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I, Not Robot: Why The Rise Of SkyNet Leads To Automatic Unemployment For The People

Tyler Durden's picture


With so much hollow and pointless discussion over the past week, month and year over such fundamentally trivial things as who will inject more money faster, who will be bailed out first, who will go back to their own currency before everyone else, it is easy to forget that reality actually matters. And the reality is not who has their CTRL-P macro stuck, but what does the future of the world truly hold when one sidesteps such idiotic flights of fancy that debt may be cured with more debt. In order to completely change the topic from what has become trivial and generic - i.e., the various encroaching forms of central planning: Fed, SCOTUS, G-8 through G-20; European Finance Ministers, and now, with the ESM passing German parliament, the German Constitutional Court, we focus on something few have discussed, yet all have a morbid fascination with: Robots... And China. And why the combination of the two just may be the most dangerous thing for China's several hundred million strong migrant labor force, which, on the margin may just be the deciding factor defining the engine of global growth for the next decade. Oh, and did we mention global structural unemployment which will only get worse as increasing automation leaves more and more millions collecting their 99 weeks of extended unemployment benefits.

And since we have written far too much this week, we will let the charts do most of the talking.

Machinations and autobots, and unmet Chinese markets:

Robots and unemployment: correlation or causation?

Finally, here is why China better have learned all the tricks of the labor market manipulation trade from the BLS. It will need it.

Those who are lazy and/or have been replaced by a robot lately, can stop reading here.

For everyone else, here are some parting thoughts from Goldman's Hugo Scott-Gall

Who does automation benefit more? Low-cost producers in Asia or high-value manufacturers in the developed world? In the near term, it’s likely that we’ll see an accelerated adoption of automation in Asia, and in China in particular, as companies there face rising wages, increasing competition and slowing global demand and pricing pressure that necessitates higher efficiency. And to add to it, financing such capital investment is perhaps most convenient (and quickest) in a place like China in the current environment. Wrapping up that argument is the economy’s conscious effort to industrialize and move up the manufacturing value chain. When higher levels of automation materialize, it should lead to a pick up in productivity (off a low base – China has c.90 robots per 10,000 workers compared to more than 300 in Japan). But will it provide a sustainable advantage?


Transforming a factory teeming with people to an automated assembly line of complex machinery is easier said than done. It not only requires highly skilled talent and experience to manage the process (tough to acquire even through global recruitment), but also a much deeper shift in the way the manufacturing process is planned and executed. We think the advantage here lies with the West, together with Japan and South Korea, which is why they should be able to maintain their lead on higher-value exports (which includes robotics), for most of the coming decade. Does this mean manufacturing facilities will move back to the West? Taking cheap labour out of the equation, manufacturing facilities must stay close to end consumers (which is Asia for some sectors like autos, smartphones etc.), having balanced out the transportation costs and IP risks with associated infrastructure costs.


Companies that incorporate automation in their manufacturing process should see the labour intensity of their operations fall at the expense of capital intensity, though this may not be a 1:1 match and the payback could take time – lower asset turn versus higher EBITDA margin. Also, setting up industrial robots (with average life-spans of 12-15 years, but no pension costs!) requires management to have longer-term visibility and sound forecasting skills. Automation should also reduce working capital as production lead times fall, thanks to scheduling flexibility (i.e., if inventories have been built, or demand is weakening, it’s easier to run the machines for fewer hours or even shut them temporarily, at the expense of lower capacity utilization, than to reduce the number of employees – the cash cost of production falls and this advantage should be weighed against debt servicing if any). In essence, automation most likely works for a company with a healthy balance sheet, good demand visibility and superior industry positioning.


Automate and eliminate


Finally, we address the potential impact of automation on human capital. It’s easy to be wholly negative in the current environment and conclude automation would drive structural unemployment, leading to lower disposable incomes and weaker consumption. And this would not be completely wrong – we think the sticky unemployment we are seeing in the US and in Europe has a lot to with jobs permanently eliminated by technology. The average duration of unemployment in the US has never been as high as in this downturn, and this follows the relentless export of jobs to lower-cost countries over the past decade or so, making it particularly painful (and for a period slowing down the penetration of automation). And, ceteris paribus, you could envision a world dominated by a machine-to-machine economy, where most things are done by intelligent technology, leaving only highly skilled people with the lion’s share of the limited jobs. This would lead to further income inequality. Would estimates of global population growth remain the same if we did not need 10 bn people, and if we didn’t have the means to feed them? And could automation then be seen as a driver of globalisation that through its success provokes de-globalisation?


In mankind, we trust


But we take a more positive view than the bleak dystopian one outlined above. The global workforce has been able to adapt to the advent of machines since the industrial revolution, and the subsequent evolution in the types of jobs that a typical economy has to offer. When more and more women entered the workforce in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly after automation in the home, the developed countries could handle the boost that gave to their workforce, since they were transitioning from a physical, manufacturing-based economy to a services-based one. We could see something similar happen with automation too. Twenty years from now, it’s more likely that there will be different sorts of jobs to fill in the gap that technology is creating now. But this will not happen without short-term dislocations, as the current workforce needs to be better trained, not for a particular type of job, but to be nimble enough to evolve along with the changing needs of the world. This will take time, perhaps even a generation, and until then automation could continue to hurt the labour market.


To conclude we think automation is spawned from innovation and technological advancement. Things that the West and the developed world have been very good at. Automation can bring with it a productivity surge for industries that employ it, and those that could potentially employ it. Initially automation is an attractive way of reducing labour costs and the risks associated with labour. However, increasingly it is a more meaningful driver of product quality and process, and therefore an important part of competitive advantage. We expect automation penetration to increase and can see winners in both providers (Andritz, Spectris, ABB, Dassault) and users like (Sirona, Sonova, Nissan, Rio Tinto and Apple).

Well, there's the forced utopian view. And then there is the one which those who are unemployed for years and years will have no choice but to adopt, if for no other reason than to create a cognitive dissonance barrier that preservers the last shreds of one's dignity: namely that it is all the robots fault that structural unemployment is now worse than it has ever been.

And there is nothing some central banks' printers can do about that.

Maybe the Terminator movie was right all along...


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Fri, 06/29/2012 - 19:09 | 2574972 Maos Dog
Maos Dog's picture

Buying robots increases capex, all good

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 11:41 | 2576994 TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

Until the robots buy  you.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 19:15 | 2574973 Paul Atreides
Paul Atreides's picture

OT: Just added 2 bottles of Laphroaig, a box of tubed Romeo & Julietas and a ball of Ketamine to my prep, let's burn this shit down I have matches!!!!

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 22:50 | 2575308 Poor Grogman
Poor Grogman's picture

Mmmm. Laphroaig

Sun, 07/01/2012 - 01:55 | 2576988 TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

as your attorney, I advise you to look for the adrenochrome in the little bottle in my shaving kit, but only put one drop on your tongue.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 19:13 | 2574981 oulous
oulous's picture

Its interesting how often you see this argument made. 


Automation is great for job growth. It simply shifts jobs from one place to another.

