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45% of U.S. Jobs Vulnerable To Automation

Soulskill posted 1 year,5 days | from the introvert-utopia dept.

Robotics 625

An anonymous reader writes "A new report out of Oxford has found that the next 20 years will see 45% of America's workforce replaced by computerized automation. 'The authors believe this takeover will happen in two stages. First, computers will start replacing people in especially vulnerable fields like transportation/logistics, production labor, and administrative support. Jobs in services, sales, and construction may also be lost in this first stage. Then, the rate of replacement will slow down due to bottlenecks in harder-to-automate fields such engineering. This "technological plateau" will be followed by a second wave of computerization, dependent upon the development of good artificial intelligence. This could next put jobs in management, science and engineering, and the arts at risk.' 45% is a big number. Politicians have been yelling themselves hoarse over the jobs issue in this country for the past few years, and the current situation isn't anywhere near as bad. At what point will we start seeing legislation forbidding the automation of certain industries?"

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My father once said... (5, Interesting)

liamoohay (765499) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849019)

My father, an early pioneer of automated teaching (and a teacher himself) once told me that computers would soon replace teachers and, he added, not long after that they would replace the students too.

AI and robotics and jobs (5, Interesting)

fyngyrz (762201) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849075)

Yep. When AI arrives, very few jobs (other than things like ambassador to AI or positions in Luddite cults) are likely to require a human. Whether AI will see fit to participate in our job market is not intuitively obvious, though. Still, with AI in place, lower level robotics should be quite sophisticated.

I've always thought that the current presumption that a job is required and inherently a good thing was an artifact of scarcity of labor. Remove the latter, and the former may well radically change.

Re:AI and robotics and jobs (1)

Nutria (679911) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849149)

I've always thought that the current presumption that a job is required and inherently a good thing was an artifact of scarcity of labor. Remove the latter, and the former may well radically change.

Change to what? That having a job is not a good thing?

Re:AI and robotics and jobs (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849237)

That's certainly one obvious possibility, yes. Or, it might be a good thing if you like that sort of thing, but in no way a requirement, any more than any other optional choice in life or lifestyle is. Or, it might be punishment. Or something else no one has thought of yet.

If you can get everything you need in the material sense, you might prefer, for instance, to spend your time diving off Maui, enjoying fine dining, playing an instrument, etc., ad infinitum. Or, if you're sort of perverse, maybe you'd like to work behind the counter at McDonald's and call it "good"?

Re:AI and robotics and jobs (1)

bjwest (14070) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849471)

Perhaps change to not requiring a job to live. In today’s society, you must have income to survive. If I own enough land to sustain myself, I must still generate an income to pay property taxes or my property will be confiscated by the government.

Re:AI and robotics and jobs (5, Insightful)

pipatron (966506) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849161)

The problem right now is that the current political mantra thinks that jobs are the most important thing, and if you don't have a job you're worthless and a problem that must be taken care of. It will be a painful period for jobless and workers alike until this discrepancy between current reality and ancient politics is gone.

Re: AI and robotics and jobs (4, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849235)

What would people do without jobs?

A small percentage would improve themselves by learning new things exploring new concepts, etc. The majority however would do nothing but become restless, and that would lead slowly to fighting each other. Humans need to do something that keeps there minds and bodies occupied.

However robots can't do engineering. Robots can't think. AI is a pipe dream for at least the next century. We don't really understand how our own minds work. Computers are binary. Humans brains are at least trinary. Until a computer can do maybe then true ai is impossible.

Re: AI and robotics and jobs (1)

Wansu (846) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849309)

  What would people do without jobs?

They would find something to do. Perhaps it would be something counterproductive or criminal but they would find something to do.

  The majority however would do nothing but become restless, and that would lead slowly to fighting each other.

Fighting each other is a job of sorts and I'm so not sure that the process leading to people fighting each other would be all that slow.

Re: AI and robotics and jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849385)

What would people do without jobs?

Fap furiously i imagine.

Re: AI and robotics and jobs (5, Insightful)

DarkTempes (822722) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849403)

Yes, because all of the retired people in the world are always so busy murdering each other.

It's truly tragic.

Re: AI and robotics and jobs (1)

geoskd (321194) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849427)

AI is a pipe dream for at least the next century. We don't really understand how our own minds work.

Actually, capable AI will require a breakthrough, which is unpredictable. It could happen tomorrow, it could be 500 years. I thinks its more likely on the order of a decade rather than a century, but who knows.

