Man vs. Machine: Are Any Jobs Safe from Innovation?

If you want to talk about your personal paperweight, you've found the right place!

Moderator: Moderators

Fitzcarraldo
Sagely Hen
Posts: 8191
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2007 5:40
Location: United Kingdom
Contact:

Man vs. Machine: Are Any Jobs Safe from Innovation?

Post by Fitzcarraldo » Fri May 03, 2013 11:43

"The digital revolution is destroying jobs faster than it is creating them." That is the conclusion of Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson, two respected economists and directors at the MIT Center for Digital Business:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/bus ... 97412.html

"...the breakneck speed of automation could wreak havoc on the global labor market."

BTW, in the first decade of the 21st Century, the World's population grew by 18 per cent. In the last 50 years the World's population doubled. There are now 7 billion people on this planet, and the population is still growing.

joost
Sagely Hen
Posts: 2737
Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2006 12:11
Location: The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Man vs. Machine: Are Any Jobs Safe from Innovation?

Post by joost » Fri May 03, 2013 13:06

My blog | Mastodon | Please support Sabayon: Become a Patron

JWJones
Baby Hen
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 20:53
Location: Cascadia

Re: Man vs. Machine: Are Any Jobs Safe from Innovation?

Post by JWJones » Fri May 03, 2013 15:52

I think the world's oldest profession is safe. At least until they roll out those sexy cyborgs. :mrgreen:
Sabayon 13.04 - Xfce
Thinkpad T61 – Intel Core2 Duo T7300 @ 2.00 GHz

Fitzcarraldo
Sagely Hen
Posts: 8191
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2007 5:40
Location: United Kingdom
Contact:

Re: Man vs. Machine: Are Any Jobs Safe from Innovation?

Post by Fitzcarraldo » Fri May 03, 2013 17:06

JWJones wrote:I think the world's oldest profession is safe. At least until they roll out those sexy cyborgs. :mrgreen:
Not if potential customers don't have jobs and therefore no money to pay for it, it isn't. :-)

JWJones
Baby Hen
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 20:53
Location: Cascadia

Re: Man vs. Machine: Are Any Jobs Safe from Innovation?

Post by JWJones » Fri May 03, 2013 20:42

Fitzcarraldo wrote:
JWJones wrote:I think the world's oldest profession is safe. At least until they roll out those sexy cyborgs. :mrgreen:
Not if potential customers don't have jobs and therefore no money to pay for it, it isn't. :-)
Yikes! 'Tis true!
Sabayon 13.04 - Xfce
Thinkpad T61 – Intel Core2 Duo T7300 @ 2.00 GHz

dunsurfin
Sagely Hen
Posts: 1333
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2007 21:38
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne UK
Contact:

Re: Man vs. Machine: Are Any Jobs Safe from Innovation?

Post by dunsurfin » Sat May 04, 2013 9:54

JWJones wrote:
Yikes! 'Tis true!
And just as you were beginning to enjoy the work! :)
Self-righteousness is a loud din raised to drown the voice of guilt within us - Eric Hoffer

Don't believe what it says on the right - I am anything but sagely; More oniony!

dunsurfin
Sagely Hen
Posts: 1333
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2007 21:38
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne UK
Contact:

Re: Man vs. Machine: Are Any Jobs Safe from Innovation?

Post by dunsurfin » Sat May 04, 2013 10:10

Some people have been advocating for some time the concept of paying people not to work. The days of full employment were left behind long ago and will never return unless there is a global catastrophe such as a nuclear war, a resistant plague, a meteor strike or a super-volcano (presumably even a small nuclear war could destroy much of the computer infrastructure we rely on).
It does need a very radical shift in thinking, education and behaviour which will require an even more radical shift in politics and power. The rich and privileged will have to give up their positions or have them taken from them.

I must stop now or I'll go into full revolutionary mode! :)
Self-righteousness is a loud din raised to drown the voice of guilt within us - Eric Hoffer

Don't believe what it says on the right - I am anything but sagely; More oniony!

Fitzcarraldo
Sagely Hen
Posts: 8191
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2007 5:40
Location: United Kingdom
Contact:

Re: Man vs. Machine: Are Any Jobs Safe from Innovation?

Post by Fitzcarraldo » Sat May 04, 2013 12:31

You're absolutely right, dunsurfin. The fact is that the World's population would need to halve (at least).

