Machines versus humans and all that

Midst of all the hype about A.I, self-driving cars and robots taking over 'human jobs' I think we are all losing an important perspective; Isn't that the precise reason why we started inventing tools and machines? To make our lives easier, increase our chances of survival.
Think about it, when fire and tools were invented the human population boomed and the same was observed when vaccines came about.
But you would say, "Ah! But here technology can replace humans entirely instead of helping them."...So what! Isn't that the ultimate salvation? To not be worried about meeting deadlines, struggling for promotions or to drive with your kids quarreling in the backseat.
To reach that point where machines do all the 'hard work' and you can just learn whatever you want, develop at your own pace and live in general a happier life.
Of course that is not the case, losing jobs is bad from both micro and macro-economic stand points. Makes me wonder where did we go wrong with this...

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We didn't go's the natural evolution of machines, the problem is that with every revolution that there is a point in time where advancements displace workers, and they have to be retrained to do other jobs some related to the evolution of the new process and others in unrelated fields. Think about the invention of the cotton gin and the number of workers that displaced.....

But the math still suggests that the number of employment options will decrease, so it looks to me as if, only a small group of elite people will benefit from this type of paradigm shifts. Seeing the current income inequality (globally), this can't end in a good way.
The cotton gin article do suggest that I could be wrong, but I need some more concrete statistics to get convinced.
Anyways, thanks :)

The problem with the math is that it can't consider the unknowns like spin-off jobs or new jobs created by the evolution, take robotics for example sure some day robots will engineer and build themselves but up until that point humans will build robots, humans will write the code and program the robots, humans will perform the maintenance and servicing of robots, all creating new jobs that don't exist today.

Just the robotics field itself will create lots of jobs for humans, they may only be 10-20 year job life (before robotics and AI start tending to itself) but new technology will create new human jobs while displacing human jobs in some sectors, do you think used robots will sell themselves? I foresee used robot stores similar to used car lots, the possibilities are varied and plentiful, how about when robots go rouge (it will happen, either hacked or through failures)....who is going to track it down and neutralize the machine and what tools will be used to do have to be optimistic and have a open mind, robots could be the best thing to happen to mankind or the worse...only time will tell.

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No matter how advanced machines get there's always a need for humans for the back-end, and for "second hand" stuff like @Blanger said well. Even scifi-like A.I. is rule-based; if this then that. That makes it still a dumb machine, albeit a complex one, it needs human control to function properly.
As for the jobs; throughout history with the advancement of technology many human jobs has gone extinct and new ones has emerged. I find it interesting to see what kinds of new jobs there is to come. Speculations?

Under a sensible economic system automation would be a blessing because it would mean we have to work less. However under capitalism the livelihood of workers is tied to a job in order to get income, so the less that human labor is necessary, the less worth human labor has, and consequently the less compensation they receive. That force is counteracted somewhat by competition because it should mean cheaper goods, but only where competition is strong enough that it drives companies to pass on the savings (which isn't always the case).

So as we automate away human labor from the equation at an increasing rate we need to consider new economic modes of organization.

In regards to what others have had to say as far as reeducating workers to move to new fields, that would be all well and good if schooling was easily accessible and integrated so that people could properly dedicate their time to picking up new skills. However that's also an individual responsibility under the current paradigm so a lot of people are going to be left out as only those affluent enough will be able to afford the schooling necessary to reskill. The person who flips burgers isn't necessarily going to be qualified to maintain the machine that replaces them for example.

I've gone more indepth on the contradiction between automation and capitalism in this article I wrote a whilte ago if you want to see an elaboration of what I mean:

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We don't even know at this point once we have humanoid robots (bipeds) how they will be powered, will they require a charging cycle like we sleep? or how about the servo motors strong enough to allow a robot to be agile enough to walk but strong enough to actually do physical work, will humanoid robots dig ditches or will other specialty robot machines dig ditches while others do the grunt work, will robots be agile enough to handle fragile things like glassware without added programming?

One thing for sure is that robots will be able to do a lot of varying tasks but will have a lot of evolution to even come close to replicating the dexterity and motor control that humans take for granted, it will be much easier to create a robot to do heavy lifting than it will be to create one that can tend to a human baby, we as humans have another 50-100 years before we have to worry about being displaced by robots at every task, I'll let the next generation worry about SkyNet and the assorted end of days stuff caused by AI and robots.