To make a robot you need:

1. Designers

2. Engineers

3. Software engineers

4. Repair people

5. Supervisors

Technological innovation will create more jobs, and not take them away.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 19:27 | 2575013 Quinvarius
Quinvarius's picture

You assume that all of the above jobs will not be filled by yet more robots.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 19:31 | 2575030 sgt_doom
sgt_doom's picture

Unfortunately, all those jobs are now in China, India, Vietnam and elsewhere, dood!

Like the douchetard CEO is raised up a circuit board in his right hand, with more microprocessors on it by a factor of 1,000, than the circuit board he was holding in his left hand, and claimed that was the reason for the loss of jobs in America.

(The douchetard was mentally incapable of reasoning that with the smaller circuit board came more iPods, laptops, etc., etc.)

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 20:11 | 2575090 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Speaking from a clinical lab prospective and watching our technology dramatically change in the last 28 years, I can say mechanization/ automation does not increase the number of jobs in the lab. Actually it does reduce employment as well as polarizes the remaining employees. There are the uber people who are highly skilled in the new equipment and are paid quite well. Then there are the grunts who are poorly paid who load the samples on the machine and press go. When nothing happens when they press go, they seek out an uber person to troubleshoot. It is sad to watch because many of the grunts want to learn how be uber people but because the licenture and barriers to entry for jobs are so prohibitive they are stuck then being more skilled and still underpaid. Possible for the robotic industry there is an increase in employment that I don't see. Also because the robots are so much more complex they require much more service from the companies that made them even though people like me have been extensively trained to operate them. Gone are the days when I could bypass I bad sensor with a paperclip or temporarily fix a robotic arm with 2 tongue depressors to get some critical lab results out. I miss the simpler days but I'm sure someone is making a shit load more money the way thins are now.


Sat, 06/30/2012 - 10:26 | 2576448 Bob
Bob's picture

Doesn't take a genius to see that technology that is explicitly created to decrease labor inputs is ulitimately going to decrease aggregate employment. 

Much as I scorned the lack of vision and knowledge of "basic economics" exhibited by the union workers of the 80's they did, as it turned out, understand basic arithmetic. 

Step back from stories and individual sectors that buck the overall trend and it's clear by now where this is headed. 

It's odd to hear references to what "we" are going to do with the increased "unproductive"/"leisure" time.  The simple fact is that there is no "we" in our version of capitalism.  "Earn" your way, i.e., work or you're a parasite.

Trumpeting these wondrous advancements as if we somehow share in ownership of same is ridiculous--"we" don't own shit and, at the end of the day, have zero enforcable claim to the benefits. Some confusion is understandable, given the promotion of the "we" myth and the reality that "we" actually did most of the work to create and implement those advancements, but them's the cold, hard economic facts at the end of the day. 

Whether it sounds like Marx or not, ownership of the "means and modes of production" is concentrating in the hands of fewer and fewer people.  And they need fewer and fewer people to get the work done.

They recognize no "we" except in the context of what that "we" can do for them. 

They really appreciate all the useful idiots idealistically promoting "moral" systems that legitimize the process of building a newer and more visionary feudalism. 

No, that's just sardonic humor.  They don't appreciate anything . . . there's no reason they should because they earn all they get.  They're the producers. 

Capitalism is hanging itself.  Being able to point the finger at "Socialism" in the end when the actual "we" asserts itself against such insanity will be little comfort I suspect. But it will, in their minds, justify all the blood spilled and resources wasted.  


Fri, 06/29/2012 - 19:26 | 2575009 Quinvarius
Quinvarius's picture

They were called Luddites.  And they were right.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 19:31 | 2575029 CrawdadMan
CrawdadMan's picture

Skynet has been deployed ever since Social Security was implemented.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 19:39 | 2575040 tlnzz
tlnzz's picture

I have said since the early nineteen eighties that companies are not only laying off employees but they are laying off someone’s customers. We are all consumers in the grand food chain. When everything is automated, who will have the money to buy what is being produced?

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 20:09 | 2575085 Cthonic
Cthonic's picture

The owners/superusers.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 19:46 | 2575057 Dr. Gonzo
Dr. Gonzo's picture

Umm. Not to change the subject but I just checked Yahoo Finance and oil is up 18.53% today? Are we bombing Iran right now? 

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 19:51 | 2575063 surf0766
surf0766's picture

I thought communist destroyed job.. no?

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 20:07 | 2575081 Cthonic
Cthonic's picture

People forget the original impetus for robotization, at least in America.  Robots don't unionize.  Robots don't picket.  Robots don't kill scabs.  (Total) control is more important than cost.  This has evolved to the point where the entire production process in many industries is itself akin to enormous machine with a minimal, and shrinking, complement of human 'parts'.

"You want to remove the human factor"

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 20:13 | 2575092 lemosbrasil
lemosbrasil's picture

There is a amazing Downtrend line touched many many times at weekly chart of "VXX" since May-2010 ! Amazing ! With a hard hard bullish divergences MACD and RSI 14....This gonna explode !


See here

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 20:31 | 2575118 michael.suede
michael.suede's picture

Automation does not harm an economy.  While automation can cause unemployment for any given specific company that decides to automate its processes, all that means is now those workers who were laid off can be put to use in other areas of the economy.

Unemployment is a function of unemployment benefits and money printing.  When money is printed and spent into the economy, it diverts resources into unproductive tasks and distorts the structure of production, which ultimately leads to more layoffs.

If robots did everything, no one would have to work at all since the robots would produce everything we need.  People could paint or write poetry for a living instead of painting automobiles on an assembly line.


Fri, 06/29/2012 - 20:56 | 2575167 bahaar
bahaar's picture

How many Americans on dole paint or write poetry???  Most just do drugs.  You take away work from people you take away their self-esteem.  Free food and free housing doesn't make you want to write poetry.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 22:26 | 2575291 Cthonic
Cthonic's picture

Write poetry? These people look literate to you?

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 05:03 | 2575546 Debugas
Debugas's picture

"those workers who were laid off can be put to use in other areas of the economy."


the emphasis is on the word CAN but it does not mean that they WILL

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 20:39 | 2575132 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

robot-controlled migrant chinese workers are below my pay grade, BiCheZ! L0L!!!

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 20:47 | 2575142 Benjamin Glutton
Benjamin Glutton's picture

Thank you most sincerely. This is the obvious truth that rarely is spoken.




Fri, 06/29/2012 - 20:48 | 2575147 Yes_Questions
Yes_Questions's picture



Mecha v. Orga!

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 20:51 | 2575151 bahaar
bahaar's picture

"The global workforce has been able to adapt to the advent of machines since the industrial revolution, and the subsequent evolution in the types of jobs that a typical economy has to offer."


WESTERN workforce, not GLOBALworkforce.  West rose because with help of industrialisation, it took away all the jobs from the rest.  For e.g. machine made twxtiles from the West flooded the market and weavers in the rest of the world lost their livelihood.  West rose and the rest sank.  Which is why people (inthe West) thought technology takes away some jobs, but brings about more new jobs.  Now technology has started to encroach the West too.  However brainiacs seem to forget that mechanical labour is far more expensivethan human labor.  Machines eat oil.  And their food cannot be grown in the fields.  We know how to convert sunlight into food bio-organisms can eat but don't know how to convert sunlight into food for machines.  And machines die out of sickness and old age.  And they cannot be recycled.  Worms don't eat them.  So if we want aworkable machine world, we'll have to design an entire eco-system.  In other words, we'll have to copy mother Nature's C world and create a Si world.  Which in my opinion is impossible.     

