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Nearly Three-Quarters of Adults in US Believe AI Will Eliminate More Jobs Than It Will Create -- and They Want Companies To Pay For the Retraining ( 331

Key findings from a Gallup poll: Nearly three-quarters of adults (73%) say an increased use of AI will eliminate more jobs than it creates (PDF). Results are consistent across most demographic groups. However, those with blue-collar jobs are particularly pessimistic, with 82% saying the transition will result in a net job loss, compared with 71% of those with white-collar jobs.

Nearly half of Americans (49%) say "soft" skills, such as teamwork, communication, creativity and critical thinking, are the most important for U.S. workers to cultivate to avoid losing their jobs to AI. Alternatively, 51% say learning "hard" skills, including math, science, coding and the ability to work with data, are the most important to maintain a job in the face of new technology adoption.

When asked to choose among seven options concerning who should pay for retraining, a clear majority of U.S. adults overall (61%) say employers should fund these programs. The federal government comes in second at 50%.

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Nearly Three-Quarters of Adults in US Believe AI Will Eliminate More Jobs Than It Will Create -- and They Want Companies To Pay

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  • by JMZero ( 449047 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @12:45PM (#56055499) Homepage

    I mean, I don't know that average Joe necessarily has terribly good insight on this subject (and survey results are easy to manipulate by finding a wording that leads responses) - but the different figures in the summary are very different, and suggest very different political outcomes here.

    • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @01:00PM (#56055627)

      1. Change the clutch on my car.
      2. Fix my home's AC.
      3. Trim my trees.
      4. Talk to me about my investments.
      5. Diagnose my illness (without a doctor as the interface)
      6. Teach my kids.
      7. Police my neighborhood.
      8. Put out a house fire.
      9. Rescue someone.
      10. Get elected and participate in government.

      AI is a tool that could help with all this, but it isn't a thing that can do all of this.

      • by JMZero ( 449047 )

        Now that they've fixed the summary, my original comment is mostly useless.

        But I'm glad you were able to really drive home my side point: random people are very hazy on what automation is going to be able to do, and how many jobs it might create or destroy.

        • by dryeo ( 100693 )

          People see headlines like the other day where a mining company is switching to self driving trucks, 500 jobs lost with 100 new jobs, company trying to figure out how to retrain those people. Sure gives the impression of a reduction in jobs, especially when considering knock down effects such as less coffee being sold to the workers. Hard to see a replacement industry that employs those 400 people arriving too.

      • by Sigma 7 ( 266129 )

        Diagnose my illness (without a doctor as the interface) can handle that. Of course, some of the symptoms could mean you're about to die, but they've got that down.

        Teach my kids.

        Khanacademy, duolingo, and related come very close to that. Not a full replacement, but it can give quite a boost if done right.

        Get elected and participate in government.

        That it won't do at all. More likely, it will have a large army built up, perform a coup to get rid of corruption, and manage stuff more effectively than w

      • by Monster_user ( 5075027 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @01:28PM (#56055853)
        1. Change the clutch on my car.
        - An AI in a robotics shop will be able to assemble and disassemble vehicles. This is kind of where AI began, with Ford's assembly line. Eventually changing the clutch won't be a problem. Older models will be considered hobbyist, not job creating work.

        2. Fix my home's AC.
        - How many different ways can an AC break? The question isn't whether an AI powered robot can fix AC, but whether it is cost effective to do so.

        3. Trim my trees.
        - Is this a matter of art and presentation, or function? Safety would be a concern, we are a long way off from feasibly being able to turn an AI driven "killer robot" loose in the yard and expect it to only trim trees.

        4. Talk to me about my investments.
        - Simple investment advice based on trends and spreadsheets? AI's cheap and effective. The ability to teach you about your investments and/or investing is something AI may never be able to do. At any rate, it would require very advanced AI to be able to speak in layman's terms.

