Author Topic: Robots and their impact on the future  (Read 226901 times)

aspiringnomad

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 538
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #950 on: December 07, 2016, 06:21:14 PM »
Comments from UTC ceo to Jim Crammer re Carrier Jobs/Trump/Mexico.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/ceo-united-technologies-just-let-231538059.html

TLDR: Mexico has quality workers, US workers dont want the Carrier jobes.  We will replace the US workers with robots.

Given the current political/tweeting climate, I'm stunned and impressed with how candid the United Technologies CEO is with Cramer.

Metric Mouse

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5311
  • FU @ 22. F.I.R.E before 23
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #951 on: December 08, 2016, 09:11:10 AM »
Comments from UTC ceo to Jim Crammer re Carrier Jobs/Trump/Mexico.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/ceo-united-technologies-just-let-231538059.html

TLDR: Mexico has quality workers, US workers dont want the Carrier jobes.  We will replace the US workers with robots.

Meh. Since this automation would happen anyway, isn't it at least a win that the automated factory stays in America, with stricter environmental controls, and the tertiary jobs (delivering materials, repairing and installing robots, shipping units, etc.) are American?
Give me one fine day of plain sailing weather and I can mess up anything.

MustacheMathTM

Knaak

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 408
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #952 on: December 08, 2016, 11:04:36 AM »
Comments from UTC ceo to Jim Crammer re Carrier Jobs/Trump/Mexico.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/ceo-united-technologies-just-let-231538059.html

TLDR: Mexico has quality workers, US workers dont want the Carrier jobes.  We will replace the US workers with robots.

Meh. Since this automation would happen anyway, isn't it at least a win that the automated factory stays in America, with stricter environmental controls, and the tertiary jobs (delivering materials, repairing and installing robots, shipping units, etc.) are American?

Agreed.  My biggest pet peeve with "free trade" is manufacturers get to skirt our EPA and OSHA regulations.  We put those regulations in place so we can ensure clean air, clean water, and safe work environments, even though they create a tremendous cost to manufacturers.  Then, instead of paying those costs, they simply sidestep the regulations by moving production to Mexico, China, or some other country with less stringent regulations.  I always thought if a product is sold here in the US, it should be made using the same regulations and restrictions that we place on US manufacturers, regardless of country of origin.  Will that lead to higher costs?  Absolutely.  It will also lead to cleaner air (pollution from China hits the west coast of the US), cleaner water (it all goes into the oceans eventually), and safe work conditions for everyone.

AlanStache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1616
  • Age: 38
  • Location: South East Virginia
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #953 on: December 08, 2016, 11:48:47 AM »
Comments from UTC ceo to Jim Crammer re Carrier Jobs/Trump/Mexico.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/ceo-united-technologies-just-let-231538059.html

TLDR: Mexico has quality workers, US workers dont want the Carrier jobes.  We will replace the US workers with robots.

Meh. Since this automation would happen anyway, isn't it at least a win that the automated factory stays in America, with stricter environmental controls, and the tertiary jobs (delivering materials, repairing and installing robots, shipping units, etc.) are American?

yeah sure, it was more the head of a multi billion dollar company with 200k employees saying that Mexican workers are better and those we have here need to be replaced with robots to make our shit factory competitive. 
Be the person Mr. Rogers knows you can be.

tomsang

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 970
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #954 on: December 11, 2016, 12:02:08 PM »
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/10/will-amazon-go-replace-jobs-i-dont-think-we-can-stop-it-author-says.html?__source=yahoo%7Cfinance%7Cheadline%7Cheadline%7Cstory&par=yahoo&doc=104155267&yptr=yahoo


"When asked keeping jobs in the U.S. will cause them to be replaced by robots, Trump said "they will, and we'll make the robots too," according to The New York Times."

The point that people keep missing is the people who's jobs are being replaced by technology can't just retool and start making robots, software, or the technology.  These people will continue to be a burden on society as they do not have usable skills.  What is Trump and others proposing to limit the negative impact on those not possessing STEM type skills?

"I think what it leads to is more job destruction, and less job creation, especially for average typical people that don't necessarily have PhDs from MIT and all of that," Ford said.

Metric Mouse

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5311
  • FU @ 22. F.I.R.E before 23
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #955 on: December 11, 2016, 02:39:27 PM »
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/10/will-amazon-go-replace-jobs-i-dont-think-we-can-stop-it-author-says.html?__source=yahoo%7Cfinance%7Cheadline%7Cheadline%7Cstory&par=yahoo&doc=104155267&yptr=yahoo


"When asked keeping jobs in the U.S. will cause them to be replaced by robots, Trump said "they will, and we'll make the robots too," according to The New York Times."

The point that people keep missing is the people who's jobs are being replaced by technology can't just retool and start making robots, software, or the technology.  These people will continue to be a burden on society as they do not have usable skills.  What is Trump and others proposing to limit the negative impact on those not possessing STEM type skills?

"I think what it leads to is more job destruction, and less job creation, especially for average typical people that don't necessarily have PhDs from MIT and all of that," Ford said.

Well, some candidates have aaid vaguely "retraining " of these people, but I've never heard any actual plan, or read of any proposed legislation that would address this. There are places in this country where the unemployment rate has been much above the national average for decades; I'll believe that politicians really care to adress this when I see it.
Give me one fine day of plain sailing weather and I can mess up anything.

MustacheMathTM

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1742
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #956 on: December 11, 2016, 09:51:39 PM »
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/10/will-amazon-go-replace-jobs-i-dont-think-we-can-stop-it-author-says.html?__source=yahoo%7Cfinance%7Cheadline%7Cheadline%7Cstory&par=yahoo&doc=104155267&yptr=yahoo


"When asked keeping jobs in the U.S. will cause them to be replaced by robots, Trump said "they will, and we'll make the robots too," according to The New York Times."

The point that people keep missing is the people who's jobs are being replaced by technology can't just retool and start making robots, software, or the technology.  These people will continue to be a burden on society as they do not have usable skills.  What is Trump and others proposing to limit the negative impact on those not possessing STEM type skills?

"I think what it leads to is more job destruction, and less job creation, especially for average typical people that don't necessarily have PhDs from MIT and all of that," Ford said.


Its more than just that.  Even if you could train everyone to program and build robots, it just doesn't take tens of millions of people to operate a robot building factory (esp when the robot factory is largely staffed by robots).  A given type of robot only needs to be programmed once.


It would be like if you looked at the new tractors and harvesters and other turn of the century farm equipment, or at the auto loom, and said "well, we'll still need people to drive the tractors and operate the loom" - if it took as many people to make and operate the robots as the number of jobs they replaced, then there would be no point in making the robots, they would just be adding an extra step.  They would cost more than they produced.


However, he might not have been meaning to imply that all the jobs lost would be replaced by American workers.  Just that the profit would go to American companies.  Which may well be true, and if your goal is simply maximizing gross GDP, with no concern for its distribution, then he may well actually be spot on.


At least for a little while - until China starts churning out cheap yet extremely advanced robots...
Anything I've said here useful or interesting?  Find a lot more of my thoughts here: http://randomthoughts.fyi

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 26147
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #957 on: December 12, 2016, 01:21:48 AM »
Its more than just that.  Even if you could train everyone to program and build robots, it just doesn't take tens of millions of people to operate a robot building factory (esp when the robot factory is largely staffed by robots).  A given type of robot only needs to be programmed once.

Not only that, but it's not a one-to-one: one programmer will write the software that goes on millions of robots.

So if 100 robots replace what was formerly done by 100 humans, it's not like we would need 100 separate programmers for them.

And that's assuming we don't need only 50 robots to do those jobs.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

Metric Mouse

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5311
  • FU @ 22. F.I.R.E before 23
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #958 on: December 12, 2016, 01:40:50 AM »
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/10/will-amazon-go-replace-jobs-i-dont-think-we-can-stop-it-author-says.html?__source=yahoo%7Cfinance%7Cheadline%7Cheadline%7Cstory&par=yahoo&doc=104155267&yptr=yahoo


"When asked keeping jobs in the U.S. will cause them to be replaced by robots, Trump said "they will, and we'll make the robots too," according to The New York Times."

The point that people keep missing is the people who's jobs are being replaced by technology can't just retool and start making robots, software, or the technology.  These people will continue to be a burden on society as they do not have usable skills.  What is Trump and others proposing to limit the negative impact on those not possessing STEM type skills?

"I think what it leads to is more job destruction, and less job creation, especially for average typical people that don't necessarily have PhDs from MIT and all of that," Ford said.


Its more than just that.  Even if you could train everyone to program and build robots, it just doesn't take tens of millions of people to operate a robot building factory (esp when the robot factory is largely staffed by robots).  A given type of robot only needs to be programmed once.


It would be like if you looked at the new tractors and harvesters and other turn of the century farm equipment, or at the auto loom, and said "well, we'll still need people to drive the tractors and operate the loom" - if it took as many people to make and operate the robots as the number of jobs they replaced, then there would be no point in making the robots, they would just be adding an extra step.  They would cost more than they produced.


However, he might not have been meaning to imply that all the jobs lost would be replaced by American workers.  Just that the profit would go to American companies.  Which may well be true, and if your goal is simply maximizing gross GDP, with no concern for its distribution, then he may well actually be spot on.


At least for a little while - until China starts churning out cheap yet extremely advanced robots...

I think the point was that these jobs are going away anyway; if that is the case, it's best for America, in the short-medium term, to keep as many jobs in America as possible
Give me one fine day of plain sailing weather and I can mess up anything.

MustacheMathTM

Kriegsspiel

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1046
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #959 on: December 12, 2016, 08:23:09 AM »
Well then thank goodness the anti-Trumpers are stepping up their donations to Planned Parenthood. With no jobs, we don't need all these fucking people.

tomsang

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 970
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #960 on: December 12, 2016, 10:27:04 AM »
I think the point was that these jobs are going away anyway; if that is the case, it's best for America, in the short-medium term, to keep as many jobs in America as possible

I think the writing is on the wall that uneducated and also the mostly educated people are not going to be needed for work within the next 30 years.  The government will need to figure out a basic income and how to share the technological wealth.  Trump's tax plan is to reduce taxes on corporations and the 1% and increase taxes on the poor and middle class.  We should be figuring out how to tax the wealthiest more as they own the companies and technology that are churning off record profits, yet we are focusing on squeezing more out of the poor and middle class.

Crazy times!

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1742
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #961 on: December 12, 2016, 10:45:08 AM »
Not only that, but it's not a one-to-one: one programmer will write the software that goes on millions of robots.

So if 100 robots replace what was formerly done by 100 humans, it's not like we would need 100 separate programmers for them.

And that's assuming we don't need only 50 robots to do those jobs.


yeah, I think I worded it poorly, because that's what I was getting at.  It will take one person to engineer and one to program a robot that can then be replicated 1000s of times, where each robot can preform the work of several people, leading to a loss of tens of thousands of jobs providing new jobs to two people, plus maybe a few dozen for maintenance and repairs.


I think the point was that these jobs are going away anyway; if that is the case, it's best for America, in the short-medium term, to keep as many jobs in America as possible


That is definitely the point, I was just questioning the definition of "good for America".  One could argue that outsourcing labor was/is "good for America", because it increases profit margins of American companies.  The question remains, is what is good for America's corporations always the same as what is good for American citizens? 
Or, more to the point, the question remains of how we deal with a world that doesn't need as much labor force as you have people?

Well then thank goodness the anti-Trumpers are stepping up their donations to Planned Parenthood. With no jobs, we don't need all these fucking people.


Can't tell if this is sarcasm, but I definitely agree!


I think the point was that these jobs are going away anyway; if that is the case, it's best for America, in the short-medium term, to keep as many jobs in America as possible

I think the writing is on the wall that uneducated and also the mostly educated people are not going to be needed for work within the next 30 years.  The government will need to figure out a basic income and how to share the technological wealth.  Trump's tax plan is to reduce taxes on corporations and the 1% and increase taxes on the poor and middle class.  We should be figuring out how to tax the wealthiest more as they own the companies and technology that are churning off record profits, yet we are focusing on squeezing more out of the poor and middle class.

Crazy times!


Give it a few more years for people to all start becoming aware of everything we cover in this thread... right now its mostly the very same un and semi educated people with robot replaceable jobs that form the populaist base of the Trump Movement.  They are imagining that he will have the power (or even the desire) to bring us back to "the good old days" where hard work at a factory got you a middle class life, presumably by undoing globalization (and of course ending immigration).  Which may have been a legitimate complaint 20 years ago, maybe even 5 years ago, but it's mattering less and less - robots don't even need subsistence wages.
Anything I've said here useful or interesting?  Find a lot more of my thoughts here: http://randomthoughts.fyi

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5412
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #962 on: December 12, 2016, 12:23:23 PM »
I think the writing is on the wall that uneducated and also the mostly educated people are not going to be needed for work within the next 30 years.

Let's follow this line of thought through to its logical conclusion.

The uneducated become economically superfluous.  The wealth gap grows to astronomical levels, with STEM career people becoming fabulously wealthy and lit majors and high school dropouts surviving slightly above poverty level on the newly instituted universal basic income.

Is this system better or worse than what we have now?  The super rich will still have more money than the newly enriched STEM folks who are actually driving the economy.  Instead of an elite class and a working class, well have an elite class and a working class and a new useless plebe/slave class like the ancient Romans.  We're calling this progress?

Depending on how the politics unfold, it might not be so bad.  Some people are ill suited to work, by handicap or illness or bad luck, and as long as those people are still full citizens then I would rather see them provided UBI than live on the streets.  This part already exists (disability insurance, etc) so the only change is in extending it to other people who could be working, but choose not to (edit: or for whom economically productive work is not available).  Former coal miners, factory laborers, early retirees, artists, as long as the robots can provide them health care and food/housing and internet access and voting rights, maybe they're okay with being economically "useless"?

The distinction here is between plebes and proles.  "The proletariat" has historically been defined as the class of people who own nothing except their ability to labor for wages, because they do not own the means of production.  If robots deprive them of wages for labor, what does that leave them? How does that upset our economic hierarchy?
« Last Edit: December 12, 2016, 08:21:42 PM by sol »

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1742
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #963 on: December 12, 2016, 12:55:24 PM »
I think the writing is on the wall that uneducated and also the mostly educated people are not going to be needed for work within the next 30 years.

Let's follow this line of thought through to its logical conclusion.

The uneducated become economically superfluous.  The wealth gap grows to astronomical levels, with STEM career people becoming fabulously wealthy and lit majors and high school dropouts surviving slightly above poverty level on the newly instituted universal basic income.

Is this system better or worse than what we have now?  The super rich will still have more money than the newly enriched STEM folks who are actually driving the economy.  Instead of an elite class and a working class, well have an elite class and a working class and a new useless plebe/slave class like the ancient Romans.  We're calling this progress?

Depending on how the politics unfold, it might not be so bad.  Some people are I'll suited to work, by handicap or illness or bad luck, and as long as those people are still full citizens then I would rather see them provided UBI than live on the streets.  This part already exists (disability insurance, etc) so the only change is in extending it to other people who could be working, but choose not to. 


In this (very likely to occur in the real world) scenario they aren't exactly "choosing" not to work.  Even if every single person was an engineer or software programmer, there simply wouldn't be enough to keep them all occupied (at least not anything remotely near 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, for 40 years!)

The change is that the social safety net would have to be broadly and permanently expanded along the lines of current "unemployment", except without running out, without the stipulation of formerly being employed, and without the stipulation of actively looking for work. 


Quote
Former coal miners, factory laborers, early retirees, artists, as long as the robots can provide them health care and food/housing and internet access and voting rights, maybe they're okay with being economically "useless"?

The distinction here is between plebes and proles.  "The proletariat" has historically been defined as the class of people who own nothing except their ability to labor for wages, because they do not own the means of production.  If robots deprive them of wages for labor, what does that leave them? How does that upset our economic hierarchy?


A lot of this analysis depends on just where the UBI is ultimately set.  If it is actuallyslightly above poverty level then these will be some excellent questions (and ones most likely answered someday by populist revolution).  That certainly seems the most likely direction the US would take it.  Places that are currently more socialist, or already have a version of it in place (Iran, Brazil, Alaska) might more readily accept a much larger than slightly above poverty level.

And if everyone has enough for a safe and comfortable life, and doesn't have to work, then the only reasons left to care how rich other people are is jealousy (stupid reason) and influence on politics (legit concern).
Anything I've said here useful or interesting?  Find a lot more of my thoughts here: http://randomthoughts.fyi

Threshkin

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 774
  • Location: Colorado
    • My Journal
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #964 on: December 12, 2016, 06:47:46 PM »
Hmmm, We could stop using all machinery in farming.  Then we could employ tens or hundreds of thousands of people as field workers.  Yields might decline but that is good because we could employ even more people!

Then do the same for road construction and other similar tasks.  With luck we could get to 100% employment in a few years!

/sarc

tomsang

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 970
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #965 on: December 12, 2016, 11:23:35 PM »
Hmmm, We could stop using all machinery in farming.  Then we could employ tens or hundreds of thousands of people as field workers.  Yields might decline but that is good because we could employ even more people!

Then do the same for road construction and other similar tasks.  With luck we could get to 100% employment in a few years!

/sarc

I think you are missing the point.  The point is that technology is going to eliminate a majority of jobs in the future.  Most likely yours will be eliminated within the next two decades.  How the government or governments handle the lack of a need for humans for employment or production will determine whether those who don't own the technologies/companies and are unemployable are worthy of living in this new environment.  Ways to share the wealth include taxing companies and owners heavily and providing basic income or services to the population even if they have not done anything to "earn" the rewards.  Or we can reduce taxes to corporations, reduce taxes to the 1%, and limit or reduce benefits like Social Security, Medicare and other services to the poor. We can also expect the poor and middle class to contribute to society even when they have no possible way of contributing.

To make it simpler: Do we live in a utopia where everyone has everything they need or do we go the route of Terminator where the people are competing and fighting with technology for survival?  or How do we structure society so the windfall of technology is shared by all, or do just focus on owning the companies and screw over those that were so stupid that they did not save and invest in the future? 

theadvicist

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1359
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #966 on: December 13, 2016, 03:04:24 AM »
I'm not that worried about the poor being 'left for dead', if only because of this fact. The only thing the super-rich care about (I mean apart from their family etc) other than making money, is KEEPING the money.

