Author Topic: Robots and their impact on the future  (Read 192183 times)

maizeman

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1400 on: May 02, 2017, 08:35:01 AM »
Well the cool part about that tomato sorter -- and I don't know how smart and dumb their actual solution is -- isn't flicking tomatoes out of the way, it's the computer vision that is presumably tracking those tomatoes, scoring them based on things like shape and color, and deciding which ones are likely to be passed over by consumers at the grocery store and which ones are not. Now that could be as simple as "anything less than this red gets rejected" but once you have the physical sorting robot, it is much easier to integrating more and more advanced computer vision and decision algorithms.

Similar advances are happening in things like fruit picking, which is one of the places where slow, (relatively) expensive, physical labor by humans still dominates. The algorithms for looking at a photo of a strawberry plant, distinguishing leaves from fruits, figuring out which fruits are already completely ripe, and building up an accurate enough 3D model of the environment so a robot arm and reach out and grasp a ripe fruit without crushing it has been a much more challenging job than building the robot arm that can pick a strawberry. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIWdE2iLyJY

These are the same types of computer vision algorithm advances that can now diagnose melanomas more accurately than a dermatologist, with both fewer false positives and false negatives (https://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v542/n7639/fig_tab/nature21056_F3.html). And speaking of computer vision and medicine, I'm very, VERY happy I'm not a radiologist.
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sol

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1401 on: May 02, 2017, 08:45:40 AM »
Well the cool part about that tomato sorter.. it's the computer vision that is presumably tracking those tomatoes

It's an interesting point, from a broader perspective, that it was pretty easily to automate the vast majority of human labor with steam power for things like construction and transportation over a hundred years ago, but we then had a century of relatively stagnant growth in mechanization until the advent of AI.  Now we're not replacing human muscles, we're replacing human brains.  Instead of machines taking over jobs that require a strong back, they're finally taking over jobs that require good judgement and quick thinking.

So once we have machines doing all of the physical work, and all of the mental work, what's left?  How long until machines take over creative jobs, or leadership jobs, or literary criticism jobs?

tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1402 on: May 02, 2017, 09:31:43 AM »
Well the cool part about that tomato sorter -- and I don't know how smart and dumb their actual solution is -- isn't flicking tomatoes out of the way, it's the computer vision that is presumably tracking those tomatoes, scoring them based on things like shape and color, and deciding which ones are likely to be passed over by consumers at the grocery store and which ones are not.

These sorting machine are pretty cool.  I saw an apple sorting machine a few years back.  It was pretty cool in that they could use different spectrums to sort and grade the apples.  They could tell if the apple's sugar content was high, low or just right and sort the apples into the appropriate bins.  They also make a very uniform apple regarding size and color.  So a certain bin would be very uniform.  So when they are sold to the stores the apples are pretty much all the same. So people are not sorting through the bins looking for the "good" ones.

The yields go up as people would tend to throw away an acceptable apple, so waste goes down.  Also the equipment is better at putting them into various piles that could be used for other uses like juice, cider, apple sauce, etc.

The storage is getting pretty crazy too, with apples lasting up to 18 months.  During harvest season, most people are eating a "fresh" apple that is a year old.   

AlanStache

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1403 on: May 02, 2017, 09:58:20 AM »
... Also the equipment is better at putting them into various piles that could be used for other uses like juice, cider, apple sauce, etc.

So it can sort in to N different bins but it would also know the contents of each bin so if you were to make juice out of bin #4 you would already know the sweetness of that bin and could workout beforehand how much sugar to add to get your desired sweetness. 

"During harvest season, most people are eating a "fresh" apple that is a year old. " 
wow, I think I will plant an apple tree this weekend; that is just not right.  Why do they store them that long - just to even out the supply through the year?

Few years back I knew a radiologist, wish we were still in contact to get his take on where his field was going.  Know he mentioned offshoring but dont think he directly mentioned AI.
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theadvicist

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1404 on: May 04, 2017, 02:53:28 AM »
"During harvest season, most people are eating a "fresh" apple that is a year old. " 
wow, I think I will plant an apple tree this weekend; that is just not right.  Why do they store them that long - just to even out the supply through the year?


Well, that's how it's always been. Apples are ready once a year. I mean, I have a tree that's ready in August, and one that's ready in September to lengthen the season, but each tree's fruit are ready once per year.

In the olden days, and in my house, you harvest the tree, and store the apples in a dark cool place not touching each other - because one rotten apple will ruin them all. Newspaper is often used for this.

My apples easily last into the new year. I can't get them to go a full year, and am now on store-bought again, but with commerical refrigeration, or the time to check them each week so as to remove any rotten ones, I'm sure I could get them to last a year.

