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Comment Re:I know I'm being selfish, but... (Score 1) 308

I don't understand posts like this. Why do you want to waste 40+ hours per week on a job that delivers little in the way of satisfaction or pleasure? Even if you're a well paid programmer, you're probably working on something that doesn't interest you, and therefore isn't particularly fun or rewarding.

Wouldn't you rather have more free time to work on something that is of interest to you and that you believe would benefit other people? I worked as a programmer for a few years when I came out of university, but I concluded that my free time is far more valuable to me than a decent wage. I now work in a low paid part-time job, and while I have no money and no retirement plan, at least I can spend most of my time on projects that interest me.

I hope the pace of automation increases so I can stop working entirely and gain even more free time. I truly don't understand why you'd want to continue with the current system where most of your life is wasted in mundane and work in a soul destroying environment.

What gives satisfaction and pleasure is not the work itself but the people you work with. So, even the most mundane jobs can be rewarding and pleasurable and the most interesting job miserable depending on the work environment and your co-workers.

Comment Re:Coding requirements (Score 1) 308

Isn't writing out requirements in a way a computer can understand the essence of any programming language that has ever existed? So how is this any different? To truly get rid of programmers, the machine would need to look at the world, figure out what the problems were, figure out the requirements to solve it on it's own, and solve it. Then, yes, would programmers be able to look at kitten pictures all day.

The problem before that humans were needed to convert human language requirements into computer code. It was something only humans could do.

Now with the advent of deep learning, perhaps computers can do it.

Comment Re:Great but it won't put coders out of a job (Score 1) 308

What many people don't understand is that describing things to a computer, no matter how, is what coding is. The programming language is just a facade. Managing highly complex tasks accurately enough for computers to understand is where the real skills lie.

Just look at one example from the paper :

A new shop near you is selling n paintings. You have k < n friends and you would like to buy each of your friends a painting from the shop. Return the minimal amount of money you will need to spend.

And the output (modified to fit slashdot):

k=int; b=[int]; c=SORT b; d=TAKE k c; e=SUM d

What it proves is that the AI is great at answering test questions. However, in a production environment, no one is going to write and maintain a description like this. And it is just a tiny function. To match the complexity of a real-life program, you have to imagine the same kind of description but spanning hundreds of pages...

Compilers didn't put coders out of a job, these AIs may be the next step but they still won't displace coders. Although it may require some skill adjustments, it won't fundamentally change the job.

That was before the new breakthroughs in natural language processing. Before computers were really bad at understanding human language. Now, with deep learning that has completely changed. Just use Google Assistant and Alexa and see how far it has come. So, in effect, the modern breakthroughs essentially convert human language into compiler language. If there is ambiguity, then just like Google Assistant and Alexa, it can interactively ask for more details and clarifications.

It will make coders super productive and put lesser ability coders out of work. The good coders will suddenly start cranking out x10 more code as they can figure out how to get the AI system to do parts of their jobs.

Anyways, the current method of development is that the hundred page spec. is currently broken down into thousands of unit tests. So, if you can automate the creation and maintaining of half of these tests, then you've eliminated half of your devs.

Comment Re:Probably never (Score 1) 369

My job entails being a primary contact between IT operations and the lines of business, designing automated measurements, reporting on incidents and downtime, approving change schedules, planning upgrades alongside IT development, the kind of tasks that need a human touch.

Outsourced? Maybe. Replaced by a robot? Probably not.

I think it will be the first jobs to be automated.

The jobs most in danger of being automated are ones that require natural language processing and figuring out the meaning of it. Those are the ones closest to being solved right now.

Not completely replaced but a lot of routine interactions handled by software with a few special cases needed.

Comment Re:Already writing code that writes code... (Score 1) 369

Then the specification is the code.

But there's more to it than just that - automated code generation is only as good as the persons writing the code generation package and it can never improve or adapt. Automated generation runs the risk of creating a stagnant situation where only a few people really understands how things work.

And to some extent we already have code generators - we have coders in India coding according to spec, but the result that we get back is frequently bad and it takes sometimes several weeks to get it right. You may say that it's a bad specification, but what we in the west see as obvious is like something out of a fairy tale for developers in India. Just something as simple as snow and ice on roads - that's impossible in a large part of India while in most of Europe it's something that happens every year.

Most AI systems have feedback build into it. It will learn from its mistakes.

Plus, modern AI systems are not programmed as much as trained. It builds huge models itself from data that would not be possible for humans to ever build.

What if the automated code generation software was written by another AI software that generated the code for the automated code generation software? Then there will be no humans that know how it works but just know how to work it.

Comment Re:Never (Score 1) 369

I'm in the same boat. I design, build, and program automation systems...software and hardware. The abstract thinking needed to do my job will not be replaceable by AI, robots, and other automation for generations. Everyone always thinks we are on the cusp of complete AI breakthrough. We are no where near what is needed for movie crap.

With deep learning we are.

Comment Re:Ban H1Bs from ever consulting (Score 1) 202

Any company that does consulting should be automatically ineligible for H1B as their business model is to provide labor directly on a speculative basis. H1B is meant to fill existing jobs that no one in the country can/will fill, and this does not meet the description of any job in a consulting business model.

