Author Topic: Robots and their impact on the future  (Read 155431 times)

tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #50 on: April 30, 2014, 10:32:16 AM »
<-- Is a FANUC robot specialist at a major car manufacture. FANUC is the world leader in industrial robots. I'm not worried about my career going away.

=D

What is your thoughts on those who are not STEM gifted or are in careers that may be affected by robots? I will be comfortably retired and owning stocks in corporations making or using robots, so this scenario is probably a positive for my personal wellbeing.  The concern I have is for my children, some whom are STEM gifted and some that are not STEM gifted.  How do you educate and encourage them to place themselves into a path of success?

The other big issue, is what role is government in creating a fair playing field where everyone rises vs. just the owners or STEM gifted. Part of me sees the benefit in government ensuring that all parties are better off.  I think our current government oversight will create an environment where the top 1% will own everything and have no real use for those that are not STEM useful.  Visiting other 3rd world countries has shown me the crazy poverty next to huge mansions with guards to keep the riff-raff out. Even though I am in the 1%, I don't want to create a future where you have the multi billionaire wealthy and those barely surviving day to day.

The concern or the opportunity is to limit or discourage the capitalistic predators who feel like money is everything.  Also to empower and herald those who see money as a means to make the world a better place.  I believe the Giving Pledge and other peer pressure may limit the desire to screw over the world to extract out every penny from society, but I think government may need to be empowered to limit the predators.

greaper007

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #51 on: April 30, 2014, 11:00:58 AM »
There's always a role for creativity and critical thinking.    I think we get too enamored by the STEM or hard science path as a means of immediate career placement.   Yet, I know lots of successful people that didn't follow this path.   

What we've always been good at as a country is not completely destroying a child's creativity, unlike many of the Asian or communist block countries.   I was listening to an NPR segment yesterday where a speaker made a compelling argument against competing with other countries for children's math and science scores on standardized tests.    He referenced a 1958 article from Life magazine that showed Soviet children were beating American children in the same areas.    Yet, we won the cold war and we've been prosperous innovators for nearly the entire industrial and post-industrial era.

I think it's still best to encourage your children to learn all they can, and follow their passions.    I can't think of anyone that's done this and hasn't been able to support themselves by their mid-30s.

ch12

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #52 on: April 30, 2014, 05:53:12 PM »
There's always a role for creativity and critical thinking.    I think we get too enamored by the STEM or hard science path as a means of immediate career placement.   Yet, I know lots of successful people that didn't follow this path.   

What we've always been good at as a country is not completely destroying a child's creativity, unlike many of the Asian or communist block countries.   I was listening to an NPR segment yesterday where a speaker made a compelling argument against competing with other countries for children's math and science scores on standardized tests.    He referenced a 1958 article from Life magazine that showed Soviet children were beating American children in the same areas.    Yet, we won the cold war and we've been prosperous innovators for nearly the entire industrial and post-industrial era.

I think it's still best to encourage your children to learn all they can, and follow their passions.    I can't think of anyone that's done this and hasn't been able to support themselves by their mid-30s.

+1 to most of the above

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/01/26/its-not-a-contest/

Frankly, I'm Asian. Growing up with a cadre of Asian friends, I was a little embarrassed when I was a pre-teen and all my friends were taking calculus. I told my mother, and she asked me if I wanted to take calculus. I said no.

I still turned out ok. (I hope.) I got a job in the software industry. I plan on investing in the robot makers. Don't push your kids into STEM. It's not 100% essential to success.

TANGENT: Following your passion is crock.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cal-newport/follow-your-passion-is-bizarre_b_4350869.html
http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/05/09/182403459/i-know-im-supposed-to-follow-my-passion-but-what-if-i-dont-have-a-passion

My favorite article http://blogmaverick.com/2012/03/18/dont-follow-your-passion-follow-your-effort/ in which Mark Cuban says in the comments:
Quote
Get any job that interests you and pays the bills. you will be getting paid to learn a business and to learn about yourself as well. That job and the next job and the next will pay you to learn far more about yourself than you will learn paying for more education. There will come a time when you will hopefully have it figured out, the day you graduate is not that time

jordanread

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #53 on: April 30, 2014, 08:26:25 PM »
Manna, a look at two societies in the future:
http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm

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

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

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

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

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

I just borrowed this from the Prime Lending Library. I'll read it, and provide my own viewpoints (maybe even in a blog post) after that, but as part of my PSRG project regarding an ideal society (post-zombie-apocalypse), I've become incredibly interested in the idea of a highly advanced society made up of Renaissance Men. May be a topic for it's own thread, but curious about your viewpoint, and the role education and societal norms play in this idea.

Personally, I think that is a major thing missed with these types of scenarios. It's rough, because we have certain norms that influence how we think, and how people act. Not getting too much into politics here, but if a populace was raised with a certain understanding of what they could depend on, immediately changing to a policy of rewarding handling stuff on your own wouldn't work. I'll expand some more later, since this is a great topic that I'm very interested in, but just thought I'd ask here.
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401Killer

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #54 on: May 01, 2014, 06:20:51 AM »
<-- Is a FANUC robot specialist at a major car manufacture. FANUC is the world leader in industrial robots. I'm not worried about my career going away.

