Trouble Waters – The Osborne Report

A recent research project finds that jobs for many Millennials and Generation-Z will disappear in 20 years

James Lyman BSAE, BSEE, MSSM

Lately, there have been predictions in the news about how computers will take many of the jobs away in the near future. Of late, was a 60 Minute interview with venture capitalist Mr. Kai-Fu Lee about the future of artificial intelligence. He estimates that in the next fifteen to twenty-five years, about 40% of the jobs will disappear because of technology displacement. This comes as no surprise, because as an engineer and technologist for almost fifty years, I have witnessed a number of career fields disappear because of technology innovations. Indeed I’ve often said that with some effort, as much as 30% of the American work force could be displaced, and with a concerted effort, as much as 50%.

But over and above personal estimates is a research project to actually make some rational deterministic attempt at estimating just how susceptible jobs are to technology displacement in the near future. Something over and above personal estimates and ‘guesstamations’ based on feelings. Carl Frey and Michael Osborne have attempted to do just that, modeling the job market to examine how susceptible jobs are to computerisation.

Their method was to divide the job market up into 702 detailed occupation fields, then estimate the probability for each field for computerisation displacement using Gaussian process classifier. Their conclusion is that upwards of 47% of the jobs will be gone in the next twenty years or so. Of significance is that the impact of computerisation is no longer confined to manufacturing, but rather is migrating up the skill-intellectual levels to jobs thought to be totally immune from technology displacement. Doctors and lawyers are now threatened. People will continue to be squeezed out of the job market and this fact is based on analysis rather than people’s opinions.

This 72 page report is available on the internet as a pdf file just by Googling “Osborne, Report and pdf” for a free download which you can read at your leisure. More importantly, it contains the full table of the 702 job fields analyzed including the ranking for displacement, job title and the probability of computer displacement. Also, as a pdf file, you can do searches for words or numbers. The important consideration for millennials and generation-Z is that just when it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep individuals in a high technology society, there will be fewer jobs available to them. They will be less and less able to sustain themselves at a time when they are becoming less wanted or needed.

What is missing is the ‘stress’ factor. Like punctuated equilibria in evolution, few evolutionary changes will occur until there is a change in the environment, then there is an explosion of new species. The same holds true for the job market with jobs tending to remain stable until there is a stress, a recession or economic crash, when suddenly business is looking for ways to control cost and save money, that’s when new technologies sweep in to replace people high and low. A fact that escapes the self-proclaimed social engineers when they embark to fundamentally change society, never dreaming that those changes are often a pink slip followed by jobs paying less than what people had been paid . . . that is, if they do find a new job.

Like a tree covered with snow, every time that tree is bumped, jarred or shaken, just any little disturbance and the snow falls off to be lost.

For people, a job is more than a source of income, it’s what defines a person, where his value to society is rooted, it’s what gives him a sense of purpose in life. For my generation, the average American changed career fields about three times over their lifetime. For the millennials and generation-Z people I can easily see an average of five, six or seven career changes over their life time. And nothing is being done! Why?

Because those who govern us, from the very top down to the smallest hamlets, none have any idea what they are doing or have any real understanding of the twenty-first century they are trying to living in.

That’s why I say:

America’s youth is getting the worst deal since the Indians sold Manhattan for twenty-four dollars.

Who is Saving the Future for our Youth?

What is Congress and the Senate doing so the Millenniums and Generation-Z will have a future in America? Nothing!

James Lyman BSAE, BSEE, MSSM

Every evening I watch the news, only to see a ‘Jane Goodall documentary’ being played out. Congressmen and Senators, both Republican and Democrats . . . liberals, conservatives, moderates and radicals- all are busy monkey fighting seemingly 24/7. Fighting and squabbling with gay abandonment, not a care, in the world, not a worry or concern for the troubles of their constituents. And apparently doing very little else, such as addressing the multitude of problems facing John Doe and Jane Plain of America who are struggling each day to keep their nose above the water.

Paramount of these problems is their continual displacement by technology, their replacement by machines that are more and more able to perform the critical parts of their jobs, thereby allowing people with lesser skills and abilities to replace them at significantly lower wages . . . if not completely replace some hapless human.

However, the abandonment of decorum and civility has laid bare the true essence of their core being, their true intellectual, analytical and problem solving skills for all to see. The eye of the TV camera shows what’s really at the heart of those we’ve elected to govern us. Naked and bare before the world, for all to see exactly what they are and what they have, lacking even the horse and long flowing blond hair of Lady Godiva for some small mediocrum of shielding. We are left with the question, ‘Why all the monkey fighting? Why can’t they do anything about all the real problems we have?’.

