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Re: the robot economy

PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 6:09 pm
by Peacedog
It depends.

Certain hard to fill jobs will always be hard to fill as learning how to do it takes a lot of effort and most people are simply too lazy.

A friend's auto dealership had over 100 applications for an open administrative job paying $40k a year. Yet, the ASE certified auto mechanic positions, of which there were three each paying $80k a year, had no applicants.

Instrumentation electricians are paid upwards of $90k a year in the city I am going to school in but the vacant positions are hard to fill. The tech school is about 18 months, but no one wants to learn the math or crawl through confined spaces all day.

Hard work in hard industries requiring hard skills pays well, but few want to do the work.

Petroleum engineers start at $80k in the US and can make $110k in ten years or sometimes even more if you are willing to travel abroad. But only half the people starting the degree finish.

Enlist at 17 in the USAF and retire at 37 with $24k a year for life or go officer after college at 22 and retire at 42 with $45k a year for life and free medical care in either event.

None of these are likely to be replaced by robots anytime soon.

I could give many more examples.

If I were to mentor a young person I would say to watch a bunch of Mike Rowe videos and make your mind up from there.

The only exception would be for entrepreneur type people, but everyone knows who they are by the time they are 11 years old.

As the Happy Body guy says, "hard decisions, easy life....easy decisions, hard life."

Re: the robot economy

PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 7:40 pm
by everything
There will always be some well paying jobs for some people who are willing and able to do and learn them. But I'm not sure it is the answer to the broader trend of elimination of other types of jobs. In the BLS link I posted, some fast growing jobs are nurse practitioner, physical therapist, web developer. If you are young, smart, motivated, you can probably learn those. If your job was automobile manufacturing and your job category was reduced by automation, it may be difficult to retrain for those job categories.

Right now a lot of people observe that there is a lot of job category (very high and very low skill) elimination due to automation ("robots" can be a bit too dramatic) but aren't sure what categories replace those categories. It's true that healthcare demand is going up due to greying demographics while demand for things like news and newspeople has been going down due to the internet. Maybe more people will work in healthcare and entertainment (such as fake news or hobby activity instruction). "robots" won't teach IMA or MMA.

Re: the robot economy

PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2017 8:02 am
by Peacedog
I think the real problem is that what I call the government-educational complex peddled a huge lie.

That being "get an education" and you can have an easy high paying office job.

These people openly insult the trades, engineering and hard service jobs like the military. Despite the fact these are the things that actually need doing and are very hard replace with robots as they have art and skill based components that are physical.

The jobs being replaced are either repetitive motion oriented, transportation or purely mental as in middle management and/or entry level legal work like document review.

Re: the robot economy

PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2017 10:25 am
by Steve James
I think it's true that many people look down on blue collar jobs and skilled trades. However, I think that anyone who starves because he thinks he's too good for any job deserves to go hungry. I think there are many manual labor jobs around that can't simply be replaced by robots. But, the problem is localized and depends on the industry. Yet, many companies can't find certified auto mechanics or engineers. Who wants to work at McDonald's or Burger King? And, then there is always cranberry picking in Massachusetts or peaches in Georgia. ... king-jobs/ Again, who wants to do that?

Automation is inevitable. The real effect, imo, is that it drives down wages because people eventually have to work for what is offered. Just look at what happens when McDonald's workers want to raise the minimum wage? Yeah, I know. It means less profit; and, they'll argue, that means they'll hire fewer workers. And, their supporters will say "see, if we lower the wages, we hire more people." That, of course, suggests that production stays the same both ways. Maybe more people means more profit because production increases. Hire more people for cheap and sell more orders of fries.

Now, the "I, Robot" or "Blade Runner" dilemma is an interesting philosophical issue. No answers here. However, I think the basic fear is that the best of them (robots) will be like the worst of us (humans).

Re: the robot economy

PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2017 3:27 pm
by everything
I don't have any answers either. No one can really predict the exact future. We can try to see some trends. They are simple to see in an example like video rentals. Blockbuster is no more. Redbox (a "robot") and Netflix and competitors ("robots") offer both better business models and distribution and choice that consumers prefer. Economists can probably calculate how many jobs were lost (clerks, people to stock shelves, real estate related for the store locations, various level of managers, etc., etc.).

For the fast food part, one guy has come up with an interesting pizza delivery business model that has some of these highlights:
- humans do some of the prep work
- robots do other parts (I think like bread machine type of thing)
- the pizzas are put into the delivery vehicle (a van) uncooked.
- they cook in the van en route to the delivery locations so they are hotter and fresher on arrival, and to save labor (the driver and semi-automated ovens are consolidated with the current drivers and bakers; you may need fewer drivers; you can possibly semi-automate figuring out the best routes and logistics, but that depends on larger scale and data people --- a higher skill job replacing lower skill ones).

Some possible implications:
- fewer people work in manufacturing, marketing, advertising, middle management, more
- more businesses are created based on some more upfront capital (the "robots") and less human labor component, but more human labor low-skill jobs exist if there are more of these businesses
- there is some disappearance of mom-and-pops due to efficiencies of the above businesses.
- there is a widening wealth gap and wage gap (we see this every year); there are more rich people, but there are more poor people
- the education lie peacedog mentioned results in some people paying high prices for irrelevant education having overpaid for qualifications that help with nothing while some people paid low or high prices for education that does help prepare them for the current and future realities: it takes a long, long time for the general public to realize all this...
- people who are falling victim to all these trends elect a crazy president (oh wait)