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Bbc: Humans

This show premiered tonight, it's from Britain BBC called Humans. I think it's going to be a good series. The message is interesting about jobs being taken over by robots. Now sure, there's the usual garbage about the robot in the home and the mother is worried it will take over her job etc etc.. But what's really powerful is a scene with one of the children not trying hard in school. When the parents ask why her grades are slipping, she replies "why? The robots will have all the jobs anyway"

Real powerful statement. I like it.

#1  
We're setting our youth up for failure it seems.... Whether it be "helicopter parents" bubble wrapping their kids and not allowing them to do anything (because son "you might get hurt") to media scaring us with robots taking our jobs.... What incentive do our kids have to try anymore? They are all entitled from birth anyway, right? Necessity drove me when I was young, what do we use to motivate the youth of today?

I got a little off topic, but it sounds like a good program... I'll have to see if I can track it down....
United Kingdom
#2  
@DJ.

I see this advertised all of last week and thought it loooked like one to watch. Couldn't watch it last night so recorded it on my DVR and plan to watch it tonight.
United Kingdom
#3  
Yes, I saw this advertised here in the UK last week, I too haven't watched it yet,
clashed with another program my wife wanted to watch, and will watch it on catch-up sometime this week.

As JD has said from a social prospective it looks interesting!
United Kingdom
#4  
Watched this last night, wasn't
Impressed!
PRO
Synthiam
#5  
You weren't impressed? I know it's slow moving - but you have to admit the underlying story about robots taking our jobs is realistic and frightening.

Imagine two or three years from now when self driving cars hit the road. Say good bye to the millions and millions of taxi drivers. That's a HUGE economical disaster for that industry. Parallel to that, semi deliver trucks and train drivers vanish. Another huge economical impact!

That's just two of the easiest jobs which robots are near to replacing - in only years from today.

That will kickstart a huge revolution of robot companies making robots to replace jobs. It isn't a pipe dream - think about it... If all of you already have the power to make robots do impressive things, even at a small scale - imagine what the future of large funded corporations can do!

It's the message in that show - something to be conscience of.
#6  
Jobs have been replaced for thousands of years. I am sure that when the abacus came a long, people saw it as a disaster. I remember in the 1980s people said computers were going to put us all out of work and that we had better build leisure centres ... yet by 2015 we are all working much harder and longer hours than we have ever done before. What has happened is that quality and quantity of work produced has simply increased. To my mind, robots will take many jobs but new and more interesting roles will become available .... of course further down the line computers and robots will take those jobs too ... or may be they won't because they will be so human that they will turn their robotic noses up at them!
PRO
Synthiam
#7  
This is a little different - actually a lot different. Let's do some simple math with what's going to happen in the next 2-3 years.

So all these self-driving car companies - one of them finally launches their first car. If I owned a taxi company and someone told me that my cars can drive 24 hours per day without paying an employee... that's an easy one.

According to Wikipedia there were 233,900 taxi drivers as of 2012 in the USA. Each taxi driver at the time made average of $23,000 with a 16% increase over 10 years. So it's 2015 (3 years later), and I would guesstimate the salary is now $25,000 and that there are more than 233,900 taxi drivers - but let's just use their numbers.

So that's 233,900 employees out of work in the USA alone in the next 2-3 years, totaling $597,500,000 in lost yearly wages that USED to go to employees but now are going entirely to taxi companies and the self-driving robot companies.

Now, would you like to do that same math on Canada, Germany, UK, China, etc... You're looking at billions per year being shifted from salaries to profit.

Take the same application that we just applied from Taxi's and paste it on the delivery/semi/transport truck industry - that's gonna hit hard as well.

We just looked at 1 industry which will be the first to become affected by the advancement in robotics. The difference between robotics and every other industry is we're aiming at making robots entirely replace a human at a specific task. Computers were never meant to replace the physical actions of humans - the computer is only 1/10th of a robot. Sure people in the 1980's were afraid of computers taking jobs, but that's just the outcome of no education and fear of the unknown.

With robotics, we know the capabilities and limitations. It doesn't need to start with robots walking around painting homes and mowing lawns. It starts with reasonable and obtainable functions - such as the taxi and transport industries.

By the time a self driving taxi is announced, every taxi driver in the USA will be out of work within 6 months. If you're a taxi company, why the heck would you keep humans employed when you could have a taxi drive itself 24 hours a day - it literally pays for itself in less than a year and from that point forward... pure profit.

So, what is you solution to find work for the 233,900 taxi drivers by 2020?
#8  
This is why STEM education is so drastically important. By the time a high school student graduates from college, the jobs available to them will be far more of the technical nature.

