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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Will Robots Eventually Steal All Of Our Jobs?

Robots are coming fast and furious, and they are after your job. Robots are not just replacing manual jobs such as assembly line workers but now they have their eyes on doctors, pilots and journalists too!

A lot of the jobs that are disappearing thanks to advances in technology are fairly high paying jobs. Take Apple, they have recently announced a multi-billion dollar investment into robots to replace many of the 700,000 people involved in the production of their products.

Could you work next to robot? Are you afraid that it can take your job? What will we do with all our time once robots take over? How will society change and function? I am interested to hear your thoughts on this.
Sveta Bondarenko Send private email
Friday, July 19, 2013
We'll be programming the robots...
Andy Brice Send private email
Friday, July 19, 2013
Andy Brice Send private email
Friday, July 19, 2013
> We'll be programming the robots

Until the singularity, then we're all screwed.
Jonathan Matthews Send private email
Friday, July 19, 2013
I am a programming robot, my fingers strike the keys at a rate that would have Asimov in awe, my code is as beautiful as Wordsworth's sonnets, bugs are for you mere mortals, I am the robot coder.
Ducknald Don Send private email
Friday, July 19, 2013
Affirmative, you're time is elapsed...
Have a nice day...
Serge 922312644 :)
Serge Send private email
Friday, July 19, 2013
Every automation still creates new opportunities, although maybe not for the same people. This is an age old problem.
codingreal Send private email
Friday, July 19, 2013
Not just robots, but technology in general.  There is a legitimate concern here.  It seems like the secret for the future is to make sure you're educated.  For those with few skills though, I really don't know what they will do.  Imagine if all fast food places were completely (or nearly completely) automated...  And if we didn't need any janitors...  And because of supply and demand, the few job openings for the huge number of job seekers will drive wages down. 

There was just recently an article online about McDonald's trying to help their employees budget their money so they could get by.  It _assumed_ they would work full time at McDonalds AND have a second nearly-fulltime job.  I think this is the future for the low skilled worker :(
Doug Send private email
Friday, July 19, 2013
NeXT computer built an advanced, totally automated robot assembly factory for their computers. The computers were extremely expensive. A similar facility built Macintoshes for the first decade.

Etch a Sketch had a modern manufacturing facility, with robots to help make their product.

Both companies outsourced 100% of this to China, which uses hand assembly instead of robots, with workers making $1 or $2 a day. They don't get any health care, if you get cancer, you are simply fired. They also don't have to comply with any environmental or safety laws, which is the real cost savings here.

Robots have to be maintained by skilled engineers with specialist skills.

Factory floor managers don't need any skills at all except a steady hand with the whip.
Scott Send private email
Friday, July 19, 2013
I see this as a political problem to solve - the answer is to embrace it and submit ourselves to wealth re-distribution to make sure the machine owners take everyone else with them. I'm not a fan of communism (I like owning stuff and don't want to remove the rewards for work from those who want to pursue them) but, systems such as basic income make sense to me...


... I think we get closer and closer to it's implementation being possible / desirable as automation increases.
Jonathan Matthews Send private email
Friday, July 19, 2013
Robots are stealing our jobs is a political argument more than an economic one. If you look at the U6 unemployment data [1], it took a big jump up in 2008 and stayed there. If technology is one of the primary reasons for job loss, you would expect it to be a gradual curve. It could be a contributing factor, but there are many other plausible reasons why the economy has not rebounded. Saying that robots terk ur jobbs is just silly [2].

[1] http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/U6RATE
[2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=768h3Tz4Qik
Nicholas Hebb Send private email
Friday, July 19, 2013
"recently announced a multi-billion dollar investment into robots"
I assume this http://seekingalpha.com/article/658711-apple-s-revolutionary-move-into-robotic-manufacturing or something similar from about a year ago is what this statement is based on.

"Robots have to be maintained by skilled engineers with specialist skills."
Exactly, and the main thing holding back Chinese manufacturers right now is a shortage of skilled engineers.  It takes a long time to build up the human infrastructure that the U.S, Japan and Germany have.

Which leads into saying that this is significant for Apple shareholders and no one else.  It's investing their capital into Foxconn and others without gaining preferential market access or a competitive advantage.  Robotics are valuable in manufacturing environments where humans are at a natural disadvantage.  Such as very small scale manufacturing like IC's and physically unbearable conditions such as inside nuclear reactors.  There isn't much of an advantage for robots in final assembly or inspection or iPads.

