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wonderpup

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Everything posted by wonderpup

  1. Untill recently UK nationals were EU workers- so where's the problem? Just hire locals. Of course this may require a hike in wages but that's called the free market- a very popular concept among business owners until it involves paying more for labour at which point they demand government intervention to rig the labour market by maintaining their supply of cheap eastern european workers- whose legendary 'work ethic' seems to have suddenly vanished in the face of a declining pound. It turns out that people from eastern europe are not fools prepared to work hard for meagre pay after all- th
  2. But why create tax credits in the first place if not to augment poor wages? There's a 'chicken and egg' scenario here in which low pay creates a state response which then becomes incorporated into the pay structure leading to an exacerbation of low pay. There's something deeply wrong with the slogan 'Making work pay'- wrong because it's an admission of failure at the most basic level of the economy that state intervention is now required to make having a job economically viable for those at the bottom. Tax credits were basically an attempt to deal with the reality that for a lot of p
  3. That's the theory- yet in reality we have rising demand for food banks along with that near full employment- so either the stats are fiction or the wages being paid are so sh*t that even people with jobs can't afford to eat anymore. I drove past a 'hand car wash' establishment today that was employing five guys to wash a single car- so assume ten minutes per car, six cars per hour washed and the minimum wage is currently 7.50 per hour- so those five guys cost 37.50 per hour to employ. In theory if you charge 10 quid a car you do make a small profit of 22.50 per hour. But that assumes
  4. Given the state of India's road system I doubt driverless cars are much of a threat to their jobs, even if they can be made to work in other places- but I wanted to post this to mark the first time I have seen any real political pushback against Artificial intelligence in any form. Untill now the universal consensus among the worlds ruling elite has been that AI is always and everywhere a good thing. So to have an official goverment spokesman of a major state like India come out against it on the basis of protecting jobs is-I think- an interesting development. At the very least it suggest
  5. Yes- the way a Tiger in the circus functions well untill one day it bites your head off. We are still living with the consequnces of the last time the City blew itself up- and it looks like another varient of sub prime is on the cards in the auto loan market. Real wealth can only be generated by making real things or adding real value- and it's not that clear to me that a great deal of what goes on in the financial sector qualifies. In any case a lot of the 'wealth creation' activity of the city is about to be eaten by fintech which will commoditise the profit right out of it.
  6. The idea that investment is driven by the amount of expendable cash that companies have sloshing around in their accounts seems really odd to me- yet this seems to be the basis of the current governements drive to cut corporation tax. In reality companies invest only when they see the possibility of a return on that investment- and in an economy with stagnant disposable incomes that demand just is not there. This is a truly perverse development but makes perfect sense when labour is cheap and plentiful and machines expensive to purchase and maintain. Productivity as the road
  7. Some straws in the wind here; http://news.efinancialcareers.com/uk-en/279189/wilmotml-aric-whitewood-jonathan-wilmot-credit-suisse/ This paragraph from the article is indicative of the kinds of narrative that will be constructed to support the idea of AI as the superior source of prediction; It's from such narrative speculations that meme's and mythologies are born.
  8. I think you are right- it's the 'inconvenient truth' factor- we tend to ignore predictions we don't like. What's interesting is that almost every human society in history has had it's oracles- they go by different names, like Shaman, or Witchdoctor or Economist- but their role is always the same, which is to act as mediators between the tribe and it's uncertain future. But our modern prognosticators claim that their oracular power comes from science, not superstition, pointing to the mathematical rigor of their craft. But why would anyone who really could predict the future waste the
  9. No- my argument is that Economists have the same value value as witchdoctors because they provide the same illusion of mastery and control over future events that in reality cannot actually be predicted or controlled. The complex math calculations in which economists engage are best regarded as analogous to the rituals performed by the Withdoctor as he casts the runes in order to decipher the course of future events. And just as in the case of the Witchdoctor, when the predictions of the Economist fail to materialise his status does not change, because his value to the tribe is not i
  10. This implies that the outcomes in question will be subject to some kind of overt subjective analysis- but there might be good reason why those involved might not wish to carry out this anaylisis. What if the counterfactual to a failed prediction was the conclusion that reliable prediction of any sort was in fact impossible? This might be very bad news indeed if your business model depended on the idea that you or your employees expertise allowed them to make reliable predictions. For example, consider the odd fact that the City of London is full of people who are only employees because th
  11. I don't disagree with the idea that Economists are in the psychology business, but consider the fact that they have done everything in their power to deny this and have inserted into their professional lexicon an array of dubious mathematical models in an attempt to bolster their claims that they are a 'true' natural science rather than a social science. The irony being that having styled themselves as operating purely on the basis of hard maths and empirical data they have exposed themselves to the idea that an artificially intelligent machine might credibly do their job better than th
  12. It's not so much the passage of time as the evolution of data. To be fair to the AI industry they don't claim to be building literal oracles that can see into the future- what they claim is that if you give them enough data from a given domain they will deliver a prediction as to the possible evolution of that dataset in the future. It's about seeing patterns in data that can be extrapolated beyond the current data set to generate new data that can then be used to make more informed decisions. This is the same claim made by Economists and others whose work involves making predictions base
  13. It would be a battle of two mythologies- Astrology as a pseudosciene verses AI as Oracle- the employment prospects of the human astrologer would hinge on which of these mythologies was the most resilient. One of the ironies here is that in stressing the scientific rigour of their methodologies the Astrologers might have cleared the path for the AI whose claims to scientific rigour might be seen as the stronger.
