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A Study Finds Half of Jobs Are Vulnerable To Automation (economist.com) 201

The Economist reports of a new working paper by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that assesses the automatability of each task within a given job, based on a survey of skills in 2015. "Overall, the study finds that 14% of jobs across 32 countries are highly vulnerable, defined as having at least a 70% chance of automation," reports Economist. "A further 32% were slightly less imperiled, with a probability between 50% and 70%. At current employment rates, that puts 210 million jobs at risk across the 32 countries in the study." From the report: The pain will not be shared evenly. The study finds large variation across countries: jobs in Slovakia are twice as vulnerable as those in Norway. In general, workers in rich countries appear less at risk than those in middle-income ones. But wide gaps exist even between countries of similar wealth. Differences in organizational structure and industry mix both play a role, but the former matters more. In South Korea, for example, 30% of jobs are in manufacturing, compared with 22% in Canada. Nonetheless, on average, Korean jobs are harder to automate than Canadian ones are. This may be because Korean employers have found better ways to combine, in the same job, and without reducing productivity, both routine tasks and social and creative ones, which computers or robots cannot do. A gloomier explanation would be "survivor bias": the jobs that remain in Korea appear harder to automate only because Korean firms have already handed most of the easily automatable jobs to machines.
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A Study Finds Half of Jobs Are Vulnerable To Automation

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  • by cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2018 @09:44PM (#56497881)

    This time it's half? Last week it was something else.

    Nobody really knows.

    • As long as no Wozniaks are vulnerable to automation, we'll be OK.
    • This time it's half? Last week it was something else.

      Nobody really knows.

      Actually, history has shown us the one thing we humans do know when it comes to predicting the future; we can underestimate the shit out of damn near anything.

    • So sticking our head in the sand and pretending the problem doesn't exist is probably the best course of action.

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      Bingo!

      Each of these studies is making particular assumptions to reach their conclusions. But they don't list the assumptions in the articles presented. With the right assumptions you could even get a massive increase in employment rates. (I saw some like that around a decade ago.)

      My general belief is that with any plausible set of assumptions you will get different results at different stages of technical advance, until at the end you reach the stage where nobody needs to hold a job. But one of the assu

    • In 1780, it was close to 100%.
  • by Wycliffe ( 116160 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2018 @09:54PM (#56497913) Homepage

    How is that gloomier? If Korea has already managed to automate away most of the jobs than can be automated away and they don't already have mass unemployment then that should be a positive sign that other countries can do the same.

    • Re:gloomier? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2018 @10:50PM (#56498071)

      If Korea has already managed to automate away most of the jobs than can be automated away and they don't already have mass unemployment then that should be a positive sign that other countries can do the same.

      We should also look at countries that have almost no automation. Some examples are Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Mozambique, Guinea, Somalia, and Mali. If automation leads to poverty then by avoiding it, these countries should be doing GREAT! Are they? I haven't checked.

      • by mentil ( 1748130 )

        Clearly, the cause of the problem is that all of those countries have I and A in their names. Glad I'm safely in the U.S.A. instead of Canadia!

      • We should also look at countries that have almost no automation. Some examples are Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Mozambique, Guinea, Somalia, and Mali. If automation leads to poverty then by avoiding it, these countries should be doing GREAT! Are they? I haven't checked.

        This is like saying there can never be too much oxygen in the atmosphere, because people with too little oxygen suffocate.

        Pretty much everything in the Universe is non-linear. Almost anything that appears linear is only within a particular domain. Outside that domain, things become non-linear again. Clearly, if every job is automated, then everyone will be unemployed by definition. However, as you point out, there have been huge economic benefits to automation.

        It's a fundamental law of mathematics that any

        • Clearly, if every job is automated, then everyone will be unemployed by definition. However, as you point out, there have been huge economic benefits to automation.

          It's a fundamental law of mathematics that any function which is increasing at one point and decreasing at another contains at least one extrema in between.

          The problem isn't when everyone is unemployed. At that point it should be relatively easy to come up with a fair distribution method. The problem is when 20% of the population still has to work long hours while the other 80% have nothing to do. Currently we distribute wealth roughly based on the amount of work you do (or capital you control that does the work for you). That is obviously not going to work very well when only 20% of the population is working and only 1% controls the capital. The solution

          • by ranton ( 36917 )

            The problem is when 20% of the population still has to work long hours while the other 80% have nothing to do. Currently we distribute wealth roughly based on the amount of work you do (or capital you control that does the work for you). That is obviously not going to work very well when only 20% of the population is working and only 1% controls the capital.

