Author Topic: Robots and their impact on the future  (Read 365944 times)

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7480
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1450 on: July 05, 2017, 09:00:16 AM »
https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/programmers-having-big-debate-over-182231099.html

Interesting article.  Guy automates his 40 hour job into a 2 hour job, does not tell his employer.  Is it ethical?  Does it give a glimpse of what the future holds even for those educated office jobs?

I don't think it's unethical as long as he is getting the work agreed upon done to the employer's satisfaction. The only thing I feel is slightly unethical is the introducing of bugs in to his work to make it look more human and actually doing the job less well than it could be done.

The discussion about that article basically breaks people down into one of two groups.  You either believe that an employment contract obligates the employer to pay a specified amount if the employee meets minimum performance benchmarks, or that it obligates to the employee to perform to a minimum standard in exchange for a specified reward.  Or both, I guess, but I tend to think it is neither.  Employment is almost at always "at-will" on both sides of the contract.  Both sides agree to it, temporarily, because it seems advantageous to their side.

In a bygone age, people joined a firm the way people join the military, with a personal commitment to support the mission and not just an agreement to perform specified services, and in exchange the firm offered them unconditional support (food and housing and future employment guarantees).  In that sort of situation, I agree the employee is at fault for failing to live up to that expectation, by defrauding the employer.  But in the modern world, I think it's fine to meet your minimum obligation.  They don't care about you, so why should you care about them?

There are still some old-timers out there who think that modern employment should be more like military service.  I expect that those are the people who will be offended by the notion of a guy who automates away his own job.

tomsang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1085
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1451 on: July 05, 2017, 10:08:05 AM »
The discussion about that article basically breaks people down into one of two groups.  You either believe that an employment contract obligates the employer to pay a specified amount if the employee meets minimum performance benchmarks, or that it obligates to the employee to perform to a minimum standard in exchange for a specified reward. Or both, I guess, but I tend to think it is neither.  Employment is almost at always "at-will" on both sides of the contract.  Both sides agree to it, temporarily, because it seems advantageous to their side.

I think you are hitting on it, with the addition that the minimum standard is usually defined as working 40+ hours vs. accomplishing a specific list of tasks for salaried employees. Most people "work" significantly less than 40 hours but are at work for more than 40 hours.  That is deemed to be acceptable as they are at their employers place of business vs. sitting at home playing video games or posting on MMM.

Schaefer Light

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1103
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1452 on: July 05, 2017, 10:31:55 AM »
https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/programmers-having-big-debate-over-182231099.html

Interesting article.  Guy automates his 40 hour job into a 2 hour job, does not tell his employer.  Is it ethical?  Does it give a glimpse of what the future holds even for those educated office jobs?

To me, the whole debate boils down to whether to pay people by the hour or to pay them for the results they produce.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1453 on: July 05, 2017, 11:18:00 AM »
I doubt any employer would find it preferable to have non-productive employees sitting around for its own sake compared to purely performance based pay, its just that not all jobs have an easily identifiable task list or set of completeable objectives, or any way to measure productivity objectively, or it may just be impossible to guess exactly when service may be needed.


A security guard, a cashier, a hotel desk person, a firefighter, on a slow day they might only be doing productive work for an hour in an 8 hour shift, but they need to be on call at all times, because there is no way to know exactly when the service may be needed.


Other jobs it may just be more complex to try to figure out the fair or appropriate value to give to each unit of productivity - in a factory that makes metal parts of dozens of shapes and sizes and materials, how do you weight the commission price for a small square part with a hole on the side compared to a large round part with a hole in the middle and a twisty thing on the edge, such that the person assigned to each is both fairly and proportionately compensated for their time?

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7480
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1454 on: July 05, 2017, 11:33:17 AM »
Other jobs it may just be more complex to try to figure out the fair or appropriate value to give to each unit of productivity

Fairly valuing productivity is one of the hardest parts of labour economies, and it's not just manufacturing jobs.  I work in an office where some people who work twice as hard as I do make half as much money, and some people who hardly work at all make twice as much as I do.  What determines the fair market rate for wiggling your fingers on a keyboard?

In my case, it mostly has to do with the status of the people you wiggle them at, and the educational background required to be allowed to do that wiggling, but it's certainly not in any way correlated with the amount of effort you put in.  And yet we are all paid by the hour, as if we were ditch diggers who could measure our outputs in linear feet of ditches dug, correlated with hours spent digging.

This warped system has created perverse incentives for people to move up the food chain regardless of their aptitudes or abilities.  If you are bad at your job, but want to make more money, you just need to figure out how to wiggle those fingers at a higher level of people within the organization.  People with talent or diligence don't get promoted, because we need them to do the (low paid) work.  People who suck at the actual work rise up through the ranks until they get paid gobs of money to do nothing except oversee and report on the work other people have done.

Optimiser

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 539
  • Age: 35
  • Location: PNW

tomsang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1085
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1456 on: July 19, 2017, 02:20:19 PM »
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/17/elon-musk-robots-will-be-able-to-do-everything-better-than-us.html

Interesting story.  It will be interesting if rules, processes, etc. are put in place before AI's impact is fully in effect. It seems like it would be beneficial to be in front of this vs. wrestling control, taxes, out of the hands of those owning the tech or when/if we get to the point where nothing can control AI. 

tomsang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1085
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1457 on: July 19, 2017, 07:31:55 PM »
http://www.weeklystandard.com/cursed-be-the-machines-for-they-shall-inherit-the-earth/article/2008899

But the principle that everyone is replaceable does bring some comfort. For just the other day, I came across a heartwarming piece in Computerworld. It explored the research of Evans Data Corp, which surveyed 550 software developers, asking them about the most worrisome aspect of their careers. Ranking second and third, respectively, was that the platform they were working on would become obsolete (23 percent) or wouldn’t catch on (14 percent). But what kept a plurality of them up at night (29 percent) is that they and their development efforts would be replaced by artificial intelligence. In other words, the people who are designing the machines to replace us live in abject fear of being replaced by the machines.

brooklynmoney

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 429
  • Location: Crooklyn
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1458 on: July 19, 2017, 08:24:45 PM »
I love machine learning and AI and robots but we gotta long way to go yet: https://www.google.com/amp/amp.usatoday.com/story/491227001/

tomsang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1085
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1459 on: July 19, 2017, 09:18:23 PM »
I love machine learning and AI and robots but we gotta long way to go yet: https://www.google.com/amp/amp.usatoday.com/story/491227001/

Funny stuff! 

jordanread

  • Guest
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1460 on: July 31, 2017, 04:04:56 PM »
Holy crap. This just showed up in my inbox.

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/9-jobs-that-the-robots-cannot-take/

Personally, I think they are way off base, but that's just me.

lost_in_the_endless_aisle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 829
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1461 on: July 31, 2017, 05:44:27 PM »
Holy crap. This just showed up in my inbox.

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/9-jobs-that-the-robots-cannot-take/

Personally, I think they are way off base, but that's just me.
Never is a long time.