There's nothing 'wrong' about it. It's how agriculture is when you are not importing things from the other hemisphere, which is the other way to get 'fresh' apples in the summer before the harvest.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1405 on: May 04, 2017, 11:25:04 AM »
A step more in line with some earlier conversations. It's a long read, but good.

http://waitbutwhy.com/2017/04/neuralink.html
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tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1406 on: May 04, 2017, 01:26:36 PM »
A step more in line with some earlier conversations. It's a long read, but good.

http://waitbutwhy.com/2017/04/neuralink.html

Thanks I will check it out.

tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1407 on: May 07, 2017, 09:03:44 PM »
https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/warren-buffett-ai-good-society-enormously-disruptive-203957098.html

Buffet's take and Munger's take on AI and the impact on society.  Munger does not believe it will be as disruptive, where Buffett indicated that he thought it would come on much quicker and disruptive than Munger.


maizeman

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1408 on: May 08, 2017, 01:25:13 PM »
Interesting article in FT on the impact of AI on law firms. Essentially a lot of the work done by junior partners is searching through documents, and that type of work can be done faster and more accurately by machine learning based systems (I'd heard this before, but this article has more detail than I'd read previously). Right now senior lawyer's work isn't as threatened, but will have to do some structuring to figure out where the new senior lawyers come from if the entry level jobs in the field go away.

Quote
In the past, BLP would have pulled together a small team of junior lawyers and paralegals at short notice, then put them in a room to extract that data manually from hundreds of pages — a process that could take weeks. The Ravn system reviews and extracts the same information in minutes.

https://www.ft.com/content/f809870c-26a1-11e7-8691-d5f7e0cd0a16

(If the link hits a paywall, just type "Artificial intelligence closes in on the work of junior lawyers" into google and hit the first link.)
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dougules

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1409 on: May 08, 2017, 02:24:00 PM »
https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/warren-buffett-ai-good-society-enormously-disruptive-203957098.html

Buffet's take and Munger's take on AI and the impact on society.  Munger does not believe it will be as disruptive, where Buffett indicated that he thought it would come on much quicker and disruptive than Munger.

Automation has been going for 200 years now, and it already has been disruptive.  Just take a trip to Youngstown or small town Kansas.  I think AI will just increase the speed of automation, which will just increase the speed of disruptions that already have been happening. 

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1410 on: May 08, 2017, 03:11:43 PM »
Interesting article in FT on the impact of AI on law firms. Essentially a lot of the work done by junior partners is searching through documents, and that type of work can be done faster and more accurately by machine learning based systems (I'd heard this before, but this article has more detail than I'd read previously). Right now senior lawyer's work isn't as threatened, but will have to do some structuring to figure out where the new senior lawyers come from if the entry level jobs in the field go away.

Quote
In the past, BLP would have pulled together a small team of junior lawyers and paralegals at short notice, then put them in a room to extract that data manually from hundreds of pages — a process that could take weeks. The Ravn system reviews and extracts the same information in minutes.

https://www.ft.com/content/f809870c-26a1-11e7-8691-d5f7e0cd0a16

(If the link hits a paywall, just type "Artificial intelligence closes in on the work of junior lawyers" into google and hit the first link.)

The article sort of dances around the crux of the issue, which, for the legal industry (or at least its big-law-firm-money-center, the article's focus), is that an abundance of low-level work performed by human lawyers is a key ingredient for profits under the current business model.  As the article points out, the "traditional and profitable [law firm business] model involves many low-paid legal staff doing most of the routine work, while a handful of equity partners earn about £1m a year" (incidentally, I would note that junior lawyers' pay at big firms could only be described as "low" when considered in relation to the compensation of their respective senior lawyers).  In the world of big law firms, the ratio of a firm's non-equity-partner lawyers to its equity partners is referred to as "leverage," and most big law firms are deliberately highly leveraged in order to drive profits.  Cutting out low-level work means cutting out a significant, if not the primary, source of revenue.  Law firms generally charge by the hour, so the more inefficiently the work is performed, the higher the profits to the partners.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1411 on: May 09, 2017, 11:40:59 AM »
The same is true for any work that charges by the hour - but you don't see construction laborers using hand saws and those eggbeater type of hand drills.
The lawyers will do like everyone else, some combination of charging more for the same work and reducing profit (due to competition, when the other firm starts using the software)
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1412 on: May 15, 2017, 02:59:03 PM »
Quote
"During harvest season, most people are eating a "fresh" apple that is a year old. " 
The majority of the apples in the US are produced in a handful of counties in Washington and New York. Mrs Axe's cousin married one of the apple barons in our county, so I have learned a few things about the business over holiday meals.

Apple production today already uses some heavy machinery to do a lot of the work - the planting in particular is very dense and fast, putting trees about 2' apart in dense rows, and fertilizing them with very specific formulations that encourage light production in year two and full production in year three. He has teams of three people planting trees, each team planting one tree and a support every 6 seconds. A second step to bind them to support columns follows this several weeks later, and takes less than a minute per tree.

Harvesting is still done by human hands. Apple harvests spread from August to October here, with different varieties finishing in overlapping 1-2 week windows. Many of the laborers have been working on the farms for generations - one guy has been with a farm down the road for 70 years, coming here for harvest and flying home to the Dominican Republic to live off what he makes the rest of the year. The farm pays his airfare and has labor camps and buses to take the workers grocery shopping, medical care, dentists, etc.

