Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

More Jobs Predicted for Machines, Not People

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » General Discussion Donate to DU
 
alp227 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-23-11 11:41 PM
Original message
More Jobs Predicted for Machines, Not People
Source: NY Times

A faltering economy explains much of the job shortage in America, but advancing technology has sharply magnified the effect, more so than is generally understood, according to two researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The automation of more and more work once done by humans is the central theme of Race Against the Machine, an e-book to be published on Monday.

Many workers, in short, are losing the race against the machine, the authors write.

Erik Brynjolfsson, an economist and director of the M.I.T. Center for Digital Business, and Andrew P. McAfee, associate director and principal research scientist at the center, are two of the nations leading experts on technology and productivity. The tone of alarm in their book is a departure for the pair, whose previous research has focused mainly on the benefits of advancing technology.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/24/technology/economists-see-more-jobs-for-machines-not-people.html
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-23-11 11:47 PM
Response to Original message
1. Robot repairmen will be in demand, soon? nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 09:27 AM
Response to Reply #1
10. The real productivity comes in automating service businesses
or the service and adminstrative parts of manufacturing businesses.

For example, you can now deposit a check by taking a picture of the check and sending it to your bank with your cellphone.

No driving to the branch, no teller, no courier, no check encoder, no check sorter operator, no check transportation pilots and mechanics, no statement inserter operators, no mailman delivering the canceled check.

Changes in check operations have probably taken around 100,000 jobs out of the banking system.

No robots used either.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
elleng Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-23-11 11:56 PM
Response to Original message
2. 'Progress'
'The Luddites were a social movement of 19th-century English textile artisans who protested often by destroying mechanised looms against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, which they felt were leaving them without work and changing their way of life. The movement was named after General Ned Ludd or King Ludd, a mythical figure who, like Robin Hood, was reputed to live in Sherwood Forest.<1> . .

The movement emerged in the harsh economic climate of the Napoleonic Wars and difficult working conditions in the new textile factories. The principal objection of the Luddites was to the introduction of new wide-framed automated looms that could be operated by cheap, relatively unskilled labour, resulting in the loss of jobs for many skilled textile workers. The movement began in Nottingham in 1811 and spread rapidly throughout England in 1811 and 1812. Mills and pieces of factory machinery were burned by handloom weavers, and for a short time Luddites were so strong that they clashed in battles with the British Army. Many wool and cotton mills were destroyed until the British government suppressed the movement. . .

The Luddites met at night on the moors surrounding the industrial towns, practising drills and manoeuvres, and often enjoyed local support. The main areas of the disturbances were Nottinghamshire in November 1811, followed by the West Riding of Yorkshire in early 1812 and Lancashire from March 1813. Battles between Luddites and the military occurred at Burton's Mill in Middleton, and at Westhoughton Mill, both in Lancashire. It was rumoured at the time that agents provocateurs employed by the magistrates were involved in provoking the attacks. Magistrates and food merchants were also objects of death threats and attacks by the anonymous King Ludd and his supporters. Some industrialists even had secret chambers constructed in their buildings, which may have been used as hiding places.<2>'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite



Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-23-11 11:58 PM
Response to Original message
3. Maybe we will all eventually be reincarnated as machines. nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 12:00 AM
Response to Original message
4. "The automation of more and more work once done by humans is the central theme of ... an e-book"
:rofl:

Interesting article. That part just struck me funneh

K&R
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
elleng Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 12:07 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Same here, funneh.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
napoleon_in_rags Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 01:14 AM
Response to Original message
6. Thank you authors for addressing one of the FUNDAMENTAL issues of our time.
Edited on Mon Oct-24-11 01:15 AM by napoleon_in_rags
The dangerous cocktail right now is machines + competition. In a some years the company that relies on humans can't compete with the machine run one, so they automate. So in a more years, to get the edge, company 1 starts using AI more and more for making decisions. Company B follows suit. As the AI advances, the winning strategy in all cases is to relinquish more and more control to the AI for making strategic decisions. People think this is scifi stuff, but so long as winning is priority one, eventually all the losers are going to have to be thrown to the curb: the humans...And that's when we can see who the real gods of business, the real gods of war are.