Their options are:
1) give up a percentage of that money at source as taxation, and keep the masses quiet with a universal income which, whilst not enough to live extravagently, is enough to shut them up and prevent rioting
2) keep more of their money at source. But surround themselves with private security (robots?) and worry constantly about crime, uprising, civil unrest.

I really think the former is obviously the answer.

I saw a politician in the UK talking about our 'welfare state'. His premise was this: benefits aren't given as charity to the poor. They are basically just enough to keep the poor quiet, and out of 'our' way on housing estates. We give them just enough to keep them quiet and not rioting, but we don't give them enough to actually give them a decent chance to get out of the situation they are in.

That resonated with me. Because I think (here in the UK at least) it's kind of true. I know that there are 'rough estates' etc, but I don't know much about them, because I am insulated from them in my little middle-class existence. I have 'heard' of families who haven't worked for three generations, who's kids go straight on the dole etc. I've certainly never met one!

This is what we'll do but on a wider scale when more people are unemployed. Give them just enough... but not too much. And the rich will see that that is for THEIR benefit.

Enigma

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 227
  • Age: 38
  • Location: WashingtonDC/TN
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #967 on: December 13, 2016, 07:40:14 AM »
People/humans are great at adapting.  There have been too many transitional periods in the world to assume that everything will be replaced.
I would predict more of a utopia.  Push for more exploration, intellectual expansion, reforestation, cleanup of ocean's garbage, etc...
"Periodically calculating your net worth -- the value of your assets minus your liabilities -- is the best way to measure and track your financial well-being." - unk

FI: Sept 1, 2014 (Age 35) - Completed
RE: Friday July 12, 2019 (Just b4 40th Bday) - Goal

mathlete

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 456
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #968 on: December 13, 2016, 08:37:15 AM »
Well then thank goodness the anti-Trumpers are stepping up their donations to Planned Parenthood. With no jobs, we don't need all these fucking people.

Unless you think that people are inherently valuable regardless of their usefulness to society.

A world with no work for humans to do sounds like a Utopia unless something goes horrifically wrong.

mathlete

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 456
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #969 on: December 13, 2016, 08:50:23 AM »
With regards to the uneducated vs. the STEMs, I think it's maybe a bit presumptuous that the STEMs shall inherit the Earth.

I say this as a STEM person: Nearly half of us are below average at our jobs.

It isn't hard for me to imagine that sufficiently sophisticated software could automate a large percentage of white collar work, given how much white collar work is done on computers these days.

And if we think that we can all just become computer programmers who write that software, it's worth bearing in mind that the BLS projects an 8% decline in the employment of computer programmers over the next decade.

I think the safest among us are probably those with trade-skills. An affordable robot that can come to your house and replace pipe fittings or service your refrigerator is probably further off than the aforementioned sophisticated software.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1742
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #970 on: December 13, 2016, 09:10:08 AM »
Well then thank goodness the anti-Trumpers are stepping up their donations to Planned Parenthood. With no jobs, we don't need all these fucking people.
Unless you think that people are inherently valuable regardless of their usefulness to society.


I could be mistaken, but I don't think the implication was to kill off all existing people, or even lower the birth rate to zero.  PP deals with preventing unwanted pregnancies, not ending the human specie.  We can value the existence of humans without needing to try to maximize the number of humans that exist. 
Maybe with a combination of austerity and resource management and future technology the planet could support a world of 500 Billion (70 times what we have today - what we would get if all the land on Earth had the same population density as Bangladesh), but life would suck for everyone, and that (to me at least) would not be an indication of us valuing human life. 
Quality over quantity.


With regards to the uneducated vs. the STEMs, I think it's maybe a bit presumptuous that the STEMs shall inherit the Earth.

I say this as a STEM person: Nearly half of us are below average at our jobs.
Exactly half are below average.  By definition.

Quote
I think the safest among us are probably those with trade-skills. An affordable robot that can come to your house and replace pipe fittings or service your refrigerator is probably further off than the aforementioned sophisticated software.
Yay!!  That's me!!
« Last Edit: December 13, 2016, 09:15:40 AM by Bakari »
Anything I've said here useful or interesting?  Find a lot more of my thoughts here: http://randomthoughts.fyi

Knaak

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 408
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #971 on: December 13, 2016, 09:31:34 AM »
It isn't hard for me to imagine that sufficiently sophisticated software could automate a large percentage of white collar work, given how much white collar work is done on computers these days.

Walmart is a good example.  They are eliminating about 7,000 store accounting and invoicing positions.  Those jobs, which are some of the better paying positions at Walmart, will be centralized and automated.

mathlete

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 456
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #972 on: December 13, 2016, 09:35:50 AM »

I could be mistaken, but I don't think the implication was to kill off all existing people, or even lower the birth rate to zero.  PP deals with preventing unwanted pregnancies, not ending the human specie.  We can value the existence of humans without needing to try to maximize the number of humans that exist. 
Maybe with a combination of austerity and resource management and future technology the planet could support a world of 500 Billion (70 times what we have today - what we would get if all the land on Earth had the same population density as Bangladesh), but life would suck for everyone, and that (to me at least) would not be an indication of us valuing human life. 
Quality over quantity.

Yeah my comment was kind of separate from the whole PP thing. I agree that reducing the number of unwanted people born (no comment on what the best way to achieve that is) is a good thing.

I just generally disagree with the notion that someone isn't worth existing if they don't have a job to do, or more broadly, that there is an determinable optimal number of humans living on the planet.

I'm sure you could probably draw up any number of scenarios in which the world consisted of a small number of people and they were all happy, prosperous, productive, or (insert fungible definition of quality here). It would probably be a great world to live in if you were one of those people.

Ultimately I think (hope... really hope) that one of the consequences of our eventually marginalization in the labor force is that people will be able to have and raise kids without worrying about whether or not their job pays them enough to afford it.

Exactly half are below average.  By definition.

I had to account for the possibility of someone being exactly average ;)

mathlete

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 456
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #973 on: December 13, 2016, 09:38:39 AM »
Walmart is a good example.  They are eliminating about 7,000 store accounting and invoicing positions.  Those jobs, which are some of the better paying positions at Walmart, will be centralized and automated.

Great link!

