Author Topic: As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income  (Read 1872 times)

Offline Tiffanys

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Link: http://www.npr.org/2016/09/24/495186758/as-our-jobs-are-automated-some-say-well-need-a-guaranteed-basic-income

excerpt:
Quote
"at some point in the future, as technology continues to eliminate traditional jobs and massive new wealth gets created," some version of basic income will be rolled out nationally.

Well, they're not wrong. As more and more jobs become automated there will be more and more people without jobs and as human population increases this problem will become more apparent.

Personally, I didn't think I'd see it in my lifetime. But with the way things are progressing I guess we could see it in a few decades. They seem to suggest more urgency:
Quote
Hughes says that means basic income isn't an idea for the distant future but one we need to consider today.

I'm not sure I agree with its need just yet but it does seem like we're definitely heading in that direction.

Obviously this is going to create problems if we move to such a situation because if you can just laze around your entire life without needing to work then most people wouldn't, even brilliant and talented people that could seriously help humanity. Some people that have passionate interests like in the arts may continue but I suspect most others would suffer some deficiency. On the plus side I suspect the people that would pursue careers in such a world would be people truly interested in those careers.

Well, or people that want more money. $10,000 a year that they're suggesting isn't exactly a living wage. That would raise some cause for concern, obviously. If jobs are phased out and automated it would create a mega rich upper class (owners of automated things) and an ultra poor lower class (people unable to find non-existent jobs barely surviving off of basic income). Sadly, that's a dystopian future that I could certainly imagine.

Online Mistgun_Zero

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Re: As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2016, 01:13:08 pm »
As a person who is actually working in Automation sector, most of the automation jobs are simple stuff that just needs to be repeated hundreds of time. Like putting the cap on the toothpaste tube. Of course, there are some quite complex automation where the voltage is too high for human interaction, or in a nuclear reactor where you bloody well can't even be there.

But in all honestly, actually having humans in those jobs is really a waste. And it's not because you don't have a degree (as a person who has a degree I hate it when other's get messed around just because they don't have one. They too get knowledge from experience and they know their stuff as well, maybe not really high, but they know plenty enough) but because you are really a lazy person to go out and do something.

I have seen normal labour workers lead a pretty decent life, whereas intelligent lazy people have wasted their life cause they didn't want to work.

Doesn't matter how much stuff is automated, there will be always be work to do  and if you are not ready to do your part, you don't really deserve anything. Including the stupid basic salary concept. (seriously the amount of knowledge and work that goes into automating a single thing is just enormous, the industry is pretty short handed actually).

The only thing the automation can bring would be increase in lifestyle. I do think eventually  (probably when the world is about to end) we might see a stage where everyone will have enough to live pretty well above poverty line, even if they are not rich enough to afford much luxury.

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Offline Tiffanys

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Re: As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2016, 05:39:13 pm »
I think you're looking too much at factory production and not so much at other forms of automation. When you call a business for instance you're now (usually) met with either a recording or a synthesized voice asking you to choose from a variety of options (usually you have to go through this several times), or if you're lucky it might be able to actually understand your words (which it doesn't always get right). That type of thing used to be a call operator job and they've basically been phased out. A lot of calls from businesses are also automated, which also used to be done by a person. Fast food restaurants are working towards doing away with human workers for ordering, and so on. Agricultural jobs are largely taken over by farm machinery nowadays.

There are a lot of other examples, of course. But the general point is that more and more types of jobs are slowly disappearing. Eventually it will get to the point that the kinds of jobs available to people will be pretty niche and not everyone is going to be qualified to be able to do them.

In a few decades receptionists could definitely be replaced by robots, fast food places could be completely automated, stores could probably be designed to stock and run themselves. It's true that to get to that point there are jobs to create those things but with enough types of work automated it certainly won't be such a booming field to be able to employ the rest of the human population that has been phased out of work.

