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Access: The Driverless Road Ahead

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  • Russell Brown,

    Thanks KR. This is fascinating – and helpful to me. I do a lot of thinking about my sons, education and work.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I really hope that Specialisterne sets up in NZ. I've been a fan of the idea since hearing Thorkil Sonne speak about it many years ago. It wouldn't suit my family, but could provide real employment opportunities for many.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Lisa Black,

    That was a good read. Thanks.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2010 • 71 posts Report Reply

  • Hans Versluys,

    Thanks for the interesting read. It also brings home the urgent need for UBI to allow everybody to figure out at their own pace what they want out of life, without the massive stress of "sink-or-swim" bearing down on you.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2011 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Prudence,

    What a fantastic read. Thank you.
    If I had a million dollars or more, I'd build a huge workshop where people could build things and repair things, fitted out with awesome woodworking, metal working, and automotive machinery. Community owned and managed, with paid tutors for those who need them.
    What a wonderful thing that would be for those of us now on the scrap heap.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Prudence,

    Jacinda Ardern says that metalwork was one of her favourite subjects at school. Perhaps she could incorporate your idea into her agenda. It would fit into their policies for education, night classes, employment and mental health.
    But we need a network of such workshops around NZ, not just one.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Prudence,

    I'd build a huge workshop where people could...

    There are "maker spaces" around Aotearoa, as well as other community workshops. If you're a man there's the men's shed movement, there are often similar things that are more inclusive if you search. Search is cheap now we have the internet, what people often need is the keywords to use :) Also, local councils are often good at having a list of things like that, it can be worth looking at their website(s), and as part of that libraries are starting to provide those resources (since apparently polytechs can't do that any more. Polytech used to be great, you'd pay $50 for six months of weekly evening classes in a workshop where you could generally work on your own vaguely-related project under expert supervision).

    https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=makerspace
    https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=mens+shed

    It can also be worth broadening out to things like bicycle co-ops because community groups that incidentally do workshop-related things will often welcome someone who "just" wants to make their workshop better in exchange for using it. I have refitted a bowling club workshop on that basis once, they had a "shed" (I'm being charitable) that I did up and turned into a grounds-shed and workshop using their money and mostly my labour (the bowlers helped at times). I'm pretty sure both sides were happy with the arrangement (I definitely was). For a few months I had a much better workshop, but then ... I was renting, I had to move, suddenly it wasn't over the back fence any more. Bah!

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Moz,

    Polytech used to be great, you'd pay $50 for six months of weekly evening classes in a workshop where you could generally work on your own vaguely-related project under expert supervision).

    The kind of polytech that helped produce the Poly-1? The Wikipedia entry for it is courtesy of yours truly. All it's missing now is an image, fair use permitting. It'd be interesting to revive it as a desktop or "luggable" PC chassis.

    Hilary:

    I really hope that Specialisterne sets up in NZ. I've been a fan of the idea since hearing Thorkil Sonne speak about it many years ago. It wouldn't suit my family, but could provide real employment opportunities for many.

    So far they've held surveys, and they're getting back to us in a matter of weeks.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    The kind of polytech that helped produce the Poly-1?

    I may have used one of those, as part of a Scout Jamboree somewhere, but beige plastic thing with handles, all smooth-ish plastic and I can't remember any of the details. It seemed less hackable than the C64 I had somehow managed to acquire ($1000 was a lot of money back then).

    At that time the hacker community was ham radio based for the most part (unless you wanted to do TV with the Christians). I got some valuable help from local radio people and ended up with a "tweaked" C64, before the C128 came out with similar mods.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Moz,

    It seemed less hackable than the C64 I had somehow managed to acquire ($1000 was a lot of money back then).

    At that time the hacker community was ham radio based for the most part (unless you wanted to do TV with the Christians). I got some valuable help from local radio people and ended up with a "tweaked" C64, before the C128 came out with similar mods.

    Speaking of the C64, it's what got me started on the whole computer thing to begin with. There's often one person you've never met who still had a major impact on your life, and for me that person was Jack Tramiel, the founder of Commodore Business Machines.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    One other aspect I didn't mention in my original post: when bailouts are inevitable, there's a visible difference in approach between the Anglo-Saxon model and the Nordic model. Long story short, Anglo-Saxon economies tend to bail out distressed corporations with no guarantee of ROI - think British Leyland, GM, and much of Wall St and the City of London. Whereas Nordic economies have tended to bail out distressed workers instead, as happened with Sweden's shipbuilding sector, and more recently the Saab Cars bankruptcy.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Moz,

    I may have used one of those, as part of a Scout Jamboree somewhere, but beige plastic thing with handles, all smooth-ish plastic and I can't remember any of the details.

    I was employed by Polycorp (a subsidiary of Progeni) to sell them. Yep, big beige plastic cover (screen, board, keyboard combined in the one package) - with handles. Way ahead of its time - first in the world, I believe, to have a 'broadcast' (limited network/connectivity) function - such that the teacher could load the classroom of PCs from a 'master'. First in the world too, I think for multiple, programmable graphics screens. What a world beating tech / education industry NZ would have had the Muldoon government of the day prescribed Poly as the classroom standard.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to ,

    They could have been makeing small things out of silicon by now.

