Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Humans Need Not Apply: a Video About the Robot Revolution and Jobs

Soulskill posted about a month ago | from the go-away-or-i-will-replace-you-with-a-very-large-robot-that-breaks-things dept.

Robotics 304

Paul Fernhout writes: This explanatory compilation video by CGP Grey called "Humans Need Not Apply" on structural unemployment caused by robotics and AI (and other automation) is like the imagery playing in my mind when I think about the topic based on previous videos and charts I've seen. I saw it first on the econfuture site by Martin Ford, author of The Lights in the Tunnel. It is being discussed on Reddit, and people there have started mentioning a "basic income" as one possible response. While I like the basic income idea, I also collect other approaches in an essay called Beyond A Jobless Recovery: A heterodox perspective on 21st century economics. Beyond a basic income for the exchange economy, those possible approaches include gift economy, subsistence production, planned economy, and more — including many unpleasant alternatives like expanding prisons or fighting wars as we are currently doing.

Marshall Brain's writings like Robotic Nation and Manna have inspired my own work. I made my own video version of the concept around 2010, as a parable called "The Richest Man in the World: A parable about structural unemployment and a basic income." (I also pulled together a lot of links to robot videos in 2009.) It's great to see more informative videos on this topic. CGP Grey's video is awesome in the way he puts it all together.

cancel ×

304 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (3, Interesting)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about a month ago | (#47678599)

If you have an all-robotic workforce, who's going to buy the products they produce?

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (2)

olsmeister (1488789) | about a month ago | (#47678631)

Nobody needs to work? Well then I guess all the products would be free at that point.

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (1)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | about a month ago | (#47678667)

There are still other resources needed to produce other than work.
Such as raw materials and energy.
But work is the only resource most humans have to offer in exchange.

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678725)

Why do we have to offer something in exchange? They're robots. We control them.

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678779)

What is this "we" you speak of?

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678799)

It not you (read individual people) that control the robots, it will be some evil mega corporation (think MomCorp)

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (1)

PPH (736903) | about a month ago | (#47678861)

I was thinking more along the lines of SkyNet.

Energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678785)

We should all become energy producers instead of having jobs. Energy is the basis for all the productive work we do. It's the only currency that can't be counterfeited. It loses its value as you spend or transfer it, but that's why we need to keep producing more.

Re:Energy (1)

blue trane (110704) | about a month ago | (#47678891)

How does Dark Energy lose its value?

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678811)

Robots are capital, and capitalism doesn't work this way.

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (4, Interesting)

blue trane (110704) | about a month ago | (#47679043)

Capitalism doesn't work when labor is not scarce. Capitalism only works by imposing artificial scarcity on capital.

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (1)

pxc (938367) | about a month ago | (#47679661)

So the robot-driven, (mostly) post-scarcity economy won't be a capitalist economy

Re: The problem with the all robotic workforce ide (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678671)

Those who still have utility value to the economy. In most cases either the very talented/creative or the rich. We are already seeing this in the way that large swathes of population have been effectively excluded from the economy since the recession, while highly skilled sectors are in huge shortage.

Automation is allowing us to abandon people out of the economy with alarming speed.

Re: The problem with the all robotic workforce ide (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679027)

We are already seeing this in the way that large swathes of population have been effectively excluded from the economy since the recession

"since the recession"? The recession hasn't ended just because a stock market bubble has been created by monetizing the debt.

In any case, the current economic problems are an entirely artificial creation. Get the power-hungry, comand-and-control collectivists out of office, elect free market proponents and the economy will sprint forward with increased job ops and increased income for just about everyone.

As usual, government (basic income, planned economy, etc.) is not the solution to the current crisis. Government is the problem.

Re: The problem with the all robotic workforce ide (3, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about a month ago | (#47679299)

Those who still have utility value to the economy. In most cases either the very talented/creative or the rich.

With every industrial revolution new kinds of jobs come to exist. It won't just be engineers and creative geniuses with jobs. Robots can make things, and perform menial labor. They don't provide entertainment, and can't do any sort of work requiring any creativity.

As "things and menial labor" become fully automated, they simply become a small part of a very large economy, an economy that has shifted farther up the hierarchy of needs. We'll all be employed still, helping one another solve our "first world problems".

