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Automation and AI are destroying jobs, not work

Now is not a good time to be set in your ways. The future’s here. Jump on board. The train is leaving the station. Eric Krume is a logger who’s betting everything he has on the future. If this project is just a huge failure, it just means that I’m back to hand-to-mouth. It’s everything that I’ve got. Besides cutting trees, Eric Krume is also a self-taught engineer. And he’s spending all his money to build and send machines where they’ve never tread before. So, in the past, that machine, a machine like that, has never come up a hill like that. Like many American industries, logging has been swept by a wave of automation. But steep mountainsides have remained a last refuge for people on the ground, working with their hands. Until now. So, if you had two hand cutters cutting, and a seven-man rigging crew, that’s nine people, with at least six or seven of them on the ground. This is replacing those people directly. Understanding how automation is playing out in this industry can teach us a lot about the future of work far from the woods. While some of the benefits may be surprising, the pain will hit close to home. Eric’s son Tristan does a job that Eric plans to automate. After the trees come down, Tristan is one of workers attaching cables, by hand, to haul logs off the mountainside. And he said his colleagues see what’s coming. Almost half, probably, just think their job’s getting stolen. In that way, what’s happening on these Oregon slopes could soon happen all over. The machines may soon replace many of us. The traditional logging, that we’re all used to, is over. Nobody can compete with the latest technology. Not if you’re doing it the old way. People studying how automation transforms employment generally agree that a vast swath of jobs will soon dramatically change or disappear. Probably in the last five years or so, we’ve seen these technologies make more progress than they’ve made in the last 50 years. Especially the artificial intelligence part. The worst predictions say 40 percent of today’s jobs could be lost to automation in only a few decades. But if even half of that manifests, we’re talking about a question of fundamentally restructuring what American life looks like. It isn’t the first time we’ve seen lives fundamentally restructured by machines. In 19th-century England, an economic recession, and changing fashions, and a wave of automation threw thousands of textile makers out of well-paid jobs. The workers who reacted by violently smashing machinery came to be known as Luddites. The people that became the Luddites— the croppers, the weavers— they were the middle class of that day. And that’s one of the reasons why they reacted so strongly when automation and machinery came along to take those jobs away. Because they were falling from a pretty high height. We’re talking about change that, in a matter of a few years, wiped out tons and tons of jobs. And so that makes you think about today. After the British government stamped out the Luddite movement, the textile industry continued to automate unabated. And some students of history say the Luddites’ core grievance wasn’t really about machines at all. They were comfortable with machinery. They’d been using tools for years. If technology was going to be used in a way that benefited everyone, they were happy with it. They saw this, really, not as a technological fight, but an economic fight. When the Luddites started breaking machines, it was because they had lost their attempt to mitigate the way that economic change would happen. Today, technologists say heavy economic change is coming to jobs that involve mind as much as muscle. The same way that Google Maps slashed the mental calculations needed to navigate around town, new systems could soon automate the judgment calls once needed to do stuff like prepare tax returns, or parse legal precedent, or make a medical diagnosis. I think that’s what makes this time different. Many of us imagine that a lot of things that require emotional intelligence are inherently human. Judgment, intuition; those are the things that are inherently human, where, historically, we’ve never really needed power tools for those things. And it’s likely that many people who never considered their work a candidate for automation will see artificial intelligence change their jobs in big ways. We actually found, in our research, that something like 60% of occupations have, on average, about 30% of their activities that can be automated. What that means is that you’re going to have, probably, more people working with machines, alongside machines. So it kind of becomes this collaboration, this fluid, kind of like, exchange of talents between the machines and the people. From the discovery of fire, all the way to having a pen with which we write, we always have invented tools. AI is another tool. AI did not come from the sky. And here’s where it’s probably worth underscoring one of the biggest lessons the loggers may hold for the rest of us. Sure, automation is going to lead to less work for guys like this. But it will also lead to less of something else. If you have a man on a chainsaw falling trees, they’re eventually going to get hurt. You’re the softest thing out here. If there’s an accident, you’re either going to be disabled, or you’re going to be dead. Logging has the highest death rate of any American occupation. For its size, logging kills people at a higher rate than the military. So, sadly, yesterday, a hand cutter got killed. It was pretty local. That really brings it home with what we’re doing. That could be one of my guys. I’ve come to the belief that the only way I can ensure the safety of my people is not have them there. The best way not to kill a hand cutter is to not have one. We can’t stop the automation coming to the woods, and we probably shouldn’t want to. The stakes may not be as high for the algorithms automating work elsewhere, but there are likely to be ways that the technology coming to your workplace will, one day, seem similarly indispensable. To the extent that automation is destroying either routine, uninteresting, dangerous, hazardous work, that may be a good thing. And also, hopefully, creating other kinds of work. And the economy has done that for decades. One of the things that gets lost in the conversation about automation is that there are actually enormous benefits to us as a society. The challenge remains dealing with the whirlwind pace at which our era’s technologies are entering and remaking our jobs. I’ve been cutting timber for 22, 23 years. I have four kids. They need to learn a different trade. So what will the future of work look like? From here, it looks like a future where careers could become a changing story, of not one job, but many. The majority of people will end up having an episodic career. It’s great to ask kids, for example, what do you want to be when you grow up? But one thing that might be added to that question is, what five things do you want to be when you grow up? You’re probably not going to do the same job you did when you were 20. You’re probably not going to do the same job for 40 years. The world is moving too fast right now. The worst thing you can do right now is nothing. Don’t be the guy who refuses to look at the future.