=D

What is your thoughts on those who are not STEM gifted or are in careers that may be affected by robots? I will be comfortably retired and owning stocks in corporations making or using robots, so this scenario is probably a positive for my personal wellbeing.  The concern I have is for my children, some whom are STEM gifted and some that are not STEM gifted.  How do you educate and encourage them to place themselves into a path of success?

The other big issue, is what role is government in creating a fair playing field where everyone rises vs. just the owners or STEM gifted. Part of me sees the benefit in government ensuring that all parties are better off.  I think our current government oversight will create an environment where the top 1% will own everything and have no real use for those that are not STEM useful.  Visiting other 3rd world countries has shown me the crazy poverty next to huge mansions with guards to keep the riff-raff out. Even though I am in the 1%, I don't want to create a future where you have the multi billionaire wealthy and those barely surviving day to day.

The concern or the opportunity is to limit or discourage the capitalistic predators who feel like money is everything.  Also to empower and herald those who see money as a means to make the world a better place.  I believe the Giving Pledge and other peer pressure may limit the desire to screw over the world to extract out every penny from society, but I think government may need to be empowered to limit the predators.

Well firstly I don't even know what "STEM gifted" is. With industrial robots its all about manufacturing, these are not the robots on TV that are going to replace bar tenders and clean your house. These are automated systems that repeat the same operation over and over. The angle that FANUC and other industrial robot manufactures take on the replacement of people is that you simply have to automate, and I agree. If you don't automate the entire plant is going to close because it can't compete with other countries, their labor rates and other costs. At least if you install a few machines and robots the plant can continue stay competitive.

I've been mildly messed with when I worked for FANUC Robotics installing a new robot. People would come up to me and say that this robot replaced one of their friends. One of the things I started to say is that it was your company that bought it, so please don't blame me, most were generally cool with it. They would then name the robot after the person/people it replaced.

If I had children or could direct someone, anyone at all really I would push them into Controls Engineering, Robotics, Mechanical Engineering and the main trades such as Electrician, Millwright etc... If a company is making something, its NEEDS, without any question a Controls Engineer, Electrician, Millwright, ME etc... Some type of skilled workforce to maintain and upgrade it.

My career fell into my lap and got a job with my Associates degree as a Controls Engineer at 20 years old. This job was the job that got me the rest. I've been massively lucky with my career and have been doing it with a community college degree in my pocket for 15 years.

Below is a system that I helped build and install at Caterpillar in IL.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fnlzl6sBOsA

This video is just an example of high speed pill sorting by color. It uses a camera to tell the robot where the pill is and what color it is.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mThmeC_K6Vo
« Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 06:27:57 AM by 401Killer »

greaper007

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #55 on: May 01, 2014, 08:00:42 AM »
I've always thought that if you're job could be replaced by a robot or an illegal alien, it's probably time to get a new job or more education.  To a lesser extent that goes for off-shoring too.

tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #56 on: May 04, 2014, 09:37:57 AM »
Interesting article with thoughts from Stephen Hawkins. Interesting sidebar with Google's ethics board and quotes from the founder of DeepMind.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2618434/Artificial-intelligence-worst-thing-happen-humanity-Stephen-Hawking-warns-rise-robots-disastrous-mankind.html

Albert

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #57 on: May 04, 2014, 02:00:45 PM »
I've always thought that if you're job could be replaced by a robot or an illegal alien, it's probably time to get a new job or more education.  To a lesser extent that goes for off-shoring too.

Every single job could conceivably be replaced with the one or the other in the medium term (2-3 decades). Your best best is probably police officer or a primary school teacher.

Mr Mark

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #58 on: May 04, 2014, 02:18:48 PM »
Wrt kids, perhaps this is why an infinite investment horizon is best. That way - the way things are rigged in the usa especially - you can transition as a family to being in the rentier class, rather than serving in a bar... they can focus on arts, sport, etc etc.

200k invested when a kid is 20 should have them FI by about 35... 
Mr. Mark

greaper007

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #59 on: May 04, 2014, 10:10:47 PM »
I've always thought that if you're job could be replaced by a robot or an illegal alien, it's probably time to get a new job or more education.  To a lesser extent that goes for off-shoring too.

Every single job could conceivably be replaced with the one or the other in the medium term (2-3 decades). Your best best is probably police officer or a primary school teacher.

I guess you've never seen Robo-Cop.   Or Kindergarten Cop (to be fair I do think that Arnold was an American citizen by that time, his accent wasn't very convincing though).

tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #60 on: May 09, 2014, 07:26:58 AM »
Interesting article about people's acceptance of robots as pets, children and sexual partners. With a third saying they fear machines may threaten the human race.

http://atlanta.cbslocal.com/2014/05/08/poll-1-in-5-people-would-have-sex-with-android-10-percent-want-robot-child/

matchewed

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #61 on: May 09, 2014, 07:30:53 AM »
I've always thought that if you're job could be replaced by a robot or an illegal alien, it's probably time to get a new job or more education.  To a lesser extent that goes for off-shoring too.

Every single job could conceivably be replaced with the one or the other in the medium term (2-3 decades). Your best best is probably police officer or a primary school teacher.

