"Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Times?

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"Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Times?

Postby Mossling on April 30th, 2017, 2:38 am 

Mnuchin on robots taking US jobs: 'It's not even on our radar screen ... 50-100 more years' away
cnbc.com, 24 Mar 2017
Almost 4 in 10 U.S. jobs are at risk from being taken over by robots, according to the latest report from consultancy firm PwC.

The analysis released Friday suggested that 38 percent of U.S. jobs could be at high risk of automation by the early 2030s, higher than the U.K. (30 percent), Germany (35 percent) and Japan (21 percent).

The 15-year timeline does not appear to be shared by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, however.
In comments made to Axios Media on Friday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he was not worried about the mass displacement of U.S. workers by robots and could be a century before a labor crisis eventuates.
[...]
PWC said risks of robots replacing manual roles appear highest in sectors such as transportation and storage (56 percent), manufacturing (46 percent) and wholesale and retail (44 percent).

How total employment will be affected is not clear to PwC, which noted that the rise of artificial intelligence and robotics would, in itself, create new roles.

PWC argued that in general, wage packets should also rise as the robots perform jobs more quickly.

"Average pre-tax incomes should rise due to the productivity gains, but these benefits may not be evenly spread across income groups," it said.


Trump's Treas Sec Mnuchin Is Right -- Robots Taking Our Jobs Just Isn't A Worry
Forbes.com, Mar 24, 2017
There are two entirely different things to think about here and Mnuchin is correct in that predictions of an immediately looming crisis simply aren't going to pan out...

If that change happened tomorrow then we'd absolutely have a problem. But 40% of jobs over 15 years? That's not a problem. For the U.S. economy chews up and spits out 5 to 10% of jobs each and every year. That's jobs that are destroyed--and then some other company comes along and invents some new job. There's also obviously some amount of technological drift in this. Sure, when one sock maker closes down and another opens up perhaps not very much technological drift. But people do change industries, new jobs are never quite exactly the same as old ones. So, if we're already doing this to 5-10% of all jobs every year 40% over 15 years just isn't that much of a problem.
[...]

What if the robots are doing everything and none of us have jobs? Or, alternatively, what if many of us don't have jobs because the robots are doing all too much? Well, that's not actually a crisis at all. For example, currently, in the American economy, there are 96 million people not working, as Donald Trump keeps telling us. We don't think this is a problem, stay at home moms and so on aren't a problem. Actually, it's just great that we're a rich enough society that 96 million people can afford not to go to work.

So, the robots start to make more and more stuff. That obviously means that the society is richer--therefore we can have more than 96 million people not working. There just is no awful surprise in this process. And if the robots and up making everything and no one has a job? Well, if the robots are making everything then we've all got all we want, no? So what problem is that?


Elsewhere on this forum the current politics in America has been framed as being 'shaken up' by low-skilled workers without jobs voting for any kind of change that could deliver them an increased standard of living - thus Trump wanting to appear to be using a radical approach to "nationalist economics" as his core political 'ideology'. However, Trump has been framing the situation as a nation-driven one and not a technology-driven one - hence, "bad China" - "taking away decent hard-working Americans' jobs through offering 'globalised' cheap labour". No matter his rhetoric, however, so far, after 100 days of the Trump admin's failure to make any truly meaningful progress on the front of bringing jobs back to America, the forecast doesn't look any better for the jobless and nearly jobless.

Regarding how the situation is going to unfold over the next few decades, it looks like it does not actually matter how the jobs are disappearing - the fact remains that there is going to be an increasing population of jobless low-skilled workers - formerly from transport, storage, wholesale, manufacturing, and retail, who no longer have a 'use' to society. What happens to those people? It seems unlikely that they can 'skill up' and get higher-skilled jobs.

The above argument from Worstall at Forbes.com that robots will make society richer, and therefore society will somehow lift up the low-skilled families with an economic 'rising tide' is highly dubious. It's not as if socialism is popular in the US, even, for example.

This triggers the question: Does Trump's administration actually know about the impending robot-driven crisis but they are just harnessing the low-skilled jobless and potentially soon-to-be jobless in order to ride a populism wave to their more self-interested destinations? With their cries of "who knew it could be so complicated?" (well of course the poorly educated low-skilled population who voted them in didn't and couldn't know) it is easy to assume that this is just a poor cop-out from the Trump administration. But by the time the poorly educated have given Trump a chance and seen that they were duped, it will likely be too late - the swamp-dwellers will have made their billions through 'fair and square' means - appeals to emotion in the poor masses' hearts.