Re:AI and robotics and jobs (2, Interesting)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849243)

Bullshit. Current political public relations says that jobs are the most important thing. The ACTUAL poltician doesn't give a shit about jobs because their corporate masters don't give a shit about jobs.

I think Wisconsin is a great example of this. The "leader" of that state talks about bringing jobs to the state but it is just talk. The real agenda is to set up an environment where his corporate masters owe nothing to society or the country.

The vast majority of our politicians care NOTHING about if their constitutents have jobs just as long as their corporate buddies get what they want. This was NOT true before 1980 and the era of big politics, a little less true before Citizens United, and absolutely true after Citizens United.

Re:AI and robotics and jobs (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849257)

The *current* reality is that if the economy doesn't roll, then the government can't roll either, and then the jobless become a lot more of a problem than they are now.

Only in the context where scarcity has been eliminated by a force other than constant human effort does the possibility arise for a significantly jobless population stand as a reasonable condition.

Re:AI and robotics and jobs (4, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849415)

The economy is doing fine. GNP has been growing at a 2% rate for the past 5 years.

The problem is that this doesn't require the entire working age population to have jobs, only 60% or so.

In 10 years it may be 50%.

The result of this process is continual concentration of wealth. Recent published statistics show 95% of the economic growth in the past 3 year was garnered by the top 1% of the population.

The idea that everyone needs to have a full time job is just not practical any more. The concentration of wealth at the top we have is a threat to democracy.

It seems to me we are at a real watershed.

Re:AI and robotics and jobs (2, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849185)

Quick, break all the spinning frames and power looms before they steal our jobs!

Except that never happens. New jobs are created; someone has to innovate, someone has to maintain.

Re:AI and robotics and jobs (2)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849229)

"never"

Never?

"someone has to innovate"

Has to?

You sound religious.

Re:AI and robotics and jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849273)

It hasn't happened during the last 10000 years of technology advancement. What makes you think this time is different?

Re:AI and robotics and jobs (1)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849329)

Eh, there was loads written about the "myth of full employment" in the late '70s and early '80s. I have a thesis by my uncle sitting opposite. Increased efficiency simply means fewer people are required to do what society demands. Jobs are always created and destroyed, but similar jobs tend *not* to replace them - you have an increasingly unskilled casual labour force of a sort which wouldn't have been dreamt of in the couple of decades post-WW2.

Very few jobs are required. You're probably a useless chair-warmer, as are most of the people on this site. The post is accurate.

And nobody "has" to innovate - we could just make do with a lot less, still live in unprecedented comfort, and work a few hours a week.

Re:AI and robotics and jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849467)

It hasn't happened during the last 10000 years of technology advancement. What makes you think this time is different?

Uh, perhaps because for 9,900 of those years, "technology advancement" was defined with coal, steam, iron, and steel. Today, I can 3D print piece parts out of my home instead of companies even worrying about design, let alone manufacturing.

Yes. This time is considerably different. Right now I'm communicating almost real-time with a complete stranger who could be posting from the International Space Station for all I know. 100 years ago that was impossible, so it is pointless to talk about the last 10,000 years.

Re:AI and robotics and jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849255)

this false equivenecy is false.

The "loom" era didn't have an environment where the industalist could just ship a job to India with no penalty.

Re:AI and robotics and jobs (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849439)

Quick, break all the spinning frames and power looms before they steal our jobs!

Ah yes, 19th century dumb machines are equivalent to 21st century AI robots.

Back in the 19th century, automation improved worker productivity. Today, automation replaces workers.

BIG difference.

Except that never happens.

Actually, it has. The labor numbers prove it.

There's no stopping it - and we shouldn't .

But what we REALLY need to do, is examine how to deal with it because what IS CURRENTLY happening is we creating an ever increasing class of jobless.

Jobless people have a bad habit of partaking in social upheaval. And it usually means the rich get their asses chopped off.

Re:My father once said... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849181)

My father, an early pioneer of automated teaching (and a teacher himself) once told me that computers would soon replace teachers and, he added, not long after that they would replace the students too.

Aren't books suppose to replace the teacher (aka, "wise man") too?

When jobs become unnecessary, perhaps that will be when we will need to find some better economic system than capitalism. Capital will be obsolete, hence capitalism will be useless.

A lot of science fiction deals with this scenario. People work to keep busy, not because they need to work. Some people today already do that.

captcha: DEPOSED

Re:My father once said... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849295)

That's the ideal scenario.

The alternative is far worse, that there will be a permanent underclass in abject poverty, and a few people with all of the wealth.

Re:My father once said... (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849401)

Interesting comment; when Edison invented a type of Phonograph,(google it), he said virtually the same thing.

