General Automation Thread

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General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-03-28 02:41am

Because Flippy was too hot to handle.

We were talking about Food Delivery robots, and the prospect of the homeless attacking them with a crowbar for the contents therein.

Current Treasury Secretary says that automation isn't really a concern, and won't be a concern for him for another 50 years.

Gizmodo
“We had an Axios event the other day with Mark Cuban who was very focused on artificial intelligence and how that was going to affect the workforce,” Allen said. “What’s your take on that?”

“I think that is so far in the future, in terms of artificial intelligence taking over American jobs, I think we’re, like, so far away from that, that’s, uh... not even on my radar screen.” Mnuchin nervously said with a tight smile.

“How far away,” Allen pressed.

“Far enough that it’s...(guffaws with laughter)” Mnuchin trailed off.


“Seven more years?” Allen tried to help.

“Seven more years,” Mnuchin balked. “I think it’s 50 to 100 more years.”
Is 50 to 100 years a reasonable timeframe, or is he overestimating the time involved it would take for automation to come into industry? According to the article, we're looking at heavy automation by the 2030s.

Discuss.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by mr friendly guy » 2017-03-28 03:47am

My totally non expert opinion is that we are going to get high levels of automation, most probably by the 2030s, and its already starting.

For example the world's factory, ie China is already pushing heavily into automation. If the world's factory does it, can anyone else afford to remain behind?

That's just in the manufacturing area. In other areas like agriculture I think we should also experience automation. Here is an article on agricultural drones.
http://www.dronethusiast.com/agricultural-drones/

Apparently Japan has been doing it for a while, and its starting to pick up in the US and China. The DJI Agras 1 drone can map the area you want sprayed once you program it, and its supposedly way more efficient than a human being. So instead of several sprayers, you can just have one drone pilot.

In services (catering) we are seeing this already. Supermarkets using self check outs, McDonalds with self order machines, robots which can make ramen noodles, and even robot waiters (although these strike me as a novelty currently).

So I think we need to prepare for this increase in automation or else we will have unemployment issues.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-03-29 04:52pm

Fox News

Yeah, I know
Automation of port terminals threatens thousands of lucrative dock worker jobs
By Andrew O'Reilly Published March 27, 2017 FoxNews.com
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Shipping containers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California.
Shipping containers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. (REUTERS/Bob Riha, Jr., File)
The push over the last decade by international maritime ports to fully automate operations has sparked the ire of many U.S. longshoremen whose high-paying jobs and way of life are at stake. The trend also sets up a battle between their unions and companies and governments who see automation as a cleaner, more efficient and more cost-friendly alternative to the current system.

“This may be the most difficult and complex challenge we’ve ever undertaken,’’ Dan Sperling, professor of civil engineering and environmental science at the University of California, Davis and a member of California’s Air Resources Board, told Bloomberg. “We’re trying to change the entire freight system.’’

California is on the frontlines in the battle over automation as the ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles and Oakland handle 40 percent of U.S. container traffic and that number is expected to increase with the expansion of the Panama Canal.

Advocates for automation argue that ports run basically by robots can handle the greater volume of goods expected to go through the state’s ports and do it more efficiently and in a tighter space.

More on this...

2 Florida ports abandon Cuba deals after Gov. Scott threatens to cut funding
Panama Canal Expansion Won't Bring Economic Boost To U.S. Ports, Analysts Say
The 10 Best Europe Ports for Beer
TraPac LLC, which operates a shipping terminal at the Port of Los Angeles, says the company’s fully automated terminal in Southern California has not only doubled the speed of loading and unloading ships – saving TraPac money and boosting its profit margin – but it has also cut down on the time trucks have to wait for containers. Adding to this is the electric- and hybrid-powered automated machines cut down on carbon emissions – something that California Gov. Jerry Brown is particularly keen to do.

Brown wants 100,000 zero-emission freight-hauling machines in California by 2030 and with half the state’s toxic diesel-soot emissions and 45 percent of the nitrogen oxide that plague Los Angeles with the nation’s worst smog coming from commercial shipment, the Democratic governor has honed in on the ports as the place to start working on his goal.

While this may be music to the ears of environmentalists and shipping industry insiders hoping that the U.S. catches up with the rest of the world (the Port of Rotterdam automated in 1993), it has hit a sour note with the region’s longshoremen, many of whom earn six-figure incomes under the current system.

“Those robots represent hundreds of (lost) jobs,” Bobby Olvera Jr., president of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13, told the Press-Telegram. “It means hundreds of people that aren’t shopping. They aren’t paying taxes and they aren’t buying homes.”

