General Automation Thread

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-02 03:27pm

I pretty much agree with that.

Limits on automation should probably be passed, where feasible, but its a temporary stopgap at best, and probably not a very good one.

So its Basic Income or bust, I guess.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Zaune » 2017-04-02 03:46pm

Indeed. Even if society somehow came up with a temporary stopgap measure that was both easy to implement and free of negative side effects, what good does it do us to kick the problem down the road instead of fixing it once and for all now?
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-02 03:59pm

Yeah.

Of course, that's a very fringe position in the US. I've never heard any major US politician talking about Basic Income. Its striking that even Bernie Sanders has been somewhat overtaken by events on this- 15 an hour minimum wage is a good idea, but it won't help if their are no jobs to be had.

I expect this is something that will have to be proven to work in other countries, then probably tried out at the city or state level, before it can gain much national support in the US. And of course, any major national reform of our economy will depend on the current cabal being out of office.

Their are better prospects in Europe and Canada, though. I'm currently a volunteer for the Greens here in large part because they're supporting Basic Income. I think we need to be very proactive on this issue- push the boundaries now before it becomes a crisis. I don't think it has to be a purely Left wing push either- their's some surprising support for Basic Income on the Right (if only because it would supplant some existing social programs and eliminate red tape).
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Gaidin » 2017-04-02 04:51pm

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).
The only immigrants you're ever going to seen punished are the ones who takes the jobs people want. Trump's winery is still asking for and will likely get their visas this year. Why? Nobody's applying for their jobs but immigrants. Who's going to have to play harder politics with Trump? Silicon Valley. Because American Programmers and Engineers literally get treated like shit in the job market out there over cheaper immigrants.

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-02 05:26pm

Yeah, people like Trump will never let fear-mongering get in the way of their exploitation. Laws are for common people, don't you know?
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Gaidin » 2017-04-02 05:34pm

I see the point went over your head. Try answering the thesis instead of "trump's winery".

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-02 05:38pm

What point is it that you felt I missed? Other than, possibly, you trying to bait me into an argument?

The basic point, surely, is that immigrants who can be economically exploited will continue to be allowed in (even if publicly spat on).
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-04-03 12:48pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:Yeah.

Of course, that's a very fringe position in the US. I've never heard any major US politician talking about Basic Income. Its striking that even Bernie Sanders has been somewhat overtaken by events on this- 15 an hour minimum wage is a good idea, but it won't help if their are no jobs to be had.
When it comes to labor relations... Usually the best case scenario is that they're responding to problems that were occurring ten or twenty years ago, the last time anyone they actually bothered listening to was anywhere near the labor market. You're lucky when politicians respond to problems that are occurring right now. You're staggeringly lucky when they respond to problems that are foreseeable three or four years down the road.

Massive minimum wage boosts fix the current problem, the one where the vast majority of the population has a job, but a large fraction of the jobs are crap and don't permit people to support themselves. They at least ameliorate the short-term future problem (rising permanent unemployment) by making it more practical for people thrown out of their jobs by automation to fall back on a social support network, or to scrape by on underemployment.

Universal Basic Income would solve the medium-term future problem, which is a goal so ambitious that it's hard to get political support for it, regardless of what the medium-term future problem actually is.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by His Divine Shadow » 2017-04-04 01:02am

The real problem are the rich and the influence they have over politics and society.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-04 03:21am

Simon_Jester wrote:
The Romulan Republic wrote:Yeah.

Of course, that's a very fringe position in the US. I've never heard any major US politician talking about Basic Income. Its striking that even Bernie Sanders has been somewhat overtaken by events on this- 15 an hour minimum wage is a good idea, but it won't help if their are no jobs to be had.
When it comes to labor relations... Usually the best case scenario is that they're responding to problems that were occurring ten or twenty years ago, the last time anyone they actually bothered listening to was anywhere near the labor market. You're lucky when politicians respond to problems that are occurring right now. You're staggeringly lucky when they respond to problems that are foreseeable three or four years down the road.

