# Robots Taking Human Jobs

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In Space and On Earth, Why Build It, When a Robot Can Build It for You?

Like something straight out of "Star Wars," armies of robots could nimbly be crawling up towers and skyscrapers to make repairs in the not-so-distant future, so humans don't have to.

NASA, GM Take Giant Leap in Robotic Technology

Engineers and scientists from NASA and GM worked together through a Space Act Agreement at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston to build a new humanoid robot capable of working side by side with people. Using leading edge control, sensor and vision technologies, future robots could assist astronauts during hazardous space missions and help GM build safer cars and plants.

Machines on the march threaten almost half of modern jobs

Computers have been an important part of many industries for decades already and have replaced humans in many jobs. But a new wave of technological development means that even positions that we once saw as immune to computerisation are now under threat.

As this trend continues, corporations will be able to make less and less expensive products by replacing payed employees with less expensive robot labor. With fewer employees there will be fewer people able to buy expensive things; thus, the less expensive products are necessary to offset less paid employment. Will the reduced cost of things outpace less pay, so that the majority of people better off economically, or will fewer people be able to afford the necessities of life? How will this trend affect politics, will conservatives decide social programs are necessary to support more and more unemployed people, or will unemployed and underemployed people become an ever larger forgotten homeless population?

What are the social and political consequences of robots replacing humans in corporations, first doing manual jobs, then technical work, and eventually creative endeavors?

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But, then you have to have engineers to build the artificial intelligence required for this robots, so here is my take on it.

As the market grows and progresses, new jobs are formed and people are still needed for the equation. Even back then, as the market was more agriculturally based, we thought as the technological age improved that jobs would be scarce. That isn't true because we still definitely have a market for the IT department and the computer science/software development/hardware development market.

There will always be new jobs to be done by people. Robots will make it easier for corporations to produce products, but there will always be new job markets to deal with.

I am not for corporations, I am not against corporations(I am actually a fan of independent/indie developers because they seem to produce better content than the corporations, which just saddens me). Just my two sense on the topic.

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As robots supercede human labour in various fields of work, so new fields of work will most likely become exploitable by humans. Akin to the developments in the labour market since the industrial revolution: some manual workers, of course, still work at factories - others lost their jobs as the assembly line became increasingly mechanised. New types of jobs then emerged - typically in the tertiary sector. Who knows if a new sector of the economy will be born as a result of robot influx - beyond the primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary and (quinary?) sectors... maybe, emotional servicing? ... or is that sector reserved for the work of God?

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But, then you have to have engineers to build the artificial intelligence required for this robots, so here is my take on it.

As the market grows and progresses, new jobs are formed and people are still needed for the equation. Even back then, as the market was more agriculturally based, we thought as the technological age improved that jobs would be scarce. That isn't true because we still definitely have a market for the IT department and the computer science/software development/hardware development market.

There will always be new jobs to be done by people. Robots will make it easier for corporations to produce products, but there will always be new job markets to deal with.

I am not for corporations, I am not against corporations(I am actually a fan of independent/indie developers because they seem to produce better content than the corporations, which just saddens me). Just my two sense on the topic.

Not every employee can be an engineer, and corporations do not need as many engineers as there are people in the world. Thus, I think, the question my questions are yet unanswered.

The first round of robotics now being developed will replace many manual laborers, such as line workers that assemble and sew and construction workers that lay bricks and frame houses. As these workers become underemployed and unemployed, what will happen to them.

Eventually another round of robotics will be developed to replace technical workers, such as accountants, mechanical repair people, transportation drivers, and airplane pilots. Some of these people, who are more skilled may reeducate themselves to become creative workers such as engineers and designers, but again the workplace does not need all of them.

Finally, as after the singularity, there may be no need for any employee, which sets stage for my questions in the limit.

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Not every employee can be an engineer, and corporations do not need as many engineers as there are people in the world. Thus, I think, the question my questions are yet unanswered.

The first round of robotics now being developed will replace many manual laborers, such as line workers that assemble and sew and construction workers that lay bricks and frame houses. As these workers become underemployed and unemployed, what will happen to them.