We already use robots to assist with surgery and I could definitely see them taking over completely within the century. Everyone hates police, so what's to stop us from creating some kind of Cylon police force that are infallible robots? We're already replacing airforce pilots with drones. We're replacing delivery guys with drones. We're replacing cab drivers with self driving cars. Manufacturing jobs are going to go out the window soon too as 3D printing catches on.

So I mean, it's definitely happening. Most jobs that humans do could definitely be automated. Some more easily than others, but I definitely see it happening. About the only types of jobs I'd imagine would be available in such a future would be scientists, engineers, politicians, and the arts (authors, artists, film stars, etc) - though film stars may even be phased out. We can already create people in CG and if we can properly synthesize voices there may very well be no need for actors anymore, just writers/directors.

Online Mistgun_Zero

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Re: As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2016, 07:33:58 pm »
Those automation things which you are saying also fall in the same category I was mentioning. Even that McDonald automatic ordering is in itself a big task not menial by any means.

So yes, automated order taking machine. But who is going to cook? (yes, there might reach a point, but it is still largely going to be humans. Even the most high class industry doesn't have robots to cook. Then there are the machines themselves. You can only program them to be self repairing to some extent. You are going to need some kind of human interactions.

Number of years ago, the amount of engineer's, scientist's and doctors were quite few compared to what we have today and they made did with them and even today even though available in excess quantity are available, they are still easily able to find job. nd this is not just one thing, we already went through this once during industrial revolution and even though there were difficult times, we came out of it good enough.

Also free has to come from somewhere, it's not gonna magically appear (taxes in your case). Then we would have a nice war between working class and the leecher class.

And then again, we indirectly have something like this. Salaries are higher than what they used to be 20 years and we do have basic stuff is a hell lot better than what they had back in the day, so that in a way itself is a rise in a minimum wage. But that is again, only if you work. Again, nothing is given free.

The bottom line is things are going to change and we will need to adapt to those situations. And the thing is we have that ability. We also have the ability to not adjust and just whine about it (though eventually you will still lose in the long run).

EDIT:
Now, let me reply to some of the stuff you said. The above post was somewhat general.
Quote
Most jobs that humans do could definitely be automated.
Humans have freedom of choice in built in their systems. Automation/AI doesn't. Even if you program it to have freedom of choice, I doubt it will ever achieve our level. Would we even allow it? By our very own nature no.

As for actors, FF XV Kingsglaive movie is what you are taking about. That is pretty much the future. Yet, that took 2 years. And all those action scenes and acting? Motion captures. Real human movements. Voices.

Robots for surgery? Hmm. You know better about that.

All in all, I see only menial jobs being automated in the industry which would effect the human jobs. If you are making your living taking order's at McD, yes you are fucked. But if you can do that, you can also do a lot more better than that as well (yes, that does require a lot of hard work, I am definitely not denying that).
« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 07:43:22 pm by Mistgun_Zero »

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Offline halfelite

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Re: As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2016, 08:35:07 pm »
Automation will never replace people it will just open up different types of jobs. Instead of flipping burgers or answering the phone maybe you are now oiling the machine that makes the burgers.  But sadly these jobs are more then people want to do. We are living in a time when everyone thinks they deserve something for nothing. You keep seeing stats about unemployment and not enough jobs. But what that facts dont add up is a big part of the unemployment force wants to be unemployed. In the construction industry we are always looking for  people to work labor and sadly most people dont want to do it.

One of the strangest things I have ever seen is where I am employed we do training for our field labor they are paid out hourly at $15 so they can bring home gross pay of $600 a week. They do 3-4 weeks for training after training they go on "Piece rate" they get paid by how much production they do. Our best labor workers average $27+ dollars an hour while doing piece work. But for some strange reason we have a huge turn over rate from training to actual installer as they are no longer guaranteed that $600 even though they could make 3x that if they worked hard they quit as they were happy with the $600 for not doing much.

Offline Shiakou

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Re: As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2016, 09:08:45 pm »
Guys, I think there's another issue here.

Namely, while ten serving machines can replace ten workers at taking orders, you'll only need one or two maintenance people for those ten machines. This means that while there will still be jobs for humans, the increase in efficiency would mean that the actual number of jobs would decrease, while the jobs themselves would demand ever higher specifications and levels of education.

