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Old 29th August 2017, 02:32 AM   #81
psionl0
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Originally Posted by HoverBoarder View Post
This has been the case for hundreds of years.
It is not the case any more. It is no longer a case of a few saddle makers giving way to automotive workers. ALL jobs are under threat.
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Old 29th August 2017, 02:53 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by HoverBoarder View Post
This has been the case for hundreds of years. New industry technological advancements have gone hand in hand with lower unemployment rates. While demand and efficiency has shifted jobs to other fields, that is an inherent function of the economic affect of supply and demand.

For (maybe not quite) hundreds of years we have seen the growth of a middle class, who owned an increasing percentage of the available wealth. Noticeably, in the last century or so, automation had served to boost that trend, with new production techniques increasing the opportunities for new jobs that paid decently.

For the last couple of decades (at least) that share has been diminishing, with new advances in production due to automation serving largely to help shift the concentration of wealth into a smaller and smaller percentage of a fortunate few at the top.

Quote:

What factors do you specifically see now that would change that trend?
What factors do you specifically see now that would change that trend?
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Old 29th August 2017, 03:05 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
The "technology will always create new jobs" mantra is constantly repeated like an article of faith.
New circumstances will probably always create new tasks to do. The total amount of necessary human tasks might be on the decline, though. In that sense, I am ready to swim against the flow and believe that robotization and artificial intelligence will reduce the amount of human work that is necessary on and off the planet.


Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
By the time it has rendered the average person obsolete it will be too late.
Robots take tasks away from us, but do they "steal our jobs"? I joined this thread by pointing out that robotization cannot so simply make half of the population unemployed (and economically uncompensated), because humans will likely go rioting on the street and/or change the politicians and legislation in their own favour. Such as shortening the working day, without lowering the wages, as robots reduce the amount of necessary human work. Yes, I recall joining this thread by saying that the employment situation can go worse, but there is a limit how bad it can go before it will seriously threaten the peaceful coexistence of humans in modern societies.

Unlike Marx, who prophesied that Capitalists take unlimited advantage of the working class, I see that the owning class of Western world has learned its social lessons very well, they are careful not to give too many people a reason to be too dissatisfied with their lives. They know how to play the game.

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Old 29th August 2017, 05:05 AM   #84
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
<snip>

Unlike Marx, who prophesied that Capitalists take unlimited advantage of the working class, I see that the owning class of Western world has learned its social lessons very well, they are careful not to give too many people a reason to be too dissatisfied with their lives. They know how to play the game.

I am curious, in view of the indisputable long term trend of wealth migration to the top ten percent and the failure of the middle eighty percents income to rise at a rate anywhere comparable to corporate earnings, what it is that gives you this rosy outlook on the benevolence of the business community.

I see very little evidence of it. In fact, it seems like the opposite is true. The captains of industry who made sure their employees were well treated and taken care of (if such a thing ever existed except in the minds of Ann Randians and eternally hopeful Libertarians) are rapidly becoming nothing more than a memory of a distant past.

The investment community, which aside from 401Ks and such marginal individual participation is largely comprised of that top ten percent, doesn't want to hear about how some fraction of their dividends, no matter how minute, can be more beneficially directed toward the actual employees of a business. All they care about is the quarterly bottom line and how much it increases their own portfolios. If the grunts aren't happy, let 'em leave. There's always someone standing in line to take their place.

This is why Republicans aren't really all that enthusiastic about low unemployment, no matter how much they talk it up on the campaign trail.

What mechanisms are there which you see counteracting this? Why is the actual, demonstrated redistribution of wealth so starkly in contrast to your optimistic beliefs?
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Old 29th August 2017, 02:48 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
What mechanisms are there which you see counteracting this?
When more than 50% of population are extremely unhappy with their lives, a democratic election will change the tide of politics, then law, then there will be redistribution of wealth. Higher income taxes will sweep the cream off the cake of robot-owners.

