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S06.E03: Automation and Technological Unemployment

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Other segements: 2019 North Korea–United States Hanoi Summit, Michael Cohen testimony, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump
Guests: Gilbert Gottfried (voice-over)

 

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The list of countries you may have never heard of is AMAZING!

And John with the kids was adorable 🙂

Edited by ahisma · Reason: grammar
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9 minutes ago, ahisma said:

The list of countries you may have never heard of is AMAZING!

And John with the kids was adorable 🙂

Yes! How John was able to rattle all of them off so fast without tripping up is beyond me.

I loved his reaction when the little girl said that, yes, a robot could do his job. Hehe. 

Nice discussion of automation. I especially like how he took away some of the fear and concern about its impact on jobs, and highlighted some of the things that can be done to help those who would lose jobs. Whenever we do actually get a reasonable person back into the White House, hopefully they'll be able to implement a lot of those ideas and suggestions. 

Also, I continue to love when they highlight unusual local news and/or its anchors. That guy's style of reporting was...interesting :p. 

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28 minutes ago, Annber03 said:

Also, I continue to love when they highlight unusual local news and/or its anchors. That guy's style of reporting was...interesting 😛

Pat Collins from right here in your Nation's Capital!  I can't believe they didn't use a clip of him with his Snow Stick... 

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Hey, John. Nice of you to do a segment on how automation isn’t quite the demon job killer it’s been made out to be. I’m sure your robot overlords will approve. 

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Anybody else listen to John rattle off what he expects the president to call nation, getting ready for him to end on that one country in Africa whose name is problematic to bring up? I guess John and the writers considered that “low-hanging fruit.”

Dubbing Gilbert Gottfried over Jared will probably never get old.

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8 hours ago, ebk57 said:

Pat Collins from right here in your Nation's Capital!  I can't believe they didn't use a clip of him with his Snow Stick... 

I was so disappointed by the lack of the Snow Stick!

I totally wanted to be a mermaid when I was 5.

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I guess I need to google Pat Collins and his snow stick.

3 hours ago, Lantern7 said:

Dubbing Gilbert Gottfried over Jared will probably never get old.

So true. I couldn't stop laughing. It actually caught me off-guard. I was all, Oh, we get to hear Jared's voice! All the stuff about Jared was funny, from his Resting Rested Face to him as The Girl with the Pearl Earring.

Loved John telling off Ivanka. And the bit about Trump and memos was hilarious.

Good segment on automation and jobs. Maybe if someone told Trump they were Mexican robots he would do something about it.

Trump's names for foreign countries was epic. I'll have to rewatch to catch all of them. What a blast the writers had putting that together.

And Trump's "difference in philosophy" was ... well, it was just another Trumpism. Unf***ingbelievable. He simply said he would just say whatever number he wanted, yet his fans eat it up. I'm literally face-palming right now. "It's a difference in philosophy, ya see. I want to lie. He doesn't want to lie. Both are ok. I'm still gonna lie to you. I'm just going to do it vaguely, for Greg."

BTW, I've noticed that whenever Trump misspeaks, he NEVER corrects himself as if he had misspoken, but adds something inane like "some people say" or simply "or" as if his wrong word was just another way of saying the right word. Again, I'm literally shaking my head right now.

John talking with children was a wonderful way to end to program. It reminded me of when he works with Muppets. Not that I'm saying children are like Muppets, but John just mixes well with innocence.

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9 hours ago, Annber03 said:

I loved his reaction when the little girl said that, yes, a robot could do his job. Hehe. 

I liked the one who clearly didn't know he was saying "tasks" and was repeating him phonetically. 

9 minutes ago, peeayebee said:

Loved John telling off Ivanka. And the bit about Trump and memos was hilarious.

As funny as Gilbert as Jared is, I cannot stand Ivanka's condescending 'Who? Me?' Voice. She's a criminal and it's patently obvious. 

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35 minutes ago, ganesh said:

I liked the one who clearly didn't know he was saying "tasks" and was repeating him phonetically. 

With a British accent! Tahsks.

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Damn John.  I started laughing during his recital of all the countries, which literally put me into bronchospasm and wheezing, and I don't have any inhalers.  Thanks.  Thanks a whole lot.  Thank Janice in Accounting while you're at it, okay?  Because she doesn't give a fuck.

The list really was fabulous, including Russia as Russia and Ukraine as Russia.

I wish automation was the reason I can't find a job, but it isn't.

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If John ever wants to stop doing LWT, he can do a show with Muppets and children.

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So yeah, while bank tellers still exist, it seems to me that there are far fewer of them.  Also, I've never had a bank teller try to "sell" me something when I have used one.  So not sure I agree with John's example on how automation didn't eliminate at least some jobs.

