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3/8/2017 13:19:36   
  Dwelling Dragonlord

ArchKnight AQ Pedia / OOC / L&L


We are currently going through an era of increased automation in a wide range of fields such as the oil industry, factories, supermarkets and autonomous vehicles.

There seem to be two prevalent opinions on how to handle this. One is a robot-tax and the other a basic income, though multiple versions exist of the latter as well.

This thread is to discuss automation, its effects as well as the ways in how we could respond to them.
AQ DF AQW  Post #: 1
3/8/2017 14:13:25   
  toidiedud

Crown Clown
of the OOC!


I think Automation is a great thing overall and can lead to some really cool stuff. Though whether its good for the average person or not really depends on whats left for them which is the really tricky part of all this.

Sure we could replace fast food workers with robots so ideally that'd make people have to just get better education and overall become better people because of it but in reality that would just mean more unemployment. Its definitely a slippery slope that shouldn't happen overnight but if done well I could see a full robot filled future easily.
AQ DF  Post #: 2
3/8/2017 14:28:40   
Onyx Darkmatter
Member

From a Business perspective, Automation is extremely healthy to help companies earn more revenue, which could mean expanding a company. The only expense that Automated Companies has will be maintenance and repair expense, but between a once-in-a-while expense and a weekly Salaries Expense, it would be a lot cheaper to do the former.
But from a Working Class perspective, it heavily enforces Structural Unemployment and can create an even-bigger Wealth Inequality gap. Another big issue is that the employee's skills become useless in the workforce, since the skills they possess become inferior compared to the work of machines.

There are 2 solutions for Automation. The first one is obviously higher taxes, and the second is education and training sessions.
Similar to why Protectionism exists, Higher Taxes on Automated companies helps protect the Working Class. Since a company's main goal is to earn a profit and opportunity costs comes in a big play, it will force companies to use Human Capital (assuming the Automated Taxes are higher than the Salaries Expenses).
The other alternative is to either educate the future generations of computer languages, or to train people on machine operations. Regardless what anyone thinks, we ALWAYS need humans to build and fix machines (you can argue that Machines can build other Machines, but you can't depend on Machines on transporting goods and services, nor can you depend on Machines to repair themselves). If everyone understands computer languages and parts, then I do believe that this will help solve the Structural Unemployment and not make employees worse-off. Now, the only problem I see about this is that I'm unsure how this will affect the Demand (if there are more demand for Machinery workers, then it will attract people to do the work. But if there's a surplus of the people with Machinery skills, then it might not be any different than working at McDonalds).

Between the two, High Taxes seems like the best solution in my eyes.


< Message edited by Onyx Darkmatter -- 3/8/2017 14:30:31 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 3
3/8/2017 21:15:38   
fabri17
Member

quote:

you can't depend on Machines on transporting goods and services, nor can you depend on Machines to repair themselves

Not yet, but the research and development of AI can and will make this possible in the near future.
I suggest watching CGPGrey's video on the matter, it might sound perhaps a bit alarming but he does brings up some good points about the situation.
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 4
3/8/2017 22:11:35   
Onyx Darkmatter
Member

quote:

Not yet, but the research and development of AI can and will make this possible in the near future.
I suggest watching CGPGrey's video on the matter, it might sound perhaps a bit alarming but he does brings up some good points about the situation.


I don't know, there needs to be a unique Algorithm to make a machine check, identify, and repair for that to happen. Maybe it could happen in a couple decades, but for now, Machinery depends on Humans to function.
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 5
3/8/2017 23:03:11   
fabri17
Member

Welp, the point of automation is not to take over ALL the work (yet?), there will probabably be requirements for supervisors, engineers and technicians for general supervision, maintenance and malfunction repair. Bear in mind that automated systems with learning capabilities are already real, so "a couple decades" is probably a stretch (I suppose the spread of this level of automation won't happen super quickly worldwide, but even then...)
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 6
3/14/2017 22:33:38   
NagisaXIkari
Member

We certainly goofed up when automation is seen as a bad thing rather than a welcomed change. Unemployment could be solved with a universal basic income, but that has its own share of problems such as how much is going actually going to be enough to ensure people can actually survive and even contribute to the economy. If you only get enough a month to buy groceries and pay your bills, a good number of companies are gonna go under or more likely be bailed out as taxpayer expense.