There is already concern at government and UN level about how the World is going to feed itself in the years to come, and there have been increasing problems due to crop shortages in some countries. Some nations have tacitly admitted that GM crops are the only way to ensure enough grain and rice is produced to feed the escalating population.

China, a nation with huge requirements for food, energy and natural resources, is busy investing in African nations in order to try to secure supplies (oil, minerals and food). Some Gulf states have bought large swathes of certain African countries in order to secure food supplies, as they have virtually no arable land (and fresh water) of their own.

The West is going to see large changes in the future, and the days of cheap energy and ever-increasing living standards are over. The percentage of people aged over 65 is increasing in the so-called First World, and the jobs for those younger are decreasing. The population needs to drop dramatically, and I personally think the way of living in the West could end up reverting to the way it was when more people had to live off the land, something that is impossible in today's World due to the size of the population and the switch to industrialisation and industrial economies (or post-industrial economies).

Over two billion passengers fly annually these days, and I foresee that dropping dramatically in the decades to come as fuel costs begin to rise. Despite the civil aviation industry already experimenting with biofuels (the first 100%-biofuel flight with a small civil aircraft happened in July 2010): KLM Launches First Weekly Transatlantic Flight Using Biofuels on March 7, 2013.

But I don't believe the World can produce enough biofuel to replace the present rates of consumption of fossil fuels, and there are already complaints that the use of arable land to grow e.g. maize and sugar cane to produce biofuels is reducing the capacity to grow food and is also actually environmentally unfriendly (think of all the fertiliser that it requires, which uses up fossil fuels to produce and transport).

And don't get me started on pollution! If I recall correctly, in the Limits to Growth (a visionary book, if ever I read one) almost all the modelled scenarios resulted in extinction due to pollution. For example, there is a zone much larger than France in the Pacific Ocean, roughly 10 metres deep, of concentrated plastic detritus (miniscule particles to large pieces): The world's rubbish dump: a tip that stretches from Hawaii to Japan. See the excellent talk by Charles Moore: The Great Pacific plastic trash island. There are hundreds of millions of tonnes of plastic in the World's rivers and oceans. A chemical in plastic that has some similarities to oestrogen is changing the behaviour of certain species of fish, causing stocks to decline and other effects.

Mankind is hurtling towards extinction, and does not appear to realise it. All the palliatives discussed or implemented to date are completely insufficient to stop this happening. One of my favourite sci-fi films, which I believe is quite prophetic, is Soylent Green, which depicts a dystopian future.

And now it is I who must stop, as I can go on for hours on this subject!

dunsurfin
Sagely Hen
Posts: 1333
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2007 21:38
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne UK
Contact:

Re: Man vs. Machine: Are Any Jobs Safe from Innovation?

Post by dunsurfin » Sat May 04, 2013 15:01

Thank you Fitzcarraldo; It is always heartening to see that I'm not the only one with a very bleak view of the future. I am fortunate that I'm 66 and will probably not live to see the collapse of the world as I know it. I also don't have any children to worry about. My lover, though, has two sons in their twenties and she worries for them.
Mankind has not been around very long but has managed to do a vast amount of damage in that short time. Perhaps it will be a good thing if we do die out before we have the chance to export that damage beyond our own world.
Self-righteousness is a loud din raised to drown the voice of guilt within us - Eric Hoffer

Don't believe what it says on the right - I am anything but sagely; More oniony!

Stupot
Sagely Hen
Posts: 1730
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:44
Location: St. Louis, MO, USA

Re: Man vs. Machine: Are Any Jobs Safe from Innovation?

Post by Stupot » Sat May 04, 2013 17:58

Mankind isn't going to be going extint that quick. Social norms will definitely have to change as less people will need to work to keep us alive in the short term.

But we already pay for people to do nothing but entertain us. And the machines will need to be kept in shape. Engineering will be growing.

I do forsee a rebellion against the wealthy who own more and more. I really wish that they would understand that taking everything away from people means that there is no one left to give them anything.

Using up all of the natural resources is definitely on its way. This is the one hard truth that I don't believe will be a self-correcting problem. But then again, all it might take is one or two revolutionary breakthroughs in generating/storing electricity (or other forms of energy) to significantly slow down this process.

So I guess while I agree that the human race is heading in the wrong direction in many matters, I still have hope that things don't have to continue the way they are.

Post Reply