    Like, teeny-weeny versions of these?

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    The Economist finally acknowledges that elephant-curve globalisation has fomented Brexitrump-ist nativist-protectionist populism. As for solutions, it still seems hamstrung by a classical liberal world-view. In any case it seems the best way forward is to rescue distressed workers (offering financial aid to adapt & retool) rather than distressed companies (bailouts with no guarantee of long-term ROI).

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    In light of Stephen Hawking's passing, here's a response by him from a Reddit AMA session from 2 years ago:

    I'm rather late to the question-asking party, but I'll ask anyway and hope. Have you thought about the possibility of technological unemployment, where we develop automated processes that ultimately cause large unemployment by performing jobs faster and/or cheaper than people can perform them? Some compare this thought to the thoughts of the Luddites, whose revolt was caused in part by perceived technological unemployment over 100 years ago. In particular, do you foresee a world where people work less because so much work is automated? Do you think people will always either find work or manufacture more work to be done? Thank you for your time and your contributions. I’ve found research to be a largely social endeavor, and you've been an inspiration to so many.

    Answer:

    If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.

    Hawking later followed it up with a full-length commentary on how inequality and technology relate to the new wave of neo-nationalist demagoguery:

    * Stephen Hawking - This is the most dangerous time for our planet

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to ,

    Ah, LSD....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    No, new tech in itself doesn’t cause job losses. Rentier statists (such as Peter Thiel) that own and control most of the new tech do.

    RNZ Insight: New tech won’t cause mass job losses in NZ – study

    Automation and artificial intelligence may not cause the mass unemployment that is often predicted, according to new research shared with RNZ Insight.

    The study by the AI Forum says many workers will lose their jobs due to technological change, but it suggests new types of employment and government support, mean most people should be able to adapt. But it does warn some individuals could struggle.

    For the full story, tune in to RNZ Insight on Sunday after 8am.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to ,

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Ann Pettifor, one of the few who correctly predicted the Great Recession, further reinforces what I wrote to begin with.

    RNZ Sunday Morning - Economist Ann Pettifor: 'The public are not stupid'

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Attachment

    Fun fact: Kurt Vonnegut wrote about these topics in the novel "Player Piano" in 1952. Yes, the same year Helsinki held the Summer Olympics.

    It's long overdue for a movie adaptation, although player pianos are a bit obsolete these days. They've been replaced with autoplay streaming media, so when someone does get round to making the movie, here's what the promo poster might look like.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Attachment

    It’s long overdue for a movie adaptation

    Apparently Alan Arkin had a go at a screenplay for it...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    New Zealand ranks in the bottom third of the OECD for spending on what are known as active labour market policies - government interventions to help people into meaningful new work. The organisation's report last year said Work and Income focuses largely on people receiving benefits, which only includes a minority of people made redundant. "As a result, social assistance and public employment support are reduced to a minimum and act very much as systems of last resort for displaced workers who end up in the welfare system… Displaced workers are, to a large extent, left by their own to find a new job."

    RNZ IN DEPTH 3 Sep 2018 - Why being made redundant in NZ is so tough

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Further wisdom from "recovering neo-liberal" Joseph Stiglitz on automation:

    Joseph Stiglitz on artificial intelligence: 'We’re going towards a more divided society'

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Also, I missed this one:

    Artificial intelligence: ‘Homo sapiens will be split into a handful of gods and the rest of us’

    Robotisation has reduced the number of working hours needed to make things; but at the same time as workers have been laid off from production lines, new jobs have been created elsewhere, many of them more creative and less dirty. So far, fears of mass layoffs as the machines take over have proven almost as unfounded as those that have always accompanied other great technological leaps forward.

    There is an important caveat to this reassuring picture, however. The relatively low-skilled factory workers who have been displaced by robots are rarely the same people who land up as app developers or analysts, and technological progress is already being blamed for exacerbating inequality, a trend Bank of America Merrill Lynch believes may continue in future.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Apologies for the thread necro, but I’ve finally found the time to post an epilogue. The issues I wrote about in August 2017 are still very much relevant, despite an electoral reprieve both here and overseas.

    The good news: in the middle of last year, I graduated from web dev boot camp after it finally got NZQA approval, and hence student loan approval. It seemed to better suit my style of learning by doing, and it wasn’t as gruelling as first thought.

    The bad news: the bubble seems to have deflated - AFAIK less than 20% of my cohort found work - and that was even before the COVID outbreak. There was no active job placement at the end as I had high hopes for, instead it was little different from a WINZ pep talk. I attended the Summer of Tech internship programme later in the year, but not even a single response back, given there were about 3 applicants to every available internship. The SoT window has since closed as I am no longer a recent graduate. I’ve had piecemeal gig testing work between then and now, although it’s allowed me to work from home. And I’m getting heartily sick of expensive wasted efforts every time I study something.

    I got in touch with the people behind Specialisterne NZ, and it’s still in “development hell”, despite some progress with the Accessibility Tick scheme. I’m also hoping against hope that the re-elected Ardern government hasn’t forgotten about the Future of Work policy it touted not too long ago – the COVID crisis would be the perfect opportunity to put it in the front seat.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

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