Eventually another round of robotics will be developed to replace technical workers, such as accountants, mechanical repair people, transportation drivers, and airplane pilots. Some of these people, who are more skilled may reeducate themselves to become creative workers such as engineers and designers, but again the workplace does not need all of them.

Finally, as after the singularity, there may be no need for any employee, which sets stage for my questions in the limit.

But, will you solve the problem of creativity and inspiration? Innovation?

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But, will you solve the problem of creativity and inspiration? Innovation?

I don't know, some say yes, some say no. The answer to your question partly bounds the answers to my questions. The various technical issues are complex, but the social issues are more abstruse. I hope some of the brilliant minds here can contribute ideas, because it is beyond my capability.

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I hope some of the brilliant minds here can contribute ideas, because it is beyond my capability.

Are we not brilliant minds? I feel offended(in a jokingly matter of course ).

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Who will make the robots? Will robots make the robots? And, if so, who will make the robots that make the robots that make the robots? Ad infinitum...

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How is this different from all of the instances of robots taking over jobs over the last 30 years?

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No Humans, Just Robots – Amazing Videos of the Modern Factory

Modern manufacturing isn’t based on human labor, it’s based on the robot. Still, most people cannot grasp the breadth of automation in factories. We still picture plants full of human workers toiling to make our cars and furniture, just as we imagine our meat comes from animals in a barn. The truth is much more awe-inspiring, perhaps even frightening. The factories of today have some human workers, but huge portions of assembly lines are 100% mechanized. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects automotive jobs to decline 18% by 2018 despite expected increases in production.

How is this different from all of the instances of robots taking over jobs over the last 30 years?

The only difference is the number of jobs being taken by automation and the fact that more and more skilled workers are being replaced. In one limit, all workers are replaced, no one has a job, and the reason for having a business disappears, except businesses do not want to force themselves out of business. So what expectations are reasonable.

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Because people are becoming more and more lazy, so we have so many of the high-tech products.

In the future, human organs may be degraded useless.

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Because people are becoming more and more lazy, so we have so many of the high-tech products.

In the future, human organs may be degraded useless.

daphne, I cannot understand your train of thought because you seem to have thought some things you did not write about.

Are you saying people are becoming more and more lazy because of high-tech products, or are they using high-tech products because they are more and more lazy. If my second interpretation is true, why are people becoming more and more lazy.

To what phenomenon are there advantages and disadvantages: more and more robots, people becoming more and more lazy, or many high-tech products?

Why will human organs become degraded and useless? Is it related to the phenomenon you alluded to, or something else.

If you write a few more sentences, perhaps you can connect your ideas.

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Because people are becoming more and more lazy, so we have so many of the high-tech products.

In the future, human organs may be degraded useless.

Our love of the concept of "convenience" does tend to outweigh our love of efficiency. Get a parking spot as close to the gym as you can so you don't have to walk so far to work out! Spend five times the energy trying to make the remote control work as it would have taken to get up and change the TV manually!

It's hard to tell the difference sometimes between lazy and smart. If I collect all the stuff I need to take upstairs so I make one trip instead of five, am I being smart or lazy? If I buy a device that performs a task five times faster than I could without the device (like a power drill for driving screws instead of a screwdriver), is that lazy or smart?

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Our love of the concept of "convenience" does tend to outweigh our love of efficiency. Get a parking spot as close to the gym as you can so you don't have to walk so far to work out!

Too true. Gym members typically work in order to pay their gym membership fees and to pay for the maintenance of their vehicle that is used to travel, among other places, between home, work and the gym. Why not just quit the gym membership and quit the car, walk more (thereby fulfilling the need for exercise) and save money all round? Or... why doesn't the government incentivise exercise by paying citizens to attend the gym, thereby reducing their national health service costs?