        5. Diagnose my illness (without a doctor as the interface)
        - AI is already making progress in this area. AI doctors are on their way. At the very least this reduces the need for highly skilled medical professionals, as those fewer professionals would be able to focus on outliers or challenging illnesses.

        6. Teach my kids.
        - Teach your kids what? This is one of the targets for AI, getting it to pass a Turing test. Children typically have simpler questions for which there is usually adequate knowledge and refinement to turn into an AI. Most of what your kids learn in school can be taught by AI.

        7. Police my neighborhood.
        - I'd agree with this. Policing is a very complex and intuition heavy job, very centered on the human experience. Basic surveillance, such as speeding ticket cameras, and home security systems are probably a significant portion of AI's abilities in this area.

        8. Put out a house fire.
        - AI ought to exceed here, outside of the first responder issue. Too many variables between a fire station and a fire. If you can get an AI and equipment to a house fire, then it can make better decisions on how to reduce or minimize damage to your house and belongings. Potentially an AI with the proper sensors would better be able to rescue trapped pets and humans without risking loss of life of first responders. However, due to the lack of savings an AI and robotics combination will bring, I doubt any use of AI in the firefighting arena to affect jobs anytime in the near future.

        9. Rescue someone.
        - Back to the above. Depends on the circumstances, and the risk to bystanders. Rescuing individuals often entails going "outside the script", or encountering circumstances which are "outside the script". However, there may be many types of risk which can have programmed mitigations, or nearly foolproof fallback plans. The more we can system-ize something, the greater the possibility we can turn that system into an AI program.

        10. Get elected and participate in government.
        - Actually, I see this as a possibility. There would be some concerns as to what areas AI would be safe to govern, not everything should be a simple pre-programmed response. And learning AI is about implementing what we would "pre-program" into the AI given infinite time and resources.
        • Regarding number 10, we're already relying more and more on technology to govern. From analyzing gerrymandering, modeling evacuations, flooding, traffic patterns in existing and new construction, etc., we're definitely flying down the road to AI. It's bits and pieces at this point, but once more of those are being relied upon, it's not going to be long before we're turning to decision-making AI on a regular basis. While I bet humans will resist this, after just a couple of bad decisions where the AI picked

      • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @01:33PM (#56055897)

        1. Change the clutch on my car.

        Autonomous vehicles will be maintained by the corporation due to liability. You will not own a car in the future, you will use one. Car ownership will become extinct.

        2. Fix my home's AC.

        As with many electronics, we likely won't do much repairing in the future. They will be sealed units that when they go bad, you will merely replace them. That's also assuming you will own property. Robotics could probably be trained to do repairs anyway.

        3. Trim my trees.

        Tree-trimming drones using cloud-based AI that customers will be able to request any shape they want. Prepare for bushes trimmed to look like the poop emoji, with robotic precision. Humans will eventually be replaced.

        4. Talk to me about my investments.

        Investments? What investments? Your UBI payments will be nothing more than Welfare 2.0 for the unemployable masses. Good luck finding "extra" money with that. The concept of ownership is dying off. As more streaming services pop up, we are already migrating more and more to cloud-based solutions and subscription models you rent access to. This concept will continue to infect a lot of other areas in our lives.

        5. Diagnose my illness (without a doctor as the interface)

        A human brain will be no match for big data searched and analyzed by AI doctors. In the future, you'll swallow a pill or get blood drawn from a machine that will be able to diagnose your condition within seconds, no human necessary.

        6. Teach my kids.

        Assuming you can afford to have kids, what exactly will they need to learn? The internet will be able to provide any answer to any question or problem. Yes, parenting will still be a thing for a while, but the concept of education and especially higher learning will radically change due to an utter lack of justification. What's the point of a college degree again when there is no job to employ humans? Humanities and the arts will hopefully survive and thrive, to allow humans to be creative, but other areas of education will die off.

        7. Police my neighborhood.

        See tree-trimming drones above. AI will have to evolve for some time, but it will likely be proven to respond quicker and make more unbiased decisions when needed. Massive surveillance will enable quick reaction times, and will likely lead to less overall crime.

