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Automation. Taking jobs aways from the skilled

by bruc101
posted 01-23-2017 11:22 PM


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54 replies

54 replies so far

View UncannyValleyWoods's profile

UncannyValleyWoods

542 posts in 2313 days


#1 posted 01-23-2017 11:28 PM

It’s time for everyone to re-read Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut.

Aside from that, I think it’s very important to alter the importance of “jobs” in this world and in our lives. Just look around here. There is talent and art flowing like a river through this place and none of that talent is valued in the same way a “job” is valued. It’s true that jobs give meaning and purpose to people and there is value in that, but jobs are not the be all and end all in life. If automation opens a world for us to each explore one’s creative abilities or to do absolutely nothing at all (if that’s what you get off on) then so be it. Like anything else, we just need balance.

-- “If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses.” ― Lenny Bruce

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Tony_S

996 posts in 3532 days


#2 posted 01-24-2017 12:16 AM

Just think how thrilled I was when I saw this!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_sQPcMgrc0

10 years ago 3 and 4 axis CNC routers weren’t all that common in small and med size shops, and 5’s even less so.
Couldn’t afford….couldn’t justify…..what can it do that we can’t…blah blah.
Now, they’re everywhere.

Today, the woodworking industry dictates that if you want to progress…you MUST conform, or you’ll be left behind in a huge way.
I can’t say I like it….but I have to embrace it(ain’t that effed up?) I’ve got a shop full of guys that have bills to pay.

Hopefully…in my industry anyway, It’ll work out the same way as it did in the past/present. I’ve never had to lay anyone off BECAUSE of the CNC work we do….it just allowed us to take on a lot more work.
Granted….one drawback is the fact I’ve had to hire a lot less as well.

It’s the future, like it or not.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

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Ger21

1087 posts in 3580 days


#3 posted 01-24-2017 05:08 AM

In the woodworking industry, robots and CNC machines don’t replace skilled workers. There’s a serious shortage of skilled woodworkers.
If you have skills and experience, you can find a job at 10 different shops in my area.

That robot cutting the stair stringer was cool. In the comments, someone mentioned that it was a $20,000 machine. That’s far more than $20K. Probably much more than $200K.
But the stairway is probably around $20,000.

-- Gerry, http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/index.html http://www.jointcam.com

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Tony_S

996 posts in 3532 days


#4 posted 01-24-2017 11:34 AM



In the woodworking industry, robots and CNC machines don t replace skilled workers.
- Ger21

In the custom stair industry, that’s just simply not true. Particularly with custom straight stairs. MANY skills have been shifted away from the guys on the floor, to the point where probably 75% of the straight stairs we build, are built by employee’s that I would call ‘unskilled’ in wood working. I can pay them half the wage, and they can assemble 2 to 3 times faster.
Most of the previous skills that these guys had to know in the past haven’t necessarily just disappeared, but been shifted to skilled draftsmen, programmers and operators who can perform these same tasks in a fraction of the amount of time it used to take by hand with far greater accuracy, and in most cases, fit and finish as well.
Today, I can produce the same $10,000 dollar straight hardwood staircase, better quality, in half the amount of time, all hands included, without what I would call a ‘skilled stair builder’ ever laying a hand on it.

Curved staircases haven’t been effected to nearly the same degree, but that’s changing all the time.
The video you watched of the robot cutting out the curved stringer…..It’s been sped up, but more than likely took no more than 15-20 minutes max(and that’s a stretch). What it executed in 20 minutes would take a skilled stair builder 3-4 hours at best.
I definitely still need highly skilled builders on the shop floor, and on site. Just not as many as I would have in the past.
I stay fairly close with a couple (one in particular) large(70+ on the floor), high end cabinet shops that do both residential and commercial work. Much of the high end(high skilled)detailed architectural millwork, corbel’s column’s etc. is done with a 5 axis cnc now.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View TravisH's profile

TravisH

678 posts in 2384 days


#5 posted 01-24-2017 12:57 PM

It is rather simple. If the task can be done through automation it will be done so once it is cheaper to produce the product than using skilled or non skilled labor. So many in today’s society are grasping to time period of manufacturing that has and will continue to diminish.

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OSB

147 posts in 975 days


#6 posted 01-24-2017 04:16 PM

I don’t want to be a Luddite but this is true and we should figure out a way to slow this process and at some point halt it because it does not seem sustainable. It’s not just the loss of jobs but the fact that we live in a disposable society and we are accelerating on that path from durable goods to single use and chuck it.

