Meet your automated replacement

automationIt would wise to revisit our assumptions about what computers can and cannot do. Many of us were surprised at the development of computers that could defeat a human at Chess or on the game-show Jeopardy! While those achievements were novel, we still generally understood that certain tasks remain essentially human. Computers follow an algorithm, but they do not learn, compose or adapt to scenarios they were not programmed to see.

In The Second Machine Age, the authors illustrate the remarkably rapid crumbling of barriers to automation with a ride in a Google Car. Only a few years ago the pursuit of self-driving automobiles was practically abandoned following a series of humiliating failures. Driving is a task which is not only computationally challenging; it is filled with surprises which cannot be programmed. Driving is the kind of pattern-recognition task which was generally assumed to lay beyond the frontier of automation.

Now Google regularly has visitors picked up from the airport in fully automated vehicles. Their progress in this area is sufficiently advanced that they have moved their efforts into the regulatory sphere, working to pass state laws ensuring that their technology can be deployed on the road.

And that’s not all. Right here in Chicago the folks at Narrative Science are automating journalism. This is not some distant goal being played out in a lab. A significant portion of what you read today, especially in sports or financial reporting, is generated by the computers at Narrative Science.

Their software combs through a data feed searching for relevant elements, then assembles them into a fully developed, publishable story. This gives a news organization, or a data analyst, access to more content than ever from which to identify meaning. The ways that humans use Narrative Science provide a glimpse into the future of employment for everyone who will benefit from the second machine age.

Narrative Science and other similar big-data tools do not eliminate journalists, but they change what a journalist does. That process stands to radically reduce the number of jobs in the field while making those jobs vastly more lucrative and interesting.

Gone are the days of typing up box scores or summarizing last night’s arrests. A journalist using a big data feed is looking for meaning, not content, and that’s a good summary of what high-value employment looks like in the second machine age. A journalist in this context is leveraging a machine to reduce drudgery, augmenting the challenge of finding value among a stream of data.

Similar roles will provide rewarding work training machines to perform new tasks; using machines to do things we’ve never done before, and interpreting machine output that we have never before seen. Those who work with machines are increasingly artists, whether in the literal sense or merely in the shape of their work. From software developers to Daft Punk, success in the second machine age means marrying creativity to automation.

Artists and entertainers were once poor almost by definition. The transition we’ve seen over the past half century has been so dramatic that we’ve largely forgotten that for all of human history performers were social outcasts, the lowest of the low. Celebrity culture is in many ways a by-product of the second machine age, not just because the bounty of this phenomenon creates more disposal income to be used for entertainment. Almost everything humans do successfully in this environment is at its core a creative or artistic pursuit.

The winners in the second machine age are all in some sense artists, whether they post their work on YouTube, github, or the New York Times. Those liberal arts degrees may deserve more respect than we’ve been giving them. The only job category reasonably secure from automation, at least for the near-term, may be poetry.

My automated replacement is likely to eliminate the job I did yesterday. Along the way it could open doors to work that I never imagined might exist. That work will likely be more independent, with a less dependable future, and more spectacular earnings than we have come to expect. It will also likely lead to shorter careers that start later, often preceded, interrupted, and followed by exploratory ventures that may or may not pan out.

This transition from the boring reliability of Industrial Age employment toward the terrifying excitement and reward of the digital age completely transforms our understanding of what government can and should do in the economy. We need to think a little harder about how to adapt our institutions to support our values in a rapidly transforming world.


For your consideration, let me present one of the winners in the second machine age. Jason Isbell is not Daft Punk. He is not cranking out digital tunes. Yet, he has leveraged the infrastructure of the digital age to build an impressive career for himself in an artistic niche that would never have existed in the past. Isbell is taking a music form that one might have expected would be wrecked by celebrity culture and participating in its renaissance. Jason Isbell is how one survives and succeeds in the second machine age, making a living as a poet.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Economics, The Second Machine Age, Uncategorized, Welfare State
202 comments on “Meet your automated replacement
  1. Tuttabella says:

    Trying to leave work but the President is within a few blocks of my office. Traffic is finally moving. It’s all very exciting.

  2. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    Since it is “Thread Hijack Day”, I’m off on a very different tangent.

    The teenage birth (and abortion) rates really have plummeted in the US. Births to girls aged 15-19 dropped from 84 per 1,000 teens in 1991 to 29 per 1,000 in 2012.

    Spectacular news for social conservatives and everyone else, but maybe there is more work to be done.

    About 1,700 babies each week are born to mothers who are 15 to 17 years old. If my math is correct, that means conception likely occurred when the girls were 14 to 16 years old.

    Even this group has had a huge decline in birth rates in the past 20 years, but moms this young are much more likely to have a variety of medical risks and emotional, social, and financial costs, including the likelihood that the mother will not finish high school or earn a GED.

    Marry this with a survey showing that among sexually active teen girls, 83% reported that they didn’t get formal sex education until after they’d lost their virginity. Of these teens:
    23% said they didn’t use any type of contraception when they lost their virginity.
    15% of these teens used a birth control method that was deemed at least “moderately” effective
    62% used a “less effective” method.

    Early, age appropriate sex education in public school for the win.

    Don’t want to get pregnant, abstinence is the best bet for that. If you do have sex, let’s talk about this condom and this banana (in the 7th and 8th grade).

    • kabuzz61 says:

      “Marry this with a survey showing that among sexually active teen girls, 83% reported that they didn’t get formal sex education until after they’d lost their virgin”.

      How old were these girls when they lost their virginity? If the girls used in this sample were mostly from cities, they probably had access to ‘formal’ birth control education. But look at the television programs available for kids. They show all but the genitalia during sex scenes. We as a society are programming their early sexual escapades.

      Planned Parenthood is not happy with a decrease in abortions. That is their cash cow.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Buzz…those are the girls giving birth as 15 to 17 year olds, so they likely lost their virginity as 14 to 16 year olds or younger.

        It was a pretty large survey, and 83% reported that they did not get formal birth control education until after they had sex. I would find it shocking that 83% of the survey were from rural areas, and if they were, it highlights even more than we need public school sex ed in rural areas.

        We don’t give driver’s ed a year after folks start driving, but we aren’t going to discuss condoms until a year after you start having sex?

        Television shows are often crap, and they hardly substitute for sex ed.

        I think you generally will find no happier group that PP when it comes to abortion decreases. These are the folks pushing for sex education in the schools, give out free and reduced cost contraceptives, and conduct numerous sex ed classes themselves.

    • DanMan says:

      and basic incomes, don’t forget about basic incomes for everyone involved

    • CaptSternn says:

      Sounds like the parents are not doing their jobs. Then again, some girls get pregnant intentionally during their high school years.

      • DanMan says:

        I could cuss around my wife and she’d get pregnant.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…I have a hunch your “some” is a drop in the 1,700 a week that become pregnant ocean.

  3. John Galt says:

    Blatantly off-topic, but here’s some more fun GOP historical revisionism. Apparently, Jim DeMint is pretty sure that the federal government didn’t have much to do with freeing slaves…

    • John Galt says:

      He also confuses the Constitution and Declaration, says Abraham Lincoln was “the first Republican” and gives credit for freeing the slaves to good Christians (who, to be fair, should get credit, though there were precious few of them in the South).

      • DanMan says:

        oh my

      • kabuzz61 says:

        JohnGalt, pick up a history book and read about the abolitionists and their faith.

        Then learn about the republican party, when it started to be called that.

      • John Galt says:

        You know, kabuzz, this is the point where you just might respond, “damn, that was a stupid thing for him to have said” (which is sort of what Dan did). It would give you and your political leanings a heck of a lot more credibility that trying to defend him through specious and selective readings of history.

