Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘robots’

‘We Are Living In A Dystopian Future:’ San Francisco Police Introduce Policy Granting Robots A License To Kill

Posted by M. C. on November 25, 2022

Let us hope the robot operators, presumably there will be, aren’t trained by Middle East drone flyers. Flak jackets will be required for parades, weddings and funeral processions.

By  Brandon Drey

San Francisco authorities proposed a new “dystopian” policy heading for approval next week that would license department robots to kill suspects who threaten the lives of citizens and police officers in the crime-ridden city.

San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) drafted the blueprint for officers to use its military-style weapons, which includes 17 remote-controlled robots available in its inventory that are typically used for defusing bombs or surveilling areas too difficult for authorities to access.

“Robots will only be used as a deadly force option when risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and outweighs any other force option available to SFPD,” the policy reads.

The proposal also authorizes authorities to use the robots for “training and simulations, criminal apprehensions, critical incidents, exigent circumstances, executing a warrant or during suspicious device assessments.”

SFPD Officer Eve Laokwansathitaya told The Verge the department has always had the ability to use lethal force when a suspect threatens the lives of officers or members of the public after all other force options are unavailable.

“SFPD does not have any sort of specific plan in place as the unusually dangerous or spontaneous operations where SFPD’s need to deliver deadly force via robot would be a rare and exceptional circumstance,” Laokwansathitaya said.

SFPD Officer Robert Rueca told Mission Local the department has never used robots to attack anyone.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has reviewed the policy over the last several weeks.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who serves on the Board of Supervisors Rules Committee, attempted to add a line saying, “Robots shall not be used as a Use of Force against any person,” according to Mission Local.

But within the following week, authorities struck out the revision.

See the rest here

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Of Two Minds – Automation and the Crisis of Work

Posted by M. C. on September 23, 2019

Smithies were put out of work by the automobile. You gotta work with your environment.

Charles Hugh Smith

Technology, like natural selection, has no goal.

When it comes to the impact of automation (robots, AI, etc.) on jobs, there are two schools of thought: one holds that technology has always created more and better jobs than it destroys, and this will continue to be the case. The other holds that the current wave of automation will destroy far more jobs than it creates, but the solution is to tax the robots and use these revenues to distribute the wealth to everyone who no longer has a livelihood.

In either case, we’ll get richer: if technology generates more high-quality jobs, replacing lower-quality jobs lost to automation, we’ll collectively get richer, and if technology destroys jobs but creates immense profits that can be distributed to everyone as Universal Basic Income (UBI), then we’ll get richer via distributing profits to everyone.

But what if neither option is realistic? What if the jobs that are created in the wake of automation are lower-quality, lower pay and far more insecure? And what if automation leads to much lower profits rather than much higher profits? What if there’s nowhere near enough profits to distribute to everyone as Universal Basic Income? If that’s the case, we’re collectively becoming poorer, even if a small percentage of the population is reaping wealth from automation.

Consider this first-hand account from a reader on Facebook (used with permission):

“With almost 40 years in the pipeline business I have seen detecting and locating leaks in pipelines go from 6-8 men, 2-3 trucks, maybe an airplane and take days. With three pieces of equipment (Laser methane detector and a Optical Gas Imaging camera), $300 drone and a 4 X 4 pickup, one person can cover in a few hours what could take days to weeks to find years ago.

The work I do has displaced at least 6 if not more workers plus the capital cost of the equipment. The total cost of all my equipment is less than $200K and labor cost of less than $2K.

A ‘Smart Pig’ can detect, measure and locate a corrosion indication within mm’s. The fixed cost of the equipment is high but the incremental cost per use is low. Manpower and equipment has gone from 12 workers to 4-5 depending on size. The information found can prevent loss resulting in environmental damage and economic loss to the pipeline owner.

Less people doing more work to find problems. Using technology instead of manpower.”

Between half and two-thirds of this workforce has been obsoleted by these technologies. If there is any competition in the manufacture of the equipment, it’s likely prices will fall as components become commoditized and decline in price.

Sectors of the economy many hope will create more jobs are seeing the same dynamics. A friend recently described the technologies being deployed to increase the yields and reduce labor in organic sustainable farming: drones that monitor the water and nutrient needs of crops with sensors and relay the data to drip-irrigation systems.

As for training students to code/program: many of these tasks are being automated as well.

Even as we wring our hands over the potential for individually-targeted advertising to sway elections, we also have to ask: why should any advertiser pay marketing firms to distribute bulk emails and mailers, buy TV/radio/print adverts, etc. when an essentially automated technology can craft a data-driven micro-targeted pitch to individuals?

My point here is that it’s not just blue-collar jobs that are being obsoleted, but well-paying white-collar jobs are increasingly being automated as well.

The jobs that are being created are low-pay, contingent, insecure service jobs that cannot support a middle-class life or accumulation of capital.

If we look at the gig economy that’s arisen to staff on-demand services (Uber, Lyft, GrubHub, etc.), we find low earnings, no benefits and the costs and risks of auto ownership being offloaded from the corporation to individual owners.