View clin's profile

clin

1051 posts in 1445 days


#7 posted 01-24-2017 04:48 PM

Automation has the potential to replace ALL jobs over the next few decades. Some estimates have computers thinking as well as humans in less than 15 years. This snowball started rolling down the hill decades ago, but it is really picking up speed now. Ultimately no one’s job is safe. It’s only a question of time.

How does an economy work when human labor has no value?

This is not like previous technological revolutions. In the past, automation, or more generally increases in production efficiency, freed people to do more complex tasks. This is probably the biggest part of mankind’s continued improvement in quality of life. But, once machines can do everything we can do, there is no next level.

There’s no stopping this. Businesses will continue to improve efficiency via automation because this lowers their production costs. While business can see that this reduces their customer base, there’s no direct connection to a specific business.

Perhaps it will require laws that require businesses to spend X% of revenues on human labor. In the end, I don’t think it will be up to us. Eventually the computer (yes one large, distributed computer) will control us. It will be up to this computer what happens. However, I suspect it will be benevolent, and probably will let us think we are still in control.

-- Clin

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bigblockyeti

5817 posts in 2169 days


#8 posted 01-24-2017 05:40 PM



cking up
Eventually the computer (yes one large, distributed computer) will control us. It will be up to this computer what happens. However, I suspect it will be benevolent, and probably will let us think we are still in control.

- clin


I was under the impression this had already happened?

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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Pezking7p

3230 posts in 2100 days


#9 posted 01-24-2017 06:44 PM

I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords.


I don t want to be a Luddite but this is true and we should figure out a way to slow this process and at some point halt it because it does not seem sustainable. It s not just the loss of jobs but the fact that we live in a disposable society and we are accelerating on that path from durable goods to single use and chuck it.

- OSB

What about a world where EVERYTHING is performed by a computer/robot. What would people do? Permanent vacation? That can’t be all bad.

-- -Dan

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bigblockyeti

5817 posts in 2169 days


#10 posted 01-24-2017 07:03 PM

That kinda sounds like the movie WALL-E

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View Tony_S's profile

Tony_S

996 posts in 3532 days


#11 posted 01-25-2017 12:00 AM

Build you a house?
http://www.blueprint-robotics.com/video/

How about a timber framed house?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DV9InsDwao0

Need a brick layer?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQ2PdpLEAG0

Make no mistake, it’s here, it’s now.
You can stand in the corner with your arms crossed in disgust and a fowl look on your face if you choose….the tech world doesn’t care.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

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patron

13649 posts in 3790 days


#12 posted 01-25-2017 01:11 AM

everyone looked to the day they could relax and enjoy life
first it was going to be 35 hour work weeks
then more credit to buy better
now we got automation to ease the workload
and many don’t have work
or can’t keep up with the joneses anymore
not even the joneses

things will proceed along this way

then they will have robots to take over football and basketball
some will object
but many will be ok with it
as many spectacular plays will be exciting

until they come up with a robot

that drinks their beer for them

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View TravisH's profile

TravisH

678 posts in 2384 days


#13 posted 01-25-2017 02:56 AM

I don’t think we have to fear of not being able to work. Individuals just will have to redefine what they considered “skilled” labor. If a job entails essentially being an able body yes you should be concerned. Unfortunately a segment of the population falls into this category. Based on the assemblies I attended at the high school, with my oldest, and the career days they presented they are pushing a vast majority of kids into these “skilled” areas….future government dependent masses or those that will struggle to get ahead not understanding why they don’t make more for stamping widgets and why they would be replaced by a machine.

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SuperCubber

1080 posts in 2733 days


#14 posted 01-25-2017 03:09 AM

We’ll have to leave the U.S. in search of opportunity! How ironic is that?!

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

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OSB

147 posts in 975 days


#15 posted 01-25-2017 06:36 AM

Permanent vacation, I doubt it.

I predict sky high unemployment, major class separation and collapsing social services.

This ain’t Star Trek.

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

1219 posts in 2683 days


#16 posted 01-25-2017 11:42 AM

Has an estimate ever been done on how many humans would be needed to fabricate and maintain the robots?

-- Jerry

View UncannyValleyWoods's profile

UncannyValleyWoods

542 posts in 2313 days


#17 posted 01-25-2017 12:16 PM



We ll have to leave the U.S. in search of opportunity! How ironic is that?!

- SuperCubber

Naaah, you just need to leave South Carolina. People in red states just don’t realize how much of a role their state leadership has in making their states economic hell-scapes. Take Mississippi for example. The MS state government knows that if they can keep their population poor, under-educated and angry, then they’ll counterintuitively vote for the same leadership that keeps them poor, under-educated and angry, every single time.