Honestly, how hard would it be to replace elementary education teachers? Now, how hard wold it be to replace care givers? Both of these are huge industries that are "non-technical". There is a shortage of educators and care givers. Robots are already being tested for these industries because of the shortages. How many students are in college now working on degrees in these fields because of the shortages? These students may be the last human employees in these industries. The students in elementary school probably will need to have a knowledge of robotics during their lifetime in order to make a good living. The good news is that this group of people are probably the group that is the most excited about robotics.

I am not saying that all employees in these industries could be replaced in the next 10 years, but there are many working jobs that could be replaced pretty easilly in the next 10 years.

Look at the military and how many jobs could be reduced with all of the robotic development we have had in the last 5 years. Will we need feet on the ground, yep, just far less of them.

Anyway, do the next generation a favor. Take an hour a week and go volunteer at the school in your area. The school will appreciate it and you might inspire a group of kids. You have a unique skill set that is more relevant to these kids than their parents or teachers realize.
#9  
Well, I think what will happen is that the price of a taxi fare will drop so lost salaries will not go as profit to the taxi companies but instead will lead to greater efficiency in economies. Taxi drivers (like steel workers, ship builders and coal miners of the past etc) will lose their jobs and there will be huge social upheaval. This could lead to the deliberate smashing of the new robotic taxis but more likely unemployed groups will find new ways to make money and start new businesses (eg servicing the robot taxis! ) Perhaps as the process gathers pace so that when white collar jobs are also replaced by robots, more and more services will have to be offered free of charge to people if we are not creative enough to think of new jobs to occupy ourselves. Think how we have moved to cafe and boutique shops, dog walkers and personal trainers which are all soaking up the huge masses of people continually being made unemployed through outsourcing ... in fact employment levels have never been higher but what people do has changed hugely over the last generation or so.
#11  
A robot may be able to build a bridge better and faster than a human, but to decide where to build, how to build and the million things that might need to be considered in the plans are well beyond a machine's capability.

My point is that to do anything from making a coffee to buying a JD involves strategic thinking and planning and humans of all capability are better than machines at doing this. If robots can take the strain whilst people do the thinking then the future looks good (except for all the military applications!).
#12  
I agree. Again, this is why STEM education is so important. There are many technologies that are beneficial but unless the workforce in all areas is able to utilize it, it is pretty useless. The issue is that a large majority of the workforce is unable to utilize the technology. There is a lot of the workforce that is perfectly content to have someone else tell them what to do and is happy to perform the task that is being replaced by machines.

I am all for technology and always have been. I am also all for education. Without the latter, the first is useless.

*Edit* I should say that without motivation to learn new things (which much of the population has no desire to do) and the proper education, the technology only serves to make those who can afford it more wealthy. In most schools there is a technical gap that needs to be bridged. The only way that I see this gap being bridged is by those who have the skills and understanding of this technology to donate knowledge and their time to assist the schools to bridge the gap. The schools can't afford to pay someone to do this. They can barely afford the desks, books and low teacher pay. You could put a 3d printer in every school in the country but they are useless without the knowledge of how to use them.
#13  
Sure ... but do not underestimate human smartness without STEM education. People may be content to have someone else tell them what to do at work but when they come home they do very sophisticated things like deciding where to go on their holidays, build a wendy house for the kids, choose wallpaper, etc. ... a robot can not come near to this level of strategic thinking across infinite domains. Then people actually develop the plan and do it.

Not only that but people compete for resources, make rules, break rules and adapt in crazy and unpredictable ways which can lead to advantage when least expected .. I doubt if robots will be able to do this for a quite a while yet.
#14  
It's not the white collar decision making population that will be put out of work by robotics is the blue collar masses. The bottom of the social economic pyramid.... If you have a skill set that can be easily be replaced by a robot like the truck driver or a taxi driver then I think you need to worry.... These people will need to learn a new skill set or be put out of work permanently... I think what @David is saying is extremely important.... We need STEM for kids now....

I work at a company (just got hired part time) that produces high end luggage... I work in maintenance on the production floor, so I don't need to worry (for now) about being replaced by a robot. :) Anyway, I am semi retired so no worriers.. We have a few robots doing some of the assembly line stuff and another few robots that if you can believe it follow a black line around the warehouse bringing up supplies to the assembly area and taking back finished goods to the shipping docks.... A year ago people were doing these jobs... Being into robots I can see more parts of the assembly line process that can easily have robots replace people.... There is a bit of a paradox to my story here... Although my company is using more robots as time goes on they are also expanding and have nearly doubled their work force in the last 3 years.... But looking at the assembly line process itself, I can see these unskilled labourers may need to worry about their jobs in the long run....
United Kingdom
#15  
I think its true what DJ says here about the impact of driverless cars, but I believe the timescale is longer being 10 to 15 years before it goes mainstream.

