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Sat Jan 5, 2013, 12:05 PM

Are we in a transitional period when it comes to jobs and technology?

Over the past 50 years advances in technology has allowed us to make things or perform services with fewer and fewer people. A example would be the use of welding robots doing things that would have been done by a person not so long ago or automated phone systems that reduce the need for people in an office or customer service setting.

However we haven't reached the end of this transitional period where almost everything would be cheap to make and people no longer really have to work or at least work as hard as they do now.

Star Trek* offers the best example I can think of what this end stage might look like, with machines that can replicate/make virtually anything, something we are seeing a glimpse of with the 3-D printers.


*If you look at the original Star Trek, it is interesting to see how far we have come in actually achieving some of that technology: the motion sensor door, communicator (the cell phone & smart phone), the bio bed, the beginnings of a transporter and tractor beam. The advances in virtual reality are a step toward the holodeck.

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Reply Are we in a transitional period when it comes to jobs and technology? (Original post)
Lurks Often Jan 2013 OP
NoOneMan Jan 2013 #1
YoungDemCA Jan 2013 #22
leftstreet Jan 2013 #2
dkf Jan 2013 #7
leftstreet Jan 2013 #8
dkf Jan 2013 #9
leftstreet Jan 2013 #14
dkf Jan 2013 #16
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #17
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #10
dkf Jan 2013 #12
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #15
dkf Jan 2013 #18
Jackpine Radical Jan 2013 #26
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #33
Lurks Often Jan 2013 #34
snot Jan 2013 #3
tama Jan 2013 #4
datasuspect Jan 2013 #5
dkf Jan 2013 #13
NoOneMan Jan 2013 #19
Jackpine Radical Jan 2013 #28
dkf Jan 2013 #38
KG Jan 2013 #6
Lurks Often Jan 2013 #35
JaneyVee Jan 2013 #11
BadgerKid Jan 2013 #20
NoOneMan Jan 2013 #23
customerserviceguy Jan 2013 #31
Posteritatis Jan 2013 #21
Odin2005 Jan 2013 #24
NoOneMan Jan 2013 #27
LongTomH Jan 2013 #25
Moonwalk Jan 2013 #29
customerserviceguy Jan 2013 #32
Speck Tater Jan 2013 #30
librechik Jan 2013 #36
Lurks Often Jan 2013 #39
RagAss Jan 2013 #37

Response to Lurks Often (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 12:08 PM

1. Our entire technological infrastructure is supported by a global network of human slavery

 

If there comes a point that humans sit around and have machines work for them, rest assured it will only be the comfortable 1% who have always exploited those below them on the hierarchy.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 01:30 PM

22. +10000

nt

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Response to Lurks Often (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 12:09 PM

2. When do we transition to sharing the profits?

We should be on the cusp of an amazing renaissance of productivity and leisure

Instead each tech innovation and labor-killing lean idea sends us scrambling to find a way to put food on the table

Fucked up

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 12:25 PM

7. Do what you can to invest in these corporations.

 

When George W. Bush, idiot that he was, started talking about the ownership society, he sadly had a clue. Capital is replacing labor. The only way to get into the game is by owning capital and owning robots.

The rest may be living on government welfare. What level of comfort that will be, who knows.

Of course if you have a unique talent you will also be okay.

Funny thing is in the end it may all turn around with the majority sitting on their asses while the uniquely talented work their asses off. I wonder who are the slaves then.



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Response to dkf (Reply #7)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 12:28 PM

8. No. Just nationalize them

'government welfare'
'majority sitting on their asses'
'uniquely talented'

Are you sue you're on the right forum?


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Response to leftstreet (Reply #8)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 12:43 PM

9. I'm not a communist or socialist if that is what you are asking.

 

I also believe in private property.

Those are things most Democrats believe in.

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Response to dkf (Reply #9)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 01:08 PM

14. There's a difference between owning a car or owning a factory

People who know nothing about Communism or Socialism also know nothing about the bourgie term 'private property'

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/comm.htm

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #14)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 01:12 PM

16. I believe that anything can be built can be owned.

 

So I do believe in capital and in private property.

