7.07.2005

 

Why millions of teachers will be out of work soon...

Computers monitor summer school classes

From the article:That last sentence is extremely interesting, because it implies that human teachers don't do that. That is just one of the many reasons why human teachers are about to be replaced by computers and robots.

The other reason is cost. Let's say you could replace all of the teachers in the U.S. with computers. Those computers will cost very little compared to a teacher, and the computer will do a better job (as seen above). So it seems like a no-brainer -- teachers will be gone in the not-too-distant future. How much money would the nation save?

There are over 3 million teachers in the United States. Assume the average salary+benefits+SS+etc is $50,000 per teacher per year. That's $150 billion per year. There are approximately 100 million households in America, so that's $1,500 per household. If we replaced all the teachers with computers, your taxes would fall by something between $1,000 and $1,500 per year.

But once you computerize all the classes and eliminate 3 million teachers, you don't really need students to come to "school" any more. The repercussions of that could save a lot more money. And so on. The gist is that by eliminating teachers, each household would take home $1,000 to $2,000 per year in additional income, which is something that a lot of people can get excited about.

It will also mean that 3 million teachers are on the street looking for jobs.

Welcome to the Robotic Nation. See also: Robotic education, Robots and education and Robots and jobs.

Comments:
I look forward to this transformation, as teachers are perhaps the most overvalued workers in our society (second maybe to doctors).

There is absolutely no reason to believe reading, math, social sciences, etc. are unable to be taught by computer. Human teachers will then teach the more esoteric lessons, facilitate human interaction and socialization, and especially teach (perhaps remotely) very specialized topics such as pottery or painting.

Keep in mind, though, that many schools spend less than 60% of their revenue inside the classroom, on things like salaries and supplies. This is more a product of government administration than anything else.

If you want to soften the blow to teachers, perhaps it is time to transition to a more dynamic and diverse system of vouchers, rather than control from central state bureaucracies. The amount of tax money that would actually reach the children would inevitably rise. Each teacher could become an entrepreneur, taking on just a few students, and not many would complain about the hundreds of thousands of administrators who would be out of a job (except, of course, the union leaders lamenting the lost dues).

Reach more about vouchers here.
 
It's hard to imagine a better outcome than the replacement of public school with something that actually worked. Get that and you will soon have a dynamic populace with enough initiative that they won't need people to "give them jobs". Sadly, it won't happen easily. Governments don't like cutting jobs, however destructive.
 
Luckily, once we have computer teachers it will be easy for the out-of-work teachers to retrain for a new field.
 
Computer based education is one of the main reason why I am confident there will not be a huge wave of unemployment.

The number of different types of jobs typically worked by the average person is growing, meaning people are already having to change fields more often.

Lowering the barriers to change is perhaps the most important goal in order to prevent large unemployment.

In this respect, monopolistic unions should be taken to court under the same anti-trust laws which were used throughout the last century. Unions certainly benefit those in them, generally by preventing those not in the field from entering.

One of the best examples is actually on the more educated side, with both doctors and lawyers. You can practice neither without state approval, and state approval is based on guidelines formed from the recommendations of those in the field!

I'm not saying you should buy medical treatment from someone who doesn't know what they are doing. I'm saying that the certification process should be market and reputation based. This would make it so anyone could practice medicine or law, but only those who were good enough would get many clients.

I know for a fact that because I am young, the majority of the things I need medical attention for are not complicated, and could be accomplished by a nurse. The price of this service is far higher than it needs to be because of government limits on the field.

As long as I'm talking about the cost of medicine, I'll mention that a 3rd party insurance payment system also increases costs. The main reason for this system is unbalanced tax breaks: companies can deduct what they spend on collective benefits, while individuals can't deduct out-of-pocket medical expenses. The incentive system is then skewed. The doctor will get paid regardless of quality, the insurance company wants to pay for nothing (even if you want to), and there is little incentive for individuals to take responsibility for unhealthy lifestyles if they are under comprehensive health plans.
 
