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Are there any professions that are immune to automation?


well, getting a chip to 0k is thermodynamically pretty expensive, even at ideal efficiencies. That’s not going to change without breaking a laundry list of natural laws. So uh, yeah.

again with the lithography process comparison to basic physics. oy vey


I shouldn’t have brought up quantum computing. I agree that with what we know now, it doesn’t appear as though quantum can accomplish what we’re talking about.

But what I think you’re saying is that entropy precludes the possibility of technology ever surpassing the capabilities of biological humans to automate production on any timeline. That doesn’t make sense to me.


not that it’ll never happen, just not with digital computing (or probably quantum either) and if it does, it’ll be massively inefficient compared to biological systems, and be dependent on them en masse.

There’s a reason that so many conceptions of the future from past generations are laughably inaccurate looking back: it’s because they’re informed by the real.

The trends of the 40’s, mainly advances in food science and mechanization lead to some hilariously bad pulp sci-fi where everyone had flying cars and ate meals in pill form, but still used payphones and entertained themselves with reel to reel media

The 60-70’s had video phones and space ships, but no (widespread) portable communication and point to point radio and tapes were still relevant, because despite all of the technological advances in media, it was still grounded in the real.

our current popular speculation about AI and transhumanism are driven by popular trends in technology, so the collective unconscious visualizes a world where those things extend to their extremes despite their limitations and misrepresentation. There will probably be sci fi that comes out this year, that 30 years from now, we’ll look back at and ask “who could have thought that’s how things would be”

The only thing that’s a surety is that no one will be able to predict what we look like 50 years from now, and the people that get close probably got really lucky


In an effort to bring the discussion back to the OP (sorry @sgtawesomesauce), would you like to discuss how Nordic democratic socialism addresses the economic impacts of automation?


Fuck, I check in on the forum for a second and see (38 replies)

What did you bastards do!?


We talked. What the fuck else are we supposed to do?


All this talk about ubi. I was hoping to talk about automation, not the merits of communism.


there was a good sprinkle of automation in there too


It addresses income and social inequality better than UBI, via the same mechanisms UBI proposes to mitigate the impact of automation (which again, isn’t as scalable as people think it is)

UBI is a propoganda vehicle for people that want to keep the poor, poor.

Nordic Socialism keeps the people that want to keep the poor poor out, while retaining as much flexibility as they can while doing so.

simple as that. It may not be your preferred system, but it addresses the issues caused by multinational corporate rampancy much better than UBI. If that’s a core issue for you, it’s a real world solution.


I think @wendell talked about automation in one of the level1news where he said it will be similar to when computers were first introduced.

I feel that automation in the long term will be used to enhance with pre-existing jobs. In the short term certain repetitive jobs that automation can easily replace will be given to robots

I think the severity of job loss will be similar to the computer revolution. Before computers became ubiquitous, people thought that accountants and secretaries would be replaced by computers.


I actually work in automation and cognitive intelligence.

Every field, including white collar fields, has what I call “janitorial tasks”. Repetitive, boring shit.

  • In IT, they’re cleaning up disk space, provisioning infrastructure, deploying code, regression testing, etc.
  • In medicine they’re reading charts, collating and sifting through vast amounts of often contradictory data, and following set triage and treatment procedures.
  • In insurance they’re reading policies and explaining them to users.
  • In law they’re basically everything a paralegal does, lots of datamining and organization.
  • And pretty much everybody has service desk and customer support.

All that stuff is being automated today.

What can’t be automated? Anything that requires a human touch or a human judgment call. You’re not going to automate a plumber in the next 20 years. If you’re being sued, you want to talk to an actual lawyer, not chat with a LawBot. In IT, you need someone to keep up on the latest technology to make architectural and design decisions. And so on, and so forth. If it requires actual human thought, and making a decision, it won’t be automated in the near future.

Why? Because while everybody talks about AI, nobody is seriously working on general AI. It’s pie in the sky stuff. We’re all working on technology with immediate applications to make money in the near future.


I may be restating as I haven’t read the thread entirely.

What can be immune are professions that the setup cost of automation does not justify the efficiency. For example my job where I work at a machine shop that makes injection molding tools. Every tool is different, so they all need one-off parts where handing a human a print is faster than having human program robot to do the thing.

Robot isnt going to go over to a material rack and grab a piece of stock for you.

but you guys use cnc machines, das automation tho

cnc mills do things I cant like making cut with a .020" endmill or cutting compound angles.

but for simpler parts I am faster because I dont have to programmed by a guy in a chair :smile:


That come to mind right quick, forestry, residential construction, most automotive work. Now, I’m sure at some point there will be robots that can do oil changes, but as far as body work and engine building, nah I don’t see that happening.


Its fucking crazy the shit people build in factorio :open_mouth:


We dont generally live that long. Well my carnivorous side will will insure I dont. Just step +/- 100 years and see what is possible.
I think most adults are safe.
Its only some Millennial’s and Gen Y it seems to be will see the beginning of the end.
I will continue to be retired and hopefully dead before I hit a nursing home with restricted internet news.


I’ll list a few:

Aged carer
Relationship counsellor

Reasoning: they involve social skills with people

Most of the “skilled” jobs that people think are safe like doctor, scientist, etc. are probably not.


Your car (and its engine) is already assembled (if not fully, at least partially) by robots, why do you think things like oil changes and body work are impossible?


There was an AI medical company founded a few years ago that has AI that is far better at diagnosing cancer from x-rays (or MRI, whatever. i’m not a doctor) than most doctors.

Judgement calls are merely guesses based on experience. Unfortunately in humans they also include bias.

Robots aren’t biased. They act on data and probability.

Things that require “thinking” are probably the most vulnerable, in my opinion.

The social and creative industries are probably safest, imho. Because people want contact with people, less so, robots.

With regards to science being automated: i don’t think most in research are that safe. There’s a HUGE amount of science that is based on testing and experiments. Robots can likely do that faster and more accurately. Maybe what scientists are doing will change, but there will definitely be an impact there, and people like lab assistants probably aren’t that safe.

Re: universal basic income.

I don’t look at it is a bad thing. I think that irrespective of automation, UBI frees people to be more creative, if they are creative. I’ve known people who have had plenty of neat ideas but were not in the financial position to get them off the ground due to having to do the 9-5 drudgery in order to pay the bills to survive. There’s always a question of “how will this pay for itself” or “how will this make money” from any sort of financial backer, rather than pursuing knowledge for knowledge’s sake.

If the bills are paid and people are more free to do things they are interested in, i think we’d see a net benefit in terms of scientific progress.

So much of the scientific progress in history has been from people doing science for the sake of science or out of necessity to solve a problem, rather than short-term financial gain. We need more of that, in my opinion.


I said that I’m sure there will be robots that can do oil changes.


Yes, I believe IBM bought them for its Watson division. That’s pattern recognition, which machine learning is very good at. When they biopsy a tumor they sequence its DNA and then Watson looks for pattern deviations. Machine learning isn’t a judgment call, but it is obviously making a determination based upon experience. That’s what I was talking about with limited AI as opposed to general AI.

When you talk about “thinking”, that’s general AI, and like I said, general AI is a pipedream for the near future. Limited AI is where the money’s at.

Universal basic income is pretty unlikely until we grow past an economy of scarcity. That would require a number of technological breakthroughs like cold fusion, room-temp superconductors, and yeah probably general AI that doesn’t want to exterminate all humans.