The loss of middle income jobs.

afan95
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Re: The loss of middle income jobs.

Postby afan95 » Thu May 21, 2015 5:09 pm

I'm no fan of Stephen Hawking so I don't pay too much attention to what he says (as opposed to all the obstacles that he has overcome which I greatly admire) but when he says that artificial intelligence is going to be the end of mankind, it kind of makes me a bit wary.


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Troglodyte
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Re: The loss of middle income jobs.

Postby Troglodyte » Thu May 21, 2015 8:42 pm

If everyone drove logically, there would be no accidents.
After 60 years of driving I can usually predict what kind of drivers are around me and what the other driver is going to do. I learned to keep an eye out for the most stupid thing another driver could possibly do, and am not surprised when they do it.. Computers can't be programmed for that.
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Omar Bongo
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Re: The loss of middle income jobs.

Postby Omar Bongo » Thu May 21, 2015 9:31 pm

he says that artificial intelligence is going to be the end of mankind

No more than the internal combustion engine was the end of the horse.

We will be freed up to do other things when they take over jobs like manual labor, computation, monitoring systems, etc.

Maybe it's because all Hawking can do is think that makes artificial intelligence so frightening to him...
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Re: The loss of middle income jobs.

Postby John Q. Public » Thu May 21, 2015 10:01 pm

The end of mankind making a decent living sounds likely, though.

I wonder if Freightliner is doing their own research or if they're working with Google. Somebody's going to make a ton of money on this.
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Troglodyte
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Re: The loss of middle income jobs.

Postby Troglodyte » Fri May 22, 2015 9:55 am

Of course everyone is looking into driverless transportation.. No more strikes, no more retirement packages, no more union BS, no more sick days, no more bogus diability claims, no more union BS...
Now if they can make it safely work and protect it from idiot self drivers mistakes and lapses, government over regulations, and union and eco-waco law suits.. :lol: That's the big problem...
Til then commercial drivers are pretty secure in their jobs...
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Re: The loss of middle income jobs.

Postby John Q. Public » Fri May 22, 2015 11:09 am

No more having to employ actual people, which is a far bigger expense than any of those. Cab companies would only need a handful of dispatchers. Maybe. Retailers could eliminate at least one job for every truck they run. UPS and Fedex could eliminate thousands of jobs alone.

This one has the potential to put a whole lot of people out of work. And somewhere along the line, there will have to be some kind of societal changes. You just can't eliminate that many decent paying jobs and expect a consumer based economy to still work.
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afan95
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Re: The loss of middle income jobs.

Postby afan95 » Fri May 22, 2015 2:05 pm

We will be freed up to do other things when they take over jobs like manual labor, computation, monitoring systems, etc.

And just what is it that those who do manual labor will then be "free" to do that actually supports them and their families?

I might be free to do many things if I didn't have my job but that doesn't mean it would pay the mortgage
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Troglodyte
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Re: The loss of middle income jobs.

Postby Troglodyte » Fri May 22, 2015 2:33 pm

Probably said the same thing about blacksmiths, saddle makers, hostlers, and livery stable operators.
This requires a whole range of technicians, operators, and maintenance people.
too bad our education system doesn't prepare our kids for these roles. Guess they think diversity, pseudo ecology, and PCness is more important than real STEM classes. Guess we'll have to hire more Indians and Asians for those jobs.
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Omar Bongo
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Re: The loss of middle income jobs.

Postby Omar Bongo » Fri May 22, 2015 10:16 pm

And just what is it that those who do manual labor will then be "free" to do that actually supports them and their families?

That's the key, we have to continue to educate/innovate/create, just as we always have. Did the entire IT industry just create itself and fall into the laps of millions of workers worldwide?

Are you saying we should stifle new, efficient technologies just to keep people employed in obsolete manual labor jobs?
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Re: The loss of middle income jobs.

Postby John Q. Public » Fri May 22, 2015 11:15 pm

If you think out far enough, manual labor might be all that's left for us.
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Re: The loss of middle income jobs.