I think Doug Hofstadter wrote a while back (in his SciAm contribution compilation Metamagical Themas maybe?) that he didn't think it would be possible to automate language translation for a variety of good reasons. The last several years have seen massive gains in machine translation, and it's now expected current methods will displace nearly all human translation work with the next 5-10 years. Having said that, the deep learning the translation methods are based off of is not anything like general artificial intelligence that could do the sort of jobs listed in the article (yet). Additional foundational theoretical breakthroughs are likely needed before we have AGI. I think it can and will happen eventually and that 100% of jobs are at risk in the long run (20-100 years[?] based on surveys of experts in AI).
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 05:50:58 PM by lost_in_the_endless_aisle »

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7480
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1462 on: July 31, 2017, 06:40:59 PM »
Having said that, the deep learning the translation methods are based off of is not anything like general artificial intelligence that could do the sort of jobs listed in the article (yet).

Isn't that just a skills problem, though?  I have good general intelligence, but I'm mostly useless as a language translator.  It's a skill my intelligence hasn't learned.

I think the advances here are in the methodologies deployed to learn each new skill.  A generally intelligent AI won't have to know everything, it will have to know a great many things and (more importantly) it will have to know how to train itself to learn new things.

And the scary (or great?) part of AI is that computer data transmission makes transfering that skill to other AIs basically instantaneous.  Right now, language translation or car driving or poetry writing are skills that some people have and other don't, but with AIs as soon as one AI learns it all connected AIs have instant access to that skill.  That's where the huge exponential growth in capabilities comes that so rapidly and threateningly outstrips human capabilities.  Even an AI that isn't as smart as a dumb person can potentially have more skills than every smart person put together.

lost_in_the_endless_aisle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 829
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1463 on: July 31, 2017, 07:01:12 PM »
Having said that, the deep learning the translation methods are based off of is not anything like general artificial intelligence that could do the sort of jobs listed in the article (yet).

Isn't that just a skills problem, though?  I have good general intelligence, but I'm mostly useless as a language translator.  It's a skill my intelligence hasn't learned.

I think the advances here are in the methodologies deployed to learn each new skill.  A generally intelligent AI won't have to know everything, it will have to know a great many things and (more importantly) it will have to know how to train itself to learn new things.

And the scary (or great?) part of AI is that computer data transmission makes transfering that skill to other AIs basically instantaneous.  Right now, language translation or car driving or poetry writing are skills that some people have and other don't, but with AIs as soon as one AI learns it all connected AIs have instant access to that skill.  That's where the huge exponential growth in capabilities comes that so rapidly and threateningly outstrips human capabilities.  Even an AI that isn't as smart as a dumb person can potentially have more skills than every smart person put together.
That is a good point and I should probably read up more on Fodor's Modularity of Mind concept as background on this. Are generally smart systems merely a connection of dumb narrowly smart domains of intelligence or does general AI require a deeper & qualitatively distinct connection between the disparate elements of narrow, domain-specific knowledge?

There was some chatter a while ago around autism spectrum individuals and how so-called "weak central coherence" can account for some observations of the abilities of individuals on the spectrum: in that theory, autism is (in part) a problem of global information synthesis that results (in cases of high-functioning autism) in very high domain-specific abilities, though such individuals cannot synthesize information as effectively across domains. If the highest levels of creativity depend on interconnections between disparate domains then those links would need to be accounted for and implemented in a system that successfully exhibits intelligence at that level (which makes the "wire a bunch of domain specific AIs together" idea seem much more questionable if we have no way of accounting for what it takes to achieve central coherence).

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1464 on: August 01, 2017, 08:44:17 AM »
I can't think of a circumstance where any one intelligent AI that can replace jobs would need access to every possible (human) skill.  The universal translator doesn't need, or even have any use, for driving a truck in traffic or determining probability of guilt given criminal evidence.  It doesn't need a robot body and the algorithms to walk around over rough ground.  An author bot may need to synthesize many different areas of history, philosophy, and elements of story telling, but it needs no physical skills.  A construction bot needs only physical skills. 



So as far as employment becoming obsolete, a "general" intelligence wouldn't need to be as general as actual human beings are - which means the step of central coherence may not even be necessary.


Incidentally, a lot of research does seem to indicate that we have a bunch of more or less independent mind "modules", and that our unified sense of self is mostly an illusion (which is why brain damage tends to cause the loss of specific skills or abilities or memory, while often not affecting anything else)


prognastat

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 787
  • Location: Texas
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1465 on: August 01, 2017, 09:01:58 AM »
Holy crap. This just showed up in my inbox.

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/9-jobs-that-the-robots-cannot-take/

Personally, I think they are way off base, but that's just me.

It cracks me up how clueless the writer is about actual progress in robots and AI. From their examples it comes across as them thinking of robots as the stuff in a factory and not really any advanced AI. They also seem to not realize that robots/AI wouldn't have to take over every single task to make most jobs in the fields non existent. It also seems that a lot of them might not automate as soon as for example driving, but eventually they likely will be anyway.

Teacher: I don't see how a virtual classroom couldn't be run by a sufficiently advanced AI. Better yet we would have an unlimited supply of teachers allowing every student to have a 1 on 1 teacher that tailors the lessons directly to them instead of a class as a whole.

Nurse: Not sure why an AI with advanced sensors would be incapable of performing many of the nursing tasks.

Surgeon: They are already working on developing surgery robots. No reason this couldn't be done.

CEO: Imagine an AI CEO with perfect knowledge of a company's data and performance analyzing it and making choices based on these in depth analyses.

Police Officer: Much of the paperwork related side of the police department could be automated reducing the labour force significantly and if robotics advances enough having actual robotic patrols doesn't seem impossible to imagine.

Lawyer: A lot of lawyer work is already being automated. Currently mostly on the discovery portion which makes up a large portion of lawyer's work hours significantly decreasing the amount of lawyers needed to work a case.

Hair Stylist: Not sure why they think this couldn't be done by a robot. I don't even think it would have to be a significantly smart robot in the AI side of things. I could see it making a 3D scan of your head and then using that both to show you possible hairstyles and then once you choose using that same 3D scanning capability to determine how to cut your hair.

Maintenance: I don't see why they believe this can't be automated ever.

Physical Therapy: Pretty much the same reasoning as the Nurse.

Maybe the writer is actually a robot/AI and trying to trick us in to feeling safe:
https://www.wired.com/2017/02/robots-wrote-this-story/

robartsd

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1868
  • Location: Northern California
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1466 on: August 01, 2017, 09:08:28 AM »
Having said that, the deep learning the translation methods are based off of is not anything like general artificial intelligence that could do the sort of jobs listed in the article (yet).

Isn't that just a skills problem, though?  I have good general intelligence, but I'm mostly useless as a language translator.  It's a skill my intelligence hasn't learned.
They're getting pretty good at the skill of deep learning for language translation, that skill does not nessisarily translate to deep learning in vastly different domains. I am quite skilled at learning technical things, but not very skilled at learning human languages. I have specific knowledge in some technical things, but find it relativily easy to learn other technical things as needed.

I think the advances here are in the methodologies deployed to learn each new skill.  A generally intelligent AI won't have to know everything, it will have to know a great many things and (more importantly) it will have to know how to train itself to learn new things.

