The Future of the Workforce

Legs

ADC
Book Reviewer
Back in the past until the last few decades, anything that we needed required a person to either make it, grow it or rear it. Each of those people fitted into a workforce which combined to produce everything from a carrot to a cow to a house to a space rocket.

In the last few decades though, many of these people have been replaced by robotic or autonomous machines. So of course the expensive and unreliable people were sent packing. Yes, this has been happening since the Industrial Revolution, and I don't see it changing in the near future. Every day someone designs some machine that will replace the human workforce. So (dystopian fiction aside) what happens? More and more people will be out of a job. But if they're not able to find a new job then they either exist on a small welfare payment (the dole), turn to crime, or starve. And then what? No one has money to buy the things made by the robots that replaced them. Do we enter a massive worldwide economic collapse? Do the people rise up to remove the automation that replaced them in a violent manner? I'm not sure, but as far as I can see, this replacement of humans with automation is a very short-sighted idea that will, at some point in the not too distant future, cause major socioeconomic issues amongst the population.

What are your thoughts?
 
People will just have to adapt as some jobs disappear and new ones are created

Same as the industrial revolution but without the luddites
 

theoriginalphantom

MIA
Book Reviewer
In my line of work I deal with a lot of people maintaining the machinery in production. This last week I was at a crisp factory.
The number of people required to run and maintain those machines doesn't seem to be declining. The more the machines do the greater the need for human servicing, adjustment and repair.
Machines and production lines require feeding at one end, and emptying of product at the other.
They require monitoring, by people.
Quality control is carried out by people.

We deal with a lot of food industry. Complying with the various food standards is way easier with machinery, keeping food portions to a particular size or weight is much easier as it can be checked as it passes through the machinery, Checking for foreign bodies at the same time with x-ray and/or metal detectors.
The sheer quantity of food we require means we need the speed of machinery, or we need to up the price of food massively to have people check every bean as it goes into a tin and so on.
Seriously, check out the speed that food processing lines can work at.


(not one of our customers)

 
I wouldn't worry about it to be honest. Here's a handy, and very interesting graph from Wikipedia:
United_Kingdom_unemployment_1881-2017.png


After the Second World War when mechanisation had become common, unemployment was at an all time low. When logically That would require less manpower. Equally all the people getting demobbed and entering the workforce didn't have the same effect as in 1918.

There is an interesting upturn (it's too long to be a spike) in Unemployment just after WWI which isn't disposed of until WWII. One could argue that's because of more female workers, but I strongly doubt it, as females have always been used in the workforce, it was only a Victorian ideal to have the Female at home doing nothing. But even for middle class types this was often not the case.
So I really have no answer for this upturn, unless it was related to the flu pandemic as a starter for ten, then the Great Depression tops it off?

As to what happens to our workers today. Well, they'll split into three groups. Those who don't realise they can better themselves, and just move to another low paid sector, such as security. Those who become dole scroungers and those who try to upskill.
The Tory government has introduced legislation where they will provide loans to anyone who wants to get a degree (It also appears you can apply for the same for a MA). Combine that loan process with places like the Open University and there really is no barrier between you getting a degree apart from your lack of drive (and the ability to fight through the fuckwittering incompetence of the SLC/SFE).

So in reality there's those that are aspirational and want to succeed, the tools are there for them. And those who are passive and will take whatever is given to them. I'd say that 'aspirational' and 'Passive' classes are a better measure than the old 'Working/middle/upper class' definition which have passed their sell by date and are no longer really valid.
 

Arte_et_Marte

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
Humans can retrain to be robot builders.

Humans, being human, will make mistakes building the robots, so the robots will need replacing, with other robots, built by humans.

When the robots start building robots, with no mistakes, the new robots will last forever and that's the end of it.

But that wont be the case, because the use of robots changes jobs, it doesnt reduce the amount of jobs, so there will still be a huge demand for humans.

Even the best robots have no creativity, poor judgemental skills, doubtful critical thinking ability and zero empathy. There will always be job sectors that require those attributes.

