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What if advanced robotics practically eliminates the need for human labor?

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http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2014/07/17/4048180.htm

The Robot Economy and the Crisis of Capitalism: Why We Need Universal Basic Income

by Thomas Wells
ABC.net.au
July 17, 2014

The material prosperity that capitalism has wrought is the product of technology, as well as markets (and social norms and state institutions).

Markets enhance the efficiency of allocation of resources - such as human labour - between competing projects, while technological innovations enhance the productivity of our use of those resources, the ability to produce more with less.

As Keynes prophesised in his famous essay, "Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren" (1930), the seemingly relentless trend of rising productivity promises finally to end the "economic problem" - the struggle to overcome scarcity that has characterised the human condition since our beginning. Finally, we can turn as a society to considering what our enormous wealth can do for us, rather than what we must do to get it.

But this is not a time for complacency. Unless we intervene, the same economic system that has produced this astonishing prosperity will return us to the Dickensian world of winners and losers that characterised the beginning of capitalism, or worse.

The problem is this: how will ordinary people earn a claim on the material prosperity of the capitalist economy if that economy doesn't need our labour anymore?

The crisis

The original industrial revolution was basically an energy revolution which replaced puny human brawn with fossil fuel powered machines that were orders of magnitude faster and stronger. Human workers were displaced into the new jobs created by this prosperity, some managing and servicing the machines that made actual things, but most into "services," producing intangible goods such as education by cognitive efforts that the technological revolution in productivity couldn't reach.

We are now living through a second industrial revolution that is replacing puny human brains with machine intelligence. Any kind of work that can be routinised can be translated into instructions for computers to do, generally more cheaply and reliably than human employees can. That includes increasingly sophisticated cognitive labour like driving, law, medicine and document translation. Even university lecturers are at risk of being replaced by technology, in the form of Massive Open Online Courses, while the digital cloning of actors promises to allow filmmakers to cheaply manufacture whatever cast they please.

Just like the original industrial revolution, this is creating large numbers of losers whose skills are no longer valued by the market. But this time it is not clear that new jobs will appear for these people to move into, for this time the machines can follow us nearly anywhere we try to go. This time technological unemployment may become a permanent fact that we have to deal with by changing how capitalism works. Our birthright as humans - the ability to produce things by our labour that others find valuable - may become economically worthless.

According to some economists, automation is already erasing white collar jobs from the economy, a process that accelerates in recessions like this one leading to jobless recoveries and an ever-widening hole in the middle of the labour market. At the bottom, increasing numbers of people will compete for low status low paid jobs like cleaning and fast-food preparation - things that machines are not yet able to do, or not able to do cheaply enough. At the top will be a new creative class of knowledge workers who develop and service the machines on behalf of the capitalists who own them. In between, the jobs will be most cost-effectively done by robots.

Thus, on the output side of our new robot economy, we have material abundance undreamed of by earlier generations. But on the production side, we have an economy increasingly independent of human labour and so unwilling to pay for it. Hence the crisis.

For under capitalism as we know it, the labour market is the central mechanism for distributing claims on the economy's productivity. The welfare systems we have developed are designed to complement it, for example providing education to improve children's employability as adults, and social insurance "safety nets" for the disabled and temporarily unemployed. Employment is also highly moralised - people are understood to have a moral duty to seek paid work and are held responsible for their failure to get it. (Indeed, cultivating this norm was clearly understood to be essential to the global institutionalisation of capitalism, along with legal innovations like limited liability corporations. The nineteenth century colonial powers deliberately set out to convert subsistence economies into profitable ones by coercing peasants into waged labour.)

None of this is sustainable in a robot economy. We need something new.

Universal basic income

Universal basic income is the idea that governments should guarantee all their citizens an income sufficient for a decent standard of living. It is not a new idea - versions of it can be found in Thomas More's Utopia and Thomas Paine's pamphlet on Agrarian Justice - but it may be one whose time has come.

In the idealistic 1960s and 70s the idea enjoyed some political support and experiments were even carried out to see how it might work in practise. Yet the grip of the moral ideology of work made it politically unfeasible - even hard-nosed economists worried that paying people to do nothing would undermine the work ethic on which the economy depended, including the taxes needed to pay for the basic income itself.

More recently the idea of basic income has had a small revival. Some on the left see it not only as a just return of excess profits from capitalists to workers, but as a means of returning dignity to work - giving people the freedom not to have to take demeaning and low paid jobs just to survive. Some on the right focus on the efficiency and liberty gains of abolishing the bureaucracy of the present welfare system.

In the context of the robot economy, the case for a universal basic income becomes still more compelling. For it is no longer only an idealistic vision of a freer, more just society. It may also be our best chance to avoid a nightmare.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

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Will Google’s New Robot Be Used to Hunt “Non-Cooperative” Humans?
« Reply #81 on: May 13, 2017, 06:39:56 pm »
 

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Will Google’s New Robot Be Used to Hunt “Non-Cooperative” Humans?

Smaller version of Big Dog fulfils 2008 Pentagon request

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
February 10, 2015

A new robot designed for the US Army by Google fits the criteria of a 2008 Pentagon request for the development of a system which could detect and track “non-cooperative” humans in “pursuit/evasion scenarios”.

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8YjvHYbZ9w


Spot is the latest military robot developed by Boston Dynamics, which was bought by Google last year. The robot is far more agile than its larger predecessor, Big Dog, and can run around at high speed both outside and indoors.

Video footage of the new robot shows its ability to recover from being kicked, even on icy surfaces.

The fact that Spot can operate indoors is somewhat ominous given a 2008 Pentagon request for contractors to build, “A software and sensor package to enable a team of robots to search for and detect human presence in an indoor environment.”