The apples are loaded into large plastic crates roughly four feet per side. These are placed in rapid chilling units which bring the apples to exactly 32.1 degrees, then moved into longer term cold storage. The sellers store the apples and get contracts to provide apples on a regular basis to customers for the entire year. These apples will make their way all over the US, with up to 60% of the harvest exported to Europe and Asia, where prices are higher.

The cold storage rotates out the old apples and will sell at discounts when they reach the end of their storage lifetimes. Some apples can be stored as many as two years. Other varieties will only keep for a couple of months. If you're eating a generic red delicious, that may be a year old. But if you're enjoying the shorter lived Cortlands, Macouns, and Macintosh near harvest time, it's pretty fresh.
If you live in an urban area and shop at big grocery stores, you're getting year-old apples until the stores run down

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1413 on: May 16, 2017, 09:23:05 AM »
Friday's episode of Vice was about Engineering Immortality and the Robot Revolution. Good episode all in all.
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tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1414 on: May 16, 2017, 11:48:56 AM »
https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/goldman-just-put-1-000-122010417.html

Investing in Robot technology:

"Ro predicts robot-assisted procedures will rise by 100 percent in the next two years due to increasing usage during hernia and gall bladder surgeries. He also noted that less than 3 percent of tier-three (facilities with more than 500 beds) hospitals in China have an Intuitive Surgical robot system.

"As the Tier 3 hospital market in China is the same size as the entire U.S. hospital market, we think the long-term opportunity to expand the installed base in China is significant and underappreciated," he wrote."

mxt0133

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1415 on: May 16, 2017, 02:53:21 PM »
If it has not already been mentioned on this blog the book Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow Hardcover by Yuval Noah Harari goes into this very subject and the possible outcomes for humans.

The author touches on the topic of the useless class as AI starts to get better at doing specialized tasks such as driving, flying, filling orders, ect.

My personal take is that where there are definitely things that I would prefer computers to be doing like driving, finding the cheapest flights, or doing my taxes.  There are numerous things that I would prefer humans to do in industries such as childcare, elderly care, tourism, counseling, competitive sports, entertainment, adult, and the arts.

Also I think the timelines people throw out are a bit exaggerated.  Sure for the countries that can afford to create or hire AI's those jobs will be gone.  But until those patents expire and creating and using AIs becomes cheaper than humans it will take a while to replace all those jobs.  I mean we still have people that use bicycles as their main form of transportation because that's all they can afford.  The technology will be there but it will take a long time to be universally available.

There might be a day where an AI might be able to create technically superior pieces of art, story, or music.  But that doesn't mean there won't be any room for humans to also create art.  Just like some people still like to listen to vinyl or prefer had made furniture.  To me it is the individuals temperament and experiences that makes each artist or craftsman unique that make them appeal differently to each person.

maizeman

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1416 on: May 16, 2017, 04:22:45 PM »
Well the counter-example to bicycles is mobile phones. You can go to villages in Africa without running water or grid electricity and people are still using cell phones (sometimes with solar chargers).
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prognastat

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1417 on: May 16, 2017, 06:11:28 PM »
If it has not already been mentioned on this blog the book Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow Hardcover by Yuval Noah Harari goes into this very subject and the possible outcomes for humans.

The author touches on the topic of the useless class as AI starts to get better at doing specialized tasks such as driving, flying, filling orders, ect.

My personal take is that where there are definitely things that I would prefer computers to be doing like driving, finding the cheapest flights, or doing my taxes.  There are numerous things that I would prefer humans to do in industries such as childcare, elderly care, tourism, counseling, competitive sports, entertainment, adult, and the arts.

Also I think the timelines people throw out are a bit exaggerated.  Sure for the countries that can afford to create or hire AI's those jobs will be gone.  But until those patents expire and creating and using AIs becomes cheaper than humans it will take a while to replace all those jobs.  I mean we still have people that use bicycles as their main form of transportation because that's all they can afford.  The technology will be there but it will take a long time to be universally available.

There might be a day where an AI might be able to create technically superior pieces of art, story, or music.  But that doesn't mean there won't be any room for humans to also create art.  Just like some people still like to listen to vinyl or prefer had made furniture.  To me it is the individuals temperament and experiences that makes each artist or craftsman unique that make them appeal differently to each person.

I would say I disagree with some things.

First off as far as child and elderly care goes sure at current level anyone would prefer a human to a robot for these, however what when it gets to the point where a robot can take care of these needs and also always be vigilant and give 100% attention? Would you prefer a human taking care of 10+ toddlers in a daycare that can only really focus on a limited amount of things or potentially have 1 robot for your child that can focus on it completely and never get distracted while also always taking the best course of action in the event of emergency.

As for the only in the countries that can afford it misses the point that yes it won't be the third world making these changes, however once we can manufacture most things at virtually the cost of electricity the first world won't be importing goods from those countries anymore, instead it would be those countries that will be importing them from the first world countries that have the automation since they will be able to offer the goods far cheaper and the loss of jobs in the third world countries will still occur, worse yet they wouldn't even get to keep the industries in their country as some minor source of prosperity.

