I was thinking about sex robots, and after a prudish giggle I thought why sex robots? Well maybe this goes hand-in-metal gripper with the notion of things that humans are too expensive for. The Cotton Gin and McCormick Reaper happened because innovation was cheaper than paying people. This is 100% the reason why humans make robots.
- It’s way less expensive to send an SUV into space than Elon Musk.
- It’s too expensive to hire all the bank tellers people require to do all the transactions people want. Think of all your auto-deposits, ATMs, credit and debit card purchases, and online bank transactions.
- It’s cheaper and more accurate to put satellites into space than it is to hire weathermen everywhere (and have spies everywhere).
So someone somewhere decided that wives, girlfriends, and prostitutes were too expensive and unreliable. Hence the sex robot. Oh stop with the indignation girls, your toys are the same thing, and you’ve had them forever.
What makes workers too expensive for their jobs? Think about the industries that have been automated.
- Auto Manufacturing
These are all very unionized fields. And it stands to reason. When a union comes in, you have to
- pay people more,
- give them more sick and vacation time,
- you can’t fire them,
- you have to pay their pensions forever, even if they put virtually nothing into it,
- you can never reduce pay or benefits.
Even if your industry is tanking, you can’t cut back on any of these when you are dealing with a union. Even if you went to your workers and told them it’s either take a 10% pay cut or take a 100% job loss. In fact they’d probably riot if you told them they aren’t getting a cost-of-living raise every year.
I am from the San Francisco Bay Area. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). When BART was designed back in 1972, it was completely possible to automate the whole thing. Driverless trains, Automated ticket sales, computerized turnstiles controlled from central computers. But the Transit Unions sued the system to make them require that a train operator be on every single train. They had to redesign the nose cone on the trains and put in a room with a mirror and like 2 buttons and a seat. And the cost-savings of automation went out the (unopenable) windows.
Furthermore, BART was prevented initially from running all the way to San Francisco Airport because the Cab Drivers Unions forbade it. They rightly felt that their low quality, overpriced service would take a major hit. Even today with BART 90% of the way to the airport, you still need that 10 minute bus ride from the station.
So I posit that there is a causal relationship between unions and robots (and mechanization in general). I also posit that automation may not always make the world better, but unions always make things lower quality and more expensive. This is exactly what makes automation more affordable than them. You did this to yourselves.