The proposal called for the development of robots, “to search for and detect a non-cooperative human subject” during “pursuit/evasion scenarios,” directing that they have the ability to “intelligently and autonomously search”.

The New Scientist’s Paul Marks responded to the story by asking, “How long before we see packs of droids hunting down pesky demonstrators with paralysing weapons? Or could the packs even be lethally armed?”

Steve Wright, an expert on police and military technologies from Leeds Metropolitan University, also warned that such robots would eventually be armed.
    “The giveaway here is the phrase ‘a non-cooperative human subject’.”

    “What we have here are the beginnings of something designed to enable robots to hunt down humans like a pack of dogs. Once the software is perfected we can reasonably anticipate that they will become autonomous and become armed.”

    “We can also expect such systems to be equipped with human detection and tracking devices including sensors which detect human breath and the radio waves associated with a human heart beat. These are technologies already developed.”
Robotics Professor Noel Sharkey has also repeatedly asserted that the robots being developed by Boston Dynamics will eventually be used for crowd control and to hunt down and kill people.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

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Humanoid robot has a sense of self
« Reply #82 on: May 13, 2017, 06:41:19 pm »
 

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http://www.prisonplanet.com/humanoid-robot-has-a-sense-of-self.html

Humanoid robot has a sense of self

New Scientist
March 19, 2015

The human self has five components. Machines now have three of them. How far away is artificial consciousness – and what does it tell us about ourselves?

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RW425vW4BtQ

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JAPAN ROBOT RECEPTIONIST WELCOMES SHOPPERS
« Reply #83 on: May 13, 2017, 06:42:12 pm »
 

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JAPAN ROBOT RECEPTIONIST WELCOMES SHOPPERS

Android with lifelike skin and almost (but not quite) natural-looking movements...



by AFP | APRIL 20, 2015

“My name is ChihiraAico. How do you do?” she says in Japanese, blinking and nodding to customers in the foyer of Mitsukoshi, Japan’s oldest department store chain.

Clad in an elegant traditional kimono, ChihiraAico — a name that sounds similar to a regular Japanese woman’s name — breaks into a rosy-lipped smile as would-be shoppers approach.

Unlike her real-life counterparts — almost always young women — who welcome customers to shops like this, ChihiraAico cannot answer questions, but simply runs through her pre-recorded spiel.

Read more
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UC Berkeley Builds Robot That Can Learn All by Itself
« Reply #84 on: May 13, 2017, 06:43:20 pm »
 

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UC Berkeley Builds Robot That Can Learn All by Itself

Joshua Krause
The Daily Sheeple
May 27, 2015

One of the arguments in favor of automation, is that even though robots will take our jobs, surely they will replace them with better jobs. Right? They will eliminate menial vocations and replace them with programmers and repair crews that will be dedicated to maintaining the machines, and these jobs will pay much more than the ones they replace. But what if these new machines don’t need any human input? What if they can learn all by themselves?

That appears to be the case with a new robot developed at UC Berkeley, which has been appropriately dubbed BRETT (Berkeley Robot for the Elimination of Tedious Tasks). The machine learns through trial and error, much like a human. While it’s not completely independent, all the researchers need to do is point out the objects that it has to put together, and it can figure out how to do it in 10 minutes.

While that may not sound like a big deal, it’s lightyears ahead of most robots, which need human instructions for every minutia of any given task. As Professor Pieter Abbeel put it “The key is that when a robot is faced with something new, we won’t have to reprogram it. The exact same software, which encodes how the robot can learn, was used to allow the robot to learn all the different tasks we gave it.” If you have any fears about the future of the job market, then brace yourself before watching this robot in action.

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeVppkoloXs

"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

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Robots “Cheaper Than Any Human Worker” Means the End of Jobs
« Reply #85 on: May 13, 2017, 06:45:02 pm »
 

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This is a Tipping Point: Robots “Cheaper Than Any Human Worker” Means the End of Jobs

Mac Slavo
SHTFplan.com
October 20, 2015

Before future-history brings us a dark and grim reality pitted against a killer Terminator robot army, humanity will have to face job killing robots.

And that may be the bloodiest period of human history, after unemployment leads to riots, unrest and bitter aftermath scenarios play out as a consequence.

Robotic labor is now literally cheaper than human labor, and it is poised to undercut work forces and drive layoffs in even in the most exploitative, slave-wage factories in the world.

Mass unemployment, destroying jobs in every conceivable sector, is a growing danger. Truckers, factory workers, waitresses, teachers, bureaucrats and bosses are all directly threatened by robotic labor, with millions and millions of Americans facing a 90-99% chance of termination (check out your odds in this jobs calculator). In a short span of time, employment could go from bad to virtually non-existent.

The system is already strained to the max, and millions of Americans are struggling just to get by. Those in the Middle Class are endangered. The poor and nearly-poor are the most dependent on government that they’ve ever been in history, and tens of millions more will soon join them, and become almost completely dependent on the State for their livelihood.

Now, South Korea is making a huge move to undercut China on labor costs by displacing humans once and for all in their production facilities, in a bid to edge up on their Asian rival. Samsung has vowed to create robots – who do the work automatically, and without the need for breaks, meals, or days off – that are literally “cheaper than any human worker.”

This is the tipping point. Things will not get better from here without a great and painful struggle.

The Metro reports:

[Continued...]
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Geolibertarian

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ghin9rUdueA (Robot Chef)




-------------------------------------------

http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/01/i-robot-you-unemployed/

I, robot. You, unemployed

The machines are taking over the world and we will be standing idly by

Mary Wakefield
The Spectator
January 16, 2016

One evening last autumn, four experts in the field of artificial intelligence arrived in Westminster with an urgent message for our government. There’s a robot revolution on the way, they said, and unless we prepare for it we’re in trouble.

