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  #501  
Old 03-16-2016, 01:03 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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But in order to sensibly use the new discoveries you need scientists to interpret the discoveries. Sure, you put your system to work on analyzing some physical process, and it spits out some equations that can describe it. What do you do with those equations? How did you know what physical processes to point your system at?

Agreed that it changes the job of a scientist. It sort of moves science from the hunter-gatherer stage to the agricultural stage. Instead of going out and trying to understand things out in the world you're looking at the computer analysis of stuff and trying to figure out what the computers are saying. That doesn't mean less work for scientists, it could mean a lot more work for scientists or scientist-ish type professions.
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  #502  
Old 03-16-2016, 02:14 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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Originally Posted by WordMan View Post
From a NYTimes Op-Ed by a couple of M.I.T. Prof's - this is about the AlphaGo victories I had started a thread about in IMHO, but this seems to relate more directly to our coming robot overlords:
[bolding mine]

So this Go victory seems like the latest step in this ongoing discussion.
Yeah, I read that. This way of learning games is not new. Samuel's checker playing program became a world champion though learning - he played various versions against each other. Of course Go is a lot more complex than checkers - but the first version of the checkers program came out in 1959.

Cite.
I think it is interesting that the concept that computers can learn is still news to people. It shows that many still think that computers blindly follow preset programming, which hasn't been true for almost 50 years at least.
  #503  
Old 03-16-2016, 07:07 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
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What I found interesting in the article is that bit about a piece of software called "Viv" ... successor to Siri, they said ... that has the potential to automate all phone support and phone customer service jobs ... destroying 250 million jobs worldwide. That create a bit of bother, I suspect.
  #504  
Old 03-16-2016, 09:16 PM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
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That NPR jobs chart is awesome.

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Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
But in order to sensibly use the new discoveries you need scientists to interpret the discoveries. Sure, you put your system to work on analyzing some physical process, and it spits out some equations that can describe it. What do you do with those equations? How did you know what physical processes to point your system at?

Agreed that it changes the job of a scientist. It sort of moves science from the hunter-gatherer stage to the agricultural stage. Instead of going out and trying to understand things out in the world you're looking at the computer analysis of stuff and trying to figure out what the computers are saying. That doesn't mean less work for scientists, it could mean a lot more work for scientists or scientist-ish type professions.
I suppose there could be continuity in terms of there continuing to be people in white coats hanging around the computers and thinking of themselves as scientists. But I expect it won't be long at all before they are about as much scientists, in the way we would think of that role now, as my three year old is an orchestra conductor because he has an iPad app that allows him to tap various sections of an animated orchestra and get them to start playing. IOW, the machines will be like "aww, it's cute that you think you are doing the science". Or maybe they won't have that kind of personality and will just impassively do all the work without thinking too much about how superfluous their human attendants really are.

Last edited by SlackerInc; 03-16-2016 at 09:17 PM.
  #505  
Old 03-17-2016, 12:56 AM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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Yeah, I read that. This way of learning games is not new. Samuel's checker playing program became a world champion though learning - he played various versions against each other. Of course Go is a lot more complex than checkers - but the first version of the checkers program came out in 1959.

Cite.
I think it is interesting that the concept that computers can learn is still news to people. It shows that many still think that computers blindly follow preset programming, which hasn't been true for almost 50 years at least.
Sorry for responding to myself, but I just had time to read the whole thing in the dead tree edition, and it is about the dumbest thing I've ever seen come out of MIT, and I include the stupid porn parody we put in our dorm magazine.
It appears they seem to think Deep Blue works by indexing chess positions, and, gee whiz, there are a lot of them. Duh. They seem to think neural networks are something new and revolutionary, where all data mining tools I've seen, including open source ones, include neural networks.
One is a professor of management, and one is a principal research scientist, whatever that means, and at least one of them seems to have learned Basic at some time in the past and thinks he is an expert.

Well, I suspect a batch of people from the AI Lab will wander over to whatever building number houses the business school and dope slap these clowns into next week.
  #506  
Old 03-17-2016, 05:48 AM
WordMan WordMan is online now
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Whether neural networks are novel is not the point. It appears that they are saying that neural networks, or Deep Learning, have been able to become bigger, faster, etc. as computing power has increased. So the ability to handle the complexities of Go are possible now, unlike 50 years ago and checkers.