This is one of the things I really like about MMM's rhetoric. He constantly talks about being paid "absurd" amounts of money when he was in the workforce for doing what is basically a desk job.

I think that really forces people to think about what the actual, long term value of what they do is.

For me, it reinforces one major thought: I'd better get it while the getting is good.

GuitarStv

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9112
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #974 on: December 13, 2016, 09:50:55 AM »
Exactly half are below average.  By definition.

I had to account for the possibility of someone being exactly average ;)

I had just figured that you must have been one of those a little below the line.  :P

fattest_foot

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 454
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #975 on: December 13, 2016, 10:46:11 AM »
Walmart is a good example.  They are eliminating about 7,000 store accounting and invoicing positions.  Those jobs, which are some of the better paying positions at Walmart, will be centralized and automated.

Great link!

This is one of the things I really like about MMM's rhetoric. He constantly talks about being paid "absurd" amounts of money when he was in the workforce for doing what is basically a desk job.

I think that really forces people to think about what the actual, long term value of what they do is.

For me, it reinforces one major thought: I'd better get it while the getting is good.

My wife and I frequently talk about how we don't really accomplish much at work, and how it's actually really surprising we get paid what we do. She previously worked as a bank teller making about half what she does now, and she sees a remarkable difference in what's expected of her (less now) despite being paid considerably more.

We were at a Christmas party earlier this month with her coworkers, and somehow it got brought up in a joking way about how no one actually does any work. One guy stated, "I always worry that they're going to fire me when they find out what I actually do, but then I hear you all talk and I feel okay!"

White collar jobs to me are baffling. They get paid an exorbitant amount of money and I'm not really sure most of us are actually adding much value to society.

Yesterday even, I mentioned to my wife that someone must be doing some work here, because I'm pretty sure we do actually have an end product to show for it. We just can't figure out who those people are. Maybe it's all accidental?

AlanStache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1616
  • Age: 38
  • Location: South East Virginia
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #976 on: December 13, 2016, 10:57:05 AM »
Exactly half are below average.  By definition.

I had to account for the possibility of someone being exactly average ;)

I had just figured that you must have been one of those a little below the line.  :P

If we are getting this pedantic we should be talking about median not mean :-p  wrt ability half the people will be above the median and half below.  Bill Gates walks into a soup kitchen, he is the only person over the mean net worth but half the people are still above the median.  (ignoring the potential for people to be exactly on the mean/median).

and since memes are so hot right now...
Be the person Mr. Rogers knows you can be.

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #977 on: December 13, 2016, 11:11:29 AM »
While jobs will be lost, no one here seems to be looking at the cost of goods produced. While automation is increasing, the cost of production should be decreasing. This will go along way in healping the people left out of the job market.

Watchmaker

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #978 on: December 13, 2016, 11:19:39 AM »
The uneducated become economically superfluous.  The wealth gap grows to astronomical levels, with STEM career people becoming fabulously wealthy and lit majors and high school dropouts surviving slightly above poverty level on the newly instituted universal basic income.

Is this system better or worse than what we have now?  The super rich will still have more money than the newly enriched STEM folks who are actually driving the economy.  Instead of an elite class and a working class, well have an elite class and a working class and a new useless plebe/slave class like the ancient Romans.  We're calling this progress?

Depending on how the politics unfold, it might not be so bad.  Some people are ill suited to work, by handicap or illness or bad luck, and as long as those people are still full citizens then I would rather see them provided UBI than live on the streets.  This part already exists (disability insurance, etc) so the only change is in extending it to other people who could be working, but choose not to (edit: or for whom economically productive work is not available).  Former coal miners, factory laborers, early retirees, artists, as long as the robots can provide them health care and food/housing and internet access and voting rights, maybe they're okay with being economically "useless"?

I think the key in your scenario is who has the political power.  If those on the receiving end of the UBI are in power, I think this system could work well. 

If political power is consolidated within the elites, not so good.  But also, it wouldn't last.  Revolution, off with their heads, etc.

The scenario I personally hope for would be one where most of use choose to work, just not as much as we do currently.  Perhaps 10 hours a week on average.  Menial or unpleasant jobs would pay very well, prestigious jobs would pay less.  I do think there are limits to what kind of labor can be automated efficiently (compared to the wages a human would want) so I don't see the labor demand going to 0.

That plan alone doesn't limit the growth of the capital owning elite, though.  Ultimately, I think you'd want to rein in that group through taxation or legislation.

Watchmaker

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #979 on: December 13, 2016, 11:21:15 AM »
While jobs will be lost, no one here seems to be looking at the cost of goods produced. While automation is increasing, the cost of production should be decreasing. This will go along way in healping the people left out of the job market.

Unless the cost of goods goes to 0, that won't do any good for someone with no income.

AlanStache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1616
  • Age: 38
  • Location: South East Virginia
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #980 on: December 13, 2016, 11:21:41 AM »
While jobs will be lost, no one here seems to be looking at the cost of goods produced. While automation is increasing, the cost of production should be decreasing. This will go along way in healping the people left out of the job market.

This was discussed up-thread, the idea that a UBI amount might decrease with time as the price of a basic living decreases. 

"I think the safest among us are probably those with trade-skills. An affordable robot that can come to your house and replace pipe fittings or service your refrigerator is probably further off than the aforementioned sophisticated software." - mathlete

Also discussed up-thread that income levels could be come bi-modal as many tasks can be hired out relatively cheaply but would be hard to robotize in software/hardware; as you said plumber or hotel maid. 
Be the person Mr. Rogers knows you can be.

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #981 on: December 13, 2016, 11:23:43 AM »
The uneducated become economically superfluous.  The wealth gap grows to astronomical levels, with STEM career people becoming fabulously wealthy and lit majors and high school dropouts surviving slightly above poverty level on the newly instituted universal basic income.

Is this system better or worse than what we have now?  The super rich will still have more money than the newly enriched STEM folks who are actually driving the economy.  Instead of an elite class and a working class, well have an elite class and a working class and a new useless plebe/slave class like the ancient Romans.  We're calling this progress?