In my view there will be a small number of driverless cars in around 2025 (also a Google prediction) with driverless cars going mainstream in around 2030.

One of the biggest problems facing this tech is litigation, if say an accident was unavoidable, into what or whom should the driverless car be programmed to crash - swerve into children, or swerve into adults or what? The algorithms will have to make decisions like this that could be the difference between premeditated murder and involuntary manslaughter. Also here in the UK the government will need to publish a new code of practice (for those wishing to test driverless cars on UK roads) and it is likely that this will take up until the end of 2018.

It certainly will happen, it just a matter of when.

Tony
#16  
The human mind is incredibly smart and capable of doing amazing things if motivated to do so. Unfortunately, a large majority of the population couldn't even have this conversation. They are either unmotivated to learn or have not been exposed to the information.

I have a doctor as a father-in-law. He has worked as chief of staff for a hospital in the area some years back and had a very successful practice in the town where he lives. I would say that his mind is very smart and incredible. He doesn't know how to setup email on his computer. He couldn't install software. He has no clue about anything to do with computers but his practice was run off of them. His wife got ill and passed away who was his office manager. His daughter took over and helped for years but finally quit. His practice folded because he had no clue of how to manage his own practice or how to do really anything other than see patients and diagnose illnesses. 50 years ago, this would have been enough to keep a practice open. Today all of the records have to be stored electronically. He was either unwilling or unable to make the leap in understanding of technology that was required to stay in business. Its not about how smart the human mind is.

It is about having the education available for the motivated people to remain a viable part of the work force. Sadly, education for those under 18 years of age hasn't changed all that much in the past 30 years or so. The world saw computers really start to be a driving factor in business in the late 70's and early 80's. At that time, schools were lucky if they had a computer in the library to use. I remember going to the library after school to use the computer. I was alone. There wasn't a large line to use the computer as I was alone. There were not sheets to sign up on because elementary students really wanted to learn about computers. I was the only one there that was motivated and excited by this new technology and wanted to learn everything that I could about it. There were no programming classes as I got to Jr High and some started being introduced when I got to High School. By the time I left high school and enrolled in college there was a computer lab, but the teachers didn't have the skill set yet to teach anything other than a very basic programming class. When I went to college, I started down the comp sci path and had the first programming class that I was in i was able to complete in about 4 hours. This was very disappointing and I quickly lost interest in school. I went to a business and took them from no computers to their accounting group running totally off of computers. School was a joke and I wasn't going to waste my time there. I moved on.

If I had been born 10 years later, after the school systems had caught up on technology, I would have stuck it out in school. I always had great grades and always enjoyed learning, but it wasn't possible to learn what my interest was in school.

Education really hasn't changed much since the 90's for technology. Most schools have a very limited computer programming offering. Most schools have a drought when it comes to any sort of robotics offering. Very few students have the math skills required to enter college without having to take remedial classes. Science is probably one of the least popular classes in the schools now. Engineering or applied math principles are for the "Geeky" kids.

It wasn't until 1941 that the term "Teenager" first was used. Before that time, people were children or they were adults. This new classification has very low expectations on them. They perform at the level of others expectations. Society expected a lot out of a 16 year old in the 30's and 40's. Today we are just happy if they dont wreck the car and make it home by curfew. These people have more ability than they have realized and have the energy to carry out far more than any other generation but, they are comfortable meeting the expectations that others have of them. These expectations are really pretty low.

I bring this up because as teenagers turn into adults, there is a decision that has to be made. Some do this at a young age and others do it much later in life, but there is a decision to continue learning or not to continue learning. There is a decision to push yourself to do great things or to do simple things because it is more comfortable and far easier. The first group here ends up supporting the second group. Everyone has a right to make either decision. The second group will probably be replaced by robots but doesn't understand what is happening, so it smacks them in the face when they are in the unemployment line that their skillset is lacking. A few of these people decide to go back to school and take out grants to do so. The others don't think far enough ahead and take the next job that they can get and repeat the cycle when robots replace those jobs also.