Same approach, but whole new level of capacity and performance. And as that complexity increases, we are learning how that approach represents a way to overcome that paradox in new areas of capability.

Again, I am not an AI guy - that is my read of that Op Ed. If incorrect, or if the AlphaGo innovations are different, I would appreciate hearing about it.

Last edited by WordMan; 03-17-2016 at 05:50 AM.
  #507  
Old 03-17-2016, 11:30 AM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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Whether neural networks are novel is not the point. It appears that they are saying that neural networks, or Deep Learning, have been able to become bigger, faster, etc. as computing power has increased. So the ability to handle the complexities of Go are possible now, unlike 50 years ago and checkers.

Same approach, but whole new level of capacity and performance. And as that complexity increases, we are learning how that approach represents a way to overcome that paradox in new areas of capability.

Again, I am not an AI guy - that is my read of that Op Ed. If incorrect, or if the AlphaGo innovations are different, I would appreciate hearing about it.
My argument is with the column, not with the researchers, who certainly know better. The column's point is that "this changes everything - computers can learn!" as if this were new.
As we get more computing power and refine search and learning strategies we can play more complex games - tic-tac-toe in the '50s, checkers in the '60s, chess in the '80s, and go today. Learning the rules of go is cool, but my understanding is that go is a very complex game with very simple rules - so I'm not sure how relevant this is to the real world.

Watson was far more impressive.
  #508  
Old 03-18-2016, 05:48 PM
sleestak sleestak is offline
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My argument is with the column, not with the researchers, who certainly know better. The column's point is that "this changes everything - computers can learn!" as if this were new.
As we get more computing power and refine search and learning strategies we can play more complex games - tic-tac-toe in the '50s, checkers in the '60s, chess in the '80s, and go today. Learning the rules of go is cool, but my understanding is that go is a very complex game with very simple rules - so I'm not sure how relevant this is to the real world.

Watson was far more impressive.
Yeah, the rules of Go are pretty simple. In fact I can teach you the rules in a few minutes which is one of the things that, imho, makes it beautiful. However, I am with you on the not sure how big of a deal this is going to be in other areas. The reason is that the A.I., while impressive, is probably not flexable without retraining.

What I mean by that is this. Take Go which has a rule for a position called Ko. In a Ko, each player can take then retake the same stones forever. To get around this a rule was put into place which is rather simple. If player A takes a Ko, then player B cannot make his next move to retake the Ko. This gives Player A the time to resolve the Ko without running into an infinite loop. If the Ko position is big enough, it can dominate the whole game where A takes the Ko then B makes some other big threat, A responds to the threat and B takes the Ko back. Then A starts it again by trying to make a big enough threat to B so that B will have to ignore the Ko allowing A to retake it. Lather, rinse repeat. This is called a Ko fight.

Anyway, I suspect that with AlphaGo if you changed the rules to where, for example, if a Ko arises the person who took the Ko has to resolve it on their next move by rule, then AlphaGo would have to go retrain to learn how to play with the new rule. A highly ranked player would be able to adjust to the new rule pretty much instantly and weaker players probably wouldn't have many problems with it either.

Of course, I could be wrong about AlphaGo and how it would handle the situation.

Slee
  #509  
Old 03-18-2016, 09:26 PM
Tangent Tangent is online now
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That NPR jobs chart is awesome.
Link?
  #510  
Old 03-18-2016, 09:45 PM
Mijin Mijin is offline
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What I mean by that is this. Take Go which has a rule for a position called Ko. In a Ko, each player can take then retake the same stones forever. To get around this a rule was put into place which is rather simple. If player A takes a Ko, then player B cannot make his next move to retake the Ko. This gives Player A the time to resolve the Ko without running into an infinite loop. If the Ko position is big enough, it can dominate the whole game where A takes the Ko then B makes some other big threat, A responds to the threat and B takes the Ko back. Then A starts it again by trying to make a big enough threat to B so that B will have to ignore the Ko allowing A to retake it. Lather, rinse repeat. This is called a Ko fight.

Anyway, I suspect that with AlphaGo if you changed the rules to where, for example, if a Ko arises the person who took the Ko has to resolve it on their next move by rule, then AlphaGo would have to go retrain to learn how to play with the new rule. A highly ranked player would be able to adjust to the new rule pretty much instantly and weaker players probably wouldn't have many problems with it either.

Of course, I could be wrong about AlphaGo and how it would handle the situation.
I disagree with this analysis.