Postby MDDad » Sat May 23, 2015 9:35 am

Omar wrote:Are you saying we should stifle new, efficient technologies just to keep people employed in obsolete manual labor jobs?
No, what I think he's saying is that there may be tens of millions of those "people employed in obsolete manual labor jobs" who can't or won't transition to higher tech. It's precisely the efficiencies created by high tech that may render many of them permanently unemployable.

JQP wrote:If you think out far enough, manual labor might be all that's left for us.
If that happens, we will have come full circle to where we are once again competing with beasts of burden. Somehow I suspect the Stones will still be around to write another song about it.

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Omar Bongo
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Re: The loss of middle income jobs.

Postby Omar Bongo » Sun May 24, 2015 7:47 pm

No, what I think he's saying is that there may be tens of millions of those "people employed in obsolete manual labor jobs" who can't or won't transition to higher tech.

Yeah, I get that, it was a rhetorical question.

It's precisely the efficiencies created by high tech that may render many of them permanently unemployable.

Yes and no. The only truly "permanantly unemployable" people in this situation would be those who refuse to work. Those who undergo reducation or retraining could find work in other fields.

What are we arguing, here? For example, should automakers scrap robots on the assembly lines to "save" jobs in the short term and lose market share to cheaper carmakers overseas and then go belly up?

In our capitalist society the key to survival is innovation and productivity, survival of the fittest. Improve and adapt or die. That goes for the workers too.
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Re: The loss of middle income jobs.

Postby Troglodyte » Sun May 24, 2015 8:41 pm

Nailed it, Omar.. Now if we could get our "fearless leaders" to let people go to accredited classes whiloe collecting unemployment, or at least give tax credits and subsidies to people working obsolete jobs for better training and education, we might move ahead. Of course we will always have the ones who can't or won't learn a more productive trade. Flipping burgers is not meant to be a career, or family supporting job.
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Re: The loss of middle income jobs.

Postby MDDad » Sun May 24, 2015 10:15 pm

Omar wrote:Those who undergo reducation or retraining could find work in other fields.
I think that may be a rose-colored dream. As off-shoring, automation and other labor-eliminating efficiences continue to increase, there's a strong likelihood there won't be enough "work in other fields" even if people re-educate or retrain out the wazoo. I'm not sure we aren't already seeing the start of that change with the number of college graduates who can't find work commensurate with their education levels.

Omar wrote:In our capitalist society the key to survival is innovation and productivity, survival of the fittest. Improve and adapt or die. That goes for the workers too.
I agree. I just don't know what kind of Soylent Green solution we'll come up with for all those who adapted but still can't make it because efficiency has passed them by. Hopefully "die" is just a metaphor.

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Re: The loss of middle income jobs.

Postby John Q. Public » Sun May 24, 2015 11:04 pm

Thanks for that, MDD. You said it better than I was going to. Something like one in five trade school graduates is finding the work they trained for. Four in five are becoming overqualified burger flippers. The idea that more people getting more training equates to more, better jobs is a fallacy as long as we don't have a need for those jobs.

I don't envy kids just starting out these days. Seems like you have to be a futurist of some kind to figure out if your career of choice is even going to exist in another 20 years.
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Omar Bongo
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Re: The loss of middle income jobs.

Postby Omar Bongo » Sun May 24, 2015 11:38 pm

I am not suggesting everything will be just peachy if everyone goes to a trade school. I am saying this has been happening for as long as technology has been improving...the horse-drawn plow put millions of hand-tillers out of work.

Retraining and education can help to a point, but the key is new jobs based on new technologies. I pointed out previously that the relatively new IT industry employs tens of millions worldwide...

None of you has offered anything but longing for the good old days...yesterday's gone. Any constructive suggestions about what we should do now? Or is there nothing to be done but throw up our hands and hope we die before our jobs disappear, too?
"Trump is what he is, a floundering, inarticulate jumble of gnawing insecurities and not-at-all compensating vanities, which is pathetic."
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Re: The loss of middle income jobs.