Depending on how the politics unfold, it might not be so bad.  Some people are ill suited to work, by handicap or illness or bad luck, and as long as those people are still full citizens then I would rather see them provided UBI than live on the streets.  This part already exists (disability insurance, etc) so the only change is in extending it to other people who could be working, but choose not to (edit: or for whom economically productive work is not available).  Former coal miners, factory laborers, early retirees, artists, as long as the robots can provide them health care and food/housing and internet access and voting rights, maybe they're okay with being economically "useless"?

I think the key in your scenario is who has the political power.  If those on the receiving end of the UBI are in power, I think this system could work well. 

If political power is consolidated within the elites, not so good.  But also, it wouldn't last.  Revolution, off with their heads, etc.

The scenario I personally hope for would be one where most of use choose to work, just not as much as we do currently.  Perhaps 10 hours a week on average.  Menial or unpleasant jobs would pay very well, prestigious jobs would pay less.  I do think there are limits to what kind of labor can be automated efficiently (compared to the wages a human would want) so I don't see the labor demand going to 0.

That plan alone doesn't limit the growth of the capital owning elite, though.  Ultimately, I think you'd want to rein in that group through taxation or legislation.

Reign them in from what exactly?

Watchmaker

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #982 on: December 13, 2016, 12:46:20 PM »
Reign them in from what exactly?

Reign in the size, income, and/or wealth of that group.  Through legislative changes.

mathlete

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 456
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #983 on: December 13, 2016, 01:49:51 PM »
Unless the cost of goods goes to 0, that won't do any good for someone with no income.

I can see the cost of goods and services approaching very near zero.

It's just a matter of whether or not the capitalists at the top who own the costless means of production are willing to part with their costless production at near zero levels.

Things are going to get messy.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1742
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #984 on: December 13, 2016, 03:05:25 PM »
Unless the cost of goods goes to 0, that won't do any good for someone with no income.
I can see the cost of goods and services approaching very near zero.


Labor is only one of the production costs though.
Robots aren't likely to make materials dramatically cheaper, they still need to be mined and harvested and drilled - and some of the basic materials we use the most are either finite, or renew at a finite rate, so any increase in harvesting efficiency gets offset by decreasing supply.


And the biggest cost of living today is, for most people, housing, the price of which is determined entirely by a limited supply
(habitable places on Earth, minus the minimum land area for producing food, and hopefully minus some area for all the rest of living things)
and a virtually unlimited demand.  Technology can't create new land in a popular city, so unless the trend for most people to want to live in urban areas reverses - then again, maybe if no one needs "jobs", it actually would...
Anything I've said here useful or interesting?  Find a lot more of my thoughts here: http://randomthoughts.fyi

Metric Mouse

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5311
  • FU @ 22. F.I.R.E before 23
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #985 on: December 14, 2016, 05:20:21 AM »
Unless the cost of goods goes to 0, that won't do any good for someone with no income.
I can see the cost of goods and services approaching very near zero.


Labor is only one of the production costs though.
Robots aren't likely to make materials dramatically cheaper, they still need to be mined and harvested and drilled - and some of the basic materials we use the most are either finite, or renew at a finite rate, so any increase in harvesting efficiency gets offset by decreasing supply.


And the biggest cost of living today is, for most people, housing, the price of which is determined entirely by a limited supply
(habitable places on Earth, minus the minimum land area for producing food, and hopefully minus some area for all the rest of living things)
and a virtually unlimited demand.  Technology can't create new land in a popular city, so unless the trend for most people to want to live in urban areas reverses - then again, maybe if no one needs "jobs", it actually would...

The change in residential living patterns in a post-job world would be interesting. I'd suddenly like downtown a lot less. Exburbs would be even better - self-driving car to take me to the city if I ever needed to go, but more space and privacy than a crowded city.
Give me one fine day of plain sailing weather and I can mess up anything.

MustacheMathTM

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #986 on: December 14, 2016, 05:26:23 AM »
Reign them in from what exactly?

Reign in the size, income, and/or wealth of that group.  Through legislative changes.

I understand but why would we need to do that?

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #987 on: December 14, 2016, 05:31:09 AM »
Unless the cost of goods goes to 0, that won't do any good for someone with no income.
I can see the cost of goods and services approaching very near zero.


Labor is only one of the production costs though.
Robots aren't likely to make materials dramatically cheaper, they still need to be mined and harvested and drilled - and some of the basic materials we use the most are either finite, or renew at a finite rate, so any increase in harvesting efficiency gets offset by decreasing supply.


And the biggest cost of living today is, for most people, housing, the price of which is determined entirely by a limited supply
(habitable places on Earth, minus the minimum land area for producing food, and hopefully minus some area for all the rest of living things)
and a virtually unlimited demand.  Technology can't create new land in a popular city, so unless the trend for most people to want to live in urban areas reverses - then again, maybe if no one needs "jobs", it actually would...

Tech can't create new land but it can increase population desity, crop yeild per acre, etc. With only 5% of the land mass of the US developed, there is till plenty of room.

Watchmaker

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #988 on: December 14, 2016, 09:02:47 AM »
Reign them in from what exactly?

Reign in the size, income, and/or wealth of that group.  Through legislative changes.

I understand but why would we need to do that?

It is my opinion that the current level wealth disparity is unhealthy for society.  I worry that UBI could exacerbate that disparity (depending on the details).  If we found that UBI program we built was concentrating more and more wealth in fewer and fewer hands, I suggest we'd want to counter that with more taxation on income (or a wealth tax, or lifetime earning cap, etc).  That's all.
 

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #989 on: December 14, 2016, 09:09:57 AM »
If you don't mind, can you tell my why you believe it would be unhealthy for society?

Watchmaker

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #990 on: December 14, 2016, 10:18:14 AM »
If you don't mind, can you tell my why you believe it would be unhealthy for society?

Sure.  To be clear, I believe current levels of wealth disparity (in the US) are unhealthy for society and that, were the disparity to increase, it would be more unhealthy.

Now, that doesn't mean that my ideal is for everyone to have the same wealth.  I'm fully on board people benefiting from their own hard work, and see no reason to force equality on a group of clearly different people.

But there's nothing natural, special, or intrinsic about the current distribution of wealth--it's simply a byproduct of our tax framework.  We, as a society, are free to modify that framework. 