100 Replies to “Automation and AI are destroying jobs, not work”

  • Try finding the customer! for the goods produced, works for a while to saturation of those that can pay that have not been displaced, oversees orders etc, and then wham – nothing, no sales with scampering politicians that have no answers.

  • Just take over already. Let us live. People aren't lazy people want to do things but are stuck working a job more than they are living life. It would be a laugh love society. Majority of people are good and not lazy if anything it would make a far better reality with creativity out the butt. Money is evil get rid of it and let humans breath finally.

  • Imagine all this workers finishing higher education and contributing in future only peoples job…how to make our life better

  • Imagine if tree cutting became automated and 100x more efficient than it is now, we will be depleting our forests 100x faster than now, and we cannot make trees grow 100x faster than they do now. This is a problem that the documentary doesn't address. There are many factors that influence what goes into being automated and what doesn't, obviously economics is a huge one. But we should focus more on finding ways to live without using that much wood, reduce our environmental impact, and not needing to chop down a forest in a blink of an eye so that a growing population can keep growing.

  • I wonder if people would want a ai as their judge in court than a human. Scary but when you look at Law I wonder if an AI could clean the corruption out or if it would the the legal dominance ruled by an ai software program. And if it ever penetrates legality and everyone follows the programs of the AI as laws than wouldn't we not be human? Wouldn't we be a resource to AI?

    This whole compelling evidence for automation is complete BS. If there any humans working they can't die by working accidents. You cannot stop human from making mistakes. Logging is the deadliest jobs? Are you kidding me? Who taught them how to cut trees? Who produced this video? The bias interview too. The actor when interviewed really seem like he teared up when he played on the local death of a gentlemen he didn't know or that maybe didn't even exist. Sponsored Videos are not appreciated. I came here for the truth and I got a snake oil trying to sell me something.

  • Back in the 1970s when they were first discussing globalization they said "There'll be losers, but these losers will just have to reinvent themselves."

    That did work well, didn't it?

    And now we're telling us the same nice lies about automation "creating new jobs"

    Our society is utterly unprepared to face what it's coming as it was unprepared for globalization.

  • There's plenty of talk about safety for these loggers, but now what? They aren't showing up, they aren't working, and now they're at the mercy of a job market with skills that have no value. Instead of a log crushing them, it will be a slow death by debt and depression.

    Not one job, but many, just means more of what we've already been experience. Being ferried from shitty temp-job to shitty temp-job, with no security, no future, and no hope.

  • We are killing all life on this planet ..clearcutting is a perfect example. No need to worry about work if the human race becomes extint.

