Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Will a robot steal your job?

Looks like a former co-worker of mine.
I don't think so. Remember when automobiles eliminated the jobs of buggy whip makers? Did they go on the dole? No, they went to work for Henry Ford.

The same thing will happen today. We may be in for some uncomfortable adjustment, but when has that not been true? When the big combines eliminated the need for so many farmers, they went to work in factories making the combines.

Nevertheless, you'll hear the hysteria.
A very real problem is going to affect a lot of people in the near future. Jobs that involve predictable manual labor are in danger of becoming obsolete. McKinsey & Company estimates that about 78 percent of those types of jobs (along with 69 percent of data processing and 64 percent of data collecting) could become completely automated. Driving-related jobs are likely to become increasingly automated as self-driving technology improves, and given that those were the most common jobs in 29 states as of 2014, we should absolutely be focused on finding a solution.
This can be a good thing, given that it will affect government bureaucrats.
Government clerks who do predictable, rule-based, often mechanical work also are in danger of displacement by machines. In a recent collaboration with Deloitte U.K., Profs. Osborne and Frey estimated that about a quarter of public-sector workers are employed in administrative and operative roles which have a high probability of automation. In the U.K., they estimated some 861,000 such jobs could be eliminated by 2030, creating 17 billion pounds ($21.4 billion) in savings for the taxpayer. These would include people like underground train operators -- but mainly local government paper pushers.
This issue, like every other one, is political. The government unions will fight automation, of course, and they give lots of money to politicians.

Moreover, we're starting to hear calls for guaranteed incomes as a response to automation. Don't go there.
Universal basic income isn’t necessarily the best solution to the rise of automation. A federal report entitled “Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Economy” from December 2016 argues that a better solution would be to simply prepare workers for an AI-dependent world. That means training low-skill employees to perform tasks that mesh well with automation.
My career in journalism imploded when the Internet came along in the mid 90s. In my view, the Internet was as revolutionary as the printing press. Well, I survived -- with a good bit of messy transition -- and so will everyone else.

Somebody has to build those robots and write those artificial intelligence programs.

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