The briefing was a quiet affair — I was one of only a few journalists invited, for fear of headlines like ‘The Terminator is coming’. However, by the time the last A.I. expert had said his piece, it was hard to imagine how a hack could over-hype the story. Computers really are set to take over, it turns out. We’re rolling unstoppably towards servitude to machines.

The four experts spoke in turn, each about a different point in the future, like biblical prophets warning of the End Times. The most farseeing prophet was theoretically the most alarming. He talked about ‘the singularity’, the point at which a computer will be capable of recursive self-improvement; of designing and building machines cleverer than itself and far, far cleverer than us. He said this point might be only 45 years away.

How do we ensure these brilliant robots don’t turn against us? How do we program them to respect puny, human life? No one knows, said the prophet. No one’s come up with a way of teaching a computer human values, so should we let A.I. continue with no fail-safe? This is something for you to start considering (here he eyed the Westminster thinkers) right now, before it’s all too late.

I peered about in the hope of catching policy wonks scribbling memos such as:

[Continued...]






^^  The writing is clearly on the wall. In what is increasingly becoming a high-rent/low-wage service economy, it's obviously not a question of "if" tens of millions of Americans are rendered permanently unemployable by advanced robotics, but when.

At that point every one of those millions of obsolete workers will get to experience the delightful pleasure of spending the rest of their lives being lectured to by right-wing reactionaries about what lazy deadbeats they are as they beg and grovel for "charity" (be it public or private) in a world overflowing with abundance.

The solution? An unconditional basic income financed by Henry George's Single Tax, by the public issuance of debt-free money (otherwise known as "social credit"), or by a combination of the two.

The general idea of UBI is that, in a world overflowing with wealth, natural resources and labor-saving technology; and in an economy in which there are already millions more Americans in need of work than there are job openings, and in which AI-driven robotics are rendering human labor increasingly obsolete, people should not have to beg and grovel either for "charity" or for jobs that don't exist just to be able to afford the basic necessities of life.

UBI is not about allowing everyone to live in the lap of luxury, but merely about establishing a minimum standard of living below which no one can ever fall -- and doing so in a way that doesn't require wasting millions and millions of dollars each year on bureaucratic paper-shuffling. People will always want the various luxury items that UBI would not allow them to purchase, and that will be all the incentive they need to apply for whatever jobs are available. The key point is that, unlike now, they would not rely on those jobs for their very survival, and would therefore not be slaves to those jobs.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gh_kaQSSVt8 (Basic Income: 10 Reasons)




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhvoInEsCI0 (Alan Watts on Socially Responsible Automation and an Unconditional Basic Income Guarantee)

"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

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Davos: Five Million Jobs Lost to AI/ Robots by 2020
« Reply #87 on: May 13, 2017, 06:47:52 pm »
 

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http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/01/18/davos-5-million-jobs-lost-to-ai-robots-by-2020/

Davos: Five Million Jobs Lost to AI/ Robots by 2020



by Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.
Breitbart
Jan. 18, 2016

In a bleak new report, the World Economic Forum (WEF) predicts heavy job losses to automation and robotics over the next four years as technological advances significantly reshape the industrial landscape.

The WEF outlines its grim forecast for the labor market in “The Future of Jobs,” a report published on Monday, suggesting that the influx of automation will affect every industry and geographical region, and not just established markets. The report has emerged just days before the WEF’s annual meeting at Davos, which will run from Jan 20-23.

Calling the transformation “the fourth industrial revolution,” the WEF said that though employment may grow in certain areas, a net loss of more than 5 million jobs in 15 major developed and emerging economies can be expected by the year 2020.

The “Revolution” involves greater synergy among “previously disjointed fields” such as artificial intelligence and machine-learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, and genetics and biotechnology, the report states, a phenomenon that will cause widespread disruption not only to business models but also to labor markets over the next five years.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

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Think Your Job is Safe from Robots: You’re in Denial
« Reply #88 on: May 13, 2017, 06:48:58 pm »
 

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Think Your Job is Safe from Robots: You’re in Denial

JOSHUA KRAUSE
The Daily Sheeple
March 22, 2016

Machines have been taking over our jobs for a long time. Ever since the industrial revolution began in the early 19th century, the human race has been racing ahead on a non stop train to automation town. While the first factories obliterated countless jobs, for most of the past 200 years, the rate at which our jobs have been automated has been fairly steady and predictable.

However, a new surge in automation is upon us, the likes of which we probably haven’t seen since the 1800’s. With the rapid advancement of computer technology, coupled with slow economic growth and widespread calls for a higher minimum wage, never have companies had more motivation to automate, as well as the means to do so on a wide scale.

In other words, many of the jobs that were once considered untouchable by robots, are about to disappear forever. By some estimates, nearly half of the jobs in the US may face automation over the next two decades.

Many of the first jobs to go will be low wage professions, since the workers in those fields are the most adamant about raising the minimum wage. Unfortunately for them, the writing is already on the wall. Their jobs are already being replaced with machines. Just this week it was revealed that the first automated grocery store was opened in Sweden.

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2L7q5IqthM



And Domino’s just unveiled a new pizza delivery robot in Australia.

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qS1l7MyZts4


However, automation certainly isn’t going to end with these low wage positions, and a lot of people are deluding themselves about that fact.
    But even as we face the prospect of increasing automation, and fewer employment opportunities, most American workers remain confident – perhaps too confident. A look at some newnumbers from Pew Research Center shows that worker sentiment toward the future speaks not just to inflated confidence, but perhaps a sense of denial.

    The Pew brief cites a 2013 study from Oxford University, which says that as much as 47% of American jobs are subject to automation in the near future. In other words, as much as half of the American work force may be facing a serious employment crisis, and we’re really doing nothing about it. Using that as a starting point, Pew surveyed Americans to drill further down into this dilemma, and see how Americans feel about the unnerving prospect of mass automation.