We could embrace this total machine driven workforce, have more free time, change our current ethos on what going to 'work' actually is. "Nine to five" is already becoming a bit old hat. Covid has seen 10's of 1000's of people working sucessfully from home, an idea that even five years ago, would have scared the crap out of a company boardroom.

The proverb, first seen in the mid 17th century...All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Still stands the test of time.

The current education system isn't geared up for this type of future and huge changes will have to be made there, teaching children new skills, not the same stuff I was taught over half a century ago, which is the ridiculous case at present. And our political landscape would have to change. There would have to be a seismic shift in our leaders thinking, in order to bring about change in the way we all approach our work/life balances.

Anyway, I haven't really given it much thought and I certainly haven't the time or inclination to harp on about it.
 
Back in the past until the last few decades, anything that we needed required a person to either make it, grow it or rear it. Each of those people fitted into a workforce which combined to produce everything from a carrot to a cow to a house to a space rocket.

In the last few decades though, many of these people have been replaced by robotic or autonomous machines. So of course the expensive and unreliable people were sent packing. Yes, this has been happening since the Industrial Revolution, and I don't see it changing in the near future. Every day someone designs some machine that will replace the human workforce. So (dystopian fiction aside) what happens? More and more people will be out of a job. But if they're not able to find a new job then they either exist on a small welfare payment (the dole), turn to crime, or starve. And then what? No one has money to buy the things made by the robots that replaced them. Do we enter a massive worldwide economic collapse? Do the people rise up to remove the automation that replaced them in a violent manner? I'm not sure, but as far as I can see, this replacement of humans with automation is a very short-sighted idea that will, at some point in the not too distant future, cause major socioeconomic issues amongst the population.

What are your thoughts?

They've always said robots and automation will replace the need for humans but it never has. Nothing gets automated that didn't need automating.

I think work from home is here to stay, for those applicable of course. It's something we could have done 10 years ago but one of the good things about the last 2 years is that this has been given the big push it always needed. It also flushed out the kinds of people you always wondered what the hell they did all day. If all that really matters is that folk get the work done, why do they have to be monitored like a bunch of children. No pointless tedious commutes, getting other appointments and stuff done, no office politics, no management, no insufferables with poor oral hygiene etc etc. For me the best thing is no longer having to listen to a useless bore arguing with his ex-wife literally beating each other up over the phone, him going through his court case, her keeping the house, him leaving, blah blah blah.

If there is anything I did miss it was the chirpy temps

1642945388106.png
 
They've always said robots and automation will replace the need for humans but it never has. Nothing gets automated that didn't need automating.

I think work from home is here to stay, for those applicable of course. It's something we could have done 10 years ago but one of the good things about the last 2 years is that this has been given the big push it always needed. It also flushed out the kinds of people you always wondered what the hell they did all day. If all that really matters is that folk get the work done, why do they have to be monitored like a bunch of children. No pointless tedious commutes, getting other appointments and stuff done, no office politics, no management, no insufferables with poor oral hygiene etc etc. For me the best thing is no longer having to listen to a useless bore arguing with his ex-wife literally beating each other up over the phone, him going through his court case, her keeping the house, him leaving, blah blah blah.

If there is anything I did miss it was the chirpy temps

View attachment 633672
Way too many unanswered questions to this photo.
1. Did you take it?
2. Would this explain the slightly angled-low-perverted-snapshot it appears to be?
3. Bare feet??
4. But in relation to Question 3 are those socks she is holding?
5. Or are they stockings....which would explain Question 2!
6. And finally in time honoured ARRSE tradition...well did you?
 
Last edited:
Well, the next couple of months should show what the future of "working from home" will be as COVID restrictions are lifted.
In Ms Civvy's case, her lectures will continue to be online, as her university decided to take the opportunity to convert all the faculty's lecture theatres into a new library whilst nobody was allowed on site. Live lectures are no longer an option. It remains to be seen whether new students will pay far more than the OU charges, for what is largely an online degree with a few 'workshops', but many students like the fact they don't have to drag themselves out of bed for an 0930 lecture.
 
