Jack Ma (of Alibaba) says "Say "No" to Manufacturing... - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy2 View Post
    I see and hear a lot about how AI is progressing but I think that there is a very serious underestimation of what is required for true intelligence.
    .
    A really good book for those interested in science and how the future might unfold is Michio Kaku's "Physics of the Future". This guy is no slouch, is a prof. of theoretical physics and the co-founder of string field theory. He's also one these great minds who also does a lot to popularize science - now that is doing good! He covers about everything you could ever pull from a SciFi novel and discuss its possibilities in the near and long term based on current advancements and knowledge in science. One of the things he is least bullish on is AI.

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    Default AI is goinbg to take YOUR job, or just another "scare the people" story!!

    AI shut down because it wrote its own language that programmers could not understand!! It was a facebook AI!

    "Facebook shut down an artificial intelligence engine after developers discovered that the AI had created its own unique language that humans can’t understand"

    So.................if "humans can't understand it" how do they know it is a language? There have been very few major breakthroughs in any sort of computing in the last few years. Moores law (qv) stopped working when they had to double up on chip cores to gain any increase in speeds. The electronic microprocessor is now at its heat limit because they use electrical current, which creates heat, and the more gigaflops, the more heat, so we start using dual, quad, octo cores and parallel processing.. It is estimated that there are 0.15 QUADRILLION synapses in the human brain, so theoretically, a 0.15 quadrillion core cpu should be capable of something approaching AI. Meantime we have AI playing GO! and beating a human, but is this AI? of course it is not, it is merely programmed with all the rules, and all the possible moves, and tries each one VERY VERY fast, and makes the move which is within the rules, is advantageous to its position in the game, in accordance with the way it was programmed..................by a human. We see articles that robots can do various tasks, like "build a house" actually they can't although they can spray concrete walls, so we get "Robot 3D prints a house" but it actually only builds the walls, and you will NEVER see one at work, because it costs a fortune, and would not last a day on a cold damp dirty building site, and humans can build the whole house and do it cheaper too! Move along folks, nothing to see here!

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    "Moving forward, Ma said he believes the service industry will be the largest engine of job creation."

    Oh great, another A-hole trying to sell us the tired old hamburgers and haircuts "service economy" line that has proved to be a low wage loser for millions of displaced manufacturing personnel.

    And who is best suited to fill those low wage service jobs? Up until now it's been largely low skilled recent immigrants and migrants. The trend has been to drive wages downward in a death spiral that threatens to wipe out the traditional working class and even a chunk of the middle class.

    This prick Ma is another of those wealthy globalists who gives advice that would have us embrace the "decades of pain" he predicts. I say reject him and the others who push the idea that automation is the source of job loss and misery for workers. It's a straw man. The real problem is greed on a scale beyond the imagining of most ordinary people.

    AI will likely never equal the performance of the human brain or even the brains of higher level animals. Millions of dollars have been spent trying to develop machines that can sniff out bombs and drugs that can't compete with trained dogs. Why? Because the dogs' "sensors" are tied to a brain that can interpret the complex chemical signatures in minute traces.

    We can still have manufacturing, augmented with technology that enhances rather than replaces people. Humans are incredibly versatile and what we should train workers for is to be adaptable so they can have enough understanding to work with technology that enhances their output, whether they work in manufacturing, retail, or even the service sector. Today's vehicle service techs would be severely handicapped without the diagnostic technologies that augment their skills and the same goes for everything from store clerks searching inventory via computer to engineers running complex simulations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    Oh great, another A-hole trying to sell us the tired old hamburgers and haircuts "service economy" line that has proved to be a low wage loser for millions of displaced manufacturing personnel..
    Its been like this for decades, happened to agriculture before mfg. He's giving a history lesson not predicting the future.

    Thing is, its not correct to assume a service job is low paying. Engineers, mechanics, technicians, lawyers, plumbers and so on are all in the service business. For that matter, without an actual product, so is the typical job shop

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcgyver View Post
    Its been like this for decades, happened to agriculture before mfg. He's giving a history lesson not predicting the future.

    Thing is, its not correct to assume a service job is low paying. Engineers, mechanics, technicians, lawyers, plumbers and so on are all in the service business. For that matter, without an actual product, so is the typical job shop
    Engineers - much of the engineering is being outsourced to China along with the manufacturing.