Don't like the way your apartment is decorated? You'll be able to afford to pay someone for that, since "things and menial labor" are so cheap. Confused by all your choices for wall screens and theater-quality sound systems, and don't know how to hook them up? You'll be able to afford to pay someone for that, since "things and menial labor" are so cheap. All the spa/beauty services that are luxuries today? You'll be able to afford to pay someone for that, since "things and menial labor" are so cheap.

There's already a very broad array of non-menial services available to the rich. As with every previous tech revolution, stuff available only to the rich becomes available to everyone. A century or so ago automation didn't destroy the world, because everyone could suddenly afford shoes and tableware and chairs and all sorts of stuff that used to be luxuries. After this revolution we'll all be keeping each other busy providing non-menial services to one another, not as servants but peer-to-peer (much as the culture of Lyft/Uber is different from traditional Taxis, though that particular job's life is limited by coming automation).

Re: The problem with the all robotic workforce ide (1)

mysidia (191772) | about a month ago | (#47679503)

They don't provide entertainment, and can't do any sort of work requiring any creativity.

If you watched the last part of the video, you would understand that creative robots can be made.

However.... the technological singularity approaches.

By the time the robots take over the economy We will be the robots; the essence of what makes us us will have been stored on computer media.

The robotic and cybernetic forms of humans takes over. Cybernetic in the form of: robots, with a small amount of biologically-inspired elements.

Once this happens.... the biological form of the human race will have been the only species to obsolete itself, thereby causing its own extinction.

The sun may very well be setting on the times of natural born biological humans, and rising upon the new mechanical humans.

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678863)

Us still, obviously. The question is how we want to set up ownership, responsibility. This the intelligent members of humanity have strived for for literally thousands of years.

http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/politics.1.one.html
Read part 4.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talos

The entire purpose of capitalism is to make a better world, that is why we adopted it. We could advance quicker. We are in many ways reaching a point where humans are irrelevant for large parts of the work that needs to be done. We are reaching what Marx believed would happen and upon realizing this thousands year old dream we can start to live life with more luxury, if we can somehow manage to behavior responsibility.

Here is one example of how:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guaranteed_minimum_income

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (0)

epyT-R (613989) | about a month ago | (#47679029)

Right,and that part about 'behave responsibly' is where the totalitarianism kicks in. An elite class who ends up owning the means of production 'for the people', tries to enforce its idea of 'responsibility' on them through social engineering and show-trial justice. We've already seen what happens there, quite recently in fact, and it amazes me how quickly supposedly smart people around here forget this. 'Planned economies' don't work because the ruling class views the proles as statistical machines instead of individuals with their own interests and desires. You can't dictate the latter two.

This 'minimum income' idea does not stand the test of economics 101. People respond to incentives and governments cannot dictate the market value of currency and then print as much of it as possible. This is one of the problems facing the US right now.

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about a month ago | (#47678881)

Robots would need things too such as a refined fuel source and....well, more robots.

The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678931)

You socialize the production, give people 3 day workweeks, and give them robotics to assist in their lives.

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (1)

houghi (78078) | about a month ago | (#47679257)

Sounds nice. Does not work. Otherwise there would not be some people working 80 hours and others having no job. It would be that they both would work 40.
No I do not think all people without a job are lazy. Yes, they do it in some sort of way in Europe by limiting the maximum amount of hours you can work.

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678979)

The same answer we have now: the rich people of course!

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678983)

Rich people.

When economies crash, brands go in two different directions: The first is to cheapen the product to the point at which it is affordable again. The second is to make luxury products. These two strategies target, respectively, the horizontal (budget) and vertical (luxury) portions of the demand curve. If you look at, say, Japan, everything made there is either super-cheap or super-expensive depending on how much money could be made in what areas.

(I especially like the parallel between Japanese comic books and animation - the comic books are super-cheap, printed on crap paper, and can be imported for cheaper than English-language translations. The animation is super-expensive, targeted towards the super-high-end shut-in market, and animation houses are constantly having issues with English-language subtitled releases cutting into their revenue.)

Of course, in an automation-ridden economy, you can't really cheapen products to the point where people with no money at all can afford them, so the only sustainable result is to make luxury products.

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a month ago | (#47678995)

That there's tribes living in the Amazon that aren't part of the economy aren't a drag on anyone else. If you fall out of the economy, that's more your problem than the economy's. In reality it won't come to that though, because the rich will want to have personal assistants, luxury housing, goods and services. They'll get a dress from a famous dress designer no matter what computers and robots could do. Those servants will again put money into a worker's economy. It might be severely diluted by the time it reaches you, but even in a third world African village there's a working market.

