Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.

imageI don’t like sounding like chicken little. Nevertheless, the sky is falling.

For those of you who don’t know me, I run one of the oldest independent software companies in the world. My specialty for the past 20 years has been in AI. It is my job to research, evaluate trends and invest accordingly to stay ahead of the curve. And I am here to tell you that the sky is falling.

It is automation. It is inevitable. It is irresistible. And if you think that automation always creates new opportunities look back to horses. Technology made them more useful too…for a time. Now it’s our turn and in this Facebook post I’m going to walk you through, in plain terms, why I think the sky is falling.

I’m not going to try to persuade you. I’m just going to put out the data. I suspect anyone reading this is intelligent enough to reach their own conclusions whether they agree with my assessment or not.

Before I begin, I want you to refer to this page: http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_201.htm This is the Bureau of Labor statistics. It’s the government’s site that tracks what people are employed in.

To summarize we Americans work primarily in these areas:

1. Factory work (8%)

2. Construction (4%)

3. Retail (10%)

4. Transportation (3%)

5. Business Services (13%)

6. Healthcare (12%)

Next, I would like to quote you this statistic: “The maximum unemployment rate during the Great Depression was 25%.”

The sum of the percentages I give above is 50%. You be the judge on what percentage of the areas I am going to discuss below will likely be out of a job in the near future.

Like I said, my day job is to evaluate technology and try to predict where it’s going to go next. And with that, I am telling you the automation revolution isn’t happening soon. It’s happening right now.

Amazon Prime

Do you use Amazon Prime? It’s pretty great right? How are they able to do it so cheaply? It’s because it’s largely automated now. Over the past few years, Amazon has been quietly laying off thousands of employees and replacing them with machines.

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/amazon-robots-and-the-near-future-rise-of-the-automated-warehouse/

Amazon currently employs over 200,000 people, most of whom will be out of a job in less than five years. Right now, you go to their website, you order something. That signals a AGV to go over and pick it up in the warehouse which then takes it over to another AGV (automated guided vehicle) that in turn takes it over to the auto packager which in turn sends it to be sorted and packaged.

I’m not talking about some future technology either. Did you get something from Amazon Prime recently? Look at the box you received. You will see an MSI code and a Code-128 code (very similar) along with a Datamatrix code (a box with graphical blotches). Right now, some of this is still handled by a person. But this will soon be completely automated.

Right now, the Code 128 code is used by UPS or Fed Ex staff (people) to load trucks and get them to you. But this is not going to last much longer. The transportation industry is already in process of being automated. You don’t hear much on this publicly because no one wants to talk about it. But this isn’t a 10 or 20 year away thing. This transformation is happening right now.

Products and goods will soon be transported to you through autonomous vehicles. I’m not talking about drones. That’ll happen too but that’s a distraction. I mean that UPS trucks and Fed Ex trucks will soon be autonomous. Loaded at the warehouse by machines and transported to you by AFVs (autonomous freight vehicles).

And even if you think “how will they get up to my doorstep” remember most shipments occur from business to business who have their own loading docks and warehouses. Moving stuff from point A to point B is a huge part of our employment.

Going…going…gone

Retail, where a lot of people now work, is going to be hit soonest, hardest and most obviously. We are familiar with self-checkouts but that’s really not that big of a deal. It’s the stocking that is going to go away and you won’t even notice. Walmart, Target, you name it, will quietly and not-so-gradually replace their stock people with machines. Read a bar code, go to the proper location in the store and place it. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Chain restaurants? The only reason why McDonalds and Burger King haven’t automated already is the relatively low minimum wage. But that’s going away. Kiosks will replace the order taking and the food preparation will be handled by machines. And machines in 2016, already do voice recognition better than most humans for the drive through (that’s something I never would have thought possible even 5 years ago). And people will be happy for this because it’ll be more convenient and the results more consistent. They’ll never “fuck you at the drive through” because the order will be perfect every time.