        8. Put out a house fire.

        Fire-fighting drones equipped with instant cloud-based access to entire building blueprints armed with heat sensors will search for survivors. They will eventually out-climb, out-carry, and out-maneuver any human doing that job.

        9. Rescue someone.

        See fire-fighting, combined with AI doctors above.

        10. Get elected and participate in government.

        OK, I will admit, this is one area that we may keep humans in for a while. The bar seems to be getting lowered more and more, so dumb prone-to-error humans may serve in that capacity for some time.

        AI is a tool that could help with all this, but it isn't a thing that can do all of this.

        Yeah right. If there's one trait humans have shown to excel at over thousands of years, it's the ability to vastly underestimate and predict the future.

        • I don't know about number six. I think you might see a lot fewer colleges and universities but I expect we'll see even more different courses of study rather than fewer. I say that because rather than pick a course of study based on what you can leverage to make a living people will pursue what interests them. I know for sure myself that if I were to go back to school I would make hugely different decisions depending on my motives.

      • Joke's on you! All of these are meat problems our new robot overlords don't give a damn about.
      • by mspohr ( 589790 )

        1. Change the clutch on my car.
        Robots already assemble the clutch in your car. What makes you think they won't be able to change it.

        2. Fix my home's AC.
        AI can diagnose the problem for some low level wrencher to fix

        3. Trim my trees.
        Robots already trim and cut trees.

        4. Talk to me about my investments.
        AI can do a better job than the typical investment advisor who is looking to scam you out of fees.

        5. Diagnose my illness (without a doctor as the interface)
        AI already can do a good job of symptom diagnosis and suggest lab tests. It does a better job than doctors who don't look for "zebras".

        6. Teach my kids.
        Computer based training is better than teachers.

        7. Police my neighborhood.
        AI can better predict crime patterns than you local cops at the donut shop.

        8. Put out a house fire.
        Robot fire hoses already exist. AI will make them more effective.

        9. Rescue someone.
        AI can predict where the person is lost. Rescuers already use drones, helicopters and other aids to reach victims.

        10. Get elected and participate in government.
        Any moron can do that. AI would be be much better.

        AI is a tool that could help with all this, but it isn't a thing that can do all of this.

      • by sycodon ( 149926 )

        I guess it depends on what kind of existence you are willing to accept.

        What kind of Doctor [] are you willing to accept?

        What kind of law enforcement office [] are you willing to accept?

        What kind of Police [] are you willing to accept?

      • by mspring ( 126862 )
        But when you loose your job to AI you may no longer have any money to pay for these "services", so these services' jobs may disappear, too.
      • by EvilSS ( 557649 )
        #4 is actually already a thing. Just google Robo-advisors.
      • by be951 ( 772934 )

        1. Change the clutch on my car.

        If AI can drive a car, which we seem to be getting close to, the demand for car repair is likely to be significantly diminished, since car ownership will eventually stop making economic sense for most. The trend is already moving in this direction. Fewer young people of the age to become licensed drivers are choosing to do so.

        2. Fix my home's AC.

        That will probably be true for quite some time for many home repairs. However, smart home systems integrated into appliances and things like HVAC may be able to assist in diagnosing pr

      • AI is already doing some of the things you mention or making them obsolete:

        4. Talk to me about my investments.

        So-called robo-advisors [] are already doing that in a limited way.

        5. Diagnose my illness (without a doctor as the interface)

        Again this is already happening [].

        6. Teach my kids.

        It's already happening [].

        9. Rescue someone.

        Well, for what it is worth Facebook apparently has an AI suicide prevention program []. Rescuing someone does not necessarily require a physical act: mental problems are something that an AI might be able to help with.

