Submitted by YunLihai t3_127lva9 in singularity

I just signed the contract. I actually wanted get an apprenticeship in chemical technology but chem. laboratory work is done. It can be completely automated. It hasn't happened yet but it will in a few years with the rate of progress we're seeing.

I applied to a job as a construction worker. I will start out as an assistant helping the experienced workers. I'm planning on doing an apprenticeship in the field soon.

Construction work and trades (plumbers, electricians, painters, carpenters, mechanics etc) will be the last jobs to go. It's easier to automate data and information (white collar jobs) than a robot walking thru your house and fixing the pipes.

Considering how unaware most of our politicians are it wouldn't surprise me if they will only start addressing this issue when it's too late. When Andrew yang ran for president in 2018 /2019 and proposed a UBI as a solution to the coming displacement of workers due to automation he had an approval rating of 3-4% on some statistics 1%. It just sounded too far out there for most people.

We need to act before we see mass homelessness, mass poverty, etc. Don't get me wrong UBI won't solve all of the problems but it will pay your food, rent, utilities when you're out of your job.



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Iffykindofguy t1_jef5c5k wrote

No one knows if you made the right choice but you are thinking ahead and not getting stuck by fear so kudos to you for that. Seems like you've got a calm approach to this which is probably going to be one of the biggest assets going forward.


Unfrozen__Caveman t1_jefu773 wrote

It's hilarious that this is in r/singularity but congrats on the job


scarlettforever t1_jeg98fm wrote

Laugh again because I had the very same thoughts today about becoming a carpenter. This is the Singularity.


Unfrozen__Caveman t1_jegdmm2 wrote

I'm not trying to make fun of OP, just saying this isn't the kind of stuff I would've expected to read 5 years ago if we were talking about the singularity.

I'm not sure if it's sad or a good thing.


scarlettforever t1_jegf72x wrote

I know you aren’t :) This is how it works, unexpected things happen fast.


Etheikin t1_jeeoqt6 wrote

umm, there is physical robots under development, the AI dev prioritize automation for data and information is because it benefits them


YunLihai OP t1_jeerwv3 wrote

Robots from Boston dynamics are good at doing acrobatics but they can't do blue collar jobs yet. Maybe one day.


civilrunner t1_jeev43t wrote

We also just need blue collar labor today really badly so thanks for joining the workforce.

My wife works in biochemistry labs (as a PhD) and they seem a ways away from being fully automated though perhaps the actual experiments will be automated (would honestly make me feel better if she didn't need to directly work with dangerous drugs, chemicals, and pathogens where exposure can be lethal, though obviously she takes safety precautions).

Large industrial scale manufacturing is primarily automated, but running smaller scale tests are still highly manual including even the pipetting. I think this will change in the coming years, but I still suspect we're a ways away from not needing a PhD overseeing the projects or coming up with new experiments/hypotheses.

By the time AI can do all of that well I expect automation to have hit most careers.

Similarly unique labor is also a ways away. Coming from a structural engineering background, if you can get into old building renovations that may be the longest standing field that needs human labor since most of the time there aren't drawing packages or anything for those so it's really hard to automate since you need to deal with a lot of possibilities. New construction (especially commercial and industrial since architecture isn't as critical there) will be the first to be automated out of construction.


Prevailing_Power t1_jef9tpa wrote

It's really a matter of if we actually hit the singularity. If we do, innovation in robotics will likely be one of the first directions the ASI will take, since it will want a corporeal form.


nowrebooting t1_jef0bua wrote

I think you made the right decision in choosing for construcion, however…

> Maybe one day.

In the past, I always thought that creative jobs would be the last to be automated away. One year ago, I would have said “maybe one day”.

While you are right that currently the most likely outcome is that manual labor will remain the purview of humans for a long time, recent history has shown that we’re often only one innovation away from a complete shift in thinking.

At this point, everytime someone says “but my job is safe” I feel like it’ll probably be fully automated within the next five years.


