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Study: 47% of US jobs could be automated in the next 20 years (The rise of Artificial Intelligence)
American Thinker ^ | 09/28/2013 | Rick Moran

Posted on 09/29/2013 7:01:22 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

The authors of this study - two academics from Oxford - aren't saying that we will definitely lose 47% of current jobs to automation. They are saying its possible as artificial intelligence - AI - becomes reality.

From Slate:

In "The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation?," Frey and Osborne estimate that 47 percent of U.S. jobs are "at risk" of being automated in the next 20 years. This does not mean that they necessarily will be automated (despite the way the study has been portrayed in some media outlets)--rather, the authors argue, it is plausible over the next two decades that existing and foreseeable AI technologies could be used to cost-effectively automate those jobs out of existence. Machines may not (and probably won't) do the jobs the same way as people, however--just remember the last time you used an automated check-out system at a grocery store. There's a difference between machines doing something cheaply and doing it well. Frey and Osborne took into account the possibility of such "task simplification" in their analysis.

Which jobs are most at risk? According to The Jetsons, we should expect robots to clean our houses and do other working-class occupations that educated elites have historically looked down upon as "unskilled." But anyone who has done such a job, or has watched an episode of Undercover Boss and seen highly-paid CEOs fumble while trying to carry out the demanding minimum wage jobs usually performed by their underlings, knows that there is no such thing as unskilled labor anymore (if there ever was), especially if you are comparing humans and machines in the same breath. The gap between humans and current AI is vastly greater than the differences between humans.

(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Computers/Internet; Society
KEYWORDS: ai; automation

1 posted on 09/29/2013 7:01:22 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

I read the article. Not much content there. :(


2 posted on 09/29/2013 7:04:31 AM PDT by Lazamataz (Early 2009 to 7/21/2013 - RIP my little girl Cathy. You were the best cat ever. You will be missed.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Bring back US jobs now.


3 posted on 09/29/2013 7:06:08 AM PDT by Cringing Negativism Network
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To: SeekAndFind
and i hope the whiny azz, gimmie $15 an hour to spit in your fast food makers are the first to go...
4 posted on 09/29/2013 7:09:45 AM PDT by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -vvv- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: SeekAndFind

I often use the automated check-out in stores. They’re great. But the automated check-out machines, while great, need a employee to hover around helping people with machines that malfunction or aid customers who don’t know how to operate them. Every time a new machine or technology is created, humans are needed to build and maintain those machines. So some jobs are lost through machines, but others are created. It’s called creative destruction after economist Joseph Schumpeter.


5 posted on 09/29/2013 7:10:10 AM PDT by driftless2
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To: SeekAndFind

Well, according to king hussein we’ve already gotten rid of bank tellers and travel agents due to their jobs being “robotized”. Huh? What an idiot. And, don’t forget. GWB was the stupid one.


6 posted on 09/29/2013 7:11:01 AM PDT by rktman (Inergalactic background checks? King hussein you're first up.)
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To: SeekAndFind

7 posted on 09/29/2013 7:11:22 AM PDT by Hugin
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To: SeekAndFind

Much of my job as an engineer was boringly repetitive. I thought of ways to automate it using the existing software. Assembling data, reports etc. became easier and easier. If the company I worked for had made a purposeful effort the work load across the board would have dropped 30% with just a one time cost for programs inside platforms like Excel, which can look in a half dozen different databases and assemble a report and draw charts. It would take only a quick check and edit. But the company would rather bill every possible hour. I was told, “Are you crazy? Our profit is a percentage of costs. Besides, do you want to lose your job?”

Incidentally, they’ve laid off half of their workforce to date and will lay off half of the remainder sometime after Q1 next year. That’s about 7,000 people total.


8 posted on 09/29/2013 7:12:24 AM PDT by Gen.Blather
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To: SeekAndFind

Does that mean that New York can get rid of all those Muslim cab drivers then and ship them back to sh!tholeistan?


9 posted on 09/29/2013 7:12:43 AM PDT by Gaffer
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To: SeekAndFind
There are certain implications of this study which even conservatives do not want to contemplate.

First, a large unskilled population is not an asset but a liability. To those conservatives and liberals who want to flood the country with unskilled immigrants in order to prop up Social Security, consider that these people will not contribute but will subtract from the gross domestic product.

