Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Machine Learning , Artificial Intelligence

@ThingsExpo: Article

Life After the Robot Apocalypse | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M #MachineLearning

Let’s expand the definition of robot to any autonomous system designed to do work that used to require humans to perform

Two weeks ago, I compiled a list of the 5 jobs robots will take first. Last week, I compiled a list of the 5 jobs robots will take last. Both previous essays are about robots replacing human workers who do cognitive nonrepetitive work (such as middle managers, salespersons, tax accountants, and report writers) that most people do not believe robots will be able to do any time soon. For those essays, I defined robots as technologies, such as machine learning algorithms running on purpose-built computer platforms, that have been trained to perform tasks that currently require humans to perform.

For this writing, let’s expand the definition of robot to any autonomous system designed to do work that used to require humans to perform. And let’s expand our thought experiment to include all four major categories of human tasks: Manual repetitive (predictable), Manual nonrepetitive (not predictable), Cognitive repetitive (predictable), Cognitive nonrepetitive (not predictable). In other words, let’s look at some probable futures of the real world and see where our conclusions lead us.

Joe Driver
Before being made eligible for assistance under the Universal Minimum Guaranteed Income Program Act of 2021 (also known as the “U-Min” bill, which guarantees workers displaced by robots a living wage), Joe was a professional driver.

Wait! Full Stop! Way Too Easy
Agreed. A huge number of transportation industry professionals will be replaced by autonomous vehicles, and so will dispatchers, warehouse workers and the managers who manage them. That is the easy part.

For our thought experiment, let’s replace just 20 percent of taxi, car service and truck drivers with autonomous vehicles. Now, let’s think about the businesses that service these workers. The local deli where the drivers used to stop for coffee. The attached convenience store that enables the gas station owner to run a profitable business (because there’s not enough margin in selling gas alone). The quick-serve restaurants, the supermarkets, etc. Let’s try to imagine a world where just 20 percent of transportation industry workers were laid off. Could the businesses that rely on these transportation workers survive the commensurate permanent decline in revenue?

“This is nonsense,” you say. “These people will be retrained or find other jobs.” I don’t think so, but let’s assume you are right. The other jobs (whatever they may be) will have completely different traffic patterns (no pun intended). New behaviors will emerge and the impact of this massive behavior change will be about as pleasant as when the big box stores came to town and literally killed every mom-and-pop retail store on Main Street. Town survived, but it has never looked, felt or been the same.

In practice, this is just the soundbite version of Robot Apocalypse. Let’s go deeper.

Joe Executive
Before qualifying for subsidies under U-Min, Joe was a CPA and a tax auditing partner at a Big Four accounting firm. With more than 15 years of experience working with some of the biggest corporations in the world, his entire department was replaced by AlphaAudit from Google’s DeepMind group. Interestingly, every partner in Joe’s practice area was earning more than $450,000 per year. Some were making north of $2.1 million per year. What will they do now? Where do you take 15–25 years of accounting experience and use it in a nonaccounting job?

FOMO, “Fear of Missing Out”
If you’re wondering about the driving force behind the Robot Apocalypse, it’s FOMO, “fear of missing out.” Making the converging trends of on-demand behavior, machine learning and autonomy actionable has gone from talking points to 40 percent of our business in under two years. All of our consulting clients are rushing to put autonomous systems and machine learning tools to work. It’s not that AI systems are “plug ’n’ play” – they are far from it. But I don’t know even one CEO who wants to wake up one morning to the news that a competitor has deployed an automated system that enabled a newsworthy increase in EBITDA. In a corporate world driven by earnings calls, that would be considered a very bad day.

Which Leads Us to … Life After the Robot Apocalypse
For this imperfect guessing game about the future, let’s take some real world financial statistics to benchmark the apocalypse.

The Tax Base of the United States of America
According to an article on marketwatch.com, “An estimated 45.3% of American households — roughly 77.5 million — will pay no federal individual income tax.” The article goes on to say, “The top 1% of Americans, who have an average income of more than $2.1 million, pay 43.6% of all the federal individual income tax in the U.S.”

So, what would life be like if 20 percent of the one percent of Americans who pay 43.6 percent of all the federal individual income tax in the United States lost their jobs to robots?

