Social Skills Are last line of defense for human job seekers

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Jacoby
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19 Oct 2015, 12:36 pm

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David Deming, an associate professor of education and economics at Harvard University, has found that jobs requiring social interaction are growing relative to work that doesn’t, and such skills may offer some protection from robotic takeover. Certain high-level professions that demand technical expertise and low-skill work that can be done by a greater share of the population often have in common a need for language, creativity, flexibility and physical dexterity, all things humans currently can do better than machines.

Almost all job growth since 1980 has been in work that is social-skill intensive, according to research from Deming published in August. Occupations that require high levels of analytical and mathematical reasoning but little social interface -- for example statistical clerks and machinists -- have “fared especially poorly,” he wrote. Meanwhile real wage growth has been strongest in jobs that require workers to have both math and social skills, such as registered nurses, designers and financial managers.
‘Unconscious Process’

Social interaction is “an unconscious process” for people, Deming said in an interview. “It’s really hard to write a program that does that as well.”

While true for now, it’s only a matter of time before robots catch up to humans in this area too, argues Pedro Domingos at the University of Washington in Seattle. He says machines are already making impressive headway on at least mimicking social skills. One day that computer on the other end of the customer service line will be so good you won’t need to keep pressing zero to reach a human operator.

In Domingos’s labor market of the future, having a person do something a robot can do for less -- tend bar, wait tables -- will be a luxury. Jobs like that “will remain, but they’re going to be comparatively very highly paid jobs and there are going to be fewer,” he said. Even technical workers such as computer scientists will be out of work eventually, as machines become more nimble at understanding natural language, said Domingos, who is the author of "The Master Algorithm," a book on machine learning published last month.


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/ ... eking-work

Well this doesn't sound good, automation seems like it will doom us all especially us on the spectrum as no guaranteed basic income will be provided in place of these evaporating jobs, they don't even have to money to do it if they wanted to. Society will collapse if 70% of people are out of work, they say that jobs will magically be created as they were in the past but I'm not so sure that is some universal law. It seems like most human value is weighed by your social skills and networking, not sure where that leaves me.



ScottF
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19 Oct 2015, 7:06 pm

I guess I am fortunate then, I am in a job that requires very little in the way of social skills...I work in a body shop and I have very little interaction with customers, usually having to escort them out of our "authorized personnel only" areas...Having to deal with customers while trying to do my job would slow me down greatly as the job is very technical and specialized


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MissMistopholes
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19 Oct 2015, 7:56 pm

You could develop a really valuable and rare skill, so that employers would be willing to put up with your lack of social skills.



Jacoby
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19 Oct 2015, 8:21 pm

Not all of us are savants, most of us don't have any "special" abilities

Most people are completely disposable as far as being a worker goes, social skills seem to be the biggest intangible and people will generally only hire people they like.



MissTeeCee
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20 Oct 2015, 11:28 am

Jacoby wrote:
Not all of us are savants, most of us don't have any "special" abilities

Most people are completely disposable as far as being a worker goes, social skills seem to be the biggest intangible and people will generally only hire people they like.


Practically nobody's a savant and being good enough for employers to overlook social skills doesn't require that. I work in export controls - the work is very technical, mindnumbingly obtuse, boring to pretty much everybody and there are few with the skills to do it (long learning curve). I like it, am good at it and replacing me would take ages.



Jacoby
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20 Oct 2015, 10:31 pm

The problem with that is the whole experience trap and the fact that on-the-job training is essentially a thing of the past, a special marketable minute skill that no one else can do well I don't know where to begin. Like I said, it seems most of us are totally disposable as workers including NTs which probably goes in part to explain the 80% unemployment on the spectrum.



Lintar
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22 Oct 2015, 7:16 pm

'Social interaction is “an unconscious process” for people, Deming said in an interview.'

It is? Perhaps it is for most people, but for some of us it's a real struggle that requires conscious effort.

'...it’s only a matter of time before robots catch up to humans in this area too, argues Pedro Domingos at the University of Washington in Seattle. He says machines are already making impressive headway on at least mimicking social skills.'

...and that's all they will ever be able to do: mimic certain behaviours. I don't believe it is 'only a matter of time' before robots catch up to us, if only because whilst we are now reasonably proficient when it comes to making dummies that walk and talk, actually 'programming' a machine in such a way that it actually becomes conscious (i.e. is actually sentient and self-aware) is nothing more than a fantasy due to the very nature of consciousness itself; i.e. the inherent inability to reduce it to mere calculation, to ones and zeros. The mind is not like this, it is not reducible to a computer programme. People are far greater than the sum of their 'parts'. This is an example of reductionism gone mad.

'In Domingos’s labor market of the future, having a person do something a robot can do for less -- tend bar, wait tables -- will be a luxury. Jobs like that “will remain, but they’re going to be comparatively very highly paid jobs and there are going to be fewer,” he said. Even technical workers such as computer scientists will be out of work eventually, as machines become more nimble at understanding natural language, said Domingos, who is the author of "The Master Algorithm," a book on machine learning published last month.'

Of course, I should have seen it coming. He's not biased, oh no, he just has a book to promote! 'Machine learning' - machines don't 'learn' anything, because they can't. They're machines after all. The claims made within the article are nonsensical, unfounded and irrational. Machines will never 'take over' the world, because they will never have minds. I really do think that people should stop confusing Asimov-type science fiction with what is actually possible.



