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Federico Pistono - Robots Will Steal Your Job - Vancouver Z-Day, 2012 (Repository)

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Our first speaker that's going to come up is quite a young gentleman, but he's got a very impressive resume. His name is Federico Pistono, and he's a scientific educator, a social activist, computer scientist, blogger, media expert, and aspiring filmmaker. Federico has written for various newspapers and blogs regarding a range of topics, from science and technology, to artificial intelligence and climate change. He's appeared frequently on radio and TV in Europe and the US, has hosted numerous podcasts covering the impact of technology in society, activism, as well as science-related news. He's also in demand as a speaker at various universities, symposiums, and other events around the world. Federico has a formal education in science and technology with a bachelor (for all you credentialists, by the way)... ... with a bachelor in computer science from the University of Verona Department of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences. He's continued his studies by following courses at Stanford University on artificial intelligence, machine learning as well as many other subjects, and I think what's most impressive (for me anyway) is that in 2012, Federico was accepted to the Graduate Studies Program at the Singularity University, NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley a unique interdespl... (Why did you put such a big word in here?) a unique, interdisciplinary, international, and intercultural experience whose aim is to assemble, educate, and inspire a codder of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies and aptly focus and guide those tools to adjust humanity's grand challenges. That's a grand challenge just getting through that! Anyway, without further ado, Federico, you're on. [Applause] Zday 2012 Vancouver - March 9 2012 - Federico Pistono So, it has come to this: you, me, here. I was just told to make a dramatic entrance. Hello to everyone of you. Welcome, my name is Federico Pistono, and I come from an incredible country. A country that has been the center of civilization for over a thousand years and has given birth to most of modern Western culture: the arts, the opera. It was the birthplace of the Renaissance and Leonardo da Vinci; but also the church, banks, the fractional reserve system, massive organized crime, fascism. We've elected five times a freemason who is under investigation for several criminal activities and has been accused of mafia collusion, money laundering tax fraud, under-age prostitution; and we just replaced him with an unelected man, leading member of the Bilderberg group, former European chairman of the Trilateral Commission and International Advisor for Goldman Sachs. [Applause] So let's begin. [Who? What? Why?] Who I am, what am I doing here? Some of you might remember me for the radio shows I hosted about collaboration, positive thinking and automation, and a science and reason video series on YouTube, but maybe not. Maybe you know me because I kickstarted the project called Zeitgeist Global Connect where programmers kind of get together and build a free and open-source distribution for activist to use without any knowledge of programming whatsoever, so they can start up a chapter very easily and just start doing stuff. [Applause] Or maybe you know me because I gave the initial spark to what is now the central repository of essays, articles and information about the Movement - the TZM blog. It started out as just an idea and then, shabam! We now have a kick-ass team with great people inside, some of which will be speaking to you today. Just recently, as mentioned before, I was accepted to Singularity University so I'll be spending my whole summer at NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, and i will try to solve humanity's biggest challenges together with other great bright minds from all over the planet. The projects that will come out of this program will have to improve at least the lives of one billion people within the next 10 years, so that's a challenge. [Applause] Most of you probably know me as the founder and former coordinator of the Italian Chapter of The Zeitgeist Movement, which I started about 3 years ago and we've done some pretty cool things since then. We had clips from the Zeitgeist film series on national TV for 8 weeks straight. We did street activism, screenings and free hugs, flash mobs and all the good stuff I'm sure you're familiar with (yes, even the police joined in, which was kind of nice). Just recently, though, we did something different. We organized a symposium where we opened up to other organizations and sustainability advocacy groups. We had a lineup of some 15 speakers and it all went beautifully. We spent a day together, ate lunch together, we discussed, we had dinner together, we started all sorts of collaborations. It was wonderful. This is, I think, our next step of evolution as a movement. It's great to have these dedicated days like this one where we kind of see what we have accomplished as a movement and who we are, but I think we can't just keep talking to ourselves. We need to open up to the rest of the world and let loose of the labels as Peter mentioned before. We should have, I think, week-long events where we get together with all sorts of other cool organizations and start a discussion. I hope to see in the near future more of these events happening worldwide. Enough of that. Let's get to the