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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Robots are Coming for Your Job…What Will You Do?

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…

ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources


The Robots are Coming for Your Job…

   In 1986 I wrote a widely quoted column titled Burger Flippers Can’t Afford Your $40,000 Auto which was in response to an announcement by General Electric of further off-shoring of US jobs.  Responses in the Wall Street Journal and other business media suggested this was just a passing fad, it wouldn’t last, the American worker was not in danger.

As we all know, that was not true.  NAFTA and other so-called world trade policies have hurt middle class jobs and our standard of living while Wall Street has profited…leading to perpetual financial insecurity for many citizens.

As has been said, change is inevitable but progress is not.  The next round of change which has been taking place and one that has been stabbing the worker in the back is the growth of robotics.

According to a detailed study in 2017 by MIT and Boston University economists, between 1990 and 2007, robots displaced some 670,000 industrial workers and precipitated a drastic decline in wages…automation is predicted to quadruple by 2025 fueled by military and defense research, Silicon Valley and University researchers and other government-funded research all designed to replace humans in the name of making things more efficient and safe – just like ‘driverless cars.’ 

I find it ironic, for example, that fast food workers strike for higher pay…yet, they too are being replaced by robotic self-serve counters and kiosks which do not require human workers.  Eventually, we won’t need humans to serve food or to drive taxis or for bus service…that eliminate a lot of jobs.

   After studying the amazing strength of ants working in cooperation, Stanford University’s Dexterous Manipulation Lab built a team of six, 3.5-ounce microbots that can pull a 3,900-pound car.  Amazon is developing a fleet of robotic warehouses and convenience stores which will lower prices by replacing clerks and stockers with robots.  They have started testing delivery of packages using drones instead of humans.

AI systems via Google are now poised to replace jobs transporting products on our highways via prototypes of tractor-trailer fleets, replacing 1.8 million human truckers. These automated systems never need time off, never need to eat and eventually, the workers who load and unload these trucks will be replaced by robots as well.

Think about your local bank…many of them use fewer tellers, instead encouraging online banking via smart phones or through an ATM.  The Washington Post reported this new “automation bomb” could destroy 45 percent of US work activities causing $2 trillion in lost annual wages!

Given the decline in intelligence and motivation among young people that we see, this portends a very troubling future.  As physicist, Stephen Hawking warns “AI could spell the end of the human race…it could take off on its own and redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate.”

Once again, the Wall Street Journal happily assures us not to worry…all of this will lead to happy, productive workers and more profitable companies.  That is there are any citizens with a job or money left to spend!  The Middle Class has rapidly turning into the begging class in recent decades from what I can see.

The 9-to-5 job has disappeared

The way we work and our relationship to our jobs has changed dramatically over the last few decades. A report in the Wall Street Journal outlines how work has become more time-consuming, less stable but also more flexible. In 1973, 6% of Americans complained of working excessive hours, according to a report based on government data. In 2016, 26% of workers said they usually worked more than 48 hours a week. Workers act increasingly like free agents in the job market but a lack of planning for the future will put retirement for many in doubt. Companies have also become more focused on the needs of shareholders rather than workers.

The United States has seen a rise of part time jobs and the so-called “Gig” economy among its labor force as corporations shed many full time jobs in order to avoid paying full time wages and benefits.  Some folks are now forced to work two, three, even four jobs in order to survive, often foregoing their roles of positive parenting.  Nearly 79% of workers had a high school degree in 2012 vs. 48% in 1968…but their wages have declined by 23% when inflation is factored in!

So-Will Robots Buy Wall Street Products?

There is already more income inequality in America than any other developed democratic country along with declining wages and increasing costs as corporations have dumped pensions and other benefits and the government has eliminated many safety nets in hopes more churches and non-profits assume that role.  Despite that, during the Obama years the United States set a record for the number of people using food stamps.

As the wealth gap grows it is important to learn a new skill.  I’ve always suggested that people learn a skilled trade such as plumber, electrician, carpentry, nursing, network security, etc.  I’ll discuss other ways to stay ahead of the curve in future issues.


Yours for better living,

Bruce, the Poor Man


Free Resources


Maybe you’re a mom with a little one at home and you want to make some extra cash - working from home has never been easier. Thank you, technology!

Super Frugal vs. Just Trying to Save a Buck

If you're just getting started with a thrifty lifestyle, you'll want to learn these 5 basic rules of frugality.


How to Survive the War on the Middle Class

14 of the best reports I’ve assembled on protecting your freedom…Here is the download link.


A Final Note…

Contributors and subscribers enable the Poor Man Survivor to post 150+ free essays annually. It is for this reason they are Heroes and Heroines of New Media. Without your financial support, the free content would disappear for the simple reason that I cannot keep body and soul together on my meager book sales & ecommerce alone.

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I know everyone is short on time in this hectic world so I’ve kept this PDF short and to the point with links to expert how-to articles and guides including:


·         How to Increase Your Intelligence

·         6 Step Brain Exercise Steve Jobs Used to Boost Creativity

·         6 Simple Habits to Boost Your Intelligence

·         The Best Vitamins to Increase Brain Function

·         How a Harvard Brain Specialist Keeps Her Brain Healthy

·         A Review of the Top 10 Brain [Limitless] Pills

·         How to Protect Your Cognitive Function



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Randy said...

People won't speak out until their job vanishes-that's how it works in America!

Larry said...

I don't know how Millenials are going to make it, especially those saddled with debt from mostly useless college degrees. {Have to confirm this feedback, I must confirm I'm not a robot]!

Lisa said...

Very interesting article - nice freebies too.

Marianne said...

You at least always stick up for the little guy-it is why I like your column. Unsure how to fight Wall Street except to suggest that consumers learn skills that cannot be replaced by robots easily [trades in particular]. Keep up the good work.