And the scary (or great?) part of AI is that computer data transmission makes transfering that skill to other AIs basically instantaneous.  Right now, language translation or car driving or poetry writing are skills that some people have and other don't, but with AIs as soon as one AI learns it all connected AIs have instant access to that skill.  That's where the huge exponential growth in capabilities comes that so rapidly and threateningly outstrips human capabilities.  Even an AI that isn't as smart as a dumb person can potentially have more skills than every smart person put together.
Before I started driving cars, I had been a passenger in many different models. Even as a beginner driver, I gained experience in a variety of vehicles (the driver's training school car, my parent's sedan, my parent's van) before becoming a licensed driver. I have since driven many more cars. I transfer the skill of driving a car to each new arrangement of displays, controls, and vehicle size/shape. I have yet to drive a driver-on-right car, so I'm sure that would take some adjusting, but I'm also sure I could do it. As far as I know, current AIs are learning to drive particular cars (or at least particular sensor sets for self-driving cars). To the AI, a different sensor arrangement may be more difficult to adjust to than operating a driver-on-right car would be for me.

We certainly are able to make AIs that can master specific domains. How close to a general Artificial Intelligence are we getting?

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1467 on: August 01, 2017, 04:50:43 PM »
One of the tasks in last years DARPA robot challenge was driving a car(t) designed for human control.  I.e. with no sensors or feedback other than what they have built in. 
Someone posted a link in this thread to a robot that flies a small airplane (a regular one, built for human control).
So there is def. nothing inherent to the software that requires being purpose built to a specific vehicle.


To the extent that it is most often done that way, the reason goes back to my last point: there is simply no particular benefit to building a robot that can drive cars, as opposed to just building a car with AI built in that can drive itself. 


I've read many modern drones are not fully programmed with how to deal with different weather conditions, they are just given a set of goals and they figure it out through real time feedback, getting better at piloting with experience.
I've also seen video of a monkey with electrodes in its head, learning to operate a robot arm with its thoughts (and they same for paraplegic human with a mouse cursor, but monkeys controlling robot arms just seems a lot cooler...)
The two don't seem that different to me, and theres no reason the same adaptive software couldn't apply to figuring out how different sensors are mapped in different cars. 
Heck, my ultraguage can adapt to different sensors in different cars, and it isn't even AI

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1468 on: August 01, 2017, 05:05:20 PM »
It cracks me up how clueless the writer is about actual progress in robots and AI. From their examples it comes across as them thinking of robots as the stuff in a factory and not really any advanced AI. They also seem to not realize that robots/AI wouldn't have to take over every single task to make most jobs in the fields non existent.


For the most part I agree with you, but I think the key point for nurses, police, lawyers, even CEOs, is human relation skills, which might reasonably be expected to not be mastered by AI.


...at least until perhaps there is a truly fully general intelligence that synthesizes ALL areas of human knowledge - basically when/if AI becomes fully sentient, possibly with emotions and all.  Of course, if that did happen, they might lose all the benefits of being AI, and have emotional break downs, or its own goals, demand higher pay, or just start behaving as irrationally as humans do!


After all, the most rational and efficient among humans tend to not be great at human relations!


As to maintenance / handyman - well, the DARPA robot challenge showed just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how complex that can be and how far we are from it.  Not saying it will never happen, but the amount of completely different technical skills needed and the variety of implementations of every one of them makes for a much larger skill set necessary than most jobs.  And of the many, varied tasks, there isn't really even individual subroutines that could be efficiently automated with a more specialized bot.
Its not so much the knowledge part, but the dexterity.  Maybe when we have robots good enough to run an American Ninja Warrior course, I'll be worried about my job.  Hope to be retired long before it comes to that!


tomsang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1085
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1469 on: August 01, 2017, 05:18:15 PM »
Maybe when we have robots good enough to run an American Ninja Warrior course, I'll be worried about my job.  Hope to be retired long before it comes to that!

They could probably do that within 24 months if someone footed the bill to build it.  What parts of the course are you believing would be overly challenging to overcome?

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1470 on: August 01, 2017, 06:40:20 PM »
The same as with the handyman stuff - its not so much the AI as the robotics.  Every portion is so different than the rest, sure it might be easy to build a robot that can do any one obstacle perfectly, but todays technology could def. not do all of them.

I've been assuming everyone has seen this, but here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0TaYhjpOfo


This is the current state of the art.  They had three years to develop, test, and perfect.  Some big budgets.  Built by the world's top universities, government agencies (NASA), and businesses (google). 
Walking on anything other than perfectly smooth pavement is still a challenge for a robot designed to do anything more complex than walking.
Opening a door, walking up stairs, getting out of a cart, walking over uneven ground, the whole course would take a normal human a few minutes.  The best robot took 45. 
The type of skills on ANW have to be performed in real time.

And that's without considering that nobody knows what the course actually is until they day they show up, so you can't even practice anything specific to the course.

Getting a robot to run an obstacle course that 90% of athletes can't finish is a lot more than 24 months away.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2017, 06:52:14 PM by Bakari »

lost_in_the_endless_aisle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 829
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1471 on: August 01, 2017, 07:15:36 PM »
I can't think of a circumstance where any one intelligent AI that can replace jobs would need access to every possible (human) skill.  The universal translator doesn't need, or even have any use, for driving a truck in traffic or determining probability of guilt given criminal evidence.  It doesn't need a robot body and the algorithms to walk around over rough ground.  An author bot may need to synthesize many different areas of history, philosophy, and elements of story telling, but it needs no physical skills.  A construction bot needs only physical skills. 



So as far as employment becoming obsolete, a "general" intelligence wouldn't need to be as general as actual human beings are - which means the step of central coherence may not even be necessary.


Incidentally, a lot of research does seem to indicate that we have a bunch of more or less independent mind "modules", and that our unified sense of self is mostly an illusion (which is why brain damage tends to cause the loss of specific skills or abilities or memory, while often not affecting anything else)
Though I think many specialized jobs are vulnerable to narrow AI without getting too fancy, I'm still skeptical that reducing human-level intelligence to merely the behavior of brain modules and marginalizing the potential significance of central coherence is warranted.

One line of argument I can think of is the importance of meta-cognition in the development of good judgements and (crucially) estimates on the likelihood of something being so given the content of all of the rest of your knowledge. Consider, for instance, crackpot conspiracy theorists like those who believe the earth is flat. Why do most people not believe the earth is flat? How many of us have been in space or replicated Eratosthenes' experiment? The reason to believe in roundness (or in Newton's laws, or that Africa exists) without direct experience or experimentation is to understand how incredibly well the prevailing non-crackpot theories of the world collectively build up a concept of the world that is both hard to falsify and difficult to vary. I've always thought of crossword puzzles as an analogy where only certain facts and explanations fit given a disparate set of other facts and explanations. Intelligence is about weaving those disparate strands of information and belief about the world together into a non-contradictory whole. Cognition at this level seems to require incorporation of as much as we can about every other belief we hold. For those who struggle with this ability, well, there's a group in Fort Collins that I'm sure will be happy to have you!

Maybe meta-cognition is itself just a brain module though (I'm not familiar with arguments to this effect however), in which case deriving its benefits is reducible to a sub-task that is more limited in scope and complexity. I'm not convinced either way but wanted to point out an argument that cast doubt on the swarm-of-narrow-AI "solution" to general AI.

Interestingly, there is a corollary to the argument above as follows: if central coherence is necessary for a true high-functioning general-AI, then that would have the effect of constraining the parameter space of all likely minds. The reason is a strongly centrally coherent AI can't become too lopsided in its skills and beliefs because gaining incremental skill in one particular direction might require a higher baseline of knowledge in a variety of disparate areas. This would tend to lessen the dangers of general AI because it would mean any general AI that was viable would be constrained in any extreme coupling of tendencies and abilities by its overall epistemological horizon. The parameter space of minds is still huge even under this assumption, so it's not entirely reassuring, even if true. This discussion between Sam Harris and David Deutsch is where I got this idea and why I think the two can't reconcile their differing opinions in the course of that discussion (Harris believes any arbitrary AI mind is plausible, while Deutsch believes they will necessarily have much in common with humans because of the unpredictable yet constraining nature of broad knowledge across domains: e.g. a super-AI that is truly good at building weapons will necessarily have some skill at questioning the morality of killing because the requisite intelligence for both has a common ground).

WhiteTrashCash

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1245
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1472 on: August 01, 2017, 08:18:44 PM »
I just learned that people are paying $14 per drink to have their drinks mixed by robots at a bar called Tipsy Robot in Las Vegas. They are literally paying extra for this. People are stupid.

applegrapepie

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 17
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1473 on: August 01, 2017, 10:45:34 PM »
Robot is already dominating people I think. And in the future, I think there will be whole separate world like movie I Robot

tomsang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1085
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1474 on: August 01, 2017, 11:43:56 PM »
This is the current state of the art.  They had three years to develop, test, and perfect.  Some big budgets. 

This competition is two years old.  This is old technology with university budgets for the most part.  You throw a billion around and give them a few years, you will see some amazing things can happen.  They could conquer the challenges.  The challenges are not too bad if you know what the course is going to be.  If it is totally random them it will be more challenging.  The shows that we see are based on challenges that are reused with a few that are new.

Darpa's self driving vehicles were a failure.  A few years later, we have self driving cars going down the street.   

Leisured

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 490
  • Age: 73
  • Location: South east Australia, in country
  • Retired, and loving it.
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1475 on: August 02, 2017, 06:56:45 AM »
I suspect that many people, faced with widespread automation, will agitate politically to restrict automation, partly through Government intervention.

Late 2003 I was training to be a financial planner at a major bank in Australia. Our instructor introduced us to the software which would help us organising a financial plan for a client. I am familiar with computer programming, and I realised that the software handled the boring part of recording the client’s name, address and phone number, and listed their assets and liabilities, and added assets and liabilities to form totals.

When it came to the less boring part of crafting a financial plans for the client, automation withdrew into the background. It seemed to be that someone in Head Office had said to the programmers, ‘thus far and no further.’

A classmate raised the matter with me. He had done some Fortran programming at university, and I remember the look of dismay on his face when he realised that there had been subtle obstruction to full automation.

Our instructor told the class in general, ‘some of you may think there is scope for further automation, but I can tell you now, do not bother raising the matter, because nothing will happen.’ It seemed that he too knew what was going on.

A few years later, I was working at a large winery, which had recently installed a huge and impressive mechanized wine bottling line. You may have noticed that in cardboard cartons of wine, there are thin cardboard dividers to stop the bottles clinking when you lift up the carton. These cardboard dividers come packed flat, and there is an ingenious machine which expands these dividers and drop them over the bottles in the open carton, as it moves past on the production line. A short patch of the production line vibrates to shake the cardboard divider down between the bottles.

The machine which expands the cardboard dividers went through its motions but failed to fully expand the dividers. The machine relied on rubber suction cups to grip the cardboard, and the cups seemed brittle. Nothing was done, so workers were hired to take the imperfectly expanded dividers and drop them into the wine cartons, as they passed, about one per second.

Nobody said anything. I assumed, perhaps wrongly, that the lack of maintenance of the rubber suction cups was deliberate, to provide employment. There seemed to be a rule: machines which did heavy lifting were allowed to do their job, but lighter work was left to human workers, if the machinery for that work could be disabled.

I have scientific training, and felt dismayed that machinery would be deliberately nobbled to allow work for people. My classmate in the financial planning class was also dismayed.

I suspect that many people would not be dismayed by such obstruction of some aspects of automation, and would see it as common sense to obstruct such automation. 200 years ago, Ned Ludd and his associates, unemployed weavers, broke into mechanized mills and laid about them with sledge hammers. As people say nowadays, the Luddites were not wrong, just 200 years to early. Luddite behaviour now seems to be obstruction rather than destruction.

I suspect that in the far future, most people in the world will live comfortable lives, but there will be two groups of nations; the A group, which welcomes full automation, and whose members will live leisured lives, supported by machines; and the B group, whose members will live in economies like the ones rich countries lived in say, thirty years ago, where there were jobs for nearly everyone.


prognastat

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 787
  • Location: Texas
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1476 on: August 02, 2017, 07:29:33 AM »
It cracks me up how clueless the writer is about actual progress in robots and AI. From their examples it comes across as them thinking of robots as the stuff in a factory and not really any advanced AI. They also seem to not realize that robots/AI wouldn't have to take over every single task to make most jobs in the fields non existent.


For the most part I agree with you, but I think the key point for nurses, police, lawyers, even CEOs, is human relation skills, which might reasonably be expected to not be mastered by AI.


...at least until perhaps there is a truly fully general intelligence that synthesizes ALL areas of human knowledge - basically when/if AI becomes fully sentient, possibly with emotions and all.  Of course, if that did happen, they might lose all the benefits of being AI, and have emotional break downs, or its own goals, demand higher pay, or just start behaving as irrationally as humans do!


After all, the most rational and efficient among humans tend to not be great at human relations!

Does it really need full sentience/AI to be able to achieve this sufficiently for most people? I suspect you could convince a large portion of people by simply making it good enough at faking it.

What if it can completely convince people 90% of the time on social skills, perform the actual functional part of the job with 99.9% success rate and at less than 10% of the cost? Would people still rather go see a human?

Also from my perspective for a lot of younger people less human interaction is a plus not a negative. And lastly this is why I pointed out that robots wouldn't have to automate all of your tasks to effectively make most people obsolete. If a lawyer AI can do 90% or more of the actual work hours at a fraction of the cost and time this would mean 9 out of 10 lawyers could be fired and instead the last 1 could simply cover the work that is left. Doesn't mean the whole job is automated, but would mean the vast majority of them would be out of a job.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 07:40:32 AM by prognastat »

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1477 on: August 02, 2017, 08:33:03 AM »
Though I think many specialized jobs are vulnerable to narrow AI without getting too fancy, I'm still skeptical that reducing human-level intelligence to merely the behavior of brain modules and marginalizing the potential significance of central coherence is warranted.


I agree entirely.  My point is relatively few jobs actually require human-level intelligence.  Really, I doubt there is any one job that uses every single skill that a normal human has.

Quote
One line of argument I can think of is the importance of meta-cognition in the development of good judgements and (crucially) estimates on the likelihood of something being so given the content of all of the rest of your knowledge.
Perhaps so, but we are actually not all that great at determining probabilities and prediction, which is the best test of that synthesis of information.  Is religion any more logical than a flat Earth, given the sum total of human knowledge?  Would AI be as likely as us to develop market bubbles and stock crashes, to gamble at Vegas, or fail to plan for retirement?  Place the risk of dying from terrorist attack higher than dying in a car crash?