point! What am I doing here? I'm here to tell you that robots will steal your job. [Applause] [Robots will steal your job] That might sound preposterous to some of you or obvious to others, so which one is it? Preposterous or obvious? I spent better part of my last 6 months trying to figure it out, if you can believe that, and I came up with the following answer: neither one of them or both, sometimes. Done. Would you like me to elaborate? All right, let's get started. You are about to become obsolete. You think that you're special, unique and that whatever you do is impossible to replace. Wrong! As we speak, millions of algorithms created by computer scientists and mathematicians are frantically running on servers all over the planet, with one sole purpose: to do whatever you used to do, but better. These algorithms are intelligent computer programs, permeating the substrate of our society. They make financial decisions. They predict the weather. They suggest which countries will wage war next. Soon, there will be little left for us to do. Machines will take over. This is a map of the human brain. Oh wait, it's actually a map of the internet. Oops... Does that sound like a futuristic fantasy? Maybe so, this argument is proposed by a growing, yet still fringed community of thinkers, scientists and academics who see the advancement of technology as a disruptive force which will soon transform our entire socioeconomic system, forever. According to them, the displacement of labor by machines and computer intelligence will increase dramatically over the next decades. These changes will be so drastic and so quick that the market will not be able to abide in creating new opportunities for workers who just lost their job, making unemployment not just part of a cycle but structural in nature and chronically irreversible. It will be the end of work as we know it. [Applause] Obviously mainstream economists discard such arguments. They actually call it Luddite fallacy. Many of them don't even address the issue in the first place, and those who do, claim that the market always finds a way. As all jobs are replaced by machines, new jobs are created. Thanks to the ingenuity of the human mind and the need for constant growth, market always finds a way, especially in this ever connected and globalized mass market we live in today. Consider this: The exponential expansion of technology has been growing remarkably smoothly for a long, long, pretty long time. I'm not talking about Moore's law which states that the number of circuits, the number of transistors, that can be placed in [an] integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. Integrated circuits actually are just a tiny fraction of the whole spectrum of change that pervades technological advancement. Ray Kurzweil notes that Moore's law wasn't the first to do so, but rather the fifth paradigm, to provide accelerating price-performance. Computing devices have been consistently multiplying in power per unit of time. 1890 US Census mechanical calculating devices: first paradigm. Turing's relay-based Robinson machine, which cracked the Nazi Enigma Code, and then CBS Vacuum Tube that predicted the election of Eisenhower, and transistor-based machines that were used in the first space launches; and finally, the fifth: integrated-circuit-based personal computers, which Kurzweil used to dictate the very essay that described this phenomenon in 2001, which he calls the Law of Accelerating Returns. To gain an idea what exponential growth means, take a look at this graph right here. This is technological capability. That's time. These are the steps, and this is a general idea of quantity and technological capability and advancement. This is linear growth: You go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. So, if this expanded to 30 (I didn't make it to 30. You'll understand why soon.), but if you count from 1-30 steps linearly, it's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. You get to, 30. If you do it exponentially: 2, 4, 8, 16, what do you get? One billion! 30, one billion, that's a big difference. I use this example all the time when I give talks around universities. Now imagine this water bottle. OK? Instead of water being inside, imagine it's a cup or a petri dish or something, and you put bacteria inside to reproduce, and you give them food so they can multiply. You know that in 60 minutes it fills up the bottle, the whole thing, and every minute they double in size. So, it takes 60 minutes to fill the bottle. Every minute they double in size. The question is: After 55 minutes, what percentage of the bottle do you think is bacteria? A quarter? How much? 50%? 10%? 200? Oooh. The answer is: 3.125% It's counterintuitive, I know, and that's because we think linearly, not exponentially. But imagine, 60 minutes is 100% 59 minutes 50% 58 minutes 25% and 57 minutes 12.5%, and 6.25%... It goes like that. We are not used to thinking exponentially, but that's how technology works. A curve that explodes out of the normal graph, looks like a straight line on a logarithmic plot. That's the same curve as before that was like that: It's a straight line. It's the same curve. It's just changing the Y-axes, so that instead of having 5, 10, 15 it has 5, 25, 125, 630 and so on. So as you go along, it increases the quantity exponentially. You'll understand why we use logarithm graphs when we talk about exponentials. There simply isn't enough space to draw the graphic. It just goes right off the ceiling. Let's go back to the graph. With this knowledge acquired, you'll see that the curve