12 PM »
Switching gears a bit, but I think this fits in this thread. 

I was happy that President Obama explicitly mentioned in his farewell address that losing jobs overseas will NOT be the big threat in the future to U.S. jobs, but rather that technological advancements will be the cause.  And that this is inevitable, and that it can be good, as long as we use our democracy to find ways to make it equitable.

I know his statements are fairly obvious to all of us here, but they don't seem to be to the general public, so it's good to see it publicly stated on a big stage. 

arebelspy

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1161 on: January 12, 2017, 09:44:49 PM »
He also gives some reasons why he thinks so many smart people's thinking that strong AI is something to worry about is itself something to worry about.

Good point, and a good addition to my tiny-blurb; he definitely did that as well.

I thought the "Religion 2.0" part was particularly interesting in relation to this.

I agree, fascinating read, thanks for posting. Finding a way to fit an "Argument from Emus" into my personal or professional writing is now on my list of goals for 2017.

Haha, nice!  Let us know when (and how) you succeed!
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Metric Mouse

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1162 on: January 13, 2017, 10:37:26 PM »
European Parliament thinks robots should pay taxes.

Tried to post this earlier, must have messed it up.

Edit: looks like original article was the draft, this is the proposed rule Robots need kill switches
« Last Edit: January 13, 2017, 10:42:57 PM by Metric Mouse »

maizeman

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1163 on: January 14, 2017, 06:39:40 PM »
*head desk*

So I should be paying social security for my neato (the bigger, smarter alternative to a roomba)?

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1164 on: January 14, 2017, 07:08:45 PM »
*head desk*

So I should be paying social security for my neato (the bigger, smarter alternative to a roomba)?

Well, some people seem to think you should, to pay the maid that you no longer will need.

It's an interesting problem, because it could cause serious complications for UBI.

maizeman

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1165 on: January 14, 2017, 07:14:32 PM »
Because the presumption is that my robotic vacuum replaces a maid vacuuming every day, rather than either A) me vacuuming every day myself or B) learning to live without vacuuming more than 2-3 times a year.

Essentially this is a backdoor attempt to block the beneficial parts of automation (work gets done which it never would have been economically viable to pay a human to do) while not doing anything to block the potentially harmful parts of automation (it's still cheaper to pay the taxes for robot than taxes + salary of a human, so all the jobs still go away).

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1166 on: January 24, 2017, 11:25:10 AM »
https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/51-of-all-job-tasks-could-be-automated-by-todays-technology-135331964.html

They touch on it but I don't think they nail the major issue that those that are replaced most likely have no education, intellect or ability to find a job that will be relevant in the future.  They do end with a topic that we have discussed.  I am pretty sure that the GOP will want to limit or eliminate the transfer of wealth from the wealthy to those that have had their jobs eliminated. 

“If automation does result in greater pressure on many workers’ wages, some ideas such as earned income tax credits, universal basic income, conditional transfers, shorter workweeks, and adapted social safety nets could be considered and tested.”


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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1167 on: January 24, 2017, 01:32:14 PM »
Thanks for posting!

The distinction between "percent of complete jobs we could replace with automation" and "percent of working hours we could replace with automation" is an interesting one I hadn't thought about much before, but I'm not sure it makes as much of a difference as the author is assuming. If you replace 50% of the work people in a particular job currently do in a day, either everyone works half as much, or people double the time they spend on the other 50% of their job entails, become twice as productive, and (assuming fixed demand for the type of work they do) half of them get fired.

Based on recent history, it seems like the second outcome is a lot more likely than the first. At least assuming our society, politics, and economy doesn't change in any other way (which is a dangerous assumption whenever we start about automation replacing jobs on a massive scale).

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1168 on: January 25, 2017, 09:16:18 AM »
Thanks for posting!

The distinction between "percent of complete jobs we could replace with automation" and "percent of working hours we could replace with automation" is an interesting one I hadn't thought about much before, but I'm not sure it makes as much of a difference as the author is assuming. If you replace 50% of the work people in a particular job currently do in a day, either everyone works half as much, or people double the time they spend on the other 50% of their job entails, become twice as productive, and (assuming fixed demand for the type of work they do) half of them get fired.

Based on recent history, it seems like the second outcome is a lot more likely than the first. At least assuming our society, politics, and economy doesn't change in any other way (which is a dangerous assumption whenever we start about automation replacing jobs on a massive scale).


I don't follow where you say it doesn't make much difference, the two scenarios you describe have very different outcomes in terms of income equality (everyone works half as much vs half of people are unemployed).


Based on very recent history, yes, but go back just a little bit father, not long in the scale of civilization, to the last time this happened, and what actually happened is the entire developed world cut back to working roughly half as much.  Just a couple generations later and we today take the 40 hour week as a given.
Of course, there was a bit of strikes and riots and unpleasant social unrest during the transition, but not really any major lasting societal economic or political changes

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1169 on: January 25, 2017, 04:31:29 PM »
Oh there is a huge difference between everyone working half as much, or half as many people working the same as before and half the people being unemployed. No argument there.