My reasons for wanting to keep the disparity in check are primarily practical--I want the system to be stable.  As I mention above, I believe UBI requires "the people" to be in power.  If the resources of the wealthy are such that they can buy outsized influence in politics, then the system looks too feudal in nature to me.  this is what I mean by unhealthy.

I'm just throwing this out there as a thought exercise, so don't take it too seriously, but I might suggest that I want the system built such that the collective wealth (including the present value of the UBI annuity) of those subsisting on UBI and their own labor is greater then the collective wealth of the upper class. 

If you could truly divorce politics from money, I would probably care less about wealth disparity.  But wealth disparity also effects the economy and most economists seem to agree there's an optimal about of inequity (although they don't necessarily agree on the amount).  Because of this conversation, I'm reading this paper right now:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378437115003738




dougules

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 885
  • Location: AL
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #991 on: December 14, 2016, 10:54:02 AM »
With regards to the uneducated vs. the STEMs, I think it's maybe a bit presumptuous that the STEMs shall inherit the Earth.

I say this as a STEM person: Nearly half of us are below average at our jobs.

It isn't hard for me to imagine that sufficiently sophisticated software could automate a large percentage of white collar work, given how much white collar work is done on computers these days.

And if we think that we can all just become computer programmers who write that software, it's worth bearing in mind that the BLS projects an 8% decline in the employment of computer programmers over the next decade.

I think the safest among us are probably those with trade-skills. An affordable robot that can come to your house and replace pipe fittings or service your refrigerator is probably further off than the aforementioned sophisticated software.

The safest among us are the ones that are busy buying up as much of the means of production (ie. stocks) as possible while labor is still worth something. 


Unless the cost of goods goes to 0, that won't do any good for someone with no income.

I can see the cost of goods and services approaching very near zero.

It's just a matter of whether or not the capitalists at the top who own the costless means of production are willing to part with their costless production at near zero levels.

Things are going to get messy.

Most people in this forum are on their way to being part of those capitalists at the top.  I hope we don't end up being the petty nobility in the next French Revolution. 


Unless the cost of goods goes to 0, that won't do any good for someone with no income.
I can see the cost of goods and services approaching very near zero.


Labor is only one of the production costs though.
Robots aren't likely to make materials dramatically cheaper, they still need to be mined and harvested and drilled - and some of the basic materials we use the most are either finite, or renew at a finite rate, so any increase in harvesting efficiency gets offset by decreasing supply.


And the biggest cost of living today is, for most people, housing, the price of which is determined entirely by a limited supply
(habitable places on Earth, minus the minimum land area for producing food, and hopefully minus some area for all the rest of living things)
and a virtually unlimited demand.  Technology can't create new land in a popular city, so unless the trend for most people to want to live in urban areas reverses - then again, maybe if no one needs "jobs", it actually would...


Plenty of new land is getting created in cities.  It's just being stacked in layers over old land. 

But yes, resources that are finite mean prices will never go to 0.  There's only so much copper to build the robots and only so much phosphate to grow the food those robots will be preparing for the new people of leisure.

Quote
The change in residential living patterns in a post-job world would be interesting. I'd suddenly like downtown a lot less. Exburbs would be even better - self-driving car to take me to the city if I ever needed to go, but more space and privacy than a crowded city.

A decent amount of people are living in cities for economic reasons alone, but a lot of people intrinsically want to live in a city.  And a lot of people that instrinsically want to live in a city don't because it's expensive at the moment. 

It's true that a ton of people would move back out into the country if income weren't a factor.  Will it be a good thing, though, when so much wilderness and farmland in the world become people's yards because half the population wants 20 acres a piece?


Threshkin

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 774
  • Location: Colorado
    • My Journal
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #992 on: December 14, 2016, 11:57:12 AM »
Exactly half are below average.  By definition.

I had to account for the possibility of someone being exactly average ;)

Or there being an odd number of people?

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #993 on: December 14, 2016, 12:00:49 PM »
If you don't mind, can you tell my why you believe it would be unhealthy for society?

Sure.  To be clear, I believe current levels of wealth disparity (in the US) are unhealthy for society and that, were the disparity to increase, it would be more unhealthy.

Now, that doesn't mean that my ideal is for everyone to have the same wealth.  I'm fully on board people benefiting from their own hard work, and see no reason to force equality on a group of clearly different people.

But there's nothing natural, special, or intrinsic about the current distribution of wealth--it's simply a byproduct of our tax framework.  We, as a society, are free to modify that framework. 

My reasons for wanting to keep the disparity in check are primarily practical--I want the system to be stable.  As I mention above, I believe UBI requires "the people" to be in power.  If the resources of the wealthy are such that they can buy outsized influence in politics, then the system looks too feudal in nature to me.  this is what I mean by unhealthy.

I'm just throwing this out there as a thought exercise, so don't take it too seriously, but I might suggest that I want the system built such that the collective wealth (including the present value of the UBI annuity) of those subsisting on UBI and their own labor is greater then the collective wealth of the upper class. 

If you could truly divorce politics from money, I would probably care less about wealth disparity.  But wealth disparity also effects the economy and most economists seem to agree there's an optimal about of inequity (although they don't necessarily agree on the amount).  Because of this conversation, I'm reading this paper right now:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378437115003738

It is difficult for me to see how the current wealth disparity is simply a byproduct of our tax framework. There are numerous factors that contribute to why some people are wealthy and some are not: geography, culture, freedom, etc.

I do agree that if wealth can buy political influence, there is a huge problem.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 26147
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #994 on: December 14, 2016, 12:08:41 PM »
It is difficult for me to see how the current wealth disparity is simply a byproduct of our tax framework. There are numerous factors that contribute to why some people are wealthy and some are not: geography, culture, freedom, etc.

I do agree that if wealth can buy political influence, there is a huge problem.

There may be a number of factors contributing, but the tax framework is the thing keeping it in place.

A 100% tax on income above $X would immediately "fix" it (if you think it's a problem).  A 100% inheritance tax would go a long way, too.

I agree with you that there's many things that contribute to wealth disparity, but the tax framework keeps it in place, when it could "solve" it.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #995 on: December 14, 2016, 12:13:49 PM »
It is difficult for me to see how the current wealth disparity is simply a byproduct of our tax framework. There are numerous factors that contribute to why some people are wealthy and some are not: geography, culture, freedom, etc.

