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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Maybe this belongs in PO but I view it more as a technology/social issue having little to do with partisanship.

I recently read this article
Robot Economy Could Cause Up To 75 Percent Unemployment - Business Insider

and there's a bunch of similar ones.

Basically, an unthinkable number of folks stand to lose their jobs due to exponential advancements in technology. I.e. drones and driverless cars could put everybody from the UPS man, to the Uber driver, to the school bus driver out of business just like they have already done to the assembly line worker. With a bit of imagination it's not hard to envision similar job losses across numerous sectors.

In my own line of work, I don't think it's too far fetched to think someone won't further automate water quality analysis so that the end result isn't just a lab report but would also include a simplified water treatment system design. It's just a matter of having multiple existing technologies "talk" to each other.

What's everyone going to do?
 

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I just read a book from the library called Exporting America by Lou Dobbs. It was written a few years ago, but its relevance today is chilling.

He said that he's still in support of NAFTA, but it needs to be tweaked, and the rules enforced- I agree with this.

And I agree with you that Americans will be in for a shock, though it's happening in slow motion. And it's a far more complex issue than, say, building a wall and pointing fingers at the "bad guys."

The whole time I was working at my most recent job, I knew it was a matter of time before we were automated. Our work was essentially human macros, and it was ridiculous the redundancy involved in our daily tasks.

But those who can make changes often don't, b/c they need to keep THEIR jobs. That can only last so long, though.

Instead of being automated, however, we've been outsourced, and I can't get over the fact that they didn't just replace all the humans by now. Guess they need to untangle 20+ years of Band-Aid-style upgrades first before they can decide exactly how to go about it.......dunno!

If all companies are as sluggish as this one is, we may not have to worry about being made redundant in our lifetimes. :idea:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't expect to be redundant or obsolete in my lifetime but perhaps I need to prepare to live out my old age in a world where many, many others are. I wonder what that will look like.
 

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This is the one nice thing about being an engineer. It's going to be incredibly difficult to automate problem solving and creative thinking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This is the one nice thing about being an engineer. It's going to be incredibly difficult to automate problem solving and creative thinking.
That's probably true for the most part but it's also what I was getting at in the last paragraph of my OP. Consider a hydraulic engineer that needs to design a water conveyance system across a landscape...

- a drone mounted optics system can create a 3D point cloud of the landscape with 1/16" accuracy. They're doing this NOW in UNDERGROUND mines!

- wireless communication probably exists to load that data in a CAD program.

- I'm sure there are a bunch of ASTM or other engineering specs out there that could somehow be plugged into a program to tell it what sizes of pipes/valves are needed for X volume of water to move Y vertical/horizontal distances across your site.

- ALL YOU NEED is for some bright computer geek to make a piece of the puzzle that takes all the data from above to compute requirements and arrange it into a model. I don't think that's as hard to do as some may like to think.

- all this is sent to a plotter and, bang, you have your design and a list of part numbers to (automatically) send to your favorite supplier.

- If this system was really refined and you had seamless communication between all of the components/programs, you could conceivably have a design within an hour of flying that drone. What's that going to do to your percent utilization?

Maybe I'm paranoid but it's easy to be smug until you realize that technology and scientific understanding has always been advancing at an exponential rate. We're in hyperdrive with this stuff now.
 

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What's everyone going to do?
My job is safe :) I do IT Security.. I'll just be making sure the automation tools and platforms are secure, or pentests/vuln assessments against them.. wonder how easy I could social engineer a robot..
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My job is safe :) I do IT Security.. I'll just be making sure the automation tools and platforms are secure, or pentests/vuln assessments against them.. wonder how easy I could social engineer a robot..
I believe that when I'm old and decrepit, my life will be in your hands. And also those who protect me from the starving hoards of ex-engineers and UPS drivers.
 

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In the book, Dobbs explained how a lot of jobs you wouldn't think could be automated/outsourced, can be. Lawyers for example, though I find that hard to imagine.

Radiologists can read scans overnight (different time zone) and be paid 1/10th what they earn here. This is already happening, usually behind-the-scenes (I think they can't give an official diagnosis if your doc is using them, but they can offer input.)