As long as less than 50% of population are extremely unhappy with their lives, the unhappy minorities may resort to strikes, then street riots, theoretically even civil war.

Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
Why is the actual, demonstrated redistribution of wealth so starkly in contrast to your optimistic beliefs?
It isn't in contrast to my optimistic beliefs. While the rich are getting richer, the middle class is doing quite fine too. It doesn't matter for the middle class how wealthy the wealthy are, the only thing that matters is how acceptable their own life is.
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Old 29th August 2017, 05:40 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
While the rich are getting richer, the middle class is doing quite fine too.
How is the middle class "doing quite fine too"? Is it cheaper to rent or buy property? Can they get decent jobs without gambling on getting a 6 figure degree to do so? Do they have less debt than previous generations?

Or is it that junk food and mobile phones are cheaper than they used to be?
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Old 29th August 2017, 05:41 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
When more than 50% of population are extremely unhappy with their lives, a democratic election will change the tide of politics, then law, then there will be redistribution of wealth. Higher income taxes will sweep the cream off the cake of robot-owners.

When do you foresee this happening? It doesn't look to be right around the corner.

Quote:

As long as less than 50% of population are extremely unhappy with their lives, the unhappy minorities may resort to strikes, then street riots, theoretically even civil war.

Which is "quite fine" too, I suppose.

Quote:

It isn't in contrast to my optimistic beliefs. While the rich are getting richer, the middle class is doing quite fine too. It doesn't matter for the middle class how wealthy the wealthy are, the only thing that matters is how acceptable their own life is.

"Quite fine" is a nebulous term.

Half a century ago my father could buy a house and let his wife stay home doing volunteer work, with a maid to come in and do the laundry, cleaning and ironing, while raising three kids and saving money for their college fund, all on the salary of an assoc. professor at a state school.

Now that same middle class needs the wages of two working adults just to make ends meet, living paycheck to paycheck. Home ownership is nothing but a passing dream to many, and their kids are going to have to hock themselves to predatory loans to pay for the cheapest colleges.

Maybe they are "quite fine", but they are a long way from quite as fine as they used to be.

Do you think they are "fine" enough that they don't see their relative income shrinking year by year?
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Old 29th August 2017, 11:08 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
How is the middle class "doing quite fine too"? Is it cheaper to rent or buy property? Can they get decent jobs without gambling on getting a 6 figure degree to do so? Do they have less debt than previous generations?

Or is it that junk food and mobile phones are cheaper than they used to be?
"Cheaper" or "less debt" are not necessary comparisons. I said "they are doing just fine" (and feeling just fine), and that I regard as a fact. That is also what matters politically: how people feel right here, right now. Comparisons to the past generation are irrelevant, unless people tend to wake up in the morning and compare themselves to the past generation while brushing their teeth, but they are apparently not doing so.

Personally I consider myself middle class, and I am quite happy with my material well-being, though I am indebted to some extent, but that is only figures in the bank account, what matters is what standard of living I get in the daily life. I have a nice car (nicer than the previous generations had) and a nice apartment (higher tech though smaller than the previous generations had), and I can afford to travel a lot (more than the previous generations could).

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Old 29th August 2017, 11:28 PM   #89
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
"Cheaper" or "less debt" are not necessary comparisons. I said "they are doing just fine" (and feeling just fine), and that I regard as a fact. That is also what matters politically: how people feel right here, right now. Comparisons to the past generation are irrelevant, unless people tend to wake up in the morning and compare themselves to the past generation while brushing their teeth, but they are apparently not doing so.

Personally I consider myself middle class, and I am quite happy with my material well-being, though I am indebted to some extent, but that is only figures in the bank account, what matters is what standard of living I get in the daily life. I have a nice car (nicer than the previous generations had) and a nice apartment (higher tech though smaller than the previous generations had), and I can afford to travel a lot (more than the previous generations could).
A possible problem with your analysis is highlighted.