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 21:25 | 2575205 Cthonic
Cthonic's picture

Upvote for your thoughts though I disagree with your conclusions.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 05:07 | 2575548 Debugas
Debugas's picture

"mechanical labour is far more expensivethan human labor"

i have to disagree - oil is still very cheap compared to food and only when we start producing food old fashioned way (with no oil and fertilizers input into it) the equation may shifts towards human labor

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 06:39 | 2575793 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

Did you miss the large-scale global food riots in 2008?  Oil is no longer 'very cheap' nor will it ever be again unless we have a complete financial meltdown and credit collapse. 

The larger issue is as emerging countries become more wealthy they are going to demand much higher sources of animal protein especially beef and pork.  If even a very moderate percentage of people in emerging countries consume animal protein at Western standards, we will have huge issues.  Simply isn't enough grains and production to enable this without serious starvation for lots of people.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 20:52 | 2575155 Jason T
Jason T's picture

Invest in tools and robots for ones home and ones own life.  Invest in ones own energy needs.  

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 20:57 | 2575171 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

serial:  the chart below the bull's eye is squid research and shows the different econ/cutural patters of robotizing the machine tool/tool-making industry in japan V. china

howard hughes made his fortune in hughes tools corp

here the chinese are 20 years behind the japanese in tool-making and they were not ahead of hughes imo;  his post-WWII [MIC-related] conglomerate was not behind any curves which i could see till he got pretty sick possibly w/CIA or (?vegas?) fevers...?  not my business but if the roads lead to rome they lead to rome...

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 21:06 | 2575180 paradism_
paradism_'s picture

First time commenter, long time listener.  

I'm sure if they really wanted to, within the next 5 years, the biggest employer in the U.S. (Walmart) could decide, hey, we don't need humans any longer.  Every single in-store process could be replaced by a machine.  Even the greeters. hee hee.

Imagine the day when McDonalds has machines that make the "food", package it, and serve it out the drive-thru.  Maybe the "food" could even be delivered by trucks that can drive themselves.  Once again, hee hee. 

These are the good ole' days, and soon it will be a brave new world, if it isn't already.  

Scout's motto.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 21:42 | 2575231 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

Tee Hee nothing.

The Shake comes in a bag within a box.

Decades ago you needed to know how to properly make a shake.

Today's McJobbers are simply food assembly. Give a order without a specific number and they have issues staying focused.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 21:45 | 2575239 Benjamin Glutton
Benjamin Glutton's picture

A McDonald’s worker has lifted the lid on what it is really like to work at one of the restaurants in the chain in a candid and hilarious Internet conversation.

The unnamed man claims that some staff at his branch deal marijuana from the parking lot and that if somebody comes in high they will ‘practically give you free food’.

Burgers and chicken are left to stew for ‘hours on end’ whilst staff moan about having to make Happy Meals as they are time-consuming.

Read more: do we really like people?lol
Fri, 06/29/2012 - 21:08 | 2575183 Marty Rothbard
Marty Rothbard's picture

Industrial robots can be easily repurposed.  In general, the only hardware that must be changed is the manipulator, or tool on the end of the arm, and the festooning(cables and tubes going to the tool). 

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 21:11 | 2575185 cherry picker
cherry picker's picture

I've been around over six decades, sold CNC equipment and worked as a software/developer.

I have seen what technology did to eliminate jobs.  The list is long.  From auto maintenance, to printing, postal services, telegram, machining, tool and die making, mining, farming, you name it.

Even software work is being outsourced to save money.  Google is experimenting with driver-less cars, that does not bode well for people driving buses, trucks, cabs and so on.

Our quest for convenience and to save a buck is killing off skilled craftsmen as a machine can do so much more and faster.

Anyone who thinks that technology creates employment is not thinking it all the way through.  Maybe initially through implementation, conversion and design, but after that the technology takes over.

Not long ago Zero Hedge (I think) had an article about software capable of writing articles and is being used by some major companies and news outlets.

How do we know some of these comments aren't performed by a robot?


Fri, 06/29/2012 - 21:30 | 2575213 jcamargo
jcamargo's picture

Tech is not supposed to create jobs, it is supposed to create value. Chinese automation not a big deal really. Chinese factories are accumulating capital and becoming as well equiped as their counterparts in richer countries. You will need technical people and engineers to operate that equipment. They will, in a couple of decades, be better paid than workers with a diploma in some of the capital-depleted countries of Europe.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 06:42 | 2575803 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

Nope.  Only way that happens is if the salary in those European countries falls by a notable degree and the two meet somewhere in the middle. 

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 21:09 | 2575186 blindman
blindman's picture

i would like to be paid for my time
and expertise, as mundane as you may
categorise it. a wage for labour well done.
impossible here in the land of con jobs ....
something must give as it were ?

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 21:11 | 2575190 Davilis
Davilis's picture

Wow, I haven't seen a "robots will replace humans" rant in a long time.  Total bullshit.  Yeah, blame unemployment on robots instead of a misguided politico-educational system that promoted "service workers" over "knowledge workers" for a decade.  We reap what we sow.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 22:54 | 2575313 Cthonic
Cthonic's picture

Over half the population has an IQ of less than 100, and will never be 'knowledge workers'.  As automation advances, neither will a significant contingent of those with an IQ over 100.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 21:21 | 2575201 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture



Who cares about SkyNet. The efforts to develop another propaganda center will come to an end on July 9, 2012. 

Operation Ghost Click


Fri, 06/29/2012 - 21:39 | 2575222 Ignorance is bliss
Ignorance is bliss's picture

Wait until IBM's Watson computer starts replacing knowledge workers like accountants, doctors, airplane pilots, house wives, etc....

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 21:55 | 2575248 flacorps
flacorps's picture

Watson is "Checker Charlie" from Kurt Vonnegut's "Player Piano" ... the machine that defines the writing on the wall for the knowledge worker.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 01:01 | 2575452 A Cruel Accountant
A Cruel Accountant's picture

House wifes have already been partialy replace by the roomba.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 21:42 | 2575230 GlomarHabu
GlomarHabu's picture

JFK was asked when running for POTUS why he wanted it given his multimillioaire and lofty social standing.... he replied, "Because that's where the power lies"

Desperation to hold onto power is driving the current Alice in Wonderland elites to drive insane financil policy ... POWER is what they want and like all sociopaths they will do anything to maintain it. It really is that simple

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 22:02 | 2575257 Goatboy
Goatboy's picture


Fri, 06/29/2012 - 22:17 | 2575274 El Tuco
El Tuco's picture

We need to go back to the good old days. Just take women/men out of the work force where 1 person can support a family again. Would solve a lot of problems. You won't have strangers/government raising your children. Unemployment would not exist. Even robots wouldn't change things that much.