This sentiment – which is echoed across the country on factory floors and warehouses – is not without precedent.

When container shipping was first introduced in the U.S. around the middle of the last century, more than 90 percent of workers at urban docks lost their jobs within 15 years of containerization's arrival – a trend that greatly contributed to the decline of the urban middle class in port cities across the globe.

In a more recent example, at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach the International Longshore and Warehouse Union formally accepted the use of self-driving and automated technologies in 2008. Since then, while none of the unions 14,000 workers have lost their jobs, 10,000 contingent workers have been called up to work much less often, Jim McKenna, president of the Pacific Maritime Association, said.

The push for full automation has been much stronger on the West Coast than at ports in the East and Gulf Coasts, where operators and unions have come to a tacit agreement on partial automation. While ports in Virginia and New Jersey were the first to try out full automation, major stops like Miami and New York seem less likely to do so anytime soon given the pushback from unions and the fact that large ships rarely unload all of their cargo on a single stop like they do out west.

Those robots represent hundreds of (lost) jobs... It means hundreds of people that aren’t shopping. They aren’t paying taxes and they aren’t buying homes.

- Bobby Olvera Jr., president of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13
“We have no problem with semi-automated terminals,” Jim McNamara, a spokesperson for the International Longshoremen’s Association, told Fox News. “New technology is fine if it keeps our workers safe, but full automation means that our jobs are gone.”

McNamara added: “Not only do our jobs help the economy and keep more people working, but it would also take years and a lot of money to rebuild a port to be fully automated.”

The high cost, however, is something that terminal owners seem willing to handle if it means bigger profits and to keep pace with global competitors.

The Port of Los Angeles and TraPac have already invested $693 million in four dozen self-driving cranes and automated carriers, plus related infrastructure. Middle Harbor, the port of Long Beach’s automated terminal, should be up and running in about two years at a cost of $1.3 billion.

Expand / Contract
Experts say that these developments mean that the writing is on the wall for longshoremen and that the automation tide is upon U.S. ports whether they are ready or not.

“The maritime industry has perhaps been slower than most to embrace container terminal automation,” Howard Wren, director of Logistics at Australia’s Jade Software Corp., wrote in article for Port Technology.” “However, confidence in automation technology is now at its highest level ever and the development of automated terminals is quickly approaching the point where the rush is about to begin.”
Summing it up, docks and ports are already becoming heavily automated.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-03-29 05:04pm

New York Times reports on it as well.
Evidence That Robots Are Winning the Race for American Jobs
Claire Cain Miller @clairecm MARCH 28, 2017

Robot arms weld a vehicle at the General Motors plant in Lansing, Mich. Automakers are the biggest users of industrial robots, which have decreased employment and wages in local economies. Credit Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
Who is winning the race for jobs between robots and humans? Last year, two leading economists described a future in which humans come out ahead. But now they’ve declared a different winner: the robots.

The industry most affected by automation is manufacturing. For every robot per thousand workers, up to six workers lost their jobs and wages fell by as much as three-fourths of a percent, according to a new paper by the economists, Daron Acemoglu of M.I.T. and Pascual Restrepo of Boston University. It appears to be the first study to quantify large, direct, negative effects of robots.

The paper is all the more significant because the researchers, whose work is highly regarded in their field, had been more sanguine about the effect of technology on jobs. In a paper last year, they said it was likely that increased automation would create new, better jobs, so employment and wages would eventually return to their previous levels. Just as cranes replaced dockworkers but created related jobs for engineers and financiers, the theory goes, new technology has created new jobs for software developers and data analysts.

But that paper was a conceptual exercise. The new one uses real-world data — and suggests a more pessimistic future. The researchers said they were surprised to see very little employment increase in other occupations to offset the job losses in manufacturing. That increase could still happen, they said, but for now there are large numbers of people out of work, with no clear path forward — especially blue-collar men without college degrees.

“The conclusion is that even if overall employment and wages recover, there will be losers in the process, and it’s going to take a very long time for these communities to recover,” Mr. Acemoglu said.

“If you’ve worked in Detroit for 10 years, you don’t have the skills to go into health care,” he said. “The market economy is not going to create the jobs by itself for these workers who are bearing the brunt of the change.”

The paper’s evidence of job displacement from technology contrasts with a comment from the Treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, who said at an Axios event last week that artificial intelligence’s displacement of human jobs was “not even on our radar screen,” and “50 to 100 more years” away. (Not all robots use artificial intelligence, but a panel of experts — polled by the M.I.T. Initiative on the Digital Economy in reaction to Mr. Mnuchin’s comments — expressed the same broad concern of major job displacement.)

The paper also helps explain a mystery that has been puzzling economists: why, if machines are replacing human workers, productivity hasn’t been increasing. In manufacturing, productivity has been increasing more than elsewhere — and now we see evidence of it in the employment data, too.

The study analyzed the effect of industrial robots in local labor markets in the United States. Robots are to blame for up to 670,000 lost manufacturing jobs between 1990 and 2007, it concluded, and that number will rise because industrial robots are expected to quadruple.

The paper adds to the evidence that automation, more than other factors like trade and offshoring that President Trump campaigned on, has been the bigger long-term threat to blue-collar jobs. The researchers said the findings — “large and robust negative effects of robots on employment and wages” — remained strong even after controlling for imports, offshoring, software that displaces jobs, worker demographics and the type of industry.

Robots affected both men’s and women’s jobs, the researchers found, but the effect on male employment was up to twice as big. The data doesn’t explain why, but Mr. Acemoglu had a guess: Women are more willing than men to take a pay cut to work in a lower-status field.

The economists looked at the effect of robots on local economies and also more broadly. In an isolated area, each robot per thousand workers decreased employment by 6.2 workers and wages by 0.7 percent. But nationally, the effects were smaller, because jobs were created in other places.

Take Detroit, home to automakers, the biggest users of industrial robots. Employment was greatly affected. If automakers can charge less for cars because they employ fewer people, employment might increase elsewhere in the country, like at steel makers or taxi operators. Meanwhile, the people in Detroit will probably spend less at stores. Including these factors, each robot per thousand workers decreased employment by three workers and wages by 0.25 percent.

The findings fuel the debate about whether technology will help people do their jobs more efficiently and create new ones, as it has in the past, or eventually displace humans.

David Autor, a collaborator of Mr. Acemoglu’s at M.I.T., has argued that machines will complement instead of replace humans, and cannot replicate human traits like common sense and empathy. “I don’t think that this paper is the last word on its subject, but it’s an exceedingly carefully constructed and thought-provoking first word,” he said.

Mr. Restrepo said the problem might be that the new jobs created by technology are not in the places that are losing jobs, like the Rust Belt. “I still believe there will be jobs in the years to come, though probably not as many as we have today,” he said. “But the data have made me worried about the communities directly exposed to robots.”

In addition to cars, industrial robots are used most in the manufacturing of electronics, metal products, plastics and chemicals. They do not require humans to operate, and do various tasks like welding, painting and packaging. From 1993 to 2007, the United States added one new industrial robot for every thousand workers — mostly in the Midwest, South and East — and Western Europe added 1.6.

The study, a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper published Monday, used data on the number of robots from the International Federation of Robotics (there is no consistent data on the monetary value of the robots in use.) It analyzed the effect of robots on employment and wages in commuting zones, a way to measure local economies.

The next question is whether the coming wave of technologies — like machine learning, drones and driverless cars — will have similar effects, but on many more people.
Here is a link to the paper: paper. You have to purchase it, though.

There's also an article by the Washington Post, with the link here. You have to be a subscriber to access it though.

The key part from the New York Times article:
The industry most affected by automation is manufacturing. For every robot per thousand workers, up to six workers lost their jobs and wages fell by as much as three-fourths of a percent, according to a new paper by the economists, Daron Acemoglu of M.I.T. and Pascual Restrepo of Boston University. It appears to be the first study to quantify large, direct, negative effects of robots.
Thoughts?
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Gaidin » 2017-03-29 06:07pm

So I'm gonna spitball just the high level of strategic thinking someone like any of the Secretaries has to think at. And I'm also going to run with the quoted article in the OP.
Rhett Jones wrote:the Treasury Secretary Says Automation of Jobs Is “50-100 More Years” Away
followed by
SecTreas wrote:in terms of artificial intelligence taking over American jobs, I think we’re, like, so far away
Sure, some places will get hit by burger bot, and parts of ports will get dicked over. But uhh...let's just say Uber's already taking their automated cars off the road because they can't get the damn things to work. So the idea is like six one way and half dozen the other. Nevermind the difference between automation and Artificial Intelligence.

Good click-bait for Gizmodo headline though.

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-03-29 06:48pm

So, essentially, an appointed official doesn't know what he's talking about? Color me shocked.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-03-29 07:25pm

FaxModem1 wrote:So, essentially, an appointed official doesn't know what he's talking about? Color me shocked.
Yeah, this.

Especially under this Administration, which is full of the kind of corporatist types who would probably absolutely love to automate away all those pesky workers who have things like "wages" and "rights", without having to pay to do anything to help the victims, or even acknowledge the problem.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by SolarpunkFan » 2017-03-29 07:38pm

Gaidin wrote:*Snip*
All things considered: assuming there isn't a solid answer right now I still think plans on preparing for widespread technological unemployment should be looked into.

Better safe than under a guillotine after all.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-03-29 08:28pm

SolarpunkFan wrote:
Gaidin wrote:*Snip*
All things considered: assuming there isn't a solid answer right now I still think plans on preparing for widespread technological unemployment should be looked into.

Better safe than under a guillotine after all.
For the economists in the room, with automation on the rise, and if there's lack of legislation or government action about it, what's the most(realistic) damage it could do to the American economy? The international economy?
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Gandalf » 2017-03-29 09:02pm

FaxModem1 wrote:For the economists in the room, with automation on the rise, and if there's lack of legislation or government action about it, what's the most(realistic) damage it could do to the American economy? The international economy?
The working human's labour loses value, because they can (at times) be replaced by robots. Unless one goes for a full technicistic socialism, this is largely a disaster for society.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by aerius » 2017-03-29 09:26pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:Especially under this Administration, which is full of the kind of corporatist types who would probably absolutely love to automate away all those pesky workers who have things like "wages" and "rights", without having to pay to do anything to help the victims, or even acknowledge the problem.
Sec Tres and Fed Reserve chair are essentially a revolving door to Goldman-Sachs and have been since the Clinton days, of course they're corporatist banker shitheads, what do you expect? Look up Larry Summers, Bob Rubin, Hank Paulson, and Tim Geithner for starters, this is nothing new. Bob Rubin is the reason that student loans can't be discharged under bankruptcy which essentially makes every student with a loan a debt slave for life.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-03-29 09:58pm

Gandalf wrote:
FaxModem1 wrote:For the economists in the room, with automation on the rise, and if there's lack of legislation or government action about it, what's the most(realistic) damage it could do to the American economy? The international economy?
The working human's labour loses value, because they can (at times) be replaced by robots. Unless one goes for a full technicistic socialism, this is largely a disaster for society.
I'm guessing that would be because of the high unemployment and inability for workers to pay for things like rent and food. Is that about it, or am I missing something?
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Gandalf » 2017-03-29 10:16pm

FaxModem1 wrote:
Gandalf wrote:The working human's labour loses value, because they can (at times) be replaced by robots. Unless one goes for a full technicistic socialism, this is largely a disaster for society.
I'm guessing that would be because of the high unemployment and inability for workers to pay for things like rent and food. Is that about it, or am I missing something?
Pretty much. For most people, all they have is the ability to sell unskilled labour. They get paid by the (for example) factory owner, and then they spend that money in the local economy. When they're priced out by robots, where do they go for their wages, and what happens to the service sector in these working class areas?

This is the capitalism for which the Cold War was fought. Congratulations everyone?
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-03-30 12:11am

I'm trying to find good resources for the population info of unskilled labor in countries. The sense I'm getting is that for a lot of nations, unskilled labor is around 2/3rds of their population.

Going solely by the US Census website, only 29.8 percent of Americans over the age of 25 have a bachelor's degree. Source. More detailed explanation says that it's closer to 21 percent. If I'm reading this wrong, if I'm missing something, or you have better data, please correct me.

If you have something like 70 to 80 percent of the US who can be easily replaced by machines, and will be over the next decade or so, then that spells doom for the working class. How many jobs would be needed for another recession or depression to hit? And this is in a first world nation. What about nations with lower rates of education?
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-03-30 03:52am

A significant fraction of Americans with a bachelor's work at jobs that probably could be automated, or that automation could replace part of their job.

A significant fraction of Americans with an associate's degree or less probably work in jobs that can't be automated, at least not quickly and easily.

That said, unemployment really only needs to tick upwards by 5-10% from whatever baseline you're at for a country to experience massive social hardship. The kind where the government literally cannot ignore the problem because if it tries, it gets replaced by one that will pay attention.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-03-30 11:43am

FaxModem1 wrote:I'm trying to find good resources for the population info of unskilled labor in countries. The sense I'm getting is that for a lot of nations, unskilled labor is around 2/3rds of their population.

Going solely by the US Census website, only 29.8 percent of Americans over the age of 25 have a bachelor's degree. Source. More detailed explanation says that it's closer to 21 percent. If I'm reading this wrong, if I'm missing something, or you have better data, please correct me.

If you have something like 70 to 80 percent of the US who can be easily replaced by machines, and will be over the next decade or so, then that spells doom for the working class. How many jobs would be needed for another recession or depression to hit? And this is in a first world nation. What about nations with lower rates of education?
I'm hoping this is a worst-case scenario, but even a fraction of those numbers is the kind of unemployment rate from which fascist governments and civil wars are born.

This is a sword hanging over us all, about to fall, and its not being given nearly enough attention. Even the progressives in the US are behind the curve. Fighting for 15 dollars an hour won't do us much good if their are no jobs to be had. Thankfully, some of the politicians in Europe and Canada are a bit more forward thinking- support for Basic Income is a huge part of why I'm now a volunteer for the Green Party here (first time I've ever volunteered for a political campaign).

Obviously, any serious reform in the US at the national level is going to be contingent on kicking out the current cabal first, because the kind of people we have now are the ones who's idea of a solution is likely to be "order troops to fire on the starving masses when they get unruly". But progressives should be starting an all-out push now for Basic Income and restrictions on automation in blue cities/states.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-03-30 11:54am

The Romulan Republic wrote:Obviously, any serious reform in the US at the national level is going to be contingent on kicking out the current cabal first, because the kind of people we have now are the ones who's idea of a solution is likely to be "order troops to fire on the starving masses when they get unruly". But progressives should be starting an all-out push now for Basic Income and restrictions on automation in blue cities/states.
What kind of restrictions? How far do you want technology to regress as it advances? Should there be laws saying that certain types of machines shouldn't be invented, because they make things too convenient? That seems like the kind of thing that is a stop-gap measure at best, and ensures your society gets held behind everyone else's as technology continues to advance.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-03-30 12:01pm

FaxModem1 wrote:
The Romulan Republic wrote:Obviously, any serious reform in the US at the national level is going to be contingent on kicking out the current cabal first, because the kind of people we have now are the ones who's idea of a solution is likely to be "order troops to fire on the starving masses when they get unruly". But progressives should be starting an all-out push now for Basic Income and restrictions on automation in blue cities/states.
What kind of restrictions? How far do you want technology to regress as it advances? Should there be laws saying that certain types of machines shouldn't be invented, because they make things too convenient? That seems like the kind of thing that is a stop-gap measure at best, and ensures your society gets held behind everyone else's as technology continues to advance.
A stop gap, yes, but quite possibly a necessary one.

The point about others not implementing such restrictions and passing us by is not entirely unreasonable, but I think any country that allows its jobs to be automated away without taking some action to mitigate the damage is going to have much bigger problems than being left technologically behind if the numbers you're talking about play out.

In terms of what sort of restrictions, I'd have to be much more informed on both the technology and the economics to give a comprehensive answer, but ultimately, I'm talking about legal limits on using technology to replace unskilled labour, minimum. Saying that a company can only automating a certain percentage of their workforce, perhaps.

Or, if not a hard and fast ban (which would likely have loopholes anyway), tax incentives to companies that keep a large human workforce.

Ultimately, though, I think it probably is a stopgap, while we try to implement Basic Income.

But you know, if we can find the political capital to punish immigrants for "taking our jobs", we should be able to find the political capital to restrict mindless, soulless machines for the same reason (and with greater justification).
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by aerius » 2017-03-30 12:48pm

mr friendly guy wrote:In services (catering) we are seeing this already. Supermarkets using self check outs, McDonalds with self order machines, robots which can make ramen noodles, and even robot waiters (although these strike me as a novelty currently).

So I think we need to prepare for this increase in automation or else we will have unemployment issues.
If the job doesn't involve serious thinking & problem solving or stairs, there's probably a robot already which can do the job, or there will be soon enough. Those highly paid bricklayers at the construction site? There's a robot for that. What about woodworking and cabinet making? Robots can cut wood, plane wood, make complex joints, and even carve artwork. Like it or not, humans & society will need to evolve or become obsolete.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-03-30 08:00pm

So, Yahoo News published a story about this. The general line of thought is that 1 robot is > or = 5 workers.
Automation study: 1 robot takes 5.6 jobs per 1,000 workers

Ethan Wolff-MannYahoo FinanceMarch 30, 2017

Industrial, automated robots build cars for Ford, a company that pioneered the assembly line. Source: Reuters
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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin raised eyebrows last week by saying he was “not worried at all,” about robots taking jobs, even going so far to say, “I’m optimistic.” According to Mnuchin, “it’s not even on our radar screen…50 to 100 more years.”