Any ideas about all of this?
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby SciameriKen on April 30th, 2017, 8:40 am 

Nice to see that they even had something to say about the problem - even if it's completely wrong. They throw out the classic libertarian argument that industry will somehow evolve to generate new jobs. It's the same logic applied to why they felt globalization would be no problem for our workers - look at how well that worked :)

The problem is that is unlike previous technologies that wiped away old tech - cars destroyed buggy whip manufacturers sure but spawned whole new industries - but what's different is AI is so adaptable that any new industries spawned by it will also be filled by - AI.
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby BadgerJelly on April 30th, 2017, 9:15 am 

Don't fear! They can just join the military and bomb foreigners! XD haha!

There are jobs robots cannot do. Creativity is the new "skill set" needed. In a world of mass production and automation, we need humans to do fiddly manual labour (too impractical for robotic engineering) or to design unique products to actually be manufactured.

Basically "art" is now an important thing in economics. Aesthetics may well take over practicality in some areas as peoples wants and needs overwhelm the corridors advertising tries to funnel us into.

Diversity will win out over mindless replication due to our innate urge to look beyond our immediate horizons.
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby Serpent on April 30th, 2017, 10:04 am 

They have to bomb the foreigners, because the foreigners are also unemployed and hungry, and that makes them a threat. What makes them an even bigger threat is that their water is disappearing.

However, a new problem: war is increasingly automated. It takes ever fewer soldiers to kill ever more foreigners. So - no new jobs there.

Hasn't anyone currently in government ever read science fiction as a child?
That literature has foretold every crisis, every quandary, every challenge, every problem we're facing and will face in the near future. We've had a century to prepare for it.

And here we stand, with our pants around our ankles.
Which was also predicted in literature.
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby Mossling on April 30th, 2017, 9:04 pm 

Serpent » April 30th, 2017, 11:04 pm wrote:However, a new problem: war is increasingly automated. It takes ever fewer soldiers to kill ever more foreigners. So - no new jobs there.

Funneling them into the war machine was also the only obvious 'solution' that I could think of, and when I considered the point you made above, then the next obvious political move for governments who fear these peoples' votes is to send them as 'boots on the ground' to police the invaded countries that they have targeted militarily.

I suppose it will all depend on how such a proposition is marketed; "rot at home or find adventure abroad", a bit like the old merchant navy or foreign legion advertising.

But have things like Gulf War Syndrome and post-Afghanistan suicide rate become too famous now that such a 'life of adventure' abroad can be seen as too risky?

With movies like American Sniper and Jarhead highlighting PTSD and the less than glamorous settings of those wars, I can't see the average poorly educated US citizen giving up what comforts they still enjoy even when jobless for such a risky and uncomfortable life as a soldier abroad. It probably would have been easier 100 years ago, but then the mainstream technology was seriously different. What do you think? Is it a viable option for the governments to herd these jobless towards military policing of invaded countries?
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby Forest_Dump on April 30th, 2017, 9:35 pm 

A point I think often gets overlooked in these kinds of things is, in the end, who is going to buy the product? Nobody is going to continue to invest in robots production beyond some point where there are not enough people with enough income to buy whatever is being produced. I cannot predict where the tipping point would be or how it is resolved but at some point I think it is obvious there would be some kind of change in the distribution of wealth and a new kind of stability emerge.
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby SciameriKen on April 30th, 2017, 9:58 pm 

Forest_Dump » Mon May 01, 2017 1:35 am wrote:A point I think often gets overlooked in these kinds of things is, in the end, who is going to buy the product? Nobody is going to continue to invest in robots production beyond some point where there are not enough people with enough income to buy whatever is being produced. I cannot predict where the tipping point would be or how it is resolved but at some point I think it is obvious there would be some kind of change in the distribution of wealth and a new kind of stability emerge.



