18 votes

A $300 billion business tax break meant to raise wages is instead helping companies replace workers with machines, study says

12 comments

  1. [9]
    demifiend Link
    Why are we trying to create jobs, anyway? Nobody actually wants a job; a job is just what our culture prescribes as the way for people to get what they actually want. Let's automate everything...

    Why are we trying to create jobs, anyway? Nobody actually wants a job; a job is just what our culture prescribes as the way for people to get what they actually want. Let's automate everything that can be automated, tax the shit out of robots and accumulated wealth, and put the money into a generous guaranteed income.

    13 votes
    1. [2]
      CALICO Link Parent
      That's my thought on automation on AI. If human labor isn't required to make society function, then we shouldn't waste peoples time with busywork to justify the magic tokens needed to participate...

      That's my thought on automation on AI. If human labor isn't required to make society function, then we shouldn't waste peoples time with busywork to justify the magic tokens needed to participate in society.
      The robots taking our jobs doesn't have to be dystopian; if we play our cards right it could be more of a utopian scenario.

      7 votes
      1. PahoojyMan Link Parent
        Because busy work keeps the general population too occupied to enact any change.

        Because busy work keeps the general population too occupied to enact any change.

    2. [6]
      esrever Link Parent
      I'm on board with the general notion you put forth, but I firmly believe that humans need a sense of purpose. For many, work is a popular means of filling this need. I'm not sure what the solution...

      I'm on board with the general notion you put forth, but I firmly believe that humans need a sense of purpose. For many, work is a popular means of filling this need. I'm not sure what the solution is. For some it might be volunteering. For others it might be taking up a hobby and interacting with others in a community through a shared affinity for the practice or output of this hobby.

      My general worry is that it will lead to a decline in behavioral health in those that may not have the support or faculties to search for these alternatives on their own if there aren't measures in place to assist in this area.

      1. [2]
        Ordinator Link Parent
        As someone who definitely falls into this category, I certainly agree that it can be true for some, but is it really true for most or even a significant fraction of all jobs? It seems plausible to...

        For many, work is a popular means of filling this need.

        As someone who definitely falls into this category, I certainly agree that it can be true for some, but is it really true for most or even a significant fraction of all jobs? It seems plausible to me that the very jobs that are most susceptible to automation are the jobs least likely to give a human worker a sense of purpose.

        1. esrever Link Parent
          Purpose can mean many things. What you find purposeful may not seem as much to the next person. Just because the job may be menial doesn't mean that someone can't find purpose in it, as each...

          Purpose can mean many things. What you find purposeful may not seem as much to the next person. Just because the job may be menial doesn't mean that someone can't find purpose in it, as each person has their own motivations for why they get up each day. Perhaps it is as simple as providing for their family or to not feel like a burden on society.

          This may in part be more relevant to specific regions of the world where the idea of a person's self-worth being tied to their contributions to society are more tied to labor and where alternatives aren't as readily looked upon with the same merit.

          Perhaps this is a problem more of the times we live rather than one that is built to last forever, but these are very real fears in certain rural parts of America.

          1 vote
      2. [2]
        spctrvl Link Parent
        I do agree with you to an extent, on work being a popular avenue for people to find meaning. But basic income would actually help in peoples' searches for meaningful jobs, by decoupling jobs from...

        I do agree with you to an extent, on work being a popular avenue for people to find meaning. But basic income would actually help in peoples' searches for meaningful jobs, by decoupling jobs from survival. As is, there's a limited subset of jobs that will actually provide enough for you to live on, so oftentimes you'll leave a job you like and excel at because you just aren't being adequately compensated, that's definitely happened to me before.

        For people whose preferred field ends up being automated away, a basic income would allow them to open their own business in that field without having to worry about competing or being profitable, since they're going to have their checks at the end of the month anyway.

        Far from making work obsolete, basic income simply gives people the financial freedom to work when and where they like.

        1. esrever (edited ) Link Parent
          This isn't anything I was intending to argue against. If I gave off any idea that I was, please know that I certainly agree on this. I hope that this ends up being true, but as of yet there's...

          But basic income would actually help in peoples' searches for meaningful jobs, by decoupling jobs from survival.

          This isn't anything I was intending to argue against. If I gave off any idea that I was, please know that I certainly agree on this.

          I hope that this ends up being true, but as of yet there's really no conclusive evidence on whether this is the case in practice that I've been able to find. Finland's recent experiment was ended early and so not enough data is available at this point from their findings to say definitively. It did seem to affect happiness, but there were no findings that it substantially affected levels of employment. This Bloomberg (outline link) article touches on this.

          It looks like Italy and New Zealand are also going to be experimenting with UBI soon.

          EDIT: Just to clarify, I think UBI or some variation of it is part of the solution, but I've yet to see anything to prove that it can succeed on its own, and rather a more holistic approach may be necessary in this scenario.

  2. [3]
    tea_and_cats_please Link
    Is the WaPo paywall just permanent now? I thought you got a certain number of articles per month, but mine hasn't reset in what seems like awhile. Even search engine results are paywalled, which I...

    Is the WaPo paywall just permanent now? I thought you got a certain number of articles per month, but mine hasn't reset in what seems like awhile. Even search engine results are paywalled, which I thought they weren't doing.

    Anyway, here's an outline link for anybody else having the same problem: https://outline.com/dVwTcn

    Normally I'd be on the "support journalism" side of things, but I ain't giving Bezos more money. He's got enough. NPR gets my money, they need it more and use it better.

    2 votes
    1. DonQuixote Link Parent
      Nice tip, I'm sure he'll soon figure out a way to buy NPR. LOL.

      He's got enough. NPR gets my money, they need it more and use it better.

      Nice tip, I'm sure he'll soon figure out a way to buy NPR. LOL.

      2 votes
    2. Ordinator Link Parent
      The article loads fine for me, so it's definitely not a universal hard paywall.

      The article loads fine for me, so it's definitely not a universal hard paywall.