More Baron Frankensteins-
Fewer robber barons!
Technology has been replacing men with machines for over 200 years. It’s a good thing, except for the men and women whose jobs get replaced. We laugh at the Luddites who sought to destroy power looms and frames in the 1810s. We thrill to Mary Shelley’s story from that same decade, of science as a malevolent force creating …
>Fewer robber barons!
I suspect that is the point.
It isn't the increased efficiency that is objected to, it is the massive centralisation and consolidation which is being accompanied by new and innovative ways to bleed the customer, including taking features away to increase lock-in (MS VM translator) or to add them back later as an "upgrade" (Galaxy S7), finding ways of totally removing the financial benefits of improvements in hardware by hiking the software license costs (per core); vendors deliberately killing their own software industry to allow them to hawk their products "as a service" or to tie them to hardware which mysteriously has a totally fictitious end-of-life not driven by support costs, but by the need to make the customer purchase the whole thing again - rental by another name.
I like FLOSS - its the only "vendor" not deliberately making things worse for the customer.
... by new and innovative ways to bleed the customer, ...
Mostly the only "innovation" available to the plebs these days; On my holiday, I now have to chose between paying in EUR or paying in my native currency on the credit card terminal.
Why the fuck is that in any way clever or an increased value proposition?
Well, it is, to the bank, because if I make a mistake and pick EUR, I now get stiffed by a "currency fee" bigger than the amount I usually get stiffed with on the exchange rate when using the native currency.
I'd say: The Donald(tm) as El Presidente, Oprah as the Sidekick (VP) for a clean win. Burn the bums!
The fundamental problem with El Donald(tm) as El Presidente is that he fronts for the very forces that are screwing the little people. Sure, he'll point the finger at "Silicon Valley", whatever that is, but the real villains are the financial people who have turned everything into a commodity. These people don't 'sip champagne inside walled enclosures', they're the economic foot soldiers who took the neoliberal agenda of Hayek, Friedman et al (which isn't particularly 'neo' or 'liberal', BTW) and implemented it to make both themselves and their masters plenty of money. Anyone with common sense would have told them that they're not creating wealth, just redistributing it, but its taken a generation or so before they've tentatively mentioned that, yes, just possibly this neoliberal capitalism thing doesn't generate the Horn of Plenty for the 99%. This is leading to some interesting conclusions. One is that unless we do something about this 99/1 thing the 99% is going to get very pissed off, something that in the past lead to revolutions. The other is that given this experience of the negative results of unbridled capitalism economists like Keynes came up with what they thought was a compromise, a way of having one's cake and eating it too. This was too high a price to pay for the neoliberals, though, so their pet mouthpieces spent the last 30-40 years dissing him and his ilk. So we're back to revolution....demagogues....the early 20th century except this time we're going to use technology to keep the lid on things.
For an interesting read.....
Personally, I thought it was the looms they destroyed, and I suspect most other people do too. If the author had said "cropping frames" instead of "looms", I would have been lost and possibly even forced to read in to the link...
Sometimes the narrative is better preserved by writing what people expect rather than what is technically/anally correct. And one has to ask oneself the question, "does it really matter?"
But here you go: +1 for accuracy. (Though I'm tempted to balance it with a -1 for unnecessary rudeness)
"Personally, I thought it was the looms they destroyed, and I suspect most other people do too. If the author had said "cropping frames" instead of "looms", I would have been lost and possibly even forced to read in to the link..."
It's a significant difference.
Textile production in the West Riding had been based on the domestic system where spinning and weaving had been carried out by what were essentially family businesses with finishing processes carried out by specialists (one of these processes, fulling, had long been mechanised). Spinning seems to have been the choke point in this process.
In the late C18th new water powered machinery became available for spinning which in turn allowed weaving to become a full-time occupation. There was a gradual move to the factory system. Productivity and employment were rising. Manual cloth dressing would have become the choke point had this not been mechanised by cropping frames.
Without updating this step in the whole production system then at best the industry and the consequent employment would have had its growth limited; at worst, an more probably, it would have gone elsewhere. In short the few Luddites, who had been an elite, were endangering the employment of the many.
I'm not sure that this accords with what the
rant opinion piece was getting at because AFAICS the "scold in San Fransisco" is closer to the cloth dresser than those who object.
"It's a significant difference."
It is indeed a significant difference, but not one which matters.
If the author was writing that Mary Shelley's Dr Frankenstein created his monster because of the void left in his life by his cat dying, when it was actually his dog which died, that too would be a significant difference.
But it would not be a difference which detracts from the point being made.
Really your SJW slip is showing, get a life. He was correct and being correct is never rude. I see you would rather suppress truth with whatever your "opinion" is about History. But we are sick and tired of revisionists like your self. The truth is never wrong except when you don't like it.
"being correct is never rude"
I draw your attention to exhibit A, your honour, the second paragraph, which has nothing to do with the facts relayed in the first paragraph:
"Can't you even read the material you link to ..."
Let's try an experiment: I'm correct above, so does that mean it isn't rude if I call you a ****?
Though I'm tempted to balance it with a -1 for unnecessary rudeness
How was the OP rude? He was precise, accurate and direct. Now if you want unnecessary rudeness, then search some of my posts. I'm rather proud of the ones that were so foul-mouthed but right on the knuckle that they were within a hairs breadth of being moderated away. And a few that you won't find did suffer that fate (they were fucking epic, I tell you).
Can't you even email firstname.lastname@example.org if you spot anything wrong, so errors can be fixed up straight away, or do you like your comments sitting buried unread for hours?
Edit: Actually, I think it's OK. The article linked to says: "The name is said to derive from one Ned Ludd, an apprentice weaver, who some years earlier smashed a loom in a rage at his master who had beaten him."
So... they did smash looms. They may have smashed other devices, but they also smashed looms - so the article's right and you deserve the down votes.
Most of us would agree, up to a point, that those are not the problem. Or rather those professions could stand to gain some ethics and lose some members.
Deeper down in the article is problem. IF driverless cars are the future, what jobs will be lost.. besides cab drivers? Will cars only become rentals and not privately owned? Becoming rentals will kill off a lot of businesses pretty quick such as tire shops. repair shops, etc. since corporates (the rental cars) usually contract with one company. Auto accessories? They're gone as what's the point of putting something personal into a rental?
Is tech bad? Not in itself. It's the application of the tech and how it affects people. It's a very mixed bag of blessings and curses.
The historical problem has always been how to manage the transition and harm the fewest people. Too many cheerleaders fail to recognize that during the transition there is very serious skills disconnect between what people know and what they need to know in the future. This is a particularly problem for those who in the twilight of their careers.
Overall technology will lead to improved lives but the transition is likely to be very brutal to some. This is an issue rarely addressed and addressed it is often done in dismissive manner.
And, of course, we would only need a smallish percentage of Personally Owned Delivery stuff.
Mass Transit works well in inhabited places but not so well in Vermont such as on my 1 mile (1.6km) dirt road.
Having a non-chauffered voiture arriving every morning to convey me to my place of work (and on return) would be great. No car, no insurance, inspection, upkeep. No prior occupants smoking or doing other smelly stuff.... Whoops!
Driverless ultimately vehicles do mean Taxi drivers, delivery men, truck drivers will loose their jobs, and if people do not have to own their vehicles that will mean fewer vehicles and thus fewer auto-industry jobs - What will those people do without the necessary but low status jobs, there are only so many Macjobs.
of course the rich can then hire more Servants from the desperate plebs - back to the future!
Driverless ultimately vehicles do mean Taxi drivers, delivery men, truck drivers will loose their jobs...Nah, the delivery drivers won't lose their jobs, they'll "just" be demoted to delivery person, someone needs to unload the the truck. The'll lose probably the better part of half of their paychecks, but they'll keep their jobs.
Or, at the loss of a significant chunk of their income (most likely the difference between making ends meet and getting evicted) they will leave their job to find one that pays them enough, and then the company can hire some spotty twerp to work for even less than the reduced rate of the driver. - And, because the first "driver" quit, the company doesn't have to pay unemployment if the driver can't find a job.
"I was working up to a state of worry...." Don't bother, this is simply more alarmist nonsense. Whilst some services are being replaced by web bots, those that require a personal interaction most definitely are not, otherwise AutoTrader would have finished off all the secondhand car salesmen many years ago. It did not, it was simply used by those secondhand car salesmen to broaden their audience. Same goes for estate agents - no-one buys a house from a bot, they want to be shown it by a person that can answer their questions. "Bankers" is also wrong as only frontline counter staff and administration staff are likely to be replaced by online banking, the fat cats at the senior levels are untouched, and even then there are so many face-to-face banking duties that branches with people are likely to be around for a while yet. What is happening is that the small, independent operators are being driven out of business by franchises and chains that can use the Internet to reach those remote markets the independents used to own. Those chains and franchises have nothing to do with Silly-con Valley and plenty to do with investors like Trumpet.
In general Linker, I would be next to you with a pitchfork, a burning torch and a bucket of vitriol but yesterday I completed on a house sale that was very much in my favour, the Estate Agents were honest! my Lawyer did a better than Sterling job ( plus she's quite hot) and the Bank could not have been more helpful, my usual stance is to 'Burn them all!' but there may be room for a little compassion.
"The vilification of the Trump Voter as know-nothing flyover country hillbilly seems to be reaching new levels of hysteria."
But I thought Trump said there was "too much political correctness?" - clearly that must only be when attacking women, muslims, latinos and everyone else who isn't Trump.
On the contrary: it is saying that Trump's followers have a very real fear and grievance, and that they are correct in seeing themselves as sidelined and pauperised. Their solution is to go back to the good old days, which is not a solution that will ever happen, so they will continue on a loop of being victims, being angry, trying solutions that won't work, still finding themselves victims, etc.
I think a more communard approach, where economic decisions that affect whole communities and societies are made by everyone (voting, referendums, whatever) might actually achieve the control people want over their own fates. We would trade off some advances to gain wider safety and contentment.
Not that I believe it will ever happen anywhere.
Sorry Hollerith, can't buy the BS, we don't want your communism in the USA. You are already communist in almost all of Europe and it is failing miserably everywhere it exists.
Give ME liberty or Death! You can keep your commie ideals over there.
As for Trump voters being self made victims, that is a democrat & SJW tactic, not a republican ideal as you make it out to be.
The media including here are twisting our words but we are truly being attacked for our opinions. Censorship by "social media" is rampant and well documented. Even here.
The article is actually not at all vilifying to Trump voters, if you read it without being in defensive mode to begin with. What the article says is that Trump voters actually have valid concerns, and that although their solution looks gut-driven and naive, the tech industry is not coming forward with ANY solution at all. The tech industry bangs on the mantra that the problem will solve itself because new tech always creates new jobs to replace the ones it destroys - but since they're the ones reaping the profits, they can't be trusted because they have an obvious conflict of interest. Overall, it looks like a fairly balanced piece to me.
"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows..."
I was going to write a rambling response to this article but I'll just sum it up in that I think that there is a tendency to overstate the fears that technology will replace everyone and everything as stated. This IMHO is a very inward looking perspective and certainly not representative of where I live or the services that I use to move through my life. What these self aggrandising "new-tech" *cough* leaders people seem to forget to do is to actually look outside and see if what they are saying actually correlates in any way to ACTUAL reality. And generally I would profess, the answer is no, it doesn't.
So, in summation : Better stay away from those that carry around a fire hose.
This article does seem a rantier version of one of Orlowski's better articles, or that one could have been written as a response to this one.
Really, as ranty as this one was, I was looking for the "Originally posted at The Conversation" tag at the bottom of the
Who are these mythical people who go around identifying others likely to lose their existing jobs and magicking up a "fair deal and (alternative) job"?
These people didn't exist back then, and they don't now. What we end up doing isn't "our job". It's "a job". Life sucks when you find yourself in possession of skills nobody will pay you for, and there's no easy solution, no mythical people to come into your life and sort it out for you. It's shit and that's that.
The trouble with this sort of piece is that all too frequently they only tell half the story (if that). I'm all for increasing automation and computerisation so that us humans don;t have to do drudge work and can have increased leisure time. In a sensible world, we'd all be employed, and have increasing amounts of leisure as automation and computerisation increases (a la Jetsons).
But unfortunately, employers are stuck in a mediaeval mindset when it comes to actually employing people. They want to employ as few people as possible as cheaply as possible, and so when Modern Business replaces Ancient Business, it tends to employ fewer staff all still working the maximum hours the law permits, whilst those who've become unemployed get nothing other than state handouts.
How best to help the newly unemployed? Someone Else's Problem, says Modern Business, and besides, someone'll come along and create a new business which employ them it continues, shrugging and waving its hands airly.
Meanwhile, Government isn't giving businesses any incentive to employ more workers, still on a livable wage, but each working fewer hours than before. The financial system, mediated by Government, is still stuck in a mediaeval mindset where efficiency is measured in a very limited way and in purely financial terms. Governemnt waves its hands airly, thinks of a series of 'initiatives' funded for a pittance, and expects All Business to solve the unemployment problem for them, thus encouraging them in their unhelpful robber-baron mindset (unsurprising given that most in Governement appear to be in business, too)
Society, meanwhile, doesn't seem to have spotted that the above implies that if businesses can all be run with fewer people, and if jobs for the unemployed will be created by new businesses arising, then logically that implies that more and more people will become employers. Which is all well and good until we run out of people who want to be employers (never mind that the number of people actually competent to be employers is far smaller than the number that want to be, and also never mind that the number of those both competent and with a reasonably ethical attutude toward their employees is likely to be smaller again).
Countering this is the tendency for companies to buy each other and merge, reducing the number of employment opportunities at the top of the pile, as well as the bottom.
Logically, we are heading toward a situation where fewer and fewer people are employed in a shrinking number of companies that are, nevertheless, turning out greater and greater quantities of products, and thus still able to supply society's needs. Society isn't happy with this because on the one hand, there's the long-term unemployed unable to afford the shinies created my All Business, whilst on the other, there's the ever-shrinking workforce working themselves to death, stressed, and lacking the time to properly enjoy the results of their efforts, even if they are lucky enough to have the means to buy the shinies their labour produces (not a given, as too many employers prefer to pay minimum wages and treat employees as replaceable robots).
Meanwhile, the number of people controlling half of the entire world's wealth grows ever smaller.
This is not a tenable situation, in the long term, and IMO it's probably gone beyond the point where governments alone could fix it - companies have far too much clout these days for that. It'll take either some kind of epiphany on the part of business leaders (I'll not hold my breath waiting, ta) or the entire stupid edifice of the current inefficient economic system is liable to collapse around our ears due to its being so insanely unbalanced (not to mention unhinged) and inefficient.
I just hope things don't get too messy when it all goes bump.
Exactly, "More Government" is not the answer. If government would get out of the way, businesses would be able to expand, if SJW's would shutup and go back to mommies basement instead of rioting for a $15 minimum wage businesses would consider hiring, if idiots would stop espousing communist and socialist ideals, we might have an economy worth investing in.
Which is where I am at the present
Checks (us spelling) rule Ok.
Where the locals use them there will be a need for a local bank.
In fact the small town I'm in right now (06:11 in the morning) has two right on main st.
There is a general store, a blacksmiths (makes fancy doodads and does not shoe horses), a Barbers shop etc etc.
There is even a Victorian Hotel right across the street from the Saloon (Over 21's only) and a theatre.
Wallmart? Dollar General?
Oh, they are 15 miles away along with BigK and Safeway.
The view of the people here is that the people in the cities need to get out more often and see the world as it really is.
This place is close to 300miles from the ethereal if not downright unreal world of silicon valley and could not be a more different place. There is even a place that is a Radio Shack agency.
If the locals are strong enough then their town won't become a WalMart Ghost town. Remember thart Walmart are shutting lots of rural stores. What then for the locals? Will Amazon fill the breach? Out here? Are you kidding. It will cost them billions just to setup the infrastructure to rival that of the supermarkets.
It seems most people here are for Hilary but there is one 'Trump' poster right across the street from where I'm typing this.
If you mention 'Salesforce' around here the answer will be 'Oh, that's Hank', not some app on a mobile device. Cellphone signal here is 1 bar on AT&T. T-Mobile is non existent.
IMHO, this article is another pure clickbait flimsy.
I know El Reg is a 'Computing/IT/Whatever the educational establishment calls our business this week" site, BUT:
I find it deeply irritating when statements such as "Today technology is the weaver" imply - as has pretty much all of the press and readers thereof for many a long year - that "Technology == Computer/electronics stuff".
It's all "Technology". It's in the OED. Look it up.
Looms and cropping frames are technology. Medicines are technology. Cars are technology. Ploughs are technology. Please stop using that idiotic equation, it serves no purpose other than perpetuating the demonisation of the very business we work in.
There is nothing particularly new about a small coterie of clever, well-connected people using a new "technology" to enrich themselves, sometimes to the detriment of others.
It is mostly a concern for those affected, but the number of people affected continues to grow. Between automation, outsourcing, and other economic shifts (i.e. away from coal/oil to green energy) more and more jobs in rich countries like the US are going away. When it is an economic shift, generally jobs are created that offset the loss of jobs. The problem is that they might be created elsewhere - i.e. coal miners and oil workers in the US who lose their jobs because of solar energy becoming more and more viable will be "replaced" by Chinese workers making solar panels.
The unrest of those who are displaced could be explained away by the powers that be as communist/socialist sympathizers when it was only factory workers - i.e. those who claim unions are communist or socialist organizations and should stamped out. Now that it is starting to impact some white middle class jobs it will be harder and harder to ignore as the number of voices grow. They see the republicans as caring only about the rich and screw the little guy, while the only answer they see from democrats is to have the government help them with handouts. They don't like either answer, so it is no surprise they are rejecting both and looking for alternatives in greater numbers. Even those who aren't affected today see friends who are and worry what will happen to them, or their children.
Self driving cars will be great, but all those "jobs" created by Uber (by displacing cab drivers) will simply go away within a decade of the first 'official' self driving car hitting the road. Truck drivers will go away also, with people needed only to load/unload goods at each end. School bus drivers probably go away - unless school buses go away. They might be replaced by slack capacity from the local self-driving cab company, or parents in a neighborhood could band together and use one of their self driving cars. Better to transfer them in groups of 4-8 than 40-80 that inevitably means it takes the kids a lot longer to get there with all the other stops.
When we reach the point where we can build a robot able to do most of the physical things a human can do (some better, some worse) and is able to carry on a conversation well enough to serve customers and communicate as needed with human "co workers", look out. Those displaced will be permanently out of the workforce. A society can't educate its way out of this, those who are simply not intelligent enough or physical capable enough to do better than robots are "useless" to society, and their number will grow as the capabilities of the robots improve.