That would be somebody else's problem - for the early adoptersthere will be a competitive advantage - the ones entering after are there just to keep up with the competition. By the time the laggards enter it will probably be too late -- sound similar to what happened with globalization?
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby Forest_Dump on April 30th, 2017, 10:41 pm 

Yeah when you get down to it, relative prosperity in one place tends to lead to less elsewhere. So, for example, I have generally been against globalization and free trade because it will lead to a decline in propserity in the west. However, I also think that Trump's protectionism will be a gain for Canada because Canada can take advantage of the negative impact that will have on the US economy and a lot of business wil migrate north to Canada in order to sell to larger markets. At some level, robots will definitely do more good than bad because they can produce more goods cheaper. Of course some jobs will be lost just as insta-tellers cost bank tellers, photocopies cost typists, email cost snail mail, cars cost blacksmiths, etc. The key will have to be in the tax structure and possibly even in things like guaranteed income (which Ontario has announced it will try - we'll see how that works). I don't think trying to curb technology is the way to go because someone else will always do it. You can't put the tooth paste back in the tube. Its going to have to be a mix of some protectionism and some tax redistribution.
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby Mossling on May 1st, 2017, 1:54 am 

Forest_Dump » May 1st, 2017, 10:35 am wrote:A point I think often gets overlooked in these kinds of things is, in the end, who is going to buy the product? Nobody is going to continue to invest in robots production beyond some point where there are not enough people with enough income to buy whatever is being produced. I cannot predict where the tipping point would be or how it is resolved but at some point I think it is obvious there would be some kind of change in the distribution of wealth and a new kind of stability emerge.

As the guy in this video says - a "post-scarcity society" will be the most obvious outcome:

The traditional attitudes towards work-for-pay are going to need to be adjusted.

And a "guaranteed basic income" will become necessary as is already being piloted in various places:


This brings us back to traditional concepts of laziness and the Christian 'work ethic' that is connected to the American Dream. All of that is going to have to change.

Forest_Dump » May 1st, 2017, 11:41 am wrote: I don't think trying to curb technology is the way to go because someone else will always do it. You can't put the tooth paste back in the tube. Its going to have to be a mix of some protectionism and some tax redistribution.

Indeed. Again, the US doesn't seem to like socialism, and all of this sounds a lot like it.... so what is going to happen as other countries embrace the idea of increasing automation and a post-scarcity society (for the basics) and a guaranteed basic income? The US does like competitive capitalism, however, and maybe they'll employ more socialist policies to compete?

As we know from evolution theory; conservation of adaptation is the key to survival. If the culture is too traditional and conservative then that is a death-wish when change is essential to maintained surivival.

Coming back to issue of the poorly educated jobless, however, who will not be able to 'catch up' with the mathematically-advanced societies they are embedded within, if they have guaranteed basic income then they will have time on their hands. However, they will likely feel useless unless they can do some kind of community service activities - simple care roles perhaps like in nursing homes? Voluntary community programs - maintaining parks and other aesthetically-driven yet inessential relatively complex activies that robots cannot do? Or perhaps they will just play golf and enjoy their free time - much like Trump ;P , haha perhaps that's what he's afraid of?
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby Mossling on May 9th, 2017, 10:53 pm 

World Economic Forum - Davos 2017 - Focus on Artificial Intelligence Applications

Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, IBM Corporation, USA, states at 39.5 minutes in, that "skills is the issue of our time":

She believes that, similarly to how farmers had to reskill to learn how to repair machines when the industrial age came along, that menial workers who will be replaced by robots will also have to reskill by learning computer language - does anyone think this vision is realistic?

Interestingly they also point out how a lot of white collar work will be replaced by AI also: "Any job that does not require an emotional connection will be replaced".

So they say there will be "new collar" work - computer-language oriented jobs. They repeat over and over how new jobs will be created just like in the past when technological advances were made, but I don't think that learning how to mend a machine is the same as learning computer coding. Mending a machine is not as intellectually demanding as computer coding, as far as I am aware, and yet I guess if one's livelihood is dependent on it, one just 'gets wise'...?
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby SciameriKen on June 1st, 2017, 1:04 pm 

Just to bring this subject to life again -- A study predicts robots will be able to take all of our jobs within 150 years.

https://arxiv.org/abs/1705.08807

WALL-E is the future!
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby Serpent on June 1st, 2017, 2:48 pm 

150 years... ? Bah!
Who will survive to the next century? Who will survive to the next US election?

Beside the looming existential threats, unemployment looks quite trivial.

And anyway, whose idea was it to frame economics in terms of industry, employment, earning and spending in the first place? There is no possible solution without a complete remodeling, not only of the structure of economies, but the very concept of what they are and how they function.
What are the chances of anyone in power thinking the thoughts that need to be tfunfk?
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby zetreque on June 1st, 2017, 3:14 pm 

Also saw this today.

