Sunday, 13 October 2019

Part 55 - I have a dream...

Research and polling by Australia's ABC has shown a significant commonality in what people are most concerned with in Australia and it is probably fair to say that this would be similar in most comparable countries.

The most common concerns are:

  • Household debt
  • Cost of living
  • Ageing
  • Poverty
  • Wealth inequity
  • The economy
  • Unemployment
  • Drug and alcohol abuse and water also figure prominently
Most of the issues are related to money in one way or another and when you take into consideration  the future of work from a perspective of automation and AI then at first glance the outlook appears to be much bleaker.
AI and automation will change the workforce and reduce jobs, that's a given.

But the outlook doesn't have to be negative.

If the government chooses to look at Australia from a realistic view instead of a political one, then we may have a chance of addressing our concerns and turn automation to our advantage.
But when government's main focus is to take us back to a rose coloured 1950's then we're all in strife. 

If we don't have jobs and have to rely on $40 a day, be abused as not wanting to work and have to compete fiercely for those that are available, then "Houston, we have a problem".
And it won't get better.

An aging population will create labour shortages in the short term which will be filled by automation. 
This will produce less jobs and those that are available will require a higher skill set which many people won't have or be able to get through a lack of education or ability. Not everyone has the potential to become highly educated, that's a fact of nature not laziness or lack of application.
We are what we are.

So if you have a go, it doesn't mean that you will get a go, the real world doesn't work that way, it just looks good on a campaign slogan.

So how do we fix this?

Not easily and not quickly but we do need to get the ball rolling by firstly getting engagement from politicians and industry and acceptance of the fact that world is changing rapidly and we need to change with it.

That is probably the biggest hurdle, dragging politicians into the 21st century.

Industry should be easier as they know the impact of technology on their business and that if they don't have customers with money then they don't have a market.

Once people are on board we need to look at the welfare systems and how to change the thinking in this area to reflect reality.

$40 a day wont cut it when we have a large percentage of the population relying on public income to live when there is little prospect of getting a job in the foreseeable future.

Universal basic income has to be an option and the best way of doing that has to be determined in a fair and equable way not by political consideration.
However to do nothing will condemn a large part of the population to a life of poverty and despair.

In a simplistic view we must use technology to produce output faster at lower cost and use the savings to fund UBI, obvious much more involved than that, but the point is we have to get the conversation started.
We can be a prosperous country in the new age and share it for all people not just a few as the time for having our collective heads buried in sand is long past.

If we don't exploit change to our advantage then we will become victims of it.



Saturday, 16 March 2019

Part 54 - Australia, the future is in your hands

Australia and much of the world is at a crossroads that most people don't even realise exists.

We have an ageing population which means that as the older generations retire we have less people left in the workforce.

Combine that with the fact that most people today in Australia don't leave school until year 12 and many go on to university so we have a higher educated group entering the workforce.
Higher education and being born into an age where their parents are usually reasonably well off means that job expectations are quite high.

So, we are approaching a point where there will be less people to fill jobs and those left have high expectations and can pick and choose.

Therein lies a problem.

Who fills the low paid repetitive jobs?

A few solutions:

  • Bring in cheaper foreign workers
  • Outsource the jobs overseas
  • Automate the jobs and keep them in Australia
Given the current world of politics, the first two choices would not go down well, so automation and keeping it in the country would be the logical choice.

OK so now we have a solution, but it pushes even bigger problems down the track. 

When the baby boomers are out of the work system, they will live longer but won't live forever. Then we get the new generations becoming the majority and looking for work, but by then we have very high levels of automation.

Now what?
This is when we get the real impact where there are more people than jobs and less and less jobs being created.

This is where social systems have to change.
Being unemployed will no longer be considered as a liability but the new normal for many people, particularly those that don't have high tech capability and don't have the ability to get there.  

As a responsible society we have an obligation to ensure everyone has the right to an income and can choose how they live their lives.

So, do we wait until we reach that point and tackle it then? 
The time to act is now. 
Government must begin to address it now while we have the time to do it properly.

If we wait, then it will become a knee jerk reaction for short term political gain ....  and we all know how well that works in the real world. 

