Skip to comments.Fear Not the Coming of the Robots
Posted on 06/22/2014 10:56:15 AM PDT by RoosterRedux
JUST over 50 years ago, the cover of Life magazine breathlessly declared the point of no return for everybody. Above that stark warning, a smaller headline proclaimed, Automations really here; jobs go scarce.
As events unfolded, it was Life that was nearing the point of no return the magazine suspended weekly publication in 1972. For the rest of America, jobs boomed; in the following decade, 21 million Americans were added to the employment rolls.
Throughout history, aspiring Cassandras have regularly proclaimed that new waves of technological innovation would render huge numbers of workers idle, leading to all manner of economic, social and political disruption.
As early as 1589, Queen Elizabeth I refused a patent on a knitting machine for fear it would put my poor subjects out of work.
In the 1930s, the great John Maynard Keynes predicted widespread job losses due to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour.
So far, of course, theyve all been wrong. But that has not prevented a cascade of shrill new proclamations that notwithstanding centuries of history this time is different: The technology revolution will impair the livelihoods of millions of Americans.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Either a broken clock is again correct or maybe he is catching a clue...
Here’s another one of your least favorite people on the same subject. I suggest a steel cage death match with a robot ref:
“Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates isnt going to sugarcoat things: The increasing power of automation technology is going to put a lot of people out of work. Business Insider reports that Gates gave a talk at the American Enterprise Institute think tank in Washington, DC this week and said that both governments and businesses need to start preparing for a future where lots of people will be put out of work by software and robots.
Software substitution, whether its for drivers or waiters or nurses its progressing, Gates said. Technology over time will reduce demand for jobs, particularly at the lower end of skill set 20 years from now, labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower. I dont think people have that in their mental model.
As for what governments should do to prevent social unrest in the wake of mass unemployment, the Microsoft cofounder said that they should basically get on their knees and beg businesses to keep employing humans over algorithms. This means perhaps eliminating payroll and corporate income taxes while also not raising the minimum wage so that businesses will feel comfortable employing people at dirt-cheap wages instead of outsourcing their jobs to an iPad.
This reminds me of one of my favorite stories about Milton Friedman. He was once taken to see a massive government project somewhere in Asia (India, I believe). Thousands of workers were using shovels to build a canal. Friedman was puzzled. Why weren’t there any excavators or any mechanized earth-moving equipment? A government official explained that using shovels created more jobs. Friedman’s response: “Then why not use spoons?
Bill "The Gorilla" Gates versus Steve "Ratman" Rattner
Fight to the Finish, San Jose Civic Auditorium!
The writer of Ecclesiastes might not have been precisely correct. These machines really are something new under the sun.
The problem is the curve. Technology is a force multiplier, it has moved us from bare subsistence to comfort. But the next wave (which includes not just automation but 3D printers) is going to move us to a point of not actually needing all these people to provide for all these people. Then comes question time, how do we as a society want to handle the fact that we can now provide comfortable living conditions for all with only half (or even less) actually working in a way that contributes to that provided comfort? It’s not something to fear, it’s something to understand and prepare for. In the long run it’s not a bad thing, it means most of society will get to work on art or science or other “luxury” items instead of the grind of factory, agriculture, or delivery. It’s an improvement to the standard of living, but it’s a fundamental change in our relationship to the consumption cycle.
Dollars spent per unit produced is most likely unchanged if indexed for inflation. What's gone though are the pension and labor dispute or collective bargaining of unions. Automation still has high costs, but they are captured and capped five years out max.
Pay Rockwell, Siemens, ABB, and General Electric, instead of unions.
In that past, the life cycle of a job was often at least long enough that a person's career might coincide with its birth and death. In the near future (if not now), people will be in a constant state of education for new jobs and specialties as old ones die and new ones are created.
I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords
I have to agree. I spent almost 35 years in a Tier I automotive stamping plant and the evolution of the production processes replacing production workers with robotics over those years could be viewed as nothing short of miraculous and a testament to knowledge, engineering and imagination.
Anybody who has never been inside such a plant or one of the big 3 auto assembly plants should take a tour if they are available........
I recently read an article of an old lady who celebrated her 115th birthday and I am in awe of what she has personally witnessed in her lifetime. From a horse and buggy being the primary transportation when she was a child to the wonderous technology we have available today......
How are people trained for such jobs? And what the hell is a Kinetix drive?;-)
In time somebody will get a hold of the key and just send them out on killing missions. At that point, even atheists will begin to hope there’s a God who cares about his Creation.