I do agree that if wealth can buy political influence, there is a huge problem.

There may be a number of factors contributing, but the tax framework is the thing keeping it in place.

A 100% tax on income above $X would immediately "fix" it (if you think it's a problem).  A 100% inheritance tax would go a long way, too.

I agree with you that there's many things that contribute to wealth disparity, but the tax framework keeps it in place, when it could "solve" it.

That makes sense. I guess I just don't see it as a problem then. By "solving" the problem, I think we would create 10x as many problems as the one we are solving; and we won't even agree its a problem in the first place.

Watchmaker

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #996 on: December 14, 2016, 01:06:11 PM »
It is difficult for me to see how the current wealth disparity is simply a byproduct of our tax framework. There are numerous factors that contribute to why some people are wealthy and some are not: geography, culture, freedom, etc.

I do agree that if wealth can buy political influence, there is a huge problem.

There may be a number of factors contributing, but the tax framework is the thing keeping it in place.

A 100% tax on income above $X would immediately "fix" it (if you think it's a problem).  A 100% inheritance tax would go a long way, too.

I agree with you that there's many things that contribute to wealth disparity, but the tax framework keeps it in place, when it could "solve" it.


I agree that the a lot of factors that influence wealth distribution, what I mean to say is that the tax framework is the tool we use to adjust that distribution (pretty much what ARS said).

That makes sense. I guess I just don't see it as a problem then. By "solving" the problem, I think we would create 10x as many problems as the one we are solving; and we won't even agree its a problem in the first place.

My point here is that we are already using that framework to set the wealth disparity level at an arbitrary level.  I'm not proposing we put in a new economic control measure--just that we change the target of an existing one.

Pooplips

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Age: 31
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #997 on: December 14, 2016, 01:14:38 PM »
My point here is that we are already using that framework to set the wealth disparity level at an arbitrary level.  I'm not proposing we put in a new economic control measure--just that we change the target of an existing one.

I guess I am just not seeing this. The lowest person would have 0 wealth (I guess they could have negative wealth through debt) and the wealthiest person could have an infinite amount of wealth. How does the tax code set the wealth disparity?

tomsang

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 970
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #998 on: December 14, 2016, 04:02:51 PM »
My point here is that we are already using that framework to set the wealth disparity level at an arbitrary level.  I'm not proposing we put in a new economic control measure--just that we change the target of an existing one.

I guess I am just not seeing this. The lowest person would have 0 wealth (I guess they could have negative wealth through debt) and the wealthiest person could have an infinite amount of wealth. How does the tax code set the wealth disparity?

What we see now is not even close to what the future will be when technology wipes out the usefulness of labor.  How do those who do not own the companies feed themselves, have shelter, etc. when they have zero opportunity to earn income and don't own the technology?  Taxes, laws and other government control will potentially share the wealth from these technological advancements with all citizens of the US and probably more importantly the world.  There will be many that say that they earned it and that they don't want to share with the those that don't own the equities of companies.  That is where it gets weird.  We either eliminate those that have no economic value or we support them. We do this as well.  Very few people in the US pay enough taxes if you figure it out per person.  So our taxing system is based on taxing based on a progressive system, where those that make more pay the vast majority of the total taxes collected.  If we did not have that system and forced everyone to pay their "Fair Share" then many would not be able to do so and would be acting as slaves to pay as much as they could.


pdxmonkey

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 256
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #999 on: December 14, 2016, 08:49:53 PM »
With regards to the uneducated vs. the STEMs, I think it's maybe a bit presumptuous that the STEMs shall inherit the Earth.

I say this as a STEM person: Nearly half of us are below average at our jobs.

It isn't hard for me to imagine that sufficiently sophisticated software could automate a large percentage of white collar work, given how much white collar work is done on computers these days.

And if we think that we can all just become computer programmers who write that software, it's worth bearing in mind that the BLS projects an 8% decline in the employment of computer programmers over the next decade.

I think the safest among us are probably those with trade-skills. An affordable robot that can come to your house and replace pipe fittings or service your refrigerator is probably further off than the aforementioned sophisticated software.

The safest among us are the ones that are busy buying up as much of the means of production (ie. stocks) as possible while labor is still worth something. 


Unless the cost of goods goes to 0, that won't do any good for someone with no income.

I can see the cost of goods and services approaching very near zero.

It's just a matter of whether or not the capitalists at the top who own the costless means of production are willing to part with their costless production at near zero levels.

Things are going to get messy.

Most people in this forum are on their way to being part of those capitalists at the top.  I hope we don't end up being the petty nobility in the next French Revolution. 


Unless the cost of goods goes to 0, that won't do any good for someone with no income.
I can see the cost of goods and services approaching very near zero.


Labor is only one of the production costs though.
Robots aren't likely to make materials dramatically cheaper, they still need to be mined and harvested and drilled - and some of the basic materials we use the most are either finite, or renew at a finite rate, so any increase in harvesting efficiency gets offset by decreasing supply.


And the biggest cost of living today is, for most people, housing, the price of which is determined entirely by a limited supply
(habitable places on Earth, minus the minimum land area for producing food, and hopefully minus some area for all the rest of living things)
and a virtually unlimited demand.  Technology can't create new land in a popular city, so unless the trend for most people to want to live in urban areas reverses - then again, maybe if no one needs "jobs", it actually would...


Plenty of new land is getting created in cities.  It's just being stacked in layers over old land. 

But yes, resources that are finite mean prices will never go to 0.  There's only so much copper to build the robots and only so much phosphate to grow the food those robots will be preparing for the new people of leisure.

Quote
The change in residential living patterns in a post-job world would be interesting. I'd suddenly like downtown a lot less. Exburbs would be even better - self-driving car to take me to the city if I ever needed to go, but more space and privacy than a crowded city.

A decent amount of people are living in cities for economic reasons alone, but a lot of people intrinsically want to live in a city.  And a lot of people that instrinsically want to live in a city don't because it's expensive at the moment. 

It's true that a ton of people would move back out into the country if income weren't a factor.  Will it be a good thing, though, when so much wilderness and farmland in the world become people's yards because half the population wants 20 acres a piece?

The world only has something like 5 acres per person. So...if half of them want 20 acres....we need another planet the same size. And then the other half get zero each.