      • DanMan says:

        okay, now I’m laughing Cuffy

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Well, he does have something of a point. Without the Federal gov’t role, Blacks in the south would have been released from slavery in 50 or 100 years.

      I just don’t understand why some groups just cannot be patient when it comes to their basic human rights.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      Mmm-mmm. What a guy.

    • John Galt says:

      Guess I called that one wrong. Thanks for not challenging my previous opinion of you Dan.

  4. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Data from 538 about equal pay day. State-by-state breakdown.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      I’m a huge fan of 538 (most of the time). Were I a younger person, a better writer, and better with statistics, I would have applied for a gig there when they were ramping up. When I mentioned it to my wife a year ago, she laughed and told me to go change the diaper of one of the boys.

      This posting on 538 is pretty weak, but they acknowledge the weaknesses. The only really telling analysis is when they look at specific jobs. Even when looking at administrative assistants and elementary school teachers, women are making 20% less than men.

      In order for you to assume, “Hey, I’m sure this can be fully explained and there is no discrimination here” you have to assume that for secretaries and elementary school teachers:
      a) men tend to have more years of experience (which is not true)
      b) men have hugely significantly better performance in these jobs (there is no data to suggest that is true)
      c) women come and go out of the workforce in these so much that they are always starting at the bottom of the pay scale (a valid point, but also see point a)
      d) whatever factor you identify somehow accounts for a 20% pay difference across gender for administrative assistants and elementary school teachers.

      Undoubtedly, controlling for time on the job, entering and leaving the workforce, and a host of other factors would likely decrease the 20% gap, you are still going to be left with a 10% “it kinda sucks to be a woman” pay cut compared to men.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Yeah, it seems all of the data is not what one would hope for. One of the comments, though, does mention the 7% that you mentioned in an earlier post.

        (Your boys sound great, much better than a swanky job…..:-)

      • Intrigue says:

        HT Are your conflicting thoughts on this subject due to the fact that your wife makes more than you? It’s kind of funny to watch you defend and oppose these statistics at the same time. I can just picture the angel and devil on your shoulders:)

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Nope…you will never see me defend the 77% statistic. It is essentially meaningless when talking about real wage differences.

        It is the insidious 7% to 10% that just does not seem to go away that is the bigger problem.

        My wife is smarter than me, is more talented, is more driven than me, works harder than me, has more degrees than me, and is better looking than me. We work in the same field, and if she were not making more money than me, something would be wrong.

        On a cultural level, I think having men and women drawn to or conditioned for different occupations is fascinating. It becomes so ingrained in one’s culture that you do not even think about it, but then you see a ton of European and Asian female engineering students coming to the US, and you have to wonder how much socialization and conditioning pushes folks in certain directions.

        When you look at the male/female percentages by college majors, the engineering majors all skew heavily to men. When you look at only US students, the difference is even more pronounced. When you look at foreign students, there is much more parity.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Abso-freakin-lutely. He should get a little roasted for that. I hate, hate, hate when folks talk about the 77% statistic.

        When talking about actual wage comparisons, it is meaningless.

        However, when talking about culture, society, and gender roles, it is an interesting starting point.

        Undoubtedly, some women are drawn to certain low paying careers because of the flexibility, the ability to leave an come back to the workforce, and another other reason generally associated with traditional female gender roles. However, I think you could have some discussions that some fields have historically been disfavored because women do them. You could also talk about a society that conditions the genders differently.

        OV, if I recall correctly, you will also want to talk about different hormonal soups by gender that cause differences in aptitudes and interests. I do not disagree that there are different soups, but the cross cultural data suggests at least a somewhat huge conditional effect.

        Rarely do electrical engineers use their penis for any work related activity and rarely do they need to bench press 150 lbs, yet 90% of electrical engineering students are male.

        Cultural? Social? Genetic?

      • DanMan says:

        psychosis is my guess, getting through double E was like chewing glass for me

      • objv says:

        Homer, Below you will find several paragraphs written to Intrigued where I wrote about the importance of girls being exposed to science and math. My daughter is a geologist who is currently taking over a job previously held by an engineer. She is leveraging knowledge from one scientific field and gaining and combining new knowledge from engineering to be a perfect fit for her job. Believe me, I applaud women who decide on STEM careers. However, you can not force women into careers when they feel they have choices that would suit them better.

        I see that in another entry above where you say that women in foreign countries choose careers in engineering in greater numbers. Yes, that is true, but don’t you also concede that women in some countries have a greater social and financial imperative to become independent and the only way they can do that is by entering a field like engineering or medicine? Thankfully, the US offers young women a choice to enter whichever field they think they will be suited for. Despite, the push in the US to get young women into STEM programs, they are still choosing other career options. Why do you think that is?

        Honestly, sometimes I think that arguing with you like talking to a Kirby vacuum cleaner salesman. Your income depends on finding inequality in the workplace so you can not be entirely unbiased.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Actually, in almost every way, the less disparity in the workplace the better it is for me and my company.

        The legal crap really just gets in the way of the fun stuff (and accounts for proportionally small amounts of our annual revenue). If we had more parity in hiring and compensation, we could spend a lot more time on the cool and innovative work.

        For 99% of clients (and 100% in the past 7 or 8 years), I’m always working on the side to NOT find disparity. I’m often contorting and bending and analyzing data like crazy to explain why there is no effect rather than looking for an effect.

        Typically, education, tenure, experience, seniority, and job assignments can explain away a boatload of differences in pay. However, the US still cannot crack through that last 10% across a wide range of jobs and industries. Couple that with hearing enough, “There wasn’t an ugly woman in the bunch, and there was no way we were going to explain to our wives that we hired a pretty girl” for a refinery electrician role or a, “he has a wife and kids to support, he needs a bit more money”, you start to suspect that there might be some discrimination going on.

        I know folks like to believe people can make statistics say whatever you want them to say, but give a roomful of good folks a big enough dataset, and they are all going to come to the same conclusions. They may have different explanations for why the effect happens, but everyone is going to see the same effect. The math generally is the math, and when someone goes a little wonky with the math, everyone else in the room notices it.

        To your other point, undoubtedly, no one should force women (or men) into one field or another. Everyone should have options.

        My point about foreign-raised engineering students is that in the US, girls score higher than boys in science though elementary and middle schools, and then something switches in late high school. That effect is not seen in other countries nearly to the degree that we see it in the US. For folks who like to argue that it is hormonal or some sort of predisposition for men to drift into engineering, the data suggest that hormonal switch waits until high school to be flipped and that switch doesn’t seem to be found in other countries.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        OB…I guess I’m not sure where I’m being inconsistent in my arguments. I feel like I’m being very consistent. There are very rational and logical reasons why across everyone, men make more than women across jobs and across industries.

        Those rational and logical reasons do not explain the full magnitude of the wage gap, and it is the leftover portion that is more problematic.

        If the leftover portion varied from one side to the other, with women being favored part of the time and men being favored part of the time, then it is just random variance that cannot be explained. That would be fine.

        Unfortunately, it is not random. Large scale reputable analyses show that the unaccounted for differences consistently favor men.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      There is a follow-up to this today by Nate Silver on 538.

      The correlation between the male/female pay gap and voting is huge (0.76 – which is kind of unheard of and hard to ignore).

      If your state voted for Obama, the gap between male and female pay is smaller than the pay gap in states voting for Romney. In general, this makes sense. The southern states voted more for Romney, and the people in those states are more likely to have stereotypically based gender roles (e.g., stay at home moms or low paid professions).

      Also fun is that the male/female pay gap is hugely correlated with the percentage of female representation in state government offices. Again, not shockingly, the states with the biggest differences in male/female pay have the smallest numbers of female representatives.

      Data are fun!

