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The Rich and Their Robots Are About to Make Half the World's Jobs Disappear

The Rich and Their Robots Are About to Make Half the World's Jobs Disappear
Two hugely important statistics concerning the future of employment as we know it made waves recently: 1. 85 people alone command as much wealth as the poorest half of the world. 2. 47 percent of the world's currently existing jobs are likely to be automated over the next two decades. Combined, those two stats portend a quickly-exacerbating dystopia. As more and more automated machinery (robots, if you like) are brought in to generate efficiency gains for companies, more and more jobs will be displaced, and more and more income will accumulate higher up the corporate ladder. The inequality gulf will widen as jobs grow permanently scarce—there are only so many service sector jobs to replace manufacturing ones as it is—and the latest wave of automation will hijack not just factory workers but accountants, telemarketers, and real estate agents. That's according to a 2013 Oxford study, which was highlighted in this week's Economist cover story.

Related:  automation & job lossFuture WorkAutomationSociologyAutomation & Technological Unemployment

The Myth of the Myth of Technological Unemployment Over at Slate, Matt Yglesias has a post titled ‘The Myth of Technological Unemployment‘ accompanied by a graph showing that hours worked in the US have been rising and falling in lockstep with output. He writes Machines are replacing workers, in other words, but they’ve been doing so since the cotton gin and the spinning jenny. Which is absolutely true and completely uncontroversial. It’s also true that previous waves of automation have not, in the long run, led to mass unemployment.

The Robots, AI, and Unemployment Anti-FAQ Q. Are the current high levels of unemployment being caused by advances in Artificial Intelligence automating away human jobs? A. Conventional economic theory says this shouldn't happen. Suppose it costs 2 units of labor to produce a hot dog and 1 unit of labor to produce a bun, and that 30 units of labor are producing 10 hot dogs in 10 buns. Google buys AI firm DeepMind to boost image search - tech - 27 January 2014 Google's shopping spree is far from over. Today the firm confirmed it has purchased DeepMind Technologies, a machine-learning company based in London, for $400 million. The acquisition of the AI firm follows Google's purchase of eight advanced robotics companies in December and the smart thermostat maker Nest Labs earlier this month. It is not hard to see why Google might be interested. DeepMind Technologies employs machine-learning engineers led by Demis Hassabis, a former commercial video-game coder turned artificial-intelligence expert and neuroscientist. The firm is aiming to build general purpose artificial-intelligence systems.

Blood minerals are electronics industry's dirty secret - tech - 13 June 2014 A crackdown in the US is forcing technology firms to come clean about the source of the minerals used in their smartphones and electronics SMARTPHONE makers would prefer not to talk about it. The tiny components that make your phone work could contain materials that are financing a number of bloody conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Chefs - Robot Serves Up 360 Hamburgers Per Hour UPDATE: To read more about how workers will be affected by automation technology, check out Hub's follow up post Burger Robot Poised to Disrupt Fast Food Industry No longer will they say, “He’s going to end up flipping burgers.” Because now, robots are taking even these ignobly esteemed jobs. Alpha machine from Momentum Machines cooks up a tasty burger with all the fixins. And it does it with such quality and efficiency it’ll produce “gourmet quality burgers at fast food prices.”

Robots will steal your job, but that's OK: how to survive the economic collapse and be happy You are about to become obsolete. You think you are special, unique, and that whatever it is that you are doing is impossible to replace. You are wrong. As we speak, millions of algorithms created by computer scientists are frantically running on servers all over the world, with one sole purpose: do whatever you used to do, but better. That is the argument for a phenomenon called technological unemployment, one that is pervading modern society. But is that really the case?

The future of jobs: The onrushing wave IN 1930, when the world was “suffering…from a bad attack of economic pessimism”, John Maynard Keynes wrote a broadly optimistic essay, “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren”. It imagined a middle way between revolution and stagnation that would leave the said grandchildren a great deal richer than their grandparents. But the path was not without dangers. One of the worries Keynes admitted was a “new disease”: “technological unemployment…due to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour.” His readers might not have heard of the problem, he suggested—but they were certain to hear a lot more about it in the years to come. For the most part, they did not. A smart-object recognition algorithm that doesn’t need humans (Credit: BYU Photo) BYU engineer Dah-Jye Lee has created an algorithm that can accurately identify objects in images or video sequences — without human calibration. “In most cases, people are in charge of deciding what features to focus on and they then write the algorithm based off that,” said Lee, a professor of electrical and computer engineering. “With our algorithm, we give it a set of images and let the computer decide which features are important.” Humans need not apply

Losing our religion: Your guide to a godless future - life - 30 April 2014 (Image: Sylvia Serrado/Plainpicture) The human mind is primed to believe in god, so why are so many people abandoning religion – and should we be worried about living in an atheist world? ON AN unseasonably warm Sunday morning in London, I do something I haven't done for more than 30 years: get up and go to church. Laboratory Technicians - This Artificial Intelligence was 92% Accurate in Breast Cancer Detection Contest In Brief Scientists trained an AI machine to detect breast cancer in images of lymph nodes. AI Wins in Cancer Detection Contest A group of researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Harvard Medical School (HMS) have developed a way to train artificial intelligence to read and interpret pathology images. Scientists tested the artificial intelligence (AI) during a competition at the annual International Symposium of Biomedical Imaging, where it was tasked to look for breast cancer in images of lymph nodes. It turns out it can detect breast cancer accurately 92 percent of the time and won in two separate categories during the contest.