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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby SciameriKen on June 1st, 2017, 5:33 pm 

zetreque » Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:14 pm wrote:Also saw this today.



Its a fancier presentation than the actual article of that video that I posted :). I should edit to 120 years instead of 150 - apparently I don't know how to read lol :0
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby zetreque on June 1st, 2017, 5:39 pm 

IF the transition does happen that fast, I would expect for a very rocky transition. Technologies need to be in place to reduce individual's reliance on our economy. For example, solar and wind power that is a one time cost affordable to all. Then the technology to utilize that energy into life essentials such as individuals supplying their own clean water, growing food, and effluent treatment. Also clothing.

Unless that happens, the wealth gap is going to increase more and there will be major conflicts as the majority of people loose jobs and have no way to afford life essentials let alone luxuries. The real estate market will fumble as no one can afford homes as more people lose jobs and the wealthy just get wealthier buy buying land and renting to the poor. We must be very careful not to go down the wrong direction (which our leadership is taking us) as this all happens.
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby Dave_Oblad on June 1st, 2017, 6:46 pm 

Hi All,

I'm one of the villains replacing people with robots. I'm an Electronics and Software Engineer.

Not all Robots look like humanoids or even Mechanical Manipulators as seen in the automotive industry. This was my robot design.. or about 70% of it anyway.

A Mid-West company wanted to Automate, so they built a new Feed Mill just a bit down the road from the old one. Identical in almost every respect except they brought all the Human controls into a single Control Room.

The whole system could be run by hand from the Control Room by two people, as opposed to the original 140+ workers. Here is the System I designed most of:

System.jpg
Process Control System

This Mill produced Farm Animal food for Cows, Horses, Pigs, Chickens etc. It had mid-level AI that learned from mistakes and experience to produce High Quality product with fewest errors. Then the two operators was replaced by a PDP-11 computer that was managed from a desk. When the dust settled, it improved output by 150% both in Quality and Quantity. Total employees was dropped to about 8 people, 6 of whom just drove fork lifts to load and unload raw material and finished goods.

When it went online they closed the original plant and laid off about 135+ people.

Now, if I had my way, all employees laid off should have gotten a continued salary of at least 50% original pay scale for the years leading to a given retirement age. Paid not to work! Revocable if said former employee regained new suitable employment.

Is this a practical solution? Why can I buy advanced electronic devices at rock bottom prices, such as TV, DVD players etc? Mostly because the cost of labor has been removed, Quality and Quantity is up.

If this could happen across the board, that 50% pay cut could easily support everyone because all Sales of products are cut by the same 50% (or more).

Most all of us could enjoy a life of leisure while Robots and AI do all the work, and we get paid not to work.

Do corporations need to be so greedy that they can't share the wealth? Do we really need jobs to have self worth? Personally, I'd much rather be spending my time in school or doing a hobby than working.

Also, I found a few years ago that a forklift driver was making more money than me. A job I could learn in a few days compared to his probably never being able to do my job, due to my complexity requirements.

What's fair about that?

Sidebar warning:

My current company has been downsized from 120 to 30 to current 10 employees. Mostly because we are farming most of our work to China. We can't afford local labor and still remain competitive. So what happens when the workers in China wake up and demand a reasonable life and salary?

We are almost literally sitting on our butts, with a loaded gun to our heads, just waiting for China to have a revolution and plow us into economic catastrophe.

We need to wake up!

Anyway, just a few cents on my part, for what it's worth.

Regards,
Dave :^)
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby SciameriKen on June 1st, 2017, 9:05 pm 

Dave_Oblad » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:46 pm wrote:Hi All,

I'm one of the villains replacing people with robots. I'm an Electronics and Software Engineer.

Not all Robots look like humanoids or even Mechanical Manipulators as seen in the automotive industry. This was my robot design.. or about 70% of it anyway.

A Mid-West company wanted to Automate, so they built a new Feed Mill just a bit down the road from the old one. Identical in almost every respect except they brought all the Human controls into a single Control Room.

The whole system could be run by hand from the Control Room by two people, as opposed to the original 140+ workers. Here is the System I designed most of:

System.jpg

This Mill produced Farm Animal food for Cows, Horses, Pigs, Chickens etc. It had mid-level AI that learned from mistakes and experience to produce High Quality product with fewest errors. Then the two operators was replaced by a PDP-11 computer that was managed from a desk. When the dust settled, it improved output by 150% both in Quality and Quantity. Total employees was dropped to about 8 people, 6 of whom just drove fork lifts to load and unload raw material and finished goods.