Re: My father once said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849417)

That chip that will be implanted in your head will contain all the knowledge and wisdom you'll ever need. And bluetooth will update the chip periodically.

oblig (2, Interesting)

Velex (120469) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849025)

Re:oblig (3, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849313)

The author of that makes some amazingly bad mistakes, like assuming that progress means people lose work (see the luddites, or any transformative technology), or that people would blithely accept being micromanaged (they wont), or that we have no economy other than "making stuff". He also completely discounts human nature.

If the future is a dystopia, its not gonna be because of some marvelous new technology.

Re:oblig (2)

sayfawa (1099071) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849351)

Indeed. People are always talking about job loss, like it's some terrible thing when, if were were dong this correctly, we should be happy. Who doesn't like less work? But if we keep this attitude that if you don't work then you don't eat, we'll go down the same road as in Manna.

who's next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849033)

I am hoping it is Slashdot admins.

Well......... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849035)

Welcome to 2013, time to pass some more stupid laws to protect those buggy whip makers.

Re:Well......... (1)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849141)

I vote to repeal the laws to protect all industrialists. Private property is an anachronism for people of low intelligence.

Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849041)

That's what most programmers will call it (unless their own jobs are threatened by H-1Bs)

Automation (1)

eudas (192703) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849043)

The jobs of the future may be done by robots, but they'll need people to build and maintain those robots.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYu1qW8Dctk [youtube.com]

Re:Automation (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849143)

At first, yes, but:

1. Robot maintenance jobs will go away once robots get good enough to repair other robots.

2. Robot building jobs will go away once robots get good enough to build new robots.

3. Robot design jobs will go away once robots get good enough to design better robots than themselves.

Re:Automation (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849353)

You'll never see that day.

Re:Automation (1)

geoskd (321194) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849481)

At first, yes, but:

1. Robot maintenance jobs will go away once robots get good enough to repair other robots.

2. Robot building jobs will go away once robots get good enough to build new robots.

3. Robot design jobs will go away once robots get good enough to design better robots than themselves.

You got 1 and two backwards. 2 will happen first, then 1...

We will probably not survive as a species to see 3...

People not required (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849155)

The jobs of the future may be done by robots, but they'll need people to build and maintain those robots.

Unlikely, except as an interim stage. Even without AI, you can have general assembly and repair robots that are competent to build and repair, respectively, the same models as they are, as well as other models. With AI, all need for people in manufacture and repair is gone, and further, the robots can be built to be a lot more effective -- more arms, special effectors, built-in diagnostic tools, etc.

We're less than 100 years into computing systems, even less than that in the type of code required here. Significant changes are likely still in front of us, even in the relatively short term.

Re:People not required (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849369)

...more arms, special effectors, built-in diagnostic tools, etc.

better weapons...

It's not one to one though (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849241)

The jobs of the future may be done by robots, but they'll need people to build and maintain those robots.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYu1qW8Dctk [youtube.com]

But it's not one to one. Meaning, you don't need one person to build one robot and you don't need one person to one robot for maintenance. And we have robots building other robots - who needs people?

See, in the past, automation increased a worker's productivity - it didn't replace them because you still needed some sort of intelligence for manage the operation.

Now computers supply the intelligence. And they've gotten so easy to program their operations (no coding is necessary because you just need someone to "show" the robot how to do the operation by moving it's arms). I'm not talking about the OS, of course. That just took a handful of people.

The trends over the years have SHOWN that less and less workers AT ALL LEVELS are needed.

And that's where there's going to be some huge problems. Our economy isn't structured for masses of unemployed or leisure class (other than the folks with the capital [1%'ers]). We all can't go "up the food chain" because there just isn't that much room up there - abilities aside. There are a LOT of smart people in the World, but there isn't enough positions for all of them. Get it? It's a pyramid that's not getting bigger.

And this "get retrained" fantasy/platitude. As I have experienced, getting retrained is easy. It's getting hired that's the problem - employers demand the 4 years of experience. And then we're back to there's just so much room in an industry. Nurses are having a horrible time getting jobs - and there's supposed to be a shortage!

Our economy is going to go through some drastic changes.

I keep hearing the "economy isn't a fixed pie". True from a strict economic sense, BUT the pie isn't getting big enough to absorb the over supply of workers from: new ones entering, off shoring, automation, and old farts who can't afford to retire. We're are SEEING it in the employment numbers and the only reason they have improved is because people are LEAVING the workforce. (See the disability rolls.)

No sir, get Econ 101/102 out of your head. It's outdated economic theory.