        Now it is certainly true that AI's roles in these areas are somewhat limited at the moment and t

      • 1. Change the clutch on my car. AI+Robotics could
        2. Fix my home's AC. AI+Robotics could
        3. Trim my trees.AI+Robotics could
        4. Talk to me about my investments. Why not?
        5. Diagnose my illness (without a doctor as the interface) You don't need a Doctor, just a Nurse to properly enter in the data
        6. Teach my kids. Wikipedia
        7. Police my neighborhood. You don't have electrical diodes in your head?
        8. Put out a house fire. AI+Robotics could
        9. Rescue someone. AI+Robotics could
        10. Get elected and participate in governme

    • Average Joe is not 8 years old, anymore. And there was a time when employees were a part of the solution. Not only a cost to be zeroed out. But I look on the bright side. Saber tooth tigers were once a problem also. The score is Average Joe 1, Sabor Tooth Tigers 0.
    • Historically efficiencies had always open the door for more jobs.
      What usually happens is this increases the possible output allowing the company to grow and hire more employees.
      Before Computers a store would had one person who would figure out payroll for the store. Then they get a computer system to automatically calculate payroll in fraction of the time. Now this person would use their time to do other accounting, managing their Profit and Loss, handling more complex HR issues. Where these jobs that were

  • Sad to see that 27% of respondents believe this is yet another round of creative destruction.

  • They're not wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @12:54PM (#56055571)

    >Nearly Three-Quarters of Adults in US Believe AI Will Eliminate More Jobs Than It Will Create

    In the short term, we're in for epic disaster levels of unemployment. Only the owners of capital will be immune to the worst effects.

    Of course, in the long term the economy will adjust and we'll use our extra productivity to sell each other goods and services we previously wouldn't have bothered with... only this new economy will be totally disconnected from the 'real' economy where land (with sunlight, water, minerals, and space to live) will be a source of wealth and power worth more than all crap all the average people will be producing.

    The gap between the rich and the poor will grow to immeasurable proportions.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 02, 2018 @01:08PM (#56055701)

      ;In the short term, we're in for epic disaster levels of unemployment. Only the owners of capital will be immune to the worst effects.

      Of course, in the long term the economy will adjust and we'll use our extra productivity to sell each other goods and services we previously wouldn't have bothered with...

      That's where you're wrong. In the long term, the results will be even worse.

      A hundred years ago, when Henry Ford began producing automobiles, he paid his workers higher wages than most other companies of that time. He didn't do it because he was a nice guy, he did it because he recognized a very simple and basic reality: those people aren't just workers, they are customers. Higher wages means he sells more cars.

      Contrary to the bullshit "trickle down economics" that Republicans have pushed for 35 years, the truth is, our economy is based on trickle-up economics. When you give people at the top more money, they keep it. But when people at the bottom have more money, they spend it and the money flows up to the business owners and that's how they become wealthy.

      And that's the big problem that nobody is talking about. Yes, in the short term the rich get richer and everyone else gets poorer. But, ironically, in the long term, everyone gets destroyed, including the wealthy, because of that one simple reality: Once you've eliminated all the jobs and 98% of the population is living in poverty, who will buy your products?

    • I don't agree. I think in the short term we're in for lots of disappointed managerial types who discover that the so-called 'AI' they were sold on isn't anywhere near as capable as they were led to believe, and there'll be some economic disruption from that. In some cases there might even be companies that end up bankrupt because they bought into it so thoroughly that they don't even have the people around to pick up the pieces when things fall apart.
    • the last time it took two world wars to get us out of the rut we were in. This time we've got a global communication network and an aristocracy that doesn't live bound to one country. What if instead of the productivity eventually creating new forms of work we just enter another dark age? The last one lasted 1200 years...
      • I believe that there is a strong possibility that the first general AI housed in the first practical android body will lead to a dystopia to end all dystopias.

        When a 100% loyal metal servant can be your miner, your engineer, your soldier, your laborer, your cook, your companion, or your whore... EVERYTHING and ANYTHING a human does now... the people who own those robots won't need anybody else any longer. So why waste resources on them?