  5. And BTW, Chris, I like Jason Isbell. I’m a big Son Volt fan, and of alternative country in general. Pandora, having learned my tastes, hooked me up with Isbell. Just another happy bit of lagniappe from the democratization of information that lies at the very heart of the second machine age.

    To me, a big aspect of the second machine age is a dramatic jump in freedom of choice when it comes to anything – media, ideas, food, durable and non-durable goods, etc. And yet we find ourselves encumbered with a government in which both parties seem intent on restricting freedom of choice in one way or another. Hmm. Methinks something has gotta give, sooner or later…

  6. DanMan says:

    after seeing what happened to the fellas in Goodfellas I can see how Benny Eggs lost all that weight.

    • Tuttabella says:

      From the Goodfellas soundtrack. Love this tune:

    • Tuttabella says:

      Hey, tthor, speaking of cool — Cap and I saw Tony Bennett in concert in Biloxi a couple of months ago, and we met his daughter in the lobby of the hotel/casino where the concert took place, and where we stayed.

      • Super cool! I’m now four degrees of separation from Tony Bennett! LOL.

        It’s a funny thing; I love the music of my parents’ generation. I have very distinct memories of spying on my parents’ parties even as a toddler, and that music is a part of me. Now, I don’t recall my folks ever being that excited by the music of my generation. I think the same holds true for me and my kids. I’m still trying to figure out how we got from Stevie Wonder to Ice-T in just one generation. (I’m pretty sure it’s a Dem plot! Ha!)

      • DanMan says:

        ‘Hang down your head Tom Dooley
        hang down your head and cry’

        We go on jags watching old movies every now and then. A few months ago they had the Beach Movies series on Retro and I found out those old movies introduced a lot of Motown artists. Little Stevie Wonder shows up in one when he is about 16. Martha Reeves, Diana Ross and the Supremes were introduced on them too. My hunch is the guys producing the movies were also producing music but it was interesting to see.

        I like the way Ice-T comes to the most basic of conclusions as a detective.

  7. way2gosassy says:

    I am totally fascinated with the wearable robots that are making the paralyzed mobile.

    Another techno advance for spinal cord injuries involves a surgical implant that provides an electrical impulse to the spinal cord allowing the patient to make voluntary movements in both the upper and lower body. This research is funded by the Christopher and Dana Reeves Fund. A very interesting article on this ground breaking work can be found on CNN Wire.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      Wearable robots could be used in other situations, too, I’ve read.

      In the military, for example, where loading and unloading tons of equipment is fairly standard.

      Sculptors that I know lament the impact of aging muscles on their ability to handle the materials they’ve always used.

      It would be great if wearable robots helped them be productive as long as they want to be.

  8. Tuttabella says:

    I also like the concept of mind mapping. Ideas come at me from all sides, in dreams and while awake, often but not always from left field, or I just sit there and mentally fish for ideas, and I record them lest I lose them, and then try to do something with them.

    I’ve never used a mind mapping app but would like to give one a try. I’ve heard of Personal Brain (the name brings to mind the exoself). Has anyone here tried a mind mapping program?

    • Tuttabella says:

      Just to be clear, I am not looking for a memory aid, as I have an excellent memory. I’m interested in something that will help me capture and organize the random thoughts that occur to me, a means of mental discipline.

    • way2gosassy says:

      Until you mentioned it I don’t think I have ever heard of it. I always tried to keep a notebook with my ideas written in them. I kept one for my art projects and one for work. The problem with that is that I always seemed to misplace them! =)

  9. Tuttabella says:

    Back to the topic of technology. I like the concept of the EXOSELF. Technology not so much as an external aid but as an external extension of oneself, an extension of one’s brain, something that allows you to expand your presence, as opposed to replacing you, something that processes info for you, organizes it or simply stores it, and thus acts as an extension of your brain, almost like a limb. It could be your smartphone or your old fashioned looseleaf planner, or something much more advanced depending on your profession.

    I came across the term EXOSELF in a book about mind hacking, and I understand it came from a science fiction story.

  10. “The winners in the second machine age are all in some sense artists, whether they post their work on YouTube, github, or the New York Times.”

    Indeed. Creativity, deep skill and knowledge are the new coin of the realm. I am basically an artisan in electrons; I craft tools that free my customers from drudgery. This freedom allows my customers to operate more safely, more efficiently, and as a result, more profitably.

    Now, if you are employed by one of my clients, and your skills are those of a drudge, you may not appreciate my efforts. If, on the other hand, you are a creative, intelligent individual who would much rather forgo the drudgery, and devote your working hours to higher value, intellectually challenging tasks, then you *like* what I build. It’s all a matter of prospective.

    Personally, I think we live in a marvelous time. The democratization of information is awe inspiring. Anybody, anywhere, can learn anything, if they set their mind to it. And then build whatever they dream up; CNC manufacturing and 3D printing technology is becoming downright cheap. And then find (or be discovered by) those customers at the long tail of the market that have been waiting for just your very creation. It’s all just fantastic. The opportunities for creative, entrepreneurial-minded individuals in this day and age are nearly boundless.

  11. kabuzz61 says:

    I always wondered why he didn’t get punished for Twana Brawley and his lack of income tax payments. A snitch is a snitch.

  12. objv says:

    This topic is be boring everyone to tears.No one seems to be afraid of being replaced by a robot.

    Today Obama ordered for changes to be made in directives regarding transparency in pay for federal contractors so women would be in a position to know if they are paid fairly. I have no argument with full disclosures as to what people are paid, but are women still being discriminated against?

    Here’s an article that says women – for the most part – are being paid fairly. What do you think?

    • Intrigued says:

      “are woman still discriminated against” Absolutely! Your link does a horrible job of proving otherwise. Did you notice how the author chose not to include statistics on gender gaps per occupation?

      • DanMan says:

        I typically discriminate against any woman I don’t know. I treat her like my wife, mom or one of my sister’s would expect to be treated by me. That other sister knows to keep a side eye on me though.

      • objv says:

        Intrigued, I’m not trying to start a fight here. The subject is interesting to me since I have a daughter in the workforce and lots of younger nieces.

        Anecdotally, a friend who my daughter hangs out with most is a female engineer (the majority of the higher paying jobs mentioned in the article were for engineers of some sort). Her friend received five job offers before graduation and had her pick of of employers.

        The companies around where I live seem to favor hiring women with STEM backgrounds. Last weekend, my daughter went skiing with three young women who are engineers and work for major oil companies. Since my daughter works with and sees a lot of engineers socially, I think she would have picked up on any discussion of pay disparity by now – at least as far as engineers are concerned.

        Are you basing your assertion of discrimination on personal experiences? Or studies? Do you allow for the fact that women sometimes leave the workforce to care for family members or may have to work shorter hours?

      • bubbabobcat says:

        More proof OV is anti equality for women. And a Phyliss Schlafly groupie.

        Go ahead and twist this into another whiny fake victimization bitch session.

      • objv says:

        Well, bless your heart bubba. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m quite happy that young women engineers are finding good jobs. You’re not?

      • Intrigued says:

        Obv we have had this discussion before. I provided several links that showed the disparity between genders per occupation and provided several instances where I witnessed discrimination against women during my career in HR. Obviously none of it was impressionable to you on the subject matter so I’ll step away and let someone else have a shot at it.

      • DanMan says:

        most any engineer with a pulse can find a job in this town

      • objv says:

        Yes, DanMan. That means job security for my husband.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        You live in a very myopically small world don’t you Danny?

        By the way, that was another rhetorical question.

        Intrigued, you nailed it. No amount of data or facts you smack them with will change their politically hued entrenched opinions.