The recent election shock in the UK was due, to a significant extent, on a high turnout of young voters who are motivated differently; motivated by many of the factors than psion10 and others have mentioned.
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Old 29th August 2017, 11:39 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
It is not the case any more. It is no longer a case of a few saddle makers giving way to automotive workers. ALL jobs are under threat.
"ALL" jobs? Every job that is currently held by anyone, anywhere? Do you think that is even a little bit over the top?

There will always be jobs. No matter how advanced robots become, there will always be both a need and demand for human labor.

We are going through a pretty major transition, but most of our jobs are still going to be here. The real question is what happens after this latest economic shift.

We have gone through much larger job losses and shifts before this, and the unemployment rate has pretty consistently gone down after it. This time feels different, but if we are going to seriously plan for how to deal with the new paradigm, we have to be serious about what degree of automation will actually occur.
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Old 29th August 2017, 11:41 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
> When more than 50% of population are extremely unhappy with their lives, a democratic election will change the tide of politics, then law, then there will be redistribution of wealth. Higher income taxes will sweep the cream off the cake of robot-owners.

When do you foresee this happening? It doesn't look to be right around the corner.
I have been saying all the time that things are not going to get that bad, because the financial and political elite understands to avoid going there, they know how to play the game, and understand to keep the masses happy enough for the society to remain stable.

Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
> As long as less than 50% of population are extremely unhappy with their lives,
the unhappy minorities may resort to strikes, then street riots, theoretically even civil war.

Which is "quite fine" too, I suppose.
Yes, the mindset of Capitalism is not to care if the poor are poor or go on strike, it is irrelevant as long as it does not seriously threaten the stability of the society.

From Europe the American society looks unfathomably cruel. How can the wealthiest nation on earth not have universal free health care, while the half poorer European countries have it? But this is how it goes, the poor are irrelevant in the Capitalist mindset.

Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
"Quite fine" is a nebulous term.
"Quite fine" means you feel fine enough not to take any radical action to revolt against the circumstances, stay quietly at home, without going rioting or demonstrating on the street. Also during political elections "quite fine" people either bother not to vote, or vote to maintain the society as it is.

Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
Maybe they are "quite fine", but they are a long way from quite as fine as they used to be.

Do you think they are "fine" enough that they don't see their relative income shrinking year by year?
By the definition just given above, they will be "quite fine" for a long time yet.

Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
with a maid to come in and do the laundry, cleaning and ironing
Your father didn't care how high salary this "maid" earned, or to which college her children went. The financial elite does not care how much the children of your father earn. Deja vu?

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Old 29th August 2017, 11:59 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
For (maybe not quite) hundreds of years we have seen the growth of a middle class, who owned an increasing percentage of the available wealth. Noticeably, in the last century or so, automation had served to boost that trend, with new production techniques increasing the opportunities for new jobs that paid decently.

For the last couple of decades (at least) that share has been diminishing, with new advances in production due to automation serving largely to help shift the concentration of wealth into a smaller and smaller percentage of a fortunate few at the top.


What factors do you specifically see now that would change that trend?
I agree, and I don't see that changing.

In addition, when higher paying jobs are replaced with lower paying jobs, people are going to have to work more just to have enough for food and and shelter. Especially if they have a family. Increasingly the middle class are being priced out of having a family, and the people that are going to be able to afford kids and the wealthy and the welfare poor.

I think psionIO's point about the cost of housing and education is very valid in this case as well. When jobs are lost today, people are being priced out of retraining, and the high cost of housing and food pushes more people into lower paying jobs, which will hurt retail sales and cause even more unemploymnet.

The middle class will continue to decline until a universal wage is required to keep the economy from collapsing.
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Old 30th August 2017, 01:12 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
I said "they are doing just fine" (and feeling just fine), and that I regard as a fact.
It takes two incomes to maintain a household today. When a stay-at-home mum is considered a luxury that only the wealthy can afford then this shows how hot the water is getting.
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Old 30th August 2017, 04:14 AM   #94
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Quote:
Do you think they are "fine" enough that they don't see their relative income shrinking year by year?
Isn't the question that your post at least implies is important whether or not their actual income is shrinking year by year? "Actual" being income in terms of how difficult it is to pay for the necessities of life, and thereafter how affordable luxuries are.

