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! https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/03/16/pilot-project-to-introduce-a-basic-income-in-ontario-gets-strong-public-support.html

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Future! Will You Be Needed Or Wanted?

Just as Henry Ford made automobiles ubiquitous to every family and workplace, robot researchers, developers, and manufactureres are predicting that life size artificial intelligence robots with human-like mobility will reside in many average households, offices, and workplaces in 5-10 years as workers, friends, servants, and even girlfriends and boyfriends. Will there be any need for you?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Why Work?

The philosophy of the purpose of work has changed over the ages---to hunt, scavenge, or grow food for survival, to make money to consume/acquire goods not requiring our direct labour, to self-fulfillment.

Likely, our future will come full-circle to the ideas of Aristotle in 335BC who claimed the prime purpose of existence was not work, but improvement of the mind.

This video, The History of Work, unfortunately, does not speculate about our work future, stopping as it does with the advent of the early computers without speculating on their impact to our future world of work.
Recent years, though, have defined that future without question, and in so doing, have also defined a roadmap of the future of human life. 

Every innovation created more free time---think of the washing machine, and just as that innovation provided more time by freeing people from a consuming household chore providing time for other things, computerized technology and robotics will take that free time explosion to the extreme---back to Aristotle’s idea of a life of leisure doing what you want to do rather than imprisoning us from the need of work for survival!

During the transition, which we are undergoing now, our world will suffer severe disruption as we adjust our thinking, our expectations, our habits, our very way of life to a future of peace, eradication of poverty, equality of opportunity, and respect for our fellow man---a Shangri-La devoid of the burdens of work....the Utopia first proposed by Greek Philosopher Plato!

Your present political philosophy, your ideas of independence and self-sufficiency, your present role as a wealthy business owner, a worker, or a pauper, will make little difference in defining the future world and your role in it.   Everyone will have only one objective---survival!  Survival of life, survival of production means to provide human needs and wants, and survival of a working economy to sustain the needs of the population, and there are not many available options!

A world without work for humans will bring profound changes to the past rules that defined our world, its economy, and the roles of people---- And no matter what you think and believe now, you too will be swept up in the tsusami of social and economic change.---and acceptance of and adaptation to the profound changes will be your lifejacket to survival.