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AI IBM Japan Robotics

Japanese White-Collar Workers Are Already Being Replaced by Artificial Intelligence (qz.com) 370

Most of the attention around automation focuses on how factory robots and self-driving cars may fundamentally change our workforce, potentially eliminating millions of jobs. But AI that can handle knowledge-based, white-collar work is also becoming increasingly competent. From a report on Quartz: One Japanese insurance company, Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance, is reportedly replacing 34 human insurance claim workers with "IBM Watson Explorer," starting by this month. The AI will scan hospital records and other documents to determine insurance payouts, according to a company press release, factoring injuries, patient medical histories, and procedures administered. Automation of these research and data gathering tasks will help the remaining human workers process the final payout faster, the release says.
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Japanese White-Collar Workers Are Already Being Replaced by Artificial Intelligence

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  • As if this is new (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ranton ( 36917 ) on Monday January 02, 2017 @01:09PM (#53592671)

    As a software developer of enterprise software, every company I have worked for has either produced software which reduced white collar jobs or allowed companies to grow without hiring more people. My current company has seen over 10x profit growth over the past five years with a 20% increase in manpower. And we exist in a primarily zero sum portion of our industry, so this is directly taking revenue and jobs from other companies.

    People need to stop living in a fairy tale land where near full employment is a reality in the near future. I'll be surprised if labor participation rate of 25-54 year olds is even 50% in 10 years.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by unixisc ( 2429386 )

      I used to be supportive of things like welfare reform, but this is throwing up new challenges that will probably require new paradigms. Since more and more low skilled jobs - including those of CEOs - get automated, there will be fewer jobs for the population

      This then throws up the question of whether we should have a universal basic income. But one potential positive trend of this would be an increase in time spent home w/ family, thereby reducing the time kids spend in daycare and w/ both parents - n

      • The problem I see with this is that white collar jobs have been replaced by technology for centuries, and at the same time, technology has enabled even more white collar jobs to exist than those that it replaced.

        For example, the word "computer" used to be universally referred to as a job title, whereas today it's universally referred to as a machine.

    • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Monday January 02, 2017 @01:32PM (#53592765)

      I completely agree. Even jobs which a decade ago looked irreplaceable, like teachers, doctors and nurses are possibly in the crosshairs. There are very few jobs that AI can't partially (or in some cases completely) replace humans. Society has some big choices to make in the upcoming decades and political systems may crash and rise as we adapt.

      Are we heading towards "basic wage" for all people? The ultimate socialist state?

      Or is the gap between haves and have nots going to grow exponentially, even above today's growth as those that own the companies and AI bots make ever increasing money and the poor suckers at the bottom, given just enough money to consume the products that keep the owners in business.

      • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Monday January 02, 2017 @01:40PM (#53592809)

        Society has some big choices to make in the upcoming decades and political systems may crash and rise as we adapt.

        Are we heading towards "basic wage" for all people? The ultimate socialist state?

        It depends on the country, I think. I believe many countries, like Japan and Finland, will indeed go this route.

        However, here in the US, we are vehemently opposed to anything that can be branded as "socialism". So instead, society here will soon resemble "The Walking Dead".

        • by EvilSS ( 557649 ) on Monday January 02, 2017 @02:31PM (#53593047)
          I think even in the US it will hit a tipping point when it gets bad enough. When our consumer society can't buy anything because they are all out of work, we will need to change our way of thinking about this, or watch the economy completely collapse.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Matt Bury ( 4823023 )

            “Men and nations behave wisely when they have exhausted all other resources.” -- Abba Eban

            Which is frequently misquoted as, "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thingafter they have exhausted all other possibilities."

            So when the starving mob are at the ruling elites' gates with torches and pitch forks, they'll surely find the resources to do the right thing.

            • by gtall ( 79522 )

              The "misquote" is a phrase uttered by Winston Churchill.

            • So when the starving mob are at the ruling elites' gates with torches and pitch forks, they'll surely find the resources to do the right thing.

              Yes, they'll use some of their wealth to hire and equip private armies to keep the starving mob at bay because people would be very happy to take any escape from being in the starving mob.

              Might be worth telling your kids that taking a job in the armed forces might be the best way to ensure well paid future jobs because military training would be in greater demand.

              • by HiThere ( 15173 )

                What you're ignoring is that the military is becoming steadily more mechanized also. There won't be many jobs there, either. Robots are more reliable and less likely to side with the protesters.

          • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Monday January 02, 2017 @04:01PM (#53593485)

            I'm going with the latter (complete economic collapse). There's no way, with the political attitudes and beliefs present in our society, and our current political leaders, that we'd be able to pivot fast enough to avoid it. Only small, homogenous nations like Finland (or Japan, even though it's not that small, but it is homogenous) can pull that off because they don't have all the infighting and diversity of political beliefs that we do, plus our religious notion of "self reliance".

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Nah, the economy won't completely collapse. Here is how things will play out:

            1) Labor automation continues to make the teeming masses of poor people obsolete.
            2) Unemployment continues to rise due to this.
            3) Crime rates continue to rise due to unemployment.
            4) Incarceration rates continue to rise; the prison industry continues to grow and thrive on tax dollars paid by rich people.
            5) An entire generation of poor people dies off in prison.
            6) The population shrinks back down to a workable number due to this.
            7)

        • There are a few ways this plays out. How do we deal with this. One way is a basic income.

          The other less articulated way, but is the basis for a lot of people's views is things simply get cheaper. Deflation is good. You simply live on less. You work less. You earn less. But you can afford the food, water... of life.

          Now this is a hard transition in many places. There are loads of things that don't go well with living on less and deflation. Debt, government services, pensions...

          I grew up in a third world coun

      • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
        All jobs that don't do R&D will be replaceable in the near future, as in within 1 or 2 generations. Even R&D jobs will likely not be immune, since much R&D is really nothing more than testing a basic hypothesis, of which most of the testing can likely be handed over to AI. The question is what do you do with 24B people with nothing but spare time on their hands, and a smidgen of 1% that actually will have all the wealth? It doesn't sound pretty, unless some serious changes in the way we deal wit
      • Worse! Far worse!! Total collapse of the fiat currencies globally is imminent. When you reduce the human labor participation rate relative to the overall population, what you get is deflation. That's an undeniable fact. But factor in governments around the world "borrowing" money via printing to pay welfare for all those unemployed. So now we have deflation coupled with inflation = stagflation. But stagflation doesn't last. At some point, the entire system - as we know it- will implode. What can not go on f

        • by Hasaf ( 3744357 )

          Stagflation is not the coexistence of deflation and inflation. Stagflation, as coined and seen the late 70's; it is the coexistence of high inflation and high unemployment. This is something that traditional economic theory considered to be impossible. It was the condition that saw the success of the supply side theories that were the core of Thatcherism and Reaganism. The trouble with supply side isn't that it doesn't work in specific circumstances; it is that its adherents try to apply it to all circumsta

    • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday January 02, 2017 @01:43PM (#53592831)

      As a software developer of enterprise software, every company I have worked for has either produced software which reduced white collar jobs or allowed companies to grow without hiring more people.

      You're looking at the wrong scale. You need to look at the whole economy. Were those people able to get hired elsewhere? The answer in general was almost certainly yes. Might have taken some of them a few months but eventually they found something else. My company just bought a machine that allows us to manufacture wire leads much faster than we can do it by hand. That doesn't mean that the workers we didn't employ to do that work couldn't find gainful employment elsewhere.

      And we exist in a primarily zero sum portion of our industry, so this is directly taking revenue and jobs from other companies.

      Again, so what? You've automated some efficiency into an industry that obviously needed it. Some workers will have to do something else. Same story we've been hearing for centuries. It's the buggy whip story just being retold with a new product. Not anything to get worried about.

      People need to stop living in a fairy tale land where near full employment is a reality in the near future.