Quote
I've always thought of crossword puzzles as an analogy where only certain facts and explanations fit given a disparate set of other facts and explanations. Intelligence is about weaving those disparate strands of information and belief about the world together into a non-contradictory whole.
Pretty sure Watson could solve cross word puzzles faster than a human already, if it was just slightly tuned. 
 
 
Quote
Cognition at this level seems to require incorporation of as much as we can about every other belief we hold.
True, but that is still just one out of many modules, completely independent of things like sight, language, or walking.

Quote
I'm not convinced either way but wanted to point out an argument that cast doubt on the swarm-of-narrow-AI "solution" to general AI.
me neither.  Which is why I'm more worried about job loss than about a robot revolution.

Quote
Interestingly, there is a corollary to the argument above as follows: if central coherence is necessary for a true high-functioning general-AI, then that would have the effect of constraining the parameter space of all likely minds. The reason is a strongly centrally coherent AI can't become too lopsided in its skills and beliefs because gaining incremental skill in one particular direction might require a higher baseline of knowledge in a variety of disparate areas. This would tend to lessen the dangers of general AI because it would mean any general AI that was viable would be constrained in any extreme coupling of tendencies and abilities by its overall epistemological horizon. The parameter space of minds is still huge even under this assumption, so it's not entirely reassuring, even if true. This discussion between Sam Harris and David Deutsch is where I got this idea and why I think the two can't reconcile their differing opinions in the course of that discussion (Harris believes any arbitrary AI mind is plausible, while Deutsch believes they will necessarily have much in common with humans because of the unpredictable yet constraining nature of broad knowledge across domains: e.g. a super-AI that is truly good at building weapons will necessarily have some skill at questioning the morality of killing because the requisite intelligence for both has a common ground).
Interesting indeed.  Goes to my suggestion that perhaps if they ever were as generally "intelligent" as us, they might lose some advantages, by becoming emotional or impulsive or otherwise irrational, just like us

« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 08:35:23 AM by Bakari »

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1478 on: August 02, 2017, 09:05:48 AM »
This is the current state of the art.  They had three years to develop, test, and perfect.  Some big budgets. 

This competition is two years old.  This is old technology with university budgets for the most part.  You throw a billion around and give them a few years, you will see some amazing things can happen.  They could conquer the challenges.  The challenges are not too bad if you know what the course is going to be.  If it is totally random them it will be more challenging.  The shows that we see are based on challenges that are reused with a few that are new.

Darpa's self driving vehicles were a failure.  A few years later, we have self driving cars going down the street.   


a) granted tech moves fast, but I haven't seen any thing any more likely to be capable of running that very simple course in the past 2 years.  What developments make this "old technology"?


b) universities for the most part, but also NASA, Lockheed Martin, Google, Boston Dynamics...


c) no one is throwing a billion around, so what might hypothetically exist if they did is beside the point.  Besides, all summed, more than a billion has been spent on robotics and AI research.


d) whether you are talking the real world challenges of a robot handyman, or the challenges in ANW, the point is you DON'T know what the course is going to be.  You don't even know the elements of the course (except, in ANW you know it will begin with some sort of steps and end with a warped wall).  It is different every time, and the details are a secret. Even the ones that may appear "reused" are different.  (For example, when I ran the course, the steps were much further apart, and the height varied from step to step, while the wall was another foot higher than the year before, while almost everything else was brand new). 
For doing repair work, there are infinite possible configurations of plumbing, electrical, carpentry, HVAC, wall coverings, etc, in different buildings, and infinite different things that can go wrong with them.


e) it was 13 years between DARPAs first grand challenge and today.  If 2 years in old technology, then 13 is more than a "few".  Also, there are still zero fully autonomous cars on the road with no human backup.  Everyone is still saying "within a few years" and "sooner than you think".  What we have is "semi-autonomous" cars, which do the most simple part of driving.

The parts that AI can't consistently handle well are things that any 16 year old can do with a few weeks training and practice.  The robots only need to be as good as an ordinary human, and can't fully do that yet.  In order to complete a ANW course, which 90% of athletes fail at, it has to be much more capable than the majority of humans.






Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1479 on: August 02, 2017, 09:18:23 AM »
For the most part I agree with you, but I think the key point for nurses, police, lawyers, even CEOs, is human relation skills, which might reasonably be expected to not be mastered by AI.

Does it really need full sentience/AI to be able to achieve this sufficiently for most people? I suspect you could convince a large portion of people by simply making it good enough at faking it.

What if it can completely convince people 90% of the time on social skills, perform the actual functional part of the job with 99.9% success rate and at less than 10% of the cost? Would people still rather go see a human?
I could see AI being close enough in most cases, maybe with the exception of police, involving diffusing high stress situations and conflicts peacefully in real time.  I imagine human therapists and counselors being preferred (even if just on principal)

Quote
And lastly this is why I pointed out that robots wouldn't have to automate all of your tasks to effectively make most people obsolete. If a lawyer AI can do 90% or more of the actual work hours at a fraction of the cost and time this would mean 9 out of 10 lawyers could be fired and instead the last 1 could simply cover the work that is left. Doesn't mean the whole job is automated, but would mean the vast majority of them would be out of a job.
Yes, agree 100%!  I think we have seen this already, to a huge extent, going back all the way to the industrial revolution.  Its the reason the average work week is half the number of hours it was pre-industrial revolution, and the average number of working years is 50% less - even with an expanding economy, there is less need for human labor. And even with the lifetime work hours per person around 1/3 of what it once was, and the ever growing consumerism, unemployment has been gradually trending up for over 100 years.
As the rate of tech growth accelerates, no doubt unemployment will too

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7480
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1480 on: August 02, 2017, 10:23:26 AM »
In order to complete a ANW course, which 90% of athletes fail at, it has to be much more capable than the majority of humans.

I'm sorry, Bakari, but I think this statement belies a lack of imagination.  Why should a robot have to complete the same arbitrary tasks in the same arbitrary way to be considered "as good"?  Shouldn't there be more objective completion measures?  For example, an autonomous quad could fly the ANW course and deliver itself to the finish line button fairly easily.  Requiring it to run the whole way is like saying computers are better at math than humans because they can multiple faster.  It's an arbitrary metric only vaguely related to the real success we're trying to achieve.

And so I think it is with most AI tasks.  Computers don't have to be as good as humans at doing things the same way humans do them, they just have to as good as humans by any metric.  Robot plumbers don't have to recognize and problem solve every home repair job in order to displace human plumbers, if they can plumb an entire new apartment building in a day.  Robot drivers don't need to parallel park in a school zone to put long haul truckers out of business.

We went through this same shift with every other robot technology.  Mechanized looms are robots that didn't exactly make weavers obsolete, but virtually all of our weaving is now done by robots despite their obvious shortcomings compared to human weavers (artistry, pattern matching, repair work, creativity, material selection, etc.).  The machine isn't trying to be as good as a person, just cheaper and faster at some adequately similar version of the job. 

I think most people haven't yet recognized that what seems obvious with mechanical work like weaving will soon happen with intellectual work in many other fields.  It doesn't have to be as good or as smart as you to put you out of work.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1481 on: August 02, 2017, 11:28:11 AM »
I've been acknowledging all along that many specific subtasks of complex work have been automated and many specific subtasks of complex not yet automated will be.  And yes, having less total work to do will mean less jobs.


