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Humanoid Or Specifically Built Robots VS Human Workers


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50 minutes ago, DDE said:

You could do it just like the Chinese have been doing it for millenia.

But quite often you don't need to, the smart fraction claws its way to the top and it stays there, because success, contrary to anecdotes, is generally inherited across generations (be it through nature or nurture), if not centuries. This trend can be further reinforced through institutionalized nobility or caste systems, both of which are essentially elite breeding programs, but even ostensibly classless societies produce their own dynasties because of human mating preferences.

That just gives you the descendants of those that managed to acquire power(which may or may not have been part of the 'smart fraction'), and by no means finds the actual 'smart fraction', just the 'privileged fraction'.

54 minutes ago, DDE said:

That is a false dichotomy. Every corporation is a miniature planned economy, and so is just as subject to politicking, nepotism, autocracy, and even ideological activism as a state apparatus. Pro-monopoly forces such as the high efficiency of vertical integration for industrial enterprises, or network effects for the IT industry, ensure that these "miniature" planned economies are greater than many states. The Invisible Hand is helpless to stop this - indeed, we are increasingly living in an era where corporations shape the consumer and invent "trends" that they enforce, not visa versa. Topping this off is the pernicious nature of government-corporate relations, where greed meets the monopoly on coercion.

Once established, sure, but Microsoft, Netflix, Apple, Amazon, and Google were not born as fully fledged corporations, they started as good ideas, and succeeded against competitors to demonstrate viability.  Today they may be massive corporations, but they started with some people with a few good ideas.

There was not anyone with the power or authority to declare that Amazon or Apple would succeed, and if anything ideological activism may be in the process of bringing down Google.

Corporations cannot effectively lock-out a new idea generating it's own market, but a government certainly can.

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3 hours ago, DDE said:

 

No, you really didn't. Your example is not the creation of a new job (not to mention the roofers existed prior to pneumatic hammers) but a rise of further division of labor. The basic thatched roof used across the world is not something you invite a professional to build.

You've also done nothing to address the expected outcome of the rising productivity of each roofer leading to some of them becoming redundant due to a shortage of additional houses to roof.

I really hate to keep arguing with you on this single point, but I would also like to point out that you have just  answered your own question without seeing it.

Division of labor is the distribution of tasks across society. The more divided the tasks, the more separate tasks there are. Each separate task is a job. Surely roofers did exist before pneumatic hammers, and maybe even in larger numbers. The point is, mechanization and then automation eliminate jobs in the field. The mark of a true economist is to look beyond the primary effects, and see what else occurs as a result. Here, you can see that more jobs are added in other fields, and new fields are created, as a result of the technology, when others see only the lost roofing jobs. The increase in housing, as I pointed out, leads to an increase in insurance salesmen, hardware store owners, etc.; all jobs which had less purpose before roofers came along.

As for having too many workers in one field, this happens all the time. It is a sort of irregular cycle. The market itself naturally fixes the problem; workers who are least effective can be expended (fired) in favor of any of the others out there who will do a better job. In this case, the market is a feedback mechanism.

Technology adds more jobs than it eliminates, and the market pushes people into the roles where they are most needed.

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1 hour ago, DDE said:

You could do it just like the Chinese have been doing it for millenia.

But quite often you don't need to, the smart fraction claws its way to the top and it stays there, because success, contrary to anecdotes, is generally inherited across generations (be it through nature or nurture), if not centuries. This trend can be further reinforced through institutionalized nobility or caste systems, both of which are essentially elite breeding programs, but even ostensibly classless societies produce their own dynasties because of human mating preferences.

True you don't need to in an open society they end up on the top. 

Now back 200 years ago China was against innovation as they feared would upset the social order the aristocracy had established this was probably stronger before but now. Well you had outside forces who had innovated stuff like better weapons and organisations and they was knocking. 

You can not breed for smart humans efficiently, and nobles don't, they breed for connections. The stand-up guys was the smarties ones.

Should not be so hard to GM however. Easier than radical life extension. or super solider boosts, say in the line of looking good :)
Who not both, all four take some generations. 
 

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3 hours ago, Terwin said:

Keep in mind that we are only a couple of iterations of Moore's law away from using single atoms for each element in an integrated circuit, and it currently requires a super-computer to emulate the mind of a roach, and not even in real-time(assuming that the emulation the neurons and synapses that was done is sufficient to emulate true intelligence if it were to be scaled up.  Something I deem unlikely because such emulations to-date are fully deterministic.

