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Comment Re:Anything you can do, AI can do better (Score 1) 369

Except you're missing the point. What is that "basic job" in a world where every possible job can be done better by a robot than by a human?

Are you proposing something like a WPA? Are you proposing "make work" jobs, where half the people dig holes in the ground, and the other half fill them in? Are you proposing that the government pay businesses to employ people instead of robots (...and then tax the businesses, to give get the money to give them to hire the people?)

Although I haven't mentioned it, I actually do favor a WPA-like thing, but nothing like digging ditches, but more teaching/peace-core-like (kind of like the National service corps) for people that don't have an economically viable job. Don't like helping people? Well play video games in your basement, there is basic income after all...

The point of higher education is no longer to make people eligible for a job: it is to make them better human beings, and as a side benefit, to give them something to do for five, ten years to keep them off the job market because there aren't any jobs for them, while making them feel valuable in the process.

As I mentioned, the talented already get scholarships (and I have no argument giving more of those), the big question is what we do with those with lesser talents that can't find economically viable jobs... If you are suggesting we spend resources to give everyone participation ribbons to make them feel valuable, well personally I don't think that's a great way to spend resources, and maybe that's a political point where I disagree with folks the most on this subject.

Comment Re: W/o a future job as an economic endpoint for t (Score 1) 369

why fund it ? Perhaps because educated people make smarter decisions? Worldwide uneducated people out-breed educated people at a rate of about 4:1. Surely a populace less interested in breeding, because they understand the indirect costs, is a benefit worthy of funding higher education for all?

Although you seem attribute the "breeding" to being uneducated, I would submit to you that the reason is more economic than education. You can probably also show that when women have viable economic options, the fertility rate goes down. The only difference is economic options now are somewhat correlated with educational attainment. If you decouple that (e.g, a single mother busts their but in "free" community college only to find the jobs prospects are the same as before they attended, except now they lost all that "time-resource"). If you don't think that is happening even today, you haven't been following the for-profit college scandal very closely...

If nothing else, I would argue that art (literature, dance, acting, etc. ) benefits from so called higher education. Education, like travel, is broadening; it opens vistas of knowledge and experience to people that go beyond the requirements of the mundane "future job", allowing them to contribute to society in non-material ways.

If nobody has a job anyhow, I assume some people will teach for enjoyment and some people will learn. There's no need to make a big government program out of it (e.g., pay the teachers to teach and subsidize the direct materials cost). If you have to pay for travel or to play a video game or smoke a bong with basic income, why not pay to learn painting or literature with your basic income. Why should the government be picking "winners" and "losers" in the "broadening" choice?

Comment Re:Better be ready to be beat up when layed off wo (Score 1) 369

K-12 is free or should we have loans for that as well?

What about making education loans have chapter 11 and chapter 7? so the schools and banks have skin in the game.

As I mention, K-12's value was presumably to have an educated populace for voting purposes (not that it actually works). Higher education? A lot of folks do that now to get ahead, but if there is basic income, but no career ladder, why bother?

Sure, bankruptcy is a fine way to make schools and banks have skin in the game. Higher education shouldn't be except from that (it only is viable in it's current state now to keep the interest rate low).

Comment Re:New Title (Score 1) 369

There's very little a CEO does that can't be done by an AI.

Maybe, but the only real job of the CEO is to sell the story of the company to wall street. I suspect if/when we get AI that can do that effectively, wall street would be dead as it would fall for scam companies harder than it does today...

The main problem with CEOs is that they are hired like most other types of employees (with a basic assumption that some sort of pedigree or prior job experience makes them a good fit for the job), yet are paid like they have founding risk-ownership of the company (and many are simply consultants or carpetbagger who don't deserve so much risk-adjusted compensation).

You see exactly the same phenomena in professional sports (e.g., with a star player like a quarterback or head coach). Sometimes these hires work out, sometime they are a bust and barrels of virtual ink is spilled on grumbling at how much money was wasted on such prospects. The only thing people enjoy more than collectively building up people is later when we collectively tear them down.

The real "conspiracy game" is in who owns these companies that hire these CEOs. Although you might think that collectively "we" own them (as most are so-called public companies so we are the owners in fact), the reality is that "we" have delegated the responsibilities that come with ownership to a small group of illuminati that use this leveraged influence to do whatever they want with these companies resources as they have become the owners in reality.