Automation is not taking away EVERYONE'S job. It is taking away the lowest skilled jobs. And it IS decimating them at an alarming rate.
At the same time, the welfare system has turned kids into profit centers. Hey welfare mother - want a raise? Have another kid. Thanks to this idiots’ boss and people like him, we are encouraging the segment of the population that is being hit the hardest by automation, to have the most kids. And they are.
Welfare expenses in this country today are bigger than Social Security and the Military combined, and bigger than Medicare and the Military combined - and well on their way to being bigger than all three combined.
Right now, there are about 25 million lazy cancers that could go to work if there were someone with the testicles in DC to make them do so. In another decade, there actually won't be any jobs for them even if somehow they decided to get off their lazy asses and go to work.
I'm not saying we should slow automation, but everyone needs to realize we ARE in a head-on collision with reality mode at this time.
I remember taking a tour of a GM plant in the early 1960s in Fremont California. I think they were making Chevy's or Buicks. Amazing seeing all the manual labor of people swarming on production lines, guys slapping on parts, putting hot lead on seams and smoothing it out. That's all gone now, robots doing it all. Part of that site was rebuilt as a Tesla plant, automated.
This time really is different. Inexpensive digital sensors, brains, and brawn now exceed many human capabilities. For a small but growing percentage of the population there is little they are capable of that can't be done faster, cheaper, and better by machines. As that percentage grows, here comes cradle to grave socialism to take care of our human pet population.
An even bigger problem happens when computers are smarter than most of us. Only one resource competitor can be at the top. If robots need more energy, they will outsmart us. The one hope is that computers will advance themselves so fast that humans will be resource competitors for only a short time.
...or we will be cutting the lawns of our robot overlords ;)
Such drives also are programmed with safe-off features. That being a hand reaches in, a door opens, temperaature is exceeded, product jams in movement, etc.....Now all that is integrated with a prorammable logic controller processor which operates at very-very high speeds. Things like time to hold something to weld, glue, twist, fold, insert into a case folded open by another multiaxis controller, glue shut, wrap, and convey to a palletizing multiaxis controller are what goes on.
During this time, shop floor real time data is reported to proficy or some other sort of shop floor data collection database. The machine cycles, raw materials in, finished goods out, trouble events and # of times they took place, the amount of down and reset times, etc....Then those items are automatically consumed from inventories for the purposes of real time raw material reordering.
It's all really sweet when old school brains step back and let things go the way they should. Problems reall happen when manager A wants his run of widgets to run on tuesday, but the system cannot be reprogrammed and all the raw materials be in place by then. As a result they try to force the system and productivity goes right down the $hitter. Your prerequisites must all be met before an order becomes work in process.
3D printing for the masses is in its infancy, about where personal computers were in the late 1970s. It's going to be a really big deal in the next few years as it displaces workers. I have one. I just made replacement parts for my planter boxes that had rotted, parts for a friends custom towel holder and tool components. Formerly, I could not easily make them by hand in my workshop. These robots are going to be everywhere in a few years cranking out products that people used to make by hand. You're right, the next wave is upon us.
Get enough robots to do the work of unskilled humans (and maybe skilled ones too) and the culling of humanity can take our numbers down to 500,000,000.
Isn’t that what the eco-kooks and other hard core progressives want?
More likely, our inventions in technology will likely kill us once there is an intelligence explosion in AI (AGI --> ASI). If you have the time, read Our Final Invention
It's a chilling read into what could very well come to pass.
BTW, the most disturbing thing in the book is the far reaching look at an ASI that has access to nanotechnology in the next century or so. We might become sacks of atoms for the ASI to re-assemble for its energy needs.
All anybody needs to look at is how MP3s and streaming have hit physical media sales. Same thing is just revving up with those small Ace Hardware type odds and ends with the printers. When 3D printers can make clothes reality will change very dramatically. Most of the retail world will just end then, no longer necessary.
The word "great" being a relative thing in the case of Keynes. This is reason number 1,000,000,000,000 why Keynes was an idiot.
I work for a manufacturing company in central PA. We are not highly automated at least not in terms of using robotics. But we have trouble finding qualified machine operators and especially lathe operators and we pay very well, offer excellent benefits and are non-union.
Thx much for that description.
After all you experienced, you remain an optimist. Only one reason I am an optimist, I believe in Jesus Christ and God’s sovereignty. “In Him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28
Automation has to be designed, built, repaired, programmed etc. Lotta’ jobs there.