Re: Automation (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849473)

Robots will build themselves and will take over the world. What about armed robots that kill people autonomously? What if they mutiny against their human masters?

So let's make employing people more expensive! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849057)

Let's take jobs that are vulnerable to being replaced by automation and make them more expensive by mandating high minimum wages and extensive "free" benefits.

What could possibly go wrong?

Re:So let's make employing people more expensive! (1)

Immerman (2627577) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849159)

Wrong way around - make the remaining jobs more lucrative and reduce the work week. Cut the work week in half and you instantly almost double the number of jobs.

Re:So let's make employing people more expensive! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849183)

Better yet, let's revert everything to the state of the industrial revolution so people are cheaper to exploit then using robots.

What could possibly go wrong?

Let's re-evaluate trade policy (0, Troll)

fyngyrz (762201) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849205)

Speaking from a US centric POV, we need to enter a period of protectionism. Otherwise, what remains of our economy will follow the rest down the drain, and we will instead enter a truly ugly period of deep need for the general population.

The answer isn't to continue to marginalize our workers; the answer is to serve people's needs from within our own resource base, both material and labor.

Until or unless automation can provide an environment of zero scarcity, the imbalance between labor costs elsewhere and here will continue to erode the standard of living and job opportunities for the workforce.

Re:Let's re-evaluate trade policy (2)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849259)

Assume you did that, AND everything went according to plan (no devastatingly bad trade wars, no reverse done by politicians). As a result, things will cost more, maybe even 30%-50% more, but that's a price we're willing to pay. Now all US manufacturing is in the US.

Suddenly, we are going to have a lot of illegal immigrants in the US, because there would be so many jobs, there wouldn't be enough people to fill them all. So ultimately you're either going to have immigrants taking the jobs here, or the factories will be moved out to where they are.

Re:Let's re-evaluate trade policy (2)

fyngyrz (762201) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849293)

First, no trade wars, because there would be no trade. Internal economy. We have both abundant resources and a huge consuming base. Barriers up, both ways. You can't have a trade war if you aren't engaged in trade.

Second, protectionism will have to include hard borders -- no further immigration.

Re:Let's re-evaluate trade policy (1)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849341)

lol good luck on that

On another subject (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849311)

I'm looking for examples of beautiful open source code in any language. If you know of any, please let me know.

Don't you know beauty is in the eye of the becoder?

Hahaha... wut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849071)

I have enough faith in the crap-tasticness of other people's code to know that automation will not take over to such a degree for a long, long time.

I see the US has decided to offshore its economic analysis these days, though, if you're relying on the Brits to tell you what may hypothetically happen.

First place to an AI replacement (4, Interesting)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849081)

I think this isn't actually a troll... but a REAL posit...

The first jobs to go when there are jobs automatable by real AI should be legislatures.

Let a real intelegence that can't be biased by the current bullshit lobbying system write laws balanced for the common good of EVERYONE and reduce legislatures to one or two people per state as that can vote up or down.

Obviously lots of holes in that half baked idea, but our major societal problem in the U.S. is a lack of real leadership. If you make the leadership job simpler and not affected by the plauge of the lobbyist then maybe we can have a society that works for everyone and not just the select few that can PAY for their free speech.

Re:First place to an AI replacement (2)

bondsbw (888959) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849231)

You need humans to legislate what is best for humans.

But, I think computerized systems could eventually help in the area of finding discrepancies and ambiguities in the law. And then, in judging the law.

Re:First place to an AI replacement (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849283)

Well you notice the human isn't left out. What they CAN'T do is ammend the ideas, and that's key. I think if you could get rid of the human WRITING the law (not deciding what eventually is made law) it would be a vast improvement.

Re:First place to an AI replacement (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849381)

Executive and other high level management positions should also be automated. Computers can weigh a lot more variables in decision making and you no longer need the excessive wages or compensation packages. In turn, the company can operate a lot more efficiently and the freed profits can go back the few human workers that are necessary and/or shareholders.

Sooner or later I predict that we will see at least one company try this and eventually make it public. And if it turns out to be sucessful, it might not be too long before the rest of society decides to adopt a new economic model afterwards. (Obsolete the rich within the capitalist structure, and there wont be that much choice for them in order to stay relevant.)

Duh (1)

tgeek (941867) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849089)

At what point will we start seeing legislation forbidding the automation of certain industries?

The day we can automatic politics . . .