Massive minimum wage boosts fix the current problem, the one where the vast majority of the population has a job, but a large fraction of the jobs are crap and don't permit people to support themselves. They at least ameliorate the short-term future problem (rising permanent unemployment) by making it more practical for people thrown out of their jobs by automation to fall back on a social support network, or to scrape by on underemployment.

Universal Basic Income would solve the medium-term future problem, which is a goal so ambitious that it's hard to get political support for it, regardless of what the medium-term future problem actually is.
Well, that, to me, is all the more reason to push it aggressively now- so that at least it enters into the political discourse before it becomes an urgent crisis. At this point, I'd think, the priority would simply be raising awareness of the issue, making it a part of the mainstream political debate, even if its not yet a winning proposition.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-04-04 05:37am

His Divine Shadow wrote:The real problem are the rich and the influence they have over politics and society.
That ties into my comment.

Most rich people don't actually want the wheels to come off, and a lot of them are educated and clueful enough to at least comprehend why things like 20% unemployment are such a disaster. As such, when they actually see a problem, they want measures in place to do something about it. Even if that means reduced corporate profits or reduced power for the elite, it's still better than having rioting mobs dragging you to the guillotine.

So when there is an actual urgent labor relations problem in a country, resistance to labor reform by the elite will usually drop a bit.

But in the absence of an urgent problem, or when discussing future problems that have yet to arise, they default back to "but that would cut profits!" and "but rugged individualism" and all these other stock arguments that would lose some of their force if the crisis were more imminent.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Alferd Packer » 2017-04-04 10:24am

I dunno...I mean, if Saudi Arabia has taught us anything, it's that if you sufficiently anesthetize your population, and meet their basic needs, you can get away with outrageous shit pretty much indefinitely. It really boils down to how you choose to sedate them.

Actually, Saudi Arabia's situation might offer some insight into what's to come, since so little of the country's population actually participates in their economy. Although the reasons for such are different than widespread automation, some of the problems they face might be analogous to what's coming out way.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by His Divine Shadow » 2017-04-04 10:33am

So... pre-emptive guillotining then?
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-04-05 09:15am

Alferd Packer wrote:I dunno...I mean, if Saudi Arabia has taught us anything, it's that if you sufficiently anesthetize your population, and meet their basic needs, you can get away with outrageous shit pretty much indefinitely. It really boils down to how you choose to sedate them.
Yeah, but they basically solved their problem via "universal basic income" or a combination of welfare systems functionally equivalent to it (I forget which).

They have other problems, but honestly those are largely unrelated to their labor/economy problem.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-05-02 11:26am

CSO Online
Security automation is maturing, but many firms not ready for adoption
The security automation industry is still in its infancy, but there are some promising technologies

Maria Korolov By Maria Korolov
Contributing Writer, CSO | MAY 2, 2017 5:00 AM PT
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The security automation industry is still in its infancy, with most vendors just a year or two old, but there are already some promising technologies that enterprises can put to use -- if they have already laid the required ground work.

The main problem that security automation is designed to address is that there are so many attack attempts coming in, so quickly, that human beings just can't keep up.

Then there's the enormous amounts of money cybercriminals are bringing in from ransomware and other attacks that allows them to invest in new kinds of attacks, the threats posed by nation-states, and the massive staffing shortage.

It's a perfect storm.

"Even the biggest companies can't keep up," said Jon Oltsik, senior principal analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.

According to a survey the research firm conducted last fall, 91 percent of companies said that the time and effort required for manual processes limits their incident response effectiveness, and the same number are actively trying to increase their staffs.

And 62 percent already have automated incident response processes in place, and another 35 percent are beginning automation and orchestration projects or plan to do so in the next 12 to 18 months.

■ RELATED: The CSO 2016 Security Data Analytics Survival Guide

"Two years ago, nobody knew about this technology," said Oltsik. "Last year, I saw it a lot more. Now we're seeing budget line items for it, and we also see a lot of venture capitalist investment in this space as well."

He estimates the market size of the security automation and orchestration sector to be between $100 million and $200 million, with several small vendors in the $10 million to $20 million in sales range.

Security automation, could, in theory, allow companies to investigate incoming threats and respond to them immediately, without human intervention -- at least, for the most common, labor-intensive types of attacks. Security analysts would then be freed up to focus on the more complex types of attacks.

There have been some recent signs that this may be possible.

"We've had better detection accuracy," said Oltsik. "The false positive rates are lower. And we're using the cloud more, which is throwing more processing power at some of these things."

Most of the progress up until now has been in preventing attackers from entering the enterprise in the first place. Anti malware systems, next-generation firewalls, and other systems that spot threat and block them.

Most recently, threat intelligence comes with scoring systems, said Oltsik. That allows companies to add more automation for threats that have a very high likelihood of being very dangerous, and handle the questionable cases with the old manual processes.

Some of the larger companies are also deploying orchestration platforms. These allow for automated processes that involve multiple systems.

"But these types of incidence response platforms are limited right now to the elite organizations, the Fortune 500 companies," he said.

In addition, companies also write scripts to create their own automated processes from scratch, but this requires some technical expertise.

Whose automating what

According to the most recent SANS Institute incident response survey, most processes are still very manual.

The most automated process, with 50 percent of respondents saying they had some degree of automation, was for remotely deploying custom content or signatures from security vendors.

In second place, at 49 percent, was blocking command and control to malicious IP addresses, followed by removing rogue files, at 47 percent.

Processes least likely to be automated included isolating infected machines from the network during remediation, and shutting down systems and taking them offline.

But, overall, security automation is about 10 years behind the automation of other technology processes, said Ariel Tseitlin, partner at Foster City, Calif.-based investment firm Scale Venture Partners.

"But we've seen the tremendous effect of automation in IT, and we're gong to see that in security," he said.

The prevention part of the security puzzle is the most automated, he said. Then, in the past two years, detection has seen an enormous amount of investment.

Now, there's a lot of work being done on the boundary between detection and response, where companies need to figure out which of the issues they've spotted are real problems that need to be investigated.

"Then, on the incident response side, there's an enormous amount of work that is being done manually today," he said. "That's where I think a lot of the value will come over the next couple of years."

However, all the products available today are still in their early stages, he said, and there are no clear established leaders in this space.

■ RELATED: Changing the approach to security automation and cooperation

It makes sense to automate detection, but fully automating the remediation process is risky, said Jay Leek, managing director at ClearSky Cyber Security, a cybersecurity consulting firm.

"I would always recommend, at least today, putting a person between these two different divisions," he said. "You don't want to have false positives here."

The individual steps of the remediation process could be automated, he said, just as long as there's a human being pushing the button to get it started.

"But i don't like the idea of automating the whole end-to-end process today," he said. "It's too immature and ripe for false positives. The last thing you want to do is create some sort of business disruption."

There are vendors in the market who are already promising to automate the entire process, including automatically re-imaging end point devices and sending users off to anti-phishing training, said Nathan Wenzler, chief security strategist at AsTech Consulting.

"But at the end of the day, the reality is that anyone who's been trying to do that at scale, that hasn't really worked well," he said. "They either get so many false positives, or so many false negatives. You get annoyed users, especially if you do get a system that's re-imaged and there's nothing wrong, or at bad times."

Consolidation and evolution

Soon, security automation may become ever more widely available and easier to use. Major vendors have been buying up small orchestration companies and integrating their features into their platforms, and SIEM vendors have been adding automation and orchestration capabilities to their platforms.

Vendors are also starting to offer pre-built routines and run books so that companies don't have to create their remediation processes from scratch.

One positive aspect of the way automation technology is evolving is that we don't have vendor stacks or technology silos, where products from one group of companies don't play well with others, according to Joseph Blankenship, analyst at Forrester Research.

That's happened before, in other areas of IT. In security, however, enterprise environments tend to be very heterogeneous.

"It's common for enterprises to have 20, 50 or more different vendors," he said.

As a result, vendors are motivated to work well together, and limitations on interoperability aren't likely to be accepted by customers, he said.