Although players would have no issue with learning the rules of Go-no-ko (let's call the modified version that ), they would not play their best game of that version immediately.
Players who are masters of ko fights would have to jettison such strategies, and instead adapt to a reality where losing players can sometimes force a draw by repetition.

Meanwhile AlphaGo's level improved at a spectacular rate in the last few months between beating the euro champion and lee seedol (which, as others have pointed out, is the reason for mr seedol's over-confidence: based on its past games it was not that strong a player).
It will learn go-no-ko strategies very quickly: at this stage, I'd be willing to bet faster than humans will.

As a final point, in the example you've picked the game has an additional way of terminating: draw by repetition (or if go-no-ko doesn't allow draw by repetition, infinite repitition). This makes the game somewhat easier for AI, because it will prune some of the search branches.

Last edited by Mijin; 03-18-2016 at 09:48 PM.
  #511  
Old 03-18-2016, 09:56 PM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
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Link?
I thought it was supplied a few posts above mine, but now I don't see it. It was from another thread, someone edited it out of their post, or I hallucinated it! Sorry.
  #512  
Old 03-19-2016, 07:38 AM
Ruken Ruken is online now
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Link?
http://www.npr.org/sections/money/20...class-and-poor
We were both posting elsewhere, and I think SlackerInc got the threads crossed.
  #513  
Old 03-19-2016, 07:39 AM
Ruken Ruken is online now
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That's most common jobs by personal income decile. I'd like to know how that has changed over time.
  #514  
Old 03-19-2016, 02:14 PM
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Thanks!
  #515  
Old 03-19-2016, 02:16 PM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
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http://www.npr.org/sections/money/20...class-and-poor
We were both posting elsewhere, and I think SlackerInc got the threads crossed.
That must be it. Sorry for the confusion!
  #516  
Old 03-19-2016, 03:32 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
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Royal Bank of Scotland fires 220 employees, replaces them with "robo-advisers."

Looks like the inroads are already being made into middle management.
  #517  
Old 03-20-2016, 03:42 AM
chappachula chappachula is offline
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Royal Bank of Scotland fires 220 employees, replaces them with "robo-advisers."
In this case, I wouldn't say that it's a sign of the future, and -oh myGod- the robots are replacing people.

I would look at it like any other cased layoffs at a factory. They were losing money, so they just laid off the night shift. (or , in this case, the shift of workers who were not strictly needed and who did not produce any directly measurable income for the company.)

Yes, they try to spin it as a postive thing, by advertising "look!!!! you can use our website!!!
(But the website is probably just a standard, off-the-shelf financial calculator progam that you could google by yourself anyway.)

The bank just decided to cut costs by not offering perks to the customers who don't have enough money to be of interest to upper management. Note that they did not lay off the advisors who deal with the rich customers.

Last edited by chappachula; 03-20-2016 at 03:44 AM.
  #518  
Old 03-20-2016, 08:41 AM
iLemming iLemming is offline
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I heard it recently prognosticated that it's possible that by 2030 (that's 2030), 90% of the global workforce could be supplanted by machines. That's not just ATM's and junk food drive-throughs -- that's practically everything, save for a few sectors that inherently require human interaction (..at least until "A.I." is born).

If this seemingly extreme forecast is even somewhat accurate, we're all going to be experiencing mass redundancies and in a turnover time frame that's far too short for societies to adjust to. This will result in societal instability and malaise. That is, unless governments institute pre-emptive legislation to protecting the jobs under threat. For we know corporations will always find the path of most "productivity" (read: cost-cutting) - due to the universal human foible dubbed "greed", cosseted by capitalism - and so cannot be relid upon to transition any such potential seismic shift smoothly. Just look at Detroit for how well it has "transitioned" from 'The Motor City' of the 70's to something that today more resembles the Dystopic depictions in films like The Road...!

Much like global warming modelling, science does not have the precedent to accurately gauge these future events; which means that events which may seem like a hundred years away today, could well be only a couple of decades in in the rear view mirror. Especially when it comes to computing -- it's progress can and generally is exponential, almost always outstripping conservative estimations of what is achievable (see: governments playing catch-up with hackers and cyber warfare). If, for example, quantum computing emerged, it would be a whole new ball game -- what seems impossible measured against today's tech and relative progress, can be completely blown out of the water with computing power / speed the likes of which said advancement will yield.

