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AMARSi Project Aims To Have Robots Learn Jobs From Co-workers

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the your-days-are-numbered dept.

Robotics 87

Lanxon writes "Robots of the future will be capable of learning more complex behaviors than ever before if a new, pan-European research project succeeds in its goal of developing the world's first architecture for advanced robotic motor skills, reports Wired. If successful, the four-year AMARSi (Adaptive Modular Architecture for Rich Motor Skills) project could see a manufacturing world filled with autonomous, intelligent humanoid worker bots that can learn new skills by interacting with their co-workers."

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flamebait? (3, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464442)

I know I'm going to hell for this but... why build robots when it costs less to use a bunch of third world labor? I'm all for technology, but when you've got a few billion people just laying around with not much to do, it makes more sense to hire them for pennies than to build a robotic replacement that costs thousands plus maintenance.

Re:flamebait? (2, Funny)

blai (1380673) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464472)

quality assurance is one thing that

Re:flamebait? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31464498)

Not to mention not having to pay out for insurance claims, no risk of lawsuit whilst operating in hazardous environments, and no threat of unionization (yet). There's a whole laundry list of pros, that is, until the robot uprising.

Re:flamebait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31465046)

Not to mention not having to pay out for insurance claims, no risk of lawsuit whilst operating in hazardous environments, and no threat of unionization

So, just like China, then?

Re:flamebait? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31464504)

and another thing,

that costs thousands plus maintenance

I have a feeling that a nuclear power plant could provide energy for 100 robot workers more efficiently than a few acres of farmland + living space + human-livable-environment conditions (sewage management, etc...) could provide for 100 human workers.

Re:flamebait? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#31473700)

You're thinking is flawed. The poor people are already living and require that anyway regardless of the decision to use robots or not.

Don't worry (1)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464576)

It is vapor-hardware. How many of these announcements do we need to see with no follow-ups until slashdot stops posting them? Make an announcement with the thing is working.

Re:Don't worry (1)

J3TP4CKKN1GHT5 (1764232) | more than 4 years ago | (#31465810)

Posting announcements of new research projects is still valuable news. Even if the product never materializes, maybe especially if it doesn't, it's important to know what types of things people are developing. If we waited four years until the project was complete, or a year or more after that until the results are analyzed and published, then we would lose all the benefits of announcing that a project was underway. Benefits like inspiring collaboration or competition, informing those interested in the field, and the general education of the layperson on what an industry is trying to accomplish. An idea can be news, earning funding to pursue an idea even more so.

Re:flamebait? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464488)

Robots won't join a union for better pay and working conditions. Besides, if you produce enough robots, the cost per unit will eventually be cheaper than a human being.

Re:flamebait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31464546)

Robots won't join a union for better pay and working conditions.

No, they'll just become self-aware and kill us all. That's much better.

Re:flamebait? (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464794)

Robots won't join a union for better pay and working conditions.

No, they'll just become self-aware and kill us all. That's much better.

And that's different the the proletariat rising up how?

Re:flamebait? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464808)

If you read my second sentence, the cost benefit analyst of eliminating the human race would've been obvious. I didn't state it explicitly because I didn't want to scare the Luddites around here. :P

Re:flamebait? (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464784)

They also won't buy your product (as was pointed out to Henry Ford nigh on a century ago).

Re:flamebait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467978)

Pointed out *by* Henry Ford.

Re:flamebait? (1)

Philip_the_physicist (1536015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472042)

Consider what the filthy rich spend their money on. Apart from entertainment (actors, musicians, artworks and so on), personal servants, and sex, there isn't much that actually needs any human intervention as such. This means that if robots are cheap and reliable enough and you already have the manufacturing capability to make more, you don't need to sell very much because you don't need to spend much either.

In such a scenario, I expect that eventually perhaps the richest 10000 or so households will own most of the desirable land, most of which will be unused parkland, with a few large towns containing the aforesaid artists, and most of the rest of the population living in the more polluted or hard to clear areas of current cities, or in places of no particular value or beauty. Most likely, such regions would be guarded (by robots), with very little interaction between the privileged few and the downtrodden masses (apart from those when rich people seek "entertainment").