I guess you've never seen Robo-Cop.   Or Kindergarten Cop (to be fair I do think that Arnold was an American citizen by that time, his accent wasn't very convincing though).

Why do I suddenly have a vision of a robotic proctologist screaming "IT'S NOT A TUMOR" at me while he's got a probe up my ass?

Insanity

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #62 on: May 09, 2014, 07:32:29 AM »
I've always thought that if you're job could be replaced by a robot or an illegal alien, it's probably time to get a new job or more education.  To a lesser extent that goes for off-shoring too.

name on job that can't? 

tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #63 on: May 09, 2014, 11:00:51 PM »
UN, for the first time talking about the rules around robots and the autonomous kill function.

http://m.bbc.com/news/technology-27343076

wtjbatman

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #64 on: May 09, 2014, 11:46:12 PM »
UN, for the first time talking about the rules around robots and the autonomous kill function.

http://m.bbc.com/news/technology-27343076

Oh thank god. Once the UN speaks, you just know everyone is going to listen.

Nords

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #65 on: May 10, 2014, 12:13:26 AM »
Call me skeptical, even cynical, but this entire thread reminds me of 1960s Popular Mechanics articles about flying cars and personal jetpacks.

I'm glad for all of the personal productivity improvements, especially Moore's Law and factory automation, but I think the slope of the curve is less exponential than the popular media predicts.  Before we get all excited about AIs I want a reliable machine to clean toilets and weed the nutgrass out of our yard.

Of course I'll happily buy a long-term care robot.  I wonder if it'll cost less than the insurance premiums for a full-care facility staffed by humans...
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deborah

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #66 on: May 10, 2014, 02:57:24 AM »
Call me skeptical, even cynical, but this entire thread reminds me of 1960s Popular Mechanics articles about flying cars and personal jetpacks.

I'm glad for all of the personal productivity improvements, especially Moore's Law and factory automation, but I think the slope of the curve is less exponential than the popular media predicts.  Before we get all excited about AIs I want a reliable machine to clean toilets and weed the nutgrass out of our yard.

Of course I'll happily buy a long-term care robot.  I wonder if it'll cost less than the insurance premiums for a full-care facility staffed by humans...
It's easy to be skeptical/cynical - remembering the Jetsons and how the world was to change after the first moon landing (we were to have colonies on Mars by now). And, yes, this does hark back to Popular Mechanics. However, the future is probably sooner than we think. Work over the past 50 years has progressed toward making these things real - probably even in our lifetimes. I recently read an article by Isaac Asimov where he predicted the world in 2010? - not sure of the exact year - and it was amazingly accurate.

I don't think we will see a martian colony.

Apocalyptica602

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #67 on: May 10, 2014, 09:29:26 AM »
I'm a Mechanical Engineer currently working in a very high speed Fortune 500 manufacturing environment, with annual volumes of our products in the billions. I don't claim to have an excellent solution in mind, but truthfully a lot of the projects we find ourselves working on focus on cost savings / reducing headcount / introducing even more automation and increasing capacity.

There was a project I was a part of in which we were prototyping something to see if it was feasible as a product before we invest a few hundred thousand dollars retrofitting our equipment with new high end vision systems and robotic pick and places. For lack of a better solution within the timeframe, we had to use ~10 associates manipulating, inspecting, and placing the widgets into a secondary (mostly automated) process.

It was like pulling teeth - people made mistakes, got careless, slowed down and sped up, needed to take regular breaks (rightfully so), wanted to take breaks at different times etc.

It took a week of 24 hour rotating shifts to produce the same amount of parts the new system would have made in less than 8 hours, and these were 10 associates being paid $15-20/hour each.

Now this was just feasibility and prototyping work hand-in-hand with R&D, and I do understand the plight of those being replaced by robotics... but once you're used to that level of efficiency, it's agonizing to take a step backward, and I'm not even one of those corporate decision makers with a balance sheet!

Albert

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #68 on: May 10, 2014, 11:48:50 AM »
Those are highly standardised tasks, of course much better suited for robots. I don't think robots will do your R&D any time soon.

LalsConstant

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #69 on: May 10, 2014, 01:08:18 PM »
I've always thought that if you're job could be replaced by a robot or an illegal alien, it's probably time to get a new job or more education.  To a lesser extent that goes for off-shoring too.

name on job that can't?

Any job that relies on an opinion, risk weighing, reasonableness, and making educated guesses in a field where every situation is unique.  Robots/computers are great at things that can be reduced to a reliable, repeatable algorithm.  Everything else not so much.

DoubleDown

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #70 on: May 10, 2014, 05:32:45 PM »
Call me skeptical, even cynical, but this entire thread reminds me of 1960s Popular Mechanics articles about flying cars and personal jetpacks.

I'm glad for all of the personal productivity improvements, especially Moore's Law and factory automation, but I think the slope of the curve is less exponential than the popular media predicts.  Before we get all excited about AIs I want a reliable machine to clean toilets and weed the nutgrass out of our yard.

Of course I'll happily buy a long-term care robot.  I wonder if it'll cost less than the insurance premiums for a full-care facility staffed by humans...