The Spectrum of Probable Futures
On one extreme end of the spectrum are common post-apocalyptic themes such as spotty power, energy shortages, food shortages, no running water, nonfunctioning schools, limited resources, reduced or nonexistent healthcare, etc. I don’t think this is where we’re headed.

On the other extreme end of the spectrum is “Robotopia,” a place where humans have more time to do leisure activities, be creative, live life to the fullest, eat gourmet food, drink exotic vintage wines and spirits, practice the arts, and live under the protection of a master artificial intelligence, free from disease, free from fear, free from war … heaven on earth. I don’t think this is where we’re headed either.

Somewhere in between these two extreme views of life after the Robot Apocalypse is where we are probably going find ourselves. It’s a world where the tax base has been severely impacted by the redistribution of workers. Wizened, experienced, lifelong professionals are going to find themselves in a new world that has no interest in them. New jobs will be created in industries that do not yet exist. And the physical world will be continuously adapted and optimized to favor autonomous systems that reduce cost, improve efficacy and increase productivity.

This Is Going to Be a Huge Struggle
Will we need my hypothetical, Universal Minimum Guaranteed Income Program Act of 2021? We might. Questions like “If we all lose our jobs, who will buy the goods that the robots produce?” are good ones. We won’t all lose our jobs, but a significant percentage of people will and, in the process, be rendered unemployable.

That said, one friend of mine, who is a renowned public policy expert in D.C., told me that nothing was going to happen because we already have a nontaxpaying population explosion that is completely out of control. He opined that public assistance programs will simply continue to increase until no one except the top .05 percent of wage earners pays for anything.

The Time for Policy Innovation Is Now
It’s time for policymakers to approach policy innovation the way our corporate clients are approaching their own digital transformations. As I’ve been saying for years, today we are experiencing the slowest rate of technological change we will ever experience for the rest of our lives. The pace of technological progress is not going to slow down, ever! FOMO is a powerful force that will continue to drive innovation. We get to choose what life after the Robot Apocalypse will be like. Let’s choose wisely.

Additional Reading
Here are a few articles to use as thought starters:

The post Life After the Robot Apocalypse originally appeared here on Shelly Palmer

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that SIGMA Corporation will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. uLaser flow inspection device from the Japanese top share to Global Standard! Then, make the best use of data to flip to next page. For more information, visit http://www.sigma-k.co.jp/en/.
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, will discuss how by using...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CAST Software will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CAST was founded more than 25 years ago to make the invisible visible. Built around the idea that even the best analytics on the market still leave blind spots for technical teams looking to deliver better software and prevent outages, CAST provides the software intelligence that matter ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japanese Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ruby Development Inc. builds new services in short period of time and provides a continuous support of those services based on Ruby on Rails. For more information, please visit https://github.com/RubyDevInc.
As businesses evolve, they need technology that is simple to help them succeed today and flexible enough to help them build for tomorrow. Chrome is fit for the workplace of the future — providing a secure, consistent user experience across a range of devices that can be used anywhere. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will take a look at various options as to how ChromeOS can be leveraged to interact with people on the devices, and formats th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Yuasa System will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Yuasa System is introducing a multi-purpose endurance testing system for flexible displays, OLED devices, flexible substrates, flat cables, and films in smartphones, wearables, automobiles, and healthcare.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SourceForge has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SourceForge is the largest, most trusted destination for Open Source Software development, collaboration, discovery and download on the web serving over 32 million viewers, 150 million downloads and over 460,000 active development projects each and every month.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Nihon Micron will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Nihon Micron Co., Ltd. strives for technological innovation to establish high-density, high-precision processing technology for providing printed circuit board and metal mount RFID tags used for communication devices. For more inf...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale is the leading provider of Software-Defined Servers that bring flexibility to modern data centers by right-sizing servers on the fly to fit any data set or workload. TidalScale’s award-winning inverse hypervisor technology combines multiple commodity servers (including their ass...
As hybrid cloud becomes the de-facto standard mode of operation for most enterprises, new challenges arise on how to efficiently and economically share data across environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Dr. Allon Cohen, VP of Product at Elastifile, will explore new techniques and best practices that help enterprise IT benefit from the advantages of hybrid cloud environments by enabling data availability for both legacy enterprise and cloud-native mission critical applications. By rev...