How hard will the robots make us work?

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Lucky Black Cat's picture
Lucky Black Cat
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Feb 29 2020 08:57
How hard will the robots make us work?

I haven't finished reading this yet but my comrade told me it's a great article. The title alone is terrifying. I thought I'd post it here to bring it to people's attention and perhaps spark a discussion.

https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/27/21155254/automation-robots-unemployme...

Quote:
Robots aren't taking our jobs -- they're becoming our bosses

HOW HARD WILL THE ROBOTS MAKE US WORK?

In warehouses, call centers, and other sectors, intelligent machines are managing humans, and they’re making work more stressful, grueling, and dangerous

Lucky Black Cat's picture
Lucky Black Cat
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Feb 29 2020 08:59

One silver lining I can think of is that when workers organize on the job, they won't have to worry about any coworkers being friends with the boss.

Otherwise it sounds like a nightmare.

zugzwang
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Feb 29 2020 16:46
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The pace of work is only one form of the larger question these technologies will force us to confront: what is the right balance between efficiency and human autonomy? We have unprecedented power to monitor and optimize the conduct of workers in minute detail. Is a marginal increase in productivity worth making innumerable people chronically stressed and constrained to the point they feel like robots?

Finding a balance between capitalist efficiency/exploitation and human autonomy is not really the pressing question in my opinion. Having to sell your ability to work for a wage to acquire your means of subsistence or else starve is already crushing human autonomy. The real question is whether the productive forces that capitalist competition have developed can be liberated from their state as capital (value advanced with the purpose of being expanded) and be employed in non-capitalistic ways to satisfy human needs. Capitalist development through competition is characterized by adopting more technology/dead labour with relatively less living labour since the former increases productivity or lessens the value of each commodity produced. There is a whole debate on all of this and what it means, such as a declining rate of profit (might find this of interest), which some Marxists like Heinrich reject (see ch. 7.3 of his book-intro to Capital).

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spacious
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Feb 29 2020 20:08
Quote:
The pace of work is only one form of the larger question these technologies will force us to confront: what is the right balance between efficiency and human autonomy? We have unprecedented power to monitor and optimize the conduct of workers in minute detail. Is a marginal increase in productivity worth making innumerable people chronically stressed and constrained to the point they feel like robots?

How they follow the sentence "what is the right balance between efficiency and human autonomy?" with "We have unprecedented power to monitor and optimize the conduct of workers in minute detail" already suggests that 'monitoring and optimizing the conduct of workers' from this point of view is equivalent to 'efficiency'. In other words efficiency means efficient command over living labour. Very likely their human autonomy is similarly an expression for the type of autonomy that contributes to the desired result, not a musing ethical query of the sort: what would be a more pleasant or healthy way to organize this stuff?

I imagine algorithms would also be quite adept at tweaking the relation between control and internalized control ('autonomy'), and balancing it against overall health levels, morale and anything else they think they can forever measure and predict.

In the end who programs such algorithms or what end result they prioritize is still fully a human/social matter, and not at all depoliticized by the fact that the details are then worked out by a sophisticated calculator connected to a spreadsheet.

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Mar 16 2020 21:51

The book The War On Normal People by Andrew Yang details it quite well, even if you don’t agree with his policies it’s fine because the majority of the book it’s about what will happen.

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Mar 17 2020 02:41
InfiniteAxis wrote:
The book The War On Normal People by Andrew Yang details it quite well, even if you don’t agree with his policies it’s fine because the majority of the book it’s about what will happen.

I've done something I haven't done before and banned this user immediately rather than report and wait for an admin. Aside from the user name, the profile declared themselves an "anachonationalist" and listed far right activists Troy Southgate and Keith Preston as favourite thinkers.