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August 19, 2012

Comments

If you have a robot workforce, you really don't need that many managers either. Employment in manufacturing is down across the board. Some of those city value transference types would have been happily employed somewhere in the upper ranks of a big manufacturing corporation if they had entered the workforce thirty years earlier.

In really what is still the best take on this, "Player Piano", the only people with jobs that are not make-work jobs are pretty much engineers. The problem in the book is that the engineering elite gets corrupted like all the other elites.

If there aren't any factory jobs then there aren't any consumers to buy those electric shavers. This trend can't continue. Something will happen, but I'm not sure what.

I suspect this extreme automation is only economical due to temporary economic factors.

There are three possibilities

1. The obsolete low IQ people riot and destroy the automated economy

2. The rich find some way of destroying the poor through attrition or lower their birth rate over time, maybe even putting sterility drugs in the drinking water

3. *MOST LIKELY SCENARIO* As automation increases wealth transfer will increase to compensate. They are actually related. We can create more wealth with fewer workers so taxes are higher to take care of the rest. One hundred years ago perhaps 30% of Americans were farmers. Now it is more like 1% or 2% and we produce way more food. This is true for every industry pretty much.

One of the most ignored fundamental truths about economics (besides HBD and the fact that debt is bad) is that producers need consumers. Suppose you have a robot factory that can build widgets at no cost (besides electricity and raw materials). Suppose nobody has jobs to make money to buy your widgets. You are screwed. You would be happy to pay taxes to subsidize consumption of your widgets, after all your operating costs are negligible.

Eventually transfer payments will get more advanced, such as a negative income tax or guaranteed minimum income. Taxes would not have to be that high to guarantee every single person 15-20k in guaranteed minimum income (assuming that is the only entitlement).

If you combined a guaranteed minimum income with a policy of curbing births you could humanely reduce the surplus population over a few generations.

"This bring up the existential question of what low-IQ people are good for if robots can do manual labor just as well."

Exactly. The liberals at least have a plan - give low IQ people undemanding government jobs to keep them pacified. Maybe that ain't the best plan, but the right wing seems to have no plan. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a politician who probably understood HBD better than anyone before or since, thought this was the only way to reduce poverty - he even proposed increasing the Postal Service to create more jobs to black males who probably aren't qualified for any "real" work.

This is why HBD has been pushing me to the left economically. There is no way to reconcile technology based productivity improvements with opportunities for the low IQ population along traditional conservative or libertarian lines. Poor stupid people are not going to pull themselves up their boot-straps, even if they are diligent and hard working and all have iPads, because we just don't need them. Technology is consistently increasing the returns on investment to capital relative to labor, so people who control capital are going to continue to get richer, while people with limited access to capital or no skills useful to people who control capital, are going to have a very hard time breaking in to the middle class from now on. Seems to me capitalists could stand to share some of that wealth to keep the peace. In exchange for that largesse, we should be taking radical steps to reduce the birth rate among lower IQ populations, which neither left nor right seems willing to do (and libertarians are of course opposed to any "government coercion").

I wouldn't assume that all, or even most, of the manual laborers in China are low I.Q. I bet most of them are at least average, but their circumstances, and lack of connections, limit their job options.

What I'd be interested to know is at what point will it become unnecessary for most humans to work in order to survive. Will robots ever enable us to live lives of leisure, with only a few of us having to maintain the robots?

We might be reaching saturation point with conventional computer transistor technology. Already transistors are only a few hundred atoms wide, and they can't be less than one. I've heard claims that we have about 10 more years before Moore's law fizzles out.

If we ever invent good quantum computers, though, they will be so much smarter than us that I can easily envision a "Terminator" scenario.

" Maybe we won’t need truck drivers in another ten or twenty years, because trucks will drive themselves?"

A certainty. Just a question of when. Pilots will go first.

There are plenty of unemployed and underemployed high IQ individuals too.

The logical approach to the rise of automation is to shrink the human population, by restricting immigration and having fewer kids (as the Japanese are doing).

"This bring up the existential question of what low-IQ people are good for if robots can do manual labor just as well."

Specialized machinists are in high demand right now, though in the future even specialized machinist work could be done by robots.

