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AI

With AI Getting Better at Cognitive Abilities, Humans Will Have Even Fewer Jobs (koreaherald.com) 311

An anonymous reader writes: It is no secret that machines have come to largely replace physical labor, and computers surpass human beings in processing data. But in the future, the development of artificial intelligence may render humans obsolete even in the realm of emotional intelligence (warning: annoying popup adverts), according to Yuval Harari, a renowned professor of history. Harari said:AI today is able to diagnose your personality and emotional state by looking at your face and recognizing tiny muscle movements. It can tell whether you are tired, excited, angry, joyful, in love ... it can tell these things even though AI itself doesn't feel anger or love. In the future, therefore, AI could drive humans out of the job market and make many humans completely useless, from an economic perspective in areas where human interaction was previously considered crucial. Humans only have two basic abilities -- physical and cognitive. When machines replaced us in physical abilities, we moved on to jobs that require cognitive abilities. ... If AI becomes better than us in that, there is no third field humans can move to.
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With AI Getting Better at Cognitive Abilities, Humans Will Have Even Fewer Jobs

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  • Third field (Score:5, Funny)

    by irrational_design ( 1895848 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @11:53AM (#52028775)

    What about acting as organic batteries for the machines?

    • skynet will just nuke us all long before that. Unless joshua does it first.

    • Or perhaps ... we could be their pets? [theguardian.com]

      • Re:Fourth field (Score:4, Interesting)

        by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @12:20PM (#52029013)
        Might not be much of a change for some people. We're already moving towards a society where a lot of people will be displaced from their jobs and due to the highly specialized nature of their work as well as a decrease in menial labor, it may not be possible for them to do much of anything for a while. For some people we've already reached that point.

        The only positive side is that the automation is more efficient so even as we do replace someone, we theoretically have the resources for them to keep living without doing any additional work, but the reality is it never works out like that.
      • You mean like people who believe in religions?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Szeraax ( 1117903 )

      As I understand it, this was not originally written into the matrix and was tacked on by some PHB. I have read previously that they needed the human brain power in order to create and manage the entire world. (too much processing to be done or somesuch). Obviously not a big deal in life, but just an alternative thought.

    • I was going to suggest that the third category of work is actually smashing robots that have taken over the first two categories, but I suppose that falls into the 'post battery stage' of development.
    • Any AI worth its salt would realize that's not realistic.

      On the other hand, any AI worth its salt would not have rejected that script merely because of its scientific absurdity.

      A good AI might have tossed out the sequels, however.

  • Still a job for us (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @11:56AM (#52028795) Journal

    Since the computer cannot feel, we humans will still have a job as test dummies to be subjected to whatever the AI comes up with in order to record whether we feel it to be pleasant or not.

    Now, please look into the camera and experience Musical Composition #0x382F493 for 48.732 minutes.

  • >> When machines replaced us in physical abilities, we moved on to jobs that require cognitive abilities.

    Tell that to my plumber. My mechanic. The mason who just fixed my chimneys. The guy who mopped out the urinals this morning. Etc.
    • by jcr ( 53032 ) <<jcr> <at> <mac.com>> on Monday May 02, 2016 @12:07PM (#52028887) Journal

      If you believe that plumbing doesn't require cognitive abilities, you're a fucking ignoramus.

      -jcr

      • If you believe that plumbing doesn't require physical abilities, you've probably been dup'ed multiple times in your homeownership. :)
      • My dad used to say you only need to know 3 things to be a plumber:

        1) Shit flows downhill.

        2) Payday comes on Friday.

        3) Don't bite your fingernails!

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      Most of those require cognitive functions. The guy who swabbed the urinals is still working because he's slightly cheaper than a self cleaning cyberloo, so far.

    • by khasim ( 1285 )

      I agree. Machines are good at tasks which have repeatable actions in a defined space.

      Your plumber still needs to know a LOT about plumbing (or you end up with a lot of water leaking). But machines are not good at working in the varied spaces that existing plumbing exists in.