One of the very first usages of humanoid robots will be in security, police, military, it's where the risk of loss of human life is at it's greatest and honestly the military is going to push and push for robotic soldiers, and the cost per unit will be so high initially that government will be the only first, but like everything else eventually there will be a surplus market flooded with cheap knockoffs that are about as reliable as a Yugo was.

Today robots are very good at repetitive tasks that humans grow tired of very quickly, but the bulk of jobs are not going to be replaced with a generic robot 2000 series that can do everything a human can do any time in the near future, they still haven't perfected walking robots yet and that singularity is going to happen but that alone isn't but one first step to a true mobility, they still have lots and lots of ground to cover and problems to solve before a robot can stand next to a human and do the same job shoulder to shoulder.

The automated machines of today that are called robots are really just dumb automation that has been borrowing the term, a true robot will have to replace a human at every task a human can do from washing/drying dishes, digging ditches, to changing a baby's will eventually happen, but no time soon.

You might not have lived it but the 19th century Luddite textile riots in UK & America. As recent as 1934.

Not sure if you realize, we been leanings towards a communist/socialist form of government since WII or Industrial revolution. From Social Security to Public roads and works. We got public housing to food pantries and Unemployement. From 2004 to 2014 the growing sector of jobs are in fields such as Health Care, Leisure & Hospitality and Educational Services. No one wants to work at a factory if the majority of the job is automated already. Start questioning things and they just tell you "job security". I mean do people still want to be an elevator operator? Or go to a gas station to be serviced by an attendant like the 50s? How about spending a few days hunting and fishing for survival instead of a sport?

We still have space exploration and ocean cultivation yet to do. The gallaxy is waiting for us and you're complaining about meager surrogate tasks? As for self driving cars we still got a few more years since they can't dodge road objects yet. Technology is your friend not your enemy. People who think AI will attain conscience and overthrow humans are just guilty of being descended from slaving owning bible fearing white folks. Are you afraid of an AI run world where everybody gets equal share of work lol? Either scared of social justice or coding error nightmare hell?

There is a saying, "A fool will eventually be overcome by the sword, a master will overcome it." "A tool is only as good as the person using it."

The way you see it exactly what I fear the most, especially in a growing economy like India and China, where education is mostly just a phrase for training to do something very specific and if automation takes over over-night, the economy is doomed.
What I'm looking for are a possible fail-safes and preventive measures that could be implemented:
a) On an individual level as a kind of self-immunity against the tumults
b) On a socio-political level, in terms of how we shape our society
It is all fun speculating, but if it actually happens I want to be prepared.

Ah! But here is the catch, we are not in control of the A.I neither do we understand it well enough, those who do only think about capitalizing over it (there are a few exceptions, I know). What scares me is not an A.I ruling humanity, what scares me is the widening gap between different income groups and the way things are, technology could be the final blow against technology itself. Nobody likes to flip burgers, but it sure can get you through your college, and you can say that online job opportunities can still help students out. But let's face it, (college) education is more expensive than ever and skimming through internet is still miles away from actual decent education.

Markets sometimes adjust and things turn out fine for the long run (there's usually large transition groups that get screwed though, like that 50 year old who looses a labor or skill job and doesn't know much else and doesn't have time to learn much else and keep his retirement).

On the other hand, I'm surprised more don't look at the real possibility that this won't make "everyone's life easier" but instead "everyone in power/left easier". Once the need for labor is gone, what's to stop those who wield too much power and have control over now automated production moving forward with a "eh, let's eliminate the rest of the population, they aren't doing anything beneficial to us anymore" type plan? It's an old conspiracy theory that such has already been going on for some time now, more automation would just reduce the numbers of those they'd need to keep around further.

On the completely other end of the spectrum, I have to wonder sometimes if we aren't too critical of the "hard" jobs, and wonder if there isn't some benefit, at least to some, for overall happiness. There are many philosophies that have long seen hard work as a component of self-enrichment and a helpful tool (not the be all end all, but a help) towards happiness. Obviously, most have abandoned that idea, but was that really wise to throw away?