            I don't agree it is obvious that what you describe wouldn't work. You are essentially describing a society where 1% are wealthy, 20% are synonymous with our current upper middle class, and 80% are working class / poor. That isn't much different than today. The only significant difference is that the 80% wouldn't have jobs at all, but would instead be part of more substantial safety net programs. Or more likely most would also be working in the part time gig economy for supplemental income.

            I am currently par

  • Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2018 @09:59PM (#56497939) Homepage

    100 years ago 95% of the US labor force was in the agricultural sector. Now, it's just a few percent. We don't have 90%+ unemployment, though, because now we have jobs that we didn't even know existed 100 years ago.

    Hopefully most of all current jobs can be automated so we can find new things for people to do.

    • During this shift away from agricultural labor after World War I, who funded mass retraining of the workforce? That might help us figure out who will retrain the current workforce for the age of automation.

      • During this shift away from agricultural labor after World War I, who funded mass retraining of the workforce? That might help us figure out who will retrain the current workforce for the age of automation.

        You didn't need a lot of retraining to work on a factory assembly line in the 1920s.

    • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

      by apoc.famine ( 621563 ) <.apoc.famine. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday April 24, 2018 @10:49PM (#56498067) Journal

      I really don't understand how people can continue to make this argument. It does not appear that this time is going to be like the previous times. And it ignores the massive social upheaval during the switch that happens every time as well.

      In the past, when we've automated low skill jobs, we've pushed people into higher skill jobs in the process. Farmers ended up working in factories. Factory workers ended up working in offices.

      But right now, we're automating the higher skill jobs. And there is a very distinct limit to how highly skilled a large percentage of the workforce can become. We're on the cusp of automating away what a large percentage of office workers do every day. What are they going to do instead? Train to be doctors? Oh, wait, we're throwing machine learning and automation at medicine too, and that's showing a lot of promise.

      We are fast approaching the time when we're going to be making robots and machine learning ("AI") that do almost anything better than the average human could do it. What do the average humans do then?

      When we put all of the agricultural laborers out of a job, what are they going to do instead? What else are you going to train a migrant produce picker to do that can't also be done by a robot?

      When we put several million truck, taxi, and bus drivers out of jobs, what are we going to train them to do? Stock shelves in the store? Cut hair? Make coffee?

      When most of the accounting jobs go away, what do they do?

      We've got no shortage of things for people to do. The problem is that inevitably, robots and machine learning are going to be able to do most of those things better and cheaper.

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        I really don't understand how people can continue to make this argument. It does not appear that this time is going to be like the previous times.

        People are, on average, stupid. The ones that make this argument are afraid in addition and are trying hard to ignore reality by explaining it away. Said stupidity is the core reason this time will be different, because before it was always a shift to other jobs that the average idiot could still do. This time is different, because while most people can learn to read and write (making them capable to be bureaucrats as a last resort and we certainly have a lot of those today), this shift will only create a s

      • In the past, when we've automated low skill jobs, we've pushed people into higher skill jobs in the process. Farmers ended up working in factories. Factory workers ended up working in offices.

        You're making a rather false assumption here, thinking that factory jobs are necessarily "higher skill" than farming. No. Especially in the early 20th century, working in a factory was a lower skilled job than farming. That's why any Joe could go to a city and find a job in a factory - they all used cheap unskilled labour en masse. In fact, the assembly line was invented for the exact purpose of using unskilled and low-skilled labour - divide the manufacturing process into a series of relatively simple repe

        • This stuff about AI and ML "showing promise" in medicine - is just you taking it too far. AI/ML will certainly be another diagnostic tool which will help doctors make decisions, but they will not replace them, just like MRI scanners have not replaced them. We just don't know enough about how the human body works to fully automate medicine, and that's not going to change in the near future.

          Lots of doctors will be replaced. We have a health care professional shortage due to the influence of the AMA. They're responsible for the nature of health education, which is designed to keep the supply of health professionals low in order to keep prices high. However, that only means there's more motivation to come up with automated health systems, so AMA member doctors (under 40% of doctors, mind you) are shooting themselves in the foot hardcore here. The doctor shortage will be solved primarily by armin

          • Lots of doctors will be replaced. We have a health care professional shortage due to the influence of the AMA. They're responsible for the nature of health education, which is designed to keep the supply of health professionals low in order to keep prices high. However, that only means there's more motivation to come up with automated health systems, so AMA member doctors (under 40% of doctors, mind you) are shooting themselves in the foot hardcore here. The doctor shortage will be solved primarily by arming nurses with expert systems.

            First, you're assuming the AMA (and whatever other organizations exist in other countries) will not change their behaviour. They might as well be blackmailed by politicians eager to solve the shortage by importing doctors from abroad to loosen up their rules under the threat of being automated out of their jobs (even if the threat is not necessarily credible).

            Second, you're assuming that people will accept being treated by nurses with computers instead of people with "M.D." next to their names...not to ment

            • First, you're assuming the AMA (and whatever other organizations exist in other countries) will not change their behaviour.

              It's better in many other developed countries, but the pressure here will make it happen here. The USA is still a tech leader, we can always hire in talent.

              Second, you're assuming that people will accept being treated by nurses with computers instead of people with "M.D." next to their names...not to mention the question of liability for malpractice. That opens a few more cans of worms.

              They'll take what they can get.

              Third, you are generalizing the situation in one country to the world - while other countries have their AMA equivalents (notably Canada), many European countries do not have such a convoluted system designed for reducing the number of physicians available

              Maybe they'll keep more doctors around.

              Fourth, you are forgetting the role of regulators such as the FDA...hospitals, even if they wanted to, cannot just rollout AI to treat patients.

              Trump 'fixed' the EPA, he can 'fix' the FDA too

      • I would say that we never really moved people to higher skilled jobs, but just pushed them around to other low skilled jobs. I don't really see a farm hand as being any different in terms of higher skilled than somebody working as a cog in a manufacturing plant. But I do see a big difference between people who are working in factories or doing simple repetitive office tasks to making the jump to being computer programmers, chemical engineers, or whatever else actual high level jobs are left after automati

      • Say all the easy jobs go may away. I think people will get smarter and the average intelligence will rise. In 1800 only about 12% of the world could read. Today, the opposite is true (https://ourworldindata.org/literacy). I suspect back then it seemed crazy to think over 90% of the world population would be able or have a need to read.

        Even if people don't get smarter, they will still need to find a place to live, eat, etc. When economies collapse after wars, disaster, etc people figured it out. I guess the

        • Say all the easy jobs go may away. I think people will get smarter and the average intelligence will rise.

          That takes time, and assumes that the people who can't make a living just go away peacefully. But history is littered with the corpses of societies where they did not.

          Even if people don't get smarter, they will still need to find a place to live, eat, etc.

          Our current economy only cares if those people have the money to pay for places to live, eat, etc. Need is only demand if it is coupled with the ability to spend. Without that ability, it doesn't get addressed.

    • 100 years ago 95% of the US labor force was in the agricultural sector.

      Your timeline is WAY off. The migration off the land happened long before 1918.

      The McCormick reaper was invented in 1831.

      The steel mouldboard plough was available in 1837.

      Even by 1870, agriculture was only half the labor force. By 1918, it was less than 30%.

      • Being available does not mean being ubiquitous. Using machines requires an infrastructure to keep them running, the US was until the beginning of the 20th century, I would say until the middle of it in some remote places, not really in a position where you could rely on the infrastructure being in place in rural areas, which are, by definition, the areas where agriculture happens.

    • Re:Not surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

      by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2018 @11:50PM (#56498183)

      "Hopefully most of all current jobs can be automated so we can find new things for people to do."

      That only works if somehow they are also things robots can't also do better and cheaper.

      If you develop AI/automation that generically approaches or exceeds median human capability, then it doesn't really matter what 'new jobs' you invent, because robots will do them cheaper and better than most people can.

      Most people won't be able to find work at that point; it doesn't matter how many jobs there are. Either they'll be jobs they aren't able to do, or they'll be jobs the robots can do cheaper and more efficiently.

      Think about it.

      Heres another example. Most of the world's land mammal mass is in cattle, bred for slaughter. billions of them. Suppose we come up with vat-meat-substitute that is cheaper, needs less space, and tastes as good. What happens to the cattle?

      Are we going to find a new use for the population? Sure a small number will survive, perhaps let wild, others in small organic farms for wealthy people to 'eat the real thing'. But the rest? There's nothing for them to do, we can't retrain them to help operate the vat-meat plants, they can't write novels... we'd pretty much wipe them out relative to their current number.

