General Automation Thread

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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.
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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

"Trump admirers like @TuckerCarlson describe themselves as "nationalist." But their nationalism attaches not to the multiracial American nation... but to a multinational white race with a capital in Moscow"-David Frum

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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.
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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

"Trump admirers like @TuckerCarlson describe themselves as "nationalist." But their nationalism attaches not to the multiracial American nation... but to a multinational white race with a capital in Moscow"-David Frum

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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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"Trump admirers like @TuckerCarlson describe themselves as "nationalist." But their nationalism attaches not to the multiracial American nation... but to a multinational white race with a capital in Moscow"-David Frum

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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.

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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.

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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 ?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.
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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?
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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.
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K. A. Pital
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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.
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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.
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