And hence we return to the problem of the human usage.
Why spend their brains without purpose? Connect them in a global network, those who doesn't have any talent or hobby.

So, the humanity would consist of Hobbits (those who has a hobby, so a motivation for self-development) and Nodes (those who can't invent a purpose for themselves, and are augmented to be a global hivemind).

Nobody of them is higher. Just in terms of RPG, the former are mages, the latter are clerics. Skill vs Combine.

I already have a slogan for the campaign "Divide and Unite!"

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9 minutes ago, SOXBLOX said:

I really hate to keep arguing with you on this single point, but I would also like to point out that you have just  answered your own question without seeing it.

Division of labor is the distribution of tasks across society. The more divided the tasks, the more separate tasks there are. Each separate task is a job. Surely roofers did exist before pneumatic hammers, and maybe even in larger numbers. The point is, mechanization and then automation eliminate jobs in the field. The mark of a true economist is to look beyond the primary effects, and see what else occurs as a result. Here, you can see that more jobs are added in other fields, and new fields are created, as a result of the technology, when others see only the lost roofing jobs. The increase in housing, as I pointed out, leads to an increase in insurance salesmen, hardware store owners, etc.; all jobs which had less purpose before roofers came along.

As for having too many workers in one field, this happens all the time. It is a sort of irregular cycle. The market itself naturally fixes the problem; workers who are least effective can be expended (fired) in favor of any of the others out there who will do a better job. In this case, the market is a feedback mechanism.

Technology adds more jobs than it eliminates, and the market pushes people into the roles where they are most needed.

This so much, DDE, what are you work? 
How would you explain it to your grand-grandfather then he was young?
Well I'm an software developer, currently working on restoring an server who got hacked, no I can not explain it in any plausible way, yes after an TV series he might get that I'm an sort of hedge wizard, I educated into electronic then cybernetic but then out of university all wanted software people hard. 
My sister daughter study as an radiologist, now this will spike your rand-grandfather interest as he know about x-rays as it was trending 100 years ago. 
He might be disappointed she don't have superpowers outside getting very good grades. 
Her son, an dynamiter, and yes all are interested :)
 
My sister, evolved  traveling salesman in bakery goods, but return home after each workday as she look after her company stands and try to push them more visible and talk to the grocery store mangers.  

He get the son and my parents 
My father, mercantile education, ended up in branch management before retiring 
Much the same with my mother but she was home with kids for an long time and not much of an drive, she was an dentist helper at my primary school and worked as various setting there she was the office worker outside the boss

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1 hour ago, magnemoe said:

You can not breed for smart humans efficiently, and nobles don't, they breed for connections. The stand-up guys was the smarties ones.

Actually, nobles are the closest you're gonna get to breeding for smart humans. They did generally think of connections more than "smarts", but notice that to get and keep good connections in a typical dog-eat-dog royal court, one had to be pretty sharp. Generally, the ones with the best connections were also the smartest ones, or they were quickly supplanted by someone who could out-intrigue them. Earlier on, there was also a matter of land management and military service. Many nobles were also military commanders, and in the early age, good commanders were ones that survived the battle without being captured (which tended to drain the family fortune for ransoms). Even in later years, incompetence in managing one's land and fortune would usually lead to financial ruin, which also didn't do wonders to one's marriage options. While not a perfect method, the smartest people I've met always had at least some noble ancestry (if you know what to look for in a given country, you can usually tell from the name alone).

On the flipside, the most notorious high-born idiots were generally from extremely inbred families, which resulted in genetic disorders. This only became a problem relatively recently, and with better understanding of genetics (and the resulting decline of inbreeding), is not a danger today. If you look at modern descendants of these lines, such as Karl von Habsburg, they're pretty bright folk (for a family of politicians, anyway, which is what they're now :) ). Everywhere where it wasn't purged, the old aristocracy is well established in the intellectual elite.

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8 hours ago, magnemoe said:

an software developer, currently working on restoring an server who got hacked

A mechanician for thinking machines.

8 hours ago, magnemoe said:

radiologist

A doctor using invisible rays.

(In XVIII..XIX cent. it was already in trend, just still exotic and naive.
In XVII it should cause problems. Religious ones.