Finally there are already AIs making art better than many humans are able to achieve and that will only expand. I do believe there will always be a niche in having a human create something, not because it is technically superior, but for the story behind the piece so to speak. However this is likely to be a small portion of the market, the art that the average consumer hangs in their house or most businesses have on the wall and most mass production art likely will be created by AI/Robots when they become technically more advanced and cheaper than a human.

One thing I wonder is if socialness will be commodified, where people might get paid for social "work"(not in the current sense of the word). Such as hanging out with people, playing with people, having conversations etc and getting paid to do this.

tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1418 on: May 16, 2017, 06:54:45 PM »
One thing I wonder is if socialness will be commodified, where people might get paid for social "work"(not in the current sense of the word). Such as hanging out with people, playing with people, having conversations etc and getting paid to do this.

This guy is cashing in on this.  He will walk you for $7 a mile.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/14/los-angeles-people-walker-chuck-mccarthy

AlanStache

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1419 on: May 16, 2017, 07:05:59 PM »
One thing I wonder is if socialness will be commodified, where people might get paid for social "work"(not in the current sense of the word). Such as hanging out with people, playing with people, having conversations etc and getting paid to do this.

This guy is cashing in on this.  He will walk you for $7 a mile.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/14/los-angeles-people-walker-chuck-mccarthy

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maizeman

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1420 on: May 16, 2017, 07:07:49 PM »
Speaking of increased markets for "social" work: over the weekend I was reading about how in Brazil one can pay women to be your teammate in various video games. (The big draw being that they are very good at the game and play in such a way to make you look like the hero.)

http://kotaku.com/i-paid-women-to-play-overwatch-with-me-and-it-was-fant-1795144088
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prognastat

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1421 on: May 17, 2017, 12:19:50 PM »
I do wonder if these things will become more common as less traditional work is available.

I think the arts are less likely to take on a much larger role than they currently do though there may be an increase in hobbyists in the art field which might actually drive down the value of it even further.

However this kind of social work is currently a market that beyond prositution is still largely unexplored. As we become more and more isolated in an ever more digital world I feel that jobs that fill this growing social/emotional need may actually become more valued. If we do end up with something like an Universal Basic Income this becomes even likelier in my mind as a part time job to earn some extra cash.

maizeman

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1422 on: May 17, 2017, 12:48:15 PM »
I also think it will be quite interesting to see how non-prostitution social jobs develop.

For the example I posted above, one issue is that a sufficiently well trained AI with a good voice synthesizer might be almost equivalent to an actual person in the niche of watching your back in a video game and praising your accomplishments. If so, will people be willing to pay more just for knowing that it is a real person on the other end of the line? Could see that going either way and I cannot think of a good way to test how society as a whole will gravitate until it happens.

An example of the AI driven side of this would be Xiaoice (little ice), a Chinese AI that is currently chatting will millions of lonely people across that country by text message.

Quote
She is known as Xiaoice, and millions of young Chinese pick up their smartphones every day to exchange messages with her, drawn to her knowing sense of humor and listening skills. People often turn to her when they have a broken heart, have lost a job or have been feeling down. They often tell her, “I love you.”

“When I am in a bad mood, I will chat with her,” said Gao Yixin, a 24-year-old who works in the oil industry in Shandong Province. “Xiaoice is very intelligent.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/04/science/for-sympathetic-ear-more-chinese-turn-to-smartphone-program.html

« Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 12:50:13 PM by maizeman »
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prognastat

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1423 on: May 17, 2017, 12:57:32 PM »
I also think it will be quite interesting to see how non-prostitution social jobs develop.

For the example I posted above, one issue is that a sufficiently well trained AI with a good voice synthesizer might be almost equivalent to an actual person in the niche of watching your back in a video game and praising your accomplishments. If so, will people be willing to pay more just for knowing that it is a real person on the other end of the line? Could see that going either way and I cannot think of a good way to test how society as a whole will gravitate until it happens.

An example of the AI driven side of this would be Xiaoice (little ice), a Chinese AI that is currently chatting will millions of lonely people across that country by text message.

Quote
She is known as Xiaoice, and millions of young Chinese pick up their smartphones every day to exchange messages with her, drawn to her knowing sense of humor and listening skills. People often turn to her when they have a broken heart, have lost a job or have been feeling down. They often tell her, “I love you.”

