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Technologies Like Google's Self-Driving Car: Destroying Jobs?

timothy posted 1 year,2 days | from the seen-and-the-unseen dept.

Robotics 736

Nerval's Lobster writes "For quite some time, some economists and social scientists have argued that advances in robotics and computer technology are systematically wrecking the job prospects of human beings. Back in June, for example, an MIT Technology Review article detailed Erik Brynjolfsson (a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management) and a co-author suggesting that the evolution of computer technology was "largely behind the sluggish employment growth of the last 10 to 15 years." Of course, technological change and its impact on the workforce is nothing new; just look at the Industrial Revolution, when labor-saving devices put many a hard-working homo sapien out of economic commission. But how far can things go? There are even arguments that the technology behind Google's Self-Driving Car, which allows machines to rapidly adapt to situations, could put whole new subsets of people out of jobs."

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Out of jobs? (4, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709697)

I don't employ any people in my car so you must mean the chauffeurs in the yellow cars who speak only Pashto or Urdu?

Re:Out of jobs? (4, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709741)

Cars don't destroy Jobs.

Cook destroys Jobs.

Re:Out of jobs? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709821)

I thought cancer destroyed Jobs. Too soon?

mod up (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709859)


Re:mod up (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44710085)

You're confusing Jobs with jearbs.

Re:Out of jobs? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709763)

reread the last sentence ...

Re:Out of jobs? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709765)

Yep. And also the guy who drive the milk tanker, the guy who delivers sh!t that you won on eGulf, or ordered on Oldegg and Mason. Given that Murkin economy is built on transportation of goods, if the lazy bums behind the wheel will all lose their jobs, what could possibly go wrong.

Re:Out of jobs? (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710059)

Your contempt of America is hillarious, though I might note that the Luddites were originally of English origin.

Re:Out of jobs? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709779)

All technology destroys jobs. We invent things to save time and effort. I can't wait until we've saved so much time and effort that I don't have to work anymore...Not in my lifetime, unfortunately.

Re:Out of jobs? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44710011)

In my day young men pumped gas as their first job. Learned how to deal with people, handle money, etc. Now they don't have a first job.

Re:Out of jobs? (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709785)

I don't employ any people in my car so you must mean the chauffeurs in the yellow cars who speak only Pashto or Urdu?

TFA seems to be arguing (not unreasonably) that if you've solved the machine vision and 'coping with surprisingly unpredictable environments' problems well enough to put a car on the road without being bankrupted by splattered pedestrians and next of kin, you've probably also solved the problems that were keeping our robot overlords out of a lot of 'semi-structured' environments that have not previously been economic to automate.

Conventional industrial automation is unstoppably, brutally, efficient; but you pretty much have to build the entire environment around the robots; because they are dumb as hell if anything doesn't go to plan (though, so long as it does, they can stuff boards or spot-weld chassis parts like nobody's business). If you solve the problems inherent in driving a car, you've made substantial progress in attacking environments that aren't built around robots and their limitations, which opens up many more just-sloppy-enough-to-confuse-robots and not-labor-intensive-enough-to-rebuild-for-robots workplaces.

Sure, a few Johnnycabs might be the most visible; but that'll be the tip of the iceberg.

Re:Out of jobs? (2)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709853)

TFA seems to be arguing (not unreasonably) that if you've solved the machine vision and 'coping with surprisingly unpredictable environments' problems well enough to put a car on the road without being bankrupted by splattered pedestrians and next of kin, you've probably also solved the problems that were keeping our robot overlords out of a lot of 'semi-structured' environments that have not previously been economic to automate.

Well, duh. I figured that out a decade ago; that's why I got into software engineering in the first place; I figure it'll be the last, or one of the last, jobs that the computers take over.

I mean in theory maybe humanity will figure out the whole post-labor utopia thing once it's technologically feasible but in practice I ain't betting on it; people are kind of stupid.

Re:Out of jobs? (1)

HiThere (15173) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710097)

Sorry, but you argument would say you should have chosen management or research. And there's a lot more managers. OTOH, I don't suppose middle management is particularly safe either. Around 30-40 years ago I wrote an essay on the subject called "Be a garbageman", but I'm not really sure that's actually a good choice now. A lot can be done by redesigning the jobs.

Re:Out of jobs? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44710111)

seems like quite the assumption to make considering that machine learning will inevitably result in machine coding.

Re:Out of jobs? (2)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709841)

Don't forget truckers.

Re:Out of jobs? (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709979)

Taxi drivers are only the tip of the iceberg, most people are employed transporting goods B2B, B2C or C2B. Who do you think brings the groceries to the grocery store? Deliver you pizza? Collect your trash? A self-driving car would solve the hardest part, being able to load up a truck and have someone meet it at the other end would be huge. Also imagine all the people who can be more effective by doing paperwork and such while going site to site instead of driving, that too should let fewer people do the same work. A self-driving car is going to be an Industrial Revolution-class change.

Erhmeghurd! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709713)

Nert deh jerbs!

short term yes, long term no.. (0)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709733)

Yes in the short term. Less truck drivers, less cab drivers...

No in the long term.

The real thing hurting the job pool is the dilution by H1-B.

Re:short term yes, long term no.. (-1, Troll)

DaHat (247651) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709897)

The real thing hurting the job pool is the dilution by H1-B.

Obamacare & it's assistance in creating mostly part time jobs would disagree.

Re:short term yes, long term no.. (5, Funny)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709997)

Yes. This 15 year trend is definitely caused by something that goes into effect next year.

Re:short term yes, long term no.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709929)

Actually that H1-B shit is only affecting you smarmy fucking aspie engineer and code monkey types. Given how much you tout your own importance and disparage others who you deem to be dumb mouth breathers, you can fucking sleep in that bed bitch because you fucking made it.

Re:short term yes, long term no.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44710053)

I'll buy that. Now, tell us what we're supposed to do with 12 million illiterate Mexican peasants who will no longer be needed to pick fruit.

Short term: yes, long term: even more (3, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709959)

Ok, maybe that was harsh.

Every wonder why there is more and more un/underemployment? It's because we can do more with less. By eliminating rote jobs we gain efficiency. The utopian ideal envisioned in the 60s is that we would all be working 10-15 hour work weeks by the 90s through automation and computer technology making things more efficient.

What they completely missed is that a human will trade roughly 2000 hours per year of their life to make enough money for food and shelter. Computers and robots don't really matter, it's just that each human can produce more stuff for those 2000 hours. There is no need to let them work less or pay them any more. You just need fewer of them.

The thing is, we're still making humans at an accelerating rate. That's great for everyone who sell things to those people, as it drives demand to make more stuff. It's bad for all the extra people who - quite frankly - are not in a position to excel at a job better than a computer, robot, or other machine. For a creature who evolves over a time span of tens of millennia, this kind of change in a couple of decades (two centuries if you want to count the industrial revolution), this poses quite a challenge.

H1B means nothing except a small eddy in the current of change which will see more and more humans become obsolete.

Re:Short term: yes, long term: even more (2, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710069)

Every wonder why there is more and more un/underemployment? It's because we can do more with less.

You are spouting the Lump of Labor Fallacy [] . It is not true that there is a certain amount of "work" to be done in an economy. The truth is that the amount of work will expand or contract depending on the resources and opportunities available.

Oh noes! (4, Insightful)

king neckbeard (1801738) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709737)

Nevermind the increases in safety. Nevermind the new jobs that this will enable. Nevermind the greater standard of living this will bring to all people. We've got to be concerned about potentially lost jobs above all else.

Re:Oh noes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709761)

Nevermind the greater standard of living this will bring to all people

How does the taxi driver or the long haul trucker get a better standard of living when he has no job?

Re:Oh noes! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709991)

Where does the idea come from that the job you're doing today is your eternal identity?
I've been a janitor, a tutor, a graduate teaching assistant, a customer service rep, a government bureaucrat...
That doesn't tell you what I am now, and it doesn't mean anything about what I'll do if the job I have now goes away.

Re:Oh noes! (4, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709787)

Nevermind the new jobs that this will enable.