Baxter is a $22,000 robot from Rethink Robotics that performs repetitive tasks at modest speeds. Force-sensing technologies make it extremely safe for operation around human beings. Company officials believe robots similar to Baxter will be flipping hamburgers, soon. Robots like this will take jobs of humans without making jobs for higher skilled employees. IMO, it will cause culture shock and will have political ramifications. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites Company officials believe robots similar to Baxter will be flipping hamburgers, soon. Robots like this will take jobs of humans without making jobs for higher skilled employees. IMO, it will cause culture shock and will have political ramifications. I wish it would EdEarl - but large swathes of the rich and developed world - where the labour cost savings of these forms of device would be significant and a real incentive to employers - already have horrific percentages of the young and unskilled labour market unemployed; I cannot see a further dent in the employment prospects of the young and under-skilled affecting those in the Palace of Westminster, Capitol Hill or Cortes Generales too much. The capitalists of the developed world already import overseas labour - or conversely move their capital assets offshore - in order to avoid paying the meagre wages of the home population. I see no reason that the managerial level, the professional classes and their even richer capital-owning friends will cause much fuss when even more of the underskilled are made redundant. The poor have little voice in society, even less political clout, and it seems a vanishingly small chance of self-improvement. I fear that we are too complacent, that we are heavily guided by a press that is firmly ensconced in the trivial and unchallenging, and most members of our society have given up on political engagement. The personal histories of members of the elite, the diaries of the middle classes, and those rare insights into the poorer members of society from early last century show a level of commitment to their shared political future that is near unbelievable today; years spent learning history and political thought before even considering venturing into public life, a nuanced and critical understanding of the writing of previous centuries, real hardships endured to attend meetings and the constant threat of arbitrary executive punishment for those the wrong side of the political divide. In the 21st century society socio-political understanding, economic nous, and critical thinking have been replaced with the worship of vacuous celebrity, the elision of news with comment, and the culpable ignorance of lazy cynicism. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites I thought that the article on the use of robots in agriculture was rather interesting: Japan robot can pick strawberry fields forever for farmer Isn't there a big social problem in this country with undocumented workers (i.e illegal aliens) coming to this country to do work in agriculture that American workers (U.S citizens) refuse to do because of the meager wages that these jobs pay? If robots could be used efficiently in the USA to do this kind of work, sometimes referred to as "stoop labor", then the incentive for people entering this country illegally to do this work would be reduced. Consider that the Bush Administration spent almost 100 Billion dollars (over 8 years) on immigration enforcement, and the Obama Administration spent 73 Billion dollars during Obama's first term. Just think how much robotic automation could be accomplished in this country, by spending that amount of money on industrial and agricultural robotics instead of on immigration enforcement. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites The defense department (DARPA) is funding research into humanoid robots for use in disaster recovery. They won't spend it to do research for farm or industrial equipment, but advancements done for disaster recovery will, no doubt, improve robots overall. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites This is pretty sobering! I don't imagine robots will replace humans in all lines of work, but it sounds like for tasks that don't require interaction with the general public, etc...robots could be a viable alternative to human employees. Will these robots get pensions and vacations, too? It feels like this happened over night, but honestly, it's been a long time in the making, when we stop and think about it. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites Company officials believe robots similar to Baxter will be flipping hamburgers, soon. Robots like this will take jobs of humans without making jobs for higher skilled employees. IMO, it will cause culture shock and will have political ramifications. Interestingly, Baxter's software is open source; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robot_Operating_System. And he only costs$22,000. Can we apply Moore's Law to robotics? Soon they may be as ubiquitous as any personal device.

Let's add an open source 3D Printer project; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RepRap_Project.

And we've given the power of small scale manufacturing to the individual.

Our world is going to change, soon.

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Robotics? Sounds like some computer programmer would eventually make viruses for those robots.

I remember discussing this same topic with my mother. One of the first things that comes to mind is the unabomber. Yeah, technology can be a problem more than a savior.

However, there is going to be the need to fuel those robots. There is also going to be a need to fix and keep up those robots: Who cleans the cleaning robot?

So, there should be many more energy jobs in the future.

Makes sense to me.

People who work at a company need to eat. So, they buy food. And that gives them energy to work.

