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Fri Jan 17, 2014, 10:56 AM

Robots are stealing your job: How technology threatens to wipe out the middle class

...Automation is destroying jobs, but in contrast to past history, new jobs are not being created in adequate compensation for what’s lost, (a point all too well underlined by the latest jobs report). “The Second Machine Age” reexamines this relentless march of the robots, but in the context of a technological landscape in which change is accelerating significantly faster than what could even have been imagined just a few years ago.

The emergence of Big Data, the exponential growth unleashed by decades of Moore’s Law (more and more computing power for less and less cost), and the logic of what the authors call “recombinant innovation” — the mixing and matching of our powerful new tools into a bewildering array of even newer, even more powerful tools — have replaced hype with a bewildering new reality. We’re headed somewhere new at high speed, and with no apparent ability to put on the brakes... The key economic fact is that technology can make the pie bigger, it can make the economy richer, but it doesn’t necessarily help everybody, in fact some people, even the majority of people, can be made worse off, even if the pie grows bigger.

That’s not what happened for the past 200 years, with the first machine age, but it does seem to be what’s happening now. In the second machine age we have a bigger pie but also more concentration of wealth. The median income is now lower than it was in the 1990s... http://www.salon.com/2014/01/17/robots_are_stealing_your_job_how_technology_threatens_to_wipe_out_the_middle_class/


This article really plays into the economics I have been spending time thinking about lately. What if we no longer have an economy that can be based on unit labor (i.e. automation makes work value too cheap)? The two biggest political/economic systems of the 20th Century were Capitalism and Communism... At their heart, both these systems are based on UNIT LABOR. This is also part of our problem... as a society, we simply don't know how to organize ourselves yet. No system can give us guidance. The center cannot hold...

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Reply Robots are stealing your job: How technology threatens to wipe out the middle class (Original post)
JCMach1 Jan 2014 OP
Vinnie From Indy Jan 2014 #1
DetlefK Jan 2014 #2
musiclawyer Jan 2014 #3
JCMach1 Jan 2014 #6
seabeckind Jan 2014 #4
JCMach1 Jan 2014 #5
fasttense Jan 2014 #7

Response to JCMach1 (Original post)

Fri Jan 17, 2014, 11:00 AM

1. One thing is certain...

the 1%'ers will not allow a society where there is no class system. Of that, you can be sure.

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Response to JCMach1 (Original post)

Fri Jan 17, 2014, 11:19 AM

2. It's not about jobs, it's about money.

The german sci-fi author Andreas Eschbach elaborated on a similar problem in "Herr aller Dinge" (Lord of all things): An inventor is working on super-robots that would eventually replace the whole human work-force a few decades from now.

Is it moral to take away people's work?
Is it moral to force them to do shitty jobs when robots could do it?
Should companies who don't hire humans compensate society by paying into the safety-net?

Personally, I have come to adopt Eschbach's view that people won't miss their shitty jobs. They only would miss the salary. If the state would provide them with a basic income, counter-financed by taxes on companies, they would be free to do whatever they want (pumping their state-issued income back into the economy) or to go into jobs where robots cannot be used (e.g. customer-service). Luckily, robots won't be able to take away the interesting, inspiring, funny jobs from us, like anything design-, research- and art-related.

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Response to JCMach1 (Original post)

Fri Jan 17, 2014, 11:58 AM

3. Any industrialized country not planning a citizens' wage

Is going to be de-industrialized eventually as social strife breaks down the social order and the 1% don't want to live there or sell things there ... You can't have 1/2 the population sitting at home making no money. It's unsustainable. And that's where we are headed. Paying every adult without a job 40k tax free is nothing in the big scheme of things. It all gets spent and the fabric of society remains intact

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Response to musiclawyer (Reply #3)

Fri Jan 17, 2014, 01:19 PM

6. might be part of the answer... but I think we are only just beginning to think through

this issue... this become huge by the end of the current century... expect a paradigm shift once things reach critical mass...

Our current economic system is obsolete... the only questions are what will replace it.

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Response to JCMach1 (Original post)

Fri Jan 17, 2014, 12:22 PM

4. Another bullshit distraction

It's the latest meme to justify the lack of jobs. In effect, look how much we helped you by outsourcing all thosejobs cause they are going away anyway. Someday, somehow.

Bullshit.

Robotics only works in certain instances and only in controlled environment. Invest in some f'in factories this country and then prove that there aren't any jobs and maybe I'll believe these people. In the meantime,

Where are the jobs? Today? Now? In this country?

Make some stuff here that we need. Windmills? Solar collectors? Installation of them?

High speed rail rolling stock? High speed rail corridors? Bridges? Broadband? Fiber?

Like I said. Bullshit.

I noticed the trial balloon for this bullshit a couple months ago. Probably turn over this rock and you'll find the US Chamber of Commerce (if that isn't an oxymoron).

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Response to seabeckind (Reply #4)

Fri Jan 17, 2014, 01:17 PM

5. It's not... what the author calls big data is causing huge disruptions in traditional employment

The OP also talks about how the system works... i.e. concentrates money in the hands of the technology owners more and more...

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Response to seabeckind (Reply #4)

Fri Jan 17, 2014, 04:30 PM

7. I thought I was the only one who saw this line as just another lie thrown out by the 1%

 

There is still plenty of labor going on. It's just NOT going on in plain sight. It has moved to socially devastated countries that can offer labor at pennies an hour. Or it is hidden on industrial farms and fenced-in slaughter houses and meat packing facilities. It's hidden behind mansion walls where servants, maids, cooks, nannies and assistants are treated like crap. Sometimes it's standing right next to you at the fast food joint or the box store.

There is tons of labor going on out there it's just hidden and paid like crap.

By devaluing labor, by pretending there is NO Longer any need for labor, the uber rich 1 percent can justify paying labor slave wages and treating the working person like a servant.

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