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  •  clearly; but all of those are "putting hands on" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    Factory, warehouse, farm, construction, mechanics, tradesworkers, municipal, restaurant, health care, etc. etc., all involve hands-on.   All of those workers still need transport to and from workplaces.

    Going out to restaurants, theaters, most forms of common household shopping (grocery, hardware, clothing), etc.: all of those are hands-on.  

    But go to any downtown and look at the office towers.  Holy cow, gazillions of cubicles full of people who type on computers and talk on telephones all day, and occasionally go to staff meetings.  All of those can work from home, saving themselves 5 - 10 hours a week from transportation time, and saving their companies enough $$ in real estate lease costs to pay for the telecommute infrastructure in months and add to the bottom line thereafter.  

    From experience with my clients (rather shamelessly promoting my telecommuter solutions), the only "office-based" companies that can't do telecommute (aside from doctors' offices) are architectural firms.  This because very often they are working with physical scale models of buildings, and with physical samples of materials.  Computer models are not a substitute for physical models.  

    Attorneys like to have offices because they need to meet with clients in a setting that is confidential.  But much of an attorney's support staff can be telecommuters, and the partners in the firm will happily do it on days they're not meeting with clients, if they can access all their written material over the VPN.  

    Really, the major items standing in the way of vastly increase use of telecommuting, are a combination of a) lack of familiarity with the technology and b) lack of familiarity with how to manage a remote workforce.  

    There isn't even a tax incentive needed since the payback period is so fast and pure competitive factors will encourage it to spread.  Though of course anything that has "tax incentive" on it is politically popular, which could help make it more visible.

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 02:28:47 AM PDT

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    •  Telecommuting pros, cons, expansions. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BruceMcF, G2geek, Judge Moonbox, BYw

      I'm an appellate lawyer. I'm a member of a small firm, office about 30-45 minutes from my house (depending on traffic), but I go there maybe a half-dozen times a year. Started working from my house about 18 months ago.

      The downside is that it's emotionally isolating. I am starting to pay more conscious attention to seeking out human contact, and am lucky enough to have good friends and family nearby. I can easily imagine a significant % of teleworkers, who are not so lucky or who take less initiative to meet their social needs, slipping into isolation and depression.

      Amazon.com recently bought a robotics company (to replace people filling orders in their warehouses) and seems on the verge of making next-day delivery standard, with same-day delivery available. This could devastate retail employment; net fuel consumption might go up or down, depending on the fuel source of the delivery trucks. Ford already has a battery-electric version of its small Transit Connect van in production.

      Drone technology seems on the verge of trickling down to enable people in Bangalore to vacuum carpet and empty office trash cans in Peoria; replacement of factory workers in the USA seems inevitable.

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 06:39:44 AM PDT

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      •  Oh, and of course... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, Judge Moonbox, Woody

        ...there are already services offering good-quality USA legal research and writing by lawyers in India. My firm in the Atlanta area has lawyers working for us, on Atlanta-area cases, in California, Montana, Pennsylvania, and England.

        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

        by HeyMikey on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 06:42:57 AM PDT

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        •  And yet one more thing... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, Woody

          Imagine Amazon's same-day delivery, with warehouse orders pulled by robots and those delivery vans with Google's self-driving-car technology. Even if the delivery van has to spend lots of extra time waiting outside the destination for package recipients to come out and get the package, requiring Amazon to have a bigger fleet of vans...extra vans are cheaper than extra human drivers.

          And we'll see the same thing happen with fast food. It won't be just pizza and Chinese that work on the delivery model. Pizza Hut now makes it especially easy to order via their website--easier and more reliable than calling the store and talking to the human who writes down your order wrong half the time anyway.

          We're on the cusp, I suspect, of drastic loss of retail and restaurant jobs.

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 02:45:17 PM PDT

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          •  self-driving cars: liability risk. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NoMoreLies, Woody, BYw, HeyMikey

            The first time one of those squishes a pedestrian and keeps going, is going to be "really interesting" in terms of precedents.  

