General Automation Thread

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-06-03 12:09pm

Walmart, the great job creator, is now hiring robots for the cleaning, inventory, and restocking jobs nationwide:

The Verge
Walmart is hiring more robots to replace human tasks like cleaning floors and scanning inventory
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By Shannon Liao@Shannon_Liao Apr 9, 2019, 3:13pm EDT
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Photo by Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images
Walmart is hiring robots to replace human tasks that humans didn’t “enjoy doing.” In a bid to save on labor costs, it’s betting on robots to clean floors, sort inventory, and replenish out-of-stock items in its stores, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Walmart has several jobs in mind for the new robots. Robot floor cleaners are coming to 1,500 stores. (The company says that floor scrubbing was previously a task that could take a human worker two to three hours each day to complete.) Walmart is also adding 600 conveyor belts that can sort inventory automatically, and at least 300 bots that can check if shelves are running out of stock after Walmart initially began to test this technology in 2017.

All of this is coming at the cost of human labor. The more robots Walmart hires, the fewer people it needs for each task, and the more money it saves across its 4,600 stores in the US. Walmart says that although it’s cutting down on labor for tasks like flooring cleaning, it is hiring employees to focus on growing its online grocery business. The move also comes after retail companies like Target and Walmart announced slight wage increases for store workers.


Walmart appears to be trying to make its online grocery service competitive to AmazonFresh and Amazon Prime Now’s Whole Foods delivery, both of which are still expanding. It’s part of a long feud between the two retail giants. While the brick-and-mortar Walmart has been pushed to acquire Jet.com and establish more of an online presence, Amazon has added physical stores to its e-commerce offerings and began to follow the playbooks of more traditional brands. Just last week, Amazon announced a new round of price cuts at Whole Foods stores around greens and tropical fruits. The company also reportedly has plans to expand grocery stores in major US cities later this year.
They say this is so they can move people into their website jobs, but as we've discussed on this thread, those jobs can be taken by robots as well. I don't expect to be seeing Walmart having a wave of hiring new employees when it can automate the process.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by K. A. Pital » 2019-06-03 01:05pm

Website jobs for former cleaners and shop floor workers? Sounds like bullshit.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-06-03 05:08pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2019-06-03 01:05pm
Website jobs for former cleaners and shop floor workers? Sounds like bullshit.
Maybe they mean moving those people to filling orders made online? Though this could probably also be automated given enough funds.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Gandalf » 2019-06-03 05:41pm

It can all be automated with sufficient capital. It's just throwing those job ideas out to hide the sheer cost of job losses coming.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by GrosseAdmiralFox » 2019-06-05 03:44am

We're going to see signs of 'humans may not apply' within our lifetimes...

... and people wonder why I hate capitalism these days.

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-06-05 06:10am

GrosseAdmiralFox wrote:
2019-06-05 03:44am
We're going to see signs of 'humans may not apply' within our lifetimes...

... and people wonder why I hate capitalism these days.
Either we ban automation, we put everyone on basic income and find things to keep them busy, or the next few decades is going to be an endless series of fascist and socialist revolutions and counter-revolutions, all over the world, because nothing gets people rioting in the streets and looking for a guillotine like not being able to feed themselves and their families.

Hell, the racist backlash against climate refugees will probably ensure that anyway. The dictatorships and wars, I mean, not the starving. And the refugees make such a handy scapegoat for the employment problem, of course- one the oligarchs are already using to divide and conquer the poor.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by GrosseAdmiralFox » 2019-06-05 02:29pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-06-05 06:10am
Either we ban automation, we put everyone on basic income and find things to keep them busy, or the next few decades is going to be an endless series of fascist and socialist revolutions and counter-revolutions, all over the world, because nothing gets people rioting in the streets and looking for a guillotine like not being able to feed themselves and their families.

Hell, the racist backlash against climate refugees will probably ensure that anyway. The dictatorships and wars, I mean, not the starving. And the refugees make such a handy scapegoat for the employment problem, of course- one the oligarchs are already using to divide and conquer the poor.
Given that unions -particularly those in the US- used to have very, very, very, very, very xenophobic undertones because companies used immigrants -and in the case of the US once the immigrant flow was restricted via the Quota system, African-Americans- to depress wages for the short and near-mid term. Sure in the far-mid and long term (i.e. years) things improve, but the moment that people's families are starving and/or freezing, they get xenophobic and fast. That's human nature for you.

Star Trek might be all for that peace and understanding thing, but it got one thing right about humans:

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-07-13 09:46am

NPR
Will Your Job Still Exist In 2030?
July 11, 20195:00 PM ET
Alina Selyukh 2016
ALINA SELYUKH

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Automation is already here. Robots helped build your car and pack your latest online shopping order. A chatbot might help you figure out your credit card balance. A computer program might scan and process your résumé when you apply for work.

What will work in America look like a decade from now? A team of economists at the McKinsey Global Institute set out to figure it out in a new report out Thursday.

The research finds automation widening the gap between urban and rural areas and dramatically affecting people who didn't go to college or didn't finish high school. It also projects some occupations poised for massive growth or growing enough to offset displaced jobs.

Below are some of the key takeaways from McKinsey's forecast.

Most jobs will change; some will decline

"Intelligent machines are going to become more prevalent in every business. All of our jobs are going to change," said Susan Lund, co-author of the report. Almost 40% of U.S. jobs are in occupations that are likely to shrink — though not necessarily disappear — by 2030, the researchers found.



Employing almost 21 million Americans, office support is by far the most common U.S. occupation that's most at risk of losing jobs to digital services, according to McKinsey. Food service is another heavily affected category, as hotel, fast-food and other kitchens automate the work of cooks, dishwashers and others.

At the same time, "the economy is adding jobs that make use of new technologies," McKinsey economists wrote. Those jobs include software developers and information security specialists — who are constantly in short supply — but also solar panel installers and wind turbine technicians.

Health care jobs, including hearing aid specialists and home health aides, will stay in high demand for the next decade, as baby boomers age. McKinsey also forecast growth for jobs that tap into human creativity or "socioemotional skills" or provide personal service for the wealthy, like interior designers, psychologists, massage therapists, dietitians and landscape architects.

In some occupations, even as jobs disappear, new ones might offset the losses. For example, digital assistants might replace counter attendants and clerks who help with rentals, but more workers might be needed to help shoppers in stores or staff distribution centers, McKinsey economists wrote.

Similarly, enough new jobs will be created in transportation or customer service and sales to offset ones lost by 2030.

Employers and communities could do more to match workers in waning fields to other compatible jobs with less risk of automation. For instance, 900,000 bookkeepers, accountants and auditing clerks nationwide might see their jobs phased out but could be retrained to become loan officers, claims adjusters or insurance underwriters, the McKinsey report said.

Automation is likely to continue widening the gap between job growth in urban and rural areas

By 2030, the majority of job growth may be concentrated in just 25 megacities and their peripheries, while large swaths of the country see slower job creation and even lose jobs, the researchers found. This gap has already widened in the past decade, as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell noted in his remarks on Wednesday.



The 25 megacities (including Austin, Texas; Chicago, and Miami) and their suburbs (like Arlington, Va., and Riverside, Calif.) are slated to account for more than 60% of net job growth, while representing only 44% of the population.

Some other standouts with notable job growth are:

fast-growing smaller cities, like Provo, Utah, and Des Moines, Iowa;
college towns, like Chapel Hill, N.C., and South Bend, Ind.;
rural communities with booming tourism or oil, mining and other industries, like Aspen, Colo., or Kauai County, Hawaii;
and aging communities that attract health and other care jobs like The Villages in Florida or Prescott, Ariz.
Some jobs — for example, in transportation or food service — might face higher demand in growing and wealthy aging cities, while at the same time waning in areas with poorer and declining populations.

But Americans aren't moving around as much as they used to. The portion of Americans who moved to a different state dropped by half between 1990 and 2017, the McKinsey report said. And when people do move, they move to an area with a very similar profile, meaning similar job growth and opportunities.

"Assuming that people will simply move from distressed areas to more thriving cities would involve a reversal of the current status quo," the economists wrote. They suggest the government and companies could do more to reinvigorate declining areas, for example opening offices in more affordable locations and improving broadband access for more remote work opportunities.

Men could face slightly more displacement than women. Dramatically more at risk are people without higher education.

About two-thirds of workers in the U.S. don't have a college degree, which puts them at higher risk of losing work to new technologies. The researchers found that workers who didn't go to college or didn't finish high school are four times as likely to lose jobs because of automation.

"Automation could widen existing educational, income, and wealth disparities," the economists wrote.

Hispanic workers are particularly affected by this, facing higher school dropout rates. More than one-quarter of Hispanic workers are also employed in jobs that could be automated, according to the report.

Some jobs that are growing and don't require a bachelor's degree include construction manager, elevator installer and repairer, cost estimator, MRI tech and radiology technician. The report urged a better system for lifelong training and learning for U.S. workers.

Women currently hold more jobs in areas that are predicted to grow, like registered nurses and personal care aides. This likely positions them better for a more automated future, potentially accounting for 58% of net job growth by 2030. That's assuming that current gender breakdowns stay the same in all occupations.

Men dominate some of the most automatable jobs, such as mechanical repair work and machine operations. At the same time, they also dominate high-growth tech jobs. And women represent an outsize portion of the fast-shrinking jobs of office clerk and administrative assistant.

"Automation and AI have tremendous potential to boost innovation and productivity, but these technologies require an adaptable workforce with new sets of skills," co-author James Manyika said in a statement. "We can turn this into an opportunity to upgrade jobs, make them more rewarding, and lift people up."

Correction
July 11, 2019
A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that radiologists don't require a bachelor's degree. Radiology technicians don't require a bachelor's degree.
So, there's a bit of a disconnect between urban and rural jobs, wherein it's looking like a lot of office jobs will disappear but hopefully be replaced. The big question is if the new jobs will be as numerous as the old jobs.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-07-17 01:07am

Govtech
Automation Will Claim 1M South Florida Jobs, Experts Say
Job displacements will not happen through robotic rapture. Instead, shrinkage will occur through attrition and reduced hiring. Either a job will simply become obsolete or end up being performed by a software program.

BY ROB WILE, MIAMI HERAD / JULY 16, 2019

SHUTTERSTOCK/PIXEL B
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(TNS) — Whether by bot or by byte, nearly 1 million South Florida jobs are at risk of being automated, according to a new report from consulting giant McKinsey.

But even as some jobs disappear, others will be created. And the survivors could be left better off.

McKinsey estimates that the Miami metropolitan statistical area (MSA), which includes Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, will likely see about 23 percent of its total workforce displaced by automation by 2030 — or 761,000 South Florida jobs.

That matches the national rate of anticipated displacement.

Job displacements will not happen through robotic rapture. Instead, McKinsey says, shrinkage will occur through attrition and reduced hiring. Either a job will simply become obsolete or, more likely, end up being performed by a software program.

Most at risk are the area’s army of low-skilled, low-wage workers. McKinsey estimates that the occupational categories likely to see the highest quantity of job displacement in South Florida are office support (168,000), food service (106,000), and customer service and sales (100,000) jobs.

Office jobs, in particular, stand to be hardest hit, McKinsey says, based on historical trends.

“Offices once populated by armies of administrative assistants, research librarians, and payroll and data clerks now run with leaner support teams and more digital tools. Administrative assistants, bill collectors, and bookkeepers lost a combined 226,000 jobs from 2012 to 2017,” the report states.

Locally, law and finance could be most affected, according to Alfred Sanchez, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. He says he’s been meeting with law firms who say large banks like Chase are introducing software that can read contracts— a task younger lawyers often do, he said.

“They’re saying we could have 320,000 billable hours evaporate from us tomorrow,” he said.

Younger and older workers — of which South Florida has plenty — are likely to be especially affected, McKinsey says. Among the former group, traditional entry-level positions are being eliminated, forcing younger workers to spend more time in school — or, in other cases, placing them permanently along the workforce’s margins.

Meanwhile, older job holders forced out of the workforce will have a more difficult time “re-skilling” into new, available positions.

Still, South Florida may be better positioned than other major metro areas to roll with the coming workforce revolution. McKinsey projects net job growth of 11 percent for the area — ahead of New York (10%), Los Angeles (7%) and Chicago (6%), though still behind Austin (30%), Orlando (24%), and Dallas (22%).

Nationally, McKinsey’s projections are rosiest for growth jobs it defines in the following ways: personal services for affluent individuals, healthcare for aging populations and jobs involving creativity and empathy.

Among these jobs, South Florida outperforms: McKinsey projects growth among health professionals — meaning medical professions requiring an advanced degree — climbing 51 percent. That is followed by science, engineering, and technology professionals, a category expected to grow 37 percent in the region.

Among South Florida’s three counties, this will translate to net job growth of 15.4% for Palm Beach, 10.4% for Broward, and 9.7% for Miami-Dade. And as is the case nationally, the jobs will tend to break down into either higher- or lower-paying categories — though this means a further hollowing out of the middle class.

In an interview, Ignacio Felix, a McKinsey partner, said Palm Beach is already benefiting from wealthy professionals leaving the Northeast.

“We are seeing an influx of private equity into Palm Beach, which is likely to trigger significant growth there,” he said.

Still, as a mature “megacity,” McKinsey says South Florida should not expect the same job growth being forecast for “high-growth hubs” like Austin, Dallas and Orlando.

“Any places experiencing some turnaround — there tends to be an integrated response from government, business and education leaders,” said McKinsey partner and report co-author Andre Dua. “There’s not one single playbook. Instead, it’s a question of key stakeholders coming together and committing to putting the economy on a different trajectory.”

Sanchez says that while the Greater Miami Chamber has begun to put together a response to the coming challenge, it is one with profound implications.

“It’s truly revolutionary,” he said. “In the past, technology made everything else — made jobs or labor — easier to do, so employees could be more productive. But [these technologies] are replacing the employee.”

©2019 Miami Herald. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
In Florida, we're looking to 3/4 of a million, to a straight up million jobs being removed. Mostly unskilled labor. Take that as you will.





Now, for a question, who is driving all this automation?

Gizmodo
This Report Makes It Perfectly Clear Who Automation Is Working For

Brian Merchant
7/10/19 6:02pmFiled to: AUTOMATON
15.6K
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Illustration for article titled This Report Makes It Perfectly Clear Who Automation Is Working For
Photo: David Ramos (Getty)
If you want to get a sense of who, exactly, automation is working for right now, well, there’s a study for that. Spoiler—it’s the c-suite executives doing the automating.

A report published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)—part of the Economist Group, which separately publishes the Economist magazine—and sponsored by UIPath, “the world’s leading Robotics Process Automation” (RPA) company, asked over 500 senior executives about their impressions and attitudes about automation. The executives hailed from eight different countries and all worked at major companies, each with at least $250 million in revenue and half with over $1 billion. And guess what? The execs love automation. Just cannot sing its praises highly enough.

As UIPath notes in the headline of its release, “Automation is a C-Level priority and kickstarting businesses’ digital transformations.”

It has been widely known for quite some time that automation is a priority of the executive class—Kevin Roose’s dispatch from Davos earlier this year was a concise showcase of how the leaders of the world’s biggest firms are relentlessly pursuing automation—and now there’s some data behind the trend.

According to the study, “Eighty three percent of respondents report that the C-Suite is driving automation initiatives for their business, with automation responsibility rolling up to the CEO (22 percent), CTO (28 percent) and CIO (17 percent). Seventy percent of CEOs report that RPA and AI are a very high priority to meet their strategic objectives, mainly because it will make them more competitive.” (Emphasis mine.)

In other words, automation is very much a top-down phenomenon. I’ve reported on instances of automation unfolding more organically in the middle echelons of the companies, and of lower-level workers taking the initiative to automate parts or all of their own or their colleagues’ jobs. But the vast majority of the time, automation is plainly an executive cost-cutting and efficiency-improving strategy. And these CEOs and CTOs that are saying they need to automate to “become more competitive” are largely saying they need it to reduce payroll—perhaps because everyone else is doing it too. Even if it’s unclear in many cases that automation is actually yielding any gains for the company.