    Mechanics - Yes, this is a domestic job.

    Technicians - very often were part of manufacturing in the past. As manufacturing goes offshore so do a lot of technician jobs.

    Lawyers - Dead wrong! These are professional positions and, because they must be admitted to the bar the supply can be restricted.

    Plumbers - also restricted supply due to licensing.

    When people talk service jobs what they usually mean is retail, hospitality, cleaning, driving, and similar that are rarely high paying jobs. At the time I graduated high school a person could go into manufacturing, learn the job, and manage to eventually own a home, buy a modest new car every few years, take vacations, and even many times buy a vacation home. No college required and in many cases not even a high school diploma. Nothing to date has managed to replace those lost manufacturing jobs with equivalent wages.

    I remember when they were telling displaced workers to learn software for a new well-paying career. Many did, and made decent money until the greedy corporate bosses started insourcing programmers from places like India.

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    When people talk service jobs what they usually mean is retail, hospitality, cleaning, driving, and similar that are rarely high paying jobs.
    Scott, you may have got the idea somewhere that service jobs means a walmart greeter, but that's not what it means. Look it up. All that I listed are services jobs as are Dr's nurses, actors, accountants, consultants, stock brokers, software writers and power line workers and so forth. They are part of what someone is talking about when they refer to the service economy or sector.

    US manufacturing output is I believe at an all time high, as is agricultural production. You just don't need as a many people anymore, but it doesn't mean there isn't manufacturing.

    What are you upset about, how the world has changed or that this guy has observed it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcgyver View Post
    Scott, you may have got the idea somewhere that service jobs means a walmart greeter, but that's not what it means. Look it up. All that I listed are services jobs as are Dr's nurses, actors, accountants, consultants, stock brokers, software writers and power line workers and so forth. They are part of what someone is talking about when they refer to the service economy or sector.

    US manufacturing output is I believe at an all time high, as is agricultural production. You just don't need as a many people anymore, but it doesn't mean there isn't manufacturing.

    What are you upset about, how the world has changed or that this guy has observed it?
    What I am upset about is that yet another globalist prick is trying to sell us on the idea that America should forget about manufacturing. I am not unfamiliar with Jack Ma's views on other subjects including U.S. immigration. Taking his advice would condemn huge numbers of Americans to perpetual poverty and dependence on government handouts. While you are technically correct about service jobs including some higher paid positions, the average guy will never be a doctor, lawyer, or stockbroker. Not everyone is capable of attaining the education levels required, either for financial reasons, intellectual capacity, or both. Even fields like nursing are increasingly subjected to serious downward pressure on wages relative to inflation, which is why there have been several labor strikes recently, including in Boston.

    Jack Ma talks a great deal about data and the economic potential of it but neglects to say that for the average Joe it will not bring economic rewards. Data entry employs a very large number of people but wages are low.

    I am especially incensed that Mr. Ma, whose business is based in China, seems determined to make sure we can't recover any lost manufacturing business from China.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    At the time I graduated high school a person could go into manufacturing, learn the job, and manage to eventually own a home, buy a modest new car every few years, take vacations, and even many times buy a vacation home. No college required and in many cases not even a high school diploma. Nothing to date has managed to replace those lost manufacturing jobs with equivalent wages.
    Why does no one ever asks if that kind of opportunity and upward mobility should have ever been possible?

    It seems to me like the baby boomers, aided by their parents generation, set themselves up to become fat and happy. There were jobs available, and demand for the things they were making, so they voted themselves nice fat pensions, benefits, and job protections. Then when they really started making some money, they voted themselves some really nice tax cuts.

    The whole thing was never sustainable. But, no one ever stopped to think about that. Once they got something, hell if they were ever going to give it up.

    Now my generation comes along and tries to replicate what our parents had. It's just not possible to the same extent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    I am especially incensed that Mr. Ma, whose business is based in China, seems determined to make sure we can't recover any lost manufacturing business from China.
    I wouldn't know they guy if I bumped into him and haven't a clue what his views are, so I gather your feelings toward him are from a lot of context i don't have.