isn't a straight line. It's another exponential curve. This is the growth of computing over the last 110 years. In other words, what you're seeing now is exponential growth which we know is pretty fast in the rate of exponential growth. It's double exponential. Now that's pretty fast. Computer speed per unit costs doubled every 3 years between 1910 and 1950 and then it doubled every 2 years between 1950 and 1966. Now, it's doubling every year. Computer power isn't simply increasing. It is increasing faster and faster. We can already see the consequences of this today, as technology progresses at an unprecedented rate. Computers used to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, required huge rooms for storage, cooling, maintenance, a lot of power. I mean, before I was born they were ginormous! Now, it can fit in your pocket. They are thousands of times more powerful and they cost thousands of times less, even millions of times less. That's a billion-fold increase in just 30 years. Remember 30 steps. This is exactly what happens. As we progress even more, the changes will be so rapid, that we will hardly be able to keep up. Things will change dramatically in matter of months, or weeks, or days, or seconds, or nanoseconds. The long-awaited dreams of science-fictions are becoming a reality, or are they? I'm going to tell you things that will blow your mind. [Laughter] That's you with your mind blown, right there. I know now, there's always going to be that guy, you know, that guy. It doesn't matter what you say. You know how people react differently to technology? You tell them something amazing and they go "No way! Are you fucking kidding me? Do you believe that shit?" Then there is that guy who will go "Yeah I knew it. I mean, I didn't but it's obvious, right?" I'll go ahead and start with examples, and you look around to see if that guy is sitting next to you. First, I have to make a confession. I said that robots will steal your job; but, that is true eventually. The real threat isn't really some futuristic, anthropomorphic robot. It's today, right now, and those are computer algorithms. How about software that predicts crime before it happens, like in 'Minority Report', but without the drug-abused children in a tank to make it work. This is working right now; and then we have facial recognition algorithms that predict what products you like based on [what] you look like, and brain scanners that eavesdrop [on] your brainwaves, your inner dialogue, by looking at the waves, the patterns from your brain. Also, how about a mathematical equation that predicts with an accuracy of over 60% if a song is going to be a hit or not on the charts? Right there, very simple, that's the score. Just plug in the numbers, and you know if your song is going to sell or not. Now let's go one step further. How about a robot scientist that can generate its own hypothesis, run experiments to test them, and then make discoveries without any human help? By the way, these articles aren't taken from some cheap newspapers for instance this is 'New Scientist', and the original publication is from Science Magazine. Even further, genetic algorithms that design and manufacture robots without any human intervention. In fact, MIT researchers have now taken a major step toward the goal of replicating the functions of the human brain, by designing a computer chip that mimics how the brain's neurons adapt in response to information. Algorithms are catching up with us, and pretty quickly I would say, faster than we can realize. Remember back in 1997, when IBM's Deep Blue challenged the World's chess player champion, Gary Kasparov? They said a computer could never, ever beat a human, the best human at chess. They said chess required high intelligence, understanding patterns, and adapt quickly to different situations. "A computer can't do that!" But it did. Deep Blue won, and what did people say after that? "Well, you know, chess doesn't really require intelligence. It's just number crunching." OK, computers will never beat humans at things that are not mechanical, like language, and culture, and pop references, and things like that. Never." This picture is from IBM's Watson in 2011, destroying the best human players ever at the game of Jeopardy. One that requires (as I understand, because I'm not American) vast knowledge and understanding and intricacies and the nuances of the English language: puns, pop cultures, jokes, all of that. [Watson] won hands down, and what did people say after that? "Well, language doesn't really require intelligence. It's just blah blah blah." How long before we understand it's just a matter of time? A friend of mine advised me to break the tension a little bit in the middle of my presentation. So I asked him "Ok, what do you propose?" and he said "Well, kittens and boobs." [laughter] [more laughter] I thought that was kind of cheap, so I went for something different. How about a shark high-fiving a gorilla in front of an explosion? Awesome! [Applause] You know what else is awesome? We have automated cars that drive hundreds of thousands of kilometres without a problem, with no human intervention whatsoever. They are perfectly safe, and they even outperform the best human drivers. Now let's watch a little video: [Video commentary:] Since our work has focused on building driving cars that can drive anywhere by themselves: any street in California. We have driven 140 000 miles. Our cars have sensors, which magically can see everything around them and make decisions about every aspect of driving. It's the perfect driving