But that’s how you get findings like this: “Automation is at the center of 93 percent of businesses’ digital transformation initiatives,” the report reads. In other words, almost all the executives surveyed are choosing to prioritize automation moving forward. And here’s how these hundreds of executives of $250 million+ revenue companies chart the impact of their own automation efforts. According to them, automation yields:

-An increase in customer satisfaction (92 percent)

-Focused employee attention on less repetitive, mundane tasks (91 percent)

-Increased capacity to handle volume (91 percent)

-Efficient product and service marketing (90 percent)

-An increase in customer engagement (88 percent)

-New revenue sourcing (85 percent)


Wow—nine in 10 corporate executives say automation is absolutely fabulous! (It’s also a little odd to me that the Economist “Intelligence Unit” is publishing a study funded by the world’s self-proclaimed top purveyor of process automation wherein the conclusion is that everyone loves process automation and needs it to stay competitive, but I digress.)

Some of these may indeed be true—although I do doubt, for instance, an executives’ ability to forthrightly relay customer service satisfaction levels when independent surveys show pretty clearly that users currently hate encountering automated customer service systems. (In the report, 71 percent of the executives said that “increased automation of customer service processes will be extremely important to their firm’s competitiveness.”)

And I don’t doubt that good automation has sped up many processes and reduced drudgery in certain cases. But just compare the above findings to the general public’s feelings about automation, from this December 2018 study from Pew Research: “Around half of U.S. adults (48%) say job automation through new technology in the workplace has mostly hurt American workers, while just 22% say it has generally helped.”

Now this is not exactly apples-to-apples, but it does give us a sense of the disparity between executive optimism over automation and the more widespread worker pessimism. And it’s quite a disparity. In the Pew Research surveys, a majority of the respondents—thousands of people selected largely at random—relay fears that automation will exacerbate inequality and eliminate jobs. (“Around three-quarters of Americans (76%) say inequality between the rich and the poor would increase if robots and computers perform most of the jobs currently being done by humans by 2050.”) In the EIU/UIPath survey, the executive respondents did not “have grave fears of worker displacement by AI, although many respondents remain unsure.”

It seems the fear of losing your job to automation is more acute if you are a potential victim of automation, not its executor. Imagine that.

All told, the survey lends even more weight to the notion that I’ve been banging on about for the last couple months—that ‘robots’ don’t kill jobs, management does. It should make very clear that executives are choosing to prioritize and implement automation, even if it’s at a time that the public is overwhelmingly wary of its impact.

And for good reason! Those “digital transformation initiatives” that automation is almost always at the center of? Another recent survey of executives found that half of all respondents admitted to launching them without a clear strategy. A while back, I chatted with the CEO of Celonis, the company behind that study, and which helps companies analyze their business processes, and that was his clear diagnosis: too many companies are automating for automation’s sake.

Automation is a buzzword, a corporate imperative, an opportunity to cut labor costs—even when the technology isn’t there to fill the gaps yet—and it is being consciously, approvingly, and eagerly adopted by our corporate overlords. Those who fear that automation is fueling inequality and delivering gains to those at the top are 100 percent right—but don’t take it from me, listen to the folks at the top.

Clarification: The Economist Intelligence Unit is a business separate from the Economist magazine. Both are owned by the Economist Group. We’ve updated the copy above to clarify the distinction.
So, yeah. Executives love automation, and are looking into it, because it's pretty much net gains for them. I bet you were shocked by that one, weren't you?
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-08-04 10:21am

NPR
A Robot Might Take His Job — And That's Good News
August 2, 20199:51 AM ET
FURKAN LATIF KHAN

SUSHMITA PATHAK


Jitesh Singolia, 19, climbs down a manhole to clean sewer pipes using his bare hands.
Sushmita Pathak/NPR
Jitesh Singolia is standing in a manhole. He is up to his waist in gray sewage – a mixture of waste from toilets and kitchens — as he tries to unclog the sewer pipe in a housing complex in the northern suburbs of Mumbai. He scoops out sludge with his bare hands. It contains human excrement, soiled sanitary pads, even razor blades, which sometimes cut him.

He says he usually bathes at least twice at the end of a day's work to wash off the stench.

"I don't feel like doing this," says the 19-year-old. "But I have to." Poor and uneducated, he's been doing this job since he was 7 years old.

Singolia is one of nearly 200,000 Indians — most of them belonging to lower castes — employed in sanitation work. The government calls them "manual scavengers" — people who clean latrines and sewers. In India, only a third of all urban households are connected to a piped sewer system. About 80 percent of sewage from Indian cities goes untreated.

There have been official efforts to bring an end to the profession for decades. The most recent: In 2014, India's Supreme Court ordered the abolishment of manual scavenging, calling it a "denigrating task."

The job is not only "denigrating," as the court noted. It's dangerous. Medical researchers have found that workers are exposed to harmful gases like methane and ammonia and are also at risk for bacterial infections. According to the Indian government, about 600 sewer workers have died in sewers across the country since 1993. Some fall into deep sewer holes when ropes supporting them snap. Many of the victims are asphyxiated by noxious gases. After 11 manual scavengers died in a single week last September, protesters gathered in New Delhi, chanting and holding banners: "Stop killing us."

The official edicts have so far not been effective. "Till today, to the people who are cleaning, in their life, there is no change," says Bezwada Wilson, national convener of the Safai Karamchari Andolan ("Sanitation Workers' Movement" in Hindi), a Delhi-based organization that advocates against manual scavenging.

But technology might finally bring an end to the job – with solutions that include a robot cleaner named after a common sewer rat.

The government also thinks technology could be the answer. In early July, when Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled her new budget, she announced the extension of a government plan in which banks facilitate loans to women and people from marginalized communities to buy manual scavenging machines and robots. Sitharaman said mechanized cleaning could "[save] the manual scavengers their dignity."