Maybe it’s because they lack the ability to do anything else!

As Speaker Tip O’Neill forecast years ago, what he called the ‘sound biters’, have come to dominate the federal government. People who have little skills beyond using the mass media and mass marketing technologies to get and stay elected. People skilled only in creating and maintaining images . . . and images don’t solve real world problems. Therefore, the answers to those questions is ‘It’s because they don’t know how to do anything else but monkey fight!’. So critical problems go unanswered, with candidates parroting what the polls say their focus groups want to hear. They know they’ll never have to actually do anything, they’ll just ply more media imaginary, and continue their monkey fighting which makes the American political process look like some cheap UFC entertainment event.

So nothing gets done, and people lives are slowly subverted by technology displacement.

Add to this . . . a large portion of the representatives are lawyers or political science majors. Reading the law is the education of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth century. It’s the education of the likes of John Adams, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson. An education that gives you little real understanding of the twenty-first century world. These are not people who know and understand the world Americans are trying to living in, trying to survive and thrive in. These are not people who can lead you and your family into the twenty-first century!

The next questions is ‘How to reform the government and make it into something that’s a real help and benefit to the man on the street?’. The widespread application of the mass media and mass marketing technologies to our political system has resulted in the delicate system of checks and balances, so essential for a modern government to function, being thrown out of skew. This unbalance is what must be restored to create an environment conducive for attracting the caliber of people necessary to address our problems. The real ‘Draining of the Swamp!’, and getting the money out of the election process. To accomplish this, four things (constitutional amendments) must be acquired- 1) Line item veto 2) Term limiting 3) Forbid participation in elections not qualified to vote in 4) Power of Congress to dismiss Federal employees with cause.

Such changes in the structure of the government would create an environment less inviting to the ‘sound biters’, having substantially less monies for re-elections and not getting the long terms in office to amass personal fortunes. And with an environment where only those individuals who can qualify to vote can make contributions in coin or kind, the special interest groups and corporations are barred from buying influence. Emptying the sound biters out of the system opens the way for qualified people to come and serve their country, and in the process address those real problems that will shape the economic future of the Millenniums and Generation-Z.

One thing is for sure . . . both houses should be throughly ashamed of themselves.

Monkey fighting! Americans deserved better- much better than that!

The Car – End of the American Dream?

Some claim the personal ownership of automobiles is coming to an end, so will Generation-Z forego the romance of their fathers?

James Lyman BSAE, BSEE, MSSM

In my youth, the cult of the automobile was integrally interwoven into American culture, almost like a second religion which people constantly talked about, their thoughts dominated by machines ranging in all sorts of sizes, shapes and colors. Americans lived, breathed and slept with dreams about their beloved road machines and how perfect their lives would be if only they could own and drive the cars of their dreams. At casual social gathers, discussions abound over the virtues of one model verses the deficiencies of another. People were committed Ford or Chevy people who would never commit the mortal sin of buying from another car maker, a rivalry akin to loyalties of baseball and football teams, with all the same blind adherence to a maker as found amongst religious fanatics.

But over the years, I seen a decline of this adherence to the cult of automobiles, younger generations less inclined to worship cars as previous generations did, as automobiles took on a sameness forced by the laws of physics and the quest for higher gas milage and safety. The romance of their cars coming to an end … as car prices spired into the wild blue yonder. And I must confess, I was one of the early adherence to this trend considering the automobile to be nothing more than another utility appliance much like my washing machine and refrigerator. Just a machine to perform certain tasks in my life. Indeed, I didn’t even get my first car until I was eight years out of highschool, because I didn’t really need one and my money was going to education. I’m seventy-one years old now, and I’ve only owned three automobiles in my life. A used 1969 Chevelle 300 series deluxe with a 307 V-Eight, column shift and bench seats. I owned and drove it for about 22 years, then got a used Toyota mini-pickup which I drove for about a dozen years. Finally, another Toyota pickup, a cab and a half Tacoma which I’m still driving today. Why? Because I know it’s cheaper to repair than to buy new.

I tell people I’m like that John Wayne line in the movie ‘The Searchers’ where he says “A white man rides a horse until it drops, then a Comanch comes along, gets that horse back up, rides it another twenty miles . . . then eats it!” A technologist equivalent for a Comanche Indian, a machine substituting for a horse. Despite my ambivalence to the cult of the car and my peers, I was rather surprised to recently read articles that the personal ownership of cars is coming to an end, that automobiles are becoming a service rather than a possession. Their premise is that cars are becoming too expensive to own anymore. The average cost for a new car in America is $33,000. For the young and ‘up and coming’ Americans with earnings significant less than their fathers and grandfathers, this makes ownership even more difficult. Couple that with many young people being saddled with large student loans, it’s easy to see their rational.

But in the highly mobile society that America is, this would have little meaning without some alternative, and that alternative is services like Uber and Lyke that provide driving services coupled with the emerging robotic driving systems which can make this premise valid. Once in place, the young people would call up a robot car much as one does today with taxis. Using an app on their smart phones, they could call for a robot car, the phone’s GPS telling the robot car where to go, then minutes later, the robot stops near the person, who gets in. The robot already knows where to go since that was part of the person’s request for a car. Once arriving, the person only has to get out, payment automatically made electronically, leaving the robot to continue on to its next pickup request.

When I was young, my father commented more than once that it would actually be cheaper to use taxis rather than own a car, that if you count everything, the purchase price, loan interest, annual cost of licenses, taxes, insurance, gas, oil and maintenance . . . the total cost of ownership would exceed the taxi fares paid out. So I can see where purchasing automotive services would be cheaper than ownership of a personal car. Those cost would be distributed over many users, especially that $33,000 purchase price. For Americans with little hope of having the financial means of their forefathers, the use of technology to share the cost and thus reduce their living expense might be a viable alternative.

In recent years there has been an upsurge in something called ‘tiny houses’, where people choose a life style living in domiciles of just a few hundred square feet, a small fraction of the sizes of houses they were raised in. This allows the young of limited means to own their own home without the exorbitant cost of a conventional house. Sharing robot automobiles keeps with the strategy of reducing cost to accommodate the reduced earnings that America’s youth are facing.

Presently, automobiles and housing comprise about half of the American economy, so the significant downsizing of either or both implies a considerable change to the economy in general. Add to this the increasing demise of many big box stores, we are left with the question ‘Can our present hyper-consumerism based economy survive?’. More importantly, the real value of Americans is as consumers, so just what is going to be left for America’s Generation-Z in the future? And even more crucially, just how satisfied will they be to accept so much less?

Makes one wonder what other means might come forth for the young people of America to live and prosper in their new world . . . a world far different from my days of youth.

ETSY BUYS REVERB FOR PRICEY $275 MILLION….

IMAGE CREDIT: Reverb.com

By: Economic & Finance Report

Etsy has stated that it will be aquiring Reverb for $275 million. Reverb is the musical instruments online platform.

Reverb considered to be one of the world’s leading marketplaces for musicians; was created in 2012, in Chicago, IL. The platform is one of the leading musician websites, curated for musicians by musicians.

Etsy which is based in NYC, has recently been aquiring new media businesses but nothing of an aquisition in this caliber. With this acquisition new things shall arise in the music front. -SB

Aliens – Millennials’ Other Trial!

An Alien is one who so fails to advance technologically that they become an alien in their own home land.

James Lyman BSAE, BSEE, MSSM

In the news recently was a short story about thousands of people riding bicycles naked through the streets of London to protest the growing car culture and excessive use of oil. The question came to my mind ‘just how is riding bicycles in the nude suppose to address the effects of automobiles and oil usage on the environment and humanity’? The answer is quite obvious- it WON’T!! So why do it? Why choose a method for solving problems that has virtually no expectations of accomplishing anything? What is going through their minds?

This is just one example of people struggling to cope with the world they live in, a world where they are becoming more and more an outsider. It’s a world that confuses, perplexes them, that they are fearful of, distrustful and resentful of. It’s like they become aliens in their own homeland. As you closely examine these kind of people you find one commonality . . . they don’t have a strong inclination towards technology. Indeed, many are careful to avoid technology as much as they can, even to the point of becoming openly hostile towards technologies except those which make their lives easier. And even then, they want to know as little as possible about those technologies.

People who fail to advance technologically become an alien in their own homeland.