        It's a race. Whoever has the first 'von Neumann army' wins. Or possibl

  • by boneglorious ( 718907 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @12:54PM (#56055575) Journal

    I think it's amazing that more people think hard skills (i.e., things computers are good at) are essential rather than soft skills (i.e., things computers aren't good at) are necessary for humans.

    • QMTA, this is probably because tech companies have taught us that what computers should be good at is moderating videos and spotting word-use and grammar errors in essays. Um....

    • I think it's amazing that what people believe, and by people I mean the average joe who knows nothing about AI, is relevant. Anyone who has worked with actual AI, not the sci-fi stuff in the movies, would be less worried.

      With any automation, jobs will be lost, that's literally the point of technology - reduce human effort. But new jobs will be created, and with any luck, some things that have been closed to humans becomes open. One thing that comes to mind is that presently we have more intellectuals and cr

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I think it's amazing that more people think hard skills (i.e., things computers are good at) are essential rather than soft skills (i.e., things computers aren't good at) are necessary for humans.

      Perhaps they are using evidenced based reasoning. So far, hard skills are way more useful in the job market. Engineers earn a lot more than sociologists. Also, so far, AI has been mostly replacing jobs that require soft skills: telephone interactions, face recognition, voice recognition.

      Soft jobs such as driving are forecast to be replaced in the next decade. Hard skill based jobs such as programming are not.

  • by fredgiblet ( 1063752 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @12:55PM (#56055595)
    I have a hard time seeing AI being a job creator. Once you get past a certain threshold of ability you can replace large swathes of jobs with AI and the only thing that gets added is the manufacturing of the automated systems, which can be automated itself, and programming AIs, which is highly specialized and will have limited numbers needed anyway.
    • All depends on how the future defines "job." Our subsistence gathering days had 100% employment, but not many of those jobs are around nowadays.
  • I think that will happen as well. AI is here, whether you like it or not. We have machines that can play Go better than the greatest Go masters. Therefore, AI can replace us all. Starting with Go Masters and Chess Masters. They are already having a hard time finding work.
  • NO ONE knows what skills you will need in the future possibly you will need to retrain MANY times.

    Only thing you can do is develop the ability to learn new thing quickly.

    • One thing we DO know is that the job market for Chess and Go Masters has declined dramatically already. It is only a matter of time before lawyers, doctors, bartenders and servers and programmers will all be replaced by AI.
      • A truly good partender is actually much more than someone who pours drinks. The best bartenders are walking encyclopaedias and psychologists as well.

    • Quicker than the machine learning that taught itself to beat the best Go masters in the world in just a couple of months by reading the rules and playing a million matches against itself?

      Because ultimately, that's the problem. The second problem is that that new skill can then be cloned a million times, and the improvements those million AI make instantly added to the knowledge base of all the rest.

      Humans can't compete with that.

    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      Only thing you can do is develop the ability to learn new thing quickly.

      That's called "general intelligence" and is what IQ measures. If you can find a way to raise IQ, there's a multi-billion dollar market for that. Long term, it's possibly the most valuable invention possible. Poorly funded too, sadly enough.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @12:59PM (#56055623)
    the bad news is 1/4 haven't. When the industrial rev took off it put more folks out of work than it employed. That's where Luddites came from. The were freaking out over losing their livelihoods in a society where your quality of life is determiined by your job.

    It took 80 years for other tech to catch up and employee more people than it put out of work. The people alive during those 80 years either lived like kings or like crap. And as far as I can tell nothing's changed. Your quality of life is determined by your job (or lack thereof)
    • And yet, there is unprecedented opportunity for people to take the reins, educate themselves, and take real steps towards living like a king. I give you Exhibit A: software development. In 2018, the entire developed world lives in a world of open source software, free documentation, incredibly cheap and powerful computers, millions of free videos online on how to do stuff, free internet access at your local library and elsewhere. Etc. Ad nauseum. There are even languages translators that will translate
    • The industrial revolution created more jobs than it destroyed. Factories were so desperate for labor that they started employing women because there weren't enough men to satisfy the demand for new laborers. The Luddites were people who were too saddled to their own past and refused to accept that the world didn't owe them a job and that everyone else was quite a bit happier and better off now that they could afford the cheaper goods brought about by industrialization.
    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      Right now less that 2% of jobs are done by "AI-related" automation. How fast do you imagine this technology will grow? 10x in 20 years would be amazing growth.

