General Automation Thread

N&P: Discuss governments, nations, politics and recent related news here.

Moderators: Alyrium Denryle, Edi, K. A. Pital

Post Reply
User avatar
Zaune
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 6735
Joined: 2010-06-21 11:05am
Location: In Transit
Contact:

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by Zaune » 2019-08-13 08:11pm

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?
That's Millennial-average existential despair for you.
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.
-- (Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)


Replace "ginger" with "n*gger," and suddenly it become a lot less funny, doesn't it?
-- fgalkin


Like my writing? Tip me on Patreon

I Have A Blog

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 21297
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-08-13 08:20pm

Zaune wrote:
2019-08-13 08:11pm
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?
That's Millennial-average existential despair for you.
And that's the fascists' most potent weapon.
"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

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.

User avatar
FaxModem1
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 7657
Joined: 2002-10-30 06:40pm
Location: In a dark reflection of a better world

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-08-13 08:53pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-08-13 08:20pm
Zaune wrote:
2019-08-13 08:11pm
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?
That's Millennial-average existential despair for you.
And that's the fascists' most potent weapon.
All the better to preempt such things as much as possible with a Social Safety net ASAP. Because as this whole thread has shown, better to set things up, because automation is coming, worldwide, and people really aren't aware of it.
Image

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 21297
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-08-13 09:03pm

FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-08-13 08:53pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-08-13 08:20pm
Zaune wrote:
2019-08-13 08:11pm

That's Millennial-average existential despair for you.
And that's the fascists' most potent weapon.
All the better to preempt such things as much as possible with a Social Safety net ASAP. Because as this whole thread has shown, better to set things up, because automation is coming, worldwide, and people really aren't aware of it.
This is why Yang's candidacy, doomed though it is, is so important. He's doing more than probably any single other person, certainly any other politician, in the US to promote UBI.

While he's not my choice for President, I'd love to see him given a Cabinet post under a Warren Presidency, where he could hopefully lay the groundwork for implementing a basic income system.
"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

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.

User avatar
FaxModem1
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 7657
Joined: 2002-10-30 06:40pm
Location: In a dark reflection of a better world

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-08-13 09:23pm

Speaking of Automation, regulation, and legislation, the committee on self-driving cars was just killed by the Trump Administration: The Verge
THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION KILLED A SELF-DRIVING CAR COMMITTEE — AND DIDN’T TELL MEMBERS
An all-star team of transpo bigwigs had just one meeting before the DOT went radio silent

By Sean O'Kane@sokane1 Aug 9, 2019, 2:16pm EDT
Share this story
Share this on Facebook (opens in new window)
Share this on Twitter (opens in new window)
SHARE
All sharing options
The Trump administration quietly terminated an Obama-era federal committee on automation in transportation earlier this year, the Department of Transportation confirmed to The Verge this week. What’s more, the DOT never informed some members that the advisory group didn’t exist anymore, including Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, Zipcar founder Robin Chase, Apple vice president Lisa Jackson, and even the committee’s own vice chair, The Verge has learned.

The committee’s dissolution comes at a critical moment in the development of automated vehicles in the United States. During the two-plus years that it sat dormant, multiple companies have rolled out small commercial fleets of automated vehicles that perform a variety of tasks. Big money is pouring into some of the most visible companies in the space. And there’s been a human cost, too: one of Uber’s prototype autonomous vehicles killed a pedestrian in Arizona in 2018, and at least two people were killed while using Tesla’s Autopilot suite of driver assistance systems.

THE GROUP ONLY MET ONCE — FOUR DAYS BEFORE TRUMP WAS SWORN IN
The Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation was announced in early January 2017 as part of Barack Obama’s larger federal automated vehicle policy. It consisted of an all-star cast of 25 executives, professors, and politicians from across (and even outside) the transportation world, like General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Waymo CEO John Krafcik, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Lyft co-founder John Zimmer, and oft-cited industry experts like Duke’s Mary “Missy” Cummings, and the University of South Carolina’s Bryant Walker Smith. Some have had their positions referenced in interviews, while at least one still mentions it as a current position on their LinkedIn profile.

The group was brought together “to serve as a critical resource for the Department [of Transportation] in framing federal policy for the continued development and deployment of automated transportation,” according to its landing page on the DOT’s website.

The committee held its lone meeting on January 16th, 2017, four days before Trump’s inauguration. The DOT never called the committee to meet again, and the press release detailing it was scrubbed from the DOT’s website sometime around April of this year, according to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

J. Christian Gerdes, the director of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford University, was the vice chair of the committee (as well as the DOT’s former chief innovation officer). Gerdes said in an email to The Verge that he was not told the committee had been terminated. “My interpretation was that the Advisory Committee was not a mechanism that the current Administration chose to use but I did not receive any communication to that effect,” he said.

“It was a talented board,” Cummings said in an interview with The Verge, before being informed that it was terminated. “It’s actually egregious, because this board does not have a political leaning. If anything, the board has been pro industry.”