      Humans are no different. If we come up with something that can outperform what the majority can do, the people displaced will not be able to find new work... without a fundamental change in how we think about work and wealth distribution there will be a revolution, war, and massive loss of life.

      • Unless they can vat-grow leather, we'll still need lots of cows.

        • by vux984 ( 928602 )

          I wonder how much work is being done on that. You'd think vat growing leather might actually be easier. Since it doesn't have to taste good. And it doesn't even have to feel or look exactly like leather either to be an acceptable substitute. And it could theoretically even be taken beyond leather, grown in specific shapes, colors, or patterns that don't appear naturally, or be made even more durable etc...

          Vat meat is a challenge because we don't *really* want to eat vat-meat it has a bit of a stigma for bei

        • People have already done that. There's a company called Modern Meadow that seems to be experimenting with collagen-based materials. There are also people who manufacture leather-like materials by hot-compaction of mycelium. One manufacturer, Mycoworks, claims that they can make it as strong as deer leather.
    • 100 years ago the US was, outside the large cities on the coasts, mostly a developing country with little in terms of machinery or infrastructure. But even that aside you're facing a different problem today.

      First, the situation was a completely different one. Back when machinery replaced manual labor in agriculture, we actually had a shortage of workforce. Actually, one of the key reasons machines became a thing in agriculture was that they already were a thing in manufacturing, albeit in such a way that re

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Do you remember when in the 50s and 60s when they dreamed of a 16 hour work week. Then psychopaths took over the system, corrupted democracy, corrupted main stream media, they dream of mass unemployment, labour housing camps and the gig labour force. Where the overseers with tasers and pepper spray, turn up to the labour housing camps, you know stacked hovels, and the workers bid for work, the lowest hourly wage bidder wins, hell they can just bid for three meals. Do not expect any different until you remov

    • 100 years ago 95% of the US labor force was in the agricultural sector. Now, it's just a few percent.

      I guess you can just handwave away the two world wars, massive depression, and enormous economic upheavals that occurred in the meantime. But that doesn't mean that there was no cost to this shift.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2018 @10:01PM (#56497947)
    maybe 10th. I've lost count. But at least half, maybe more, of all jobs are going to be automated in the near future. Hell, even even half of that is true it's 25%. Now would be a real good time for us to figure out what we're going to do when a quarter of the population is unemployable. In America if you don't work, you don't eat. And when people don't eat, they get violent and prone to suggestion. And we've got a _lot_ of bombs....

    All I'm saying is, If the rest of the world doesn't want that 25% to start looking for some kinda strong man to get them jobs of the military persuasion maybe they should start doing something. Maybe stop destabilizing our politics (Russia, I'm looking at you) and stop encouraging right wing, authoritarians from getting into power.

    Or don't. Nobody bothered much with Germany in the lead up to WWII.
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      We'd take you more seriously if you didn't imply that Donald Trump is Hitler. But you did, so your post is disqualified.
      • Speak for yourself. If you don't want to call a duck a duck, that's on you. Using "we" speaks for me, and you don't speak for me.

        Making global pronouncements declaring what people think and laying judgments on others is rather....authoritarian of you..... Since that's the way you lean, I can see why the GP's post triggered you.

        • or is it effect? I forget. What matters is you're part of that 'we' whether you like it or not. You're part of human society. That fact that you read my post proves it. And if you can read my post then you must be educated enough to know that we've danced this Charleston a hundred times before. People get abandoned, don't have food, people find a fascist who promises them the good 'ole days, fascist turns them into a violence machine and sets them loose.
      • but I'd argue he's a prototype for the next authoritarian. Trump's a fool, to be sure. He won't be able to galvanize the country into a blood frenzy like Hitler did. Also It'll probably take another 10 or 20 years for things to get bad enough that those 25% something workers turn to a fascist to solve their problems. But the same folks turning to Trump to solve their problems will turn to a fascist and for the same reason: they're being ignored. Marginalized. Put off.

        Eventually those people won't have f
    • Now would be a real good time for us to figure out what we're going to do when a quarter of the population is unemployable.

      Try reading a history book. Automation has eliminated WAY more than 25% of the jobs in the past. In fact, it has happened multiple times, with the invention of the steam engine, again with the invention of the automatic reaper, and yet again with electrification.