Re:Duh (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849135)

When the hated unions have real power and money. Labor money in congress is a tiny percentage of the lobbying pie, and since Citzens United the most money wins unless a HUGE number of people are mobilized. This is what happened with SOPA and, even then, they have to have certain huge multinationals on their side before they were even heard.

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849343)

If we would replace religionists with Electric Monks, THEN we'd be onto something useful.

21st Century Luddites (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849097)

Fighting progress and improved productivity has always failed.

How about acknowledging the fact and adapting to it?

Re:21st Century Luddites (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849357)

Since 1980, the pay of Americans is not a variable that correlates to the increased income of Americans.

That's not very likely to change in our current political environment. Given that, how the hell are people going to live?

I am for adapting, but we political system in place for it to happen.

Time to thin the herd (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849103)

Almost every problem is caused by there being too many people. This is not a troll, I do not have an answer.

Re:Time to thin the herd (1)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849169)

Cull all bright people. Intelligence produces the sort of civilisation which allows such concentrations of population, and the high number of people suffering as a result. If we were to administer an intelligence test and wipe the top 10% of people at each stage, nature would do the rest.

Too Advanced to not Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849123)

This is one of the biggest problems with a capitalistic society. Once it becomes sufficiently advanced there will literally not be enough jobs for the population, and if you don't have a job you don't have money, and no money means no food. The society will literally "succeed" itself to death.

I don't know how we will truly solve this problem, although it seems like the expansion of welfare programs is almost a given, that or let people starve.

What about the part where people are better lockup (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849331)

What about the part where people are better off in lockup / prison? Or you have some people who are in a win - win place where they can steal what they need and if they get away with they win and if they get caught and got to jail / prison where the state gives what they need.

Re:What about the part where people are better loc (2)

macbeth66 (204889) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849435)

My friend, you are already in prison. As are we all. We just don't know it.

Re:Too Advanced to not Fail (1)

sumdumass (711423) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849457)

There is a balancing point where people cannot afford to purchase which means companies don't sell and don't stay in business. Protecting these companies sort of prolongs it but eventually, there will be a natural reset where people find creative ways to do without. Once the companies close or limit their production, then competition from those creative people will start and it resumed Ad infinitum.

There will be hiccups and so on along the path. There might even be a revolt and the entire system crashed along the way too. But I think succeeding itself to death is defeated by the ability to continue operation along the current path. Companies exist to make money, if no one buys their products or services, they don't exist.

Is my job as a slashdot troll vulnerable to this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849131)

:(

Re:Is my job as a slashdot troll vulnerable to thi (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849305)

Would you like to talk about :( ?

profit - need new social contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849147)

Robots will replace workers due to the nature of profits. Governments and social scientists should be working hard on redesiging society.
a) "work" should not be required for basic living. This is not a socialists thing. This is a structural thing. With the effiency of one person being able to produce the goods that many use we are effectivly at an over production tipping point. There is no need for everyone to work we would just be producting stuff we don't need. (late night TV products excluded)
b) property should not be able to be leveraged for income. This is a generational disadvantage thing that leads to the inequalities we have in society. It will be aggavated by (1) when many just don't work. The ability to leverage existing captial into advanced wealth puts an unequal starting point that just gets amplified going forward.

These are issues with the strucutre of our society as we transition into a zone where we are no longer struggling for survival but basically have everything we need. See also recent arguments about the end of human evolution. We are reaching the finish line in our race for survival and the game is changing. We need to look forward.

Re:profit - need new social contract (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849211)

Robots will replace workers due to the nature of profits. Governments and social scientists should be working hard on redesiging society.

Good luck with that. If we don't do something about to domination of corporate money in U.S. government the "redesign" of society is going involve shooting the poor people and charging the government for the bullets.

Seriously... we are going to have even more problems with the low-skilled being automated out of a job over the next 50 years AT LEAST even assuming that A.I. will continue to never materialize. This would be less of a problem if the people were still represented in government. If poor have no seat at the tabe and the middle class are on the virge of losing their seat.

management 2nd wave replacement (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849177)

who's to manage?

Slashdot changing too... (1)

vortex2.71 (802986) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849179)

On that note, Slashdot will not longer be taking submissions for stories or allow for user comments. Instead, machine learning bots will scan the web for content and natural language recognition bots will make witty comments and then debate them endlessly.

Re:Slashdot changing too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849217)

But how will we know?

Re:Slashdot changing too... (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849219)

natural language recognition bots will make witty comments

Then the slashdot I know is truly dead.

Re:Slashdot changing too... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849247)

They could replace the moderators today with a rule-based engine (e.g. supportive of Microsoft, mod down) and nobody would know the difference.

