Monday, February 13, 2017

AUTOMATION ?

   The other day Connie from Far Side of Fifty was talking about buying a new car. She had a few "needs". She wants a car that drives itself, avoids accidents, stops at garage sales and antique shops and lets you read and maybe have a snooze. Well, such a car is almost here. It still costs a lot of money.

    Shortly after reading her post I heard an interview on automation and what it may or not do to our economy and society. The possibilities for automation are endless and the technology is here. Money is the main issue for not going automation all the way. It's not just the equipment that costs but changing the whole system of transportation and assembly.

    I like to watch videos of auto assembly plants. The worker controls a device that  grabs a part , lifts it in place so that the worker can use his high speed screwdriver and attach the part. Automation is one of the reasons that made the  rust belt in the U.S. Automation has taken away millions of jobs.

     Writers are not going to be spared the job loss. Today the beginning of a sports story is generated by a computer. The writer fills in the details like the score. Hey, I wonder if this works for college assays?  Just think it would put cheating out of business.  I wonder if this works for blog posts? Blogging would really become easy!

     Several years ago I posted on the same topic. I found machines that would pick oranges. How many pickers would lose their employment?

     What is going to be done with the millions of people who are replaced by automatons? The interviewer didn't have an answer.

     Most of my life I have heard about shorter working hours and more leisure time. It hasn't really happened.  The sad part is that there are many very low end part time jobs with low pay.

     Science may have the automation but does society have a way to live with automation?

     Hard work by my neighbor , Barb , to take down my birch tree. In the forest most work is done by machine and very little is touched by hand except for machine controls.


30 comments:

  1. Very astute questions, Red. There are still things machines can't do, or perhaps to be more accurate, there are things it is cheaper to hire minimum wage workers to do ... for now. And jobs are changing. Technology is the fastest growing industry, I think. But not everyone wants to or is able to work with electronics. I have no answers.

    What will you do with the birch stump? Or was that an "in-progress" photo? Sometimes people here get a carver to come in and make a figure of some kind from a tall stump like that one. They are cool but I'm not sure how expensive they are.

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    1. I painted an outline of a house and yard and put my house number on the other side. Very imaginative eh? Photos of this stump have been on my blog many times.

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    2. Ah ... I thought the photo was recent. I'll have to have a look at your archives!

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  2. Wow, what a neighbor. The transition from a product oriented society to a technology society is what today's anger is all about. Rust belt people are being hit hard. Government needs to pay for retraining workers. Workers need to be willing to move to other parts of the country for employment. Hard choices.

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    1. We have hard choices but they must be made. We've been fortunate through our lives as we've lived in very good times.

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  3. That birch tree is neatly cut down and piled up.

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    1. Don't look too close as you'll see that it's pretty rough.

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  4. I have heard that some of the fast food joints are becoming automated! My son in law teaches robotics it is a growing field! :)

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    1. Fast food joints have machines that make the burgers. No burger like mine with oatmeal, onion and other good stuff.

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  5. Like Linda said, workers will need to be willing to retrain and relocate. In other words, they will have to embrace change. So far this is not happening nearly enough. Make America Great Again" is all about wanting to go back in time. We can't.
    Also, all jobs need to supply a living wage with a shorter work week, and an end to overtime. Change is hard, but necessary.

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    1. You are so right. I for one wouldn't want to go back. It was good for some people but not everybody.

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  6. your fabulous writing reminded me the protest against machines in England in early nineties .
    people took time to understand that machines are here to help them yet it is Painful for those who were replaced by them.

    life on earth is taking it's baby steps towards the advancement when life will be regulating through automation ,even man will pull the desired things only using his mental strength.
    no matter how much we protest against it .we cannot stop it because it is a NATURAL process of life the development!

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    1. In history there have been major changes and some of them very destructive.

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  7. What a neighbour!
    Sadly, many seniors have to keep working past 65 to survive financially, too.

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    1. My neighbor is also a fantastic visitor.

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  8. I think I'd draw the line at automated cars. Trusting your life to a computer that can get hacked is probably one step too far.

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    1. If you fly , most of the action is automatic. Auto pilot means exactly that.

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  9. Was there a problem with that birch tree? Maybe you wrote about it and I missed it?

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    1. there was a problem called birch borer. I've never written about it. I lost 4 trees. Birch are not a long living tree.

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  10. Automated cars make me nervous. I don't think I'd go for that at all. And while automation is convenient and saves money, I still doubt that an unfeeling machine can do a job with as much care or purpose as a person. What's going to happen when all our industrial processes are automated and there are millions of surplus workers with nothing to do? Oh wait...that day is already here.

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    1. You fly many hours with the airplane on automatic pilot! the string pullers don't worry about the guys without jobs. They will when they can't sell their products.

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  11. That birch tree is now just a memory. That, and a whole lotta wood. I agree about automation. Fortunately for me, I won't be around to see the worst of it. :-(

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    1. There's much we don't know about right now. Most of your air flight is on automatic pilot. a major amount of writing is generated on computer. Most of the stuff the idiots read on TV is automatically generated.

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  12. "What is going to be done with the millions of people who are replaced by automatons?" Such an important question. No real answer for it. I wonder what will happen.

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    1. There have been major changes in history with disastrous results. The machine age brought much misery.

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  13. Progress? I sometimes wonder what people sacrifice for progress.

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  14. I think self-driving cars might be a bit of an improvement over human drivers. At least more of them would use their turn signals, I hope!

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  15. Are you going to sue Barb for destroying your lovely birch tree?

    Weren't computers meant to make work easier - less paper work etc.? Instead, they seem to have spurned more work and more paper and have a habit of keeping people on their toes with graphs, spreadsheets, targets and instant e-mails.

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  16. Hi Red, Thanks for this post. After reading this I started wondering ... will automation ever take over teaching? Can you imagine a robot at the front of a classroom? The way they talk about Artificial Intelligence these days ... maybe it will happen?

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