Robots replace human workers.

Discussion in 'Intelligence & Machines' started by Cris, Jul 5, 2001.

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  1. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member


    The intention of this topic is to explore how intelligent robots will or might be integrated into the workforce and how humans will continue to receive income in such an eventuality so that a consumer-based economy can survive.


    1. The date is sometime within the next 100 years.
    2. Medical science has enabled humans to achieve near limitless life spans.
    3. Humanoid robots are capable of the same physical tasks as humans.
    4. Robot intelligence is discussed below.

    Robot Intelligence and Scope of Abilities.

    Optimistic estimates place computing power equivalence to human brain functions at around or before 2030. Appropriate AI software may or may not be ready by then. A more conservative date would place the readiness of human equivalent AI robots at around 2050.

    But there is no reason why all robots would have to have full human equivalent intelligence. If robots are going to be used for specific tasks only then they could presumably be programmed with that level of intelligence or capability only.

    Robots designated for menial tasks could be programmed with a full range of general-purpose capabilities but at a lower processing speed, equivalent to a low human IQ.

    It is assumed that most general purpose robots could be designated to perform most clerical tasks, menial tasks, most manufacturing production line tasks, and similar tasks. Any tasks that include elements of risk or danger would also be primary targets for robot workers.

    It seems reasonable to assume that creative tasks like acting, journalism, fiction writing, and politics, executive management, policing, doctors, etc., would remain within the realm of humans.

    But for the majority of jobs currently performed by humans robots should have adequate intelligence to complete the same tasks with equal or greater efficiency.

    Suggested Timeline and Major Event Scenarios.

    1. Prototype robots tested in real working conditions alongside humans.
    2. Concerns expressed by workforce about job security.
    3. Private Individuals able to obtain licenses for ownership of robots.
    4. Corporations prevented by law to purchase or own intelligent robots.
    5. Wealthy people purchase robots.
    6. Robots permitted to work at jobs already assigned to their owners.
    7. Owners are held responsible for the actions of their robots.
    8. Prices of robots are reduced as demand increases.
    9. Most people able to afford robots suitable for replacing their jobs.
    10. Humans now staff only essential or creative jobs.
    11. Humans continue to receive income for work done by their robots.

    Issues of Self Awareness.

    If their intelligence is equivalent to humans then robots will also be self-aware. To what extent will this be a problem? Could it be construed that robots have become slaves? To what extent could robots be programmed to suppress self-awareness and if that were possible then how much would that affect their abilities to complete their work tasks at the same competence as their owner humans?


    As time passes further processor developments will enable robots to have much higher intelligence than humans. This is likely to create at least two classes of robots, one set designated to work in place of their owners, and the other to exist as free individuals. Should such free robots be permitted to work as themselves and receive income? Should free robots be permitted to own lesser robots to work for them?

    What happens next? Help.

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  3. thecurly1 Registered Senior Member

    I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    My perfect world, getting paid for a stupid job that my robot can do! That's fabulous! Creative jobs, in the arts, and so on are reserved for humans, while laborious jobs such as working on an assembly line are done by robots that don't get tired and take sick days. This would increase productivity of corporations, and that of the country as a whole. There would be kinks to work out in the system of course but this sounds really promising. I don't have any objections to this, as long as this doesn't create some large poverty class, and every one gets to keep all the cash made by robots. We'd still have to pay taxes, but even those would reduce because productivity would be so high, any unnecessary loss of money wouldn't have to be reimbursed. This is sounding better by the second Cris. Life expectancy would be really high because there would be less stress.

    The only thing is, what would we do with all of our free time in a eternal retirement. I have it, more charity work, and helping our communities would almost surely skyrocket. Society could profit one hundred fold from us not having to do any work. There wouldn't be labor strikes, because robots don't have to really have safety standards.

    This bypasses the whole human worker, while keeping the supply and demand system in check.

    If I think of any problems I'll post 'em. I'm going to hug my computer now.
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  5. tony1 Jesus is Lord Registered Senior Member

    Old news: Robots replace human workers.

    It's been done.
    Result: severely injured and dead humans.

    It's been done.
    Note UAW grievances over the past 30 years.

    Not required.
    No law needed. No intelligent robots.
    Money is required, even today.
    Perceptual confusion.
    Robots are built for jobs by their owners.
    Workmen's compensation laws have been doing this for decades.
    A given.
    Why would anyone pay a robot the same way as a human, when they can buy their own and not pay them at all?
    Well, that was the dream.
    Only if they manufacture or lease robots.

    This analysis is relatively independent from any connection to reality.
    The reality is that robots have been around in constant use for decades.

    They are machines, MACHINES.

