Random Things that Fall Out of My Head

Frank Michels

Frank Michels
Location
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Birthday
March 29
Bio
Frank Michels is a songwriter, musician, and producer in Nashville, Tennessee. He likes to dig in the dirt and plant flowers, cook tasty things, walk his dog, and play really fast riffs on a telecaster guitar.

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NOVEMBER 4, 2011 8:19AM

Robots Are Coming to Take Your Job

Rate: 7 Flag

               robots 

Are you a truck driver? How about a retail clerk, bank teller, tax preparer? Or even a doctor, lawyer, or accountant? If so, a robot may be coming to take your job away in the near future. 

That is the premise of a new e-book called “Race Against the Machine” by MIT economists Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, which is available on Amazon. In their book, they argue that our current unemployment problems are not just due to job outsourcing, but also to the rapid pace of technology, and most people’s inability to keep up with it. 

In the past, technological innovations tended to destroy jobs when they were first introduced. The invention of the grain thresher ended employment for 25% of the agricultural workers that had been needed to bring in the crops. But there has always been a net gain of jobs in the long run, as new technologies created jobs in fields that had not existed before. 

In their book, Brynjolfsson and McAfee make the case that these days, machines are increasingly able to perform tasks in which humans were once unquestioned masters. And corporations are eager to replace workers, with their irritating need for pay, health care, and retirement plans, with robots and computers who will work 24 hours a day without complaining, and in many cases do a job much better than humans can. This is leading to a situation where those who have the capital to invest in machines are reaping all the financial benefits, while workers are increasingly being pushed into the generally lower paying jobs that machines cannot do well, like home health care, cleaning, fixing cars, or anything that needs both physical and problem-solving skills.

 

robot helper  

This is bad news for the middle class in our country. Once upon a time, someone with a high school education could get a factory job, and earn enough to buy a house and a car, raise a family, and retire with savings and a pension. Even my job, musician and songwriter, once paid enough to stay firmly in the middle class. But at the speed technology is advancing, I’ll probably wake up tomorrow morning to find someone has written an app for iPhone that will compose a custom song to your specifications. (If that hasn’t already happened) 

We are already dealing directly with robots now in our everyday lives, when we get cash from an automatic teller, or pay for groceries or a plane ticket at a self-service kiosk. Users of the new iPhone can interact with Siri, a program that uses advanced pattern recognition software to seem almost human at times. Google has developed software to allow a robot to drive a vehicle more safely than a human can. And this is just the beginning. 

No wonder the Occupy Wall Street folks are upset. They can see a future in which ordinary Americans are increasingly superfluous, and wealth continues to flow upward to the owners of capital. All we can do is get the education needed to compete in this new economy, and hope that new technologies will again lead to employment in fields that have not even been imagined yet. 

(This blog post was written entirely by Frank Michels’ blog-writing robot, Wingnut.)

 

wingnut  

 

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Comments

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They're already doing most of the posting on OS.
But the OS robots are not operating the rating button this morning. Sorry.
we must of had a vulcan mind meld- as I was crafting a similar essay this week called Robots Will Work- check it out. GREAT TOPIC.
"Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!"
Not only are robots saving the cost of labor for producers, they are removing the normal flow of money through wages into markets. When production ceases to supply consumers with the means to purchase whatever is produced a vital link in the standard economic process is totally destroyed and the system ceases to function. We are just seeing the beginning of that and even that is devastating.
Kurt Vonnegut, not the only one by far to tackle this subject, wrote a wonderful novel called "Player Piano" It was published in 1952. It was probably about 15 years later that I found it in the elementary school library. I've been a fan ever since.

How's that for a digression?
or maybe we could ala Occupy Party fix our broken economic system that only shares the profits of technological innovation with the investor class, a bug that Marx noted about 1.5century ago and still isnt fixed yet.
and by the way the idea that we have to get better educations is a right wing canard that is nothing but a red queen race-- racing faster and faster on the treadmill only to stay in the same place. ask the new generation of college graduates about how thats working out.
Wow. I did a post about this topic. I didn't cite the book, I cited an article about the book though, along with some other articles about the productivity index and how productivity has doubled while the pay remains the same.

I think the solution could be a 20 hour work-week.
As is apparent from the general thrust of government and industry policies the wealthy controllers of society are not likely to part with any part of the avalanche of wealth pouring into their coffers out of the advances in technology. Society cannot endure for long this deprivation of distribution of the bounty out of technology and the neolithic mental state of the people in control have not demonstrated any willingness to share their monstrous wealth through either sensible taxation or decent reward for labor to provide a working market. There seems no way to avoid a terrible crunch with accompanying misery and violence.
do you see a discussion in the american msm, along the lines of, "shall we pay everyone to stay home and consume, while machines produce?"
I guess the good news is we'll all have so much more time for leisure - just no money to spend on doing naything.
That's known as being unemployed. It's a privilege quite common these days.
All of this evolution raises the question of whether an economy can exist without consumers. For whom does industry exist? It cannot be solely for the industrialist. R
I wish they'd get a robot to replace Sue Ellen in accounting. Her shy, demure manner and her bodacious knockers drive me wild.
Stupid robots!! THEY TOOK OUR JOBS!! ~flees into the thorn bushes to talk shop with WSGHT THGSW!!!!~
This would be mostly China's problem now; The fine pic you lead with not withstanding, Westerners have decided on a consumption point of view. This "wealth creation" game we play is more like Three-card Monte.
Bring on the Sex Bots!

(You don't have to listen to them.)