Postby Troglodyte » Mon May 25, 2015 9:41 am

Advanced training and/or education in any field opens doors in other fields.. Too many workers are illiterate outside their specialized trade.. Many are just plain illiterate. Some are afraid to think outside the box. Others shut down because the don't know anything about lasers, robotics, or whatever and wont even open the manual to find out, or learn anything. How many people are afraid to try something new with their computer or cell phone because they might "break" something? A little more education makes these fears disappear..
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Re: The loss of middle income jobs.

Postby MDDad » Mon May 25, 2015 11:52 am

Omar wrote:Or is there nothing to be done but throw up our hands and hope we die before our jobs disappear, too?
I suspect many people are already doing that.

When it comes to how economies work, Warren Buffet is probably smarter than the rest of us. So it comes as no surprise that in the thread about the minimum wage started by Hanna, Buffet articulates this issue better than we have:

Warren Buffet wrote:Think back to the agrarian America of only 200 years ago. Most jobs could then be ably performed by most people. In a world where only primitive machinery and animals were available to aid farmers, the difference in productivity between the most talented among them and those with ordinary skills was modest.

Many other jobs of that time could also be carried out by almost any willing worker. True, some laborers would outdo others in intelligence or hustle, but the market value of their output would not differ much from that of the less talented.

Visualize an overlay graphic that positioned the job requirements of that day atop the skills of the early American labor force. Those two elements of employment would have lined up reasonably well. Not today. A comparable overlay would leave much of the labor force unmatched to the universe of attractive jobs.

That mismatch is neither the fault of the market system nor the fault of the disadvantaged individuals. It is simply a consequence of an economic engine that constantly requires more high-order talents while reducing the need for commodity-like tasks.

The remedy usually proposed for this mismatch is education. Indeed, a top-notch school system available to all is hugely important. But even with the finest educational system in the world, a significant portion of the population will continue, in a nation of great abundance, to earn no more than a bare subsistence.

To see why that is true, imagine we lived in a sports-based economy. In such a marketplace, I would be a flop. You could supply me with the world’s best instruction, and I could endlessly strive to improve my skills. But, alas, on the gridiron or basketball court I would never command even a minimum wage. The brutal truth is that an advanced economic system, whether it be geared to physical or mental skills, will leave a great many people behind.


So the question for the future may be: What does an economy (and a society) look like in which a large percentage of the population can't provide the kinds of skills the economy values?

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Omar Bongo
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Re: The loss of middle income jobs.

Postby Omar Bongo » Mon May 25, 2015 4:17 pm

Yeah, Buffet is a smart guy. The sports-based society analogy is interesting, but he leaves out the universe of support people needed to make it work. How many other jobs besides the those filled by the players themselves does the NBA need to run?

It's probably the biggest challenge we've ever faced as a society, but I'm still not convinced we're all doomed yet. Besides new technologies and scientific innovations, if trade barriers continue to come down, manufacturing becomes more efficient and products become cheaper, maybe the cost of living will drop low enough that a "living wage" will be defined differently in the future than it is now (those evil "self-driving" trucks should make transport cheaper, too :wink: ).

And at the risk of inciting the Socialism scaremongers, maybe it's time to admit we need to throw a little wealth redistribution into the mix, too. Isn't it time to admit that at least part of the problem is that the world's richest 1% control half its wealth? How much longer can we afford to accept CEOs earning 331 times as much as average workers and 774 times as much as minimum wage earners? There is enough wealth out there for everybody...

The current model has obviously outlived its usefullness. The only way forward is BIG change.

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"Trump is what he is, a floundering, inarticulate jumble of gnawing insecurities and not-at-all compensating vanities, which is pathetic."
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Donald Trump

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Troglodyte
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Re: The loss of middle income jobs.

Postby Troglodyte » Mon May 25, 2015 5:28 pm

Minimum wage could be boosted to $100/hour and we'd still have the same percentage of working poor, poverty cases. and those who refuse to put forth the effort to support themselves without sponging off the rest. It ain't the size of the paycheck, it's buying power. Compare minimum wage to prices at any period in the past if you don't believe.
Starting to sound more like Karl Marx than what made this country the greatest country on earth.
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