Home / Technology Policy & Ethics / July 2020 / The Faustian Bargain- The Promise of AI and the Destruction of Jobs Part 3

The Faustian Bargain- The Promise of AI and the Destruction of Jobs Part 3

Frank Groom, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana

July 2020

One option is to undertake a national effort to identify the work which must remain local to the communities and the country. Among these will be the traditional trades of plumbing, welding, electrical, repair, and installation. The builders, bricklayers, roofers, solar panel installers, well drillers, chimney builders, and repairers are always needed. Other local positions needed are the care and assistance of others including the sick, disabled, and elderly. Furthermore, the teachers in the pre-school, elementary, and high schools will likely remain local. Over time, public university education will increasingly be delivered by a few high-quality instructors over the national broadband network which 5G will significantly enhance. Millions of additional required jobs must be envisioned, planned, trained, and embedded in our business, public, and private organizations. Otherwise, we may be left with a sizable unemployed population supported by a public dole which can only be sustained by the large corporations which no longer need and employ that populace.

Why do the technologists of America, the Google’s, the Amazon’s, Microsoft, IBM, Facebook keep progressing towards the cliff? Certainly, there is an eternal personal profit motive. But that is more for the business person. The technologists are more likely motivated by enthusiasm; they are creating their own moonshot with their AI experiments and product evolution. Especially this happens when they are about to land their moonshot of AI into the workplace and eventually replace the white-collar workers. They know what they are doing, yet they still do it. The companies do it for the immediate certainty of significant products. But I believe the technologists, moment to moment, forget the money they will make and are excited by the accomplishment of a long dreamed about automated world.

Concerned individuals are unlikely to thwart the technicians and their companies. In fact, what we must do is join them, but think ahead for their next exciting venture- “The Rebuilding of America”. Of course, our roads and bridges need to be rebuilt. But first, we need to re-invent the new substances placed as the surfaces and under-bedding of our roads. How do we thwart potholes which eventually emerge? We need a substance like the concrete of old that resists the trucks, yet doesn’t crack, and is less expensive to lay.

We need bridge designs that are constructed of replaceable parts so that they can be periodically replaced such as mufflers and brakes on a car.

We need to rebuild the inner cities of America so that all our population has housing. Much of this will be the second generation of prebuilt homes. However, we have to apply what we learned from the Japanese assembly lines. Along with Ed Deming’s Quality Control of the Production Process (Deming, 1982, 2019), they moved the component part supplier’s manufacturing plants close to the Toyota manufacturing and assembly plants. Toyota avoided the cost and storage of parts and components; they were supplied just in time when they were needed by Toyota’s production lines. So too should the suppliers of components in the rebuilding of American cities should place plants in and near the cities that will be rebuilt and supply the part on the same day as they are need in the assembly of the pre-built homes, factories, apartment houses, and office buildings. We need to re-build America following the Deming Quality Model and the Toyota production Model.

We need to stimulate the Technologists to see the rebuilding of America as their next great project and technology invention platform.

While we are rebuilding, we have the opportunity to employ energy-saving and environmentally friendly components in our new manufacturing process. The factories that supply the components to rebuild our cities should be powered by solar power and burn natural gas.
As we employ our rebuilt 5G network connecting those in the cities we should be looking forward to the 6th and 7th generation of connectivity for the 30s, 40s, and 2050s, begin designing and testing the technologies, and deploying them early in test-site cities.

This has to be a national effort. Our schools must deliberately educate our children, young adults, and repositioned workers towards the knowledge and skills useful in such an endeavor. However, America and the industrialized countries have an aging population. We must determine how they can engineer, design, draw models of, and manage they required designs and plans for the rebuilding. Bad backs and knees must be considered. People tired and depressed must become a critical part of the rebuilding process. We must consider their difficulties and inspire and train them so that they too desire and are capable of participating in the Rebuilding of America Project.

How do you finance such a project? Certainly not by collecting and funneling business and citizen funds through an established bureaucratic structure which was established a century ago for a different purpose and a different time. For such a national project which is delivered locally in cities and states, we need a different parallel mechanism. One that flows funds from their source to those that deliverer the rebuilding effort, just in time when they need such funds. One model that comes to mind is how funds were recovered and then re-distributed in Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) payout. These were not perfect, but they simplified the process so there was less opportunity to skim money or divert it to other purposes.

So first we must entreat the nation to support such a venture. Show how it is the best interest of all of us. Next, we have to solicit the businesses in each state to participate- financially by diverting a significant portion of their profits towards such a local venture.
Then we have to collect a national fund that flows money to areas that cannot support their total project costs but whose delays will reduce the benefit to the entire country’s rebuilding effort. We have to remember that we are funding a project, although a national and local one. We should fund it as a project, and not like we would fund a government or government agency.

