Dying Professions 9 replies

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Andron Taps Forum Mod

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#1 3 months ago

Happened across this little slideshow of jobs that are going the way of the dodo largely due to technological advances.  A lot of them are obvious, but I think the author is jumping the gun a bit when it comes to lawyers and primary-care doctors.  You may be able to better streamline law review and provide self-test kits for basic maladies, but both professions are often a lot more complicated than the things mentioned.  Anyway, are there any jobs you can think of that are dying as well, or, more specifically, jobs in your neck of the woods you personally see declining in quantity?

EDIT: Derp, like an idiot, I forgot to include the damn link

Dying Professions You Should Avoid


"I'd shush her zephyr." ~ Zephyr.



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Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#2 3 months ago

Jobs going away isn't a process of a robot just showing up overnight and suddenly everyone is unemployed. Jobs going away forks in two ways: If there's something that lets you do your job faster, but you need a little bit of intelligence to use it, then the employment concentrates on that person and someone else doesn't get employed as well. On the other side of things, there's de-skilling.


Take taxi-driving for instance. Uber and the like are increasingly taking over in that area. And the point at which they're taking over, aside from anything else, is that they're eliminating local admin and management staff whilst making employment for the remainder less reliable. There's the "as and when" workers and then there are the higher management types, and there's nothing in between any more and no routes for any sort of advancement. What would previously have been a massive company in terms of people employed in the back office is relatively small now. The nucleus of that company, that you actually need, is probably under a hundred people.


That's a massive de-skilling of the industry.


Now are the larger mass of people who 'work' for Uber unemployed? That's a hard question to answer. Not just rhetorically. There was a thing not so distantly that Uber wanted to class them as self-employed if I remember correctly. Certainly they have little they can rely upon. When taxis are entirely automated, Uber will be one of the first. And why not? All the infrastructure for the ordering of rides and so on is already automated - creating a basis on which further automation can be built. And on the way there you have a large number of people who aren't particularly skilled at anything in unstable employment where the company, by employing them on such terms, has more or less said 'There is nothing added to our relationship by providing you any sort of feedback or training. The skills you have are as much as we're ever going to need. Don't bother growing, don't bother improving. Just sit there until we don't need you.'


And it's the same for a lot of jobs. Will you ever do away with lawyers entirely? Well, maybe not - and you need some not insignificant training to actually understand and use a legal database. But a lot of the low-end jobs are going to leave. The sort of 'Answer these questions and there's a clear answer to your legal issue' problems. You can get someone to text that to a computer. Will we do away with doctors entirely? Probably not. But a lot of the value in what doctors do is in the initial assessments. If you're interpreting test-results, a computer is better in every appreciable way. So, you let the computers do that and remove that skill from the profession. Maybe you even hire a greater number of less-skilled people with the money you save... and then years down the line, when you solve that final piece of the puzzle, you're not eliminating doctors any more - you're eliminating someone who wouldn't qualify as a nurse under the current standards.


I think you and I, pretty much everyone... we're going to be unemployed for a significant period of time during our lives.




Andron Taps Forum Mod

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#3 3 months ago

That may be so, but, under those circumstances, we will still need peons to do the leg-work.  After all, there's only so much a computer can do in terms of grunt computations.  The question at this stage is not if computers take over, it's when computers take over.  When that happens, things are going to go to shit.  At that point, the only real jobs are going to be those of custodial manners, i.e. programmers looking in once in a while to make sure the machines are doing their jobs.  What then?  Realistically, all new students are going to be learning the digital equivalent of mopping the floors and tightening bolts.  

For all their faults, humans do have some necessity, that is, being able to make executive decisions.  Creativity is rarely manufactured, but if it was, there would still need to be some level of first principle thinking.  There'd need to be a biologic to direct the actions of the digital.