      In order for a machine to replace a plumber, the machine would have to be able to learn the work area, interact with the customer to determine his/her goals AND be able to manoeuvre in the work area.

      And THAT is the problem with these "pr

      • I hired a plumber last month to hook up a washing machine. It uses garden hose connectors and could be done by a ten year old - except in my case I could not get the old hose off without extensive force (putting me feet against the wall and pulling with both hands. And if something was going to break (pipes in the wall were banging against each other as I tried to get the old connectors off) and potentially flood the house, I did not want to be the one who did it.
    • by Moof123 ( 1292134 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @12:29PM (#52029115)

      The point is that you used to have manufacturing towns where the main employer was a factory, and people did most of the work. Many even got a good middle class living out of it. Now you have just a few people watching and maintaining the machines that replaced the vast hordes. A while back on a How It's Made they showed a Peter Pan Peanut Butter factory that churned out 50,000 lbs of peanut butter a day using only 8 employees. Arguably the "old" way had a lot of repetitive mundane jobs that are better off done by a machine no matter how you slice it.

      So yes, you still have plumbers, and probably always will. But you still only need one plumber for every few hundred houses. So you can't rely on the profession of plumbing to absorb blue collar employees cast off by automation.

      The real problem seems to be that cost savings (numerous types, including automation) by businesses have squeezed the money out of salaries to the point that the large number of the jobs people get no longer pay a living wage. I feel the real crisis is that without enough good paying jobs we will have a scenario where the rich factory owners (who are all but tax exempt) will be collecting money without a sufficient conduit to recycle it back through the economy. We are perilously close to this deflationary spiral in my observations.

      • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday May 02, 2016 @12:48PM (#52029273)

        We need plumbers TODAY because the places we have plumbing were not designed to be serviced by robots.

        In your peanut butter example, I'm sure they didn't just replace each human worker with a robot doing an identical task.

        They probably re-built the facility so that the machines could handle the job in a way best suited to the machines.

        The real issue won't be the magical A.I.s taking all our jobs. It will be when the INFRASTRUCTURE starts to be re-built so that machines can service it.

        • That is the trick most don't realize

          50 years ago the factory jobs were good and there was a middle class. 20 years ago most factory jobs went to China as manufacturing was cheap and so was shipping. Shipping and manufacturing us gone up, so factories are coming back but not the jobs as robots can work 24 hours a day, businesses can suspend manufacturing for weeks at a time and not lay off any workers, etc. when designing a new factory you set the Max output at two-three times the predicted volume. That wa

      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        We are perilously close to this deflationary spiral in my observations.

        which is how the economy corrects. Basically prices will have to start falling and continue falling until people can afford to buy back into the game with their existing capital.

  • Many already are (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2016 @11:59AM (#52028815)

    "AI could drive humans out of the job market and make many humans completely useless" - no shit, MANY humans are already completely useless. They exist solely to drive like shit every morning, work at some non-productive ego-fueled job with a corporate leech, and then drive like rocket-powered-flaming-bullshit to get home and wreck their kids' brains with their "parenting". AI can't possibly make these people worse.

  • Not this again! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @12:01PM (#52028835)
    Just because I can't think of something, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I, for one, look forward to the incredible prosperity and freedom possible by using these technologies. And we will think of plenty of new things for these "useless" humans to do.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And we will think of plenty of new things for these "useless" humans to do.

      There already is.

      The trouble is that their activities aren't considered valuable under our economic system.

      We live in a consumer based economic system and unless you can find a fit in this system, you're a misfit. You're working in a dead end, part time, low paying service job - even though you might be a brilliant artist and would be great after you die.

      Although we value ancient novelists and writers and artists, when they were alive, most were dirt poor - yet their works go for millions after they are d

    • Re:Not this again! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @12:35PM (#52029165) Homepage Journal

      I don't. Not in American society, anyway.

      We've increased our productivity levels exponentially since the 1970s, but very little of that benefit went to people below the top 10%. The common person is working more hours and being more productive than ever before, and even so he/she is more of a wage slave than any time in modern era.

