Humans Need Not Apply

In this post I am going to tell you about a recent day that Cynthia and I had. It has nothing to do with our house. I’m going to make a political point at the end though, so fair warning.

A few weeks ago, Cynthia was in the States on family business. On the day she returned to Panama she got up at about 4:00 a.m. to make her flight. Here are some specific moments of her day:

  • 4:00 a.m. ~ Rise and shine. Go on Amazon and buy an eBook to read on the plane
  • 4:39 ~ Check a traffic app for the route to the airport
  • 5:30 ~ Arrive at the Austin airport and check in at the self-serve kiosk
  • 9:00 ~ Arrive in Houston. Step up to the self-order electronic tablet at a restaurant and place her breakfast order. Slide her credit card to pay for the meal
  • 10:45 ~ Board the plane. Before takeoff, the pilot presses the Auto Pilot button and the plane flies itself from Houston to Panama

In the meantime, I was getting ready to go the the airport to pick up Cynthia:

  • 6:30 ~ Rise and shine
  • 7:00 a.m. ~ Go online  with a banking app and transfer money to our checking account and set up a couple bill pays. Deposit $20 to our toll road account
  • 8:00 ~ Check the airline app to see if the flight was on time
  • 8:50 ~ Bring up Waze on my smartphone and plot my trip to the city
  • 8:55 ~ Leave for Panama City. Stop at a cash machine in Coronado and get cash
  • 11:15 ~ Stop at Organica in the city to buy some natural food groceries. Push the button on the parking kiosk and receive a ticket
  • 11:35 ~ After shopping, put my parking ticket in the self-pay kiosk and deposit 66-cents for parking
  • 11:36 ~ Drive to the exit and put my ticket in the kiosk to exit the parking lot
  • 1:17 ~ Enter the Southern Corridor (toll road). Without stopping the car, drive through two toll booths to pay the tolls which were automatically collected via the sticker on our sunroof window
  • 1:45 ~ Arrive at the airport. Push the button on the parking kiosk and receive a ticket
  • 2:35 ~ After meeting Cynthia, I put my parking ticket in the self-pay kiosk and paid $1.75 for parking
  • 2:42 ~ Drive to the parking lot exit and put my ticket in the kiosk to exit the parking lot
  • 3:50 ~ Stop at a grocery store to buy some coconut water. Pay at the self-pay register

Question: What do all these transactions have in common?

Obvious answer: Beyond Cynthia and me, NO HUMANS WERE DIRECTLY INVOLVED!

Do the math and extrapolate how many jobs no longer exist over the entire United States and the developed world. It is a BIG number. Automation and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) are already making an impact in humans having jobs.

Over the next few years, these and more scenarios will become more and more common. The most common jobs in the United States are cashier, retail worker, call center worker, and fast food restaurant worker. These jobs are being automated away as we speak.

The average cashier/retail worker, for example, is a 39 year old woman, quite possibly a single mother. What job will she do when retail jobs evaporate?

And the most common job in 29 states? Truck driver. There are 3.5 million truck drivers, the majority of whom will be out of work within the next ten years as trucks start driving themselves.

The average truck driver is a 49 year old man. He is most likely a high school grad, perhaps he has one year of college, and may be a military veteran. What job will truck drivers do when these jobs evaporate?

And what will happen when the trucks drive themselves and no longer need to stop? There are seven million truck stop, diner, and hotel workers who’s jobs will be at risk.

Have you seen video of new factories and Amazon and other fulfillment centers? There are wall to wall robots and machines:

And it isn’t just blue-collar workers that will be hit by this. Artificial intelligence can read medical X-rays better than human radiologists.  AI can review legal documents better and faster than lawyers. Robots will soon be doing delicate surgeries better than surgeons with decades of experience. And the list goes on and on.

Before I get to the political part, I encourage you to watch this video:

Here is the political part that applies to citizens of the United States: Only one candidate has his finger on the pulse of all of this. Andrew Yang is running as a Democrat for president in 2020. In order to partially alleviate the disruption, Andrew Yang’s flagship policy would be to give $1,000 per month to every citizen 18 years old or older. No questions asked. Every citizen gets it. And yes we can pay for it. Andrew Yang is proposing the Freedom Dividend as he calls it, to take up some of the financial slack as automation and artificial intelligence decimate human work.

Yang has more than 100 policy position statements on his website. Cynthia and I have been following him for more than a year and are excited by how he uses facts and figures to explain and solve the problems of the 21st century.