STASI / NSA jobs will always be open (1)

HansKloss (665474) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849191)

If you like spying on your own citizens, agencies and local security forces are hiring. Some people will not be happy with automation, that's where federal and local forces step in and squash any uprisings.

All those robots (1)

no-body (127863) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849223)

will produce goods and services to the majority of people who will be removed from the workforce by robots.

Anything wrong with that?

Re:All those robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849361)

will produce goods and services to the majority of people who will be removed from the workforce by robots.

Anything wrong with that?

so, we'll al receive a stipend from the government to pay for food, clothing, housing, etc ...?

Or everything will be free?

And in the meantime, will my mortgage and students be canceled since I can't get a job because of the robots?

See? Our entire economic system WILL have to change. Because Capitalism is ill-suited for a robotic economy.

been saying this a while (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849225)

...and if we keep our ideals of "being on the government dole is evil/defective/makes you a bad person" eventually there will be a worldwide revolt.

The idea of the ever-decreasing work week is the best option.

Technology has brought so much efficiency, but as it stands, with our capitalist system, the majority of the benefit goes to super-rich who cannot possibly spend all that money. Pay is cut, jobs are cut, and people are demonized for being unemployed, even as we grow ever closer to full automtion of all work.

Imagine a world where there is only one job. Only one...
should the only person with a job get all the money in the world? or...something else.

Automated customers - The end (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849233)

Just automate the customer side to buy the products so finally companies can get rid of the poor human consumers and rejoice in an ever lasting quaterly profit and bonuses utopia.

Wallstreet is already a few steps ahead thanks to fast trading automated A.I. schemes.

Can't wait till it replaces politicians, oh wait... come to think of it, it already has started to replace something about them.

It's coming. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849245)

Unfortunately we've got the classic "boy who cried wolf" scenario. When machines were replacing people in the 50s it was common to think everyone would be replaced. It didn't happen, because the machines replaced some people but still needed someone to run the machine. However, with advances in robotics we're going to start seeing the machine operators replaced. I expect within 10 years to see a fully automated car assembly line. So what happens to those people? Nothing, I guess. Those jobs won't come back and there won't be any jobs to replace them. We could just belittle them as "buggy whip makers" and say, "get educated so a robot can't replace you." But 1) there are only so many jobs for the educated, and 2) soon a lot of those jobs will be replaced too.

I'm always amazed by people who say, "get educated and you'll get a job" then turn around and complain, "why can't I find a job I've got a degree and experience!" I don't get how they square saying if some uneducated guy gets a degree he'll magically get a job. There's almost a million auto workers in the US. They lose their jobs then get an education. Do we need a million more teachers? A million more lawyers? A million more programmers? The job market is tight so where are these million educated workers going to go? "Get educated and you'll get a job" is such an easy answer when you don't think about it.

I was an attorney but then decided to do something else (great choice by the way). I expect a lot of mundane legal work to be automated within 10-15 years. First you'll see specialized paralegals do the work then second you'll see Google or LEXIS or West develop an automated system for them to use. Third you'll see that system be allowed for private use for a limited set of issues. What happens to those junior associates that used to do those cases? Do they all become partners? All start their own firms? No, they'll be out of a job. There isn't an infinite amount of jobs for law partners or law firms. We aren't in a situation like the industrial revolution or the 50s where machines helped streamline a process. Technology has advanced far enough to replace whole segments of work and render the worker unnecessary.

It's neither a good nor bad thing it just is. But we can't act like we've been here before. This isn't the Industrial Revolution Redux, it's the automation revolution. We've got to deal with it one way or another, and just saying "get another job" isn't going to work this time. It's taken more than 100 years, but the warning of "these jobs are gone and never coming back" is finally going to occur.

Re:It's coming. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849469)

Interesting post. My best guess is that in some countries the ruling elite will see danger and find ways of making useful seeming jobs for humans to keep them from getting restless and dangerous. In other countries, they will get this wrong and violent revolution or disorder may occur.

I guess that (with no or minimal benefits available, as seems to be the trend) that at somewhere between 25 and 50% unemployment there is a 'total breakdown' point where it all falls ap

The obvious answer is... (4, Insightful)

jacobsm (661831) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849263)

As soon as they automate politics. That's when politicians will ban it.

Re:The obvious answer is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849447)

It wouldn't make sense to automate politics. Law, however, is a different matter, and a lot of politicians are lawyers.

