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The Ethics of Automation

mhajicek

Titanium
Joined
May 11, 2017
Location
Minneapolis, MN, USA
The issue is that in modern society, with the exception of welfare programs, a person has no right to live unless they can sell their time for enough to buy that "right", or leverage capital they already have to get more. So once that time is no longer needed, only the wealthy have the right to live, and that bar will rise until the situation changes. Since improvements in automation are inexorable, eventually you'll have almost everyone either destitute or supported on welfare paid by the very few who own and control the means of production. That's not a particularly stable state of affairs.

The only long term solution is a transition to a post scarcity economy.
 

R4Andrew

Plastic
Joined
Mar 31, 2022
The benefits of automated operations are higher productivity, reliability, availability, increased performance, and reduced operating costs. Moving to lights-out operations yields a good return on investment. The benefits of automated systems can be a powerful motive for increasing service to your end users. Businesses needs software that fit their needs to be competitive.
 

kustomizer

Titanium
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Location
North Fork Idaho
LOL, maybe we should put women back to work spinning thread and weaving clothing so they all have jobs.

I think you have your priorities screwed up. We do work because we have to work to provide the necessities of life and leisure and to provide for the future. We do not do work just to do work.

And you couldn't have mentioned this sooner, I have been doing it just for the practice all these years, now I have to adjust my goals.
 

Milling man

Aluminum
Joined
Aug 6, 2021
Location
Moscow, Russia
For all the ambiguity of the issue of automation, in the end we come to one simple question - can we stop progress? Of course we can. Do we need to do this? Unlikely.
I believe that everyone should do more or less their own business. Business generates income, the factory produces products, the school teaches children, the conditional Ministry of Social Protection distributes benefits to those who need them. When we begin to demand that the school produce products, and the factory - to pay benefits, it does not end with anything good.
Sooner or later (if we don't destroy ourselves first), almost all the work will be done by robots. Or sooner or later, almost all the work will be done by impoverished people))))) There are various options, but progress cannot be completely stopped - if you stop it in one country, then in 100 years the country will become absolutely uncompetitive compared to other countries.
Another question is what to do with a very significant part of the population, which is only capable of sweeping the floor or turning screws in one direction (sometimes not in the right direction)? Just give them food? Decades later, the approach of the USSR, where half of the factories produced almost nothing useful, but existed for the employment of the population, does not seem so stupid to me, alas.
 

mhajicek

Titanium
Joined
May 11, 2017
Location
Minneapolis, MN, USA
For all the ambiguity of the issue of automation, in the end we come to one simple question - can we stop progress? Of course we can. Do we need to do this? Unlikely.
I believe that everyone should do more or less their own business. Business generates income, the factory produces products, the school teaches children, the conditional Ministry of Social Protection distributes benefits to those who need them. When we begin to demand that the school produce products, and the factory - to pay benefits, it does not end with anything good.
Sooner or later (if we don't destroy ourselves first), almost all the work will be done by robots. Or sooner or later, almost all the work will be done by impoverished people))))) There are various options, but progress cannot be completely stopped - if you stop it in one country, then in 100 years the country will become absolutely uncompetitive compared to other countries.
Another question is what to do with a very significant part of the population, which is only capable of sweeping the floor or turning screws in one direction (sometimes not in the right direction)? Just give them food? Decades later, the approach of the USSR, where half of the factories produced almost nothing useful, but existed for the employment of the population, does not seem so stupid to me, alas.

I was going to post that I disagree, but then you contradicted yourself. We cannot stop progress, because those who do not progress will be left behind by those who do. So that's not the question; the questions are how do we minimize the chances of being left behind, how do we treat those who do get left behind, and how do we want to be treated if we get left behind despite our best efforts?
 

Milling man

Aluminum
Joined
Aug 6, 2021
Location
Moscow, Russia
We cannot stop progress, because those who do not progress will be left behind by those who do.