"If robots can manufacture electronic gadgets, and move stuff around a warehouse (the two main uses of robots discussed in the article), soon they will also be able to cook food at restaurants, do janitorial work, work in construction. Maybe we won’t need truck drivers in another ten or twenty years, because trucks will drive themselves?"

The upside to mechanization is that it could reduce the cost of living to the point where a minimum wage job would be enough to afford a high quality lifestyle.

Robots will mean even less employment in agriculture, with better image recognition technology we'll get to the point where even strawberries and grapes will be harvested by machines.

Yet another reason not to bring low-skilled immigrants.

It is not a coincidence that the factory is in Netherlands - expensive labor is an incentive to innovate. Here in the United States I've seen a Dutch-built completely automated greenhouse where seeding and watering is done by machines.

Incidentally, this is another topic addressed in Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy, where there are fully automated factories and self-replicating machines.

The plus side of highly automated manufacturing is that what manufacturing jobs remain tend to be high-paying, and the consumption of those factory workers supports other jobs (5 each, by one estimate). Consider that Germany and Japan both have highly automated manufacturing sectors and lower unemployment than we do.

Robots won't change anything in regards to labor. The automobile, computers, and the like have spawned plenty of jobs in repairs and support (for less intelligent individuals) and robots will be no different.

MachoManMadness,

I agree with your #3, but not because of the absurd idea that, "is that producers need consumers". Why should I produce more then I need. If my robot workers can produce enough for me in one hour why even bother keeping them on another 23 hours. Then I will need to monitor them and perhaps repair them. If I only produce what I need that leaves more time for leisure.

The answer is twofold. In the first I will keep the robot workers on the other 23 hours if those that purchase my goods can offer me something in return. Perhaps they can entertain me or be my servants. Maybe they can make better robots or design new products. Whatever the case I will only produce more then a personally need voluntarily if I'm getting something in return.

The second answer is that people won't starve to death, so they will kill me if I don't keep the robots on the other 23 hours to feed them. I do this because I have it to spare and its easier then trying to fight them, but I don't want to. I have to be coerced.

Peter A,

If the primary problem is the presence of too many low IQ, the issue is how to limit this population. If we leave forced eugenics out (which I think is a good idea) then by far the most important thing we can do is prevent more immigration. Largely Mexican immigration is lowering the mean IQ of the country, these people are largely useless. The lefts biggest problem is its support of immigration. We are lowering our IQ at the exact time we should be raising it.

We are also crowding out breeding by the upper classes. Before one even thinks of addressing the problem of too many low IQs, one must first turn a finger on the high IQ who aren't breeding enough. More breeding by the high IQ would solve our demographic issues without immigrants. Massive incentives should be created for high IQ breeding, but at the end the problem is a spiritual one. IQ itself isn't lowering high IQ fertility. It is mostly secularism and university education among women that is killing it.

Second, current make work jobs actually make the work of high IQ people harder. If we consider the housing bubble a giant make work job (what else is building tract homes in the desert) then certainly it wasted the efforts of many high IQ people who went into finance, real estate, or law to get rich off it. We'd have been better off sending people a check rather then these complicated welfare schemes. The time for a citizens dividend is here.

jewamongyou,

Why should those that have to maintain the robots give up their time to maintain robots so others may have leisure.

Other then threat of force I see no answer to this question.

This is why offshoring is bad. Instead of developing high quality robotic manufacturing we offshore it to slaves, and as long as the slaves are cheaper then the robots we never develop the technology that would genuinely raise living standards. Offshoring is anti-productivity, it hopes only that the productivity loss is less then the gain from wage reductions.

How about self sufficient man-made islands without any jurisdiction to any nation? Most of our social problems will go away.

Robots replacing NAMs isn't going to make anyone happy.

First, I doubt that generalized automation is going to become so widespread that people would be put out of work. Identifying rote mechanical functions that can be automated is not a simple or cheap task.

Second, people can go work for the companies that make the new machines. instead of making electric shavers, you work in the company that makes the machines that make electric shavers.

Look at what happened to farming. Farming became more automated and the children of farmers found something else to do. We do not have inter-generational poverty of farmer-children, do we?