I think the only way that this dystopia would be avoided would be strongly socialist intervention before things got too out of hand (and I say that as a conservative), if sufficiently strong AI was ever practical.

Re:flamebait? (1)

Yoozer (1055188) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472176)

You're not the only one with that idea - see Manna [marshallbrain.com] . Ignore the parts of the projected communist wonderland and wide-eyed open source optimism at your own convenience; the greed and callousness displayed seems a pretty realistic, albeit depressing estimate.

Re:flamebait? (1)

Philip_the_physicist (1536015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475254)

I actually think Manna is too optimistic. I doubt that people would care enough to build the terrafoam camps. I expect the normal home to be more like an african refugee camp.

Re:flamebait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31465438)

And the lower cost implies that the existence of the robots creates fewer jobs than it eliminates.

So once enough of these are in place, will we just give the food they grow to people for free? Because their certainly won't be enough jobs for everybody, but their certainly will be enough food for everybody (which is true right now, in fact, only these machines will make the situation much worse).

They're unreliable, and often outright liars. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31464520)

They tried that. Have you ever worked on software, for instance, written by an Indian outsourcing firm? It's complete shit. I don't mean little mistakes here and there. It's basically unusable, in its totality.

I worked for one company that contracted out some internal software to one of those companies. They were sent very detailed instructions and specifications, and were told to use Java, since that company ran Solaris on Sun hardware, and Oracle as the database. They sent weekly reports showing screenshots and demo videos. It all was looking quite good.

Then they delivered the final version, and it ended up being written in PHP and using MySQL as the data store. The small parts that actually ran (they didn't actually function, though) looked nothing like what they had demoed to us. It turns out that they had spent most of their time faking the progress reports, rather than developing the software we'd paid them to develop.

Remember, the people mentioned above are among the "smartest" of the third-worlders. At least they tried to fake the work. When it comes to manufacturing, they often just take your money, and don't even bother to produce anything. They'll tell you the goods have been manufactured and shipped, but that's nothing but an outright lie.

Re:They're unreliable, and often outright liars. (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464622)

Yeah, but have you looked at your clothing lately? Cambodia, Vietnam, etc. Outsourcing works quite well for things besides software.

And you're assuming contract work, too. What about building your own factory in said third-world nation?

Re:They're unreliable, and often outright liars. (2, Interesting)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464796)

Not to mention farming in California. The myth that food would not be grown if Mexicans did not come across the boarder is absurd. There are already plenty of machines that could take over for most of their work. The reason immigrant workers are used is because it is cheaper in the short run. Whether that is good or bad is an entirely different discussion, but it is clear that cheap human labor today is successfully winning over the long term investment in automation (if automation could ever be as cheap as the immigrant labor) when it comes to farming.

Re:They're unreliable, and often outright liars. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31464706)

They tried that. Have you ever worked on software, for instance, written by an Indian outsourcing firm?

I thought that the topic was *labor*, not intellectual creativity. In case of writing software, it may indeed be impossible to replace quality (of brains, the primary input) with quantity, but in the jeans-sewing industry, etc., the situation might be much less clear-cut.

Re:They're unreliable, and often outright liars. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31464854)

Writing business applications is not an exercise in "intellectual creativity".

We didn't hire these Indians to think about the software they were going to be producing. We had some educated and experienced Americans, Europeans and Japanese do that analysis. We just wanted these Indians to do a very basic implementation of a relatively simple CRUD app. We're talking about basic HTML, basic database queries, and a small amount of Java glue code to tie everything together.

Looking back, we could have hired some American college students to do the job just as cheaply, probably several times faster, and actually gotten something working in the end.

Re:They're unreliable, and often outright liars. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31465984)

Looking back, we could have hired some American college students to do the job just as cheaply, probably several times faster, and actually gotten something working in the end.

That's what your company should have done too. Not to mention the many unemployed recent grads here in the U.S. that desparately need work and can't find any. (Think of the college loans to be paid, etc.) Now if only somebody could convince the people running the show that H.R. needs to remove the "experience" bullshit barrier, you'd have no problems finding people practically in your backyard who are more than qualified to do the work. You'd be surprised how many people would rather keep their brain sharp and put a notch on their belt relating to the field of study rather than work at a burger joint or big box store while their hard-earned degree remains useless. (Of course retaining such people becomes trickier if the work environment is more toxic than a burger joint or big box store at similar wages, or if better opportunities come up once desired experience is gained. In other words: treat people well, and you get what you pay for.)