-- “If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses.” ― Lenny Bruce

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gargey

1013 posts in 1224 days


#18 posted 01-25-2017 01:10 PM

Take a step back, and tell me which society has it better:

Society A, or Society B that is the same in all ways as Society A but has some machines to help it do more work.

Society B has it better. It is wealthier and can do more with less effort. I consider this a plain fact.

Now, with change of any sort there are often difficulties. The transition from A to B leads to some workers being displaced (which sucks, for sure). But those workers ought to be able to find other ways to add value.

If Society B contiues to advance technologically and gets to a point where it can’t find something productive for its people to do, it would speak to the wealth of Society B.

Obviously, the big issue Society B will have to grapple with is how to distribute that wealth, which is an exercise in balancing the power of the owners of the capital stock and government against their fear of an uprising.

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Dark_Lightning

3488 posts in 3558 days


#19 posted 01-25-2017 02:12 PM


everyone looked to the day they could relax and enjoy life
first it was going to be 35 hour work weeks
then more credit to buy better
now we got automation to ease the workload
and many don t have work
or can t keep up with the joneses anymore
not even the joneses

things will proceed along this way

then they will have robots to take over football and basketball
some will object
but many will be ok with it
as many spectacular plays will be exciting

until they come up with a robot

that drinks their beer for them

- patron

8^D Better give that beer drinking robot a good liver, or it’ll be in the repair shop instead of working!

When I worked as an engineer, I loved CNC machined parts. It saved most of the key entry work to import my design to the machine, thus reducing labor and mistakes. I would have a first article made of plastic in the 3D printer, first, as well. Making some of the tools I designed by manual machining methods would have been extremely cost prohibitive.

Agreed, automation is taking jobs. I contend that most of them are rote tasks better suited to a machine that doesn’t vary its operational condition (much) from one article to the next. I’ve even seen where the grapes are being picked by mechanical harvesters. This one has a driver, but work is being done on an automated picker with machine vision capability. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXTnd90XFWE

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

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Logboy

75 posts in 3679 days


#20 posted 02-15-2017 03:28 AM

I have a CNC in my shop now. It enables me to now do things that otherwise would have been too labor intensive to do and actually make a profit. It also enables me to safely do things that would otherwise have been done by hand with a certain amount of risk. Im struggling to understand the “lost skill” argument. I still have to know how to do things just like I did when I was doing everything by hand. The difference is I’m using a different set of tools and processes to get there. It seems insane to me for someone actually suggest Id be better off going back to a router table, worrying about cutting my fingers instead of having a machine do it for me. My accuracy is higher, as is my quality and repeatability.

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clin

1051 posts in 1445 days


#21 posted 02-15-2017 07:17 AM



Has an estimate ever been done on how many humans would be needed to fabricate and maintain the robots?

- Gerald Thompson

Yes, and the estimate is zero. The machines will make and repair the machines. The machines will eventually be as smart as us, likely within a few decades. Once that happens, the machines will very quickly become, much, much smarter than us.


I have a CNC in my shop now. It enables me to now do things that otherwise would have been too labor intensive to do and actually make a profit. It also enables me to safely do things that would otherwise have been done by hand with a certain amount of risk. Im struggling to understand the “lost skill” argument. I still have to know how to do things just like I did when I was doing everything by hand. The difference is I m using a different set of tools and processes to get there. It seems insane to me for someone actually suggest Id be better off going back to a router table, worrying about cutting my fingers instead of having a machine do it for me. My accuracy is higher, as is my quality and repeatability.

- Logboy

As you just said, it is too labor intensive. What is happening is you are now producing more with less labor. It works better for you, because it’s your business. But when you can produce more with less work, it means someone else won’t be paid to do it. Works great for you, but not for the guy who loses his job.

This is the issue. Business has their foot on the gas, embracing technology to reduce labor costs. The problem is we’re heading right off a cliff. I’m not saying this is business’s fault, it’s the way it has always been. Up to now it’s been a great thing, since it freed up labor to do something else. The problem is, there is no longer something else.

-- Clin

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Woodknack

12870 posts in 2829 days


#22 posted 02-15-2017 07:50 AM



Naaah, you just need to leave South Carolina. People in red states just don t realize how much of a role their state leadership has in making their states economic hell-scapes. Take Mississippi for example. The MS state government knows that if they can keep their population poor, under-educated and angry, then they ll counterintuitively vote for the same leadership that keeps them poor, under-educated and angry, every single time.