      Unless some of the basic tenets of US society change the benefits of even MORE per-person productivity are just going to keep accruing at the top. That sounds hopeless, but it is possible. Our corporate worshipping culture as we know it today only started to form in the mid-1970s.

      • very little of that ...

        It's there if you want it. If you don't, then don't complain.

      • little of that benefit went to people below the top 10%.

        Yeah, tell them. We got no benefits for any of it. So many products are better, stronger, faster, cheaper, safer, but we didn't benefit at all! /sarcasm

        The problem is that you have FAILED to see the benefits everyone is reaping, because they benefit everyone equally. My guess, is that you have NO real skill or talent and expect to rewarded for participating, having put in no effort to break out of mediocrity. So, instead you drink the Kool-Aide of Bernie and whine about how all of this is unfair.

        As I told m

  • Could likely do better than they do now.

  • *sigh* (Score:3, Insightful)

    by creimer ( 824291 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @12:05PM (#52028869) Homepage
    Yet another fear-inducing, hysteria-producing Slashdot article about how AIs/robots/H1Bs/women will replace our jobs. I'll believe it when I see it.
    • Re:*sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @12:13PM (#52028947) Homepage Journal

      I'll believe it when I see it.

      But nobody will care because you'll just be a crazy homeless guy.

    • I'll believe it when I see it.

      I imagine the same was said about:
      Steam Locomotives
      Photography
      Electric Lights
      Telephones
      Human Flight
      Anti-Biotics
      Television
      Nuclear Power/Weapons
      The Transistor
      Personal Computers
      The Internet
      etc;

      • by creimer ( 824291 )

        I imagine the same was said about:

        Most of the technologies you have listed have lasted for a hundred years before being fundamentally altered or transformed by newer technologies. Nuclear/power/weapons, transistor, personal computers, and the Internet are less than 70 years old. But these articles that talk about jobs being replaced by AIs and Robots are misleading as those technologies are years away from being day-to-day reality. If an AI does replace my job, I'll be ready to change to a different job. Something most people aren't prepare

        • But these articles that talk about jobs being replaced by AIs and Robots are misleading as those technologies are years away from being day-to-day reality. If an AI does replace my job, I'll be ready to change to a different job.

          I see it as more of a gradual thing. My favorite example of this involves 'trash collectors' - which used to be the archetypal job that humans that would forever provide employment for the unskilled. Not so: many trash trucks today are manned by a single skilled driver who operates a (fairly dumb) trash-truck robot that picks up the (now standardized) trash cans. So, instead have having one skilled driver and one or two unskilled trash guys, we now have just the skilled driver. And it isn't hard to foresee

          • Re:*sigh* (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Sir_Eptishous ( 873977 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @02:29PM (#52030043) Homepage
            I have a good friend who is a teamster.
            He drives the same basic locations everyday, because he knows the routes.
            Even he knows "the gig is up" once self driving tech becomes commonplace.

            Once something like that is outsourced to a semi-automated process(pun intended) many people will be put out of work.
            No, it won't happen overnight(and I think people have this image of it doing that) but once it gets going, whether it is in fast food, driving, taxis, farm labor, aircraft pilots, sports writers, para-legals, financial advisors, etc, etc, there will no turning back. It will be a generation(25 years) for this to happen once it really gets going.
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      hysteria-producing Slashdot article about how AIs/robots/H1Bs/women will replace our jobs. I'll believe it when I see it.

      Hey, you just described one of my top p0rn fantasies!

      Seriously, though, the middle class has been stagnant while the 1% growing in proportion approximately starting around the time offshoring and automation really took off. Coincidence?

      • by creimer ( 824291 )

        Seriously, though, the middle class has been stagnant while the 1% growing in proportion approximately starting around the time offshoring and automation really took off. Coincidence?

        Federal trade policies over the last 40+ years has contributed to decrease of the middle class and the increase of the 1%. If the US had a US-first policy like Germany has a German-first policy, the offshoring wouldn't haven't happened to eliminate middle-class jobs and destroy manufacturing capacity. Automation will still happen to shift workers to other jobs.