      • objv says:

        Intrigued, I’ll understand if you don’t reply. I vaguely remember being in a discussion with you on this matter before, but honestly is the subject closed? I read the posts you, sassy and fifty made on the last blog and all three of you made good points but I could tell emotions were running a little high. I didn’t join in but many topics were left unanswered. For example, Sassy thought that employers and employees both would benefit from having daycare provided on premises. That’s a great idea, but how many employers could afford to open a daycare, and if they wanted to, would they have space to provide care and access to an outside play area? Do you and Sassy think the government should mandate employer provided care?

        As far as pay within certain jobs for men and women, do you think that this has become more equal over the years? If I remember correctly (I’ll admit, I don’t remembering much), wasn’t one of your examples of an older woman trying to enter the workforce after many years of not working? Sad to say, I’d be in the same boat, but would lack of job options be discrimination or failure to keep up a work history or job skills?

        Studies of job inequality can lead to different findings depending on the news source. A recent article says:

        “The BLS reports that single women who have never married earned 96% of men’s earnings in 2012.

        The supposed pay gap appears when marriage and children enter the picture. Child care takes mothers out of the labor market, so when they return they have less work experience than similarly-aged males. Many working mothers seek jobs that provide greater flexibility, such as telecommuting or flexible hours. Not all jobs can be flexible, and all other things being equal, those which are will pay less than those that do not.

        Education also matters. Even within groups with the same educational attainment, women often choose fields of study, such as sociology, liberal arts or psychology, that pay less in the labor market.”

        For more see:

      • Intrigued says:

        Obv, I wish you would have joined in on the conversation. Emotions weren’t high. Sassy was as cool as a cucumber and I was just having fun adopting Fiftie’s tone. Sometimes I want to have a little GGitude too. Lol If the subject was closed there wouldn’t be disparity so I’ll indulge in your questions.

        You are correct that daycares in the workforce are not an economical solution for most employers, but for larger corporations it is a feasible option. The government would not require employers to provide childcare programs but they may provide tax incentives to employers that do.

        I do not know what you are talking regarding an example of an elderly person so I doubt that was mine. We did agree that anyone who leaves the workforce for any amount of time would not earn as much as someone who remained in the workforce. Any amount of time out of the workforce is deducted from years of experience so that should be irrelevant.

        A couple of questions for you. Why do most if not all female dominant careers earn less than male dominant careers? Why do salaries tend to increase when males enter female dominated industries?

      • objv says:

        Intrigued wrote: A couple of questions for you. Why do most if not all female dominant careers earn less than male dominant careers? Why do salaries tend to increase when males enter female dominated industries?


        First of all I assumed that emotions were running high because you called what fifty wrote “sexist BS” and asked “WTF.” I realize that people have different ways of expressing themselves but maybe I picked up on those two instances more than the the bulk of the debate which was intelligent and reasonable.

        As far as your questions, I can only hypothesize and form an opinion from what I have seen and read. I think we can both agree that market forces dictate pay to at least some degree. A have a friend with at daughter who got a master’s in art history. Even though a major in art history worked out extremely well for Kate Middleton, my friend’s daughter had a hard time finding work (and a prince), because there were too few job openings and too many applicants. This seems to be true for many of the female dominated fields.

        Unfortunately, young women are still choosing careers in lower paid but more emotionally fulfilling fields while employer demand is up for those who chose less people orientated technical type jobs. I agree that part of the bias in women choosing careers may be due to conditioning. I’ve written about my nephew being in a STEM program and what a great opportunity it was for him. I was totally shocked when my sister said my niece could but wouldn’t be in the same program. My response was, “WHAT? HOW COULD YOU DO THAT? MY NIECE DESERVES TO BE IN THAT PROGRAM.” (Yes, I was yelling.) My sister explained that my niece was just not that interested in science and liked her current classmates and didn’t want to be transferred to a different school.

        My sister reconsidered, she talked with her daughter and my niece will be entering the STEM program next fall. However, there is no guarantee that my niece will be as attracted to science and math as my nephew. Even after extensive exposure to science every day, she may decide that a technical career is not as fulfilling as a people oriented career – and there’s nothing wrong with that. The important thing is that she is is given the opportunity and skills to make her decision.

        Now, on to your next question. Why do salaries tend to increase when males enter female dominated industries? Since I used to work as an RN and almost all RNs at the time were female, I was surprised to see that about half of the RNs assigned to my husband during his hospitalizations were male. I’m assuming that more men decided on nursing careers when they learned that nursing jobs were relatively well paid, interesting, and fulfilling I doubt that the pay for RNs increased just because men were entering the field. What am I getting wrong here?

      • Intrigued says:

        Obv I also stated at the beginning of my exchange with Fifty that I was going to adopt his tone to avoid being too politically correct for his liking and I’ll admit I thouroughly enjoyed it.

        Good! I’m glad you encouraged your sister into providing the same opportunities to your niece that your nephew had. Encouraging women to enter male dominated careers is one of the ways to close the gender gap.

        I think you will find the following report very interesting. It not only addresses the fact that more men pursue higher paid nursing careers but also the fact that they earn more than females in the same nursing field.

        Click to access Men_in_Nursing_Occupations.pdf

      • objv says:

        Intrigued: Thanks for the interesting article. Even after eliminating nurse anesthetists, midwives and practitioners from calculations, the category of full-time registered nurse is rather broad. It could mean mean work in a school or at a doctor’s office where pay would be less than in a hospital setting. Then too, men tend to gravitate to more critical care areas where pay might be higher. (My husband problems were acute during his hospitalizations.) I chose to work in the operating room where I had to take call and worked a lot of overtime. Thus, I made more yearly than most other nurses with the same level of experience because of the area of nursing I picked.

        So, are women really being discriminated against in nursing? In this case you would have to suppose that the predominantly female leadership is intentionally giving raises and promotions to men over women. To me that would be a long stretch.

      • Intrigued says:

        Obv, out of curiosity, were you against the feminist movement in the 1960’s and 70’s? My husband and I were discussing why so many older women today seem to be complacent, if not oppositional to women’s rights and equality. My husband thought this was due to the fact that women who actually fought for our rights in the late 1800’s – early 1900’s are now deceased and all we have left as female mentors are feminists and antifeminists.

        I just have a hard time understanding why no matter what facts are presented you will justify why women are paid less than their male counterparts as if you think that women should be paid less.

      • objv says:

        Intrigued, I don’t think women should be paid less, but I think there are often reasons besides discrimination why women make less then men. Take nursing, for example. Do you sincerely believe that the women in nursing are promoting men over women to cause pay inequality? Honestly?

        I do think that there was horrible inequality between genders in the past, but I may be younger than you think. By the time I was at the age to know more about feminism, feminists had the image of being angry, bitter unattractive women who were sour on life. I think I may have been in the doughnut hole between the times when feminism was considered cool.

      • Intrigue says:

        “Do you sincerely believe that the women in nursing are promoting men over women to cause pay inequality? Honestly?”

        Unfortunately, I think women hold higher standards for other women than they do men. I also think some women will purposely sabotage the success of other women. Combined with the fact that men demand higher salaries, I definitely think it is possible that women in nursing could be favoring men over women in the form of wage inequality.

        This brings me back to my question of why some women are oppositinal to women’s rights. I can see what you are saying about feminists not being trendy anymore but I wish we were more unified.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      I do a fair amount of this stuff for work. We have a handful of litigation-phobic clients that have us do an equity analysis of their compensation each year to see if there are goofy things going on.

      I think the general consensus is that there is still a 7% to 10% gap even when controlling for jobs, tenure, and things like that.

      If you look across the world of work in the US, for some jobs, there is parity, for a precious few jobs it tilts by a penny or two in favor of women, but across most jobs, there is still a gap.

      Seven to ten percent may not be a huge deal, but most folks don’t want 7% of their salary taken away for no good reason.

      We work with enough companies to know that some really goofy and discriminatory things happen (“well, he has a family to support, so he needs to make a little more”), but the threat of an OFCCP compensation audit (for any big company with gov’t contracts) tends to keep the really bad stuff from being too widespread.

      The 77 cents for every dollar thing does not take into consideration a ton of variables.

      If you want to find the real stuff that will make you want to set your hair on fire, look at the promotion and job advancement. Most of those decisions are behind-closed-doors subjective, and the sample sizes get smaller and smaller as you move up the organization, so the ability to do any real analyses of the data is all but impossible except for the largest companies.

      For every “this under-qualified woman/minority/etc was promoted over a more qualified male/white person” story you hear, there are a few hundred examples the other way that never get mentioned.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        In the mid 80s, I worked for a large company where not a single female employee achieved the median for her pay range, no matter what her job or pay scale was, no matter how long she’d been in the position.

        It was an enlightening moment.

        At that same company, after I started a conversation about pay disparities with my boss, my formerly ‘excellent’ reviews were all downgraded to ‘satisfactory.’ Yes, the paperwork was all redone and handed to me to sign.

        There were lawsuits. I received two payouts.

        Personally, I think all salaries should be available to everyone who works the company.

        That way, you can see who and what the company values.

        If it’s different than their glowing mission statements, you’ve got evidence.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        who works for the company

        And regarding women who take time off to raise children, it seems to me there are many jobs where being willing and able to work with others is more important than being familiar with the latest release of MS Word.

        I do believe that running a house with children strengthens one’s management skills and clarifies one strengths and weaknesses.

        Any manager who rejects someone who’s been raising kids is a nincompoop.

      • Intrigued says:

        “At that same company, after I started a conversation about pay disparities with my boss, my formerly ‘excellent’ reviews were all downgraded to ‘satisfactory.’ Yes, the paperwork was all redone and handed to me to sign.”

        Wow that’s terrible. It’s obvious that you discovered their dirty little secret and they needed to be able to cover your lower wages with a lower performance rating. Unfortunately, the tactic is still used today to cover various wage gaps, but I have never seen anyone stupid enough to try and retroactive the performance rating. Glad you got a settlement!

      • way2gosassy says:

        OV I think you were looking for something that was definitely not there. No one in that discussion even suggested government mandates for child care. What was discussed were the many experiments that major corporations have done over the last couple of decades to improve workplace and job satisfaction. Childcare was one issue discussed but so were things like flex hours, health centers to name a couple of more.

        By the way your little dog whistle about “emotions were running a little high” doesn’t evoke but one response in me. I’ll let you decide what that is since you are so good at telling everyone how you believe they think.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Homer, you are forgetting the forced ‘set asides’. Roughly 10%-20% of most municipal, state and federal jobs have to be awarded to minority or women owned businesses. That is the law. A discriminatory law if there ever was one. Who is being kept out of the process?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Buzz…not forgetting about “set asides” at all. It is a completely different issue than hiring and promotions inside a private organization.

        I am one to be very against quotas (and affirmative action in 99% of all cases in private organizations has absolutely nothing to do with quotas), but the gov’t contracting is a tough nut to crack.

        I absolutely understand why the provisions were put into place. Without them, most gov’t agencies would just go with the same contractors that had been doing the work before, and that would have been 99% owned by White dudes. The only way to get other groups into the game was to have set asides.

        In general, they have worked well and have broadened the base of qualified contractors to do the work. We do a lot of work with local, state, and federal gov’t agencies, and anecdotally, most agencies are fine with the set-aside provisions in that it has ultimately brought them more options from which to choose.

        It is also very important to note that no one is required to contract with folks who are not capable of doing the job. Aside from that, most require a good faith attempt to bring in female and minority owned businesses rather than an absolute requirement.

        We have used minority and female owned businesses in many of our contracts. Some of our work requires that we utilize a travel agent, video or printing services, or something like that for our work. It takes all of about 30 minutes to find a qualified minority/woman owned business, and then we use them. If they don’t work, we get rid of them and find a new one. If they do work, it provides the city/state/fed another qualified contractor for whom they know they can go for service.

        Again, not a fan of quotas, and quotas for hiring are illegal. My first case to work on after grad school was the gov’t complaining that a company was using different standards for Whites and minorities, and the gov’t was essentially suing for the White dudes. Unless there is some goofy consent decree that would only be in place if the company was doing some really, really bad stuff before, quotas on either side are illegal.

        Quotas and set asides for gov’t contractors? Maybe not “fair” in an absolute sense, but there certainly was a need. Does that need still exist today? That is worthy of debate. I think there is still some data suggesting the minorities and women have higher rates of small business loan rejections than do White dudes. I’m not sure how recent that is, but I think it was within the past five years or so.

      • Intrigued says:

        HT, I worked for a 8a small disadvantaged contractor. He was very qualified and provided excellent contract performance but I doubt anyone would actually consider this Ivy League graduate disadvantaged. Regardless, he met the requirements and was granted the ability to compete for these 8a contracts and because of this advantage and contractor performance his company grew fast. Our staff was very culturally diverse. As we grew I was tasked with developing an Affirmative Action plan and we passed the statistical analysis with flying colors. There was no need for number manipulation as with other AA plans I developed for other contractors. Now granted, some of this diversity could be attributed to economical disadvantages in attracting a broader range of candidates. Basically, white dudes didn’t want to work for a small company offering average to below average salaries for the market. I started noticing disparity when we acquired more white males through contract transitions. I was able to use our AA plan to increase our minority salaries to close the gap.

        I agree there are disadvantages to affirmative action plans but the pros seem to definitely out way the cons. Right now there is a shortage of Veteran owned companies and I think out of anyone they deserve the competing advantage to compete for Government contracts.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Interesting that you Homer and Intrigue come to the conclusion basically that they are unfair, which of course they are. And like all ‘good’ laws, get on the books but never get off, which means we again have institutionalized discrimination.

        Many companies actually put women and minorities in position’s without real power so they can go after the minority/women contracts. My problem is it’s a shame that our government has to push our businesses into finding ways around bad laws so they can compete and stay in business.

        My equality stand is simple: Our government’s should treat everyone equally in the laws they write.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Buzz…were provisions such as this ever needed in your view?

        We had lots of unfair laws on the books that severely disadvantaged large groups of people, so things were done to try to level the playing field.

        Is your position that the field is now level and thus these things are not needed or is your position that we never should have made those provisions in the first place?

        Incidentally, I think we middle aged White dudes are doing pretty well overall. You would have to search far a wide to find any real, widespread things that are hurting us (by us, I mean folks who look like me – for all I know you are a Black lesbian doing a long-term performance art piece).

        Certainly you can find incidents of unfairness with regard to one individual or another, but folks who look like me (greying hair, expanding waistline, and pasty white) get hired, promoted, and receive gov’t contracts at a disproportionally high rate across almost all industries and job levels.

        No one is going to be having a telethon for us anytime soon.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Homer, I am saying the time for set asides is done. There are plenty of laws on the books to take care of any discrimination case that may come up. We shouldn’t make bad laws to correct past bad laws.

        A little off topic but the immigration debate is one of those cases. Laws are on the books to handle illegal immigration. So, instead of using said laws, they want to ignore the laws and make new law to mitigate the original law. People who think this is a very stupid way and reason to enact laws get branded a bigot when it has nothing to do with color. You have to be an ass to support a government that ignores it’s own laws enacted by representatives of the people who sent them there. It’s a joke.

      • Intrigued says:

        “My problem is it’s a shame that our government has to push our businesses into finding ways around bad laws so they can compete and stay in business.”

        Businesses have a choice not to compete for Government contracts so nobody is pushing them into anything. What’s a shame is that Government contractors would rather find ways around laws opposed to adhering to them. The goal of AA programs are to promote equality for all to the extent that these programs are no longer needed. Contrary to your ignorant beliefs federal contract regulations are constantly reevaluated and repealed as needed.

