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Robots 'could replace 250,000 UK public sector workers' watch

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    (Original post by nexttime)
    They've been saying that for 20 years.

    All other admin roles in existence would be easier. At least 50 years away.
    Yea and computing has made massive strides forward since 1997 I think we can all agree


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    (Original post by paul514)
    Yea and computing has made massive strides forward since 1997 I think we can all agree
    That isn't the limiting factor though. Its a data problem.

    In order to do this you need lots of objective data the computer can analyse. Clinical exam findings are super hard to quantify, as are the symptoms patients describe. Even image analysis of scans isn't really there yet (although may be in 1 years). It may be more possible once we have improved lab tests but it'll take decades before there is sufficient data. And then even once that is in place, there will be lots of legal barriers as there always is in healthcare.

    Jobs where you take objective data and change it into other objective data, which is a very large number of roles, is orders of magnitude easier to automate.
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    (Original post by shadowdweller)
    It's worth noting that something often overlooked - at least in headlines - is that these robots will also create a number of jobs, whether in development, building, or even monitoring them, amongst other fields.
    Good luck to the older generations who probably aren't going to be able to pick up programming or engineering anytime particularly soon.
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    (Original post by LongtailRat)
    Good luck to the older generations who probably aren't going to be able to pick up programming or engineering anytime particularly soon.
    Technological advancement always has functioned to create jobs and in every generation it has been people who don't adapt to change who have been left behind. That isn't remotely new. Nor indeed does automation restrict jobs to certain sectors. A grocer that did not change since 1975 would be out of business by now, but look at the flourishing sales for local, high-quality, often-handmade food - and the number of people willing to pay premium prices for it. That's adaptation.

    That said, it would be ideal from my perspective if we could reduce a full-time job to six hours or four days a week: that'd be pretty fantastic. Alas, I don't see it.
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    (Original post by L i b)
    Technological advancement always has functioned to create jobs and in every generation it has been people who don't adapt to change who have been left behind. That isn't remotely new. Nor indeed does automation restrict jobs to certain sectors. A grocer that did not change since 1975 would be out of business by now, but look at the flourishing sales for local, high-quality, often-handmade food - and the number of people willing to pay premium prices for it. That's adaptation.

    That said, it would be ideal from my perspective if we could reduce a full-time job to six hours or four days a week: that'd be pretty fantastic. Alas, I don't see it.
    Modern economies have long been 'too' productive.

    Having a population with more free time would help with consumption as it would allow for more use of entertainment and leisure. In such productive economies as today and those of the future, apart from the military and R&D (the latter of which never seeming to receive the interest it deserves), there are few things to drive the economy with, so entertainment is likely to be a big thing. This is likely to be the case within a few decades as automation becomes ever more entrenched in Western aging countries.

    In half a century there might in fact be a need for basic income policies and the 'decriminalization' (destigmatization) of unemployment.
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    (Original post by LongtailRat)
    Good luck to the older generations who probably aren't going to be able to pick up programming or engineering anytime particularly soon.
    Not true.

    There's an oldie in my workplace who can code better than any of us.

    At uni on my STEM course my tutors are all old professors who paid lots of £££ to research (involving programming /maths / physics). One tutor works for Microsoft as a consultant.
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    The prophecy is coming true! Arm yourselves!

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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    Reform, a right-of-centre thinktank, says websites and artificial intelligence “chat bots” could replace up to 90% of Whitehall’s administrators, as well as tens of thousands in the NHS and GPs’ surgeries, by 2030 – saving as much as £4bn a year.

    https://www.theguardian.com/technolo...sector-workers
    Like most technology enthusiasts, this report looks at tasks that can be automated rather than staff requirements.

    The report says:

    ""chat bots” could replace ... tens of thousands in ...GPs’ surgeries"

    The key constraints of GP staffing are "are the partners willing to have a lone public facing female on the reception desk?" "If so, how do we manage when she is called away from her post for any reason?" "How is sickness and holiday cover to be provided?" The probable answers to those questions means a doctors' surgery will need to employ at least 3 administrative staff, possibly more. Given that we employ these people, can we find them enough work to fill their days?

