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04 August 2017



At least MY profession will be safe from autonomous machines for a long time to come.
From cut and fill, to ditches. A computer just ain't up to the task. A skilled equipment operator will be the last job to be replaced by a mother board. And a LONG way off as well.

George Rebane

Walt 1208pm - From your mouth to God's ear Mr Branson, and I believe the good Lord is chuckling a bit at the strength of your confidently comfortable conviction ;-)


re: Walt@12:08PM

I think you'd be surprised. If nothing else, there'll be a push to de-skill the job.


I'm not talking about a farmer's field. Yup, that's been done.
Road building? ditch digging and pipe laying? Not a straight line to be found.
Good luck.

But I have seen a small house done with an industrial 3D printer. And with concrete no less. The meat bags (humans) only installed the windows and wires.

George Rebane

Walt 1253pm - Farmers' fields are already 'done' by completely autonomous smart vehicles. I know the kind of dirt moving jobs you are talking about, and they too will be done by a team of completely autonomous dirt moving equipments - in fact, done much faster and more precisely than humans today can do the job. If the final contours of the dirt can be defined by a CAD file (and they all can), then it's just a matter of a few short years when the first smart dirt movers will be seen on job sites all over the country. Now this doesn't mean that there will not be a human overseer at the job site sitting with a laptop that can intervene if things go wrong, but I predict that his main job will be to see that no one crosses the required job site yellow tapes and get in the way of the machines. And that overseer does not have to have the skill set of a master dirt mover like you.


Now Dr.R. Quit trying to put me out to pasture before my time. There are too many variables for the Cylons to cope with. One good rock will bring things to a dead stop. OH the hell to pay when an unmarked power of gas line gets ripped out of the ground. Who's going to take the heat for that? Can't fire the drone.
The day may come,, but by that time, I won't care, and machines will have the right to vote.
The last to be replaced will be the mechanics that keep those metal minds working.

HELL! they even have robots that gives a better "screw"(so I hear) than the 2:00AM bar fly. And less judgmental.

George Boardman

Isn't featherbedding preferable to a guaranteed minimum income where the recipient would presumably just lay around the house all day? With featherbedding, you at least give the illusion that you're working.

George Rebane

GeorgeB 246pm - Your question is a good one Mr Boardman, and should be part of the country's discussion of alternative pre-Singularity policies that include initiating a guaranteed national income (which we have covered extensively in these pages). We know that featherbedding does keep the peace in our streets since we have a long history of success with thousands of featherbedding govt employees who daily give the illusion that they are working. And we have yet to see much discontent from Amazon and Walmart warehouse employees who already work as peers with machines.


Boardman, no, it is not. A negative income scheme as envisioned by Milton Friedman and promoted by both President Nixon and his opponent wannabee President McGovern is not a cushy payment that saps all incentive, unlike a Union featherbedding like train brakeman and other obsolete titles (there haven't been fires to be tended since the last steam locomotive retired, but fireman is also still a working railway title, takes no education and pays about $50k).

In order to allow the firing of everyone involved in dangling benefits in front of the desperate, telling adults how to live their lives in order to keep getting benefits (not to mention rolling over and playing dead), it would be enough to live on and it would reward any amount of work by allowing the low-income volk to keep a large percentage of anything they earn in addition until the point at which they're making enough that they are earning everything they get. A smooth transition, not a risking the roof over your head (and your kid's heads) and the food on the table for taking a job that might go away in a few days or weeks... leaving you without anything.

I realize this is a hard sell to the folks that really want to see welfare recipients beg and do tricks (including rolling over and playing dead) for every penny, but I'd rather see the welfare bureaucrats doing that looking for honest and productive work in the private sector.

Account Deleted

There is already the call by the leftista sorts in govt to 'tax' robots. How they plan to do that is as clear as the plan in Kalifornia for free health care for everyone.
The basic idea is to dun any employer who dares to replace their worker(s) with any sort of automation. The money raised (their term) would then be used to 'retrain' the workers and/or pay unemployment. If the govt wants to throw sand in the gears of companies that are trying to increase their productivity, those companies will simply look for greener pastures. As with all govt interference with reality, it should be done on a state by state basis. Capital will vote with its' little autonomous wheels.
If it is done nation-wide, other countries will beckon and our once great lead in tech will evaporate.
Seemingly lost in all of this talk of how we will pay off non-producers is the fact that our past and current habit of running up public debt and unsecured promises of goodies for the retired masses is the looming question of whence doth the moolah come from in the future? We were told we needed millions of folks from south of the border to flood in and work and pay for said debts. Now it turns out we will need to be giving out even more checks to an ever increasing number of people for no work (or the illusion of work).
Our country gets away with this stupidity only because a lot of the rest of the world is counting on us to cough up value in the future for their current investment. Once a sizable number of folks call BS on this, the whole dang cookie will crumble and take down the rest of the financial world. So most all of the money dudes grin and bear it, hoping it all goes pear shaped after they are retired or dead.
Meanwhile - no automation will ever replace my current occupation as husband of my dear wife and the grandfather of 2 wonderful kids.


"Meanwhile - no automation will ever replace my current occupation as husband of my dear wife and the grandfather of 2 wonderful kids."

I know you moved to the far reaches of nowhere but,,,... Have you seen what's being mass produced in China?

OH yes.. You CAN be replaced.


Just to get back to your notion:

"I'm not talking about a farmer's field. Yup, that's been done.
Road building? ditch digging and pipe laying? Not a straight line to be found.
Good luck."