What I meant was that whether automation completely replaces 50% of the jobs, or replaces 50% of the work done by 100% of the jobs, it's still possible to end up with half as many people working the same amount as before and half the people being unemployed.

So how the 50% of work automate replaces is distributed across jobs isn't going to determine which outcome we see in terms of reduced working hours vs increased unemployment.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1170 on: January 26, 2017, 05:44:57 PM »
got it, thanks for the clarification, and good point

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1171 on: January 27, 2017, 02:10:01 PM »
What I meant was that whether automation completely replaces 50% of the jobs, or replaces 50% of the work done by 100% of the jobs, it's still possible to end up with half as many people working the same amount as before and half the people being unemployed.
Or, more to the point, why should we expect an employer to continue to pay the same price for less labor?

If you work less hours, that means you will be paid less. So even an optimistic scenario where employers prefer to hire twice as many people to work half days (for some reason), those people will be earning less money relative to today. Probably much less.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1172 on: January 27, 2017, 03:00:27 PM »
Or, more to the point, why should we expect an employer to continue to pay the same price for less labor?

I think this comment really highlights the fundamental disconnect in this discussion.

When technology allows society to be twice as productive, why does all of that benefit accrue to businesses while the citizens are left to die in the street?  Shouldn't some of that abundance benefit people, rather than corporate profits?

The natural assumption in America is that if workers become twice as productive, they should have half as much money instead of twice as much stuff.  This seems fundamentally wrong to me, because I believe that the fruits of this new and more efficient economy should benefit everyone who lives and works in that economy.  Instead, those people are expected to suffer while all of the newly created wealth flows to the business owners.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1173 on: January 27, 2017, 03:16:29 PM »
Or, more to the point, why should we expect an employer to continue to pay the same price for less labor?

If you work less hours, that means you will be paid less. So even an optimistic scenario where employers prefer to hire twice as many people to work half days (for some reason), those people will be earning less money relative to today. Probably much less.
Competition puts pressure on prices, so some of the efficiency gains will lower consumer prices.

Technology enables workers to be more efficient. Workers need training to use technology. Employers demand workers with training. Workers with training demand higher wages. So some of the gains in efficiency will go toward higher wages. Reduction in prices and increase in wages will pretty much counter the reduction in hours to keep average worker purchasing power fairly flat

Capitalists demand a return on their investment in the technology, so some of the efficiency will go towards profits. Some creative workers will come up with new luxuries for the wealthy to indulge in. The rich experience standard of living increases.

Every disruptive technology brings bumps in the road; many of the poor suffer.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1174 on: January 27, 2017, 03:22:50 PM »
Quote
I think we are seeing different shades of meaning in the word "expect." From the definitions that pop up in google, here are two that illustrate the divergence:

(A) "require (someone) to fulfill an obligation" ie "we expect employees to show up to work on time"
(B) "regard (something) as likely to happen" ie "we expect rain later this week"

This was from a very different discussion, but I think we're running into the same issue with two different definitions of the word "expect" here. Definition A has a value judgement attached. Definition B is just a person's best guess about the future.

When I say I expect automation to produce a smaller number of full time jobs instead of shorter hours for everyone currently doing those jobs, I mean definition "B", not definition "A".

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1175 on: January 27, 2017, 05:34:35 PM »
Or, more to the point, why should we expect an employer to continue to pay the same price for less labor?

I think this comment really highlights the fundamental disconnect in this discussion.

When technology allows society to be twice as productive, why does all of that benefit accrue to businesses while the citizens are left to die in the street?  Shouldn't some of that abundance benefit people, rather than corporate profits?

The natural assumption in America is that if workers become twice as productive, they should have half as much money instead of twice as much stuff.  This seems fundamentally wrong to me, because I believe that the fruits of this new and more efficient economy should benefit everyone who lives and works in that economy.  Instead, those people are expected to suffer while all of the newly created wealth flows to the business owners.

It is exactly not asking that question that has put us where we are today, with the wealth disparity.

I think it's a fundamental question for the increase in automation, but, sadly, I don't think it will be asked or considered enough.
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1176 on: January 27, 2017, 08:26:40 PM »
Or, more to the point, why should we expect an employer to continue to pay the same price for less labor?

I think this comment really highlights the fundamental disconnect in this discussion.

When technology allows society to be twice as productive, why does all of that benefit accrue to businesses while the citizens are left to die in the street?  Shouldn't some of that abundance benefit people, rather than corporate profits?

The natural assumption in America is that if workers become twice as productive, they should have half as much money instead of twice as much stuff.  This seems fundamentally wrong to me, because I believe that the fruits of this new and more efficient economy should benefit everyone who lives and works in that economy.  Instead, those people are expected to suffer while all of the newly created wealth flows to the business owners.