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1 hour ago, Hanahope said:

So yeah, while bank tellers still exist, it seems to me that there are far fewer of them.  Also, I've never had a bank teller try to "sell" me something when I have used one.

IIRC, John said that banks started using ATMs in the 90s.  I distinctly remember encountering my first ATM as a college freshman in 1974.  Used them all the time in the 80s.  What's done away with bank tellers, IMO, is not the presence of ATMs, but when banks decided to start charging their customers for speaking to a teller.

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8 hours ago, peeayebee said:

And Trump's "difference in philosophy" was ... well, it was just another Trumpism. Unf***ingbelievable. He simply said he would just say whatever number he wanted, yet his fans eat it up. I'm literally face-palming right now. "It's a difference in philosophy, ya see. I want to lie. He doesn't want to lie. Both are ok. I'm still gonna lie to you. I'm just going to do it vaguely, for Greg."

Seriously. I truly don't get how people listen to him talk and still think they made the right choice in voting for him. How are people so okay with a president who doesn't make any sort of sense when they speak?

5 hours ago, cpcathy said:

If John ever wants to stop doing LWT, he can do a show with Muppets and children.

I would absolutely watch that. And I don't have any kids. 

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15 minutes ago, Annber03 said:

I would absolutely watch that. And I don't have any kids. 

Seconded. 

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I don't know which made me laugh more, the country name bit or Jared as the Girl with the Pearl Earring.  Sorry to sound cranky, but I thought the (adorable) kid bit went on too long.  Except the mermaid doctor and the "task" girl. 

Edited by mjc570 · Reason: when is not went.
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16 hours ago, meowmommy said:

IIRC, John said that banks started using ATMs in the 90s. 

I heard him say '80s', not 90s, which tracks with my experience working in banks back then. We got our first machine in '83.

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On 3/4/2019 at 1:25 PM, Hanahope said:

So yeah, while bank tellers still exist, it seems to me that there are far fewer of them.  Also, I've never had a bank teller try to "sell" me something when I have used one.  So not sure I agree with John's example on how automation didn't eliminate at least some jobs.

I rarely go into a bank branch anymore, unless I -- horror of horrors -- need change for the laundry, but when I'm in I generally see one or two tellers and a mob of people standing around at the mortgage/loan/credit application desks waiting for something to do.  However, whenever I call my bank for anything at all, the person I speak with tries to sell me some kind of service (bill payment, overdraft protection, etc.) or get me to open some sort of upgraded account, and a robot's never going to get me to respond to that.  I'm sure it depends on who you bank with, but personally that's why I thought the ATM/human teller example was a good one to illustrate his point that scary robots might fill some roles, but can't actually replace a real workforce.

20 hours ago, Annber03 said:

Seriously. I truly don't get how people listen to him talk and still think they made the right choice in voting for him. How are people so okay with a president who doesn't make any sort of sense when they speak?

Those people don't make any sort of sense when they think.

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The other week, I had stopped at a State highway rest stop that included a burger king that used a computer screen to place the order.  I suppose eventually one would learn where things are, but it definitely took me longer to flip through the various screens to find what I wanted to order, then I remembered that BK does it my way, so I had to go back and customize a burger.  would have been a lot faster for me to tell the order to the cashier.

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I knew I was going to like this episode as soon as he said it was about automation. A lot of the books I've read that predict the near future (both fiction and non-fiction) have been very conscious of the threat of automation and the effect it will have on employment. And not just automation in factories, which is what people usually picture when thinking about this, but also computers that are able to diagnose disease, that are able to research legal precedent and even to write music and books.

So if automation replaces tasks rather than jobs, there will still be a need for people to work, and for other people to oversee the automated tasks. But there will still be issues with employment, which is where ideas like Universal Basic Income come, job sharing, shorter working weeks and even more radical ideas like participatory economics. Unfortunately, with backwards thinking people in charge of setting policy, we're probably going to struggle much more than we should to adapt.

I laughed out loud at "mechanical slaves - if you close your eyes, you can forget they're mechanical."

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1 hour ago, Danny Franks said:

I laughed out loud at "mechanical slaves - if you close your eyes, you can forget they're mechanical."

Someone needs to get him a copy of the later Battlestar Galactica series.

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On 3/5/2019 at 1:07 PM, Hanahope said:

The other week, I had stopped at a State highway rest stop that included a burger king that used a computer screen to place the order.  I suppose eventually one would learn where things are, but it definitely took me longer to flip through the various screens to find what I wanted to order, then I remembered that BK does it my way, so I had to go back and customize a burger.  would have been a lot faster for me to tell the order to the cashier.