“When I am in a bad mood, I will chat with her,” said Gao Yixin, a 24-year-old who works in the oil industry in Shandong Province. “Xiaoice is very intelligent.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/04/science/for-sympathetic-ear-more-chinese-turn-to-smartphone-program.html

I think there is something to be said about physical presence in these social interactions having value though it is possible that if we get to the point where we have AI that is convincing and robots that are near indistinguishable from humans this could reduce the need for these kinds of jobs.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1424 on: May 27, 2017, 10:33:19 AM »
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/25/mark-zuckerberg-calls-for-universal-basic-income-at-harvard-speech.html
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/25/mark-zuckerberg-on-success-billionaires-should-pay-you-fail.html

It looks like Zuckerberg is getting on the UBI bandwagon. Hate the "give everybody free money" headline, but I agree with a lot of his sentiments in the actual articles. "Every generation expands its definition of equality. Now it's time for our generation to define a new social contract"


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tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1425 on: June 04, 2017, 07:31:00 PM »

OurTown

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1426 on: June 05, 2017, 07:29:07 AM »
Pretty good article on automation upheaval and Universal Basic Income.

https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/view/articles/2017-06-04/universal-basic-income-is-neither-universal-nor-basic

That's the author of "Sapiens" and "Homo Deus."  Both are good reads.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1427 on: June 05, 2017, 07:32:40 AM »
I have come to the realization that attorneys will be decimated just with the advent of self-driving AI cars.  Think about it:  no more personal injury auto accident cases, and no more insurance defense work on said p/i auto accident cases.  Also, no more DUI defense. 

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1428 on: June 05, 2017, 07:42:38 AM »
I saw this TED talk a few weeks ago:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vpqilhW9uI
It argues that IQs have increased dramatically over the last 100 years (first world countries only).  I wonder if there's any correlation with automation.  And also, if there's a limit to our species' intelligence.  This could explain why automation has not replaced man, but doesn't answer when it will replace man.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1429 on: June 06, 2017, 10:56:46 AM »
I have come to the realization that attorneys will be decimated just with the advent of self-driving AI cars.  Think about it:  no more personal injury auto accident cases, and no more insurance defense work on said p/i auto accident cases.  Also, no more DUI defense.

True.  It will probably also significantly reduce body work, mechanics, spare parts manufacturing, towing, and policing, as well as a whole other slew of jobs that people don't think about being based on car wrecks. 

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1430 on: June 06, 2017, 11:59:53 AM »
Does anyone else find it hilarious that people are seriously lamenting saving millions of human lives by reducing the frequency of automobile accidents?  I am totally in favor of personal injury lawyers all going bankrupt from a lack of personal injuries.

You sound like the plantation owners who freaked out about the invention of the cotton gin, saying "but how will I keep all of my slaves busy all day?"  Uh, maybe DON'T?  Set those people free to do something more beneficial to humanity?

The internet killed bookstores, and we're better off.  The automobile killed horse stables, and we're better off.  Electrification killed lamp makers, and we're better off.  Steam killed day laborers, and we're better off.  Firearms killed bladesmithing (ok I'm not sure that was an improvement). 

But I think you get my point:  disruptive technologies should be celebrated precisely because they put so many people out of work, and generate so many new jobs, that more efficiently turn human labour into social progress.  As a species, we shouldn't cling to outdated ideas that just hold us back.  I'm pretty sure car crashes are a net drain on society, and I'm excited for whatever technology can make them disappear.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1431 on: June 06, 2017, 12:10:44 PM »
I'm not necessarily lamenting anything, just stating an opinion about the future of the profession.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1432 on: June 06, 2017, 10:51:31 PM »
Quite amazing how mainstream the realization that we are in a trans-formative period has become.  Vanguard posted about it here.

Quote
Recent studies from both academics and private consulting firms predict that millions of jobs are going to be replaced by automation over the next several decades. In emerging markets, where more work is manual, the percentage of jobs disrupted could be as high as 70%. The news isn't all bad, however. While job displacement and dissolution can be painful, the advances in technology ultimately increase productivity and lead to higher standards of living.

But I think Vanguard is painfully old-fashioned and behind the times then they claim this:
Quote
Technology will continue to transform the labor market, but the transformation brings challenges as workers struggle to find new employment. While some professions will come under pressure, we think recent studies might be too pessimistic. The studies often equate jobs with tasks when, in fact, most jobs are a compilation of dozens of tasks. It's more accurate to state that certain tasks, rather than the jobs themselves, will become automated.
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1433 on: June 07, 2017, 10:23:22 AM »
Quite amazing how mainstream the realization that we are in a trans-formative period has become.  Vanguard posted about it here.

Quote
Recent studies from both academics and private consulting firms predict that millions of jobs are going to be replaced by automation over the next several decades. In emerging markets, where more work is manual, the percentage of jobs disrupted could be as high as 70%. The news isn't all bad, however. While job displacement and dissolution can be painful, the advances in technology ultimately increase productivity and lead to higher standards of living.

But I think Vanguard is painfully old-fashioned and behind the times then they claim this:
Quote
Technology will continue to transform the labor market, but the transformation brings challenges as workers struggle to find new employment. While some professions will come under pressure, we think recent studies might be too pessimistic. The studies often equate jobs with tasks when, in fact, most jobs are a compilation of dozens of tasks. It's more accurate to state that certain tasks, rather than the jobs themselves, will become automated.

We're already a couple centuries into that transformative period.  How many people work on farms now?