We've got to get to a point where JUST ONCE people can sit down at a global level and decide not to let the genie out of the bottle...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ErikJ Donating Member (480 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 01:29 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Terminator movie
I keep thinking Terminator someday. It is the ultimate end-game of corporatism. Cheaper labor is the ultimate goal and ultimately means machines. But who will be the consumers when all the humans are subdued?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
napoleon_in_rags Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. Exactly. This thing could morph into something beyond any one's control.
People can talk about "survival of the fittest" all they want, but what happens when the fittest isn't a human at all? That's when the logic of chilling out at some point becomes pretty apparent. We shouldn't put winning above our own humanity.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
HysteryDiagnosis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 05:52 AM
Response to Original message
8. The factory of the future will have two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there
to watch the switch. The dog will be there to make sure he doesn't touch it.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 09:30 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. Just one employee, the CEO
He'll have a display with a green light, a red light, and a button.

When something goes wrong, the red light comes on.

The CEO presses the button.

The red light goes out, and the green light comes on again.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. I thought you were going to say "The dog is there to guard the factory against theft. The man is
there to feed the dog!"
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 07:22 AM
Response to Original message
9. Technology is making Capitalism obsolete.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
WCGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 12:16 PM
Response to Original message
13. Yea, but the machines can't buy and use the stuff they are making...
That's the problem.

There ultimately have to be customers somewhere in the mix who have money to spend.

You can have all the robots you want but if there ain't anyone working, who is going to consumer stuff...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Spike89 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 01:34 PM
Response to Original message
14. Dystopia is not the only option
The industrial revolution was a huge upheaval and it had numerous critics (Luddites). Without doubt it did not bring about utopia, but it arguably did eventually raise the standard of living for millions and has had a profound effect on social progress that we barely can understand today. It isn't a surprise that in agrarian, non-industrialized societies where survival often depends on brute human-powered muscle, gender disparities are most apparent.

Plenty of futurists see the approaching "black box" industrial base. For most (if not all) commodity factory products, there won't need to be significant human labor. A few programmers, perhaps some maintenance. So-called management will also be sparse. Basically, raw materials will be gathered, shipped, processed, sent to the appropriate factory, made into finished products, then delivered, with almost no physical human effort involved.

Of course this is going to change the economics more than even the industrial revolution did. There are some core needs that humans have that can provide insight into what these displaced humans will do with their time. Humans need food, water, healthcare, and shelter. Each of those is actually a system and although machines can and will continue to play a role in the four needs listed, there are plenty of jobs in these areas that require humans.

Beyond the needs, there are the things that most people say "make life worth living". These aren't the same things for everyone. If there were "free food spigots" on every corner providing perfectly nutritious paste (heck, even delicious paste) many people would still want, at least occasionally, alternate foods such as treats, gourmet items, or just food you pay for. Some people enjoy the art (and business) of cooking. So, food becomes automated, dirt-cheap, and restaurants explode as a creative/service industry.

The thing is, the economy we know is actually very recent, the industrilization of even the first world countries really didn't become an accomplished feat until the middle of the 20th century. The new age (lets call it the "labor-free" age) is going to be much heavier in the arts, service, and customization areas. Far from a dystopia, in this age everyone will have what they need and most people will "work" at what we call hobbies and those that do the few remaining "labor" or professional jobs will need to work much less and be valued more highly.

The reality is that some bad social trends as well as some wonderful things are likely to arise from the end of need. Obviously capitalism kind of withers on the vine--custom work is not what it does well and there will no longer be much profit in mass production.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Mon Jan 24th 2022, 02:54 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » General Discussion Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC