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Shorter working week

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88V8
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Shorter working week

#425657

Postby 88V8 » July 7th, 2021, 7:11 pm

There is no sign that the politicos will do what is clearly necessary anent the environment, set about reducing the human population.
At the same time, automation proceeds apace.
It is suggested that white-collar decision-making jobs are on the block...
Self-driving taxis...
Etc...
So, more people, fewer jobs. Something's gotta give.

Interesting write-up of a five-year experiment in Iceland, working fewer hours but with the same output.
Output measured how, I think, but taking that as read.....
Now, it has to be said, the Icelanders are intelligent. They have the third-highest literacy rate in the world.. 99.9% in a survey where the UK was 17th. https://icelandmag.is/article/icelanders-are-third-most-literate-nation-world-according-us-scholar

Could this work in the UK?
If not, what's to become of all the economically surplus people?

https://newatlas.com/health-wellbeing/

V8 (used to work 50/55 hours in The City)

didds
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Re: Shorter working week

#425775

Postby didds » July 8th, 2021, 8:31 am

Is a literacy rate indicative of intelligence?

All that emans is that people have basic reading and writing surely? 99.9% is commedable, does that atuallyn indicate any level of actual "intelligence" , as opposed to indficating that more people may have the tools to aquire intelligence through reading and writing about "stuff" ?

asking for a friend ;-)

didds

Urbandreamer
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Re: Shorter working week

#425785

Postby Urbandreamer » July 8th, 2021, 9:21 am

didds wrote:Is a literacy rate indicative of intelligence?

All that emans is that people have basic reading and writing surely? 99.9% is commedable, does that atuallyn indicate any level of actual "intelligence" , as opposed to indficating that more people may have the tools to aquire intelligence through reading and writing about "stuff" ?

asking for a friend ;-)

didds


Literacy may not be a requiremnt for intelligence but in general it's not a bad proxy when dealing with large groups. This is because one of the tests is comprehension. Not can you read, but can you understand what you read. Of course in this sense "intelligence" is more a breadth of knowledge as to comrehend requires some knowledge of the subject matter written about. It doesn't mean that people who suffer from Dyslexia are less intelligent*.

On the subject of the shorter working week, we still have 10 years to go before Mr Keynes prediction of a 15hr working week is proven wrong. Then again Tim Ferriss argues in his book that 4 hr should be enough.

*At least as someone who suffers from dyslexia that's what I believe.

88V8
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Re: Shorter working week

#425832

Postby 88V8 » July 8th, 2021, 12:01 pm

didds wrote:Is a literacy rate indicative of intelligence?

I suppose like most proxies, it's dodgy.
My very successful City boss was dyslexic.
Nowadays he'd probably sink without trace. His salvation was that most of his work was face-to-face and anything written was mediated through his excellent secretary. He just caught the start of computers, email, be-your-own-typist, before he retired.
It wasn't a pretty sight :)
I really don't understand how dyslexics manage at the mercy of their spell checkers.

When I started work in the late 60s, it was a five-day week. This was deemed a great improvement by those who had always commuted into town and worked Saturday mornings.

On the other hand, shop hours grew; remember Early Closing Days? And of course never on Sunday.

I wonder if WFH will trigger a wider change in working hours.

V8

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Re: Shorter working week

#426316

Postby gryffron » July 10th, 2021, 12:23 am

88V8 wrote:what's to become of all the economically surplus people?

The doom scenario in reduction in employment has been endlessly predicted. Slavery, power looms, farm tractors, typewriters, computers, robots, and now AI.
To date, by and large, work seems to have expanded to match the available labour force. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Gryff

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Re: Shorter working week

#426367

Postby ReformedCharacter » July 10th, 2021, 10:56 am

gryffron wrote:
88V8 wrote:what's to become of all the economically surplus people?

The doom scenario in reduction in employment has been endlessly predicted. Slavery, power looms, farm tractors, typewriters, computers, robots, and now AI.
To date, by and large, work seems to have expanded to match the available labour force. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Gryff

The state provides various in-work benefits such as the Working Tax Credit to support the low paid. One might argue that this market intervention slows the rate of the replacement of human employment by robotic or other technologies. I'm not sure I can be quite as sanguine as you about the future of employment, although I would like to be.

RC

88V8
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Re: Shorter working week

#426387

Postby 88V8 » July 10th, 2021, 11:58 am

ReformedCharacter wrote:The state provides various in-work benefits such as the Working Tax Credit to support the low paid. One might argue that this market intervention slows the rate of the replacement of human employment by robotic or other technologies.

So does that contribute to the oft-lamented UK inefficiency and underinvestment in tech?
.... topic drift...
and is it therefore a macro-negative?

V8

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Re: Shorter working week

#426418

Postby ursaminortaur » July 10th, 2021, 12:57 pm

gryffron wrote:
88V8 wrote:what's to become of all the economically surplus people?

The doom scenario in reduction in employment has been endlessly predicted. Slavery, power looms, farm tractors, typewriters, computers, robots, and now AI.
To date, by and large, work seems to have expanded to match the available labour force. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Gryff


With the exception of computers those were about replacing physical labour which allowed people to move into more managerial/intellectual roles. Computers were different in that they replaced more cerebral activities but so far they have been fast accurate idiots who themselves needed managing (and instructing - programming) and hence were only suitable for certain of those activities. However even with the current computers access to large databases of knowledge and improved interactions with sensors are allowing them to move into areas which up until now have been restricted to humans eg self driving cars, diagnosis of illnesses etc
As computers improve they are slowly squeezing the need for human workers into a smaller and smaller space. As an anology think of the god of the gaps and the progress of science. That is before we even consider real human level AI.


We already have Google using AI to design faster processors capable of running that same AI software.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2280321-google-is-using-ai-to-design-processors-that-run-ai-more-efficiently/

The chip design used in the experiments was the latest version of Google’s Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), which is designed to run exactly the same sort of neural network algorithms for use in the company’s search engine and automatic translation tool. It is conceivable that this new AI-designed chip will be used in the future to design its successor, and that successor would in turn be used to design its own replacement.

The team believes that the same neural network approach can be applied to the various other time-consuming stages of chip design, slashing the overall design time from years to days. The company aims to iterate quickly because even small improvements in speed or power consumption can make an enormous difference at the vast scale it operates at.

Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/22 ... z70DFPuev7


And examples of genetic algorithms coming up with ideas which either replicated already human patented ideas or came up with novel patentable ideas.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10710-010-9112-3

There may well even after true human level AI is achieved still be jobs for humans - but do you really want to be the equivalent of a horse doing the grunt work for an AI ?

BobbyD
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Re: Shorter working week

#426472

Postby BobbyD » July 10th, 2021, 3:26 pm

Urbandreamer wrote:Literacy may not be a requiremnt for intelligence but in general it's not a bad proxy when dealing with large groups. This is because one of the tests is comprehension. Not can you read, but can you understand what you read. Of course in this sense "intelligence" is more a breadth of knowledge as to comrehend requires some knowledge of the subject matter written about. It doesn't mean that people who suffer from Dyslexia are less intelligent*.


Knowledge is knowing that 'd' comes after 'c', intelligence is being able to work out the value of 'd' when given the values of 'a', 'b', and 'c'.

Einstein was intelligent, but being able to read a book and parrot 'e=mc2' only makes you knowledgeable.

Literacy unlocks much of the potential of intelligence, in the same way that a torch unlocks much of the potential of vision.

The thing literacy is a pretty decent proxy for is education, not intelligence.

gryffron wrote:
88V8 wrote:what's to become of all the economically surplus people?

The doom scenario in reduction in employment has been endlessly predicted. Slavery, power looms, farm tractors, typewriters, computers, robots, and now AI.
To date, by and large, work seems to have expanded to match the available labour force. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Gryff


This time it's a little different as doctors and lawyers are in the firing line so much more important people are panicking...

Which isn't to say that the outcome won't be cheaper more ubiquitous medical and legal services. In some places.

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Re: Shorter working week

#431497

Postby 1nvest » July 30th, 2021, 2:58 pm

88V8 wrote:Interesting write-up of a five-year experiment in Iceland, working fewer hours but with the same output.

What's wrong with working more hours with less output, alleviates congestion. Many white collars already serve as just 25 hour seat covers, 10 hours of actual productivity/week. The state in compensation even allows employers to pay slave type wages, and makes the rest up via the public purse (tax credits, housing benefits ...etc.).


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