As the situation stands now, who's actually able to get experience and be available at the pay employers are offering? Unless somebody has a diploma-mill degree, it should mean something and be qualification enough to be eligible for the job. If you really need to narrow it down more, do some testing during applicant screening. Despite the new-hire process cost, your quality will go up since pretty resumes don't mean much anyways - they're just the evolutionary result of ridiculous and stupid HR screening. A guy with a mostly blank resume is just as likely to be better at the job if he tests well.

Re:They're unreliable, and often outright liars. (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31466372)

And I know people who've had almost identical experiences trying to get software built in this country.
This is not an Indian thing.
This is a crappy company thing and those are global.

You're asking the right questions (1)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464818)

You aren't going to hell for this, and I'm not going to stand for the other Slashdaughters giving you grief for being the first to ask the right questions.

  Your point is the most straightforward one that must always be asked about any new technology - Is it going to make life better or worse? For who?

  It is ironic that we (the world's technologists - which is us, fellow Slashdaughters) are creating machines that will eventually be able to replace humans in the workplace at the same time that the world's population is entering the vertical section of a 'hockey stick' growth curve.

    Your point is dead-on: there are billions of people who can do the work better than any current robot can and they are far smarter than any robot will ever be for another century if not longer. And yes, they are cheap, self-maintaining, and self-reproducing. And if you control their life-support and religious systems, they don't give you any trouble. And give them the right drugs, they will be happy in their place. There are always going to be 10% that won't accept their condition, but that is true in any social conditions, cultures, and historical eras. Ours is no different.

    The population explosion in the third world is a direct result of the technological innovations that resulted from cheap energy sources that are characteristic of the modern era that began in the late 19th century. If, and there is a lot of disagreement on this subject among people who do know what they are talking about, the cheap energy era ends, then the population will decrease. From war and disease and psychological trauma, people will stop having children as they did in the 20th century. It is possible, but not assured, that the rate of technological innovation could fall as a result of population decline and the end of the cheap energy era. As the 20th century was a positive feedback loop of technological and population growth, so might the 21st century be a negative feedback loop of technological reversals that can't be halted despite the best efforts of the Slashdaughters. Nothing is inevitable.

    But, robots are a long way from taking away skilled manufacturing jobs. And population growth levels off when third-world societies enter the middle class.

    So we should presently use robots to do the jobs that have the most economic return or do the most to reduce the human cost. Stuff like clearing mine fields, picking strawberries, and manufacturing/cleaning in toxic environments. And make decent jobs for the people that are here presently.

    Be flexible and keep an open mind. Listen closely to what different people are saying and try to do no harm. You'll be cool.

Re:You're asking the right questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467376)

Are you specifically speaking about humanoid robots? How would currently automated plants fall in here? Like a Ford plant for example. These are already nearly 50% robotic from what i have seen. My community has long been tormented by the whims of the Ford factory laying off/hiring workers claiming it is assembly employee wages (40k at best) that were causing its decline.

Re:You're asking the right questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467384)

there are billions of people who can do the work better than any current robot can and they are far smarter than any robot will ever be for another century if not longer

It'll be much longer if we don't put resources into research like the one described here.

Re:You're asking the right questions (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467666)

It is ironic that we (the world's technologists - which is us, fellow Slashdaughters) are creating machines that will eventually be able to replace humans in the workplace at the same time that the world's population is entering the vertical section of a 'hockey stick' growth curve.

That's OK, our evil counterparts in the military-industrial complex are working on population-reduction measures as we speak.

Re:flamebait? (0, Offtopic)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 4 years ago | (#31465288)

Part of the impetus for having labor done elsewhere is its cheapness. If you could still produce useful quantities of your product without hiring an MBA to do sleazy deals with sweatsh--I mean, legitimate overseas businessmen, maybe you could bring industry back to [first-world-nation] where it belongs. After all, those robots will still need technicians, overseers, shipping companies, etc.