      • You are absolutely right. Automation replaced way more than that 25% I'm citing. There were decades of unemployment, social unrest and wars following that. Where the hell do you think WWI and II came from? It wasn't because some stupid Duke got his head blown off. People get dangerous when they don't have food, shelter, money for families, etc. This has happened over and over again throughout history. We know it's coming, now's a good time to do something about it for a change.
        • Where the hell do you think WWI and II came from?

          WW1 was preceded by prosperity not economic contraction.

          WW2 was preceded by the Great Depression, which had little to do with jobs being lost to automation.

          Lumping them together is odd, since the economic conditions that preceded them were totally different.

          • WW1 was preceded by the same kind of prosperity we have today: Prosperity for those that already have everything, at the cost of a more and more impoverished (and growing) group of people. If it hadn't been for WW1, a few of those empires would have been blown away anyway, actually it's likely that the Russian and the Austrian-Hungarian Empires would not have lasted as long as they did without the war. Russia was underdeveloped and shaken with domestic terrorism (IIRC in the late 1800s one Czar was assassin

    • Yes, they did bother with Germans enough to help Hitler by ridiculous Versaille treaty conditions.

      • It's interesting how, of all the leaders of the world, the French leaders are great at assembling a German Reich and making it their enemy. Napoleon III enabled the Second Reich 1870 by declaring a ridiculous war on Prussia, Clemenceau with his attempt to annihilate German with insane demands after WW1 gave Hitler the ammunition to become Chancellor and create the Third Reich...

        France, please stop doing that, ok?

        • It's interesting how, of all the leaders of the world, the French leaders are great at assembling a German Reich and making it their enemy. Napoleon III enabled the Second Reich 1870 by declaring a ridiculous war on Prussia, Clemenceau with his attempt to annihilate German with insane demands after WW1 gave Hitler the ammunition to become Chancellor and create the Third Reich...

          France, please stop doing that, ok?

          France was reacting out of fear in 1870 trying to prevent German reunification, which Prussia wanted to achieve anyway. Remember, the Austro-Prussian war was four years before that (1866). Bismarck actively sought war with France after that in order to galvanize the southern Germany states (minus Austria) into joining in a union with Prussia. You can say Napoleon III was stupid to fall for it, but let's not paint France as the problem when Prussia was the problem. Prussia was the problem in the start of WW1

          • However Germany *was* the main culprit in WW1, the main reason for the most destructive war in human history up to that time.

            Says who? The victors write the history books. The Germans were only the main culprits because they lost.

            The Triple Alliance/Entente balance was supposed to make war impossible, instead it made it inevitable. It ensured that any minor conflict would become a major conflict. Coupled with the rise of new technology, this ensured the war would be the bloodiest in history. It's not like the Germans were the only ones making machine guns.

            What Germany did in WWI did not warrant the Treaty of Versailles. What Germ

          • Yes, Bismark wanted a war with France, and France had to start it so the defensive pacts with the other German states would come into effect. And Napoleon III was enough of a fool to hand him that gift. There was exactly zero reason for Napoleon to start this war. None.

            World War 1 was a different beast, though. While Wilhelm II was someone who had a spleen for uniforms and military hoopla, he was not the reason for WW1. That war started because Vienna got greedy and wanted that war more than anything to sta

    • by Shotgun ( 30919 )

      In America if you don't work, you don't eat.

      This is so obviously and completely wrong, it is ridiculous. If you've not seen how fat our homeless are, you've not been paying attention. The biggest health problem we have among our poor is OBESITY!! Stop being willfully ignorant.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2018 @10:01PM (#56497953) Journal
    ... to take some report from some organization with an axe to grind and dress it up make news story out of it?

    Is that job vulnerable to automation?

  • Look backwards. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2018 @10:25PM (#56498011)

    Rail museums are fascinating once you realize all the bits that humans had to do. Prior to the self lubricator being invented it was someones job to go around and make sure all N hundred points were properly lubricated. You had to have people physically down on each switch. The locomotives themselves had a 50% duty cycle.

    All of it has been 'automated'. No one is pining over not being able to fire a tinder box. A modern locomotive may take a handful of people to do what used to take hundreds if not thousands.

    The same goes for every other industry from food production to transportation. Humans are industrious creatures in that we'll find something else to do and new ways to be lazy. 50 years ago making your living in eSport or drone racing would have been unheard of.

    • The difference is there was some other job the workers could move to.