I hadn't been to a McDonalds for years. Stopped in a couple weeks ago and used the self service screen. Ok that was easy enough. But then I needed to wait in line to get a cup. Got that, and then waited for my number to be called. I see other people just go up to the register, make an order and get their food before me. Took a total of 15 from when I placed my order until I got my food. It was very odd. I do believe cashiers can easily be replaced, but I wish that would mean the humans they replaced would be all the quicker to get orders out, let you know if it is delayed etc. Instead they tended to just stand around waiting for people to come ask for a cup at the most.

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When I lived in Japan, tons of restaurants have vending machines where you place your order and it gives you a ticket that you just hand to the cook. They had these like everywhere. 

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On 3/4/2019 at 1:37 AM, ebk57 said:
On 3/4/2019 at 1:07 AM, Annber03 said:

Also, I continue to love when they highlight unusual local news and/or its anchors. That guy's style of reporting was...interesting 😛

Pat Collins from right here in your Nation's Capital!  I can't believe they didn't use a clip of him with his Snow Stick... 

I don’t really watch the local news but whenever his promos come on I spend a good two minutes wondering what I did wrong to deserve his yelling! 

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I am an arts journalist. Yay! In low paid but can’t be a replaced by a robot! 

Loves the kids. 

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On 3/7/2019 at 4:59 PM, lynxfx said:

I hadn't been to a McDonalds for years. Stopped in a couple weeks ago and used the self service screen. Ok that was easy enough. But then I needed to wait in line to get a cup. Got that, and then waited for my number to be called. I see other people just go up to the register, make an order and get their food before me. Took a total of 15 from when I placed my order until I got my food. It was very odd. I do believe cashiers can easily be replaced, but I wish that would mean the humans they replaced would be all the quicker to get orders out, let you know if it is delayed etc. Instead they tended to just stand around waiting for people to come ask for a cup at the most.

Just be careful about those touchscreens:  recent tests have shown those surfaces to be more contaminated than your local commode.  Same bacteria too.

Use a pen or something other than your finger to place your order.  Seriously.

Edited by b2H
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I was reading a story about a woman who used a kiosk to check in for an international flight.  turns out her passport was shy by a couple of days of the required 90 day validity for her destination, but the kiosk didn't catch it (probably wasn't programed for it).  A human boarding pass agent would have (or at least should have - that's usually part of their job).

So she got on the flight, but when she got to her destination, she was denied entry and taken into custody by boarder control for a whole day where she had to wait for the next direct flight home.

So yup, wonderful technology.

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So I wanted to chime in here with an anecdote from my ERP consulting history that tells exactly what's really going on here.

The system I consult on is one of the larger enterprise resource planning systems out there (hence, the ERP acronym).  I was at a client about six years ago where we were implementing the system and the Finance folks wanted to talk to another company in the midwest that had implemented the same system several years before.  They demonstrated their accounts payable system and how they had changed the focus from AP clerks entering and correcting invoices to providing a portal for the suppliers to enter and reconcile their own invoices.

At the end of the demo, they told us they were able to reduce their AP headcount by about 80% - some 40 people.  They didn't exactly say where these folks had gone, whether they had been absorbed in other operations, laid off, anything. 

As consultants, we were told in no uncertain terms by our management never to mention that outcome to any of the organization's personnel.

It's automation, folks.  No scary brown people.  No illegals.  It's automation.  And because no one understands that, it's happening right under their noses.  These jobs were generally springboards to higher level jobs within the organization where a kid could get a foothold and rise through the organization even without a degree.  The midwest is not exactly a hotbed of good paying entry level jobs like these, since corporations are mostly found on the coasts where these jobs are more readily available.

No more.

Edited by b2H
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On 3/4/2019 at 2:25 PM, Hanahope said:

So yeah, while bank tellers still exist, it seems to me that there are far fewer of them.  Also, I've never had a bank teller try to "sell" me something when I have used one.  So not sure I agree with John's example on how automation didn't eliminate at least some jobs.

But also keep in mind that with more ATM's and fewer tellers there are also a bunch of jobs associated with atm's that didn't  previously exist (building them, maintaining them, programming them, loading them with cash). Which is why I like how John framed it that it wasn't just as simple as jobs going away, just like it hasn't been since the industrial revolution.

On 3/4/2019 at 7:13 AM, Lantern7 said:

Anybody else listen to John rattle off what he expects the president to call nation, getting ready for him to end on that one country in Africa whose name is problematic to bring up? I guess John and the writers considered that “low-hanging fruit.”

That list was awesome, although I had to pause  for a minute to figure out that "hot girl with jizz in her hair" was Cameron Diaz for Cameroon.

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