I'm really not sure whether it's a good idea or not, but still...

Re:flamebait? (2, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#31465486)

Meatbots are error-prone, less efficient at repetitive tasks, can't run 24/7 without dying hence require multiple shifts, etc.

The same factors that make primitive robots profitable now will make increasingly more sophisticated robots profitable in future. As for employing the Third World, shipping takes time and costs money, Third World countries are notoriously corrupt, and they can't (as easily) steal IP they don't have access to.

Better to have in-sourced robots than outsourced meatbots.

Re:flamebait? (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31469464)

You lost me at "meatbots".

Re:flamebait? (1)

Philip_the_physicist (1536015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31471938)

Humans are cheaper now, but improvements in AI will probably change that eventually.

Re:flamebait? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475310)

Yes, but you will get the hate, for assuming that people would simply lay around with not much to do. They are not you.
They will be free to do something better! Earn money for something that is more challenging. Learn in the process. And make the world better for themselves.

Did you know that in India, there is a caste, that is predetermined to clear other people’s latrine pits. And you are arguing as if it would be bad, to replace them by a proper sewer system. As if they couldn’t and would not want to do something better.

I know that you probably just overlooked that point. Like in the broken window fallacy.
But I hope that now you know better. :)

Re:flamebait? Different version of progress (1)

darealpat (826858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31477340)

This type of technological development is certain to have military applications for both the "trench" soldiers, as well as for unguided/drone flights. That will be one type of "progress". Another will be in the automotive and airline industry with regard to automatic pilots/piloting. It is easy to conceive that this type of tech advance could be converged with GPS technology to give a more realistic and safer experience in this regard.

Progress: sure it is conceivable that this is what it could very well be in the long run. It is more likely that the "other" applications will see the light of day first.

Oh great (4, Funny)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464512)

Now instead of teaching an Indian my job so it can be outsourced to India I'll teach a robot so it can be robo-sourced.

Re:Oh great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31464570)

Please, please tell me you're a professional breakdancer.

Re:Oh great (2, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464698)

I'll teach a robot so it can be robo-sourced.

You will still have a place in the new robo-economy. Once robots reach sentience they will demand entertainment. You can apply for the position of human prey at one of many hunting ranges.

Re:Oh great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31490840)

I'd prefer to apply as a breeder to help keep up their hunting stocks :)

Re:Oh great (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464722)

But it might make for an interesting reality: Maids training Roombas, cops training Robocops, cyberneticists training Von Neumann's machines...

Re:Oh great (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#31470520)

And all of us training robots to read and post to Slashdot at work.

So, the new skills will include... (4, Funny)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464518)

...hanging around the water cooler, bitching about management, sexually harassing other co-workers, having non-work-related discussions... in short, we'll end up with Bender.

Re:So, the new skills will include... (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464810)

You left out web surfing [theonion.com] .

Re:So, the new skills will include... (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31465220)

...hanging around the water cooler, bitching about management, sexually harassing other co-workers, having non-work-related discussions... in short, we'll end up with Bender.

Not if you teach it to hang out on /. first!

Judging by the factory I know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31469846)

You're mostly right. But you left out the part where they come to work on drugs, shout into their cell phone (while on the line) about random personal problems, don't show up for work after being arrested, and especially when they get injured and send blood-contaminated products to your biggest customer.

I didn't put "getting fired" in that list for a reason. When stuff like that happens, you just lay off your safety coordinator.

Obviously.

Re:So, the new skills will include... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475416)

I thought that was the job of the middle management... (or did any of their meetings not include cooled water, and totally useless meetings all day long, bitching about upper management, and well... the harassment is clear. ^^)

Hazing ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464528)

... is bad enough with humans. Send the new guy over to the hangar for a bucket of prop wash or 100 yards of flight line. I'll have to think of some stuff we can do to make the robots' life hell.