I highly doubt robots will takeover peacefully. Not so much that we'll be meeting them at our respective 'Conord Bridges' (...though, that may happen centuries down the track), but rather that we'll likely be fighting each other. For we all know what people without anything to do (i.e., purpose) are like and susceptible to... and I'm quite certain the Donald Drumpfs of the world won't be rushing to offer $100K handouts to the proletariat to keep them happy, contented and in decent living standards.

Last edited by iLemming; 03-20-2016 at 08:44 AM.
  #519  
Old 03-20-2016, 07:36 PM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
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They won't be rushing to, but (as I keep trying to insist to Captor) they won't have a choice, because voters will be rushing to force them to.
  #520  
Old 03-20-2016, 10:48 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
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They won't be rushing to, but (as I keep trying to insist to Captor) they won't have a choice, because voters will be rushing to force them to.
I don't share your optimism, but I hope you are right.
  #521  
Old 03-20-2016, 11:07 PM
Mijin Mijin is offline
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That is, unless governments institute pre-emptive legislation to protecting the jobs under threat.
Maybe as a temporary measure to ease the transition. But ultimately, paying people to do "busywork" benefits nobody.

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For we know corporations will always find the path of most "productivity" (read: cost-cutting) - due to the universal human foible dubbed "greed", cosseted by capitalism - and so cannot be relid upon to transition any such potential seismic shift smoothly.
Increasing productivity is of course a good thing, and directly affects how many goods and services you and I can afford.

Quote:
Especially when it comes to computing -- it's progress can and generally is exponential, almost always outstripping conservative estimations of what is achievable (see: governments playing catch-up with hackers and cyber warfare). If, for example, quantum computing emerged, it would be a whole new ball game -- what seems impossible measured against today's tech and relative progress, can be completely blown out of the water with computing power / speed the likes of which said advancement will yield.
Quantum computers are inferior to ordinary semiconductor-based computers for most operations. They are useful for a relatively narrow set of operations, so they will augment, not supercede.
Most pundits think Moore's law is coming to the end of its life now. But we're experiencing something of a revolution in software...though this will be more disruptive than just increases in processor speed have been / could be.

Quote:
Not so much that we'll be meeting them at our respective 'Conord Bridges' (...though, that may happen centuries down the track), but rather that we'll likely be fighting each other. For we all know what people without anything to do (i.e., purpose) are like and susceptible to... and I'm quite certain the Donald Drumpfs of the world won't be rushing to offer $100K handouts to the proletariat to keep them happy, contented and in decent living standards.
If I read right I think you're saying humans vs humans and I would agree with you. They'll be a lot of pissed off people and nothing really to vent that anger at.

Of all the developed countries, American society is arguably one of the worst placed. There is a deep cultural shame in accepting "handouts", and contempt for "freeloaders".
Plus jobs are seen as an end in themselves, maybe even a moral imperative.
  #522  
Old 03-21-2016, 01:53 AM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
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Yes, that "Protestant work ethic" runs deep here, and makes it difficult for people to be sensible about the changes coming to society. But when they really have to, they will. They may not be happy about it, and it may lead to a lot of social dysfunction, but they are not going to stubbornly let half the country or more be destitute.
  #523  
Old 03-21-2016, 12:11 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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90% of jobs globally in 14 years? That's not happening.

And as I keep pointing out, if all the jobs are being done by robots/automation, then it doesn't cost the mega-wealthy anything to give all the useless masses $100,000 a year guaranteed income. It would be one thing if Bill Gates had to pay 90% taxes to fund welfare for everyone. Except the reason the masses won't have jobs is because everything is produced by automation, which means the factories are running themselves, which means nobody needs to work, which means free goods and services for everyone.

Again, if the goods and services aren't free, that means unemployed humans will be scratching in the dirt trying to provide those goods and services for themselves, which means they'll have jobs as scavengers and subsistence farmers, which means no robot jobs holocaust. If the masses are starving in the gutter because they don't have jobs they'll be building themselves shantytowns and stitching up ragged clothing and scavenging for food, which means jobs for humans as builders and tailors and farmers.

If you're dressed in rags you get your Mom to sew up the rips in your shirt. That's economic activity. If your Mom doesn't bother to sew up your ragged clothes it's because a robot can do it cheaper than your Mom. Of course that doesn't mean a robot comes to your house with a needle and thread, it more likely means that new clothes are rolling out of the factories at such a low price that it's easier to throw out your old shirt than repair it. And if you're starving in the gutter, that low price has to be essentially free, or it wouldn't make sense.
  #524  
Old 03-22-2016, 05:55 AM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
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90% of jobs globally in 14 years? That's not happening.

