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Post Reply Microsoft Developing Robotics For More Than Just Industrial Applications
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Posted 1/31/17 , edited 2/7/17
It started with factory automation. Thousands of auto workers lost their jobs building cars (not just because of NAFTA and globalization), but because of robotic automation. Not just car factories, but all kinds of factories.

in recent years, Google, Tesla, and a few other companies have been developing their driver-less cars, which you can imagine, taxi companies are very likely salivating for. You can imagine what will happen to all of the cab drivers, Uber, and Lyft drivers (Uber and Lyft drivers are primarily part timers, anyway, but taxi drivers? That's their livelihood).

In Europe, a company is testing a driver-less tractor trailer that can drive thousands of miles on highways delivering goods all over Europe. Early last year, they completed a successful test of a convoy of several tractor trailers that drove to several different factories, picked up their loads, and then met up and convoyed over two thousand miles to a seaport, and delivered their loads to the docks for loading aboard ships, on time, fuel efficiently, and safely. So, you can imagine what that's going to do to the truck driving jobs, and small independent truck operator businesses when the big truck operators buy up fleets of these robot trucks.

I can easily see that technology being applied to municipal bus operators, cross country bus operators, light rail, passenger and freight rail, all our jobs are vanishing... Being taken over by robots.


Google is already testing it's cashier-less convenience store, so cashier and baggers will lose, when the major supermarket chains license the tech from Google. Why not have a restaurant with touch display menu screens at the table. Then after the cook prepares the meal, a robot brings the meal to your table. No more waiters and waitresses. A guy or gal will clean the tables and bring the dishes to the back, so that an automated diswashing machine will do the dishes.... And because of Google's cashier-less technology, there won't be any need to stop to pay. Just walk out. Eating at Denny's, IHOP, and Marie Calendars will be a different experience, will mean millions of more jobs lost.

Many more millions of people will lose their jobs, and will have nowhere else to turn to for work. Not just at factories, but as taxi, Uber, and Lyft drivers, construction workers, etc, etc, etc. What will happen when millions of people have no work, have no, or very poor, income, have no upward mobility, and have no hope?

Don't think you forklift operators, and heavy machine operators, and construction workers, farm machinery operators, warehouse workers, hospital workers, or even restaurant workers are safe. Hell, they may end up developing robotic apple and orange pickers, robotic tomato and strawberry pickers... Who knows?

Because now we have this....

http://www.zdnet.com/article/microbots-microsofts-multi-pronged-robotics-play-takes-shape/?loc=newsletter_large_thumb_featured&ftag=TRE17cfd61&bhid=23586413726101147691015284598822


From a recent Microsoft job posting (now listed as an AI + Research job), which links the dots a bit more:

"The Ambient Computing & Robotics team is creating applications for the era where computer vision, AI-based cognition, and autonomous electro-mechanicals pervade the workplace. We are using this convergence to transform physical work in construction sites, logistics yards, baggage handling areas, hospital corridors, factories, restaurants, farms and more. A key aspect of this work is how valuable physical assets are utilized and made available for optimal, on-demand sharing within an organization and within the economy at large."
Posted 1/31/17 , edited 2/7/17

DeadlyOats wrote:
Many more millions of people will lose their jobs, and will have nowhere else to turn to for work. Not just at factories, but as taxi, Uber, and Lyft drivers, construction workers, etc, etc, etc. What will happen when millions of people have no work, have no, or very poor, income, have no upward mobility, and have no hope?


Simply put: they adapt.
This isn't the first time in history we've had to change how our lives are simply due to technological growth.

Seriously though, I think you're being a bit alarmist here. Most development teams that are focusing on robotics and artifical intelligence are trying to assist people in their position - not replace them. I do think you've mixed up Google with Amazon; seeing as Amazon Go (the grocery store) is about to be expanded into convenience stores as well. They'll likely sell this technology off or offer access to their SDK or their machine learning algorithms that make it possible; if I had to guess.