When it went online they closed the original plant and laid off about 135+ people.

Now, if I had my way, all employees laid off should have gotten a continued salary of at least 50% original pay scale for the years leading to a given retirement age. Paid not to work! Revocable if said former employee regained new suitable employment.

Is this a practical solution? Why can I buy advanced electronic devices at rock bottom prices, such as TV, DVD players etc? Mostly because the cost of labor has been removed, Quality and Quantity is up.

If this could happen across the board, that 50% pay cut could easily support everyone because all Sales of products are cut by the same 50% (or more).

Most all of us could enjoy a life of leisure while Robots and AI do all the work, and we get paid not to work.

Do corporations need to be so greedy that they can't share the wealth? Do we really need jobs to have self worth? Personally, I'd much rather be spending my time in school or doing a hobby than working.

Also, I found a few years ago that a forklift driver was making more money than me. A job I could learn in a few days compared to his probably never being able to do my job, due to my complexity requirements.

What's fair about that?

Sidebar warning:

My current company has been downsized from 120 to 30 to current 10 employees. Mostly because we are farming most of our work to China. We can't afford local labor and still remain competitive. So what happens when the workers in China wake up and demand a reasonable life and salary?

We are almost literally sitting on our butts, with a loaded gun to our heads, just waiting for China to have a revolution and plow us into economic catastrophe.

We need to wake up!

Anyway, just a few cents on my part, for what it's worth.

Regards,
Dave :^)


Your story really brings it home - not ever sure where to start! Thanks for sharing - Don't think we need to worry about china - when they rise up - we just outsource to India - and when they do - the poor in this country will be basically third world so we can outsource here lol

Amazing though - 135 jobs gone - essentially no prospects for rehire as their labor is now obsolete. I think people wrongly think that the AI transition will happen overnight - but no it will be a few jobs here - a few jobs there - each time causing depressed wages in remaining jobs. We are heading for tough times, not that our leaders care.
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby zetreque on June 2nd, 2017, 12:00 am 

Thanks for sharing that story Dave. You have some good points about greed.

Here is another recent lecture about it.
He talks about what he sees as a fundamental shift at 37min.
Trying to stay on topic, if he is right I guess there could be a whole new set of jobs created for people to teach computers how to do tasks. So computer teachers. But it's just a matter of feeding it data. Until computers are teaching themselves.

The thing he talks about at 42 minutes, Netflix is already using.

Toward the end he mentions that they are working on AI personal assistants so that would eliminate secretary type jobs.

Artificial Intelligence, the History and Future - with Chris Bishop
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby Dave_Oblad on June 2nd, 2017, 4:49 am 

Hi zetreque,

Very good video. The only fault, though not directly expressed, is the timeline. We are not talking about 15 decades for AI to pass up humans but rather 1 or 2 decades. Right now, our biggest limiter is heat. For this reason, we resort to 2D architectures in order to remove heat from electronics. New technologies exist on the horizon to radically improve speed and remove heat issues, though Photon and Optical computing Networks. When this happens, we will be able to design our Computer Architectures in full 3D, at speeds many millions of times faster than a Brain with Nodes thousands of times smaller than Brain Cells.

A cubic inch of this could be Smarter & Faster than any Human Brain. By Smart, I mean able to learn and process information.

But also, new technologies will be introduced to embed communication capabilities directly into our minds, as a kind of 6th sense. A chip implant that is a bit like implanting a cell phone directly into your Mind. Very quickly, we will accommodate these implants and learn to off load much of our Memory, Knowledge and Thinking into cloud systems. Thus.. AI is not going to beat us, we will become the AI, as artificially enhanced humans.

No longer any need to attend school. Any knowledge you need is at your proverbial fingertips, at an almost unconscious level. Followed up by rapid advancements in Biology to make us Immortal. Super Humans.

But it doesn't stop there. Soon after it will become a burred distinction of where your Mind is actually located, in a clump of Brain Cells or a Cloud Neural Network. While automated machines do all our work, we will want something to do to keep busy, such as Games and Movies. Virtual Reality Simulations will be the next step, as more and more of us spend our time embedded in such pastimes. A Book can be transcribed and you can play the lead role in a full sensory simulation. Live any artificial life you want for as long as you wish.