      Based on what? The fact that you can't imagine what people are going to do if they can't do what they currently are doing? I'm old enough to predate the internet. The World Wide Web was just becoming a thing while I was in college. Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Cisco, Oracle, etc all didn't even exist when I was born. Vast swaths of our economy hadn't even been conceived of back then. 40 years from now you will see a totally new set of companies doing amazing things you never even imagined. Your argument is really just a failure of your own imagination. People have been making that same argument since the dawn of the industrial revolution and it is just as nonsensical now as it was then.

      I'll be surprised if labor participation rate of 25-54 year olds is even 50% in 10 years.

      Prepare to be surprised then. Your argument has no rational basis. You are extrapolating some micro-trends in your company well beyond any rational justification.

      • Were those people able to get hired elsewhere? The answer in general was almost certainly yes.

        Oh, oh, I know this one! "New jobs being created in the past don't guarantee that new jobs will be created in the future". This is the standard groupthink answer for waiving any responsibility after advice given about the future, right?

      • by paiute ( 550198 )

        People have been making that same argument since the dawn of the industrial revolution and it is just as nonsensical now as it was then.

        I see this argument often when these type of discussions come up. It seems to me to be some kind of logical fallacy to think that something new will not happen because it has not happened in the past. It reminds me of the historical observation that generals are always fighting the last war.

        • t seems to me to be some kind of logical fallacy to think that something new will not happen because it has not happened in the past.

          What about humans and their ability to problem solve and create and build has changed? The reason I don't see any reason to worry about "robots" taking all our jobs is because NOTHING has changed about the ability of humans to adapt to new circumstances. Nobody has been able to make a coherent argument detailing why humans will not be able to continue to create new industries and new technologies and new products in the future. I don't pretend to know what those new economies will look like with any gre

          • NOTHING has changed about the ability of humans to adapt to new circumstances.

            Except that in the near future, the robots may more adaptable than the humans.

            • Except that in the near future, the robots may more adaptable than the humans.

              And faster. And less expensive over time. And more reliable. And more consistent. And not need health insurance. And not need breaks because they, or their SO, is pregnant, or little Johnny has the sniffles. And can work 24-hour, 7-day shifts instead of 8 hour, 5-day shifts. And during which shifts, they won't need breaks. Or holidays. Or time off for funerals, Comic-con, taking Fido to the vet, or little Susie's parent-teacher co

          • by ranton ( 36917 )

            You didn't finish your thought. Just because generals are still thinking about the last war doesn't mean they don't adapt to the new one when it starts.

            Actually yes it does. The history of the blitzkrieg is not one of France quickly adapting to new technologies and strategies to repel the German invaders. It is of France's Maginot line being mostly useless in the war and Germany capturing Paris with ease. Something neither side could accomplish in over four years in the previous war was accomplished in around two months using the new paradigm.

            Will human participation in the workforce adapt to AI technologies in the next 50 years? Almost certainly. Is it li

          • It's simple. Do you know how, once we applied human brain power over the problem of flying we managed, in a matter of decades, to become better at flying than nature ever did in hundreds of millions of years of natural selection? Well, what do you think will happen now that we're focused on making AI better than brains? As in, better than any brains, including ours?

            AI is catching up to human abilities. There's still a way to go, but breakthroughs are happening all the time. And as with flying, it won't take

        • Generally speaking, though, when you see a very consistent trend or pattern over a long time, your best bet is that the trend will continue, not that it will mysteriously veer off because now it's happening to white collar jobs instead of blue collar jobs. I'd say the logical fallacy is to disbelieve that the trend is likely to continue. Technology doesn't invalidate basic economic theory, in which people manage to find jobs and services to match the level of the population precisely because there are so

      • by ranton ( 36917 ) on Monday January 02, 2017 @02:46PM (#53593109)

        It's the buggy whip story just being retold with a new product. Not anything to get worried about.

        The buggy whip story shows that an entire species which had significant economic value for thousands of years found that technology had finally reached a point where they weren't needed. Instead of needing 20 million of them working in our economy in 1920, by 1960 there were only about 4.5 million. While they were able to take advantage of the previous technological revolutions and become even more useful because of better technology in the past, most horses could not survive the invention of the automobile.