My Father was able to support a wife and two kids working in a factory. Yeah he worked hard but he was able to buy my mother her freedom and put us through school. etc. We had middle class up bringing. Fuck those were simple times.

Fucking guberment destroyed the family.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 06:48 | 2575825 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

Those times existed largely as a historical anamoly in the US that last for about 25 years or so (1945-1970).  There gone and never coming back despite how much people wish for them.


Sat, 06/30/2012 - 10:11 | 2576574 The Gooch
The Gooch's picture

We wouldn't want to take that income tax base out of the equation, now would we?

You are correct about the gub destroying family.

And that $13,000 a year for daycare....

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 10:47 | 2576737 Bob
Bob's picture

All that was true enough, but is your conclusion satire?

Only guberment could have prevented that kind of "progress" at the hands of neoliberal "globalization" champions of creative distruction. 

Government simply served its masters who, it would seem, were not your Mom and Dad.  Nor anything but "capital" and those who worship it. 

"We" is an empty myth that has outlived its purpose. All the remains is to justify its execution and burial (at public expense, of course.)

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 22:27 | 2575288 Blue Horshoe Lo...
Blue Horshoe Loves Annacott Steel's picture

Technology pushes the cost of _______ increasingly toward "free".  

Bankers, with their funny money, want to cause inflation & say it's "growth".  

Nothing really "costs" anything except the time one is willing to take to make or do something.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 23:07 | 2575324 Cthonic
Cthonic's picture

"Technology pushes the [marginal] cost of [producing] ________ increasingly toward 'free'."

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 00:58 | 2575451 A Cruel Accountant
A Cruel Accountant's picture

And yet it never gets there.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 10:27 | 2576659 Cthonic
Cthonic's picture

As I meant to write in the last comment, even the modified statement is untrue as well as misleading.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 22:37 | 2575296 Return To Gettysburg
Return To Gettysburg's picture

LOOOOOONG time reader, first time poster.

I think what's being overlooked somewhat are the 'white collar' jobs which will be encroached upon eventually. Artificial intelligence is so close to being realized on a mass scale; Deep Blue provailed over Kasparov over a decade ago. What happens when AI gets so good that human lawyers or accountants are no longer needed? They already have the ability to store unlimited amounts of tax codes, tort law and regulations. When the computer is able to put everything together by taking someone's personal financial situation and adapting the appropriate tax remedy to satify a complex case, the human making $150,000/year is no longer needed.

This may be a few years out, but it's coming.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 23:29 | 2575354 Return To Gettysburg
Return To Gettysburg's picture

...Recognition of human hand can be performed at 1ms with a high-speed vision, and the position and the shape of the human hand are recognized. The wrist joint angle of the robot hand is controlled based on the position of the human hand. The vision recognizes one of rock, paper and scissors based on the shape of the human hand. After that, the robot hand plays one of rock, paper and scissors so as to beat the human being in 1ms.

...Though rock-paper-scissors-ing is a cheeky way to show off their technology, the robot is much more than just a toy (or, if you happen to take R-P-S seriously, an ego-dasher). It's a demonstration of the mechanics that could allow human beings and their robot friends to communicate with each other, silently but effectively. The machines read our moves, and respond in kind.

While it's easy to dismiss this as irrelevant, the ultimate point is that AI, superior 'vision' and 'processing' speed trump human ability everytime. Just look how high speed trading has decimated the daytrading community (I know, I was one of the successful ones). Unlike the industrial revolution or internet revolution where we still need human to do things, this next wave of robotic encroachment over the next 20-30 years is really going to make a large swath of the human workforce redundant. Steve Wozniak was serious when he claimed computers have won the war and humans are destined to become little more than house pets.

There's no putting pandora back in the box unfortunately. The good news is that this will all be gradual and we still have many years to adjust. We're in the bottom of the first inning so to speak.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 00:02 | 2575379 Non Passaran
Non Passaran's picture

Can't wait to see lawyers and accounts become redundant. They had it coming... Next, we need to get rid of politicians. That's very easy because just like with lawyers and accountants, they can run out of software. All you need is a Web or TV interface to a "BHO Virtual Machine" running somewhere in Goldman Sachs cloud.

I'm disappointed the article didn't mention sex robots. Very unprofessional of them. Anyway, provided they give me a "personal assistant" with extended feature set (basic cooking and porn-star sex skills), I wouldn't mind to stay at home and play computer games all day long. Robots are removing the incentive to work because soon most men will be able to get what they work for at home, 24 x 7. As long as they don't make robot swapping illegal, I predict rosy future for men.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 00:58 | 2575450 A Cruel Accountant
A Cruel Accountant's picture

This is currently happening. Ever heard of turbotax. Yet there is still a demand for more accountants.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 08:29 | 2576223 Ignorance is bliss
Ignorance is bliss's picture

Not so far out. Putting it all together is called "analytical computing" There is a small race in the computer industry to develop the best analytics given any huge data set as in Petabytes. Technologies best and brightest are all over it. The Gov't is probably the largest purchaser of analytics today. Our tax dollars at work to enslave us and control us all. You got to love it when you realize that we fund our own prisions.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 22:48 | 2575306 mccoyspace
mccoyspace's picture

Whatever can be automated will be automated.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 22:52 | 2575311 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

People will ALWAYS have a place in the natural order things....  as Soylent Green or living batteries to power the Matrix.  

Not sure which way we're headed.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 08:31 | 2576236 Ignorance is bliss
Ignorance is bliss's picture

Future generations can expect gainful employment in the enforcement field, as sex for food workers, Fuckashima workers, Chernobyl cleaners, etc... Yep the employment rate is going up in the future.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 23:02 | 2575319 geoffb
geoffb's picture

Won't that be weird when the defense, prosecution, judge and jury are all computers?? You walk in, scan your thumbprint and they all battle it out in 15 nanoseconds. Sorry you've been found guilty and the only other human in the room, the baliff, takes you off to jail.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 23:04 | 2575322 Maos Dog
Maos Dog's picture

Interesting thread...


If a robot is programmed with the four laws, 


Will he continue to build cars as commanded,


If it puts someone out of work?



Sat, 06/30/2012 - 11:00 | 2576262 Reptil
Reptil's picture

In our society the Laws of Robotics were NEVER implemented.

Several years ago the US militairy and the corporation RTI developed hunter/killer robots. Funding and support was provided by DARPA.

They called them EATR (Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot).

These would become autonomous when the connection with the controller is broken.

They're programmed to complete their mission (indefinately hunt/kill).
They're programmed to "learn" (to be able to defeat "insurgents").

Better yet they have a system that can use any biomass (vegetation, dead animals) as fuel.

Here's the presentation of the "improved" EATR from 2009:


There was a big row over this last abillity. (It would be able to feed on ANY biomass, including human beings.)

Everything was hushed down, with some "It's a good thing, don't worry" articles in the MSM, but the project was never shelved.,2933,533382,00.html


Logically these hunter/killer robots could be dropped over insurgent territory and left to their own devices, to slowly search out and destroy any (hidden) opposing forces. Highly populated (urban) areas would logically be suitable, because these are notoriously difficult to secure using troops.