Robots that work at a company need energy. So, someone supplies them energy. And that gives the person money to eat.

It's a cycle, if you think about it.

Of course, then comes in the real issue of how many energy jobs there are. How many will be able to get an energy job, and so on.

With this pattern of robots doing the work, being efficient, etc.. there should be a serious decrease in the cost to buy the products that the robots are making.

I spent a fair amount of time with a woman getting her Ph.D in economics. Her and I talked about economics, and her belief was that things in America will be going toward personal services. In a lot of ways, if a robot can't do it, then it will be the job of a human.

Edited by Genecks
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It obviously takes fewer people to program an army of robots than an army of laborers that is why it is economical. Soon robocars will make taxi, bus, and truck drivers obsolete. Fruit pickers will go the way of the rest of the agricultural laborers and remaining factory workers will dwindle.

So far what we have seen with the shrinking of factory work force and computerized offices, is that bureaucracy can expend to fill any volume already most people are employed in pointless make work jobs, and people spend longer amounts of time in education to get qualifications for simple tasks..

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Interestingly, Baxter's software is open source; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robot_Operating_System.

And he only costs \$22,000. Can we apply Moore's Law to robotics? Soon they may be as ubiquitous as any personal device.

Let's add an open source 3D Printer project; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RepRap_Project.

And we've given the power of small scale manufacturing to the individual.

Our world is going to change, soon.

Obviously, it is changing all the time, but it does appear that robots will be the catalysts for a huge change in the not too distant future. I hope your suggestion that personal robots will help people rather than disenfranchise them comes true. And, to some extent there will probably be some of both.

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• 2 weeks later...

One of the problems with applying Moore's Law to robots is that they are by necessity large and robust machines with many moving parts that must be made of high precision and durable material. They are actual stuff, by necessity, not code processing capability. The comparison would be with cars, washing machines, etc - not computer power.

If you check out swansont's blog entry about robots, down around picture 22 or so there's a guy in Atlanta posing next to a robot, with the caption stating that his company could hire 10 laid off (Crash) employees back now, but plans instead to reserve its funds for more automation and software.

That company makes robots. They are one of the companies that is supposed to be hiring more people, to make up for the ones laid off by robots elsewhere.

Edited by overtone
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Robotics? Sounds like some computer programmer would eventually make viruses for those robots.

A simple solution would be not to connect the robot to the internet.

However, there is going to be the need to fuel those robots. There is also going to be a need to fix and keep up those robots: Who cleans the cleaning robot?

So, there should be many more energy jobs in the future.

Makes sense to me.

People who work at a company need to eat. So, they buy food. And that gives them energy to work.

Robots that work at a company need energy. So, someone supplies them energy. And that gives the person money to eat.

It's a cycle, if you think about it.

snip

The energy consumed by a robot doing the work of a human is likely to be significantly less than the energy the average worker consumes in their commute to work, although the depletion of richer fossil fuel reserves has led to the use of poorer sources using more labor intensive extraction techniques such as fracking etc.

Why cant the cleaning robot be cleaned by another cleaning robot?

One of the problems with applying Moore's Law to robots is that they are by necessity large and robust machines with many moving parts that must be made of high precision and durable material. They are actual stuff, by necessity, not code processing capability. The comparison would be with cars, washing machines, etc - not computer power.

If you check out swansont's blog entry about robots, down around picture 22 or so there's a guy in Atlanta posing next to a robot, with the caption stating that his company could hire 10 laid off (Crash) employees back now, but plans instead to reserve its funds for more automation and software.

That company makes robots. They are one of the companies that is supposed to be hiring more people, to make up for the ones laid off by robots elsewhere.

A robot that costs as much as a small car but does as much work as a human covers its expense with the saved salary within a year, plus it can work 24 hour shifts 365 days a year minus maintenance time. The price of such appliances has decreased due to increasing automation in the factories, also of course outsourcing to China but even China is investing more in automation these days to stay competitive with robots in other countries. Advances in 3d printing such as sintered metal could also make such precise machinery as robot arms easier and cheaper to make.

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