View Full Version : The future of Man V Machine

25th Jan 2014, 14:58
Will the 2nd Great Machine Age be a frightening jobless dystopia? - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/10596788/Will-the-2nd-Great-Machine-Age-be-a-frightening-jobless-dystopia.html)

How do the JBers think that the near, middle and distant future will look with regard to the onward march of automisation in the workplace ? One of the commenters in the above article was predicting within a decade that universities, including the good ones, would be primarily dealing with virtual students. That would pi$$ off the banks (no student loans) and the students (no university social life), but from a practical viewpoint it makes sense.


25th Jan 2014, 15:20
Several options
Learn do do something robots can't do, and won't be able to do for your expected working life.
Learn to design robots, or to teach people to interface with robots, or to repair robots.
Do anything that will make you money fast, and retire sharpish.

As to universities, most are currently on a slippery slope to nowhere. They are trying to ignore eLearning, or to make it fit within their current administrative structure. This is guaranteed to fail in the long run.

25th Jan 2014, 15:42
Regarding 'college fees', especially in the USA, I read a while back that the exorbitant size of fees to be paid off after 3 years education coupled with the lessening chance of getting a well paid legacy job was causing a lot of potential students to cut out the middle man and just get stuck into the industry that they wished to have a career in.


25th Jan 2014, 15:49
Entirely sensible.
I recently lectured at a North American University. I would not recommend a University education to anyone who doesn't need it. The problem is, a large number of HR idiots keep insisting on a Bachelors degree at least for a large number of jobs which don't require it. Thus, in many cases, you need one even if you don't need one.
HR people are currently ahead of lawyers,politicians and mass murderers on my 'first against the wall' list.

25th Jan 2014, 16:19
After the coming chaos has run it's course ...

When all the parasites like politicians, lawyers, bankers, etc, have been purged ...

And starving and violent city gangs and warlords have used up their weaponry by slaughtering each other ...

When peace has finally returned to a much less technological society ...

Then the most important skills will be to grow food, heal wounds, help at births, play and make music, speak more than one language, and fix almost anything with simple tools.

May it come soon ....

Windy Militant
25th Jan 2014, 16:20
"On the Eight day machine just got upset, a problem man had not foreseen as Yet!"
I guess I'd better apologise to the toaster then! :uhoh:
eighth day hazel o'connor - YouTube

26th Jan 2014, 05:39
Taken to its logical conclusion the whole world economy will grind to a halt. It depends on the masses having the purchasing power to acquire the products but if the masses have no jobs they have no purchasing power and the markets collapse resulting in civil unrest and violence. Dystopia here we come.

26th Jan 2014, 06:29
Has been in the works since the 1850's & before. Government assumes control of employment markets to protect them, regulate them, tax them. Eventual effect is to destroy Employment, per se, as a civil process. Segue to that is charade of Government employing everyone, through one rationale or another, and cooking the accounting books to make it seem workable, This process efficiently destroys free markets, employment, trade, and economies by undermining their basic working. It has all reached fruition... day before yesterday.

B Fraser
26th Jan 2014, 06:48
"HR people are currently ahead of lawyers,politicians and mass murderers on my 'first against the wall' list. "

I have a cunning ploy that will tie any HR numpty up in knots. Tell them that you suspect 40% of all sick leave is either on a Friday or a Monday. Watch them scuttle off on a mission to save the company, sit back and enjoy the carnage.

A mate was once invited to an interview as he incurred a bill from Pink Elephant on his company credit card. He sat in silence as an HR goblin berated him for trying to claim for a lap dancing establishment. After the eejit with a degree in underwater basket weaving had exhausted herself having stated every clever comment she and her coven of HR witches could think of, he replied "It's a car park at Heathrow airport". No apology was given.

26th Jan 2014, 07:39
When I first started as an assistant in my job almost 50 years ago, most incumbents had not completed matriculation level at school. I was the first assistant in my organisation to actually undertake further study, initially at Certificate level. Now, most new starters are graduates, usually in the sciences, but they still have to do a diploma level course, as the practical aspects of the job are not covered in any detail at university. (Of course, they usually get exemptions, depending on their degree.)

I wouldn't be so rash as to say we'll never be replaced by machines, but for the present, a lot of the job requires a physical presence at remote locations. However, what is done at those locations has changed immensely. Now, instead of sitting in a tinnie in a flooded river, they launch a small instrumented catamaran. In the office, instead of batteries of assistants churning away on manual calculators to produce data that only engineers could interpret, the data is downloaded straight into the computer, which also does the interpretation for anyone to see.

Windy Militant
26th Jan 2014, 11:03
There was a blitz at work a few years ago where they decided too many people were making out of ours call out claims.
My oppo who was looking after one the plant sections was on call in case of break downs got a call from HR about one of his call outs.
HR this call out on the night of xxxxx could you not have resolved the problem by teleworking.
Oppo It's a bit hard getting a three foot stillson down the phone.
He'd had to go in to open up the stores so he and the shift tech could replace a valve which had failed on the cooling system. I think they reckoned it was costing about 10k an hour while the machine was stopped and they were worried about paying him overtime after midnight as he'd been called in at 03:00hrs. valve was fixed by 04:00hrs. As he normally started work at 08:00hrs I reckon that was about 50k they would have lost by him not going in!:ugh:

El Grifo
26th Jan 2014, 11:49
Donīt worry about it Spring !!

I remember quite clearly my schoolteacher in the 60īs telling me that in the future, there would be no need for us to work,as robots would do it all for us.

My first question was " where would we get the money to buy the stuff which the robots manufactured"

The answer given escapes me somehow :ugh:

El G.

26th Jan 2014, 12:08
I have this theory on how big business works.

First find an ijut that buys stuff he/she doesn't need, then employ them, then pay them an ever increasing salary as long as he/she keeps buying stuff they don't need, then when he/she reaches their debt saturation point sack 'em and find another ijut.

Who needs a silly robot.

26th Jan 2014, 12:20
Ah, HR and their Accounts buddies who think that if you are going abroad on business, you are actually going on holiday...:hmm:

26th Jan 2014, 12:51
Automation will eventually take all the jobs which it can do better than a human can. That premise is based on what one uses for the definition of "better". If "better" is measured in overall corporate profitability only (as it is now) then through the eventual loss of human income, a point will be reached where not enough sales are being made to sustain the "better" way and it's inherent costs, a human will replace the robot, and that cycle will begin anew. But if "better" means what is best for humans in general, then automation will only take those jobs which humans which humans do not want to do.

Technology and automation are good things but only when the decisions on how to use them are made by compassionate, caring, and understanding humans. Without those human qualities being involved in the decision-making, the wrong outcomes will occur because of the bad decisions which are then made. Logic and humanity do not coincide and they never will, so which one will you put your support behind?

I am reminded of an old friend who was an early computer programmer. He quit the industry when his depratment was given the project of designing software which would do the programming which his department had been doing up to that point, for he saw where that path led and he didn't want to be on that dead-end path. Others whose vision was more myopic reamined and put themselves right out of work. What little needed programming work remained was now done by far fewer costly and expensive mistake-prone humans, but who really won?

Automation cannot do my work because it involves too many variables and a product vision which only a human can have. But automation has affected me anyway, for now there are a lot more people willing to do the work I do at a lower cost because there are fewer jobs for humans available due to automation having taken the ones which they would otherwise be doing. Just like you hear from the Pilots here, it ain't the career it once was and it never will be again :} Is it a better world than before? I for one don't think so, just a different one where humans are losing more than we are gaining :ugh: