Thursday, March 2, 2023

The Precariat...Is this the future of work?

Is this what work is coming to? --- A new class of workers---The “precariat,” workers who perform ad hoc single "gig" jobs in which labor brokers encourage people to work on contingency without basic employment benefits or protections. The companies essentially channel one-off tasks to the fastest taker or lowest bidder, pitting workers against one another in a kind of labor elimination match. Such workers perform a variety of jobs, not knowing whether they will be called, or if they are called, what they will be asked to do in the next hour, never mind for the rest of the day or week! This is the supreme level of insecurity without any job guarantee what-so-ever!

Friday, July 3, 2020

An economic system to better float eveyone's boat

Bill's Prediction for a New Normal Post-Pandemic "Limited Work" Economy that will naturally emerge ultimately leading to a kinder gentler more egalitarian world

1)  Job loss to robotics and high tech will usher in UBI programs necessary to provide enough consumption, the lifeblood of every economy

2) Without consumption and jobs, even the government would go bankrupt as all its income and consumption taxes would dry up.

3)  UBI would add a giant GDP boost to the economy as well as a giant boost to gov't revenues, a giant boost to corporate profits, and a giant boost to standard of living.

4)                                            4) The economy is a wall of mirrors with money having no standard or innate value or cost to produce so free money is available in unlimited quantities to fund the UBI at no cost, the only proviso being that money releases must be fast enough to grow the economy but not too fast so as to overinflate it with circulating currency to avoid German style hyperinflation to devalue money to zero value----this kind of control is not new as even today, the Canadian gov’t allows money to devalue annually at the price inflation rate if 2%-3%.

5) Keeping the proviso of money supply in point 4 in mind, Money printed and thrown out the back door of the mint and distributed in the wind is just as good a distribution system as at present and probably as valid as today's work/pay distribution system.

5)                                            6) Once someone picks up a wind distributed dollar and spends it thus putting it in circulation, that buck that can be borrowed for 5c per annum earns gov'ts at present 13c HST the first time and every time it is used.

6)                                                         7) That single buck used 3 times a day for a year earns governments $142.35 minus the nickel borrowing cost for a gross revenue if $142.30 annually in addition to all personal, corporate and investment taxes normally generated.

8) I'm predicting that the pandemic and the free pandemic emergency money allocations will shortly become permanent with the convergence of pandemic job losses and increasing robotization which will revolutionize the idea of finding/needing work, the growth of a fairer economy to wipe out poverty by more fairly distributing wealth, public attitudes that will accept public debt as a revenue producing public stimulative asset as the "new normal" that will produce undreamed wealth, innovation, and life style improvements in industrial revolution sized changes of wealth creation and  world development.

9) While it may seem revolutionary to distribute universal free money by the wind, it is an equally valid way as at present. It is quite unimportant how currency gets distributed but it is vitally important that there is a system to put the chosen unit of commerce in circulation to provide a bartering medium to allow for ease in the trading of goods.  This free money distribution system has great advantage 1) to a stronger economy, 2) to all citizens, 3) to richer government, 4) to a fairer more egalitarian society, 5) to reducing crime, 6) to reducing poverty, 7) to reducing social, health, and homeless problems 8) to potentially eliminating income taxes, 9) to promoting world peace and a better world!   

10) You heard it here first!---Shangra Lai at last!   Image may contain: mountain, sky, cloud, outdoor and nature

Baishui Tai in Shangra Lai County China--beautiful and peaceful natural mountainside cascading white water limestone terraces I visited in 1996 said to be the inspiration for the Dongba Religion of the local Naxi Minority People who also have the world's last pictographic written language.  

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Rub a Dub Dub--Three Men In A Tub!

Rub a Dub Dub...Will artificial intelligence take your butcher, baker, or candlestick maker. Was this early 1800's nursery rhyme a premonition for today and tomorrow? Students---Start preparing for the Artificial Intelligence Revolution. Workers---It's probably too late for you! Sorry!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Bet You Didn;t See All This Coming!

This is interesting, and a little frightening especially if you have young children or grandchildren who have yet to enter the workforce.

The future few saw, and many still don't believe, is quickly approaching.
In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide.  Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt.

What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 years and, most people won't see it coming.   Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later you would never take pictures on film again?

Yet digital cameras were invented in 1975. The first ones only had 10,000 pixels, but followed Moore 's law. So as with all exponential technologies, it was a disappointment for a time, before it became way superior and became mainstream in only a few short years.

This will happen again with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs. 

Welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution. Welcome to the Exponential Age.  

Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years.  Uber is just a software tool, they don't own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world.  Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don't own any properties.

Artificial Intelligence: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world This year, a computer beat the best Chess-player in the world.  In the US , young lawyers already don't get jobs. 

Because of IBM's Watson, you can get legal advice (so far for more or less basic stuff) within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans.  So if you study law, stop immediately. There will be 90% less lawyers in the future, only specialists will remain.

Watson already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, its 4 times more accurate than human nurses.

Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.

Autonomous cars : In 2018 the first self driving cars will appear for the public. Around 2020, the complete industry will start to be disrupted. You don't want to own a car anymore. You will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will not need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance and can be productive while driving. Our kids will never get a driver's licence and will never own a car.

It will change the cities, because we will need 90-95% less cars for that. We can transform former parking spaces into parks
1.2 million people die each year in car accidents worldwide. We now have one accident every 60,000 mi (100,000 km), with autonomous driving that will drop to 1 accident in 6 million mi (10 million km). That will save a million lives each year.

Most car companies will probably become bankrupt. Traditional car companies try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels. Many engineers from Volkswagen and Audi; are completely terrified of Tesla.

Insurance companies will have massive trouble because without accidents, insurance will become 100 times cheaper. The car insurance business model will disappear.

Real estate will change. Because if you can work while you commute, people will move further away to live in a more beautiful neighborhood.

Electric cars will become mainstream about 2020. Cities will be less noisy because all new cars will run on electricity.

Electricity will become incredibly cheap and clean: Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can now see the burgeoning impact.

Last year, more solar energy was installed worldwide than fossil. Energy companies are desperately trying to limit access to the grid to prevent competition from home solar installations, but that can't last. Technology will take care of that strategy.

With cheap electricity comes cheap and abundant water. Desalination of salt water now only needs 2kWh per cubic meter (@0.25 cents). We don't have scarce water in most places, we only have scarce drinking water. Imagine what will be possible if anyone can have as much clean water as he wants, for nearly no cost.

Health: The Tricorder X price will be announced this year. There are companies who will build a medical device (called the "Tricorder" from Star Trek) that works with your phone, which takes your retina scan, your blood sample and you breath into it.

It then analyses 54 bio-markers that will identify nearly any disease.. It will be cheap, so in a few years everyone on this planet will have access to world class medical analysis, nearly for free. Goodbye, medical establishment.

3D printing: The price of the cheapest 3D printer came down from $18,000 to $400 within 10 years. In the same time, it became100 times faster. All major shoe companies have already started 3D printing shoes.

Some spare airplane parts are already 3D printed in remote airports. The space station now has a printer that eliminates the need for the large amount of spare parts they used to have in the past.

At the end of this year, new smart phones will have 3D scanning possibilities. You can then 3D scan your feet and print your perfect shoe at home.

In China, they already 3D printed and built a complete 6-storey office building. By 2027, 10% of everything that's being produced will be 3D printed.

Business opportunities: If you think of a niche you want to go in, first ask yourself: "In the future, do I think we will have that?" and if the answer is yes, how can you make that happen sooner?

If it doesn't work with your phone, forget the idea. And any idea designed for success in the 20th century is doomed to failure in the 21st century.

Work---70-80% of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years. There will be a lot of new jobs, but it is not clear if there will be enough new jobs in such a short time. This will require a rethink on wealth distribution.

Agriculture : There will be a $100 agricultural robot in the future. Farmers in 3rd world countries can then become managers of their field instead of working all day on their fields.

Aeroponics will need much less water. The first Petri dish produced veal, is now available and will be cheaper than cow produced veal in 2018. Right now, 30% of all agricultural surfaces is used for cows. Imagine if we don't need that space anymore.

There are several startups who will bring insect protein to the market shortly. It contains more protein than meat. It will be labeled as "alternative protein source" (because most people still reject the idea of eating insects).

There is an app called "moodies" which can already tell in which mood you’re in. By 2020 there will be apps that can tell by your facial expressions, if you are lying. Imagine a political debate where it's being displayed when they’re telling the truth and when they’re not.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Big time traction for Job Stealing Robotics

I've been writing on this and other related job stealing issues since 2006 and its just started to gain some big time traction like this video on CBS Sunday Morning today.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Governor Bank of Canada Responds To My "Futures" Questions

Stephen Poloz, Governor of the Bank of Canada, was in Oshawa this morning to deliver an interesting talk about the history of Canada's Economic Growth. He took questions following his presentation and my question having to do with job losses to robotics and jobs being increasingly defined as part time, contract, and casual, questions pertinent to this site, starts at minute 43.

In response to my question, the governor suggested that replacement of workers by machinery has historically created more jobs which is true...but, there was no opportunity for a follow up question that might have directed the governor's attention to:
  • Historical fact may have little significance for the future since we have never before produced machines with AI (artificial intelligence) with many humanoid features that allow state-of-the art computer/robotics to paint pictures, write software, poetry and music, understand and respond to the spoken word, have thinking and abstract analytic abilities to defeat the world's greatest chess champion, slaughter record setting jeopardy champs, diagnose medical conditions, design prescriptive drugs, fix disease causing DNA defects, design and "print" buildings, furnishings and tools, and accomplish any myriad of abstract tasks, etc. and with these abilities, do jobs now done by humans.

  • When machines will do most of the work in perhaps 20-30 years at the present rate of change, what policy steps would he recommend to the government now in preparation for transition to a future world of little work.  The governor's answer that history following the industrial revolution up until the 40's and 50's may have been quite accurate in that slow changing world but is less relevant in our far less predictable space-age rapidly changing world.
Unfortunately the Governor did not touch on the topic of precarious part time, contract, and casual employment that is growing twice as fast as full time work according to Statistics Canada reports.

All interesting questions of the kind discussed on this site.


Text of Governor's Address

Speech Summary - Oshawa  This Week

Low Interest Rates Needed To Help Canada Grow--Reuters

Governor Warns Against Protectionism - Globe and Mail

"Dust-Off" of NAFTA Welcomed---CBC

GTA's Hot Housing Market Fuelled by Strong Economy But Growing Debt A Concern---CBC

Bank of Canada Governor Speeches

Stephen Poloz, Governor, Bank of Canada backgrounder

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Ontario to "Trial" a Guaranteed Income Plan

Ontario Premier Wynne is introducing a guaranteed income pilot plan, This has already been piloted in Dauphin Manitoba in the 70's before cancellation by a Conservative Government and has already been introduced in some countries with others rapidly coming onstream. While some may reject this as "welfare", it will become common in future due to massive job loss due to automation and the growing inequity between "former" workers and their "former" employers and investors who are benefitting obscenely by pocketing the wage/benefits losses of their laid off workers. This payout in the future will be universally accepted by all as job losses accelerate and this guaranteed income becomes the sole financial support of most citizens. So how is this all paid for? Stay tuned for my next post!