Thursday, May 04, 2017

Australians need to ‘wake up’ to the robot threat, with five million jobs at risk: Futurist Shara Evans

Another stupid prophet.  Machines have been steadily replacing people for over 200 years without causing unemployment

MILLIONS of Australians are destined for the unemployment queue if they don’t “wake up” to the robot revolution, warns futurist Shara Evans.

Creeping automation is set to transform how we work, shop and socialise — and the changes are a lot closer than most people realise.

New research by recruitment agency Randstad reveals that 84 per cent of Australians surveyed are not concerned that automation will affect their future job prospects, while 77 per cent believe that they won’t need to change careers in the next 10 years.

But the reality was the opposite, said Ms Evans, who suggested Australians “take their heads out of the sand” and wise up to the dramatic transformation that had already begun.

“The reality is that 40 per cent of current jobs in Australia won’t exist in 10 to 15 years due to automation — that’s five million jobs gone,” she said, citing the latest report on the topic by CEDA.

“If I look at the exponential advancements in technology, it is very clear that this figure will continue to rise.”

The really scary part? It’s not future innovation that puts our jobs at risk, but existing technology that is available for use right now.

A recent report by consulting firm McKinsey found that 45 per cent of the activities people are currently paid for could be automated using currently demonstrated technologies.

Robotic checkout systems are being rolled out at convenience stores in Japan, and insurance firm Fukoku Life replaced 34 of its claims assessors with robots earlier this year.

The company laid off the workers after spending $2.36 million on a computer program that calculates payouts to policyholders, a move it said would boost productivity by 30 per cent.

Fukoku Life expected to save about $1.65 million a year on salaries with the new system, meaning it would pay itself off in less than two years.

Amazon now has 45,000 robots moving products around its cavernous warehouses, an approach that has been adopted by companies like DHL Logistics as they scramble to keep up with the e-commerce giant.

Chinese e-commerce billionaire Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, last week predicted that even chief executives like himself would see their jobs taken over by robots.

And Volvo has predicted that driverless cars will become commercially available in the next five years, a prospect that would make taxi and Uber drivers redundant.

The rise of automation is so significant that Microsoft founder Bill Gates has called for governments to impose a “robot tax” to slow down the pace of automation — a suggestion Ms Evans said was “a nice idea”, but not viable to implement.

“We are already seeing robots performing concierge tasks within the retail space, and the future workplace will see humanoid type robots with greater physical capabilities,” she said.



Leftist State government approves new iron mine in South Australia

No uproar from the Greenies so far.  Maybe they are unaware that magnetite (Fe3O4) is a common iron ore

A $4.5 billion mining project that will create nearly 2,000 jobs during construction has been approved in South Australia.

Iron Road has received a mining lease and development approval for the project on the Eyre Peninsula, which will result in 700 jobs over the 25-year life of the mine.

The South Australian Government said if the company meets the conditions of the approval, the Central Eyre Iron Project would be Australia's largest magnetite mine, estimated to produce 21.5 million tonnes each year.

The project will include the construction of a new 145-kilometre rail link and deep-water port at Cape Hardy, near Tumby Bay.

The port will also be able to be used to export other goods from the region, such as grain.

Premier Jay Weatherill said the rigorous development assessment process considered a wide range of environmental, social and economic impacts on local residents and businesses.

The assessment resulted in 127 conditions that Iron Road will have to meet to proceed with the project.

Conditions include the resolution of land access issues, continuous monitoring and public reporting of dust emissions and noise, and taking measures to prevent any loss of agricultural productivity from surrounding properties.

"If Iron Road meet the conditions of their approval this project will create thousands of jobs and have a significant, lasting impact on our economy," Mr Weatherill said.

"Connecting the Eyre Peninsula to the world's markets through a modern rail link and deep-water port that can be used by other businesses will also enable this important region of our state to grow."

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the project was one of several magnetite projects under development in South Australia.

"There are 14 billion tonnes of magnetite underground in South Australia and the State Government is committed to developing this resource in order to boost exports, create jobs and drive economic activity in regional areas," he said.

"This is an extremely important milestone in the Centre Eyre Iron Project, which is the latest in a pipeline of magnetite projects under development in South Australia.

"If this project proceeds to production, it won't be a sugar hit to our economy, it will deliver 700 jobs over a 25-year mine life."


The ABC needs to know its place and time

There are many leading institutions in Australia — businesses and universities — but there is an argument that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation should not be among them. The ABC should be a lagging institution, reflecting present and past.

The ABC should conserve, rather than disrupt. Instead, the ABC has moved way out ahead, trying to be the future, when people crave certainty and reliability in institutions.

The ABC’s great mistake is that it paints a particular future. Take two long-running examples: its promotion of an idealised Islam in pursuit of multiculturalism, and its obsession with renewables as a response to climate change.

As esteemed colleague Angela Shanahan pointed out, over Easter ABC radio barely featured Christian music to celebrate the remembrance of Christ’s death. Yes, I am aware that Christ ranks only No 3 in Islam, but there was a time when you might get a fight over that.