So we need to act now and plan it out so it becomes a win win situation.
Any other way and we run the very real risk of becoming victims of technology.

This is the major platform I am standing on for the Australian Senate and very much want to get involved in making this work for Australia.
Your support can help.
#VotePirate - New idea for a new world
#BasicIncome - the right to choice

Important note.

The vicious attacks on the Al Noor and Linwood Mosques in Christchurch yesterday are 
wholeheartedly condemned by the Pirate Party Australia.
We send our heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families, and to the Muslim communities 
of Australia and New Zealand.

This atrocity will not go unanswered and the Pirate Party will continue to fight to remove far right 
extremists like Fraser Anning and Pauline Hanson from our Parliament.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Part 53 - The new Pirates of the 21st Century

A time to reflect.

Those of you who know, or know of me, know that I will be standing for the Australian Senate in 2019.


Because as I have become older my interests have changed and with it the reflection of my beliefs have changed as well.

Sounds a little pompous I know but it's true.

With age comes some security when your kids grow up, leave home and have their own lives.

What I found is that now I have more time to look around me as the day to day pressure of a younger age have gone and I am looking at the world differently.

I have always voted Liberal (right leaning in Australia) and looked on Labor (left) as something to be shunned.

In the 21st century though it's all changing.

I am a strong believer in government staying out of business as private industry can do it better and more efficiently but, and it's a big but, government has to be across what's happening and shape the society for the benefit of the people.


Not really.

Industry is there to make money, in most instances it's the beginning and end of the whole process. Unfortunately that's not always in the best interest of the society as a whole or for the individual.

For example, in Australia recently there has been a Banking Royal Commission into financial institutions and that has shown a blatant disregard for not only the consumer but for the law as well.

People have been systematically ripped off by companies who tell you everyday that they are there to help you.

That's just an example of how business can go wrong and most certainly does not apply to all businesses, there are ethical people in all industries.

So why is the 21st century going to change all this?

Businesses have to make money or they cease to be a business very quickly.

So the modern trend, forced by practically is to always look at ways of saving money to increase the bottom line. One way of doing this is to increase the automation of processes.

This is nothing new.

Henry ford use automation and introduced the production line early in the 20th century, and many auto factories today are nearly fully automated.
Computing in all industries have cut back staff and increased production in many areas, particularly in finance.

If your a little older you will remember queueing at the bank to take out money then driving around to various places to pay the bills.
Today we do all our banking and bill paying on the Internet and finding a bank branch (if you have a need to) is now difficult as many have closed.

Automation in industry is growing by the day, robotics and AI will increase production, reduce cost and employ less people to achieve these results than ever before and this trend is accelerating rapidly.

Not going to happen in my lifetime is something that many people believe but they are totally wrong.
I build robots at home for a hobby while working full time.

Automated cars are on the road now and will take over much quicker than you would think.
this in itself will change society further that you can image.

In my state of Western Australia , the road toll figures for last year show the lowest death toll for a year since records began. This all comes down to technology ranging from car safety, ABS, auto braking, adaptive cruise control, seat belts and not least, high tech traffic enforcement technology such as Radar and Lidar.

The point being that technology is an integral part of everyday life. If you don't believe me then try getting through a day without your mobile phone, tablet or Netflix.

So back to the political side of things.
We now have industry producing things faster, cheaper and with less wastage and better quality control, all done with less people.

See the irony here?
less people working means less disposable income and a smaller consumer base with a higher product output.

This is where it gets controversial.
In Australia we have unemployment benefits where people are paid an income while looking for work and have very strict processes in place to ensure that they do look for work to get them off benefits as soon as possible.

In the new age this all gets turned around and we need to look at things very differently.

In the not too distant future unemployment for many people will be the new normal and the stigma associated with it will have to disappear.

One answer is a form of Universal Basic Income  (UBI) where everyone has a guaranteed income regardless of their ability to look for work.

So this is where the old system of politics tends to break down.
We need to encourage industry to automate but we need to provide for people who are affected by it.

To do this we need to change the way that politicians think and get people into office that understand the new world and more importantly, are not afraid of adapting to change.

After all change will be the new constant.