Why not? You can shoot yourself in the foot, in the head, anywhere. You can stop progress, ban robots and CNC machines, and return to the shops with rows of identical manual machines to the horizon. It will be stupid, but it is possible.
 

Strostkovy

Stainless
Joined
Oct 29, 2017
Why not? You can shoot yourself in the foot, in the head, anywhere. You can stop progress, ban robots and CNC machines, and return to the shops with rows of identical manual machines to the horizon. It will be stupid, but it is possible.

Machines? No, no, no, everyone get's a cold chisel and a file.
 

Scottl

Diamond
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Location
Eastern Massachusetts, USA
As I've said before, there are two ways to use automation. One is to replace humans and the other is to augment them to increase their productivity. The first choice results in a dystopian future for the average person while the second allows for a sustainable society albeit at the cost of requiring more worker training and good profits rather than obscene ones for those at the very top.
 

mhajicek

Titanium
Joined
May 11, 2017
Location
Minneapolis, MN, USA
Why not? You can shoot yourself in the foot, in the head, anywhere. You can stop progress, ban robots and CNC machines, and return to the shops with rows of identical manual machines to the horizon. It will be stupid, but it is possible.

You can stop your progress, but you can't stop progress. Someone will continue making progress. Ban modern manufacturing, and another country will take the lead and continue making progress. Then they'll buy up your country and implement their values. So no, its not possible.
 

mhajicek

Titanium
Joined
May 11, 2017
Location
Minneapolis, MN, USA
As I've said before, there are two ways to use automation. One is to replace humans and the other is to augment them to increase their productivity. The first choice results in a dystopian future for the average person while the second allows for a sustainable society albeit at the cost of requiring more worker training and good profits rather than obscene ones for those at the very top.

Agree, but how it will play out is that some will be able to afford the augments, while others will not. It's already happening; some can afford better schooling and training, better computers and software, better equipment and tooling, etc. that allow them to be far more productive. Money begets money. It is possible to work your way up from nothing, but it's far more difficult than it used to be, and it seems it will only continue to get even more difficult as the entry level bar rises.
 

Milling man

Aluminum
Joined
Aug 6, 2021
Location
Moscow, Russia
I will express my personal opinion. I just can’t calmly watch how a person does the same identical work every day, which some kind of “robot” (CNC machine, etc.) will do just fine. We had a customer for 5 years, for whom we ground reference hardness test blocks. And every day my grinder turned the knobs on the hand grinder: dressing the wheel, roughing passes, semi-finishing passes, dressing the wheel, semi-finishing passes, finishing passes. I just couldn't bear to look at it, so I bought an old grinder and upgraded it to a fully automatic cycle. True, by that time the customer had bought a new grinding machine and left us)))))
 

Milling man

Aluminum
Joined
Aug 6, 2021
Location
Moscow, Russia
The first choice results in a dystopian future for the average person while the second allows for a sustainable society albeit at the cost of requiring more worker training and good profits rather than obscene ones for those at the very top.
This is a beautiful development, and I would really like it to be so, really! And then I remember my classmates, half of whom took a year to train to pass the exam in mathematics for the minimum number of points, solving problems of the level "how much will a roll cost if its price increases by 10%". Will such people be able to find a use for themselves? I'm not at all sure about this.
 

Strostkovy

Stainless
Joined
Oct 29, 2017
The only ethics issue involved is greed. You don't need to not produce wealth because people can't figure out who should get it.
 

mhajicek

Titanium
Joined
May 11, 2017
Location
Minneapolis, MN, USA
The only ethics issue involved is greed. You don't need to not produce wealth because people can't figure out who should get it.

Greed is a large factor, but far from the only one. There are many practicalities involved. Can you stay in business in a competitive market if you pay people to do work that you could have machines do for a fraction of the cost? Can a human even achieve the necessary level of accuracy, repeatability, and reliability needed to do the job?