What about office jobs? They’re safe right? No. Again, I want to emphasize that I am not talking about some “20 years from now” thing. I am telling you that this automation revolution is happening as you read this. It’s not something to prepare for in the future. It’s already upon us. And with that in mind, Walmart just announced that it is cutting 7,000 office jobs.

http://fortune.com/2016/09/01/walmart-job-cuts-layoffs/

This was a week ago.

These are administrative jobs. Accounting jobs. All those jobs that involve paperwork, inventory management, producing invoices, handling payroll. Do these jobs sound familiar? They’re not going away in the future. They’re going away right now. And it’s accelerating.

Today, you walk into a Walmart and pick up a can of soup off the shelf. That soup was placed there by a person. You probably still go to a person to check it out because you have a bunch of stuff and it’s still a pain to do self-checkout. Nevertheless, everything you bought is automatically deducted from Walmart’s inventory. The acquisition of that item and its purchase doesn’t require people anymore so it was automated.

But relatively soon, every item, from food to your clothes, will have a tiny passive RFID tag in it. You’ll simply walk through a checkout and everything will be deducted automatically (for those with a NFC device like an iPhone or an Android phone). There will still be a person handling stuff for old people. But most people will naturally prefer to take their cart full of stuff through the RFID scanner and have it handled automatically.

Ironically, the service is likely to get better because they’ll probably soon have auto-baggers so you won’t even have to bag your own stuff anymore. But that’s probably around 7 (2023) years away from becoming mainstream. You’ll have RFID tagging sooner than that.

If you’re feeling stressed and want to go to the doctor, well, they’re going to be automated away too soon. And this will be a good thing for everyone. Today’s doctors will become more focused on dealing with patients’ needs while the machines handle the diagnosing and prescription writing.

You, reading this right now, when was the last time you went to the doctor not knowing what you already had? You probably just needed the prescription and had to wait. The machines, networked with each other across the world and able to sample billions of people’s anonymous data will make Dr. House look like an amateur and prescribe you with what you need vastly faster than having to wait for the doctor.

However, this won’t be good news for a lot of people in the health industry. Your doctor today with the thriving practice will be fine. He or she will save up and buy these diagnostic machines that will handle the vast majority of cases he or she currently handles. But those next generation doctors? They’re in for a rough time. Those in the medical profession can comment below and explain the problem a lot better than I can.

What about lawyers? They’re screwed. As someone who routinely gets sued (intellectual property is a mine field), I have a lot of experience with lawyers. The most expensive part, by far, is discovery. This is the part where each party sifts through the other’s sides stuff to determine what bullshit to put into their motions to convince a jury that their narrative of the case is the correct one. 99% of that time is wasted. Machines could handle that 99%.

It is unlikely that there will be such a thing as a paralegal in 20 years. They’ll go the way of the gas station attendant.

http://technoccult.net/archives/2013/10/08/report-47-of-u-s-jobs-at-risk-of-being-automated-out-of-existence/

Now, I’m not suggesting all these jobs are going to be gone in 5 years or even 20 years. Not all of them. But a lot of them. And unlike in the past, there’s no job for these people to go to. There’s no “training” for a new job because this time, the machines aren’t creating a new type of job in their wake, they are simply replacing the existing jobs without creating a new one.

We are not ready

We are not ready for this. We are oblivious now and we will remain oblivious until it’s far too late for our society to adapt carefully.

People will continue to be oblivious even as they watch their malls close down just like people shrugged when their bookstores went away.

http://time.com/money/4327632/shopping-malls-closing/

They’ll continue to be oblivious when their neighbor’s kid loses their job at the coffee shop because there’s a machine that makes the perfect Mocha Latte every single time.