Though, somewhere the latter could cause problems in early XX, too. "Doctor? Who, woman?! I would better believe in thinking machines!")

But how to explain what is "ecological consultant"?..
Even now, in XXI, I still can't get it with my primitive brain...

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15 hours ago, Terwin said:

That just gives you the descendants of those that managed to acquire power(which may or may not have been part of the 'smart fraction')

If they're not the smart fraction, the actual smart fraction would eliminate them, either within the established societal mechanisms, or by imploding the entire society.

15 hours ago, Terwin said:

Once established, sure, but Microsoft, Netflix, Apple, Amazon, and Google were not born as fully fledged corporations, they started as good ideas, and succeeded against competitors to demonstrate viability.  Today they may be massive corporations, but they started with some people with a few good ideas.

There was not anyone with the power or authority to declare that Amazon or Apple would succeed

Quote

Google was initially funded by an August 1998 contribution of $100,000 from Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of Sun Microsystems; the money was given before Google was incorporated. Google received money from three other angel investors in 1998: Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, Stanford University computer science professor David Cheriton, and entrepreneur Ram Shriram.

Not only did they start off without competitors and with some very serious backing, but if you think they weren't anointed by the 'alphabet soup' agencies to build the backbone of the 'new economy', well, that's amusing naivete. Really puts a new meaning into the name of their parent company, eh?

The supposed new industries are explored by proxies of existing players. All of the 'start-ups' and 'ventures' exist just to be bought up. There is no independent innovation.

14 hours ago, SOXBLOX said:

Division of labor is the distribution of tasks across society. The more divided the tasks, the more separate tasks there are.

No.

14 hours ago, SOXBLOX said:

Each separate task is a job.

No.

14 hours ago, SOXBLOX said:

Here, you can see that more jobs are added in other fields, and new fields are created

By far not necessarily. If one toolmaker enables 20 roofers to do the job of a hundred, 79 people end up redundant. It's going to take a lot less than those 79 (in full-time employees) to support the toolmaker.

14 hours ago, SOXBLOX said:

The increase in housing, as I pointed out, leads to an increase in insurance salesmen, hardware store owners, etc.; all jobs which had less purpose before roofers came along.

It does not necessarily follow that cheaper housing means more housing. The market has a finite capacity to absorb the increased productivity.

Same with insurance salesmen. Same with hardware store owners. Eventually, the unused labor will have nowhere to go to.

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2 hours ago, DDE said:

If they're not the smart fraction, the actual smart fraction would eliminate them, either within the established societal mechanisms, or by imploding the entire society.

Except for this thing called 'entrenched power'.

It was not uncommon for it to be illegal to teach a surf to read.  It does not matter how brilliant you *could* be, if you are completely ignorant and will be executed if you are fund to be training yourself to fight, you are no threat to the noble's idiot children.

Even today, sensationalist reporting redirects the passions of the populous into pointless or even self-destructive directions.

example: Local police are inherently a local source of authority, and an order of magnitude more white cops are killed by black criminals than the other way around.  Yet today we have protests to 'de-fund the police'.  If they succeed, where will that authority go?  It is currently at the local level(city/county), so the only way for it to move is to go to a more centralized authority(state or national), similar to the 'consent decrees' issued by the previous administration that gave oversight of certain local police departments to the national level. 

To me that sounds almost like someone is trying to take power away from the common person and move it into a more central repository.(it is a lot easier for a neighborhood to remove the head of the local police department than to remove the head of the FBI for example)

2 hours ago, DDE said:

Not only did they start off without competitors and with some very serious backing, but if you think they weren't anointed by the 'alphabet soup' agencies to build the backbone of the 'new economy', well, that's amusing naivete. Really puts a new meaning into the name of their parent company, eh?

They had no competitors because they had new ideas.  In 1998, neither Sun nor Amazon were major powers within their area.  Sun has always been over-shadowed by IBM, and I believe Hewlett Packard as well.  That was also only one of the companies I mentioned.  How and why would the FBI and CIA invest in google way back then?  They already had superior technologies themselves.

 

2 hours ago, DDE said:

It does not necessarily follow that cheaper housing means more housing. The market has a finite capacity to absorb the increased productivity.

 

Same with insurance salesmen. Same with hardware store owners. Eventually, the unused labor will have nowhere to go to.

Um no, people have unlimited wants: https://www.amosweb.com/cgi-bin/awb_nav.pl?s=wpd&c=dsp&k=unlimited+wants+and+needs

According to economics, the demand for a product rises as the cost decreases.  If new cars cost $500, then everyone would get a new one as soon as they needed a major repair(like refrigerators or microwaves).

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox

Also, there are always new products that can be created.

Household telephones replaces a central telegraph office, and personal cell-phones replaced  household-wide land lines.

YouTube and twitter 'influencers' are a thing and they tend to make a lot of money.

Boca-chica gal has enough patreon supporters to afford pretty nice cellular communications gear for her live-streams, and that is a pretty niche product.

Gamers and DJ's live-stream and get donations/sponsorships.

 

Human interests are fractal and you would be surprise how narrow a niche can be and still support one or more content producers for that interest.

(take a look at r/HFY, there are plenty of authors that wrote a one-off short story for fun and got lots of interest to the point of a substantial revenue stream from patreon to expand upon that short story, and that is just one sub-forum on a single service)

 

At this point I would be surprised if I could not find a viewer supported 'watching grass grow' live-stream, and you still insist that there is a limit to human consuption?

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49 minutes ago, Terwin said:

Um no, people have unlimited wants:

"How much meat does this crocodile eat per day?"
"One kilogram".
"So few? But could it eat more?"
"It could. But who would give?"

The wants are unlimited, but the demand is not paid.

49 minutes ago, Terwin said:

  If new cars cost $500, then everyone would get a new one

if had money.
But he should produce and sell something in turn to get money. And the cheaper are the goods, the less money he gets to pay.

So, finally we get to the exchange of two potatoes per one pigeon. Nobody could buy a steak.

49 minutes ago, Terwin said:

Also, there are always new products that can be created.

But to bring money they should be sold. So, be enough cheap to be available, and enough required to interest somebody.

If you make 50$ wooden chairs out of 10$ of wood, they unlikely would interest somebody when there are 20$ ones in a supermarket, or 5$ ones made of plastic.

49 minutes ago, Terwin said:

Household telephones replaces a central telegraph office, and personal cell-phones replaced  household-wide land lines.

Not really. Just the "central telepgraph office" is now the "mobile telephone company", and they can take your money not just in their office but wherever you are.

The mobile phone is not serviced by one man. It's just a portable node of the network.

49 minutes ago, Terwin said:

YouTube and twitter 'influencers' are a thing and they tend to make a lot of money.

They are just commercial agents of youtube and twitter, allowed to be paid by other users (not by google) while they are creating content to attract google users.

Just an auxilliary outsourced personnel.

49 minutes ago, Terwin said:

Boca-chica gal has enough patreon supporters to afford pretty nice cellular communications gear for her live-streams, and that is a pretty niche product.

Without Space-X (definitely not patreonned) who would know about BCG?

Just an auxilliary outsourced personnel.

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11 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

Without Space-X (definitely not patreonned) who would know about BCG?

Just an auxilliary outsourced personnel.

Not at all, BCG is an entrepreneur who saw a need and filled it.

Without her or someone like her, that demand would have gone un-filled.

Just like my wife found a demand and filled it, so that now she has a 6 figure annual revenue for jewelry supplies that she (often) designs, then has manufactured in factories in china, photographing an posting them to Etsy and her website from our home here in Texas, where she then mails them out around the world.

 

And which company has 'outsourced' Scott Manley?  SQUAD?  NASA? The creators of those other games he streams?

How about all of those songs transposed and performed by the Harp Twins on YouTube?  Google would never have come up with the idea themselves and does not get any of the funds from their Patreon account.

you said " Eventually, the unused labor will have nowhere to go to. "

But I pointed out that there is an effectively endless demand for different types of content and already a bewildering array of content available, not only that, but a clear willingness to spend funds to support that array of content.

It does not matter how you classify those content creators, that is still a basically endless demand for labor with a demonstrated willingness to compensate for that labor.

Sure existing companies may skim some off the top, but like Critical Role, once they get big enough, they can branch out and keep more of that compensation for themselves.

 

In capitalism there are Employees and Entrepreneurs, if the need for employees goes down(such as due to automation) then that just requires that more people become entrepreneurs and find their own demand to fill.  And the most successful of those usually develop a need for employees to help them fill that need more effectively(unless you want to claim that Google, Amazon, and Apple do not have any employees).