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Lindale Forum Mod

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#4 3 months ago

* Laywers will never go away, because some idiot always needs to sue someone for the stupidest reasons they can possibly imagine. For example, a thief breaks into a house via the skylight, and then sues the homeowners for the guard dog biting them. I have news for you, he is called a GUARD dog for a reason, and he is there for a reason, and the reason you got bit is because you broke in to rob the place. The dog was doing his job.

* As long as computers exist, there will always be IT guys. Have you ever wondered why Data was getting hacked in nearly EVERY episode? It was because Enterprise didn't have any IT guys to protect Data. Have you ever wondered why The Dotor kept getting hacked? It was because Voyager didn't have any IT guys to prevent hacking. If Starfleet had IT guys, Masks would never have happened.


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MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#5 3 months ago

It probably won't take much longer before most jobs can be largely automated without a lot of effort. Makes you wonder what will happen then; suddenly old ideas about the concentration of capital will become very relevant again as a much larger proportion of the population will be affected. 





Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#6 2 months ago
Posted by Andron Taps

That may be so, but, under those circumstances, we will still need peons to do the leg-work.  After all, there's only so much a computer can do in terms of grunt computations.  The question at this stage is not if computers take over, it's when computers take over.  When that happens, things are going to go to shit.  At that point, the only real jobs are going to be those of custodial manners, i.e. programmers looking in once in a while to make sure the machines are doing their jobs.  What then?  Realistically, all new students are going to be learning the digital equivalent of mopping the floors and tightening bolts.  

For all their faults, humans do have some necessity, that is, being able to make executive decisions.  Creativity is rarely manufactured, but if it was, there would still need to be some level of first principle thinking.  There'd need to be a biologic to direct the actions of the digital.

Sure, and the level of executive decision making isn't especially significant and mostly driven by the ideals of people with power rather than for aggregate welfare. You could probably run the country on a few hundred people who just happen to own all the capital - at least once the high level logistics was automated.

Posted by MrFancypants

It probably won't take much longer before most jobs can be largely automated without a lot of effort. Makes you wonder what will happen then; suddenly old ideas about the concentration of capital will become very relevant again as a much larger proportion of the population will be affected. 


Yeah, not only that - I mean even assuming that you somehow solve that problem without a civil war... what happens to all the people who suddenly don't have a need for one another? Feeling useful seems to be important to a lot of people, it's even part of the government's five ways to wellbeing - "do something for someone else". Well, what happens to someone psychologically - what happens to their place in the world - when you know, sure as a darned thing, that you were born excess to requirements? Like, when it's an undeniable statement that no-one and nothing in the world needs you and, whatever you do, they never will?




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#7 2 months ago

That may be the most depressing thing I'll read all year.  I see this greatly affecting people in trades.  Their whole profession is dedicated to working with their hands and building/maintaining things that grant society convenience in many things.  Probably more so medical professionals, as many of them got into the field because of a desire to help others.  

I suppose the question then is with what do you replace it?  Certainly working to better yourself is a worthwhile pursuit.  Of course, that's going to open up a whole new can of worms with economics.  If the scenario you've proposed came true, what's going to happen to everyone considered to be excess?  


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Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#8 1 month ago
Posted by Andron Taps

That may be the most depressing thing I'll read all year.  I see this greatly affecting people in trades.  Their whole profession is dedicated to working with their hands and building/maintaining things that grant society convenience in many things.  Probably more so medical professionals, as many of them got into the field because of a desire to help others.  

I suppose the question then is with what do you replace it?  Certainly working to better yourself is a worthwhile pursuit.  Of course, that's going to open up a whole new can of worms with economics.  If the scenario you've proposed came true, what's going to happen to everyone considered to be excess?  


Bettering yourself assumes that there's something to better yourself toward. Why act if there's no... ideal? For a lot of people employment seems to be that ideal.