What do you do with people who are effectively useless as far as productive work in society? There are various options, some that will be unpalatable to those who own the robots and think they deserve all the benefits from their investment, to those that will be unpalatable to (or threaten the very existence of) those deemed "useless" to society. Just look at what we do with the "useless" today, using the example of those with severe mental or physical handicaps. While some places (typically non-profits) create what are effectively charity jobs for them, mostly they are given handouts. That's fine for a small number of them, and the temporarily (for some definition of temporarily) unemployed. That won't work well when you're talking 25% of the population, and is unsustainable when you reach 50%, for obvious reasons.
The force behind Trump's support has nothing, and I repeat, NOTHING, to do with technology.
It is about companies using cheap H1A, H1B, L1B workers and ILLEGALS to replace American workers -- in their own country.
It is about companies moving manufacturing (of whatever product you like) overseas to economies so poor that no American worker could ever have a fair shot of competing against those workers.
In other words, the globalists have stacked the deck against American workers and now there is a revolt against those that are doing so via Trump. Nothing to do with technology.
Funny thing... for the most part, too much of media has ignored his use of the visas and overseas manufacturing. Yet, he's bullish on jobs here. Go figure.
Let the downvotes from the Trumpties commence. I'm neither a lefty nor a rightie but dead center and see the stupidity and the rationality on both sides of the fence. In this case, it's more of hiding the truth.
"I didnt know Trump was hard left protecting jobs and harking back to the 19th century Luddites..."
He's whatever he thinks he needs to be to get the lowest common denominator to vote for him. Watch the sleazebag's amazing transformation into a different politician once it's time for him to start trying to appeal to a wider voter base.
There's one good reason for "Plebs". If there were no plebs, or no plebs with enough cash, then who is going to consume all the shit created by technology? Its useless to create everything with technology if doing this destroys the pool of consumers able and willing to buy it.
If you are in danger of having your job taken by a robot or a Mexican who can't speak English, then your job is probably repetitive and simple (and boring).
Here is a slightly less hand wavey article from The Economist:
"Innovation could lower prices and thus stimulate incomes indirectly, boosting demand for new jobs elsewhere. "
A lot of the aps/bots are just taking away jobs from small groups who have been granted monopolies by governments at present, such as Taxi drivers.
There are plenty of problems that technology could solve that could make society massively more productive and rich:
- Traffic congestion, how about creating a PRT system so that we can move about in 3D and not just on 2D roads?
- Decent housing near to city centers is still to expensive.
- Energy, how about some molten salt reactors to lower the cost of this, and prevent society from running up against pollution limits?
Funny thing that jobs are disappearing and relocating permanently. So basically there aren't enough jobs to go around and this trend will only grow worse, regardless of the cause. So, maybe people could start thinking about not breeding an unsupportable number of offspring into this abyss? Or maybe not having offspring at all? Could there be an opening for some consciousness-raising (and some contraception) when it's irresponsible and possibly immoral to bring crowds of offspring into a hopelessly crowded world where they have no future, economically speaking? Would that not address and remedy some of this labor force mismatch?
OK, I'll watch the flames now.
There is now more jobs around than before the Luddites, also there is no monsters... So they were wrong; Simple as.
Sure eventually we might replace all human jobs out with robots but even this is likely hundreds of years off still and when it happens, people won't become "useless" or "layabouts", people will just find other things to do in other areas since the robots will inevitably open up jobs else where as the steam engine caused a revolution in the jobs market. The fact is to keep enough robots around to replace all current human jobs would require an exceptional amount of electrical energy and so might not be as feasible as people like to think anyway.
(paraphrasing Scott McNealy's famous dictum on privacy)
Planned obsolescence and vendor-benefiting annoyances are third order effects at most.
The first order effect is, yes, any job that CAN be automated WILL be automated. The robots ARE coming.
A second order effect is more interesting: what will happen to technology ROI when there are too few consumer dollars to justify the investment at all? Can the robots be paid for by people doing robot maintenance?
But then, you know, there's garage 3D printing and open source software. We may see some pretty funky looking robots.
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