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Old 2013-08-06, 16:15   Link #1
Anh_Minh
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Speculation: what happens when robots obsolete us?

The discussion has cropped up in the news thread...

Let's say in a future more or less near, robots and computers become smart enough to do all the jobs that don't require genius about as well as we do or better, without complaint and, obviously, without salary. Including the jobs of robot manufacture and maintenance...

What then? When society can rely on robots to maintain itself, if not to progress? If we can afford to have 0 human laborer, when everyone can have food and shelter for nothing?

Assuming the robot owners don't decide to let everyone else starve just to feel superior, I think one of the consequences is that we won't have to put up with each other. Look at Notalwaysright.com . If you decided to be a cashier as a hobby, rather than because you've got bills to pay, would you put up with assholes? Heck, if you were an entitled assholes, wouldn't you stay home and send a robot out to bring you your groceries?

So what would it mean for group projects? I mean, I'm sure there'd still be plenty of people willing to do things, because it's better than dying of boredom. Some of them would even be what we'd call productive. But would we reduced to endeavors that can be done with one person and a bunch of robots, or would we still have groups of people working out their differences for the sake of the job?
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Old 2013-08-06, 20:07   Link #2
james0246
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When robots make manual labor obsolete, then we will all become philosopher kings and or liberal arts degrees will be worth their weight in gold pressed platinum.
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Old 2013-08-06, 20:29   Link #3
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Originally Posted by james0246 View Post
When robots make manual labor obsolete, then we will all become philosopher kings and or liberal arts degrees will be worth their weight in gold pressed platinum.
Wouldn't everyone being forced to pursue liberal arts degrees decrease the value of liberal arts degrees?
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Old 2013-08-06, 20:40   Link #4
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How robots transformed American factory jobs, in one company
Quote:
By Adam Davidson

Greenville County, South Carolina (Jan 12, 2012)

...I visited the factory floor of Standard Motor Products. The company makes replacement parts for car engines. I thought this would involve big, noisy machines stamping out parts and spewing oil. Instead I saw workers hunched over microscopes. It looked more like a science lab than an assembly line.

Madeline "Maddie" Parlier operates one of the machines on the floor. She doesn't have a college degree, and she doesn't need one to operate her machine. It runs with a push of a button.

But she remembers a time when factory work wasn't quite so automated. In her old job at a kayak factory, she used to work up a sweat.

"I'm used to sweating — I mean really sweating," she says. "It's so different."

Machines do so much more of the work in today's factory. And the machines have bred a new kind of factory worker — workers like Ralph Young, who doesn't just have to push a button.

"We have a microscope, a hot stand, snap gauges, ID gauges," Ralph says. "We use bore mics, go-no-go plugs."

The future of manufacturing
Ralph is the perfect model of the new factory worker. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of metals and microscopes, gauges and plugs. He works on the team that makes fuel injectors, which require precision engineering. At the heart of the assembly process is an automated machine run by a computer process known as CNC.

And not everyone has the finesse to run a CNC machine.

I can read, I've had some computer classes, and I have a Bachelor of Arts degree. But when I asked Ralph's boss, Tony Scalzitti, if he would hire me and train me on the job, his answer surprised me.

"No," he said. "The risk of having you being able to come up to speed with training would be a risk I wouldn't be willing to take."

To become like Ralph, I'd have to learn the machine's computer language. I'd have to learn the strengths of various metals and their resistance to various blades.

And then there's something I don't believe I'd ever be able to achieve: the ability to picture dozens of moving parts in my head. Half the people Tony has trained over the years just never were able to get that skill.

And if you don't get that skill, a mistake on this machine can be catastrophic. All the work that's done here happens on a scale of microns.

"A 7- or 8-micron wrong adjustment in this machine cost us a US$25,000 workhead spindle," Ralph says. "Two seconds, we could lose US$25,000."

"That's why I wouldn't hire you," Tony tells me.

It's all about simple maths
Maddie is more like the old style of worker. She does have a high-school diploma, but no further education. She works on a simple machine that seals the the cap of a fuel injector onto the body. All she does is insert two parts and push a button. It requires no discretion, no judgment.

There's only one way to run it: the right way.

"It does it for you," Maddie says. "All you do is put the piece in, push the clamps down, and push your finger."

There are a lot of things Ralph knows that Maddie wishes she knew. She wants to know how many microns thick the different parts are. She wants to know the computer language used on the machine she runs. She wants to know all the things that make Ralph's job prospects so much brighter than her own.

And until she knows those things, her future is far less certain.

Maddie has a job, I learnt, because of some simple maths: A machine could easily replace her — a robotic arm could put the parts in and take them out — but it would cost around US$100,000. Maddie makes a lot less than that, and, for now, the maths is in her favour.

Maddie knows all this. She knows she's not living in the old days. She worries about the technology or the low-wage worker abroad who could replace her. She knows that unless she learns some of the things that Ralph knows, she probably won't have a job this good for long. She wants to go back to school, but she's a single mum with two kids.