        The human intellect has enabled our species to keep up with technology for at least 100 years longer than arguably the second most productive work bearing species in our economy, but that doesn't mean we will forever. Most likely the fate of the horse in the early 1900's gives us a good view of what will happen to human workforce participation in the next 50 years. Around 9 million horses are still part of our economy today, but if horses had kept up with humans in our economy there would be more like 60 million.

        Using the automobile revolution as a guide for what will happen in the AI revolution, human working age workforce participation could be at 15% in 40 years.

        40 years from now you will see a totally new set of companies doing amazing things you never even imagined.

        Of this we have no disagreement. But these new companies will continue to need less people to do the work. The oldest 5 companies to be added to the DJIA employ 1900 people per $1 billion in revenue. The newest 5 companies require only 1100 employees. Looking at the 10 largest companies by market cap, the companies founded in the last 50 years require 1270 employees per $1 billion in revenue. The companies founded earlier than that (all three of them founded over 100 years ago) require 1850 employees.

        You may not see the people being displaced by these changes already, but we all heard them loud and clear during the Brexit and US Presidential campaigns. Unfortunately their rage is misplaced towards outsourcing when the real culprit is a technologically advanced economy that doesn't need their skills anymore. Not enough to justify living wages in their society that is.

        Customer service bots and automated vehicles alone have the capability of displacing 10's of millions of workers in a very short time. Whether we look at 100 years ago or just this century so far, it is clear we won't find new industries for many if not most of these workers.

        You may have a better imagination than me, but a belief in Santa Claus doesn't make him real.

      • by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Monday January 02, 2017 @02:53PM (#53593139)

        Were those people able to get hired elsewhere?

        Your question is complete. The correct question to ask is if these people were able to get hired elsewhere *at the same salary when adjusted for inflation*. To that, the answer is no. It hasn't been true on average since the 70's. Sure, some people will find equal or better jobs, but salaries have been steadily decreasing since the onset of technology. Given a job for less money or no job, most people will pick the job for less; and that is why we are not seeing a large change in the unemployment rate.

        • Your question is incomplete. *
        • by gtall ( 79522 ) on Monday January 02, 2017 @03:59PM (#53593481)

          There is another effect. When the buggy whip manufacturers were put out of business, there were options for people to switch to and new industries were created. However, if AI gets apply across an entire economy, there won't be options because there is unemployment in every sector. And if AI obviates the need for workers, investors in new industries will build them around bots, so no real increase in employment. That and yer basic truck driver ain't going to be learning how to program.

      • by mspring ( 126862 )
        Maybe the automation is a paradigm shift on par with the introduction of agriculture replacing the hunter and gatherer way of living? Then, some hunter and gatherer were perhaps also making a "luddite" arguments: "Nah, there will always be sufficient forrests/wildlife for everyone to live on. No need to be afraid of the these agriculturites. We have been hunting and gathering for millenia. That'll never change."
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bluegutang ( 2814641 )

        Were those people able to get hired elsewhere? The answer in general was almost certainly yes.

        Actually, the answer is probably no. Labor force participation [tradingeconomics.com] rates have fallen steadily since about the year 2000. Feminism caused the rate to rise from 58% (1963) to 67% (2000). Since then, it has fallen to 63%. In other words, we've already lost almost half of what we gained from women entering the workforce en masse. And the rate will only continue to fall in the future.

      • by J-1000 ( 869558 )
        You must admit that *some* things are different. Conglomeratization may make it difficult to create new jobs, as smaller businesses have trouble competing with the mammoths. Globalization may send more jobs offshore until our standard of living has leveled off with the rest of the world. It's not inconceivable that we'll end up with a much larger number of unemployed people, with AI being a significant contributing factor. It's not a certainty, but neither is your scenario of the status quo. Just because it
      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        Read some history. The solution to the automation aprox. at the beginning of the 20th century which removed the buggy whip market was political. The government legislated the workforce smaller. Child labour laws reduced the workforce by from 10%-20% (not sure of the exact numbers but call it 10%, all those 5-15 yr olds taken out of the workforce). The they legislated shorter work weeks, from 60 hours a week to 40 hours, another 1/3rd reduction in the work force. They also legislated a minimum wage, which at

    • People need to stop living in a fairy tale land where near full employment is a reality in the near future. I'll be surprised if labor participation rate of 25-54 year olds is even 50% in 10 years.