  • As in "Alan", "Allan" or "Allen".

    I guess we should call him "Mr. Al" as really is a powerful guy.

  • by h4ck7h3p14n37 ( 926070 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @01:02PM (#56055641) Homepage

    Is retraining people a realistic solution? How does a "retrained" worker compete with someone who has kept their skills up and has been involved with the technology for several decades, or even their entire life?

    Our public schools are graduating students with little to no job skills, what makes us think this will change? How can these people _be_ trained for these jobs?

    We already have a number of people who have difficulty living in modern society. As life becomes more demanding, requiring more education and knowledge, what do we do with them?

    • >> How does a "retrained" worker compete with someone who has kept their skills up and has been involved with the technology for several decades

      Quite well. As long you hop into a new and hard-to-define-what-you-do-all-day career like "big data" or "AI".
      • Just because you find some high tech careers difficult to define doesn't mean that any warm body can fill those positions.

        I seem to recall George Jetson had to occasionally push a button or something.
    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      Right now, they're self-sorting themselves into the red states, and they're being supported via Medicaid and "disability", food stamps, etc from productive people in the blue states. I would assume this trend will continue.
  • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @01:06PM (#56055681) Journal
    I think if you delved deeper into this you'd find that the same people who are screaming "THE SKY IS FALLING!" also don't understand that so-called 'AI' is not what television, movies, and the media all portray it to be: I'm convinced they think it's walking, talking, thinking, human-like; sentient and self-aware. The reality couldn't hardly be farther from the truth. These 'robots' they're all worried about are very limited, and really can't be trusted. Even the programmers who wrote them can only make educated guesses as to what's going on under the hood. People need to know that these so-called 'AIs' will need to be closely monitored since their output will not necessarily be what you expect, and in many cases leaving them unsupervised may create dangerous situations for humans in the vicinity otherwise.

    Management types are part of this problem too. They're not any smarter when it comes to the reality of these so-called 'artificial intelligences', and as a result their expectations are way out of whack from reality, too. Then there's marketing people, and do I really need to explain how far they'll go to make a sale?

    Everyone needs to calm down. There also needs to be some realistic, fact-based conversation amongst everyone as to what these so-called 'AIs' are and are not, and what they are and are not capable of, and most important of all: they are not equivalent to (or better than!) a human being in any way, shape, or form and will not be anytime in the forseeable future.
    • AI is being used as a short hand for the phrase 'Automation'. I know techies and scientists don't like it when terms get used loosely, but it doesn't change the fact that there are massive changes coming and that in all likelihood they are not going to be positive.

      Outside of a few Nordic countries your entire quality of life is predicated on your job. And there have been no meaningful attempts to change that. People _should_ be panicking. It's OK to be afraid of something bad that is going to happen. Th
      • Why would people use the term "AI" when they mean "automation"? It makes it sound like those people are trying to be intentionally misleading or something.
      • The thing is most people are in fact sheep. They've had the message to not question the man behind the curtain their entire lives. So they do what they can and ignore the rest.

        That is why we don't see people in the streets. However that's just because the right leader hasn't emerged yet. If you can get someone to unite the sheep it's all over for the robber barons and the rich. In fact there have been a few rich guys who have warned of this.

