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Tech is killing jobs
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Tech is killing jobs - January 23, 2013, 07:08 AM

I thought this was a very timely article these days. I work for a company that does BPO and I've always struggled with the premise behind it. Basically people hire us to do some repeatable process, we automate it\increase efficiency with tech\take it down the lowest common denominator so we can hire a bunch of minimum wage people to do anything that's left over.

On the one hand, it's just economics and incentives and I'm well aware that if I\we don't do it, somebody else will. It also sucks to have inefficiency when you don't have to because that's society as a whole expending resources beyond what is necessary. That said, it is somewhat disheartening to know that I obliterate hundreds of jobs every year and a lot of those people are just fcked because their skill set has become completely irrelevant inside of 10 years. It also begs the question, where does that put us in 30 years?

AP IMPACT: Recession, tech kill middle-class jobs - seattlepi.com
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January 23, 2013, 07:11 AM

you're one of these guys? lol!



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January 23, 2013, 07:26 AM

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you're one of these guys? lol!

Kind of, except the work goes offsite and everybody gets fired.
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January 23, 2013, 08:00 AM

If the companies in the US don't do this, they will go out of business because companies in other countries will do it and bring their product to market cheaper. In the end you are saving jobs. Hopefully at least some of the low wage jobs are staying in the US, plus the profits can be reinvested into new product. This allows the company to develop the new products, which again is more jobs for the US (hopefully, if we have talented and trained people with the ideas).


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January 23, 2013, 08:01 AM

Kill all robots!
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January 23, 2013, 09:44 AM

Reminds me of that recent story about the well-paid programmer who outsourced all of his work to China. He was pulling in over $200K per year and paying the Chinese firm around a a quarter of it to send him award-winning code. The company caught on because of overseas IP addresses showing up inside of the company's firewall.


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January 23, 2013, 09:45 AM

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Originally Posted by OrangeShirtDude View Post
Reminds me of that recent story about the well-paid programmer who outsourced all of his work to China. He was pulling in over $200K per year and paying the Chinese firm around a a quarter of it to send him award-winning code. The company caught on because of overseas IP addresses showing up inside of the company's firewall.
Dersh.
He ought to have handled the delivery and receipt over his personal machine at home.



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January 23, 2013, 09:48 AM

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Originally Posted by OrangeShirtDude View Post
Reminds me of that recent story about the well-paid programmer who outsourced all of his work to China. He was pulling in over $200K per year and paying the Chinese firm around a a quarter of it to send him award-winning code. The company caught on because of overseas IP addresses showing up inside of the company's firewall.
I saw that too, but my experience with Indian and Chinese (like actually in India or China, not ethnicity) devs has not been all that great. They are very hit or miss and communication is always a challenge. That said, when it works, you can crush with a follow the sun approach.
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January 23, 2013, 09:52 AM

A couple years ago there was actually some toolbag Georgetown Business School student who posted in Craiglist for a personal assistant to follow him around, take notes, "occasionally" attend class for him, and do his homework. He stopped short of taking the actual exams in the job description, but my guess is that is exactly what the employee did. Apparently the kid was from a wealthy family and just had to get a degree per his parents' request. Money was no issue. I know, seems unusual, considering it was Georgetown!


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January 23, 2013, 10:16 AM

I think this is going to be the downfall of some retail stores.

BestBuy for example. As you can see they are tanking and have been for a while. They have a lot of overhead with their retail stores and employees. They purchased my company about a year ago, and everything has been downhill since.

I think some of the big brick and mortar stores are going to get wiped out by online commerce.
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January 23, 2013, 10:33 AM

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Originally Posted by CCS762ZX6 View Post
I think this is going to be the downfall of some retail stores.

BestBuy for example. As you can see they are tanking and have been for a while. They have a lot of overhead with their retail stores and employees. They purchased my company about a year ago, and everything has been downhill since.

I think some of the big brick and mortar stores are going to get wiped out by online commerce.
I think they absolutely will. I was reading a couple months ago, there were rumors of Amazon ditching their fight against sales tax and putting distributions centers everywhere so they could offer same day delivery on most items.

Short of groceries, I pretty much buy everything through Amazon or online somewhere. I'd much rather just have it brought to me than have to go get it and the price you pay for all that retail overhead is just not worth it.
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January 23, 2013, 10:38 AM

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I think they absolutely will. I was reading a couple months ago, there were rumors of Amazon ditching their fight against sales tax and putting distributions centers everywhere so they could offer same day delivery on most items.

Short of groceries, I pretty much buy everything through Amazon or online somewhere. I'd much rather just have it brought to me than have to go get it and the price you pay for all that retail overhead is just not worth it.
I ordered something yesterday at 11:45. The UPS guy brought it about 30 minutes ago. Less than 24 hours to receive an item in Berkeley Springs, WV isn't bad at all. Especially considering that I would have to drive at least 30-45 minutes away to have been able to purchase the same item at a store.
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January 23, 2013, 10:46 AM

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Kill all robots!

Or learn how to fix them and make them better. PROFIT!!


Yeah I am old enough to know better. Thing is, I just don't care.
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January 23, 2013, 11:10 AM

From the article:
Quote:
—The most vulnerable workers are doing repetitive tasks that programmers can write software for — an accountant checking a list of numbers, an office manager filing forms, a paralegal reviewing documents for key words to help in a case.
In each of these examples the tech is helping the worker be more productive and work smarter not harder. A program can check numbers and do analysis and forecasting, but the worker will have to make business decisions based on that analysis. The office manager won't just file forms, she will have to set up and manage the filing system. The paralegal will still have to review the cases where a keyword was found to determine if they apply to the current case.

So, if tech is taking the drudgery and scutwork out of "work" I don't see a problem with that.


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January 23, 2013, 11:24 AM

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Originally Posted by bcr229 View Post
From the article:

In each of these examples the tech is helping the worker be more productive and work smarter not harder. A program can check numbers and do analysis and forecasting, but the worker will have to make business decisions based on that analysis. The office manager won't just file forms, she will have to set up and manage the filing system. The paralegal will still have to review the cases where a keyword was found to determine if they apply to the current case.

So, if tech is taking the drudgery and scutwork out of "work" I don't see a problem with that.
Well I don't think there's a problem with that in a general sense, but it does lend itself to far fewer jobs. It's not like a company is going to let someone work 10 hours a week because the other 30 hours worth of work are done by a computer.

Another thing that I've noticed is that as we automate more and our work becomes more removed from fundamental concepts, people don't have a deep understanding of what they're doing like they used to and so the decisions that need to be made are largely able to be made programmatically. For example, a lot of accountants these days know less about accounting and more about how to use quickbooks or deltek or whatever. So basically they're making decisions on the output of a program and the context they used to be able to contribute is not there. e.g. "If the accounts don't reconcile, I have to send out an e-mail." Well fine, but what about that is not programmable?

Eventually you get to the point where almost all decisions on based on conditions. If this, then that. It's just how complex can you afford to make it and where is the point of diminishing returns? Is the frustration of the seemingly dumb mistakes a computer will make acceptable when compared to the cost savings of not hiring 5 people?
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