Ha, I'm with you Nords. How many times have wee seen this play out? It's right up there with predictions of Christ's Second Coming, when some evangelist claims to know the date and time, then that date passes and they pull out the new correct prediction. I recall just a few years ago some well known futurist (maybe Ray Kurzweil?) claiming we were about to reach the point when the machines were inevitably going to become self aware and destroy us all. Yeah, that came and went around 2012 I think -- so far my toaster hasn't destroyed me (just my toast).
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tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #71 on: May 10, 2014, 07:29:18 PM »
Call me skeptical, even cynical, but this entire thread reminds me of 1960s Popular Mechanics articles about flying cars and personal jetpacks.

I'm glad for all of the personal productivity improvements, especially Moore's Law and factory automation, but I think the slope of the curve is less exponential than the popular media predicts.  Before we get all excited about AIs I want a reliable machine to clean toilets and weed the nutgrass out of our yard.

Of course I'll happily buy a long-term care robot.  I wonder if it'll cost less than the insurance premiums for a full-care facility staffed by humans...

Ha, I'm with you Nords. How many times have wee seen this play out? It's right up there with predictions of Christ's Second Coming, when some evangelist claims to know the date and time, then that date passes and they pull out the new correct prediction. I recall just a few years ago some well known futurist (maybe Ray Kurzweil?) claiming we were about to reach the point when the machines were inevitably going to become self aware and destroy us all. Yeah, that came and went around 2012 I think -- so far my toaster hasn't destroyed me (just my toast).

I don't think that you have to believe that robots are going to overthrow humans to see that they are replacing jobs that were occupied by well paid humans. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but when corporations are making decisions based on profits and they have the ability to extract and retain the profits to those developing the technology or those that own the capital you have a potential for a disrupted society. The gap between haves and have nots will need to be defined by government regulations as corporation will not care about those uneducated employees. They will become a burden. Current Mustachians will be fine as they will own the companies that control the technology. Their kids hopefully will situated to take advantage of the future as well.

It should be an amazing future!!!

Insanity

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #72 on: May 10, 2014, 07:45:44 PM »
I've always thought that if you're job could be replaced by a robot or an illegal alien, it's probably time to get a new job or more education.  To a lesser extent that goes for off-shoring too.

name on job that can't?

Any job that relies on an opinion, risk weighing, reasonableness, and making educated guesses in a field where every situation is unique.  Robots/computers are great at things that can be reduced to a reliable, repeatable algorithm.  Everything else not so much.

self driving cars, computerized chess systems that can beat pros, directed computer advertising...

These are all things that are which use AI or rules based engines.  Neural networks does exist, and ultimately everything that you referenced is based on reliable algorithms and weights.

tomsang

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #73 on: May 11, 2014, 08:10:02 AM »
Interesting article on 3d printing

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101638702
"If you can print out food, components of homes, body parts as we age, it points to a really interesting future," he speculates. "We'll be treating animals in a humane way, rewriting the rules of society. What if we really don't need to work? In the hands of 7 billion creative people—we can't even begin to imagine how people will use this technology."

As I think about technology and the future, I keep coming back to society's need to define what is fair, what is safe, and how the amazing changes are going to impact all members of society. With corporations fighting to be considered people and with their significant influence on our laws due to lobbying and dollars, we may see the inequities growing between the haves and have nots. As a society we would be smart in defining our future now vs. waiting until the problem is too large to control.

Insanity

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #74 on: May 12, 2014, 06:49:07 AM »
Interesting article on 3d printing

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101638702
"If you can print out food, components of homes, body parts as we age, it points to a really interesting future," he speculates. "We'll be treating animals in a humane way, rewriting the rules of society. What if we really don't need to work? In the hands of 7 billion creative people—we can't even begin to imagine how people will use this technology."

As I think about technology and the future, I keep coming back to society's need to define what is fair, what is safe, and how the amazing changes are going to impact all members of society. With corporations fighting to be considered people and with their significant influence on our laws due to lobbying and dollars, we may see the inequities growing between the haves and have nots. As a society we would be smart in defining our future now vs. waiting until the problem is too large to control.

Between AI and 3D printing, you'll have everything thing being a commodity over the long run.

I'm looking into some 3D printing companies to buy stock in.  They are truly a disruptive service.

ChrisLansing

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #75 on: May 12, 2014, 07:19:02 AM »
Yes, I think about this quite a bit.  I think there is quite a bit of good news in regards to further developments in automation.  For starters, the less labor it takes to produce something, the more other cosrts come into play in regards to how much it costs to produce, distribute, and sell a good.  For example, labor is dirt cheap in developing countries but transportation costs from those countries are often not cheap (China is nearly half a world away after all).  As such there is a small but growing trend toward onshoring many manufacturing jobs that left the US over the past decades, as robotics can provide competitive labor costs when the discounted transportation costs are factored in.  That's good news for American workers going forward.

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

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

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

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

Greater efficiency benefits everyone in the long term.