Second, Ponzi schemes such as Social Security which depend on an ever-increasing base of wage earners for the pyramid to continue are in for real trouble if lower-class workers are replaced with machines.

Third, if humans can be replaced by computers in the private and domestic sphere they can be replaced at a wholesale level among the military forces. Increasingly large populations will not be the foundation upon which mighty defense forces are erected. Strong economies will remain indispensable to strong defense but those economies will be digital economies. Conservatives believe that we have to increase the population to stay strong are only courting weakness. In the future large population centers will not be so much an asset but targets.

Fourth, to the degree that we parcel out healthcare in this country based on employment status, that will have to be changed. I am not suggesting a single-payer system but I am suggesting that employers will look at computerizing their jobs because computers don't get sick and they don't get sick leave, pregnancy leave, or require ever-increasing medical insurance payments. Moreover, the government is much less inclined to regulate business to protect machines.

Fifth, income taxes are at least partially Texas on wages but wages might be decreasingly how wealth is accumulated in the future as machines take over more and more of production. The challenge for conservatives will be to find a way to fund the government by taxing the output of machines without introducing socialism, without confiscating property and without creating disincentives to computerize and produce.

Sixth, education will have to be radically reformed in order to create a workforce which can create and program the machines used to produce widgets and provide services. Much like our Social Security system and our healthcare system which are based on wage earning, our educational system used to be based on wage earning and now is based on social engineering. Both models will have to be abandoned and education will have to be demonstrably related to producing talent which is usable. This is primarily a political problem.

Seventh, as the world becomes increasingly technological a higher and higher percentage of the population will reveal themselves to be incapable of contributing. They will prove an increasing drag on the economy and they will be exploited by demagogues who will attempt to prohibit businesses from hiring only people with talent enough to contribute. Race will be invoked. Somehow this must be solved.


10 posted on 09/29/2013 7:24:04 AM PDT by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat, attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: nathanbedford

We should start with the collection, editing and dissemination of news.

Think how different the news would be without the subjectivity of humans, specifically liberal /progressive humans.


11 posted on 09/29/2013 7:35:25 AM PDT by CarmichaelPatriot
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To: SeekAndFind

Most people are robots anyway so this shouldn’t matter much.


12 posted on 09/29/2013 7:37:48 AM PDT by unixfox (Abolish Slavery, Repeal the 16th Amendment)
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To: Lazamataz

They need to come up with the AI part before they can do the robotics..

But with just that AI part, they could do:

47% of the lawyers
47% of the doctors
47% of the Senators

and, of course,
90% of the smart-asses...

;-)


13 posted on 09/29/2013 7:46:31 AM PDT by djf (Global warming is turning out to be a bunch of hot air!!)
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To: SeekAndFind

14 posted on 09/29/2013 7:47:13 AM PDT by MAexile (Bats left, votes right)
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To: djf

Prolly should read 15% of the smart-asses, because most of the ones I know are way, way, way smarter than doctors or lawyers or Senators!!


15 posted on 09/29/2013 7:49:59 AM PDT by djf (Global warming is turning out to be a bunch of hot air!!)
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To: SeekAndFind

Nothing new. What is that statistic? A hundred years ago 90% of Americans raised food, now, 1%? That’s a lot of automation. One major occupation a hundred years ago was “calculator”. That of course is gone. Typesetters, typists, proofreaders, draftsmen, elevator operators, traffic control cops (in some countries signal lights are called “robots”), etc.

I’m expecting to see fast food jump into automation very soon. The local “Wawa” stores have kiosks for customers to make orders at the deli counter — even things like rolls. There is no human contact. The next step is replacing the sandwich assemblers with “Baxter”. It will happen fast, and there will be “labor” issues — lots of strikes and riots.


16 posted on 09/29/2013 7:52:07 AM PDT by Born to Conserve
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To: SeekAndFind

Soon the carbon based interface units will be declared redundant — and will have to be deactivated.