      Then again, tell me of how companies are going to make money to service the stakeholders when there are not people around wh ocan buy their highly profitable wares?

      Now speaking of fairy tales, that one is much more magical than your full employment one.

      This ain't rocket science. Economies are at base, an equation. You have producers on one side, and consumers on the other. Ideally, they balance out, with extra rewards for the producers. Now either side can cheat, such as if producers can move productio

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      Everyone tends to forget the jobs that have already disappeared over the decades:

      elevator operators - a person who would start and stop a vertical elevator of a high-rise office block manually. Would have the experience to anticipate when an important person would need to use the elevator.
      telephone operators - people who would connect long distance and international phone calls manually. There is a mp4 file of a dozen or more operators all contacting each other to connect someone in Los Angeles to New York

  • No more working till last train but with life employment where will layed off people find new jobs?

    • They won't, that's the point.

      I see plenty of work in reducing student-teacher ratios in education, increasing maintenance and inspection intervals, transparency reporting on public officials, etc. Now, just convince the remaining working people that they want to pay for this from their taxes. I suppose when we hit 53% unemployed, we might be able to start winning popular elections, if the unemployed are still allowed to vote then.

      • At least here in the US, that won't change anything. The unemployed will still happily vote against anything that smacks of "socialism". It's a religion to us here. People here would rather shoot themselves (and their family members) in the head than enroll in social services.

        • That's a pretty funny thing to say about a nation with more than a third on welfare.
          • Remember, most of the US population is religious, and not only does this involve some "actual" religion (usually Christianity), it also involves the "anti-socialism" religion. Now remember, the defining feature of religion is a complete lack rationality, and believing in something with zero supporting evidence, frequently despite enormous evidence to the contrary (as in the case of young-earth creationism, something that a huge number of Americans believe in).

            So yes, it is "a pretty funny thing to say", bu

      • by pla ( 258480 )
        "One job, one vote!"

        / shudder
  • Obviously (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2017 @01:11PM (#53592677)

    People that do trivial tasks like looking at numbers on documents, something a computer can easily do, are prime for getting replaced.

    Face it, if you aren't creating new things, you're the first to go. Maintaining a process is basically pattern recognition.

    • Re:Obviously (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kwerle ( 39371 ) <kurt@CircleW.org> on Monday January 02, 2017 @03:50PM (#53593439) Homepage Journal

      SInce this is very very similar to what my partner does, I feel like I'm a little qualified to speak on the subject at hand.

      Yeah, pattern matching should nail this - but pattern matching only works if the patterns are reasonable/logical/consistent. Yes, I'm a little familiar with advanced pattern matching, filtering, etc.

      Here's the thing: doctors are crappy input sources. At least in the US medical system. And in our system they are the ones that have to make diagnosis (in most cases). They are inconsistent from one doctor to the next. They are inconsistent from one day to the next. They are inconsistent from one patient to the next. They are inconsistent *within a patient* when the original diagnosis was wrong. And what's possibly worst of all: they disagree.

      In the US we do the same kind of thing - base payouts on what the doctor diagnosed. They need to write specific magic words in the right way. So my partner looks at medical records and then confronts the doctor - somehow trying to suggest what they left out without making a diagnosis (because she's not a doctor, so she's not allowed to).

      As you can imagine this is a delicate dance. Some doctors have egos. In any case, many of things she does are fixing errors [of omission, often], but others are a lot more complicated and sometimes very rare (some medical conditions just don't come up very often).

      Finally, if you think having a person hound a doctor to get something corrected might be tricky - imagine having a machine try to do the same thing. Some doctors may be more resistant to that...

