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Old 04-04-2019, 05:17 PM
 
7,448 posts, read 4,789,294 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
...
Or are you just smugly pulling outdated, ill-thought figures from studies that assume all of this will happen in such tiny instances it will have no effect on the greater field and will require great heaps of other employment to keep those trial implementations working?
I must admit, Quietude, that I was waiting for you to jump into this thread, so that I could counter-jump. The appeal, however sophomoric, is just too magnetic to resist.

In truth, I have no idea how many new jobs robotics/AI/whatever would create… zero, infinity, or something in between. I don’t know, and won’t pretend to know. But it does seem to me, that shrill pronouncements of impending disaster are a bit… extravagant. To the theme of this thread, there are plenty of examples when some dangerous new transformation was afoot, with ominous portend… only to be found to be not only benign, but beneficial. Sure, this time may actually be different. It would be stupid to completely ignore this possibility. But to dwell on it? And especially, to predicate our policy on such fear?

It seems to me, that some of us have had a longstanding disaffection with the modern economy, with its principles and its rules and its winners and losers. We find it to be unjust, corrupt, and heading for collapse. A potential new crisis, such as AI, isn’t so much ominous in itself, as good pretext to shake up the system, to call for real and lasting alteration.

To reiterate, the belief is that something is already grievously wrong, but so far, the system is plodding along, just barely. Well, along comes a “paradigm shifter” like AI – and boom! … the system’s hidden rot is suddenly exposed. Ergo, cause for action… for comprehensive and substantial action. Right?
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Old 04-04-2019, 05:36 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
5,891 posts, read 2,079,739 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
I must admit, Quietude, that I was waiting for you to jump into this thread, so that I could counter-jump.


This thread has gone around so many idiotic bends it was barely worth the effort. That no one participating can distinguish between the 1800s and the 21st century, or between robotics/automation and AI, makes pretty much everything said barstool gibberish.

I'm awaiting a full explication of how either "robotics" or what is dimly understood of "AI" (which is barely out of the gate, unlike increasingly matured robotics) represents 1.3:1 jobs... past the cotton-gin era.
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Old 04-04-2019, 05:50 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
5,891 posts, read 2,079,739 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
It seems to me, that some of us have had a longstanding disaffection with the modern economy, with its principles and its rules and its winners and losers. We find it to be unjust, corrupt, and heading for collapse. A potential new crisis, such as AI, isn’t so much ominous in itself, as good pretext to shake up the system, to call for real and lasting alteration.
Just wanted to encapsulate this significant part.

I've written a lot about economic issues, more in other and more significant places than here. My position is not so much disaffection or politicized distaste as an observation that we have some trends that continue to progress, have never been seen in full force or outside of isolated situations, and are about to transform our socioeconomic system whether we like it, or recognize it, or choose it or not.

One trend is that we have never before overconsumed the very planet into an early grave; climate shift is about to kick the bejesus out of every country, government, industry and population on earth. Buckle up.

Another is that continually rising population and continually increasing production efficiency have reduced the meaning of individual productivity. It's an accelerating curve, from the relatively gentle start with the collapse of the steel and auto industries in the 1970s (which merely left a scar across the northeast and displaced a couple of million workers overall) through the steady rise of automation and robotics (from warehouses to word processors)... which is the real cause of most of our current economic problems. There simply aren't enough life-supporting jobs for all who want them. Aren't. No vague handwaving about how warehouse workers are going to retrain as IT or robotics managers or skilled trades are going to become executives and programmers or whatever covers up the fact that the number of people needing/wanting jobs is on a continual rise and the number of "good" jobs is on a steady decline - masked by twenty years or so of an economy that could afford an endless expansion of low-paid service positions.

Too bad our entire economy, top to bottom, balances on the fine point of individual worker productivity.

And the real bulldozer coming along in the face of those two existing and growing crises is that AI - real machine intelligence, not robotics or automated forklifts or even quasi-intelligent customer service interfaces - AI is about to hit a level where the entire next tier of white-collar/pink-collar jobs will be replaced, by first the hundreds and then the hundred-thousands.

But that's okay. It didn't happen when the cotton gin came along or car factories put in robotic welders or most electronics assembly became fully automated, and it didn't happen in 1850 or 1825 or 1886 or 1947 or 1975... so it can't possibly happen now, just like climate change. Says so right in all the economic textbooks.
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Old 04-04-2019, 06:40 PM
 
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I’ll concede climate-change as a worrisome novelty, not encountered in any history-books, and thus unprecedented. But the other two – overpopulation, and mass-redundancy from disruptive new technology – are harder to absorb as real and pressing ills.