    As expected, a majority (two-thirds) do expect that within 50 years, robots and computers will take over most of the menial work from human employees. But – and here’s the big hang-up – a majority of workers also think that their own specific professions or jobs won’t be impacted.
65% percent of Americans understand that automation is going to wipe out nearly half of the job market, but 80% are at least fairly confident that their job won’t be automated in the next 50 years. I suppose it’s human nature. We all want to believe that our jobs are too sophisticated for a robot. It’s not only frightening to think that we could lose our jobs, but in a sense, also insulting to think that our jobs are simple enough for software to take care of.

However, we all need a reality check. Take a look at this job index. You can look up pretty much any kind of profession, and it’ll tell you the likelihood of that job becoming automated. There’s a good chance that you’re going to be shocked to find that you’re very replaceable at your workplace. I’m a writer, and even my job had a 33% chance of facing some degree of automation.

There’s a massive wave of layoffs and automation coming, and even some jobs that require problem solving and creativity may not be spared. Are you ready for that eventuality?
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

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UK looks at impact of AI and robotics on jobs and society
« Reply #89 on: May 13, 2017, 06:49:54 pm »
 

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http://www.zdnet.com/article/uk-looks-at-impact-of-ai-and-robotics-on-jobs-and-society/

UK looks at impact of AI and robotics on jobs and society

By Danny Palmer
ZDNet
March 24, 2016

The UK Parliament is set to examine how jobs, the workplace and wider society will be affected by the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence, along with the social, ethical and legal issues which could arise alongside the technology.

The launch of the inquiry, which will be carried out by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee comes shortly after Google's DeepMind AlphaGo AI comprensively won a series of Go matches against South Korean champion Lee Se-dol

Nicola Blackwood MP, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, says this historic achievement is just scratching the surface of artificial intelligence, and its therefore important that UK society is ready for the radical changes AI might bring.

"Robots are now beating humans at even the most complex games, like Go. Artificial intelligence will play an increasing role in our lives over the coming years. From navigation systems to medical treatments and from new manufacturing techniques to unmanned vehicles, new applications are rapidly being developed that involve robotic decision making," she said.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

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Robots are coming for your job, and most of you don’t even know it
« Reply #90 on: May 13, 2017, 06:50:43 pm »
 

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Robots are coming for your job, and most of you don’t even know it

By Catey Hill
MarketWatch
April 01, 2016

80% of workers believe their current job will likely exist in 50 years



Robots may soon take your job and, most likely, you won’t see it coming.

While two in three Americans expect that, within 50 years, robots and computers will do much of the work that humans currently do, when it comes to their own jobs, most workers think they’re in the clear, according to a survey of more than 2,000 adults released in March by Washington, D.C.-based think tank Pew Research Center.

Fully 80% of workers say their current job will definitely or probably exist in its current form in 50 years; just 6% say it will definitely not. “In general, workers tend to be confident about their own job prospects,” says Aaron Smith, the associate director of research at Pew — even as they “vaguely sense” that robots will take many jobs in the future.

While the reasons for this disconnect aren’t clear, Smith says it may be because the idea of robots taking jobs is still relatively abstract to many workers who haven’t yet experienced that themselves. So while they agree that robots can take jobs, “this is not something that registers as a meaningful worry to their own job prospects,” he says.

[Continued...]

---------------------------------------------

"In the psychology of human behavior, denialism is a person's choice to deny reality, as a way to avoid a psychologically uncomfortable truth." -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denialism
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

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Google’s bipedal robot reveals the future of manual labor
« Reply #91 on: May 13, 2017, 06:51:58 pm »
 

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Google’s bipedal robot reveals the future of manual labor

Mashable
April 10, 2016

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyZE0psQsX0




Google recently put up its Boston Dynamics robotics unit up for sale, but that doesn’t mean that the company is getting out of the automaton business.

A new bipedal robot from Google’s Schaft robotics was shown off on Friday at the New Economic Summit conference in Tokyo, Japan on Friday.

The small robot is shown walking in a number of situations that can be challenging even for humans, including a sandy beach, a rocky terrain, snow, and a steep, narrow staircase.

Read more
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Robots could make poor people stay poor
« Reply #92 on: May 13, 2017, 06:55:15 pm »
 

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Good news for all you blame-the-victim-firsters out there...

http://www.businessinsider.com/iot-robots-could-eliminate-industrial-jobs-2016-5

Robots could make poor people stay poor

Andrew Meola
Business Insider
May 12, 2016

Poverty runs rampant in many developing nations, but robots could actually cause problems for people in these countries.

Industrial robots could eliminate the traditional path out of poverty for people in these countries, according to The Verge. If factory jobs evaporate, then these nations could grow their industrial bases without the need to move workers from fields to factories.

Industrialization that promotes development in nations historically involves the migration of workers from agricultural jobs to ones inside factories, which typically provide better pay. But the Financial Times notes that industrial automation will likely hinder economic growth for the next group of developing markets.

In short, nations in South America, Africa, and South Asia will not be able to grow as quickly as China and South Korea by enhancing their manufacturing and exports.

The Financial Times examined Indonesia, a nation in which industrial productivity has fallen in the last 10 years. Factories in the country have closed even though wages there are lower than in China and the Indonesian government supports and promotes manufacturing.

But by the time Indonesia actually fixes the issues of poor infrastructure and over-regulation of exports, robots could take away even more jobs from low-skill workers in the nation.