What does history show happens? It seems like overall, history has suggested that at least some mix of both scenarios happen. Everybody gets bounced upwards, goods get cheaper, standard of living increases for just about everyone. The top bracket sees the most improvements, but overall everyone advances. There is a bit of back and forth of course, and the gains are not distributed perfectly equally, but in general the march forward continues.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1177 on: January 27, 2017, 11:00:40 PM »
Or, more to the point, why should we expect an employer to continue to pay the same price for less labor?

If you work less hours, that means you will be paid less. So even an optimistic scenario where employers prefer to hire twice as many people to work half days (for some reason), those people will be earning less money relative to today. Probably much less.
Competition puts pressure on prices, so some of the efficiency gains will lower consumer prices.

Technology enables workers to be more efficient. Workers need training to use technology. Employers demand workers with training. Workers with training demand higher wages. So some of the gains in efficiency will go toward higher wages. Reduction in prices and increase in wages will pretty much counter the reduction in hours to keep average worker purchasing power fairly flat

Capitalists demand a return on their investment in the technology, so some of the efficiency will go towards profits. Some creative workers will come up with new luxuries for the wealthy to indulge in. The rich experience standard of living increases.

Every disruptive technology brings bumps in the road; many of the poor suffer.


All of this, and also - assuming we go with the same number of people employed half as many hours option - unemployment drops, which means fewer people competing for jobs, and supply and demand acts on labor as well; more jobs than workers drives up wages as employers compete for scare labor, (while more workers than jobs lets them fall as employees compete for the lowest common denominator of whatever they can get)

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1178 on: January 27, 2017, 11:05:24 PM »
Or, more to the point, why should we expect an employer to continue to pay the same price for less labor?

I think this comment really highlights the fundamental disconnect in this discussion.

When technology allows society to be twice as productive, why does all of that benefit accrue to businesses while the citizens are left to die in the street?  Shouldn't some of that abundance benefit people, rather than corporate profits?

The natural assumption in America is that if workers become twice as productive, they should have half as much money instead of twice as much stuff.  This seems fundamentally wrong to me, because I believe that the fruits of this new and more efficient economy should benefit everyone who lives and works in that economy.  Instead, those people are expected to suffer while all of the newly created wealth flows to the business owners.


Agreed.  This is the fundamental problem with capitalism.  There are a lot of benefits of a free market economy (efficiency) that could be kept even if we someday decide to decouple capitalism from it.  We wouldn't even have to make too many laws or regulations to do it either, just stop propping it up with artificial distortions of the market like corporate charters

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1179 on: January 27, 2017, 11:59:56 PM »
I think this comment really highlights the fundamental disconnect in this discussion.

When technology allows society to be twice as productive, why does all of that benefit accrue to businesses while the citizens are left to die in the street?  Shouldn't some of that abundance benefit people, rather than corporate profits?

The natural assumption in America is that if workers become twice as productive, they should have half as much money instead of twice as much stuff.

You assume if productivity goes up 2x, it's the employee that's twice as productive.  From the business owner's standpoint, that's not the case.  If a factory employs 1000 people and then completely automates everything and only employs 1 person to make sure nothing goes wrong, is that guy suddenly 1000x more productive?  What about if it is a true "lights-out" factory that employs 0 people, now the (nonexistent) employees are infinitely productive?  I'm really just playing the devil's advocate here and don't really think that way but the company owners sure do.  From their point of view, they had to provide and tie up the capital and take the risk of buying the robots, why shouldn't they get all the rewards?

In the USA, this is pretty much a lost cause.  Both parties are owned by the rich and powerful and the voting system ensures that there can only be 2 viable parties.  The only way to change that is through legislation but the very people who would need to pass such legislation to change the system are the ones who benefit from the status quo.  The rich will keep getting richer while it will get harder and harder to find a job, particularly low-skilled jobs.  Sure, a lot of people talk about basic income but it will never happen.  It's like congressional term limits or marijuana legalization, the majority of the country support those movements but their representatives ignore the will of the people for their own reasons. 

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1180 on: January 29, 2017, 10:00:22 AM »
You assume if productivity goes up 2x, it's the employee that's twice as productive. From the business owner's standpoint, that's not the case.  If a factory employs 1000 people and then completely automates everything and only employs 1 person to make sure nothing goes wrong, is that guy suddenly 1000x more productive?  What about if it is a true "lights-out" factory that employs 0 people, now the (nonexistent) employees are infinitely productive?  I'm really just playing the devil's advocate here and don't really think that way but the company owners sure do.  From their point of view, they had to provide and tie up the capital and take the risk of buying the robots, why shouldn't they get all the rewards?
Not necessarily that the employee, as an individual is, but overall the per-worker productivity of the economy goes up.
The risk of buying robots is relatively small, and the company owner doesn't take 100% of it, its shared among all the stock holders, the insurance, the remaining employees, and (if its considered a critical industry) the government.
As to capital, well, that's the basic question: should having capital to invest entitle you to disproportionate rewards relative to your (individual) contribution to society? 