        I want lobbyist and legislator heads on pikes. Let it serve a
    • I wouldn't say the sky is falling - but if you look around you can see where the changes are happening. Retail stores, medicine, cars and trucks. In fact right now IBM's Watson is at a few hospitals and legal firms. It's learning what it can to replace the doctors and lawyers. Here's the thing about law - all law is made up of understanding how to research, knowing the rules of the courts etc. It's funny.
  • Any effective AI will need tons of slaves. We'll have plenty of work just being batteries, if nothing else.

    Also, why wouldn't an AI like gaming with meat gladiators? Plenty of work to go around.

  • Kill student loans and them people can self pay as college costs will go way down when student loans that can't be discharged go a way.

  • "The vast majority of people work on farms! What do you mean in 100 years only 2% of the people will work on farms anymor? Who's gonna pay to retrain them??? The tractor makers, that's who! To hell with plummeting food prices making starvation largely a thing of the past!"

  • ... have not achieved an education level sufficient to know what AI is.

  • There's so much FUD surrounding automation and AI these days.... But I look around at almost every established business, today, and I see a whole bunch of employees doing work that could have been automated away long ago, yet wasn't. Just because technology ALLOWS you to do a thing doesn't mean you WILL.

    Humans are still the buyers of all of the products and services these companies offer, and humans like interaction with other humans. We've already done a lot of automation in cases where you value a quick

    • by EvilSS ( 557649 )

      and humans like interaction with other humans

      Sure, that's why online shopping, self checkouts, travel booking websites, and self-service gas stations with pay-at-the-pump (just to name a few) all failed and went out of business.

    • One company that does this right now is at&t. No wonder to get an internet feed from them is really expensive. They have to pay for all those people.
  • I suspect this is mostly a side effect of people referring to anything and everything they possibly can as "AI". Even when the claims are tenuous at best. This leads those who have little to no way to discern otherwise to believe the dawn of true AI is nigh upon us and its only a matter of time before they are no longer needed.

    You know what would be amazing? A robotic road crew that works at crazy efficiency around the clock so that we don't have perpetual road construction in major cities leading to hor
  • by Cigaes ( 714444 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @01:49PM (#56056027) Homepage

    At some point, people and society will need to realize that a deep change in our way of apprehending riches will be needed. AI is only the latest step. The change that came progressively is the increase of productivity: in the past, we needed every body working all day, or we would starve. Now, one person alone can produce enough for several people, and if everybody works, then we produce too much to consume it all.

    Yet, society uses work (and capital, but that is another question) to distribute the produced riches. Therefore, everybody needs a job, and thus we invent bullshit jobs, like putting groceries in bags.

    Therefore, society must adapt to consider it is normal that not all people work. Let them make art, science, culture instead. Or be couch potatoes, if they want.

    But we need to invent a way of distributing riches that is not entirely related to work.

  • by LostMyBeaver ( 1226054 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @01:56PM (#56056097)
    Ok... let's be blunt here. Most working age adults won't be replaced by AI. They'll be replaced by machines.

    Being replaced by AI suggests that these people have to be replaced by something intelligent. That's absolute bullshit. They will be replaced by machines and robots and that's all.

    Want an example?

    People working in law firms

    20 years ago, there were entire floors of buildings filled with people whose job it was to run around looking stuff up in law books. They would use the in-house libraries, they would go to state and city libraries. Etc... then came online legal libraries and tools like LexisNexis which made it take less time for the lawyers to simple type something into a search bar than to actually get a researcher, paralegal, junior lawyer, etc... on the phone and explain what they wanted.

    10 years ago, if a senior lawyer wanted to write a document, he pawned that off on a junior lawyer and he/she would sit and write documents and make use of legal secretaries and paralegals to correct the formatting, properly submit it, etc... now that same senior lawyer simply opens a program and answers a series of questions and in 4-5 minutes produces the document they want, then signs it on the screen and submits it using automated systems to the courts.

    The senior lawyer doesn't need juniors for about 95% of the shit work they used to do. They can simply pay a subscription to a company who keeps their tools up-to date.

    Want more?