These jobs may be “new” (although they look very similar to “old” jobs such as delivering milk) due to the interface of smartphone technology, they lack the security and compensation needed to afford a middle class lifestyle in most U.S. urban areas. In other words, they are not replacing jobs lost with equivalent jobs.

The idea that profits will pay for Universal Basic Income is simply not realistic. Even we taxed all the Big Tech corporations at a rate of 75% (a rate that’s politically unrealistic), that would yield up $100 billion, one-tenth of UBI’s minimum cost.

As I’ve discussed in my books, there’s another crisis of work that UBI doesn’t solve: the majority of people want and need the purpose, meaning and structure of a job–a positive social role, a way to gain self-respect, an avenue of control of one’s life, a source of dignity and a means of getting ahead.

Technology, like natural selection, has no goal. Technology doesn’t have a teleological drive to employ humans, save the planet or any other goal we might choose. In the current socio-political-economic system, technology is mostly aimed at maximizing profits. The surest way to reduce costs is to replace costly humans with automated tools.

If we want technology to help us create gainful work, we’ll have to set that goal, and create incentives other than maximizing short-term profits. Perhaps one first step might be to broaden our definition of “profit” from the purely financial to one that includes “utility” and “value” for local and global communities. That’s the goal of my work…

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Superman 152 – the Robot Master | Babblings about DC Comics 3



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Facebook wants to send ’emotional’ robots to explore the world on tank-style tracks and scan the faces of people to ‘help users make friends’

Posted by M. C. on May 30, 2019

These would let them scan and interpret the faces and body language of people they encounter to assess their ‘likely emotional state’.

Substitute ‘psychological state’ and you have the end game. Those in control may decide, remotely, who needs re-education help.

Gun owners beware.

Think about that next time you are facial scanned at the airport, bank, Easy Pass toll booth, checkout, Skype call, Facetime…and where those scans are going.

By Ian Randall

Facebook is considering building ’emotionally sensitive’ robots that can explore the world, identify objects and people and enable users to make friends remotely.

On-board sensors would allow the robots to spot people to engage with, judge their emotional state and listen to what they are saying, a patent filing revealed.

At the same time, the robot could display images, video and speak with people — potentially letting users meet people and make new friends remotely.

However, it is not known whether Facebook will follow through on the patent filing and make the rough robot designs a reality.

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Facebook is considering building 'emotionally sensitive' robots (pictured, in this rough sketch from the patent that the social media firm filed) that can explore the world, identify objects and people and enable users to make friends remotely

Facebook is considering building ’emotionally sensitive’ robots (pictured, in this rough sketch from the patent that the social media firm filed) that can explore the world, identify objects and people and enable users to make friends remotely

The concept for the social robots was outlined in a European patent filed by the social media firm on May 16, 2019.

Each machine, about the height of an adult, would be equipped with cameras and other sensors.

These would let them scan and interpret the faces and body language of people they encounter to assess their ‘likely emotional state’.

Speakers and microphones would listen out for ‘sounds emitted’, allowing the robots to talk to people or pick out the sound of someone calling to them.

If integrated into Facebook’s social media platform, members could potentially used such robots as proxies for real-world exploration and interactions with people…

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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment » Fighting the Minimum Wage: Robots Making Salad Meals for $7.10

Posted by M. C. on April 10, 2019

Minimum Wage – Accelerating robotics engineering

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5 Scary Things About Artificial Intelligence That Worry Military Brass |

Posted by M. C. on September 7, 2018

The only thing we know for sure about military and government-The many laws it ignores will include Isaac Asimov’s.

Guess who will the serve the sentence for disobeying those laws.

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.[1]
  1. A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

By Gina Harkins

1. Killer robots.

We might be a ways off from a “Terminator”-style nightmare in which a self-thinking computer wages war on the planet. But as the military experiments with more autonomous vehicles and robots, experts are thinking about ways to keep them in check… Read the rest of this entry »

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The Problem Isn’t Robots, The Problem is Attitude | The Daily Bell

Posted by M. C. on November 30, 2017

Worry more about your brain, not the robot’s

Robots are taking our jobs. We all know that by now. And it sounds scary. But it really isn’t.

It is understandably upsetting if you are one of the people who will be out of a job. There can be growing pains as the economy shifts. People who thought they were all set until retirement might have to find new jobs, and gain new skills. Read the rest of this entry »

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The world’s first pension crisis – Sovereign Man

Posted by M. C. on March 31, 2017

The problem for Social Security is that robots don’t pay tax. So the program will lose a LOT of tax revenue as a result.
Yeah but will they get an earned income credit? Don’t laugh. This is big government we are talking about. Maxine Waters and Diane Feinstein could get it passed.

The theory is workers displaced by robots will retrain and new workers will have the training.

We will see. There will be few low skill jobs and the economy can absorb only so many popular careers such as nursing. Challenging times ahead.

The government says the economy is great. To paraphrase Reagan – do not trust, verify. 

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