Getting ready for automation

For companies looking to deploy security automation technology, it's not enough to establish whether the vendor's product is ready for prime time.

The company has to be ready, as well, said Blankenship.

"It's definitely not a buy it and plug it in scenario," he said. "There's definitely ground work that needs to be done. If you plug bad data into an automated system, all you're going to do is make bad decisions faster."

In addition, many companies don't actually know what their processes are, and may not yet have well-defined playbooks, he said.

"Many have analysts that each do their own things as far as how they handle different investigations," he said. "In order to automate these things, you have to have standardization."
In another vein, cyber security is becoming more automated.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-05-02 11:32am

In more business news, Amazon brings about it's automated trucks for grocery delivery:

CNBC
Robo vans, more automation could help Amazon grocery reach breakeven sooner
The next phase of growth in food retail is likely to be "much more disruptive" with a more aggressive Amazon.
Amazon's grocery business could hit more than $40 billion in total sales volume in decade.
Jeff Daniels | @jeffdanielsca
Monday, 1 May 2017 | 9:03 AM ET
CNBC.com
64
SHARES
Amazon Fresh trucks
Kevork Djansezian | Getty Images
Amazon Fresh trucks
Amazon may find automation is the key to reaching breakeven in its grocery business, according to a new report.

"Automation could significantly reduce labor costs, driving massive improvements to fulfillment and delivery efficiency overnight," said a Barclays report released Monday.

In particular, the research note said Amazon could use "robot vans" in urban markets given the proximity of the AmazonFresh fulfillment centers and the Prime Now drop-off area. What's more, it said automation in the Fresh warehouse might be achieved using a technology similar to the Kiva robots already deployed in Amazon's traditional warehouses.

"We think automation could [help] Amazon achieve breakeven by cutting prices aggressively and eliminating the subscription fees entirely," said the report written by a Barclays team led by Ross Sander. "Automation could drive higher efficiency gains in a Fresh warehouse given the number of manual steps currently."

AmazonFresh is a grocery delivery service run by the Seattle-based e-commerce giant offering everything from fresh produce, breads, meats and seafood to frozen and prepared foods. The same-day or next-day delivery service also offers beauty products and household goods.

Besides the delivery and warehouse costs, the report points out that the fulfillment center for groceries is different than traditional e-commerce and can sometimes be less efficient. Also, the delivery trucks for grocery are usually refrigerated and have a relatively high cost to operate and tend to deliver fewer orders at full capacity than ordinary parcel trucks.

"Delivery automation is one of the saving graces for online given that nearly 80 percent of the delivery costs are associated with labor expenses and wages," the Barclays report stated.

Barclays forecast that AmazonFresh could generate more than $40 billion in gross merchandise value, or total sales volume, in the next 10 to 15 years from its online fresh grocery business.

"AmazonFresh may have finally cracked the code to unlocking this massive market opportunity," Barclays said.

Indeed, Barclays is predicting Amazon has the potential to unlock big growth in online grocery by tapping into a "significant" share of its 45 million U.S. member Prime base and making them regular shoppers of the Fresh service over the next decade.

At the same time, the report indicated that Amazon is likely to face additional competitive pressures and other major hurdles as it ramps up expansion beyond the current 21 domestic markets. At breakeven, Barclays estimates the merchandise gross margins per grocery order would be approximately 21.5 percent, which compares with Kroger's 25 percent margin.

And AmazonFresh would need to reach about 4 million subscribers, or nearly one-third penetration in top 25 markets domestically and among high-income households, to attain that breakeven level on the Fresh business, according to Barclays.

Yet the researcher estimates that Amazon today has below 2 percent penetration in that "core customer base." It said the high-income households are those with $100,000 or more in annual income.

The higher-income households would presumably have a higher average order amount for their online grocery purchases and thus help smooth out the higher costs for the service. Moreover, they also might order more frequently and select higher-margin food and beverages.