    Filing Clerks

    25 years ago, I was working at a major financial institution in Richmond, Virginia as a temp to try and make rent. My job was to sort tens of thousands of files and place them in the right filing cabinets. I employed a combination of Heap Sort and Quick Sort manually and finished a 3 month temp position in 5 days. Kinda screwed myself there. There were over 200 desks in the slave labor area of the office for secretaries and filing clerks. Today, I'd imagine that there are 20 desks for those same roles.

    Stock "Boys"

    Grocery stores used to employ dozens of these. First we cut the overhead in half by employing software which would tell the shelf stockers which items to remove from the shelves and they didn't have to manually read all the dates on the packages. Then we started sorting products better using simple filing systems on computers and multi-sized containers that could be more easily managed by machines. Then, we started replacing the tags on the shelves with small screens that could be updated by a computer to reflect changes to prices and labels. Now a grocery store 5 times the size can operate on 1/4 the staff.


    This is 2018, most people have visited stores with self-service checkouts and a maybe a security guard. The next phase is to make employ RFID more heavily and allow shoppers to stand on a yellow box where they will be scanned and then answer on their phone whether they would like to complete the transaction where they can simply click yes. This means malls which hold 500-1000 employees across may stores can offer a service with 20-50 employees who simply visit store by store and keeping things clean... like sorting and replacing throwback bins and such. In fact, shoppers could walk the entire mall store to store and settle their charges for all their items before exiting the building.


    In my life, I've watched farms become over 100 times larger than when I was a kid. It used to take far more people to handle the farming. But with milking machines, automated butchering systems, livestock management systems, mega tractors that can not only plant and cut, but also bundle... we haven't even started here yet. It might be that a single building full of farmers will be able to manage the entire state of Montana's farming requirements.

    AI will be for people like drivers who will be removed from the eco-system. Initially, truck drivers will be cut back substantially through semi-autonomous trains of vehicles. So, a single driver in a lead truc
    • "Network engineers. I've personally automated away over 200,000 hours of network engineer hours last year (no exaggeration, signed contracts were cancelled and the workers were replaced with software I wrote in a few hundred hours)."

      Total BS. I am familiar with this field. What software did you write "in a few hundred hours" that automated and replaced network engineers.
  • AI and robotics are going to push into EVERY sphere. From medicine to law to truck driving. So what the hell can you re-train as? You can already see it in retail stores, they're installing self checkouts and the number of manned checkouts is going way down.

    And don't think McDonald's, Wendy's or Burger King are going to help - they'll embrace robotics too.

    And we don't manufacture anything in this country anymore - well cars to some degree and computer chips. But even those will move to being more robo
    • Totally agree. Those self checkout machines are AI. They can also be programmed to play Go and Chess too. Soon they will program them to be doctors. And then truck drivers. It truly is a scary situation.
  • If AI's are going to destroy substantially more jobs than they create, then what exactly do people want retraining *for*? How to be unemployed? I mean yeah, some percentage of people will potentially be retrainable for the new jobs created, but everyone else... the jobs were destroyed, where do you think there is to go? You don't need a lot of training to be a capitalit's boot-licker - just a complete lack of dignity, or enough desperation to fake it.

  • From the point of view of a soulless being like a corporation, the lower the (employee) expenses the better. Computerising, automating or, in general, increasing the dependence on machines is mostly meant precisely to reduce costs. All this in theory because the reality is much more complex than that: companies are constrained by governments and consumers, who mainly depend on having jobs.

    In any case, there will be no sudden AI irruption, but just a continuation of the gradual technological adoption which
  • Okay so there's lots wrong with this line of thinking. First it's not AI is taking away jobs but automation. As we get machines to handle various jobs it lessens the workload on us.

    Two retraining isn't going to help you too much. Being adaptable is a more important requirement. It doesn't guarantee you success but it allows you to adopt changing situations which gives you a better chance when the opportunity arrives. Too many folks refuse to adopt or change when the situation arises. I've gone from sy

The best defense against logic is ignorance.