      The easy answer to this is: that process is crap. Fix doctors/the system/whatever.

      I agree.

      Good luck with that.

  • I hope their data collection is better than it is in the US. Insurance company's systems can't talk to the doctors systems. They are stuck with 1980s technology or sneaker net to get information exchanged. Paper gets lost, forms don't match. Doctors spend more time with paper than with patients. Once the paper gets to the insurance company chances are good it doesn't go to the right person or just gets lost sending the patient back to the beginning of the maze. The more people removed from the chain the bet
    • You think this is anything but perfectly planned? Insurance companies prevaricate better than anyone short of a Federal politician. 'Losing' a claim costs virtually nothing. Mishandling a claim costs very little. Another form letter asking for more / the same information, ditto.

      Computerizing the whole shebang gives yet another layer of potential delay ('the computer is slow today' is a perennial favorite).

      That said, in what strange world is insurance adjudication considered 'white collar'? In the US a

  • by AchilleTalon ( 540925 ) on Monday January 02, 2017 @01:21PM (#53592727) Homepage

    Japan needs to automate as much as it can and robotize to survive with a workforce growing old. Japan is facing this reality as well as many countries where labor isn't replaced at a sufficient rate to keep up with the needs. Older people will need care some countries just cannot deliver or afford.

  • First they Fukoku their clients and then they Fukoku their workers.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday January 02, 2017 @01:27PM (#53592743)

    Calm down everyone. This is just a continuation of productivity tools for accounting. Among other things I'm a certified accountant. This is just the next step in automation of accounting and it's a good thing. We used to do all our ledgers by hand. Now we all use software for that and believe me you don't want to go back to the way it was. Very little in accounting is actually value added activity so it is desirable to automate as much of it as possible. If some people lost their jobs doing that it's equivalent to how the PC replaced secretaries 30+ years ago. They were doing a necessary task but one that added little or no value. Most of what accountants do is just keeping track of what happened in a business and keeping the paperwork flowing where it needs to go. This is EXACTLY what we should be automating whenever possible.

    I'm sure there are going to be a lot folks loudly proclaiming how we are all doomed and that there won't be any work for anyone left to do. Happens every time there is an advancement in automation and yet every time they are wrong. Yes some people are going to struggle in the short run. That happens with every technological advancement. Eventually they find other useful and valuable things to do and the world moves on. It will be fine.

    • I'm curious what you think you can do that Watson can't. Accounting is a very rigidly structured practice. All IBM really needs to do is let Watson sift through the books of a couple hundred companies and it will easily determine how to best achieve a defined set of objectives for a corporation.
      • I'm curious what you think you can do that Watson can't.

        Seriously? Quite a bit actually. I can handle input streams that Watson can't. I can make tools Watson couldn't begin to imagine. I can interact with physical objects without vast amounts of programming. I can deal with humans in a meaningful and human way FAR better than any computer program. I can pass a Turing test. The number of things I can do that Watson cannot is literally too numerous to bother counting. Watson is really just an decision support system with a natural language interface. Ver

        • by King_TJ ( 85913 )

          Yep! I don't even work in Accounting or Finance, but because I do computer support for that department and have to get slightly involved in the bill coding side of the process -- I agree completely.

          I'm pretty sure that even if you *could* get a computer to do everything for Accounting automatically, people would constantly become frustrated with parts of the resulting process -- from reports requested by management not having the formatting or items desired on them, to inflexibility getting an item charged

        • by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Monday January 02, 2017 @02:42PM (#53593095)

          Seriously? Quite a bit actually.

          Then why don't you give at least one specific example.

          There is a tremendous amount of judgement that goes into accounting and much of it is anything but rigid.

          And this is where a system like Watson shines. While you may be able to fall back on personal experience to make these judgement calls, Watson can easily run thousands of simulations on each set of numbers, based on real world possibilities. You will always be making a guess based on what might happen, but Watson will come close to knowing what will happen.

          See there is your problem. Every company is unique in some way.