Even in the worst case scenario where all of these people are out of jobs, it should promote intellectual growth as a species if that's the case. People will struggle in the first generation or two until they adapt and learn which job markets are the best to be in to be productive to society. Just like how so many people are jumping into Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Robotics in the last 10-15 years - as these are the best markets to present yourself in to get a position with a "living wage".

But this goes back to what I've been saying when criticizing the current administration (not making this strictly political about any persons specifically) - focusing on only blue collar positions, when blue collar jobs are going to take a nose-dive in the next decade or so, is a waste of effort. Both blue collar and white collar (office) positions need to be brought back to America. Employers (of blue collar positions/fields) should try to offer access to learning how these potentially incoming systems would work and how to troubleshoot/maintain said systems.

Also...


DeadlyOats wrote:
Why not have a restaurant with touch display menu screens at the table.


We already have this in a lot of restaurant chains nowadays. Last time I went to Olive Garden, the only interaction I had with wait staff was when one came out with our drinks, appetizers, entree, and to-go desserts. Order was all taken and paid for without having to interact with a human. In Japan, there are an endless amount of restaurants that have you simply order and pay through a touchscreen system - only to pick up your food or for someone to put it on your table (table is automatically assigned). What do you think is happening with mobile apps nowadays?

I can order coffee from Starbucks or a local place through an app. Walk in, grab it, not even speaking with a person whatsoever. The gears are already in motion in terms of trying to eliminate a cashier. In a world where most currency is more digital than analog, there's little to no need for a human to ring up your order and give you change when you can simply use a device. Here's a few interesting things:

Starbucks Unveils a Virtual Assistant That Takes Your Order Via Messaging or Voice Command

Walmart Testing App For Shopping Without Checkout Lines

As time progresses, the need for positions that these kinds of systems take place of will dwindle (of course). There will be a requirement of a sub-system for those who do not have mobile phones, eventually. Though.. that, too, can be automated in some way or another. Humans adapted to job market rises and falls in the past, we'll do so again.
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Posted 1/31/17 , edited 2/7/17
Some jobs won't go away so easy. I put them in 2 categories

1. jobs that are just plain old hard for a robot

2. jobs that are just better with a human touch.

take for example the 4 lovely ladies at my favorite coffee shop. No way they are getting replaced. Sure a robot may do the coffee making well, but i doubt they will be able to come up with flavors of their own or be able to recommend flavors and give good reasons why.. and sure, you may slap rubber tits on a robot, but it's not the same as flirting with a cute punk rock chick.

hell, even my future job as a dietitian has more of a chance of getting replaced by the synth menace then their jobs.
Unless...

(slaps myself before fallout 4 synth paranoia takes over)
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Posted 1/31/17 , edited 2/7/17
I'm gonna laugh so hard if technology is destroyed or rendered useless, so many people will need to do hands-on work again, giving machines something a human could easily do is a mistake.
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Posted 1/31/17 , edited 2/7/17

ninjitsuko wrote:


DeadlyOats wrote:
Many more millions of people will lose their jobs, and will have nowhere else to turn to for work. Not just at factories, but as taxi, Uber, and Lyft drivers, construction workers, etc, etc, etc. What will happen when millions of people have no work, have no, or very poor, income, have no upward mobility, and have no hope?


Simply put: they adapt.
This isn't the first time in history we've had to change how our lives are simply due to technological growth.

Seriously though, I think you're being a bit alarmist here. Most development teams that are focusing on robotics and artifical intelligence are trying to assist people in their position - not replace them. I do think you've mixed up Google with Amazon; seeing as Amazon Go (the grocery store) is about to be expanded into convenience stores as well. They'll likely sell this technology off or offer access to their SDK or their machine learning algorithms that make it possible; if I had to guess.