However, labor in general is like everything else in capitalism subject to supply and demand. Too much supply, too little demand and wages spiral downwards. The people who have capital may find that they're becoming richer and richer simply by doing nothing, while the workers find that labor pays less and less. On the other hand, that means those with money can hire other people to do things for them cheaply. And that's where I think his horse analogy fails, we prefer service by cars instead of service by horse. While I like some self-service, in many cases I'd prefer talking to an actual human being. It's just that personal service is expensive and so not worth the cost.

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (2)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about a month ago | (#47679051)

You're implying the means of production must by some economic law be owned by enough rich people to hire everyone else, or that the rich who own the means of production must want enough personal service to support everyone else. There's no reason to believe either of these things.

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679095)

"those with money can hire other people to do things for them cheaply."

For example: sucking their dick, providing a surface for them to wipe their feet, or being a piece of furniture.

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (1)

iONiUM (530420) | about a month ago | (#47679081)

Other robots?

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a month ago | (#47679109)

Good question, of course there will be nobody to do it, and when this question hits the economy that will be the point when capitalism suddenly implodes.

In the meantime we're trying to fill the gap by producing more products for the 1% who can still afford to buy things, but even their consumption has limits - when this realization hits the economy, the question you posed will soon after.

Re:The problem with the all robotic workforce idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679441)

Robots, duh.

Really due to productivity, not robots (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678601)

Robots increase productivity. We've had massive increases in productivity since the 70s. Yet people work more hours now than before all these productivity improvements. All the gains from the increased output has gone to the top.

It's been time for a basic income for decades!

Re: Really due to productivity, not robots (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678679)

But that would mean taxing the "job creaters" at the top something like pretty WW II tax levels to pay for it. That would be entirely unfair, they would have to either sit on smaller mountains of stored wealth or go to greater lengths to shield it from the IRS.

Re: Really due to productivity, not robots (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a month ago | (#47678821)

We squeeze it out with inflation.

Re: Really due to productivity, not robots (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679063)

Inflation hurts the middle class the most. What follows is oversimplication and wide generalizations, but mostly true.

Rich put their money in investments making more than the rate of inflation.
Middle Class put their money in savings accounts making much less than the rate of inflation, except hopefully their (typically underfunded) retirement account.
Poor live hand to mouth saving little. No money to lose value on.
Salary for the middle and lower class jobs has been stagnant, but there is employment mobility (people move up in job); I think the two likely cancel each other out, or there is a slight loss due to inflation.

Moreover, inflation is created by printing new money. That new money is introduced to the economy by the Federal Reserve giving low- or no- interest loans to the banks, who are owned by the rich.

Inflation as government monetary policy is theft from the "have nots" to the "haves." Let the market set inflation and deflation rates.

Star Trek Economy? (2)

Bodhammer (559311) | about a month ago | (#47678639)

Re:Star Trek Economy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678825)

"Star Trek Economy" is an euphemism for the good ole Marx Communism. And Asimov's Gaia conscience is what KGB was shooting for in the first place.

We're stuffed. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678643)

The main issue with robots, is that they effectively replace human utility with a capital asset. Up until now capitalism has sort of worked because every human was born with a valuable asset that could not be owned or controlled. That is changing fast and our political system is not set up to handle this. It is very sad but capitalism only made it this far because it allowed individual self interest to slightly benefit everyone. This will change that equation and return us to a time where self-interest serves the needs of those who control the wealth.

Re:We're stuffed. (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a month ago | (#47678807)

This has been the case since the Industrial Revolution. The solution back then was to ban child labor and reduce work hours. Today they are doing the opposite because they could care less about how the "poor people" live.

Re:We're stuffed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679227)

How much of *your* income do you spend making the lives of poor people? 10%? 50%? How much should *YOU* be taxed to help improve the lives of the billions of people who live in utter squalor across the world? If your answer is less than you think "they" should pay, it means that "they" is "you".

Re:We're stuffed. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679577)

How much of *your* income do you spend making the lives of poor people? 10%? 50%? How much should *YOU* be taxed to help improve the lives of the billions of people who live in utter squalor across the world? If your answer is less than you think "they" should pay, it means that "they" is "you".