I'm curious - what new careers do you foresee, that current professional drivers would qualify for? Or are you saying they should give up their fairly-decent-wage driving work and go flip burgers whilst sucking hind teet for minimum wage, social consequences be damned?

See, that's the real problem - I'm sure we can all come up with a million ideas for work the next few generations can do, but that means precisely jack shit to the current generation who will lose their only source of income.

What's the stop-gap for the time period between auto-cars taking work from humans, work they need to pay their bills, and the creation of these ephemeral 'new jobs' that won't exist for a good while?

Re:Oh noes! (5, Insightful)

hammeraxe (1635169) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709869)

Probably none. But I don't think the picture is as dire as you paint it because the change from "driver" cars to driver-less cars isn't going to be instant. It's not like all truckers are gonna lose their jobs tomorrow or next years. It's gonna be a gradual process over the next ten or maybe twenty years.

Re:Oh noes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709875)

Paradigm shift: every year, we held a lottery. Those that win the lottery don't need to work and get welfare. Those that do not must find a job.

Re:Oh noes! (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709907)

Yes, jobs will shift to different demographics. That kind of thing happens all the time. The Luddites were in the same boat, but we look down on them for a reason.

Re:Oh noes! (5, Interesting)

Computershack (1143409) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709913)

Nevermind the new jobs that this will enable.

I'm curious - what new careers do you foresee, that current professional drivers would qualify for?

I was a trucker for 20 years. I've just been given an offer of a place at a top 10 university to do a BEng (Hons) in Electronics Engineering. Not all of us do trucking because we're incapable of doing anything else and I find your insinuation that we are quite insulting.

Re:Oh noes! (1)

Justpin (2974855) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709941)

Nevermind the new jobs that this will enable.

I'm curious - what new careers do you foresee, that current professional drivers would qualify for? Or are you saying they should give up their fairly-decent-wage driving work and go flip burgers whilst sucking hind teet for minimum wage, social consequences be damned?

See, that's the real problem - I'm sure we can all come up with a million ideas for work the next few generations can do, but that means precisely jack shit to the current generation who will lose their only source of income.

What's the stop-gap for the time period between auto-cars taking work from humans, work they need to pay their bills, and the creation of these ephemeral 'new jobs' that won't exist for a good while?

Flip burgers you say? Except burger preparation is being automated.

Re:Oh noes! (0)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710049)

Your argument has been made before: []

Now, the problem with this kind of argument is that you are pitting the employment of some people against the general improvement in the quality of life for society at large. Consider what the world might be like had this line of reasoning been applied here: []

Re:Oh noes! (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710057)

* Taxi drivers: Probably not going to lose their jobs. Someone has to monitor the vehicle after all.
* Limo drivers: Ditto. Plus the driver is part of the service.
* Couriers: Probably not going to lose their jobs. They're using the car as a tool to get from A to B, the car isn't the thing doing the job.
* Mitt Romney's chauffeur: Maybe, but I doubt that many people have that type of job, and in any case, there's a good chance the job would be kept as the same guy is also responsible for maintaining the car.
* NASCAR drivers: Nobody cares about machines going in circles. It's not worth watching if there's no person in the center of that giant exploding crash thing.

So the answer to the question "What new^H^H^Hcareers do you foresee that current professional drivers would qualify for" would be "The ones they currently have." Professional drivers have their jobs not because they're superbly skilled drivers, but because just about all jobs requiring a car move from A to B require that a person be directly involved.

But before we go on, let's get some perspective:

In London, there are two major rail based transport systems. The London Underground is a huge, traditional, interconnected underground railway which has one person, the driver, on every train. Some trains have more, but the minimum for operation is that one driver.

And then there's the Dockland's Light Railway. Now, that's a modern system put in during the 1980s, and when they created that, someone said "Wait a moment! This is an electric train running on tracks, and we have these things called "Computers" now that can control everything, in theory this train thingie doesn't need a driver!" And so that's what they made, a completely automated train. It's great. The trains don't have drivers. Just, uh, guards, who collect tickets, and make sure passengers are safe and aren't caught in doors or anything.

Computers have a habit of changing people's jobs, not obsoleting them.

