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marnixR
Post  Post subject: the rise of the robots  |  Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 7:42 pm
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i'm just in the process of reading Martin Ford's "The rise of the robots", with its premise that the advance in computer power, including the progress in robotic manipulation, will cause mass unemployment and hollow out the middle income group in developed countries

that made me think of Isaac Asimov's "Caves of steel", where riots occur where robots are being destroyed by people who have seen their jobs taken over by robots, and how different the response (or lack thereof) in our current situation is

the way things appear to be happening is that with every downturn in the economy, jobs are lost, forcing companies to get by with fewer people by increasing the reliance on automation - when the recovery comes the lost jobs don't reappear because the companies have in the meantime learnt how to do without

but what would be the point in attacking a computer, tablet or mobile phone ? after all, that's not where the real power lies, and as for access to data centres, most people would not know where they are, and would not be able to gain access to cause any real damage

my contention is that the scenes as imagined by Isaac Asimov have not happened and are not likely to happen because (a) we like the benefits of the connected society too much; and (b) the automation as it happens in real life is faceless, unlike the personalised scenario in Asimov's novel - there is no direct visible replacement of a human being by a metallic robot as envisaged by Asimov

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Lynx_Fox
Post  Post subject: Re: the rise of the robots  |  Posted: Sun May 21, 2017 9:00 pm

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"that the advance in computer power, including the progress in robotic manipulation, will cause mass unemployment and hollow out the middle income group in developed countries"

I think that's largely already happening. For example, while the US already has near full employment, many of those working are underemployed compared to prior jobs or what their parents did--and pay being less, has hollowed out the middle-class big time.

"the way things appear to be happening is that with every downturn in the economy, jobs are lost, forcing companies to get by with fewer people by increasing the reliance on automation"

Don't really understand this. As it is happening industrials don't automate because of lack or workers...they automate because it's simply cheaper and more efficient to do so.

Thus far we haven't' blamed "robots." Harder to put a human face on it I guess or make political points by blaming others (brown peoples, immigrants etc). This tendency even goes as completely ignoring automation role even when the industry is completely forthright with their intentions--such as coal companies saying they intend to replace 90% of mining jobs in the next 10 years, Uber setting up projects to replace their taxi service with self-driving cars etc.

I think our increasing social connectively in relationships is just as valuable if not more valuable than ones from work...

I might read those books--thanks for bringing them up. I think one thing is very clear--that our 19th-century workers model is going to have to change.


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: the rise of the robots  |  Posted: Mon May 22, 2017 8:02 pm
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Lynx_Fox wrote:
"the way things appear to be happening is that with every downturn in the economy, jobs are lost, forcing companies to get by with fewer people by increasing the reliance on automation"

Don't really understand this. As it is happening industrials don't automate because of lack or workers...they automate because it's simply cheaper and more efficient to do so.


what I mean is that companies sometimes need a push to find the road to automation - like the need to save money during hard times

I've seen it happen in 2001 when a plant that was due to close had to get its performance statistics (which had until then been cranked out by an office of 15 clerks) by starting a more automated route

this worked so well that the method was transplanted to other parts of the company even after the plant in question had shut down

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"Someone is WRONG on the internet" (xkcd)


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