A Day's Work On Delhi's Mountain Of Trash
GOATS AND SODA
A Day's Work On Delhi's Mountain Of Trash
There are already parts of the country where technology is on the job. In the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, for example, machines suck sludge out of sewers and clear pipes with high-pressure jets of water. But these machines are often too big to enter some narrow bylanes, particularly in dense urban areas. In those places, a human goes in.

Instead of humans, some Indian engineers want to send robots into manholes.

"We want to change manhole to robo-hole," says Arun George, a co-founder of Genrobotics, a Kerala-based startup that developed the robot. It's called Bandicoot, named after a species of rat found in sewers in the Indian subcontinent.

The Bandicoot robot is a promising solution because of its small size and portability, says Shanal Pradhan, a Delhi-based researcher and co-author of a paper on manual scavenging in urban India. "Big sewage cleaning trucks may not be able to navigate narrow settlements but the robot can," she says.

The robot looks like a four-legged animal that can stand over a manhole and lower down mechanical arms. Once inside the manhole, the arms extend and latch on to its walls to stabilize the robot. The main arm, which has a claw-like structure at the end, then lowers further and rotates to grab waste that's clogging the drain.

A suction machine can only pump out the liquid sludge. The solid residue is left behind in the sewer pipe. The robot can remove this solid waste clogging the pipe. In addition, it can also send a high-pressure jet of water to clear blockages.

The robot also has cameras to help locate the sludge is and navigate toward it. Its carbon fiber structure is resistant to corrosion and can withstand sludge and toxic gases.

PHOTOS: Peep At The Toilets Of 7 Families Around The World
GOATS AND SODA
PHOTOS: Peep At The Toilets Of 7 Families Around The World
But paying for this advanced technology can be a hurdle. The Bandicoot robot can cost as much as $50,000. Pradhan says municipalities take advantage of cheap human labor rather than invest in these technologies.

"What is lacking in India is the political will," she says.

George says the cost will decrease when the robot is manufactured on a large scale. He also says the robot won't put humans out of work, and hopes to train manual scavengers to become robot operators.

"Rather than replacing a human being using a machine, we are empowering a human being using a machine," George says.

About a dozen such robots have been deployed across the country. George says he has received orders for dozens more.

When protesters call for an end to the profession, they add another demand: retrain the workers. It's difficult for manual scavengers to break away from this line of work. One reason is India's ancient caste system, which has traditionally dictated a person's occupation. The vast majority of manual scavengers are from the lower castes, which used to be known as "untouchables."


The Bandicoot robot can go inside manholes to unclog sewer pipes.
Sushmita Pathak/NPR
"Caste is a vicious cycle," says Sunil Kasare, 51, a low-caste manual scavenger who cleans sewage and trash from alleys in southern Mumbai. "My grandmother was a manual scavenger, and my son will probably end up being one too. I'll have to do this type of work till the day I die."

Caste-based discrimination makes it hard for people from lower castes to get a job other than manual scavenging, Wilson says. Many of them come from poor families and are uneducated. Cleaning sewers may be their only option even if it puts their life in danger.

"We must create a society where human beings should not clean others' s**t," Wilson says.

Manual scavenger Kasare feels technology alone cannot end manual scavenging. As long as India's caste system persists, mindsets won't change, he says, and this dirty, dangerous practice will never completely go away.
The job can be automated away, but due to India's caste system, there isn't much desire to do so. Thoughts?
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-08-10 12:55am

Robotics Business Review
Amazon Expands Scout Last-Mile Delivery Robot Offering
E-commerce leader’s small blue mobile robots expected to make package deliveries in Irvine, California.

PRESENTED BY:

Amazon Expands Scout Last-Mile Delivery Robot Offering
Source: Amazon

AUGUST 09, 2019 RBR STAFF
Amazon this week said it plans to expand its Amazon Scout last-mile delivery robot service to customers in Southern California, moving beyond its initial testing area of the Pacific Northwest.

In a blog post, Amazon Scout vice president Sean Scott gave an update on the development of the mobile robot and some of the challenges the development has faced, including neighborhood obstacle environments, weather, and unexpected surprises.

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Drone Delivery Makes Small Progress, Yet Big Challenges Remain
“One of our favorite parts of this journey so far has been witnessing how excited customers are when they see the delivery device for the first time, and how they’ve welcomed Scout in to their neighborhood,” Scott said in the blog post. “In the span of a week, our Ambassadors witnessed a child ask her dad for a Scout for Christmas, and another customer ask if he could hitch his two dachshunds to Scout and use it as a dog walker. While the intent of our ‘adora-bots’ is and will remain delivery, we couldn’t help but chuckle at these reactions. We have a lot of pride packed inside these cooler-sized devices and love to see such a positive reaction from the community.”

The Southern California expansion will be for customers in the Irvine, Calif. area, with a small number of Scout devices performing deliveries Monday through Friday, during daylight hours. Amazon said customers in the Irvine area can order just as they normally would, and their Amazon packages will be delivered by either a regular carrier partner or by Amazon Scout. Delivery options via Scout include same-day, one-day or two-day shipping for Prime members. The Scout robots will autonomously follow a delivery route, and will initially be accompanied by an “Amazon Scout Ambassador,” the company said.

