Responding to automation

Social, economic and environmental issues in our ever-changing world.
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Ka-El
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Responding to automation

Post by Ka-El »

This was interesting from the Conference Board of Canada. As many economists are warning, advances in automation, AI and robotics will correspond with a dramatic decrease in many good paying jobs, notably in the manufacturing sector. The new economy will require more highly educated and highly skilled workers, and both business and government are going to have to play a bigger role in ensuring opportunities exist for everyone. The specific skills needed will vary depending on the occupation, but it is anticipated workers will need even stronger social and emotional skills to adapt to changing work environments. As the Conference Board of Canada also suggests, there will be new opportunities in the so-called “clean economy”, but there is action to be taken:
Responding to automation
The clean economy offers solutions to workers at risk of automation


We've identified 92 "high-risk, low-mobility" occupations that need solutions, fast. The clean economy is rapidly growing—we've projected 10,000 or more job openings in Canada between 2018 and 2028. Here's what we've learned about those opportunities.

https://www.conferenceboard.ca/focus-ar ... MLVOTFECfw
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bb49
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Re: Responding to automation

Post by bb49 »

I wonder if automation is looking to become worse in the near future than it was back when assembly lines started appearing during the Industrial Revolution?
No doubt there was fear of automation making many jobs redundant back then, but maybe there were always many other jobs to fall back on.
So does the future look brighter, or darker than it did in the 1700s and 1800s?
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Ka-El
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Re: Responding to automation

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bb49 wrote: So does the future look brighter, or darker than it did in the 1700s and 1800s?
That’s not a straightforward question to answer methinks. When assembly lines started appearing they actually increased employment as the lines still required human workers and this new process allowed production to ramp up creating more jobs (eg. Ford). The concern over what is coming is the lack of necessity for any human involvement (due to AI and robotics) and the question of what all these displaced workers will do. There will always be new opportunities (as the OP suggests), but there will be new challenges in preparing for and meeting them as well. I guess the question of whether the future will look darker or brighter depends on a lot of things, including our collective ability to accept and respond to the need for change.
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Ka-El
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Re: Responding to automation

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One of the steps that could be taken is to adopt a four-day work week. In some operations this could open the door for job sharing which could provide more employment opportunities. The other spin-off benefit is having a team of happier (better work/life balance) and more motivated and productive workers.
A 4-Day Workweek Is Being Tested In Spots All Over Canada & This Is How It's Going

Every weekend is a long weekend for employees in Canada testing a four-day workweek! Towns and individual companies across the country are trialling the change and in many cases, it seems to be going pretty well.

Back in 2020, the Nova Scotia municipality of Guysborough began testing out a four-day workweek for employees in the town. Per the schedule, approximately 60 municipal employees took either Monday or Friday off every week.

After the nine-month pilot project ended in April 2021, councillors approved a policy to keep the shorter schedule in place. It is set to be revisited in another year, but officials say it's likely to eventually become permanent.

Guysborough's warden said the council is "very pleased" with the process. "We're (of) the opinion we're getting more bang for our buck hourly-wise (and) labour-wise- it's good-good all around," he told The Hawk.

https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/other/a- ... li=AAggNb9
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Queen K
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Re: Responding to automation

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I would work four 10 hour days.

They just haven't devised the correct line yet where I am. I would bid on it in a nano second.

What is implied by the term "clean economy" anyways?
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Re: Responding to automation

Post by AlienSoldier »

Earlier industrial revolutions consisted of increased automation but it was to standardize work, and reduce strain on workers. The current model now is reducing the labour force and using automation to do more work that workers would do. Some examples:
  • automotive plants used to have 3 shifts and 4000 employees; they now consists of 3 shifts, produce more cars and need 400 employees
    Automated trucks in the oil sands that do not need people to drive them
    self-checkout lanes replacing 4 cashiers with 1
    Amazon and such online stores replacing stores
Some jobs are created, such as the mechanic to fix the machines but they are a lot less than what they are replacing.
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Re: Responding to automation

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100 years ago this same conversation was occurring. Except back then the concern was around heavy equipment. One excavator or bulldozer could easily do the work of 20 men and horse teams.