It is said, sardonically, that janitors and machine-press operators won’t magically become tenders of janitorial robots or programmers of numerically-controlled machines. And that’s true. But on what basis do we surmise that there won’t be some other jobs for them, something of which by definition we at the moment are utterly unable to conceive? When the horseless carriage supplanted the horse, could we have imagined that we’d have car-dealerships, automotive insurance salesmen, lawyers litigating vehicular injuries, policemen issuing speeding tickets, schools of driving-instruction, or environment-protection lobbyists decrying automotive emissions? Notice that I intentionally picked car-related professions having nothing to do with manufacturing, design, engineering or repair. In short, these are more or less parasitical fields, earning their living as peripheral expenses associated with car-ownership, and not being integral to the process of designing cars, or building them, or repairing them, or even disposing of them.

The smug but not entirely fallacious answer to your rhetorical question, is that we’ll likely conjure-up busy-work for the billions of people rendered redundant. They’ll be digging trenches and filling them up again… or if you like, “earning” universal basic income. What we need is enough productivity from the robots, not the people.

To give a cartoonish example, suppose that we have an isolated primitive village, where most people are either concerned with agriculture, hunting, or defending militarily against rival tribes. Along comes a set of magical robots, that do all of the farming, the hunting, and the fighting. The village is sated and well-defended. What do the people do? They invent a religion that involves elaborate ritual, stringent personal sacrifice, overbearing dietary restrictions, a strict moral code. They spend their time chanting, tattooing each other, fasting, going on spirit-quests, sitting motionless atop of tall poles, mortifying the flesh, memorizing elaborate texts, competing in contests of sacred songs. They invent hierarchies of deacons, priests and bishops. They have new kinds of arts and crafts, making idols and decorations, ecclesiastical robes, pungent scents with mystical powers. They might even have a religion that demands human sacrifice, culling the herd, solving the problem of too low of an infant-mortality or too good of a cure for cancer. So long as the robots stay reliable and productive, there’s no problem. The only problem is when the robots break. Then, who will fix them?
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Old 04-04-2019, 07:02 PM
Status: "haters gonna hate...mods gonna moderate" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Clyde Hill, WA
2,331 posts, read 399,525 times
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I used to be a skeptic of the massive job-loss scenario. After all unemployment in 1900 was not far from what it was in 2000, after 100 years of incredible technology advances.

However, I had a farmer relative who wrote about going off to fight WWII with his 2 brothers. When they left, much farm work was still done with horses and mules. When they came back, the horses had almost completely been replaced by trucks and tractors.

After that, horses were 'unemployed.' There only usefulness was as hobby/recreation. This is a better analogy for robotics than the power-loom, etc. When robots can do what humans do, we will be in the same position as the horse--unemployed. It's probably a long ways off, of course.
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Old 04-04-2019, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
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The really short take is that past situations have had a relief point of some kind - there was always some new frontier to go to, for jobs or food production or longevity or whatever. So the US Steel Belt rusted... it was just part of the country and economy. So secretaries and typists basically got obsoleted... it was just part of the labor pool. Etc.

Now, we're facing problems that have no evident relief point or alternative. Climate change is global and will disrupt nearly everything, and in a fairly short time frame. It's not an Irish Potato Famine we can escape by migrating, or an Appalachia we can dismiss by retraining coal miners.

Global population has all but filled the livable areas of the planet - which are about to radically shift, anyway. Yes, you can do elementary mathematics to show how many people can be fit into the US midwest... but a place to stand is just one factor of many.

And the accelerating reduction of individual productivity, and individual value to the economy, is going to really kick the crap out of things. Our global economy is built on the notion of self-supporting individual workers, and that concept is eroding faster than the North polar cap. All the makework jobs and job-creation programs and retraining and job-oriented college major selections we can prattle about won't change that.

So - on top of the other issues - when individual worker productivity is a vastly devalued thing, nearly everything we believe is gospel about economics goes right in the dumper. And it's not a localized phenomenon to be cured with emigration or jobs somewhere else or support programs... so, what then?