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #14)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 01:13 PM

17. People have "factories" in their basements.

There's a ton of stuff you can buy on etsy dot com that's made in someone's basement, extra bedroom or even living room.


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Response to dkf (Reply #7)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 12:53 PM

10. Those who live to work will work those that don't won't

How you stop the relatively small hyper-acquisitive minority from always trying to take control of things I really have no clue, beyond a certain point hoarding behavior is an illness even if it's money you're hoarding.

A significant minority of people are driven to do what they do whether money is involved or not, they'll keep right on doing what they were doing all along without having to sweat irrelevant stuff like how to make a living.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #10)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 01:00 PM

12. Well that minority will be even more of a minority.

 

The drive it takes to get educated to the point where you can make a difference is also highly intensive.

It's so much easier to be taken care of. I get that.

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Response to dkf (Reply #12)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 01:11 PM

15. If you want to know something these days more and more the education is at your fingertips

It's always been a creative minority that actually advances things, the rest have just been extras all along, in the background making the mundane day to day machinery work

If you want a lot of creative people you have to have a lot more uncreative ones. The ratio might perhaps be changed with education but I'm not sure deep down drives can be either instilled or inhibited to any great extent.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #15)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 01:14 PM

18. Maybe it is a bipolar condition combined with genius.

 

I wouldn't disbelieve that.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #15)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 02:24 PM

26. For the most part, creative people aren't primarily motivated by profit.

They're motivated by the coolness of their ideas and the fun of turning them into something.

There would be few painters, few poets, few sculptors if profit were their primary goal.

The capitalists feed off the creativity of the geniuses.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #26)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 04:25 PM

33. actually, most people are motivated that way until the system beats it out of them.

 

and actually, most painters, poets & sculptors worked for the rich. the supposed 'highest achievement' in the art world have always taken place during gilded ages. Two reasons: in those times the rich have lots of surplus capital to commission/pay for fripperies and 2) the rich have always controlled the art market, including the power to define what 'great art' is.

painiters, poets & sculptors wouldn't be doing what they do, or not in the same way, if the art markets created by the rich didn't exist. most artists hope to profit from their work, at least to the extent of making a living at it.

all people are creative. creativity is not the exclusive province of a few 'geniuses'. that's another myth of capitalism.

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 06:31 PM

34. Because we have not yet crossed that point when

virtually everything is cheap to make.

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Response to Lurks Often (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 12:12 PM

3. I think we all agree,

the human labor required to produce wealth has greatly declined since industrialization and computerization, and will continue to do so.

The only question is whether we'll continue to allow the wealth thus produced to be scraped off by the 1%.

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Response to Lurks Often (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 12:17 PM

4. EROEI

 

Energy Returned On Energy Invested is not what it used to be in the days of cheap and plentiful oil (100:1). As oil and fossil energy is peaking, there's nothing to replace them on the scale that could keep the wheels of growth economy running. So what we are looking at and lot's of people already moving into is local food from etc. low tech organic gardening and general "power-down".

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Response to Lurks Often (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 12:18 PM

5. we're in a transition between relative surplus of cheap energy and scarcity

 

the last transition was when slavery was abolished.

that's when the smart money got into oil and gas/coal.

that ride is about to run out.

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Response to datasuspect (Reply #5)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 01:01 PM

13. Solar is the future...at least here.

 

If we had the battery technology, Hawaii would be sitting pretty.

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Response to dkf (Reply #13)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 01:26 PM

19. Famine is the future

 

All the panels in the world won't feed 8 billion people when climate change knocks on all our doors

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #19)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 02:25 PM

28. I absolutely agree.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #19)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 08:27 PM

38. Scary. And you can't prepare enough for that.

 

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Response to Lurks Often (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 12:21 PM

6. yes. more people, less labor in the future. it's a reality few in politics are willing to address.

and as to ST, i believe a 'star ship' like that would probably be crewed by far fewer people than the shows / movies
portray...