They’ll still ignore it even as their sister’s husband loses his job at DHL (the world’s largest logistic company).

http://roboticsandautomationnews.com/2016/04/20/dhl-opens-supersize-logistics-centre-featuring-130-robotic-shuttles/4068/

They’ll only notice when their job at the local dentist’s office handling appointments and other office duties suddenly, without notice, disappears because Dr. Benning, such a great guy, has bought a Wavenet Office bot that can call patients to make appointments, reschedule, and handle all the tasks they previously did.

https://deepmind.com/blog/wavenet-generative-model-raw-audio/

And what about the unemployed? Think that they’ll just raise up a mob and take on the 5% of the population who owns the means of production now? Think again. The one area automation is already doing very well is security.

The new uber class (calling them rich isn’t even the right term at that stage) will be way ahead of the mob. They’ll have machines to protect their holdings, homes and families from the rabble. So those who think “they’ll have to do something for everyone else or they’ll be a revolution” think again. Don’t assume a universal basic income is a definite.

/">http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/security-robot-knightscope-/

What we do as a civilization, will define my generation. I pray we figure it out. Nothing scares me more than a future of split between the Gods and the Useless.

Further reading:

Economic Singularity


Comments (Page 4)
on Sep 21, 2016

I have been following this brilliant post with interest, not just the opinions/theories/possibilities and probabilities, but also what hasn't been mentioned "TAXATION". Leona Helmsley, (the Queen of Mean) allegedly once said that only the little people pay taxes, it seems that initially that the people being laid off/being put on the scrapheap will be the unskilled masses, the little people who find it hardest to avoid paying taxes in the first place. At the moment we see the mega companies doing their best to avoid paying taxes, through loopholes and tax friendly countries. The rich overpaid executives of most major companies awarding themselves (through their puppets) massive salaries, bonuses and tax avoidance schemes, so the tax burden has slowly shifted more and more to the working masses, both skilled and unskilled, and to the service sectors.

Take away the contribution from the unemployed unskilled workers then the tax burden shifts more to the skilled workers, tradesmen and the self employed. Reduce their numbers through AI replacements and the burden then shifts to the 'service Sector.

At the moment in the US there are about 150 million in employment, of this there are 8.5 million self employed, 19 million in manufacturing and production, 2.5 million in agriculture and a massive 120 million in the service sectors.

Retail and wholesale trade employ about 21 million, with another couple of million in warehousing we can expect a large contraction in theses sectors. The next vulnerable sectors are Finance and Business services, this is where we will see a large reduction in the higher taxpayer bracket, 30 million in these sectors which will be ripe for the AI's to take over.

Healthcare and social services, demand will dramatically increase in these sectors, but if there are less taxpayers and tax income worrying times are ahead.

Leisure and hospitality with 15 million, demand will increase but with more unemployed who will be able to afford it, but plenty of scope for AI's to take over.

State, Federal and local government 22 million, plenty of scope for more AI intervention, but this is the money pit where there will be more resistance to change, many back office jobs to go here perhaps, but more likely front line servers will probably go first.

It will be interesting to see how the tax burden shifts, but one thing is certain there will be less workers so the burden will shift, but this time up the ladder, with less taxpayers but paying more.

Half of the US taxes come from Income and profits, with big business finding more ways all of the time to avoid tax then the onus will be on the workers, less workers means less tax income. it will be interesting to see what happens to taxation in the future.Will there be a shift from taxable income to more state and property taxes, the government will need to get the money from somewhere, especially if a system of 'guaranteed paid unemployment' comes about

The rest of US tax income comes from social security payments and taxes on goods and services, we may see a cleft stick situation where fewer tax payers pay more taxes, have less disposable income, so buy less which in turn means less tax income.

Better let the AI's sort it out.

on Sep 23, 2016

Hi Brad!

Thanks for a very interesting read. Since you asked for a comment from a medical perspective, let me give you my 5 cents on automation. I've been a medical doctor in Sweden for 5 years now, and recently started my residency in radiology. Before choosing my current field, I was quite worried I might end up becoming a specialist in a completely automated field of medicine within 5 years. I'm sure if you set IBM's Watson on looking at x-rays, you could get a reasonably high accuracy already now. However the problems with automation in healthcare are manifold.