"I have to go back on my time, and I don't have time," she says. "When I get off work, I go pick my kids up and that's it. My life revolves around my children."

In the old days, Maddie would have learnt on the job. That's what Ralph did. He didn't have to pick between paying his bills and having a future.

But now, the gap between the skilled and the unskilled is so vast that often the only way to make the leap is by leaving work and getting some education. And that's just not financially feasible for a lot of Americans.

THE ATLANTIC
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Old 2013-08-06, 22:06   Link #5
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I meant

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Rambo View Post
Wouldn't everyone being forced to pursue liberal arts degrees decrease the value of liberal arts degrees?
I meant those of us who already have Liberal Arts degrees . We'll benefit immediately, then the diminishing returns will kick in for future generations.

Personally I can't wait for robot sports. If they won't let me have super roid sports then I demand extreme robot sports.
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Old 2013-08-06, 23:04   Link #6
Xellos-_^
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
The discussion has cropped up in the news thread...

Let's say in a future more or less near, robots and computers become smart enough to do all the jobs that don't require genius about as well as we do or better, without complaint and, obviously, without salary. Including the jobs of robot manufacture and maintenance...

What then? When society can rely on robots to maintain itself, if not to progress? If we can afford to have 0 human laborer, when everyone can have food and shelter for nothing?

Assuming the robot owners don't decide to let everyone else starve just to feel superior, I think one of the consequences is that we won't have to put up with each other. Look at Notalwaysright.com . If you decided to be a cashier as a hobby, rather than because you've got bills to pay, would you put up with assholes? Heck, if you were an entitled assholes, wouldn't you stay home and send a robot out to bring you your groceries?

So what would it mean for group projects? I mean, I'm sure there'd still be plenty of people willing to do things, because it's better than dying of boredom. Some of them would even be what we'd call productive. But would we reduced to endeavors that can be done with one person and a bunch of robots, or would we still have groups of people working out their differences for the sake of the job?
i think Issac Asimov's I, Robert series has some good insights to when Robots replace humans on the workforce.

On the upper end you have the colonies where Robots do all the work and even the poorest of the poor has certain standard of living with Robots waiting on them.

On the Downside with Earth during the transition. You have a large population on the dole receiving just enough to live on.

the future is bright but during the transition the people who doesn't have the right skills or make the adaption are going to be big losers.
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Old 2013-08-07, 01:07   Link #7
Anh_Minh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james0246 View Post
I meant those of us who already have Liberal Arts degrees .
Eh. It still wouldn't be conductive to making anything of value. It just would be joined by every other degree.
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Old 2013-08-07, 01:55   Link #8
SaintessHeart
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We become robots too.
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Old 2013-08-07, 01:56   Link #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james0246 View Post
When robots make manual labor obsolete, then we will all become philosopher kings and or liberal arts degrees will be worth their weight in gold pressed platinum.
I don't think so, we'll still need engineers to repair the machines (assuming they don't repair themselves) and people to program them or to fix bugs in the programing. Also, people to design the machines or to think up improvements...

Maybe high danger jobs will be taken over, along with job that require little thinking or judgement and job that require high precision. Other than that, I don't think so...
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Old 2013-08-07, 03:17   Link #10
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Reapers kill us all.
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Old 2013-08-07, 06:15   Link #11
Assort Dis
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I don't know about everyone else but if I do have too much free time on my hand, I would start thinking of many weird stuffs.

So in that world, I imagine everyone will become either obese or too skinny with nothing to do. And then human will degrade mentally which might lead to morale collapse. Number of crimes and strange fetishes might surge.
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Old 2013-08-07, 06:39   Link #12
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The physical world loses most of its value and we migrate to the virtual world.
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Old 2013-08-07, 13:42   Link #13
monster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
The discussion has cropped up in the news thread...

Let's say in a future more or less near, robots and computers become smart enough to do all the jobs that don't require genius about as well as we do or better, without complaint and, obviously, without salary. Including the jobs of robot manufacture and maintenance...

What then? When society can rely on robots to maintain itself, if not to progress? If we can afford to have 0 human laborer, when everyone can have food and shelter for nothing?

Assuming the robot owners don't decide to let everyone else starve just to feel superior, I think one of the consequences is that we won't have to put up with each other. Look at Notalwaysright.com . If you decided to be a cashier as a hobby, rather than because you've got bills to pay, would you put up with assholes? Heck, if you were an entitled assholes, wouldn't you stay home and send a robot out to bring you your groceries?

So what would it mean for group projects? I mean, I'm sure there'd still be plenty of people willing to do things, because it's better than dying of boredom. Some of them would even be what we'd call productive. But would we reduced to endeavors that can be done with one person and a bunch of robots, or would we still have groups of people working out their differences for the sake of the job?
Most of us are still social beings. Just because we don't want to put up with customers in a work setting does not mean we would shy away from social gatherings where we are not forced to give service to other people. Recreational activities would still be done. We just let the robots do all the menial work.