- UncannyValleyWoods

Well said.

Elon Musk has some interesting things to say about society post automation.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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becikeja

1004 posts in 3262 days


#23 posted 02-15-2017 11:04 AM

The Paranoids are after you

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

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Gerald Thompson

1219 posts in 2683 days


#24 posted 02-15-2017 12:52 PM

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2380 posts in 2438 days


#25 posted 02-15-2017 01:16 PM



Naaah, you just need to leave South Carolina. People in red states just don t realize how much of a role their state leadership has in making their states economic hell-scapes. Take Mississippi for example. The MS state government knows that if they can keep their population poor, under-educated and angry, then they ll counterintuitively vote for the same leadership that keeps them poor, under-educated and angry, every single time.

- UncannyValleyWoods

You got it backwards – that would be blue states. Actually it’s “the establishment” politicians, blue and red. Having been in manufacturing for over 30 years, working in global companies, I’ve had a front row seat. While automation has reduced labor, by a 4 or 5 to 1 margin jobs are lost to low cost labor countries. Put another way, of the 100% jobs lost over the last 30 years, automation caused 20-25%, Asia and Mexico the rest.

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waho6o9

8702 posts in 3026 days


#26 posted 02-15-2017 01:16 PM

“Yes, and the estimate is zero. The machines will make and repair the machines. The machines will eventually be as smart as us, likely within a few decades. Once that happens, the machines will very quickly become, much, much smarter than us.”

I respectfully disagree with this assertion.

Now let’s make some saw dust.

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CherryWood

22 posts in 3688 days


#27 posted 02-15-2017 05:17 PM

Sears used to be a big hit with catalog sales many moons ago – now – is nearly bankrupt. WHY

Amazon – full of automation is booming – WHY

Well – it’s because of all of us. We want it cheaper and faster. Amazon automatically processes the order as soon as you say GO, and you get it most often in a couple of days. It also has a lot to do with our retirement accounts and earned interest on our investments.

The curves stairs – done on CNC in 2 hours vs a skilled craftsman doing it in 8 hours. When you are building a house and you need to choose and you are considering the budget – which one do you choose? Be honest – you “want” good quality but you “need” the price. You buy the most cost effective method. You may not be aware at the time but you choose CNC.

The industry only responds to the market. The market demands lower cost and faster delivery. Automation delivers. We are not aware of it most of the time, but we choose the automation.

WE ARE the market that DRIVES industry into automation.

It’s only in a setting such as this that the skilled vs automation comes up.

Does it need to change? That is debatable. New skilled workers DO replace the older skilled workers. True, the new skills do differ from the old skills. True there were more older skilled workers than the new skilled workers.

Are we better now, or worst? I think neither – we are just where we are.

Oh and by the way – the car DID replace the horse and nobody is complaining about that anymore.

I for one am sure glad I don’t need to ride a horse to work in the morning.

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fivecodys

1453 posts in 2085 days


#28 posted 02-15-2017 10:48 PM



That kinda sounds like the movie WALL-E

- bigblockyeti

I was just thinking that as I read through this string!

We will all be fat and have no bones! :)

-- When you leave your shop for the night, make sure you can always count to 10.

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Logboy

75 posts in 3679 days


#29 posted 02-16-2017 04:34 AM


As you just said, it is too labor intensive. What is happening is you are now producing more with less labor. It works better for you, because it s your business. But when you can produce more with less work, it means someone else won t be paid to do it. Works great for you, but not for the guy who loses his job.

This is the issue. Business has their foot on the gas, embracing technology to reduce labor costs. The problem is we re heading right off a cliff. I m not saying this is business s fault, it s the way it has always been. Up to now it s been a great thing, since it freed up labor to do something else. The problem is, there is no longer something else.

- clin

You have it completely backwards. I’m now able to produce products that otherwise would have been too labor intensive to produce. For example, I just took an order of 150 live edge cribbage boards. They could never be made on a drill press or with a jig profitably. With the CNC I can drill all the holes and the pockets for the magnets and pegs in minutes. But I still need people to run the blanks through the jointer, plane them, sand, debark, etc. I’m actually adding employees because Ive expanded my capabilities and added other facets to my business that otherwise would not have been possible without the CNC. I’m about to go begging the local college to see if they have any decent design kids coming through.

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Jim Finn

2722 posts in 3371 days


#30 posted 02-17-2017 01:14 AM

The candle makers resisted the light bulb also.