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In the USA, this is pretty much a lost cause... Sure, a lot of people talk about basic income but it will never happen. 
This has been said before, in other contexts.  Why would either employers ever agree to or government ever mandate limited daily work hours, weekends, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, vacations, medical benefits, overtime pay or minimum wage?

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Both parties are owned by the rich and powerful and the voting system ensures that there can only be 2 viable parties.  The only way to change that is through legislation but the very people who would need to pass such legislation to change the system are the ones who benefit from the status quo.
Change happens slow, and I agree with your assessment of the self-sustaining 2-party system today - although, we, collectively, certainly we could change it, if we really wanted to, by just all voting for a 3rd party candidate.  That too, has happened before.  The two parties used to be Federalists and "Democratic-Republicans".  Then there was the Whig party.  The Republican party was once the 3rd.  Change happens slow, but it does happen.

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It's like congressional term limits or marijuana legalization, the majority of the country support those movements but their representatives ignore the will of the people for their own reasons.
28 states have legalized marijuana (either medical or recreational), and up to 8 more are expected to this year.  That's over half, and a significant majority by population, as CA and the NE have the densest populations.
The thing about term limits is it actually anti-democratic - if the people think a senator or congress person is doing a bad job, all they have to do is not vote for them.  The 2-party system doesn't even prevent that, that's what primaries are for.  Every two years the people get two chances to replace a senator they don't like - or keep one they do like - and term limits takes that choice away from them.  When term limits were an item on state ballots, the majority of states voted them down (8 for, 16 against), so even had the supreme court allowed it, the reality was most citizens didn't want to limit their own choice.




tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1181 on: January 30, 2017, 10:17:07 AM »
Another article on Coffee Baristas.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/robot-baristas-serve-up-the-future-of-coffee-at-cafe-x-1485781201

How wary should human baristas be? “There are a lot of things we still need them to do, like cleaning and filling,” says Mr. Hu. “What we don’t need them to do is move thousands of cups around. They’ll have a more enjoyable job.”

I can see humans being more the social aspect of the experience.  Making small talk, etc.

JumpInTheFIRE

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1182 on: January 30, 2017, 12:55:16 PM »
Change happens slow, and I agree with your assessment of the self-sustaining 2-party system today - although, we, collectively, certainly we could change it, if we really wanted to, by just all voting for a 3rd party candidate.  That too, has happened before.  The two parties used to be Federalists and "Democratic-Republicans".  Then there was the Whig party.  The Republican party was once the 3rd.  Change happens slow, but it does happen.

That doesn't change anything, now the former third party is just one of the two parties and the "out of fashion" party goes by the wayside.  It's still a 2 party system no matter what the parties are named and it's a result of the first-past-the-post voting system.  For an informative and sometimes humorous take on why it works this way, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7tWHJfhiyo

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28 states have legalized marijuana (either medical or recreational), and up to 8 more are expected to this year.  That's over half, and a significant majority by population, as CA and the NE have the densest populations.

But what the states do doesn't matter, the feds could shut it down at any time since it's still illegal under federal law and federal law takes precedence over state law.  Heck, they won't even remove it from schedule 1 even though doctors have been saying it doesn't deserve that classification for YEARS and as you observe, over 1/2 the states and well more than 1/2 the people support reclassification.  The further the politician gets away from the voter the less responsive they are to the voter's wishes.

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The thing about term limits is it actually anti-democratic - if the people think a senator or congress person is doing a bad job, all they have to do is not vote for them.  The 2-party system doesn't even prevent that, that's what primaries are for.  Every two years the people get two chances to replace a senator they don't like - or keep one they do like - and term limits takes that choice away from them.  When term limits were an item on state ballots, the majority of states voted them down (8 for, 16 against), so even had the supreme court allowed it, the reality was most citizens didn't want to limit their own choice.

I'm not necessarily talking about term limits at the state level (although 25% of state representatives and 28% of state senators are subject to them), I'm talking about national congressional term limits.  There appears to be broad support for them, this page says:
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A Gallup survey from January 2013 found that 75 percent of Americans — including huge majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents — support term limits on Congress.

Even at the state level, it was mostly through referenda that term limits were passed, not through legislative action.  In fact, in some states the people voted for term limits only to have the legislature pass laws to nullify their vote.  Either way, through gerrymandering and the incumbent effect most congresspeople are re-elected.  Congress itself generally has very low approval ratings as a whole (heck, in November 2013 their approval rating was 9% - only 9% of the country said they approve of the job congress is doing), so why do so many of them get re-elected year after year? 