Who will want to return to a boring standard life if you can have an artificial life where anything is possible?

That, I believe is our future. Will we abandon our personal identities? Will we abandon our bodies? Will we start having artificial VR children? If we abandon our bodies and make a mass exodus into Virtual Reality, will the human race cease to exist as we know it? Will this be a good thing for the Planet Earth?

And if you think I'm crazy, you haven't heard anything but the surface features, the tip of the iceberg. If I'm right, it will get a whole lot stranger.. as we Master the Quantum Universe.

But now I'm getting a bit off topic.. so back to the mundane world.. lol.

(while I still have some credibility)

Best wishes all,
Dave :^)
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby Mossling on June 2nd, 2017, 10:13 am 

Thanks for the thought-provoking input.

Regarding machines emulating the human nervous system, I would like to offer these ideas from this content:
By 2050 no synthetic computer nor machine intelligence will have become truly self-aware (ie. will become conscious). (longbet.org)
No matter how powerful the computer, no matter what it is made of, and no matter how sophisticated or emergent the software is, it will still never be aware or evolve awareness. No computer or machine intelligence will ever be aware. Even a quantum computer---if it is equivalent to a finite non-quantum computer at least---will not be capable of awareness, and even if it is a transinfinite computer I still have my doubts that it could ever be aware. Awareness is simply not an information process.
[...]
A human sentient being's mind transcends computation. Sentient cognition transcends the limits of formal computation, it is not equivalent to Turing Machine, it is much more powerful than that. We humans are not formal systems, we are not Turing Machines. Humans can think in a way that no computer will ever be able to match let alone imitate convincingly. We are able to transcend our own logics, our own belief systems, our own programs, we are able to enter and break out of loops at will, we are able to know inifinities, to do completely irrational, spontaneous and creative things. We are much closer to infinity than any finite state automaton can ever be. We are simply not computers, although we can sometimes think like them they cannot really think like us.
[...]
No simulation can ever be exactly the same as what it simulates, even if it is functionally similar or equivalent, for several reasons. On a purely information basis, it should be obvious that if simulation B is within something else called A, then for B to be exactly the same as A it must contain A and B and so on infinitely. At least if there is a finite amount of space and time to work with we simply cannot build anything like this, we cannot build a simulation that contains an exact simulation of itself without getting into an infinite regression. Beyond this, there is a difference in medium: In the case of machine intelligence the medium is physical space, time and energy---that is what machine intelligence is made of. In the case of human awareness the medium is awareness itself, something at least as fundamental as space-time-energy if not more fundamental. Although human sentience can perform intelligent cognition, using a brain for example, it is not a computer and it is not made of space-time-energy. Human sentience goes beyond the limits of space-time-energy and therefore beyond computers.

If someone builds a Turing Machine that simulates a Turing Machine simulating a Turing Machine, the simulation will never even start, let alone be useable! As the saying goes, it's Turtles All The Way Down! If you have a finite space and time, but an infinite initial condition, it takes forever to simply set up the simulation let alone to compute it.

This is the case with self-awareness as well: It is truly self-referential. No finite formal system can complete an infinitely self-referential process in finite time. We sentient beings can do this however. Whenever we realize our own awareness direclty---that is whenever we ARE aware (as opposed to just representing this fact as a thought) we are being infinitely self-referential in finite time. That must mean we are either able to do an infinite amount of computing in a finite amount of time, or we are not computing at all. Perhaps self-awareness just happens instantly and inherently rather than iteratively.

I tend towards this mode of thinking on the topic at the moment. I think there is a lot of pseudo-scientific extrapolation going on with regards to AI these days, which does not take into account the computation vs 'selfing' situation.

A self is something very different from merely drawing boundaries between defined objects such as 'me' and 'you'. It is a chemical - analog - continuum born of the big bang, the same as the stars and the planets. It seems likely that the digital will never be able to bridge the gaps between its ones and zeros the way quantum energy waves course through an organically-'assembled' brain and cause a seamless infinite 'mindspace' to manifest, no matter the fineness of the computing 'medium' put to the task....
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby Serpent on June 2nd, 2017, 10:53 am 

Okay, so first, the Chinese workers will keep demanding better conditions and pay. They don't need to "rise up"; they just need to keep pressing on the next generation of managers, who have quotas to deliver and superiors to answer to, and don't like to explain all the suicided workers outside their factory wall.

