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View Diary: Open thread for night owls: The end of labor—protecting workers from robots (140 comments)

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  •  Humans Only Do 2 Things: Labor and Problem Solvng. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    badger, basquebob, chuckvw, Aunt Pat

    IT now can do both.

    Design, like management, accounting, neurosurgery, you-name-it, is problem solving, and IT can do it.

    In principle, there's no need in the economy for humans, other than waiting for implementation to catch up to principle.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:04:07 PM PST

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    •  Um, no... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat
      IT now can do both.
      ...artificial intelligence hasn't come along that far. I subscribed to a amagazine called AI Journal, with the idea that maybe some neural networking software could be adapted to observing and operating a traffic-responsive traffic signal system.

      The magazine folded within a year.

      Robots in surgery are mostly waldoes. Having management software means the managers need to learn and use it. My old section had a 1-man IT section, until a couple of months ago, when the Principle Programmer found a better-paying job with anothe City agency. When he was hired in 2005, he had been promosed a staff of up to 7 people! Never happened. And the number of engineers will go down by 1 at the end of June this year. The computers won't replace the engineers, can't replace the engineers.

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:12:50 PM PST

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    •  Humans are needed for the dirtiest jobs (5+ / 0-)

      And I'm not talking about the kinds that Mike Rowe used to showcase on his TV program.  I'm talking about the job of lying, of covering up, of pretending something is what it isn't.  Don't believe me?

      A recent diary on Kos talks about how an engineer was complaining about problems with the battery of the 787 long before it started catching fire.  That engineer was fired, ostensibly because he was a jackass, but I'm sure that telling his bosses they were fucking up didn't help.  

      Corporations like to blame "human error" but they generally create the situations where certain kinds of errors can thrive while the important ones (the ones that affect the bottom line) are snuffed out.  But it is only with human beings, and "human error," that this is possible.

      Let's say you're a housekeeper at a fancy hotel.  You are taught that you have to do 17 things in each hotel room before it can be considered clean.   But because of requirements that you be "efficient" it is impossible to do all of the 17 tasks and finish in time.  So, you do the 13 that are the most important.  Sometimes, when you're down one person, you can only do 8 tasks.  

      Most of the time, this doesn't matter.  But every once in a while someone gets a staph infection from the countertop.  They probably won't ever link it to you.  You'll be fine.  Or, if you forget to check the lightly used bed for a condom wrapper, you'll be fired.  No big deal for Marriott, right?  

      But now, say, the hotel chain gets a robot to do your job.  The robot can clean twice as many hotel rooms per hour as a person.  But it can't "hurry up" as well as a housekeeper.  The only way to do so is to tell it not to clean the counter, or to check for used condoms.  But if you do that, you can't fire the robot.  Instead, you learn that Mariott turned off the function in its robots to check the beds.  Now it's a big deal for Mariott.

      Another great use for people is bigotry.  In Phoenix, AZ they placed cameras all over the city to catch speeders and red-light runners. There was so much uproar that they took them out.  I suspect that those red lights were trapping too many reg'lar guys in pickups and soccer moms in minivans.  Now, with the cameras gone, police officers can go back to focusing their attention on brown people.  

      In short, human beings serve an excellent function of obfuscating the selfish motives of corporations.  If anything, this employee was acting like a robot-- doing his job and giving the proper warnings.  People hate computers when the computer doesn't do what they want it to. But, the computer is actually doing exactly what you've told it to do.

      So humans will always have jobs, but it likely will involve a great deal more of covering up for the entitled class.

      One man gathers what another man spills

      by John Chapman on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:05:08 PM PST

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