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Response to KG (Reply #6)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 06:43 PM

35. A non-military starship would indeed have a smaller crew,

but the starships we see in ST are for military and long range exploration.

In the real world, naval warships have always had larger crews then a commercial vessel, it was done that way to allow for damage control, crew loss and if you go back to the days of sail, boarding and prize parties.

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Response to Lurks Often (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 12:56 PM

11. Definitely.

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Response to Lurks Often (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 01:28 PM

20. One thing not yet overcome: greed as a core (external) value.

In the Star Trek world, especially the ST:The Next Generation world, society revolved around personal enrichment as an internal value. I can imagine how automation pushes us in the direction of the STTNG, but global society will have to figure the economics and population issues. Economics might entail labor and barter systems. Overpopulation shouldn't be a problem if/when humans colonize space.

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Response to BadgerKid (Reply #20)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 01:34 PM

23. Or the limits to growth

 

While greed may ensure only a few can actually enjoy the benefits of our "advancements", we have real physical limits that will surely never allow everyone on the globe to have a fridge, car, TV and water. Our "greed" hides this very inconvenient truth; removing greed and spreading luxury would either entail a massive move backward or a full scale onslaught upon what is left of our ecosystem.

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Response to BadgerKid (Reply #20)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 03:07 PM

31. As the various nations develop fully

You'll see population pressures ease. Big families are an asset to an agricultural society, they are a huge personal liability to either a manufacturing or a service economy. We don't need to worry about colonizing space to solve the population problem.

In fact, once we do colonize space, the "be fruitful and multiply" ethos of the agricultural society may take hold in such places again. That's why I think that space colonization will be popular among those who continue to hold some sort of belief system that is based on the old religions.

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Response to Lurks Often (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 01:30 PM

21. We've been in such a period for nearly three hundred years. (nt)

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Response to Lurks Often (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 01:41 PM

24. I see the Peak Oil Doomers have arrived.



In any case, this is Capitalism's fatal flaw. Oour modern society has become so highly productive that we are running into technological unemployment. In an ideal world people would be able to work for less hours with the same pay, but Capitalism results in unemployment, instead.

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #24)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 02:25 PM

27. Running out of dirty energy is a hopeful best case scenario

 

Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more likely that we will not run out of dirty energy before kicking up enough carbon into the atmosphere to end our way of life as we know it.


on edit: The idea of peak oil isn't actually the idea of running out of oil completely, but where out ability to produce it hits a peak. This idea has evolved a bit to include notions of per capita distribution of such energy, as we obviously need more and more to maintain and promote growth for more and more people (if we do not, we hit stagflation). Peak available energy per capita is very likely here already.

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Response to Lurks Often (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 02:12 PM

25. We need to look at alternatives to the top-down, vertically integrated corporations we have now!

The way that elites capture the wealth produced by new technologies is through the gigantic, top-down corporations that were created in the first industrial revolution. In the 1980s, futurists were talking about the computer revolution bringing an end to the giants and creating smaller, creative companies. What did we get? Two words: Microsoft and Wal-Mart.

There are alternatives. Implementing them will be difficult; but, first you need to create the alternatives.

Futurist Alvin Toffler talked about prosuming in some of his books. Prosuming means consumers producing at least some of what they consume. The technologies of 3-D Printing and Nanofactories take us in that direction; think of either of these as Star Trek replicators.



Another possibility is the development of 'co-ops,' co-operatives, companies both owned and operated by employees. In a true co-operative, policies are determined by employee vote. Michael Moore mention co-ops in his movie: Capitalism: A Love Story.The Equality Trust UK, a blog run by the authors of: The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Almost Always Do Better, recommends co-operatives as one way to reduce inequality.

Some people think that Spain's Mondragon Corporation, a consortium of small co-operatives, is the model for the future. Science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson uses Mondragon as the model for the Mondragon Accord, a compact of 24th Century space colonies in his latest novel: 2312.