It should become cheaper to buy things as factories automate. Companies would respond to greater unemployment or lower wages by lowering their prices to move their output.

The clear problem is off-shore outsourcing and immigration. These accelerate unemployment by outstripping automation while immigration raises the cost of buying homes and starting families.


The flaw I find in all the analysis and speculation is that falling prices aren't taken into consideration. If we consider an economic transaction as ultimately an exchange of time; I'll trade you the time it took to "produce" these dozen eggs for the time it took to "produce" 6 beers, then we have to ask the question, how do exchanges occur when the time involved is nothing? If 12 people can oversee a factory turning out a million widgets a year, how can a value be applied to one of them?

Or more to the point, how many chickens do I have to have to get my time of production to a level that I could trade a dozen eggs for 1 widget and it be a fair trade? Probably a million chickens?

I think ultimately we have a sort of Brave New World scenario where the elites live in high luxury trading among themselves and those who don't quite make it there but are smart enough find themselves in rural environments, mostly providing for themselves and engaging in local trade for things they can't. Out of this group, education will be cheap enough that members will be able to advance into elite status. The rest, mostly blacks and browns, but a good many whites as well will be slaughtered.
It actually might be a pretty decent situation.

Check out Panasonic's 16-finger, hair-washing robot:

http://www.engadget.com/2012/05/01/hair-washing-robot/

Japan's elderly drive demand for care-giving robots, i.e., lack of NAM immigration vs. homegrown innovation and ingenuity.

@ Jewamongyou

We're already there. Without NAMs and the "value transference" crowd, we could already be working 5-10 hour weeks.

I agree with the commenters who see Japan as the future. Right, that´s roughly the future for high IQ countries in the long run, once they balance their populations. What will China do with hundreds of millions of unemployed? It will be tough for 2 generations once the full effects of automation kick in.

For countries with large pockets of low IQ populations (think USA, UK, etc), I can´t see any other future than, say, 40 % of the population permanently unemployed, or marginally employed.

Here´s a typical breakdown of a future dystopian society:

- .01 owners/ruling class (they own everything and everybody worth owning. Average IQ: 120

- .99 % upper class/ managers/ engineers (underpaid of course, though living will be cheap. Mere servants of the above class). Average IQ: 120. (This is not a meritocracy, remember. You´re mostly stuck in the class you were born into)

- 49 % working class/ marginally employed drones (with modern Chinese worker living conditions. Basicaly, human cattle) Average IQ: 100.

-40 % permanently unemployed/dependents of the state (themselves an industry for the rest of society, really more like today´s pets than today´s underclass. average IQ: 80

-10 % criminal class (petty criminals, drug-addicts) The smarter might be rejects from the working class. The dumber will be state dependents with poor attitude or simply retarded/mentally deficient. Average IQ 80.

Whereas future Japan might look more like: 80 % worker bees. It won´t be pretty, but still better than in countries that are currently "diversity-enriched".

Technological singularity can't happen enough, AI based solely on logic and maximum social utility should be able to replace most politicians who are incapable of comprehending basic economics and social engineering.

Managers will always be a necessity to provide direction and supervise what these automated factories will produce. They will also need to maintain client relations and keep the board & stock holders content. Which computers without emotional intelligence will have difficulty sustaining.

@MachoManMadness

Number two already happens via fluoride in the water, HFCs and genetically modified foods. Various tests show that rats who consume GMO will have offspring that are sterile by second-third generation.

Another interesting thing about the future which is going to change the world, just heard a report on the BBC last night that scientists have created a neural implant that allows you to control a robotic prosthetic with your mind. Not using physical movements but with electrical signals coming from your brain!!! They also have the capability to send signals back to the brain allowing you to receive input from your prosthetic. The only limiting factor is that the implant is surgically implanted and primitive. These developments combined with the discovery of brain plasticity opens the door to virtual reality, robotic and computational enhancements to your brain.

Honestly very soon we may see the problems of HBD and low IQ disappearing in the medium future due to computational enhancements and genetic engineering. It would be interesting if you did a post on this.

"First, I doubt that generalized automation is going to become so widespread that people would be put out of work."