The biggest problem seems to be that it is done so incredibly inefficiently. You would think using modern software would reduce the need to fill out forms over and over again. Instead it turns out, making things quicker to document, gives you more time to document even more stuff! And because it is implemented in such a bad fashion, we're now filling out forms for several different authorities, that don't communicate with each other. The same data is entered over and over again. Swedish doctors and nurses spend most of their time filling forms and documenting stuff no one cares about any longer. Unless of course you're being reported for some mistake (perceived or real), the mass of text we document is not helping the patients, the medical staff or any researchers.

And yet, Sweden is one of the most advanced IT countries in Europe. This is what gives me most comfort when thinking of automation. Healthcare IT is extremely backwards; I'd say we're using software from the late 90's. Even the server solutions are abysmal, it takes us so long to get journal/medical record texts, and lab reports - simple text and numbers data. And not only is it slow, its insecure as well - I've lost count on how many times the servers are down (sometimes for days!), and healthcare suddenly stops, because we have no way to order new tests or x-rays. Hell, we don't even know whom the patient is without our IT!

Imagine then, an IT revolution in Swedish healthcare, would that make automation possible? I'd argue it would start, but that it'd take at least another 10 years until it starts to become reality. The reason? Human workers are extremely all-round capable resources. Our sensors are so exquisite that we don't even think about how we recognize the data from our finger-tips, our nostrils, vision and hearing, all simultaneously. Place a finger on wrist, you feel the patients pulse, heat, wetness among other things. Sure, there are apparatus that can do the same thing, but they cost money, and they break, and they require a technician for service, a technician to use it, and someone to sterilize it. We're a long way from a cheap and reliable all encompassing solution for these problems. Imagine Honda's ASIMO trying to do any of these tasks - 10+ years seems a reasonable time for technology to mature.

And what if we did have some sort of capable robot, that could help lift patients onto toilets, give patients their pills and take blood tests, would that mean the end of nurses? Again probably not in the near future, because the healthcare "industry" has an infinite demand and finite resources. You're not replacing workers, you're freeing them to do other tasks for other people. 

So what about my field, radiology? Surely a learning AI could learn to interpret x-ray images, at least the easy ones? Yes, at least simple images of normal human beings, but things get tricky when you deal with sick people. Often, they are not normal, sometimes far from it. They are elderly, whom have received random injuries and surgery (which sometimes is random as well) that make them different from normal. Patients with disabilities might not be cooperative during examination, a person with dementia might try to run out of the lab while taking x-ray pictures. Or patients with syndromes, mutations which have a large varied effect on human anatomy.

And when AI does get good enough to examine x-rays and other things, I'm 100% sure legislation will be too slow handle growing privacy issues that arise with handling more and more data. There won't be any actual issues of course, I mean we've all taken an oath, but that doesn't mean that legislators will allow us to implement things quickly, even if it is for the good of our patients.

The problems outlined above are of course possible (and some cases easy) to handle, and believe me, I'd rather the IT problems were solved than going to work and not knowing whom I'm treating or examining. But I think Swedish healthcare simply can't afford to jump headlong into automation, simply because it can't even handle IT and other technology from the last 20 years. I'm (probably) safe in radiology for the future of my career anyway.

Let me know if you think I'm wrong, I might have to rethink my career in that case!

Sincerely,

Hans Lee

on Sep 24, 2016

speaking of med tech. anyone read robin cook's fictions? obviously worst case scenarios.

on Oct 12, 2016

I've long been worried about this issue and I while I share the concerns expressed here and in the comments, I have a bit of a different angle to add, one that I've never see discussed, even amongst economists.