So, this brings me back to the beginning where I am standing for the Australian Senate in 2019 for the Pirate Party Australia and to encourage the adoption of change and adapting our society to take advantage of the new potential that change brings with it.

After all history is all about adapt or die and we need to be ahead of change not playing catch up once it happens because we didn't take the time to think about it.

Like it or not we are on the cusp of the greatest change in human history and we must be prepared to adapt.

Adapt or Die, it's our choice.


Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Part 52 - The new world

Consider me a dreamer.

I have reached the point in life where I want something, I go for it.

Now that my kids have left home and I have time to consider things I found that I wanted to actually contribute more to society than just being a part of it.

That's why I am going to stand for the Australian Senate in 2019.

As I have said before, many times, we are on the cusp of massive change in our society with the rise of automation and artificial intelligence. What that means is that many jobs that exist now won't exist in the future. And I mean the very near future.

Obviously this will mean that there are a lot of new jobs created but but not as many jobs will exist as time goes on.

That's where we have the conundrum.
Faster, cheaper and  more efficient manufacturing creating more product at a cheaper price.
With this production and a reduction in the required workforce who will buy the product if we have a shrinking level of employment?

That's where the system falls down as the current politicians can't or won't recognise this as an emerging reality.

We need a complete revamp of the way we think about unemployment and the way we treat unemployed people.

To do that we need to look at the whole welfare and taxation system in Australia and look at ways of improving this to cater for people who can't get work. We also need to have people in power who recognise that, understand technology and are prepared to do something about it before it turns around and bites us on the backside.

If we don't do something before it hits in a big way then we become the victim.
Lets use it to our advantage instead and get ahead of the game.

Universal basic income, or the right to have an income regardless of what you do has to become the new normal.

Revolutionary concept? so was the 40 (or 35) hour work week, women's votes and universal healthcare.
All of these were supposed to destroy the country/society/world but we are now richer in all ways because of them.

That's why we need to change the way we think and if the current politicians won't change (think coal mines) then we need to get people who will.

The choice is yours and in 2019 you have the opportunity to do something about it.

Think wisely before you vote. 




Monday, 15 October 2018

Part 51 - Bad Moon rising

May you live in interesting times.

This has been attributed to an ancient Chinese curse but like many things these days, you can't always rely on its provenance.

Regardless,  we are living in very interesting times, on the brink of the greatest change in human history to date.

Apart from the current social upheaval and nationalistic isolationism (whew, big words) we are also changing in technology like never before as we approach the fourth Industrial Revolution.

This is the age of automation and robotics.

A little far fetched I hear you say.

A few years ago I may have agreed with you but then I got a 3d Printer.....

Investigate the world of 3D printing and your worldview changes with it.

For example, I have had my 3D Printer (cost $400.00) for less than a year and while working full time as well as taking holidays and weekends away I have still managed to build this:
So this is something that I have built at home at no great cost in my spare time, just let that sink in.

Now consider that industry is doing this full time with huge budgets and massive resources.
Robotics, automated vehicles, factory automation and AI are here now and the trend is increasing dramatically.

So where does that leave us?

There are a couple of options,
Oppose it and slow down the uptake by forcing industry to use labour intensive techniques and prop it up with artificial barriers like tariffs.
At best a short term gambit as costs will increase and exports will be too expensive, particularly if your market imposes tariffs as well, which is happening now between the US and China.

Alternatively, and it's the only real option, embrace the change and make it work for you.
Adapt society to take advantage, before the technology adapts society in a way you don't want.

If we don't embrace the change then we will become victims of it.

Can we turn back the clock?

Some politicians think we can but how long for and how much damage will it do?

When's the last time you saw someone walking in front of a car waving a red flag as a warning.

Technology is not going away, we need to use it and accept it.
Resistance is futile.

So what happens to the people displaced by the technology?
Now is the time to change our society and include everyone, not just those with a job.

Universal basic income is a great first step.

Doing it through reverse taxation limits it to only those who need it and people who are out of work have a way forward to re-invent themselves with dignity.

Now is the time to change before it's forced on us.

I support a basic income and will be standing for the Australian Senate in 2019 to support this.

May we all live in interesting times.

