Automation in retail, driving, etc. has the potential to make jobs obsolete at a rapid pace. Rather than trying to fight to save jobs that can be done by machines the idea is to retrain people in these industries to do things machines aren't good at.
The idea is to not slow down progress but also not abandon people who happen to have built a life in a dying field.
While thats true, I think the premise is wrong. Techno-types love to imagine that automation is just going to sweep through these industries.
The devil of these things is in the details. Yes, perhaps the tech can get to approximate 90% of what a human can do. However, the real problem are outside of tech. Like liability insurance. Who gets sued when one of Elon's driverless trucks plows into a school bus? Surely not the "trucking company"? So the software company will have to assume that...Now, imagine there are 50M driverless vehicles on the roads, what does that monthly policy look like? What insurance company will underwrite that? What happens if a zero-day is found? etc. etc.
Actually, yes, the trucking company gets sued. This is pretty well established. If your Toyota malfunctions and you hit someone, you get sued. You may sue Toyota afterwards, but you're going to get sued first.
This has literally happened before. It's not a what if. Toyota recalled thousands of trucks about 3 months ago because of a braking issue. I fail to see the difference between this and car insurance of the future.
Even if insurance were the issue, it's fairly easy to solve; in the contract you sign to use an automated vehicle, you'd assume liability.
It's not unlikely if the immediate crash investigation even hints at a product defect, you (all of driver, driver's employer if done in course of employment, and owner if different from the preceding two), Toyota, and everyone in the chain of commerce between you, plus the people up the chain from Toyota with regard to the part at fault will all get sued, simultaneously, in the same action.
The only change self-driving cars bring is eliminating the driver as a distinct target from the manufacturer and a whole bunch of upstream suppliers, but the person or company owning and the one (of different) directing the operation of the vehicle are still potential liability targets, as well as the upstream chain of commerce.
You extrapolating that future markets will work exactly like the past, because "its a car".
But its doubtful it will. The reason why the auto industry evolved the way it did (driver gets sued), is because 90+% of the time it is operator error.
Look at another example. Kraft distributes 10M packages of poisoned cheese, what happens: (a) All the local grocery stores get sued? or (b) Does Kraft get sued?
Obviously "B" would be the case, since the local grocery stores would say: "We had no way to test the cheese for poison, it was pre-packaged from Kraft"
This is very similar to what would happen in a 100% autonomous vehicle situation. The owner doesn't have access nor the capability to judge the engineering / code.
>Toyota recalled thousands of trucks about 3 months
Not the same. Toyota doing a recall to replace a $200 part doesn't come close to the potential liability that a autonomous manufacturer that had thousands of accidents...each potentially costing millions each.
>Even if insurance were the issue, it's fairly easy to solve; in the contract you sign to use an automated vehicle, you'd assume liability.
Yes, and the trucking companies will just say: No
Their insurance rates would skyrocket so high, that it would be cheaper to just continue to use human drivers.
In your Kraft scenario, the store would likely be sued, as would the corporation running the store, Kraft, and potentially the packaging company.
Here's a perfect example; the Romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak happens, right. A man eats a salad at a restaurant, gets sick. Who does he sue? Everybody. Has nothing to do with who is responsible, has a lot to do with who is going to pay his bills.
Why is the liability for a $200 part lower? If the cars can't apply the brakes properly and people die in car accidents, are they any less responsible?
Trucking companies won't say no, because it's extremely unlikely that all the cars will get into accidents all the time, and they don't have to pay more because the car didn't have a driver than they would if the car was being driven by their employee. Why would their insurance rates skyrocket? It appears there will be far less accidents with automated cars.
And that's really Yang's point. It's not just truck drivers. Any job that is basically rote work - even jobs requiring a high level of education and professional certification - is vulnerable to advances in AI and robotics. If your work isn't essentially creative, there's a good chance that it could be done cheaper, faster, and better by a robot at some point in the not-too-distant future.
I can imagine a day where voice recognition can allow marketing folks to just say what they want changed on a website and AI makes the update and asks for confirmation before pushing it live.