And in the current system that is already unfriendly towards social programs, the first sign of economic downturn (inevitable as it occurs every few years), that universal basic income is going to take a hit.

Essentially the current system is unsustainable and going towards automation will only exasperate that.

quote:

I think Automation is a great thing overall and can lead to some really cool stuff. Though whether its good for the average person or not really depends on whats left for them which is the really tricky part of all this.

Sure we could replace fast food workers with robots so ideally that'd make people have to just get better education and overall become better people because of it but in reality that would just mean more unemployment. Its definitely a slippery slope that shouldn't happen overnight but if done well I could see a full robot filled future easily.


Problem with that line of thinking is that people work those jobs because education is either unobtainable or they are educated and there are no employment opportunities within that field because companies would rather take on interns or there are more people with lets say engineering degrees than there are open positions. Can't really expect someone to just go sink into debt to get a degree which in no way guarantees them a job because their previous one was replaced by a machine.
DF  Post #: 7
3/15/2017 2:01:17   
Superemo
Constructive!


I'm probably over-simplifying things, but I think that all the proposed "problems" created by our rapid advancement of automation would also be resolved easily by continuing down that path of progress.
Currently, automation is only fulfilling basic manufacturing and distribution, which creates a shortage of low-skill jobs, while creating jobs involved in the production and maintenance of the machines they're using to replace the low-skill jobs. If we continue down our current path, it'll only be a few years before we've completely automated all production of machines, meaning the only labor left in that field would be maintenance of the machines. A few more years down the line, and we'll have machines capable of diagnosing and repairing themselves and other machines more accurately and effectively than any human ever could. This would remove the necessity of labor from manufacturing.
Now, imagine this on a larger scale. Imagine if, instead of sending people to risk their lives mining coal, we had a steady flow of easily repaired/replaced, tireless machines to extract the coal. Imagine if our food production didn't rely on humans, but instead on machines.
Advancement in automation only creates short-term problems. In the long-term, though, it can create something humanity has dreamed about since we first worked to survive: a post-labor society.
AQ DF MQ AQW  Post #: 8
3/15/2017 11:24:26   
Xplayer
Roaming the Web


I think how we think of automation is skewed by a western cultural perspective where labor laws and expectations about quality of living make humans unable to compete with machines in the labor market. In countries were labor is cheap and/or there are no labor laws at all, low skilled humans can often compete with machines by the fact that their labor doesn't have a minimum overhead like it does in developed countries. Why pay $100,000 for an automatic ditch digging machine when you can pay 5 humans $10 a day to dig ditches? Of course this is not the situation that we want as a society, but it's a factor that needs to be considered especially considering that manufacturing is already mostly done in places where labor is cheap (e.g. China).

The only way I see the human labor market being eliminated entirely (i.e. CGP Grey's scenario in the video linked by fabri17) is either if machines become so efficient that they are able to generate profit so fast that their overhead doesn't matter, or that the vast majority of humans live in societies where laws make human labor costs unable to compete. The first scenario is certainly possible in certain industries (most obviously transportation), but that's always been the case with the advances of technology, and I doubt that it could happen in all markets. The second scenario can be avoided by changing the law itself, either by reducing/elminating minimum wage, providing universal basic income, or taxing automation. All these solutions have their disadvantages, but are preferable to a society where everyone's unemployed with no means of income.

On a side note, one of my favorite depictions of a post-industrial society comes from the 5th episode of Kino's Journey where Kino tells a story about people who employ themselves by checking computer calculations by hand because there's nothing left for humans to do.

< Message edited by Xplayer -- 3/15/2017 11:25:40 >
AQ AQW  Post #: 9
3/16/2017 6:49:13   
Superemo
Constructive!