Over the last 20 years or so, industrial output in the US doubled, but productivity tripled, so manufacturing jobs have already been lost. And automation killed more jobs than did outsourcing overseas. Even the Chinese are losing manufacturing jobs.

It should also be noted that engineering, financial and other high skill jobs are also subject to automation. In fact, intellectual workers are even easier to replace than manual workers. In engineering, many jobs that used to be done by engineers are now automatically. E.g., surveyors: the old three/four man field crews are now one man. The field notes are taken digitally, and once in the office the notes themselves drive the plotting machines. So the drafter is gone, too.

So what do we do with the surplus low IQ and high IQ people? Looks likes a full-blown socialist state where everyone gets a basic income for doing nothing. And jobs become a privilege.

As to Moore's Law. Look around. It ended at least five years ago. If it still were in force, your desktop or laptop would operate at better than 20GHz instead of 2.5 GHz.

Yawn. Nothing new. This "machines will make human workers obsolete" theme has been poking around for decades.

"Look at what happened to farming. Farming became more automated and the children of farmers found something else to do. We do not have inter-generational poverty of farmer-children, do we?"

Most farmers were dirt poor before automation. Then their kids went to better-paying manufacturing jobs in the city. When the manufacturing jobs disappear due to automation or offshoring, the workers tend to end up in lower-paid service industry jobs, e.g., a factory worker going from $25 per hour to $10 per hour in a Wal-Mart.

That's the big difference between losing agricultural jobs and losing manufacturing jobs.

barbicane captures the mood of this post well:

"If there aren't any factory jobs then there aren't any consumers to buy those electric shavers. This trend can't continue."

Of course it can. Agriculture went from 90% of the workforce to 2%. Manufacturing is set to go from the current 11% to 2% as well. Big deal. We've already made the shift into a services economy.

If fact, I'll bet that most of the 11% of Americans who still work for manufacturers don't really work in factories. Just think of all of the workers at "manufacturers" like Apple or Nike.

So are we really going to fret about how the 5% of the workforce doing boring repetitive assembly work is going to be replaced by robots?

Yawn.

A much more interesting question how much automation and AI are going to start cutting into services: accounting, law, medicine, teaching, engineering, food & hospitality, customer service and even entertainment.

-Mercy

Intelligence is likely a complex trait with the ultimate phenotype reflective of many genes as well as environmental effects. It is not a trait that would respond to a simple change in code in one or a few genes. At this point, we don't even know which genes are involved in intelligence. We also don't have the ability to do DNA editing on a large scale, and almost certainly any such modification would be easier to undertake in an early-stage embryo (in terms of making sure that the "revised" DNA propagated into nearly all the cells of the body). So likely, we would have to wait an extra twenty years or so from the time such technology becomes viable until its effects can be seen. Differences in IQ aren't going anywhere "soon."

Maybe philosophers will start to make a living wage. I don't see robots replacing them any time soon.

HS: Please delete (or do not post) my previous comment, it contained a larger copy & paste than I'd intended.

@bob sykes,
"As to Moore's Law. Look around. It ended at least five years ago. If it still were in force, your desktop or laptop would operate at better than 20GHz instead of 2.5 GHz."

Incorrect, Moore's Law has to do with the transistor count, not the clock speed... and we are still meeting it. While the raw clock speed has not gone up, what can be done on a given clock has... multi-core processors being one of the areas of growth.

While it won't be a 1:1 replacement, I've always suspected that as automated manufacturing increases, the cost of the product will go down, likely leading to an increase in sales, which in turn requires more phone support people to answer the phone calls of even lower IQ people who can’t figure out how to use their electric razor.

@ DaveinHackensack

The future is this.

Automation will eliminate the aging Boomers, useless NAMs and uninnovative Proles from the workforce FIRST!

Liberals will also see their days numbered.

Manufacturing and the maintenance of automated and robotic equipment will be peformed by the younger generation of high IQ college educated Whites and Asians (aka a better workforce).

They will use such equipment to create sustainable man-made islands like those in Dubai. Whites will then be able form their own communities free from the destructive liberal policies that have wreck havoc on everyone, and not worry about gentrifying NAM infested neighborhoods.

This is why HBD has been pushing me to the left economically."