Re: Oh noes! (0)

peragrin (659227) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709879)

That is my thought.

What we need to do is tie unemployment benefits into job training programs. So you can collect once while out of work. But to collect a second time(as benefits contrary to widespread beliefs have time limits). You must go through job training in adjacent fields.

Last year I was unhappy at my previous job. I couldn't find work in what I knew but i switched it up and found something I could do in a similar but not identical field. Found a job in 4 months.

If more people on unemployment were forced to break habits and change what they know they could get hired easier.

Re:Oh noes! (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709923)

It'll bring a greater standard of those who still have jobs. We're looking at a very serious economic transition here, possibly a key point in history. How it is managed is the difference between a utopia free of work and want, or a dystopia where the poverty-stricken masses scavenge for scraps thrown out from the farms owned by the wealthy.

Next Up: Cars put chariot makers on street (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709747)

Technological progress has often meant that jobs were lost. Think of how many more people Ford could employ if they didn't use a moving factory line!

Yes (3)

stewsters (1406737) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709749)

It will destroy jobs like the farm destroyed the jobs of hunters and gatherers. It happens. If you can be replaced by a cheap machine, find another line of work where the quality that you can produce beats the machines.

Re:Yes (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709847)

I have a lot of sympathy with this point of view, but there is a problem with it.

George Carlin said, to paraphrase, look at how stupid the average guy is and realize that half of the people are dumber than that.

My point is that we are not going to have a country with nothing but doctors, high-end engineers, programers, and tech people. Not everyone has the brainpower to do that. We have to have something to do or we with have the society in Vonnegut's Player Piano.

That could be the real challenge... what are we going to do when it's not economical for a human to do ANY busy work. Even the not-so-bright need something to do.

Re:Yes (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709965)

Come on, man, Wells explained this almost a century ago. The general busy-working masses that don't have the brainpower to be a "high-end engineer or tech person" live in a leisure garden paradise and do nothing, while the engineers and tech people live underground, keep the general machinery of the world ticking, and occasionally kill and eat one of the those surface-dwelling Eloi for sustenance. Simple!

Bingo (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710033)

Most people who think this is a great thing are in the top 10% (or 1%) and forget that most of humanity is really just a machine that gets things done. Class warfare is already brewing, with all of the economies of efficiency being funneled to those at the very top of the pile. With more and more people replaced by machines it will only get worse.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44710113)

Have them run in hamster wheels to generate the electricity for my google car.

Hopefully (3, Insightful)

kruach aum (1934852) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709751)

So we can free up those people to do things we can't make robots do yet.

Re:Hopefully (1)

Hatta (162192) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709999)

What happens when we have enough people working on those things we can't make robots do? What do we do with excess labor then?

Destroying jobs? (1)

lq_x_pl (822011) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709755)


Welcome to Self-Driving Cardot (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709791)

Hourly updates on the implications of technology that does not exist. Yes it does man. Have't you seen a plane with like autopilot and stuff? Thats a self-driving plane man.

Betteridge's law of headlines (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709795)

According to Betteridge's law of headlines the answer is no?

why leave the house (4, Interesting)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709799)

The things these articles miss is that in the future you won't ever need to leave your house. People won't own a car much less a self driving one. You won't need a hyper loop because there will be no traffic on the empty freeways. There will still exist a need to move food, water, and air around. But people can stay home. Not like they have jobs to go to. :)

Re:why leave the house (3, Insightful)

snarfies (115214) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710079)

Sure, if you want an insanely dull and boring life.

Like, if I never want to meet people, make friend, get a girlfriend? I think I might need to get out now and again just to get to their homes.

Concerts. Restaurants. Bars. Sporting events. Hell, shopping! I can buy literally anything online right now, today. But I sometimes I want to see and touch and feel what I'm buying.

This is a good thing. (2)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709813)

I'm trying really hard to find a way to side with the humans on this one but I'm failing. I simply cannot figure out how to justify opposing this, particularly in reference to jobs like over-the-road trucking and basic shuttle-vehicle jobs such as buses and cabs. I can only imagine how much this would alleviate trafic in cities, cars with no ego behind the wheel, and how many meth-addled over-the-road truckers won't be behind the wheel (and honestly most should probably be replaced with improved freight rail anyway, regardless of robots, but there's no reason this system couldn't include the trucks jumping on rail cars since there's no need to take breaks or plan night stops at that point).