However, a plumber doesn't just need to plumb a new building.  They also need to troubleshoot problems in 100 year old houses, and in 5 year old houses, of varying sizes and materials and codes and some that never met code to begin with.  And the job in question wasn't plumber, it was stationary engineer / building maintenance, and they do need to know every type of repair, from concrete to welding to wiring.  Since you don't know what is going to break, or when or where or how, it would be hard to be efficient to replace one person with dozens of extremely capable robots each with one specialty.


Your ANW analogy doesn't work - a person could easily run around the course, or climb along the rafters, and get a better time, but that isn't actually the task at hand (Usher tried it, as did a monkey, once.  Neither received the prize).  A robot wouldn't have to do it in exactly the "same way" as a human, but they would have to follow the same rules.  The task isn't just to hit the buzzer.  The task is to swing climb run over each individual obstacle.  Flying over would be like making an autonomous tank that can roll over other cars and claiming you perfected urban self-driving because it reached the destination.


There are two parallel discussions happening here.
One is about the ability of robots and AI to take the place of human labor.
The other is about robots and AI reaching human levels of ability.


I think the former is/will happen(ing) faster than most realize, but the second is much father away then many (esp. in this thread) believe.


The article about relatively safe jobs is looking for those which require human levels of ability (at least for some parts of the job description), which, although it may have not picked entirely accurately, is a legitimate differentiation. 
Yes, even within those jobs there will be some job loss as some parts are automated, but the job will still probably exist in 20 years.

prognastat

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 787
  • Location: Texas
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1482 on: August 02, 2017, 11:35:21 AM »
I've been acknowledging all along that many specific subtasks of complex work have been automated and many specific subtasks of complex not yet automated will be.  And yes, having less total work to do will mean less jobs.


However, a plumber doesn't just need to plumb a new building.  They also need to troubleshoot problems in 100 year old houses, and in 5 year old houses, of varying sizes and materials and codes and some that never met code to begin with.  And the job in question wasn't plumber, it was stationary engineer / building maintenance, and they do need to know every type of repair, from concrete to welding to wiring.  Since you don't know what is going to break, or when or where or how, it would be hard to be efficient to replace one person with dozens of extremely capable robots each with one specialty.


Your ANW analogy doesn't work - a person could easily run around the course, or climb along the rafters, and get a better time, but that isn't actually the task at hand (Usher tried it, as did a monkey, once.  Neither received the prize).  A robot wouldn't have to do it in exactly the "same way" as a human, but they would have to follow the same rules.  The task isn't just to hit the buzzer.  The task is to swing climb run over each individual obstacle.  Flying over would be like making an autonomous tank that can roll over other cars and claiming you perfected urban self-driving because it reached the destination.


There are two parallel discussions happening here.
One is about the ability of robots and AI to take the place of human labor.
The other is about robots and AI reaching human levels of ability.


I think the former is/will happen(ing) faster than most realize, but the second is much father away then many (esp. in this thread) believe.


The article about relatively safe jobs is looking for those which require human levels of ability (at least for some parts of the job description), which, although it may have not picked entirely accurately, is a legitimate differentiation. 
Yes, even within those jobs there will be some job loss as some parts are automated, but the job will still probably exist in 20 years.

I think the point Sol is trying to make though is that in real life shortcuts and "cheating" are accepted and even encouraged if it allows a job to be completed more efficiently.

NoVa

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 122
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1483 on: August 02, 2017, 11:39:47 AM »
I think automation is and will continue to have a large and growing impact on the labor market. But eliminate? Not so likely. You will now need robot repair techs, robot software upgrades and programmers. And especially they still require human supervision, because there are limits to what robots can figure out, as others have stated.

There was a Japanese car transmission plant that was automated (this was a while ago). One robot assembly put on the main nut and torqued it down to a specific foot/pound of pressure. Problem: due to wear, the nut was slightly mis-aligned and started cross threaded. The robots dutifully applied the correct amount of torque. Several thousand transmissions were put into cars and shipped out before a human figured out what was going on.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1484 on: August 02, 2017, 11:40:36 AM »
Here's why I think there is a big difference between being to automate an entire job (like, for example, toll collector), vs most of a job (like police officer or general repair person).

If a robot can do 100% of a job, the job is gone.  Period.

If a robot can do 90% of a job, then EITHER you have 10% of jobs left, OR you have 100% of jobs with 4 hours of work a week for each. 
In the latter, you can maintain full employment, and if wages go up enough (but not too much), it can be better overall for everyone, both employees and investors. 
This is basically what happened with the 40 hour work week following the industrial revolution, more pay per hour, but less hours, with a net gain for everyone.



But if robots can do the entire job, including every individual subtask with no oversight at all, distribution of remaining (human) work hours isn't even a consideration, and a far more drastic change in the way the economy is set up has to happen.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1485 on: August 02, 2017, 11:42:24 AM »
I think the point Sol is trying to make though is that in real life shortcuts and "cheating" are accepted and even encouraged if it allows a job to be completed more efficiently.


And my point is that in real life there really are limits to the acceptable shortcuts.
I already addressed that with " like making anautonomous tank that can roll over other cars and claiming you perfected urban self-driving because it reached the destination."

A robot car does not have to do things the same way a person would, as in with hands on a steering wheel and eyes in a head, but they do have to follow the same traffic rules and predict what the bicyclist going the wrong way down the street is going to do.  There is more than one way to do it, but not any real "shortcuts". 
There is no shortcut to figuring out a wiring problem, or negotiating in a domestic violence situation.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 11:50:07 AM by Bakari »

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7480
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1486 on: August 02, 2017, 12:01:38 PM »
I think the point Sol is trying to make though is that in real life shortcuts and "cheating" are accepted and even encouraged if it allows a job to be completed more efficiently.

Yes.  Bakari is right that there are some jobs that robots and computers are a looong way from doing as well as a human.  I'm saying that they don't need to, to replace those jobs.

For example, robots are really bad at mending socks.  Darning is a skill that humans still do well and robots do poorly, but robotic advances have made the skill obsolete.  Socks are now disposable items.  Robots changed the way we solve the problem of holey socks.

I think basically every other job is vulnerable to this type of disruption.  Robots don't have to do every job as well as a human to put the human out of work, sometimes by direct replacement of human workers, as with automobile assembly, and sometimes by solving the problem the human was solving but in a different way, as with mending socks.

That's why I called it a lack of imagination.  We're all so stuck in making technology reproduce human solutions that I think we fail to see the alternative solutions that technology will come up with. 

The ANW course is an interesting one, because the goal is not "get to the victory button the fastest" but "demonstrate versatile and adaptive strength and dexterity near the limits of human abilities."  They could just as easily make the warped wall 30 feet high and it would be impossible for humans but only marginally harder for the right robot, but they don't because the purpose is to demonstrate human agility, not complete an objective task.  Robots can always be made better than humans at individual objective tasks.  Notice we don't have robot weight lifting competitions.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1487 on: August 02, 2017, 02:15:12 PM »
There may be much truth to your point, but not all conceivable shortcuts are going to be realistically feasible. 