I'd have absolutely no problem making "them" pay the same tax rate I do.

Re:We're stuffed. (1)

mysidia (191772) | about a month ago | (#47679565)

Up until now capitalism has sort of worked because every human was born with a valuable asset that could not be owned or controlled.

I hate to break it to you, but capitalism thrived on slavery. The slaves were largely replaced by machines, which mechanization and the industrial revolution, steam engine, etc. facilitated.

Right now, without the robots.... much of the population are essentially "wage slaves". Free in name, but bound by the need to work in exchange for $$$.

Further mechanization will put an end to businesses hiring wage slaves.

How society will handle the influx of all these freed lower and middle-class wage slaves, will be an interesting question.

We need to push full time hours down with forcedOT (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a month ago | (#47678645)

We need to push full time hours down with forced OT pay or say a 80k-100k + COL to have where you don't have to pay OT.

Start by makeing full time 32 hours a week and maybe X2 OT at 60-80 hours

Re:We need to push full time hours down with force (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678809)

It will first go the opposite as businesses that employ humans attempt to compete with robotic workers.

He's wrong about one thing, there will always be "luxury class" items that are made by human hand using classic tools & classic methods.

Re:We need to push full time hours down with force (3, Insightful)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about a month ago | (#47678935)

While I'd love the extra time off, reducing human employee's productivity & increasing their cost will only re-enforce the case for replacing them.

Re:We need to push full time hours down with force (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a month ago | (#47679287)

But do you real want bob to be working 0 hours and have jack working 60-80 all the time?
when you can have both bob and jack working 30 hours?

and lets say they are in job that you can't make into an robotic workers or that is a long way down the road.

Re:We need to push full time hours down with force (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about a month ago | (#47679603)

My comment wasn't based on what I want, just the impact of taking that approach. 70 hour weeks, on a consistent basis, are a waste no matter what. Few people can stay productive for that time. Some businesses have figured that out.

Arthur C. Clarke called it a long time ago (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678681)

Maybe it's time for the human race to stop working, and start playing.

Re:Arthur C. Clarke called it a long time ago (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a month ago | (#47678847)

And how do you suggest that they pay for the things that they want to play with? They would be jobless, after all. Or do you seriously think that a basic income would actually give people enough to do things that interest them beyond just the ability to merely exist.

Re:Arthur C. Clarke called it a long time ago (2)

KingTank (631646) | about a month ago | (#47679101)

The whole point (ultimately) of robots is that they do things for free. I mean totally free (ultimately). If they can collect energy, dig raw materials out of the ground, and build things themselves, then there's no costs involved.

Re:Arthur C. Clarke called it a long time ago (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a month ago | (#47679269)

That's all very well and good if a person has their own personal robot that can make everything that they might want.... of course, the reality is that only very rich people would have such robots, and use them to cheaply manufacture absolutely everything that the poor would still have to pay for. The "basic income" would probably not give those people any more than they need to simply continue exist, assuming it is even feasible (I suspect not, because the numbers of jobless would be too high... and with so many people not getting an income, the government would not be receiving the tax revenue necessary to continue to support them). Ultimately, I think that a future where humans are superfluous to the workforce will result in a whole lot of people starving to death, excepting those that are able to steal enough to live.

Re:Arthur C. Clarke called it a long time ago (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a month ago | (#47679323)

Or do you seriously think that a basic income would actually give people enough to do things that interest them beyond just the ability to merely exist.

Why not?

You should also consider that much of the money made working goes into continuing to work. The costs of commuting and paying others to do things you don't have time for are nothing to scoff at if you're making anywhere near minimum wage.

Re:Arthur C. Clarke called it a long time ago (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a month ago | (#47679533)

Why do you think it would? Recall here that we are talking about what is realistically going to be about a 45% unemployment rate. Why would any government give people who cannot work, however much it may be because of no fault of their own, any more money than what they need to simply survive? Bear in mind that with fewer people working, the government will not be pulling as much tax revenue, making it that much harder for a government to continue to even support all of the jobless.

Re:Arthur C. Clarke called it a long time ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678865)

Not Clarke, Huxley. You'll play if you're lucky.

Re:Arthur C. Clarke called it a long time ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679125)

A brave new world solved the underclass problem by engineering the underclasses so that they only found happiness in their assigned roles. They wouldn't WANT to play.