According to Barclays, the average order for a brick-and-mortar grocery store is $32 per customer, while it calculates that for Amazon to breakeven on grocery the average order would need to be approximately $85.

"It is important to note that average order value is a key metric that decides how/when Fresh reaches breakeven," the report said.

CNBC reached out to Amazon for comment. A company spokesperson said Amazon doesn't comment on rumors and speculation.

The U.S. online grocery market currently has low penetration of around 1 percent of the roughly $900 billion total food retail market. By comparison, other countries such as the U.K., Japan and South Korea have much higher penetration rates.

Even so, Barclays believes things are about to change with the domestic online grocery market as Amazon flexes its muscles and becomes an even larger participant — both with online and a physical presence in food retailing.

While the company's AmazonFresh delivery service is perhaps the best known of its grocery offerings, the company also has a Amazon Prime Now service offering faster delivery.

The company is also beta testing two other formats with employees: Amazon Go, a grab-and-go convenience store, as well as Amazon Fresh Pickup, a service where Fresh members can pick up online orders in as little as 15 minutes at locations.

"We expect the next decade to be much more disruptive for food retail than the past with rapid expansion of Fresh delivery and pickup and with Amazon deploying its typical loss-making 'scorch the earth' strategy that has allowed it to win market share in many other categories," Barclays said.

In fact, Barclays is so upbeat on Amazon's prospects in the online grocery space its long-term model is for the company's Fresh service to potentially reach 15 percent-plus of total households in a decade.

Helping to grow the online grocery market is millennials who grew up using smartphones and are comfortable making digital transactions. They will have increasing spending power in the years to come and can shift more grocery sales online as they start their own households.

Clearly, the traditional supermarkets are fighting back. Kroger and Wal-Mart are getting more aggressive and offering their own online grocery services and pick-up or delivery options.

Wal-Mart has slashed food prices this year and continues to expand its store pick-up service to more locations. Kroger's so-called ClickList also lets consumers select items online and pick orders up at stores or they can have it delivered to the home through a third-party service.

In addition, other online grocery sellers such as FreshDirect and third-party home delivery services such as InstaCart, Uber and Shipt are expanding into the grocery space through alliances with large national chains.

"While AmazonFresh's rollout could have a negative impact on all market participants, it is likely to have an outsized negative impact on retailers that have high operating/financial leverage because small share losses would have magnified impacts on financial results," Barclays said.

Specifically, Barclays identified Kroger, Smart & Final, and Dutch-based grocer Ahold Delhaize, which owns U.S. grocery chains such as Stop & Shop and Food Lion, as having "the most" sensitivity from a profit and loss standpoint to a 1 percent loss in sales. But it still believes Cincinnati-based Kroger still ranks high in its "ability to defend" market share along with Costco and Ingles Market.

As for Wal-Mart, the report believes the Arkansas-based retail giant "will likely face AmazonFresh the least" given the majority of its locations are not focused on the top-25 markets for high-income households.

According to Barclays, the retailers likely to face more direct competition with AmazonFresh are those in the top markets and with "a middle-to-upper income customer base," including Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's and Costco, as well as "to a lesser extent" chains such as Sprouts Farmers Market, Target and Kroger.
Could a positive of this be food prices lowering?
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Tribble » 2017-05-02 05:17pm

Why lower prices when they can just earn extra profit?
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by SolarpunkFan » 2017-05-08 07:51pm

CNBC video about Jack Ma's recent speech on technological unemployment: https://youtu.be/cgAPG3Lh3gQ
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-05-09 02:31am

SolarpunkFan wrote:CNBC video about Jack Ma's recent speech on technological unemployment: https://youtu.be/cgAPG3Lh3gQ
If it's getting.more talk on the news, will public awareness cause action? Will there be a legislative response which deals with the effects this has on the workforce?

IMO, no. The current Congress is too against any form of socialism, and the best way to deal with this is something like UBI.

Does anyone have a different opinion on the matter?

How long can this be ignored legislatively ​before there are severe consequences?
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by SolarpunkFan » 2017-05-09 09:04am

FaxModem1 wrote:If it's getting.more talk on the news, will public awareness cause action? Will there be a legislative response which deals with the effects this has on the workforce?

