Posted 11 years ago on Dec. 3, 2011, 1:20 p.m. EST by Rico
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
The Rise of the Machines
Foxconn, China's largest manufacturing city just announced they plan to automate using robots built by robots, and IBM is selling the Jeopardy winning Watson technology to Indian firms that provide telephone support. Thus, even those who took our jobs by rights of their slave labor are losing them to the ultimate slave labor; computers and robotics.
The rise of the machines has impacted more than manufacturing alone. In my workplace, we once had a drafting department: replaced by CAD. We once had a publications department: replaced by Word and Power Point. We had a secretary for every 5 engineers to answer phones and type memos: replaced by computer operators and Word. The toll collectors on the Texas tollways have been replaced by cameras and pass-tags. My local grocery store now mans only two check-out lanes and people line up behind eight self-check lanes. The ticket counters at the airport are now manned by one or two people at best supporting 20 or more check-in machines. We shop at Amazon with a click, and they're now installing robotic warehouse systems to turn those clicks directly into shipments. Waiters ( http://youtu.be/b79pwb6Wlsc ), cooks ( http://youtu.be/TafjlVxghwE ), and receptionists ( http://youtu.be/g1SADcP5g1o ) are on the way out as well.
The examples above are only the beginning. Anyone who thinks we aren't in for a huge change in the definition of 'labor' hasn't seen Honda's Asimo robot ( http://youtu.be/zul8ACjZI18 ). In the end, the robots won't look like Asimo, they'll look more like humans ( http://youtu.be/zIuF5DcsbKU ), and they'll be much more expressive ( http://youtu.be/IhVu2hxm07E ).
The rise of the machines starting in the mid 80's also corresponds nicely to the separation between wages and productivity ( see http://tinyurl.com/cryxn3e ). I believe the slave labor provided by the machines is also responsible for some of the income disparity we're seeing; These slaves can be bought outright (with a tax credit to boot), they work for food alone in the form of electricity, and the capitalists reap the profits from their labor. How do humans who get sick, require social security, medicare, unemployment payments, etc. compete with these slaves ?
The rise of the machines represents a socio-economic tsunami that will wash over society destroying many of our cherished ideals. We can slow the rise of the machines by insisting on human service (per OWS consumer guidelines at http://bit.ly/DoYourBit ), but this only buys us time to think and devise longer term solutions.
The idea of wages derived from manual labor is dying. We can either attune ourselves to a socialist society in which slave labor is taxed and 'wages' redistributed to all, or we can try to find some way to allow the 99% to share in the rewards enjoyed by the capitalists. I don't like socialism.
One way to get workers a share of the capitalist's return on slave labor would be to mandate all employees automatically receive some number of shares in their company. The capital being used to replace workers is attracted based on the performance of the workers, so it seems fair that should receive a portion of the profits generated by the slaves. All evidence indicates employee stock ownership is good for companies, so I see little harm in this.
Brace Yourself for the Rise of the Machines.
P.S. You can help slow the rise and help fix unemployment by following the OWS consumer guidelines compiled from these forums and hosted at http://bit.ly/DoYourBit where they are widely accessible and shareable via social media. There are no adds, I make no profit, and I have no agenda other than to help America fix what ails her. Please spread the http://bit.ly/DoYourBit link as far and wide as possible using e-mail, twitter, face-book, etc. We need millions on board if we are change the face of Corporate America !
P.P.S I wonder if Pres. Obama has folks reading our forums. See some of his comments from his Dec 6 speech in Kansas at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/12/06/obama_now_blames_the_internet_for_job_losses.html .