Added benefit is of course that the robot would have no psychological barrier to feed off any person it just killed.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 23:19 | 2575335 IQ 101
IQ 101's picture

The Sickle led to the unemployment of 3 cave women, the Windmill was even worse news. How old is this argument?

Steam driven weaving looms, the Cotten Gin, the Combined Harvester fucked up the whole Reaping trade, The Automobile screwd the Horse and Buggy Biz and the Aircraft thang screwed the Railroad and Ocean liner Biz.

The Musket doomed Bow Makers for the most part. Light bulbs completely dicked the candle trade and Whale oil just took a shit, (good for Whales, yay!).

What ancient techno drivel argument is this? "Seriously? We are all fucked because technology proceeds ?"

For Fucks sake!

In the UK @ 1968 we had these crappy school books presented too us as it was part of some shite national program to ready us for a life of Playing Crickett and Wanking off to Scone Porn and a bit of dog walking on the side, They Called it.........THE AFFLUENT SOCIETY !

It was a vision of the future! (not), because they forgot to remember that they are a bunch of theiving socialist, beady eyed ,power hungry diversely sexualized, racially homogonized, half witt, inbread, ridge runner cunts.

The Robots never made any money, (and boy are they pissed!).

The Affluent society never materialized for anyone other than Gov.Pig and 3rdWorld.Pity and THE UNIONS.

The AMISH perhaps have it right? (and other groups, The Huckabees, Pole Dancers and Waco sellf reliance sect, for example).

A thousand year old argument about the negative effect of technology on labor is odd.I do not have any answers either! but I would deduce that the entire problem is THE GREED OF HUMAN BEINGS IN TRUSTED POSITIONS OF POWER.

Chinese? 99% BS?  No Women, No Familial expansion, sad and scary?

What are all those boys gonna do? (Coming to a town near you).



Fri, 06/29/2012 - 23:38 | 2575362 Return To Gettysburg
Return To Gettysburg's picture

The KEY difference being the sickle was just a tool for the human to use to be more productive - not replace him. The steam engine ALLOWED more harvest and greater speed and distance but did not hve the intelligence to harvest it's own field. Do you see where I'm going with this?

We're literally at the cusp where robotic can do EVERYTHING better than humans; 100-fold mechanically and 1000000-fold intellectually. Robots had the huge handicap of stictly linear/binary 'thinking', but that handicap is coming down. And soon as their 'thought' processes become on par with human reasoning, the 1 last bastion of human dominance with be evicerated. 

I see the current age (beginning) as being different than the other revolution which you speak for this reason. And it's kind of scary to me.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 00:28 | 2575413 IQ 101
IQ 101's picture

The KEY difference is ? The Sickle was inevitable or we would not be Humans. It allows man to store grains as a Squirrels instincts allowe him to survive a long winter and procreate if he survives.

We as are as natural to this Earth as the Squirrel, the Wolf,Lion or Plastic bag. Nothing is on this rock that was not here when you arrived (Excluding Meteors and Moon rocks).

I have a calculater from 1986, it will kick my ass at Mathematics and Trig and Calculus, but it will never think a thought, never shed a tear, never calculate the rice needed to keep Asia breathing and will never preceed an ancestor that can.

C.S.Lewis said something along the lines of " You'r not a body with a Soul, you are a Soul with a body", and he was an Atheist and Professor of Logic at Oxford University, back in the 30's. I think it was his buddy

JRR.Tolkein (who wrote Lord of the Rings, +) Who asked him to use the Collegiate dicipline of Logic to Prove or Disprove Christianity.

CS.Lewis accepted the challenge and converted to Christianity, he went on t5o write The Lion,The Witch and The Wardrobe, Narnia and all that stuff.

Follow that, if you can.

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 23:28 | 2575353 luna_man
luna_man's picture



"And since we have written far too much this week"...


never too much

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 23:52 | 2575371 the show
the show's picture

Great article on Wired Mag by Bill Joy, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems and grand-daddy of UNIX (  It's poignant not only of its implications - namely, that with Moore's Law of essentially doubling technology every 18 months not being violated for going on five decades now, human beings will soon be obsolete - but because it's one of the most public and well-written outings exposing the hidden agenda of the future by a well-respected and public figure.  

Eugenics is real fellas, and for the few of you reading ZH that still don't get it, it's time to get it.  GMO, nuclear waste, chem trails, and plastics are slowly sterilizing and crippling not the 99%, but the 99.999%.  And to those in the know, it's as cruel as us hitting a roach problem with Raid. 

Here's to another fresh, clear glass of fluoridated water, fellas!  Drink up!

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 23:52 | 2575372 the show
the show's picture

Great article on Wired Mag by Bill Joy, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems and grand-daddy of UNIX (  It's poignant not only of its implications - namely, that with Moore's Law of essentially doubling technology every 18 months not being violated for going on five decades now, human beings will soon be obsolete - but because it's one of the most public and well-written outings exposing the hidden agenda of the future by a well-respected and public figure.  

Eugenics is real fellas, and for the few of you reading ZH that still don't get it, it's time to get it.  GMO, nuclear waste, chem trails, and plastics are slowly sterilizing and crippling not the 99%, but the 99.999%.  And to those in the know, it's as cruel as us hitting a roach problem with Raid. 

Here's to another fresh, clear glass of fluoridated water, fellas!  Drink up!

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 00:29 | 2575416 jack stephan
jack stephan's picture

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me........that mr potato head tried to steal bitchez, what a bitch.

Reverend Lovejoy: [confused] "And he left them and went out of the city, into Bethany, and he lodged there?" Homer: Yeah........ Think about it.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 00:29 | 2575418 reader2010
reader2010's picture

The talk is purely bullshit if you can think logically. The #1 demand for robots will likely come from the US Military. By the time they can finally let robots fight wars,  billions of the surplus humans will have to be systematically eliminated.  Until then, China is starting the Greater Baby Boom pretty soon because they're about to abandon the One Child policy.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 00:40 | 2575431 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

There's no evidence from history that automation reduced the number of jobs.  The greatest feat of automation ever seen on this planet was the replacement of the horse and plow with the tractor and reaper.  That should have put 90% of the population out of work.  It didn't.  There's a far more sinister force at play putting people out of work:  government.



Sat, 06/30/2012 - 00:53 | 2575445 CCanuck
CCanuck's picture

Do you know what horses did after the tractor?

Created Jobs at the GLUE FACTORY !

What happens to excess labor this time round?

Just a thought


Sat, 06/30/2012 - 06:57 | 2575864 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

Because most of the innovation you are talking about especially in agriculture only took place with large-scale mechanization in the past ~100 years or so.  It is a very recent economic development (at least measured by human civilization terms) and it is largely dependent on utilizing fossil fuels on a huge scale. 