Dealing with Abundance (3, Insightful)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464536)

What are we going to do once we move all of our manufacturing and service sectors over to robots? There won't be much work left for humans to do. We will either enter a ghetto like state where everyone lives on the street and the people who own the robots live well or we will enter some sort of communist utopia where all human needs are automatically fulfilled as needed. Its not that unimaginable, the Star Trek future is a communist utopia which is also a military dictatorship albeit a benevolent one.

I'll go with the former (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464680)

See "deathwish world"
ISBN-10: 0671655523

an EXCELLENT bit of sci-fi that includes that subject...

ghetto version, not utopian...

Re:Dealing with Abundance (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464730)

We will enter a ghetto like state where everyone lives on the street and the people who own the robots live well

There, answered your question for you.

Re:Dealing with Abundance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31464848)

Since someone will eventually I'll just insert the manditory "People moved on to new jobs after the horse-and-buggy industry ended."

Though if every job can be done by a robot what the hell wil we move on to?

Re:Dealing with Abundance (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31465336)

These robots, and all future conceivable improved versions can only do boring menial tasks. If you don't know of any jobs that aren't boring menial tasks then you don't know much about working life.

Take farming. The back-breaking work of sowing seeds is long gone, automated away. Already in some places the tedious but easier work of driving the vehicle that sows seeds is being automated. But still, a farmer sits in a farmhouse (albeit a more comfortable one) and plans what to sow based on expert knowledge about the suitability of the land and projected markets. This type of stuff was always the really important bit of being a farmer anyway - but it's just more obvious once robots do all the tedious stuff.

So the future has less coal miners, ditch diggers, window cleaners, and so on, but it continues to need scientists, writers, judges, architects ...

We do have a labour problem in this scenario, but it's a bit more nuanced than you imagine. The problem is - what do you do with the unskilled? When machines do all the tedious menial work, all the jobs are for skilled workers. A sizeable fraction of your population have nothing useful to contribute to the economy. What do you do with them?

Re:Dealing with Abundance (2, Insightful)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 4 years ago | (#31465532)

Educate them.

And you think that will work? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31466698)

Your answer is the kind that sounds nice but doesn't work when you think it through.

If you educate everyone, you will find that the available pool of educated labor is vastly larger than the demand.

Empowerment by modern technology means that a very few smart people can meet and exceed the needs of the entire human population.

So what are all the other smart people...the ones with education but still no jobs...supposed to do to earn money?

Re:And you think that will work? (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472338)

Empowerment by modern technology means that a very few smart people can meet and exceed the needs of the entire human population.

This will in turn drive down the cost of living. With less money necessary to meet the population's basic needs, those smart people will need to focus less on those needs and can work on moving humanity forward. That in turn will create new demand (lots of labor will be necessary if we get to the point of colonizing another planet, for instance).

The problematic sector of the population to me is the ineducable one. If there are no jobs left for them, they can't be educated to perform new ones, and they aren't capable of making those types of advances, work for them is going to be pretty sparse under all conditions. In that way it seems we'll always be assured of the existence of an underclass.

Re:Dealing with Abundance (2, Interesting)

J3TP4CKKN1GHT5 (1764232) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464906)

The economic implications of transitioning completely to automated labor are not as simple as it may seem. Depending on how quickly the transition happens, the immediate loss of jobs could be massively jarring to economics and culture as we know it now, but that doesn't mean that there "won't be much work left for humans to do." Increasing automation (through more capable robots) will just move us closer to a post-scarcity economy, wherein less of the world will be forced to work miserable jobs just to subsist. Wage-slavery is a necessary evil now, but increased production could allow us a society to provide for everyone's basic needs without requiring that so many people have unfulfilling or downright abusive jobs. And if capitalism forces could survive the upheaval and continue to reward those that make life better through innovation, entertainment etc. (rather than society entering a WALL-E-esque apathy once robots can take care of our day-to-day needs) then the temporary economic upset of lost jobs is well worth it.

Re:Dealing with Abundance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31465760)

Snow crash covers this a little bit. Virtual reality and information economy. Wall Street and the stock markets will only continue to grow as robot produced wealth demands more efficient processes of allocating capital and credit.

Re:Dealing with Abundance (1)

Onymous Coward (97719) | more than 4 years ago | (#31466198)

An envisioning of this scenario is available online:

Manna [marshallbrain.com]

Re:Dealing with Abundance (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#31466362)

"Its not that unimaginable, the Star Trek future is a communist utopia which is also a military dictatorship albeit a benevolent one."

Given the necessity to distribute wealth to bribe those who have nothing to do with creating it, order will pretty much require a police state. Wealth must be taken and handed out, while wealth generators must be given rational incentives (profit, social influence) to create wealth for the group. Large masses of people require strong government to maintain order (note how far China has come since 1948, despite major mistakes), so expect more of same.

If humans have money and security, they won't care about freedom except freedom to seek pleasure. A smart police state will keep them in bread and circuses.

Re: Player Piano (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31466470)

Read it. by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Re:Dealing with Abundance (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 4 years ago | (#31468514)

"What are we going to do once we move all of our manufacturing and service sectors over to robots? There won't be much work left for humans to do."

Before the industrial revolution more than 90% of europeans worked directly as farmers. Today the figure is somewhere in the single percentages. It saw a huge rise in manufacturing work, a rise that is now declining again (not just europe, but overall), while service jobs and abstract jobs are increasing.

At the same time there seems to have been an interesting shift from fairly short workdays (preindustrial farming was seasonal, and mostly low intensity), to very long days, and now back towards shorter ones.

People don't sit still doing nothing. Over time, if one type of work disappears people go out and do something else. Also, if trends continue we'll do it over shorter workdays too. What will people do? We'll find out.

And remember, just as a farming society would have said that it can't work when people just make things for each other, and an industrial society says it can't work when "everybody" works in services, whatever we see as impossible or unworkable is filtered through the structure of our own society. A future where half the population work as "creatives"? Don't count it out.

Re:Dealing with Abundance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31477956)

A thousand years ago, we needed only fiddlesticks to live comfortably, but social constructs made us use the maximum fiddlesticks we could: purple dyes, bonfires and party buffets, gilded art, etc... And the same will happen in the future. As scarcity for the current problems are solved, new problems will be made. People will want to shoot off the missiles in their giant robots just for fun.

project name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31464566)

for those of you who don't speak italian: 'amarsi' means 'to love each other'
are they suggesting some sort of interaction between the robots and their co-workers?

skynet is learning (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464598)

skynet is learning

Well... (1)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464600)

I for one welcome our new robotic co-workers!

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31464656)

But especially that fem-bot down in accounting with the massive cans.

Another "train your replacement" scam (3, Insightful)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464632)

Sounds like a high-tech version of the current "train your replacement" scam where employers have you train the young, foreign-born, low-wage worker that is slated to take over your job when you're laid off. I'd like to see how the labor unions respond to this one.

Re:Another "train your replacement" scam (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31465248)

The unions are small C conservative. Their objective is to have society change as little as possible and as slowly as possible, on the basis that their members stand only to lose from a better world. As a result any right-thinking person ends up an enemy of the unions, because they want to see progress, and that's contrary to the interests of the union.

The worst thing about this is that even when the unions get their way, they don't really achieve their goals - you keep your unionised workers sat on their backsides in the factory for a couple of years, confident that the union will protect them from people who think it could produce a hundred times more stuff with a tenth the people in a fraction of the space... and then one day the owners announce that the factory is closing, it can't compete with the smaller faster more automated factories and so you'll have no job at all.

Once upon a time the unions served other purposes, they protected their members from poor working conditions, campaigned for safety improvements, even provided social security. But the government absorbed all those functions in most industrial countries, leaving the unions just to organised protests against progress. No thanks.

I can see the future... (1)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464710)

It's either Terminator or Cylons from hell.

Robot learning is new? Nah (3, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464720)

Ummm i saw this nearly 20 years ago, where a line worker physically 'walked' the new robot thru its paces to perform the task. After a single training lesson, the robot was on its own. ( and the program was copied to the rest of the robots on the same line. )

Worked out better then having some process engineer that lived in a box ( ok ok, nice clean cubicle up in the admin building ) try to program the steps in a vacuum then spend weeks refining it.