    Likewise it says:-

    "increased automation in policing through crowd-monitoring drones and facial recognition technology"

    So what are the policing requirements when the crowd starts throwing rocks at the drones?

    What changes the demand for labour is not the creation of technology but the willingness to change working practices.

    The DWP is closing vast numbers of Jobcentres. There have been remote "signer's on" since Labour Exchanges were invented but the belief has always been that making people physically turn up once a week or once a fortnight was an important check on the integrity of the system. The government has now decided that employing thousands of staff and providing hundreds of buildings for the process costs far more than the perceived benefit in reducing fraud and idleness,

    The internet and the telephone may be the mechanism by which the change is implemented but it is not the driver of the change. That is the cost of the system compared with the benefits it brings. The change could have been implemented 30 years ago with postcards if the government had been minded to do so.
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    (Original post by LongtailRat)
    Good luck to the older generations who probably aren't going to be able to pick up programming or engineering anytime particularly soon.
    Engineering? The problem in engineering is not enough new blood, the old blood is just fine.

    You're also showing a lack of understanding of how workforce skill sets evolve, it's not the old workers who reskill, it's the young ones, often not even having to reskill. Sure, a few old workers may, but the new jobs get taken mostly by the younger workers and the old jobs go with the old workers.

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    (Original post by nexttime)
    That isn't the limiting factor though. Its a data problem.

    In order to do this you need lots of objective data the computer can analyse. Clinical exam findings are super hard to quantify, as are the symptoms patients describe. Even image analysis of scans isn't really there yet (although may be in 1 years). It may be more possible once we have improved lab tests but it'll take decades before there is sufficient data. And then even once that is in place, there will be lots of legal barriers as there always is in healthcare.

    Jobs where you take objective data and change it into other objective data, which is a very large number of roles, is orders of magnitude easier to automate.
    I do not think it is a data problem. It is a human factor. If not now, then in the very near future you could produce an automated diagnosis system with a lower death/serious adverse consequences rate than any doctor.

    However the people that system kills will be pre-determined; they will be the people with conditions or combinations of symptoms that the computer is not programmed to identify.

    The public are often more comfortable with the risk of the random human error of a medical professional than a pre-ordained outcome, even if the risk of the random human error is greater than the pre-ordained outcome.

    Your need for more data, is really the wish to reduce the pre-ordained failures to a level at which the public fails to notice it exists.
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    Started well before that

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    Tbf, most machines pre-digital were not really autonomous in the sense that 'robots' are intended to be, they acted as mechanical aids to human work and required constant human supervision. A good example being the sort of calculating machines that prevailed from the 1940s onwards.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    However the people that system kills will be pre-determined; they will be the people with conditions or combinations of symptoms that the computer is not programmed to identify.
    .
    Compare and contrast with GPs, who are not programmed to identify most major illnesses and all of the rare ones. :teehee: I may be doing them a bit of a disservice, but the GP is notorious for not recognising conditions and just sending everyone on to randomly chosen specialists.

    I don't know what the success rate is like for the latest medical testing machines, but I can't help thinking that in the near future, a quick blood sample passed across a sensor, loaded into an app, will produce far more useful diagnoses than any GP.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    Compare and contrast with GPs, who are not programmed to identify most major illnesses and all of the rare ones. :teehee: I may be doing them a bit of a disservice, but the GP is notorious for not recognising conditions and just sending everyone on to randomly chosen specialists.

    I don't know what the success rate is like for the latest medical testing machines, but I can't help thinking that in the near future, a quick blood sample passed across a sensor, loaded into an app, will produce far more useful diagnoses than any GP.
    The major problem with GPs is not lack of skill but lack of moral fibre. They have gradually lost the willingness to give unpalatable news to people who desire, for one reason or another, to have an illness or a particular illness.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    The major problem with GPs is not lack of skill but lack of moral fibre. They have gradually lost the willingness to give unpalatable news to people who desire, for one reason or another, to have an illness or a particular illness.
    I saw an amazing Horizon programme about placebo that showed that simply authoritatively telling people they are going to get better has a big effect, which is increased still further if they are given some pills and still more if something hi-tech looking is done, like a test and waving a gadget over them.