  • I really cant stand hearing about how we have faced a technological threat to our livelihoods before… THIS IS NOT THE SAME SITUATION…. Not by a long shot. This is FAR FAR WORSE in every single way possible. You are a moron if you buy into this description of the problem.

  • How about we spend on education so people can train in new jobs so we don’t have to worry about people falling off. Duh!

  • Like the guy in the video said, don't forget all the good stuff that AI will bring us!!! Just imagine. A lot of services and products will be cheaper, healthcare will be cheaper and better. But ye you gotta be careful so that it is not concentrates to much power to anyone. But you can certainly not stop it.

  • liberals: we need mass immigration because westerner population is declining and employers have no one to hire!!!

  • And the elephant in the room IS, wait for it…………….war! Robots used instead of humans to invade, say, a nuclear power would no doubt be setting themselves up for all out
    nuclear retaliation. Just a thought. Back to square one!!!

  • Well on the bright side, as more and more people lose their jobs to machines and that includes you in the office, They will need less trees. Now since this man invested his money in this automation, he won't have to have the same number of machines running, but will still have the payments to pay and maintenance on the machines. So eventually he will be out of business and can join the rest of us on the streets.

  • It's long been known that you want to be valued for what you KNOW, not what you DO. If you've chosen a career that pays you to DO something, especially something that's repetitive and labor-intensive, you can expect to be replaced by a machine at some point, simply because machines are more reliable and cost less over the long run. They don't call off. They don't show up late. They don't spend their day surfing the internet. They don't require HR departments to watch over them.

  • When cars came to replace horses, New jobs for horses weren't created, Almost all horses just disappeared, so you can see the rest of them only in a circus in these days.

  • Any business that replaces a human held position, with automation should pay a tax of $1000 a month, per a position lost to automation. Witch will still be a coast savings to those businesses; no workers compensation insurance, no sick time pay, vacation pay, extra, extra. Governments will have no choice, but to pass a basic income law.
    Unless it's some kind of super rich plan, thats far more sinister; for those conspiracy type out there. LOL

  • the problem is that there are no capitalists that are thinking about what is going to happen to people who are put out of work. Sure younger people coming in will be trained for the new jobs but the older workers will simply be told to go die naked in a ditch. Too old, too dumb, just taking up space. That is what the young billionaire assholes are thinking about the older workers.

  • Take a look at Andrew Yang for the 2020 elections. He has been talking about automation & AI taking over our country. His plan is Universal Basic Income and makes a good case for it.

  • >we want to protect people like loggers by forcing them out of their dangerous jobs so they can avoid injury or death
    >be a logger who just lost their job to automation: "great so now I get to die because I have no way to earn money and now I can die slowly by starving"
    well, that's nice

  • They say we are going to work alongside new technology… I don't think it's going to work this way. Once a job is automated it's gone for good.

  • I'm so happy that I won't be part of the workforce soon. I am going to be retiring in a few years. I have 2 great pensions and I will be moving to a small place to enjoy myself. Good luck young people. You are going to need it.

  • They had this same story in the 1970’s and we have low unemployment.

    This is the liberals against technology. They want everyone to be farming or low skilled labor.

    Another fear mongering movie against the benefits of a great society

  • I my understanding many jobs will go into non routine maintenance. The kind of work that is non-repetitive and too expensive to automate. Example: A/C maintenance requiring to get to the building, access the various parts of the A/C system, troubleshoot and fix.

  • I wonder what will happen to those machines when we have another Carringtin magnitude solar flare? They might wish they had more carbon based loggers around?

  • We'll be ok. More than likely. If it doesn't work out, almost none of us will be around to cry about it.

  • Blue collar jobs are mentioned but they left out mid level white collar desk jobs that can be done by AI and Machine learning, those jobs are just as vulnerable

  • Now they need to replant all the tree they just cut down this is a huge contributor to global warming deforestation and habitat destruction

  • I like how this guy pretends he cares about his employee's health and that's an excuse to take away their jobs. Nice try pal.

  • Destroying the environment is not right in order for a job. Please keep forests for animals and wildlife.