17 posted on 09/29/2013 7:53:17 AM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both.)
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To: BenLurkin
I expect one of these days I may well actually hear "This is the voice of World Control."
18 posted on 09/29/2013 8:08:30 AM PDT by AnAmericanAbroad (It's all bread and circuses for the future prey of the Morlocks.)
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To: driftless2

I flat out refuse to use the auto-teller, as there is no discount for using it.

Charge less for using it, I’ll consider it, but why should I pay the same price to do a job that is included in the price of my goods?

Then there is the human interaction of chatting with the cashier, and the folks in line.


19 posted on 09/29/2013 8:14:46 AM PDT by Don W (Know what you WANT. Know what you NEED. Know the DIFFERENCE!)
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To: nathanbedford
Quite right. In the Star Trek universe I always wondered about all the people who did not aspire to be the best and brightest. What did they do to survive in such a technological society?

The same issues were touched upon in other sci-fi classics such as Orwell's “1984” and Huxley's “Brave New World”.Orwell culled the world through constant wars between superpowers and an all powerful police state. Huxley relied on eugenics: test tube breeding and stunting of intellect so that the lower classes would be content with their limited existences.

To date, no one seems to have thought about the three choices or paths humanity must face: 1) say that we have invented all there is to invent and know all there is to know [freeze all development and progress]; 2) junk technology and go back to a more primitive time [the Luddite ideal]; 3) pursue technology full throttle and accept the costs on society this technology brings for good or ill.

In the first instance, freezing development, humans are driven to find better ways and invent new things. This enforced stagnation cannot work for any length of time.

In the second case, the Luddite society, people are too attached to the ease that technology has brought them. Even the Greenies don't want to give up their electric lights, smart phones, iPads, grocery stores, central air and heating, running water, and indoor plumbing. Very few of them would relish living in a cave, wearing animal skins, hunting and gathering, fighting off other tribes, and thinking of 40 years old as “ancient”.

No, the third option is what humanity has embraced — technology — and we cannot go back to either of the first two scenarios. However, technology is a two edged sword. The more technological your society becomes, the less able it is to cope when the technology breaks. A simple example: a tornado devastates an area and wipes out the phone lines and electric lines. People are then forced into living in the 19th century; they'll do anything to get communications and power back to “normal”.

The nature of society and its jobs must change due to the impact of increasing technology.

So far, our current system is NOT able to make this basic transition.

20 posted on 09/29/2013 8:16:01 AM PDT by MasterGunner01
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To: Lazamataz

I agree, the article missed several really important features of the coming of “AI”. IBM has a project that will bring a connection based electronic equivalent (in terms of connection ability) of a brain the size of a two liter bottle of pop. It will burn about 1.5 KW of energy so it could be plugged into a household outlet. IBMs view on the cognitive part...
http://www.research.ibm.com/cognitive-computing/index.shtml
Noting what Watson on Jeopardy! did and what it is being prepped for.

I think, when you combine this with some of the DARPA like projects, Big Dog, some of the powered armor, artificial feeling materials for robotic hands, and some of the perceptual recognition programs this article was not very rigorous. Assisted driving is currently on Mercedes menu. Google has self driving vehicles...as a job skill...when driving is lost as a marketable skill, how many people will not be able to get a “fast food” job?

The economics determine the use of robotics in the workplace. Labor at $9/hour may work at McDs but if the labor goes to $15/hour then a robot may all of a sudden become a viable economic alternative. When the robotic alternative drops below $9/hour...and that has to take into account all customer interactions good and bad. We are in the technology and don’t see the changes unless we look to the forgotten past. Lucy on the assembly line in “I love Lucy” isn’t really part of the current generation’s experience. Those jobs are leaving or gone. And they are certainly out of sight. My garbage truck uses a robot arm to dump the can into the truck. No one injures their back anymore, but anyone can be trained to do it...even a computer...soon. See google.

The author would never work for Wired.

DK


21 posted on 09/29/2013 8:20:49 AM PDT by Dark Knight
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To: Gaffer

Cars will drive themselves. Soo you tweet your destination and pay the taxi by paypal.


22 posted on 09/29/2013 8:53:28 AM PDT by Baseballguy (If we knew what we know now in Oct would we do anything different?)
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To: driftless2
So some jobs are lost through machines, but others are created.

True, and in the past it's always worked, in general, that the jobs lost were replaced by on average better jobs.