      The trick with this round of automation is if we develop advanced enough AI to do the automation, there isn't going to be something else. Because that new job would also be automated away.

      What we're bickering about is when it's going to happen, and what is "advanced enough AI". But it's going to happen. We might want to plan for it instead of hoping that the 1890s repeat themselves.

      • workers could move to after an student loan!

      • The difference is there was some other job the workers could move to.

        Nope. That is NOT different. During every other wave of automation, there were people like you who firmly believed there would be no new jobs to for the displaced.

        When manufacturing jobs were disappearing, NOBODY could foresee that the new jobs would be for pizza deliverers, graphic artists, app developers, and Starbucks baristas.

        But do you really think that ubiquitous, immediate, and dirt cheap transportation by autonomous vehicles won't open up huge opportunities for new businesses? Your toaster broke?

        • Nope. That is NOT different. During every other wave of automation, there were people like you who firmly believed there would be no new jobs to for the displaced.

          It's probably pretty easy to automate someone who only reads one sentence before smashing the keyboard.

          When manufacturing jobs were disappearing, NOBODY could foresee that the new jobs would be for pizza deliverers, graphic artists, app developers, and Starbucks baristas.

          Uh...you're kidding, right? Pizza delivery (and food delivery in general) is not new. Try 1800s. Nor are artists. Nor are the wait/kitchen staff that you now call baristas. And "app developers" started being a thing in the 1950s, when manufacturing jobs were massively growing. Changing the name of a job is not inventing a new job.

          Ten minutes later a robotic vehicle picks it up and delivers it to a repair shop. An hour later it brings the fixed toaster back to your house

          Why is the repair shop staffed by humans?

          See, it's the nexus of AI and

        • When agriculture didn't need farmhands anymore, industry scooped them up. That was easy, no retraining required, no skill required.

          When industry automated and robotized everything, the service industry took over. The skill level of a burger flipper is probably not that much higher than that of a person putting a screw on a bolt and tightening it.

          How do you turn that burger flipper now into an AI writer or robot designer? Remember: 50% of the people have an IQ lower than average.

      • by be951 ( 772934 )

        Humans are industrious creatures in that we'll find something else to do

        The trick with this round of automation is if we develop advanced enough AI to do the automation, there isn't going to be something else

        I think you're both right, to some extent. There will be new types of jobs and perhaps new industries that either can't be done by machines, or that people would rather have (and pay a premium to have) humans do. But personally, I don't believe those will come near to matching the numbers of people who become unemployed, perhaps even unemployable, due to automation.

        There are some hard-to-predict variables that confound discussions like this. For one, how fast is machine learning/AI/automation getting bette

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Indeed. And this time, there is not much left that actually _needs_ doing and was not done before. Each time before, that was the case. Food, shelter, clothing, transportation, entertainment, bureaucracy (apparently a human need...), all hacked now and all scaling or about to scale. So yes, we will find something to do, but the time were it was driven by need (other than to do something with one's time) is over and that is the real difference this time. That has not happened ever before, except to small cla

  • When will it be time to cap OT / lower full time? at the very least come down hard on 1099 Abuse

    • by mentil ( 1748130 )

      I'm thinking that time and a half isn't enough to fix overtime abuse, and that it needs to be higher to encourage usage of more workers. Otherwise, reducing the 40 hours work week won't be as effective.

  • Well, I'm an automation engineer so I'm making those machines. I should be safe.

    • You'll be the first to go! Robots don't want stupid humans designing them and building them with their greesy meat hands.
    • It sounds like a joke, but it's been true so far for me. I (and our team) have automated away about half of our IT jobs and our department has doubled in size. Our job is to do more with less, and each time we do more, we get more to do. IT went from being 25% of our company's work to 80%. The jobs that took up 90% of our department's workload 10 years ago don't exist anymore. What was done by a handful people then is done with no human interaction now. At the same time, half the work that our company does

  • It will happen when energy from fusion becomes reality. Luckily, life is finite and I'm on the downside.
  • Service electrician here, Love to see it happen. No debt and always have a reliable and good paying job, recession or no recession.
    • Imagine how much easier it would be to pull the wire if you actually were the fish tape. Well, advanced enough robotics and AI and you get something that can pull wire better, faster and cheaper than you.

      There were lots of masons also saying "Love to see it happen". Then this thing [fbr.com.au] got invented.

