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When the Robot Takes Your Job (It Probably Creates More)

Posted March 04, 2015 12:11 PM by HUSH
Pathfinder Tags: automation employment job robot

There could very much be a day where everything you read on this site-blogs on CR4, articles on Engineering360, selection guides in the product finder-is composed by a computer program. That's right, I'll be un- or underemployed, living in a refrigerator box under a New Jersey overpass, because Automated Insights has eliminated my job from IHS.

Last January, Associated Press published the first story composed by Automated Insight's program, "Apple tops Street 1Q forecasts." It was an unremarkable article, but it was analyzed by a logic system with a better understanding of the inverted pyramid than I could ever imagine. The program, called Wordsmith, included no typos or misspellings, but what it ultimately will spell is "D-O-O-M" for most editorial professions. Therefore I've enrolled in clown college, because I figure it's one of the last professions that will be robotized.

In fact, machinery usurping the jobs and roles of humans is a well-worn narrative. But now that artificial intelligence is developing to the point where an AI singularity deserves consideration (the robots are smarter than us), and economies of scale have enabled a greater proliferation of AI (the robots are cheaper than us), we now face a reality where the majority of careers as we know them, both blue and white collar types, could be eliminated in favor of capable robot workforces.

This inevitability has been one of the factors for support of a universal income-a guaranteed, tax-generated stipend that provides every citizen with a [minimal] means to live. In other words, slackers rejoice-you'll get unemployment forever. Of course there will be push back: traditionalists (and labor unions) who won't trust robots to do their job and complain about the effects on the family income.

While it seems like robots will eliminate jobs, it's completely possible they create many more. Author John Tamny points out that when technological advances forced workers off of farms, it created a labor force that had to be more creative in their pursuit of employment. The idea is that once we replace essential tasks with robots, people have more time for labor they enjoy. And companies will have more time to invest in more innovations and more robots.

Eventually robots will be developed enough where everyone can be their own business executive because they will have their own robot [labor] army to command. Jobs will also be created directly due to the design and maintenance of more robots. Further, the nature of labor is constantly changing. Tamny likens it to carriage drivers who rallied against the automobile. Yes, a job is lost immediately, but dozens of other much better, less demanding jobs are created in its wake.

Of course, we're not even up to burger flipping robots yet, so it will be a while before skilled positions such as writer (in my case) or engineer (in your case) are automated. In all likelihood, I'll have retired before a robot starts posting here on CR4. Care workers, food service employees, salespeople and custodians will be some of the first dominoes to fall in the robot labor uprising. However, after that it will be hard to find footing on such a slippery slope.

(Be careful not to engage in soapbox politics in the comments below!)

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#1

Re: When the Robot Takes Your Job (It Probably Creates More)

03/04/2015 2:17 PM

It does nothing but laugh at you......(sic)

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Re: When the Robot Takes Your Job (It Probably Creates More)

03/04/2015 3:35 PM

YES! This robot could replace most of our CR4 members and generate replies to the majority of questions recently posted on this forum. Think of the wear and tear on our keyboards it would save.

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Re: When the Robot Takes Your Job (It Probably Creates More)

03/04/2015 5:30 PM

How do you know this hasn't already happened.....??

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Re: When the Robot Takes Your Job (It Probably Creates More)

03/04/2015 6:53 PM

"There could very much be a day where everything you read on this site-blogs on CR4, articles on Engineering360, selection guides in the product finder-is composed by a computer program."

I swear that some of those cheesy ads we get on CR4 for losing weight, adding to your sex life, and improving your skin are written by machines!

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Re: When the Robot Takes Your Job (It Probably Creates More)

03/04/2015 7:12 PM
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Re: When the Robot Takes Your Job (It Probably Creates More)

03/04/2015 9:08 PM

Sinister to say such things with a smile, too!

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Re: When the Robot Takes Your Job (It Probably Creates More)

03/05/2015 2:24 AM

Yes, but it's not like a wife, in that you can probably de-program 'sinister', or in event of an emergency, pull a battery.....

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#7

Re: When the Robot Takes Your Job (It Probably Creates More)

03/04/2015 11:24 PM

" Jobs will be created due to the design and maintenance of robots", this statement by the author indicates that needs to remain a writer. Actually no jobs will be created to design and maintain robots, robots will maintain robots and design New robots. Less human involvement will mean enormous profits for a minority and overwhelming poverty for the multitudes.

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Re: When the Robot Takes Your Job (It Probably Creates More)

03/04/2015 11:50 PM
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Re: When the Robot Takes Your Job (It Probably Creates More)

03/09/2015 11:15 AM

In re robots writing the stuff you see online, check out this opinion piece from the New York Times: If An Algorithm Wrote This, How Would You Even Know?

At least you know that CR4 submissions are from real humans ... until and unless robots learn to handle the Proof of Humanity test.

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