    The entirety of my point was that a service economy doesn't mean low paying jobs, there will be jobs of all points on the pay scale. That certain positions require qualifications doesn't really bother me, nor does it invalidate the statement that the service sector produces lots and lots of high paying jobs. Its like the shift away from an agrarian economy, its like 1/% of workers (or some low number) are employed in agriculture now, yet there is greater abundance than ever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    The whole thing was never sustainable. .
    Agreed

    But, no one ever stopped to think about that
    well, not enough did anyway. Inevitability will have have its day, whether with herald or not

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    What I am upset about is that yet another globalist prick is trying to sell us on the idea that America should forget about manufacturing. I am not unfamiliar with Jack Ma's views on other subjects including U.S. immigration. Taking his advice would condemn huge numbers of Americans to perpetual poverty and dependence on government handouts. While you are technically correct about service jobs including some higher paid positions, the average guy will never be a doctor, lawyer, or stockbroker. Not everyone is capable of attaining the education levels required, either for financial reasons, intellectual capacity, or both. Even fields like nursing are increasingly subjected to serious downward pressure on wages relative to inflation, which is why there have been several labor strikes recently, including in Boston.

    Jack Ma talks a great deal about data and the economic potential of it but neglects to say that for the average Joe it will not bring economic rewards. Data entry employs a very large number of people but wages are low.

    I am especially incensed that Mr. Ma, whose business is based in China, seems determined to make sure we can't recover any lost manufacturing business from China.
    It is important that we keep things in perspective. Mr Ma is playing some head games with us here. This is a method that most of us in the USA do not use to gain playing field advantage. Our tendency is to brag about what we are going to do and give the competition all the information to beat us at our own game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon B. Clarke View Post
    1.A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
    2.A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
    3.A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
    Open the pod bay doors, Hal.

    I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy2 View Post
    It is important that we keep things in perspective. Mr Ma is playing some head games with us here. This is a method that most of us in the USA do not use to gain playing field advantage. Our tendency is to brag about what we are going to do and give the competition all the information to beat us at our own game.
    Seems more straightforward to me than that. Just follow Ma's naked self-interest. He also does a fair amount of bragging himself.

    Ma's company is to China (and he hopes the world) what Walmart, Ebay, and Amazon are to the US. It's a digital storefront, with low overheads, and a global reach. He doesn't much care about manufacturing as long as crap gets built and then sold on his various web sites.

    He's right that manufacturing, as a percent of either the US or Chinese workforce, is going to decrease just like agriculture a century earlier. No big news, others have been saying it for decades. We already have far fewer well-paying jobs on auto assembly lines for example -- witness the decimation of the UAW. By most accounts, China has lost more jobs to high tech automation than the US.

    Also right that lots of stuff will still be made; some of it by small companies. Manufacturing productivity (but not employment) is higher than ever.

    And likely right (barring a wave of protectionism in most every country) that the mostly highly automated manufacturers left will typically have global competitors. Already do.

    The interesting trend is that economists, business leaders, most everyone thought that free trade was a win-win for most everyone. Forces people, companies, and nations to get really productive at something they can be good at. That's typically good for consumers and also the companies at the top of their game.

    That consensus is now fraying at the edges.

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    In the late 70s, early 80s AI was all the rage.
    Tell a group of investors that you were building a AI company and money poured from the skies.
    This popularity more due to the suddenly wide access to computers more than to any real tech advances.
    Neural nets were "rediscovered", we had expert systems that seemed smart, blackboards that just needed cheap memory by the meagbyte and some parallel processing.

    Also very common was a discussion among programmers that this was the end of the road for us.
    Very soon you would be able to tell your computer what to do and it would write the needed software itself via this AI stuff.

    I knew very well paid software engineers who would openly and often say they would not want their children to become programmers as it was a dead end job and a sure way to a life of unemployment.
    Fast forward 30 years and maybe being a programmer is not such a bad job to have. Demand and salaries seem to have held up okay.

    Back in this day I was all heady about AI too, then reality set in.
    I still like it, write some into my machine measuring/size correction routines to "learn" the machine, tooling, and how the system reacts throughout the day to control it.
    Fuzzy logic and nets can map stuff into a close answer where there are so many variables a hard math solution is almost impossible to code.