Comment Re:Machines make customers irrelevant too. (Score 1) 369

We are only a means of production. If all of the means of production are automated, then we employees will be useless. The machines will do the production part. Why bother with employees when the machines will just create what their owners want? We will be cut out completely, and we will no longer have value.

Basically, for accounting purposes employees can be direct labor, indirect labor, or overhead. Direct labor is directly proportional to production (more production implies more direct labor hours). I suspect the jobs many of the people on slashdot work at ar already classified as indirect labor (e.g, IT support services, maintenance), or simply overhead (e.g., developers, managers, etc). Only those companies that are providing services directly to customers count IT services as direct labor, if it services internal customers, it's indirect labor (if it is somewhat proportional to production rates), or overhead (if it's relatively independent to production rates).

Simple automation and robotics have already cut most direct labor jobs to the bone (that whole "means of production" meme). Advanced automation and AI will now start cutting deeper into indirect labor and overhead jobs too.

FWIW, any job that is actually direct labor is probably proportional to sales of a company and would be relatively safe as long as the company is doing well (more sales would mean more direct labor required by definition). To achieve cost savings, in such a company, the owners would have to simply cut overhead jobs.

Comment Re:"people largely irrelevant" (Score 1) 369

It's still going to be an issue. If the minimum IQ for a job hits, say, 130, and the minimum training takes a real STEM education, you're talking mass unemployment right there. The "any idiot can do this job" jobs will pretty much be gone.

After the last Comcast internet install I witnessed, I predict that although it may not eventually be the case that "any idiot can do this job", it is quite possible that "any idiot can be hired for this job and muddle through it". The technician in this case spent ~75% of the time on his bluetooth headset with someone at home base talking him through the install (e.g., taking signal measurements of various cables, placement of the unity gain amps, ping-ing the cable modem to check signal levels etc)...

Given the "complexity" of the install, I'm pretty confident that eventually the person on the home-base side of that conversation could be anywhere in the world reading a script and probably eventually be automated. During the install, I couldn't stop thinking about that Pixar film Ratatouille.

Comment Re:Better be ready to be beat up when layed off wo (Score 1) 369

Better be ready to be beat up when layed off workers find out it's better to be in lock up then out on the street.

This is why the principle of automation and machine intelligence goes hand in hand with the concept of the Universal Basic Income and free education. So we can create an educated workforce, and those who cannot work have a strong societal safety net that's easy to administrate.

Why give a free education if the result of the education is unneeded for work? Sure it's great to have free stuff, but there has to be at least some minor justification. Sure it's nice to have a *basic* education (e.g. up to the highschool level as today) so the people that vote aren't total dolts (not that this currently works, but at least it is a reason).

However, if 90% of the people don't actually work (and say smoke and play video games all day as all the basic income advocates presage), it's hard to argue for any free higher education. There's no reason higher education needs to be free, you could simply offer merit scholarships like they have today and only the folks that really want education (and would actually benefit from it) would still get it. There's no need for higher education for people careers/jobs (and they are unnecessary if AI is taking all of their jobs anyhow), many of the economic issues about equality and access that haunt us with diversity and affirmative action completely go away. The problem today is finding a way to fund the education of those that don't merit grants and scholarships such that it doesn't re-enforce inequality of opportunity. W/o a future job as an economic endpoint for this funding, why fund it?

If on the other hand, instead of basic income, you had a basic-job as a right (the whole "communism" attempt of the last century), you might have a point (since not all jobs are created equal, allowing some variance for education is useful), but with basic income, cash is cash, there isn't any need to have any distinguishing higher education except for those that actually will excel. No need to make higher education free to everyone (except to satiate people's vanity for attendance trophies beyond secondary school).

Comment Re:Hell no (Score 1) 355

Driving a car isn't hard millions do it.

I've waited until I was 37-years-old to learn how to drive. My father wasn't going to teach me as a teenager to drive stick on his one-ton flatbed that he put a million miles on in ten years. Since Silicon Valley has a well-developed transit system, I got around just fine without having a need for a vehicle. One day my father abandoned his old car in my carport. I had not choice but to get my driver license and take possession of the car. Took me three years to find out about all the repairs that he didn't tell me about. It's easier to own a car when you're more mature and financially responsible, especially if your father is DIYer who doesn't believe in mechanics.