I suppose it depends on your definition of efficiency.    There is something to be said for having the customer do the work without pay, as in pumping gas or scanning items at the store.    It's "efficient" from a business point of view.    It is kind of an apples/oranges comparison though.    My 83 year old mother would like someone to pump the gas and check the oil and other fluids.  She can sometimes get someone out to pump for her, but not always.   One of us kids has to take her car to fill it up for her, and one of us has to check the fluids periodically.   That seems damned inefficient to me.     A a recent trend in restaurants is not only to serve yourself, but to do the cooking too.   Remind me why I came to a restaurant?   I can do my own cooking at home much cheaper, I go to a restaurant when I want someone else to cook.     I'll scan my own items when the stores start paying me to do it, until then I don't use the self-scan lines.   

The service has been removed and customers are providing their own service, for free.   

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #76 on: May 12, 2014, 08:57:24 AM »
Quote
Any job that relies on an opinion, risk weighing, reasonableness, and making educated guesses in a field where every situation is unique.  Robots/computers are great at things that can be reduced to a reliable, repeatable algorithm.  Everything else not so much.

Also keep in mind that computers dont have to be 'better' only good enough and cheap enough.  If a computer costs 5% what a human does but is 90% as 'good' and can work 24/7, well in many applications that would be a great improvement and worth switching or trying to have to computer do what it is good at and the human do the rest.
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #77 on: May 12, 2014, 09:09:00 AM »
Quote
or trying to have to computer do what it is good at and the human do the rest.

picked up "Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better" in an airport book store-hard cover (yeah sorry was despite), he has some interesting ideas on the mixing of human and computer intelligence (not quite like the Borg).  Shows some examples of where average humans and average computers worked together to beet the best of the best that were 100% human or 100% computer.  only 100 pages in but seems worth reading.  As with all pop-sci books it might be a bit lite on citations or fully proving a point or cheery picking data.  but still.

-sorry for the self quote :-)
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #78 on: May 12, 2014, 11:41:19 AM »
But are robots or automation any different than just about any other technology over the ages that has made someone's job obsolete? Weaving looms, printing presses, automobiles, tractors, telephones -- no doubt very one of those, plus 1 Million other inventions we could think of, made someone's job or entire industry obsolete. I guess I'm saying there's really nothing new here, and any doom and gloom predictions about humans becoming obsolete is right up there with "News of my death has been greatly exaggerated." There's always something for humans to do. But sure, people need to be flexible, and if you're in an industry facing a revolutionary upheaval, better start polishing up on some new skills.
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #79 on: May 12, 2014, 12:08:53 PM »
But are robots or automation any different than just about any other technology over the ages that has made someone's job obsolete? Weaving looms, printing presses, automobiles, tractors, telephones -- no doubt very one of those, plus 1 Million other inventions we could think of, made someone's job or entire industry obsolete. I guess I'm saying there's really nothing new here, and any doom and gloom predictions about humans becoming obsolete is right up there with "News of my death has been greatly exaggerated." There's always something for humans to do. But sure, people need to be flexible, and if you're in an industry facing a revolutionary upheaval, better start polishing up on some new skills.

I'm not doom and gloom about it.  I'm actually highly optimistic about it.  I'd love for it to happen as if it does the way I hope, everything would be a commodity and present day economics will just get spurned on its head.  You'll have a whole different set of skill sets.

By the way: 3D printed bicycles for the win.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #80 on: May 12, 2014, 12:43:02 PM »
In terms of relative complexity though, how many of those are situations where there's actual uniqueness? 

There's a finite number of games of chess, a computer is always going to be able to discern the optimal play.

Advertising isn't a great example, you can use a computer to direct and target ads yes but human judgment at the front end is how we know to put ads for X with Y, even if you figure that out purely by correlations between things ordered at Amazon (for example).

The driving is probably the situation where you are the most likely to encounter something truly unique (everyone has a story of something strange encountered while driving), and in those instances, what you're probably going to have is a safety heuristic in the algorithm.  In any decision the heuristic cannot address however (are we going to program cars to take cover against machinegun fire for instance), I don't see good things happening for the driver.  This will be an application where people will realize the odds and take their chances, like air travel now.

All I am saying is:

Write the algorithm that can determine whether the accused was justified in stabbing the victim by claiming self defense.

Write the algorithm that can motivate a sick and depressed person to get treatment for their chronic disease.

Write the algorithm that can determine if a book is good or not.

Write the algorithm that can judge which dress is more in fashion this season.

Write the algorithm that can help a victim of child abuse getting therapy in his thirties move past his inner demons.

Show me the robot that can look at two photographs of the same woman with two different hair colors (same style) and determine whether she looks better blonde or redheaded.

Hell, forget all that.  Program a sense of humor.

The worst robots can do is shift demand and supply.  Jobs like my old gigs painting walls and stacking stuff on shelves and filling orders, those are in danger.

Post singularity, When robots spontaneously mock each other, debate the nature of the universe, and make purely subjective judgments with no discernible criteria, then I'll consider everyone on the chopping block.

Insanity

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #81 on: May 12, 2014, 01:13:28 PM »
Write the algorithm that can determine whether the accused was justified in stabbing the victim by claiming self defense.
Write the algorithm that can motivate a sick and depressed person to get treatment for their chronic disease.
Write the algorithm that can determine if a book is good or not.
Write the algorithm that can judge which dress is more in fashion this season.
Write the algorithm that can help a victim of child abuse getting therapy in his thirties move past his inner demons.
Show me the robot that can look at two photographs of the same woman with two different hair colors (same style) and determine whether she looks better blonde or redheaded.