For example, automating away parts of the legal paperwork and trial side of work done by lawyers, judges, and police officers, would require not just advances in AI, but for our entire legal system, rules of evidence and admissibility, and the very constitution itself, to be entirely scrapped and overhauled.  As it is, even video evidence is only admissible if a human can swear under oath that they set up the cameras and recorders in just such a way.


It is conceivable that buildings could be designed from the ground up to be standardized in a way that robot techs could repair any problems, but we are no more likely to tear down functioning buildings to facilitate that than Europe was to demolish cities to make better street layouts when cars came along.


What ANW demonstrates, that a weight lifting competition does not, isn't just human specific levels of ability - its a confluence of a bunch of separate skills.
There are robots that are faster than us. There are robots that can estimate moving distances better than us, robots that are stronger, ones that have better balance, have more precise dexterity, better reaction time, and that are fully autonomous and self powered... however there is no one robot that even comes close to a human in all of those things.  This is what the DARPA challenge showed, with the winning robot taking 45 minutes to do something an unskilled human could do in 5. 


When mechanization first came about, many people were sure there was no limit to what the right gears and hydraulic valves could do too, but we never ended up with mechanical intelligence, that could walk around and talk and think powered by nothing but a wind up clockwork.  Perhaps that too was due to lack of human imagination, but I'd argue that not everything conceivable is actually possible

Bateaux

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1251
  • Location: Port Vincent
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1488 on: August 02, 2017, 10:01:08 PM »
You're focus is too narrow.   The AI doesn't just eliminate the lawyers it eliminates the court.  Self driving cars may reach a near zero accidents rate.   No more traffic court for violations, no more lawsuits filed for crashes.  Every car on the road will have cameras.  The moment a car is stolen it is instantly identified and located.  Stealing cars goes out of fashion because you are almost always caught immediately.  Facial recognition software gets 100 times more powerful.   Your walking style, body dimensions and gestures make a personal profile which identifies you.  You commit a crime and are on the run.  The first camera that sees you reports the information.   Crime may simply not pay in the future.  The courts are empty.  Maybe civil cases will require a human element for divorce and child custody cases.  If we still have marriage and children.   Sex robots could take a big chunk out of marriage.
It's not so much AI making a better, cheaper and faster widget.  It's the elimination of the need for the widgets at all.  If all television, phones, laptops, etc. become cloud sourced holograms we no longer need to build anything to carry, charge or replace parts.  Software upgrades are designed by the AI.  No more physical factory, Apple Store, ATT store, accessory kiosks in malls and airports.  Did I say mall?
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 10:02:45 PM by Bateaux »

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1489 on: August 02, 2017, 10:19:41 PM »
Now we are talking about every square foot of space monitored at all times by cameras?  Its not just technology that is preventing that reality. 
Like I said, until the constitution is scrapped and all of US code is rewritten, your scenario simply can not legally happen, there are rules regarding what evidence can be presented, and how.
Also, plenty of crime is committed when the person knows they are likely to be caught.  Humans are not always rational. 

And, um, speaking of reality - if there are no more children, there is no future humanity to build these super intelligent robots that change everything.


I mean, if the question is "can we imagine a fictional world in which AI impacts everything?" of course we can, and you've come up with some very interesting hypothetical, but originally the thread was more about the real world impact on the economy and labor markets specifically

Bateaux

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1251
  • Location: Port Vincent
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1490 on: August 02, 2017, 10:45:33 PM »
We're already accepting self driving cars.  Legally in many places.  People are so attached to their phones that they'd rather give up a pinky finger than be separted from the technology.  Your romanticism for the past is blinding you from the future.  AI isn't going to do the jobs that people do.  The things that are being done will no longer be needed.  Things will be created that are designed to be maintained without human help.  It will be orders of magnitude cheaper and more efficient.   We don't make robots to stick frame a house.  That's difficult.   We'll 3d print a home for 1/10 the cost.  Love your old 150 year-old home great.  I love carpentry.  Some may want cheap and efficient.   The 3d printed home would use 1/4 the resources of a drafty wooden home.  People buy tiny import cars for a reason.  They are cheap and efficient.  They look like crap and don't turn heads.  What they do is get you where you want very cheaply for a very long time with little problems.   The rich will want custom homes, they can afford it.  Just an example.

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7480
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1491 on: August 02, 2017, 10:58:19 PM »
Now we are talking about every square foot of space monitored at all times by cameras?

At least in terms of monitoring vehicles, yes.

The advantages of self driving cars are not that their reaction times are faster, it's that they can be networked together.  They're not trying to be safer in the way that individual human drivers are, they're changing the way the roads are used.  Long distance travelers can form peletons for reduced wind resistance at higher speed.  GPS tracking of other AI cars facilitates adaptive routefinding to avoid traffic.  In busy urban areas, network connections to traffic lights automate signal cycles.  Like with everything else technology does, the real benefits are not in playing the game better, but in changing the game.

Quote
originally the thread was more about the real world impact on the economy and labor markets specifically

I still think most people underestimate the potential impacts on the economy and the labor market, because they fail to see the coming changes.  Like Henry Ford saying people wanted faster horses, but the automobile completely revolutionized the transportation industry in ways that the our horse-riding ancestors couldn't see coming.  The Pony Express was a revolutionary application of its day's technology, but they didn't see stack interchanges coming and would have laughed at the very idea that people would spend a billion dollars and five years of construction just to allow two roads to cross.  I think many of the things that you think are too hard, or too crazy, or too illegal, will eventually seem as commonplaces as freeway interchanges do to us now.  And for exactly the same reasons.  We just don't see how dramatically the new technology will change the way we do seemingly unrelated things.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 11:00:19 PM by sol »

Bateaux

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1251
  • Location: Port Vincent
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1492 on: August 02, 2017, 11:12:04 PM »
I agree Sol.  People have blinders on to the things that exist right now.  Cars alone are about to be incredibly smart.  The air controlled suspension on a premium car will remember bumps in the road or have the data shared from lead cars.  You'll no longer feel railroad tracks because the car will adjust for it in advance.  These are not things humans can even do. 

Bateaux

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1251
  • Location: Port Vincent
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1493 on: August 02, 2017, 11:26:45 PM »
I used to operate a chemical plant using an Emerson Delta V DCS.  The automated sections of the plant were almost completely controlled without human input.  Most of the problems and variables came with human input.  The plant is nearly 30 years old and full automation isn't really cost effective for the production to be gained.  However, a new plant could be designed with full automation that would eliminate most of the human jobs and therefore most of the errors and accidents.  Hundreds of millions in capital would be needed to build a new plant.  Not worth it.  However, if a new product is desired where capacity doesn't exist, then it will be automated fully.  If the new product is more desirable than the old product then the old plant will close rapidly.  The jobs were eliminated because another product made with automation replaced it.  No robots were built to take the old jobs.  The whole process was scrapped.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1494 on: August 03, 2017, 11:16:52 AM »
Now we are talking about every square foot of space monitored at all times by cameras?

At least in terms of monitoring vehicles, yes.
I was referring to Bateaux's claim that there will be no need for police or judges because AI will be able to identify every person with 100% accuracy from the way they walk.  That assumes every square foot of the world is monitored at all times by camera.  That isn't even a tech issue, its a question of whether humans will ever feel that making sure every criminal is caught is worth zero privacy, ever.
And its a perfect example how something which may be technologically feasible isn't necessarily likely and certainly not inevitable.