  • Utter tripe. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <<jcr> <at> <mac.com>> on Monday May 02, 2016 @12:05PM (#52028871) Journal

    At the turn of the century, 1900, 80% of Americans worked on farms. Today, it's about 4%. The mechanization of agriculture didn't result in 76% unemployment, it freed people to do other work. The availability of labor that was previously tied up in farming allowed incredible increases in productivity and our standard of living in the 20th century.

    -jcr

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      That's because farm workers were already voluntarily moving to better paying work in factories. The mechanization of farming was in response to a shrinking labor pool at that time.

      • by sinij ( 911942 )
        As manual farm labor was squeezed by gained efficiency of mechanized farming, the alternative employment at factories became the only alternative and resulted in a drastic loss of quality of life. These were the days of 12 hour work days, no work safety, and living in the slums and/or company towns. So the history is telling us that it won't going end well for current generation and will take many generations to find new equilibrium.
        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          Many did end up that way after the initial excitement. But even then they had better than the McJobs waiting for so many today. It will be much worse than it was for agricultural workers. Think Hooverville.

          But the Capitalists had best think long and hard here, that time was the closest the U.S. ever came to a socialist revolution. Appeasement from FDR followed by WWII and then growing prosperity for the masses headed it off, but now the idiots have forgotten their lesson.

          The feeding machine from Modern Time

      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        The mechanization of farming was in response to a shrinking labor pool at that time

        That simply isn't true. In the late 18th Century people like Washington and Jefferson with large plantations were experimenting with ever more mechanized mills, and mechanical threshing machines. They had SLAVE labor available to them! They were automating because even workers you did not have pay were not as economically efficient as automation promised to be, and well before a competitive labor market existed at that.

    • Re:Utter tripe. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sinij ( 911942 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @12:16PM (#52028967)

      The mechanization of agriculture didn't result in 76% unemployment, it freed people to do other work.

      You need to study history, because not only it did result in high unemployment for a generation or so, the transition itself was much more gradual. Other work might not arrive in time to save all the displaced workers from poverty.

    • Re:Utter tripe. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday May 02, 2016 @12:38PM (#52029185) Homepage

      This is a good point, but I also wonder if there will always be another industry for workers to go into. In your example, people left the farm to work in factories. More recently, factories became more automated, and now a lot of people work in the service industry. There's been talk about automating some of that (e.g. self-driving trucks, drones for deliveries, completely automated fast-food restaurants), so people with those jobs will have to look elsewhere. Maybe there will be a new industry for them to move into, and maybe another after that....

      But after a while, couldn't you eventually run out of jobs that need doing? I'm sure there will always be some jobs that need to be done, but the number of jobs that can't be done better by automated equipment might shrink quite a bit in the next few decades, or the next could of centuries. Most likely, it will hit the jobs that are mostly automated already, which tend to be low-skill and low-education, so those are the groups that will generally be hit hardest and fastest. However, I'm sure there are some high-education high-paying jobs out there that an AI could take on, and some very skilled and highly educated people may also find themselves suddenly out of a job.

      So I think there's still a question: As we make jobs obsolete through technology, what do we do with the people who lose their jobs? In the short-term, I think it would make sense to focus on have cheap/free job training to allow them to move to other jobs and other industries. In the longer-term, we may want to consider how to distribute resources in a world where there are far more people than there are jobs.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      True, but historical patterns are not necessarily absolute "laws". A pattern that may last 200 years may not last 500, especially since the level of technology is vastly higher than in the past.

      Back then, we could usually see where the new jobs were as agriculture jobs declined. I don't see the equivalent today. The number of people needed to manage the automation is a much smaller proportion than the people required without the automation.

      Plus, a lot of technical management can be outsourced to low-wage co

    • Re:Utter tripe. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MrSteveSD ( 801820 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @03:11PM (#52030401)

      The mechanization of agriculture didn't result in 76% unemployment

      It did for the horses. We are the horses now.

  • Typical. AIs that ignore emotions and have none could replace C-Level management.

