* This site is based on internet standards not supported by IE 6.
EC Container 5

Smart Machines OK


Shannon Jones, Warren Jones, Lana Rubalsky (2010) "Smart Machines OK", wJones Research, May 19, 2010
Poll Finds Most Prefer U.S. Pair Smart Machines with Workers to Compete in Global Economy

Poll Questions
A recent poll finds both workers and management prefer that the United States employ a new generation of smart machines to manufacture competitively rather than continue offshoring manufacturing, which has led to massive trade deficits. In a global two-day poll with more than five hundred responses, it seems U.S. workers, management and even overseas workers prefer the U.S. employ technology to bolster a domestic workforce.

In 1962, John Kennedy declared the threat of automation replacing human labor as one of the most important challenges facing America. Nearly fifty years later, the poll indicates attitudes have reversed, as a seventy-six percent (76%) majority support the use of smart automation.

Leading Response - Balance Human Labor, Machines and Trade

Unlike in the sixties, when the only choices seemed to be automation or human labor, today’s respondents see a mixed workforce as the most practical solution. The majority of poll participants find a balanced workforce of machine and human labor ideal, with the presence of just enough automation to balance trade. “Improving production through speed and cost reduction should increase cash flow. However, even automation requires support which creates employment,” commented Mike Houldin, a Project Leader at Suncor Energy.

Smart Machines vs. Overseas Labor, which is best for long term US interests (background at http://www.wjones.com/labor)
Sponsored by wJones Company.

Overall Results

Would Owners Turn the Factory Over to Robots?

Although a balanced labor force was the overall leading choice, those identifying themselves as corporate owners were not in favor of a balanced labor force. In this group, three of five respondents thought it sufficient to have a machine-only labor force. The senior executive group identifying their job titles as Chief or Vice President also had strong support for an “automation only” workforce with five of fifteen respondents supporting. No comments were received from these respondents.
.By Job Title

Midsize Companies More Likely Than Large to Support “Wherever Labor is Cheapest” Approach

Forty-three percent (43%) of midsize companies responded with a preference to find labor wherever it was cheapest. This was calculated by combining the responses “make it all offshore" and “wherever labor is cheapest.” This compares to thirty percent (30%) of large company responses and just twenty-seven percent (27%) of responses from multi-national enterprises. The large number of international respondents in the midsize category may account for this. As commented by Bhavin Parekh, a Senior Consultant with offshore solutions provider Quinnox, “Outsourcing is good for the world economy in general ... developing countries get money out of the outsourced work and developed nations can get cheaper service by using the model.”
By Company Size

Operations Workers Show Strongest Support for Mixed Man-Machine Workforce ... and Greatest Skepticism

Half of all workers identifying themselves as working in operations preferred a balanced man-machine solution. Operations workers are more likely to have manufacturing, transportation, mining and maintenance roles that would directly work with smart automation. This direct interface may explain the high level of skepticism in this group, with twice as many doubting that safe, intelligent machines can be built. (nineteen percent (19%) versus eight to nine percent of all other groups).

Some of the skepticism may have less to do with technology than management’s use of it. A respondent working as a Controls Engineer suggested, “You need honest management attitude with technical & economics knowledge for long run that is lacking in the above question …” He suggested that any approach that lacks both honesty and competence would end in disaster.

Majority of Women Prefer a Balanced Approach

Fifty-two percent (52%) of women prefer a balanced approach versus thirty-four percent (34%) of men. “Even to run the smartest machine you need a smart worker,” suggested Sanchita Chakraborty, a technical recruiter at Manpower Inc.
By Gender

Seniors Less Likely to Doubt Machine Technology

Results also show that seniors are less likely to doubt the possibility of smart machine technology than younger respondents. Only five percent (5%) of the fifty-five and above (55+) age group reported they don’t “think smart machines can be built,” versus twelve percent (12%) of the twenty-five to thirty-four (25-34) age group. This may be due to the sixty year gap between Alan Turing’s prediction of smart systems (1950) and this year’s first patent application for a system based upon the new Existence Model Architecture (EMA).

By Age
“I think many over sixty were once excited about the possibilities of smart machines,” said EMA and General Intelligence Algorithm (Gia) co-inventor Warren Jones. “In 1950, Turing predicted a breakthrough would take at least fifty (50+) years. We started work on Stored Purpose in 2006 and finished design earlier this year, about ten years late. But nearly two generations have grown up without Turing, Asimov or Walt (Disney) to prepare their imagination for the future that lay ahead … in particular, computers able to perform tasks and understand the world just as we can.”

EC Container 6