According to a new study by researchers at MIT and Boston University, this is very wrong, and the data tell a far different story of robots driving down wages and stealing jobs. The researchers, Daron Acemoglu of MIT and Pascual Restrepo of Boston University, examined the rise of industrial robots, which increased fourfold between 1990 to 2007 or around one robot per every thousand workers, largely in the automotive and electronics industries.

That one robot, the research found, reduces the aggregate employment-to-population ratio by 0.34 percentage points. Translated from professor-speak, the researchers say that’s equivalent to “one new robot reducing employment by 5.6 workers,” a figure that factors in workers being soaked up by other industries unaffected by industrial robots. And by making the labor market more competitive, one robot can depress wages by 0.25% to 0.5%.

At the same time, the researchers note that “perhaps surprisingly, we do not find positive and offsetting employment gains in any occupation or education groups.”

Mnuchin’s denial isn’t new, but ignores fundamental Wall Street maxim

There is vast historical precedence for Mnuchin’s optimism in the face of research like this, as economists like John Maynard Keynes worried about technological unemployment due to machines way back before World War II. But like any financial disclaimer says, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

A look around shows no telephone switchboard operators, elevator operators, assembly-line welders or video-rental stores. Now cars that drive themselves are on the road in some places.

Throughout the 2016 campaign, Trump uttered nary a word about automation, choosing instead to rail against exporting jobs to China and Mexico, but automation is becoming impossible to ignore. As domestic manufacturing has boomed, that sector’s employment has declined considerably. And to throw salt in the wound, the robots taking jobs are foreign-made, a recent Wall Street Journal report noted.

Future robots

Automation may be accelerating, but it hasn’t reached a critical threshold quite yet. According to Acemoglu and Restrepo, the number of jobs lost to robots has been between 360,000 and 670,000 from 1990 to 2007. “However,” they write, “if the spread of robots proceeds as expected by experts over the next two decades, the future aggregate implications of the spread of robots could be much more sizable.”

These predictions fall into two categories, one that extrapolates things out, expecting more job and wage losses. In the other situation, “the response of employment and wages may be different once the number of robots exceeds a critical threshold,” the researchers say. In other words, economists like Keynes still have a chance to be proved right.

Ethan Wolff-Mann is a writer at Yahoo Finance focusing on consumer issues, tech, and personal finance. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann. Got a tip? Send it to tips@yahoo-inc.com.
So, from now on, one should measure the cost of replacing workers with a machine, not with one man, but with the work, salary, benefits, etc., of 5-6.

Want another fun figure?

The Guardian estimates that the UK will lose 30 percent of jobs in the next 15 years.
Millions of UK workers at risk of being replaced by robots, study says
Workers in wholesale and retail sectors at highest risk from breakthroughs in robotics and artificial intelligence, PwC report finds
Army of robots
The PwC report said inequality would result from robots increasingly being used for low-skill tasks. Photograph: Alamy

Larry Elliott Economics editor
Friday 24 March 2017 03.30 EDT Last modified on Friday 24 March 2017 06.29 EDT
More than 10 million UK workers are at high risk of being replaced by robots within 15 years as the automation of routine tasks gathers pace in a new machine age.

A report by the consultancy firm PwC found that 30% of jobs in Britain were potentially under threat from breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI). In some sectors half the jobs could go.

The report predicted that automation would boost productivity and create fresh job opportunities, but it said action was needed to prevent the widening of inequality that would result from robots increasingly being used for low-skill tasks.

PwC said 2.25 million jobs were at high risk in wholesale and retailing – the sector that employs most people in the UK – and 1.2 million were under threat in manufacturing, 1.1 million in administrative and support services and 950,000 in transport and storage.

The report said the biggest impact would be on workers who had left school with GCSEs or lower, and that there was an argument for government intervention in education, lifelong learning and job matching to ensure the potential gains from automation were not concentrated in too few hands. Some form of universal basic income might also be considered.

Jon Andrews, the head of technology and investments at PwC, said: “There’s no doubt that AI and robotics will rebalance what jobs look like in the future, and that some are more susceptible than others.

“What’s important is making sure that the potential gains from automation are shared more widely across society and no one gets left behind. Responsible employers need to ensure they encourage flexibility and adaptability in their people so we are all ready for the change.

“In the future, knowledge will be a commodity so we need to shift our thinking on how we skill and upskill future generations. Creative and critical thinking will be highly valued, as will emotional intelligence.”