Except sponsoring H1Bs have become so complicated that there are multi-billion corporations whose business model is farming H1B visas.

There are a lot of big corporations that don't hire H1Bs because of the complications, but will hire consultants without much thought. They have created a huge market for consulting companies.

Comment Re:Put the blame where it belongs. (Score 1) 202

If an company can do what they need to cheaper by hiring someone from overseas - especially a disposable someone who they can use and dispose of - they're going to do exactly that. US law has forbidden indentured servitude for a long time, but the H1B visa represents a legal version of exactly that. Here, try this:

Get rid of work visas outright. If a company can't find talent here in the US, they should feel free to sponsor a foreign national for citizenship - and take away the ability to summarily deport the foreign worker when they're through with them. Instead of a revolving door of H1B visa holders, we'll end up with more US citizens - workers who will be incentivized to demand the same pay and working conditions as their peers in the workplace.

I know of a certain international business machine firm that uses (abuses) huge numbers of H1B visa holders precisely because they can get away with it. It's great for their bottom line; they get employees that are willing to accept vastly substandard wages and work unpaid overtime in sweatshop-style conditions because they know that should they even think of standing up to it they'll be shipped back to wherever they came from. Now, if these guys were on the path to citizenship, I'm sure the manufacturer in question could still discharge them (after all, they're only contractors, not employees) - but they'll have a harder time making the case that there's no local talent to be had, because there will be all of these qualified personnel right here working towards citizenship.

Oh, the firm I'm not-so-subtly talking about? They don't pay US citizens very well, either. What should have been at least a $70,000/year salary gig for me ended up being a $24.04/hour job - contractors will be paid better, but they will end up providing unpaid overtime to make up for it (I know; I went down that path with them as well). In the end, I'm not saying we should prevent immigrants from finding work here in the US. I'm saying we should prevent visitors from allowing large enterprises to degrade compensation and work conditions for employees in the US.

You're still tying citizenship sponsorship to employment. That's still the problem.

Currently, what happens is that the path to citizenship is still 1-2 years at the fastest and during that time you're tied to the sponsoring company. There is still time to exploit.

Make the process at most 1-2 months and the work only starts after the sponsorship process ends.

US gets high skill workers for jobs that are not found locally. The worker can ditch the company the first week if the work conditions are terrible. There is full incentive to pay a competitive salary to the worker rather than dangle sponsorship.

It's a win for the economy and the American worker but not so good for corporations looking to exploit.

The main problem is that the sponsoring company gets more than what worker visas are supposed to provide. Ideally, they should just get a worker to do the work not found locally. They should pay a competitive salary and a small premium as fees for getting foreign labor. But, by tying sponsorship to the company, the worker is trapped and the company gets to exploit the worker.

Comment Re:Globalization vs. Protectionism (Score 1) 202

We were told that globalization is the future, it will increase our prosperity and so on. After decades of this most consumer goods are very cheap and very poorly made. All salaries stagnated. At the same time a whole bunch of folks are out of jobs and can't afford to buy food. Now we are trying protectionism. Consumer good are still relatively cheap but the jobs are gradually coming back. Salaries ticked up for the first time since 90s. So could someone explain to me why we hate protectionism?

If you're enjoying your version of reality, great!

If in your reality, protectionism is driving your salary up and reducing the price of goods, enjoy it.

High salaries and cheap goods, man. Great reality. Whatever it takes.

Comment Re:I call b.s. (Score 1) 660

If they could outsource the jobs to India or China where the costs are lower they wouldn't need H1-bs. They want the visas because for whatever reason the work needs to be done here in America.

People from all over the world are willing to move the US but not to each others countries. So, Indians won't move to China, Iran, Russia, Chinese won't move to India, Russia etc. But, they will all move to the US to create a team here.

If your whole team is from one region of one country, then you don't need H1B.

Comment Re:Raising H1B minimum wage (Score 1) 660

I don't see the problem. If their is literally not a single American that can fill the position, then you should have no trouble paying the H1B that does fill the role what he is worth.

The benefit will mostly go to companies which are located in areas of high cost of living and high salaries (New York, silicon valley).

Comment Re:They don't get it. (Score 0) 437

It's not entitlement because its not a level playing field. in real money terms, the living costs for foreign workers, and their families in their own country is WAY cheaper than what US citizens and their families in the US need to just get by.

It's entitlement when you think you deserve better for no real reason.

Comment Re:They don't get it. (Score 1) 437

Well to be fair, what's the point of having a country at all if it doesn't entitle you to anything? Just somewhere to throw away your taxes in the hope that you'll get drafted for a war you don't wanna fight?

The president doesn't pay taxes.

An immigrant probably pays more taxes, and fights and dies for America.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 437

I highly doubt that Microsoft has many non-replacable workers from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia in their employ that are actively traveling to their homelands. I also doubt they are going out of their way to hire refugees from these countries. If these people like their jobs then let them become citizens.

Everyone's replaceable.

But, you'd still try and stand by and help your co-workers.

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