Even in the worst case scenario where all of these people are out of jobs, it should promote intellectual growth as a species if that's the case. People will struggle in the first generation or two until they adapt and learn which job markets are the best to be in to be productive to society. Just like how so many people are jumping into Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Robotics in the last 10-15 years - as these are the best markets to present yourself in to get a position with a "living wage".

But this goes back to what I've been saying when criticizing the current administration (not making this strictly political about any persons specifically) - focusing on only blue collar positions, when blue collar jobs are going to take a nose-dive in the next decade or so, is a waste of effort. Both blue collar and white collar (office) positions need to be brought back to America. Employers (of blue collar positions/fields) should try to offer access to learning how these potentially incoming systems would work and how to troubleshoot/maintain said systems.

Also...


DeadlyOats wrote:
Why not have a restaurant with touch display menu screens at the table.


We already have this in a lot of restaurant chains nowadays. Last time I went to Olive Garden, the only interaction I had with wait staff was when one came out with our drinks, appetizers, entree, and to-go desserts. Order was all taken and paid for without having to interact with a human. In Japan, there are an endless amount of restaurants that have you simply order and pay through a touchscreen system - only to pick up your food or for someone to put it on your table (table is automatically assigned). What do you think is happening with mobile apps nowadays?

I can order coffee from Starbucks or a local place through an app. Walk in, grab it, not even speaking with a person whatsoever. The gears are already in motion in terms of trying to eliminate a cashier. In a world where most currency is more digital than analog, there's little to no need for a human to ring up your order and give you change when you can simply use a device. Here's a few interesting things:

Starbucks Unveils a Virtual Assistant That Takes Your Order Via Messaging or Voice Command

Walmart Testing App For Shopping Without Checkout Lines

As time progresses, the need for positions that these kinds of systems take place of will dwindle (of course). There will be a requirement of a sub-system for those who do not have mobile phones, eventually. Though.. that, too, can be automated in some way or another. Humans adapted to job market rises and falls in the past, we'll do so again.


Thank you for this wall of text. I would have been too lazy to write it!

I even think of simple things like the cotton gin. One cotton gin could do the work of 20 slaves in the same time, if not more! Then we go to the invention of electricity, the car, aeroplanes, everything. As things advance, the need for humans to do menial tasks diminishes. This leave room for greater education at a lower cost (though people getting off their asses to take this is another issue in a nutshell).

Once these people have higher education we can move forward faster, easier as a species as a whole. I sure as hell would rather work on robots that made sandwiches than making the damn thing myself!

Anyway, there will be no robots in the near future (thousand years+) that can do what I can in the field. Sure they can take images, maybe take measurements... But being able to depict what created the outcrops, what they mean, and the world they open to you... Robots will never be able to do.
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Posted 1/31/17 , edited 2/7/17

A minimalist and an alarmist walk into a bar, the result, this thread so far.
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Posted 1/31/17 , edited 2/7/17
O.K. So how about this?

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/04/elon-musk-robots-will-take-your-jobs-government-will-have-to-pay-your-wage.html

And this?

https://www.wired.com/brandlab/2015/04/rise-machines-future-lots-robots-jobs-humans/


The robots haven’t just landed in the workplace—they’re expanding skills, moving up the corporate ladder, showing awesome productivity and retention rates, and increasingly shoving aside their human counterparts. One multi-tasker bot, from Momentum Machines, can make (and flip) a gourmet hamburger in 10 seconds and could soon replace an entire McDonalds crew. A manufacturing device from Universal Robots doesn’t just solder, paint, screw, glue, and grasp—it builds new parts for itself on the fly when they wear out or bust. And just this week, Google won a patent to start building worker robots with personalities.


And this?

http://theconversation.com/are-robots-taking-our-jobs-56537


The bottom line is that while automation is eliminating many jobs in the economy that were once done by people, there is no sign that the introduction of technologies in recent years is creating an equal number of well-paying jobs to compensate for those losses. A 2014 Oxford study found that the number of U.S. workers shifting into new industries has been strikingly small: in 2010, only 0.5 percent of the labor force was employed in industries that did not exist in 2000.