    There is a tend towards smarter machines and this does shift the manufacturing world somewhat.
    Much as cncs have obsoleted manual shops. Is your cnc control with tool comp, auto cycles for operations a AI? Well kind of it is.
    Is it smart...no, not so much. Yet if you were a machinist from 100+ years ago it might seem so.

    AI is useful tool now for some things but a very long way from human intelligence but I do understand the lure of thinking that it can be done.
    I just need more memory, some faster CPUs............
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteM View Post
    Just follow Ma's naked self-interest. He also does a fair amount of bragging himself.
    You have to remember something with good ol' Jack. In fact, with anything from China - this is a planned economy. Jack didn't get shit by himself. He was in the right place at the right time so he got to be Annointed. And he will stay there until someone else's son-in-law comes along with better connections.

    What he says is meaningless. Nobody here listens to a word those blowhards say because we all know it's not what you know, it's who you know.

    The rest is a whitewash.

    The interesting trend is that economists, business leaders, most everyone thought that free trade was a win-win for most everyone.
    Did they ever really believe that ? Or was it just a convenient sop to their consciences for selling out their friends and neighbors ? "I got mine, Jack ! Fuck you ! har har har" would have been more honest.

    How could anyone believe that the "four or five good jobs [stacking boxes] created at home" by going to slave labor overseas were going to be better than tool and die maker for the UAW ? Anyone that stupid was as religiously motivated as Alan Greenspan. Al Dunlap knew exactly what he was doing.

    Ross "Cassandra" Perot knew his shit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    Why does no one ever asks if that kind of opportunity and upward mobility should have ever been possible?

    It seems to me like the baby boomers, aided by their parents generation, set themselves up to become fat and happy. There were jobs available, and demand for the things they were making, so they voted themselves nice fat pensions, benefits, and job protections. Then when they really started making some money, they voted themselves some really nice tax cuts.

    The whole thing was never sustainable. But, no one ever stopped to think about that. Once they got something, hell if they were ever going to give it up.

    Now my generation comes along and tries to replicate what our parents had. It's just not possible to the same extent.
    I think you have the modern revisionist view of the past, no doubt due to being young and told a story about events rather than having experienced them.

    "Baby boomers" is a label some, including our most recent past President, like to use to drive a wedge between generations and create resentment.

    No one "voted themselves" fat pensions. Pensions were a recruiting tool, same as 401k with matching today, along with medical benefits and paid vacations.

    "Why does no one ever asks if that kind of opportunity and upward mobility should have ever been possible?"

    Why doesn't someone ask instead what has been destroying the upward mobility that has been possible since the founding of our nation? Contrary to what you have been taught it should have indeed been sustainable if leaders had sought America First policies instead of trying to curry favor with globalist financiers.

    Without an understanding the past (which is something they dread) we will be forced into arrangements increasingly unfavorable to the common man. Contrary to the lies put forth by the "free trade" crowd we were never isolationist and had healthy trade with numerous nations in addition to thriving domestic markets. We also had immigration that suited the goals of expanding the nation's borders.

    Sometimes I am shocked by the views put forward by some on this forum who seem not to understand that ordinary people managed to own homes and have a decent life for much of our history.

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    I'd like to know how we can continue the upward mobility of the 1950s-1980s indefinitely. It's one of those stupid arguments that means nothing because we have no way to test it. There's no control. We can't go back in time and change the variables and see if we got the outcome we expected. No other country has succeeded in this goal barring maybe some middle eastern countries that lucked into a huge oil field.

    I stand by the premise of my argument. My state is drowning in pension debt for government employees of all levels. The vast majority of those collecting are baby boomers. Those pensions were never sustainable. You can't have someone work for 30 years and then pay them a pension for another 40 years. It's impossible.

    But, not one of those employees is going to make concessions. Instead, they wrote it right into our state constitution that their pensions can't be reduced.

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    On the topic of AI controlled machinery running our lives and making all our products, I don't think it will ever happen in the way most people are afraid of. The current progression of logical computing power vs. technology seems to make true AI gated behind such a high degree of 'tech' that when such tech becomes readily available to the common production shop or homeowner, the we will no longer have the need for it. Stating that another way: when we have the capabilities to build logical processors capable of truly independent thought cheaply and efficiently enough to make them common, we will also have the technology to not need them to power robots to run our industry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    I'd like to know how we can continue the upward mobility of the 1950s-1980s indefinitely. It's one of those stupid arguments that means nothing because we have no way to test it. There's no control. We can't go back in time and change the variables and see if we got the outcome we expected. No other country has succeeded in this goal barring maybe some middle eastern countries that lucked into a huge oil field.