      • And your robot is going to come in and asses the best way to lay out the pipes in the ground based on conditions? Nope. Its going to layout and install boxes in the walls, drill wire paths, and pull in the wire in the walls and then staple? Nope. It is going to install pumps and motor controls and time them into EMS? Nope. I could go on but I won't. And your brick layer there, its one thing to put bricks dry stacked on one another with no rebar. It is a whole other matter to mortar the joins, set the
  • On the other hand, Tesla just found out the hard way that replacing people with automation doesn't always work out. But, I expect that it seemed like it would work out before they made the attempt. So, I wonder how many more of these predicted replacements of people turn out to be more successful in theory than in practice.
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      It is a medium-to-long-range thing. Tesla tried to do it too fast. You have to have a working, optimized assembly process before you can successfully automatize, i.e. they tried to cut out a major step any good engineers knows is absolutely critical. Now they are paying the price for that incompetent decision. The problem is probably that Musk is not actually a good engineer but fancies himself one. (He is a very good businessman though.)

      • It is a medium-to-long-range thing. Tesla tried to do it too fast. You have to have a working, optimized assembly process before you can successfully automatize, i.e. they tried to cut out a major step any good engineers knows is absolutely critical.

        You also have to have excellence in design. Parts designed to be assembled by robot look much different from parts designed to be assembled by humans. For one thing, you hold onto the part and never let it go until it's in place. Humans can shift parts from hand to hand and move them around, but if you do that with a robot, it's a very slow process. That's why so many steps in typical factories are semi-automated. A robot does the job, and a human helps them line up the part. As long as robots are bad at fi

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Automation does not always mean that your function becomes obsolete, it means that you need fewer people to do whatever it is that you do.Imagine that whatever you do can be done in half the time. The same goes for your cow orker.

      What would be nice is that you only need to work half the time. What will happen is that either you or your cow orker will get fired and the person staying will do the work of both.

      • by be951 ( 772934 )

        What would be nice is that you only need to work half the time. What will happen is that either you or your cow orker will get fired and the person staying will do the work of both.

        You're close, but more likely, they'll lay off two out of three (three out of five, if you're lucky) instead of just half.

  • ... the "back than all was fine eventually and so it will be this time" shtick, I recommend you watch this [youtube.com].

  • by Laxator2 ( 973549 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @04:52AM (#56498779)

    Whenever a story about automation comes up most of the replies are of the type:

    "It happened 100 years ago and then again 50 years ago, it we ended up better. We'll figure it out this time."

    What these posts don't say is that the _pace_ of the change was much slower back then. Also, we keep on comparing mostly physical industries (e.g. railways) with the current tech industries.

    In the tech industry the pace of the change is much faster and during the 80's 90's and 00's it was accelerating. I remember growing up in the 80's when studying electrical engineering and making money from repairing TVs was a perfectly good way to make a living.

    Then TVs became almost disposable and computers came along and in the late 80's and early 90's many people made a living writing stuff in BASIC and Pascal. Try making a living from those skills today, only 15-18 years later.

    The point is that in the past the major changes took longer or at least as long as the turn of the generations. You could learn a trade and it kept you going until retirement.

    However, nowadays you can expect 3-4 major changes throughout the employable years of a person, and not everyone is able to keep up the pace with such change.

    • Rather then use my points, please, someone mod this guy up, this is the problem, big big time.

      Lifelong careers are finished, this is bad and getting worse.

    • Both of those seem like pretty poor examples. A programmer would migrate from BASIC or PASCAL to C, and then whatever else they needed if that didn't cut it. A TV repairman is an electronics technician, and they'd move into some other electronics repair, maybe even the PC repair you mentioned.

      Computers were on a slow rise from the 1940's on. Even the Apple II didn't get us to 50% adaption. I think the adaptation speed of modern tech is overstated. Better examples are the stablemen who used to keep af

      • You are making some good points here however, that people did have to face change in the past and learn a new trade.

        However, if the changes happen once per generation, you can expect a person to face such an event once in a lifetime. Most people would go by with the one trade they learned when they were young.

        Nowadays you cannot expect to face less than 3-4 major changes in a career.

  • The sky is falling! The sky is falling!! EVERYBODY PANIC!!!!1!!

    Don't believe the hype. We do not even have real AI, all we have is half-assed 'pseudo-intelligence'. It's not anywhere near as good as the marketing hype says it is. Stop panicking.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser

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