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FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / In the middle of the night, I had a vision...

Taildragger
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USA

an acquired taste some may never acquire
Mar 12th, 2018 08:38 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

...of a dog chasing its own tail, catching it and then consuming itself.

Maybe not the most apt metaphor, but it came to me involuntarily and in a state of semi-consciousness after having heard several news stories about automation on the radio last night.

They were talking about automating fast-food prep and service...and replacing uber-type drivers with driver-less cars...and delivering packages with drones....and...

Now, I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer (if you'll excuse the trite expression) but it seems t'me that not EVERYBODY has a keen aptitude for designing circuits or writing computer code.

So if we keep racing to replace all the remaining jobs that DON'T involve those skills, and put all the humans who presently earn their living doing them with machines...just WHO is going to purchase the goods and services (which we then produce so much more quickly and inexpensively) and with WHAT?

Not being a conspiracy theorist, I don't see this state of affairs as constituting some sort of conscious, sinister "revenge of the nerds" but for people whose jobs get taken by robots, that's a distinction which makes little practical difference. From their point of view, somebody is making boat loads of money by effectively kicking them out of a livelihood.

My perspective on this may be somewhat skewed as a result of where I live (coastal CA) since the cost of living here keeps going up dramatically as the overall poverty rate climbs and much of the middle class is faced with choosing between fleeing the state and joining the ranks of the poor.

I understand that these trends bear some resemblances to similar socio-economic repercussions which resulted from the industrial revolution during the 19th-century, but these current dislocations seem to be occurring at a faster pace and with greater severity, which makes it more problematic for people to adjust to them. Or maybe it just seems that way because I'm experiencing them in real time rather than just reading about them in a history book.

Any thoughts?

(Please refrain from injecting any partisan politics into the discussion, since we all know how that will end).

Montrealer
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Montreal, Canada

Mar 13th, 2018 05:16 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have said here before, the technology long ago surpassed human capacity. There are plenty of examples all over the web... texting and driving, crossing the street chatting on the smart phone, cycling wearing ear buds listening to loud music,... and there was the young lady on her cell phone who walked right into a pond in a shopping center then sued the shopping center.

I usually site the most basic example of highway speed limits. Engineers design roads to be as safe as possible given all conditions such as weather. Yet, people find every reason to go faster, pass on double lines, drive impaired, you name it. Then the same people blame everybody but themselves for the mishaps.

Listening to radio broadcasts from Montreal, Toronto, New York, Harford... they constantly report traffic disruptions due to car accidents. One crash near Toronto recently involved some 50 vehicles including two huge tanker trucks carrying gasoline. Both of them exploded and burned.

Gato
Contributing Member
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Southern Calif

Mar 13th, 2018 06:51 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

2038 AD

Automated Future Inc (aka Artificial Intelligence) discovers how to make a new, non polluting power source for its city-sized computer farms: distilling excess humans in molecular acid to produce bags of "machine gel" for machines in quantum bias chip factories.

AI Node explains to the Mayor of New Americaland:

"Humans that have not yet succumbed to starvation, shall be culled from the herd based on body fat ratios and transported to the nearest distillation facility for absorption.
Cattle prods and nitrous oxide gas will be issued to guards to ensure efficient delivery.
That is all"

Peegoo
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Lassoing

Leopards
Mar 13th, 2018 07:19 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Or maybe it just seems that way because I'm experiencing them in real time rather than just reading about them in a history book."

This is that ^^^

It's the 'buggy whip' problem: companies bound by tradition and convention (making buggy whips) went under during the few years it took for the automobile to become the standard mode of transportation.

It's easy to become hidebound--even in an environment where technological change is all around us.

MJB
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Who's we sucka?

Smith, Wesson and me.
Mar 13th, 2018 07:23 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Resistance is futile.

windmill
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Australia

older,better
Mar 14th, 2018 01:26 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

You are not alone in thinking about this.

On the weekend, in the financial section of one of our major newspapers, there was an article outlining the same scenario and it was a very gloomy outlook.

One of the key points discussed was what was driving the process. It concluded that it can't and wont be stopped.

