The Argument from Robots is Overrated by Chris Knight
One common rejoinder made to Donald Trump’s pledge to bring back jobs to America, is that all the old jobs have gone, replaced by automation. This sort of critique was recently made by Robin Pagnamenta, “Donald is a New Class of Luddite Doomed to Defeat by Automation,” The Australian, January 31, 2017, p. 9. Thus, welders cost about $ US 25 an hour to employ, but a robot welder would only cost $US 8. Presumably this would apply to any job one cares to name.
The fallacy in the argument is that while all other things being equal, the welding example is true, only a minority of manufacturing tasks are completely automated; one estimation is that 10 percent of manufacturing tasks can be done by robots at present: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2946704/Cheaper-robots-replace-factory-workers-study.html. This figure will grow, of course, in the future. Thinking machines can replace everyone, and maybe even the 1 percenters will be replaced as well in the future.
Tay AI went rogue, going from humanistic to the full Nazi in less than 24 hours, so who knows what thinking machines will do: http://www.infowars.com/microsofts-ai-bot-goes-from-benevolent-to-nazi-in-less-than-24-hours/. The Terminator movies give one vision of such a future, which leading scientists feel could happen; Stephen hawking sees AI as possibly being humanity’s greatest disaster: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/10/19/stephen-hawking-says-artificial-intelligence-could-be-humanitys/.
The point is, that in the short term, most Western jobs have been moved to the Third World, so that super-capitalists can make more profits. They would still make appalling profits if they employed Western workers, but psychopathic greed kicks in, and they must get those digits of profit up on the computer screen, even though they could never spend even a fraction of their surreal profits.
Trump is right, and hopefully will prove it to the people, at the expense of the 1 percenters and manic globalists.