I'm calling BS on Silicon Valley having a well-developed transit system. You may be confusing SV for SF. VTA transit routes (e.g., the transit agency responsible for mess that is silicon valley) have decided that the only viable transit corridors/routes are south san jose to downtown san jose and mountain view to cisco (aka north-sanjose). Ever other place gets fragmented bus service with no-transfers (I guess if you are a monthly pass owner you don't care about cost of transfers). With the current frequency, each transfer can cost you 15-20 minutes, it can take hours to get to where you are going. Local companies have pretty much given up on VTA and fund their own shuttles to Caltrain for the last mile, but that doesn't fix the "first-mile" issue (getting from your apartment to Caltrain or light-rail).

For example, in my old place, I tried to commute by bus for a couple weeks when my car was in the shop. Luckily I lived only 3 blocks from the nearest bus service, but that's because that bus winded through neighborhoods to get to the Great America transit area (where lots of bus lines intersect/terminate) just to get another bus to my job in Santa Clara (in the heart of Silicon valley) which terminated in a walk of about 15 minutes to my office. Total transit time by bus during commute time 1.3 hours vs average time in car 20 minutes. Needless to say, after 2 days, decided to rent a car. I used to also used leave my car at the office and got to SJC airport for weekend trips. The office to SJC (which is 10 minutes by car) required a 10-min walk, two buses to eventually get to Santa Clara Caltrain station where I could take the VTA flier (bus route 10), took about 50 min to an hour (again because of transfers)...

Because Silicon Valley is so spread out, the bus transfers and the frequency are total killers in trying to get from point-A to point-B (unless those points are walking distance to light-rail or caltrain). Even on medium frequency routes, there is little bus service because it centers on community college routes and retail locations like the El Camino Real corridor (which they are looking to upgrade) and the 87-to-cisco corridor. Unfortunately, it's a pain in the ass for any other potential user because sub-urban sprawl makes the population density sucks for bus service.

Yeah I voted for the VTA tax increase, but I have the suspicion they are probably just gonna spend it on prep-work for the California high-speed rail project, not making any better transit system in the valley...

Comment Re:Why is this guy still talking (Score 4, Interesting) 463

Right, because none of those things could flip a burger as well as a human could. However, now we have machines that can do things better then any human can.

Because no-one has ever in history designed a machine that could...
* operate switchboards better than a human could
* compute ballistic trajectories better than a human could
* transcribe documents better than a human could
* assemble electronics better than a human could
* sort mail better than a human could

This stuff has been going on for a couple centuries now displacing lower-middle class workers. The only difference now is that it is beginning to affect upper-middle class workers who thought they were safe because they had eeked out college degree, but ended up in a field of work that didn't actually need a college degree, but they worked their way up a corporate ladder because they had some penchant for managing lower-middle class workers and they had some pedigree attached to their "college-attendance". Without these lower-level workers to manage (because it is all automated), what career prospects do they really have?

The solution to this problem is free education and a basic income. We should start with a grant for 60 credit hours of community college and a basic income at 60% the federal poverty level.

The community college thing isn't gonna really help anyone in this new labor-less economy. There isn't a corporate career path in management anymore (even, low-level foreman/supervisory roles). The economy can't really support enough jobs in the "overhead" rolls either. Think of what happens when we get a "boom" cycle of startup companies, there are still only a few winning companies and lots of losing companies. Which companies do you think many of these newly minted freely over-educated citizens will end up?

Sadly the future is likely that the whole idea of a "career" which is kick-started by formal higher education as way to make a path through life is probably reaching a turning point. Historically the whole idea of a "career" launched by formal higher education was really an artifact of the rise of governments and large corporations that needed to hire warm bodies en-mass and were looking for easier ways to sort potential employees.

If corporations eventually get smaller (because they don't need to hire as many people to scale), we are trending back to the artisan era (where people are often evaluated more by their portfolio of work, not their formal education and where apprenticeships are often more valued than training).

Of course an alternate path that is shown by history, is that corporation can also get large and subsume the role of government altogether such that employment in these mega-corps will become simply a new form a citizenship. In this alternate reality there is no need for free-education and basic income, these mega-corps will (as they have historically done) provide it to all their citizens (aka employees) and even provide them jobs in new startup ventures that they want to expand their reach into. I don't know if this is the ideal path preferred by all the basic-income promoting folks, but suspect not. In many ways these mega-corps are almost like a typical military organization.

Either way, a "free" education provided by the government doesn't seem to be worth the cost/benefit in a post-labor economy...

Comment Re:It's already happened a few times already... (Score 4, Funny) 463

Counterpoint: Sales and Services are the most common job in the US today, along with maybe some form of Educator:
It'll still be a while before those social jobs are automated away.

