1. Welcome! Please take a few seconds to create your free account to post threads, make some friends, remove a few ads while surfing and much more. ClutchFans has been bringing fans together to talk Houston Sports since 1996. Join us!

I for one welcome our new Robot Overlords

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by rocketsjudoka, Feb 14, 2016.

  1. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    55,261
    Likes Received:
    43,593
    This is a spinoff from the Carrier jobs thread. While it is absolutely true that many many manufacturing jobs from the US have been lost due to outsourcing mechanization has cost many also and in the long run might be the largest threat to manufacturing jobs in general. This though hasn't been an issue since the Luddites through their shoes into machines.

    This also goes to a deeper question. While I agree that historically manufacturing jobs have provided good wages and been a path to the middle class considering all of the changes to the World does it make sense to just protect those jobs? Jobs like putting a bolt into a car chassis as it goes by on an assembly line for decades now can be done by machines. So is there a reason to just protect those jobs for the sake of keeping a human employed?

    This one area where I do think we need a revolution. NOt though in the sense that Sanders is saying of protecting manufacturing jobs from outsourcing but recognizing that many of those jobs are no longer competitive and even if protected from foreign competition will still be subject to competition from mechanization. We also need to consider from the human condition how valuable to human potential is an assembly line job? To me just putting a bolt into a chassis as it rolls by is dehumanizing even if it pays well. I think the challenge isn't protecting US manufacturing where it is or has been but changing it to a world where machines are doing most of the work.

    https://www.yahoo.com/tech/intelligent-robots-threaten-millions-jobs-074206378.html

    Intelligent robots threaten millions of jobs

    Washington (AFP) - Advances in artificial intelligence will soon lead to robots that are capable of nearly everything humans do, threatening tens of millions of jobs in the coming 30 years, experts warned Saturday.

    "We are approaching a time when machines will be able to outperform humans at almost any task," said Moshe Vardi, director of the Institute for Information Technology at Rice University in Texas.

    "I believe that society needs to confront this question before it is upon us: If machines are capable of doing almost any work humans can do, what will humans do?" he asked at a panel discussion on artificial intelligence at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    Vardi said there will always be some need for human work in the future, but robot replacements could drastically change the landscape, with no profession safe, and men and women equally affected.

    "Can the global economy adapt to greater than 50 percent unemployment?" he asked.

    - Transform manufacturing -

    Automation and robotization have already revolutionized the industrial sector over the last 40 years, raising productivity but cutting down on employment.

    Job creation in manufacturing reached its peak in the United States in 1980 and has been on the decline ever since, accompanied by stagnating wages in the middle class, said Vardi.

    Today there are more than 200,000 industrial robots in the country and their number continues to rise.

    Today, research is focused on the reasoning abilities of machines, and progress in this realm over the past 20 years has been spectacular, said Vardi.

    "And there is every reason to believe the progress in the next 25 years will be equally dramatic," he said.

    By his calculation, 10 percent of jobs related to driving in the United States could disappear due to the rise of driverless cars in the coming 25 years.

    According to Bart Selman, professor of computer science at Cornell University, "in the next two or three years, semi-autonomous or autonomous systems will march into our society."

    He listed self-driving cars and trucks, autonomous drones for surveillance and fully automatic trading systems, along with house robots and other kinds of "intelligence assistance" which make decisions on behalf of humans.

    "We will be in sort of symbiosis with those machines and we will start to trust them and work with them," he predicted.

    "This is the concern because we don't know the rate of growth of machine intelligence, how clever those machines will become."

    - Control? -

    Will the machines remain understandable for the humans? Will humans will be able to control them? Will they remain a benefit for humans, or pose harms?

    These questions and more are being raised anew due to recent advances in robotic technology that allow machines to see and hear, almost like people.

    Selman said investment in artificial intelligence in the United States was by far the highest ever in 2015, since the birth of the industry some 50 years ago.

    Business giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Tesla, run by billionaire Elon Musk, are at the head of the pack.

    Also, the Pentagon has requested 19 billion for developing intelligent weapons systems.

    What is concerning about these new technologies is their ability to analyze data and execute complex tasks.

    This raises concerns about whether humans might one day lose control of the artificial intelligence they once built, said Selman.

    It's a concern that some of the world's great minds have raised too, including British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who warned in a BBC interview in 2014 that the consequences could be dire.

    "It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate," he said.

    "Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete, and would be superseded," he added.

    "The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race."

    These questions have led scientists to call for the establishment of an ethical framework for the development of artificial intelligence, as well as safeguards for security in the years to come.

    Last year Musk -- the owner of SpaceX -- donated 10 million to resolve such concerns, deeming artificial intelligence potentially more dangerous than nuclear weapons.
     
  2. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    Messages:
    11,262
    Likes Received:
    450
    The caveat I always bring up when people talk about robots: it's infinitely easier to automate what are considered upper-middle class professions with inexpensive software than it is to automate blue-collar jobs with hardware and robots. Hardware gets expensive and doesn't have zero marginal cost, and you're going to want to control costs where they are highest.

    People who are currently doing data analysis, rote journalism, trading that's not HFT, lawyer/accountant work that involves document retrieval/classification/formulaic responses, medical specializations...are already feeling the pinch, and will be the first ones on the chopping block, not the $10/hr janitor it will take $1.5 million to replace with a robot.
     
  3. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    55,261
    Likes Received:
    43,593
    Yes that applies to other sections than just manufacturing. I use Turbo Tax and no doubt Turbo Tax has probably hurt the businesses of many CPA's.

    Anyway while yes hardware is expensive it is cheaper than hiring a person. The only cost with hardware is operating cost and you also don't have to pay benefits or offer vacation time to hardware.
     
  4. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    Messages:
    11,262
    Likes Received:
    450
    Not at this point. Designing and building a robot that could do janitorial work or any blue-collar work intelligently without any human direction/aid (in case you were thinking of an army of Roombas) would be a very expensive proposition. Designing robots for any kind of human empathy, even a weak facsimile of it, is incredibly difficult, and some would say impossible.

    I'm sure that might change, but I'd actually be worried for sectors where it is absolutely and absurdly cheaper using software over human beings for many tasks. I'm looking straight at the legal-financial-accounting love triangle that powers the economy.
     
  5. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    55,261
    Likes Received:
    43,593
    You're talking janitorial work while I'm talking manufacturing. I doubt you'd be fine with the only blue collar jobs left being janitorial work.

    Anyway an army of Roombas isn't actually that expensive.
    It will change. Even janitorial functions where the work isn't limited to just assembly line could and will be automated. The work that DARPA is doing on animal form and humaniform robots will make it possible for robots that could use a mop while also unplugging a drain as well as a human could.
     
  6. Ubiquitin

    Ubiquitin Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2001
    Messages:
    18,096
    Likes Received:
    12,645
    The biggest detriment to the automated society is the inherent inflexibility. For example:

    You own a burger restaurant that works 7 a to 7 p. Business is booming, and you employee 3 cooks and 3 cashiers at any given time. Each day costs you about $720 in labor. Let's say your sales are declining, well you can go to a smaller crew of 1 cook and 1 cashier and only pay $240 per day in labor.

    You own a burger restaurant that works 7 a to 7 p. Business is booming, and you own a robot that can do the work of 3 cooks and cashiers at any given time. Each day costs you about $720 in maintenance and repaying the loan for the machine. Sales decline again, but you cannot reduce those fixed costs as before.

    Suddenly your business is insolvent and cannot pay the bill for a $100,000 machine. But what makes maters worse is that the machine was built to your specifications, so any resale value takes a hit meaning even after you sell it you still owe on it.

    After a few cycles of this, the robot bubble goes bust. But because they're robots and not people, there will be no bailout. So I guess I am not worried about the robot economy yet.
     
  7. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Messages:
    10,344
    Likes Received:
    1,203
    Out of sight, out of mind.

    You would have to be extremely naive to think that Chinese manufactured goods are produced by robots or that Saudi oil is produced by robots. It's the same kind of bull**** thinking that preoccupied Keynes.
     
  8. Amiga

    Amiga 10 years ago...
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Messages:
    22,385
    Likes Received:
    19,189
    Dont think that is going to happen anytime soon. Productivity has boomed due to automation and higher demand on workers and that will continue for some time. That's where the return in investment is. Robot labor isn't close to ready for most businesses. Maybe selected highly specialized areas and where costs isn't a concern (military, NASA, ...).

    When machine can make itself and thus drastically reduce the cost of using them, we can talk about million of jobs lost due to them. That's still very far off. Maybe it will start in the next decade when we have low cost printers that can print any kind of materials.
     
  9. bongman

    bongman Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2002
    Messages:
    4,213
    Likes Received:
    1,411
    If it makes good financial sense to replace the labor force with robots, why not? Certainly a big blow for the labor force. We have to remember that somebody still has to manufacture and maintain these robots so that is where some of that work force would go.
     
  10. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    Messages:
    11,262
    Likes Received:
    450
    just going to point out that robots that can make anything can also make other robots
     
  11. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    Messages:
    11,262
    Likes Received:
    450
    Based on how most industries work, they would rather absorb lower variable costs than higher fixed costs. Since so many companies are holding cash, one reasonable hypothesis you can make is that they're waiting for ways to automate their workforce.

    Don't know how that'll work across all mom-and-pop shops, but most of the time you're paying out for goodwill when you acquire a franchise, and marketing support--not that far of a stretch to also pay up-front for labor.
     
  12. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    Messages:
    11,262
    Likes Received:
    450
    The work that has already been done can automate away a huge layer of upper-middle class jobs, no further research needed. I'd actually be scared s**tless for them more than I'd be scared s**tless for DARPA research (that s**t takes eons--smart dust anybody?). That doesn't mean I wouldn't be scared ****l**s for both, but people seem to always forget that robots are the future, large-scale automation of white-collar jobs is now.

    Can a Roomba pick up its own trash though? hmm.

    Inevitably, your question about manufacturing is the same you would have asked about agriculture a few centuries ago. I'm very fine with only 1% of the labor and effort growing tons more food--same thing with 1% of the labor and effort manufacturing goods--hell, instead of one-to-many manufacturing, many-to-many manufacturing will soon be the norm anyways.

    Jobs aren't a zero-sum game, and neither are people workhorses confined to specific roles. Inevitably people will have new demands and there will be new roles created thanks to the leisure time REAL increases in technological innovation drive.

    in between, there is going to be a period where basic income will probably be inevitable and the educational system will probably have to go through a complete overhaul.
     
  13. bongman

    bongman Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2002
    Messages:
    4,213
    Likes Received:
    1,411
    I am aware of that. Somebody still has to program them, maintain both the product and the plant, r&d, etc. all which still requires human intervention/logic.
     
  14. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    Messages:
    11,262
    Likes Received:
    450
    if they were smart about it, they'd only have to program it once--that's kinda the scary and cool part of programming.
     
  15. bongman

    bongman Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2002
    Messages:
    4,213
    Likes Received:
    1,411
    Hard to say at this point. You want to be able to build machines that are able to do multiple tasks and the only thing that needs to be modified are the instructions - program. Manufacturing is a dynamic process and you need to be able to change directions based on the demand and product. invitesting on specialized robot might not be worth the investment.
     
  16. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    55,261
    Likes Received:
    43,593
    I'm not saying that humans will be totally out of work but that many jobs, be it manufacturing or bookkeeping, will be lost and are already being lost. An argument that we have been hearing and is playing a role in this election is about the loss of jobs to outsourcing. There seems to be little discussion that automation is probably as much of a threat and in the long run a greater threat to jobs.
     
  17. pirc1

    pirc1 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2002
    Messages:
    13,972
    Likes Received:
    1,702
    I am just hoping i don't get to join the dinos before I retire, still 20 years left.
     
  18. bongman

    bongman Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2002
    Messages:
    4,213
    Likes Received:
    1,411
    I agree that the initial impact is loss of jobs. But historically, that labor force will be distributed to the people given some time. During the 50's, agricultural and manufacturing were 30% of the labor force. Now, it's just 1/8 while having a lower unemployment rate. We have shifted our resources to different industries.
     

Share This Page

  • About ClutchFans

    Since 1996, ClutchFans has been loud and proud covering the Houston Rockets, helping set an industry standard for team fan sites. The forums have been a home for Houston sports fans as well as basketball fanatics around the globe.

  • Support ClutchFans!

    If you find that ClutchFans is a valuable resource for you, please consider becoming a Supporting Member. Supporting Members can upload photos and attachments directly to their posts, customize their user title and more. Gold Supporters see zero ads!


    Upgrade Now