Governments' reactions to robots' disruption of labor forces could have a tremendous effect on industrial growth. If robots replace a significant chunk of the industrial workforce, then governments must figure out how to train workers for jobs that robots cannot eliminate, such as service jobs. Otherwise, rising unemployment rates, social unrest, and animosity toward robots in the workplace will run rampant.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

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Re: Robots could make poor people stay poor
« Reply #93 on: May 13, 2017, 06:58:51 pm »
 

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If robots replace a significant chunk of the industrial workforce, then governments must figure out how to train workers for jobs that robots cannot eliminate, such as service jobs.

Apparently someone forgot to inform Mr. Meola that robots will soon replace a significant chunk of the "service" workforce as well. (And, no, it's not because of threatened hikes in the minimum wage!)

-- http://fortune.com/2016/03/17/automate-fast-food/

-- http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/cb4c93c4-0566-11e6-a70d-4e39ac32c284.html

-- https://www.inverse.com/article/5376-robots-will-take-fast-food-jobs-but-not-because-of-minimum-wage-hikes

-- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3577192/The-future-fast-food-KFC-opens-restaurant-run-AI-ROBOTS-Shanghai.html
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Foxconn replaces '60,000 factory workers with robots'
« Reply #94 on: May 13, 2017, 07:08:30 pm »
 

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Is working for slave wages preventing factory workers in China from being replaced by robots? Keep that question in mind the next time you hear an Austrian School reactionary suggest or imply that the minimum wage is the driving force behind all this.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-36376966

Foxconn replaces '60,000 factory workers with robots'

By Jane Wakefield
BBC
25 May 2016

Apple and Samsung supplier Foxconn has reportedly replaced 60,000 factory workers with robots.

One factory has "reduced employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000 thanks to the introduction of robots", a government official told the South China Morning Post.

Xu Yulian, head of publicity for the Kunshan region, added: "More companies are likely to follow suit."

[Continued...]
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The writing on the wall continues to get bigger...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXg33S3U_Oc (Emotionally intelligent robot comes to life 7 March 2016)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0_DPi0PmF0 (Hot Robot At SXSW Says She Wants To Destroy Humans | The Pulse | CNBC)

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Think it's just the low-wage service jobs occupied by "those others" (wink wink) that are at risk of being replaced by AI-driven robotics?

Think again:

http://bgr.com/2016/06/21/robot-surgeons-vs-human-doctors-star/

Robot surgeons might soon replace humans for complicated procedures

By Yoni Heisler
BGR
Jun 21, 2016

Anyone who has either gone under the knife or who has had someone close to them go under the knife can readily attest that the entire surgical process is harrowing. Even when the primary objective of an operation goes smoothly, the risk of problematic complications always looms overhead.

It’s no exaggeration to state that the well-being and long-term prognosis of patients on the operating table has an awful lot to do with the skills of the surgeon overseeing the given procedure. Which, of course, is why medical students wishing to become surgeons must complete a seemingly endless amount of schooling and unbelievably rigorous on-the-job training.

Needless to say, being a surgeon is an incredibly taxing and demanding profession. But what if surgeons of the future aren’t highly skilled and extensively trained humans? Instead, imagine a world in the not too distant future where human surgeons are replaced by robots.

[Continued...]


http://www.techtimes.com/articles/93473/20151010/ap-has-a-robot-journalist-that-writes-a-thousand-articles-per-month.htm

AP Has A Robot Journalist That Writes A Thousand Articles Per Month

By Fritz Gleyo
Tech Times
October 10, 2015

Automated Insights, an American technology company that specializes in making narratives using big data, published a case study detailing how its Wordsmith platform has helped the Associated Press produce close to 4,300 stories per quarter – 14 times more than the previous manual output of AP's reporters and editors.

In January, the Associated Press (AP) revealed that Wordsmith has been rolling out content since July 2014 without any human intervention.

[Continued...]
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http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/640744/Jobless-Future-Robots-Artificial-Intelligence-Vivek-Wadhwa

YOUR job won't exist in 20 years: Robots and AI to 'eliminate' ALL human workers by 2036

CUTTING-EDGE robots with artificial intelligence will have almost entirely replaced human workers within just 20 years, a world-leading expert on the subject has claimed. To prepare – he says he need to rethink our jobs, and our society.

By AARON BROWN
Daily Express
Feb 5, 2016

Vivek Wadhwa, a distingiuished fellow at both Stanford and Duke universities and business technology specialist, said it was now "indisputable" that mankind is on the verge of an era of change similar to the Industrial Revolution.

He said: "This is happening now. The technologies are removing jobs, they are eliminating them.

"In a decade or two you'll find that robots and artificial intelligence can do almost every job that human beings do. We are headed into a jobless future.

"I know it sounds very scary, but that is the reality of technology."

[Continued...]
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It’s the Robots, Stupid
« Reply #98 on: May 13, 2017, 07:16:39 pm »
 

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http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/02/its-the-robots-stupid-the-fundamental-issue-none-of-the-candidates-want-to-talk-about/

It’s the Robots, Stupid: the Fundamental Issue None of the Candidates Want to Talk About

by Barry Lando
CounterPunch
September 02, 2016

It’s the robots, stupid.

The rabid anti-immigrant campaign of Donald Trump mirrors the racist vitriol of right-wing politicians across much of the developed world. But totally absent from what passes for political debate in the U.S. and abroad is what’s really driving those ever more incendiary movements.

They are fueled by fear. There’s the dread of terrorist attacks, to be sure. But much more pervasive is the unremitting anxiety of hundreds of millions in the developed world that they are threatened by change, by dark forces they neither understand nor control—by rampant unemployment, a diminished standard of living. They have been brought up to believe that hard work and sacrifice would bring a better life. No longer.

Donald Trump tells them hordes of immigrants, illegal aliens and disastrous trade pacts are to blame. But Trump—as well as those excoriating him–are totally missing the point.