You certainly didn't have anything to say about how wealthy your father was relative to anyone else at the time, only how far his money could go.
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Old 30th August 2017, 05:15 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
It takes two incomes to maintain a household today. When a stay-at-home mum is considered a luxury that only the wealthy can afford then this shows how hot the water is getting.
You fail to bring tears in my eyes. And you fail to inspire people to riot on the streets. What is First World Problem in American English?
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Old 30th August 2017, 05:59 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
I have been saying all the time that things are not going to get that bad, because the financial and political elite understands to avoid going there, they know how to play the game, and understand to keep the masses happy enough for the society to remain stable.
Who specificity are you referring to here? How are they coordinating their efforts towards this end?


Added: I think that is is more likely the people in positions of wealth and power do what is in their short-term best interest and do not overly concern themselves with the big picture. I would need more evidence in order to believe that they are intelligent and organized enough to do otherwise.

In societies with multiple political parties the ones with less power have the most to gain by catering to the needs and desires of the citizens. I think that is more of a stabilizing influence than a coordinated effort of those who currently hold the most power.

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Old 30th August 2017, 06:28 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
You fail to bring tears in my eyes. And you fail to inspire people to riot on the streets. What is First World Problem in American English?
But it could easily inspire the UK to elect a Corbyn government next time round, in the hope that it will put the brakes on excessive corporate profiteering and the widening wealth gap. No riots required.
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Old 30th August 2017, 06:39 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by Fizil View Post
This is simply not true, and hasn't been true for awhile. Newer forms of automation are removing jobs faster than new jobs are being created from technological innovation. It is in fact different this time.

Hell, you might think that becoming a software developer would be the safe course in this new age of automation. Someone has got to write all that automation software after all. You know what my first job out of college was? Writing software that automated the creation of software for television automation systems. Instead of a few dozen software developers developing systems for many different clients, a few business analysts and a couple of software developers could simply input some parameters in that system, and it would output a mostly filled template project that just might need a tweak here and there for a particular client. And it isn't like that was state of the art software development automation.

edit: The point is that this isn't about blue-collar jobs going away. Robots are actually kind of expensive and finicky. This round of automation is about software taking over white-collar work. It isn't just coming, it is already here. What is my job right now as a software developer? Develop insurance software. Why? To reduce the need insurance companies have for underwriters, adjusters, and actuaries. When a company adopts my company's software, they can start slashing their HR costs because while humans are still needed, each individual underwriter, adjuster, and actuary can do the work of what took several of each before by leveraging the software.
You are not saying anything people haven’t said every time in the last 10000 years when newer better machines removed the need for people to perform tasks manually. Jobs are not a finite resource because demand for more/better stuff and more/better service isn’t finite. Doing a job with fewer people frees up workers to design/build/sell other things or supply other services. The more stuff and the more services available the better off everyone is.
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Old 30th August 2017, 06:51 AM   #99
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
What exactly will humans have to offer employers if smart machines can perform all or most of their essential tasks better in the future2? In short, has the Luddite fallacy finally come true?
Oh no, what will we do if we ever reach the point where we can make everything anyone could ever want without anyone having to lift a finger! I can’t imagine the horrors of living in such a world!
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Old 30th August 2017, 07:14 AM   #100
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
I am curious, in view of the indisputable long term trend of wealth migration to the top ten percent and the failure of the middle eighty percents income to rise at a rate anywhere comparable to corporate earnings, what it is that gives you this rosy outlook on the benevolence of the business community.

I see very little evidence of it. In fact, it seems like the opposite is true. The captains of industry who made sure their employees were well treated and taken care of (if such a thing ever existed except in the minds of Ann Randians and eternally hopeful Libertarians) are rapidly becoming nothing more than a memory of a distant past.