And as I keep pointing out, if all the jobs are being done by robots/automation, then it doesn't cost the mega-wealthy anything to give all the useless masses $100,000 a year guaranteed income. It would be one thing if Bill Gates had to pay 90% taxes to fund welfare for everyone. Except the reason the masses won't have jobs is because everything is produced by automation, which means the factories are running themselves, which means nobody needs to work, which means free goods and services for everyone.

Again, if the goods and services aren't free, that means unemployed humans will be scratching in the dirt trying to provide those goods and services for themselves, which means they'll have jobs as scavengers and subsistence farmers, which means no robot jobs holocaust. If the masses are starving in the gutter because they don't have jobs they'll be building themselves shantytowns and stitching up ragged clothing and scavenging for food, which means jobs for humans as builders and tailors and farmers.

If you're dressed in rags you get your Mom to sew up the rips in your shirt. That's economic activity. If your Mom doesn't bother to sew up your ragged clothes it's because a robot can do it cheaper than your Mom. Of course that doesn't mean a robot comes to your house with a needle and thread, it more likely means that new clothes are rolling out of the factories at such a low price that it's easier to throw out your old shirt than repair it. And if you're starving in the gutter, that low price has to be essentially free, or it wouldn't make sense.
I think you are being too picky here by being too expansive in your definition of "job". If we use your definition, doesn't everyone have a job, all the time? Then words like "jobless" or "unemployed" get defined out of existence. I doubt the people who lived in Hoovervilles would have agreed that they were employed.

In an automated, or mostly automated, future, I definitely don't believe the one percent are going to let people, in Drumpf's verbiage, "die in the streets", nor do I think the people in charge of the police and military (or their future automated equivalents) would let the one percent get away with that even if they did want to. In that respect I think Captor and some others have far too dour a view. (Hell, some people have even painted a picture of the elites killing the poor en masse, Third Reich style, which seems even more wildly pessimistic.)

But I do think the range of more realistic possibilities includes a relatively pessimistic scenario, particularly in a transitional phase, in which the masses of people without jobs (in the sense most people would agree on: getting significant monetary compensation for work on a regular schedule) would only be grudgingly granted the barest of safety nets, while being chided and shamed for not "pulling their own weight". Whereas the same technological and economic conditions could also support a much more generous universal income without jeopardizing the lifestyles of the rich. And we may well see some bouncing back and forth between those ends of the spectrum from election to election before it all sorts itself out.

Last edited by SlackerInc; 03-22-2016 at 05:57 AM.
  #525  
Old 03-22-2016, 11:25 AM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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I guess I agree with you. I'm just saying that with the productivity gains via automation the "barest of safety nets" becomes a lot more survivable.

I don't think this will mostly be provided by giving jobless people stacks of money. Rather most will be done because services that used to be expensive to provide will be given away for free or nearly free. Craigslist is the model I'm thinking of. 30 years ago classified ads were expensive. Today they are free. Today if you want to get your cancer diagnosed it's expensive. 30 years from now it might be free. Not because the government taxed rich people at confiscatory rates and handed stacks of money to the poors, but because having an already built expert system process one more image has a marginal cost of zero.

So the poors might have a small guaranteed income or something, but increasingly the goods and services they'll need won't have a price tag attached.
  #526  
Old 03-22-2016, 11:42 AM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
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Right, good points. You're reminding me why I hated that movie Elysium so much.
  #527  
Old 03-22-2016, 02:46 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
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I guess I agree with you. I'm just saying that with the productivity gains via automation the "barest of safety nets" becomes a lot more survivable.

I don't think this will mostly be provided by giving jobless people stacks of money. Rather most will be done because services that used to be expensive to provide will be given away for free or nearly free. Craigslist is the model I'm thinking of. 30 years ago classified ads were expensive. Today they are free. Today if you want to get your cancer diagnosed it's expensive. 30 years from now it might be free. Not because the government taxed rich people at confiscatory rates and handed stacks of money to the poors, but because having an already built expert system process one more image has a marginal cost of zero.

So the poors might have a small guaranteed income or something, but increasingly the goods and services they'll need won't have a price tag attached.
"I'm living in a cardboard box and living on rice and beans the government gives me, but man, cancer screenings are insanely cheap! Hoorah!"