      • DanMan says:

        I had just gotten out of college when Kathy Whitmire’s HUB rules kicked in full force in the late 80’s. All at once every contractor in town was running his business through his wife or mom. If you sub-contracted to minorities to fulfill quotas they soon learned they had you over a barrel. They could call for work stoppages like any union would do.

        Later I took a job with a local company headed by a guy that was able to claim he was 1/64 Beigefoot or something. He is as white as I am. He applied for and got his HUB certification and insisted his new logo be placed on all the letterhead that went out.

        I pulled him aside and told him the reason he hired me was to develop clients in my area of experience and that was in no way associated with his efforts to exploit AA requirements in public works contracts that was a large part of his existing work. I actually had to tell him that logo would be the kiss of death for my efforts.

        I made it almost a year.

        More recently I bid on a project that had CalPers financing behind it. The bidding documents had about 100 pages of CalPers rules regarding AA and such things. I called the firm that prepared the bid and asked if anybody really followed the dictates of the CalPers section and he basically told me to just lie. He said nobody would check.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        DanMan, I worked for a university in Texas during the late eighties. I needed to hire a skilled technician in refrigeration. H/R handled the resume collations. Weeded out the ones that did not meet all the requirements then handed them to me to set up interviews. I was told that I had to hire an Asian or Native American. Regardless of the 12 resumes I had, the fix was in. I can’t tell you how it feels to be interviewing someone who is enthusiastic and hopeful and all the time I know he doesn’t have a chance. Laws effect people in bad ways at times. I had to compromise myself to follow the dictates of the state. That was rough.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Buzz…what your HR person told you was illegal, and it is not all that hard to find lawyers or even a gov’t agency willing to fight that battle. Heck, my group would probably be able to do the analyses to support that it was illegal discrimination against Whites.

        Just because you had a bad (and very lazy) HR group does not make the provisions less important.

    • CaptSternn says:

      Interesting topic, OV. Maybe the Obama administration knows that women get paid less because his administration pays women significantly less than men. He should start in his own house.

      There are other things to point out. Tutt makes more than I do. My boss makes a lot more than I do, though I don’t know exactly what that amount is. My boss makes more than her boss, and more than his boss, that much I do know.

      The claims don’t take the things you mentioned into consideration, like how many hours are worked and what the jobs are. They are not comparing apples to apples. Or if women are staying at home with their kids.

      One interesting thing in that article is how many people think it is best for the kid or kids to have an at home parent, especially in the early years. My parents felt that way so my mom stayed home. Once I was in school she went back to work, but she worked for the school in that cafeteria so she would be home when I was.

      My closest cousin also felt it was best to have a parent at home. His wife made quite a bit more than he did, so he was Mr. Mom. That was going to change as the oldest was turning six and they were going to home school. He was going back to work and she was going to quit and stay home. It didn’t work out. They bought a home in Virginia, and old log house at the foot of a mountain. It burned to the gound taking him and the two kids just a month after they moved. She was in Houston when it happened.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Now stern…you are not so math phobic to make your opening statement about the Obama administration paying women significantly less than men without going ahead and providing the full explanation of why that is the case.

        Not unlike many organizations, the lower paying jobs have disproportionately more women, thus there is a “gap” in pay, but when looking at similar jobs, the Obama administration is doing a remarkably good and transparent job of pay equity across gender.

        Of course, you know all that, but you just wanted to attempt to score some unnecessary “points” by intentionally withholding a bit of information. Good job with that!

      • kabuzz61 says:

        What Homer and others use for ‘data’ is truly apples to apples. Also, how about the inequality for promotions against white males and males generally for a female applicant? The main problem is people hoping and wishing the world should be fair and no one is favored over another. Of course in the real world, that will never happen.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Buzz…unfortunately, when looking across a whole boatload of companies across several industries, there does not seem to be widespread discrimination against White males (or males in general) when it comes to promotions and hiring.

        When an idiot woman is promoted or hired, folks assume there were more qualified men available. When an idiot man is promoted or hired, no one does that because idiots are often promoted or hired and it doesn’t even register that it was a dude, just an idiot.

        There is also a bit of an insidious thought process behind that. When a woman/minority/etc gets hired, some people assume it was in place of a White male, as though there is the assumption the job should rightly go to a White dude if everything was fair. No one says, “Wow, they hired this idiot woman, couldn’t they have found a smarter person”.

        Very few people are privy to the final decision making process of hiring and promotion, but it seems like everyone in the plant will think they know how a decision was made, and those rumors are seldom on the positive side.

        This is one drawback to affirmative action. It actually is not a characteristic of affirmative action, but rather a characteristic of people who are against affirmative action. When a woman/minority/etc is hired/promoted, some not-so-nice people assume it was because of affirmative action. It carries a stigma that is more a reflection of the people having the thought rather than a characteristic of affirmative action.

        Sincerely, if all things were equal (e.g., resume, education, experience, etc.), companies would be foolish to not hire the minority/female/older/etc. candidate over a White male, if for no other reason than to make their diversity numbers look a bit better.

        Unfortunately, it is rarely that all things are exactly equal. There are undoubtedly times when a less-than-qualified woman is promoted/hired over a slightly-more-qualified dude, and there are undoubtedly times when a dude gets promoted/hired over a more qualified woman.

        The overall data, however, suggests that White men and men in general do just fine in terms of promotion and hiring.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        How can you not believe they received preferential treatment? Acceptance tests, scores etc. have to be lowered to get more minorities or women in government fields. Which really means, let’s lower our standards and NOT give the citizen’s the best of the best. Minorities and women were passing the tests but not in sufficient number, so now even the qualified minorities and women are looked upon as not ‘making the grade’. Excuse the pun.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Buzz…aside from physical ability tests for gov’t jobs, which tests are getting lowered to get more women/minorities into jobs? What do you mean by get women into government fields?

        Keep in mind, I do this exact thing for a living, so I’m hoping you have lots of examples because I’ll have some business develop folks do some visits to get us lots of new clients.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        One other thing about your comment, and something on which I commented yesterday.

        You say, “Minorities and women were passing the tests but not in sufficient number, so now even the qualified minorities and women are looked upon as not ‘making the grade'”.

        That, my friend, is on you. You will note, that even if there were lowered standards, those standards were applied to White dudes too. Yet, no one ever looks upon White dudes as potentially not making the original grade, just the minority members and women.

        That is not a function of affirmative action. That is a function of some folks assuming the jobs somehow would belong to White dudes by default.

      • objv says:

        So sorry to hear about your cousin and the two kids. Tragic.

  13. Intrigued says:

    I think the majority have accepted that jobs will evolve and adapt to technological advances but this fear provoking theory that humans will be replaced by machines in the near future is impractical. The development of technology is a slow process which takes years to perfect to the point that it is accurate enough to replace human behavior. For example, speech recognition has been around 50+ years but is stil not accurate enough to replace the job of a medical transcriptionist. There’s no doubt this will eventually occur but by the time it does it will be an after thought.

    I’m more interested in technology that focuses on achieving what humans cannot.

  14. DanMan says:

    actually objv that brings about a somber reflection…

    I am the 5th of 6 kids. I always assumed I was the favorite. I also assumed my brothers and sisters felt the same way. A few years ago we were hanging out and hashing over our collective childhoods and my suspicions were confirmed.

    Turns out they all also felt I was the favorite.

    • Tuttabella says:

      I was an only child, so I am convinced I was the favorite.

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Suuuuuure. Keep delusionally convincing yourself of that Danny. That’s why you need to constantly relate slanted personal anecdotes of how much smarter you are than alllllllll of the rest of your family.