Hell, forget all that.  Program a sense of humor.

The worst robots can do is shift demand and supply.  Jobs like my old gigs painting walls and stacking stuff on shelves and filling orders, those are in danger.

Post singularity, When robots spontaneously mock each other, debate the nature of the universe, and make purely subjective judgments with no discernible criteria, then I'll consider everyone on the chopping block.

Anything subjective is going to be subjective.  I know many people who don't like Shawshank Redemption even though it is one of the best (if not the best movie) I have ever seen and lots of people love it.  I know many who find Jar Jar Binks tolerable even though many can't stand him (myself included).  Hell, I know many who find women unattractive and prefer men.  And as far as fashion? I'll settle for T's and Jeans any day of the week, so I couldn't care less.    I know some people who think that Jerry Seinfeld is hilarious, I personally can't stand him.  Maybe I'm a robot? 

Reviews are going to be weighted ,and that's where neural networks and rules come into play.

As for that self defense case - well, let's ask OJ's victims how they felt about him being let off because the jury really couldn't grasp certain scientific technologies.

You don't think psychology is an algorithm?  I've been through it when I was a kid and am going through marriage counseling now. 

Chronic Illness?  I'd rather have a robot treating me then my previous GI. 

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #82 on: May 12, 2014, 02:19:38 PM »
LalsConstant: "is it different this time?"  that is the bozillion dollar question.  I think the fear is that the change will happen insanely fast and every where and in many (most?) fields of employment, across all income levels.  People wont be able to be retrained fast enough.  How many people in the US have had manual labor jobs for 30+ years never did great in school-are not motivated to go back, have a few chronic health issues, little savings, own a home so dont want to relocate...  and then a robot takes there job.

wrt- the list:
>> crime: maybe a computer could track down a dollar the defendant had and prove it was spent on the other side of town when the crime happened.  or use facial recognition to do the same.
>> to lazy to google it now but I thought I had read that simple chat bots were doing some physiological good talking to people.  again computers may augment if not replace.
>> google has admitted that they digitized a 100tons of books 'not for humans to read'.
>> the red head is always hotter, any neural net would learn that in the first 10 minutes of training :-p

algorithms will keep getting better at predicting what you will like (see amazon/netflix/google), but as Insanity said it is very hard to say any thing subjective is good, there will always be disagreement.

LalsConstant also if you are going to try to list things computers cant do there is an obligatory link :-)  http://xkcd.com/1002/

The computers and robots are coming for the medical doctors in a big way.  I personally have had good results with the MayoClinic symptom checker. http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptom-checker/select-symptom/itt-20009075
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #83 on: May 12, 2014, 02:43:04 PM »
The computers and robots are coming for the medical doctors in a big way.  I personally have had good results with the MayoClinic symptom checker. http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptom-checker/select-symptom/itt-20009075

I hope it is better than WebMD which seems to always think I have cancer, gastritis, or diabetes.
 

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #84 on: May 12, 2014, 08:02:26 PM »
Some people in this thread are claiming robots will utterly change everything forever, but you don't need to take that position to be concerned by the trend. Look at the point in time when advances in farming eliminated what used to be the majority of all jobs - society adjusted, but the process of doing so caused years of unrest and suffering. It's not much comfort to know things will eventually even out if you live in the uneven period, especially since even those with stable jobs won't be unaffected by temporarily increased unemployment.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #85 on: May 13, 2014, 12:24:38 AM »
I've always thought that if you're job could be replaced by a robot or an illegal alien, it's probably time to get a new job or more education.  To a lesser extent that goes for off-shoring too.

name on job that can't?

I'm a NICU nurse. I'd like to think my technical skills combined with my clinical assessment and judgement lead to me being (relatively) indispensable, but I could be wrong.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #86 on: May 13, 2014, 07:31:11 PM »
I've always thought that if you're job could be replaced by a robot or an illegal alien, it's probably time to get a new job or more education.  To a lesser extent that goes for off-shoring too.

name on job that can't?

I'm a NICU nurse. I'd like to think my technical skills combined with my clinical assessment and judgement lead to me being (relatively) indispensable, but I could be wrong.

before I go on, let me say that you have probably one of the emotionally toughest jobs in the world and thank you for doing that. having to deal with the emotional draining situations you have to, I can't fathom.

Unfortunately, though, medical is something that can be done.  there maybe more need for human interaction on the support/translation side of it - after all, who wants to be consoled by a robot/AI?  But the reality is, if that becomes an acceptable things and as AIs learn more appropriate and comforting things to say, it may become more accepted.  I don't know. 

But again, the job you do is a tough job and thank you for doing it.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #87 on: May 14, 2014, 06:11:26 AM »
I've always thought that if you're job could be replaced by a robot or an illegal alien, it's probably time to get a new job or more education.  To a lesser extent that goes for off-shoring too.

name on job that can't?