mechanism. We've driven in cities, like in San Francisco here. We've driven from San Francisco to Los Angeles on highway 1. We encountered joggers, busy highways, tollbooths, and this is without a person who looks. The car does drive itself. In fact, while we drove 140,000 miles, people didn't even notice: mountain roads, day and night and even crooked, Lombard Street in San Francisco. [Audience laughs] Sometimes our cars get so crazy, [Oh my goodness] they even do little stunts. [Oh, my God!] [What?!] [It's driving itself.] [Frederico Pistono:] All right, that was the Google Car. [Applause] By the way that was Sebastien Thrun from Stanford University, who just opened up the course in machine learning Artificial Times which I followed; and now he's going to teach for free online, how to build the software to run an autonomous car. 10 weeks and you'll know how to do it. Just follow the course. [Applause] For free obviously and unlike us, these things can only get better as they get older. We have coordinated groups of autonomous robots that can do the job of building workers constructing, for instance in this case, a 6-meter high tower without any human intervention. [Video commentary:] ... and place it exactly where instructed by a control programme known as 'The Foreman'. It takes off and it flies over to pick up a brick; and it makes sure that other vehicles that are flying the bricks are not in its way, so it stays out of the way until it feels that it can move into the space. [Frederico Pistono] That's a research center in Switzerland by the way, an Italian guy. We have new and smart ways of building houses, too. Typically, it can take up from 6 weeks to 6 months to build a 2-story house in the US or Canada, mostly because dozens of humans do all the work. Take a look at this. This is today, not in 20-years time. This is today, China. This is a time lapse of the construction of a 30-story skyscraper. You can see there's a timer at the bottom right there. It's a skyscraper with all modern comforts. It can withstand earthquakes of magnitude 9, has excellent insulation systems, a MART system for air circulation, quality control, all that good stuff. It's the end. You'll see it stops at 360, so that's pretty good, 360. A 30-story building in less than a year, not bad. Oh wait! Those aren't days; 360 are the hours! So, 15 days to build a 30-story building. This is what we can do today. Let's have a look at tomorrow, shall we? It is possible that, within a decade, Contour Crafting (see it as a kind of large scale attitude manufacturing) will have become so advanced, (it's like one layer after the other, right?) that we'll be able to upload a design specification and the massive robot. We just press print on our computer, and watch this robot as it spits out a concrete house in less than a day. No humans required, except for a couple of supervisors and designers. That's it. You don't think that's possible? Think again! 3D printing is already a billion-dollar industry today, It's growing exponentially. It's going to revolutionize the way we think about manufacturing forever. We can print physical objects ourselves, both as individuals or part of a research center; and I'm not just talking about toys, tools, simple objects for the house, although they are useful. I'm also talking about prosthesis teeth, even human organs. They actually did a transplant and it works. It was in Sweden, and again, the guy was Italian. They never work in Italy, these guys. I wonder why. Things become better, more reliable, cheaper customizable, and personalized. More importantly, they are easily shareable, either with a marketplace similar to iTunes, Amazon, Android Market, legally or not. Either way, once the information is out there, you can't stop it. Once a technology is available, you cannot uninvent it. It's out of your control. So, where does this lead us? I know some of you technoskeptics will think this whole thing is just a fad, and very little will change. On the other side I know there are many technoenthusiasts, who believe that this will finally liberate us from this 18th-century mentality that keeps us behind, and instead will project us into a Star Trek-like future of abundance, wonder, and exploration; but before that, there is a very real problem that needs addressing right now, not in 10-years time, not in 100-years time, now. The following data is taken from US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2011. Take a good look at this table and answer this: How many types of occupations were created in the last 50 years? There are 7 main occupations listed. Office and building construction... They make up 43.88% of the US workforce. How many new types of jobs were introduced because of advances in technology? Not a single one. The reality is that new jobs, created by technology, employ a very small fraction of people, and they tend to disappear soon after they are created. They require a high level of education, flexibility, intelligence, and entrepreneurship. Most people haven't been trained to be like that. In fact, our entire education system was created just after the Industrial Revolution, with the idea of creating factory workers, manual jobs, repetitive jobs, not the kind of jobs that the new economy will require. I have one simple question: What will the millions of middle-age, unskilled workers do once they are displaced by technology? It's a simple question. I have discussed this with economists, entrepreneurship-futurists, academics; not a single one of them was able to give me a convincing answer. Technology is advancing