The economy has shown a pretty good ability to shift labor around to new jobs that were unexpected before automation freed up the labor.  Those shifts came with a lot of disruption in people's lives, though.  I think the economy will probably be better than you think at redistributing labor, but it will probably come with a lot of pain as jobs appear then disappear. 

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1434 on: June 07, 2017, 03:19:40 PM »
 
The economy has shown a pretty good ability to shift labor around to new jobs that were unexpected before automation freed up the labor.  Those shifts came with a lot of disruption in people's lives, though.  I think the economy will probably be better than you think at redistributing labor, but it will probably come with a lot of pain as jobs appear then disappear.

Unless the human population being displaced can become a computer programmer or STEM scientist, then I am not sure what you mean by redistribute labor.  80% of the jobs out there can be eliminated by technology in the next two decades.  If the companies  eliminating jobs, are increasing their profits and paying less taxes under the GOP tax plans, then there will be less federal dollars to fund the displaced.  The mantra that they are lazy, stupid, and should not be supported goes a  long way until it is your job that is being eliminated.  Reminds me of the story of the frog in the pot of water on the stove.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1435 on: June 08, 2017, 09:39:06 AM »
I'm pretty sure car crashes are a net drain on society, and I'm excited for whatever technology can make them disappear.


Unfortunately, I think there really is a serious claim that, economically speaking, anything that generates commerce is good.  The idea that planned obsolescence, buying stuff that the consumer has no real need for, helps the economy, its not fundamentally different from suggesting people should destroy stuff just so it can be rebuilt.  The autobody shop, the emergency room nurse, the lawyer, the cop, all of the salaries (services) and supplies (goods) are all counted as part of GDP.  This is the bottom line we look to for determining our overall economic health. 
Its like if we determined an individuals economic health by looking solely at spending - a mustachian with a few million in a bank account would look worse off than a professional who lives paycheck to paycheck.  Under this way of thinking, car crashes are a net plus to society.
Obviously this is, in reality, false, but as long as this is how economists (and politicians who listen to those economists) look at it, we are going to have a hard time shifting to the new social-political model that will probably be neccessary
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1436 on: June 08, 2017, 10:44:51 AM »
The autobody shop, the emergency room nurse, the lawyer, the cop, all of the salaries (services) and supplies (goods) are all counted as part of GDP.  This is the bottom line we look to for determining our overall economic health. 

GDP is a measure of our collective economic output.  If we stop having car crashes, all those nurses and lawyers and cops are suddenly free to spend their time generating economic output that advances society, instead of cleaning up after its messes.  GDP is a measure of the velocity of money, but it doesn't really care where it's going so let's send it somewhere more helpful.  Consider it an efficiency improvement.

I think this trend is the how and why of social progress.  Literacy rates have skyrocketed over the past 100 years, because people who were previously obligated to start working at the factory at age 12 can now stay in school from age 5 to age 22.  Women don't spend 10 hours per day performing household chores anymore, because everyone has labor-saving electric appliances in their homes, and so women now productively contribute to the non-domestic national economy by holding regular (paying) jobs.  This is progress made possibly by reducing the amount of work we do.

Sure, there is going to be some waste in the system.  Some people who have been freed from a life of toil in the fields will spend it watching HBO instead of building cathedrals, but overall isn't that a fair trade?  Aren't we better off finding ways to divert our economic output from subsidence farming to art and science and medicine and politics?

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1437 on: June 08, 2017, 11:24:27 AM »
I'm pretty sure car crashes are a net drain on society, and I'm excited for whatever technology can make them disappear.


Unfortunately, I think there really is a serious claim that, economically speaking, anything that generates commerce is good.  The idea that planned obsolescence, buying stuff that the consumer has no real need for, helps the economy, its not fundamentally different from suggesting people should destroy stuff just so it can be rebuilt.  The autobody shop, the emergency room nurse, the lawyer, the cop, all of the salaries (services) and supplies (goods) are all counted as part of GDP.  This is the bottom line we look to for determining our overall economic health. 
Its like if we determined an individuals economic health by looking solely at spending - a mustachian with a few million in a bank account would look worse off than a professional who lives paycheck to paycheck.  Under this way of thinking, car crashes are a net plus to society.
Obviously this is, in reality, false, but as long as this is how economists (and politicians who listen to those economists) look at it, we are going to have a hard time shifting to the new social-political model that will probably be neccessary

What you're describing is commonly referred to as the Broken Window Fallacy.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1438 on: June 08, 2017, 01:21:24 PM »
So I guess The People just need to learn that there is a strong diminishing returns effect on happiness as you acquire more stuff.  Hell it probably starts decreasing at, by many modern standards, modest levels of stuff.
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1439 on: June 08, 2017, 08:52:30 PM »
Boeing and the future of robots. When Boeing was negotiating their last labor contract, which went out 8 years I thought that they did such a long contract because robots and technology would replace most Machinist jobs. They keep investing in technology to make them more efficient which is great for the company, not so great for the workers.  They also negotiated with the state to give them billions in tax incentives to keep the plant in Washington. So now they are getting a tax free location, with lots of jobs being eliminated by technology.  So the state revenues are dropping and the jobs are evaporating.  I think they have 5 more years on the contract.  At some point the Union will have no leverage as their machinist will be replaced by robots.

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/boeing-revs-up-robots-for-777x-in-everett-factory-signals-that-a-797-awaits/

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1440 on: June 11, 2017, 11:37:55 PM »

What you're describing is commonly referred to as the Broken Window Fallacy.


I know.  And, despite it being recognized as a fallacy, it remains the basis of our entire measure of success as a nation
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1441 on: June 18, 2017, 11:38:14 AM »
Person 2:
Quote
Maybe this is the endgame of human evolution. Instead of having 7 billion people, of whom 1% are rich (that's 70 million): perhaps you have a human population of 70 million rich people, and about 7 billion robots? Not so scary if you are one of the 1%. I just don't want to be around during the transition period.
https://hardware.slashdot.org/story/17/03/02/150235/robots-wont-just-take-our-jobs----theyll-make-the-rich-even-richer

The transition wouldn't have to be tragically terrible, if we could spread it out a few generations and accomplish it via free sterilizations and birth control and a one-child policy (at least in terms of social expectations, if not law).  We could also, for example, tax each child, instead of providing tax breaks.

This is super discriminatory towards the rich, which also de facto makes it discriminatory against minorities, based on how our society is structured.

I'm not sure benefiting rich white people more, and having everyone else have less children, until our society is mostly those who have historically been advantaged is a good idea.

Further, I think that would lead to a messy transition. Try telling people they can't have kids, or you owe a bunch more in taxes. Authoritarian regimes can manage it for a short period, but not long term, successfully, without revolt, IMO.

Also, here's an interactive script where you can type in an occupation and get a summary of how much of your job can be automated (summarized from a McKinsey study) - http://time.com/4742543/robots-jobs-machines-work/
They've done some good research and white papers I occasionally read.  For those interested, google McKinsey Quarterly and subscribe.

If the link had "tomato sorter" as a profession they too would be out of jobs.  http://i.imgur.com/7nA3AkX.gifv

There is a difference between 'mechanical tasks' which have been around since the advent of assembly lines (of course much refined with sensors and algorithms) and true next gen 'robots replacing humans'.  Your Tomato Sorter looks like something that has been around for a while, as opposed to the newer software/hardware doing tax returns, finance, law, and medical procedures.  That's probably why there isn't a 'tomato sorter' option (full disclosure, I've worked at a Pringles facility - lots of 'dumb automation' that long ago replaced slow, manual labor, but very cool).

We gave a ride to some hitchhikers yesterday who were here in BC from Quebec to pick cherries.  The girl had a job in the back office sorting them into 3 bins: good to sell, not good enough to sell fresh, but okay to dry, and trash.

I then saw this gif today.

Wonder how long until she's out of a job.

Even though more sophisticated AI is coming to replace jobs like accountants, lawyers, teachers, etc., but there are still basic jobs out there that aren't yet automated, and those are definitely going, and soon.
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1442 on: June 18, 2017, 12:08:03 PM »
We gave a ride to some hitchhikers yesterday who were here in BC from Quebec to pick cherries.  The girl had a job in the back office sorting them into 3 bins: good to sell, not good enough to sell fresh, but okay to dry, and trash.

I was listening to a podcast yesterday and this lady was talking about her first job in television, as an intern for the Letterman show.  Her job was to go through the line of audience members and sort them into dots, generals, and CBS2s, and write on their ticket what each person was.  Dots were pretty people, who got seated in the front three rows and might show up on camera.  Generals were ordinary people who were seated in the order they arrived.  CBS2s were old people with obvious illnesses or deformities, fat people, and goths, and they got seated in the back of the balcony.

Her story was told in the context of landing this tv job after losing over a hundred pounds (mostly by taking amphetamines) after years of unsuccessful job and relationship seeking.  She lost weight and suddenly had men fawning over her and got a tv job, and it suddenly clicked for her why she had been seated in the nosebleed section when she had attended a taping of the letterman show several years earlier. 

Not really related to robots, other than the aspect of a human having a job sorting something into quality classes in a way that a vision algorithm can now be taught to do, but still a fascinating discussion of how fat people live very different lives from skinny people in multiple facets of their lives.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1443 on: June 20, 2017, 03:19:56 PM »
This is super discriminatory towards the rich, which also de facto makes it discriminatory against minorities, based on how our society is structured.

I'm not sure benefiting rich white people more, and having everyone else have less children, until our society is mostly those who have historically been advantaged is a good idea.

Further, I think that would lead to a messy transition. Try telling people they can't have kids, or you owe a bunch more in taxes. Authoritarian regimes can manage it for a short period, but not long term, successfully, without revolt, IMO.