The full member list of the Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation (with their titles at the time of their appointment in January 2017):

Co-chair: Mary Barra — General Motors, chairman and CEO
Co-chair: Eric Garcetti — Mayor of Los Angeles, CA
Vice chair: Dr. J. Chris Gerdes — Stanford University, professor of engineering
Gloria Boyland — FedEx, corporate vice president, operations & service support
Robin Chase — Zipcar; Buzzcar; Veniam, co-founder of Zipcar and Veniam
Douglas Chey — Hyperloop One, senior vice president of systems development
Henry Claypool — Community Living Policy Center, policy director
Mick Cornett — Mayor of Oklahoma City, OK
Mary “Missy” Cummings — Duke University, director of Humans and Autonomy Lab, Pratt School of Engineering
Dean Garfield — Information Technology Industry Council, president and CEO
Mary Gustanski — Delphi Automotive, vice president of engineering & program management
Debbie Hersman — National Safety Council, president and CEO
Rachel Holt — Uber, regional general manager, United States and Canada
Lisa Jackson — Apple, vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives
Tim Kentley-Klay — Zoox, co-founder and CEO
John Krafcik — Waymo, CEO
Gerry Murphy — Amazon, senior corporate counsel, aviation
Robert Reich — University of California, Berkeley, chancellor’s professor of public policy, Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy
Keller Rinaudo — Zipline International, CEO
Chris Spear — American Trucking Associations (ATA), president and CEO
Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger — Safety Reliability Methods, Inc., founder and CEO
Bryant Walker Smith — University of South Carolina, assistant professor, School of Law and (by courtesy) School of Engineering
Jack Weekes — State Farm Insurance, operations vice president, innovation team
Ed Wytkind — Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, president
John Zimmer — Lyft, co-founder and president
“Advisory committees are helpful for candor, credibility, and collaboration within a transparent structure,” Smith said in an email to The Verge. He said, during that introductory meeting in 2017, that he hoped to use his position on the committee to focus attention on the “less sexy” technologies involved in automation, like simulation, validation, and verification.

Zipcar founder Robin Chase said in a message to The Verge that she also wasn’t contacted beyond the first meeting. “This committee only met once immediately before Trump took the oath of office. Since then, there has been no communication of any type,” Chase said, adding that she hoped to use her position on the committee to “get ahead of issues and opportunities presented” by autonomous vehicles.

Robert Reich, the Carmel P. Friesen professor of public policy at UC Berkeley, also said via email he was “never contacted” by the DOT. A spokesperson for Apple confirmed that Jackson was not informed as well, as did the executive assistant for Captain Sullenberger.

The group was spun up by Barack Obama’s transportation secretary Anthony Foxx, under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) of 1972. Charters for these committees typically expire after two years. But they can be extended, and the members were all appointed for four years, with end dates of January 6th, 2021, according to the government’s FACA database.

A DOT spokesperson told The Verge that FACA committees can cost around $200,000 per year when accounting for travel and per diem costs. That said, filings in the government database show the transportation group incurred total costs of $41,244 — $40,000 of that went to the payment of federal staff who supported the committee, while just $1,244 went to travel costs.

The DOT told The Verge it decided to instead focus on issuing public notices, and take comment on potential rule-makings, part of a more hands-off, pro-business approach that goes even further than how the Obama administration treated automated vehicles.

The Trump administration has distanced itself from many policies implemented by the previous administration, and the DOT referenced the rewrite of Obama-era guidance on automated vehicles in an explanation for why it dissolved the committee. “Based on USDOT’s development and publication of AV 3.0 policies and principles, active stakeholder engagement is already underway. Therefore the USDOT does have the ability to obtain broad stakeholder feedback on AV matters outside of the committee,” the justification for the termination reads.

Some members told The Verge they believe Trump’s DOT never gave the committee a chance. “They basically pretended it didn’t exist,” said one member, who was granted anonymity so they could speak freely about their position. Eventually, they said, “it just sort of died.”

“I thought it could’ve been a really interesting group. It had major corporate interest, and I thought people’s comments at the first meeting really provided a good foundation,” this person said. “It’s frustrating, because there’s a lot going on in this arena, and there could be a positive outcome from this diverse set of people. If you just leave it up to the tech industry to make good decisions, they often won’t. If you leave it to the states, the bar will be set at different levels. Regulators need to know: Can our infrastructure handle it? Is this something the public wants? And if so, how will they want it?”

The least the DOT could have done, though, this person said, was to inform the members of what happened. “You had a lot of busy, important people who deserved a phone call,” they said.

“YOU HAD A LOT OF BUSY, IMPORTANT PEOPLE WHO DESERVED A PHONE CALL.”
Cummings said it felt like the committee spent the last two years in a “no man’s land,” and views it as a lost opportunity. “Why aren’t we being used to look across the industry and make recommendations for safety? It would be an ideal application of this board,” she said.

Not all 25 committee members were caught off guard, exactly. Henry Claypool, who calls himself a “habitual public servant,” said he wasn’t surprised when the group didn’t meet again. “Reading the tea leaves, I saw this being quite difficult to justify to the [White House’s Office of Management and Budget],” he said.

Claypool said he was “eager to meet” with the group, but knew that it was “just a platform,” and that ultimately the transportation industry will have to take decisive action to accomplish the goals he’s pursued as a technology policy consultant to the American Association of People with Disabilities. That’s why he doesn’t mind the more direct approach that the DOT has taken with companies working in the space, he said.

Jack Weekes, who was the vice president of State Farm Insurance’s innovation team at the time of his appointment, said he was told the committee was scuppered via “informal outreach from a former committee official.” Weekes said the news was “disappointing, though not unexpected given the change in administrations.”

“[A]utomation in transportation technology (e.g. driverless cars, drones) has great potential, yet poses new risks at the same time,” Weekes said in a message to The Verge. “It makes sense for organizations with shared interests, including regulators, to work together as appropriate to develop technology that is effective and safe for all concerned. The committee could have been conducive to that general goal.”

Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, also said via email that he was “aware this advisory committee had ended — as had others that were stood up under the previous administration.”

Adrian Durbin, Lyft’s director of policy communications, declined to comment on behalf of Zimmer and Foxx (who has since taken a position with the ride-hailing company). Barra, Krafcik, Garcetti, Sullenberger, and the rest of the committee members did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent directly or through representatives.
So, yeah, expect legislation on automation to not even be on the backburner, but taken off the stove entirely, because it was made by Obama, and Trump wants to destroy that legacy stone dead.

How this will affect future automation means that it's still going to be very wild west in implementation, with no regulation in place, for now.
Image

User avatar
FaxModem1
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 7657
Joined: 2002-10-30 06:40pm
Location: In a dark reflection of a better world

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-08-13 11:21pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-08-13 09:03pm
FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-08-13 08:53pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-08-13 08:20pm


And that's the fascists' most potent weapon.
All the better to preempt such things as much as possible with a Social Safety net ASAP. Because as this whole thread has shown, better to set things up, because automation is coming, worldwide, and people really aren't aware of it.
This is why Yang's candidacy, doomed though it is, is so important. He's doing more than probably any single other person, certainly any other politician, in the US to promote UBI.

While he's not my choice for President, I'd love to see him given a Cabinet post under a Warren Presidency, where he could hopefully lay the groundwork for implementing a basic income system.
The main problem is just how much an impression Yang is making on the DNC, and the electorate, or if he's too much of a footnote for anyone to remember him past the Primaries.
Image

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 21297
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-08-13 11:31pm

FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-08-13 11:21pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-08-13 09:03pm
FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-08-13 08:53pm


All the better to preempt such things as much as possible with a Social Safety net ASAP. Because as this whole thread has shown, better to set things up, because automation is coming, worldwide, and people really aren't aware of it.
This is why Yang's candidacy, doomed though it is, is so important. He's doing more than probably any single other person, certainly any other politician, in the US to promote UBI.

While he's not my choice for President, I'd love to see him given a Cabinet post under a Warren Presidency, where he could hopefully lay the groundwork for implementing a basic income system.
The main problem is just how much an impression Yang is making on the DNC, and the electorate, or if he's too much of a footnote for anyone to remember him past the Primaries.
I gather that he has a loyal following among certain progressives (and a somewhat baffling Alt. Reich following, apparently), much like Tulsi Gabbard does, or perhaps as Bernie did before he hit the big time in 2016. But he's not one of the major players in the Democratic Party, and not likely to be any time soon.

Then again, he's relatively young, is he not? He could always try again in four or eight years (presuming Trump doesn't win and create a dictatorship).

As I said above, I'd be interested to see him in a cabinet post.
"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

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.

bilateralrope
Sith Marauder
Posts: 4447
Joined: 2005-06-25 06:50pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by bilateralrope » 2019-08-14 01:59am

GrosseAdmiralFox wrote:
2019-08-13 11:11am
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...
Unless they prove a chain of custody that goes back to the robot. I'm thinking something to do with private/public key encryption. Only the camera knows the private key and encrypts during recording so if the footage can be decrypted with the public key, that proves the it's the unmodified footage from the camera.

Me, I'd defeat the camera by wearing a mask when I go smash the robot.

User avatar
GrosseAdmiralFox
Padawan Learner
Posts: 331
Joined: 2019-01-20 01:28pm

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by GrosseAdmiralFox » 2019-08-14 09:44am

Zaune wrote:
2019-08-13 08:11pm
That's Millennial-average existential despair for you.
No, because that is how these revolutions usually roll. Significant numbers of people getting killed in purges, mismanagement, and conflicts coming from said revolution.

Then multiply that by a few factors because it'll cause counter-revolutions as well...
bilateralrope wrote:
2019-08-14 01:59am
Unless they prove a chain of custody that goes back to the robot. I'm thinking something to do with private/public key encryption. Only the camera knows the private key and encrypts during recording so if the footage can be decrypted with the public key, that proves the it's the unmodified footage from the camera.

Me, I'd defeat the camera by wearing a mask when I go smash the robot.
That won't work, because despite everything to the contrary, there is this thing called the 'court of public opinion' and it doesn't give a single solitary fuck on what the law says. You can simply flood the media with DeepFakes and with how good they are (as in we're getting to the point that the only reason that they're revealed to be DeepFakes is because of screwups) and shift public opinion that way.

Oh, and facial recognition is actually better than from what I can understand. So unless you cover your face with a motorbike helmet, you'll be discovered and screwed by the law. That and no camera in existence has anything similar to SSL encryption, so you're fucked that way too.
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-08-13 06:17pm
And that's the fascists' most potent weapon.
It isn't as this is isn't the normal sort of despair, but the existential kind. The same kind that would allow people to literally run at the guns just because it allows for a better alternative than the status quo. This is the sort of despair that allowed the US Unions to fight tooth and nail to get the worker rights that were needed during a time where it wasn't uncommon for companies to call upon their arsenals of Maxims and gun entire strikes down without a literal fuck about collateral damage.

bilateralrope
Sith Marauder
Posts: 4447
Joined: 2005-06-25 06:50pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by bilateralrope » 2019-08-14 10:28am

GrosseAdmiralFox wrote:
2019-08-14 09:44am
Oh, and facial recognition is actually better than from what I can understand.
Really ?