-- No PHD just a DD214

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JAAune

1866 posts in 2766 days


#31 posted 02-17-2017 06:45 AM



As you just said, it is too labor intensive. What is happening is you are now producing more with less labor. It works better for you, because it s your business. But when you can produce more with less work, it means someone else won t be paid to do it. Works great for you, but not for the guy who loses his job.
- clin

You have it completely backwards. I m now able to produce products that otherwise would have been too labor intensive to produce. For example, I just took an order of 150 live edge cribbage boards. They could never be made on a drill press or with a jig profitably. With the CNC I can drill all the holes and the pockets for the magnets and pegs in minutes. But I still need people to run the blanks through the jointer, plane them, sand, debark, etc. I m actually adding employees because Ive expanded my capabilities and added other facets to my business that otherwise would not have been possible without the CNC. I m about to go begging the local college to see if they have any decent design kids coming through.

- Logboy

I agree with Logboy. I’ve been making lots of items that are now within the price range of people who normally could not have afforded the things I make. So now my sales have increased and I’ve responded by purchasing a lot more materials from my suppliers to fill these orders. So that’s more jobs upstream from my shop. I’ve also just hired a guy who starts tomorrow because I can’t keep up. I’m sitting on quote requests because current orders are taking up all my time.

I’m sure many woodshops without a CNC are hurting but some of them just buy components from me. One of my clients treated me to lunch the other day and told me that if I ever closed shop, he’d shut down his business. Most of his labor-intensive woodworking is done by my company nowadays.

People have lots of disposable income these days because basic necessities are so cheap. Much of the excess money is being consumed by Apple, Starbucks, and Comcast but it’s out there.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View clin's profile

clin

1051 posts in 1445 days


#32 posted 02-17-2017 06:50 AM


As you just said, it is too labor intensive. What is happening is you are now producing more with less labor. It works better for you, because it s your business. But when you can produce more with less work, it means someone else won t be paid to do it. Works great for you, but not for the guy who loses his job.

This is the issue. Business has their foot on the gas, embracing technology to reduce labor costs. The problem is we re heading right off a cliff. I m not saying this is business s fault, it s the way it has always been. Up to now it s been a great thing, since it freed up labor to do something else. The problem is, there is no longer something else.

- clin

You have it completely backwards. I m now able to produce products that otherwise would have been too labor intensive to produce. For example, I just took an order of 150 live edge cribbage boards. They could never be made on a drill press or with a jig profitably. With the CNC I can drill all the holes and the pockets for the magnets and pegs in minutes. But I still need people to run the blanks through the jointer, plane them, sand, debark, etc. I m actually adding employees because Ive expanded my capabilities and added other facets to my business that otherwise would not have been possible without the CNC. I m about to go begging the local college to see if they have any decent design kids coming through.

- Logboy


Nothing backwards. The fact that you may hire people doesn’t mean you created a job. It just means your business is doing the work, rather than another business. I’m talking about total labor. In the end, more product is getting made, using fewer people. While your CNC machine improves your businesss productivity, and therefore you may gain market share and hire more people, some other business losses market share and lays off workers.

In grossly simple numbers, you hire one person to do the work that your competitors used to do with two people. Net jobs lost, not gained.

In the past, the new tech freed up those other workers to do something else. In the end, everyone is more productive, and this improves the overall standard of living. The problem now, is the new tech frees up people, but there is no longer something more for them to do. This is getting worse everyday. It’s the gorilla in the room, that is only just now being discussed.

People are still clinging to old labor market principles. That’s understandable, since these have been reliable since the first cave man traded a pelt for fire wood. I have no idea what the solution will be. But something very different than what we have now.

-- Clin

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JAAune

1866 posts in 2766 days


#33 posted 02-17-2017 06:55 AM


People in red states just don t realize how much of a role their state leadership has in making their states economic hell-scapes.