Also, other countries don't have laws governing use of personal health information that are as strict as our laws.

The nice thing about it is that other countries are able to build up their middle class; the downside is that it's at the expense of OUR middle class!

Illegal immigrants shouldn't even be a blip on the radar compared to what technology is doing to our economy. The difference is that the 1% benefits tremendously from automation/outsourcing.
 

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This made my think of the last episode of Humans.. and the hubby was looking through the "jobs for humans" category


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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The same theory, essentially, was first brought up by the ancient Greeks and many times since and has always been flat out wrong. Maybe eventually it'll be right but the track record of it not being right is pretty convincing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The same theory, essentially, was first brought up by the ancient Greeks and many times since and has always been flat out wrong. Maybe eventually it'll be right but the track record of it not being right is pretty convincing.
C'mon dude. Play along. I was just trying to make Christine feel better.
 

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The same theory, essentially, was first brought up by the ancient Greeks and many times since and has always been flat out wrong. Maybe eventually it'll be right but the track record of it not being right is pretty convincing.
Horses said the same thing to themselves in 1900.

Look what online store fronts have done, and continue to do, to local retailers. Automated cars will do the same thing to 5 million or so driving jobs. No pharmacist can know all the drugs past and present and their side effects, but that is an easy task for automation
 

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I think it's mostly hype. Take the UPS truck, for example. What's a driverless truck going to do with your package? Lob it from a trebuchet onboard, and aim for your door?

The example about horses is valid. Back in the 19th century, there were groups called Luddites, who feared technology so much that they sabotaged machinery. And yet.....employment changed, but continued.
 

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If you don't have a job, you don't need to drive to work, you don't need to build roads.

China's workforce is in for the biggest shock, similar to when all of our manuf jobs went there, the robots are coming. The end of the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd world jobs.
 

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just trying to make Christine feel better

All I'm getting out of this is that everybody but me has actual, marketable skills :prrr:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I think it's mostly hype. Take the UPS truck, for example. What's a driverless truck going to do with your package? Lob it from a trebuchet onboard, and aim for your door?.
Simple. A driverless truck doesn't need to adhere to a normal work day. The recipient tells the truck, via an app, when they will be home and the truck shows up at that time whenever it is. Just like ordering a pizza except you'll walk from your house to the truck instead of the driver walking from the truck to your house.
 

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I think it's mostly hype. Take the UPS truck, for example. What's a driverless truck going to do with your package? Lob it from a trebuchet onboard, and aim for your door?

The example about horses is valid. Back in the 19th century, there were groups called Luddites, who feared technology so much that they sabotaged machinery. And yet.....employment changed, but continued.
At first let's say it costs you $15 to ship a package. Volunteer for driverless delivery, to go walk to the back of the truck, and it is $10. Before you know it, everyone is used to it-the costs go up. And UPs makes more money, with a captive herd of consumers.

Human labor is going away. Humans are sickly creatures that are needy.

Hell look at the stock market that used to employ thousands. Today the NYSE or DOW you see on TV is basically a pointless movie set. We all complain about manufacturing jobs that left the USA already-between automation of all sorts and offshoring those (well-paying jobs) never coming back.



Today isn't like the 18th century. Stop pretending super computers and robots are equatable to the steam engine.
 

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Amazon has been playing around with drone delivery; UPS will eventually have self-driving trucks, perhaps drones as well.....

Sure, it's a bit early to expect much from drones, they can't carry a whole lot. But how long did it take airplanes to go from the Wright Bros' earliest designs, to war machines carrying bombs? Three decades or so?

Trump should forget about manufacturing jobs, and focus on creating infrastructure-improvement jobs. Might involve some steel production, but taxpayers might demand cheaper sources.
 

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What's everyone going to do?
My guess is that one effect is that the workday/workweek is going to get shorter.

If only 'X' number of man-hours are needed in the economy, and 'X' shrinks a lot due to technology, well then, in some sectors it'll be a choice between massive unemployment, or more jobs with less hours.

For social stability and more ppl having income, probably we'll choose the latter.
 
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