  • Learning for the future is always the way out don't be distracted by the social procrastination network

  • The future is not going to be in the future of the ignorant. U can fool people to do a job but u can't fool robots to do a job

  • with all the jobs going to IT, the repetitive, labor intensive jobs are the low hanging fruit.
    the $15 minimum wage raised that bar from low hanging too just reachable.
    for the cost of a years wages for a person, a shop can buy a computer and have it last 5 years.
    with the open boarder bringing in a million workers a year and the reduction of jobs, we are headed to crisis.

  • Eric realizes he is a small operation guy. His son wont have a job in logging unless he agrees to work for a wage at a big corporation where highly trained REAL engineers much younger, more math oriented will work for less are. Eric knows this. TO bad he is doing better by his son.

  • I think these stories about the future of automation are to optimistic. Nobody talks about the practical future of the technology or what innovations are needed to bring about the kind of automation their dreaming of.

  • why we are fearing automation it will create more goods with less effort … a politician should start implementing UBI, and a way to create equality. It will be great to live in a world where people do not have to worry about how one will pay his monthly grocery bill, light bill etc., all basic necessity. There will be agriculture robots, there will be robots manufacturing solar panels, batteries to give you 24 hours of electricity. If you get bored play sports, hang out with human friends, do some artwork, watch netflix, do some research work. Just live do not worry about food, shelter etc. One two things we need to take care 1) let machines do not take over us 2) Let a
    few crooked people do not take over the entire planet.

  • There are people who’s job is to automate other people’s jobs. They get paid good money too. It’s pointless to fight against people making intelligent machines that can do any job much better than any human could. Automation will only build on itself and will get faster and faster.

  • Governments need to stop the unneccesary automation. Automation should be use in the work which human cann't do like cleaning sewage drains.

  • The masses of Americans aren't going to care about automation or ai until their specific job feels threatened. As long as it's someone else's job they'll say "just find work somewhere else" even though you can make double minimum wage and still struggle to survive

  • Over the last 50 years I did 3 Trade Courses and 3 Diplomas at collage. People are amazed with the skills I had. Later in life companies ask me to work for them. I am good at designing and making things, and I know and use a lot of material science.

  • "Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them."

    – Frank Herbert, Dune –

  • So we will have machines making mass amounts of stuff no one can buy cause they have no job. In a world in infinite resources how is all this mass production going to happen in a infinite universe. Everyone will be stupid as hell and it will all break down over time because we are all lazy idiots.

  • "Look, i've created a machine that can clearcut the entire earth, watch!"
    "Oh fuck, now there's no one and nothing alive to sell my wood products too"

  • That didn't address the unemployment problem coming in the future. Oh, so we must ''accept''
    the loss of our jobs and wealth that is brought to our families to survive for the sake of ''indispensable'' technology? My guess is that the only for this is that they can save lots of money by not paying to employers, thus, making them more richer. This is more, like a propaganda to technology than addressing the unemployment issue.

  • I’m thinking, with automation many will know how to operate it but few will know how to build them. When we structure our social and economic life so much around money, big change to jobs and flow of cash is tough on individual lives. One could lose their jobs, their livelihood today, but the world will take and have years for a new industry to start.

  • So if machine/AI keep taking jobs, will these machine/AI also pay taxes? I see a future of skyrocketing tax rates – less people paying taxes and more machines/AI NOT paying taxes.

  • I've designed automated equipment for the past 20 Years… One thing they don't discuss is how automation will re-shore production… Textiles, electronics, metal production, mining & other industries that have been destroyed can be produced domestically rather than overseas. Also… these machines fail and need repair, so there will be jobs created to repair equipment.

  • Looks like movies about robots, automation and artificial intelligence are becoming a reality. Later, humans will become extinct.

  • Let's ponder what will be! Future generations what will they see? The Jobs of Past are gone at last! Everything has been automated!! It happened so fast! This poor population grew and grew! Clue!! Those left working Paying bills!! Just the thought gives me chills!! We built houses, cars and jars !! Under this Flag with Stars and Bars!! A Great Nation Land of the Free??? The dreams of my parents for all of Yee! Did they look with future sight?? All wrongs been done!! Must be set Right!!