- UncannyValleyWoods

I live in a solid blue state but the vast majority of my sales are shipped/delivered out of state to red states. Illinois gets consistent rankings as one of the worst states to conduct business. I’d relocate to Indiana (lots of Illinois residents are doing just that) but since I don’t rely upon local sales, that’s not a pressing necessity at the moment.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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OSU55

2380 posts in 2438 days


#34 posted 02-17-2017 12:41 PM


As you just said, it is too labor intensive. What is happening is you are now producing more with less labor. It works better for you, because it s your business. But when you can produce more with less work, it means someone else won t be paid to do it. Works great for you, but not for the guy who loses his job.
- clin

You have it completely backwards. I m now able to produce products that otherwise would have been too labor intensive to produce. For example, I just took an order of 150 live edge cribbage boards. They could never be made on a drill press or with a jig profitably. With the CNC I can drill all the holes and the pockets for the magnets and pegs in minutes. But I still need people to run the blanks through the jointer, plane them, sand, debark, etc. I m actually adding employees because Ive expanded my capabilities and added other facets to my business that otherwise would not have been possible without the CNC. I m about to go begging the local college to see if they have any decent design kids coming through.
- Logboy

I agree with Logboy. I ve been making lots of items that are now within the price range of people who normally could not have afforded the things I make. So now my sales have increased and I ve responded by purchasing a lot more materials from my suppliers to fill these orders. So that s more jobs upstream from my shop. I ve also just hired a guy who starts tomorrow because I can t keep up. I m sitting on quote requests because current orders are taking up all my time.
- JAAune

Capitalism at work. Automation or new products (whalers hated the light bulb) aren’t the issue – exporting labor work is. Government doesn’t create wealth improvement jobs (they’re parasites), but it can sure take them away.

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dhazelton

2838 posts in 2745 days


#35 posted 02-17-2017 12:55 PM

You can’t eat leisure or pay your property taxes with it.

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mahdee

4291 posts in 2216 days


#36 posted 02-17-2017 01:48 PM

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waho6o9

8702 posts in 3026 days


#37 posted 02-17-2017 02:18 PM

Automate or evaporate

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ChuckV

3225 posts in 3976 days


#38 posted 02-17-2017 03:11 PM

Not to worry:

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

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Logboy

75 posts in 3679 days


#39 posted 02-17-2017 03:43 PM

Nothing backwards. The fact that you may hire people doesn’t mean you created a job. It just means your business is doing the work, rather than another business. I’m talking about total labor. In the end, more product is getting made, using fewer people. While your CNC machine improves your businesss productivity, and therefore you may gain market share and hire more people, some other business losses market share and lays off workers.
In grossly simple numbers, you hire one person to do the work that your competitors used to do with two people. Net jobs lost, not gained.

In the past, the new tech freed up those other workers to do something else. In the end, everyone is more productive, and this improves the overall standard of living. The problem now, is the new tech frees up people, but there is no longer something more for them to do. This is getting worse everyday. It’s the gorilla in the room, that is only just now being discussed.

People are still clinging to old labor market principles. That’s understandable, since these have been reliable since the first cave man traded a pelt for fire wood. I have no idea what the solution will be. But something very different than what we have now.

—Clin

Im suddenly reminded of an anecdote often attributed to economist Milton Friedman. He was visiting a canal project in Asia. He inquired as to why workers were using picks and shovels instead of modern-day earthmoving equipment. The government official said “Because this is a jobs program.” Friedman then replied, “Then why not give them spoons instead of shovels?”

Since you are against modern-day equipment improving speed and efficiency because it costs workers their jobs I’m going to assume then that in place of table saws and chop saws in your wood shop you give your workers hand saws. Instead of a planer, you give your workers scrub planes and smoothing planes. Instead of a jointer, you give your workers #7 jointer planes. Instead of a secretary writing emails and answering phone calls, you have a crew of people devoted to handwriting letters and mailing them. Instead of running to Home Depot in a truck to pick up plywood your workers use a horse and cart. If your answer is no, then youre just another self-righteous hypocrite.

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Woodknack

12870 posts in 2829 days


#40 posted 02-17-2017 06:59 PM

Truly The Me generation.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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becikeja

1004 posts in 3262 days


#41 posted 02-18-2017 02:07 AM

If you don’t like automation taking over, move to China where manual labor is king. Oh wait they are moving to more automation, how about Mexico, no wait they are moving to automation also.
Be serious – every one of you look to minimize your effort and seek more reward. How many of you that are against automation use no power tools in your woodworking? Only hand saws and hand tools. No lights in the shop just candles, no dust collector just a broom. No computer just paper and pencil. Oh wait, you’re reading this post on your computer or dare I say smart phone, Yes you have already embraced automation haven’t you. Welcome to the modern world

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

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clin

1051 posts in 1445 days


#42 posted 02-18-2017 04:54 AM

Im suddenly reminded of an anecdote often attributed to economist Milton Friedman. He was visiting a canal project in Asia. He inquired as to why workers were using picks and shovels instead of modern-day earthmoving equipment. The government official said “Because this is a jobs program.” Friedman then replied, “Then why not give them spoons instead of shovels?”