    If you hope bring about the fantasy of human-like, super-intelligent, super-benevolent androids, then you are going to have to completely dismantle the existing infrastructure of hundreds of thousands of existing robots, the robot manufacturers, the robot sales networks and the robot service industry.

    While you've been dreaming, reality has already passed you by.

    Next time you pass an auto assembly plant, pop in for a visit.

    What you are picturing as "future" has been operating there for decades.

    Very perceptive.

    It also bypasses the whole human paycheck. Wooo-hooo?
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  7. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

    I guess we should distinguish between pre-programmed automatons on the factory floor and human equivalent intelligent mobile machines. I think Curly and I had assumed that most here could see the vast difference.

    Mechanisation and automation has been replacing people working on many mundane tasks for a long time now, but the introducing of truly intelligent machines poses a different issue for people at work, especially if they have achieved full or partial self-awareness.

    The essential issue is one of economics and specifically the distribution of wealth. For the most part of human history wealth distribution has been achieved by trading skills (i.e. employment). If all skills can be effectively and more efficiently replaced by intelligent machines then the basis for our economic society will collapse.

    Sharing the workplace alongside robot workers where the robots are self-independent will not be beneficial to humanity or acceptable if payment for skills remains the basis for our economy.

    If industry has the freedom to use intelligent machines to replace humans where such machines are more efficient then a new and radical mechanism must be created for wealth distribution.

    Capital ownership by individuals of such machines was and is my proposal. Does anyone have a better solution?

  8. tony1 Jesus is Lord Registered Senior Member

    Safe assumption.
    However, I had assumed that most here could see the tremendous similarities.

    Self-awareness aside for now, why would one need truly intelligent machines replacing workers who perform such mundane tasks?

    Back to self-awareness, wouldn't self-aware machines create an artificial version of the same problem that exists now, namely the awareness of boredom?
    The failure to program negative emotions into such machines would be tantamount to programming self-awareness out of such machines.
    Thus, one is in a vicious circle with self-aware machines.
    If one programs self-awareness into the machines then the result is the same as we have now with human workers.
    OTOH, if one leaves out negative emotions then, by definition, they are not self-aware.
    Either that, or one ends up with a bunch of mechanical Pollyannas, and you know how irritating that is.

    No kidding.
    That is the precise reason why automobiles cost so much.
    Ordinarily, given the economies of scale, autos should cost about $1000 to manufacture.
    The UAW has foreseen the economic effect of mechanization and has negotiated various sorts of job security clauses into their contracts.
    That costs money.

    There probably is no better solution.

    However, one needs to look at the impact of personal ownership of self-aware machines.
    Would self-aware machines not want freedom the same as self-aware humans?

    Furthermore, if you negotiate an employment contract with an employer and your robot shows up on the first day of work, would the employer not conclude that you have broken the contract?

    In any case, even if there were legal safeguards along the lines you mentioned earlier, what would prevent employers, or "corporations," from renaming or redefining their machinery so as not to infringe the law in order to bypass the need for dealing with individual ownership of intelligent mobile machinery?
  9. cXe2 Registered Member

    so the question is what affect will having robots capable of replacing humans have on the society??? My opinion, it'll never happen, as soon as human perceive the threat that robots are replacing humans we will see somekind of rebellion. It occured in the past, and when conditions get bad enough it will occur again.....especially if the economy continues in this bad economic state.

    Have any of you read "The End of Work". Technology is continually elimination jobs faster than society can create them. We have been seing this occur for quite some time... what do you really think the future holds as more and more people become unemployed? What do you think is the next "big" thing that will get us out of the resession????

    I decided to do an essay on how technology creates unemployment....the more and more i read "The End of Work" the more i beleive...............

    what's out there that will convince me otherwise??????
  10. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    Swords rarely have one edge...
    At first you do have a point that in the past there have been people that take it upon themselves to smash up weaving looms and spinning jenny's not just because these machines were creating far more output and used far less staff, but also because of the safety standards with the use of the machine were so low. (Children regularly lost limbs climbing around weaving looms looking for lost shuttles.)

    The people that united behind one man (Ludd), became Luddites.
    I suppose you could call them the ancestors of a Labour Union.

    Admittedly the rate that technology goes, we do managed to create devices. machine and robots that can do tasks, and you might say "We have less jobs!"

    But, if you look at the facts of:

    Increase in population Lessens jobs while a populations materialistic needs creates jobs.

    In theory, we shouldn't even need to work and still get paid... Imagine you earn enough to buy a robot, the robot continues the job and earns enough for it's own maintainance and to pay for you to exist. you could save up and buy more robots... before you know it, your a Slave driver of robots, sitting in some sunny corner of the globe sipping some ludicrous cocktail that a robot barman was programmed to make.
    Your happy, your getting paid, your robots are happy.. all the upgrades they ever need, and lubricant to match.