Schools have not changed in their expectations of the students. Parents really have low expectations of their students. School funding is very low and those that understand and would be most useful to education don't go into teaching because they want to earn a good living to support themselves and family, take vacations, buy wallpaper (God forbid) and watch their huge TV while eating nuts. This parent is a productive consumer of society for a while and then has to make a decision. Do I keep learning or do I just live contently where I am. This guy will probably have a job for a while, but what about the generation watching him to see what he is doing with his life? If he decides that learning new things is important and pushes himself to do hard things and not take the quick easy way out of anything, then his children will see it and will probably follow down that same path. Sadly, many people don't choose this route, but the schools have to be prepared for the student who wants to push themselves. How can the parent of this student make sure the schools are ready for his student to push himself? Volunteer at the school. Take his knowledge and understanding, and his drive to push himself to learn new things and inspire some children at a young age to demand more and expect more of themselves.

I believe that education is not a public issue that should be handled at the political level. It is a very local issue. Our demands on educating our children should increase drastically. The motivated few who have the skillset to donate to the schools and are willing to do so should assist the schools in taking this next step. STEM is an area that the schools would love to get in. STEM is an area the funding is available for (federal money). STEM is an area that it will be very difficult to get teachers to jump into because while there is higher pay, there is a lot of learning that has to take place. An engineer takes these skills for granted. A programmer or scientist takes these skills for granted. These, along with many other professions, are all of the people who committed themselves to continue to learn throughout their life and understand the importance of education to the generation that they are assisting. Take a lunch break one time a week and go volunteer at your local school. They are behind the 8 ball and most don't understand that they are. If you don't help these schools get one step forward on these subjects, who will?

Schools have sports teams. Some of the highest paid teachers are coaches. Sure these things are good, but they are really just PE programs which are required courses. Schools have music programs. Sure these are good and some schools require the student to attend music classes x times a week for some years of their education. How many schools have required STEM courses? Which is going to be more valuable to a larger number of students? A programming class should be a required class but the schools are not prepared to handle this. Robotics and/or real computer classes should be required classes with high expectations.

I am not worried about me. I am not really worried about my children a lot. I am worried about the dude at the corner convenient store who doesn't see that his job could be replaced pretty easily or the car parking attendant at the hotel. The concierge, or the front staff at a movie theater who was just all let go because of the computerized ticketing system that was put in. I am most worried about the next generation and what will become of them. A consumer society eventually consumes itself.
United Kingdom
#17  
@d.cochran

I like that Quotation: " A consumer society eventually consumes itself "
#18  
A remarkable quote and one to remember ... this is a quote which can live and breathe more than a robot or a person!
United Kingdom
#19  
Wow, this is turning out to be a pretty cool discussion. Anyway, I just wanted to jump in and say that I finally got around to watching the first episode of "Humans" this evening... and I really enjoyed it. Sure it was a little slow to start, but it's got the potential to be something pretty cool, and (with exception of a few shows) it's a heck of a lot better than a lot of the rubbish that's currently showing on UK TV channels.

There are hints of "Do androids dream of electric sheep"/"Bladerunner", but it's also very different in a many ways, one of which is when it is set (almost present day of very near future) which brings a lot of realism to the story, and actually making the the thing look like its something we could be doing in just a couple of years from now. I look forward to seeing more of the writers take on what it would be like living amongst these kinds of next generation robotic machines, wheather they are bundled with highly sophisticated programming, or they become sentient. *eek*
United Kingdom
#20  
User-inserted image


So I just watched the last episode of the series, and I really enjoyed it. I felt the show started off a little bit slow, but it did eventually find its pace once everything started to come together and events were starting to be explained. An enjoyable story and something a little different, and was about a subject I'm very much interested in. For those who did watch it, I hope you enjoyed it too.

It was good to see how two of the main human characters who started off not liking "Synth's", actually ending up defending them and understanding their wish to exist. I wonder how these same characters would have reacted if the Synth's didn't look and feel so human, but actually looked like robots in the general sense. Would they have been so understanding and be so willing to help protect the key for sentient machines?

I don't really watch a lot of TV, but I'm glad I found and stuck with it as I did enjoy it, and I look forward to it's return.

Love that theme tune as well.
PRO
Belgium
#21  
i dont think there will be robots walking in your home for atleast 100 years.
also there will no taxi driver loose there job,cause they need tax payers there,
money to build there robots.i do think the military knows alot more then all of us.
its not the robot alone,averything counts when or not a robot will walk this earth.
who can affort it?what with global warming,to many people alreddy.
millions of questions needs to be solved,i totally agree what dj says.
the girl that says why would we learn is very scary to know ,childeren think this way.
like all good inventions are being used the wrong way.