atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#4633: Well, one more day to go before my weekend.

Today is my Thursday. I actually had a very good day today. It wasn't too busy, I singlehandedly hit 174% of today's sale budget, and I only had two stupid people to contend with--and they weren't too asinine.

Kind of makes me worry about what tomorrow is going to be like.

* * *

If you make unskilled labor too expensive, it will be replaced with robots. That is what will happen; it's an economic inevitability. In fact, once robots can do the kind of jobs humans can do after a few minutes' simple instruction, without lengthy and complex programming, human labor will be priced right out of the market.

Imagine how gleeful UPS would be if they didn't have to pay guys $14 an hour to unload trucks. Presently it's a job that must be done by humans; we currently do not have the technology to program a robot to pick up boxes from the random jumble that is a semi trailer after a brisk ride on the freeway, at least not as quickly as a human can do it.

But the day is coming when robots will replace humans in that task.

Make the production of fast food expensive enough--by pricing labor too high--and your local McDonald's will turn into an automated burger factory.

There will continue to be tasks for which robots are ill-suited, but none of them are going to be low-skill jobs. Anything that requires repetition without thought is a prime candidate for automation, and that describes nearly the entirety of manufacturing: once the assembly line is set up and all the bugs are out, no intelligence is required--and robots are perfect at doing the exact same thing over and over and over again, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. With micrometric precision and zero wasted energy.

This can, in theory--and in a sensible world--usher in a new golden age of leisure and plenty. Since we do not live in a sensible world, though, what it will do is enable higher profits without any reduction in prices while vastly increasing unemployment, because the current crop of elites running the show want anything but deflation.

Technology is a deflationary pressure, though, and it's inevitable that things will get cheaper to make over time.

Example: who darns socks any more? Your sock gets a hole in it, you throw it out, or you toss it in the rag bag for use as a shop cloth. You don't spend time and energy repairing the hole, though, because you can buy socks for $1 a pair, and it is literally not worth the effort.

Computers are getting to be the same way. If you don't need a high-zoot machine, you can get by with a $250 budget laptop that runs rings around anything that was available even a decade ago at twice the price. Certainly when your livelihood revolves around selling people service contracts at $200 a pop, the allure of a new machine for $250 is stiff competition, let me tell you. if you want to have a job, you'd better figure out how to get one that involves performing tasks that can't be done by a robot.

* * *

Anyway, I'm looking forward to 4 PM tomorrow, because after that I have some time off. Six hours of labor seperate me from my weekend.

That'll do.

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