@Xplayer: While it's true those are possible issues with automation, they're still grounded in the present, not the future.
Were we to continue the ever-hastening advance of technology, we would inevitably reach a point where humans literally could not compete with an automated system. After that point, human labor would have a negative net value, so we wouldn't be able to acquire work.
Humanity's current economic models are designed with the assumption that income from labor is always possible, and they are not equipped to handle a situation where that is not the case.
I believe that, once such a situation becomes a reality, we would see either a utopian or a dystopian shift in society as a whole. In the best case, the concept of currency would be phased out, as such a concept relies on human labor. In the worst case, we would see a world where humanity effectively destroyed itself through greed, leaving only the owners of automated systems and those they choose to allow to live.
AQ DF MQ AQW  Post #: 10
3/16/2017 8:55:21   
Xplayer
Roaming the Web


@Superemo:

I think the only way that humans become completely non competitive in all markets (especially in so called "white collar" work) is if general AI is perfected, in which case we have some other major issues to think about first before even addressing the economics of it all.

tl;dw (but seriously watch the 2 videos):

1. General AI can create solutions to problems that could potentially result in unethical, illegal, or potentially deadly actions in an extreme scenario.
2. General AI may not want you to "fix" its code or impose limitations that prevent it from achieving its goal.
AQ AQW  Post #: 11
7/21/2017 12:59:20   
  Dwelling Dragonlord

ArchKnight AQ Pedia / OOC / L&L


Kalashnikov, the Russian weapons manufacturer, has announced that it has developed fully autonomous weaponry.

Should the UN put a ban on such weapons as urged by A.I. researchers such as Stephen Hawking?
AQ DF AQW  Post #: 12
7/21/2017 15:59:20   
Starstruck
Member

AI concerns are different from automation concerns - one is a set of instructions, the other is an iterated set of instructions dedicated to a flexible goal.

It's not so much that the machine will become self-aware, it's more that the machine will, in the process of executing its target, discover that a better way to destroy its target is to destroy the government around them/humanity as a whole and be empowered to act on this decision thanks to its powerful and confusing "mind."
DF MQ  Post #: 13
7/23/2017 0:21:45   
Onyx Darkmatter
Member

Agreed. Automation is just machines doing the human work, whereas AI is a built-in Algorithmic system.


So I've given it some more thought on this, and I'd have to say Automation isn't technically "bad" when it comes to the American Manufacturing companies that already laid-off human labor for outsourcing purposes. Manufacturing in the U.S. with human labor is suicide unless the demand is high and people are price-takers, but Automation could technically help "bring back" Manufacturing into the U.S, theoretically that is.
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 14
7/25/2017 15:14:35   
Xplayer
Roaming the Web


quote:

Kalashnikov, the Russian weapons manufacturer, has announced that it has developed fully autonomous weaponry.

Should the UN put a ban on such weapons as urged by A.I. researchers such as Stephen Hawking?

Hasn't Russia had this for years? Edit: I guess it's different from fully autonomous weaponry, but weapon systems that don't require human input have been around in Russia since the Cold War.

In a perfect world, A.I. weaponry would be banned, but in reality any ban would just be symbolic as it's practically unenforceable. That's another general problem with A.I. regulation; if technology advances to the point where A.I. can simply be programmed into any electronic device, how would governments prevent people from making their own A.I.? This isn't a rhetorical question; I legit don't know.

