Electronics > Mechanical & Automation Engineering

Does the taxation of robotics make any sense

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soldar:

--- Quote from: apis on April 14, 2019, 05:23:07 pm --- Mining perhaps, but farmers have always been doing quite well. (Well, not always, but for the most part). They owned land, and probably ate better and had healthier lifestyles than the majority of people today.

--- End quote ---

Before machinery cereals were harvested by hand, with a scythe, the grain separated from the straw manually. It was backbreaking work for young strong people and the productivity was dismal. The work that went into making a loaf of bread was huge.

Today one combine harvester machine does in one day the work hundreds of workers did in a month. I could go into growing grapes or other fruits or crops. Things have changed drastically. A century or two ago farming was backbreaking work with productivity that was infinitesimally low compared to today's.

apis:

--- Quote from: soldar on April 14, 2019, 06:05:43 pm ---
--- Quote from: apis on April 14, 2019, 05:23:07 pm --- Mining perhaps, but farmers have always been doing quite well. (Well, not always, but for the most part). They owned land, and probably ate better and had healthier lifestyles than the majority of people today.

--- End quote ---
Before machinery cereals were harvested by hand, with a scythe, the grain separated from the straw manually. It was backbreaking work for young strong people and the productivity was dismal. The work that went into making a loaf of bread was huge.

Today one combine harvester machine does in one day the work hundreds of workers did in a month. I could go into growing grapes or other fruits or crops. Things have changed drastically. A century or two ago farming was backbreaking work with productivity that was infinitesimally low compared to today's.

--- End quote ---
Sure, they had to do a lot of work for their loaf of bread, but the quality of the food they had is something most people can't afford today. Physical activity (within reason) isn't bad for you. They owned their own house and land and they had animals. They usually weren't starving, if they did it was because of the weather/climate not because they were poor.

The improvements in technology means that only 3% has to work in the fields today, compared to 95% in the past, but that doesn't automatically mean that everyone is better off today. Still, I wouldn't want to live back then, mainly because of improved healthcare.

https://maisonneuve.org/post/2013/09/18/us-income-inequality/

Zero999:

--- Quote from: soldar on April 14, 2019, 04:21:40 pm ---Probably the next jobs to be replaced by automation will be vehicle drivers, truck drivers, cab drivers, etc.  That should reduce the cost of shipping and transportation substantially and make life better for everybody. Just like railways, automobiles, trucks and steamships did in their day.
--- End quote ---
Driverless road vehicles won't become mainstream any time soon. Just because it's technically possible, it doesn't mean it'll happen. The technology to fully automate railways has existed for a long time, yet most trains still have human drivers. Driving on the road is much more technically difficult, than rail, which adds more doubt to this. People obviously don't feel comfortable with this technology.

What we really need to work on is having less environmental impact: doing more, using less energy and producing less waste.

Rick Law:

--- Quote from: apis on April 14, 2019, 05:23:07 pm ---
--- Quote from: soldar on April 14, 2019, 10:15:57 am ---Again, when 95% of the population worked in farming and agriculture the notion that machines would replace most of them was terrifying. What would all those displaced do?

Computers replaced accountants and other clerical jobs.

The net result for societies that underwent those changes has been a huge raise in the standard of living for all.
--- End quote ---
Yes, the improvements to our living standard that technology has created is quite amazing. I believe I've heard that today only about 3% of the workforce is working with essential infrastructure such as food and energy production. So in theory 97% could go unemployed and we would still have food an heating for everyone. But instead of working less than we used to we work more!
...
...

--- End quote ---

I think it is important to draw the distinction between prior and current automation.  Up until this decade, automation were mainly dumb mechanization - machine-decision based on largely single or very limited number of variables such as "is the field level?" as determined by reflecting laser.  Now, the automation is AI based with AI doing important decision making with multiple inputs from direct sensors and machine's own learned experiences.

An automated floor cleaner has the intelligence of perhaps an insect.  A self-driving car needs intelligence at or above that of a bird.  So improving AI will keep the pressure on work with low IQ requirement.

The talk that the machines will need programmer is probably true for the immediate future.  That AI is improving in ability and able to do work with higher IQ requirement is probably also true.  AI displaying high IQ workers is what differs between today's automation and mechanization of prior years.  With more and more works being done by AI, how would living standard of the replaced improve?

With that said, I still do not believe that taxing robot is a good solution or even an adequate solution.  Beside income, the lost of occupation for an individual also cause a lost of self-worth, dignity, so on.  Some propose that leads to drug addiction.

I really hope I am wrong that if we stay on the current trajectory, an increasing percentage of the population cannot contribute to the society they live in.  The solution will rest on the shoulders of the young today.  They will have to figure out how to operate a society where most cannot contribute, or they need to find a path where the less-able can continue to participate and to contribute to the society they belong.

coppercone2:
robots suck at customization. you can customize stuff to make it more useful to make premium quality goods. Imagine all those 'drones' start becoming their own engineers. There is plenty of things people want done on the planet that can't be done economically with robotics.

I think thin exo-skelletons and bio implants will level the playing field between man and machine. Imagine snow plow guys running around with power suits getting the snow out of everywhere (not just the concrete walking areas). The dexterity and intelligence of man will beat out a machine so long his strength and stamina can be increased for many if not most jobs. Not to mention brain implants and advanced nootropic drugs. 

Or construction workers scaling bare structural frames with a grider in one arm and welders attached to their suit. And they would actually make stuff thats strong and looks nice, not some concrete 3d printed concrete igloo shit. Magnetic shoes and all..

All you need to do is reduce 'hand fitting' time in assembly to beat out complex machinery and robotics, because you can do things by hand it just takes a while (but it never needs to be calibrated unlike some giant machines). You just need to make the 120 pound guys into 300lb gorillas with x-ray vision some how.

I think once the technology is developed, making a better man is going to be cheaper and more economical then making a advanced machine that needs a advanced support staff to replace man.

Yea you can mass produce, but its not customized, does not fit well into the envisioned engineering spec (how much stuff comes out looking and working like ASS because of off the shelf parts?) and its of low quality and you can get systemic failures which result in catastrophes (imagine a pre-made structural materials plant having spec problems and failing to catch a bad batch of mass produced stuff. If it was made by people, it would be way more likely to be noticed. #1 reason its not pursued is because of capital cost of machinery and long ROI's.

All engineering designs can be honed to do their job better in the relevant 'design quadrant (i.e. reliability, weight, cost) if their fully customized. Trades people used to do this more.. and even now it can turn into a logistical nightmare (i.e. you spend 3 days looking for some bracket online rather then being able to make it yourself). I personally think you can develop technologies in such a way that many more products and services on earth become 'boutique'. I think its a healthy and important avenue of human individuality and expression, so you don't feel like a uniform drop in a bucket.

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