Monday, January 30, 2017

More Questions about Some People's Future

From a Times story about the new factory work:
When the German engineering company Siemens Energy opened a gas turbine production plant in Charlotte, N.C., some 10,000 people showed up at a job fair for 800 positions. But fewer than 15 percent of the applicants were able to pass a reading, writing and math screening test geared toward a ninth-grade education.

“In our factories, there’s a computer about every 20 or 30 feet,” said Eric Spiegel, who recently retired as president and chief executive of Siemens U.S.A. “People on the plant floor need to be much more skilled than they were in the past. There are no jobs for high school graduates at Siemens today.”

Ditto at John Deere dealerships, which repair million-dollar farming machinery filled with several dozen computers. Fixing tractors and grain harvesters now requires advanced math and comprehension skills and the ability to solve problems on the fly. “The toolbox is now a computer,” said Andy Winnett, who directs the company’s agricultural program at Walla Walla Community College in Washington.
Obviously not every factory job requires such skills, but more and more do. Things are going to get ever rougher for the 85% who can't pass that test.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

I absolutely believe that "computer literacy" is going to transform in a surprisingly short frame of time to become just "literacy".

Typing is going to supplant writing. Knowing how to interface with computers quickly and easily, and having the capability to readily adapt to unfamiliar interface configurations when encountered, will become just as vital as knowing the alphabet and being able to spell with it.

And the above actually assumes we don't make major advances in brain-computer interfacing any time soon, which is something we're actually already seeing very promising work on, particularly in the subfield of indirect neural connections.

Capitalism is not going to be able to survive the march of progress. Human labor is going to become more and more worthless, and energy production is going to be cheaper and easier. We're going to have to transition away from an economic system that relies so incredbly on human labor outside of highly skilled fields.