“We can make all the windmills the world needs, and it won’t bring back the robust jobby-ness of the past, because things just don’t work that way. Economics is not going to change course because it would make it easier for us to structure our world. It would not take that many people to make all the windmills we would ever need, because in modern and efficient businesses it just doesn’t take many people to do things. If these green energy companies really did go on a hiring spree and started employing the numbers that politicians would like to see, they would be (a) unsustainable and (b) replaced by more efficient businesses with less costs. The jobs are never coming back.”—The Jobs Are Never Coming Back (via azspot)
Though they have yet to be fully developed, robotic systems with various degrees of autonomy and lethality are used by the US, Israel, South Korea, and the UK, while other nations, including China and Russia, are believed to be moving toward systems that would give full combat autonomy to machines, the campaign warned.
"In recent months, fully autonomous weapons have gone from an obscure, little-known issue, to one that is commanding international attention", it said.
The Geneva meeting is expected to lead to an agreement to place the issue of “killer robots” firmly on the agenda of the UN Convention on Conventional Weapons. “Most fundamentally, an international ban is needed to ensure that humans will retain control over decisions to target and use force against other humans,” said Mary Wareham of Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The US defence department issued a directive on 21 November 2012 that requires a human being to be “in the loop” when decisions are made about using lethal force, unless department officials waive the policy at a high level, HRW said.
However, it added that the directive was not a comprehensive or permanent solution to the potential problems posed by fully autonomous systems. “The policy of self-restraint it embraces may also be hard to sustain if other nations begin to deploy fully autonomous weapons systems”, it added.
“Could a machine do something that human soldiers throughout the centuries have rarely done, but sometimes do to very important effect — to refuse to follow orders? I’m convinced that, if these weapons are developed, they’re not just going to be deployed by the United States and Sweden, they’re going to be deployed by dictatorships. They’re going to be deployed by countries that primarily see them as a way of controlling domestic unrest and domestic opposition. I imagine a future Bashar Assad with an army of fully autonomous weapons thirty years from now, fifty years from now. We’ve seen in history that one limit on the ability of unscrupulous leaders to do terrible things to their people and to others is that human soldiers, their human enforcers, have certain limits. There are moments when they say no. And those are moments when those regimes fall. Robotic soldiers would never say no. And I’d like us not to go there.”—Tom Malinowski (via azspot)
“According to a translated page from the Chinese site Techweb, each robot costs between $20,000 to $25,000, which is over three times the average salary of one worker. However, amid international pressure, Foxconn continues to increase worker salaries with a 25 percent bump occurring earlier this year.”
:: programable robots are now cheaper than human beings ::
and within a few short years will be just as capable in handling the intricate tasks of electrical construction.
People often ask me, in terms of my argument about “ten steps” that mark the descent to a police state or closed society, at what stage we are. I am sorry to say that with the importation of what will be tens of thousands of drones, by both US military and by commercial interests, into US airspace, with a specific mandate to engage in surveillance and with the capacity for weaponization – which is due to begin in earnest at the start of the new year – it means that the police state is now officially here.
In February of this year, Congress passed the FAA Reauthorization Act, with its provision to deploy fleets of drones domestically. Jennifer Lynch, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, notes that this followed a major lobbying effort, “a huge push by […] the defense sector” to promote the use of drones in American skies: 30,000 of them are expected to be in use by 2020, some as small as hummingbirds – meaning that you won’t necessarily see them, tracking your meeting with your fellow-activists, with your accountant or your congressman, or filming your cruising the bars or your assignation with your lover, as its video-gathering whirs.
“The Romney election fiasco will destroy the Republican Party, just as the Whig party fell apart in the last days of Millard Fillmore. The religious nuts and Dixieland ignoranti will demand the expulsion of all non-extremists and Karl Rove will be left at the Nascar track with Honey Boo Boo on his lap and a dwindling “base” of shrieking microcephalics awaiting the second coming of Adolf Hitler in a green satin Mountain Dew race-day jumpsuit. Respectable conservatives (they exist) will have to take their pleadings elsewhere, the venue or party yet-to-be determined, perhaps off-shore somewhere where the downtrodden sew blue jeans and counterfeit Louis Vuitton handbags.”—James Howard Kunstler
Thus, recessions wipe out repetitive jobs and force the displaced workers to fight over what jobs remain in non-repetitive work. If they’re lucky and have skills, they get high-skilled jobs and benefit. If they’re less lucky, they’re stuck as janitors or farm workers. Of course, the speed with which those fields grow is dependent on the overall size of the economy, so faster growth still helps quite a bit. But this helps explain why even those who’ve found jobs in the current recession are often working below their skill level.
“But back to those five minutes. Between 11:49 and 11:54, something extraordinary happened. For about 300 seconds, the computers took over. The stock, which had dropped four points in the five minutes prior, froze in an incredibly narrow five-cent range while two sets of computers put in thousands upon thousands of bids against one another. On one side, the underwriters’ computers were offering to buy hundreds of millions of dollars worth of stock to keep it from dipping below the crucial $38 level; on the other, high frequency traders were making veerrryyy slightly higher bids at just above $38 — $38.01, $38.02 — which they would sell, literally seconds later […]
For a few minutes, the most-watched stock in the world behaved like a malfunctioning computer program. The stock that convinced untold thousands of regular people with E-Trade accounts to get back into investing behaved according to rules that literally none of them understood, traded at volumes that none of them could conceive of and effectively followed contradictory orders from two sets of screaming robots. This is what future shock feels like.”—
“, “Depending on how good the roboticists get how quickly, there’s going to become a point where there really isn’t enough in it for a sufficiently large fraction of humanity. I simply see no way this trend can continue without eventually rendering almost all of us irrelevant. People’s basic survival instincts will not tolerate that. However, by that point, there may very well be no easy way back, and all hell will break loose.” In other words, the problem won’t be that the robots will kill us, but that the rise of robots will disintegrate our society, none of us will be able to make a living, and we’ll kill each other. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be nice if a robot cleaned your toilet for you?”—Rise of the Machines
“We’re moving, as Johnson and colleagues put it, “from a mixed phase of humans and machines, in which humans have time to assess information and act, to an ultrafast all-machine phase in which machines dictate price changes.” We’re crossing a boundary into a trading twilight zone, and doing so without much thought or awareness of the potential dangers.”—The Reign of Robots May Be Closer Than You Think: Mark Buchanan - Bloomberg (via smarterplanet)