Autonomous truck drivers. (2)

garo5 (895321) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709823)

I think it's very clear that most of the truck drivers will be replaced by autonomous trucks driven by software. Human drivers need to sleep, robots don't. As our storage warehouses are already mostly on the wheels and logistics is optimized that the required goods arrive just in time, all this makes sense. The change might even be very fast. 30% of truck cargo might be driven by robots in the end of the decade.

New Jobs, Actually (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709831)

I think the introduction of "self-driving cars" would bring about a counter-balancing upsurge in jobs in the automotive/bodywork repair industry (at least for the first few generations of the technology).

Re:New Jobs, Actually (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709943)

With self-driving cars, we are going ot see a dramatic decrease in the need for auto-body repair. As electric cars come online with 75% fewer parts then ICE powered cars, we will need less mechanics too.

Re:New Jobs, Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709947)

Also Soylent Green technician is expected to be huge in the future. (Especially with so many out of work)

Re:New Jobs, Actually (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710051)

I think you vastly overestimate the ability of human pilots. We're pretty fucking awful compared to a fully sensored autonomous vehicle.

please not this again... (2)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709835)

omg here come the neo-Luddites (again)...

there is just absolutely no way anyone can predict what kind of spin-offs will be created given the rise of autonomous cars...perhaps entire new industries (cough like IT cough) will be created that require real humans to work on and fix our new 4-wheeled overlords. In fact, it's almost a given.

what IS guaranteed, however, is CHANGE...and man is that frightening for some people. i like to remember the old phrase "the only constant is change" at times like this.

Re:please not this again... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710101)

Do you really think you can take a relatively unskilled job worker and magically train them for a higher skilled job and not have that affect the balance? Presuming most can barely move up one or two rungs on the intellectual ladder, they just push the next group up. Now, there's a reason they're in a poorly paid, low-skilled position; we're not replete with geniuses assembling cars and driving big rigs because they enjoy the lifestyle.

Eventually you'll push a whole bunch of unqualified people into a more and more crowded middle-level workforce where we will continuously be eliminating those positions through automation and efficiency. A lot of these people are already at the top of their "game" and really don't have anywhere to go.

Re:please not this again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44710127)

i like to remember the old phrase "the only constant is change" at times like this.

However, statistical studies have shown that change is not a constant but a bounded probability distribution.

That's the point of all technology (1)

roman_mir (125474) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709837)

The very first technology that people came up with destroyed some jobs, that's the entire point of labour saving devices - that we can enjoy the productive output while exerting ourselves less to achieve it.

This is not a bad thing, this is what we work for in the first place.

Where were you uncaring monsters (4, Insightful)

dyingtolive (1393037) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709845)

when the last buggy whip manufacturer went out of business because of Ford? What about when computers killed Underwood and the typewriter manufacturers? What about when video killed the radio star?

Seriously, stop holding back progress in the name of the status quo, otherwise things can never improve.

Re:Where were you uncaring monsters (3, Funny)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709885)

Buggy whip manufacturers just started making OTHER type of whips..

er... so I'm told.

Re:Where were you uncaring monsters (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44710039)

It's a subtle pro-union argument. Unions get involved with business process enhancements & product design. They block computer system upgrades by threatening strikes & slowdowns. They block new designs that reduce or eliminate jobs.

Mortitians and crime scene cleaners (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709855)

Lots less business when they're scraping texting drivers off of guard rails.

It was pancreatic cancer (1)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709863)

too soon?

Just like airplanes (1)

punker (320575) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709881)

There are plenty of circumstances where we have machines that are extensively automated and we still have highly trained people operate them. Commercial aircraft have pilots there because there are too many circumstances where a person is going to be best able to make the right decision. Most of the time, these planes are running on autopilot and they do very well. But the circumstances where the autopilot fails (i.e. does the wrong thing) can have catastrophic consequences. So we have multiple pilots there for safety.
Freight trucks are the same way. These machines are require a fair amount of skill to handle troublesome situations. A loaded truck will weight in excess of 45000 lbs. That's more than 20 times the mass of most cars. I do not expect truck drivers to be overly affected by this for quite some time.