The same conversation was had in the 90's when internet shopping became a thing. What about all of the clerks and store employees?

In the 50's when large assembly plants were spun up.

In the 70's when manufacturing made a wholesale shift to overseas.

Notice a trend yet?

The only thing that's changed is the nature of the automation/efficiency. We adapt, jobs become more skilled, etc.
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Re: Responding to automation

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AlienSoldier wrote: Some jobs are created, <snip> but they are a lot less than what they are replacing.
I (and many economists) believe you are right and would suggest this will be a challenge that will require a collective response if we don’t want to see the ranks of the displaced and marginalized become even greater. The research is not yet clear, but proponents argue a UBI would reduce bureaucracy and cost (replacing other social safety nets) and provide citizens with the opportunity to better strive for or even reach their potential. Combined with increased public funding for specialized training or post-secondary education, we could ensure more equitable access to opportunity and increase participation rates. The naysayers would say this would encourage people not to work. This is the same sort of reasoning that believes people are happy living on welfare. Others would reason that most people would be naturally inclined to better their situation (or maybe they need to stay home to care for an aging parent saving the system money) and would use the opportunity to do just that.

https://www.ubiworks.ca/
https://www.chatelaine.com/news/univers ... anada-faq/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal ... _the_world
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Jlabute
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Re: Responding to automation

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This was interesting from the Conference Board of Canada. As many economists are warning, advances in automation, AI and robotics will correspond with a dramatic decrease in many good paying jobs, notably in the manufacturing sector.
First of all, the idea of AI &&/|| robots quickly replacing jobs is extremely overstated. So Chill! According to many experts.

https://phys.org/news/2015-08-threat-ro ... tated.html
https://slate.com/technology/2021/03/jo ... tions.html
https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech ... overblown/
https://www.wired.com/2017/08/robots-wi ... -your-job/
etc etc etc
The new economy will require more highly educated and highly skilled workers
Worry not, education is a large industry, and Canada graduates many skilled and creative engineering students.
and both business and government are going to have to play a bigger role in ensuring opportunities exist for everyone.
... but we DON'T need larger government and the silly Robo-apocalyse won't scare ME in to thinking we do. Of course, now I am thinking that this is what the scare is about... probably some artificial economy, Green New Deal good jobs replacement program.

but it is anticipated workers will need even stronger social and emotional skills to adapt to changing work environments
Not any more than we need today for the few who are overly emotional.

As the Conference Board of Canada also suggests, there will be new opportunities in the so-called “clean economy”, but there is action to be taken:
Yup, there it is. Of course the real subject is we can solve enormous unemployment caused by AI/robots with enormous green government subsidies and we will have the unemployed make and install solar panels because everyone wants solar panels even though they are 10x cheaper in China. A total waste of tax money.
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Re: Responding to automation

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“On the other hand it is possible that human control over the
machines may be retained. In that case the average man may have
control over certain private machines of his own, such as his car of
his personal computer, but control over large systems of machines will
be in the hands of a tiny elite -- just as it is today, but with two
difference. Due to improved techniques the elite will have greater
control over the masses; and because human work will no longer be
necessary the masses will be superfluous, a useless burden on the
system. If the elite is ruthless the may simply decide to exterminate
the mass of humanity. If they are humane they may use propaganda or
other psychological or biological techniques to reduce the birth rate
until the mass of humanity becomes extinct, leaving the world to the
elite. Or, if the elite consist of soft-hearted liberals, they may
decide to play the role of good shepherds to the rest of the human
race. They will see to it that everyone's physical needs are
satisfied, that all children are raised under psychologically hygienic
conditions, that everyone has a wholesome hobby to keep him busy, and
that anyone who may become dissatisfied undergoes "treatment" to cure
his "problem." Of course, life will be so purposeless that people will
have to be biologically or psychologically engineered either to remove
their need for the power process or to make them "sublimate" their
drive for power into some harmless hobby. These engineered human
beings may be happy in such a society, but they most certainly will
not be free. They will have been reduced to the status of domestic
animals.”
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Re: Responding to automation

Post by Sparki55 »

TylerM4 wrote: Jul 27th, 2021, 8:45 am 100 years ago this same conversation was occurring. Except back then the concern was around heavy equipment. One excavator or bulldozer could easily do the work of 20 men and horse teams.