Of course, that assumes people have enough pride to insist on their current standards of living. You can still move to a Third World country where cheap labor is still in demand.  ;)

Offline Zalis116

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Re: As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2016, 09:47:31 pm »
There's another side to the basic income argument -- as more jobs get replaced with machines and AI, where are these businesses' customers going to come from? Who's going to stay at robot-run hotels, eat at robot-run restaurants, or shop at robot-run stores, when hardly anybody has jobs or income? The robots? We can't all be CEOs, hedge fund managers, software engineers, or robot maintainers. If nothing changes, there's going to be a large and angry (and in the US, heavily armed) "surplus labor" class, and a basic income / expanded welfare state is going to be more cost-effective than jailing them, and more humane than final-solutioning them.

Quote from: Mistgun_Zero
And then again, we indirectly have something like this. Salaries are higher than what they used to be 20 years and we do have basic stuff is a hell lot better than what they had back in the day, so that in a way itself is a rise in a minimum wage. But that is again, only if you work. Again, nothing is given free.
After adjusting for inflation, salaries for most workers outside the top 1-5% have barely budged in the last 40 years, and things like childcare, health care, housing, and higher education have gotten far more expensive. The real-dollar minimum wage is lower than it was in 1968. This can't entirely be explained by workers being lazier than they used to be; there are political choices being made to attack the bargaining power of labor and increase the power of capital and ownership.


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Online Krudda

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Re: As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2016, 11:11:56 pm »
Mistgun, you do realize automated chefs already exist? Well, thats Metro fucked. Better find yo'self another job boi.
Cars can drive themselves, so even delivery boys are gone.  As to postal delivery, Amazon is already using Drones to deliver parcels.

You're only thinking of the immediate impact too.
Take this scenario.

Robots theoretically replace 90% of the worlds jobs. This creates maintenance jobs. (which can be partially automated)
But only a fraction of human labor is required for that. One person could manage and maintain dozens of automated processes.
But this isn't where it stops! As more jobs are replaced, less people will study for such a task - it's automated and theres no money in it when robots do it cheaper and more efficient than a human. So what happens to those skills? Humankind will gradually lose them until one day they're nothing but a text book theory.
So lets assume a war breaks out and in that war, a lot of robots are destroyed.
Welp, that country is dead. Nobody knows how to do the jobs the robots did until they're repaired.

Do you know how to kill a cow with a bow and arrow? Do you know how to make a bow and arrow? No? Thats cave-man era stuff? Well thats what I'n getting at, apply that to modern skills.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 11:16:38 pm by Krudda »

Offline Saras

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Re: As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2016, 11:28:52 pm »
I believe, that due to technology that will become a necessity in due time. However, I also believe that capitalism cannot exist in a society that has MASSIVE unemployment. So who knows, we might just go with a Star Trek utopia that doesn't actually have any money, so a basic is also not important.

Still, I don't think that day is today, tomorrow or even in the forseeable future.

Offline Evilsbane

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Re: As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2016, 12:29:40 am »
I believe, that due to technology that will become a necessity in due time. However, I also believe that capitalism cannot exist in a society that has MASSIVE unemployment. So who knows, we might just go with a Star Trek utopia that doesn't actually have any money, so a basic is also not important.

Still, I don't think that day is today, tomorrow or even in the forseeable future.


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Offline Ixarku

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Re: As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2016, 12:37:37 am »
I think the whole question of automation is a fascinating one, and I think out of all of the changes going on in society today, it's the one with probably the lowest amount of attention from the average person that also has the greatest potential to completely change society.

I think the key is going to be the rate of change (ie the amount of jobs that shift over time towards automation) versus the people's ability to compensate.  Too much too fast, and I think there will be economic and social upheaval.  If the rate of change is gradual enough, then succeeding generations will have the time to retrain into new jobs, and the economies will find a new point of balance.