Our economy is the result of the interaction between two primary markets, the first for goods and services, the second, equally important, the market for labor. A good or service offered for sale has to warrant enough demand to pay for the labor associated with its production. This is counterbalanced by the need for people to sell their labor in order to pay for goods and services they need or want. These dual constraints act as important checks. In determining resource allocations, people vote with their labor as much as they vote with the money they gain from that labor. By selecting for high paying jobs, they're selecting for more productive, more "in demand" goods and services. What this article points out is that we're essentially eliminating or at least drastically reducing, the impact of the labor market. As best I can tell, for the first time in human history we'll only have the goods/services market for people to express their preferences. That will change economics at a fundamental level, its revolutionary, not evolutionary.

Human nature will work against us in this. For the owners, the people who own the natural resources, the productive capacity and the robots, there will be a strong temptation to simply use that capacity for their own desires. Once you own the entire means of production, why bother making widgets to sell so that you can turn around and use that money to buy a high end performance car? Simply have your robots make you one. I know I'm being a bit simplistic in the ease that robotic labor can be reassigned, but the principle still holds. I'd argue that history has shown that the upper class don't really need money if they have the equivalent of slave labor.

For the masses, some kind of redistribution will almost certainly be done by the gov't. Whether that be dollars or in goods and services doesn't really matter. What matters is their human nature will lead them to demand ever more simply because it costs them little to do so -- and there will be little else politicians can offer them than a bigger redistribution. It will be a situation where a little effort in the political arena can net bigger rewards than effort applied anywhere else. Of course people will do it.

We'll have these two elements diametrically opposed and I can't see how one side doesn't wind up dominating the other (it might even flip-flop a few times). Both sides want to influence resources allocation in their favor, they just have different means available to them and without the labor market to hold both sides in check -- well, it just doesn't look good from my point of view.

I think that whatever solution is out there that might produce a better outcome *has* to include keeping the masses involved in some kind of "labor" market. By that I mean that normal every day people get to make routine choices on what work is done by the robots *and* they earn rewards based on their choices, for good or ill. Some might suggest the capital markets for that, but I don't think its a good fit, the primary reason being time window. The labor market has a short time window with regular, largely predictable, paydays, not so with capital. Labor earns its paycheck whether a venture fails or succeeds, again, not so with capital. In my opinion, those differences plus others make the capital markets a poor stand-in for the labor market. Exactly what this new labor market looks like and how we get there are big tough questions, but I think its has to be part of what we address if we're to have any hope of a bright future for humanity.

 

on Mar 10, 2017

I love it.  Good discussion here.  Oh and I take an optimistic approach to AI.  Technology and science have generally led only to the improvement of mankind IMO.  There will be some pain in the transition but I have a faith a free market could figure it out.

on Mar 10, 2017

Frogboy

How many horses are there now?
 
 
If we abort babies like crazy and society accepts this then how is less life a bad thing?  Especially considering we are talking about horses and not humans.  This also implies people who only have 1 or 0 children are somehow evil for not bringing lots of potential lives into the world.  Why exactly is it bad that there are less horses now?  Its not like the horses are stuck in spirit form and are like this sucks this sucks this sucks this sucks I wish I could be born I wish I could be born I wish I could be born.  Who knows, I take an agnostic approach on spirituality and God so who knows.  I need a detailed moral argument why less horses is bad.
on Mar 11, 2017

I saw this coming in the early 1970's when I briefly tried factory work making plumbers supplies. When I first started there in January 1972, there were about 150 machinists operating various lathes and other manual machinery in the machine shop, but as those older machines were replaced with more sophisticated ones that could perform more tasks more quickly and efficiently, many machinists were made redundant... read fired. 

By September 1974, there were just 3 of us left, with each able to maintain/supervise several machines at once.  However, we were then told that the company had relocated its manufacturing arm to an almost fully automated factory in South Korea, thus I became unemployed at one of the worst times in Australia to find gainful employment, especially in manufacturing.  Just as my former company had done, so many others relocated offshore and skilled manufacturing jobs became a thing of the past.