My bet is that we are not there yet but we are getting to close to a point on the tipping curve where you assertion will no longer hold true or that soem of the core tenets of 'creative destructionism' will be debunked.  That's if we don't run into huge issues with fossil fuels (mainly oil) first and expanding production to meet the increased future demand.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 00:54 | 2575446 A Cruel Accountant
A Cruel Accountant's picture

Simple economics. The wages of the worker will fall until they become competitive with the robot.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 01:12 | 2575457 Duke of Con Dao
Duke of Con Dao's picture

this has nothing to do with the topic...

it's pulled from my archives (Born on Date: Oct 2, 2008)

it's Ben and Hankey, a song by Devo and the greatest simian acting talent

I've ever worked with ----- !


Sat, 06/30/2012 - 01:42 | 2575480 caerus
caerus's picture

there is no briliance yet that has convinced me of the worth of living

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 02:14 | 2575489 Milton Waddams
Milton Waddams's picture

I remember introducing Excel to the back orfice of a relatively large custodian bank.  The quasi-aboriginals looked at me as though I had just dropped the monolith from 2010 at their feet.  Heretofore they were using it as a word processor.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 03:48 | 2575495 the tower
the tower's picture

I'm glad to see ZH is picking up on what I have been writing on here several times.

The REAL bomb under Europe is the inverted age pyramid: within a few years there simply won't be enough younger people to keep the system running, and Europe will NEVER import millions of foreigners to solve the problem.

The only future for Europe is robotization and automation.

The result: de-globalization, a non-tradable Euro, a guaranteed basic income, a drastic reform of the tax system (no more income related taxes), and a drastic reform of the benefits system (basic income, no other benefits). 

The discussion about socialism, capitalism and the "financial crisis" is totally irrelevant, you're all being distracted by what the media want you to worry about. A massive change is happening and it's happening right now. We are witnessing the end of an age-old system and the birth of a new one. There's pain, of course, but we will come out fine.


Sat, 06/30/2012 - 09:37 | 2576425 Reptil
Reptil's picture

Good post IMO.
I'll try to put some thoughts down, I hope it's of any use to anyone:

There is this idea that consumer society can and will be maintained, and that large groups of population are needed (to produce and consume). It's not. Consumer society is a "dead man walking". In short the elite have concluded they don't need the (already shrinking) population anymore. The system, which provided a rapid development in many technologies (that were mostly not implemented, but shelved) has served it's purpose. What they want is a central control, over a weakened and less educated population that's providing the (decreased) needed labour to sustain the much smaller systems of the (near) future. THAT'S WHAT THEY WANT.

FWIW I see a different future survival plan: The future of europe is knowledge based economy (like it was before they put all the boys and girls in an office to keep the paper mill spinning), decentralised control (like the old nation states, but then one or two steps down (provinces, regions), and a sustainable and decentralised energy system and grid, and diverse and high tech production capacity. Nature prefers chaotic, diverse systems, instead of homogenised larger ones. A larger, informed and educated population is not a hindrance in this, it's an asset. Centralised control and a weakened base is not a good survival strategy in rapidly changing future. The central control hasn't shown it can operate on it's own successfully. It needs productive, free human beings (inside a capitalist system). That's not going to change. There must be an incentive. Just an incentive to stay on top is NOT enough. It breeds incompetence, just compare it to Rome.

Another issue: Food with nutriënts, and without poisions is important for human beings; So a return to biodiversity (like before 1900) would provide the needed nutricion because of weakened immunity systems (because of increasing contamination of ionising radiation (particles). This would require a return to localised, previously labour intensive agriculture. With new methods, and abundent energy that labour could easily be reduced. And it would yield more produce then the mass produced GMO crop. This can be seen already. However, the mantra of "GMO industrialised agriculture IS sustainable" has been grafted in politician's and farmers temporal lobes (who are now supposed to run "food factories" instead of farms.. (amazing, really)

That's about to change, now the results are slowly seeping through the MSM and GMO industry's control grid:

Let's look at the real purpose of systems that support human populations and what's replacing these right now?

According to the (infamous) UN's agenda 21 the USA has to become a large wildlife refuge, with a few cities, and a main trade and transportation route. It looks like that plan is well under way. ALL 3rd generation test animals became infertile after being fed GMO food (corn). Reproductive systems of rodents aren't that much different from ours or other mammals. Of course not warning or protecting the population from radiation (which is different from the reaction to Chernobyl in 1986 when this WAS an issue) is another indication that this "map of depopulation" is going ahead.

So the issue of a declining workforce is NOT an issue of importance for the descision makers in this (possible) future. If there's no population to buy products, there's no population to produce products needed either. A large population will be a liabillity, not an asset. Because of the artificial robots, they don't need human robots anymore.

So, YES I agree the discussion about the "financial crisis" is a distraction: The real issue is the transfer of power to a centralised control system, and the destruction of supporting mechanisms that are (still) in place now. (an economy producing goods, and agriculture producing food). "Yes men" have willingly contributed to the destruction of old political systems, because they've been led to believe it's (now) being replaced by a better one. (the "european dream") However they are wrong, for the simple reason that in their haste and lust, they've not built in appropriate checks and balances.

BUT there's more going on than just a distraction: There's no working political system that replaces the old. As the remnants of democratic representation are replaced in a rigged (sabotaged) financial collapse that (STILL) can be easily avoided (by letting private banks fail, and let the investors who gambled wrong take the hit), but IT IS NOT. For the simple reason that there can be no new system (in their plan) before the old one is done away with. The financial collapse is the anchor that ties the european ship to the reef, on which it is smashed again and again, until only small bits are left.

I'm attending some meetings with politicians that are on the inside (and very pro-EU centralised control) soon. it'll be interesting what they have to say about it. I'll have to keep my (big) mouth shut though, otherwise they'll not tell me anything. ;-)

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 03:23 | 2575513 pcrs
pcrs's picture

How you can think that free goodies made by robots is a dangerous thing is beyond me. Just like it would be beyond me how everything you need falling down from the sky would be a problem, is beyond me. 

It's called progress, more efficient production.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 09:42 | 2576467 Reptil
Reptil's picture

It's HOW these technologies are put to work. Germany has a high percentage of robots. Still their unions are strong and their workforce has an active part of the nation's economy.
You're missing the longer term effects. Reading your post it seems to me, those do not concern you.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 13:56 | 2577267 pcrs
pcrs's picture

There are no long term bad effects of improvements in efficiencies

Mon, 07/02/2012 - 06:22 | 2580038 Reptil
Reptil's picture

There are if it means a reformation of society into one that is hostile to human beings.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 13:08 | 2575514 DTCC 1999
DTCC 1999's picture

Like the human element that has bowed down - through stand down orders - to the subjugation of masses; is somehow less frightening than it's robotic counterpart.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 04:03 | 2575523 GreatUncle
GreatUncle's picture

Might be a bit long apologies but just get the idea and form your own thoughts I sum mine up at the end.

Already thought all of the above, not worth losing sleep over though it is a natural development from man falling out of a tree, using a stick to scavenge more food, hey so the stick is the improvisation of a tool.Just wait till China finally wakens up though and reaches the automation level of Japan. The USA will need to implement it too, so will Europe "big" if they can get over the financial fiasco. Now add in the middle east and Africa, go on chuck in South America so we got it all covered.

Choose the solution, go on please do, growth, got to sell something so it has to be productive and earn an income.