The major force impacting our society is the spectacular advance of technologies —robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. The dizzying pace of change is only going to accelerate: a chain reaction as we hurtle to warp speed.   (See my previous blog)

Why is this phenomenon not the urgent focus of our political debates? Why are we instead obsessed with illegal aliens and Hillary’s emails?

It used to be that we welcomed advances in technology. We were assured they ultimately create more jobs than they destroy. No longer.

Estimates are that close to half the jobs in the United States are likely to be wiped out or seriously diminished by technological change within the near future. These are not just factory workers, receptionists, secretaries, telephone operators and bank tellers. Sophisticated algorithms will soon replace some 140 million full-time “knowledge workers” worldwide. Those threatened range from computer programmers, to graphic artists to lawyers, to financial analysts and journalists.

Meanwhile robots are being programmed to care for the bourgeoning ranks of the elderly. In Thailand, a solicitous robot, known as Dinsow helps old folks exercise, keep track of their medication, entertain them with its karaoke skills, or help them to videophone their relatives. They also cheerfully answer the same questions ad infinitum from patients suffering from memory loss.

Other companies are manufacturing, soft, pliant life-size robots increasingly proficient at everything from sex to Sumo wrestling.

Indeed, there are serious people who believe that such phenomenal change will not only ravish our workplaces but ultimately challenge the future existence of our species.

So, how to explain why this is not the major issue of the day?

[Continued...]
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Technology Will Replace Many Doctors, Lawyers, and Other Professionals
« Reply #99 on: May 13, 2017, 07:19:21 pm »
 

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https://hbr.org/2016/10/robots-will-replace-doctors-lawyers-and-other-professionals

Technology Will Replace Many Doctors, Lawyers, and Other Professionals

by Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind
Harvard Business Review
October 11, 2016

Faced with the claim that AI and robots are poised to replace most of today’s workforce, most mainstream professionals — doctors, lawyers, accountants, and so on — believe they will emerge largely unscathed. During our consulting work and at conferences, we regularly hear practitioners concede that routine work can be taken on by machines, but they maintain that human experts will always be needed for the tricky stuff that calls for judgment, creativity, and empathy.

Our research and analysis challenges the idea that these professionals will be spared.

[Continued...]
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Replaced by automation -- it ain't just for peasants anymore.

http://www.prisonplanet.com/worlds-largest-hedge-fund-to-replace-managers-with-artificial-intelligence.html

World’s largest hedge fund to replace managers with artificial intelligence

London Guardian
December 23, 2016

The world’s largest hedge fund is building a piece of software to automate the day-to-day management of the firm, including hiring, firing and other strategic decision-making.

Bridgewater Associates has a team of software engineers working on the project at the request of billionaire founder Ray Dalio, who wants to ensure the company can run according to his vision even when he’s not there, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“The role of many remaining humans at the firm wouldn’t be to make individual choices but to design the criteria by which the system makes decisions, intervening when something isn’t working,” wrote the Journal, which spoke to five former and current employees.

The firm, which manages $160bn, created the team of programmers specializing in analytics and artificial intelligence, dubbed the Systematized Intelligence Lab, in early 2015. The unit is headed up by David Ferrucci, who previously led IBM’s development of Watson, the supercomputer that beat humans at Jeopardy! in 2011.

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How much larger must the writing on the wall get before people finally stop ignoring the far-reaching implications of this issue?

Is anyone so blinded by hero worship or ideology that they actually believe that parroting feel-good slogans about "liberty" and "Americana" all day -- and/or that bringing back a few hundred thousand factory jobs from China and Mexico -- will come even close to preventing tens of millions of American workers from being rendered permanently obsolete by the following trend?

http://bigthink.com/philip-perry/47-of-jobs-in-the-next-25-years-will-disappear-according-to-oxford-university

47% of Jobs Will Disappear in the next 25 Years, According to Oxford University

by PHILIP PERRY
Big Think
December 27, 2016

The Trump campaign ran on bringing jobs back to American shores, although mechanization has been the biggest reason for manufacturing jobs’ disappearance. Similar losses have led to populist movements in several other countries. But instead of a pro-job growth future, economists across the board predict further losses as AI, robotics, and other technologies continue to be ushered in. What is up for debate is how quickly this is likely to occur.

Now, an expert at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania is ringing the alarm bells. According to Art Bilger, venture capitalist and board member at the business school, all the developed nations on earth will see job loss rates of up to 47% within the next 25 years, according to a recent Oxford study. “No government is prepared,” The Economist reports. These include blue and white collar jobs. So far, the loss has been restricted to the blue collar variety, particularly in manufacturing.

To combat “structural unemployment” and the terrible blow it is bound to deal the American people, Bilger has formed a nonprofit called Working Nation, whose mission it is to warn the public and to help make plans to safeguard them from this worrisome trend. Not only is the entire concept of employment about to change in a dramatic fashion, the trend is irreversible. The venture capitalist called on corporations, academia, government, and nonprofits to cooperate in modernizing our workforce.

To be clear, mechanization has always cost us jobs. The mechanical loom for instance put weavers out of business. But it’s also created jobs. Mechanics had to keep the machines going, machinists had to make parts for them, and workers had to attend to them, and so on. A lot of times those in one profession could pivot to another. At the beginning of the 20th century for instance, automobiles were putting blacksmiths out of business. Who needed horseshoes anymore? But they soon became mechanics. And who was better suited?

Not so with this new trend. Unemployment today is significant in most developed nations and it’s only going to get worse. By 2034, just a few decades, mid-level jobs will be by and large obsolete. So far the benefits have only gone to the ultra-wealthy, the top 1%. This coming technological revolution is set to wipe out what looks to be the entire middle class. Not only will computers be able to perform tasks more cheaply than people, they’ll be more efficient too.