I and several others find it extremely hard to find a job with health care, full retirement and happy incomes. The myth of the re-educating and finding a great job is only for a lucky few. Only 1% of new business survives after 5 years! I’m a libertarian, but I find the free market system going to outsourcing and automation – no Europeans and Americans needed! The libertarians have no answers for a world of 100% automation – no human labor needed. We must accept one socialist idea – stipend money to life and have fun. Love you Robotic Nation!
 
Robots != no jobs.

Just because robots can do many things doesn't mean robots will do _everything_.

The claim that libertarians haven't found a solution to a problem that doesn't even exist is a bit silly.

Either way, 'stipend' is a nice name for a welfare state, leading to mediocrity, inefficiency, and overreaching government. I would rather start my own country than participate.

Further, the use of Australia to contrast the US in the distopian Manna exemplifies the non-problem. Everyone there, apparently, busies himself or herself with what they would do if they didn't have to work, right? Doesn't that sound like a collection of jobs that aren't done by robots?
 
True, robots won't be able to create music and paintings and such, but they can do many of the jobs that a large percent (maybe most) of the people in the world do simply to survive.

In such a world, the only choices are: starve on the streets, get moved into massive government dormitories, or live in complete economic freedom. Which sounds like the best to you? Stipends will become a necessity, not a luxury.

I could imagine that if one created a full stipend now, people would loaf about for maybe...oh...a week. Then, they would get bored and find something else more interesting to do.
 
Why do you think robots won't be able to create art or music? Labels are already using robots to help determine which songs are going to be hits. Once the robots know what will be well received they can start creating well received works.
 
It isn't about creating music, it is about teaching it...

Yes, I think they can do everything a human can do, but not as well...
 
Sorry, but this simply will not happen in our lifetimes. The teachers unions are too powerful and nothing happens quickly, except for the weekends...
 
But everything IS happening quickly! One day dead dogs are dead, the next day they are alive. One day a comet is a fuzzy blur, the next it is a distinct and detailed world suffering an impact. One day someone is wondering what to do with their life, the next day they are a popular podcaster. We continue to hold onto the same belief that nothing much changes, even while the world changes around us. Teacher unions? Sure, let's us agree they are powerful. They will remain powerful. Until they are no longer powerful. And teachers have no job.
 
Now, here's something worth thinking about:

A computer that can teach a person a thing is probably going to have some pretty sophisticated simulations running within it's head. To present a game-world that the user learns in to the user, it probably needs to be able to simulate the real thing.

Not perfect, but- it probably is going to have some "understanding" in there.

This software's understanding is probably a great mid-point to going to full understanding of the thing.

If you can somehow network all the understandings of the different programs that teach humans, you can perhaps do some interesting automated reasoning.

-- Lion
 
The thing that most techie (and I admit to being one) people don't seem to understand is that things happen in the world because of people, not technology. People develop new things because of business decisions, people in governments make decisions that you may or may not agree with, people send you off to war. Technology will never make the decisions, people will, even though some of those decisions may be drastically changed BECAUSE of technology.
 
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“We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”
- Herman Melville

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Well I don't know if anyone will scroll down past those spammers to get to this post, but I guess I'll throw out my two cents anyway.

It would be a silly prediction to think that school systems are going to one day rationally consider their options and the next day fire most of their teachers and switch to computerized learning. Of course they're not going to do anything like that, anything that seems radical.

Instead imagine it this way: What they could do is put in computerized learning systems of various sorts, one at a time, as they are developed and work their way into popular acceptance. They could year by year increase class sizes, not because they're trying to eliminate teachers but just because of budgetary pressures. "Classes" could get to the point of having hundreds of students, doing almost all of their work autonomously in relationship with computers.

Next they could tie it in with a homework system. Next, a system for people who stay home sick. At some point there could be a purely voluntary system for students who want to work from home one day a week. Then make it two days a week.

Each step seems reasonable, even if the overall picture is the unconsidered transformation of society. That's the way huge changes have always overtaken unwary populations.

<3
 
Powerful teachers unions? Where? When teachers are replaced by robots---don't you think large numbers of other professions are going to go robotic as well? What is everybody going to do? This is going to turn into a sad world marred by massive unemployment.
 
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