If you find any of what I have written interesting or even scary, I encourage you to check out Andrew Yang’s website. Perhaps the best introduction to Andrew is the Joe Rogan Podcast on YouTube (below). We are used to sound bites and thirty-second answers at the debates. This tells us nothing about the candidates. The Joe Rogan interview is almost two hours long but I think you will be intrigued and will feel as we do — that there is a political candidate who makes absolute sense for the issues that are facing us.

When you listen to Andrew Yang, notice how he uses facts and figures and logic. Notice how he is non-political. Notice how he shuns drama and emotional responses, and notice how he is a problem solver. Notice how he is a real human being just trying to solve problems. He is a family man with two children. His motivation is to make our society better for his children, and for all of us by extension:

Cynthia and I think he is the right person to be the next president of the United States. I won’t bore or irritate you with more. Please take a look at Andrew Yang and let me know what you think.

Please feel free to comment, however this is my blog and my rules. Name calling and etc. sends your comment to the trash.

My next post will be the Reserve Water Tank ~ Part II. Stay tuned.

That’s all for now. Thanks for stopping by. Fred

17 thoughts on “Humans Need Not Apply

  1. Fred, no offense taken.
    I too agree that automation is killing human’s jobs.
    As a beginning I have stopped buying, as much as possible, on-line. Boycotting the likes of Amazon. Shopping locally.
    Yesterday, I purposely went to a kiosk at the mall (I sooo try to avoid the mall) to buy a brand name pair of sun glasses. The sales person told me that they didn’t have any stock of that brand. He continued “You’ll be able to order those on line.”

  2. People have worried about machines replacing people long before the car replaced the horse and buggy. US unemployment is near all-time lows. And not unrelated is that the standard of living (at least the average, distribution is another matter) keeps going up.

    • Yes that is true. But the predictions are that this displacement will be many times greater and swifter than the Industrial Revolution. Apparently half of the four-million workers that have been displaced in the Midwest have dropped out of the workforce and are not counted in the unemployment numbers. Yang explains this and much more. Our economy is soaring, GDP is off the charts, but half the population can’t pay an unexpected $500 expense. College grads are saddled with massive debt and 44% are under employed. And on and on. The future appears bleak for working age folks if these issues aren’t addressed. Thanks for your comment Jon. Fred

      • I completely agree that the US has a borrow, spend and don’t save problem. It will get worse as more people hit retirement age.

  3. Excellent post about a sobering reality of our daily lives. We’ll give Andrew Yang a closer look – he has really flown under the radar in this crazy primary season. I’d like to think someone like him – intelligent, rational, and with solid and practical ideas that actually help people – might have a shot at president, but after the past three years, I’m way too cynical for that. And – while I think the “Freedom Dividend” is a good idea in the short term to ease some of the hurt caused by automation, I’m wondering – what can we do long-term? Technology innovation will continue to advance, which means more automation and fewer old-style job. The economy will have to adapt, somehow, which means a different take on education and training people to find their place in the brave (scary?) new world.

    • Yes, Andrew Yang says that the Freedom Dividend is a short-term stop-gap solution (although he sees it as a permanent policy) that doesn’t solve all our problems. He states that as jobs go away, that we as a society have to redefine what work means and what is work — but that will take quite some time. We have to redefine what gives us value and meaning as humans. The short term transition will be very difficult for many as we create the jobs of the future. Ultimately, society will adapt just as it did when buggy whip manufacturers became obsolete. We need to buckle up as a society as the ride will be bumpy.

  4. Hard to argue with sanity, intelligence, humanity, obligation to something greater than self and best of all a problem solver’s drive and desire. The old boogie man of “is he electable?” raises its ugly head. In a head to head with Cadet Bone Spur, quite likely, but getting the nomination? Sadly we are as a society continuing to choose to be constrained in our beliefs by the 2 party system. Although the time for revolution might not be that far off. Let’s hope he can stay the course through many of the primary contests.

    • Hi John, Andrew Yang says people come up to him all the time and say that he is what they had hoped for when they voted for Trump. Andrew is getting more and more attention from the mainstream media, and they have pretty much stopped categorizing him as “the longest of long shots,” “fringe candidate,” “one trick pony,” and “not a serious candidate.” It has been a while now since a talking head has asked him about circumcision. This change is being driven by the Yang Gang who have created Andrew’s ability to easily meet the DNC’s debate criteria. We have high hopes that he will go all the way because we would love to see him debate Trump. By the way, Andrew grew up in upstate New York as the Asian kid in an all-white environment. He was bullied and tormented and has learned how to respond to a bully. Andrew was also on the national debate team (World School Debating Championships) and debated in London in 1992.

  5. Well said, and thank you for such a thorough explanation of now, and of our future. I’ve been a Yangang member for a few months and hope he’s able to go all the way to the WH. This will be sent on its way by me.

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