That's cute, you think that the on-line sales/help agent you are chatting with isn't already a chatbot... Be sure to send her programmer a +1...

Comment Re:Another step toward tyeanny (Score 2) 258

If South Koreans have nothing to worry about, why do they need to keep having 1-2 million protester demonstrations demanding their president step down?

The protesters don't fear tyranny so much as they fear their latest dynastic president (her father was the third "president**" of south korea) has been corrupted by her confidant who's father was the leader of an unscrupulous pseudo-religious organization (her father was apparently the "korean rasputin" of the the current president's father).

**Her father led a military coup d'état before eventually being elected president

Comment Re:Auction system (Score 1) 184

Or you could just eliminate it. Besides there's another visa program (EB-1) that can be used.

The EB (employment based immigrant visa) program is basically one of the many ways to get a green card. Generally, before you get the a green card, you cannot work in the USA. Given the limits on the issuance EB green cards, the wait times are in the years so it makes this path pretty much intractable for companies hiring people (unless you are a big multinational company that is willing to employ someone in another country while you wait).

The H1 visa program started as a non--immigrant visa for people working here temporarily, but the loophole is that it allows the holder to be a *dual-intent* (e.g., while working in the USA on the H1 or H1b visa, you can attempt to apply for an EB based green card). This makes it so you can work in the USA while you are waiting the years it take to get your EB program (or other eligibility-criteria) green card.

I think many of these contractor staffing companies are probably using the H1b program as temporary workers (although the workers might want to stay, the staffing companies probably want to cycle them through the USA to keep salaries low), but the complication arises when you also have regular companies than want to hire a person through the EB program, but desire an H1b to have them work right away in the country instead of waiting years and funneling them through the same H1b program designed for temporary workers.

One big problem with hiring and just waiting for a EB green card is that if you didn't hire that person through the H1b program (which allows dual-intent) and say have the person work remote in their country while they wait for a few years for a green card, you might find want them to occasional, visit the USA temporarily after you hire them. If you use one of the other available visas (e.g., B1 or L1 god forbid a V tourist visa) you will compromise their ability to actually get the EB-based green card (they could be theoretically banned from the green-card program for entering with dual-intent on a B, L, or V visa which do not allow dual-intent).

It's kind of a mess right now, if you ask me. The EB program is pretty much useless without the H1b for hiring anyone.

Comment Re:Good then bad then good (Score 3, Interesting) 172

I know this was tongue-in-cheek, but how long did hunter-gatherers live on average?

If they made it past infant, the best estimates are about the same as 15-16th century men. Generally hunter-gatherers that made it past infancy died from external means (accidents, infections, etc). Of course making it past infancy was pretty hard for typical hunter gathers. It is a myth that they somehow prehistoric people all died around 30 because that was their "life-expectanacy" at birth. The huge increase in infant mortality greatly skew their life-expectancy down greatly.

Studies in the 50's and 60's of isolated hunter-gather societies in Africa and south america provide our best estimates for lifespans of hunter-gatherer societies post infant mortality. The studies of these relatively contemporary isolated hunter-gatherer societies tracked with human life spans in the 15-16th century when actual records were more available. One of the big assumption they make in many studies is that childhood and other infectious diseases were much more common in the 15-16th century as population densities increased vs isolated hunter gatherer societies so you can perhaps take all this with a grain of salt...

As an additionally data point, many recovered fossils of prehistoric men (and neanderthals for that matter) have shown advanced arthritis and dental wear consistent with ages around 60yo so their is at least existant proof of older people of that era. Although there aren't enough fossil records to be sure of actual age statistics solely from fossil records.

When the industrial revolution rolled around and our lives became less physically dangerous and learned more about diseases, infant/child mortality greatly decreases and our life expectancy has raised considerably and now people that made it past childhood were dying of typical cardio-vascular diseases (probably from higher calorie diets that didn't exist during our species hunter-gather phase).

If you really want to live to your natural age limit of relatively cardio-vascular disease free life, various studies from the 1930's to present day have shown highly calorie restricted diets have shown to possibly be one way to go. It must be balanced, and sadly caloric levels are at the level of near starvation like some hunter-gathers that hit a few lean years. Unfortunately, the statistics have shown the next thing in line to get you is probably cancer, so it doesn't really make you live much longer just w/o cardio-vascular disease, so it may not be worth for many folks to basically starving yourself to get this benefit... yet...

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