I'm a NICU nurse. I'd like to think my technical skills combined with my clinical assessment and judgement lead to me being (relatively) indispensable, but I could be wrong.

before I go on, let me say that you have probably one of the emotionally toughest jobs in the world and thank you for doing that. having to deal with the emotional draining situations you have to, I can't fathom.

Unfortunately, though, medical is something that can be done.  there maybe more need for human interaction on the support/translation side of it - after all, who wants to be consoled by a robot/AI?  But the reality is, if that becomes an acceptable things and as AIs learn more appropriate and comforting things to say, it may become more accepted.  I don't know. 

But again, the job you do is a tough job and thank you for doing it.

Why thank you. :)

While I don't disagree that the actual baby care side of what I do could to some extent be palmed off to an artificially intelligent device, it's the emotional side of parent care and counselling that I think I'm safe with for the moment. Let's face it, a 25 weeker doesn't give a shit whether I as a nurse love it, it just needs warmth, nutrition and ventilation. Which could all most probably be more efficiently provided by a machine, with a complex series of algorithms allowing for immediate adjustments to the machines we already use.

However we're a very long way from machines providing emotional care. Actually that's probably not strictly true, we're a very long way off the *acceptance* of machines providing emotional care. So for that part of my job I think will last for a long time. Coincidentally (or not?) that's the part of my job that I would love to spend more time on but don't have time due to the technical requirements. So it could even be a win-win. More time for me to spend with parents, less time needing to be spent on the mundane "machine care" side of my work.

ETA: By the time this happens I hope to be well and truly retired!

davisgang90

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #88 on: May 14, 2014, 07:14:09 AM »
I for one welcome our new Robot Overlords!
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #89 on: May 14, 2014, 02:55:14 PM »
I've always thought that if you're job could be replaced by a robot or an illegal alien, it's probably time to get a new job or more education.  To a lesser extent that goes for off-shoring too.

I test software and automation is cutting the need for manual testing.  If I don't learn automation, it will be harder and harder to find a job in my field.
So just saying, it's not only people who do manual labor or work in a warehouse whose jobs may be replaced by automation.

I'm not that worried about it personally I'll either learn to do some programming or hopefully find a job doing something I like better.


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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #90 on: May 14, 2014, 03:46:08 PM »
This thread actually sent me off to some very interesting paths of research. I may start a separate thread once I have more actual content, but I was curious if anybody here had looked at this from a "Post-Scarcity" standpoint, or if you'd ever heard of it. It seems like it could be something society moves towards, but I haven't decided if it could be done, or someone would capitalize on it and ruin it. The article that started me down this path was this one.
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #91 on: May 14, 2014, 06:32:34 PM »
I've always thought that if you're job could be replaced by a robot or an illegal alien, it's probably time to get a new job or more education.  To a lesser extent that goes for off-shoring too.

I test software and automation is cutting the need for manual testing.  If I don't learn automation, it will be harder and harder to find a job in my field.
So just saying, it's not only people who do manual labor or work in a warehouse whose jobs may be replaced by automation.

I'm not that worried about it personally I'll either learn to do some programming or hopefully find a job doing something I like better.

If you have a QA mind and test by trying to break things, I highly recommend you look into software security.  While there are automated analyzers, there is still quite the need for a human to be involved due to so complexities that are simply right now well out of reach for automated scanners.  This isn't to say they can't be automated, just that they aren't there yet (or businesses don't want to spend the money configuring the software to do the tests automatically).


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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #92 on: May 14, 2014, 07:19:48 PM »
I'm looking forward to when robots (i.e., computers) do our driving for us. Things will get a lot safer.
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #93 on: May 14, 2014, 07:40:55 PM »
I'm looking forward to when robots (i.e., computers) do our driving for us. Things will get a lot safer.

+1.

As a cyclist, I can't wait until the day the bogan tradies in their white utes can't swerve towards me at 6am in an effort to run me off the road, because the software in their car won't let them. Seriously, who does that? [/rant]

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #94 on: May 15, 2014, 09:40:10 AM »
Call me skeptical, even cynical, but this entire thread reminds me of 1960s Popular Mechanics articles about flying cars and personal jetpacks.

I'm glad for all of the personal productivity improvements, especially Moore's Law and factory automation, but I think the slope of the curve is less exponential than the popular media predicts...

You have to understand that Moore's law is an exponential curve.
This article explains that extremely well, with an analogy and a cartoon:
http://www.motherjones.com/media/2013/05/robots-artificial-intelligence-jobs-automation

It is on exactly the original topic - how soon robots are likely to be able to take most human jobs, and then what the impact on society and the economy and the distribution of wealth is likely to be.

Quote
"Until a decade ago, the share of total national income going to workers was pretty stable at around 70 percent, while the share going to capital—mainly corporate profits and returns on financial investments—made up the other 30 percent. More recently, though, those shares have started to change. Slowly but steadily, labor's share of total national income has gone down, while the share going to capital owners has gone up. The most obvious effect of this is the skyrocketing wealth of the top 1 percent, due mostly to huge increases in capital gains and investment income.


According to this chart made by Stuart Staniford, our robot overlords will take over soon.
In the economics literature, the increase in the share of income going to capital owners is known as capital-biased technological change. Let's take a layman's look at what that means.