Electronics manufacturing isn't exactly a cottage industry in China, typically they have to meet tighter QA standards that what western facilities had to before they closed up.  But it might be a Trojan horse to get better equipment  for heavier industry on Chinese soil.  After all, Apple isn't going to be able to influence Chinese economic policy or take over control of Foxconn.

Robotics seems to be the latest area where Tim Cook is trying to make his own mark on Apple.  I guess tablets aren't going to take over the wold after all.  Robotics won't do anything for Apple other than drawing comparisons to the Newton, and turning Cook into Sculley.
Howard Ness Send private email
Friday, July 19, 2013
final assembly or inspection or iPads

should be

final assembly or inspection of iPads
Howard Ness Send private email
Friday, July 19, 2013
> It _assumed_ they would work full time at McDonalds AND have a second nearly-fulltime job.

Those people at least used to live by humble means.

Now, when Google Car is finally ready, I expect it to be implemented for trucks first. Robot trucks would drive day and night, stopping only for refueling. Truck driver is a hard work, and pays quite well. All those drivers will get out of work in a matter of 10 years or less.

As already been said in this thread, the coming of the basic income guarantee looks inevitable.
Vladimir Dyuzhev Send private email
Friday, July 19, 2013
I think that this century will be the last with labor "hand", which will be replaced by robots gradually until reach near-singularity sophistication.

Any repetitive task, of almost any intelectual complexity, will be automated, including mass production, home service, transport,  systems creation and maintenance.

In a world with no bus drivers, welders, developers, surgeons, etc., human activities will concentrate in creative, scientific, recreational, spiritual and decision-making activities (arts, research, sports, religion, politics).

The big questions are: how to create a massive, escalable and transitionable economic model without human labor hand, but keeping people income based on other values? how to face an anti-robot movement?  and the basic "rights"...We have the right to work, but what if we are no longer needed? must the State employ me even if I am expensive or less productive than my robotic counterpart? else, as I am no longer productive, must the state provide my living resources?
Néstor Sánchez A. Send private email
Friday, July 19, 2013
A very old debate really.

Technology has always led to unemployed in old industries, without preventing new ones, indeed it can facilitate or create new ones.

Stable hands, horse groomers, horse breeder and other horsey people must have hated the "horseless carriage" as cars were first called. Now look at the jobs, from basic mechanics to customizers, professional re-sprayers, add-ons, tuning, valets, rental, the auto audio industry etc etc.

Even something as simple as alloy rims create extra demand for aluminium, with all it's associated industries, new tire designs and so on.

If you haven't read it before, or even if you have, it's worth reading "I, Pencil", let me find you a link..


That short little essay demonstrates how something as crude and "easy" to create as a pencil, is in fact beyond the scope of any one person. Huge add-on industries are required.

Seriously, take the time to read it, because it's a great essay and a true classic.

Leather whip makers don't make whips for horse buggies anymore. But they do make leather cases for mobile phones, which didn't even exist a few decades ago.

Technology doesn't take away jobs; it changes them.

Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Saturday, July 20, 2013
This TED talk shows how hard it is to build the simplest of consumer gadgets from 'nothing' (a toaster). It is quite entertaining:
Andy Brice Send private email
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Imagination, people!

When all the jobs are finally done by robots, then we will have full human employment, too. Everyone of us will work 8 hours a day, riding a bicycle connected to the power generators that will produce all the electrical energy needed for the robots. They won't be powered by love and air in the post peak oil era.

This job can't be done by robots, because they can't produce more energy then they need. Else it would be a perpetual motion machine, which is physically impossible.
Secure Send private email
Sunday, July 21, 2013
When I see people worrying about robots, I remember what they said about outsourcing to China or India: "they will replace everybody! You have to study management, to be their boss in a few years".

Fast forward: they did not replace everybody, they have their own managers, and the money that was spared by delocalization was reallocated elswhere (see all the logistics intermediary businesses, for example).

So, the probable result: robots will make some jobs cheaper than the human hand, but that will create other jobs witht he money not spent, and designing, building and repairing robots will create a lot of other jobs.
Geoffroy Couprie Send private email
Monday, July 22, 2013
And when they grab you with those metal claws, you can't break free, because they're made of metal, and robots are strong.

Racky Send private email
Monday, July 22, 2013
The robot wars are coming. Instead of skynet rising up, I picture a bunch of out of work people beating the poor robots.
Contractor Send private email
Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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