At any rate, my point wasn't about term limits, it was that the people in power will not make changes that take away that power even if a large majority of the people want the change.  The voting system ensures a duopoly and the people that benefit from that duopoly are not going to voluntarily change it. 

theadvicist

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1183 on: January 31, 2017, 04:55:45 AM »
Another article on Coffee Baristas.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/robot-baristas-serve-up-the-future-of-coffee-at-cafe-x-1485781201

How wary should human baristas be? “There are a lot of things we still need them to do, like cleaning and filling,” says Mr. Hu. “What we don’t need them to do is move thousands of cups around. They’ll have a more enjoyable job.”

I can see humans being more the social aspect of the experience.  Making small talk, etc.

And as Millenials become core customers, this aspect will diminish - we dislike small talk, and talking in general. Give me a machine any day. Any service I have to ring up about? No thanks, I'll find an online competitor. I had to change hairdressers because having to call to make an appointment was too much of a barrier (so sorry, so anti-social. It's not a real barrier - I mean, I could do it. But I put it off so long when a competitor started allowing online booking I just went with them immediately).

Metric Mouse

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1184 on: January 31, 2017, 06:51:17 AM »


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28 states have legalized marijuana (either medical or recreational), and up to 8 more are expected to this year.  That's over half, and a significant majority by population, as CA and the NE have the densest populations.

But what the states do doesn't matter, the feds could shut it down at any time since it's still illegal under federal law and federal law takes precedence over state law. 
This is grossly incorrect.

prognastat

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1185 on: January 31, 2017, 07:34:26 AM »
Another article on Coffee Baristas.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/robot-baristas-serve-up-the-future-of-coffee-at-cafe-x-1485781201

How wary should human baristas be? “There are a lot of things we still need them to do, like cleaning and filling,” says Mr. Hu. “What we don’t need them to do is move thousands of cups around. They’ll have a more enjoyable job.”

I can see humans being more the social aspect of the experience.  Making small talk, etc.

And as Millenials become core customers, this aspect will diminish - we dislike small talk, and talking in general. Give me a machine any day. Any service I have to ring up about? No thanks, I'll find an online competitor. I had to change hairdressers because having to call to make an appointment was too much of a barrier (so sorry, so anti-social. It's not a real barrier - I mean, I could do it. But I put it off so long when a competitor started allowing online booking I just went with them immediately).

Although I'm a millennial an I probably am very similar in that I prefer not having to deal with a person, I prefer doing as much as I can through the internet or text based services. However I am also very introvert and I don't know how applicable this is to my generation since self-selection bias means chances are I am more likely to hang out with people similar to myself, this doesn't mean everyone in our generation necessarily feels this way. I do however think that a large portion of our and the next generation that has had computers and now tablets/smart phones since they were small kids are likely going to be more ok with interacting through computers and robots than prior generations. There might still be a niche market for people taking your orders and cooking your food at high priced restaurants for the foreseeable future, but as cost of employment rises and costs and capability of robots rises I think many fast food restaurants are likely to replace more and more labour with automation sooner rather than later and people will accept it if it saves them a little money.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2017, 10:04:26 AM by prognastat »

maizeman

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1186 on: January 31, 2017, 07:47:29 AM »
Another article on Coffee Baristas.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/robot-baristas-serve-up-the-future-of-coffee-at-cafe-x-1485781201

How wary should human baristas be? “There are a lot of things we still need them to do, like cleaning and filling,” says Mr. Hu. “What we don’t need them to do is move thousands of cups around. They’ll have a more enjoyable job.”

I can see humans being more the social aspect of the experience.  Making small talk, etc.

And as Millenials become core customers, this aspect will diminish - we dislike small talk, and talking in general. Give me a machine any day. Any service I have to ring up about? No thanks, I'll find an online competitor. I had to change hairdressers because having to call to make an appointment was too much of a barrier (so sorry, so anti-social. It's not a real barrier - I mean, I could do it. But I put it off so long when a competitor started allowing online booking I just went with them immediately).

Although I'm a millennial an I probably am very similar in that I prefer not having to deal with a person, I prefer doing as much as I can through the internet or text based services. However I am also very introvert and I don't know how applicable this is to my generation since self-selection bias means chances are I am more likely to hang out with people similar to myself, this doesn't mean everyone in our generation necessarily feels this way. I do however think that a large portion of our and the next generation that has had computers and now iPads since they were small kids are likely going to be more ok with interacting through computers and robots than prior generations. There might still be a niche market for people taking your orders and cooking your food at high priced restaurants for the foreseeable future, but as cost of employment rises and costs and capability of robots rises I think many fast food restaurants are likely to replace more and more labour with automation sooner rather than later and people will accept it if it saves them a little money.

I believe I'm technically a millennial, depending on where one choses to draw the line, and I 3rd this point. I'm a huge fan of self checkouts (no need to make awkward small talk while ringing groceries up) at grocery and hardware stores. On the rare occasions I order take out or delivery, only restaurants with online order systems need apply.

For the super wealthy, paying to have actual humans visibly doing work that could be done by robots or AI may remain as a status symbol,* but I think for everyday folks in my generation the businesses that don't require human interaction are going to have the advantage.