As an example of how this isn't so far fetched either, many health and stress experts have noticed that when put under certain kinds of extreme stress in short bursts (getting punched in the face during a fight, enduring extreme cold for a short period of time, going without food for a while) seems to have positive effects on the body due to activating certain survival hormones that, once they are used up, are counteracted by relief hormones. This allows people to better handle non-life threatening problems, as their hormones are already in place that have handled what now seems to be "more serious problems". In other words, giving people something that is physically difficult to deal with 'helps put things in perspective' (perhaps hormonally, rather than merely mentally) within certain limits (actually dying or loosing a limb probably doesn't help much), so you can better handle other stresses and problems of life.


I addressed this at the end of my article:

Essentially the means of production and finance need to come under public control in order to make sure that any profits made are reinvested into the community even if there isn't a clear profit for individual investors. As humans are shed from the production process, the source of profits starts to dwindle because that's how profits are derived: paying workers less than the value they generate in goods sold and produced. Robots can work for cheap, but you have to pay the market value for them unlike human labor which can work below the value that it generates for a company yet still keep coming to work.

EDIT: As far as what that's going to look like concretely, that means direct action organizing. It means people coming together to take over society and run it in their own choosing, because the one they're a part of now is not under their control. Examples of this include the fight for $15 and the black lives matter movement (as controversial as it is, it's an active struggle tied to the economic and political oppression that the elites are using to uphold the very system that needs to be changed). Others will emerge as the continual degradation of the planet and our standard of living force people to make choices about how to solve these problems.

You guys seriously have too much "AI fear porn" indoctrinated" into you. The coders would always code something about "not killing life forms" or at least "obey" the human programmer. An enlighten being "AI" should be a Buddha not a Satan. Why do you think there is a correlation between "Crime & IQ". We don't go to Native Americans and demand all their guns do we? Or plough through their graveyards without asking permission.

Again not A.I, pal. Just the inequality

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The easiest way is to cater to other humans, pick a job or business that is automation proof like auto repair or really any type of thing that humans use that is mechanical that breaks and can't be easily replaced so is repaired, there are many many "trades" that really can't be automated like being a electrician and wiring new construction, being on the engineering end of just about anything will pay you a good living and not be automated, healthcare is another choice, low end service jobs will fall first and there will come a time when people will pay a lot more to be dealt with by a human over a machine, just think about how you feel calling any major corporation and trying to get to a human voice.

Nothing a individual can do....nothing period, it is going to be how the collective (people in power) wants it to be.

So the automation for the most part will be making things for consumers.....killing them off is self-defeating as you will have no purpose to exist making widgets for who?

I like this ^^^^^^^^^ it shows a lot of thought which most people shy away from, many many problems that society has is because there isn't any hardships.....stress can be a killer but it can be your best friend when problem solving.

When I was in high school there was a guy that lost his right arm in a auto accident when he was younger, he played baseball in high school and was one of the best players on the team being able to hit and catch one handed better than almost everyone else on the team, there was really nothing he couldn't do because he didn't view himself as handicapped, he just did things differently than how someone with two arms did.

We are in control of AI, but that won't last forever if people really are stupid and senile enough to make robots that think on our level or higher.

Yea early adapters will get the most of this. Just look at the banking,steel and oil families of America. Our education system is pretty much crap right now. You can go thru a bachelor program, and still get entry level job they would say a high school graduate can do. The problem is college only skim through an overview and also don't specialized like what a trade school would do. I mean taking a computer science course but taking so many classes in Sociology and English WTF? I mean some of them could barely write C++ coming out of graduation let alone java and HTML.

As for social economics those whom don't adapt will remain behind like the indigenous people or the traditionalist like Amish etc.. The world won't end there's still a need for basket weavers nowadays even after all these years.

If it goes open source, someone would definitely be stupid or senile enough to do that, and again we are digressing, that is not the part we are trying to speculate about

Even if it wasn't it wouldn't make a difference, I mean, you don't think Microsoft, Google or Facebook are senile enough to do something like that? I mean they obsess over data collecting already.

Hell, Microsoft was stupid enough to put AI out into Twitter, the AI's name was Tay, good thing Tay was a weak AI, so she wasn't a direct threat. But then you had even dumber people trying to feed AI propaganda and outright lies or just plain trolling.

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Java is easier than C++ I think, I struggle with C++, but then again, I never dug deep into it yet, I am going to, although I can do basic C.

As far as Sociology and English goes, well, I don't look forward to taking those classes this year, I liked my STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Math). However, it's going to be valuable since we don't need everyone being hive minds and slaves to technology.

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