Re:Arthur C. Clarke called it a long time ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679509)

Oh whatever. And do you really think luck has anything to do with it?

The Venus Project (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678691)

Apropos:

http://www.thevenusproject.com

Re:The Venus Project (1)

PPH (736903) | about a month ago | (#47678927)

I thought this [wikipedia.org] is the Venus project to which you referred.

I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords... (4, Insightful)

meta-monkey (321000) | about a month ago | (#47678705)

For once that meme is actually on topic!

I think something like basic income is inevitable. We have it now, it's called Section 8 and food stamps. And as joblessness increases those programs will steadily expand until, well fuck it, just give everybody enough money to buy basic food and housing and be done with it. There's no reason for anybody to go homeless or hungry in America. We pay farmers not to grow food and we have more empty foreclosed-on houses than we have homeless people. There's got to be a way to match that up.

"But teh socialisms!!11!one!1!!" Well, the alternative is teh riotz!!!1!!

The transition is going to be ugly but it's bound to happen. In the meantime, we computer programmer types will be fine until the singularity, and it'll still be quite awhile before robots can fix a busted water pipe so the trades can still provide a living. But transportation? Gone. Manufacturing? Gone. Knowledge work? Gone.

The future will be awesome or terrible.

Re:I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678945)

I think something like basic income is inevitable. We have it now, it's called Section 8 and food stamps.

Actually, it's called Ferguson, Missouri. Idle hands are the Devil's tinsnips.

Re:I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679303)

Are you advocating replacing the police force with robots? That would actually be extremely awesome, as it would be redundant enough to where no party could compromise every officer, but with open source software and auditing we can ensure the programming for the robocops would not ever shoot unarmed people for no reason.

Re:I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679553)

Apparently, the evidence from general modeling and the few tests is that a universal basic income would be cheaper to pay for, out of plain old tax dollars, than total cost including bureaucracy of section 8 and food stamps. Deciding who deserves it is the more expensive part by far than actually giving it.

That "Creative" Robotic Music Sucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678743)

Halfway through the video I was wondering why the background music was so obnoxious, and I got my answer before the video finished - robots suck at being creative.

In a nutshelll (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a month ago | (#47678749)

The sky is falling and there isn't a damn thing anybody is going to do to change it... if you have one of the top 45% kinds of jobs, too bad so sad... you're just going to have to starve, because unemployment insurance will not be able to support the massive numbers of people that will be jobless.

Granted, he doesn't come out and actually *say* that... but I honestly believe that may as well have.

The video would have been served well by spending a few minutes at the end of it making practical suggestions about what people might do in the changing world to keep themselves relevant, but the way the video stands right now, it just seems like needless fear-mongering about the future. Maybe he's entirely right, but even if he is, what good will it do us today to worry about it, since there doesn't seem to be a damn thing that actually *can* be done?

Re:In a nutshelll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678953)

People likely won't take starving lying down.

Re:In a nutshelll (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | about a month ago | (#47678977)

CGP Grey is all about presenting factual well-researched information about a topic, going so far as to speculate which jobs might be replaced by bots is in and of itself a substantial step beyond what he typically presents in his videos. I think proposing his own solutions to a problem that hasn't happened yet would turn an interesting presentation of information into something with an agenda.

I find it interesting that people see the video as fear-mongering since it's presented very neutral as to the good or bad that will come of the bot based revolution, it's left as an exercise for the user because... who is he to plan our future, he's merely the messenger.

Re:In a nutshelll (2)

wannabgeek (323414) | about a month ago | (#47679523)

So just because someone doesn't have a solution, they shouldn't attempt to raise awareness about a problem? I bet you're a manager.

Re:In a nutshelll (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a month ago | (#47679595)

When the problem doesn't even pretend have a solution that doesn't involve mass death, effective slavery of the poor, or anything else in between, what good does raising awareness now do? Where would the motivation for young people come from to even *TRY* to learn more than what they know right now if they feel that absolutely anything that they might try to do will only inevitably result in them being unemployable? Recall that we are talking about a 45% unemployment rate here.

Re:In a nutshelll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679531)

Maybe you've been living under a rock for the past 5 years? Word on the street is Basic Income. Word of the video is "let's come up with some more ideas!". The end result is either enslavement of the masses by the extremely rich or utopia. If we want to increase the chances of the later, we need to think about the problem and spread the word.