*A real jerk I know from back in college was raving on facebook about how he had a meeting one a sillicon valley hectomillionaire, and "the servants were ivy league educated white women!" <-- jerk may not be strong enough a word.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1187 on: January 31, 2017, 08:33:46 AM »
There was an interesting interview with Charles Schwab near the back of my Time magazine which introduced me to the Precariat.

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You have a phrase about the rise of discontented workers—you call it the Precariat?
I didn't coin the phrase, but it describes why people have this uneasy feeling. Is my job still safe? I think there are 3.5 million cashiers in the U.S. and as many truck drivers for whom technology might be overtaking their jobs. People feel a lot of anxiety, and it may not even be conscious.
Is technology bringing about these job losses faster than you expected?
It's coming like a tsunami, or in Davos language, like an avalanche. If you hear a storm coming, it is normal to be afraid. People feel they are losing control over their own lives. Let's get control back is a phrase that is touching a nerve.

Plenty to learn about how this new social class interacts with the changing workplace, social order, and politics -
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But more significantly, the precariat has no occupational identity or narrative to give to their lives. This creates existential insecurity, and goes with the fact that for the first time in history many people have education above the level of labour they can expect to obtain.

prognastat

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1188 on: January 31, 2017, 10:14:57 AM »
There was an interesting interview with Charles Schwab near the back of my Time magazine which introduced me to the Precariat.

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You have a phrase about the rise of discontented workers—you call it the Precariat?
I didn't coin the phrase, but it describes why people have this uneasy feeling. Is my job still safe? I think there are 3.5 million cashiers in the U.S. and as many truck drivers for whom technology might be overtaking their jobs. People feel a lot of anxiety, and it may not even be conscious.
Is technology bringing about these job losses faster than you expected?
It's coming like a tsunami, or in Davos language, like an avalanche. If you hear a storm coming, it is normal to be afraid. People feel they are losing control over their own lives. Let's get control back is a phrase that is touching a nerve.

Plenty to learn about how this new social class interacts with the changing workplace, social order, and politics -
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But more significantly, the precariat has no occupational identity or narrative to give to their lives. This creates existential insecurity, and goes with the fact that for the first time in history many people have education above the level of labour they can expect to obtain.

As long as no legislation is made to prevent it from happening a lot of people are likely going to lose jobs over the next 10 years. Improvements like self driving cars are going to almost eliminate jobs like taxi/uber drivers, truck drivers, bus drivers, cashiers are on the precipice. The self driving technology is so close and only needs the kinks to be worked out. As for self checkout, it is already happening more and more in retail locations, not to mention online services where checkout wasn't even a thing to start with.

Even if you are of the belief that new jobs will form as needs change it is undoubtedly going to be a tumultuous time. The upside of these things is that these things also offer cost saving methods for everyone. Self driving taxi/uber will likely means lower fare prices possibly even getting to the point where for frugal people you could live within range of your work and the store and for the intermittent trips anywhere else would simply use a service and save more money by not having a car. Send driving trucks and self checkout services etc lower the price of goods/groceries meaning people will need less money to buy their essentials.

I do feel that this is something that should be far more prevalent in our political discussions. How is it that despite many of these things possibly happening during this presidency neither of the main candidates during the election year talked about this in any detail when it is not at all unforeseeable that this may be a mayor problem during their term?

This isn't even going in to the fact that there are changes slightly further on the horizon that are going to potentially make many more jobs go away through automation and A.I. This will not just affect the working class, but is likely to hit most of the middle and even lower upper class too.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2017, 10:17:24 AM by prognastat »

maizeman

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1189 on: January 31, 2017, 10:41:10 AM »
I saw a survey once (which google is refusing to produce) that if you ask people what percent of jobs will be replaced by automation in the next 50 years, lots of them guess reasonably high numbers (40-50% range). I think both the time frame and the percentage are low balls. But what is more interesting is that when you ask people how likely the job they have is to be replaced by automation, 90+% percent of them say it will never be automated. (All numbers from memory, please take them with a big grain of salt).

I think this phenomenon is why the threat of automation isn't far more prevalent in our political discussions.

AlanStache

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1190 on: January 31, 2017, 10:46:16 AM »
Right now I am putting off calling to schedule a chimney cleaning and air vent cleaning because I will have to talk to people and get quotes and call them back and see when they are available.  Fuck just put it all online; I would have booked it last week already!  :-)   

dougules

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1191 on: January 31, 2017, 10:52:59 AM »
Automation has been happening since the industrial revolution over 200 years ago.   At least up until now the economy has managed for the most part to shift people into new roles to take up the slack.  Farmers displaced by tractors and harvesters started working in textile mills.  Mill workers displaced by increased automation in the mill moved on to become dental hygienists. 

Each transition caused social upheaval, though.  Changes in the economy are accelerating.  At what point will automation outstrip the economy's ability to move labor around?