Education and health and social care were the two sectors seen as least threatened by robots because of the high proportion of tasks seen as hard to automate.

Because women tend to work in sectors that require a higher level of education and social skills, PwC said they would be less in jeopardy of losing their jobs than men, who were more likely to work in sectors such as manufacturing and transportation. Thirty-five per cent of male jobs were identified as being at high risk against 26% of female jobs.

The PwC study is the latest to assess the potential for job losses and heightened inequality from AI. Robert Schiller, a Nobel-prize winning US economist, has said the scale of the workplace transformation set to take place in the coming decades should lead to consideration of a “robot tax” to support those machines make redundant.

John Hawksworth, PwC’s chief economist, said: “A key driver of our industry-level estimates is the fact that manual and routine tasks are more susceptible to automation, while social skills are relatively less automatable. That said, no industry is entirely immune from future advances in robotics and AI.

“Automating more manual and repetitive tasks will eliminate some existing jobs but could also enable some workers to focus on higher value, more rewarding and creative work, removing the monotony from our day jobs.

“By boosting productivity – a key UK weakness over the past decade – and so generating wealth, advances in robotics and AI should also create additional jobs in less automatable parts of the economy as this extra wealth is spent or invested.”

He added that the UK employment rate of just under 75% was at its highest level since modern records began in 1971, suggesting that advances in digital and other labour-saving technologies had been accompanied by job creation. He said it was not clear that the future would be different from the past in terms of how automation would affect overall employment rates.

The fact that it was technically possible to replace a worker with a robot did not mean it was economically attractive to do so and would depend on the relative cost and productivity of machines compared with humans, Hawksworth said. PwC expects this balance to shift in favour of robots as they become cheaper to produce over the coming decades.

“In addition, legal and regulatory hurdles, organisational inertia and legacy systems will slow down the shift towards AI and robotics even where this becomes technically and economically feasible. And this may not be a bad thing if it gives existing workers and businesses more time to adapt to this brave new world,” he said.
So, to sum up, when calculating costs for automation, factor in 5 to 6 people instead of one when it comes to trying to save money. And the UK is facing up to 30 percent of their workforce being unemployed in 20 years.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Tribble » 2017-03-30 09:29pm

Well one solution is already happening whether intentional or not - generally speaking the more industrialised and automated a country becomes, the lower the birth rate will be. Especially in countries where contraceptives / abortions are widely available and the costs for raising a child grows. Eventually you'll probably see the return of things like China's "one child policy" as the need for human labour shrinks. Given enough time, the problem will largely be solved. Unfortunately there is the "in-between" period where automation is replacing work but those workers are still alive. And getting older, which will be a further drain on the society. I'm hoping that whatever solutions present themselves don't involve outright killing large portions of the population (one way or another), though I wouldn't be surprised if there are some nasty things in the works behind the scenes.


I don't think that "high end" intellectual jobs are immune, and in some ways they are more likely to be automated sooner than others. Lawyers are a good example. Although they will still be used in tasks that involve human interaction (such as negotiations and litigation in court) tasks like legal analysis and document creation (which is the vast majority of work that lawyers do) will likely be automated within the next couple of decades, especially given the incentive to reduce high legal costs. IIRC companies like IBM are already working on automating routine legal work.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by madd0ct0r » 2017-03-31 03:51am

What I took away from that report:

"
PwC said 2.25 million jobs were at high risk in wholesale and retailing – the sector that employs most people in the UK – and 1.2 million were under threat in manufacturing, 1.1 million in administrative and support services and 950,000 in transport and storage.
"

And

"
He added that the UK employment rate of just under 75% was at its highest level since modern records began in 1971, suggesting that advances in digital and other labour-saving technologies had been accompanied by job creation. He said it was not clear that the future would be different from the past in terms of how automation would affect overall employment rates."
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by madd0ct0r » 2017-03-31 04:36am

Apologies for the double post, but this one just arrived in my inbox:
http://www.ukconstructionweek.com/news/ ... n-buzz-109

the story starts with 'brickies jobs are under threat. this machine can do the work of six ect but continues:
Construction Robotics is bringing its creation to the UK "in coming months" and in discussions with construction companies. A third of Britain's construction workers are aged 50 or older, according to latest figures. That means around 620,000 are expected to retired within the next decade - amid a chronic housing shortage. A construction consultant said it was likely robots would arrive on British building sites within two years. "Robots will soon be on construction sites doing jobs that humans do, but faster," he told The Times.
It's been met with resistance from the construction workfor
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-04-01 11:33pm

Big Think
38% of American Jobs Could be Replaced by Robots, According to PwC Report
April 1, 2017 by DAVID RYAN POLGAR
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America runs on robots.