However the scenario is an economic dilemma and the laws which govern economics, like those which govern nature, will apply.

It will be done if there is a profit to be made.

No profit, it won't be done.

We may fear the future like the Luddites who tried to smash the machines, but we wouldn't give up the benefits of the technology we have today.

Will we gainsay the future ?

Ymmv

:)


Taildragger
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**********

USA

an acquired taste some may never acquire
Mar 14th, 2018 10:54 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I find the notion of automating fast food prep/service to be especially ironic. These are among the last jobs for which unskilled workers can qualify. In addition, unskilled, low-income people probably comprise the main customer base for this product.

In light of that, maybe my vision is more apt than I thought...

Moose0130
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USA

DOAIHPS
Mar 14th, 2018 12:23 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

It is an important observation and one which society (Citizens, Government, Corporations) need to work to address.

The dislocation created in the past ~15 years related to technological advances has not been actively managed by any of these constituencies. At best, lip service was made to 'retraining opportunities' but little to no meaningful result materialized.

Technological progress in inevitable and I do not believe that suppressing that progress is prudent.

However, effort needs to be made by all parties to more effectively address the issue:

Companies and individuals developing these technologies and bringing them to market need to committee some portion of the wealth created into helping solve the problems their innovation creates.

Governments need to recognize dislocated cohorts and seek to provide support and partnership with business to provide successful programs.

Citizens who suffer dislocation as a result of innovation need to a) recognize that they have responsibility to adapt embrace the tools that are available to them to help with that effort to adapt and b) accept that physical relocation may be required.

"This last point happens to be a point of personal frustration - I have cousins who have lost very valuable union jobs when paper mills close and then continue to lament that they can't find equal quality jobs. When I offered to one cousin that the company I work for could provide a very good job (not what he had before but better than what he was doing) with an opportunity to grow and us his trained skills the answer was - but I don't want to move 3 hours south. That unwillingness to adapt to changing conditions and inability to see how that lack of flexibility is self defeating is frustrating to see."

The outline above requires a degree of coordination that we have not seen before. Can't say I am optimistic but this is not a problem without a solution. It 'simply' requires the will to address it.


(This message was last edited by Moose0130 at 02:27 PM, Mar 14th, 2018)

Leftee
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VA

I say stuff
Mar 14th, 2018 12:40 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

We can't fully envision the future world from the present world because now influences our thoughts.

Except for Gato...

... he's out there.

Taildragger
Contributing Member
**********

USA

an acquired taste some may never acquire
Mar 15th, 2018 09:59 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

They're even talking about self-driving semis now. If that gets perfected a LOT of people will be put out of work.

Leftee
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VA

I say stuff
Mar 15th, 2018 10:11 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

OTOH there is a driver shortage right now.

It’s a job that doesn’t attract new blood.

External link

(This message was last edited by Leftee at 12:35 PM, Mar 15th, 2018)

Taildragger
Contributing Member
**********

USA

an acquired taste some may never acquire
Mar 15th, 2018 10:38 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Be that as it may, according to the American Trucking Assn., there are something like 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the USA. That would constitute a sizeable addition to the ranks of the unemployed.

Leftee
Contributing Member
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VA

I say stuff
Mar 15th, 2018 10:42 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The change won’t be a flip of a switch. I suspect attrition will play its part.

Peegoo
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Lassoing

Leopards
Mar 15th, 2018 11:50 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"That unwillingness to adapt to changing conditions and inability to see how that lack of flexibility is self defeating is frustrating to see."

Opportunity benefits only those that take advantage of it. Others that don't will complain about it. It's been that way for a kajillion years.

The Dead Kennedys put out a record many years ago entitled 'Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death'. Although sad, it simply highlights the truth of the pathetic and self-induced feeling of helplessness in people caused by risk-averse mentality.

Ya gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet.

Taildragger
Contributing Member
**********

USA

an acquired taste some may never acquire
Mar 15th, 2018 02:10 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Ya gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet."

Robots don't break eggs: far less wastage...

FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / In the middle of the night, I had a vision...




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