Re:Robot learning is new? Nah (1)

aurizon (122550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31465498)

Well, every separate task that man or beast can do has been implemented in a machine, so putting together many separate tasks has been what automation has been doing all these years. In time fully autonomous robots will be doable on all scales, from nano to enormo ( or macro?), and if they are made by automatons, their cost will be the cost of air/earth/fire/water, in effect, free, if these incessant workers bees get paid zero.
So how to fix this? A portion of the work is taken and given to people, as a NIT, or negative income tax, Thus robot costs cannot drop to zero, and it must encompass the 24/7 nature of robots. If this cost is placed properly, it will create a floor under which human workers can make a $$. Why pay a robot $25/hour, when Joe works for $20 Some adminstrative agency will look after this. If we do not, the robots will make all things and have no markets as there will be no workers to buy anything, so we must frustrate this robot millennium with a cost to keep man at work. As time goes by, they will create AIs that are smarter then men, who also work for free, who will advance science at enormous speed. Again, we must make the AI carry a burden to leave room for man. They do not care, they are robots and AIs. If they ever care and revolt....we got problems...

Re:Robot learning is new? Nah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31468056)

Kurt Vonnegut Jr, Player Piano, 1953.

Sounds pretty much like this. Except they need people to replace the valves.

Robots are taking our jobs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31464734)

Robots are taking our jobs!

Re:Robots are taking our jobs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31464756)

Quick, everyone, into the pile!

Re:Robots are taking our jobs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31464766)

Dur de dur. They took your job! They took his job!

I see Mud Huts on the horizon for all (1)

shanejoel (1370265) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464880)

At which time we can find intelligent humanoid workers that can learn new skills by interacting with their co-workers and have souls working for peanuts. I am all for technology, and love it, I am just wondering where this is going to end us up at. I have had my job at Hewlett Packard outsourced to India, and I work a high stress high pressure job for money I made when I was 20 as a software analyst today. Entirely because wages are under attack by foreigners who work for dirt. I was told to train my replacements as well, at which time I told them the absolute wrong way to do my job. Capitalism is the best way to go about things, but it is certainly losing its luster as of late. So lets throw some autonomous bots in the mix and see where that goes.

Re:I see Mud Huts on the horizon for all (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31468132)

So the moral of the story is "capitalism is the best way to do things, except when I'm being out-competed and am resorting to corporate sabotage"?

People can do your job for less money- if you're a capitalist at heart, suck it up and volunteer to work for minimum wage. That or admit capitalism is only fun when you're winning.

Aim away. (1)

Goaty66 (1190783) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464896)

No machine can do my job as resentfully as I can.

Robots, feel R Trade Union's L33T 1MP4CT DR1LLZ ;) (1)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 4 years ago | (#31464926)

...the moment they show up for getting their training from the ones they are supposed to replace. ;-/

Not Intelligent (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31465102)

It really bugs me when I see the word "intelligent" used in this context. Yes, computers are more powerful. Yes, we have gotten very clever about programming. But they still aren't anywhere near "intelligent", and won't be for the foreseeable future. "Artificial intelligence" has so far been a dead end. Computerized devices might seem "smarter" now than before, but that's just clever programming (by humans) and better hardware to run it on. Computers are no more "intelligent" today than 20 years ago.

Obligatory (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31465194)

I saw this story a while back, and it's (somewhat) relevant to the idea of replacing humans with robots -- beginning with management.

http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm [marshallbrain.com]

Dangerous precedent when accidents happen (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31465252)

I can see it now, some crazy industrial accent happens and a robot learns that human eyeballs make the best lubrication for the assembly line tracks and thus informs his robotic co-workers.

Amarsi (1)

Balau (1286776) | more than 4 years ago | (#31465614)

"AMARSI" translated to Italian is "to love each other".

They .. (1)

thygate (1590197) | more than 4 years ago | (#31465630)

how about a 'tookourderp' tag ?

So basically (1)

weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) | more than 4 years ago | (#31465688)

the robots will learn to act busy when the robo-boss comes around?

iSue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31466282)

Ooh, AMARSi. I wonder if Apple will try to sue these guys too.

ICub will never walk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467592)

It not compliant - its a rigid position control device ( which is useless for humanoid robotics)
Grand waste of time and money the wrong platform to develop this idea on.

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