Quote
The advantages of self driving cars are not that their reaction times are faster, it's that they can be networked together.  They're not trying to be safer in the way that individual human drivers are, they're changing the way the roads are used.
As far as safety, all they need to do is obey speed limits and other existing laws, maintain proper following distances, and pay attention at all times, and the accident rate would already drop by around 99%.  We are probably only a few years out from that, no networking or rebuilding of roadways required.


Quote
Long distance travelers can form peletons for reduced wind resistance at higher speed.  GPS tracking of other AI cars facilitates adaptive routefinding to avoid traffic.  In busy urban areas, network connections to traffic lights automate signal cycles.  Like with everything else technology does, the real benefits are not in playing the game better, but in changing the game.
And all of things will probably happen, and probably marginally help, temporarily.
Ultimately they are likely to have about as much impact on revolutionizing transportation as power windows did.
Again, its not a tech issue.  There is a theoretical maximum of vehicles a given roadway can support at a given speed.  Its smaller than the number of people who can be housed in a given area.  As the advances you note start to happen, commuting gets easier - so more people start driving personal autos instead of taking transit, people stop bothering to carpool, people buy houses further from work, and very soon there are so many cars on the road that even with traffic patterns optimized in every way, cars are still averaging 15mph.

Quote
I think many of the things that you think are too hard, or too crazy, or too illegal, will eventually seem as commonplaces as freeway interchanges do to us now.
I do think we will eventually have robots that can do general handyman work, run an ANW course, and maybe even do abstract intellectual thinking.  I just don't think those are coming in the next 5-10 years.


Seriously, I don't think we disagree much, if at all, people just keep reading absolutes into my comments that aren't there.


Great comments on car automation.  I like the suspension memory and the peleton ideas.  The efficiency of cars will increase dramatically.  Imagine intersections where cars never queue at a red light because they moderated their acceleration in advance to reach the intersection when the light is green.  I try to do this manually for some lights that I can see from a large distance, but it's pretty tricky.


I've thought about how theoretically you could put downward facing cameras on the front bumper that would allow suspension to adjust in real time for every bump.  Which would be cool, maybe add a tiny bit of control and efficiency, mostly just improve comfort, but, again, would have as much impact on transportation as power windows.

The peleton idea already exists, in the form of "train".  Its also often used by long haul truckers on long straight highways.  Not saying that capacity given to cars wouldn't also marginally improve efficiency, but if that was a serious goal, cars would be shaped much more aerodynamically, which we have had the knowledge and tech to do for about 100 years.


The last part, again, we could already do, but usually choose not to.  Its called "timed lights".  Cities don't often invest in it, cause having regular lights is cheaper and easier, but when they do, you just drive at exactly the speed limit, and you are guaranteed to hit every green light down the entire street.
Trying to do it yourself on a street without timed lights is called "hypermiling", its part science part art, and has a big following of people (including MMM who wrote a post about it once, and myself, who was briefly a blogger for ecomodder.com).  Unfortunately, no matter how good you are, many times it simply isn't possible with non-timed lights, and that would be no less true for a AI driver.  Is a city which isn't willing to spend the money on a timed light system any more likely to spring for an entire network interface with cars?

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1495 on: August 03, 2017, 01:58:14 PM »
A good hypermiler can get 50%.  I think it would be even more, at least in terms of private auto energy use.

Of course, that's assuming any one actually cared enough to do it.  Auto manufacturers could easily produce cars that get over 100mpg today, at no more cost than current cars, if they wanted, but they think (correctly) that there is no market for them, because they would "look funny" and be "slow".  Another example of what is possible being limited not by technology, but by human nature effect on market forces
« Last Edit: August 03, 2017, 08:53:02 PM by Bakari »

Kriegsspiel

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1002

toganet

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 216
  • Location: Buffalo, NY
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1497 on: August 04, 2017, 04:32:02 AM »
As a technologist and a parent with two small children I think about this a lot.

My view on what is likely to happen if trends are left to develop on their own is we will see a sudden, previous drop in demand for jobs across many areas of the service and knowledge economy. That includes agriculture, construction, transportation, accounting, law, medicine -- and even on the trades.  This reflects a general trend toward the capitalization of labor that is driven by the capital class.

In recent years capital has been directed toward this effort via investments in robotics and AI.  These fields are converging, and will lead to a drastic shift in our culture and economy. How that plays out depends on what role government and corporations take in regulating the development and application of our robot overlords.

(For the record, I side with Elon Musk in this debate).

Some economists have suggested that the jobs left for humans might be the ones we are actually better than robots at: nursing and 'caring' in general.

We might get slightly lucky from a demographic / timing standpoint. As in, the rise of the robots may coincide with the retirement of the Boomers, and Millennials might make a living caring for their welders and creating art, science, and culture.

It's hard to imagine how an economy where a large part of the work of production is handled by depreciating assets that don't consume anything much being electricity can function in any way like our current consumer-driven one.  How will the consumers have any money to buy the widgets churned out but the robots?

I read a lot of hand-wavy stuff about UBI, etc. and I guess you could contrive some way to share the wealth.  But then I hear the President talk and am reminded of reality.

So I'm less optimistic. I tend to interpret the drivers for this whole pattern as the same one that led to slavery (chattel, wage, and offshored).  Heck, the word 'robot' basically means slave.

So once humanity has perfected slavery, what comes next will probably only be good for the slaveowners.

I guess index funds count in that category ;)

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk


tomsang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1085
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1498 on: August 04, 2017, 10:04:23 AM »
https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/4170364/former-facebook-executive-says-society-will-collapse-within-30-years-as-robots-put-half-of-humans-out-of-work/

"There are 300 million guns in this country, one for every man, woman and child, and they're mostly in the hands of those who are getting economically displaced. There could be a revolt.

"You don't realise it but we're in a race between technology and politics, and technologists are winning. They're way ahead.

"They will destroy jobs and disrupt economies before we even react to them and we really should be thinking about that."

tomsang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1085
Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1499 on: August 04, 2017, 10:10:55 AM »
Some economists have suggested that the jobs left for humans might be the ones we are actually better than robots at: nursing and 'caring' in general.

There are a number of articles that show/explain why robots are better at nursing and caring than humans.  They never get upset, they are there 24/7, they have the ability to monitor health in real time, etc.

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/20/opinion/sunday/the-future-of-robot-caregivers.html?_r=0

Imagine this: Since the robot caregiver wouldn’t require sleep, it would always be alert and available in case of crisis. While my patient slept, the robot could do laundry and other household tasks. When she woke, the robot could greet her with a kind, humanlike voice, help her get out of bed safely and make sure she was clean after she used the toilet. It — she? he? — would ensure that my patient took the right medications in the right doses. At breakfast, the robot could chat with her about the weather or news.

And then, because my patient loves to read but her eyesight is failing, the caregiver robot would offer to read to her. Or maybe it would provide her with a large-print electronic display of a book, the lighting just right for her weakened eyes. After a while the robot would say, “I wonder whether we should take a break from reading now and get you dressed. Your daughter’s coming to visit today.”

Are there ethical issues we will need to address? Of course. But I can also imagine my patient’s smile when the robot says these words, and I suspect she doesn’t smile much in her current situation, when she’s home alone, hour after hour and day after day.