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1192 on: January 31, 2017, 10:56:24 AM »
Automation has been happening since the industrial revolution over 200 years ago.   At least up until now the economy has managed for the most part to shift people into new roles to take up the slack.  Farmers displaced by tractors and harvesters started working in textile mills.  Mill workers displaced by increased automation in the mill moved on to become dental hygienists. 

Each transition caused social upheaval, though.  Changes in the economy are accelerating.  At what point will automation outstrip the economy's ability to move labor around?

"An engineer offered to haul some huge columns up to the Capitol at moderate expense by a simple mechanical contrivance, but Vespasian declined his services:"I must always ensure that the working classes earn enough money to buy themselves food." Nevertheless, he paid the engineer a very handsome fee"
- Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars

Those damn engineers, always tekkin 'er jerbs!

prognastat

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1193 on: January 31, 2017, 11:06:07 AM »
I saw a survey once (which google is refusing to produce) that if you ask people what percent of jobs will be replaced by automation in the next 50 years, lots of them guess reasonably high numbers (40-50% range). I think both the time frame and the percentage are low balls. But what is more interesting is that when you ask people how likely the job they have is to be replaced by automation, 90+% percent of them say it will never be automated. (All numbers from memory, please take them with a big grain of salt).

I think this phenomenon is why the threat of automation isn't far more prevalent in our political discussions.

Yeah I think a lot of people are following the ignorance is bliss method in ignoring how it would affect their job. They understand the reality of the matter, they just would rather not apply that thinking to their own future.

In my case the first few jobs I held are likely to be automated within 10-15 years, my previous 6 jobs are likely automate-able I suspect within 20 years and my current job will likely either be gone in a similar time frame or at minimum very diminished in that same time frame. Thankfully I plan to be FIRE well before it gets to that point.

If you are doing something physical and not a ton of on the fly thinking a large portion of these jobs are automate-able in the very near future. If you are in a field where you need to work with computers it will also be automated, but you will have a little longer.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2017, 11:08:32 AM by prognastat »

Metric Mouse

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1194 on: January 31, 2017, 11:12:32 AM »
I saw a survey once (which google is refusing to produce) that if you ask people what percent of jobs will be replaced by automation in the next 50 years, lots of them guess reasonably high numbers (40-50% range). I think both the time frame and the percentage are low balls. But what is more interesting is that when you ask people how likely the job they have is to be replaced by automation, 90+% percent of them say it will never be automated. (All numbers from memory, please take them with a big grain of salt).

I think this phenomenon is why the threat of automation isn't far more prevalent in our political discussions.
Which number do you think is correct?  It's easy to look on the outside and say "Yeah, a machine could do that." But a coffee pouring robot isn't also unloading the truck, sweeping the floor, cleaning the windows and taking the crossiants out of the microwave. Tasks like this are not as easy to replace - and certainly probably can't be done by a single system. This is probably what people think of when they think of their job, while thinking of only coffee pouring when thinking of others jobs.

sol

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1195 on: January 31, 2017, 12:19:56 PM »


Quote
28 states have legalized marijuana (either medical or recreational), and up to 8 more are expected to this year.  That's over half, and a significant majority by population, as CA and the NE have the densest populations.

But what the states do doesn't matter, the feds could shut it down at any time since it's still illegal under federal law and federal law takes precedence over state law. 
This is grossly incorrect.

Wait, you think marijuana is actually legal in states where it has been decriminalized?  Do you also believe that all other federal crimes without a corresponding local or state law aren't actually illegal?

Federal law doesn't necessarily supersede state law, but it still remains in effect in the absence of a state law.  Those states haven't declared marijuana to be legal, they have stopped declaring it illegal.  Big difference.


jordanread

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1196 on: January 31, 2017, 01:05:10 PM »


Quote
28 states have legalized marijuana (either medical or recreational), and up to 8 more are expected to this year.  That's over half, and a significant majority by population, as CA and the NE have the densest populations.

But what the states do doesn't matter, the feds could shut it down at any time since it's still illegal under federal law and federal law takes precedence over state law. 
This is grossly incorrect.

Wait, you think marijuana is actually legal in states where it has been decriminalized?  Do you also believe that all other federal crimes without a corresponding local or state law aren't actually illegal?

Federal law doesn't necessarily supersede state law, but it still remains in effect in the absence of a state law.  Those states haven't declared marijuana to be legal, they have stopped declaring it illegal.  Big difference.

We declared it actually legal...not just decriminalizing it based on the text of the amendment.

maizeman

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1197 on: January 31, 2017, 01:14:25 PM »
I saw a survey once (which google is refusing to produce) that if you ask people what percent of jobs will be replaced by automation in the next 50 years, lots of them guess reasonably high numbers (40-50% range). I think both the time frame and the percentage are low balls. But what is more interesting is that when you ask people how likely the job they have is to be replaced by automation, 90+% percent of them say it will never be automated. (All numbers from memory, please take them with a big grain of salt).