    There's a huge gap in the market for meaningless cures, I don't know, maybe people could just stick needles in people, or listen to them, or lay on hands, or wave crystals, or crush flowers in front of them and wave the scents, stuff like that. Surprised nobody's doing this kind of thing.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    I do not think it is a data problem. It is a human factor. If not now, then in the very near future you could produce an automated diagnosis system with a lower death/serious adverse consequences rate than any doctor.
    Honestly it simply wouldn't work. Let's pour aside all other roles of a doctor and just look at diagnosing:

    Human error in medicine is definitely under-recognised. Most patients have no idea when a serious error has been made and just assume it's normal. In fact, patient's are no more likely to complain about a doctor who had made a mistake than one who has not.

    But saying you could currently create an AI capable of objectifying all of the subjectiveness and subtlety of human interaction is not going to work. Your computer can't smell alcohol on someone's breath and then ask about it. It can't quantify someone's pain the same way a human can (everyone in A&E says their pain is '10/10'). It can't listen to a chest. And if you're getting a human to input such clinical values then that's not exactly an independent AI.

    You might stand a chance once biochemistry really takes off and you could do 1000 tests per patient to have enough data, but that is 50 years away.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    .
    I don't know what the success rate is like for the latest medical testing machines, but I can't help thinking that in the near future, a quick blood sample passed across a sensor, loaded into an app, will produce far more useful diagnoses than any GP.
    Perhaps for super simple things like diabetes, and some infectious diseases.

    Otherwise I think it's a tight call as to what will come first: that our hovercars.
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    Otherwise I think it's a tight call as to what will come first: that our hovercars.
    As I know even less about hovercars than I do about medicine (eg, nothing), I'm happy to accept your expert view. :teehee:
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    (Original post by L i b)
    Technological advancement always has functioned to create jobs and in every generation it has been people who don't adapt to change who have been left behind. That isn't remotely new. Nor indeed does automation restrict jobs to certain sectors. A grocer that did not change since 1975 would be out of business by now, but look at the flourishing sales for local, high-quality, often-handmade food - and the number of people willing to pay premium prices for it. That's adaptation.

    That said, it would be ideal from my perspective if we could reduce a full-time job to six hours or four days a week: that'd be pretty fantastic. Alas, I don't see it.
    Exactly this, it's not a new trend, and it's one we've clearly survived in the past... ironically the advance in technology is one of the things that seems to be making people worry more despite the benefits it's brought in the past; there's a lot of scaremongering in the news etc, without the positive side of the story being given any notice.
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    Perhaps for super simple things like diabetes, and some infectious diseases.

    Otherwise I think it's a tight call as to what will come first: that our hovercars.
    You would be surprised about what the IT sector can do, especially when another sector (i.e. healthcare) is under pressure and considerable stress (i.e. an aging population and tightening budget).

    Hovercars were never even close to being invented because they are almost pointless from an economic standpoint. Such technology for healthcare certainly is not, and is likely to be almost crucial with the aging UK.

    Although I do likewise think it will take a long while, it is definitely plausible to see such technology within our lifetimes (born 1990-2000+) thanks to the magic the market has on 'stressed' economic sectors and continuous technological improvements.

    Up until now there was not the same pressure being placed on healthcare. Not as fast an aging population and more immigrant doctors/nurses without such likely budget cuts. Likewise, the IT sector was nowhere near as developed as it has only properly started snowballing from around the 2000s.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    Tbf, most machines pre-digital were not really autonomous in the sense that 'robots' are intended to be, they acted as mechanical aids to human work and required constant human supervision. A good example being the sort of calculating machines that prevailed from the 1940s onwards.
    This digital revolution did not start yesterday and doesn't end tomorrow, it started nearly 40 years ago .

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