For example, in sports/concerts/plays, we can have the robots setup the place and maintain the equipment, building, security, and do all the service when the spectators/audience come to watch, but still have the humans play/perform.

I don't see any reason to think that the physical world would lose any value, as some have suggested above.
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Old 2013-08-07, 14:33   Link #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JokerD View Post
I don't think so, we'll still need engineers to repair the machines (assuming they don't repair themselves) and people to program them or to fix bugs in the programing. Also, people to design the machines or to think up improvements...

Maybe high danger jobs will be taken over, along with job that require little thinking or judgement and job that require high precision. Other than that, I don't think so...
Yeah but if the introduction of automation wouldn't cause a reduction of working force nobody would spend money on it.

Right now if industries are willing to spend several thousand dollars on machines is because they still cost a lot less than the necessary human blue collars to do the same job.

Moreover what Ahn Mihn is speculating is a future where even the role of machine caretaker can be performed by a machine. Tinyredleaf's post in the end to me only reinforce the notion that a machine would be able to do the job better than a human given as how it's all about math and the ability to understand complicated mechanical structures with absolute precision.

When human like artificial intelligence will be achieved, even to a lesser degree, this scenario will likely happen.

a single human being will be put in charge to supervise hundreds of intelligent robots machine caretakers which in turn will supervise, fix and maintain millions of machines.

In my opinion in the end the world will be divided between a high majority of non working citizens which will just reap the fruits of automated production and a high class of few selected individuals who will perform the few remaining jobs that machines cannot do. Those will probably have a lot more money and power than everyone else.

So in a few words: NEET is the future.
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Old 2013-08-07, 14:43   Link #15
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Then a single EMP wave kills all the machines then that single person in charge better save the world.
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Old 2013-08-07, 14:54   Link #16
Jan-Poo
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Originally Posted by Strygwyr View Post
Then a single EMP wave kills all the machines then that single person in charge better save the world.
We have already passed the point where the sudden malfunction of every single machine would send the world into chaos.
Except the fourth world countries, those would be "safe".


I guess it would be a good idea to create special commissions to preserve the ancient knowledge. People should still keep and cultivate the knowledge to survive without machines and computers.

This probably won't be a problem because there's a lot of persons that willingly do so without any input from above. Survivalists, boy scouts, botanic enthusiast and so on.

When people won't have any jobs, the number of hobbyist is bound to multiply exponentially.
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Old 2013-08-07, 15:04   Link #17
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Originally Posted by Jan-Poo View Post
When people won't have any jobs, the number of hobbyist is bound to multiply exponentially.
Where are they going to get the money for hobbies?
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Old 2013-08-07, 15:16   Link #18
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Originally Posted by GDB View Post
Where are they going to get the money for hobbies?
3D-printing.

raw materials can provided by machines.
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Old 2013-08-07, 15:39   Link #19
Anh_Minh
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Originally Posted by GDB View Post
Where are they going to get the money for hobbies?
If we all reap the fruits of the robots' labor... They won't need money. Or at least, not more money than is provided by the dole we'll all receive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monster View Post
Most of us are still social beings. Just because we don't want to put up with customers in a work setting does not mean we would shy away from social gatherings where we are not forced to give service to other people. Recreational activities would still be done. We just let the robots do all the menial work.

For example, in sports/concerts/plays, we can have the robots setup the place and maintain the equipment, building, security, and do all the service when the spectators/audience come to watch, but still have the humans play/perform.
I know. But I'm not that interested in what people will do for fun.

Think about our great achievements. Or even about everyday things today. You can get dozens, or thousands of people working together on something, adding their strengths to each other to make what one individual cannot, no matter how good his tools. And even if they don't get along all that well, even if they must face unpleasant situations, they endure. A lot of the time, because they don't want to lose their jobs. So what if we remove that fear? What if "losing your job" just means you have more "you" time, rather than "worry you'll become a hobo" time? Will we still be able to work together?

Quote:
I don't see any reason to think that the physical world would lose any value, as some have suggested above.
Well, yeah. Unless we get a virtual reality that's as good as actual reality, but more malleable. The rewards without the effort. But that's a whole other speculation.
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Old 2013-08-07, 15:44   Link #20
GDB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xellos-_^ View Post
3D-printing.

raw materials can provided by machines.
This does not appear to make sense. You're going to 3D print money? And expect money to still have value?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
If we all reap the fruits of the robots' labor... They won't need money. Or at least, not more money than is provided by the dole we'll all receive.
Why would our robots have any better chance of getting a job than we would? It's not like we get to reap the fruits of the current robot labor, so why would that change?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
A lot of the time, because they don't want to lose their jobs. So what if we remove that fear? What if "losing your job" just means you have more "you" time, rather than "worry you'll become a hobo" time? Will we still be able to work together?
Still not understanding how having robots somehow equates to no job but still having money. If you're replaced, you're replaced. It's not like your robot would be needed; management could just buy their own robot to do the same (or probably better, as they could invest more money into it and get a better robot).
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