OK, an unfair characterization of your argument, I'll admit. But the basic needs of human beings do not change: enough food to keep them going, shelter from the elements, water to drink and, well ... that's about it. Now imagine middle class Americans reduced to the point where they have only that and a whatever technology has rendered cheap. Are they gonna be happy? I'll answer that one for you. No they will not. They will be looking to lynch people, and will riot, shoot people and vote for candidates that make Donald Trump look like a choirboy if they promise change.

Last edited by Evil Captor; 03-22-2016 at 02:47 PM.
  #528  
Old 03-22-2016, 06:43 PM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
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Or that make Bernie Sanders look like Barry Goldwater.
  #529  
Old 03-26-2016, 12:40 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
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Why the Algorithms Promise More Unemployment

It sounds as if every job that calls for customer support may eventually get automated.
  #530  
Old 03-26-2016, 02:29 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
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Programming skills won't save you from technological unemployment.

A lot of thought-provoking quotes in this piece:

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Today, it’s MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee who appear to be leading the conversation about technology’s impact on the future of employment—what they call the "great decoupling." Their extensive research shows, beyond reasonable doubt, that technological progress eliminates jobs and leaves average workers worse off than they were before.
Quote:
"It’s the great paradox of our era," Brynjolfsson explained to MIT Technology Review in 2013. "Productivity is at record levels, innovation has never been faster, and yet at the same time, we have a falling median income and we have fewer jobs. People are falling behind because technology is advancing so fast and our skills and organizations aren’t keeping up."
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That’s the big news: The growth of an economy does not mean more jobs or prosperity for the people living in it.
  #531  
Old 03-26-2016, 04:24 PM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
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I definitely believe the headline, but I don't see any quotes in there about taking some of those productivity gains and making direct payments to people without giving them a job of any kind. That is the way forward in my view.
  #532  
Old 03-26-2016, 10:17 PM
Mijin Mijin is offline
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I think straight away if they are asserting "now we have fewer jobs" I question their objectivity.
US unemployment for example fluctuates of course, and we're just coming out of a recession but there's no data suggesting a long term climb.

Not saying there never will be, but there isn't yet.
  #533  
Old 03-26-2016, 10:59 PM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
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We do have more jobs than ever before.
  #534  
Old 03-27-2016, 12:00 AM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
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We do have more jobs than ever before.
Sure, crappy, low-paying, entry level service jobs are going through the ROOF!
  #535  
Old 03-27-2016, 08:29 AM
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But median household income has climbed back to where it was before the Great Recession.
  #536  
Old 04-07-2016, 07:24 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
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A sad day for the robots. Fired for incompetence. Good thing for them they weren't programmed to have feelings!
  #537  
Old 04-10-2016, 01:15 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
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Well after the good news about the fired robots, we find that Google has a new and successful bipedal robot set to hit the market shortly. Goodbye, most manual labor jobs.
  #538  
Old 04-10-2016, 05:18 PM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
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Why is this bad news and the fired robots good news? The end of manual labor sounds like a boon to mankind if you ask me.
  #539  
Old 04-10-2016, 05:43 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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I've said it before and I'll say it again: The problem here is confusion of multiple concepts. Everyone needs a livelihood, of course. And almost everyone wants a vocation. But why do we think that those need to be the same thing? Right now, there are plenty of people who don't do what they actually love, because they can't possibly afford to live on whatever that would give them. As automation advances, that changes. In the ideal world, everyone would be able to spend their full time on writing poetry, or painting, or playing chess, or whatever it is they want to do, and they wouldn't need to worry about how much of a market there was for any of those things, because they'd have all of their needs met anyway.
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Old 04-10-2016, 08:59 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
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Why is this bad news and the fired robots good news? The end of manual labor sounds like a boon to mankind if you ask me.
In a social democracy with adequate safety nets for the unemployed, it would be. But that doesnt really describe America, and won't for a few more years.
  #541  
Old 04-10-2016, 11:33 PM
Mijin Mijin is offline
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In a social democracy with adequate safety nets for the unemployed, it would be. But that doesnt really describe America, and won't for a few more years.
Sure, but even in that situation it's not simply the case that if a robot does a job then that means numberOfJobsForHumans--;

The robot has just made that company more productive and that will boost the economy, ultimately creating jobs. It also makes certain enterprises feasible when previously they were not, also creating jobs.