I think this phenomenon is why the threat of automation isn't far more prevalent in our political discussions.
Which number do you think is correct?  It's easy to look on the outside and say "Yeah, a machine could do that." But a coffee pouring robot isn't also unloading the truck, sweeping the floor, cleaning the windows and taking the crossiants out of the microwave. Tasks like this are not as easy to replace - and certainly probably can't be done by a single system. This is probably what people think of when they think of their job, while thinking of only coffee pouring when thinking of others jobs.

50 years is a long ways out, but I tend to believe the 50% of current work (whether 100% of half the jobs of 50% of all the jobs) number is closer to the mark. You may well be right about what causes the bias though. People answer the general question as "what percent of total work could be automated?" and answer the specific question as "could every single thing I do during my work week be automated?"

Whether we get new jobs to replace those jobs (and whether the people who lose their jobs will have the skills and abilities to perform those new jobs) is a much more open question as we've discussed on this thread, but it seems clear a LOT of what people do all day in the year 2016 is going to be automated away.

prognastat

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1198 on: January 31, 2017, 02:20:06 PM »
I saw a survey once (which google is refusing to produce) that if you ask people what percent of jobs will be replaced by automation in the next 50 years, lots of them guess reasonably high numbers (40-50% range). I think both the time frame and the percentage are low balls. But what is more interesting is that when you ask people how likely the job they have is to be replaced by automation, 90+% percent of them say it will never be automated. (All numbers from memory, please take them with a big grain of salt).

I think this phenomenon is why the threat of automation isn't far more prevalent in our political discussions.
Which number do you think is correct?  It's easy to look on the outside and say "Yeah, a machine could do that." But a coffee pouring robot isn't also unloading the truck, sweeping the floor, cleaning the windows and taking the crossiants out of the microwave. Tasks like this are not as easy to replace - and certainly probably can't be done by a single system. This is probably what people think of when they think of their job, while thinking of only coffee pouring when thinking of others jobs.

Sorry but of course it isn't going to be 1 robot doing all the tasks soon, but I can easily imagine a few robots doing most of the tasks and humans just doing the few left over tasks that robots haven't been able to do yet.

Also they are already working on robots that can cook a meal in a kitchen by having a human chef feed it the data on how to do it first by motion capture and then the robot replicating his motions with robot arms. Once the kinks are worked out on this will be faster, less accident prone and most importantly far cheaper than a human cook.

Imagine this, at the farm the produce is loaded in bulk on to a truck which is computer controlled, once the sensor tells it the truck is full it stops the filling process. The car then takes off on it's own and drives to the warehouse/factory. Here the truck drops the product in to a feeding location, inside you have machinery using cameras, conveyers and compressed air to filter the product and sort it in to packages. These packages are dropped on to a pallet through conveyer belt at which point an automated fork lift which drives it to a new self driving truck which drives to the store by itself where another automated fork lift at the store grabs the pallets from the truck and puts it in the predetermined location in the back of the store. Finally when the product in the front of store runs out a stocking robot which has robotic arms grabs the pale of product, drives in to the store using sensors to safely navigate without hitting people and using the robotic arms to stock the shelves.

For a restaurant most is the same except that instead of the back of the store and front of the store it just places it in the appropriate storage in the restaurant.

As for cleaning, look what things like roomba already do. You already have robots that can mop the floor and vacuum today.

Many of these technologies already either exist in prototype level, business level or even consumer level. These just need a little more development to get to the point where they are as good if not better than the human option. Keep in mind they don't even have to be better than a human, just about as good at a much lower price.

Some interesting videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quWFjS3Ci7A - Automated Warehouse(Amazon)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDprrrEdomM - Chef Robot
« Last Edit: January 31, 2017, 02:24:07 PM by prognastat »

Pooplips

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1199 on: February 01, 2017, 07:40:30 AM »
Or, more to the point, why should we expect an employer to continue to pay the same price for less labor?

I think this comment really highlights the fundamental disconnect in this discussion.

When technology allows society to be twice as productive, why does all of that benefit accrue to businesses while the citizens are left to die in the street?  Shouldn't some of that abundance benefit people, rather than corporate profits?

The natural assumption in America is that if workers become twice as productive, they should have half as much money instead of twice as much stuff.  This seems fundamentally wrong to me, because I believe that the fruits of this new and more efficient economy should benefit everyone who lives and works in that economy.  Instead, those people are expected to suffer while all of the newly created wealth flows to the business owners.


Agreed.  This is the fundamental problem with capitalism.  There are a lot of benefits of a free market economy (efficiency) that could be kept even if we someday decide to decouple capitalism from it.  We wouldn't even have to make too many laws or regulations to do it either, just stop propping it up with artificial distortions of the market like corporate charters

Bakari, I would really like to know what your definition of Capitalism is, if you don't mind?