What is the alternative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709891)

To mandate that technological development will hereinafter be permanently suspended? We might just as well go back to, say, pre-car times, so that there will be more jobs for blacksmiths.

player piano (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709893)

Every time I hear this argument, I think of the book player piano. Anyway, why do people want jobs that are replaceable by machines? It makes about as much sense as hiring someone to cut my grass with a pair of scissors, just so they have something to do. Or those useless construction workers holding a stop sign, that could literally be replaced with a piece of wood.

Re:player piano (1)

seven of five (578993) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710021)

Anyway, why do people want jobs that are replaceable by machines?

The list of jobs, especially blue collar, in which people cannot be replaced by machines is exceedingly short. Sure, you'll lose some desirable quality, such as when you talk to an automated phone system versus a human being, but guess where organizations will run to on the race to the bottom?

Re:player piano (1)

Livius (318358) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710063)

If the alternative is having no job and living in desperate poverty, one of the "jobs that are replaceable by machines" will look pretty good.

Jobs are kind of a scam in the first place. (2)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709895)

Lately I've been ever-decreasing in my sympathy for the concept of a "job" or even "full time employment". Both kind of seem like scams at this point. Surely there has to be a better way to make a living than to spend 40 hours a week "working" to get what some recent studies have indicated are more like 15 hours of actual work per week, averaging three hours per workday.

Of course, there are plenty of job-destroying policies out there. It's not just the technologies. I'm not convinced we're any better off than we were as a society before all these technologies.

Leisure Society (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709903)

Destroying jobs is great! Now we can all enjoy the fruits of the modern age and indulge in the long promised leisure society of the future.
This will include rummaging through trash and begging for change outside the walls of gated communities.

Less waste of human labour (5, Insightful)

l2718 (514756) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709909)

This is the old Luddite argument: without technology a lot more effort is required to get things done -- so more people get work. It follows that technology is bad.

In fact, the situation is exactly the opposite: if a machine can drive a car, then having a person drive the car is a waste of the person's time. They can instead do something else with their time, so society get both that and the driving done. In the 19th century, more than 80% of US population directly worked in agriculture. Today, the propotion is 2-3% -- yet we have a lot more food, and many other things to boot.

It's true that in the short term, there is a loss when the specialized skills (say driving) of the people displaced become less valuable, and those people lose their jobs. But this is a transient effect. Some skills were standard 30 years ago, yet rare today.

The more important issue is that technology more easily replaces low-skilled workers. Computers have reduced the demand for secretarial work; robots and other industrial automation reduce the demand for factory workers, and so on. This increases the returns to IQ and education, and reduces the number of well-paying jobs available to less-educated workers. But this seems inevitable, and needs to be solved by changing the attitudes of society toward education rather than by hamstringing technological progress.

faster and job skill based education is needed (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710117)

The college system is to long for some jobs.

Some schools tech out of date skills.

going for 4+ years can make you miss out on a fad skill as by the time you are done it's over.

also HR needs to lay off the need X degree or need 5 year with X skill or system even when it's easy to pick up or it's a lot like skill B that easy to move from one side to an other.

Obligatory citation of fiction (1)

Doubting Sapien (2448658) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709915)

New technologies always bring new jobs. Maybe self-driving cars will be the same. [] ÃX-Driver

Too late (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709917)

Jobs is already dead.

Google Maps (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709921)

...the technology behind Google's Self-Driving Car, which allows machines to rapidly adapt to situations, could put whole new subsets of people out of jobs.

Like the people driving vehicles for Google Maps, which I always suspected was the reason for Google's interest in this technology.

A fleet of robots patrolling the world 24/7 collecting data.

Job security (5, Funny)

gumpish (682245) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709925)

One nice thing about being a programmer is that if computers ever take over your job then the Singularity has arrived.