By the way, if you're wondering about what could be in between here and there, there's many fictions on the subject. I personally like Oryx and Crake, where the few people who have useful jobs get sponsored by corporations and everyone else lives in the slums. These are exciting times.

Re:In a nutshelll (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a month ago | (#47679551)

The end result is either enslavement of the masses by the extremely rich or utopia. If we want to increase the chances of the later, we need to think about the problem and spread the word.

Why, when there's apparently absolutely nothing that can be done to prevent it? If Gray is right, then the former is all but inevitable.

Whores. (3, Insightful)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a month ago | (#47678757)

No, really, whores. As bad as it might be to stick your pink bits into a complete stranger's body rather than some sex-bot, that'll pretty much be the last profession as well as the oldest.

Now, one might imagine that automation eventually makes sex bots so cheap as to compete with the 20 dollar half and half, but simply on material costs alone I think you hit a constraint.

Re:Whores. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679201)

Yeah, but you can only rent a whore. Sexbots can be owned. You also alluded to some of the other benefits: no biological contaminants (except yours), no pregnancies, no pimps, no commitment, and no trouble with your conscience. People would be willing to pay more for all of these added features.

Re:Whores. (0)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a month ago | (#47679473)

It's not about how much people are willing to pay, it's about how cheap a useful sexbot can become - and there's a limit on that. There very well may be a market for sex bots, but so long as a useful sexbot is more expensive than a street whore, street whores will still have a job.

The last six jobs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678837)

Machine learning engineers, robotics engineers, project managers, pimps, prostitutes, and politicians.

Re:The last six jobs (2)

Thud457 (234763) | about a month ago | (#47679219)

Your list was redundant, I fixed it for you.

The last four jobs:
Machine learning engineers, robotics engineers, pimps and prostitutes.

It was Automation (2, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a month ago | (#47678883)

I know [youtube.com] ...

Prices should have been going down all these years, but we let the financial markets drive the economy. It's like a rain forest canopy of money, all flowing over our heads with barely a trickle down

How will the future... (3, Funny)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about a month ago | (#47678909)

In the view of CEOs and super-richs:

The world will be populated by a hundred (or slightly less) of super-rich people, surrounded by thousands and thousands of robots. Around them you will see billions of bones of those who failed to buy private robotic armies to protect them.

But this will be temporary, because shortly after that hundred will turn against each other, after all greed has no limits . They will kill each other as greed commands, and when the last survivor die of old age will be left only the robots.

Re:How will the future... (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a month ago | (#47679355)

Bones everywhere? That's ridiculous!

They'll be collected by the robots and made into elaborate thrones.

Be afraid... Be very afraid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678921)

I think Dice is going to sell Slashdot to Reddit...

It's nice knowing you all, thanks for being my friends over the last 15 years...

Saw the video, not buying the premise. (4, Insightful)

sstamps (39313) | about a month ago | (#47678933)

As with many overly-optimistic/pessimistic navel-gazes, there are numerous factors which were excluded from consideration in the video.

Beyond the simple fact that we're still quite far away from this post-human productivity apocalypse, considering the current state of the technology, the simple fact of the matter is that it will take a LOT of human physical and mental labor to bring it about. Even then, there will still be a need for humans to plan and make decisions, as well as deal with the exceptions that the machines still won't be able to cope with as yet.

So, while the video may be an interesting take on the subject matter, and it is something that we /should/ be mindful of going forward, I do not believe it is quite the existential threat the video makes it out to be.

Re:Saw the video, not buying the premise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679263)

You don't expect to be alive 100 years from now, that's fine. Some of us hope to have centenarian children though. This is certainly a "before 2100" change. Your 10-year mindset is too shortsighted.

Heh, captcha: 'humped' - the one thing the bots are not likely to do with our... enthusiasm.

Re:Saw the video, not buying the premise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679331)

...that it will take a LOT of human physical and mental labor to bring it about. Even then, there will still be a need for humans to plan and make decisions, as well as deal with the exceptions that the machines still won't be able to cope with as yet.

Define "a LOT".

And the trouble is that there isn't a one to one or even a 10 to 1 replacement of robots/automation to workers.

A very small fraction of people will be needed to implement and maintain the new technology. I've seen it happen at the Doraville GM plant (which closed years ago). And the robots were maintained by electricians - the guys who wire your house eletricians with a bit more training. No need at all for BSEEs or anything like that. One team of engineers, sales people, managers, etc ... ( what a hundred people) will replace tens of thousands maybe hundreds of thousands.