Using it wrong (5, Insightful)

brxndxn (461473) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849265)

I absolutely hate how people talk about the negatives of automation like somehow things are better when humans did all the menial tasks. I remember an old Russian video where a worker was winding a ball of yarn by hand. That is degrading. What is even more degrading is paying a bunch of foreign people a lot less to do manual (and meaningless) tasks to make cheap products and then ship them across the world. Even further degrading is the layers of bullshit we have decided to surround ourselves with in other professions that waste the hours in our days.

The problem is not that 'there will be fewer jobs.' The problem is not that 'there are not enough resources.' The problem is that the jobs and the resources are all allocated wrong. We could (at least in America) have 20-30 hour work weeks, plenty of family time, decent pay, and a low unemployment rate.. if a certain select few did not make ALL the money and take control of ALL the resources.

I am an automation programmer. I work to automate any task I can possibly automate. I do not feel bad about it. Any automation I create has to be maintained.

As far as legislation forbidding the automation of certain industries.. Since the US Government fucks up everything it touches, I believe it will work to create laws to forbid the jobs that should be automated and laws to automate the jobs that should be manual. For example, the NSA said it will fire 90% of sysadmins and replace them with automation. Anyone in IT knows that idea is 100% stupid. Another example is the rise of red light cameras everywhere. As subjective as it is to enforce the law, our wonderful government has decided to make it legal for robots to do that for us. And, since the US military is having trouble finding new hires that have zero morality, they are working to automate drone warfare also. Great..

So, anyway, what I mean to say is.. Automation itself is not bad. It's the way we're using it that will be bad. Instead of using it to free ourselves, we are using it to enslave ourselves.

Situation Irony (1)

Howitzer86 (964585) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849271)

Don't we do all of this for survival purposes? If the development of such technology begins to hurt our ability to survive, what's the point? Who would develop the tech? Who would buy it? And ultimately, what government would allow it to get to that point?

I think one of two possibilities are possible. We will either get to the point the tech will find some equilibrium with the human economy, or we will get to the point that the government (especially if it remains a representative one) will step in and prevent further development of the tech. The outcome depends on the prevailing ideology of that country and just how bad it all gets. And even in the equilibrium scenario, I can see some grassroots pushback/rebellion. The only real winners in that case could be the super rich, and by that point people might be ready to shed blood over it.

Or maybe it won't be so dramatic. Poor working people managed to survive in the South before the 1860s. Do we really expect the machines of the future to outdo and be cheaper than the human slaves of the past? Menial labor is one thing... nobody really wants to do that anyway... but replacing the thinker seems kind of self defeating. Why are we even here if we're willing to replace everyone, including artists, engineers, and scientists with robots?

Re:Situation Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849299)

Well the machines can get paid to work and then they can buy the products and services provided by machine labor. So it'll be self-financing.

Re:Situation Irony (1)

Howitzer86 (964585) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849399)

If you have to pay your slaves, whats the point of creating them? And assuming you don't create them anymore, are you just going to let them procreate on their own? This is starting to get into Animatrix territory... I almost can't take the idea seriously.

Assuming the governments of the world don't become totally detached from reality, we will obviously be passing some laws if it seems like its getting to this point.

Banning automation is bad (5, Insightful)

Chalnoth (1334923) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849277)

The thing is, automation makes peoples' lives easier. It means that less work has to be performed to get the same results.

A sensible response to the promise of automation is not to be a luddite and ban the practice, but to ensure the benefits of automation are widely-distributed. In short, the answer is to prevent the concentration of wealth (a problem we need to focus on right now whether or not the fears of automation are realized).

Bureaucracy will save us ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849289)

In a genuinely capitalist economic environment, we would head inexorably toward automation.

But bureaucracy is the driving force behind the government and any large company. There will always be millions of "make-work" jobs that justify the size of Dept X's budget.

Only the nepotists and the MBAs stand between us and Skynet!

Easily Predicted (1)

mrhippo3 (2747859) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849315)

I grew up in Pittsburgh and remember when the steel jobs just went away. The air was cleaner, but the economy was anything but "green." Fortunately the Pittsburgh has recovered but the jobs shifted to the massive medical/research/college community. A few year later, in Akron, a staunchly pro-labor town, the plants just stopped production. Many engineers proclaimed, "We're engineers, we're safe." I saw the had writing in the wall once and I escaped into technology, for a while. (The plant is now a brown field and the few engineering jobs at that company have moved elsewhere.) While at the plant, I learned a bit of CAD, QA, FEA, statistical QA, vibration analysis, programming, etc. My next move was into writing for the trade press, in the early days of PC-based CAD (mid 1980's). I got paid to write about all the topics previously listed AND I was also paid to play with computers. This gave me a lot of career flexibility, as opposed to the folk who had retired in place.
The task of moving knowledge-base solutions into engineering was dropped when early AI attempts fared poorly. But the success of Watson, should make every engineer quake. The "engineering problem" can be succinctly described as making the best possible stuff with the fewest resources, the least possible effort, and have a low failure rate. This sounds like a computer-solvable problem to me. The STEM crisis may be avoided, but many folks will NOT like the result. There will only briefly be STEM jobs, due to automation. However , STEM may be one of the few professions where the end goal is to put all the profession out of work.

