Source: The Passing Parade, by David Galland
One of the more interesting mental exercises related to predicting the future involves trying to fathom the impact the rise of robots will have on humanity.
We can be quite sure that in the proverbial blink, robots will be doing all the war fighting. After that, what’s the point? But does that then lead to the sort of robotic apocalypse so well envisioned in Terminator?
I also suspect it’s only a matter of time before the idea of sex bots goes from being an “eew” sort of thing to a household appliance. Well, at least in some households. After all, we already live in a world where every possible iteration of sexual proclivity is not just accepted but celebrated. So, who’s to deny the unmated a good snogging from the Yabadabdo Sexbot 2000?
In fact, in a recent survey, 1 in 4 adults aged 18 to 34 said they would “date” a robot. But what will the impact of bionic sex partners be on society—or birth rates, for that matter? It’s all but impossible to see through the fog to the answers.
We already have robo news reporters (you didn’t actually think humans write the crap passed off for news these days, did you?) Of course, as the news writing programs become more and more sophisticated, might the algorithms be tweaked to influence the masses to buy an advertiser’s product or, more onerously, to create a desired political outcome? You know, kind of how Google tried to get Hillary elected?
In terms of managing money, we already have robo traders and robo advisors. But what happens when these technologies become self-learning? Will the competing programs become so adept at exploiting kinks in the armor of Mr. Market that they will effectively nullify each other?
It’s also abundantly clear that self-driving cars will become the norm within the next decade. As someone who hates driving, that is a development I eagerly await. But imagine the sweeping changes self-driving cars will have on insurance, road building, car manufacturers, trucking, energy usage, the urban landscape, the taxi industry, government and regulations (will we still need driver’s licenses?), senior mobility, etc. It’s staggering to contemplate, and it’s just over the horizon.
I could continue, but as I am preparing for a trip to Tafí de Valle in the neighboring province of Tucumán here in Argentina tomorrow morning, I’ll shuffle toward the featured article of this week’s musings—a look at the impact of automation on the structure of the workforce by friend and associate Stephen McBride.
This is a particularly interesting topic on many levels. What percentage of the workforce is at risk of being replaced by automation? Where will the displaced find new jobs? What job skills will remain largely immune to automation? How will the US government, which is funded to the tune of 92% by income-related taxes, replace the lost revenue… a robot tax?
It’s a big topic, too big for a single Parade, but we must start somewhere. And with that, I turn the podium over to Stephen.
How the Coming Wave of Job Automation Will Affect You
By Stephen McBride
The 227,000 jobs added to the payroll in January marked the 76th straight month of expansion. The headline number is impressive. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find these jobs “aren’t what they used to be.”
Since 2000, the creation of full-time positions has slowed significantly. The private sector used to add full-time jobs at 2–3% per annum. In 2000, that number fell below 2%. Since 2008, it has been below 1%.
The majority of positions created since 2010 have been temporary. Around 20–50% of employees at the likes of Google and Walmart now fall into this category. With the explosion of contract workers, “workforce solution” firms now generate an estimated $1 trillion in revenue every year.
Read more Here: Garret/Galland Investment Research You Can Trust