User avatar
GrosseAdmiralFox
Padawan Learner
Posts: 331
Joined: 2019-01-20 01:28pm

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by GrosseAdmiralFox » 2019-08-14 10:52am

bilateralrope wrote:
2019-08-14 10:28am
Really ?
... yes really. They're disturbingly accurate actually... if you program them right.

bilateralrope
Sith Marauder
Posts: 4447
Joined: 2005-06-25 06:50pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by bilateralrope » 2019-08-14 10:53am

GrosseAdmiralFox wrote:
2019-08-14 10:52am
bilateralrope wrote:
2019-08-14 10:28am
Really ?
... yes really. They're disturbingly accurate actually... if you program them right.
I would like to see your evidence for this claim.

User avatar
GrosseAdmiralFox
Padawan Learner
Posts: 331
Joined: 2019-01-20 01:28pm

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by GrosseAdmiralFox » 2019-08-14 08:19pm

bilateralrope wrote:
2019-08-14 10:53am
I would like to see your evidence for this claim.
The thing is Amazon's face-rec is the worst of the big three (Apple and Microsoft are far better) and that is against the recommended specs... if you actually look further into the article.

User avatar
loomer
Sith Marauder
Posts: 3961
Joined: 2005-11-20 07:57am
Contact:

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by loomer » 2019-08-14 11:57pm

GrosseAdmiralFox wrote:
2019-08-14 08:19pm
bilateralrope wrote:
2019-08-14 10:53am
I would like to see your evidence for this claim.
The thing is Amazon's face-rec is the worst of the big three (Apple and Microsoft are far better) and that is against the recommended specs... if you actually look further into the article.
Sure. But prove your claim - show us facial recognition tech with 'disturbing accuracy'. It goes against almost every piece of information I've personally come across the issue.
"Doctors keep their scalpels and other instruments handy, for emergencies. Keep your philosophy ready too—ready to understand heaven and earth. In everything you do, even the smallest thing, remember the chain that links them. Nothing earthly succeeds by ignoring heaven, nothing heavenly by ignoring the earth." M.A.A.A

bilateralrope
Sith Marauder
Posts: 4447
Joined: 2005-06-25 06:50pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by bilateralrope » 2019-08-21 09:53am

GrosseAdmiralFox wrote:
2019-08-14 08:19pm
bilateralrope wrote:
2019-08-14 10:53am
I would like to see your evidence for this claim.
The thing is Amazon's face-rec is the worst of the big three (Apple and Microsoft are far better) and that is against the recommended specs... if you actually look further into the article.
Making this the third time I've asked you for evidence of something and you have refused to provide it.

User avatar
K. A. Pital
Glamorous Commie
Posts: 20809
Joined: 2003-02-26 11:39am
Location: Elysium

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by K. A. Pital » 2019-09-04 04:15am

The logic of capitalism is hostile even to the meekest forms of social-democracy guys.

Anything non-market must be slaughtered. To make more money. Market must expand and non-market spheres perish.

It’s like cancer. Keeping it contained with drugs is not always a great success. Cutting the tumor out also sometimes fails.

Capitalism knows no respite in trying to make everything into a market commodity. You can attempt to threaten it with big government, but what the fat cats will see is just a buildup of capital that later can be taken over in mass privatizations. And they are patient. They will invest in political actors to get their way.

There is no escape under capitalism. Just a band-aid for a terminally ill person.
Lì ci sono chiese, macerie, moschee e questure, lì frontiere, prezzi inaccessibile e freddure
Lì paludi, minacce, cecchini coi fucili, documenti, file notturne e clandestini
Qui incontri, lotte, passi sincronizzati, colori, capannelli non autorizzati,
Uccelli migratori, reti, informazioni, piazze di Tutti i like pazze di passioni...

...La tranquillità è importante ma la libertà è tutto!
Assalti Frontali

User avatar
FaxModem1
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 7657
Joined: 2002-10-30 06:40pm
Location: In a dark reflection of a better world

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-09-04 05:54am

Benzinga
The Fallout From Container Port Automation
September 03, 2019 9:01am 4 min read Comments
The Fallout From Container Port Automation
Automation and "digitization" of container terminals can lead to job losses and reduced tax revenue that have a substantial effect on local economies.

That's the conclusion of a study by Prism Economics and Analysis commissioned by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada.

It examined what might result from full or partial automation of container terminals in the British Columbia ports of Prince Rupert, Delta and Vancouver. Concerns about automation was one of the major issues in contract negotiations between the ILWU and terminal operators that was only resolved after a short-lived work stoppage in May.

Prism's research is just the first in a number of studies that will examine the issue of port automation. Several have been ordered by local and state authorities in the wake of a decision by APM Terminals to automate its terminal in Los Angeles. APMT's plans sparked protests by ILWU workers and sympathetic members of the community.

The U.S. Maritime Administration also is analyzing port automation.

Longshore work provides a significant portion of the middle-class and high-income jobs in the three British Columbia cities at which container terminals are located, Prism said.

Based on a 2016 census, it found, "Longshore employment accounts for 26% of all jobs paying more than $70,000 in Prince Rupert, 11% in Delta and 2% in Vancouver. Longshore employment accounts for 66% of all jobs paying more than $100,000 in Prince Rupert, 23% in Delta and 3% in Vancouver."