Idiot. And send in more money to the gubbmint fo' dem black folk who ain't good at nuffin'.

"Robots replacing NAMs isn't going to make anyone happy."

WTF?

A couple of other thoughts on this, one of which I was reminded of by overhearing an incredibly loud girl at an upscale bar Sunday evening. She was telling her companion about the money she earned working the night before, as a bartender at some NYC nightspot where she wore glitter. Now, the Japanese could invent a machine to serve mixed drinks (they may have already, for all I know), but there are certain jobs where having personality and dealing with people is key. And those will resist automation.

For example, there are a few startups now aiming to automate financial advice (there's also a publicly-traded company that does that, within large retirement plans). And there is definitely a niche for that. But as a blogger correctly noted, people who can afford it, want someone to talk to about things that are important to them, they don't want to just deal with a machine. There may be machines in the background, but they want the judgment and empathy of a person too, whether it comes to financial, legal, tax, medical, or other advice.

So, the point of the first thought: if you worry about your job being automated, embrace the aspect of it that deals with people (e.g., sales/consulting).

The second point is that automation is obviously good for owners of businesses being automated. So it's good to be an owner of such a business, if you can swing it.

"While it has taken longer for robot technology to be developed than many had thought twenty or thirty years ago, the technology is progressing, and if it robot factories are viable in 2012, they will only be that much better in 2022 and that much better gain in 2032. "

Right, there is actually an interesting story behind people's initial optimism for and later disappointment with artificial intelligence.

One of the first AI algorithms, the perceptron, was created in the 1960s. It was an extremely simple algorithm, and it could only learn linear patterns, but it immediately solved problems though to be difficult. It could competently play checkers against a human. It could recognize a number of simple patterns. But there were also extremely simple patterns, like "Exclusive Or", that the perceptron couldn't learn at all.

A system of stacked perceptrons, called an artificial neural network, was created in the 1980s. This system could learn complex patterns, but the optimization problem required to learn those patterns is difficult and often the algorithm produces sub-optimal solutions.

In the 1990s, the Support Vector Machine, a new method for learning perceptrons was created. This system generates a similarity metric between different input experiences, and learns a linear weighting of these similarity metrics. In practice, this algorithm performs much better than Neural Networks and classic Perceptrons, and can learn much more complex patterns.

Then, in the late 2000s, researchers created deep belief networks, a new way of training neural networks with multiple layers. This algorithm has the best results to date on the number recognition task and in a recent study a very large deep belief network was able to recognize cats and humans as categories, without being given any instruction on how to categorize the images. Another interesting feature of deep belief networks is that they can generate (or imagine) original images based on categories or combinations of concepts.

"The robot tipping point is probably being delayed because our best and brightest are going into finance and other value transference fields instead of working on developing better robot technology. "

Arguably there is some synergy here, as a lot of people who study Machine Learning do finance but still do machine learning work. At the moment, on the top Machine Learning firms (Google, Facebook, etc.) have better starting compensation than the top finance firms.

cant wait for robots to replace surgeons / radiologists etc

"This trend can't continue. Something will happen, but I'm not sure what."

I agree with the other posters that the most likely outcome is a government transfer program. In the same way that low-income people get food stamps, Medicare, and subsidized housing, people in the future will also likely get clothing, consumer goods etc.

As more and more voting-age Americans become unemployable, this process can be expected to accelerate.

"The upside to mechanization is that it could reduce the cost of living to the point where a minimum wage job would be enough to afford a high quality lifestyle."

For me (and a lot of other people), the primary component of a "high quality lifestyle" is living near my own people and NOT living near the underclass.

On the flipside, for a lot of NAMs, a "high quality lifestyle" means living near whites who can be terrorized and generally abused.

So the "everyone is rich" scenario could lead to a lot of problems.

"Robots replacing NAMs isn't going to make anyone happy."

NAMs will become more disenfranchised when they lose their minimum wage menial job to robots. I expect rioting, looting, and violence against White people for their shortcomings.

"The robot tipping point is probably being delayed because our best and brightest are going into finance and other value transference fields instead of working on developing better robot technology."

BS!