The question we want to answer is simple: If CBTC is already happening—not a lot, but just a little bit—what trends would we expect to see? What are the signs of a computer-driven economy? First and most obviously, if automation were displacing labor, we'd expect to see a steady decline in the share of the population that's employed.

Second, we'd expect to see fewer job openings than in the past. Third, as more people compete for fewer jobs, we'd expect to see middle-class incomes flatten in a race to the bottom. Fourth, with consumption stagnant, we'd expect to see corporations stockpile more cash and, fearing weaker sales, invest less in new products and new factories. Fifth, as a result of all this, we'd expect to see labor's share of national income decline and capital's share rise.

These trends are the five horsemen of the robotic apocalypse, and guess what? We're already seeing them"
[/size]

Any job that relies on an opinion, risk weighing, reasonableness, and making educated guesses in a field where every situation is unique.  Robots/computers are great at things that can be reduced to a reliable, repeatable algorithm.  Everything else not so much.

You're looking at current computers.  As the article I linked points out, we have been making slow, but steady and serious progress towards true AI.  The human brain isn't infinitely intelligent, we have a specific amount of processing power and memory.  When computers hit that point, they should be able to do literally any mental task a human can do.  They already do a much better job at risk weighing and educated guesses than we do, because they don't fall prey to the (many, powerful) cognitive biases we do.

Robotics will help generate even more wealth over time...

Greater efficiency benefits everyone in the long term.

They do definitely generate more wealth, as do all increases in efficiency, but greater efficiency does NOT necessarily benefit everyone.  In fact, that basically came to a full stop a couple decades ago, and technology advances is one of the largest reasons.  The other big one is political.  Under a free market, increases in efficiency are likely to benefit everyone.  But under capitalism, they only benefit investors, at the expense of labor.  US politics have been undermining the free market and supporting capitalism to an ever greater extent in recent years, with the predictable result that median income has flatlined while the top 0.1% has grown exponentially:
http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2014/04/free-market-vs-capitalism-current-state.html

In theory, having robots do almost everything, and having humans do just those few things that robots couldn't possibly do (not sure what those things are, but lets assume there are some), could mean that every human has a 1 hour work week and a 10 years working career, and they earn an inflation adjusted $1000 per hour for the work that they do.  The economy would be able to support it.
But as long as the politics and laws are as they are now, we're more likely to have 97% unemployment, and 3% private security forces.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2014, 09:52:11 AM by Bakari »
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@Bakari:
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The other big one is political.  Under a free market, increases in efficiency are likely to benefit everyone.  But under capitalism, they only benefit investors, at the expense of labor

Can you explain or link the difference between free market and capitalism?  I would have thought them about synonymous.  Or did you have crony capitalism or our bastardized protectionist capitalism in mind?
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@Bakari:
Quote
The other big one is political.  Under a free market, increases in efficiency are likely to benefit everyone.  But under capitalism, they only benefit investors, at the expense of labor

Can you explain or link the difference between free market and capitalism?  I would have thought them about synonymous.  Or did you have crony capitalism or our bastardized protectionist capitalism in mind?

Can I ever!  I just recently finished writing a ten part series on that: http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2014/04/free-market-vs-capitalism.html
everyone seems to think they are synonymous - which I suspect was deliberate political PR by capitalists. Not only are they not synonymous, they are actively opposed. 
The original free-market economist, Adam Smith, was very clear about the difference, but people who quote him most often conveniently ignore those parts.
And, sure, corruption can make it even worse, but that's a whole separate thing.
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Can I ever!  I just recently finished writing a ten part series on that

Just a comment on that.  When you call it a 10 part series it sounds daunting and this big tome.  I put off reading it for like 5 days until I had time to sit down and do so.  Then the whole thing took about 20 minutes.

It could easily have fit into one long blog post, but you may dissuade some people who might otherwise read it when they hear "ten part series."  "...I wasn't THAT interested" but if they knew each part was a quick two minute read, they may read it.
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Can I ever!  I just recently finished writing a ten part series on that

Just a comment on that.  When you call it a 10 part series it sounds daunting and this big tome.  I put off reading it for like 5 days until I had time to sit down and do so.  Then the whole thing took about 20 minutes.

It could easily have fit into one long blog post, but you may dissuade some people who might otherwise read it when they hear "ten part series."  "...I wasn't THAT interested" but if they knew each part was a quick two minute read, they may read it.


:P
hmm, well...  I kept getting complaints that my regular posts were too long.  Can't win.
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arebelspy

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Can I ever!  I just recently finished writing a ten part series on that

Just a comment on that.  When you call it a 10 part series it sounds daunting and this big tome.  I put off reading it for like 5 days until I had time to sit down and do so.  Then the whole thing took about 20 minutes.

It could easily have fit into one long blog post, but you may dissuade some people who might otherwise read it when they hear "ten part series."  "...I wasn't THAT interested" but if they knew each part was a quick two minute read, they may read it.


:P
hmm, well...  I kept getting complaints that my regular posts were too long.  Can't win.

I'm fine with it being split up.. just letting you know how it sounded to me when I heard "ten part series."  :)
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