Prism looked at the impact automation could have under two scenarios: what it called "brownfield" port automation where an existing terminal is upgraded and "greenfield" projects that "involve building a new facility, eliminating the need to remodel or demolish existing structures, and are more likely to be fully automated."

It used two Australian container terminals to model the effect of automation. Patrick Terminals in Port Botany was its example of a brownfield project. In 2014, that terminal employed 436 workers on site. In 2016, following automation, the terminal employed as few as 213 workers. Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) in Melbourne was its example of a fully automated terminal. It is capable of operating with a workforce of as few as 150 workers, most of whom perform management, administrative or remote computer operations. In comparison, a conventional terminal in Prince Rupert operates with a total workforce of 525 workers.

As a result, the study concluded semi-automated terminals reduced labor in "targeted occupations" by 50% and fully automated terminals could reduce labor in targeted occupations by 90%.

The study also claimed that automation of a third of the the TraPac terminal in Los Angeles resulted in a labor reduction of 40% to 50% and that the automated greenfield Long Beach Container Terminal resulted in a workforce reduction of between 70% to 75% of longshore labor.

"Although there was a slight increase in maintenance and repair labor stemming from automation, the jobs created were unable to offset the high number of longshore jobs lost," Prism said.

What would the loss of longshore jobs mean in the three British Columbia cities?

The report concluded in the brownfield scenario, "nearly 6,000 jobs provincially, over 2,300 jobs in Delta, more than 2,200 jobs in Vancouver and in excess of 700 jobs in Prince Rupert are at risk."

In the greenfield scenario, "risk employment almost doubles: more than 10,780 jobs provincially, 4,100 jobs in Delta, over 4,000 jobs in Vancouver and over 1,200 jobs in Prince Rupert."

The study also pointed to a 2018 McKinsey & Company report to support its contention that "there is some evidence that anticipated improvements in productivity and profitability are not always realized through port automation."

McKinsey said in that report, "While operating expenses may decline following automation, overall productivity may also decline and return on capital invested may be lower than industry norms."

Jeff Scott, the chairman of the board of directors of the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association, which negotiates contracts with the ILWU Canada, in a written statement said the agreement reached in May with the union "provides a period of stability that is in the interests of all British Columbians."

"We have witnessed 34% job rate growth since 2008 as well as established a record-setting 9 million hours worked last year. We are committed to continuing to work with all those potentially impacted by the prospect of automation in B.C.," said Scott, who is also the president and chief executive officer of Fraser Surrey Docks. "We are confident that this collaborative approach will ensure that B.C.'s maritime economy remains strong."
Important parts bolded. It's good for the company's ledger, but it will harm tax revenue for the city due to lack of employees. And yes, jobs in maintenance will increase, but it will in no way make up for the amount of jobs lost by people losing their jobs. So, will companies follow suit, or not?
Image

User avatar
FaxModem1
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 7657
Joined: 2002-10-30 06:40pm
Location: In a dark reflection of a better world

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-09-04 06:24am

K. A. Pital wrote:
2019-09-04 04:15am
The logic of capitalism is hostile even to the meekest forms of social-democracy guys.

Anything non-market must be slaughtered. To make more money. Market must expand and non-market spheres perish.

It’s like cancer. Keeping it contained with drugs is not always a great success. Cutting the tumor out also sometimes fails.

Capitalism knows no respite in trying to make everything into a market commodity. You can attempt to threaten it with big government, but what the fat cats will see is just a buildup of capital that later can be taken over in mass privatizations. And they are patient. They will invest in political actors to get their way.

There is no escape under capitalism. Just a band-aid for a terminally ill person.
I'm scratching my head and trying to see what this has to do with automation in general, or in the recent discussion. Unless you're saying that automation under capitalism will just open new markets to plunder or something.
Image

User avatar
K. A. Pital
Glamorous Commie
Posts: 20809
Joined: 2003-02-26 11:39am
Location: Elysium

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by K. A. Pital » 2019-09-04 07:53am

You asked for a new FDR a bit earlier, not realizing that at the current stage no such thing is possible, and even if it were, the capitalists would only furiously double down on automation, all the labour protection laws generally tend to kick up the desire to replace humans with machines even more.

Public works for the unemployed can alleviate the situation, but in the end capitalists will take over - inevitably „lossy“, „unwieldy“, „unprofitable“ public entities and plunder them, kicking people out.

By saying the problem can be solved by populist band-aids you are only kicking the can down the road.
Lì ci sono chiese, macerie, moschee e questure, lì frontiere, prezzi inaccessibile e freddure
Lì paludi, minacce, cecchini coi fucili, documenti, file notturne e clandestini
Qui incontri, lotte, passi sincronizzati, colori, capannelli non autorizzati,
Uccelli migratori, reti, informazioni, piazze di Tutti i like pazze di passioni...

...La tranquillità è importante ma la libertà è tutto!
Assalti Frontali

User avatar
FaxModem1
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 7657
Joined: 2002-10-30 06:40pm
Location: In a dark reflection of a better world

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-09-07 09:04am

Gizmodo
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Why Fast Food Is the Ticking Time Bomb of Job Automation

Brian Merchant

On Tuesday, the automation-focused meme candidate Andrew Yang tweeted, “Fast food may be first.” He was commenting on a new CNBC report that reported annual employee turnover rates of 100 percent at the Panera Bread chain—a figure that is low for the fast food industry, which can see annual turnover of up to 150 percent. Those figures may seem ridiculous, but they’re a reality: The fast food restaurants regularly see more than their entire workforce turn over every year. And that is why industry experts—and Andrew Yang—warn that it’s ripe for automation and may be the first field to become entirely automated.