simply too quickly for the newly unemployed to learn new jobs. In the past we've seen automation cutting the workforce, but that wasn't really a problem because unskilled workers all gravitated towards other jobs, still pretty unskilled, like, I don't know, Walmart, which is easy to find a job there, although it's very unsatisfying and I don't think it's your life dream to work at Walmart. If Walmart begins automation which it will competitors will have to do the same in order to stay afloat, stay alive in this competitive market. There will be no coming back for the shopping industry. It is an irreversible process. The jobs replaced will not come back. They are gone. The same will happen for millions of drivers, construction workers and many others. But having jobs removed, what will people do? So far, nobody has been able to answer this question, and the reason for this, I think, is that there is no answer, not in this system, not in the way it's designed to work. The displacement of human labor in favor of automation will have a snowball effect on everything. With unemployment levels at 30, 40%, which will happen, the economy will collapse. Without a back-up plan to adjust to a new paradigm, we can expect the worst: civil unrest, riots, police brutality, general distress will continue to rise until critical levels are reached, at which point the whole socio-economic system will crumble upon itself like a house of cards. This has negative consequences throughout the whole spectrum of the population, and it's against the interests of everyone on the planet, even among the richest and wealthiest people, even they don't want that, especially them. So, I think if you want to solve this challenging problem of our time, we have to rethink our whole economic and social structure. Rethink our lives, our goals, our purposes, our priorities and most importantly, our motivations. It's time for a paradigm shift, one that will radically revolutionize our social system. This is an excellent book by the way by Herman Daly, a great economist. We call it Resource-Based Economy. He called it Steady-State Economy, or Ecological Economics. It's basically the same thing. Check it out, awesome book! Have we ever considered the possibility that finding job replacement no matter what might be the wrong choice to begin with? I'm just saying, have we ever stopped and wondered if the only possible economic systems are socialists and capitalists, and everything else just lies in between? Have we ever conceived of the notion that maybe the need for constant growth and consumption isn't just ecologically unsustainable and physically impossible, but also diminishes the quality of our lives? Too often we treat things as separate subjects, not realizing the interconnected nature of our reality. This mistake has made us weak and vulnerable. Over the last 70 years, we have set the stage of our own demise. We have become increasingly discontent, the quality of our lives and relationships has fallen, and we have lost track of what really matters. Be happy, right? Don't consume. Be happy! Today everything is amazing and nobody's happy. It's time to take a step back, and think about where are we going. Like the great poet once said, "Time is a bitch", so I can't elaborate on this issue anymore because I'm out of time; but luckily, I've written a whole book about it. What, did you think I'd really spend 6 months of my life just preparing this presentation? So, the book is called: 'Robots Will Steal Your Job, but that's OK,' and the subtitle is 'How To Survive Economic Collapse and Be Happy.' [Applause] So in the book, I explore what I've talked about in more detail, and I go much further than I could in this presentation. The development of the book is quite interesting: I launched the campaign on a crowd-finding [web]site, and I received overwhelming support, as well as many great ideas from different people around the planet. Then it went viral as my articles were published at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, and went on Singularity Hub, IO9 and even on Italian national TV. So, it was pretty good. Here's the plan. For the next two months I'll retire in medieval monkness, in a remote location in the woods to finish the book. That's me in a couple of months, by the way. Yeah, I look 15 but I'm actually older. You'll find it online, hopefully by June. I hope to be done by then. There's a website. It'll be on Amazon, Lulu, iTunes. You can buy it and stuff.. There's also a free version. Yeah! Creative Commons license, because we're here just to make a buck, right? Right, Peter? Where is Peter? Peter!? Damn you! Anyway, there is a guy who could have been a sell-out millionaire, and decided to give away his work for free. How about that? [Applause] Him, like many others before him, and I suspect many more after; the world is changing, folks. Talk about motivation, huh? How about watching the world become a better place, because of what you did, how about that motivation? [Applause] We are all in this together. We might as well enjoy the ride. Thank you. [Applause] [It's just a ride] Federico Pistono at ZDay 2012 in Vancouver www.TheZeitgeistMovement.com

Video Details

Duration: 37 minutes and 59 seconds
Year: 2012
Country: Canada
Language: English
Producer: TZM Vancouver
Director: TZM Vancouver
Views: 109
Posted by: ltiofficial on Mar 23, 2012

Federico Pistono, the first speaker at Zeitgeist Day 2012 in Vancouver, Canada, talks about machine automation, and how 'Robots Will Steal Your Job!'
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