Requirements are hard. Understanding what needs to be done, and doing it all in the correct order, with buy-in from all concerned parties, is an essentially human, creative problem. It's not a simple matter of "marketing folks ask the AI to update the site", because they don't know how to ask it. Software is like all those tales of people getting their wishes granted by a genie or something, and regretting it because what they asked for wasn't actually what they wanted.
And who turns someone's dreams into something the genie will do correctly? Programmers. We're the interface between the world of human needs and the world of technical realities. We're doing craft. Our tools may change, but our problem is constant.
That all said, what is your alternative? Let huge swaths of the country degenerate into poverty and despair? Wait for them to vote an actual fascist into office? Or riot?
Given a choice between higher taxes and civil war, I will gladly choose higher taxes.
Social security isn't on its way to insolvency because of disability expansion...it's on its way to insolvency because it was designed in an age when we had an average of three children per female and life expectancy was shorter. Now that we're down to two and possibly dropping...there's less workers per retiree.
Exasmple: food stamps generate $1.73 in tax revenue for each $1 handed out. It's just good policy - to a point.
1. Consolidating existing welfare programs with large bureaucracies (500-600BN)
2. 10% VAT on companies which report 0 profits (800BN)
3. Projected economic growth leading to sales taxes (this is like the foot stamp example you shared)
4. Healthcare, prisons, etc (100-200BN)
2. VAT taxes come in the form of higher prices on everything. No such thing as a free lunch.
4. Healthcare, prisons is handwavey logic. Again, we already provide free healthcare to the poor via Medicaid. So there are no gains to be had there. He makes the wild guess that welfare payments would reduce crime, even though we saw the highest crime rates in the 80s and 90s prior to welfare reform (which reduced the number of people on welfare). So no, I don't buy any of it. There is no experiment of this being tried in the wild, at the city, county, or state level. Why would you take an epic proposal and immediately propose a huge shift of resources in the economy without any evidence to back it up?
2. VAT is designed to capture value from companies which employ few people, generate a lot of value, but report little in profits, which are a lot of tech companies today.
4. We spend more on healthcare to worse results than other developed countries, a lot is institutional inefficiency.
There's definitely evidence out there to support that people are suffering more even though GDP goes up, look at the labor participation rate of working-age men in these swing states.
Epic proposal? Alaska has been running a UBI from the 60s, instituted by a Republican governor and it's wildly popular. A UBI almost passed under Nixon as well, passing the house and getting killed in the senate twice because democrats wanted the amounts to be bigger.
The way I see it, we either do this now or we continue to keep our heads in the sand while the country rots from the center.
Alaska has a budget crisis right now, and they owe back pay to their citizens on the PFD. Besides that obvious disaster, it's a variable payout based on oil money. How sustainable do you think that will be once, say, electric cars become a thing?
The variable payout has been as high as $2,000 a person per year...to as low as $800 a year.
Alaska has benefited, like many oil-rich nations (including Norway), from a relatively small population with relatively large oil reserves and huge markets to sell those reserves to. Alaska has a population of about 750,000. Smaller than most large U.S. metropolitan areas. If they had the population of Texas (28 million)...that oil dividend would amount to $54 a year (in its highest amount ever).
The U.S. is almost three orders of magnitude larger than Alaska in terms of population. A LOT changes at that scale. Especially when the U.S. is THE largest market on the planet. We are the market other industries strive to sell to. Wreck that market, and you'll wreck the world economy.
To me, a lot of the progress we're making is efficiency only for the sake of profit. We should be answering the deeper question of "what's the point of work?" Do businesses exist to make profit for a small group of people or do they exist as privately-owned community pillars providing services and wages to citizens?
Personally, I lean towards the latter. And that's as a business owner twice-over.
We should also be asking ourselves "why do we make the products we make?" Are we building and consuming to fulfill an urge created by advertising? If so, can we scale back advertising and thus consumption and thus waste?
Unionization and employee-ownership are other options for fairly distributing wealth based on effort. A shop that unionizes can vote to automate – or not – and thus control their own destiny. Granted we're not there yet legally; our laws skew heavily in the favor of business owners. So were a union shop to vote to _not_ automate, a shop that fired all of its employees and automated would more than likely succeed in the market.