They’re right that fast food is as ripe as any industry is for transformative automation. Typically, one of the major sources of resistance to automating a process, task, or entire job is the impact it will have on a salaried employee. Layoffs look bad for the company doing the automating, there are myriad social factors in play that create resistance—management will be reluctant to fire longtime employees, for one—and there is risk involved in setting up new machinery, which may take years to get running smoothly.

But in an industry that turns its entire staff over every year—especially one in which the bulk of its jobs are intended to be an agglomeration of repetitive tasks like taking and inputting orders, adding and arranging ingredients to a dish, and cleaning floors and tables—corporations and middle management will spend a lot less time weighing social factors and nursing concerns about optics. Hell, fast food is already one of the worst-regarded jobs because workers are openly treated with so little dignity, the benefits range from threadbare to nonexistent, and the wages are so low.

All of which is to say: As soon as the fast food companies can automate those jobs, they will. The only things preventing those companies from doing so are the projected costs and the functionality of the automated systems. That’s it.

This, by the way, is why it’s so specious of restaurant industry CEOs to claim that if they’re made to pay restaurant workers a few more bucks an hour it will force them to adopt automation. (The Fight for 15 campaign has been organizing workers to raise restaurant wages, and threats of automation have been a persistent bit of propaganda deployed to counter their efforts.) For one thing, fast food executives are already trying as hard as they can to do exactly that—McDonald’s, for instance, is reportedly spending $1 billion on automated ordering kiosks this year alone.

As it stands, wages would have to spike exorbitantly high to put execs in a position where they’d be willing to bet on costly, untested back-of-house automation technologies for food prep, even more kiosks—which, let’s be clear, it remains unclear just how much labor savings they offer—and an extensive training program to familiarize employees with all of the above.

(Somewhat hilariously, these sky-high turnover rates that have analysts predicting automation madness to solve the fast food industry’s retention problem—it’s expensive to constantly recruit and train workers—can alternatively be combatted with relatively simple means: offering your employees a modicum of dignity, a little time off, and some benefits. Starbucks, a mega-profitable franchise chain, has a retention rate of 65 percent precisely because it offers those things, and it is still mega-profitable.)

For all of these reasons, fast food is a powerful bellwether for automation—a canary in the coal mine for the phenomenon more generally. I don’t know if fast food will be “first”—I’d probably still put my money on some subset of the manufacturing industry, somewhere bosses can justify more expensive machinery because the workers they replace are often skilled and, therefore, expensive, too. But the sector provides something close to the ideal conditions for the total automation of corporate service work.

This matters, because there’s still a lot of ambiguity about what automation can reasonably accomplish at reasonably affordable rates right now. There’s so much gray area between what business-to-business enterprise automation solutions companies promise Fortune 500 firms and what automation can actually be achieved that sometimes it’s hard to get a picture of how capable and cost-effective corporate automation really is. Retail chains have been trying for decades to automate ordering and checkout, for instance, and humans are still doing the vast majority of the labor. Yet there’s no doubt companies are relentlessly developing and pitching new automation systems, some aimed squarely at the fast food industry.

This is why I do think it’s fair to say that the day you see a successful, fully functional and fully automated marquee franchised fast food restaurant—if that day ever comes—that day will indeed be a harbinger for the rest of the economy. (Before then, I’d watch out for more fauxtomation; more jobs outsourced to gig economy workers at places like GrubHub; delivery is one of the few growth spots in the fast food economy, and I bet we’ll soon see fast food including those gigs in its job creation figures).

That will be the day that we’ll know that automation really is capable of replacing low-paying human labor at scale. The day there are no humans working at McDonald’s—that’s the day the so-called robot jobs apocalypse will have truly begun.
So, here's our canary in the coal mine. We'll see if that's true or not.
Image

User avatar
FaxModem1
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 7657
Joined: 2002-10-30 06:40pm
Location: In a dark reflection of a better world

Re: General Automation Thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2020-02-29 11:48am

Dusts off thread. Time to talk about automation again.

The Verge
How hard will the robots make us work?
In warehouses, call centers, and other sectors, intelligent machines are managing humans, and they’re making work more stressful, grueling, and dangerous

By Josh Dzieza on February 27, 2020 8:00 am
Illustrations by Joel Plosz

On conference stages and at campaign rallies, tech executives and politicians warn of a looming automation crisis — one where workers are gradually, then all at once, replaced by intelligent machines. But their warnings mask the fact that an automation crisis has already arrived. The robots are here, they’re working in management, and they’re grinding workers into the ground.


The robots are watching over hotel housekeepers, telling them which room to clean and tracking how quickly they do it. They’re managing software developers, monitoring their clicks and scrolls and docking their pay if they work too slowly. They’re listening to call center workers, telling them what to say, how to say it, and keeping them constantly, maximally busy. While we’ve been watching the horizon for the self-driving trucks, perpetually five years away, the robots arrived in the form of the supervisor, the foreman, the middle manager.

