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Friday, October 27, 2017

Future jobs: robots, nerds, and nurses?

LOL. My New Yorker.

New also from The Atlantic:
Why Nerds and Nurses Are Taking Over the U.S. Economy
A blockbuster report from government economists forecasts the workforce of 2026—a world of robot cashiers, well-paid math nerds, and so (so, so, so) many healthcare workers.

Manufacturing will fall. Retail will wobble. Automation will inch along but stay off the roads, for now. The rich will keep getting richer. And more and more of the country will be paid to take care of old people. That is the future of the labor market, according to the latest 10-year forecast from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

These 10-year forecasts—the products of two years’ work from about 25 economists at the BLS —document the government’s best assessment of the fastest and slowest growing jobs of the future. On the decline are automatable work, like typists, and occupations threatened by changing consumer behavior, like clothing store cashiers, as more people shop online.

The fastest-growing jobs through 2026 belong to what one might call the Three Cs: care, computers, and clean energy. No occupation is projected to add more workers than personal-care aides, who perform non-medical duties for older Americans, such as bathing and cooking. Along with home-health aides, these two occupations are projected to create 1.1 million new jobs in the next decade. Remarkably, that’s 10 percent of the total 11.5 million jobs that the BLS expects the economy to add. Clean-energy workers, like solar-panel installers and wind-turbine technicians, are the only occupations that are expected to double by 2026. Mathematicians and statisticians round out the top-10 list…
 Another interesting article:
The Real Story of Automation Beginning with One Simple Chart
Robots are hiding in plain sight. It’s time we stop ignoring them.

There’s a chart I came across earlier this year, and not only does it tell an extremely important story about automation, but it also tells a story about the state of the automation discussion itself. It even reveals how we can expect both automation and the discussion around automation to continue unfolding in the years ahead. The chart is a plot of oil rigs in the United States compared to the number of workers the oil industry employs, and it’s an important part of a puzzle that needs to be pieced together before it’s too late.

What should be immediately apparent is that as the number of oil rigs declined due to falling oil prices, so did the number of workers the oil industry employed. But when the number of oil rigs began to rebound, the number of workers employed didn’t. That observation itself should be extremely interesting to anyone debating whether technological unemployment exists or not…
Sleeping Through a Wake Up Call
This is a story of technological unemployment that is crystal clear, and yet people are still arguing about it like it’s something that may or may not happen in the future. It’s actually a very similar situation to climate change, where the effects are right in our faces, but it’s still considered a debate. Automation is real, folks. Companies are actively investing in automation because it means they can produce more at a lower cost. That’s good for business. Wages, salaries, and benefits are all just overhead that can be eliminated by use of machines.

But hey, don’t worry, right? Because everyone unemployed by machines will find better jobs elsewhere that pay even more… Well, about that, that’s not at all what the history of automation in the computer age over the past 40 years shows. Yes, some with highly valued skills go on to get better jobs, but they are very much the minority. Most people end up finding new paid work that requires less skill, and thus pays less. The job market is steadily polarizing…
But, wait! There's more...

Robot Overlords or Robot Colleagues?
The endless debate over whether the future of work will actually include humans.

“In a bet against college, WeWork acquires a coding bootcamp”
A slew of pieces over the past few days only add to the debate over the future of work. First, let’s tackle the WeWork news above. I’ll believe this when I see it actually happen, but WeWork promises it will roll out a coding curriculum across its entire base of hundreds of locations worldwide. I’m skeptical because I’m not convinced the world needs millions of vocationally trained coders — I’m more convinced the world needs all of us to be minimally literate in how digital computing works, and the jobs of the future will more likely require us to understand how to work with computers, rather than how to code them. It’s a bit like writing a century or so ago — we should all learn how to read and write, but only a small fraction of us became professional writers of one kind or another. The rest of us got very good at reading the code of writing — the output…
I'm reminded of my prior post "12 weeks, 1,200 hours, and $12,000, and you're a "Software Engineer"?

See also "The future of health care? "Flawlessly run by AI-enabled robots, and 'essentially' free?" And, my post "Aye, Robot."

See as well my earlier "AI vs IA: At the cutting edge of IT R&D."


From Wired:

SOONER OR LATER, the US will face mounting job losses due to advances in automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics. Automation has emerged as a bigger threat to American jobs than globalization or immigration combined. A 2015 report from Ball State University attributed 87 percent of recent manufacturing job losses to automation. Soon enough, the number of truck and taxi drivers, postal workers, and warehouse clerks will shrink. What will the 60 percent of the population that lacks a college degree do? How will this vulnerable part of the workforce find both an income and the sense of purpose that work provides?...
Below: some disturbing news here specific to the health care space:
Robot-surgery firm from Sunnyvale facing lawsuits, reports of death and injury
SUNNYVALE — When Teresa Hershey was told she needed a hysterectomy, her doctor recommended a novel approach: an operation performed by a robot, guided by the surgeon.
“She was just very persuasive,” said Hershey, 45. “I’d never heard of it.”

The doctor’s assertion that less invasive, robot-assisted surgery would mean seven to 10 days of recovery instead of six to eight weeks for a conventional operation convinced her, along with the prospect of less scarring: The da Vinci robots from Sunnyvale’s Intuitive Surgical need only small holes for inserting surgical equipment.

Now, seven years and 10 corrective surgeries later, Hershey is gearing up to fight Intuitive in Santa Clara County Superior Court. She says she has refused the firm’s offers to settle.
“I want to go all the way,” said Hershey, whose case would be only the third to go to trial amid a torrent of legal claims. “There’s just been too much with this company, and too many people hurt. I just want the world to know what they’ve done. I don’t want them to get away with it, to be swept under a rug.”

Since the da Vinci surgical robot received FDA approval in 2000, Intuitive’s devices — which are operated by a surgeon using joysticks, foot pedals and a 3-D viewer — have propelled the firm to a $35 billion valuation and world dominance in robot-aided surgery. But the legal claims that have come with Intuitive’s success showcase the serious risks that accompany the rewards new medical technology can bring…
I'm not sure it's entirely accurate to call the da Vinci technology "robotic." But, whatever.

I recall being enthusiastically offered a "robotic prostatectomy" option back in 2015 during my stint with the disease. I declined.

apropos of all this,

Link here.

More to come...

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