    Some-Will-Know What_is_money_without_JOBS
    $15.00 MOST MINIMUM WAGE IS ALL THE RAGE! Time it is let's turn the Page? The Corporations will move your jobs offshore paying one dollar a day!!! B-King, Mc-Death, 8elleven and Fifty Cent stores like vending machines!!
    Thank you I do. For the world that you view. See liked I do. Through many not few. Living in wealth. All cares on a shelf. While we're on the floor. Making room for more. Our poor my friends just can't ignore. See I live out here in all of this mess knowing not how!! Take a guess!!
    Still shaming an blaming the homeless or displaced?? Look all around it's right in your face!!!
    Shareholders need Profit! More Profit!! They always need Profit. This is a big problem with Capitalism!! The worker can be replaced with a machine. When nobody is left but the shareholders Profitability will be a non factor
    ((new)) fix This is no longer a possibility. Capitalism as we knew it must die.
    Even if there was a way to remove government subsidy of these mega corporations.
    The elite have already cashed in worthless paper for solid gold or other hard assets.
    If this system crashed today the elite would not suffer! The poor and what is left of the middle class will bare the burden.
    After a short period of complete chaos and the starvation, death of millions.
    These Old Families with very old gold will buy back the Throne and we will hang up this phone. Repeat-rince-Repeat
    Creation of jobs??
    Let's think about that!!!
    Self driving cars, busses, trains, trucks and planes!!
    Thirty Six million jobs lost !
    Farm tractors, lawnmowers, combines, seaders, spreaders all heavy and light construction and farming equipment completely automated!!!
    Sixty million jobs lost!!!
    Online stores!! No need for small local stores of any sort!! All in one warehouse with completely automated pickers and loaders of autonomous vehicles!!?
    Thirty two million jobs lost!!
    Building?? Three D printers now printing super luxury condominiums and warehouses!?
    Eighty Six million jobs lost!!
    Fast food and convenient stores?? Now are completely automated Do not apply!!!!
    Groceries?? If you can't print what you need call a drone to your home services now available!!!!
    And for the Great Capitalists?? Not much left that hasn't been exploited!! T
    See we the people have no jobs!!
    Millions on the public dole!!
    The end goal of capitalism¿?
    Was there any thought to what happens at the end????
    People think of your children and the next seven generations!!!
    Are we the living caretakers of this Earth?? Are we doing everything possible to insure a better quality of life for future generations???
    What is left???
    Hail to the Smartphone ??
    How many Jobs, Careers or Products did you replace?
    Radio, dictation, voice recorder, alarm clocks, calculator, G.P.S., Clock, Typewriter, Television, VCR, Movies, Newspaper, Magazine, Paper, Compass, Board Games, Casino, Spell checker, Computer, Books, Dictionary, Scanner, Record player, mail, Greetings Cards, Walkman, Walkie talkies, Translator,
    Can you add more??
    Now The Phones are not Made Here!!!

  • Robots replace peoples' job.
    People has no income.
    People can't buy anything.
    Nation has no income through tax.
    Nation will be poor as it depends on its own people.
    Law-makers think of solution.
    Government will find a job for its own people.
    Government will not allow fully automated industry.
    Government has found a solution.
    People has an income.
    Tax came in.

    WHAT IS YOUR OWN VERSION OF PREDICTION? please comment below. Ty

  • I welcome automation. I'm a minimum wage worker. But I read and watch as much free knowledge as I can. I don't want to get dirty, but I will if I have to.

  • What sellouts I worked at the words largest oil refinery 55 thousand people 5 years not one single unjury and people where hanging off ropes wrorking 205 feet up in the air ……. it’s attitude and if this guy can’t insure his own son is safe at work he shouldn’t have a company

  • The biggest cost in business is paid workers. After waste, consistency & quality, elimanting humans is the most effective way to cut cost to maximize profits. …Business intent on deliberately eliminating paid human effort is never going to re-purpose this many displaced workers…we had better hope our governments have a solution in mind because we can't put this many people on social security from a shrinking tax base!

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