This might be seen as idealistic thinking, but look at the data. US unemployment has wobbled around the same spot for decades, even as millions of jobs have been automated / programmed away.

Last edited by Mijin; 04-10-2016 at 11:34 PM.
  #542  
Old 04-11-2016, 10:30 AM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
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Sure, but even in that situation it's not simply the case that if a robot does a job then that means numberOfJobsForHumans--;

The robot has just made that company more productive and that will boost the economy, ultimately creating jobs. It also makes certain enterprises feasible when previously they were not, also creating jobs.

This might be seen as idealistic thinking, but look at the data. US unemployment has wobbled around the same spot for decades, even as millions of jobs have been automated / programmed away.
Making companies more productive doesn't boost the economy, because the companies just hide their wealth offshore: $2.1 trillion and counting. Note that the leaders in ths exciting trend are tech companies that employ very few people relative to how much money they bring in.

This will be the future for all companies as use of robots and automation expands.
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Old 04-11-2016, 09:34 PM
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Making companies more productive doesn't boost the economy, because the companies just hide their wealth offshore: $2.1 trillion and counting.
What companies choose to do with their profits and whether there are tax loopholes is an entirely separate point from automation and whether it increases productivity.

If you're asking me, sure, I think we should make it harder to move profits offshore, whether or not a company uses automation.

However I disagree with any implication that being able to make widgets cheaper means companies simply pocket more money and nothing else changes. We've been mechanizing tasks for thousands of years. When costs come down prices usually follow since companies are in competition and want to increase their market share.

Quote:
Note that the leaders in ths exciting trend are tech companies that employ very few people relative to how much money they bring in.

This will be the future for all companies as use of robots and automation expands.
Right. These are productive companies and productivity is continuing to increase.
The question is whether this decreases the number of jobs overall. Well, we see no long-term trend of increasing unemployment so clearly jobs are being created elsewhere. Just like they always have been when we've mechanized tasks in the past.

And whether it would be a bad thing if one day humans were put out of work... I would say no, since it implies humans would be getting their needs met without working in such a scenario. As I always say: The fewer people that can afford AI-made goods/services, the less effect they have on the economy.
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Old 04-11-2016, 11:23 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
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What companies choose to do with their profits and whether there are tax loopholes is an entirely separate point from automation and whether it increases productivity.

If you're asking me, sure, I think we should make it harder to move profits offshore, whether or not a company uses automation.

However I disagree with any implication that being able to make widgets cheaper means companies simply pocket more money and nothing else changes. We've been mechanizing tasks for thousands of years. When costs come down prices usually follow since companies are in competition and want to increase their market share.
You said, "The robot has just made that company more productive and that will boost the economy, ultimately creating jobs. It also makes certain enterprises feasible when previously they were not, also creating jobs."

I was saying, making the company more productive will NOT create more jobs and make certain enterprises feasible, because companies are sending the profits created by that enhanced productivity overseas, not reinvesting it.

Most of the job growth we've experienced has been in shitty paying retail jobs and the "sharing" economy (things like Uber) whose most notable feature is that people can't make good money from them.

Quote:
And whether it would be a bad thing if one day humans were put out of work... I would say no, since it implies humans would be getting their needs met without working in such a scenario. As I always say: The fewer people that can afford AI-made goods/services, the less effect they have on the economy.
I agree ... in the long term. But in the short term, I see America driven by a wealthy oligarchy that does not give one shit about regular Americans. A lot of Americans could be rendered jobless, homeless and poverty stricken in a society with a tiny, tattered excuse for a social safety net and a government run by people who don't give a shit. I think it looks kinda likely right now. Once we get the social safety net together and base our economy on taking care of people instead of extracting wealth from them and discarding them if you can't, things will be great. But getting there might be hell. I'd rather it not be. I have chldren.
  #545  
Old 04-12-2016, 03:55 AM
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I was saying, making the company more productive will NOT create more jobs and make certain enterprises feasible, because companies are sending the profits created by that enhanced productivity overseas, not reinvesting it.
Some companies are sending some of their profits abroad. This is not proof of an overall trend, let alone one caused by automation.

And generally companies that stash profits cede market share to companies that reinvest and/or cut prices.
(I won't say that happens 100% of the time, as the markets are not perfect and sometimes monopolies can spring up, but that's not the norm and is also a separate issue from automation).