Japan vs US/UK (1)

Justpin (2974855) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709927)

It depends on how it is implemented. We have the Eastern model and the Western model. UK/USA are uber ruthless ONLY THE BOTTOM LINE MATTERS type economies. We see bits of this especially in the recent debate about giving two weeks notice. Where only the bottom line matters and corporates conveniently ignore the fact that employees also happen to be consumers. Probably why we are in death spiral mode right now. As companies make lower profits, they seek to cut costs, which puts people out of work.. which causes people to consume less, and so on... While Asian economies are funny things. Japan for instance, (lets ignore the fact that Japan is incredibly backwards outside Tokyo, they still use fax machines regularly! ATMs close at 5pm, you have to carry wads of cash with you everywhere). They could probably automate and stick robots everywhere. But they use people to over staff offices and make it super bureaucratic to keep people in jobs. Like making coffee in the western world we go to the machine ourselves. But a buddy working in Japan now has a refreshments lady who carts around a little trolley. Or the way that gas stations are often full service. Even in supposed hyperruthless capitalist Hong Kong. There are lots and lots of staff on the metro stations. When it gets busy in the morning and after work. They hire people to stand with signs on the platforms and at the entrances and exits, when a lump of concrete or a rope barrier would suffice.

boo hoo hoo (1)

shentino (1139071) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709931)

Sympathy for the unemployed is nice, but it should never be an excuse to hold back progress that benefits the public as a whole.

Besides, even if you try to regulate it, unscrupulous cheaters will take advantage of it anyway and it will enter the market by force no matter how well regulated it is, which will leave law abiding businesses at a competitive disadvantage.

The proper way to deal with people losing their jobs over new technology is to help them adapt. Those jobs are doomed anyway because of the reasons cited in the previous paragraph.

It's an opportunity! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44709961)

Why is it so easy to see this as something destructive, rather than an opportunity for the advancement of our civilisation? We live in a world full of jobs people don't want, but the elite sitting on top of the pyramid require someone to do. Advances in robotics and computer technology frees society from things that human beings were forced to do out of societal necessity. I embrace these changes!

The Coming of Post-Industrial Society (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709983)

Read the book sometime. By Daniel Bell, 1973.

I've got a new headline for you... (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | 1 year,2 days | (#44709995)

"Previously Reputable Forums Like Slashdot: Pimping for Page Views?"

News at 11...

Yes, of course it will (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710007)

Any new technology will destroy jobs. It will also create new jobs, and pave the way for entire new industries.

Wealth Distribution (3, Insightful)

rjstanford (69735) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710015)

One of the big ideas behind "modernization" was that, in general, people could work less and enjoy more benefits. Indeed, our per-person output has skyrocketed. The idea that we could get even more productive in the future is a conditionally great one. The big "if" is that right now, in the US, almost all of the benefit is being concentrated at the top-end of the economic spectrum. Indeed, our GDP has more than recovered from the recession even though most people are still suffering because of even more recent wealth concentration.

When normal people receive even half the benefits of modernization, its a good thing, and net job loss will be more than outpaced by work reduction.

Old Economics (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44710019)

The fundamental problem is that our system of economics has not changed to keep pace with our technological growth. Especially where new technology has increased productivity. This is a large reason for the massive disparity of income that we, as a nation, are suffering. This situation is not sustainable. We should be concerned with new economic systems were the value of productivity increases is distributed equitably to everyone.

gave me a boner (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44710025)

This upcoming technology of self-driving cars is so exciting, it gives me a freakin boner! Dude, I wouldn't get a DUI!!! I can drive drunk anywhere I want! NO DD, NO TAXI! :)

Re:gave me a boner (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44710073)

Speaking of TAXIS.... I guess they will be Johnny Cabs!

Automation destroys jobs? (5, Informative)

boristdog (133725) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710035)

Back in 2007 the company I work for (manufacturing) was going to outsource my entire department to a company in Taiwan. The logic was that there was no way we overpaid ($100K+ per engineer), lazy (40-50 hrs/week) Americans could do what the industrious (60-70 hrs/week) and inexpensive ($24K/yr) Taiwanese could do. It was an obvious win-win for the company bean-counters.