You have an awesome fu^king end problem of a productive capacity all chasing an income to support their unemployed populations on a global scale. 

a.) Now you are well and truly in the sh^t if you use any form of Keynsian economy as it increases value whilst the economic reality will be a collapsng end price "like who can give it away first". You better not have any debt neither as falling incomes collapse over valued assets to the price that people can afford.

b.) Will be a forced fire sale if you hold any debt and the government are just getting the banks off the hook at the moment once that is sorted though I can see the plug being pull on whatever else is left.

We are currently holding position at points "a and b" at the moment. A holding pattern ONLY TO GET THE BANKS RECAPITALISED.

Being at the "PRINT POINT" we will soon have to face the eventuality of QE to infinity and beyond through over production or you just stop and watch it all unravel. WARNING "The latter is only possible if the banks are recaptialised so they remain afterwards holding all the wealth of the elites intact".

Get it yet? Recapitalisation until the banks are sorted because the economic system is now junk then pull the plug as QE is halted and cold turkey for all those with private debts and no way to earn an income through an over production capability.

Nice world huh ... that is what I think is on the cards and before anybody thinks they are safe ... your neighbour will try to stay alive at what cost? You I do beleive.

The point missed by the article is this "at the point of collapse the global economy will be a single trading partner with no other partner to exploit other than to start consuming itself like eat your own arm, then leg, etc. etc." The technological part is just the path that has been chosen.

Now if I was a little green alien I would put a warning sticker on planet earth only approach if you want to be exploited. Also be a fool to make yourself known, once existence realised you ass would soon be ours!

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 04:42 | 2575534 Debugas
Debugas's picture

i have to applaude ZH for a great article however also want to point out several things that were not mentioned

1) when robots will provide us with all the basic necessities will there new types of jobs be created for humans ? It entirely will depend on the imagination of the owners of the robotic factories. They may decide that they do not need as many people as we have today on our planet

2) Nothing was told about numerous limiting factors that even robotic economy will be bound with. if the planet does not have enough energy robotics will be limited, if the planet has no enough food the human population will be limited, if we need more zink, palladium platinum etc we will not be able to build more products wthat use those raw materials. Analysis on which are the closest limits would be highly appreciated

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 09:48 | 2576481 Reptil
Reptil's picture

I think that is impossible for us to determine, since there are a number of key technologies not implemented right now. (they're being held back, at one point I thought it was because of profit for fossile fuel industries (and those that own and control them) including nuclear fission, but now it's becoming increasingly clear there's also a GOAL of depopulation: You're not going to give "free energy" to the masses, if you want to decimate and control them.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 04:47 | 2575536 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

So down alongside China is the UK. Neither is top of the Robot stakes and the UK like China has high long-term unemployment. Most robots appear to be in auto production which is surprising since aerospace and electronics assembly might be key areas too. I suppose it depends on what you define as robots as opposed to automated lines. I really don't believe the bulk of long-term unemployed are outcasts from Manufacturing as opposed to Services and Marginal Employment. The UK typically has a very high Marginal Capital Output Ratio and a very high level of Capital Input per Unit of Output which is the inverse situation that Productivity of Capital and Labour is low.

This article is superficial in that it correlates two variables that simply states that nations producing industrial robots tend to use them in their factories. KUKA works closely with key manufacturers and capital allowances make Capex worthwhile whereas in the UK Capital allowances were scrapped by successive governments to cut the headline rate of corporate taxes


Sat, 06/30/2012 - 05:33 | 2575554 toomanyfakecons...
toomanyfakeconservatives's picture

Reality matters? Yeah... like when the looming MASS ARRESTS occur in the U.S. and the traitors, from Obama, Brenanke, Holder, and over 1000 other mega-criminals on down, are brought to justice.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 10:01 | 2576528 Reptil
Reptil's picture

You wish it were that easy. IMO this is a distraction, to give concerned but confused people a false hope:
1. There's no courtcase running in the International Court of The Hague. It's just TALK!

2. The USA government declared they're above the international Court's jurisdiction, so even if there was, it'd not see the light of day.

3. How on earth do you expect the corrupt leaders of a system to coöperate AGAINST THEMSELVES, it's just wishful thinking that could be "settled" in a courtcase, the judicial system they control themselves, work for them.

4. A judicial system is just ONE part of a power structure. In order to control the power structure, you have to go for the MILITAIRY systems that "enforce" the law/plans of the controlling force. The courts now just function to give the whole corrupt roadshow an "air of legitimacy".

So... in order to "win" against a controlling force you need to work OUTSIDE the systems controlled by it.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 08:30 | 2576229 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

I actually love robotics, but just from a mechanical viewpoint as my friends actually refer to the back of my barn as 'frankensteins laboratory'. LOL. Always building something.

They have important uses but like any other technology it will be taken advantage of by corporations and turned against us. Robots aren't the problem, greedy humans are the problem.

So now we have millions in China working like slaves so the rest of the world can IPhone, now they can just go and die so the likes of Apple can make even more $.

Eventually I think this will go full circle, which pretty much already looks to be happening. Of course with technology here we go again with the invention of the digital zero, etc and full circle can happen multiple times.
Ok im rambling on now.

Kinda funny I was bitching about this 10 years ago and all I heard was 'stfu it's good for profits'.

Imagine the fun you could have hacking a fully functional humanoid robot. Esp one with super human strength. LMAO!

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 08:45 | 2576281 justsayin2u
justsayin2u's picture

Maybe we need a "human displacement" tax on all machines based on their increase in productivity over a person doing the same task.  Split the baby - 50% of the increased productivity is tax.  Or maybe we need people to purchase more hand made stuff.  Or maybe we should have the unemployed sweep streets and clean up parks and forests so we dont have wildfires.  I remember when I was a kid in the late 70s talking with people about this very issue and the mantra was that the efficciency would create more jobs through making and maintaining machines, leisure workers tending to the guys enjoying higher salaries and profits, money multiplier, etc.  Maybe that's true up to a point.  Otherwise - the possibilities may not be too pleasant   

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 09:41 | 2576462 Debugas
Debugas's picture

in other words we need to reduce labour taxes and increase capital taxes (tax on owning robotic factory).

the problem i see with that is who is going to decide what collected taxes should be spent on

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 10:50 | 2576765 Dustin de Wynde
Dustin de Wynde's picture

Hasn't been mentioned since the year 1983: 

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 08:54 | 2576311 HowardBeale
HowardBeale's picture

When the means of production become so efficient they displace the majority of the workers, capitalism has served its purpose and must be laid to rest; from that moment forward, there is no defense for pursuing it further. Nationalization of all efficient means is then the obvious answer; the invisible hand will then become the invisible worker.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 12:42 | 2577150 Bob
Bob's picture

Should be an interesting fight.  Bare fisted unemployed "parasites" against the power of both the State and those with virtually all the money. 

I see post modern fascism first.  "We" has been a capitalist myth that has just about exhausted its usefulness. 

Hence the hypersensitivity of the "Liberty" crowd against "socialism" at every hint of a legitimate "we."  Contrary as it might seem, they'll embrace fascism as a religion as long as they're in a favored positon, imo.  