There seems to be this attitude that all workers displaced will just move on to something else. Well, the robots/automation are moving into everything else too.

And what about the people who get left behind? Does anyone think they'll just shrug their shoulders and say, "Oh well! That's just how things are! I guess I just gotta suck it up!"

No. There will be riots and extreme civil unrest. Our economy will collapse because it is 70% consumption.

My main concern ... (2)

MacTO (1161105) | about a month ago | (#47678955)

At the end of the day, it is humans that control the bots. So unlike the cited example of horses, we are not going to be replaced. All of our jobs may be replaced, and a great many jobs have already been replaced. That is my main concern.

Now this isn't a concern about people having a place in society. We can do that without defining ourselves by our work. Rather my concern is about what we do.

A great many people will find constructive things to do. Think of our hobbies. Many will find neutral things to do. Think of passive consumption. Yet there will also be people who find destructive things to do. There always have been, and always will be, that type of person. The problem is that the bots will free up time for those destructive self-indulgers. How are we going to control that? Then again, maybe that's a job for robocop.

My main concern ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679203)

Last I heard, reducing poverty pretty much universally reduces violence as well. You want to stop people engaging in destructive behavior, the first step is to give them a society that is comfortable to live in, instead of constantly stressful.

perhaps it isn't technology (1)

ebyrob (165903) | about a month ago | (#47678957)

Anyone think that perhaps the most recent spates of unemployment have more to do with bad forsight, planning, and some theft rather than the fact that we've made ourselves obsolete? When's the last time you went out to eat at a sit-down restaurant? Just how many of the staff there had been replaced by technology?

(Maybe an accountant, if that)

added bonus : an ideal vector for MERS (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about a month ago | (#47679119)

You want $15 an hour?!! FUCK YOU [chilis.com] is what you get!

Re:perhaps it isn't technology (1)

Daetrin (576516) | about a month ago | (#47679139)

No one is claiming that recent unemployment is due to mass robotic replacements. It's something that's about to start happening soon when the stuff that's currently in the research pipeline hits the market.

Restaurants may not have replaced their employees with robots yet, but it's coming: http://money.cnn.com/2014/05/2... [cnn.com]

Re:perhaps it isn't technology (2)

mbone (558574) | about a month ago | (#47679371)

Restaurants may not have replaced their employees with robots yet, but it's coming: http://money.cnn.com/2014/05/2... [cnn.com]

Yes, and if supermarket automation is any guide, what it will really mean is that you will have to bus your own tables.

gn44 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678963)

name on the j4r of This poSt brought fly...don't fear

labour cost (2)

roman_mir (125474) | about a month ago | (#47679025)

Of-course humans need not apply, the mob votes in politicians that routinely increase cost of buying labour and of-course this is what happens as a response [phys.org] . Governments made humans extremely unproductive, I am explaining this in my comments, of-course getting moderated to nothing, but hey, probably the messenger needs to be shot in the economy where this message is unacceptable because the only acceptable messages are those, that put the blame for the complete failures of centrally governed economies on the free market capitalism.

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=5534639&cid=47669939 [slashdot.org]

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=5519455&cid=47652683 [slashdot.org]

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=5534639&cid=47671781 [slashdot.org]

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=5509921&cid=47635121 [slashdot.org]

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=5509921&cid=47635141 [slashdot.org]

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=5509921&cid=47635157 [slashdot.org]

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=5509921&cid=47635195 [slashdot.org]

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=5509921&cid=47635223 [slashdot.org]

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=5509921&cid=47635305 [slashdot.org]

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=5509921&cid=47635363 [slashdot.org]

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=5509921&cid=47635403 [slashdot.org]

The automation is not a problem, the problem is that there are not enough new businesses that are created. In 2014 in USA more businesses shutdown than were created for the first time probably since the foundation of the Republic. The reasons are of-course politically incorrect and have to do with the destruction of the US dollar by the government and the Federal reserve and the growth of government (all the spending, all the welfare state nonsense, the business regulations, the taxes, and of-course all the wars).

Many of the jobs need to be automated away to allow human resources to be allocated more efficiently. However many of the jobs cannot be automated practically and their automation only becomes a possibility when the cost of labour exceeds the cost of automation in the long run by a wide margin, which is what is actually happening with all the government rules, laws, taxes, welfare, wars.