This alienation presents a number of problems for those trying to live in a world they’re not a part of, that manifest itself in some strange and even outlandish ways . . . like riding around naked in public expecting that to actually solve problems (feeding mosquitos?). But there are many more subdued manifestations. We naturally fear that which we don’t understand, and being an alien means living among a mirid of things they don’t understand, both tangible and intangible. It leaves them with a low level, continuous, slow grinding always present fear. This makes them uncomfortable, ill at ease in the modern world, accentuating that they don’t belong, and that in turn brings a longing for a place where they do belong. And unable to find such a place of their own, a place where they don’t feel that slow grinding fear and apprehension, a place where they can feel comfortable and at ease . . . they experience those various manifestations.

Aliens strive to isolate themselves from those technologies they don’t want in their lives … in their world. They are careful not to acknowledge what they consider unwanted technologies, ignoring their existence, even physically masking them off from view if possible. Most of all they don’t want to hear any technical talk, or for that matter, any talk at all about technology. Indeed, they can become quite aggravated even angry at those of technology, if unable to avoid them. Aliens begin to embrace less than rational beliefs, reverting back to beliefs centuries ago, to belief systems and religions long before the age of enlightenment.

The emotional frustration and tensions causes aliens to blindly lash out at things, people and situations around them. This is particularly true of those individuals, who aliens perceived as not sharing their view of life. This has manifested itself in what is called the counterculture, which started emerging in the early 1960’s, cumulating in the so call ‘hippy culture’, that quickly dispersed to become less visible. Nevertheless, the counterculture has continued and grown, not nearly as visible as it once was, but still having a profound effect on American culture and politics. More and more aliens want and strive for their own world where they have a place of comfort. This has resulted in the growing social mitosis we see everyday in the political news, as political division deepens with sides becoming less reconcilable.

There is a profound economic side to this alienation, and that’s the inability of people to make substantive contributions to society. The desire to make contributions to society is one of the major threads that makes up the fabric of a society. Not only do people earnestly want to make contributions, to be known as a useful member of society, but the opposite is also true. Society has little tolerance for those perceived as not being contributors. People who have not advanced technologically, those who are alienated, have less ability to make substantive contributions, and therefore find themselves even more alienated from the world they were born into and try to live in. Their value to society is as consumers working to support consumers, trying to scrape together monies to buy the illusion that they have value in a high technology society, which they don’t like in the first place.

Trying to isolate themselves from technology only aggravates their situation, thereby making themselves even more alienated . . . making themselves even more discontented with their station in life. This in turn only makes them blindly strike out against the world they are forced by circumstances to live in, while at the same time making it more difficult to be a real contributor. Furthermore, as parents naturally do, they strive to mold their children into their own image, and in so doing their kids also become alienated.

It’s a self perpetuating cycle.

This phenomena of alienation is the most misunderstood and understudied facet of our modern society, which only results in a growing problem that is not being addressed. Problems, that have major ramifications to society, and which if unaddressed do not get better, will only worsen over time.

As I finish writing this, I’m watching the movie “Wild” based on Cheryl Strayed’s book1 by the same name, which chronicles the struggles of an alien … her trials and tribulations as she makes her way through early life. Watching it, you can’t help but have empathy with aliens and their plight in life.

1) “Wild – From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail”, Cheryl Strayed, Vintage Books, New York, 2012

Limit Technology Displacement- It’s Been Tried!

People’s first reaction to obsolescent and technology displacement is to limit those technologies and save the jobs. But it’s already been tried!

James Lyman BSAE, BSEE, MSSM

In the early 1800’s, German Christians emigrated to America seeking religious freedom and prosperity, like so many other emigrants. This was when the industrialization of America was starting, which made the problem of technology displacement of people clearly apparent. One group of these emigrants became know as the Amish, who resolved that any machine (technology) which diminished the value of a man, by doing the work he did and therefore replacing him, was bad and should be avoided. And so, for about 200 years, this quaint religious sect has lived a philosophy aimed at avoiding the problems of obsolete people by scrupulously rejecting any and all technologies they deem harmful to the value of a man. They would pick and choose good technologies verses those they decided were bad. They did what more and more people in our technologically advanced society of today are advocating.

Today, we are going head long into the problem of technology displacement to the point that now 32% of America’s young people still live with their parents, unable to support themselves. A college degree is no longer adequate for many, with 20 to 25% college graduates unemployed or underemployed, as technology provides the machines and technologies to do the jobs once held by them. With technology expanding exponentially, this displacement is happening at an increasingly faster pace leaving a growing number of young Americans with little to nothing for a future. As expected, many people advocate limiting new technologies when they threaten the jobs of people.

They advocate the same strategy for taming technology as the Amish did.