References 

  1. Casselman, Ben, The White Collar Job Apocalypse That Didn’t Happen, New York Times, 9/27/2019.
  2. Costinot, Arnaud, On the Origins of Comparative Advantage, Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, Jan. 15, 2009.
  3. Deming, W. Edwards, Quality, Productivity, and Competitive Position, Massachusetts Inst Technology; 1st edition, June 1, 1982.
  4. Deming, W. Edwards, W. Edwards Deming’s 14 Points for Total Quality Management, 2019, https://asq.org/quality-resources/total-quality-management/deming-points
  5. Galbraith, John Kenneth, “The New Industrial State, Houghton Mifflin, 1st Ed, 1967
  6. Maneschi, Andrea, Comparative Advantage in International Trade: A Historical Perspective, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 2000, vol. 22, issue 04, 515-516
  7. Shaban, Hamza, Google’s AlphaGo Beats the World’s Best Go Player Again, Washington Post, May 26, 2017.
  8. Sloan, Alfred, My Years with General Motors, Doubleday; 1st edition, 1964.
  9. Turban, Efraim, Decision Support and Expert Systems, Macmillan Publishing, 1988 and 1990.

Frank Groom is a Professor of Information and Communication Sciences at the Center for Information and Communication Sciences at Ball State University. He has conducted research into high-bandwidth networking and the storage and transmission of multimedia objects. Dr. Groom has most recently concentrated his research into MPLS-driven fiber networks, intelligent agents, network-based data deployment, Cloud Computing, Big Data Storage and Analysis, Network Security, and Artificial Intelligence and machine learning.  Most recently he has delivered a Network and Data Security class and his 2016 textbook of the same name as well as an Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning class. Both have been filmed for online delivery. He has conducted a number of national research projects using surveys, focus groups, personal interviews, and student research culminating in two of his earlier published books. Furthermore, he has conducted many specialized statistical research studies for AT&T, McDonalds Corp., and Nth Dimension Software.

Dr. Groom is currently examining the detailed infrastructure and operations of Cloud Data Centers. He is visiting a number of such centers, examining to process by which they distribute processing and storage across racks and arrays of inexpensive components. He furthermore is investigating the approaches Cloud Centers take to elevate control and operations to minimally managed control centers by means of Software Defined approaches. He is now extending that investigation into how carriers such as AT&T and Verizon are transforming the control and components of their national networks as software defined structures with provisioning of virtual network slices of services form customers, similar to the Cloud Computing approach.

Dr. Groom has presented networking and data processing courses to major American corporations among whom are PricewaterhouseCoopers, IBM, AT&T and its various units including Bell Labs, Motorola, Digital Equipment Corp. (now HP), Unisys, Ford Motor, Hillenbrand Industries, and McDonalds. IBM sponsored DR, Groom to present courses on chip engineering and wireless networking to Motorola’s engineering teams in Hong Kong and Macao in 1993. AT&T has twice sponsored Dr. Groom to present advanced data processing and networking courses to the graduate students and faculty of Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT) and the People’s Republic of China Government Office of Telecommunications. He was honored with being the Plenary speaker and having two of his papers presented at the Plenary Session of the 1996 International Conference on Information Infrastructure (ICII’96) in Beijing, China and a paper presented as the Plenary Session for the World Broadband 2000 conference in Tokyo. Furthermore, in 1996, 1998, and 2006, Dr. Groom presented papers on ATM Networking, Multimedia, and VoIP at the leading French Graduate School of Telecommunications (Ecole Nationale Superiore des Telecommunications- ENST). In addition to publishing over 120 technical papers concerning networking, systems design, corporate re-engineering, and object oriented storage, and Dr. Groom has published 12 books and contributed chapters in many other books.

Dr. Groom has a Ph.D. in Management Information Systems from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is ABD in Statistics from NYU, MBA from the University of Hartford, and AB in Mathematics from the College of the Holy Cross. He was Division Manager in charge of the Information Systems and Data Processing Division of Wisconsin Bell, and is the retired Senior Director of Information Systems for Ameritech (now once again part of AT&T).

Editor: 

Tahir Hameed is with Merrimack College since 2018 where he teaches courses related to information systems. Prior to joining Merrimack, Dr. Hameed was associated with SolBridge International School of Business in South Korea from 2012 to 2018 where he taught in the areas of information systems, technology management  and business analytics at the masters and bachelors levels. Dr. Hameed obtained his Ph.D. in Information Technology Management from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and obtained his Masters in Computer Science from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). His current research focus is in the areas of health analytics, health IT, IT standards, technology commercialization, IT-enabled change management and knowledge management. He has published in prestigious journals such as Computers in Human Behavior, Sustainability, Journal of Knowledge Management, Telecommunications Policy, Technological Forecasting and Social Change and World Development. He has presented several papers at leading conferences including International Conference on Health Informatics, IEEE conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management and Australasian Conference on Information Systems.