The thing is, the trend never stopped, and over the years I've seen jobs in all sectors disappear as the corporate big-wheels found ways to 'do it' cheaper, either with computers or automation or both.  So no, this isn't a new thing in the 2000's.  It's just that technology is so much more advanced and sophisticated, and thus even more capable of swallowing up human involvement at an ever faster rate.

I do have to disagree with there being "no blood in the streets".

There's an old saying that has something to do with the Devil making use of idle hands, and mass unemployment will create so many, many idle hands with little or nothing constructive to do.  To further compound this situation, the number of have-nots will multiply, with the gap between the haves and the growing number of have-nots ever widening.  Now history tells us this is a recipe for discontent, civil unrest and even anarchy. History also tells us that the haves and powers-that-be will not tolerate this behaviour and will quash it with force when and where it be deemed necessary.

And to think, with all this AI and robotics...automation, the servants of the haves quashing this human uprising are likely to be machines.  Terminator anyone?  And will there be some kind of safeguards, a concience to prevent wholesale bloodshed, or will killing be indiscriminate?  Will the machines see themselves as superior and even turn on their masters?

Yeah, I know, there'll be those of you who will disagree with this, but it's not as far fetched as you think.  It has been suggested that the disenchanted unemployed will become addicted to virtual porn and/or games.  Maybe... if they can afford it, that is.  Even if the porn and games are made free, the technology on which to view/play it won't be, thus leaving the have-nots with too much idle time on their hands... and we know what the Devil does with those, right?

on Mar 11, 2017

You know what will happen if there is no enough economic stability due to unemployment. Emigration.

Emigration of workers to places they can find work in their field or similar field that has better benefits then being unemployed in their current countries. Or that takes less effort then re-specializing in their own countries to get the job position.

This already happened for centuries and still happens. Why do you think people risked their lives to get to America, instead of staying in their developed European counties. Or why there was push to the "wild" west in USA at later time?

Since economy and technology trends are never evenly distributed over world, there will always be redistribution of work force where it is still needed.

 

on Mar 11, 2017

player1_fanatic

Since economy and technology trends are never evenly distributed over world, there will always be redistribution of work force where it is still needed.

That may have been true a quarter of a century ago, but technology is moving/growing at an ever faster rate, and those countries that lag behind [technologically speaking] are generally over-populated and have little trouble filling jobs requiring a human hand.

on Mar 11, 2017

For all those thinking that this time will be no different that other major technological shifts, let me illustrate why you are probably wrong, why this time more jobs will be lost than created.

To produce a good or service you need three basic inputs: 1) resources, 2) energy, and 3) control (aka intelligence). With a few minor exceptions (such as donating blood), humans don't directly provide resources. In ancient times, humans provided nearly 100% of the energy and control. We started to harness animals and a few simple machines to provide some of the energy and a small bit of control. With the steam engine and the industrial revolution machines started providing most and eventually nearly all of the energy. While some intelligence could be built in to the machines, human control was still very much in demand. With AI levels of automation we're closing in on machines being able to provide 100% of both energy and control -- what's left for humans to do when we get there?

There is *possibly* one area left to humans, and that is creativity. But even there AI may supersede us and even if it doesn't I seriously doubt all 7 billion of us can continually create *new* ideas/content for the rest to consume.

Its different this time around, any new job created by the tech can be filled by AI.

 

on Mar 12, 2017

bamanlron

Its different this time around, any new job created by the tech can be filled by AI.

That's what I have been saying.  Tech has become so sophisticated and adaptable that human input will become a thing of the past... sooner, not later.  And where it is suggested that people will migrate to where the work is, what 1st world person in their right mind is going to migrate to a 3rd world country that already has an abundance of unskilled and semi-skilled workers who cannot find full-time, permanent work.

Yes, there are and will be 3rd world countries who lag behind those in the 1st world, but with tech evolving at an ever increasing pace, not to mention air travel, the internet and TV making the world smaller, those countries won't be behind for too long... for the elites and the powers-that-be, that is.