      I imagine we would get some entertaining and totally different anecdotes if we were to hear from Danny’s “beloved” family directly.

    • objv says:

      DanMan: Thanks for the explanations as to why you do not suffer from a lack of self-esteem. I grew up in a family of five. One of my younger brothers was definitely the favorite – but he was so darn cute (and not close to me in age) that I could never work up much envy.

      Bubba: Why are you coming off as the jealous sibling? Interesting …

      • Tuttabella says:

        Cap and I get along great because we are both “only” children.

      • DanMan says:

        meh, if they’re envious its just misplaced emotion.

        I assume nobody cares as much about me as I do.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Wow an accurate self assessment from Danny for the first time ever.

      • DanMan says:

        Hey bubba, do you have anybody that cares more about you than you do?

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Yes. Barack Obama.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        And that’s a two way street Danny. The fact that your Momma, Daddy, and family didn’t care as much about you as you would like them to explains all the blatantly and pathetically insecure self aggrandizing “anecdotes” you insist upon boring us with you.

        (Abnormal) psychology 101.

        Yes Danny, we know you’re pathetic and have issues. We don’t need any more numbingly dull and obviously propagandist proof.

      • DanMan says:

        bless your heart bubba

      • CaptSternn says:

        “Yes. Barack Obama.”


        Sadly, I think you really believe that.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        More proof which goes to show that Cappy will believe any crap that fits in with his already closed minded steel trap “world view”.

        Man you wingnuts are really digging a hole for yourselves today.

        Did you all drink out of the same stupid well or something?

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Bubba is usually off the deep end but he seems in even deeper waters. He needs a rescue.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Buzzy in protest of Mayor Bloomberg (a Republican) greedily took the Big Gulp.

        And it shows.

  15. DanMan says:

    Here’s the real reason we are going towards machines.

    reckon they can program machines to fund the democratical party like union members do?

  16. DanMan says:

    and speaking of machines and reading books, I mentioned the escapades of the Kennedy boyz I came across in “Bobby and Jackie”, a book about RFK and Jackie – O’s affair. One of the citations has a secret service agent having to interrupt them while they were twerking away in the penthouse of the Carlisle with some girls from the office. JFK has one on a couch, Bobby’s going after it with a girl on the floor and Teddy’s gettin’ after it in a bathroom behind a door with another girl.

    Bobby looks up from his current non-Ethel pursuit and without missing a beat asked the secret service guy what he wants. “I need to pass a message to Ted Kennedy” he replies. Without slowing down he takes the message and sends the guy away.

    Interesting book that mentions a lot of familiar folks doing things that weren’t written about back in the day.

    • Tuttabella says:

      What if they held an orgy and nobody came?

      • CaptSternn says:

        Now that there is funny, I don’t care who ya are.

      • DanMan says:

        One of the observations Arthur Schlesinger made in regards to the Camelot theme Jackie put together between his assassination and funeral was that the only thing JFK had in common with that was that he ‘came alot’.

    • John Galt says:

      I don’t have the slightest idea what this has to do with the blog topic, but the press used to give politicians a great deal more latitude in their personal lives that they do today. While this incident smacks of hyperbole, it is well established that the Kennedy White House had a lot of extracurricular activity.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      What does that irrelevant screed have to do with machines? Unless you’re making some jealous comment about the libidinous stamina and sang froid of the Kennedy’s?

      You also don’t seem to understand what “twerking” really is.

      • DanMan says:

        screed? is an anecdote a screed to our poor gentle bird brain from Bellaire? Lighten up Nancy.

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Really Danny, are you that desperate to put on a straight front that you have to post a Penthouse Forum type of pathetic adolescent fake letter fantasy non sequtur?

      No need to answer. That was a rhetorical question.

    • Tuttabella says:

      Maybe Dan read the Kennedy book on his Kindle reading machine, or on a book from a printing press machine, and therefore relevant to the issue of technology.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Although I have no idea why it popped into his head to post synopses of salacious parts of a Kennedy book, if we start complaining about not-on-topic comments, this will often be a quiet place.

        I’m more put off by the inability to make a reply to a comment without somehow getting in some anti-homosexual slur. It is absolutely baffling.

      • DanMan says:

        bubba likes it when I do that Homer. He wouldn’t lead with his stupid insults if he didn’t. And as I’ve said, I like to make folks happy since I’m such a giver.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        In other words, DanTroll cain’t help hisself.

  17. objv says:

    …. Come back DanMan! … And bring that calibrated eye!

  18. flypusher says:

    Not so fast, robots!!!!! 🙂

  19. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    Well, if computers ever find a way to spend chunks of a workday posting snarky comments on an online blog, I think many of us are in trouble.

    • Tuttabella says:

      Automated snark?

    • Tuttabella says:

      Or better yet — “automated leisure” — since posting comments is a way of goofing off or passing the time. “America’s favorite automated pastime.”

      Reminds me of canned, laugh tracks. We can program your machine to automatically post a typical HT to Captain Sternn reply, full of post-Lent snarky, faux bewilderment.

      I can program my machine to relax and watch Ingmar Bergman movies for me, so I don’t have to.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      That cannot hap…that cannot hap…that cannot hap…that cannot hap…

      • DanMan says:

        somebody put a penny on the needle, the record’s stuck

        (a bet there’s a few here that have no idea what that means)

      • Tuttabella says:

        “Folks with faces painted blue. I just don’t get it. I just don’t get it.”

  20. Tuttabella says:

    Fine. Be that way. Go off on your own. We’ll be here waiting for you when you feel the need to rejoin the group. But, please, don’t feel pressured.

  21. RagingModerate says:

    Automated Journalism? That explains Dale Lezon at the Houston Chronicle.

  22. way2gosassy says:

    I don’t think they will waste their time engineering broken down old farts like me!

  23. geoff1968 says:

    I dunno. I suppose we’re all replaceable. Orwell imagined a “Versificator” in 1984 would replace the poet and the composer.

    I found this article from about 6 years ago.

    My concern is that the wealth and leisure that is being created by technology will concentrate power to the point that we’ll have some sort of dystopian world. I would prefer that the wealth would be used to perfect humanity, but the pessimist in me keeps his guard up and I tend to think that the outcome will not be positive.

    We’ll probably end up serving our creation-like we do already.

  24. DanMan says:

    I was blessed to be born with a calibrated eye that easily detects BS. Saves a lot of time.

  25. texan5142 says:

    The Captain wrote,
    “Seems to me that people that want such a thing are all starry eyed dreamers of their idea of utopia, but they can’t or won’t process the reality or even consider the consequences of such a thing. ”

    Remember that you said this the next time you go on and on about your “beliefs”.

  26. flypusher says:

    The machines probably aren’t dissecting fruit flies anytime soon! In my experience (so far), the machines save time and increase efficiency- the PCR machine you can program and walk away rather than camp out next to and constantly transfer the samples to different heating blocks, searching online – instead of replacing people. If you have solid, viable projects going, your answers are going to generate even more questions, so even more experiments and work for people. I’m more worried about lack of funding than being replaced by a machine, but your advice is good- no one should be complacent.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      It would be interesting to know how many significant career changes posters have had in reaction to or because of technology.

      My count is 9.

      • way2gosassy says:

        In the last 30 years I went from operations to maintenance to inspections all three moves were precipitated by technology that either made the job extremely boring or enhanced the job with better data.

      • Tuttabella says:

        I was able to care for my elderly mom for 3 years by telecommuting from home, albeit part-time. Also, thanks to technology, as I grow older, I feel less fearful, I feel more empowered, more likely to find another job in a nontraditional employment setting, in case I’m put out to pasture — doing consultant work, freelance, temporary assignments, etc. And the coolest thing is that I could come and go as I please and not have to deal with office politics.