Yep. That’s what folks forget. Much work to do.
Short form: They are not being trained. The U.S. education system is broken and at the mercy of “educators” and unions like the AFT and NEA. Americans, born and raised here, are being victimized by an education system that produces an unusable product.
The answer is NOT to import tons of illiterate third world peasants (and their kids) to provide slave labor for U.S. corporations. The Big Business, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and WSJ solution of increasing third world immigration makes things exponentially worse and not better.
My advice would be for a person wanting such a job to first obtain an electrician's journeyman's license. Next take a bunch of Rockwell software courses at a local distributor. They will only do this for employees of their established accounts, so that means just taking a journeyman's job as a light fixture dope, motor changer, etc....
A person who is proven efficient at E&I (Electronics and Instrumentation makes about $30 to $45 per hour. With overtime and weekend phone coverage, if you're not pulling in $120K per year you're an idiot. All that with a high school education.
Very few engineers will be visible when it's time to prove their work. That's when the E& I guys start debugging and fixing it to make it run.
Hope that helps.
Once the rack was filled, the hi-lo drive would take it over to the assembly area where two guys would then load the stamped out panel into the first of the final assembly process.
In the first scenario, today, two guys would load the steel sheet into the draw die and the robotics would take care of the rest. A robotic arm taking the panel out of the draw die and inserting it into the stamping press, etc, etc........And two guys at the end of the line taking the part and loading it into the rack........
This example is over simplified in a stamping plant and doesn't even come close to what goes on in the auto assembly plants........
We have a great little tech school in my town and not only is it filled to the brim with happy students, it's grads are doing great (and making good money) in all the stuff college students don't want to do.
And the college grads have massive debt with little job opportunity. Of course there isn't much calling for degrees in gender studies, African American history, medieval music and literature, etc.;-)
Tech colleges seem to be doing a good job where the U.S. education system is falling down.
The problem is not everyone is able to do the high tech jobs and never will be. Blacks and poor whites in the south used to work the fields every Spring, Summer and Fall. I was one of them. It’s what we depended on.
Over the years farming has become more mechanized and computerized. Now a machine can pick 16 rows of cotton at one time. And a lot faster than 16 people. With chemicals there are no weeds to chop. Over time those people started getting government checks and that’s what they depend on.
Some were capable of learning to do other jobs. Many moved to the factories. Now those jobs are gone. But the checks just keep coming.
This is a good thing. I applaud those students that have chosen this route. I wonder if the vocational-tech schools have to do a lot of remedial education before they start training these kids? Current four year schools are running six to 18 months to get just graduated high school kids to the level where they can do college level work.
I have wondered the same thing.
Then I would always have something to fall back on it times get rough.
Hmmn, I hadn't thought of that. That is a logical progression. There are lots of new filament materials being sold for 3D printers. I'm in the process of ordering some Taulman 645 nylon filament to experiment with. Can be dyed any color, super strong durable stuff. With the right design parameters clothing sections can be printed. Future enhancements to 3D printers will incorporate the ability to bond these pieces together as clothing. That's just nylon; other materials to come. Lots of seamstresses will be upset!
That’s a good summary of the problem. Plus the demand for art, science and luxury items probably won’t keep pace with the labor dislocations in the short run. So you need increased safety nets.
Huh? I thought I was replying to a news thread rather than the Religion thread..........
With that being said, good for you and Jesus........
For the educated and quality skilled of which it can be argued that there is certainly a shortage of.
But after all is said and done, if everyone were educated and skilled, who would do the job you'd hate most in doing such as cleaing urinals and waiting on tables?
Sorry I offended you.
Actually you didn't, you just picked the wrong forum to inject your religious beliefs...
You have carte blanche to whatever you wish to preach over on the RELIGION forum and I will decline from making any comments regarding such in respect for the nature of that forum..........
That's all I'm gonna say about this......
I remember the president of a small aerospace firm calling Rush about trying to hire the local high school grads. He was willing to pay them a good starting wage and to train them, but these graduates’ skill sets of reading, writing, simple math, and communications were so poor he couldn’t use them unless he did a lot of remedial training to boot. Not surprising, the local high school grads were NOT interested in working for a living doing “factory work”. Most of his hires were from outside the local labor pool.
“But after all is said and done, if everyone were educated and skilled, who would do the job you’d hate most in doing such as cleaing urinals and waiting on tables?”
The same people who have always done these things in America: The unambitious, the young, the old and ‘retired’ and those of not high intellect. If there is a shortage of these then they’ll have to pay others more money.