Furthermore, there's talk of there being a guaranteed basic wage being paid to all non-working people: well, that is not going to solve anything... really!  First off, the haves and powers-that-be will only pay the lowest minimum possible, because it is easier to control the masses when their spending power is practically zilch. This means that millions will be living just on or below the poverty line.

Sadly, the haves won't care about the homeless, cold and starving people, and governments won't be able to help because automation/robotics means there's fewer taxes being collected [and the haves will continue to avoid paying their due taxes], and thus, government is already stretched to capacity just paying a guaranteed basic wage.

There will be two outcomes from this: One, millions will die of starvation, the cold or heat exhaustion, thus freeing up funds for 'more important' matters: Two, people will revolt and fight for better conditions for their families.  However, this will be met with strong opposition and millions will die.  In other words "send in the Terminators".

Either way, the haves maintain control and do away with the superfluous and redundant, thus freeing up resources [food production, etc] for 'more important' matters.  It won't matter to the haves that they've shrunk the market by killing off millions of potential consumers, because that's the way greed works... amassing wealth at any cost.

So what happens when the haves have essentially wiped out the market and have only themselves as customers?  Well that's when they will start fighting amongst themselves... and I don't mean hostile take-overs or boardroom theatrics.  No, they'll send in the Terminators... 'til they're all that's left

Oh, and I don't need statistics or percentages to arrive at my conclusion.  So where is my proof?  History and human nature!  That's my proof... and all the proof I need.

Like where in history did the haves ever care about the homeless and starving?  That's right, they didn't.  So long as their wealth kept amassing it didn't matter who died or how many.   It is happening now but on a much grander scale.  I mean, look at the world's top 1%, with more wealth than half the population of the entire planet, yet starvation disease and famine is rife throughout the 3rd world.  No, the wealthy are not going to help.

Another lesson from history... how the wealthiest and most extravagent empires self-imploded because of greed and excesses.  Unfortunately, the human race is not known for learning from its mistakes, with power and greed the key components in bringing down even the strongest empires... Rome anybody.

The same will happen again, and not too far off in the future, sadly.  Mankind and civilisation took 2 billion years to evolve, but mankind will wipe it all out in less than 10.   Most of us probably won't be around to see the beginning of the end, but it will be swift and catastrophic when the haves discover there's nothing left to get... no more weath, no more power.

Will there be anyone left?

Yes, there will be enclaves of people hidden away in caves or some such refuge, and they will procreate and build new civilisations... to start the whole rotten process over again, having not learned a damned thing from history yet again.

on Mar 12, 2017

starkers


Quoting player1_fanatic,

Since economy and technology trends are never evenly distributed over world, there will always be redistribution of work force where it is still needed.



That may have been true a quarter of a century ago, but technology is moving/growing at an ever faster rate, and those countries that lag behind [technologically speaking] are generally over-populated and have little trouble filling jobs requiring a human hand.

 

But they may be still missing workers requiring specific set of skills.

on Mar 12, 2017

bamanlron

There is *possibly* one area left to humans, and that is creativity. But even there AI may supersede us and even if it doesn't I seriously doubt all 7 billion of us can continually create *new* ideas/content for the rest to consume.

This reminds me "brain farming" that some companies do. Bunch of unskilled workers doing menial tasks that are difficult for AI to do and easy for human brain. Like pattern recognition, captcha solving etc...

on Mar 12, 2017

psychoak

The same people that get "addicted" to porn today, are the same people that would waste away on vr porn...

 

It's not much different from alcoholism, only a small percentage of the population actually flushes their lives down the drain over the stuff, the rest of us have more self respect.

 

Such a dismissive and simplistic way of thinking, not really in keeping with the standard of the rest of the discussion IMO.

on Mar 12, 2017

You are obviously touching on an outlook that many  may shun, in spite of your diligence and accuracy, it's a very informative look at what could be our world wide economic future. Wincustomize is a great forum, I hope you reach many others beyond the scope of what you've written hear. Great job Frogboy

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