    There's a lot of saving potential there, but we won't see that happen, I'm afraid.

    • >Typical. AIs that ignore emotions and have none could replace C-Level management.

      Nothing replaces management. They've managed to make themselves the "geniuses" of the Corporate age.

      • The average magic-8-ball is as efficient as the average CEO when it comes to making business decisions. The only thing the latter has over the former is probably the relevant connections to other CEOs and politicians.

  • Moralizing politicians will reserve their role of calling everyone that can't find an increasingly rare living-wage job, a no-good bum.
  • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @12:09PM (#52028919)

    Even fewer jobs than what? We are near an all time high in terms of jobs, both globally and in the US. There was a temporary dip during the recession, but we have mostly recovered from that.

    The limit on how many people work isn't job availability (that's pretty much inexhaustible and infinite), but availability of people willing to do the jobs.

    • by creimer ( 824291 )
      Baby boomers are retiring and the workforce is shrinking over the next 20 years. Healthcare is likely to be the money major that young people take in college, leaving many fields with fewer and fewer workers. Plenty of jobs, not enough people.
      • >> Baby boomers are retiring...Healthcare is likely to be the money major

        If the ACA ever really kicks in with the "affordable" bit, a lot of the cost will be reducing the cost of expensive end-of-life care (and hopefully reducing the need for new healthcare employees). Reducing "needless" surgeries/treatments/medications and having more frequent and informative "do you still want to live when you're starting do to go, 'cause if you don't we can make it faster/less-painful/less-expensive" discussions
        • by creimer ( 824291 )

          What does the ACA have to do with anything? With ~76M retired baby boomers in 2030, it'll take a lot of young people in healthcare to support these geezers from retirement to grave. Since retirees will outnumber working people, healthcare jobs will pay better than other jobs to attract more workers. Everyone will need extra income to pay for taxes as Social Security and Medicare will consume two-thirds of the federal budget.

        • Medical technology has been advancing rapidly - but so has the cost of using the latest and most capable technologies. People live longer than ever, but the older they get the more it costs to keep them going.

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      We have not recovered. We just don't count people who gave up. Many of the new jobs are nowhere near as good as the ones that were lost. It represents a substantial drop in standard of living.

      It is an improvement from a couple years ago, but not a recovery.

      • We have not recovered. We just don't count people who gave up.

        I wasn't talking about unemployment rates, I was talking about total number of people working. We are pretty much back at pre-recession levels in terms of absolute employment numbers. (Labor force participation rates are down somewhat, but that's mostly due to retirement.)

        Many of the new jobs are nowhere near as good as the ones that were lost.

        TFA claimed that there were going to be "even fewer jobs", as if automation and technology destroyed job

  • There are plenty of fields where humans can move into beyond basic cognitive abilities. Obviously everything that is repetitive can be automated and AI has some purpose there. However there is much in human cognition that we don't yet understand ourselves, so it's impossible to program it into an AI. Programming AI's or any advanced logic, mathematics and deductive reasoning etc. will continue to be part of the human condition. Also, anytime it's too expensive to build a machine to do a human's job, we will

    • The problem is that we will always have the 50% that is on the low side of the median line. We will always have people whose strong point is NOT their brain.

      People don't ask to be born, and when they are born they should have the ability to have a decent life. They need something productive to do. When repetitive and low-skill jobs are all gone we have to find some way for these people to live. Our current strategy is pretty much call them lazy or make them political outcasts in an attempt to make every