IMO, no. The current Congress is too against any form of socialism, and the best way to deal with this is something like UBI.

Does anyone have a different opinion on the matter?

How long can this be ignored legislatively ​before there are severe consequences?
Here's another video that claims the consequences are already happening.

https://youtu.be/bJ6QmZ48jY4

Basically, trends towards:
  • Authoritarianism
  • Demagoguery
  • Isolationism
  • Scapegoating
He's also skeptical of an implementation of a UBI happening (in the U.S. at least), going off the fact that we can't agree on a minimum wage increase.

FWIW I'm also skeptical. Taxes are already pretty low here; not the lowest ever, mind you, but compared to what you had for a good chunk of the 20th century they're substantially lower.

In spite of this, companies still hoard massive amounts of money overseas to avoid paying taxes.

So what makes us think that companies would be okay with a UBI implementation? Yes yes, Silicon Valley has talked about it, but they might not be honest on this.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-05-22 08:40pm

Meet Mcsleepy, the automated anaesthesia distribution robot:


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GIZMODO

Meet McSleepy, the World's First Robot Anesthesiologist


Annalee Newitz
5/02/08 2:39pm
Filed to: ROBOTS
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Anesthesiologists are required to participate in every surgery, standing by to administer drugs and monitor the patient's vital signs while surgeons do their jobs. But now a group of researchers at Montreal's McGill University have invented a device that could replace human anesthesiologists with robots in the next five years. An anesthesia bot called McSleepy has just successfully completed its first surgery, administering drugs to a patient undergoing a tumor removal on his kidney.

McGill anesthesiologist Thomas M. Hemmerling, who helped develop McSleepy, says:

We have been working on closed-loop systems, where drugs are administered, their effects continuously monitored, and the doses are adjusted accordingly, for the last five years. Think of "McSleepy" as a sort of humanoid anesthesiologist that thinks like an anesthesiologist, analyses biological information and constantly adapts its own behavior, even recognizing monitoring malfunction.
Given that anesthesia can be one of the most potentially deadly parts of an operation, I'm curious about how hospitals will handle insurance for McSleepy. Or malpractice suits. This is probably less of an issue in places like Canada than in the U.S., which has a really litigious culture around malpractice issues. Maybe that means McSleepy will never make his way over stateside.

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I still can't decide if I'd feel safer or less safe with a robot monitoring my anesthesia. At least it wouldn't fall prey to human error — only to operating system crashes.

McGill News via The Biotech Weblog
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by mr friendly guy » 2017-05-22 10:22pm

So can this robot intubate a patient, or just administer drugs? The anaesthetist, er I mean anesthesiologist also protect the airways and help with advance life support while others administer CPR. Still its a great advancement.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-06-22 09:49am

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Leadership #​CuttingEdgeJUN 21, 2017 @ 05:42 PM1,564
The Future of Work: Death of the Single Skill Set In The Age Of Automation

Jeanne Meister , CONTRIBUTOR
I write about trends impacting HR, Talent and Learning

Leaders must prepare for the future of work rather than just train for today's jobs.
We will see more companies use upskilling as a recruiting tool to identify talent with the skills needed for success.
The Future of Work: The Death of the Single Skill Set Shutterstock
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
The future of work is here today, and the nature of both manufacturing and knowledge jobs will never be the same. According to a McKinsey analysis of 2,000 different work activities across 800 occupations, automation will change virtually every job across all occupations. Specifically, McKinsey found that in about 60% of occupations, 30% of tasks could be handed over to robots and bots. “More occupations will change,” the report concludes, “than will be automated away.”


Other sources have predicted that automation of professional knowledge economy jobs in the United States will be more than 10 times as large as the number of manufacturing jobs automated to date.

Needed Discussion: What Are New Skills In Key Job Roles

Much of the current debate on automation focuses on mass unemployment and rendering entire occupations susceptible to displacement. Instead, we need to focus on what new skills are needed by key job roles and then develop a plan of action to upskill individual employees and teams. Leaders must prepare for the future of work rather than just train for today's jobs.