Nearly 4 out of 10 American jobs may be replaced through automation by the early 2030s, according to a new report by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC). In the report, the United States was viewed as the country most likely to lost jobs through automation--ahead of the UK, Germany, and Japan. This is probably not what the current administration had in mind with an "America First" policy.



Why is America Most Susceptible to Automation?

While predictions regarding automation's impact on the workplace of the future should always be taken with a grain of salt (given the difficulty of predicting the future, along with the major fluctuations of predictions), the PwC report points to two main reasons why the United States may be most susceptible to automation:

1. The types of industries: certain industries are much more susceptible to automation than others. Stated simply, the more automatable a process is the more likely it would be displaced through automation. Industries that require critical thinking and a personal touch, such as Education, are less like to be automated than industries like Manufacturing and Transportation.

Eatsa, a full-automated restaurant in San Fran (Credit: Getty Images)

2. Dynamics within each industry: although automation impacts both high-skilled and lower-skilled positions, the jobs that require greater education and specialization may be less prone towards automation. In comparison to the UK, the authors of the PwC report pointed out the routine nature of many American industries. The more routine a position, the more automatable it is.

What is the United States Doing to Prepare for this Disruption?

Given the predictions our America's susceptibility of losing jobs through automation and AI, coupled with the significant amount of anxiety that Americans feel towards losing their job through automation and AI, one would assume the issue is top-of-mind for the Administration. The recent comments by Treasury Secretary Mnuchin seem to show otherwise.

When asked about the threat of AI on jobs at a recent Axios event, Mnuchin stated that "It's not even on our radar screen...50-100 years" away. The Treasuring Secretary continued that he was not worried at all about the prospect of robots displacing workers in the near future, and, in fact, was quite optimistic.

US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin (credit: Getty Images)

When you have reports like the one from PwC forecasting that 38% of Americans jobs could be automated by the early 2030s, you would hope that would trigger some sense of concern and desire for planning. This doesn't appear to be the case. As the New York Times recently reported, President Trump has yet to name his top advisers for science and technology. At a time where AI and automation are the sources of such debate and potential concern, the government appears to be lessening the role of scientists and researchers.

"The American workforce lags behind other countries in some ways," says futurist Amy Webb. Webb is the founder and CEO of the Future Today Institute, one of the world's foremost strategy and forecasting firms regarding emerging science and technology. She recently released The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe Is Tomorrow’s Mainstream, a book focused on better understanding what the future most likely holds--and what we should be doing in the present to prepare for that likely scenario.

Credit: Getty Images

"The current administration has demonstrated that it lacks a basic understanding of what automation actually means from a technical standpoint. As a result, they suffer from the paradox of the present: they outright fear or reject technology that they don’t already understand. Trump’s cabinet has a hard time seeing the future because collectively, they lack direct exposure to the enormously complicated AI ecosystem, and because they haven’t taken the time to learn about this technology." -Amy Webb, Founder & CEO of the Future Today Institute

What Should America be Doing?

According to a recent survey by SelectHub, 41% of Americans fear getting replaced by AI. But as we have learned from past disruptions, emerging technology tends to open up new careers that don't exist presently. How the United States plans for these disruptive forces can have a major impact on whether we are capturing its benefits.

"The current administration should be working furiously to build initiatives for education, training and workforce redevelopment—and it should also be studying how automation will create new fields and jobs," Webb says. "It’s doing neither, which is putting America behind other developed countries."

We can massively disagree about what impact AI and automation will have on the workplace. But what should all be able to agree that it will impact our future workplace, and to not to plan for the future is making us vulnerable to being blindsided.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Zaune » 2017-04-02 07:27am

The Romulan Republic wrote:But you know, if we can find the political capital to punish immigrants for "taking our jobs", we should be able to find the political capital to restrict mindless, soulless machines for the same reason (and with greater justification).
Yeah, but do you see any political capital materialising to punish corporations for setting up overseas sweatshops?

And that incidentally is the big problem with going legal on automation. It might be barely conceivable that the United States or some European countries would pass these sorts of laws, but their manufacturing sectors would then immediately get utterly steamrollered by those of the countries that didn't implement these laws and the unemployment problem would be even worse.

Better to skip the stopgap measures and start pushing UBI now, before technological unemployment reaches the level of a threat to national security, so the issues with implementation can be worked out by small-scale pilot programs before it goes live nationally.
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