And that brings me full-circle – is succeeding in the market and being profitable more important than keeping people employed in a democratically-controlled workplace?
It's the same as when a country is happily going about their day and suddenly tanks show up at your door because someone else wants what you have.
that's just human nature, I don't see a way around it.
I'm sure this sounds very bleeding heart, but as a business owner, I'd rather give up stake in my own business to keep my employees and their families fed rather than opt for automation, firing my employees, and sitting in an empty office with piles of cash.
Business owners and shareholders need to learn empathy and start valuing the community at large over their own narrow interests.
To answer your question, though: I don't know.
The U.S. is an owner/exec-first economy, with labor holding very little political power. "At will" employment and "Right to Work" are inherently anti-union policies and although some states have successfully beat them back (Missouri for example), a majority of the country's labor is still without ways to organize.
It's a chicken and egg problem. A unionized shop probably couldn't compete against a full automated shop (depending on the industry). So until _most_ shops are unionized – which won't happen with rulings like Janus – it's almost an impossible task to organize the working class.
Unionization made sense in part due to the very labor intensive work of the early 20th century. Conditions were poor and pay was low and you had massive numbers of people doing related work together. It made sense. Nowadays unionizing is like herding cats across disparate, ephemeral organizations.
I don't think you can take a 20th century approach to 21st century problems.
Workplaces aren't democracies.
Some already are (co-ops, worker-owned, etc.) and all _should be_ if we want to keep society from pulling itself apart.
Yang talks about coming up with a more wholistic measurement than GDP to optimize on which is more in-line with how we value people culturally: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2FnZPXjRyI&feature=youtu.be...
If that's your take on businesses, would you support a requirement for corporate charters to keep public as stakeholders?
Ie, removing the oft-repeated opinion that corporations have a fiduciary duty to their stockholders to make the most money possible?
Maybe if everyone's, say, getting a $1000/mo UBI...
And if all the still-unemployed former coal miners in town have $1k/mo instead of $0/mo, there is much more opportunity for former coal miners (and everyone else in town) to offer them services.
It doesn't have to be from coal miner to software engineer, or some kind of massive transformation. Skills training and education for adults is more than that, IMO.
It's like saying no one will regret learning to farm or hunt. They're essential should for some of us but we become incredibly inefficient as a society if we all try to learn all of the important skills.
When the time came that my profession sort of blended in with data science (or rather that data science became a part of it and we'd rather keep the domain experts), I had/am having a great time. So I understand the tunnel vision.
The thing is that people have different talents and inclinations. Despite the outstanding role of economic necessity, liking or even being proud of something about one's work life is a psychological necessity that has to be much more common than enjoying code. I see construction workers on top of tall buildings to be, looking into the sky -- they must like this feeling, or the endorphins of hard physical labor, or the fact that something so tangible and durable is coming out of their muscle aches. Or something. There are easier ways to make a lower-class wage than work on top of buildings.
I don't like dealing with new people a lot, so I would be miserable working the cashier in a 24/7 store. But there has to be some psychological return to this work. Despite people resenting it and sort of being stuck for economic reasons.
Would these people have the same sense of accomplishment and belonging-in-the-world as middling coders in the typical death-march situations coders experience in real life?
All 3 are popular with the HN crowd. Not surprising.
Trump's populist promises to keep the coal mines open and auto factories rolling and dial the American economy back to the 1950s won't work, the world has moved on. Reeducation and retraining won't work at scale, especially not in the US where education means an unpayable private debt in many cases.
So if not UBI, then what?
So retraining isn't a solution to jobs being lost by automation and even if we get significantly better at retraining it's still probably not a solution.
If I had to guess, it could be because vets are younger and more able to learn new things, or it could also be that measuring graduation rates is different than measuring employment (plenty of college grads don't find employment in their field of study).
Personally I think the 2017 tax cuts should be rolled back for a lot of industries and used as an incentive for companies to develop proper apprenticeship programs and collaborate with universities/community colleges/trade schools to teach the exact skills they're looking for.
I'm not sure who these software engineers are. Anonymous online comments are unlikely to be a good source of determining how many people truly believe what you seem to think some of them believe.