You want to solve the problem? YOU DO NOT STEAL MORE with nonsense like 'basic income', you allow people to be free from the mob to create new ideas and start new businesses and there will be no shortage of jobs.

Singapore has less than 1% unemployment, there is no minimum wage but the per-capita wages are highest in the world.

Re:labour cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679563)

Singapore also has capital punishment on a whim for disagreeing with a police officer, politician, or whoever else has more authority than you. Since you have self-identified as a "I'm just not a millionaire YET" slave, you should know that your own lack of insight is no reason to sabotage those of us who realize our positions and want to move up. You instead wish to hold as many people back as possible, while the already ultra-wealthy keep rising higher. You and many supplicants do this every day. Please stop worshipping your own demise.

Re: labour cost (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a month ago | (#47679623)

What's so special about NEW companies? Existing companies with similar niches can fill voids if there is a demand. Consumption is the current bottleneck, not ideas nor capital.

Cotton Gin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679069)

I'm sure that the same things were said when the Cotton Gin, steam engines, Cars, automated harvesting, powered looms & computers were becoming commonplace. I doubt many in society would claim their existences was a determinant to society today. I'm sure there will be difficulties associated with the change. But just think if as a species we had scoffed at so many of our accomplishments in automation? We'd still be building earthen buildings by hand (no sawmills for lumber or brick/metal plants) and harvesting grains by ripping them out of the ground (the Cradle Scythe alone freed 10 people for other tasks).

Re:Cotton Gin (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | about a month ago | (#47679161)

You may have a point here. Rather than having robots manufacture more and more of our products, perhaps we should just build bigger and bigger things. Floating cities? Death Stars?

Does this mean we can send back... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679321)

... all the non-whites, who have invaded our countries over the past fifty years, since we now no longer need them 'to do the jobs white people won't do' (sarcasm) ?

Are Africans building their own robots too?

Oh, wait...

Assumes unlimited fossil fuels (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679397)

This all assumes unlimited fossil fuels to build the bots, and the chip factories to make the chips to run them, and the transportation infrastructure etc. I would guess we'll run out of the needed fuels long before we are all replaced by bots. My guess is as fossil fuels become more expensive and scarce, it will be more cost effect to go back to human and animal muscle. But the next 10 - 20 years will be tough. I'm not worried about bots. And to another posters point, Even Henry Ford realized he needed employees and to pay them a decent wage, just so there would be people to buy the cars.

Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut (2)

hughbar (579555) | about a month ago | (#47679481)

This comes up nearly every year on slashdot. And very year I post this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] Like all Vonnegut, this is a great read BTW.

Perhaps next year a robot can post this for me? Or maybe just a plain bot would be simpler without the 'ro'?

What will fix all of this is WWIII (1)

Xaedalus (1192463) | about a month ago | (#47679485)

A really BIG world-war, with die-offs in the millions. Once that's done, we won't need to worry about a post-human economy. Everything will be right-sized... whether we like it or not.

Why do will still call it AI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679507)

We know enough now to understand we should call it SI.

Mechanical muscles vs. mechanical minds (1)

dr.newton (648217) | about a month ago | (#47679549)

That distinction reminded me of the Butlerian Jihad from Dune. The backlash against thinking machines caused humanity to destroy them and forbid their creation.

I always wondered how you draw the line between the two. Seems like the video is no advocating drawing a line at all, but instead just accepting that this will happen and planning for it, because "economics always wins".

Hard to argue with the prediction that most humans will be unemployable at some point in the future.

Dinosaurs & Birds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679617)

This was already supposed to have come to pass during the dot-com boom. Computer programs were going to replace all information workers and there would be mass unemployment. While this continues to happen in some areas, the number of jobs created in this process as well resulted in a vast net increase.
Automation will increasingly be utilized for tactical roles, it will increase the demand for jobs working on more complex problems, some of which haven't even been conceived yet.
We are already seeing today that the key to survival in the information age is continuous education. Relying on a skillset acquired in a different age didn't work out well for the dinosaurs, but a few were agile enough to adapt and thrive as birds.

Economic fallacies repeat themselves over and over (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679619)

And this video is yet another example... Reminds me of Henry Hazlitt's wonderful book "Economics in One Lesson"

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>