Unfortunately, past performance is no guarantee of future performance.

Most of the new jobs created by automation are quite literally beyond the capabilities of those laid off from the old jobs. As an example, it is likely most jobs based on driving vehicles will disappear relatively soon as vehicles drive themselves.

How many truck drivers can be effectively retrained to write apps for the iPad? Not many.

I cannot prove it, but I suspect our economy will become more and more productive at producing "stuff," but each year fewer people will be required or capable of doing the work that is still in demand.

People generally forget that 50% of the population is of below-average intelligence, and each year I believe there will be reduced demand in the market for workers of below-average intelligence.

But I hope I'm wrong.

23 posted on 09/29/2013 8:54:25 AM PDT by Sherman Logan (Mark Steyn: "In the Middle East, the enemy of our enemy is also our enemy.")
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To: nathanbedford
Very good points. Along with the changes in employment brought by technology, there will be parallel changes in how people can provide services and value to businesses. I have read many articles, like this one, where the premise is that technology will allow employers to replace employees with machines. But few ever explore the opposite scenario.

As surely as businesses can use technology to reduce the need for man hours of effort, people can too. That's why my lawn guy can cut the lawn way faster than I can. He's got better tools than I do - a larger tractor, better mowers, and an air blower instead of a rake. And he knows how to use them very well.

The same is true for many other types of work. It used to be only businesses could afford to own computers, and hired employees to operate them. Now kids own computers and bring their own wordprocessor, spreadsheet, etc. to work.

Soon after robots are available to do complicated tasks in business, individuals will have similar robots. And then they may well send their personal robot in to the shop to work for them on Mondays and Fridays.

All of your points about future trends apply as well to individuals taking advantage of the same technology to empower themselves. We are seeing a bit of that now with how people use smart phones and internet resources to benefit themselves and enable new ways of working. But we need to see a lot of changes in education, taxation, government, and the nature of employment to take advantage of what technology has to offer.

24 posted on 09/29/2013 8:57:33 AM PDT by freeandfreezing
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To: freeandfreezing; nathanbedford

All good points.

But I’d like to reiterate that the crucial issue is that more and more people of lower intelligence will be redundant to the real market.

The challenge is how to provide meaningful lives for people for whom there is no economic role. Past and present examples of societies with this issue (see Indian reservations, etc.) are not reason for comfort.

IMO there is a distinct possibility that capitalism and the free market, with its creative destruction, will eventually creatively destroy itself. Capitalism has had a hell of a run, 300 years or more now, depending on how you define it.

But functioning of markets is not a law of nature, it’s a law of human nature. And if the parameters within which the market must function change sufficiently, the market system may break down. At least insofar as its ability to provide for human needs other than material.


25 posted on 09/29/2013 9:05:16 AM PDT by Sherman Logan (Mark Steyn: "In the Middle East, the enemy of our enemy is also our enemy.")
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To: SeekAndFind

The more mandates and taxes they load onto employers the more that automation will become the better choice.


26 posted on 09/29/2013 9:12:08 AM PDT by Nateman (If liberals are not screaming you are doing it wrong!t happened world wide.)
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To: Sherman Logan
"truck drivers"

Maybe, maybe not. But as jobs become more intelligence-based, persons who cannot adapt disappear. At any rate, that is what happened in the past. Many people today who lack the mental or physical resources are kept alive by the state. Is that what we're headed towards? A society that relies on 50% to produce because the other 50% can't? Time will tell.

27 posted on 09/29/2013 9:15:16 AM PDT by driftless2
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To: Don W

There is always the trade-off of time and money. If I see the clerk lanes are clogged, I immediately go the auto-teller. Plus, according to my wife who used to work at Walmart, they deliberately underman the human clerk lanes and force you to use the auto-teller. Plus, the company keeps prices lower because of lack of theft from auto-tellers who don’t steal merchandise.


28 posted on 09/29/2013 9:21:39 AM PDT by driftless2
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To: SeekAndFind
That's been the goal all along, since the early 80’s at least. The only problem was finding a workforce cheap enough to do it, because manufacturing automation is a labor intensive business (expensive). Now, china and Asia are the leading manufacturers of automated machinery, with a subsequent loss of ability in the US. But the money was good at the time, and its only cost was our manufacturing base, the middle class, upward mobility, and eventually, our sovereignty.
29 posted on 09/29/2013 9:30:39 AM PDT by factoryrat (We are the producers, the creators. Grow it, mine it, build it.)
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To: Sherman Logan
"...the crucial issue is that more and more people of lower intelligence will be redundant to the real market."

