Friday, February 27, 2015

The Cost of People

I was interested and entertained to hear that a Japanese hotel has plans to have a variety of robots in their hotel in Nagasaki to better serve you, and also, intentionally dramatically reduce the people count.

For Marcus and Angela, as Engineers we have actually been into and worked in large scale Manufacturing plants.  The size of a modern plant, from food production to Power Generation is truly daunting.

But one thing becomes abundantly clear:

Many machines,  few people.

But much of society still doesn't get a very,  very, important principle:

- People cost a lot of money
- They have lives and complications outside of work, preventing a flawless working record
- They expect pensions
- They don't work 24x7
- At work they may spend significant time chatting, facebooking  i.e. not working

In order to provide a low cost service or product at a price you will expect to pay, from shoes to watches to cars, the fewer people involved in the manufacturing, distribution, sales and maintenance chain the better.

Many people rail against the loss of the /personal service/ they expect at their Hotel, Train Station, High Street Bank,  but are blissfully unaware that behind the scenes their low cost lives are made possible by the people diminished, robot friendly manufacturing and supply chain.

All in all it vectors down to one elephant in an increasingly small room

Too Many People

What I am proposing is the following:

Either select a higher cost, less efficient, more people intensive manufacturing process, where <more> people have on average LESS

Or select a highly automated, less people manufacturing process, where LESS people have more.

Currently we have neither.  We have historically rich societies, borrowing their way into paying for: high tech, less people, cost efficient goods  or [often but not always lower] tech,  made by grossly underpaid people, producing cost efficient goods at the cost of peoples lives.

We have to think now, what should be the maximum number of children you should choose to bring into this world as a family.   It should be a number that will ensure that understands that takes account of future robotic technologies that just don't need people.

Is the number perhaps one, maybe even two, but simple maths says it is not 3 or 4.

A Bad role model

Samuel L Jackson: Population Control 

Sure, the action sequences in Kingsman are quite gripping, but I challenge you to listen and think about what underlies Richman Valentine's rather dastardly plan.  Clearly this will involve you in going to see the film Kingsman

A Good Read

Dan Brown: Inferno

By contrast, and slightly more effort for the reader (than the film) but a different take on Population control is postulated in this ingenious novel. 

Think about the future of our world where robots not outsourcing / cheap labour will provide the needs for modern manufacturing.  If we need less people in even 50 years, this is something that has to be thought about now.

Inferno at Audible
Dan Brown Inferno wikipedia

Kingsman: Gazelle
Wikipedia: Sofia Boutella