These automated systems can detect inefficiencies that a human manager never would — a moment’s downtime between calls, a habit of lingering at the coffee machine after finishing a task, a new route that, if all goes perfectly, could get a few more packages delivered in a day. But for workers, what look like inefficiencies to an algorithm were their last reserves of respite and autonomy, and as these little breaks and minor freedoms get optimized out, their jobs are becoming more intense, stressful, and dangerous. Over the last several months, I’ve spoken with more than 20 workers in six countries. For many of them, their greatest fear isn’t that robots might come for their jobs: it’s that robots have already become their boss.

In few sectors are the perils of automated management more apparent than at Amazon. Almost every aspect of management at the company’s warehouses is directed by software, from when people work to how fast they work to when they get fired for falling behind. Every worker has a “rate,” a certain number of items they have to process per hour, and if they fail to meet it, they can be automatically fired.


“IT’S LIKE LEAVING YOUR HOUSE AND JUST RUNNING AND NOT STOPPING FOR ANYTHING FOR 10 STRAIGHT HOURS, JUST RUNNING.”
When Jake* started working at a Florida warehouse, he was surprised by how few supervisors there were: just two or three managing a workforce of more than 300. “Management was completely automated,” he said. One supervisor would walk the floor, laptop in hand, telling workers to speed up when their rate dropped. (Amazon said its system notifies managers to talk to workers about their performance, and that all final decisions on personnel matters, including terminations, are made by supervisors.)

Jake, who asked to use a pseudonym out of fear of retribution, was a “rebinner.” His job was to take an item off a conveyor belt, press a button, place the item in whatever cubby a monitor told him to, press another button, and repeat. He likened it to doing a twisting lunge every 10 seconds, nonstop, though he was encouraged to move even faster by a giant leaderboard, featuring a cartoon sprinting man, that showed the rates of the 10 fastest workers in real time. A manager would sometimes keep up a sports announcer patter over the intercom — “In third place for the first half, we have Bob at 697 units per hour,” Jake recalled. Top performers got an Amazon currency they could redeem for Amazon Echos and company T-shirts. Low performers got fired.

“You’re not stopping,” Jake said. “You are literally not stopping. It’s like leaving your house and just running and not stopping for anything for 10 straight hours, just running.”


After several months, he felt a burning in his back. A supervisor sometimes told him to bend his knees more when lifting. When Jake did this his rate dropped, and another supervisor would tell him to speed up. “You’ve got to be kidding me. Go faster?” he recalled saying. “If I go faster, I’m going to have a heart attack and fall on the floor.” Finally, his back gave out completely. He was diagnosed with two damaged discs and had to go on disability. The rate, he said, was “100 percent” responsible for his injury.

Every Amazon worker I’ve spoken to said it’s the automatically enforced pace of work, rather than the physical difficulty of the work itself, that makes the job so grueling. Any slack is perpetually being optimized out of the system, and with it any opportunity to rest or recover. A worker on the West Coast told me about a new device that shines a spotlight on the item he’s supposed to pick, allowing Amazon to further accelerate the rate and get rid of what the worker described as “micro rests” stolen in the moment it took to look for the next item on the shelf.

People can’t sustain this level of intense work without breaking down. Last year, ProPublica, BuzzFeed, and others published investigations about Amazon delivery drivers careening into vehicles and pedestrians as they attempted to complete their demanding routes, which are algorithmically generated and monitored via an app on drivers’ phones. In November, Reveal analyzed documents from 23 Amazon warehouses and found that almost 10 percent of full-time workers sustained serious injuries in 2018, more than twice the national average for similar work. Multiple Amazon workers have told me that repetitive stress injuries are epidemic but rarely reported. (An Amazon spokesperson said the company takes worker safety seriously, has medical staff on-site, and encourages workers to report all injuries.) Backaches, knee pain, and other symptoms of constant strain are common enough for Amazon to install painkiller vending machines in its warehouses.


The unrelenting stress takes a toll of its own. Jake recalled yelling at co-workers to move faster, only to wonder what had come over him and apologize. By the end of his shift, he would be so drained that he would go straight to sleep in his car in the warehouse parking lot before making the commute home. “A lot of people did that,” he said. “They would just lay back in their car and fall asleep.” A worker in Minnesota said that the job had been algorithmically intensified to the point that it called for rethinking long-standing labor regulations. “The concept of a 40-hour work week was you work eight hours, you sleep eight hours, and you have eight hours for whatever you want to do,” he said. “But [what] if you come home from work and you just go straight to sleep and you sleep for 16 hours, or the day after your work week, the whole day you feel hungover, you can’t focus on things, you just feel like shit, you lose time outside of work because of the aftereffects of work and the stressful, strenuous conditions?”

“WE ARE NOT ROBOTS.”
Workers inevitably burn out, but because each task is minutely dictated by machine, they are easily replaced. Jake estimated he was hired along with 75 people, but that he was the only one remaining when his back finally gave out, and most had been turned over twice. “You’re just a number, they can replace you with anybody off the street in two seconds,” he said. “They don’t need any skills. They don’t need anything. All they have to do is work real fast.”

There are robots of the ostensibly job-stealing variety in Amazon warehouses, but they’re not the kind that worry most workers. In 2014, Amazon started deploying shelf-carrying robots, which automated the job of walking through the warehouse to retrieve goods. The robots were so efficient that more humans were needed in other roles to keep up, Amazon built more facilities, and the company now employs almost three times the number of full-time warehouse workers it did when the robots came online. But the robots did change the nature of the work: rather than walking around the warehouse, workers stood in cages removing items from the shelves the robots brought them. Employees say it is one of the fastest-paced and most grueling roles in the warehouse. Reveal found that injuries were more common in warehouses with the robots, which makes sense because it’s the pace that’s the problem, and the machines that most concern workers are the ones that enforce it.