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1 hour ago, Terwin said:

It was not uncommon for it to be illegal to teach a surf to read. 

There's plenty of evidence for Medieval mass literacy. Just not in Latin.

Edit: actually, let's go there!

Savva Morozov, the weaver who bought himself and his sons out for an insane 17,000 RUB before going on to own four factories without ever learning to write.

Pyotr Gubonin, a stonemason serf who became one of Russia's railway barons and was ennobled in 1875.

Demid Atufiev, a state-owned blacksmith, the first of Demidovs and thus the father of all of Russia's arms industry.

Stepan Nikolayev, the first of the Abrikosovs, Russia's confectionary king.

Andrey Voronikhin, schooled at the expense of the Stroganovs before being released and building this:

Spoiler

432678.jpg

That's one country.

1 hour ago, Terwin said:

Yet today we have protests to 'de-fund the police'.  If they succeed, where will that authority go?

Where it already is. Surely you have noticed that these protests are often treated with kid gloves until they physically inconvenience the local executive branch. 

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1 minute ago, Terwin said:

Not at all, BCG is an entrepreneur who saw a need and filled it.

Who had created the need to be filled up?

1 minute ago, Terwin said:

Without her or someone like her, that demand would have gone un-filled.

Without BCG there would be a thousand of same vlogs(?), and one of them would do the same.

Without SpaceX,  it would be nothing to fill with BCG.

So, BCG is just a satellite actor for SpaceX.

Spoiler

maxresdefault.jpg

 

6 minutes ago, Terwin said:

And which company has 'outsourced' Scott Manley?  SQUAD?  NASA?

Idk if he gains money from his vlog.
Anyway, he attracts people's interest to google, google gets money from users and from commercials shown to users, so he is anyway a volunteered advertiser of google, allowed by google to get his dime of profit from his occupation.
Without youtube, NASA, SpaceX, and KSP, who would watch his videos?

10 minutes ago, Terwin said:

How about all of those songs transposed and performed by the Harp Twins on YouTube?  Google would never have come up with the idea themselves and does not get any of the funds from their Patreon account.

Again, google allows everyone to attract the potential google clients. No need to know  every your advertiser by face.
 

Spoiler

_eb085c02-aa44-11ea-ae1e-6e34c87b3b2e.jpremoras-remora-sp-hitchhiking-tail-large

 

13 minutes ago, Terwin said:

In capitalism there are Employees and Entrepreneurs

In early capitalism of XIX-mid XX.
In the grown capitalism the roles may mix and vary.

10 minutes ago, DDE said:

There's plenty of evidence for Medieval mass literacy. Just not in Latin.

Do you mean the "birch bark manuscript #35 берестяная грамота №35 ", I guess?

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9 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

Do you mean the "birch bark manuscript #35 берестяная грамота №35 ", I guess?

Aside from those ("Natasha, send me a man with a stallion, I have much work to do. And send me a shirt, I forgot my shirt") there's also the apparent popularity of cookbooks, implying their target audience could read.

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@Terwin's points on economics are all quite sound! Human wants are unlimited.

One assumption made by @DDE, and the critical one, in this case, is false. Referring to the hammer analogy I borrowed from Witold Rybczynski, he assumes that the 79 redundant roofers will not have any jobs. Of course they will not have roofing jobs; those were eliminated.

But the toolmaker will need others to support him. From whence come the metal ores to smelt into ingots? Who transports these tools? Who sells the houses? Who makes the shingles? An increase in productivity of finished, complex goods necessarily equates to an increase in demand for both raw materials and precision machinery to gather and use these materials.

He assumes these other jobs will not outweigh the ones lost due to the pneumatic hammer. In addition, more salesmen, "pneumatic hammer repairmen", etc. are needed. And surely one person cannot make pneumatic hammers in an economical manner by himself; they will be made at a factory, by people. The factory will designed by people, the machinery will be repaired by people, and people will need to build factories for nails which are compatible with pneumatic hammers.

This concept of technology, that it removes jobs, and is at best a necessary evil, prevalent throughout civilization today, is due in part to the Luddites, to Jacques Ellûl, and other philosophers like him. I highly recommend Witold Rybczynski's book on the matter, called Taming the Tiger. It deals with the problem of human control over technology and whether technology creates jobs or destroys jobs. Spoiler, he concludes that technology is not inherently good or evil, and that it creates more jobs than it destroys.

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2 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

Who had created the need to be filled up?

I did, as did the other 10K+ viewers at the last hop.

This is not a need that SpaceX can create, only the demand of the viewers can create it.

2 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

Without BCG there would be a thousand of same vlogs(?), and one of them would do the same.

I did say 'or someone like her'.

In any case, BCG is filling a want of her viewers.  If you believe spaceX is responsible for creating that need, I challenge you to create a 'need' for something you are doing and surpass the popularity of BCG.

2 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

Without SpaceX,  it would be nothing to fill with BCG.

So, BCG is just a satellite actor for SpaceX.

While BCG would clearly not be streaming SpaceX related video, there is no reason to believe that she could not stream something else if SpaceX did not exist.  Perhaps it would be like one of those streams I see on Reddit from time to time: pets, searching with a metal detector, cooking, etc.

On a related note, who is creating the demand for all of those live-streams of a momma-dog and her puppies?  Surely not SpaceX.

At what point does BCG switch from being an outsourced employee of google to an outsourced employee of SpaceX?

If SpaceX has the demand being filled, how is it that other people are giving money to BCG as opposed to SpaceX giving her money if they are the ones that want those videos?

 

In any case, I think it is clear we are using different dictionaries when it comes to economic activity, and I have no interest in continuing this derailment.

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36 minutes ago, SOXBLOX said:

@TerwinHe assumes these other jobs will not outweigh the ones lost due to the pneumatic hammer. In addition, more salesmen, "pneumatic hammer repairmen", etc. are needed. And surely one person cannot make pneumatic hammers in an economical manner by himself; they will be made at a factory, by people. The factory will designed by people, the machinery will be repaired by people, and people will need to build factories for nails which are compatible with pneumatic hammers.

You're forgetting one crucial thing: a roofer is not a pneumatic hammer technician. He's also not a salesman, or a factory worker, or an engineer. He's a roofer, he spent his whole adult life learning skills which are now utterly worthless. No matter how great he was at it, he's now a middle-aged guy with no job education. Basically, the ones whose jobs were eliminated are now the lowest form of life on the job market: unskilled laborers. They will never get a job like the one they had again. A small minority may be capable enough to retrain and scrape by (still at a disadvantage), but not all of them.

Even if the pneumatic hammer creates demand for more jobs than it destroys, and that's a highly dubious claim, those will invariably be high-skill jobs, which will be filled by people who, instead of learning roofer's trade, went to college or technical school. Factory design, repairing machinery and even working at a modern factory are all skills which you need to spend a good part of your life getting. Demand for those positions will not rise instantly, either, further disadvantaging those who had been replaced. You seem to be looking at the net result in long term (allowing for growth enabled by the new tech to fully manifest), but to people who just got kicked out as redundant, long term doesn't matter very much.

So yeah, 79 people will not have any jobs. Indeed, if the technology is complex enough, 99 people might end up jobless in this scenario, replaced by freshly-minted engineers and technicians from out of specialist schools. That's what happened with weavers who got kicked out in favor of the Jacquard loom. Making punched cards and maintaining the Jacquard mechanism are different skill sets than weaving, and there were people hired in their place, but they weren't weavers.

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1 hour ago, Dragon01 said:

So yeah, 79 people will not have any jobs. Indeed, if the technology is complex enough, 99 people might end up jobless in this scenario, replaced by freshly-minted engineers and technicians from out of specialist schools. That's what happened with weavers who got kicked out in favor of the Jacquard loom. Making punched cards and maintaining the Jacquard mechanism are different skill sets than weaving, and there were people hired in their place, but they weren't weavers.


Precisely this.  Remember those grinding slums that feature in so many of Dickens' works?  They were in a large part a direct result of jobs lost to industrialization (across a variety of fields) in England in the 1800's, and it took the better part of a century for that bolus to work it's way through society.  Disruption is real and has real effects.

But what's happening today with many jobs is very different.  Shifting a job (such as drafting, or travel agents) over to software doesn't create that many new jobs selling or maintaining software.  A few dozen people can maintain and sell a software package (or operate a website) that puts thousands or tens of thousands (or more) out of work.

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2 hours ago, DerekL1963 said:


Precisely this.  Remember those grinding slums that feature in so many of Dickens' works?  They were in a large part a direct result of jobs lost to industrialization (across a variety of fields) in England in the 1800's, and it took the better part of a century for that bolus to work it's way through society.  Disruption is real and has real effects.

But what's happening today with many jobs is very different.  Shifting a job (such as drafting, or travel agents) over to software doesn't create that many new jobs selling or maintaining software.  A few dozen people can maintain and sell a software package (or operate a website) that puts thousands or tens of thousands (or more) out of work.

True, in the sense that mechanization put people out of their former job. But the picture of the slums of industrial England as caused solely, or even mostly, by mechanization, is incomplete, and results from viewing history through an Ellûlian lens. The rampant hunger? Most had minor jobs, but the jobs paid very little, not enough to buy high-priced food. Why was the food high priced? Grain prices could have been much lower, but the Corn Laws ("corn" means grain in British usage) kept them artificially high, and prevented remedy of famines by importing grain. Industrial advances were only partly to blame; there were many other factors, not least of which was government tampering in the economy. Over-reach of governments, tied to Victorian corruption, lead to much harm being done to the lower class, whom the regulations effected most.

"But when computers and complete automation do put all unskilled or semi-skilled laborers out of work, what jobs will be left?" This is a common phrasing of an important question, but the phrasing once again betrays the Ellûlian influence in our thinking. A better wording would be "when computers and complete automation eliminate the jobs many hold today, what new jobs will they create?" The answer is, of course, that most people will work at providing services, not goods. However, goods will still be important, just not in the way we imagine them, or see them today.

When electricity was a novelty, and very few houses were electrified, dining by lightbulb light was considered elegant. Today, when practically all houses in our nation are electrified, it is dining by candlelight which is considered elegant. In the same way, back when everyone's furniture was handmade, handmade furniture was mundane. Now, handmade furniture is not mundane, and a hand-carved piece is a mark of, you guessed it, elegance. Perhaps in the future, handbuilt custom computers, or some other faddish idea, will be prevalent.

In other words, the economy of the future is not a manufacturing economy. It is not even a service economy, like ours today in the Western world, though it is close. It is an idea economy, and an economy where people are paying for "tags", not goods. What do I mean by tags? A tag is what I call some adjective attached to a product which makes people pay more for said product, a word like "handmade", when the object is actually handmade. 

Combine this with a heavy dose of the subscription pricing model, and you have an idea of what the future looks like.

Another point of interest is how history has already shown, by induction, that those who suppose technology eliminates more jobs than it produces are wrong. A cursory inspection of Somalia, for instance, reveals that all humanity does not live in air-conditioned, heated houses with a car out front and an abundance of food. Increases in the wealth and living standard of a nation have always been associated with a shedding of agrarian jobs, and later, manufacturing jobs. (Exhibit A? The USA, aka, the world's most capitalist, free-market nation.) This increase in wealth and, note, creation of new jobs, which are necessary to an increased production of wealth, always occurs as a result of technological development.

"Perhaps," you ask, still not convinced, "we should go back to when technology hadn't taken away everyone's jobs, to simpler, more pleasant times." Well, see, some folks in a certain nation already tried that, one of the few known historical examples. They called themselves the Khmer Rouge, and they removed technology from their nation. They burned refrigerators, smashed factories, and prohibited all but "natural" technology, even in the area of medicine.

Spoiler Alert: Their efforts did not create new jobs, and the people who had had jobs, but now did not, all died.

I could keep writing about this. There are other examples like the Khmer Rouge, such as Madagascar in the Age of Sail. I could discuss how technology has raised real wages, how these real wages go on to provide work for more people. I could talk about the common economic fallacies, and why it is so difficult to spot them. But really, I think this post is long enough already. Congratulations to anyone who actually read it.

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2 hours ago, SOXBLOX said:

"But when computers and complete automation do put all unskilled or semi-skilled laborers out of work, what jobs will be left?" This is a common phrasing of an important question, but the phrasing once again betrays the Ellûlian influence in our thinking. A better wording would be "when computers and complete automation eliminate the jobs many hold today, what new jobs will they create?" The answer is, of course, that most people will work at providing services, not goods. However, goods will still be important, just not in the way we imagine them, or see them today.

OK. What will happen when computers and complete automation put service workers out of their jobs? As they are doing right now? What kind of jobs will be created when computers are the ones providing services, and it takes a college degree to do anything around them? 