(I take it you are saying discriminatory against the poor or discriminatory in favor of the rich)

I worry about any implementation of population controls, as the historical and current examples I'm aware of seem to generally be biased, messy, and ineffective.  That being said, I'm not sure we can leave population controls off the table if we want a sustainable future for the species.  If hypothetically it could be done in an unbiased way, what would you think about that?

I was listening to a podcast yesterday and this lady was talking about her first job in television, as an intern for the Letterman show.  Her job was to go through the line of audience members and sort them into dots, generals, and CBS2s, and write on their ticket what each person was.  Dots were pretty people, who got seated in the front three rows and might show up on camera.  Generals were ordinary people who were seated in the order they arrived.  CBS2s were old people with obvious illnesses or deformities, fat people, and goths, and they got seated in the back of the balcony.

Do you know what those category names mean? 

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1444 on: June 20, 2017, 03:41:29 PM »
This is super discriminatory towards the rich, which also de facto makes it discriminatory against minorities, based on how our society is structured.

I'm not sure benefiting rich white people more, and having everyone else have less children, until our society is mostly those who have historically been advantaged is a good idea.

Further, I think that would lead to a messy transition. Try telling people they can't have kids, or you owe a bunch more in taxes. Authoritarian regimes can manage it for a short period, but not long term, successfully, without revolt, IMO.

(I take it you are saying discriminatory against the poor or discriminatory in favor of the rich)

I worry about any implementation of population controls, as the historical and current examples I'm aware of seem to generally be biased, messy, and ineffective.  That being said, I'm not sure we can leave population controls off the table if we want a sustainable future for the species.  If hypothetically it could be done in an unbiased way, what would you think about that?

Like what? Random lottery?

I just don't think it will work, telling people they don't get to have kids. If you, or someone you know, really wanted kids, but were told you weren't allowed to, what do you think the reaction would be?

I also don't think it's necessary at all.

In fact, what we've seen empirically the last 100 years is that you may need to incentivize people to have kids, once they have a safe, stable life.

Most first world western countries don't have a birth rate that even sustains the population.

Only the developing countries, where their kids still die due to treatable diseases, starvation, etc. do they pump them out.

If we improve education, access to food, and bring people up to a decent quality of living, the population "problem" seems to solve itself.
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1445 on: June 20, 2017, 11:04:59 PM »
Do you know what those category names mean?

No.  Do you?

I was assuming that generals meant general admission, for regular normal people who don't need special treatment.  Someone should ask David Letterman.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1446 on: June 21, 2017, 08:40:55 AM »
This is super discriminatory towards the rich, which also de facto makes it discriminatory against minorities, based on how our society is structured.

I'm not sure benefiting rich white people more, and having everyone else have less children, until our society is mostly those who have historically been advantaged is a good idea.

Further, I think that would lead to a messy transition. Try telling people they can't have kids, or you owe a bunch more in taxes. Authoritarian regimes can manage it for a short period, but not long term, successfully, without revolt, IMO.

(I take it you are saying discriminatory against the poor or discriminatory in favor of the rich)

I worry about any implementation of population controls, as the historical and current examples I'm aware of seem to generally be biased, messy, and ineffective.  That being said, I'm not sure we can leave population controls off the table if we want a sustainable future for the species.  If hypothetically it could be done in an unbiased way, what would you think about that?

Like what? Random lottery?

I just don't think it will work, telling people they don't get to have kids. If you, or someone you know, really wanted kids, but were told you weren't allowed to, what do you think the reaction would be?

I also don't think it's necessary at all.

In fact, what we've seen empirically the last 100 years is that you may need to incentivize people to have kids, once they have a safe, stable life.

Most first world western countries don't have a birth rate that even sustains the population.

Only the developing countries, where their kids still die due to treatable diseases, starvation, etc. do they pump them out.

If we improve education, access to food, and bring people up to a decent quality of living, the population "problem" seems to solve itself.

I don't think banning having children would work, for the reasons you mention.  I'm talking about economically disincentivizing having children.

My preferred birthrate would be zero.  But this is wandering off topic for this thread, so I'll stop there.


Do you know what those category names mean?

No.  Do you?
I was assuming that generals meant general admission, for regular normal people who don't need special treatment.  Someone should ask David Letterman.

No, I tried 5 minutes of googling and didn't come up with anything either, but I'd love to know.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1447 on: June 21, 2017, 08:57:20 AM »
I don't think banning having children would work, for the reasons you mention.  I'm talking about economically disincentivizing having children.

And how, exactly, can you do that without being preferential towards the rich and against the poor?
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1448 on: June 21, 2017, 11:34:57 AM »
How about free birth control, worldwide?  And better education for girls, worldwide?

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1449 on: June 21, 2017, 11:41:35 AM »
How about free birth control, worldwide?  And better education for girls, worldwide?

Definitely. As I said:
Quote
If we improve education, access to food, and bring people up to a decent quality of living, the population "problem" seems to solve itself.

That isn't economically disincentivizing kids, it's improving people's lives. They may choose to have less kids after that, but that is not what is being suggested here. That's what I suggested as a better solution than what was suggested by Bakari and Watchmaker.
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