Since you are against modern-day equipment improving speed and efficiency because it costs workers their jobs I m going to assume then that in place of table saws and chop saws in your wood shop you give your workers hand saws. Instead of a planer, you give your workers scrub planes and smoothing planes. Instead of a jointer, you give your workers #7 jointer planes. Instead of a secretary writing emails and answering phone calls, you have a crew of people devoted to handwriting letters and mailing them. Instead of running to Home Depot in a truck to pick up plywood your workers use a horse and cart. If your answer is no, then youre just another self-righteous hypocrite.

- Logboy

Where did I ever say I was against automation? I’m simply pointing out what is happening and how it is getting worse. I never said anyone or any business was doing something enherantly wrong. In fact my whole point is they are doing what is right for them, even though collectively it is driving us all over a cliff.

But it’s the nature of business to work this way. I’m not suggesting any business should intentional operate less efficiently. There would be no point in individual businesses operating that way, as they will not be competitive.

As far as using spoons, that may make sense, IF there is nothing else the labor force could be doing. Historically, productivity improvements free up labor for other things. Though this can be disruptive for individuals, it’s proven better for society as a whole.

The problem that is developing is there won’t be anything for this surplus labor to do. That’s an unsustainably situation. There’s going to have to be a major paradigm shift in markets, labor, and the economy in general.

-- Clin

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Ger21

1087 posts in 3580 days


#43 posted 02-18-2017 12:40 PM


People are still clinging to old labor market principles. That s understandable, since these have been reliable since the first cave man traded a pelt for fire wood. I have no idea what the solution will be. But something very different than what we have now.

- clin

The solution is education. The people losing their jobs are typically those with less education.

The title of this thread was “Skilled” people losing their jobs. I still contend that it’s not the skilled that are losing their jobs, but rather the unskilled.
From what I hear from sales reps, is that most shops in our area are hiring, but there’s a serious lack of skilled labor.
As long as the economy is doing well, custom shops will continue to need more and more employees.
It’s the “factory” type shops that replacing people with machines, and mostly unskilled labor. Places that make thousands of the same things, day in and day out.

-- Gerry, http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/index.html http://www.jointcam.com

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Craftsman on the lake

2993 posts in 3886 days


#44 posted 02-18-2017 01:06 PM

Education is the new infrastructure.

The reason coal mining jobs are gone is no one is buying coal. No one is building or replacing power plants with coal ones. The jobs won’t come back. Announced the other day; Several midwestern states have hit 52% as the amount of electricity in their states that comes from windmills. That requires technology.

Mexican automotive workers work for $5 and hr. In Detroit it’s $22-$28/hr. Move those jobs to the US and Car prices increase dramatically. But, the plants will become automated. Japanese cars are made in the US for sale in the US. The only way they could do it was to build plants that are almost completely robotic. Auto jobs aren’t coming back to the US.

That’s why a well educated workforce is the only answer.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

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Nubsnstubs

1588 posts in 2179 days


#45 posted 02-18-2017 02:33 PM

I read all the comments, and can’t remember if anyone mentioned “injuries” as a factor in going to automated production. The cost and liabilities of an employee losing a finger or hand, and possibility their life would be a factor for me seriously thinking about automating if I was young enough to start a business in today’s environment. As it was, I got all the injuries,( hehehe) instead of my employees. At the time, the ‘90’s, woodworking machinery was too costly and only a dream when I was in business. ............... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

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becikeja

1004 posts in 3262 days


#46 posted 02-18-2017 02:43 PM

So much for skilled labor:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWmTX9QotGk

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

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clin

1051 posts in 1445 days


#47 posted 02-18-2017 03:49 PM


The solution is education. The people losing their jobs are typically those with less education.

The title of this thread was “Skilled” people losing their jobs. I still contend that it s not the skilled that are losing their jobs, but rather the unskilled.
From what I hear from sales reps, is that most shops in our area are hiring, but there s a serious lack of skilled labor.
As long as the economy is doing well, custom shops will continue to need more and more employees.
It s the “factory” type shops that replacing people with machines, and mostly unskilled labor. Places that make thousands of the same things, day in and day out.

- Ger21

Education will help delay. But no one will escape this. Some jobs will be threatened first. But all jobs will eventually be doable by machines. And this is several decades away. Not science fiction, hundreds of years from now.

Also, skilled is a somewhat subjective term, or at least relative. But in the end, it’s not going to be that helpful to be the last guy who loses his job to a machine. We are already seeing the economic effects. As larger segments of the population have no work, it will affect all of us more and more.