BTW, the US can only sustain its service-based economy because it imports a lot. Any attempt to consider one nation by itself is flawed, because economy is not a closed system. Ever heard of something called "outsourcing"? That's what happened with US manufacturing and agricultural jobs. They were not automated, they were moved somewhere where labor costs were lower than either automating them or letting US workers do them. And yes, this means uneducated workers in the US are getting the shaft, there's a lot of push at getting mining and manufacturing jobs back into the US, exactly because places where a lot of people have worked in these sectors are in decline. In fact, the US, with its massive unemplyment issues (even before COVID made it worse) could be a great example against what you're saying, if outsourcing wasn't the bigger problem than automation.

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1 hour ago, Dragon01 said:

OK. What will happen when computers and complete automation put service workers out of their jobs? As they are doing right now? What kind of jobs will be created when computers are the ones providing services, and it takes a college degree to do anything around them? 

BTW, the US can only sustain its service-based economy because it imports a lot. Any attempt to consider one nation by itself is flawed, because economy is not a closed system. Ever heard of something called "outsourcing"? That's what happened with US manufacturing and agricultural jobs. They were not automated, they were moved somewhere where labor costs were lower than either automating them or letting US workers do them. And yes, this means uneducated workers in the US are getting the shaft, there's a lot of push at getting mining and manufacturing jobs back into the US, exactly because places where a lot of people have worked in these sectors are in decline. In fact, the US, with its massive unemplyment issues (even before COVID made it worse) could be a great example against what you're saying, if outsourcing wasn't the bigger problem than automation.

Outsourcing to India, as in I have to teach "database professionals" how to use sql server management studio to modify an database with an script. 
Yes its cheap but you tend to get that you pay for. Granted they have some skilled people but they are 3rd line of support who you just get into then not fixing this is an breach of contract. 
Now let them run our IT systems, no its impossible that they sell an backup of our database to an competitor. 
Yes that probably cost you $1K if you know the person to ask. 

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3 hours ago, SOXBLOX said:

In other words, the economy of the future is not a manufacturing economy. It is not even a service economy, like ours today in the Western world, though it is close. It is an idea economy, and an economy where people are paying for "tags", not goods...

I answered that objection. Many people will, with the aid of computers, provide some form of services. The term is broad, and can easily include jobs which cannot be automated fully. Will most workers need a thorough education to fill these jobs? Probably. But there are other jobs to do. Many have not been invented yet.

As I have been saying, the jobs of the future will boil down to finding things for robots to do. We get to focus on being human; robots do the work. There will also be those who design the robots, sell things, report the news, etc.

And outsourcing and removal of jobs to places outside American borders is good. It results in a net economic gain for all concerned. It is simply temporary. When automation becomes cheap enough, these manufacturers will move their factories back inside the borders, to reduce transportation costs, which begin to represent a greater portion of the whole cost to the consumer as the object itself becomes cheaper.

Unemployment is a hallmark of highly regulated economies. The more regulated an economy, the higher the unemployment (except in Belarus, as pointed out by someone above). A recent decrease in federal regulation and taxation during the last four years in America (*ahem*) have corresponded to an increase in employment (*double ahem*). The primary cause of unemployment is government meddling, not mechanization. Just like with the Corn Laws, see?

If this is the only objection you have, then I think the debate is settled. I have shown that so far, technology has always created more jobs than it removes. Automation is just a technological advance. Therefore, we can reasonably expect that it will create more jobs than it eliminates.

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1 hour ago, SOXBLOX said:

I answered that objection. Many people will, with the aid of computers, provide some form of services. The term is broad, and can easily include jobs which cannot be automated fully. Will most workers need a thorough education to fill these jobs? Probably. But there are other jobs to do. Many have not been invented yet.

The US had plenty of unemployment during and before the Great Depression, and almost no regulation.  I'm curious what other unregulated (and especially unsubsidized) economies went without unemployment for long.  Recessions were nasty before the New Deal.  Rest of this post pre-scrubbed.

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5 hours ago, SOXBLOX said:

I have shown that so far, technology has always created more jobs than it removes.

The problem isn't "what has happened so far".  The problem is that the past is apples and the future is oranges, and thus it's less than clear that the past is a useful guide to the future.  You can't get apple cider out of oranges no matter how much smoke you blow.

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