Delivery robots across the nation
Amazon is not the only company experimenting with last-mile delivery robots. A flurry of mobile robots are hitting the streets and sidewalks with small package delivery or larger delivery options such as groceries. In April, Starship technologies announced it had passed a milestone of making 50,000 commercial deliveries with its mobile robots. Since they began delivering groceries and items from a Co-op food store in Milton Keynes, U.K., in April 2018, Starship’s robots have now traveled more than 200,000 miles, completing thousands of deliveries per week. The company announced a new partnership with a second Co-op store in Milton Keynes as well. The company also provides mobile robot deliveries to college campuses at Northern Arizona University and George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

Other last-mile delivery robot services over the past year include Uber Eats, which tested food delivery via aerial drone in San Diego; Postmates, which is planning package delivery via mobile robot in Los Angeles; Nuro, which plans on delivering Domino’s Pizza in Houston as well as continuing its grocery delivery service in Arizona; Boxbot, which plans self-driving parcel delivery services in California, and FedEx, which is testing food delivery with Pizza Hut.

The market for delivery robots is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 19.15% over the next five years, reaching $34 million by 2024, according to a Market and Markets report. Driving the market is a cost reduction of last-mile deliveries, from $1.60 per delivery via human drivers, down to $0.06 per delivery through autonomous robots, the company said.
So, we've talked about snack robots, delivery robots, freight robots, etc. Now they're testing these things in more areas. And since they're supposed to be cheaper than humans, expect a lot of Amazon couriers to suddenly be unemployed.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-08-10 01:31am

News Story Update. Remember those "Dalek-looking robot" things from earlier in the thread, the ones described in this thread as "if Apple brought out a design of buttplugs", well, they're back.

KTVU News

News from a year ago, as they patrol gas stations.
Robot security guard patrols San Francisco gas station

By Debora Villalon
Posted Jul 17 2018 07:27AM PDT

Video Posted Jul 17 2018 07:57AM PDT

Updated Jul 17 2018 07:38PM PDT

SAN FRANCISCO - Robots are popping up at corporations, campuses, shopping malls and airports.

But at a gas station?

CONTINUE READING BELOW
A San Francisco Shell station has a robot as extra security for those at the pumps.

Image Gallery 4 PHOTOS
A robot serves as a security guard at a Shell Station at 8th and Market streets in San Francisco. The robot has four cameras, and rolls at 3 mph, about the same pace as a person walking. It continually scans and records. July 16, 2018



"I'm waiting for Robocop to come out anytime and say you're under arrest," joked customer Traci Lim, who was taking cell phone video of the robot as she filled up.

Lim and other patrons at the SoMa station are amused, perplexed and curious.

"What's that for anyway?" asked another customer, watching the dome shaped device spin and pace within a 6-7 foot space.

"I haven't seen it do anything but what it's doing right now, hiding, that's security I guess, " said customer Tommy Anderson, "not if it talks to you, says 'Hey how you doing, you're not supposed to be on this property, please move, then it would be doing something."

The robot has four cameras, each aimed a different direction, to capture multiple angles.

"If I see him bust somebody, tackle a shoplifter, then I'll be impressed," smiled customer Derrick Sorenson, "but until then, watching it spin in circles, I'm just scratching my head."

The high-tech crime stopper won't be chasing anyone down. Top speed is 3 mph, about the same pace as a person walking.

But it is continuously scanning and recording, in its pod-shaped shell, which is 3 feet wide, 5 feet tall, and weighs 400 pounds.

"Customers are confused because they've never seen a robot like this before," said clerk Nibyat Kefyalew. "And we're all confused too because we've ever seen a robot like this either."

Employees didn't know, and the station owner wasn't present, to explain why a gas station laden with security cameras, needs a robot.

But the location, at 8th and Harrison streets, does see its share of assault, auto break-ins and theft
And the robot can call police, which a regular camera can't do.

"The company website says it can track 300 license plates in a minute, " said neighbor Brian King, "and it can track cell phone information too."

King's apartment is one floor above the gas station, and he has set up a live-stream of the robot's activity and reaction to it.

"People are both thrilled and terrified to see it, "said King, noting that watchers on the web are speculating about how long the bot will last before it's brutalized by those who don't like the "big brother" aspect.

"It's still unscathed, no graffiti on it, and no other stuff either, it's doing well," said King, "and nobody has peed on that specific gas station wall for awhile, so that's also good!"

King says the robot has speakers, but only emitted sounds last Friday, its first night, and those were deafening.

"Waaaaaaaargh.... like this weird synthesizer noise," he described.

Clerks didn't know how to turn it off.

"I ended up tweeting at the company that makes the robot and they ended up remotely turning off the noise. So I think they're in charge," said King.

If there were a serious crime, someone would presumably take the wheel again.

"Someone steals my car, they've got the person on film, they've got the license plate and that way it's safe, " said Traci Lim, finishing her photos of the robot. "Welcome to the future, it's here, it's definitely here!"
And now they patrol parks:

Los Angeles CBS
RoboCop Reporting For Duty In Huntington Park
June 19, 2019 at 12:26 amFiled Under:Huntington Park, RoboCop

HUNTINGTON PARK (CBSLA) — The Huntington Park City Council Tuesday got its first look at the newest member of the city’s police force — a robot.

HP RoboCop will be used to keep an electronic eye on public areas when human police officers are not around.

The robot is designed for outside use and comes equipped with 360-degree high-definition cameras that can feed live video to the department and also record footage for subsequent viewing.

Police say the blue-and-white robot can provide the department with data to help lower crime, help patrol areas that officers might not have time to patrol and offer help with all kinds of investigations.

The robot has been helping patrol a park in the city for several weeks since its preview at a 5K run last month. HP RoboCop even has its own Twitter account.
So I guess we should now expect to see these things patrolling certain areas, mostly areas where homeless are likely to frequent, such as parks and gas stations.