I don’t know what the solution is, trying to stop the development of automation seems impractical. I suspect things will have to get very bad before we make the necessary changes. The only solution I’ve heard about, is a system where everyone gets money from the government, the businesses who get this money for their products get heavily taxed. There a small scale project in Finland trying this out to a partial degree.

My own guess is that the machine, and yes I think it will be one large distributed computer, will determine what happens. I also expect it will allow us to think we are still in control. In effect, I think we may be in the process of creating our own god in the sense of creating something that is virtually all knowing and all powerful as far as humankind is concerned.

I’m hopeful about the long term future, but I think things may get very bad before they get better. Hopefully we can navigate our way through this. But until it accepted that this is the problem, that’s not going to happen. We’re not there yet, understandably people tend to focus on near term issues, but this problem isn’t going away.

-- Clin

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Logboy

75 posts in 3679 days


#48 posted 02-18-2017 04:58 PM

Some of you guys are missing the forest for the trees. Is manufacturing being automated? Yes. You know what isnt? Plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, etc. We actually have a shortage in many of these areas. Unfortunately our wonderful education system deems these jobs not the sexy ones kids should strive for. Instead of a kid going to tech school for two years so he can make 60k when he gets out they direct kids into a four year 50k education so they can get a job making 30k when they get out. I have a TechEd degree. All across the country TechEd programs are being cut out of schools. There are still plenty of skilled jobs in the future. The notion that we’ll all be sitting around jobless while the machines do everything isnt accurate.

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Logboy

75 posts in 3679 days


#49 posted 02-18-2017 05:01 PM


Where did I ever say I was against automation? I m simply pointing out what is happening and how it is getting worse. I never said anyone or any business was doing something enherantly wrong. In fact my whole point is they are doing what is right for them, even though collectively it is driving us all over a cliff.

But it s the nature of business to work this way. I m not suggesting any business should intentional operate less efficiently. There would be no point in individual businesses operating that way, as they will not be competitive.

As far as using spoons, that may make sense, IF there is nothing else the labor force could be doing. Historically, productivity improvements free up labor for other things. Though this can be disruptive for individuals, it s proven better for society as a whole.

The problem that is developing is there won t be anything for this surplus labor to do. That s an unsustainably situation. There s going to have to be a major paradigm shift in markets, labor, and the economy in general.

- clin

So you’re not against automation, you’re just pointing out what a monster I am for putting a guy at someone else’s business out of a job. You’re right that’s way different.

View clin's profile

clin

1051 posts in 1445 days


#50 posted 02-18-2017 06:12 PM


Where did I ever say I was against automation? I m simply pointing out what is happening and how it is getting worse. I never said anyone or any business was doing something enherantly wrong. In fact my whole point is they are doing what is right for them, even though collectively it is driving us all over a cliff.

But it s the nature of business to work this way. I m not suggesting any business should intentional operate less efficiently. There would be no point in individual businesses operating that way, as they will not be competitive.

As far as using spoons, that may make sense, IF there is nothing else the labor force could be doing. Historically, productivity improvements free up labor for other things. Though this can be disruptive for individuals, it s proven better for society as a whole.

The problem that is developing is there won t be anything for this surplus labor to do. That s an unsustainably situation. There s going to have to be a major paradigm shift in markets, labor, and the economy in general.

- clin

So you re not against automation, you re just pointing out what a monster I am for putting a guy at someone else s business out of a job. You re right that s way different.

- Logboy

I didn’t call you a monster or put any judgement on it at all. I’m just pointing out the cause and effect.

While automation can lead to a new or expanded factory, in a specific location, to the benefit of that locale, it will be at the expense of jobs overall.

Historically, new tech opens up new labor markets. I.E., no need for auto mechanics until automobiles were invented. And that’s still true to some extent now. But as machines become more capable, there will be a point where the machines can design, build, and repair the machines without us.

Short of mankind nuking itself back to the stone ages, this is going to happen. It’s only a question of when. And the estimates I’ve seen for this, it is measured in a few decades. There are huge advances occurring at breakneck speeds. We are on the cusp of having self driving vehicles . It may just be few years before there are production autos that are fully self driving. This is going to put a majority of truck, taxi, bus, and the Uber type service drivers out of work.

It will have great advantages for society as a whole, with near zero transportation accidents, DWI and texting while driving will cease to be an issue.

I agree with those pointing out that some jobs will be harder to automate, like a plumber, but these will ultimately be at risk too.

-- Clin

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