The same conversation was had in the 90's when internet shopping became a thing. What about all of the clerks and store employees?

In the 50's when large assembly plants were spun up.

In the 70's when manufacturing made a wholesale shift to overseas.

Notice a trend yet?

The only thing that's changed is the nature of the automation/efficiency. We adapt, jobs become more skilled, etc.
I agree with that! :130:

For some reason, we never learn from history. It forever will be "but this time it's different!"

If you were to add up all the "unemployment" we should have from each industrial / automation scare of the past, nobody should be left working today.
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Re: Responding to automation

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*removed*
Last edited by ferri on Jul 27th, 2021, 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Baiting
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Re: Responding to automation

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*removed*
Last edited by ferri on Jul 27th, 2021, 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ka-El
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Re: Responding to automation

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Sparki55 wrote: If you were to add up all the "unemployment" we should have from each industrial / automation scare of the past, nobody should be left working today.
That’s true, and much of that has to do with the growth of the service industry (as opposed to “production”). Of course, there has always been a service industry (from before the days of blacksmiths I’m guessing), but that sector has grown exponentially with industrialization and automation and could be expected to continue to grow. From the link below much of the growth in services employment can be attributed to job creation in professional, scientific and technical services, and professional, scientific and technical services are becoming an increasingly important industry in the Canadian economy.

From hairdressers and servers to accountants and lawyers and whatever you can imagine in between there will always be some kind of opportunity within this sector, and the sector will have to continue growing as employment opportunities in other sectors become more rare or difficult to attain.
This sector accounts for 75% of Canadian jobs and 78% of the country’s GDP. The sector includes the following sectors; transportation, economic, health care, construction, banking, communication, retail, tourism and government. As a vital part of the Canadian economy, the most popular sector is retail…

In recent years, the financial services, real estate and communications industries have grown exponentially, especially in the business hubs of Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto.

Known as “Hollywood North”, Canada has become a powerhouse of international and local films, with many American film studios choosing to move their sets here.

Services play a key role in economies around the world and Canada is no exception. Gradually, the proportion of our economy stemming from services has been increasing, from 65% in 2004 to 69% in 2013. The gross domestic product (GDP) of service industries in 2013 totalled $714 billion¬—almost double the amount in 2001.

https://canadianvisa.org/life-in-canada ... e-industry
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Re: Responding to automation

Post by AlienSoldier »

TylerM4 wrote: Jul 27th, 2021, 8:45 am 100 years ago this same conversation was occurring. Except back then the concern was around heavy equipment. One excavator or bulldozer could easily do the work of 20 men and horse teams.

The same conversation was had in the 90's when internet shopping became a thing. What about all of the clerks and store employees?

In the 50's when large assembly plants were spun up.

In the 70's when manufacturing made a wholesale shift to overseas.

Notice a trend yet?

The only thing that's changed is the nature of the automation/efficiency. We adapt, jobs become more skilled, etc.
Bit different this time. In those early stages of automation as we replaced the shovels with a digger, or a horse with a car, calculator with people crunching numbers the jobs shifted from the office to factories. We needed to build those items. That continued with early automation (I worked at building some of these for automotive plants such as Ford and Honda. The work went from the factory floors to design and manufacturing of the automation equipment at companies like the one I worked at.

What is happening now is the low hanging fruit is all gone. In order to cut costs and increase reliability. efficiency the systems have gone online or are being leaned out. You will still need robots to build your cars, but you will need less of them, you will need less mechanics, you will have less parts in your cars. Office workers are slowly being replaced by online AI as well. These are replacing multiple people with an AI and a fraction of the labour. The labour can also be anywhere in the world so again the jobs are shipped to the lowest cost location. In the long run the system learns, becomes self reliant and stable, once that happens you cut again.

Call it "death by a thousand cuts".

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