#basicincome @voteclivemyers

P.S. here is a video that emphasises the point a little more:

Meanwhile on a lighter note I thought this was pretty funny.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Part 50 - The new world -

This week is the beginning of a new age,at  least for me.

I am a founding member of the Pirate Party here in Australia and I've finally taken the plunge having decided that I want to do something to shape the future of our country.

I have put my name forward to stand for the Australian Senate and have been nominated for pre-selection.
This is has now been voted by the membership and I am pleased to announce that I am the successful candidate and will be standing.

Now the hard work begins.

As readers of my blog well know, I am an strong advocate of automation and robotics.

However I am also very aware of the downside of this disruptive technology.

More and more people (particularly lower skilled workers) will be displaced in the workforce as this trend continues and I want our country to be in the forefront to act on this and not spending years playing catch up when it really starts to bite.

As a consequence I will be supporting a Universal Basic Income policy, where every Australian has the right to a guaranteed income with no strings attached which they can use as they wish.

The Pirate Party Australia already has a policy here that has a lot of really good practical ideas on  how to implement this and I would take that as a very good starting point to build on if elected.

So.... therefore I am standing for the senate.

Just a note on the effects of technology.
We recently took a trip to San Francisco and were absolutely appalled at the number of homeless people sleeping on the streets. Whole areas are basically full of homeless and for a first world country this is unbelievable and broke my heart to see it.
To be fair, it's not because of automation but is due to tech companies pushing up costs due to skilled workers getting high wages, but the effect is the same. Lower skilled people suffering because of it.

As we live in a wealthy country, now is the time to act before this happens here to the same extent, which it will if government doesn't take action before it's too late.

More news as it happens and please feel free to follow me on twitter @voteCliveMyers


Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Part 48 - The long and winding road.

One of the greatest issues facing the world today is the shift by Donald Trump to protectionism.

His stated aim is to return jobs to the US as China has been "stealing" them and "ripping of America" for years.

What he doesn't see, or more likely won't admit to is the fact that these jobs were not stolen but given to China by people exactly like him.

For instance all his (now failed) clothing line were manufactured in China, Indonesia and other countries.
Because clothing made in the US was too expensive and can't compete.

Now he wants manufacturing (and jobs) to come back to the US.

The only way that can happen is for employees in the US to take lower wages than they get now which means that would be little more than state sanctioned economic slavery.
Alternatively manufacturers can automate and that means faster cheaper production but fewer jobs.

Therefore production can increase but employment (number of consumers with an income) decrease.

So what is the answer to this conundrum?

In countries that really want to address the actual problems and not just appeal to their limited supporter base are stating to seriously discuss the guaranteed universal income.

This is where everyone receives a state income that gives them basic economic security without having to work.

That means that they don't have to work two jobs to make a basic income or run around in circles to satisfy governments that they are actively looking for work.

This has been done successfully in other countries, yes, even in the US under Nixon, and is now resurfacing in many countries.

Even here in Australia it's gaining traction.

Personally I don't know if it will eventually work successfully, I think it will but we would be doing all people of the world a huge disservice if we don't discuss or test this in different societies and not just try to turn back the clock to a golden age that never actually existed for everyone.

Outside of the US it's possible that this will get a fair trial.

It's happening in Scotland, Finland, CanadaNetherlands and Barcelona. and probably others that I am not aware of.

So, its being discussed but what does it all mean to the recipients?

Does it mean you get to stay home and drink beer all day while watching TV?
Maybe for a few that would be true but consider someone who really wants to look after their family but spend so much time working flat out in one or maybe two jobs top stop their family from starving. This is a trap as they can't risk trying to improve themselves in case they lose the income they have but can barely survive on what they earn.

Give them a guaranteed income and that all changes. They now have time to up skill for a higher paid job or look for a better job without starving or maybe start a cottage industry.

The big thing is, for the first time with this scheme, there are now options.

Without the stigma of being on welfare or starving if you get sick peoples lives have already improved and the only way from there is up unless you choose to do nothing.

In that case society wears the cost and good luck to you.

With automation increasing in all industries everyday this is not really something that can be ignored and any country that does, does so at their peril.

Basically jobs are not coming back, not now, not ever so it has to be planned for as early as possible so it can be proved and implemented in a controlled fashion.

Failure is not an option.