Lintar
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22 Oct 2015, 7:24 pm

MissMistopholes wrote:
You could develop a really valuable and rare skill, so that employers would be willing to put up with your lack of social skills.


Like what? I would be a really good restaurant critic, or any kind of critic full stop. I know how to be pedantic, fussy, sarcastic and make enemies. It comes naturally :mrgreen:



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22 Oct 2015, 7:36 pm

ScottF wrote:
I guess I am fortunate then, I am in a job that requires very little in the way of social skills...I work in a body shop and I have very little interaction with customers, usually having to escort them out of our "authorized personnel only" areas...Having to deal with customers while trying to do my job would slow me down greatly as the job is very technical and specialized
My job as an electrical engineer is the same way. Maintaining a straight face while snowballing the visitors with technobabble seems the best way to make them wish they were somewhere else ... so that I can get back to work.


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MrsMartians
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23 Oct 2015, 6:53 am

Jacoby wrote:
The problem with that is the whole experience trap and the fact that on-the-job training is essentially a thing of the past, a special marketable minute skill that no one else can do well I don't know where to begin. Like I said, it seems most of us are totally disposable as workers including NTs which probably goes in part to explain the 80% unemployment on the spectrum.



By taking a crappy minimum wage job, if that's all you can get. You will learn "soft" skills and how to deal with people and be better placed to find a better job.

There are tons of aspies with great jobs - quants, finance, geology, geophysics, chemistry, pharmaceutical sales, computery things, etc!



Jacoby
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23 Oct 2015, 7:13 am

MrsMartians wrote:
Jacoby wrote:
The problem with that is the whole experience trap and the fact that on-the-job training is essentially a thing of the past, a special marketable minute skill that no one else can do well I don't know where to begin. Like I said, it seems most of us are totally disposable as workers including NTs which probably goes in part to explain the 80% unemployment on the spectrum.



By taking a crappy minimum wage job, if that's all you can get. You will learn "soft" skills and how to deal with people and be better placed to find a better job.

There are tons of aspies with great jobs - quants, finance, geology, geophysics, chemistry, pharmaceutical sales, computery things, etc!



They don't just give away those "crappy" minimum wage jobs not to mention they're retail or fast food which are the antithesis of I think the normal aspie and rely heavily on social skill. I grew up in some rust belt ****-hole and those were the only jobs left, manufacturing all left making parts of our city look like a post-apocalyptic wasteland and there was less and less retail actually in the city as the years went on as it progressively moved out to the much more affluent suburbs. I see a lot of sad 40+ year olds working drive thrus and cash registers these days, if you never are allowed on the employment ladder to begin with and if it is already blocked then as you know the progressively more unemployable you look in their eyes and the likelihood of turning it around falls. Some people have nice jobs here, vast majority don't. Perhaps I should go work in the fields for $50 12 hour shift, not sure field laborer fits anywhere on a resume and the only thing that will leave you is a bad back.



MrsMartians
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23 Oct 2015, 9:54 am

Jacoby wrote:
MrsMartians wrote:
Jacoby wrote:
The problem with that is the whole experience trap and the fact that on-the-job training is essentially a thing of the past, a special marketable minute skill that no one else can do well I don't know where to begin. Like I said, it seems most of us are totally disposable as workers including NTs which probably goes in part to explain the 80% unemployment on the spectrum.



By taking a crappy minimum wage job, if that's all you can get. You will learn "soft" skills and how to deal with people and be better placed to find a better job.

There are tons of aspies with great jobs - quants, finance, geology, geophysics, chemistry, pharmaceutical sales, computery things, etc!



They don't just give away those "crappy" minimum wage jobs not to mention they're retail or fast food which are the antithesis of I think the normal aspie and rely heavily on social skill. I grew up in some rust belt ****-hole and those were the only jobs left, manufacturing all left making parts of our city look like a post-apocalyptic wasteland and there was less and less retail actually in the city as the years went on as it progressively moved out to the much more affluent suburbs. I see a lot of sad 40+ year olds working drive thrus and cash registers these days, if you never are allowed on the employment ladder to begin with and if it is already blocked then as you know the progressively more unemployable you look in their eyes and the likelihood of turning it around falls. Some people have nice jobs here, vast majority don't. Perhaps I should go work in the fields for $50 12 hour shift, not sure field laborer fits anywhere on a resume and the only thing that will leave you is a bad back.


Born and raised in Pittsburgh, never had issues finding work. My littlest cousin, who's 25 and has Down syndrome, still lives there and makes Way more than minimum wage. Rust belt held neither of us back.

Guess you're stuck with improving your skills to the point that you can get hired for one of those hard-to-gEt minimum wage jobs, manual labor or get-minimum-wage-job and save to move someplace with more opportunities for work. Bitterness at the rust belt doesn't seem to be helping.



alex
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23 Oct 2015, 10:44 am

It's funny because the example was of a robot replacing a waiter (which makes sense.) But waiters are supposed to have great social skills.


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kraftiekortie
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23 Oct 2015, 10:56 am

They are supposed to have consummate social skills, and maintain dignity amid a peon's existence at the same time.

Only as a last resort would I become a waiter.



alex
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23 Oct 2015, 11:02 am

I think the reality is that jobs requiring creativity are the last line of defense.


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