Is retraining a 50yo truck unreasonable? Retraining them to become a software developer is probably unreasonable for most. But what about other jobs and types of labor? What about training them in more general skills that are valued in today's workplace and economy, as a part of a broader approach to tackling the issues facing the job market and economy?
Military population jas a selection bias for people with high thresholds of tolerance for difficult tasks amd by end of training usually have otjer confounding factors affecting their graduation, ie. Ptsd, lack of purpose, loss of fraternity, etc.
However, it also points out some places do manage to graduate a decent proportion of veterans, so it might be a matter of finding the right approach rather than an impossibility.
Just saying that there may be some branding problems with that in the critical states. (And by critical, I mean the states that aren't going to just vote liberal or conservative anyway. Basically just a handful of states in the upper midwest. Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, maybe Ohio and Iowa.)
Does anyone think about where the "dividend" on their stock funds comes from? Free money!
This is how the Alaska Permanent Fund works. The oil underneath Alaska is considered the property of all Alaskans, both current and future. The state charges a substantial fee for its extraction, and redistributes it to all Alaskan citizens every year (about $1k-2k). And it's in a trust, so it will still be there for Alaskans even when the oil runs out.
I'm quite okay with my government charging a fee for the use of scarce common resources, and cutting me a check.
Where does that money come from? (taxes?). What will stop inflation from just negating that 1000 gain?
UBI doesn't have a political problem. It has a math problem.
Everyone is homeless, or starving or both.
These people used to spend 100% of their paycheck at Walmart, local grocers, fast food. Now they spend 0.
So big retail/fast food shops close, more jobs lost.
UBI puts money in people's hands --the people who spend it all in their own local economy.
They can do more to get some of that back through taxes so it's more like 'recycling'. People with money aren't going to commit crimes to feed their family. People w/ rent/food/health ins are happier, more productive, less stressed, and more motivated to work on self-betterment.
Hell, if I had an extra 2-3k/month from a UBI program, I'd quit freelancing and go all in my SaaS I'm building which if it's successful could have at least 10-20 new jobs created. How many other entrepreneurs could have better success if they didn't need to put in 50-60 hours a week on their day job?
You can say it'll never happen, because you think everything will always stay the same, but that's just not the case. 40% of jobs never to be replaced by 2030 is a solid estimation.
What is your suggestion with what we should do w/ that sector? You can't retrain when there aren't jobs for them to retrain to. Should we just euthanize anyone who hasn't worked in the past year or two?
I don’t actually know of anyone who is out-and-out abusing the system. I’m sure there may be some, but I think a lot of people seem disproportionately worried about someone, somewhere eeking out a meager existence vs. the possible benefits.
In general, the major landing points for Canadian immigrants are Toronto, the GTA or Vancouver. The GTA is where the jobs are, so that's where people congregate.
There are some big employers based in Montreal, but you usually need to know French unless you're a developer or in an otherwise non-client facing role. You don't need French to get around in Montreal though, although of course it's appreciated if you make an effort.
I still think the broader point stands though: th city is fun because the cost-of-living (including fallback plans) is low enough that people don’t feel compelled to chase only income-maximizing careers. If I lived in New York instead, I think it’s much more likely that I would be in finance or something similar because I’d be only a few bits of bad luck away from destitution. In Montreal, I feel like I’ve got a reasonable life on a research scientist’s much lower salary.
Why moving abroad for a year you automatically lose your property rights? Does this just apply to real estate or do you release all property rights, such as cash, stocks, property left in a storage unit, car, etc?
I get if you are a U.S. national and live abroad some times and come back sometimes keeping a home, but a business man in china just holding 5-10 homes, or using U.S. real estate to launder money, definitely serves no purpose.
And so would actual dividends for equity ownership, as accrued by the capitalist class.
So, if we want a Marxist take, your comment is pretty fair.
It goes over the common ones like how will we pay for it, is this too soon, will this cause inflation, will people not be incentivized to work, etc.
The how to pay for it, while important, isn’t even a big concern for me. I think how to pay for it is a moot point.