  • Thank God (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @12:11PM (#52028931)
    It is wonderful that more people are now realizing this is occurring. The realization of the replacement of human labor is a precursor to the reality that social and economic policies will all require an enormous re-invention. For example, the idea of creating new jobs is already somewhat of a dead dog issue. The idea of retraining workers for more current employer needs is also a bit of a dead end path. Right now the idea of handing people money not to work is perceived as welfare for individuals. But that will become untrue in the future. Since employment will be quite rare for anybody and money for each person will come from government, delivered with the intention that those who receive the money will support businesses turns the system on its ear. The new reality is that money given to the people is in fact welfare for businesses is upon us. In other words in order for government to survive taxation must fall upon businesses as people will no longer be employed. That leaves businesses as the only source of taxes to support the government. Meanwhile, the buyers will be supporting businesses and keeping them viable according to how needed or popular the business is with the public. How can this be? Take a small example of technology disrupting a system, permanently. Right now your police department exists only because traffic fines provide the funding. Now we have robotic cars and trucks about to take over all driving. Those robots will tend to be 100% compliant with all driving laws. That ends funding for your police department. So just what can you do to supply the cash to keep your police department functioning? The elimination of salaries for police would be a start. So how long before we see computers acting as police? We already see it! Traffic cams and computer generated tickets are already common. There is already one computer that functions well as a lawyer. It defends against traffic tickets and it wins and wins and wins. Change is upon us already and yet the US public remains totally unaware.
    • Re:Thank God (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sir_Eptishous ( 873977 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @12:26PM (#52029085) Homepage

      Change is upon us already and yet the US public remains totally unaware.

      On this point I totally agree.
      I've tried to discuss this topic with friends and relatives, and some very bright people who work in IT or as devs.
      Some get it, most don't...
      Most Americans are blissfully ignorant of what is happening around them, the rapid pace of technology.
      People see how things are now, and think it will always be that way.

  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @12:17PM (#52028981)

    If AI eliminates the need for us humans to live by the sweat of our brows, (and if we can get our shit together to tear down the ridiculous classism upon which our current social hierarchies are founded), we might have utopia within our grasp, with some caveats:

    -- We don't end up committing mass suicide as a result of a sense of meaninglessness and a lack of perceived usefulness
    -- We don't all eat ourselves into a morbidly obese stupor
    -- We don't end up as the subjects of robotic overlords
    -- The AIs aren't under the control of a small handful of 'elite' human overlords who control and abuse the rest of us 'just for fun'
    -- We don't fall victim to warring between competing AIs

    Come to think about it, I'm not too optimistic about an AI-filled future right now...

    • by sinij ( 911942 )

      we might have utopia within our grasp, with some caveats:

      These caveats just may end up getting filled with safe spaces, trigger warning, and other kinds of busybody nonsense. Wait, this doesn't look that utopic to me.

  • In usa get ready for a mass up in jail / prison pop.

    As soon will be the only place to go that covers stuff that the ER does not. Also get free room and board.

  • This doesn't sound so bad. Jobs are overrated.

  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @12:40PM (#52029207)

    I'm in IT and have worked almost exclusively in large companies. The fact that this is happening is not a surprise -- I question how quickly it will happen. It's great that Watson et al can ingest billions of facts and beat a human at Jeopardy, but I wonder how much this can be applied to something like patient-facing medicine. Sure, the basics will be covered, like determining what medications to give for a set of symptoms, but I wonder how much troubleshooting of real world systems can really be given over to computers. Same goes for building management, etc.

    The thing I'm worried about is the effect on society, especially in first-world countries. In my experience in IT at large companies, there are a massive amount of jobs that could easily be automated with a few tweaks to the business process. There are so many positions that basically involve taking work from an input stack, performing a few operations on it, and sending it on to the output stack, even today. Granted there are way less of these now; there aren't hundreds of secretaries in a typing pool or hundreds of file clerks/bookkeepers anymore. But, there are still millions of college-educated people earning middle-class salaries, paying taxes, having children and buying things based on having a job like this. Before the last recession, the default route through life for many mid-level students was to graduate high school, party through college and get a business degree of some sort, then get recruited for a big company for entry level work of some kind. If we dump all these people onto the unemployment rolls over too short a time, this will create a huge crisis. Taxes won't get paid, people won't have kids because they're afraid of being tied down, and people won't buy stuff because they don't have a stable income anymore. Managing the next phase of this is going to be an interesting exercise. Either we'll get "Star Trek" where everyone can figure out what they really want to do instead of some crappy job they hate, or "Elysium" where the wealthy just leave the increasing numbers of poor to rot.