            Pizza hut?  Ewww.   New York native pizza-snob here.  Pizza doesn't come from a "hut," it comes from a "joint," and the pun also works.  

            As for all those jobs going away: yes, and the plutocrats will be perfectly happy with climate change at +6 Celsius, the death of about 3 - 5 billion humans, and a world where their insatiable needs are served by machines.   Let's make no mistake about where this is going: the redundancy of the majority of the world's people, turned into their deaths from the consequences of ecological catastrophe: a Holocaust on a scale hundreds of times larger than the Nazi Holocaust.  And avoiding that outcome is why we fight!

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 03:16:39 PM PDT

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            •  Liability: I doubt it. The rest: could well be. (0+ / 0-)

              Yes, self-driving cars will get in some wrecks and cause some liability payouts. But:

              1. Human fleet drivers also cause wrecks and liability payouts. At some point--maybe now, maybe later, likely soon--self-driving cars will cause fewer wrecks than human drivers. An operator of a fleet of hundreds or thousands of vehicles will likely be able to demonstrate a net safety improvement fairly easily by switching to self-driving vehicles.

              2. This part will remain undocumented, perhaps, but it's probably there. Suppose Big Delivery Co. has 3,000 vehicles. Suppose they see that switching them all to self-driving is projected to cause 5 additional wrecks per year, costing them $10 million per year in additional liability payouts. And suppose they see it's going to save them $12 million a year in salaries, employee healthcare, 401(k) contributions, etc. Might the $2 million a year be enough for them to accept a more dangerous fleet? Some figure likely would be. See: Ford exploding Pinto scandal.

              The rest: I don't know how bad global warming is going to be, but it looks like it's going to be pretty bad. It's beyond shameful how little the world's governments are doing about it, especially the rich world's.

              "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

              by HeyMikey on Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 12:26:28 PM PDT

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        •  that's scary. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Woody, BYw

          When we outsource the legal profession like that, we run the risk of our culture at-large becoming even more detached from the law as the basis of our society.

          Consider what happens when the number of people in America, who have intimate working knowledge of the law, decreases.  

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 03:08:50 PM PDT

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      •  practical, emotional, electrical: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Woody

        Agreed, telework can produce some degree of isolation, but this can be more than made up for with increased contact with friends and family locally: and minus the time spent driving back and forth to work, there's more time for socializing (just as long as we can pull ourselves away from work long enough to do it!).

        The one thing Amazon doesn't have is the ability for people to put their hands on products first.  Retail employment will continue in areas where that's important, such as clothing, hardware, appliances, and so on.  The major problem with Amazon is that it is tending to become something like a monopoly, which in my view of things means it should be regulated like a utility.  

        Ford Transit Connect: I have the gas version (couldn't afford the electric version and need more range).  EPA rated 22/25mpg.  Actual observed: 30 - 35 mpg at any steady speed from 30 - 60 mph, and 17 - 20 in stop-and-go driving.   BTW, these are made in Turkey, and fully up to any USA/European standard.

        Drones:

        Won't replace humans at tasks where there is a safety issue, e.g. vacuuming under office desks, one needs to be careful about power strips and suchlike.  The latency of internet-protocol connectivity works against that.  

        What I envision for that will be fairly-local humans operating multiple devices.  For example one person can tele-operate a flock of vacuuming robots in an office from a station in the office, thereby multiplying productivity but preserving rapid connectivity and the ability to manually intervene where needed.  

        We already have something similar for "automated" refuse collection where one operator in the cab of the vehicle uses a joystick to control a hydraulic arm that lifts and empties the refuse bins along the road.  However, this is really only viable in suburban and rural areas: cities are too congested for it to work.  And the terrible irony is, it puts two guys out of work while turning what used to be a physically vigorous job into another sit-down job.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 03:07:08 PM PDT

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