But the trouble is, the Amish themselves also continue to be displaced by technology, only at a much slower rate. Where once they farmed as was done in the early nineteenth century, using draft animals and hand implements thereby maintaining the dignity and value of the individual, they’ve had to slowly adopt modern machinery in order to maintain their economic stability. This is at a time when small farms are being press out of the system because their productivity is too low to be self sustaining. This has resulted in such weird concoctions such as a modern hay bailing machine having a gasoline engine attached powering it while being pulled by a team of horses.

The Ordnung or order is the governing body of each Amish community, which determines what is and isn’t acceptable in the community including which technologies are permitted and which are not. Therefore, one community might use tractors (while still using horse drawn allowed or not allowed in Ordnungs is a graphic illustration of the difficulties trying to choose which technologies are good and which are not.

The PBS series American Experience had an excellent two hour documentary about the Amish 1, and brought out one interesting fact, that since their arrival in America, when a boy reached manhood and married, he’d buy a farm and continue with the Amish way of life. Trouble is, an Amish young man now needs about a million dollars to start his own farm, something well beyond the reach of most young people today, regardless of their religious convictions. Therefore, the Amish young have had to seek employment other than the farms of old, and this has lead them to those industrial factories, which their forefathers shunned as being degrading to men. Others have gone west to seek out ranching, but the distances are much too great to use horse drawn wagons, so they’ve been forced to adopt automobiles and trucks into their lives.

Good and noble as their intentions are, the Amish are nevertheless trying to maintain an artificial world within the real world, but without design, each day their world is being encroached upon.

People like to think of technology as these little discrete blocks neatly setting side by side, each independent of the other. A mass of blocks where one can decide if a block is good technology or bad, and if bad simply lift it out of the array of blocks thus ridding it from society. In actuality, various technologies merge and spread into one and another. Much like colored blocks of soft clay or wax, over time they spread into each other, merging into a rainbow of diffused blocks. Deciding to extricate a block that is perceived as bad means trying to follow filaments of that block into other blocks for removal without destroying adjacent blocks. This was the central theme in James Burks series ‘Connections’ 2. Not only are you unable to isolate one technology from all the others, but you cannot forecast which technologies are now good but will become bad, or which technologies that you now consider bad will evolve into good.

Technology doesn’t mean that which baffles, befuddles, perplexes and confuses you . . . it’s the sum of all the methods and means used to bring comfort and sustenance to humanity. It covers everything from taking a stone of flint and flaking it into an arrowhead up to and including the latest gene, computer and medical technologies . . . and everything in between.

Technology isn’t something you can successfully control.

So as new technologies continue to press millennials and generation-Z out of old jobs, suggestions of limiting certain technologies to preserve jobs is a fantasy dream of those who have no real understanding of the world that they live in. A prime example is the new artificial intelligence technology Watson, shown in the above picture, that was developed by IBM, which beat the two top winning champions on the TV game show Jeopardy. IBM’s declared target markets are medicine and the law, leaving many people wondering if this technology shouldn’t be suppressed. This technology is already commercially available, television commercials touting its use by companies such as H & R Block for doing people’s income tax. So Americans are left to ask the question, ‘Could I even qualify to be a contestant on Jeopardy, and if not . . . then why couldn’t this technology do my job?’

And this is just the start, not the finish of AI (Artificial Intelligence).

China has already declared their intention to dominate the artificial intelligence field and market, intending to capture 90% of the market by 2025. Two other technologies just over the horizon is ATS (Automated Teaching Systems) and automatic driving vehicles. Both the truck drivers and school teachers are already on the way out, and trying to stop that will only pass the initiative over to others such as the Chinese, with technology being the real bases for a nation’s power and position in the world order.

Suppressing new technologies will only leave you behind and at the mercy of others.

1 – “Amish’, American Experience Season 24 Episode 5, David Belton, director and writer, Callie T. Wiser producer and writer, WGBH PBS station, 2012.

2 – “Connections”, James Burk executive producer and writer, Mick Jackson director, BBC and PBS, 1978.

SHADE-Y SCAMMERS : THE CAST PODCAST EP. #5

#TheCast latest podcast episode is amust listen to. The click discusses shade-y entertainment and media deals, as well as heartless tactics that also take place in the entertainment business.

This is an episode you must listen to. AS ALWAYS, WE ALL HAVE AN OPINION, IT’S JUST HOW U USE YOURS…..

The Cast Ep. #5