    • If we dump all these people onto the unemployment rolls over too short a time, this will create a huge crisis. Taxes won't get paid, people won't have kids because they're afraid of being tied down, and people won't buy stuff because they don't have a stable income anymore. Managing the next phase of this is going to be an interesting exercise.

      You obviously get it.
      The points you bring up are going to be the real challenge. People seem to forget that it wouldn't take too much of an increase in the unemployment rate for things to "go south" pretty quickly. You think someone like Trump gets a lot of supporters now?

      Wait until millions lose their jobs to "increases in productivity".
      The political consequences alone are chilling.

    • is not a surprise

      Then you should be prepared for it. Almost everyone I know in engineering has a least one backup plan.

  • But will happen to all of the buggy whip makers? Hint hint - they went and just made buggy code.
  • by hardtofindanick ( 1105361 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @12:51PM (#52029301)
    This is the future; robots are doing everything for us while we do whatever we want to do. Spend all your time learning art, wacky scientific pursuits, or do nothing but smoke pot all day. Robots are the free workforce and the Sun is the almost unlimited free energy. Do this right and do it once, it is self-sustaining. It is perfect and it is win-win, it is the second renaissance.

    The problem is that the income inequality is also growing because of this. If you started at a position that lets you benefit from the less-work-more-output scenario you keep getting better. If you were in a worse position you keep getting worse.

    You can't get Star Trek economy by good faith: people are selfish and people who do not want to work will not work. We need to accept that is ok. Now who is going to build the robots and the solar plants to catalyze the whole thing?
  • This is the kind of BS that makes me not read news papers... Now I'm starting to feel like i don't want to read slashdot either.
  • Sorry, this is a bullshit argument.

    Yes, things like this WILL disrupt some jobs.
    But, in the long run, it'll create other jobs and move people away from those areas where automation simply does things better.

    Save for vanity/specialty crafting, automation basically put metalsmithing out to pasture.
    We don't really see much call for buggy whips (or buggies period).
    In many cases, huge farms can be managed by a remarkably small workforce.

    Sure, some people are gonna be butthurt that tech stole their job.
    Get over i

  • In the years leading up to the complete removal of human employment, there will be a mad scramble in all industries and occupations, for people to stay employed.

    If we look at recent history, we can see that government gridlock pretty much ensures that there will be no effective response from the US government to address this, as it happens.
    It would be a stretch to say they will address it after it happens.

    How will governments and society at large function when more and more people become unemployed.
    • It really only ends one of three ways that I can see:
      1. Political reform happens and politicians work to create a welfare system capable of supporting a large unemployed population indefinitely. It probably won't support a very high standard of living, but enough to keep them fed, sheltered, and supplied with television.
      2. Civil unrest reaches the point of open revolution - tens of millions of unemployed people turning to crime to put food on the table and resenting the wealthy, eventually reaching the poin

  • Machines are not and can not "surpass us in cognitive ability". Because cognitive ability is not one skill, it is many skills.

    Machines have (long ago) surpassed us in mathematical ability.

    WE - not the machines - learned how to transform many tasks that were not originally mathematically based into math. As such, WE have redesigned machines to do many jobs that humans used to do.

    But there are a lot of 'cognitive' jobs that can not be reduced to mere math and those jobs will remain with us until machines de

  • Technology creates more jobs than it takes away. As we increase technology and make things easier to do what was harder earlier, we start demanding more and that increases employment equivalent to what is displaced by automation. Robots can make cars with much faster than humans. But then what did we do? We started asking for an air bag, then 2, then 3, ... then 5-10 air bags. Now we ask for rear camera, gps, satellite radio,.... blah.... and hence effectively, the employment in auto-sector hasn't gone down

  • Yes, there are many physical things a machine can do as well or better than a human, though the task of building such a machine is to date not one of them.

    As to the nascent "cognitive" capabilities of machines, take another look. For example, while there are some wonderful things being done with pattern recognition, that is largely a mathematical function.

    Computers are great at math, hence the name. But things that can not be reduced to mathematics are still very much the domain of organic life forms.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN

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