"the Japanese could invent a machine to serve mixed drinks (they may have already, for all I know), but there are certain jobs where having personality and dealing with people is key. And those will resist automation."

Eh, the main success factor in being a waitress is teh hotness.

Generally speaking,

Ugly beast with "personality" < hot young girl with no "personality"

And, given that the Japanese are working on realistic sexbots, it is not impossible that this "function", too, can be automated. A sexbot waitress might be even more successful than a human waitress in that the sexbot can be programmed to accept drunken propositions from customers...

"cant wait for robots to replace surgeons / radiologists etc"

It will certainly happen in our lifetimes. Most white collar jobs today will be "prolish" in the near future: not only doctors, but also attorneys, programmers, accountants, etc.
You can kiss the middle class goodbye. 40 to 80 % of the population will live like proles, among proles and the underclass ,even with advanced education. Our elites can´t wait for that moment to happen. When there´s nowhere left to run, and professionals end up making less money than sexy waitresses. Betadom defeated. Cue in Whiskey!

@asdf:

"Why should those that have to maintain the robots give up their time to maintain robots so others may have leisure.

Other then threat of force I see no answer to this question."

In such a utopian scenario, there will always be plenty of volunteers. It would not be a problem.

"there will always be plenty of volunteers"

lol

yeah, programming and robot maintenance is fucking fun

[HS: If it pays well, people will do it so they can afford a "better" place to live and buy more highly desired luxuries like expensive vacations, designer clothing, the latest electronic gadgets, etc. But you correctly point out that robot programming will never be soemthing the elites endeavor to do.]

"Most white collar jobs today will be "prolish" in the near future: not only doctors, but also attorneys, programmers, accountants, etc.
You can kiss the middle class goodbye. 40 to 80 % of the population will live like proles, among proles and the underclass ,even with advanced education. Our elites can´t wait for that moment to happen".

Proles are prolish because of their state of mind, not because of their occupations.

An overeducated yet underemployed SWPL will always snub their noses at a Prole with a well paying job.

People with less than a college education tend to act prolish. People who went to college, but didn't attend a top tier institution might have prolish tendencies.

HS,

The commentator proposes that people will "volunteer" to do programming and maintenance dirty work. That means they don't get paid. But the only way to get people to do boring work is to pay them.

"For me (and a lot of other people), the primary component of a "high quality lifestyle" is living near my own people and NOT living near the underclass."

From a race perspective you have a good point, but automating every single job would be highly problematic even if you are living in a homogenous country.

"Eh, the main success factor in being a waitress is teh hotness.

Generally speaking,

Ugly beast with "personality" < hot young girl with no "personality""

"Ugly beast" probably doesn't even apply for the job, but attitude goes a long way. Girl at bar was unspectacular looking, but in the dark, with makeup, and an outfit highlighting her best features, she is apparently doing well at the bartending gig.

"A sexbot waitress might be even more successful than a human waitress in that the sexbot can be programmed to accept drunken propositions from customers..."

The Japanese automate a lot of things, but they still rely on flesh & blood women for their hostess drinking clubs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6n9K5S7hylg&lc=UPLCc9eqn8wmIuy2KsqF_BsPMlIsPbtjxmQUM4EKz_M&feature=g-user-c

We need eugenics because low IQ NAMs are reproducing oo much,so you would be killing two bird with one stone.

Y'all do realize that the actual number of people who work to produce value is tiny? Unemployment and underemployment are the biggest issue pretty much everywhere civilized. Its not for instability reasons, rioting isn't harming civilization in fact you could argue its a manifestation of people who care. No the lack of a future is killing birth, heck its killing sex in some places.

In the short term, its not too bad. The West, at least the livable parts are crowded. However in the longer term, no people, no society. And yes this effects everybody, only the most primitive peoples are unaffected.

Most likely short to medium terms things get lousy for more people

I suspect in time we will reach a point on which civilization simply stops working do to lack of inputs and too much waste to production ratio. Greer calls this Catabolic Collapse

You might get Idiocracy as well, low investment people breed more and eventually the system, now automated chugs on without them.

A few other scenarios, dune style Butlerian Jihad, mass extermination of the poor by the elite or a host of other things may happen.

We might even get universal socialism, who knows?

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