Manufacturing and service jobs are the most likely candidates for automation.  Obviously mechanical maintenance and design jobs will still be around for the foreseeable future.  In addition, though, I'm highly skeptical that a lot of technology / IT jobs will go ever away completely.  In IT, there is always a push for efficiency, which usually translates into fewer of certain kinds of jobs, but this inevitably leads to expansion in other directions as a company continues to grow.  Expansion of operations usually means introducing more complexity -- either by adding new systems / products or by expanding the capabilities of existing systems -- and adding complexity invariably leads to more maintenance / architecture jobs.

One of the reasons I don't fear automation is because companies if viewed as a whole generally only implement what makes sense for their business.  (At least, that's the concept.  In practice, we all know that there are a lot of stupid decisions being made every day.)  Anything else is self-defeating.  If the market remains healthy, then the companies that make the wrong decisions will fail and the companies that resist bad decisions will continue to succeed.  What I'm getting at is, if automation makes sense for a business, a company will make it work.  If a company finds that they can't implement or support automation because labor demands make it impossible (ie, lack of skilled workers to support the systems), then that company will either fail or it will adapt to the market realities.


In short, I don't believe that automation will ruin society, no more than the introduction of mass production did a century ago.  Instead, I think that automation is the new 'mass production', and that it will be a major catalyst for society's transformation over the next century.  (Now, do I have any data to back any of this up?  Of course not; it's just my opinion at this point.)
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Offline Saras

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Re: As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2016, 01:16:05 am »
I think the key is going to be the rate of change (ie the amount of jobs that shift over time towards automation) versus the people's ability to compensate.  Too much too fast, and I think there will be economic and social upheaval.  If the rate of change is gradual enough, then succeeding generations will have the time to retrain into new jobs, and the economies will find a new point of balance.

People are much more adaptable than you might think.

While it wasn't as stark for you in the west, where technological advancement was relatively gradual, but due to globalization the rate of change was much more rapid everywhere else.

The examples I can think of the top of my head are East Asia and Eastern Europe. For my own countries example, communism was effectively a dead stop to technological progression on a local level. By the time the USSR collapsed in the 90s, the overall technical level was closer to what was available in America in the 50s-60s. We literally went from "What is a computer? Oh those massive several room machines that mathematicians work" with to "This is one on your desk and you have to know how to use it or you're fired" in timespan of like 7 years, where the concept "of being fired" didn't exist 9 years ago. I remember having to fill out a few punch cards while in elementary school, god damned punch cards, in ~98ish because a few government offices haven't had time to upgrade to actual desktops.

Places like Korea and Parts of china fit the bell as well. Korea was literally one of the poorest regions in the 60s. It was a shithole, now Seoul is a proper to goodness metropolis.

The overall rate of change was significantly compressed, compared to what you saw in the US.

Granted I do also see people who really couldn't adapt to the change, but most people did.

Offline Ixarku

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Re: As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2016, 02:11:27 am »
That is certainly encouraging.  I think the core issue is still, however, whether or not job loss due to automation outpaces the creation of new jobs, and how quickly people can retrain to fill new roles.  The other variable is whether or not new jobs will require significantly greater education than old jobs -- I think that's going to be a bigger factor moving forward than at any point before now.

Let's face it, with today's desktops, it's not that difficult for a person to learn to do a few basic tasks on a computer.  But it takes significantly more education to learn how to design or maintain a database, or how to plan the integration of two unrelated applications running on different servers.

This is one reason why I think it's important for the U.S. to stop treating education like a profit center to be exploited.  As our society and technology becomes increasingly advanced and complex, it will be more and more important for the population to maintain technical literacy to both understand the current technology, and to have the education to further develop technology to meet tomorrow's needs.  The alternative is that the pace of new development slows down, or economic and technological power will concentrate into the hands of ever-smaller groups.  I don't think the former is very likely to happen, but one of my fears is that the economic and political realities of today are pushing us towards the latter direction.  Disenfranchisement is one possible future.
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Offline Burkingam

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Re: As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2016, 02:30:49 am »
If excessive productivity ever becomes bad for the economy, we could always just lower the normal working hours per week from 40 to 30. Obviously, education will be key.
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Offline Ixarku

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Re: As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2016, 03:27:32 am »
If excessive productivity ever becomes bad for the economy, we could always just lower the normal working hours per week from 40 to 30. Obviously, education will be key.