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Response to Lurks Often (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 02:42 PM

29. We are certainly in a transitional period in regards to technology...

For example, my local newspaper now has an e-edition. It looks just like the newspaper on my doorstep, only it's for tablet or computer. Meaning it's got pages, columns, still pictures. I can click from page 1 to page 34 to read the story rather than flip through the actual paper pages, and I can scan the contents of each section to see what stories I want to read, but I still have to make that "click" from page 1 to page 34, and the e-edition is still in sections like the regular paper.

Thus, the newspaper is catering to those who grew up reading a paper newspaper but now want to read it on their iPad rather than flip through actual pages. BUT they are not catering to the new generation that is has been getting all its news off computer sites that don't present news like a newspaper.

It's rather like when television came along. At first, tv shows were like plays and theater. A lot of dialogue, not much use of the camera, etc. You could see "12 Angry Men" on stage or on your black-n-white tv, and there was very little difference (save that one was in color)--both were done live. It was what people were comfortable with, and so tv didn't change the content to fit the medium, they just moved it from one medium to the other--like my e-edition. But the generation that grew up with television had a very different view of what to do with it. One the theater (and movie) going generation could not think of.

Young people using technology now will transform how it is used--in fact, we're seeing that as different forms of "newspapers" and books and meta-shows, etc. battle it out on our computers. Will the generation growing up on all this take as a given meta-contextual entertainment/information or will it go in some other direction that we don't even know it can go as yet? Putting it another way, it's was easy enough to predict horseless carriages and moving pictures, but who would have predicted drive-in movies? We have the horseless carriages (sic) and the moving pictures (sic) but we've no idea who or how or when they'll be connected up into some form unique and perfect for the new generation. All we see now is people trying to both hold on and let go of the old forms that don't quite fit into the new forms.

Transition.

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Response to Moonwalk (Reply #29)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 03:16 PM

32. That's a pretty thoughtful insight

Even one of the early drivers of television, sports programming, has changed markedly over the years. The old games were just a couple of cameras mounted in the seats, giving a fan's-eye view of the action as it appeared from the perspective of the ticket holder. A couple of generations, and we have slow-motion replays that are even used to decide the scoring of a game. Television changed football.

I love going into books and magazine articles that try to predict the future, projections from 30 or more years ago are interesting and amusing. But they almost always suffer from the "this is how we'll do in the future exactly what we do now" myopia, where creative people figure out totally new uses for the technology, once the engineers have given it to us.

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Response to Lurks Often (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 03:05 PM

30. We are inside the fall of industrial civilization.

 

To the people who lived through the fall of the Roman empire, it was invisible. In retrospect, in the history books, it was sudden and disastrous. But it played out over several generations. People were born, grew up, lived heir lives, grew old and died all entirely within the event we call "the fall of the Roman Empire. When they got old they looked back and talked about how things were better when they were young. But things weren't that much different for the average Joe over the span of a single lifetime. And things won't be that much different when our children are old.

But three generations from now, there will people who grow up in the outskirts of the empty cities like New York and Chicago and the ruins will seem normal to them, because it's what they grew up with. Just as the people of Rome grew up with the ruins of the Coliseum. And no one single generation will see the whole thing happen. Not one single Roman ever woke up one morning and said "OMG! What happened to the Coliseum?" It happened so slowly that nobody noticed.

We are now living within the event that the future will call the fall of industrial civilization. We are not on a path to Star Trek, we are on a path to Clan of the Cave Bears. And if you don't know why this is our future then you haven't been paying attention!

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Response to Lurks Often (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 06:52 PM

36. a fully automated society can't work without a strong social safety net

as long as the wealthy ignore that and persist on moral terms to de-fund the "wicked lazy" poor, we will fail. And somebody will die, either the numerous poor or eventually their elite oppressors

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Response to librechik (Reply #36)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 10:15 PM

39. It seems likely that in a fully automated society,

we would have reached the point that there will be sufficient resources to take care of everybody

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Response to Lurks Often (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 07:01 PM

37. No. We're transitioning into cooking our family pets on the grill to stay alive.

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