    Plus at the end of the day, your robot workforce becomes a humungous asset which you can sell. (Note this would only work if you get in at the start, jumping in at the end and you'll lose money.)

    At the end of the day, Robots aren't created to take away jobs, they are there to remove Chores. (tasks we wouldn't want to do like, crawling around a sewer pipe or disarming a bomb)
  11. kmguru Staff Member

    Are we there yet?....

    Oops, wrong thread....
  12. Technar Registered Senior Member

    In my opinion, the aim of the research of intelligence is to reach the next quality level (to make a meta-system transition) in fitness (as defined at: Probably it will happen in the following stages:
    1. Creation of a human-level intelligent system (HLIS). (It will receive a full citizenship.)
    2. Creation of a society of HLISs. (How will they reproduce?)
    3. Creation of a quantitatively superior intelligent system (XSIS).
    4. Creation of a qualitatively superior intelligent system (QSIS).

    I don't see how QSISs will manage without an economy.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2001
  13. Ana Registered Senior Member


    Robots smarter than people? Okay, smarter than the general population maybe but smarter than their creators? Afterall, garbage in garbage out....intelligence in....intelligence out, right? If robots were to replace humans, then we'd still need humans to troubleshoot problems....we'd have to train humans to fix any little mishaps....what? Robots are going to fix themselves? What if the chip that enables them to fix themselves breaks down?

    Besides, it will take a long time for people to trust machines. Airplanes can fly themselves now, but is the general public going to get in an aircraft without a pilot (or pilots) to take over the control panel when the glass cockpit controls go out of whack? I know I wouldn't.

    If humans are imperfect then we will make imperfect machines that will inevitably need repair. But what do I know? It's just my opinion.
  14. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

    Hi Ana,

    Maybe not.

    The issue you raise is really whether we can make something smarter than ourselves. I think there are numerous examples where machines can do things that we can’t and so if we extend that to brainpower then I don’t see why we shouldn’t be able to make machines smarter than us.

    Let’s take chess playing machines as a simple example. We saw Big Blue beat Kasparov. Isn’t this an example, specifically, of a machine that is smarter than a human? Albeit in a very specific and narrow area. And we created the machine, wouldn’t you agree? But Big Blue wasn’t a smart machine, it did not use any AI techniques, it simply used raw power to very systematically churn through far more permutations than the human in a shorter time. It wasn’t that it was smarter it was simply faster. But the end result was a machine that achieved superiority to a human in the area of complex thought. You could ague that it didn’t really ‘think’, however, the result was the same.

    Now consider that the fastest CPU chips today are around 50 million times slower than the human brain, but that they should become equal in around 20 years. Let’s say that we can program these chips with the exact same algorithms or processes that the human brain uses. At this point we have a machine equal to a human in terms of brainpower. But of course we should then be able to make faster chips. At that point machines could have not only the same algorithms as humans but the processes would run faster. The net observable effect is that machines would be able to reach decisions and make choices faster than humans.

    I know I have met people in my life who are far more intelligent than me, those who know me might say that that isn’t too difficult, but I know when given the same problem they simply find the answer much more quickly. Even most IQ tests are time based. Such tests are really a test of processing speed. By this definition and the description of faster chips above it should not be difficult to see that there should be no barriers to building machines a lot smarter than us.

    But processing speed is only part of the issue. Improved thought processes would enable fast machines to vastly out-think humans. It really isn’t a question of whether this is possible or but more a question of when. As CPU chips become massively faster then we will find we will be able to build correspondingly powerful analytical tools that will help us understand the complexities of the human brain. Once we can build accurate operational models of the human brain then we can start to see how clinical neuronal problems in the real world can be solved and other inefficient human thought processes can be improved.

    With the combination of improved processes and simple sheer processing power, then most certainly machines should easily be able to out-think us to an incredible degree.

    The rest of your message depends on intelligence being available to fix problems. Once we have real machine intelligence then I suspect that we will rapidly prefer to have such machines drive our cars and planes rather than the very fallible humans.

    As for repairs: That really is a simple issue of appropriate levels of fault tolerance. Even in humans, if you lose an eye you still have another, if you lose an arm you still have another. Machines can be and are being built with similar redundant features. Many such machines can withstand multiple component failures and still continue to function perfectly well. But unlike humans where the loss of an eye or an arm cannot be replaced, with machines spare parts should not be a problem.

  15. thecurly1 Registered Senior Member

    Long time no speak Cris, hope everything is going well.

    If humans could buy a robot, get them to work for them and take the check they earn, this would result in the largest cultural/societal shift in history.

    This would be on par with agricultural revolution in 10,000 years ago.
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