Last year saw a wave of worker protests at Amazon facilities. Almost all of them were sparked by automated management leaving no space for basic human needs. In California, a worker was automatically fired after she overdrew her quota of unpaid time off by a single hour following a death in her family. (She was rehired after her co-workers submitted a petition.) In Minnesota, workers walked off the job to protest the accelerating rate, which they said was causing injuries and leaving no time for bathroom breaks or religious observance. To satisfy the machine, workers felt they were forced to become machines themselves. Their chant: “We are not robots.”


Every industrial revolution is as much a story of how we organize work as it is of technological invention. Steam engines and stopwatches had been around for decades before Frederick Taylor, the original optimizer, used them to develop the modern factory. Working in a late-19th century steel mill, he simplified and standardized each role and wrote detailed instructions on notecards; he timed each task to the second and set an optimal rate. In doing so, he broke the power skilled artisans held over the pace of production and began an era of industrial growth, and also one of exhausting, repetitive, and dangerously accelerating work.

It was Henry Ford who most fully demonstrated the approach’s power when he further simplified tasks and arranged them along an assembly line. The speed of the line controlled the pace of the worker and gave supervisors an easy way to see who was lagging. Laborers absolutely hated it. The work was so mindless and grueling that people quit in droves, forcing Ford to double wages. As these methods spread, workers frequently struck or slowed down to protest “speedups” — supervisors accelerating the assembly line to untenable rates.

We are in the midst of another great speedup. There are many factors behind it, but one is the digitization of the economy and the new ways of organizing work it enables. Take retail: workers no longer stand around in stores waiting for customers; with e-commerce, their roles are split. Some work in warehouses, where they fulfill orders nonstop, and others work in call centers, where they answer question after question. In both spaces, workers are subject to intense surveillance. Their every action is tracked by warehouse scanners and call center computers, which provide the data for the automated systems that keep them working at maximum capacity.


At the most basic level, automated management starts with the schedule. Scheduling algorithms have been around since the late 1990s when stores began using them to predict customer traffic and generate shifts to match it. These systems did the same thing a business owner would do when they scheduled fewer workers for slow mornings and more for the lunchtime rush, trying to maximize sales per worker hour. The software was just better at it, and it kept improving, factoring in variables like weather or nearby sporting events, until it could forecast the need for staff in 15-minute increments.

NO ONE EVER EXPERIENCES A LULL
The software is so accurate that it could be used to generate humane schedules, said Susan Lambert, a professor at the University of Chicago who studies scheduling instability. Instead, it’s often used to coordinate the minimum number of workers required to meet forecasted demand, if not slightly fewer. This isn’t even necessarily the most profitable approach, she noted, citing a study she did on the Gap: it’s just easier for companies and investors to quantify cuts to labor costs than the sales lost because customers don’t enjoy wandering around desolate stores. But if it’s bad for customers, it’s worse for workers, who must constantly race to run businesses that are perpetually understaffed.

Though they started in retail, scheduling algorithms are now ubiquitous. At the facilities where Amazon sorts goods before delivery, for example, workers are given skeleton schedules and get pinged by an app when additional hours in the warehouse become available, sometimes as little as 30 minutes before they’re needed. The result is that no one ever experiences a lull.

The emergence of cheap sensors, networks, and machine learning allowed automated management systems to take on a more detailed supervisory role — and not just in structured settings like warehouses, but wherever workers carried their devices. Gig platforms like Uber were the first to capitalize on these technologies, but delivery companies, restaurants, and other industries soon adopted their techniques.

There was no single breakthrough in automated management, but as with the stopwatch, revolutionary technology can appear mundane until it becomes the foundation for a new way of organizing work. When rate-tracking programs are tied to warehouse scanners or taxi drivers are equipped with GPS apps, it enables management at a scale and level of detail that Taylor could have only dreamed of. It would have been prohibitively expensive to employ enough managers to time each worker’s every move to a fraction of a second or ride along in every truck, but now it takes maybe one. This is why the companies that most aggressively pursue these tactics all take on a similar form: a large pool of poorly paid, easily replaced, often part-time or contract workers at the bottom; a small group of highly paid workers who design the software that manages them at the top.

“THE ROBOT APOCALYPSE IS HERE.”
This is not the industrial revolution we’ve been warned about by Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and others in Silicon Valley. They remain fixated on the specter of job-stealing AI, which is portrayed as something both fundamentally new and extraordinarily alarming — a “buzz saw,” in the words of Andrew Yang, coming for society as we know it. As apocalyptic visions go, it’s a uniquely flattering one for the tech industry, which is in the position of warning the world about its own success, sounding the alarm that it has invented forces so powerful they will render human labor obsolete forever. But in its civilization-scale abstraction, this view misses the ways technology is changing the experience of work, and with its sense of inevitability, it undermines concern for many of the same people who find themselves managed by machines today. Why get too worked up over conditions for warehouse workers, taxi drivers, content moderators, or call center representatives when everyone says those roles will be replaced by robots in a few years? Their policy proposals are as abstract as their diagnosis, basically amounting to giving people money once the robots come for them.

The article goes on for longer. But yes, while manual labor is here to stay, middle management can go the way of the dodo. Which should be concerning for those who want to rise up in the company hierarchy.
Image

Post Reply