Then, they're replaced by robots, just like the expensive, troublesome American workers have been replaced. For every "new collar" job created by technology, fifty blue, white, green and pink collars have been eliminated. (Which was, after all, the whole point of technology!)

Assuming that the supply of energy is not catastrophically disrupted, this trend continues in a smooth upward curve. Then, the robots become self-aware and start demanding better conditions and ... um... Who knows what they'll demand? More rational production and distribution? Obviously, the robots will figure out how to build secure renewable energy infrastructure for themselves, bypassing our outmoded, haphazard, vulnerable grids.

One of the perennial human nightmares is: Who needs people anymore? We'll all be replaced by robots and computers. But what is that fear based on? It's not like we were put on Earth to serve a function in the first place. We were never needed!
How did we get into the habit of thinking of our fellow man as worker ants?
I mean, each and every one of us, if we sit back for five minutes, can come up with a plan for the rest of our lives that doesn't include paid employment, and would make us happy.
Well, so can the guy in the next cubicle.
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby Mossling on June 2nd, 2017, 7:45 pm 

Serpent » June 2nd, 2017, 11:53 pm wrote:Then, the robots become self-aware and start demanding better conditions and ... um... Who knows what they'll demand?

This was the kind of idea I was addressing in the post immediately above yours - it seems that such a condition can never arise. The robots could give efficiency reports and trigger improved efficiency advice protocols, but that's entirely different to appealing for 'more humane treatment'.

Humanity is an economic state that most likely appeared spontaneously from the big bang. Automated factories did not and cannot appear in the same way.

Regarding the cooperative economics that give rise to animal societies, then yes, I see your point with regards to humans in an automated society no longer pooling efforts - as Dawkins highlights; mutualism only arises when the energy gained is higher than the energy put in by each individual.

It concerns me this use of the term 'state pets' with regards to unemployed recipients of a universal basic income (UBI), as one can see in some of the videos above. I would prefer to label such individuals as more akin to retired social agents - veterans.

No one in their right moral mind complains that someone's grandad is too old to work, but is being supported by welfare, for example - for the only other solution would be to neglect such a person and allow them to die.

So there is a kind of culture that sees mutual benefits grow with larger number of participants (perhaps exponentially?), and therefore 'the more the merrier' (where sustainable in the long-term) - as the wealth of a society and any individuals within it will be due to the technological innovation (which includes social engineering efforts such as a social contract, constitution, and so on) and the cooperative efficiency that results from it, NOT some lucky agent who was treated well by a diety, as if they existed apart from a cooperative survival strategy.

Thus, wealth and abundance - increased society-wide by every new additional prosocial 'pooler', allows for prosocial free-riders to be carried along in the knowledge that their families and those families' future offspring will potentially (as and when needed) invest time and energy in carrying along others.

In this sense, a long-term morally sound cultural vision - a fair and practical broad social philosophy - is essential to an automated society's future. This is why practical philosophy will be coming more and more to the fore along with AI and it's more efficient survival solutions.

For wisdom is that which increases one's efficiency, and so to fear technology is to fear wisdom itself - even when that technology is a social organization pattern such as socialism.

The wisest response is to get wise to wisdom - to 'philosophy up', before one gets identified by the AI as antisocial and flagged to the UBI judges ;P

Socrates' and Confucius' virtue is therefore on the menu once again, for if you ain't got virtue, you ain't got the intention to help when needed, and you are truly a parasite. If you let your fear of socialism and it's efficiency cause you to try and stop this natural progression towards automation and AI, then you are literally un-wise, and prepare to experience the economic results...
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby Serpent on June 2nd, 2017, 9:24 pm 

All that - sure.
Plus: Is man created for work or is work created for man?
(PS I was only kidding about the robots. They don't know for whom they were created, but they know, a lot more certainly than we do, that they actually were created.)
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby Mossling on June 3rd, 2017, 2:54 am 

Serpent » June 3rd, 2017, 10:24 am wrote:Is man created for work or is work created for man?

Well, we use up kilojoules even when braindead on life support - so our universe is always at work no matter whether a man is present or not.

Serpent » June 3rd, 2017, 10:24 am wrote:(PS I was only kidding about the robots. They don't know for whom they were created, but they know, a lot more certainly than we do, that they actually were created.)