< Message edited by Xplayer -- 7/25/2017 15:18:02 >
AQ AQW  Post #: 15
7/25/2017 21:39:47   
04intel
Member

I think the effects of automation will be similar to the industrial revolution in England. Their will be resistance and social unrest as people lose their jobs because of it. Followed by the workforce and society as a hole slowly adapting to the new reality and learning new skills in order to compete.
AQ DF AQW  Post #: 16
7/27/2017 1:24:17   
Onyx Darkmatter
Member

If the retired workforce don't have an alternative method of working or retraining to work for a different market, then yeah, it's going to create angry mobs who can't put food on their table.
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 17
8/11/2017 4:13:08   
Nickon12
Member

I think automation is a great thing! for example self driving cars already exist, it's crazy!
In this article they say that BMW, Ford, General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen promise to introduce self-driving cars to the market by 20202021, there will be ten million cars fully or partially equipped with autonomous control devices by 2020, self-driving mobile homes will become commonplace by 20352040. I think it is something really great, these cars will reduce accidents and probably traffic jam.
Post #: 18
8/11/2017 15:16:32   
draketh99
Purple Armadillo


Automation is such an incredible topic, especially recently. In the past decade we've been able to automate incredibly complex tasks and made more and more capable robotics that are able to carry out these tasks in the physical world around us.

What really breaks the mold, though, is machine learning. This newfound ability that, while it still needs refining, allows us to create machines that will develop their own algorithms and find solutions that we needn't need to dream up on our own. (Some examples of machine learning being IBM's Watson, Google's image search software, Google's AlphaGO, and Sethbling's MarIO). I'm fairly confident that the birth of machine learning is going to be the advent of our next "Industrial Revolution". The technology is still very much in its infancy, but it bears the marks of exponential growth.

All that being said, I do believe this increase in automation is a good thing, eventually. When looking at things from the most basic of perspectives, I can't see it being a bad thing to produce more with less overhead. Increased efficiency is something my heart always pulls me towards. That's not to say that there won't be drawbacks. Our governments and economies aren't built to handle the predicted level of human depreciation, and people at large scale are incredibly slow to adapt. A large majority of the repercussions will be due to human push back against a new way of doing things.
DF  Post #: 19
8/16/2017 11:41:50   
ShadowMoon
Member

quote:

I think automation is a great thing! for example self driving cars already exist, it's crazy!
In this article they say that BMW, Ford, General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen promise to introduce self-driving cars to the market by 20202021, there will be ten million cars fully or partially equipped with autonomous control devices by 2020, self-driving mobile homes will become commonplace by 20352040. I think it is something really great, these cars will reduce accidents and probably traffic jam.

none of which should ever be allowed to roam the streets without someone behind the wheel due to potential glitches and hacking.
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 20
8/16/2017 11:51:33   
Xplayer
Roaming the Web


@ShadowMoon: Regulation of Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) is a very interesting topic in of itself. I think eventually AV technology will get to the point where despite there being a non-zero risk of failure (hacking/glitches), they will be on balance safer than human driven cars. Remember that human driven cars cause 1.3 million fatalities, 20-50 million injuries, and cost $518 billion per year globally. AVs will be much safer on average. However, I acknowledge that regulation is going to require humans to accompany the car at first, much like how we needed to wave red flags in front of cars when they were first invented.
AQ AQW  Post #: 21
8/23/2017 19:58:37   
draketh99
Purple Armadillo


The risks associated with glitches and hacking are, while not completely, very significantly negligible. For the risk of self driving cars being hacked to be significantly greater than the risk of someone with malicious intent being behind the wheel of a vehicle, it would have to be a very large scale and complicated security intrusion. Someone capable of that kind of work could already do similar damage by manipulating automated utilities, such as automated gas lines.

As for the risk of glitches, they are a risk. But glitches in software can usually be predicted and calculated. As Xplayer said above, they don't have to be perfect, just better than the VERY accident prone humans it replaces. The early adoption period for this technology will be rough, risky, and hopefully overly cautious. That's how ll early adoption periods go with technology and progression. Autonomous vehicles without people behind the wheel is a practical inevitability, and one that will likely save lives.
DF  Post #: 22
9/27/2017 5:01:14   
luffynater92
Member

I don't feel comfortable getting into a self-driving car just yet, but they are definitely making grounds with research. I think in perhaps 5-10 years I'd be happy to try it out, but I'd never want to fall asleep :/ I think I would still like to be aware of my surroundings. Do they have an emergency brake or something the human can pull?
Post #: 23
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