So how does one prepare for this volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world of work? I believe by understanding a simple fact: across many jobs there is a "death of a single skill set," and what has made you employable today will not be enough to ensure you are employable tomorrow.

The Death of the Single Skill Set

This death of the single skill set has been documented by David Deming, associate professor of education and economics at Harvard University. Dr. Deming argues that many jobs requiring only mathematical skills have been automated, but roles which combine mathematical and interpersonal skills (such as economists, health technicians, and management analysts) will be in demand. These findings are reinforced by a study conducted by Business Higher Education Forum and Gallup that examined the percent of employers who say both data science and analytical skills will be required of all managers by 2020. As noted in the chart below, this is predicted to be true for managers who span the functions of finance, marketing, operations, supply chain and Human Resources.

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Source: BHEF and Gallup Source: BHEF and Gallup
Source: BHEF and Gallup

This notion of developing cross functional skills is not new, in fact the notion of "T" shaped skills was first described in 1991. "T" shaped individuals combine both a depth and breadth of skills possessing deep functional expertise with well-honed social skills to collaborate across disciplines. Now, with automation impacting up to 60% of occupations, it is becoming more important than ever for individuals to demonstrate these "T" shaped skills combining uniquely "human" skills (executive presence, empathy, and communication) with technical ones.

Let's look at three roles: data scientist, recruiter, and business leader to see the growing importance of "T" shaped skills.

Data Scientist Leaders Combine Technical and Presentation Skills

One recent example of this need to develop "T" shaped skills is the newly designed MOOC developed in partnership between PwC and Coursera entitled Data Analysis and Presentation Skills: The PwC Approach. As Michael Fenton, Chief People Officer of PwC, says, "PwC’s collaboration with Coursera is about more than creating a new course; it’s about helping people become more confident as they face the future." Their five course MOOC specialization focuses on both understanding and applying data analytics tools as well as crafting business presentations identifying insights uncovered in the data analysis.

What's interesting is that this MOOC is being offered to both PwC and non PwC learners. To date, over 14,000 PwC learners across 192 countries have enrolled in this MOOC, and another 71,481 non-PwC learners enrolled who are interested in enhancing their skills. The non PWC learners create an immediate talent pool of prospective employees who have mastered an important skill set in data science and presentation. These learners then have the option to opt into the PwC Talent Network to learn more about data analysis industry news and current openings at PwC. We will see more companies use upskilling as a recruiting tool to identify talent with the skills needed for success.


Recruiter of the Future: Technical and Storytelling Skills

Data Scientist is not the only profession to expand beyond technical skills. The job of a recruiter is also prime for re-invention, especially with the advent of artificial intelligence where an AI chat bot can evaluate resumes, schedule and conduct applicant screenings, and even congratulate you on your first day of work. Mya, one example of an AI powered recruiter, was launched in 2016 and is on pace to interact with over 2 million individuals by the end of 2017. Mya uses natural language processing and machine learning to automate sourcing, scheduling, and onboarding new hires.

As artificial intelligence augments the role of a recruiter, the question is: what does the recruiter do with "extra time" to meet the company's talent acquisition goals? Brendan Browne, Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition, LinkedIn believes as sourcing, scheduling, and even on-boarding employees becomes automated, recruiters must focus on developing their storytelling skills. By this, Browne refers to skills focusing on telling the story of why a candidate should work for a company, and focusing on what makes the company unique as an employer. Storytelling will be increasingly important because people remember great stories, stories make ideas stick, they persuade us and motivate us, and in a world of increased automation, they are uniquely human skills. After all, says Browne, "people make decisions with their emotions, not just with a set of data." In addition, Browne believes recruiters can use this "extra time," to add more value to their business leaders and hiring managers. This can range from sharing market intelligence, the size and locale of talent pools, the competitive landscape and the overall speed and quality of a business to attract, assess and hire talent.