      • John Galt says:

        Zero. But the way I do my job is very, very different than it was when I began my training 25 years ago.

      • Tuttabella says:

        JG, the same applies to me. I’ve held the same job for almost 25 years, but it’s a lot easier to perform now, thanks to technology, and it includes the ability to telecommute.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Only twice for me. Once intentional and once by accident.

      • John Galt says:

        Oh, my job is not easier now. With greater access to information (particularly online access to most of the scientific literature), completely sequenced genomes, technology for large-scale experimentation and greater computing power, we can do so much more so much faster. But so can everyone else, so if we want to be leaders in the field, we have to take full advantage of these and that takes time, brainpower and money.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        JG, what percentage of your day is spent reading?

      • objv says:

        My husband has had to be hospitalized four times in recent years. It seems that technology has only expanded the need for medical and nursing staff. The R.N. to patient ratio during his stays varied anywhere from 1:1 to 4:1. The plethora of machinery, tests and procedures has only increased the need for trained health care professionals and been a boon to manufacturers of medical equipment.

        While some medical care can be automated, much can not. For example, when my husband’s cardiologist removed a heart pump, the doctor personally held pressure over the insertion site for twenty minutes followed by another 40 minutes by nurses. Still, the site bled and had to have pressure applied for another 30 minutes.

        I would say that despite advances in technology, there will be a continued need for health care workers.

      • John Galt says:

        Bobo – probably a third to a half of my day is reading. Much of this is critical reading as well – editing other’s writing, peer-reviewing, commenting on reports or strategic documents. So much that it has been a while since I read a book for sheer pleasure.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        JG, I hear you about reading for pleasure.

        My job is nothing like yours. But I read a lot, too. I seem to recall reading for pleasure, but it’s a faint memory. I dream about it sometimes, though.

      • objv says:

        I’ve always loved to read for pleasure. Over the past couple weeks, I’ve read “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society,” “The Dog Listener,” “Wheat Belly,” and “Organic Composting Made Easy.” Also, as you’re all aware, I downloaded and read Margaret Sanger’s “The Pivot of Civilization.” for everyone’s enlightenment. (You’re welcome.)

        My tastes in books is eclectic to say the least. Usually, I prefer nonfiction At the library, my habit is to scan the new book rack for anything interesting and then head to the medical section and wander out to the other nonfiction aisles before looking at any fiction books.

        When I lived in Katy, technology (while we’re on the subject) enabled me to order many books from the library online. Now, I prefer to read on my Kindle Fire. The only drawback to Kindle books, is that many of them that are written for the online market suffer from lack of editing. Even with my poor writing skills, I can tell that some of the books should not have been published in their current form.

        Tuttabella, if you’re reading my comment, I’d highly recommend “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society,” Elements of story remind me of you and Cap and the writing is both humorous and clever.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Thanks, OV! I’ll check in again during lunch.

    • objv says:

      Whoops … I have the RN to patient ratios reversed. Sorry about that. The lowest RN to patient ratio was 1:4. The highest was 1:1.

  27. kabuzz61 says:

    Good song. If he had gone through a traditional music publishing house, I think they would have had him change him melody. Except for two notes, it is Norwegian Wood by The Beatles.

    It would be great to remove journalists from the narrative thereby getting rid of bias. If journalist’s actually did investigative reporting, that would be something different, But we are now at a new age with blogs and very easy access to information.

    A computer or machine can not create from a spark of an idea though. Whether a lyric, music piece, book, poem, architecture design, comics, you name it.

    • DanMan says:

      On one of his last days on Houston radio Pat Gray showed you could perform many Led Zeppelin songs to the tune of Gordon Lightfoot’s Edmond Fitzgerald. Pretty funny bit. Stairway to Heaven was perfect for it.

    • Tuttabella says:

      As I was saying in my post on yesterday’s thread, it’s difficult to be truly original. The part that’s debatable is whether it’s because all the information and data is already out there, previously created, and we unconsciously copy it, synthesize it, plagiarize it — or whether we’re all somehow on the same wavelength, each of us coming up with the same ideas, melodies, etc, on our own, independently of one another, since many of the same “original” concepts keep cropping up in different parts of the world, at different points in time over the course of history. There seems to be something universal in our thought process, akin to the theory that we’re all born with an innate knowledge of grammar.

      • DanMan says:

        The universal thing in our thought process is self reliance and liberty. Allow it to exist and you tend to get by comfortably on your own terms. Allow it to be snuffed out and you get the bliss of bondage on other people’s terms.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Actually, the idea of the individual is a relatively new concept — the individual person, one’s private space, etc.

      • Tuttabella says:

        I think the universal tendency is to want to be part of a group and subjugate the individual.

      • DanMan says:

        stepping away slowly…

      • Tuttabella says:

        Fine. Be that way. Go off on your own. We’ll be here waiting for you when you feel the need to rejoin the group. But, please, don’t feel pressured.

      • objv says:

        You’re opening up a can of worms here, Tutt. I would argue that the concept of the individual is as old as time. In the Biblical story of creation Eve ate the apple in defiance so that she could be independent from God.

        There has always been a clash between individual rights and the rights of others. Human nature dictates both a longing for independence and the need to belong to a group.

      • Tuttabella says:

        OV, I understood Eve’s act of defiance as trying to be LIKE God, versus being independent of God, although I guess being God-like could be interpreted as not needing God — i.e. autonomous and independent of God.

      • objv says:

        Tutt, I was using Eve as an example because the Bible was written thousands of years ago and the story of Adam and Eve comes first. It’s probably not the best illustration to argue for the concept of “the individual person”, but I think it would be safe to say that there is an element of rebellion and a desire for liberty in even the most repressive civilizations.

      • CaptSternn says:

        OV, I think much of human history had the tribal mentality rather than individual liberty and rights.

      • objv says:

        I agree with you there, cap, but I was responding to Tutt’s assertion that “the idea of the individual” was a relatively new concept. While the tribal mentality was prevalent throughout history, people still struggled to have an identity apart from the group. If you don’t mind another Biblical example – this time from the New Testament – the individual was responsible for accepting or denying Christ. It didn’t matter which group or nationality the person belonged to.

        I’ll grant you that in the two thousand years since the New Testament was written, forced conversion (including some of my ancestors) was all too common. Still, the concept of being an individual before God was prevalent among the early Christians.

      • Tuttabella says:

        OV, it seems the group mentality was the norm, with
        individualism the exception, an offense to the group, requiring struggle and rebellion.

      • CaptSternn says:

        That would be individual choice, OV, and you are right on that. But that even applied to slaves. The slave had to choose to be a good slave and to accept God’s gift. The idea of the individual at the government or collective level is something new. I think maybe that is what Tutt was getting at.

      • Tuttabella says:

        OV, I guess it would have been more appropriate for me to say “the importance of the individual in the eyes of society.”

      • Tuttabella says:

        By the way, I meant recognition of the individual over the course of human history, not US history.

      • objv says:

        Cap and Tutt, I see where you’re coming from now. When you explain that you are relating the individual to a larger power structure such as a government your comments make perfect sense.

      • DanMan says:

        I have yet to identify the group I would prefer to belong to that I would allow to dictate important elements of my life or speak for me in such regards. However if such a group existed it would surely be a majority as I am such an agreeable specimen.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Dan, just remember you are one of us.

      • objv says:

        Yes, Tutt, I did notice, but I felt like adding a twist (for the benefit of Homer and bubba). Hopefully, DanMan doesn’t mind being whacked about like a badminton birdie. Luckily, he *knows* he’s the favorite. 😉

    • objv says:

      Tutt, You may be taking the wrong psychological approach to DanMan. Many mothers have found that the best way to get their kids to do what they want is to tell them to do the opposite. 🙂

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