The investment community, which aside from 401Ks and such marginal individual participation is largely comprised of that top ten percent, doesn't want to hear about how some fraction of their dividends, no matter how minute, can be more beneficially directed toward the actual employees of a business. All they care about is the quarterly bottom line and how much it increases their own portfolios. If the grunts aren't happy, let 'em leave. There's always someone standing in line to take their place.

This is why Republicans aren't really all that enthusiastic about low unemployment, no matter how much they talk it up on the campaign trail.

What mechanisms are there which you see counteracting this? Why is the actual, demonstrated redistribution of wealth so starkly in contrast to your optimistic beliefs?

Distribution of “stuff” (goods and services) within society is an entirely different issue. It’s possible to have everyone be better off while increasing the share of goods/services that go to the wealthiest people if you grow the amount of goods/services being produced per capita. Per capital growth n the amount of goods and services being produced requires having fewer people involved with producing any individual item or service and that requires automation.

In fact, you could argue that this type of wealth distribution issue, where an inordinate amount of stuff goes to a small part of the population, can only exist in an environment where we can’t make enough than everyone can have everything they want at all times, which would be the case if machines actually replaced all jobs as some people fear.

Our current social systems and culture would be disrupted to be sure but that is neither good nor bad just different.
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Old 30th August 2017, 07:19 AM   #101
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Originally Posted by jrhowell View Post
Who specificity are you referring to here? How are they coordinating their efforts towards this end?
Wealthy individuals and corporations keep a close relationship with their favourite politicians, including funding their election campaigns. And share their concerns to their politicians. Economic and social stability of the nation are among those concerns.
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Old 30th August 2017, 03:35 PM   #102
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
You fail to bring tears in my eyes. And you fail to inspire people to riot on the streets. What is First World Problem in American English?
That goalpost shifting confirms that you recognize that a household can't get by on one income any more.
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Old 31st August 2017, 02:08 AM   #103
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You complain about a household earning today less than they did a generation ago. I never denied that, but also don't see what political relevance that notion has.

Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
That goalpost shifting confirms that you recognize that a household can't get by on one income any more.
Yes, I do recognize that. I have been saying all the time that the goalpost is not where you want it to be. Or anyway, the OP asks if robots will steal the jobs of most people, so most people will be dismally poor. My answer was and is that many people can become unemployed -- let me give a figure: up to 25% I would say -- but not much more than that, because then the masses (at least these 25% plus their relatives and ideological symphatizers, should get close to 50%, of which not everyone participates out of personal urgent poverty and necessity) would either vote the robot-owners out in democratic elections, or riot on the streets and threaten the stability of the society.
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Old 31st August 2017, 10:15 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
You are not saying anything people haven’t said every time in the last 10000 years when newer better machines removed the need for people to perform tasks manually. Jobs are not a finite resource because demand for more/better stuff and more/better service isn’t finite. Doing a job with fewer people frees up workers to design/build/sell other things or supply other services. The more stuff and the more services available the better off everyone is.
Only designing, building, and selling those new products and services can also be done by machines ultimately.

Now if you include the arts and sports, perhaps not so much, but even here automation has an effect, and the only reason I think artists and athletes will never be fully displaced is human preference for human made art, and humans competing in sports. I don't think an AI-based Battlebots would ever be as popular as Football played by humans.

I don't necessarily think we are heading toward disaster, but I do think people need to wrap their heads around the fact that this sort of 40-hour a week full employment model for people is going to have to eventually be discarded. Over the past half-century we have seen massive increases in productivity due to automation with no corresponding reduction in actual work. That is what won't last forever. I think sometime later in this century people are going to have to make the transition toward something like 20-hour work weeks as the new normal. The further into the future you go, the more that number is going to tend toward 0.
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Old 31st August 2017, 10:49 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by Fizil View Post
Only designing, building, and selling those new products and services can also be done by machines ultimately.
This is why I was trying to clarify the OP's question. What do we mean by 'robots' - if AI is on the table, then realistically, the 'thinking' jobs will be replaced long before the 'physical manipulation' jobs.