Automation is a current, not a future problem. (1)

gallondr00nk (868673) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849325)

At what point will we start seeing legislation forbidding the automation of certain industries?

Never.

If governments had any interest whatsoever in protecting jobs there have been ample opportunities to stem the tide of automation over the last forty years, and they have done absolutely nothing. The ruins of Detroit and the death of unskilled on reasonable wages should demonstrate that point.

I say this all the time, but we have to start thinking about providing a reasonable standard of living to people who are automated out of a job. The situation as it stands is unacceptable, so what good is legislating against further automation going to do?

Better to deal with the root problem of providing people with income directly than a ridiculous sticking plaster solution where say, a further 10% of the workforce are chucked on the scrapheap (making unemployment 20%+ in a lot of places) instead of 20%. We've seen the sort of devastation and deprivation that 20%+ unemployment causes, are we really going to throw one in four or five people on the scrapheap in sacrifice of our outdated industrial age ideas?

we need will need health care for all that is not (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849347)

we need will need health care for all that is not tied to jobs if 45% of jobs will go a way and or we move to a systems where people only work about 20 hours a week.

3 Laws Safe? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849349)

What would the 3 Laws of Robotics [wikipedia.org] look like in actual practice?

The 45% that will lose their jobs? Will be the ones that need a job.

Fortunately for me (1)

gman003 (1693318) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849359)

At least until we get strong AI, my job programming computers is safe.

UAW (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849375)

The UAW (United Auto Workers) told the big car manufacturers back in the 80s that they could put as many robots on the line as they wanted, but to remember that robots don't buy cars.

HA! The captcha is "humanity".

Depopulation concerns and loss of tax base (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849379)

Inevitable automation makes one wonder why so many countries become worried, when depopulation occurs within their borders. How can governments raise enough taxes to support a large military establishment and national healthcare, when 45% of the workforce become unemployed.

what about banning OT (other then in few limited) (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849387)

what about banning OT (other then in few limited cases) this will me salary pay may have to pay ot or have some like an 100K+ COL level before it can be used to work some over the OT level. also have an forced added pay level when some at 100K+col needs to work over 80 hours an week.

Let's also move the OT start level to 32 hours a week with OT OK to 40Hours and then after 40 start to limit it.

Not enough copper was it? (1)

holophrastic (221104) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849405)

And the robots and AI won't only be able to, they'll also be better, faster, and cheaper than humans? They'll also require less infrastructure? They'll suddenly be able to build farms in the middle of no where out of nothing with no water, no power, and no roads? And it won't take everyone of us to manage this growing fleet of just-out-of-school autonomous tools? And we'll have the resources to power these things? Good luck with that. Oh, and it's going to be considered murder to destroy a robot?

Plea to Nerds (3, Funny)

macbeth66 (204889) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849411)

Please, can't someone develop AI managers, politicians and lawyers?

I, for one, would welcome our robotic overlords. If they just got rid of those first.

45% of all statistics are made up (1)

frnic (98517) | 1 year,5 days | (#44849423)

brump bumb

Governmental and administratif jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44849429)

Most administrative jobs have little added value and are pure cost centers, so they will be automated.
A lot of artificial jobs have been created by politicians in the government to create a voting base.

The old etatist (socialist) system works as follows :
-watch the media for any hysteric event
-pass laws as complex as possible to regulate the perceived problem
-create structures and hire officials to execute them, who will then vote for you to keep their jobs.
This system is really an old relic from the communist era and it will gradually disappear.
It's an unnecessary burden on society.
In Europe, more then 30% of the workforce works for the government, and a lot of their work can easily be automated.
Expect lots of administrative job losses in the near future.

But don't worry : they will be replaced by real jobs, ie. in nursing, policing, child caring etc. A lot of people are needed there.
It would be a major progress for society : instead of filling in useless papers, government officials will be providing care, so that the working people in the private sector (an ever decreasing part of the population which is aging) can create as much wealth as possible to support the rest.

So big efficiency gains are possible, it should be applauded.

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