For an early debate, I think one of the main goals would be to give exposure to "deserving" candidates who don't necessarily already have it. Polling isn't good for that since it will exclude anyone people haven't already heard of. But the question becomes what is "deserving" and how do you measure it?
It's not like counting donors is perfect, but what is? And it has some things going for it:
1. Talk is just talk. If you can get a decent number of people who don't personally know you to support you with at least a few bucks, you've got some kind of appeal.
2. There are already a lot of laws, reporting rules, etc. around campaign donations that you can piggyback off of. That is, the campaigns are already tracking this stuff very carefully and, if they cheat the numbers, are risking something a lot worse than being left out of a debate.
You can also qualify by getting 1%+ support in 3+ "approved" polls.
You'd be surprised
Meeting either criteria qualifies a candidate for the debate, and should the field of qualifying candidates grow to more than twenty (gods forbid) priority is given to candidates that meet both and then by polling average.
A GoFundMe could raise more than that.
As a Democrat, I'm okay with showing a minimum number of individual donors. It shows real interest in the candidate.
As opposed to the DNC clown car from 2016 where everything about the primaries was pre-cooked by DNC insiders and their media helpers?
I don't understand how any rational person can claim moral high ground for either party.
One, maybe two things, ISTR, no?
That was settled well before the primaries were done, so if that's just one thing, it's enough. You don't even need to get to "two things" like previewing questions with the media for the debates, or purging dissenters from the DNC leadership, for example.
The funniest thing I heard on the subject was the suggestion to nominate Trump as a Democrat so he qualifies for their primary debates and can take on all of them at once.
The best situation would be something like n-fold cross-validation. With 20 candidates you have 1140 possible arrangements for three-way debates. You have what, 40 to 60 weeks to converge on a candidate? Enumerate those 1140 arrangements, pick M integers from a lottery with white balls and hold weekly debates, preferably all over the country.
For any given candidate, his probability of being on any single debate is 14,26% . The probability that he's in at least one of 40 debates is 99,78%. If this happens, give this candidate an extra slot in the very last debate before primaries.
So, a few observations about him as a candidate. First, I think he's the only candidate really looking outside the box. It seems to me the political debate in this country is basically liberals saying the solution to our problems is more 1960s welfare and 1970s regulation, and conservatives saying the solution is less 1960s welfare and less 1970s regulation. We're stuck with a 50 year old model for the domestic responsibilities of our government.
Andrew Yang is one of us. He's from the startup community, and has seen up close how disruption works. He understands technology, and he understands numbers. And what he sees as a result of this understanding is grim - tens of millions of working-class and middle-class jobs slated for obsolescence in the next couple of decades, and no real alternatives in place for those about to lose their livelihoods. The social implications are terrifying. Don't like his UBI solution? Come up with something else, or commit to ignoring the problem until there are bread riots.
Another thing that strikes me is how he comes across. He reminds me of two important recent politicians - Barack Obama, and Bernie Sanders. Obama, because he's so clearly a nerd. It's such a rare pleasure to listen to a politician that I think is actually much smarter than me and not pretending otherwise. And Bernie, because Bernie's superpower isn't his policies - it's his integrity. You know deep down that Bernie isn't lying to you. I get that same vibe from Yang, and that's a very powerful thing these days.
Anyway, just some observations.
You could also just disagree with him about the problem. As a developer and founder, I think that most of what people are worried about with regard to automation putting everyone out of work in a decade is overblown. It’s essentially the exact same thing that’s always been said when fearmongering about how innovation and growth is about to destroy everything: “this time it’s different!”
Maybe, but I’ll pass on implementing a huge, untested, disruptive “cure” for a problem that people have been saying is around the corner for 150 years.
Not that there’s any real option of doing that. We can’t pass boring things that have widespread support, but we’re going to somehow magically pass things like UBI or single payer or the green new deal that would reshape the entire American economy and culture in unpredictable ways? OK.
Climate change and automation and the health care crisis are great examples of how we politically cannot get ahead of big problems that require big solutions. It’s basically impossible politically. The best we seem to be able to do is react way too late.
Or maybe I’m just cynical. But I’d love examples of big things we solved in advance that required big political constituencies to be built and were costly to voters.