Call centers, computer programmers, supervisors, engineers, teachers, cashiers, therapists, pathologists, marketing directors, video editors... you name it. Eventually corporations will have AIs replacing CEOs, too.

I think physical trades like carpentry and plumbing and automobile repair will survive a little bit longer than pure brainwork, but eventually the AIs will develop superior tools and that will be that.
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Old 31st August 2017, 10:54 AM   #106
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I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.
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Old 31st August 2017, 11:15 AM   #107
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Our children's great grandchildren will have it worse than we do. When robots reach the singularity they will be able to handle the white color jobs too.
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Old 31st August 2017, 02:11 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by Fizil View Post
I think sometime later in this century people are going to have to make the transition toward something like 20-hour work weeks as the new normal. The further into the future you go, the more that number is going to tend toward 0.
I still don't see how that could happen in a capitalist economy. There would only be enough work available to keep half of the population employed full time.

Why would employers offer more than the lowest possible wage with such an over abundance of available labor? Why would they choose to divvy up the work among more employees than necessary?

It would take serious government intervention in the economy to make that work. A high minimum wage combined with a low maximum hourly weekly work week. But of course that would give manufacturers even more incentive for further automation.
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Old 31st August 2017, 02:49 PM   #109
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Here is another scenario on how this could play out.

In a laborless economy the only income would be in the form of dividends from corporate ownership. Those who have the foresight and the means to purchase stock in the companies that make it through the transition would use their dividend income to purchase what they need from the various companies that provide all of the goods and services while using only minimal human labor.

In order to prevent an uprising from the disenfranchised majority the government could tax the companies to provide a subsistence income to everyone who isn't fortunate enough to have come out with an ownership stake. The government could run lean, doing away unessential services, such as compulsory education.

In order to give the majority hope, there could be a regular lottery that would boost a few fortunates into the upper class. That might be enough to prevent an organized revolt against the new system.

Last edited by jrhowell; 31st August 2017 at 04:00 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 31st August 2017, 06:50 PM   #110
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
You complain about a household earning today less than they did a generation ago. I never denied that, but also don't see what political relevance that notion has.
You have constantly denied that there is a problem with household incomes. This can only come from an "I'm alright" attitude. By the time you are affected, it will be too late.

Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
Yes, I do recognize that. I have been saying all the time that the goalpost is not where you want it to be. Or anyway, the OP asks if robots will steal the jobs of most people, so most people will be dismally poor. My answer was and is that many people can become unemployed -- let me give a figure: up to 25% I would say -- but not much more than that, because then the masses (at least these 25% plus their relatives and ideological symphatizers, should get close to 50%, of which not everyone participates out of personal urgent poverty and necessity) would either vote the robot-owners out in democratic elections, or riot on the streets and threaten the stability of the society.
If unemployment suddenly jumped past 25% then yes, there will be riots.

But that is not what is happening. It is a gradual process. We are gradually getting accustomed to dwindling middle class jobs. The way that the right to housing/education is being eroded is so gradual that many people don't see a problem with it today. Eventually the cities of the US will be like the streets of Calcutta and nobody will think that this is anything but normal.
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Old 1st September 2017, 02:59 AM   #111
JJM 777
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
You have constantly denied that there is a problem with household incomes.
It is a problem for these individuals, but not for the society, nor for the wealthy elites. It is the two latter who decide, as long as the former is not populous or angry enough to become a problem for the two latter.

Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
This can only come from an "I'm alright" attitude.
I'm alright, but still a rather far left Socialist. So far left that the dictionary of American politics doesn't have a definition for that. But my personal political inclination does not prevent me from noting how the society functions de facto.

Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
We are gradually getting accustomed to dwindling middle class jobs. The way that the right to housing/education is being eroded is so gradual that many people don't see a problem with it today.
You repeatedly use expressions where you focus your concern on "middle class", but I fail to see the same concern for "the poorest", or for the "maid" of your father. It gives the impression of "everything would be alright if my social class is alright" attitude. But that is not very rational. For the system, the alrightness of your social class is as irrelevant as the alrightness of the poorest classes or your father's maid appears to be for you. Your rhetorics have so far not shown much concern for their alrightness, anyway.

Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Eventually the cities of the US will be like the streets of Calcutta and nobody will think that this is anything but normal.
Calcutta exists, and is socially stable, so it is rational to assume that the same could be replicated anywhere else too.

Last edited by JJM 777; 1st September 2017 at 03:01 AM.
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Old 1st September 2017, 06:56 AM   #112
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
<snip>

You repeatedly use expressions where you focus your concern on "middle class", but I fail to see the same concern for "the poorest", or for the "maid" of your father. It gives the impression of "everything would be alright if my social class is alright" attitude. But that is not very rational. For the system, the alrightness of your social class is as irrelevant as the alrightness of the poorest classes or your father's maid appears to be for you. Your rhetorics have so far not shown much concern for their alrightness, anyway.

<snip>

Just to keep the record straight, it was my father, not psion10's.

She worked for us about 4 hours a week, at most. Considering the number of hours my father worked on an assoc. professor's salary at a state college I wouldn't be surprised if he made less per hour than we paid her. She worked for us for extra money, not a subsistence. She called it pin money.

We were not in different social strata, far from it. Our families went to the same schools, shopped at the same stores, frequented the same restaurants and bars, worshiped at the same churches, invited each other to the same parties.

I delivered her newspaper, worked as an usher at the movie theater she went to. Who was in what social class then?

The average coal miner back then (it was a coal economy where we lived) probably made more than my father. They were all union. They could afford to hire domestic help when they wanted to as well. Not full time, but we aren't talking about the kind of social structure you seem fixated on.

Don't jump to unwarranted conclusions. It's easier to ask and learn. More accurate. too.

This is part of the point you seem to be evading. The "middle class" was a much larger segment of the economy then. And the affluence was shared to a greater degree. This segment has been shrinking dramatically in only the past few decades.

The fact of wealth redistribution to the top is indisputable. Why do you think that there is no significant effect on the 90% that is not at the top? Do you see no issues with this trend?
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Old 1st September 2017, 07:18 AM   #113
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
I'm alright, but still a rather far left Socialist.
When you have to pretend that you don't understand a simple sentence then that is a pretty clear indication that you have a bankrupt POV.

Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
You repeatedly use expressions where you focus your concern on "middle class", but I fail to see the same concern for "the poorest", or for the "maid" of your father. It gives the impression of "everything would be alright if my social class is alright" attitude. But that is not very rational. For the system, the alrightness of your social class is as irrelevant as the alrightness of the poorest classes or your father's maid appears to be for you. Your rhetorics have so far not shown much concern for their alrightness, anyway.
Where I grew up a labourer could buy a house and feed a family on just one wage. It wasn't easy though. It took 10 years before my father could afford a telephone service and most homes only had one TV.

The bigger issue though is that it has always been possible for somebody who was willing to make the effort to improve their lot in life. With the erosion of the middle class that you seem to despise and the increasing unaffordability of higher education and housing, this is no longer a reality for many people. Parents used to have the realistic expectation that their children would have a better life than they did. The reverse is now the case.
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Old 1st September 2017, 09:33 AM   #114
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post