    I stand by the premise of my argument. My state is drowning in pension debt for government employees of all levels. The vast majority of those collecting are baby boomers. Those pensions were never sustainable. You can't have someone work for 30 years and then pay them a pension for another 40 years. It's impossible.

    But, not one of those employees is going to make concessions. Instead, they wrote it right into our state constitution that their pensions can't be reduced.
    OK, different matter from what I thought you meant. The real problem is not just pensions for government employees but the fact that there are so many of them in relation to the private sector. That's just part of the reason why people like me are opposed to "big government". As the government sector grows in relation to the private sector it does indeed become unsustainable. The American economy thrived during periods when private sector growth outpaced government sector growth and much of that private sector growth was due to robust manufacturing. Will we ever go back to that model of manufacturing? Hell no, but with technology augmenting workers we can have high output per worker and with enough companies producing "stuff" provide gainful employment for large numbers of our people. And I say "our people" because if we keep importing droves of low wage workers we are cutting the legs out from under our most vulnerable citizens and legal residents.

    I find it ABSURD that any ordinary people should be listening to Jack Ma, whose self-serving agenda is intended to benefit himself and China. If we regain even a portion of the domestic products lost to China it will negatively impact their bottom line. Instead, we should be DOING THE OPPOSITE and preparing to regain a healthy share of manufacturing. We just need to stop listening to those who want us to commit economic and social suicide so they may benefit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SeaMoss View Post
    . . . Did they ever really believe that ? Or was it just a convenient sop to their consciences for selling out their friends and neighbors ? "I got mine, Jack ! Fuck you ! . . .
    They believed/believe it -- and sometimes for good reason.

    Doing what you can be really good at makes lots of sense. At a personal level, there's a reason I never attempted to be a jockey or the center on a basketball team. At the company level, you look to create an advantage and a unique selling proposition. At a national level there's good reason why nations like Afghanistan, Bolivia, and the Central African Republic shouldn't aspire to be naval powers. Focusing talents where you can be among the world's best makes sense -- and might argue that many (the Swiss, Germans, Singaporeans . . .) have created a higher quality of life by such focus.

    Seems to me this notion of focus has gone wrong in at least three ways. First, was telling developing nations "Hey, you have lots of X, let us come in an extract it." with X being bananas, gold, timber, etc. Second, was somewhat smaller nations trying to do it all (Australia, maybe) and not being able to compete. Third, was countries like the US letting its captains of industry gut our industries for short-term gain. Tell a CEO you'll get a bonus for increasing sales next year . . . and they'll buy up another mis-fitting company to double revenues. Carly Fiorini's purchase of Compaq as just one of zillions of examples. Tell a CEO to improve ROI and they'll sell off our outsource key assets. Own a hedge fund and strip a company of employees and assets. Allow a tax dodge, and whole companies move abroad or just do a corporate inversion. And so on. The US has gone through about thirty years, maybe more, of financial "engineering" reigning supreme over product and manufacturing engineering -- and it has been a huge loss for our economy and a huge gain for the .1% involved in this shift.

    That said, the metaphorical "horse" has pretty much left the barn in terms of jobs in consumer electronics, machine tools, more than half the auto industry, tool and die, and many other manufacturing disciplines. Entire supply chains have shifted. This is not to say we can't bring some jobs back -- but looking ahead the focus should surely be on creating and keeping jobs of the future. One might think we'd want to invest in the education, R&D, and infrastructure to capture that -- but it seems the current priority is to blame others (Mexicans, Moslems, the Chinese) and give the folks who have already decimated manufacturing right here at home more tax breaks.

    I'm all for giving real job-creators a head start. But why we'd want to give tax and regulatory preference to folks with a track record of variously trashing jobs, the middle class, the environment, our youth in wars, our health in 2x costs, and the economy in every-ten-year financial scandals seems pretty much insane to me.

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