Tuesday, 22 August 2017


Wired says "Chill: Robots Won’t Take All Our Jobs"

I usually like wired, but this piece is either totally misguided or cynically disingenuous...

The argument seems to turn on the fact that productivity (as economists measure it) is not surging, which we should expect if robots were providing most labour, making the handful of human workers left super productive.

There is no mystery; jobs are being degraded: people are being fired from high paying positions and re-hired as burger-flippers and janitors. Hours worked does not change, but the highly trained engineer is now asking "if you want fries with that".

Also the 'Deep Learning' AI revolution is less than a decade old. Sufficiently advanced 'oids' don't exist yet: self-driving cars are not here; 3D printed houses still a few years away; AI chat bots are only now creeping into the work place. The Robo Advisors of FinTech are destroying the finance sector incumbents, but the big banks can't fire people fast enough to maintain productivity against their collapsing profits.

Finally, companies are not investing, they are focused on short term cost saving, outsourcing, and downsizing. So even if the 'oids' were available off the shelf, companies wouldn't be interested yet. They will wait a few years until all the glitches are ironed out--

--even then, as the 'oids' reach parity with humans, productivity may remain low as humans will be performing all the dirty and degrading work too low value for an expensive 'oid'.

Perhaps the author simply considers anything more than 5 years away as pointless SciFi speculation, and while the speculation is fun-- please read my books!  :)  --for those of us with kids, these topics are very real.