General Automation Thread

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-11-18 03:34pm

Government-subsidized affordable housing for low-income people/the disabled/seniors is something we have, here in Canada at least. Just not enough of it to meet the demand.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Zaune » 2017-11-18 03:59pm

Same here, although to the best of my knowledge Canada doesn't have the same idiotic political pressure to keep the housing market artificially high for the benefit of property speculators.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-11-18 04:24pm

We do have a lot of overseas investors driving up housing prices, though I don't know how much tat effects apartment rentals. Its quite a major issue in British Columbia politics at the moment (I read a while back that Vancouver was actually the second most expensive housing market in the world, or some such).
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Gandalf » 2017-11-18 08:06pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2017-11-18 04:24pm
We do have a lot of overseas investors driving up housing prices, though I don't know how much tat effects apartment rentals. Its quite a major issue in British Columbia politics at the moment (I read a while back that Vancouver was actually the second most expensive housing market in the world, or some such).
According to Huffington Post, Vancouver is in the top three, with Sydney and Hong Kong.

The problem that seems to affect Sydney and Vancouver (I can't speak to HK) is that it's a desirable location, and that certain tax frameworks incentivise investing in property, but not necessarily filling that property. I believe there's some sort of tax break if one cannot lease a dwelling, which is fiscally comparable to having a tenant but without all of the fuss. Right now so much Australian cash is in real estate that if the market corrected, much of the Australian economy would go with it, so nobody quite knows what to do.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-11-25 09:48am

ZDNet
Automation will impact the global workforce in 2018
Robotic process automation is going to reshape the workforce, plus more of our automation predictions.

Forrester Research
By Forrester Research | November 14, 2017 -- 21:19 GMT (13:19 PST) | Topic: Digital Transformation

0
Video: The need for automation skills is exploding, freelance survey finds

Automation probably won't lead to massive unemployment, but governments will still need to prepare for major upheaval, according to a new study.

Despite the doomsaying being flat-out wrong (automation will only eliminate 9 percent of US jobs in 2018 but also create 2 percent more in a new "automation economy"), the demand for automation has never been higher. Customers expect fast, personalized experiences through frequently updated apps. They do business at all hours and are increasingly comfortable doing it with machines and bots. They trust their personal data will be reliably stored and secured automatically -- no matter where it travels.

We believe that customer demand will deliver an automation tipping point in 2018. While reticence over workforce impact will remain, the age of the customer requires dramatically speeding up the revolution.

In 2018, automation will go from being a political hot topic to having a genuine and measurable impact on our day-to-day lives.

Read also: How technology will transform software development in 2018 | 2018 is the year mobile will become core to digital ecosystems | Global tech market will grow by 4 percent in 2018, reaching $3 trillion

Forrester's 2018 automation predictions  are available today, and we dig into the macro and microeconomic impact of automation in 2018 and the actions leaders need to take. In 2018, we predict that:

A political backlash will briefly impede automation -- and fail.  As people become more and more engaged with customer service automation like kiosks and robots, there will be hesitation and, in some cases, resentment over change. However, enterprises and political organizations will reexamine change management procedures and reorient PR to navigate these waters. Automation will eventually win out because its societal and economic benefit will outweigh political resistance.
Robotic process automation (RPA) will reshape the workforce.  As enterprises become more acclimated with automation, RPA will take over low-value repetitive tasks and rote work. In 2018, RPA-based digital workers (i.e., bots) will replace and/or augment 311,000 office and administrative positions and 260,000 sales and related jobs to deliver enhanced customer experiences. Digital transformation spending will increasingly emphasize automation, and operating models will be re-engineered around it.
Robots will ease your burdens -- if you reskill properly.  Automation will let security pros shift from reaction to intent, compliance to handing commodity tasks off to friendly robotic staff, and infrastructure and operations professionals to keeping their hair running software-defined workloads. To manage this, all professionals much become more attuned to code and development (the lingua franca of modern automation). Those who do not risk being automated out of their jobs.
In 2018, automation will permanently change the ways businesses engage with customers. While workforces evolve to leverage it, customer-obsessed organizations must ensure it touches every customer interaction. Ignoring automation as it transforms 2018 needlessly throws away competitive advantage.

-- By Chris Gardner, senior analyst
Bolding mine. Thoughts?
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-11-26 05:10pm

Well, I'm going in a few days to a local town hall with my rep. in the provincial legislature. I'm going to ask a question or two about basic income (which is under consideration in this province, or was last I heard) if I get the chance.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Starglider » 2017-11-26 05:47pm

I have noticed a substantial uptick in the number of 'you must get machine learning now' slide decks appearing at (non-specialist) conferences and forwarded by senior management (desperately trying to appear current). It's vaguely annoying because I (along with many startups) was making similar slide decks ten years ago and wasn't getting a lot of traction. The technology itself has been on a steady buildup for decades, the major change in the last three years has been large vendors (Google, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, also hardware vendors Intel, NVidia etc) realising they could make a lot of money selling the infrastructure and throwing serious marketing money at the problem. Although cynically I would note that the current favourite ML paradigm, backprop semi-homogenous deep neural nets, is still a brute force approach needing lots of (cloud) compute and training data, ideally suited to selling AWS units, Nvidia accelerator cards, and licensed aggregated data (customer and otherwise). In reality a lot of deployed ML is statistical approaches that are a lot more efficient and reliable, if less flexible, with a few GP die-hards (in algo trading certainly).

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-12-02 11:31pm

So, want something a bit depressing?

NPR All Tech Considered
Automation Could Displace 800 Million Workers Worldwide By 2030, Study Says

November 30, 20171:46 PM ET
JAMES DOUBEK

Employees work on automobile parts at a production line at the BMW factory in Shenyang, China, on Nov. 22. Twelve percent of workers in China could need to switch jobs by 2030, researchers say.
AFP/Getty Images
A coming wave of job automation could force between 400 million and 800 million people worldwide out of a job in the next 13 years, according to a new study.

A report released this week from the research arm of the consulting firm McKinsey & Company forecasts scenarios in which 3 percent to 14 percent of workers around the world — in 75 million to 375 million jobs — will have to acquire new skills and switch occupations by 2030.

"There are few precedents" to the challenge of retraining hundreds of millions of workers in the middle of their careers, the report's authors say.

The impact will vary between countries, depending on their wealth and types of jobs that currently exist in each. In 60 percent of jobs worldwide, "at least one-third of the constituent activities could be automated," McKinsey says, which would mean a big change in what people do day-to-day.

McKinsey looked at 46 countries and more than 800 different jobs in its research.

In the year 2030 in countries with "advanced economies," a greater proportion of workers will need to learn new skills than in developing economies, researchers say. As many as a third of workers in the U.S. and Germany could need to learn new skills. For Japan, the number is almost 50 percent of the workforce, while in China it's 12 percent.

Jobs that involve predictable, repetitive tasks are more easily automated, "such as operating machinery and preparing fast food," and data processing, like paralegal work and accounting. However, McKinsey estimates less than 5 percent of jobs can be fully automated.

Jobs that pay "relatively lower wages" and aren't as predictable are less likely to face full automation, because businesses don't have as much incentive to spend on the technology. This applies to jobs like gardening, plumbing and child care, according to the authors.

Occupations that pay more but involve managing people and social interactions face less risk of automation due to the inherent difficulty in programming machines to do those types of tasks.

In the short term, automation and new technology could mean "significant" displacement of workers, the report says. But the authors argue that in the long term as technology has changed, "it creates a multitude of new jobs, more than offsetting" the number of those lost.

They note, however, those new jobs don't always pay as much as the old ones.

A rising middle class in countries like China and India, and with it more consumption, will have a big impact on the direction of economies. "As incomes rise, consumers spend more on all categories," the report says. "But their spending patterns also shift, creating more jobs in areas such as consumer durables, leisure activities, financial and telecommunication services, housing, health care, and education."

Many countries are getting older as well — Japan is a notable example. And McKinsey researchers expect aging populations to need more medical care — more doctors, nurses, home health workers and aides — while demand goes down for children's teachers and doctors.

Tech jobs will be needed as technology advances, like "computer scientists, engineers and IT administrators," who could see job growth as companies spend more in this area, the report says.


Jobs gained "could more than offset the jobs lost to automation," the researchers say. But, they say, "it will require businesses and governments to seize opportunities to boost job creation and for labor markets to function well."

The McKinsey researchers recommend "an initiative on the scale of the Marshall Plan involving sustained investment, new training models, programs to ease worker transitions, income support and collaboration between the public and private sectors" to help economies and employment grow in the future.
Bolding mine, or for the tl:dr among us:
As many as a third of workers in the U.S. and Germany could need to learn new skills. For Japan, the number is almost 50 percent of the workforce, while in China it's 12 percent.

In the short term, automation and new technology could mean "significant" displacement of workers, the report says. But the authors argue that in the long term as technology has changed, "it creates a multitude of new jobs, more than offsetting" the number of those lost.

They note, however, those new jobs don't always pay as much as the old ones.
So, even if the net amount of jobs remains the same, they won't be the same class of people working them due to the educational gap, and the jobs might not pay the same amount, meaning that people would have to work more in order to survive.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by K. A. Pital » 2017-12-03 04:59am

Is this depressing, though? It is actually news that brings hope, perhaps it can make people get off their asses and do something? A bitter end is better than endless horrors.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-12-03 08:35am

I'm not sure if hundreds of millions being unable to work and support themselves will see this coming until a lot of them are already either on the dole or on the streets. The big issue is also that leadership of these nations, companies, organizations, etc., have to recognize what's going on fast enough, which like with climate change, will probably take until there's food riots or something.

That or revolution so bloody that we have major problems as a lot of cultural, technological, social, and other developments are destroyed because it's blamed on other issues.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-12-03 05:59pm

Some countries will handle this a lot better than others, yes, based on the political leadership and political culture that they have.

Some European countries, and some Canadian provinces (Quebec and BC, off the top of my head), are already moving on Basic Income.

The US is going to be an absolute catastrophe (even more than it already is) unless their is a MAJOR nation-wide shift to the Left in the next few years, starting with an expulsion of the current White House, and an expulsion of most of the current Congress, as well as progressives gaining a much stronger voice in government. Basic Income isn't even a blip on the radar there, and no serious restrictions on automation or job retraining bills are likely to get through under the current government either, I'd imagine.

Without such a shift, I fully expect America to most likely descend into civil war, followed by either a Nazi or (less likely) socialist dictatorship (or the outright fragmenting of the nation) within a generation or so, regardless of how the current political situation with Trump plays out.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by SolarpunkFan » 2017-12-04 01:48pm

FaxModem1 wrote:
2017-12-03 08:35am
I'm not sure if hundreds of millions being unable to work and support themselves will see this coming until a lot of them are already either on the dole or on the streets. The big issue is also that leadership of these nations, companies, organizations, etc., have to recognize what's going on fast enough, which like with climate change, will probably take until there's food riots or something.

That or revolution so bloody that we have major problems as a lot of cultural, technological, social, and other developments are destroyed because it's blamed on other issues.
Key: misanthropic mood me = red,, closer down to Earth mood me = white.

Your first paragraph is valid of course. Nobody seems to care about a problem until it affects them personally, and even then they aren't guaranteed to wise up (see: voting for a white billionaire man because you think he cares about you more than the other white billionaire men).

With that out of the way, here's something a little more level headed.

The major problem here is that a lot of people at the top of civilization are actually stupid enough to believe that "automation won't kill good paying jobs". There is a reason why Dave Barry came up with the Furniture Induced Brain Shrinkage joke after all. :P

Similar to what someone posted previously: https://qz.com/851066/almost-all-the-10 ... ary/Almost all the US jobs created since 2005 are temporary
The conventional full-time job is disappearing.

Survey research conducted by economists Lawrence Katz of Harvard University and Alan Krueger at Princeton University shows that from 2005 to 2015, the proportion of Americans workers engaged in what they refer to as “alternative work” jumped from 10.7% to 15.8%. Alternative work is characterized by being temporary or unsteady—such as work as an independent contractor or through a temporary help agency.

“We find that 94% of net job growth in the past decade was in the alternative work category,” said Krueger. “And over 60% was due to the [the rise] of independent contractors, freelancers and contract company workers.” In other words, nearly all of the 10 million jobs created between 2005 and 2015 were not traditional nine-to-five employment.

Krueger, a former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, was surprised by the finding. The survey’s original goal was to quantify the size of the gig economy (0.5% and growing). The researchers were caught off guard by the tremendous growth of alternative work. There had been almost no change from 1995 to 2005.

Katz and Krueger found that each of the common types of alternative work increased from 2005 to 2015—with the largest changes in the number of independent contractors and workers provided by contract firms, such as janitors that work full-time at a particular office, but are paid by a janitorial services firm.

The decline of conventional full-time work has impacted every demographic. Whether this change is good or bad depends on what kinds of jobs people want. “Workers seeking full-time, steady work have lost,” said Krueger. “While many of those who value flexibility and have a spouse with a steady job have probably gained.”

For graphic designers and lawyers who hate going to an office, new technology and Obamacare has made it more appealing to become an independent contractor. But for those seeking a steady administrative assistant office job, the market is grim.

Women experienced an unusually large increase in the share of alternative work. They were three percentage points less likely than men to engage in alternative work in 2005, but two percentage points more likely in 2015. This is in large part because the sectors that saw the largest move towards alternative work arrangements—like education and medicine—have a high proportion of women.

The American work environment is rapidly changing. For better or worse, the days of the conventional full-time job may be numbered.

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-12-05 04:53pm

I'm not sure the article you cite proves the same point as the gist of this thread.

The conventional full-time job may be doing poorly (alternatively, we may simply have hit some kind of saturation point). But a lot of the jobs that are getting automated aren't full-time jobs to begin with. The rise of gigs and part-time jobs and independent contractors is, in and of itself, probably neutral with respect to automation driving out employment.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by SolarpunkFan » 2017-12-05 05:03pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2017-12-05 04:53pm
I'm not sure the article you cite proves the same point as the gist of this thread.

The conventional full-time job may be doing poorly (alternatively, we may simply have hit some kind of saturation point). But a lot of the jobs that are getting automated aren't full-time jobs to begin with. The rise of gigs and part-time jobs and independent contractors is, in and of itself, probably neutral with respect to automation driving out employment.
I was kind of inspired to post it as part of this earlier post: viewtopic.php?p=4041256#p4041256

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-12-14 11:08am

Business Insider
Robots are being used to deter homeless people from setting up camp in San Francisco

Melia Robinson

Dec. 12, 2017, 1:51 PM 68,657
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knightscope k5 thumbnails 05Knightscope

A security robot has been put to work in San Francisco in an attempt to deter homeless people from forming tent cities.
The robot uses lasers and sensors to monitor an area for criminal activity. Rather than intervene during a crime, it alerts human authorities.
The robot's owner, the San Francisco SPCA, said it has seen fewer tents and car break-ins since it deployed the robot in the city's Mission neighborhood.


In San Francisco, autonomous crime-fighting robots that are used to patrol parking lots, sports arenas, and tech company campuses are now being deployed to keep away homeless people.

The San Francisco Business Times reported last week that the San Francisco SPCA, an animal advocacy and pet adoption group, put a security robot to work outside its facilities in the gentrifying Mission neighborhood. The robot's presence is meant to deter homeless people from setting up camps along the sidewalks.

Last week, the City of San Francisco ordered the SF SPCA to keep its robot off the streets or be fined up to $1,000 per day for operating on sidewalks without a permit, according to the Business Times.

Krista Maloney, media relations manager for the SF SPCA, told Business Insider that staff wasn't able to safely use the sidewalks at times because of the encampments. Maloney added that since the SPCA started guarding its facilities with the robot — known as K9 — a month ago, the homeless encampments have dwindled and there have been fewer car break-ins.

9 Dec

Sam Dodge
@samueldodge
Yes, 2017 was the first time I saw robots used to prevent encampments in SF. Hard to believe but it’s real. https://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisc ... cisco.html

Sam Dodge
@samueldodge
Here it is in action pic.twitter.com/nSBQUmKwk1
4:45 PM - Dec 9, 2017

117 117 Replies 429 429 Retweets 948 948 likes
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K9 is part of a crime-fighting robot fleet manufactured and managed by startup Knightscope in Mountain View, California. The company's robots don't fight humans; they use equipment like lasers, cameras, a thermal sensor, and GPS to detect criminal activity and alert the authorities.

Their intent is to give human security guards "superhuman" eyes and ears, according to Bill Santana Li, CEO of Knightscope, who spoke with Business Insider earlier this year.

Knightscope rents out the robots for $7 an hour — less than a security guard's hourly wage. The company has over 19 clients in five US states. Most customers, including Microsoft, Uber, and Juniper Networks, put the robots to work patrolling parking lots and office buildings.

Preventing crime is part of the pitch that Knightscope makes to prospective customers. (Increased police presence can reduce crime, though this is not always the case.)

"If I put a marked law enforcement vehicle in front of your home or your office, criminal behavior changes," Li told Business Insider earlier this year.

The K9 robot circling the SF SPCA has drawn mixed responses. Within the first week of the robot's deployment, some people who were setting up a homeless encampment nearby allegedly "put a tarp over it, knocked it over, and put barbecue sauce on all the sensors," according to Jennifer Scarlett, president of the SF SPCA. A Twitter user reported seeing feces smeared on the robot.

Some people took to Twitter to express their disappointment in the group.


NLCHP

@NLCHPhomeless
It's disheartening that @sfspca would show such a lack of compassion to our houseless neighbors. https://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisc ... cisco.html
11:15 AM - Dec 11, 2017

Security robot at SPCA in the Mission gets a warning from the city to stay off the sidwalks - San...
San Francisco is clamping down on the number of sidewalk delivery robots in the city. Security robots could be the next thing the city has to figure out how to regulate, too, when they rove onto...
bizjournals.com
52 52 Replies 720 720 Retweets 2,380 2,380 likes
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https://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisc ... cisco.html … so @sfspca is using a security robot to “deal with” #homeless people in encampments near its mission campus? An org that helps homeless animals can’t think of a better way to respond to its homeless human neighbors?
12:34 AM - Dec 9, 2017

Security robot at SPCA in the Mission gets a warning from the city to stay off the sidwalks - San...
San Francisco is clamping down on the number of sidewalk delivery robots in the city. Security robots could be the next thing the city has to figure out how to regulate, too, when they rove onto...
bizjournals.com
5 5 Replies 63 63 Retweets 69 69 likes
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Others commended the robot for cleaning up their streets.


ShanePatrickConnolly
@shanepc1
Leave it to #SanFrancisco to rebuke security robot that deterred encampments from taking over sidewalks & reduced discarded needles & crime near non-profit. https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/new ... on-sf.html … via @svbizjournal #SFInsanity
3:30 PM - Dec 11, 2017

Security robot at SPCA in San Francisco's Mission District gets a warning from the city to stay off...
San Francisco is clamping down on the number of sidewalk delivery robots in the city. Security robots could be the next thing the city has to figure out how to regulate, too, when they rove onto...
bizjournals.com
92 92 Replies 127 127 Retweets 613 613 likes
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A spokesperson for Knightscope declined to comment.
So, moving the homeless out of the city, not just a job for humans anymore.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-12-15 12:46pm

See, I don't mind the robots reducing car breakins.

What I do mind is having the robots take on the role of driving people away when there's no place for them to live. Especially in San Francisco, which is not exactly a cheap city to maintain a home in.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-12-17 02:21pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2017-12-15 12:46pm
See, I don't mind the robots reducing car breakins.

What I do mind is having the robots take on the role of driving people away when there's no place for them to live. Especially in San Francisco, which is not exactly a cheap city to maintain a home in.
I believe this is a service already employed by police departments and private security at the request of business officials and city ordinances the world over. The only difference here is that a robot is doing it instead
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by His Divine Shadow » 2017-12-17 02:33pm

Robots bullying the homeless, the future is here.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-12-17 06:58pm

To be fair, a robot may be considerably more trustworthy than the average police office in a lot of departments.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by aerius » 2017-12-17 09:04pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2017-12-17 06:58pm
To be fair, a robot may be considerably more trustworthy than the average police office in a lot of departments.
For now. Only because we can't legally put guns on them yet.

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-12-18 11:12am

FaxModem1 wrote:
2017-12-17 02:21pm
Simon_Jester wrote:
2017-12-15 12:46pm
See, I don't mind the robots reducing car breakins.

What I do mind is having the robots take on the role of driving people away when there's no place for them to live. Especially in San Francisco, which is not exactly a cheap city to maintain a home in.
I believe this is a service already employed by police departments and private security at the request of business officials and city ordinances the world over. The only difference here is that a robot is doing it instead
See, I get that, but here's a huge dehumanizing element, which I find objectionable. It's BAD when the cops do it, it's worse when some Dalek-looking robot does it so they don't even need to bother having human foot patrols when they don't feel like it.

Sort of like the difference between the cops having to fill out a warrant and appoint officers to tail you to keep surveillance on you, and just being able to detail a drone to hover over your head 24/7. The extra burden of effort helps ensure they'll only violate your privacy when it's important to do so.
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FaxModem1
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-12-18 01:32pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2017-12-18 11:12am
See, I get that, but here's a huge dehumanizing element, which I find objectionable. It's BAD when the cops do it, it's worse when some Dalek-looking robot does it so they don't even need to bother having human foot patrols when they don't feel like it.

Sort of like the difference between the cops having to fill out a warrant and appoint officers to tail you to keep surveillance on you, and just being able to detail a drone to hover over your head 24/7. The extra burden of effort helps ensure they'll only violate your privacy when it's important to do so.
So, what happens when this becomes a routine technology? What's the future of homeless people in a society that would rather invest in patrol bots than homes for them?
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Zaune » 2017-12-18 02:50pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2017-12-18 11:12am
See, I get that, but here's a huge dehumanizing element, which I find objectionable. It's BAD when the cops do it, it's worse when some Dalek-looking robot does it so they don't even need to bother having human foot patrols when they don't feel like it.

Sort of like the difference between the cops having to fill out a warrant and appoint officers to tail you to keep surveillance on you, and just being able to detail a drone to hover over your head 24/7. The extra burden of effort helps ensure they'll only violate your privacy when it's important to do so.
The silver lining, however, is that there's less chance of violent retaliation if you attack the robot with a tyre iron.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-12-18 05:51pm

aerius wrote:
2017-12-17 09:04pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2017-12-17 06:58pm
To be fair, a robot may be considerably more trustworthy than the average police office in a lot of departments.
For now. Only because we can't legally put guns on them yet.

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Well, that and the fact that we have yet to build a robot capable of malice. It might be programed by someone malicious (or incompetent), or it might break down. But a robot won't kill you because you're black (unless programed to do so), nor will it kill you because it was scared and overreacted, nor will it kill you just so it can feel like a big man.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by aerius » 2017-12-18 08:57pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2017-12-18 05:51pm
Well, that and the fact that we have yet to build a robot capable of malice. It might be programed by someone malicious (or incompetent), or it might break down. But a robot won't kill you because you're black (unless programed to do so), nor will it kill you because it was scared and overreacted, nor will it kill you just so it can feel like a big man.
Think of it this way. How long did it take to go from "hey, if we can put weapons on a drone, we can push button kill shit!" to the government & military having a secret kill list and whacking the people on that list with drone strikes?
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