In the digital knowledge economy, a recruiter's breadth of skills including "storytelling," technical and analytical is what's needed to succeed in winning the war for talent.

Business Leaders: Leadership Plus Digital Literacy

Let's not leave the future to the futurists. Leaders today must be prepared to deal with VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) in the global marketplace. For many, this means recognizing the power of digital technology to disrupt their industry. The pace of change seems only to be increasing. According to recent research by MIT, 90% of executives believe their businesses are being disrupted or reinvented by digital business models, and 70% believe they do not have the right skills.


Let's take financial services as a point of reference. Citigroup research estimates by 2023 FinTech will account for 17% of consumer-banking services in North America, or $203 billion. Leaders in financial services see this disruption first hand with the launch of Sofi (short for social finance) and Betterment. This is causing a growing number of financial service firms to upskill their bankers, preparing them for a competitive environment where disrupters in the case of Sofi has issued $20 billion in loans since inception in 2011 and is looking to become a daily utility in the financial lives of their customers.

One bank is doing something about this. Singapore-based DBS Bank began in 2014 to create hackathons for bankers to help change the culture and mindset, and encourage bankers to think and act like a startup. Their non-traditional approach challenged bankers to work alongside startups for 72 hours and propose new mobile banking solutions. To date, this process resulted in 50 prototypes of new DBS products, with 12 that have become actual products for DBS. The most effective leaders, like the CEO of DBS, Piyush Gupta, understand being a banker in 2017 means having both the technical skills needed for the job as well as digital literacy to keep pace with the current and prospective disruptions facing the banking industry.

How is your company addressing the death of the single skill set? Are you being proactive? What are you doing? Share your comments here.

Jeanne C Meister is Partner of Future Workplace and co-author of The Future Workplace Experience: 10 Rules For Mastering Disruption in Recruiting and Engaging Employees.

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The relevant chart:

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Can people adapt to this in the way Forbes suggests, or are they being unrealistic?
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by madd0ct0r » 2017-06-25 06:01am

I think the human resource managers are being unrealisticly low - they're already using neural nets to perform the first sift of applications (badly).

People adapated to using computers in every job within a decade, with far less user friendliness and UI understanding then we have now, so I'm going to go with yes. People will adapt and learn to pull levers. Relatively few of them will understand what is going on under the hood.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-06-25 12:45pm

What it comes down to is that if you don't care whether the automation does an objectively bad job, it's very easy to automate a lot of 'decision-making' jobs (like human resources), while simultaneously underestimating the amount of math and computation and analysis required to do the job correctly. And cynically, I'm beginning to think HR is uniquely attractive to the kind of person who doesn't care if HR does a bad job...

More generally, I don't think the Forbes analysis is wrong as such; people with multiple intersecting skill sets (e.g. understanding numbers AND explaining them to people who don't understand numbers, or making good marketing decisions AND adaptively shifting their decision-making structures on the fly to reflect new realities) will do much better than people who have only one such skill set. But that's pretty much always been true, and in a real sense it's just another implementation of the same process we've already discussed.

Namely, that in the game of 'musical chairs' where automation removes one seat from our job market at a time, there is a very long period in which the quickest, most adaptable people still have seats every round. And if you start with like 100 people, you can even have rounds of self-congratulatory conversations in which the 90 people that still have seats talk about how easy it is to find a seat every round. It is easy, for them. But while it's easy for them, it's not easy for everyone; there are people who just barely made it into one of the remaining seats on that round, and who will get eliminated by the time there are only 80 or 70 seats left.

And when there are 60 seats left, a lot of people who were complacent at 90 seats are finding the grins falling off their faces, too.

The people with 'intersecting skill sets' or 'T-shaped skills' or the like... They're probably going to be in the last half of jobs to be lost to automation. But within a generation or two, those people are going to be looking at an economy where they are (probably) employed (with difficulty), but where half or more of the population that isn't as versatile as they are is permanently un-employed, because learning two or three skill sets that can be coordinated in a single job is far more difficult than just learning one. Most people won't be able to make it work if they haven't done so already.
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