Or they will substitute intelligence provided by technology for what they lack. Just like drivers who aren't good at spatial logic and map reading use GPS devices to get them to their destination, or most of us use spell checking software to reduce our need to remember how to spell infrequently used words, or tax software to figure out our taxes.

A lot of jobs that are considered "unskilled" actually have gotten easier over time with automation and technology. The mistake many in our government and pundit class make is assuming that the future job is, for example, writing software.

The challenge is how to provide meaningful lives for people for whom there is no economic role. Past and present examples of societies with this issue (see Indian reservations, etc.) are not reason for comfort.

The example you cited, Indian reservations, is indicative of what can happen when a social structure changes rapidly and the culture fails to respond, or responds in a dysfunctional way. Other examples of cultures facing similar dysfunction and challenges exist, including groups that are highly dependent on government in inner cities, refugee camps, etc.

But there are other contrary examples as well. Many primitive cultures existed in stable equilibrium for long periods of time due to a surplus of resources. In the particular situations they had most people were able to get by with limited work, and the structure of the society was able to support everyone.

Technology and increased productivity may well have similar effects in a more modern society. If automation reduces the cost of goods enough, then those who are unable to generate much themselves are still able to live a meaningful life. Put more bluntly, if productivity increases enough, then even a lazy bum will be able to afford more luxury than we have today. Just like the poor American of today has more stuff, better healthcare, and a much easier life than most Americans did 100 years ago.

The problem is not the impact of improved productivity, so much as the burden of short term thinking and a governmental and pundit class pushing the ideas of dependency on people, and blocking market opportunities.

30 posted on 09/29/2013 10:02:11 AM PDT by freeandfreezing
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To: SeekAndFind

So the 47% Romney talked about could be replaced? Serves them right I guess. :-)


31 posted on 09/29/2013 10:03:02 AM PDT by A CA Guy ( God Bless America, God Bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: freeandfreezing
The problem is not the impact of improved productivity, so much as the burden of short term thinking and a governmental and pundit class pushing the ideas of dependency on people, and blocking market opportunities.

That's the standard conservative POV, and I agree it has been proven true many times over the last few centuries.

But my concern is that what has worked over the last few centuries may be approaching its end.

IOW, AI may change the very rules of the game. People who are smart, driven and creative will have a great deal of demand for their services for the foreseeable future.

But I worry that those who lack one or more of the above will be SOOL. Most people just want to have a not-too-demanding job and earn a decent living without being driven or creative. Those types of jobs may be in the process of permanently disappearing.

32 posted on 09/29/2013 10:16:59 AM PDT by Sherman Logan (Mark Steyn: "In the Middle East, the enemy of our enemy is also our enemy.")
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To: SeekAndFind
but even if automation is widespread, I would be surprised if there was a net job loss as a result.

Labor saving machinery may cause unemployment of some temporarily, but the productivity of labor of the economy as a whole will be increased,which benefits all wage earners in the long run after a period of adjustment.The increase in the productivity of labor raises the real wage rates of the average wage earner by increasing the total productive ability of the economy as a whole, which leads to an increased supply, which leads to lower prices and more buying power of consumers.

33 posted on 09/29/2013 10:55:02 AM PDT by mjp ((pro-{God, reality, reason, egoism, individualism, natural rights, limited government, capitalism}))
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To: SeekAndFind

Fragile. Very fragile. There are a few who have purchased some automation with the help of government and banks, but most of them are in debt that won’t be paid. Most of the people saying that they’re replacing men with machines (while importing more products from the Asian and other Flintstones instead) won’t be able to take care of themselves.


34 posted on 09/29/2013 11:13:33 AM PDT by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of corruption smelled around the planet.)
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To: driftless2

The usual deal I see is one employee for four automated machines, however. If automation doesn’t save some labor it often doesn’t make sense.


35 posted on 09/29/2013 11:26:40 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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