I think if we avoid a rich murdering the poor situation, then there's essentially two outcomes. In one outcome we don't address why people are aimless, and that way lies lots of TV, drugs, civil disorder. In the other outcome we have to re-jig the schools and social services to be more on and around... okay, what are you interested in? More about exploring what people find personally worthwhile than about memorising some shit about Shakespeare.

(There was a different version of this post that wasn't quite so light on the details, but the page timeout ate it.)




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#9 1 month ago
Posted by Nemmerle



Bettering yourself assumes that there's something to better yourself toward. Why act if there's no... ideal? For a lot of people employment seems to be that ideal.

I think if we avoid a rich murdering the poor situation, then there's essentially two outcomes. In one outcome we don't address why people are aimless, and that way lies lots of TV, drugs, civil disorder. In the other outcome we have to re-jig the schools and social services to be more on and around... okay, what are you interested in? More about exploring what people find personally worthwhile than about memorising some shit about Shakespeare.

(There was a different version of this post that wasn't quite so light on the details, but the page timeout ate it.)

Well, I think the ideal is there for anyone who has aspirations or interests.  Employment can facilitate those improvements assuming they coincide with your interests, i.e. if you love cars, you'll probably like being a professional mechanic.  But it's still possible to learn the things you like, the disconnect mostly seems to appear when you're stuck in a job that drains you physically and emotionally to the point where all you want to do when you get home is watch reality TV.

I absolutely agree though, the biggest problem seems to be a lack of awareness of individual taste.  When you have a system that fosters uniformity and hard-line efficiency, you lose a lot in terms of breakthroughs and passionate workers.   While I hate to say it, there may come a point when schooling and professional, and likely, personal fulfillment are mutually exclusive.


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Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#10 1 month ago
Posted by Andron Taps

Well, I think the ideal is there for anyone who has aspirations or interests.  Employment can facilitate those improvements assuming they coincide with your interests, i.e. if you love cars, you'll probably like being a professional mechanic.  But it's still possible to learn the things you like, the disconnect mostly seems to appear when you're stuck in a job that drains you physically and emotionally to the point where all you want to do when you get home is watch reality TV.

I absolutely agree though, the biggest problem seems to be a lack of awareness of individual taste.  When you have a system that fosters uniformity and hard-line efficiency, you lose a lot in terms of breakthroughs and passionate workers.   While I hate to say it, there may come a point when schooling and professional, and likely, personal fulfillment are mutually exclusive.

It's possible, yes. I think the argument I'm making is somewhat akin to this:

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The bump, I think, forms a barrier. Like you get there and if you invest more effort in an activity that has a greater effort requirement associated with it, then you don't get more enjoyment out of it initially. There's a threshold of invested effort that has to be put into some things over time before you start to get the rewards out. 

You know? There's definitely some truth that employment does drain the energy to do the things that interest you. I feel that trap myself. - And if we take that away I don't think it's going to remove the problem. Most people who are unemployed for any significant length of time don't have well developed interests - so why would we think it operates any differently for people in a post-scarcity economy? Like, if you watch youtube videos rather than learning to draw, for example. You're probably still going to watch youtube videos rather than learning to draw after you become rich. Because that was the most fun thing to do given the time you had to invest then and it's the same after too. You've just got more time and energy to spend on the low effort (relatively) high reward activities.

It's entirely possible to pursue an interest, assuming you even know what you'd find interesting I suppose. But there's a bunch of stuff out there that takes up your time and numbs the awareness of being alive without offering much pleasure or fulfilment. I think if we're going to move toward a future that we might view as desirable we're going to need some sort of... moral education is perhaps the wrong way of putting it... but certainly something virtue based along the lines of self-discipline and self-knowledge. Somewhere that gives people a place to explore those other things and to grow certain qualities that it's unlikely they're going to acquire elsewhere.

Right now school functions nothing like that. The discipline is applied externally, the incentives are artificial, and the curriculum is this largely fixed dross spooned out to everyone. It seems unlikely to me that you're going to learn the sort of thing I'm talking about there.




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