I think if he's wrong he won't poll well after the debates and we'll forget about it all, but if he's right, he'll do well in Iowa and the midwest, and we know from 2016 that you can't win the electoral college without those swing states.
There you go. Stated purpose of our government. And I think several of those clauses apply to using UBI as a solution to our rapid economic dislocations.
I don't know if UBI is the solution. But I sure as heck don't know what else might be. That's why I want Andrew Yang in the debates. I very much doubt he'll win the nomination, and I have doubts about his ability to survive the brutality of a major-candidate status, but I want Democrats (and America) talking about both his fears and his solutions, because we really, really need to talk about this stuff.
Andrew Yang has his finger directly on the pulse of the malaise that led to Democrats losing PA, MI, OH, and WI. He counts the manufacturing job losses due to technology. But the GOP is offering someone to blame - immigrants, offshoring. It's hard to compete with someone who offers the customer a concrete enemy.
Oh really? All politics is a matter of changing no policies or social structures at all, but instead pushing for "representation" of the voters' demographic groups among the tiny power elite? Or did you mean that all politics is a matter of antidiscrimination laws?
Your statement is a deepity: it can either be interpreted as meaningfully narrow, but false, or as true, but so broad as to be meaningless.
My only hope is that his ideas enter the conversation of democrats or else we'll have a candidate focusing on costal city issues and ignoring the economic forces that matter in the states that have been neglected.
If you know a bunch about Yang, could you tell me: what's his diagnosis for why the automation revolution doesn't show up in productivity numbers?
It is getting ridiculous.
It does say that his popularity on the internet extends to 4chan, where racists make racist memes about him, and it quotes a tweet by him regarding a New York Times article about death rates among white people, but I don't really see that as white supremacist.
The biggest problem with them from 2016 wasn't their actual vote, it was that many media outlets (including Google) listed Superdelegates non-binding preference as a delegate in the totals, making one candidate seem far ahead before many states had even voted.
Unclear if that issue is resolve, because it is up to the media. This article as a screenshot from 2016/discussion:
I can see why party leadership would choose not to participate in what was, from their perspective, a stunt--not a serious campaign for the White House.
To be fair to Lessig, if the single issue "pass this bill" candidate was actually elected President, congress would feel a lot of pressure to comply.
Yes, but Presidents aren't elected by majority vote of voters in a majority of Congressional Districts. That's especially true of Democratic candidates, who tend to be hyperconcentrated in urban districts (in part, gerrymandering, but in part that's just the geographic distribution of Democratic support and why even without state-size biases and gerrymandering, Democrats are structurally disadvantaged by single-member, FPTP representation in Congress.)
I just don't see it that way at all. Think about Obama's work on national health care. A ton of democrats were worried about supporting it.
But no candidate really deserves to be treated that way, so I also like the idea of randomly splitting.
EDIT: One of the common critiques of UBI is that it's a "give away". Instead, I see UBI as a payment for natural rights (to walk, hunt, eat and sleep where ever one wishes) that are taken by society though its allocation and enforcement of private property. Hence, in my view, the concept of private property and UBI are intrinsically linked. Given this frame, what this natural right is worth is an important discussion to have -- should society provide basic shelter and sustenance in exchange? Free market perspective gives us an option, it could just be cash without any strings or requirements. But importantly, it's not a "hand out", it's compensation for a taking.
If you were to implement this, would you have every active client update live on the actual amount of donations, or would you just calculate the trajectory from past donations?
Unless the user is going to keep the browser tab open for days on end without reloading, this is going to be a fair and efficient approximation of the actual value.
Strictly speaking, I didn't even write the comment above. Someone else did, it got censored, and I found that disgusting, so I copy pasted and posted it. You can find the original at the bottom if you have showdead.
or don't and I'm giving Matt Christman a dollar.
This brings us to our second point, which is a conjecture that such a move has a sniff of witting or unwitting use as a test candidate, not for serious contention of nomination, but as an indicator of conservative support for such a concept. ("stalking horse")
What you're describing is simply not the way capitalism or automation works, or can ever work. No company is going to pay twice for the same labor.