However, when I was hired a few years before this, I began implementing a whole lot of automation into our stone-age processes. They were still keeping all production records in Excel spreadsheets and paper notebooks for fucks sake. Bar codes? RFID? What were those? I modernized the place, and after a few years of attrition we had fewer low-paid manufactuing drones working in the department, but we no longer needed them.

SO the bean counters did their cost audit and were shocked beyond belief that the American factory was producing goods WAY cheaper than they could get them produced in Taiwan. Taiwan came back with a cheaper offer, but it was STILL higher than our costs. The bean counters did another audit, because they knew there was NO WAY we could produce goods cheaper than Taiwan. Results: We sure can.

So, as a result of some (admittedly crude) automation, I and those who helped me with the automation, saved hundreds of jobs in the US from being offshored. And now my department is mosty highly trained (and well paid) engineers and technicians rather than mostly low paid people who move stuff from machine to machine. We still have the people who move stuff around, but they are fewer, more efficient and paid more than they were before. And the equipment is better maintained and more productive than ever.

So whenever some jackwit like this says automation is killing jobs, I get to trot out my personal example of automation SAVING jobs and creating new ones.

Self-driving cars will kill some jobs, but it will create plenty of new ones, many we haven't even thought of yet.

Not for me... (3, Funny)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710041)

I'm a robotics engineer. For me, it's creating jobs.

eventually we wont have to work (3)

cod3r_ (2031620) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710045)

I like the idea of robots just doing everything for us so we don't have to work. Maybe we can even do away with currency all together.

Don't worry they'll find jobs (2)

istartedi (132515) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710047)

You need the human touch to grow pot or cook meth. No machine could... Oh dammit! Drug-bot 3000 done took our jerbs, and it don't blow up or burn down no trailers.

Don't worry. You need the human touch to pimp out your ride so you're down wid da' homies out front da sto' where you buy shit wid da' EBT card.

Oh no! Pimp-bot 3000 done took our jerbs. Damn, he fly.

Don't worry. You need the human touch to kill terminators. Oh no! Da terminators are killin' eachother. Look at that. HoneyBadger 4000 is killing that other robot. He don't care. HoneyBadger 4000 don't give a shit.

Don't worry. You need the human touch to choke on burning robot fumes...

Politicians next? (1)

BreakBad (2955249) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710075)

Would you rather deal with flesh and blood politicians or a 'complex set of algorithms' that: 1. gather data from everyone into one central location (done), 2. Run Monte-Carlo simulations inputting the data gathered into random combinations of governmental systems and subsystems. 3. program police robots to kick your ass.

We need a basic income and end to 1099 misclassifi (3, Insightful)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710081)

Maybe even start to move the OT point to say 35-30 hours a week as well upping the ot exempt level to say 100K a year + COL.

Why should BOB be working 60-80 hours a week when jack does not have a job?

That's been true of every advance in technology (3, Funny)

HangingChad (677530) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710093)

The internet put people out of jobs in the newspaper and magazine industry, it also opened up a world of new ways for people to make money.

Self-driving cars will have a lot less impact than the internet. A handful of cab drivers, whoopee do.

It's going to be awesome seeing self-driving cars assign red light camera companies to the scrap heap of history...parasitic bastards.

We need to start seeing unemployment as a benefit (1)

Frogg (27033) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710099)

Unemployment is a benefit of a technologically advanced society (paraphrasing Robert Anton Wilson, I believe) -- the sooner we all get our heads around that, the better.

Humans have always made tools to make tasks easier (or automate them entirely).

Duh (1)

Livius (318358) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710109)

Of course a new technology will destroy jobs.

It will also create new jobs, and alter the economics of how the workforce is distributed in existing jobs.

However, the fact that the Luddites have always been wrong does not guarantee that they will be wrong this time. With existing technology it does seem to be the case over the last few decades that society does not need 40 hours a week from every able-bodied worker, so some adjustment to the economic order may be necessary, like how the work week was reduced from six days to five days.

In other news... (1)

DVega (211997) | 1 year,2 days | (#44710125)

Escalators and automatic elevators are destroying elevator operator jobs
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