  14. I think it's fair to say however that if there were a global failure in aviation or architecture on the scale of the financial crisis there would have been consequnces for the people involved- yet in economics we see no such outcome- the same theories are being taught by the same people at the same universites- and there has been little fallout of any kind for those highly paid experts who failed to do the very thing they were being paid to do- which was to accurately model the behaviour of the economy. What happened in 2008 was not only unforeseen, it was theoretically impossible according to
  15. The financial crash of 2008 was seen as a massive failure on the part of those professionals who failed to 'see it coming'. The reputation of economists took a huge hit because a big part of their job was supposed to be making reasonably accurate predictions about the economic future- yet almost all of them failed to predict the most catastrophic economic event in nearly a hundred years. But strange as this failure of prediction was, what was even stranger were the consequnces for economists in terms of their jobs- because there were no consequnces. No one was sacked, no mass cull of fail
  16. I didn't say that the AI business was unique in this repect-only that there is a clear mismatch between the expectations of it's investors and it's public postion re the impact of it's technology on employment. It cannot be true that AI will be both highly profitable in the future and have little impact on future employment if those predicted profits are based on replacing people with technology, which they largely seem to be. So the oft repeated meme to be found in many articles and interviews re AI that the aim is to 'make people's jobs easier' rather than replace them is itself mo
  17. There's this assumption that Capitalism is somehow innately anthropormorphic in it's nature but it may well be that this apparant happy alignment between the free market and general human well being is an illusion- a product of poor sampling over too short a time frame. On reflection I would argue that the critique of Artificial Intelligence re employment is really a critique of the limitations of the Capitalist model, which seems to have no real response to offer in a scenario in which human labour is no longer required. The irony is that work- once considered a curse visited upon m
  18. For most of those 5000 years the horse was indispensible to human civilisation- then came steam and shortly afterward internal combustion and within a few hundred years the horse went from indispensible to redundant. So the past is not always a good guide to the future. What happened to the horse is obvious- their value as a source of muscle power was surpassed by machines that offered a better and cheaper form of muscle power. But this was not achived by building a mechanical horse, complete with four legs and a tail. Humans-being smarter than horses- had an alternative source of va
  19. Yes- that's how it will be done- subpar automated services for the plebs, justified on the basis that a low cost automated service will be better than no service at all. Then over time a slow migration up the socio economic ladder as the systems feed on their own performances to improve their game. I agree that for anything involving presenting a case to a courtroom no one is going to be looking for a robot lawyer anytime soon- but for the 'back end' stuff where most of the billed hours are to be found the pressure to automate will be coming from the clients. Anacdotally, I watched
  20. The Law is a good example of how even those professions long considered 'safe' from technology are now starting to become vulnrable; Artificial intelligence closes in on the work of junior lawyers https://www.ft.com/content/f809870c-26a1-11e7-8691-d5f7e0cd0a16 As is now the norm with articles of this type the meme of benign redeployment is ever present with the claim that the technology will 'free lawyers up to do more interesting things' which may well true in some cases- but any technology that reduces a task from 'weeks' to 'a few miniutes' is surely bad news for the people cu
  21. It's a good point. I used to think that by diversifying out of the digital stuff and into 'real' art (I also paint landscapes on canvas) I could avoid the impact of automation but then realised of course that even the most technology proof worker still needs somebody somewhere to buy the product or service they provide. So if AI does start to eat jobs in a significant way it will be a ripple effect in which the first people to be hit will be those losing their jobs- but the next group will be those whose jobs depended on the first group having a job in order to buy stuff. There is also a
  22. It's that gap between the operator and the artisan that technology tends to close. My own particular experience was the decimation of the illustation business that came with the introduction of photoshop-instead of using freelance artists to design unique book jackets or magazine illustrations ect the publishers started to use in house operators to create photo montage designs that looked very slick and finished but required minimal real artisitic skill to create. Your point about reusable assets is also important. Digitial assets are by their very nature highly plastic and can be easily
  23. The problem is that 'the myth of a superhuman AI' is itself a myth in terms of the real concerns that people have regarding AI. And -ironicaly- it's people working in AI who seem to be mostly propagating this myth in their efforts to debunk it- they are fighting a straw man largely of their own creation. Firsty most people have no worries about AI what so ever- they just don't think about it. Among those who do worry about it the main concern is not Superintelligence- or even General intelligence- it's narrow intelligence that just happens to allow a machine or software to do their job o
  24. My point exactly- the more level that playing field becomes the harder it is for people to make a decent living from their 'mechanical'* skills- but there is a more subtle issue here- because it turns out that the need to have those skills was a significant barrier to entry in a lot of creative fields. Consider two different designs for a new product or logo- and let's say for arguments sake that idea one is a sketch in pencil produced by a very experienced designer with decades of award winning designs under his belt, while design two has been beautifully rendered via some slick 3D sof
  25. What you describe here is a gradual-yet accelerating- process by which human labour is replaced by machines of various sorts- but note that this process is not cyclical, it is cumulative- those tasks that are automated tend to remain automated- with a few interesting exceptions that have relevance to your comment quoted below. but I think we can both agree that in general the trend to toward more automation of work is undeniable and inexorable. You make a good point here- and I will back up your argument by pointing out the odd fact that ten years ago if I wanted my car washed I would
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