Quote:
Most of the job growth we've experienced has been in shitty paying retail jobs and the "sharing" economy (things like Uber) whose most notable feature is that people can't make good money from them.
I don't see such an obvious pattern in the data. Seems like a much bigger spread with large growth areas in software development and nursing.

Quote:
I agree ... in the long term. But in the short term, I see America driven by a wealthy oligarchy that does not give one shit about regular Americans. A lot of Americans could be rendered jobless, homeless and poverty stricken in a society with a tiny, tattered excuse for a social safety net and a government run by people who don't give a shit. I think it looks kinda likely right now. Once we get the social safety net together and base our economy on taking care of people instead of extracting wealth from them and discarding them if you can't, things will be great. But getting there might be hell. I'd rather it not be. I have chldren.
Agree that the US is not well placed for such a social transition.

Last edited by Mijin; 04-12-2016 at 03:57 AM.
  #546  
Old 04-12-2016, 05:22 AM
Claverhouse Claverhouse is offline
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... and I'm quite certain the Donald Drumpfs of the world won't be rushing to offer $100K handouts to the proletariat to keep them happy, contented and in decent living standards.

No doubt; however, whatever I think of the fellow, I have never heard that he was a particularly vindictive employer, and as far as unearned Universal Income could be implemented, he would be 1000 x more likely to agree than professional welfare cutters such as Romney or Mrs. Clinton.

Not that they 'hate' poor people, merely that the undeserving had their chance to be as wealthy as they, and wilfully chose their lot through poor decisions which should not be rewarded.
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The efficiency and success of the Italian aviators in Tripoli are noteworthy, but must not be overvalued. There were no opponents in the air.

v. Bernhardi ---- Germany and the Next War
  #547  
Old 04-12-2016, 03:24 PM
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Ridiculous charge against Hillary, but let's please not let this develop (degenerate) into yet another thread arguing about electoral politics. There are plenty of those and I'd much rather see this one stay on topic.
  #548  
Old 04-12-2016, 06:04 PM
Princhester Princhester is offline
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As goods get cheaper and cheaper and cheaper through automation, "the rich" who own the factories that produce the goods and the software companies that produce the software that replace human workers become less and less rich, because they can't charge a premium for their products.

This is the essential fact that people can't seem to understand. Cheaper production doesn't mean more wealth for the producers, it means less relative wealth, because the relative value of the thing produced becomes less.
Forgive me I haven't read the whole thread so perhaps someone has addressed this. I don't think this fundamental premise of your position is as clear as you keep asserting.

Cheaper production through automation means less profit per unit. It also means more ability for fewer and fewer people to control the production, which consolidates the remaining profit into fewer and fewer richer people.

Take agriculture: actually "farmers" today are very, very rich. Sure, they don't make as much per unit of product as they used to pre-industrialisation. But automation allows consolidation. As farming becomes ever more systematised, you don't need a thousand knowledgeable and motivated farm owners. You just need ten guys with advanced qualifications in agriculture and management. So whichever farm owner can afford it buys out his neighbour and runs his place too. Over and over until you have massive highly profitable corporations who are, in the Western world, the "farmers' of today.

Same with industry. You give the example of factory owners in China unable to make much because their products are so easy to make that their profit is marginal. Firstly there is an emerging rich class out of China and they come to at least a substantial extent from manufacturing. Secondly, China is not a stable situation, it's in flux. There are numerous small factories there but the same thing will happen as is happening or has happened with agriculture. Automation will mean that it becomes easier and easier for a small few to control ever larger production capacity. The slightly bigger fish will eat the smaller fish till there are a few mega-manufacturers who will be mega rich.
  #549  
Old 04-12-2016, 06:32 PM
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Very interesting points, but isn't the need for arable land and sunlight (finite resources) different from what automated factories require?
  #550  
Old 04-12-2016, 07:16 PM
Princhester Princhester is offline
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Yes, I guess that's correct but I don't think it alters the position much if at all. Manufacturers will never charge nothing for what they produce (otherwise why bother?). If they make a penny from each unit they sell, they won't become poor. They will just consolidate until they have so much of the market that they sell enough units to be rich.

In other words, Lemur866 says as the value of things produced becomes less, factory owners will become less rich because there is less value derived from production. But the other possibility is that fewer owners become rich. And (heavy government regulation aside) since the natural tendency of capitalism is towards monopoly, that is what will occur IMHO.
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