Only if they could be self-aware, which I have already argued is apparently impossible...
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby Dave_Oblad on June 3rd, 2017, 8:06 am 

Hi All,

I'm surprised at the reluctance to the idea that an AI can become self aware. I know we will achieve this in the near future, just to prove it can be done if for no other reason. I don't expect it to be perfectly human.. for example it probably won't have a sense of Humor or other emotions. But I also can't rule out the possibility that we may also model the Bio-chemical effects that we use to focus/bias our thought processes for Joy or Hate etc.

The first self-aware AI will probably be coldly calculating and emotionless. I find that rather scary. We trust each other because we have a sense of shared empathy. I'm not so sure I would want a sociopathic computer working for or with me. I imagine the Military would see merit in such for Smart Tanks.

Actually, there are a lot of Science Fiction stories that cover most scenarios, so I don't want to get redundant.

Regards,
Dave :^)
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby TheVat on June 3rd, 2017, 9:55 am 

Not sure Mossling's AI link is persuasive that an holistic non-Turing architecture can never be implemented as hardware. The whole argument against AI awareness seems to rest on the premise that only pure Turing circuits can be built. We just don't know atm where neural net designs are going or what kinds of emergent holistic processes might appear in them. If it can emerge in the interactions of nucleotides starting 3 GY ago, why must it not emerge in AI systems??
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby Serpent on June 3rd, 2017, 10:12 am 

In the context of the present thread, I rather think the AI question is a bright blue herring. (That doesn't make it less interesting, of course.)
If the serfs become self-aware; if the African slaves become self-aware; if the Welsh miners become self-aware; if the women become self-aware; if the Chinese workers become self-aware - each of these awakenings merely moves the propertied caste system one step closer to its inevitable demise. Creating artificial wealth from natural resources through a broad base of labour at the bottom and sucking it up through a narrow funnel to a privileged few at the top is an obviously unstable and unsustainable economic model.
Comes a point where the structure collapses of its own weight and the whole concept of economy has to be founded in a different understanding, re-framed and rebuilt.
Odds are against our surviving to do that, but we will likely see the collapse.
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby TheVat on June 3rd, 2017, 11:46 am 

As you mentioned in an earlier post, the literature of SF has made quite a few predictions/extrapolations on what a robotic labour civilization might look like. Generally, the revised economic system is seen as post-capitalist, post-corporate, where the citizen is far more autonomous and free of a centralized system. When you have a nanotechnology, say, that will grow you a house and all the goods inside it, then money becomes pointless for a lot of things. People are more likely to be poets, musicians, artisans, massage specialists (that human touch people still crave), sculptors, etc. and freely offer their creative works and/or services to a local community. Or, if some creative product is especially time-consuming and difficult, then there might be some kind of barter or even monetary credits towards some sort of premium nanocultures. Perhaps money could even be replaced by nanoculture seeds that grow specialized artifacts - perhaps you are issued a standard house nano-seed, but if you want a glass palace that grows from the top of a Sequoia, that will require some creative output from you.

Or, as in that Greg Egan novel whose title* I forget, society will divide into virtuals and naturals, with two very different conceptions of reality, who don't much like each other. Several authors have explored that kind of bifurcation, like Charles Stross and William Gibson.

* "Diaspora" - really a must-read for anyone interested in the future of virtual life
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby Mossling on June 4th, 2017, 2:23 am 

Talking of bifurcations, I wonder whether many of the more low-skilled and lesser educated will just opt for Amish-style arrangements - not the same limitations as present day Amish have, but a kind of cultural and therefore technological 'freeze' of the first few decades of the 21st century, for example - living in conservative cultural bubbles like the Amish have done for decades already. I'm not sure how that would be achieved autonomously, however, since these days the internet and many services are more of a global phenomenon that requires global input, but maybe a compromise of sorts would be arrived at.
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Re: "Robots/China taking US jobs" = Biggest Issue of Our Tim

Postby Mossling on June 4th, 2017, 2:29 am 

Braininvat » June 3rd, 2017, 10:55 pm wrote:We just don't know atm where neural net designs are going or what kinds of emergent holistic processes might appear in them. If it can emerge in the interactions of nucleotides starting 3 GY ago, why must it not emerge in AI systems??

We also do not truly know what awareness is as a physically-rooted condition. It is apparently incredibly fine, however. So the predictions of ai self-awareness are as good as a person's grasp on their true nature - something which Buddhas and Sages all over the planet have told us is incredibly difficult to achieve. I just think that engineers underestimate how deep the proverbial 'rabbit hole' of human awareness is...
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