I think we can all agree it wouldn't make sense in the modern world to have humans on manual Bridgeports doing production runs, unless you pay them third world wages. Nor would it make sense to have someone hand coding for complex programs when you have software that will do it in a tiny fraction of the time. Each time an advancement is made in automation, labor is removed, which no longer needs to be paid for. That's the whole purpose. But then there's someone whose labor is no longer needed, unless they can find a new way to make themselves useful, and not everyone is capable of learning the higher level skills. It's also a near tautology that most of the new jobs will be of lesser value, and therefore pay less, than the old jobs, since they are less necessary, as they weren't needed before. How many YouTube personalities will our economy support?
 
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EPAIII

Diamond
Joined
Nov 23, 2003
Location
Beaumont, TX, USA
In my working years I have designed and installed automated systems. Often there was worry about jobs being lost. But I can not cite a single instance where that happened. Often it was the reverse; the staff was expanded due to more work. Nor did I see less qualified workers be replaced by the more educated ones. The existing workers just learned the new systems. ]

Perhaps my industry, TV, is not typical, but I do know they did have a sharp pencil when it came to expenses. What they did about labor was profit motivated, just as was the desire to automate.
 

mhajicek

Titanium
Joined
May 11, 2017
Location
Minneapolis, MN, USA
In my working years I have designed and installed automated systems. Often there was worry about jobs being lost. But I can not cite a single instance where that happened. Often it was the reverse; the staff was expanded due to more work. Nor did I see less qualified workers be replaced by the more educated ones. The existing workers just learned the new systems. ]

Perhaps my industry, TV, is not typical, but I do know they did have a sharp pencil when it came to expenses. What they did about labor was profit motivated, just as was the desire to automate.

You saw the local effects, but did the company you helped to automate then drive some of their competition out of business with their improved efficiency? I'm not saying that's a bad thing, just something to be aware of.

Back in 2000 or 2001 I visited Bobcat's plant in Gwinner ND, to install wireless DNC. They had recently made a huge automation overhaul; adding lots of robot machine tenders, to the point that a human drove in a pile of stock on a forklift and loaded it in a feed rack for the bandsaw, and finished, welded, heat treated and ground where needed assemblies came out the other end. Similar automation for the plate weldments. They had a human inserting an o-ring in the middle, and humans touching up some welds and paint, but otherwise the production of a skidsteer was almost entirely automated. They went from one shift to 24/7, with the same number of people, and greatly increased their production for the same labor cost. So again, locally no one was out of a job, they just had to put up with night shifts. But I imagine their competition was hurting until they could do the same thing; and is demand for skidsteers open ended?
 
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Ox

Diamond
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Location
West Unity, Ohio
You saw the local effects, but did the company you helped to automate then drive some of their competition out of business with their improved efficiency? I'm not saying that's a bad thing, just something to be aware of.

Back in 2000 or 2001 I visited Bobcat's plant in Gwinner ND, to install wireless DNC. They had recently made a huge automation overhaul; adding lots of robot machine tenders, to the point that a human drove in a pile of stock on a forklift and loaded it in a feed rack for the bandsaw, and finished, welded, heat treated and ground where needed assemblies came out the other end. Similar automation for the plate weldments. They had a human inserting an o-ring in the middle, and humans touching up some welds and paint, but otherwise the production of a skidsteer was almost entirely automated. They went from one shift to 24/7, with the same number of people, and greatly increased their production for the same labor cost. So again, locally no one was out of a job, they just had to put up with night shifts. But I imagine their competition was hurting until they could do the same thing; and is demand for skidsteers open ended?
Pretty much what I was thinking...


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Think Snow Eh!
Ox
 

Bill D

Diamond
Joined
Apr 1, 2004
Location
Modesto, CA USA
I have found that if I call regarding a problem, with a company or gvernment agency they expect me to go through an automated phone tree to figure out where to go. My policy now is if I can not to a live person in under five minutes I will just send a written letter. It takes me less hassle and time. Why should I suffer because their automated system does not work? Few companies respond to emails but written letters they do seem to respond to.
If I was in court and waited 45 minutes to answer a question I bet the judge would say something.
Bill D
 








 
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