That would be a logical and interesting shift, and hopefully one with a positive outcome.  Imagine people 50 years from now looking back at our time, and noting how the working man's hours and job conditions had evolved since the late 19th century.  Going from working long hours in dangerous conditions with few or no rights in the early 20th century, to the rise of labor unions and equitable treatment, to the modern era where some people sacrifice personal life for professional success, while others struggle to achieve balance.  And then into that future era, where the balance hopefully has shifted more in the other direction, where it is simply the norm for people to have more time in their private lives.  It's a nice dream.
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Online Mistgun_Zero

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Re: As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2016, 06:35:01 am »
If excessive productivity ever becomes bad for the economy, we could always just lower the normal working hours per week from 40 to 30. Obviously, education will be key.

That would be a logical and interesting shift, and hopefully one with a positive outcome.  Imagine people 50 years from now looking back at our time, and noting how the working man's hours and job conditions had evolved since the late 19th century.  Going from working long hours in dangerous conditions with few or no rights in the early 20th century, to the rise of labor unions and equitable treatment, to the modern era where some people sacrifice personal life for professional success, while others struggle to achieve balance.  And then into that future era, where the balance hopefully has shifted more in the other direction, where it is simply the norm for people to have more time in their private lives.  It's a nice dream.
Yes. This. Hopefully the automation does achieve this.

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Online Mistgun_Zero

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Re: As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2016, 06:43:47 am »
Quote from: Mistgun_Zero
And then again, we indirectly have something like this. Salaries are higher than what they used to be 20 years and we do have basic stuff is a hell lot better than what they had back in the day, so that in a way itself is a rise in a minimum wage. But that is again, only if you work. Again, nothing is given free.
After adjusting for inflation, salaries for most workers outside the top 1-5% have barely budged in the last 40 years, and things like childcare, health care, housing, and higher education have gotten far more expensive. The real-dollar minimum wage is lower than it was in 1968. This can't entirely be explained by workers being lazier than they used to be; there are political choices being made to attack the bargaining power of labor and increase the power of capital and ownership.
Mostly for US. Compared this to countries like India, Korea and other places. We are doing pretty darn well than we did some years ago. Same goes for healthcare and education. The system is fucked up but it's not because of automation or lack of jobs. Of course that can be fixed, but who would want to let go of their profit. That and automation taking away jobs are entirely two different things.

Also minimum wage is not really something everyone should strive for, is it now. Aim a bit higher for gods sake.

Oh btw Krudda, they were taking about that income thingy to be started in the immediate future. Which was what I was comparing to.

For me basic line is 'Anything free is not the answer'. Work for it. Simple.

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Offline xfreidax

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Re: As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2016, 11:25:25 am »
10k a year is not enough to get by in many cities. It's a subsidy at best and from what I've read, places that are exploring this idea consider it a replacement for basic welfare. Automation and AI is great but if we allow them to replace us to such an extent that we need to subsidise the lives of the majority of our population, consumer society will collapse. You don't need robots when that happens...

Online Krudda

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Re: As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2016, 11:53:02 am »
10k a year is not enough to get by in many cities.
We pay $15,840 per year just as rent. I can totally see $10,000 per year as a viable living wage.

Offline Shiakou

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Re: As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2016, 11:59:00 am »
10k US$ translates to about 450k PhP(pesos). That's about twice the national average (235k PhP). If you have that much income, you're considered upper class. The official minimum wage is about 10 US$ a day.

It's a bit depressing to think that you guys make more than many politicians or company managers here, and yet consider it a pittance.  :-| 

Are things really so expensive in the USA?
« Last Edit: September 27, 2016, 12:04:24 pm by Shiakou »