I expect it be be praised and practiced as "Liberty."  Not that it matters how it gets branded, of course. 

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 09:38 | 2576458 blindman
blindman's picture
In stock market robot trades you Posted on
Sat, 06/30/2012 - 16:57 | 2577609 Dustin de Wynde
Dustin de Wynde's picture

The brother of The Daily Show's Jon Stewart, Larry Leibowitz, is the #2 Guy at the New York Stock Exchange.

Larry is the Chief Operating Officer of the NYSE.

He's also the Miles Dyson of SkyNet.

Since Jon Stewart's brother Larry is the person who is the one person who is the one that is most personally responsible for the NYSE switching over to High Frequency Trading:

Any Questions? 

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 17:55 | 2577654 blindman
blindman's picture

did you ever own a jaguar (the automobile)
or know of someone who did? the bills for
service and repairs/replacement parts, i hear,
were very large and the owner pays them in
service of that machine for the performance
they feel they receive and experience.
oh, and did you see the story and video about
the robot designed to replace correction officers?
two questions.
so do you really think people, the poor, are
going to live their lives ruled by robots while
the elite design scams to pocket all the
money? will people play that game? will others
do the design and maintenance of the machines
for sub or sustenance wages that effectuate this
outcome? i think there will be push back, a rebellion,
at a certain point or uncertain point, but some point.
some line will be crossed that will change the entire
game or paradigm. the human spirit will suffer some
shit but there is a limit history would suggest.

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 10:46 | 2576747 Dustin de Wynde
Dustin de Wynde's picture

Workplace Automation *already* cuts Annual Labor Costs by 2/3rds.

A minimum wage worker in the US, (working 2,000 hours a year), costs $30 thousand dollars a year.

An Amazon/Kiva Systems Order Fulfillment Bot, (working >+8,000 hours a year), costs $10 thousand dollars a year.

WalMart replaces 1 million minimum wage workers in the US with Kiva Systems Bots by the year/s 2015/2016.

Annual Labor Cost savings, (now PURE PROFIT), to WalMart:

$20 billion dollars a year.

Every year.

Brace yourselves, because with that kind of money, it won't just be WalMart that makes the transition, but every other company in the world that has the resources to do so.

The Cambrian Robotics Explosion is already well underway.

Between now and the year 2020 we will see the single greatest Concentration of Wealth that the Modern World has ever seen.

Since NOTHING like this idea for Robots to Pay Union Dues:

Is even remotely on the table, (never mind not even being mentioned by anyone since the year 1983, almost 30 years ago), what happens next is that our 1st and 3rd world will most resemble Holodomor of the Ukraine in the 1930s. 

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 14:08 | 2577294 blindman
blindman's picture

who will purchase the robot produce, (mandatory
purchases? call it a tax or invocation of the
commerce clause)
what will they purchase it with and where will
they get that from? wide open, very broad
questions with many answers, or maybe not
due to diminishing returns? man may be content
to be servant to cartels and machines at a very
subsistence level so long as he doesn't have
to know much about it?

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 14:16 | 2577313 phat ho
phat ho's picture

huge fan of magnus robot fighter in my very young days. weird seeing it as a real possibility in my future

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 14:32 | 2577345 phat ho
phat ho's picture

highly recommend "The Leaderless Revolution" by Carne Ross..... covers alot of points made on ZH and offers a blueprint on how people can (non-violently) take their future back. Thought it is/was a good read anyway. :-)

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 14:32 | 2577347 phat ho
phat ho's picture

Service Announcement: the preceeding was quite possibly OT

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 15:02 | 2577397 blindman
blindman's picture

On the Edge with Catherine Austin Fitts
Posted on June 30, 2012 by stacyherbert|

Sun, 07/01/2012 - 12:43 | 2578574 ZeroAvatar
ZeroAvatar's picture

I'm going to stick my neck out here and make a few comments on the subject.  If you go to you will find, if you are capable of critical thinking, that humanity is currently in one of three states:  (1)-either humanity destroys itself and it's planet, (2)-humanity for some reason never has a desire, after reaching a high-level techno capability, to 're-run' it's past, or (3) WE ARE LIVING IN A COMPUTER SIMULATION!


Now, that being said, if you know anything about Quantum Physics, you know that there is a 'minimum'  length, the 'Planck Length', a very infitesimally small amount of space.  In that space, according to physics, the sequence of events, or 'time' as we know it, is discrete:  it occurs one 'frame' at a time, as opposed to what humans believe, that time and space are 'continous'.   


    The reason for the 'gaps' (quantum jumps) is that the computer simulation needs TIME to PROCESS each bit of information.  The speed of light is the processing speed of the quantum computer that is our 'reality'.  Reality, becomes 'pixelated' at plank lengths. Everything we see around us is an illusion created by the computer.


   That does this mean?  It means, first of all, that MACHINES are more highly evolved than humans.  Machines (a quantum computer) created our 'world'.  Humanity lives to provide machines with what?  Things machines can't do themselves. Machines can't 'choose': making choices every minute of every day is what the machines want us to do, to provide them with 'feedback' as to how to do it themselves.  Machines can't 'feel':  they 'read' our emotions, using the wavelength of colors.  For instance, (this is MY OWN THEORY)  the color spectrum runs (approx) from 390nm (UV) to 780nm (IR) or 390 total nanometers.  If you take the difference between nm's of any two colors, say 390nm (xray) to UV, (455nm)  the diff is 37.  If you divide the 37 by the TOTAL amount of nm's in spectrum (390),  you will get a repeating decimal: .09487179487.  This is a very specific number, readable by a computer, and it corresponds to the UV amount nm's.  It is repeatable for all the colors.  EG: diff between end of blue nm's (492) and end of green nm (577) is 85.  85 divided by 390 = .21794871794 (again, repeats).  Humanity is providing 'sustenance'. Blue is sad, yellow is happy, red is angry, green is envy, you get the idea.  Our emotions are being read by the QC. It breaks down much more completely than this simple example.

Sun, 07/01/2012 - 12:35 | 2578599 ZeroAvatar
ZeroAvatar's picture

     Not to blow you away with numbers or have you ask if I'm on my meds and my tin-foil hat is in place.  The idea that machines are at the top of the evolutionary chain, and not humans, is hard for many of us to swallow.  It's only going to be a matter of years before humans can be cloned easily, and beyond that, our minds will be capable of being downloaded into a 'computer'.  We will then have 'everlasting life'.  I doubt that 'everyone' will be qualified for this uploading process. I don't really know what the criteria for that will be, it may have something to to with 'karma'.


    Everything humanity has 'discovered' or 'invented' has been there all along.  It's just that WE'VE just acquired the intelligence to bring it into 'our' existence.  Our society MUST, INEVITABLY, become 'machine driven'.  We are learning to be like our creator.


Things like DNA (computer code), electromagnetic radiation, laws of physics, (limits, etc) all have a very high intelligence behind them.  You can say the bearded guy in the sky is 'dreaming' all of this or brought this all into existence with 'the word', but the more likely reality is this is all a holographic game being played for the satisfaction of some higher-up technology.

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