          Sure this is obvious. If every company were not unique in some way, then Watson would only need to learn from one company; thus the need for Watson to learn off of several hundred companies. The reason why the case for AI is hard to understand is because we are not able to fathom remembering every detail of every company and being able to isolate what was done differently in company 237 that allowed it to prosper versus company 938. We would have trouble even comparing two companies down to the detail that Watson would be capable of. Given 1000 companies, Watson will know what every single one did right and wrong. Watson will know where mistakes were made simply because it will be able to find another couple companies in its dataset that did better or worse in a similar circumstance.

          This all said, I am far from an AI believer. I don't think AI will really be able to drive a car in the near future, at least not as dynamically as a human. However, most professions will benefit from Watson's ability to understand huge datasets down to excruciating detail and freely be able to pick out specific scenarios that worked in the past. This isn't really even AI, it is just a very organized search engine. The human mind almost does these things backwards through necessity, because we cannot process such large datasets.

  • I work on a claims processing system and 90% of this stuff is already automated.
    • So it wouldn't be an issue for you if the remaining 10% were automated as well?
      • Some bills are just so fubar that someone has to look at them. You really think 'watson' is processing 100% of the bills?
        • Ok, granted, there will still be 0.5% of the work left for humans. But companies will be able to fill these jobs Uber-style since there won't be enough to justify full time positions.
  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Monday January 02, 2017 @01:43PM (#53592829)

    When you have people basically implementing a process without much understanding, it is pretty easy to automatize their jobs away. The only thing Watson is contribution is the translation from natural language to a more formalized one. No actual intelligence needed.

  • Computers/automation/robotics have been replacing workers of all stripes including white collar workers since the ATM was introduced in 1967. Every place I have ever worked has had internal and external software that replaces white collar workers (where you used to need 10 people now you need 2).

    The reality is that the economy is limited by a scarcity of labor when government doesn't interfere (the economy is essentially the sum of every worker work multiplied by their efficiency as valued by the economy i

    • by djinn6 ( 1868030 ) on Monday January 02, 2017 @07:56PM (#53594623)
      I think you've been drinking too much Ayn Rand Coolaid.

      As people are freed from jobs that are highly repetitive, there are always more complex, less repetitive jobs out there because the consumer is always looking for the next big thing to improve their lives/increase their free time/reduce their work load.

      And everyone has both the talent and the initial capital to create that next big thing?

      Entire multi billion dollar industries have been created after the introduction of the ATM and will continue to be created.

      Why does it matter if a dozen people made all of those billions?

      If we get to a point where there are 10x more job seekers than jobs, then we can revisit the issue, but right now there are about 5.5 million job openings in the US...

      And there are 7.4 million unemployed people, and that's not counting people who want full-time employment but only found part-time work.

      The Obama economy was of his own making after the first 2 years due to the ACA and excessive regulation, and, like the Carter economy, it will be unleashed with the next administration.

      Yeah and Bush did a real great job...

  • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Monday January 02, 2017 @03:09PM (#53593245) Homepage

    Turns out it's rather simple, really --- just ban computers. He's going to start by replacing computers with human couriers for the secure-messaging market, and move outward from there. By 2020 we should have most of the Internet replaced by the (now greatly expanded) Post Office.

  • At least, as long as banks keep writing the software they do.

    My bank's records of my purchases isn't updating today. This is one of the biggest banks in Canada. Transactions don't update properly over the weekends or holidays. Why? Who knows? Why has bank software EVER cared about weekends? What do business days matter to computers? And yet here we are. There's no monkey to turn the crank on a holiday, so I can't confirm my account activity.

  • by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Monday January 02, 2017 @10:06PM (#53595089)
    Many people in white collar jobs or professions do not yet realize that automation may actually replace them faster than manual trades are reduced to near zero human employees. Those that are aware generally think this massive displacement is decades away. Meanwhile real solutions are not put into conversation as politicians dare not admit the massive changes that must take place and therefore we are not preparing and the suffering will be amplified.

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal

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