Yes, I do recognize that. I have been saying all the time that the goalpost is not where you want it to be. Or anyway, the OP asks if robots will steal the jobs of most people, so most people will be dismally poor. My answer was and is that many people can become unemployed -- let me give a figure: up to 25% I would say -- but not much more than that, because then the masses (at least these 25% plus their relatives and ideological symphatizers, should get close to 50%, of which not everyone participates out of personal urgent poverty and necessity) would either vote the robot-owners out in democratic elections, or riot on the streets and threaten the stability of the society.
Once the robots are able to do all the work, including military and police work, why should their owners care about riots in the streets? Just send the robot police or army to deal with the rioters.
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Old 1st September 2017, 01:11 PM   #115
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
The fact of wealth redistribution to the top is indisputable.
Maybe it is. Though globalization is redistributing wealth also across lower social strata, the middle class in poorest countries is getting closer to the middle class in richest countries. A lot is happening, and I don't have a full grasp of its total effect on total equality between all existing humans. Which would be a relevant indicator for me.

I make a fundamental difference between owning means of production vs. owning something for your own pleasure. Someone needs to own the means of production, and as un-Socialist as this thought may seem, distributing the money of the richest company owners to every human being equally would probably mean that people turn their property to cash in order to consume it, buy a car, take a nice holiday to Hawaii.

While Marxism sees the wealthy elite as mere useless leeches, I give them the credit of investing their wealth into productive purposes, which is not a self-evident choice. And the credit of being rather good at business management, which cannot be said of the average layman on the street.

Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
Why do you think that there is no significant effect on the 90% that is not at the top? Do you see no issues with this trend?
The effect is statistically significant, but not yet politically relevant for stability of the society, or for continuity of the two-party hegemony in USA, etc.
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Old 1st September 2017, 01:17 PM   #116
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Once the robots are able to do all the work, including military and police work, why should their owners care about riots in the streets? Just send the robot police or army to deal with the rioters.
This, combined with the capacity of NSA to see and hear everything everywhere, is indeed an Orwellian possibility, which I would like humanity to carefully plan to avoid.

It's the riots or the robots first, then. The early bird gets the worm. Winner takes it all.
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Old 1st September 2017, 01:21 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
With the erosion of the middle class that you seem to despise
My motto is: a society is morally as good as it treats its poorest members. Middle class is not ethically a relevant point of reference for me, the poorest classes are.

Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
and the increasing unaffordability of higher education
Yep, university education is not free in USA, unlike where I live.

Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Parents used to have the realistic expectation that their children would have a better life than they did. The reverse is now the case.
I am not sure that this is the general mood yet. It is not my mood anyway.
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Old 1st September 2017, 02:14 PM   #118
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I with the crowd that says, machines have been taking our jobs for millenia and we've generally come up with other jobs and generally been better off for it. Of course, it might be different this time. What happens when they do? Do goods get so cheep that we are in essentially a post scarcity society? Probably not, we still have to pay for energy. Goods will certainly get cheaper though.

Edit, it should be pointed out, the luddites were essentially right, the machines took their jobs and they were a lot worse of for it for generations. On the other hand, their descendants are now better of for it along with everyone else. If robots start dramatically taking over more labor there will be substantial disruption to the society that will impact the folks displaced a lot more than the folks who benefit. We'll deal with it eventually and somehow and its worth trying to figure out how now rather than after the fact. We'll probably have the wrong solution though as we don't know exactly what the impact will be. We're screwed regardless.

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Old 1st September 2017, 04:58 PM   #119
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
My motto is: a society is morally as good as it treats its poorest members. Middle class is not ethically a relevant point of reference for me, the poorest classes are.
While you are correct, the "morality" of a society is not the question here.

Even if it were, killing off all aspirations to a better lifestyle by killing off the middle class and telling the poorest members of society that they will never have the opportunity to exist on anything but handouts is not terribly moral to me.
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Old 1st September 2017, 06:13 PM   #120
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One of the major concerns I have is that the size of the middle class will shrink drastically. Then democracy will be under threat as it is the middle class who want it.

The poor are too worried about earning enough to buy the essentials of life to worry about democracy. If they get upset by the politicians they go and riot. The rich can bribe whoever to get what they want. The middle class are everyone who earns between those two groups.

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