I've been involved in a project with a food manufacturer at Poole that makes sausage rolls and other baked goods. If you've bought multipack sausage rolls (shame on you) then they likely came from here.
The whole process has been automated with only a few people required on the production line.
They knock out tens of thousands of the things every hour, every day without cessation. I can't remember the exact figure but at 10k per hour it's 87 million per year.
Any problems on the line have to be sorted within 15 minutes or production stops, the flow diverts to a spiral buffer.

A few hundred people had been laid off due to the automation on the sausage roll line alone. We'll be doing the baked slice line sometime this is year unless a disgruntled ex employee burns the place down. Fingers crossed, as I detest the place and the building team that work there.
They'd be doing the world a favour considering the garbage they produce, none of the tech staff touch the stuff either.
Having used the toilet facilities there I'd never eat a cheapo sausage roll again.
Utterly disgusting place.
 
Way too many unanswered questions to this photo.
1. Did you take it?
2. Would this explain the slightly angled-low-perverted-snapshot it looks appears to be?
3. Bare feet??
4. But in relation to Question 3 are those socks she is holding?
5. Or are they stockings....which would explain Question 2!
6. And finally in time honoured ARRSE tradition...well did you?

Can't remember all the specifics. The circumstance would have been something like:

"… told me there is something under your desk I need to fix."
"No worries, I'll go and use the other desk over by [XYZ]"
"No, no. You don't have to move."
 
Last edited:

Mbongwe

Old-Salt
So in reality there's those that are aspirational and want to succeed, the tools are there for them. And those who are passive and will take whatever is given to them. I'd say that 'aspirational' and 'Passive' classes are a better measure than the old 'Working/middle/upper class' definition which have passed their sell by date and are no longer really valid.
The bit above summarises the current state of play in the workforce.

The widespread lay-offs and furlough over the last couple of years confirmed to me what I've long suspected, that a large (larger than I'd previously thought, and possibly growing) proportion of the population prefer to sit at home and scrape by on not very much; they seem relatively content to let the world pass them by as long they're left alone and don't have to answer to anyone.
 
I've been involved in a project with a food manufacturer at Poole that makes sausage rolls and other baked goods. If you've bought multipack sausage rolls (shame on you) then they likely came from here.
The whole process has been automated with only a few people required on the production line.
They knock out tens of thousands of the things every hour, every day without cessation. I can't remember the exact figure but at 10k per hour it's 87 million per year.
Any problems on the line have to be sorted within 15 minutes or production stops, the flow diverts to a spiral buffer.

A few hundred people had been laid off due to the automation on the sausage roll line alone. We'll be doing the baked slice line sometime this is year unless a disgruntled ex employee burns the place down. Fingers crossed, as I detest the place and the building team that work there.
They'd be doing the world a favour considering the garbage they produce, none of the tech staff touch the stuff either.
Having used the toilet facilities there I'd never eat a cheapo sausage roll again.
Utterly disgusting place.
Wall’s pastry??
 
Of everything I have ever seen on ARRSE, this is the only one which has me hearing 'nee naw nee naw nee naw.' in my mind.

I've totally forgot wtf I was going to add to the conversation now.
You may have been wondering if your job was safe

2E972340-0E2F-4865-A920-0466A5448764.jpeg
 
Well, the next couple of months should show what the future of "working from home" will be as COVID restrictions are lifted.
In Ms Civvy's case, her lectures will continue to be online, as her university decided to take the opportunity to convert all the faculty's lecture theatres into a new library whilst nobody was allowed on site. Live lectures are no longer an option. It remains to be seen whether new students will pay far more than the OU charges, for what is largely an online degree with a few 'workshops', but many students like the fact they don't have to drag themselves out of bed for an 0930 lecture.
The OU charges the same as everyone else.
 
Can't remember all the specifics. The circumstance would have been something like:

"… told me there is something under your desk I need to fix."
"No worries, I'll go and use the other desk over by [XYZ]"
"No, no. You don't have to move."
* porn-tache on

"I've come to service your plumbing..."
 

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