Rise of the machines

Not a new topic but something I am familiar with through my research and teaching. A couple of reports have come out in the last few months that discuss automation of work activities. I heard a guy on the radio who reckoned 40% of jobs today will have disappeared in 10 years. That doesn’t mean the people who did them won’t do something else, but automation is here and is coming to a job near you.

The region most at threat (according to this report) is North Warwickshire where, it so happens, a lot of Jaguar Land Rover’s manufacturing is based.

So, is YOUR job at risk? This report from Oxford lists a range of jobs and their likelihood of being automated.

As an example, bus drivers. taxi drivers and lorry drivers could soon see their numbers decimated by automated driving technology.

The first fully automated bus service had a crash on it’s first trip but you can be sure that won’t stop them perfecting the technology and making it ever safer.

If anyone saw the (rather good, I thought) film Logan, they’ll have seen a future American where driverless lorries zoom up and down the highways.

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I’d like to see a robot dog walker take our twice daily route over rough ground. I think my job is safe for a while. :lou_lol:

I don’t give a fuck if all jobs go.

As long as no-one has an expectation that all people will have jobs.

Time to start thinking about national corporations that treat automation as a good thing, invest in it heavily and give us some fucking time off.

Who knows. We might even manage civilisation or space travel or something.

Indeed, Pap, it is the obvious end-point - a kind of Star Trek utopia. In the meantime, people are plunged into poverty.

There have been waves of automation from the beginning of the industrial revolution. They have been resisted, fought against and, eventually, the automation wins out. There have always been a wave of jobs that have emerged to replace them. I guess the biggest threat is AI, which challenges our intellect through things like expert systems and machine learning. We’re miles off that at the moment, so what you end up with is all those manual jobs being automated.

Part of the reason France has higher productivity than the UK is structural. It is difficult to fire people from French companies, so they try not to employ people in the first place but automate instead. Higher automation generally leads to higher productivity. the downside, of course, is high unemployment in France (and the associated misery that brings).

As long as its paid time off Pap & people have the means to live comfortably - can’t see it happening any time soon. Would be good if it did though.

An example of automation being resisted for ages and Southern Rail finally just throwing money at it.

Aslef train drivers accept Southern rail deal

If anything was perfect for full automation, it’s trains and, of course, the underground system.

Margaret Attwood’s book The Heart Stops Last - or something like that is about a society in decline for mr average and Sexbots. Well there is other stuff but prescient in that if we could make decent sexbots that’s where big business would concentrate - not on cars or widgets.

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Hmm, that looks good. She’s written some incredible books (not least, the Handmaid’s Tale) but I’ve never heard of that one, so will look it up.

EDIT: The Heart Goes Last, published in 2015. Talking of auotmation, a download for the kindle, I think.


A SEX robot that can be “seduced” could soon be mass produced in Wales, its creators have claimed.

Bring it on. Far fucking better getting non-intelligent automatons to create shit than having Chinese kids die in sweatshops.

For far too long, we’ve been locked into this false paradigm that everyone has to work. In reality, it has been the same since the classical times. Elites vs Plebs. The rich never want to give shit up, the poor are always made to strive for any part of this Earth.

We should embrace automation. Other countries will if we don’t, and if they get there first, it’ll just be another case of “failed British engineering”. It perhaps already is.

It’s a huge subject which I’m glad you’ve raised. Personally, I think it requires a wholesale rewriting of the social contract and serious investment. There’s a government in waiting for that, y’know :lou_lol:

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Does it’s mouth open?

Asking for a friend.


That’s the fella - soz about the title.

She must be in her 70’s but you’d never guess it.

Mrs C_S recommended the book to me. I’m worried - read the book and you’ll know why…

A teaser - straight, gay, straight Elvis’s - very funny.

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I’d hope so given that it talks, other wise it’d be like knobbing Roger De Courcey


I generally agree. Prof David Autor says a similar thing. He neatly compares two oil-rich states (Norway and Saudi Arabia) and highlights the differences as being institutional. (If you’ve got 20 mins to spare, take a look at his TED talk here)

The problem is (as he also points out) technology ends up increasingly stratifying society. Growth in jobs is at the top end among professionals and at the bottom end in providing services for those professionals. This is at the expense of the middle class, which is so easily automated. Look at any car factory. These are good jobs attracting good wages but although we produce far more cars in this country then we ever have in the past, these factories employ a fraction of the people they used to employ. When production and avergely skilled service jobs go, where do the people made redundant end up? Working in care homes? Security guards? Fast food? Driving lorries? Setting up on their own at below minimum wage?

All these things need to be done but, I’d argue, this is creating a divide in society (more pronounced in the US) of the elite and the plebs (as you put it). Automation is making this worse, not better.


We can all see what Fatso has latched onto.

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It’s all a matter of taste I guess…

Pretty sure that is how Our MPs have been trying to seduce the Westminister bar staff, hence all the kerfuffle right now