Perhaps so. Let's say that will take a while to automate. In the meantime the people freed from the simpler jobs will be competing for the more complex ones.

Account Deleted

Walt at 6:32 - Ha ha! Those are nothing more than high tech sex toys.
There is way more to a human relationship than that. At least I would hope there is. Maybe that's a big part of the problem with marriages these days.
And I don't need no stinkin' batteries!


They had to start somewhere, Scott,, Give'm six years and we will have the Stepford wife 6.2.. And not to be out done, you can get the EX-model for added realism. OH how your pals would have fun using it against you.
It won't be difficult to she which women (or gay guy) just got the male "Holmes" model. A set of jumper cables hanging out the window.

Bill Tozer

Oh Walt. Someday a laser printer will do your job and create a whole housing tact that's turn key and complexly furnished.....all at the press of a button. The wings on the new Boeings are assemblied and mounted on the aircraft with one human involved. That includes wiring, welding, paneling, and even painting the exterior on probably the largest robotic scissorlift I have even seen pictures of.

Think how quickly things have changed. Knew an old gentleman who was the head inspector/supervisor for the construction of the Oakland Coliseum. He said that they painted the whole thing with brushes, every inch of it, inside and out. Seems the plasterers' union (aka, today's painters union, but back then the painters did the all plaster work as well)...er....the painters' union barred the new dangled tech gadget, the paint roller. That was just 60 years ago. Many hands on deck. :)

Wonder what happened to the guys who turned the big crank on the rope wheel to lift the elevator?
When it comes it will quite disruptive. For right now, somebody is still needed to change the batteries on those new shovels that stand up by themselves. Bye bye road crews, except the battery changer dude/dudette.


"Bye bye road crews"

I'm surprised that I still see people with signs playing traffic light. If there's a trivial thing to automate, it would be stop/go lights at each end of a roadwork area which speak to each other and have some sort of half-assed vision system in each device. I expect that it already exists.

Keeping (especially) young men off the street during the day and too tired to go out at night is going to be a tricky thing. If you simply hand out a monthly stipend, I would expect a large increase in general riff-raffery. You'll likely end up with either soma or make-work as a response.


'I had to push the button three times today, that Mr. Spacely is a slave driver'- George Jetson

A vision of the future from circa 1962.

"You'll likely end up with either soma or make-work as a response." Scenes 644am

Right now, the "make work" is in government.

Account Deleted

Scenes -"Keeping (especially) young men off the street during the day and too tired to go out at night is going to be a tricky thing. If you simply hand out a monthly stipend, I would expect a large increase in general riff-raffery."
The left loves to paint this picture of a basic income 'freeing' millions to be creative and live vibrant, artistic lives.
Well - yes, for some.
Most humans once freed from having to toil for food and shelter quickly devolve into trouble. That is a matter of historical fact.
A monthly stipend for millions of Americans will sadly disappear within days with nothing in the pantry to show for it. Most of the poor are that way because of poor decision making. Handing them money every month does nothing to solve that. But that doesn't fit the narrative of the left, so on we go - off into the brave new world.


'Right now, the "make work" is in government.'

A simple solution then, turn half the riff-raff into policemen.



The truckers will be worm food before me!,,
"Uber purchased Otto Motors last year to develop self-driving tractor trailers. To integrate with Uber’s on demand business model, the Uber Freight app was first launched in May to only connect truckers and shippers in Texas. Trucks.com reported that independent truckers were intrigued by the app, but did not like the inability to negotiate rates."

Michael R. Kesti

Always remember and never forget, America works less when you say, "Union, yes!"


" To integrate with Uber’s on demand business model, the Uber Freight app was first launched in May to only connect truckers and shippers in Texas."

I'm smacking my head that I didn't foresee this one. The freight forwarding appears to be the Wild West and I can definitely see Uber pushing into that market. They are also a natural starting place for automated trucking.


Scenes, I was looking for this clip before clicking on your link, finding we are of a same mind on this.

"Long time no viddy, droog!"
"... A job for two who are now of job age."


Todd Juvinall

The UAW just has its butt kicked in Mississippi this week. 62% against unionizing a plant. The Union reps though do the "happy dance" crap. The, well we almost won!

Teine Rebane Estey

this little guy

George Rebane

re Teine 837am - I'm glad Teine shared this little video of Robbie the Roomba lawn clipper hard at work 24/7 on the private grounds of our rented 'farmhouse' at the Pädaste resort on Estonia's Muhu Island. The minute she saw that little critter busily going hither and yon as we were moving in, she started a sympathetic (and anthropomorphically humorous) monologue that emphasized the unfairness of Robbie having to work alone without a break. We all laughed, but the point was made.

Our recent Estonia trip is described here.

Bill Tozer

Machine vs beast. The Matrix is not perfect.


Bonnie McGuire

Hahaha...Thanks to Teine's heads up.


Account Deleted

re robo-mower. The price of those automated mowers will soon be much lower. By the time it comes to purchasing a new lawn tractor, a robo-mower will look pretty good to me.
Numerous movies have been made concerning the wonders of modern life and automation - Chaplin's 'Modern Times' and W Allen's 'Sleeper' - jump to mind.
My favorite would be J Tati in 'Mon Oncle'. I saw that film when it first came out. Even as a child, I understood the joke of the hapless yokel coming up against a world that had moved forward a bit too quickly.

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