Good thing for the security of such places, dystopian nightmare of always being watched and documented, crime deterrent, or something else?
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Zaune » 2019-08-10 04:53am

FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-08-10 01:31am
So I guess we should now expect to see these things patrolling certain areas, mostly areas where homeless are likely to frequent, such as parks and gas stations.

Good thing for the security of such places, dystopian nightmare of always being watched and documented, crime deterrent, or something else?
Ask me again when we have definitive proof it can withstand someone setting about it with a fire axe while high on crystal meth.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-08-10 08:00am

Zaune wrote:
2019-08-10 04:53am
FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-08-10 01:31am
So I guess we should now expect to see these things patrolling certain areas, mostly areas where homeless are likely to frequent, such as parks and gas stations.

Good thing for the security of such places, dystopian nightmare of always being watched and documented, crime deterrent, or something else?
Ask me again when we have definitive proof it can withstand someone setting about it with a fire axe while high on crystal meth.
I guess this is why it has 360 vision and records every person it sees, so as to have evidence of who was the last person who destroyed the property, whether it be the city's robot or at gas station's, the company's.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Zaune » 2019-08-10 08:24am

That's not going to stop a lot of people unless they change the law so you do as much time for smashing up one of these robots as you would for roughing up a cop. If you were already planning to rob someone at knifepoint then what's it matter if you add criminal damage to the charge-sheet?
There are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-08-10 09:52am

Zaune wrote:
2019-08-10 08:24am
That's not going to stop a lot of people unless they change the law so you do as much time for smashing up one of these robots as you would for roughing up a cop. If you were already planning to rob someone at knifepoint then what's it matter if you add criminal damage to the charge-sheet?
I think they're mainly meant to discourage squatters, homeless, and other types of vagrants. Though a video record of any crimes committed will surely come in handy for prosecutions.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by GrosseAdmiralFox » 2019-08-13 11:11am

FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-08-10 09:52am
Zaune wrote:
2019-08-10 08:24am
That's not going to stop a lot of people unless they change the law so you do as much time for smashing up one of these robots as you would for roughing up a cop. If you were already planning to rob someone at knifepoint then what's it matter if you add criminal damage to the charge-sheet?
I think they're mainly meant to discourage squatters, homeless, and other types of vagrants. Though a video record of any crimes committed will surely come in handy for prosecutions.
That wouldn't be viable any more thanks to DeepFakes becoming so good that the experts are starting to be unable to tell the difference...

Also, with all this automation, you'll probably have to revive Huey Long's 'Share our Wealth' program (i.e. income and inheritance caps (i.e. anything above these caps are taxed 100%), low tax rates, and basically a UBI before it even became a talking point) from the dead and force it on everyone at gunpoint.

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-08-13 05:26pm

GrosseAdmiralFox wrote:
2019-08-13 11:11am
FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-08-10 09:52am
Zaune wrote:
2019-08-10 08:24am
That's not going to stop a lot of people unless they change the law so you do as much time for smashing up one of these robots as you would for roughing up a cop. If you were already planning to rob someone at knifepoint then what's it matter if you add criminal damage to the charge-sheet?
I think they're mainly meant to discourage squatters, homeless, and other types of vagrants. Though a video record of any crimes committed will surely come in handy for prosecutions.
That wouldn't be viable any more thanks to DeepFakes becoming so good that the experts are starting to be unable to tell the difference...
Until there is legislation regarding DeepFakes, I assume security bot footage would be accepted as genuine. Same as any security footage from any security camera nowadays.
Also, with all this automation, you'll probably have to revive Huey Long's 'Share our Wealth' program (i.e. income and inheritance caps (i.e. anything above these caps are taxed 100%), low tax rates, and basically a UBI before it even became a talking point) from the dead and force it on everyone at gunpoint.
That's probably inevitable, that or guillotines as people throw a revolution as all the jobs disappear in most fields, leaving a sizable amount of people unemployed.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by GrosseAdmiralFox » 2019-08-13 06:11pm

FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-08-13 05:26pm
Until there is legislation regarding DeepFakes, I assume security bot footage would be accepted as genuine. Same as any security footage from any security camera nowadays.
That wouldn't work as you can simply flood the real footage with DeepFakes to the point that it's useless.
That's probably inevitable, that or guillotines as people throw a revolution as all the jobs disappear in most fields, leaving a sizable amount of people unemployed.
Given the general situation? Likely revolution and counter-revolution in a revolving door fashion until one group gets a good hold and establishes complete dominance... even if it means killing off millions of people to do so.

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-08-13 06:17pm

GrosseAdmiralFox wrote:
2019-08-13 06:11pm
FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-08-13 05:26pm
Until there is legislation regarding DeepFakes, I assume security bot footage would be accepted as genuine. Same as any security footage from any security camera nowadays.
That wouldn't work as you can simply flood the real footage with DeepFakes to the point that it's useless.
That's probably inevitable, that or guillotines as people throw a revolution as all the jobs disappear in most fields, leaving a sizable amount of people unemployed.
Given the general situation? Likely revolution and counter-revolution in a revolving door fashion until one group gets a good hold and establishes complete dominance... even if it means killing off millions of people to do so.
Wow, you sure are quick to accept killing millions of people as necessary/inevitable, aren't you?
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-08-13 06:20pm

GrosseAdmiralFox wrote:
2019-08-13 06:11pm
FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-08-13 05:26pm
Until there is legislation regarding DeepFakes, I assume security bot footage would be accepted as genuine. Same as any security footage from any security camera nowadays.
That wouldn't work as you can simply flood the real footage with DeepFakes to the point that it's useless.
That depends on homeless having enough access to deep fake technology, and access to the surveillance footage in the first place. Both are rather hard to have. Same with most people and surveillance technology. How do they get access to the original footage in the first place?