So it's sure a good thing robotics and AI are going to multiply the number of jobs by 1.3. Whew.
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Old 04-04-2019, 10:06 PM
 
675 posts, read 170,169 times
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It's not so much about the number of jobs that will be eliminated (because, yes, a fair number will be replaced with currently unforeseen occupations), but about the type of jobs that will be eliminated. Basically, it will widen the already growing chasm between the haves and the have-nots and will increase the number of have-nots.
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Old Yesterday, 04:55 AM
 
2,502 posts, read 1,606,865 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
The really short take is that past situations have had a relief point of some kind - there was always some new frontier to go to, for jobs or food production or longevity or whatever. So the US Steel Belt rusted... it was just part of the country and economy. So secretaries and typists basically got obsoleted... it was just part of the labor pool. Etc.

Now, we're facing problems that have no evident relief point or alternative. Climate change is global and will disrupt nearly everything, and in a fairly short time frame. It's not an Irish Potato Famine we can escape by migrating, or an Appalachia we can dismiss by retraining coal miners.

Global population has all but filled the livable areas of the planet - which are about to radically shift, anyway. Yes, you can do elementary mathematics to show how many people can be fit into the US midwest... but a place to stand is just one factor of many.

And the accelerating reduction of individual productivity, and individual value to the economy, is going to really kick the crap out of things. Our global economy is built on the notion of self-supporting individual workers, and that concept is eroding faster than the North polar cap. All the makework jobs and job-creation programs and retraining and job-oriented college major selections we can prattle about won't change that.

So - on top of the other issues - when individual worker productivity is a vastly devalued thing, nearly everything we believe is gospel about economics goes right in the dumper. And it's not a localized phenomenon to be cured with emigration or jobs somewhere else or support programs... so, what then?

So it's sure a good thing robotics and AI are going to multiply the number of jobs by 1.3. Whew.
Wouldn’t climate change present massive job opportunities? If the challenges are so great, and I agree they are, that creates tremendous demand for those who can provide the solutions? If such massive change was required, it could be just as massive a change to the economy as mass production or electronics. Kandrateiff wave and all that.

Also, take the population density of say Japan. You think a country like the U.S doesn’t have room for more population to move if climate change crushes the coasts?

I’m by no means an expert, but I’ve sat through hours and hours of pitches on AI, robotics, and machine learning in my field for CPE credits. The way ai has been described to me, is like a hive mind. By that, I have my technical areas I know in my profession, and I know only my set of experiences and the experiences I can draw from my fellow employees or contacts. The ai starts to pick up on all experiences. It can contrast all former decision. It never forgets. It can draw from all the experiences of everything rather than just one person can learn or see. It can also automate basically anything that is routine. That’s basically all the data manipulation, gathering, reports, ect. It’s spectacular to see it in motion. But when I see it, I don’t fear it. I welcome it. It removes the ****ty, low value parts of my job. Rising above that detail will make me MORE valuable. It’s an augment to humans. I don’t see how ai could use judgement on items that aren’t black and white...and most things aren’t. It won’t replace us all. More accurate information faster, make us more valuable. We can chase bigger opportunities or ones that were left untouched before because of time constraints. Yet, my feild is listed in articles I read as being 99 percent likely to be gone. I highly, highly doubt that.

But of course, other fields might be eliminated. That’s been going on forever. But maybe that opens up opportunity and enginuity for things we don’t even know exist yet. Someone in 1920 could never envision jobs from 2000. How can I envision the types of jobs that will exist in 2040?

Last edited by Thatsright19; Yesterday at 05:03 AM..
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Old Yesterday, 06:59 AM
 
Location: Virginia
92 posts, read 21,927 times
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First of all, people need to stop confusing the term AI with software or robots, and it certainly hasn't been in use for decades. Using something like a Convolutional Neural Network to automatically understand and process images, text and audio is definitely a new thing.

Secondly, yes you will always need a repair guy for your robots and a programmer for your code, but we are talking about a tiny number of people. Certainly not the hundreds of millions currently employed driving trucks, flipping burgers, restocking shelves, and answering phones.

Lastly, previous generations worry over technology replacing jobs wasn't unfounded, it was absolutely true. That's why agriculture isn't 2/3 of employment anymore, nor is factory work. People moved from farms, to factories, and then from factories to office buildings. So, where will they move next?
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Old Yesterday, 09:59 AM
 
Location: Mt. Lebanon
1,843 posts, read 1,894,904 times
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AI would not put people out of work, it would create other types of jobs.
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