The discussion about humans, machines and work tends to be a discussion about some undetermined point in the far future. But it is time to face reality. The future is now.
Posted 2/1/17 , edited 2/7/17

DeadlyOats wrote:
O.K. So how about this?


Personally, I don't mind robots "taking our jobs". Like I said in my last post, the suffering of a low job market would only last a few generations until people would start adapting to it. Looking at a two or three year (or even ten years) research paper showing that we're not equaling out on the number of well-paid positions versus those lost to automation doesn't mean much to me. The change I'm talking about is 50-100 years into the future (I'll likely be long dead).

Basically, the idea is that robots would eventually take over positions that require manual labor or some health-based positions altogether. I'm not talking about going so far that every household has one (like some futurists have projected) - more so that companies would find it cheaper to purchase a handful of "helper bots" to assist with construction and the likes to ensure that protocols are up to spec -- only to, eventually, completely construct a building based off of an architect's design (with no human labor required).


GrandMasterTime wrote:
A minimalist and an alarmist walk into a bar, the result, this thread so far.


Pretty much.
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Posted 2/1/17 , edited 2/7/17
For some reason this song popped in my head at the thought of job killing robots https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6-U-apEUZI

Job loss with technology has been going on since the birth of industrialization. New jobs and requirements tend to come about as a result, and society moves on. Even in 'self-checkout' grocery lines you need an attendant to manage hang-ups.
Posted 2/1/17 , edited 2/7/17
Huh... Well, if shipping companies, like Fed Ex and UPS are any indication, the future is an electrician's dream. Automated machinery fuck up all the time, from something as small as a photoeye losing focus, to plastic sorters flying off of conveyor belts, to hot wires slipping out of place and frying electrical panels.
Posted 2/1/17 , edited 2/7/17
I'll be laughing when the robotics make errors
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Posted 2/1/17 , edited 2/7/17
Meh until they come up with reliable robotic soldier I wouldn't worry.
Posted 2/1/17 , edited 2/7/17

aeb0717 wrote:

Huh... Well, if shipping companies, like Fed Ex and UPS are any indication, the future is an electrician's dream. Automated machinery fuck up all the time, from something as small as a photoeye losing focus, to plastic sorters flying off of conveyor belts, to hot wires slipping out of place and frying electrical panels.


Yeeeeeeeep. Electrical engineers, electricians, and computer techs would be the fields that would benefit from the "robots taking over". Robots will, undoubtedly, fail at times and will need someone to repair them. While some robots are able to create a new part for themselves, if the robot isn't operational at all - it won't be able to do so.
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Posted 2/1/17 , edited 2/1/17
Around the year 2055 the population of humans will start decreasing much like it did with horses after cars were made.

Now, this is more or less due to leveling from industrialization of chinese and indian cultures but also due to the fact the there will be a job decrease as far as manual labor goes.

I think we are going to need to, eventually, rethink how we run society. Much like the revolution in a post Adam Smith world created the market economy we know and love today. We are going to have to figure out what the cycle of income looks like without service jobs coming in. Does the influx of jobless people simply create more degree pursuits?

Either we go down the road of reformulating the model and people who are skilled laborers simply become obsolete and for lack of a better term 'die off', or we rethink market economy entirely and try something completely new. Global citizen income has been proposed but apparently people don't like the thought of it very much.

I personally think that there will be a time that comes when we realize that we can completely free ourselves from one applied task due to sophistication of machinery and it will free us up to do more. The question becomes; What is it we do then? Or rather, Can humans even function without monotonous tasks to do daily? Or what do those tasks now look like?
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Posted 2/1/17

Ranwolf wrote:

Meh until they come up with reliable robotic soldier I wouldn't worry.


By that, do you mean fully autonomous humanoid robot soldiers, or robot tanks and drones too? Because the Russian's apparently want to build robot tanks. (Armata or something like that)
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