That's probably inevitable, that or guillotines as people throw a revolution as all the jobs disappear in most fields, leaving a sizable amount of people unemployed.
Given the general situation? Likely revolution and counter-revolution in a revolving door fashion until one group gets a good hold and establishes complete dominance... even if it means killing off millions of people to do so.
We'd have to see. It really depends on how fast legislators and business owners catch on to the fact that pure capitalism drives a race to the bottom in cutting costs, which leads to cutting people, and those people are out on the street. This might not matter to business owners, due to the nature of international business and globalization, meaning that they won't mind all the starving people, as their profits are unaffected in the short term.

This is also why just having voters turn out for progressive candidates who institute a competent safety net is a good way to avert all the bloodshed.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by GrosseAdmiralFox » 2019-08-13 06:51pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-08-13 06:17pm
Wow, you sure are quick to accept killing millions of people as necessary/inevitable, aren't you?
I wouldn't be surprised that millions will die because there are people who would rather die than change and are more than willing to drag as many people down with them...

... and the death count is something of a common theme with revolutions, especially those that go round and round like a twisted revolving door.
FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-08-13 06:20pm
That depends on homeless having enough access to deep fake technology, and access to the surveillance footage in the first place. Both are rather hard to have. Same with most people and surveillance technology. How do they get access to the original footage in the first place?
The sad thing is, it wouldn't be homeless people but people who want to drive a narrative...
We'd have to see. It really depends on how fast legislators and business owners catch on to the fact that pure capitalism drives a race to the bottom in cutting costs, which leads to cutting people, and those people are out on the street. This might not matter to business owners, due to the nature of international business and globalization, meaning that they won't mind all the starving people, as their profits are unaffected in the short term.

This is also why just having voters turn out for progressive candidates who institute a competent safety net is a good way to avert all the bloodshed.
That won't happen as long as companies act like their Gilded Age selves. They would rather spend money to lobby against such things or threaten to literally move out over abiding that sort of legislation. That is why automation is being driven to beyond 11 because that simply cuts out all the legislation.

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-08-13 07:23pm

GrosseAdmiralFox wrote:
2019-08-13 06:51pm
This is also why just having voters turn out for progressive candidates who institute a competent safety net is a good way to avert all the bloodshed.
That won't happen as long as companies act like their Gilded Age selves. They would rather spend money to lobby against such things or threaten to literally move out over abiding that sort of legislation. That is why automation is being driven to beyond 11 because that simply cuts out all the legislation.
So, we need to resurrect Teddy Roosevelt and bring back the populist reforms. Because that's really what ended the heinous parts of the Gilded Age, the progressive reforms of old Teddy, and then later the reforms of the New Deal by his cousin FDR. It doesn't have to lead to bloody revolution if you have politicians trying to avoid that by helping stabilize the nation by increasing the quality of life for everyone.
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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by GrosseAdmiralFox » 2019-08-13 07:50pm

FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-08-13 07:23pm
So, we need to resurrect Teddy Roosevelt and bring back the populist reforms. Because that's really what ended the heinous parts of the Gilded Age, the progressive reforms of old Teddy, and then later the reforms of the New Deal by his cousin FDR. It doesn't have to lead to bloody revolution if you have politicians trying to avoid that by helping stabilize the nation by increasing the quality of life for everyone.
That isn't possible right now, as companies can literally go "nice unemployment figures you've got there, it would be such a shame if something would happen to it" and get away with it. Even then, those unemployment figures are deceptive as they generally ignore technological and structural unemployment. Since that is the current Sword of Damocles over the heads of politicians these days, they can't do shit about it or risk getting booted from office.

That is weakening but it'll likely take a decade or so before that really happens and likely by then, it would probably be too late...

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Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-08-13 07:55pm

GrosseAdmiralFox wrote:
2019-08-13 07:50pm
FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-08-13 07:23pm
So, we need to resurrect Teddy Roosevelt and bring back the populist reforms. Because that's really what ended the heinous parts of the Gilded Age, the progressive reforms of old Teddy, and then later the reforms of the New Deal by his cousin FDR. It doesn't have to lead to bloody revolution if you have politicians trying to avoid that by helping stabilize the nation by increasing the quality of life for everyone.
That isn't possible right now, as companies can literally go "nice unemployment figures you've got there, it would be such a shame if something would happen to it" and get away with it. Even then, those unemployment figures are deceptive as they generally ignore technological and structural unemployment. Since that is the current Sword of Damocles over the heads of politicians these days, they can't do shit about it or risk getting booted from office.

That is weakening but it'll likely take a decade or so before that really happens and likely by then, it would probably be too late...
I think national action could be the counterstrike. New Deal style hiring of people for public works projects such as rebuilding infrastructure, education, etc. while also having New Deal style benefits practices towards helping people, the UBI/being on the Dole. It's a tough pill to swallow, but it's one that's going to have to happen, and is preferable to a world wherein 30 to 40 percent of the population are unemployed and looking for a way to survive. Because if you don't find one for them, they will, and the nation will probably not like what they come up with, as that sort of thing usually means crime.

This is one of the reasons Bonnie and Clyde were celebrated for so long, they were seen as fighting the banks, not robbing the little people.
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