Accountants, doctors, lawyers, teachers, bureaucrats, and financial analysts beware: your jobs are not safe. According to The Economist, computers will be able to analyze and compare reams of data to make financial decisions or medical ones. There will be less of a chance of fraud or misdiagnosis, and the process will be more efficient. Not only are these folks in trouble, such a trend is likely to freeze salaries for those who remain employed, while income gaps only increase in size. You can imagine what this will do to politics and social stability.

Mechanization and computerization cannot cease. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle.

[Continued...]
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If Robots and AI Steal Our Jobs, a Universal Basic Income Could Help
« Reply #102 on: May 13, 2017, 07:29:08 pm »
 

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https://singularityhub.com/2016/12/13/if-robots-steal-our-jobs-a-universal-basic-income-could-help/

If Robots and AI Steal Our Jobs, a Universal Basic Income Could Help

By Peter Diamandis
SingularityHub
Dec 13, 2016

Some fear that robots and AI will steal our jobs.

They probably will (in the near-term, at least half of them).

If that happens, what will we do for a living? How will we earn money?

In this post I’ll be discussing one of the most important proposed solutions to job loss due to automation—the notion of “universal basic income” (sometimes called guaranteed minimum income).

Specifically, I want to discuss:

     1. Predictions on job loss
     2. What is universal basic income? Who is experimenting with it?
     3. Does UBI work? What are the implications?

Let’s dive in.

[Continued...]
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Amazon planning to open robotic supermarket staffed by just TWO humans
« Reply #103 on: May 13, 2017, 07:32:41 pm »
 

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http://www.prisonplanet.com/amazon-planning-to-open-robotic-supermarket-staffed-by-just-two-humans-sources-claim.html

Amazon planning to open robotic supermarket staffed by just TWO humans, sources claim

The Sun
February 6, 2017

If you’re a robot stealing somebody’s job, it’s best to stay hidden.

That’s what Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos appears to be thinking, as his Seattle-based web giant has contemplated a two-story, automated grocery store in which a staff of robots on the floor upstairs grabs and bags items for shoppers below.

The ground level of the futuristic prototype — a supermarket-sized version of its recently unveiled “Amazon Go” convenience store, with a bigger layout that could span anywhere between 10,000 and 40,000 square feet — would be devoted to goods that shoppers typically like to touch, sources briefed on the plans told The New Post.

Those could include as many as 4,000 items, spanning fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, meats and cheeses, and grab-it-and-go stuff like beer and wine, the sources said. Pharmacies might also might spring up at some of the high-tech locations, as Amazon looks to break into the lucrative sector, insiders said.

But for many, the most striking feature of the bigger stores is that they could operate with as few as three employees at a time. Sources said the plans call for staff to max out at 10 workers per location during any given shift.

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http://www.prisonplanet.com/here-come-the-robots-and-they-are-going-to-take-almost-all-of-our-jobs.html

Here Come The Robots – And They Are Going To Take Almost All Of Our Jobs

Michael Snyder
Economic Collapse
February 7, 2017

What is going to happen to society when robots are able to do just about everything better, faster and cheaper than human workers can?

We live at a time when technology is increasing at an exponential pace.  Incredible advancements in robotics, computer science and artificial intelligence are certainly making our lives more comfortable, but they are also bringing fundamental changes to the workplace.  For employers, there are a lot of advantages to replacing human workers with robots.  Robots don’t surf around on Facebook when they are supposed to be working. Robots don’t need Obamacare, lunch breaks or vacation days. Robots never steal from the company and they never complain.  Up until fairly recently, human workers could generally perform many tasks more cheaply than robots could, but now that is rapidly changing.

For example, a coffee shop has just opened up in San Francisco that is manned by a robot instead of a human…
    Tired of your barista misspelling your name on your morning cup of joe? Perhaps a robot could do better. On Monday, Cafe X opened its very first robotic cafe in San Francisco’s Metreon shopping center. Promising “precision crafted specialty coffee in seconds, the way the roaster intended,” Cafe X thinks that anything a human can do, its machines can do better.

    Specifically, one very special machine. Nicknamed Gordon, after a Cafe X employee, this robot mans, or robots, two standard professional coffee machines in order to serve up espressos and lattes. In the San Francisco location, customers can grab a cup of coffee with beans from AKA Coffee, Verve Coffee Roasters, or Peet’s. While the coffee itself may not make Cafe X stand out from the competition, the startup hopes that the robot’s efficiency will.
If that coffee shop demonstrates that it can be much more profitable than a coffee shop with human employees, it is just a matter of time before human baristas start to be phased out all over the nation.

A similar thing is happening in many supermarkets.  Personally, I hate the “self-checkout lines”, but you are starting to see them everywhere these days.

And according to the Sun, Amazon is playing around with a concept that would employ hardly any human workers at all…
    In the case of Amazon’s automated retail prototype, a half-dozen workers could staff an average location. A manager’s duties would include signing up customers for the “Amazon Fresh” grocery service. Another worker would restock shelves, and still another two would be stationed at “drive-thru” windows for customers picking up their groceries, fast-food style.

    The last pair would work upstairs, helping the robots bag groceries to be sent down to customers on “dumbwaiter”-like conveyors, a source said.

    With the bare-bones payroll, the boost to profits could be huge. Indeed, the prototype being discussed calls for operating profit margins north of 20 percent. That compares with an industry average of just 1.7 percent, according to the Food Marketing Institute.
During the recent presidential campaign, much was made of the fact that we have shipped millions of good paying jobs overseas over the past several decades.

We can certainly try to make some laws that would keep American workers from losing jobs to foreign workers, but pretty soon workers all over the world are going to be losing millions of jobs to technology, and it is going to be just about impossible to make laws to prevent that from happening.

Just check out what is happening in China.  Many big firms had moved manufacturing to China because labor was much cheaper over there, but now a lot of those cheap Chinese workers are being replaced by robots

[Continued...]