As for the ABC’s Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s offensive Anzac Day tweet, and her eulogy to Islam­ic feminism, Ayaan Hirsi Ali was right to regard her as a “hypocrite”, dripping phony indignation.

Think of the context of the ABC promotion of pretty Islam. Australia is a less religious country than was once the case. The number of people reporting no religion in Australia has increased during the past century, from one in 250 people to one in five.

The rate of people reporting Christian religions is 60 per cent, down from 95 per cent at the beginning of the 20th century. Into this mix we add Islam, with an illiberal history and dubious devotees. Australians are making massive adjustments to a new world, with less certainty than previously, so why pour fuel on the fire?

Perhaps ABC really stands for Allah Before Christ.

Mind you, you can see why Christianity is in decline when some of its leaders worship Gaia instead of God. The ABC Religion and Ethics website recently ran with a big headline, “Government support for Adani’s giant coal mine is scientifically and morally unjustifiable”. Stephen Pickard, a professor at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture at Charles Sturt University, and Thea Ormerod, president of the Australian Reli­gious Response to Climate Change, were in there chanting to Gaia.

Then came Conor Duffy’s report on 7.30 that featured a young, curly-haired “boy of colour”, Levi Draheim, gambolling on an Oregon beach. Poor young Levi “worries President Trump’s climate policies will see his local beach washed away by the time he’s grown up”. Really? You didn’t just put those words in his mouth, did you, Conor?

After all, he is only nine years old. Breathlessly, we were informed that Levi “is taking the President to court, along with 20 other young people”. I have news for you, Conor and Levi: that court case, which began in the middle of last year, is pure theatre. Every Democrat state attorney-general has played that climate change trick, suing Big Oil or the feds in the lead-up to an election. It is bizarre that children in the US are suing government officials. If only it were so easy. Sue a government and all will be well. Meanwhile, children in less developed countries face a multitude of sources of harm, only one of which is the risk from climate change.

But fear not, the ABC has the answer. On RN’s Sunday Extra last week, the announcer introduced a guest, a geographer spruiking “full decarbonisation of our economy is needed by 2050 to avoid the worst of climate change”. Do you think that it may have some conse­quences, pal, such as poverty?

The university type spruiked the “next generation of clean-energy entrepreneurs” and derided a country with a “risk-averse mindset” towards clean energy. They are risk averse, just to the wrong things: think Westpac.

Again, the ABC is getting way out ahead when Australia has already hit the wall with renewable disruption. And not one person has been saved or, indeed, harmed by climate change.

Perhaps ABC really stands for, Anything But Coal.

The Australian Broadcasting Commission started in 1932. Before that, we relied on licensed wireless broadcasting operated by the Postmaster-General’s Department. The conglomerate of individually operated radio stations was called the Australian Broadcasting Company.

If the Coalition cannot bring itself to constrain the leading, which at present are progressive, elements in the ABC, it should rewrite the charter to give the ABC a lagging bias — or sell it.


Private schools the big losers under misguided Turnbull plan

Kevin Donnelly

It takes a particular kind of political ineptitude to arrive at a school funding model that represents a slap in the face to Catholic and independent schools — schools that John Howard, when prime minister, sought to defend and to properly fund.

It also beggars belief that the Turnbull government is employing David Gonski and Ken Boston, both strong supporters of government schools and favoured by Julia Gillard when she was Labor’s education minister, to undertake a needless and wasteful review investigating what is already accepted about how best to raise standards.

The Turnbull government’s proposed funding model, based on the original Gonski report, financially discriminates against parents who send their children to Catholic and independent schools — especially low-fee-paying, non-government schools serving less wealthy and less privileged communities.

The new model is also based on the flawed assumption that the cost of educating students across the different states and territories is the same; certainly not so when it comes to teacher pay scales.

The proposed model, by adopting what is described as the Schooling Resource Standards as the basis for deciding how much will be allocated to students and schools, is also flawed.

As argued by the Melbourne Institute’s policy brief No 2/13, the Schooling Resource Standards are “essentially arbitrary, and despite the veneer of technical sophistication in their construction, do not have a sound methodological basis”.

The authors of the policy brief also argue that because the Gonski model adopts a highly centralised command-and-control approach, school autonomy will be stifled and a one-size-fits-all approach enforced on all schools.

Both Gonski and Boston, who are responsible for Gonski Mark II, in addition to arguing that more needs to be done to boost enrolments in government schools, argue that a student’s socio-economic status (SES) or home background significantly affects educational results. Based on the mistaken assumption that SES is such a significant factor, the Gonski report then argues that what is most needed is additional funding. In yesterday’s press conference, Gonski made specific mention of SES when arguing what needs to be done to raise standards; not so, based on the latest OECD research that puts the impact of SES on Australian students at 12 per cent.

The fact the government met non-government school authorities only yesterday, less than a week before the budget is tabled, represents another blunder. Instead of presenting a fait accompli, what minister Simon Birmingham should have done over the last 12 months is negotiate and be transparent.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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