I've been considering the implications of current trends in technology. I have seen several stories now about factories, usually in China, that are completely automated. No employees are needed.
(Example: [businessinsider.com] )
Companies are experimenting with automated stores like Amazon's new grocery store. Again no workers.
( [reuters.com] )
And we already have self driving cars now being put into use. Additionally machine learning is allowing machines to take over yet more positions, such as call centers, journalism, management, lawyers, etc.
I don't think trying to resist these changes will work, or be a good idea. Even if we didn't accept them here, other countries would, and we would fall behind. But what would result of this. Most jobs would be gone, and most of those who would loose their jobs would have no qualifications for the jobs that would exist.
It seems like these changes are just around the corner now, and it doesn't seem like any nation is prepared to handle it.
Back in 1983 I toured a "factory of the future." I only saw a total of four people in a large factory. There were two technicians checking on the machines, and two men at the bottom of a chute stacking product boxes. Today, they wouldn't need the two people stacking boxes. My only surprise is that the Automation Revolution has taken so long.
We are now entering a new phase of the Automation Revolution. Recently, a robot was successfully programmed to fold clothes. This may not sound like a big deal, but actually the programming was rather complicated. Most people can't easily fold clothes without leaving some wrinkles in them. From now on, more complicated tasks are going to be replaced by automation. Neural networks are also becoming more sophisticated. IBM's Watson, for example, uses complex neural networks to problem-solve in fields such as medical diagnosis and computer problem analysis. There are times when you might be interfacing with a neural network online and not even know it, which means they pass the Turing Test.
I am a former factory worker. Pasta was what we made. More and more is being automated and it is a good thing. The repetitiveness of factory work, cement floors, the standing is tough on the brain and body. The business has expanded do to automation. Some of the most back breaking labor has been automated. The pasta plant was cronically (sp) short on help. When you retire from from this type of work your body can be quite broken.
Companies may save payroll by replacing people with robots but they should continue to pay the lost income taxes which can be spread in universal health care and income.
That will never happen in the US. Unfortunately, the widening wealth gap will deepened further with unbridled greedy capitalism.
More socialist countries will be able weather this future storm.
I used to be against Marxism and communism outright because it cedes too much power to the state and the history of where that can lead. Though, as automation start taking over we are going to have to figure out a way to deal with the great inequality that this may bring.
Truck driving is a huge employer in the US and it’s a few steps away from being an obsolete profession. There are many, many professions like this, so what are we going to do?
This is one of many reasons that individuals present and future security should rest in government programs rather than depending on businesses to take care of them. All people should be treated the same and guaranteed some degree of security for as long as they live.
Technology is definitely replacing the jobs that machines can do more efficiently and precisely but there will still be plenty of stuff that require the human touch. I think one of the biggest challenges facing us especially in the U.S. is solving the widening income equality gap. How to use the collective wealth of the country to better serve all of it's citizens. But in a way that doesn't create the short comings of a system like we saw with communism.
One job that looks ideal for automation and AI is that of a soldier. Qualifications required of a soldier, as per my knowledge are: discipline, endurance, unquestioning loyalty and moderate levels of intelligence. Once we get robot soldiers, there is minimal training cost, no retirement, inbuilt institutional memory etc. More importantly, no coups! Imagine what happens to a country's democracy when the ruling class has a powerful, obedient, and cheap to mass produce army.
Universal basic income is an answer thrown around alot. But governments, especially the US is going to fight against that as long as possible because it too closely resembles Communism.
What'll most likely happen in the US, to stay as fast from Communism as possible while actually making it closer, is voucher systems.
Housing vouchers. Food vouchers, utility vouchers. It's make the income gap between rich and poor 100 times worse.
In the mean time we'll be told all you need to get out of your situation is hard work, and a line capital to buy your very own robot to earn money for you.
Well... I don't think humanity is quite prepared for the drastic changes that we are likely to face. Considering our system of "working hard and you'll be rich" comes from very archaic Christian beliefs, still. The year is 2018 technologically but in some respects humanity is hundreds or thousands of years behind. So, we will either make it work for us or let it kill us. Pesonally I think there are too many that cling to old ideas or accumulation of wealth that won't easilly change or let go of debts and so on. I ere on the side of chaos to ensue.