--------------------------------------

As the writing on the wall gets bigger and bigger, millions of human ostriches bury their heads in the sand deeper and deeper.

     

And that's where their heads will remain until it stops being someone else and starts being oh-so-precious them. Then they'll actually have the nerve to whine and complain.
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http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-06/japanese-insurance-company-replacing-staff-with-ai/8165418

Artificial intelligence to replace human staff at Japanese insurance company

They never take days off and never strike — artificial intelligence is set to replace more than 30 human workers at a Japanese insurance firm.

ABC News
January 05, 2017

The system will be based on IBM's Watson Explorer technology, and will help calculate payouts to Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance policyholders from January 29, the company said in a statement.

IBM describes Watson as "cognitive technology that can think like a human".

The AI will scan hospital records and medical certificates, and then extract data on injuries, patient medical histories and administered procedures to determine insurance payouts.

Fukoku Life said it hoped the AI would increase productivity by 30 per cent, although final payments will still be processed by human staff.

The 34 employees replaced by the AI will lose their jobs by the end of March, most of them on five-year contracts that will not be renewed or replaced.

The company will spend 200 million yen ($2.36 million) to install the system, and spend about 15 million yen ($177,000) in yearly maintenance fees.

But it will save about 140 million yen a year ($1.65 million) on employee salaries after the system is implemented, which means the investment will pay off in less than two years.

Other Japanese companies are already using similar technology —

[Continued...]

-----------------------------------------

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Robots Will Take Fast-Food Jobs, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes
« Reply #106 on: May 13, 2017, 07:43:34 pm »
 

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This is what the Austrian School propaganda machine wants desperately for everyone to remain blissfully ignorant about:

https://www.inverse.com/article/5376-robots-will-take-fast-food-jobs-but-not-because-of-minimum-wage-hikes

Robots Will Take Fast-Food Jobs, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

A $15 an hour fry cook won't change the inevitable.

Peter Rugg
Inverse
August 17, 2015

Since New York raised its minimum wage for fast food workers in July, there’s been a lot of talk about how the Fight for 15 would hurt low-income workers by destroying jobs and ruining lives. But in 2015 there’s a new angle to this that’s different than every other wage hike in American history that could be even more ruinous for fast-food workers: The possibility that restaurants can entirely replace them with a robot staff.

The Washington Post reports that as legislators give more consideration to nationwide raises, wage hikes have given the restaurant industry new incentive to upgrade its 2.4 million servers, 3 million cooks, and 3.3 million cashiers. That would be easier at cheap restaurants than mid-scale to fine dining. People are willing to pay out three bills a plate for something Gordon Ramsay prepared because he’s Gordon Ramsay, but where are the bragging rights for sampling the latest concoction from ChopBot360? And A.I. just isn’t advanced enough yet to coral the slavering hoards at the Cheesecake Factory on Christmas Eve.

But places like McDonald’s, attractive more for convenience and affordability than ambience or culinary pedigree, are more vulnerable. Salon reports San Francisco start-up Momentum Machines Inc., designer of an automated burger chef, plans to raise its profits at the expense of the fry cooks, and is at least being honest about it. “Our device isn’t meant to make employees more efficient,” company co-founder Alexandros Vardakostas told reporters. Salon further reported that Vardakostas’ company estimated that the average fast food restaurant spent about $135,000 annually on labor for burger production, an amount it could more than save just a year after conscripting robots for the same purpose.

Then there’s Japan’s Kura sushi chain, which has already moved to automation in its 262 restaurants and filleted its expenses in the process. Panera Bread announced in April that it was investigating automated service, with self-ordering kiosks and mobile ordering at all its locations in the next few years.

The eagerness to upgrade their tech even before the wage increases exposes a false choice when people argue that wage hikes are forcing fast food chains to replace workers. Because even at $7.50 an hour, if Momentum Machines’ numbers are correct, chains still save money on robots. Making the savings more attractive might speed up the process, but it doesn’t change the trajectory.

[Continued...]
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In September 2014, at the TEDxOrangeCoast conference, Kevin Surace explained why, due to the increasingly rapid decline in the cost of AI robotics, "all" jobs will disappear within the next 50 years:

       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Jxlx9SZEAk



Contrary to what many want so desperately to believe, abolishing the minimum wage will not stop this from happening; nor will "ending the Fed"; nor will "buying human"; nor will raising tariffs on foreign imports; nor will repealing the 16th Amendment; nor will deporting all illegal immigrants; nor will building a "wall" along the U.S.-Mexico border; nor will parroting feel-good slogans about "liberty," "family," "private property," "rugged individualism" and "Americana" all day long.

There's no avoiding the inevitable. Less than 50 years from now, practically all jobs will be a thing of the past because it will be far cheaper to produce wealth with robots than with human workers.

What won't be a thing of the past, however, is landlordism, because land isn't "produced" by anyone; it's a free gift of nature. The land on which all human beings must live yet which none created or produced will still be "owned" by a mere subset of the population.

The question thus arises: as an increasing percentage of wage-earners are silently rendered permanently obsolete year after year, what are these unemployed people supposed to do to acquire the money they need to pay their monthly existence fee -- i.e. "rent"?

Beg and grovel for "charity" the rest of their lives in a world overflowing with abundance, all while listening to self-righteous reactionaries arrogantly and mindlessly blame them for being poor and unemployed??

Many of these blame-the-victim-firsters are, of course, retirees. Where do they think their retirement checks are going to come from if there's not nearly enough wage tax revenue coming in to finance those checks? Or are they so blinded by right-wing ideology and self-obsession that they can't even bring themselves to bother with such an obvious question until the socioeconomic reality about which they're in willful denial finally starts bitch-slapping them in the face?
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