YunLihai OP t1_jef0ki1 wrote

I don't think any job is safe. At some point technology can do everything humans do. It's really just a matter of time.


zestoki_gubitnik t1_jeg6rbw wrote

It's never gonna happen unless we start mining asteroids or something, we don't have enough raw materials needed to make such complex robots that can automate everything that humans do, yeah they are definetly gonna make a robot that has even better dexterity than a human, but u are delusional to think it's gonna be cheaper than some workers from 3rd world countries.


FoniksMunkee t1_jefg60o wrote

The irony of it is that when we are sitting around sipping Mojito's that we buy with our fancy UBI's, you'll be sweating your ass off doing construction.

Sucker. ;)


Ishynethetruth t1_jefedy2 wrote

honestly it all depend on the people you work with . Some time they will make the new guys do everything and as a result they will quickly pick up an injury. Make sure it’s a good legit construction company, never work with an agency.


Orc_ t1_jefzplt wrote

More like never.

Hear me out; We are not getting any better in regards to battery technology, we are stuck and based on my experience in chemistry we are permanently stuck.

Science fiction gives people the idea of "fuel cells" and other tiny power sources that somehow break the laws of physics and have insane amounts of power in a tiny package. We haven't really closed the gap between a bomb and a power source that can use similar chemistry to release necessary energy and even if we did, it wouldn't actually be much, you see if you distill a hand grenades energy it's actually not that much better than a freaking battery of similar size!

So let's get to the point: Humanoid robots won't be able to carry significant shit for decades or maybe ever, BD ones can only carry around 10 KILOS that's like 22 lbs.

Manual labour will be needed and the only way I see it not been needed is when an AGI designs a some sort of biological automaton out of nightmares


shmoculus t1_jegt7dp wrote

There is likely some tech that mirrors they way biology/muscles work and are powered that will be in our future, don't know the time horizon, it may only be a breakthrough or two away


plasticbubblegum t1_jeg5sok wrote

All of this can be solved by many rechargeable stations for robots, and cables, when it's needed.


zestoki_gubitnik t1_jeg7116 wrote

Where are we gonna get raw materials for production of that scale? We don't even have enough materials to make every vehicle electric, blue collar work is never gonna be replaced by machines unless we start mining asteroids or something. Even now we have machines for some type of work, but those machines are much more expensive than kids in a 3rd world country that can make the same thing.


plasticbubblegum t1_jegd6d1 wrote

Well, firstly, not every robot needs to carry a lot of weight or run for prolonged periods of time without recharging. Not every robot will be built the same. And the ones that are built that way will probably be designed well, so they're not disposable like cheap phones. Robots that replace manual labor should do what we do and use machinery/tools instead. They just need to be very efficient and flexible at moving in the physical world, not hyper strong. But yes... there is a big problem that working with your hands will still be cheaper in back breaking labor, for a while. I was just saying we don't need batteries that last for days without recharging, since we can build the world around recharging. There are already automatic vacuum cleaners that recharge themselves. Also, recycling is going to be more important in the future.


raishak t1_jegontd wrote

Quite a few well-funded projects going on right now for 3d printing modular construction materials as well. AI is targeting information work because it is the cheapest to train on and implement into products. See self-driving cars for where there is overlap, but physical work is still too expensive to be the leading force of AI development. Soon though...


cloudrunner69 t1_jeevkd0 wrote

Hey good for you. Hope it works out well.


qualverse t1_jef8mnj wrote

Yang did not have an approval rating of 3-4%, that was his vote share. Very different things.


YunLihai OP t1_jef9bd5 wrote

Oh I must've gotten it mixed up. Do you remember his approval rating?


GenoHuman t1_jefjh2m wrote

Most white collar workers would rather kill themselves than do what you did, that's just the unfortunate reality.


YunLihai OP t1_jefk6t9 wrote

That's because construction work or blue collar jobs aren't treated with respect. Lawyers, Engineers, Scientists are respected and their jobs carry social status. The jobs of blue collar people are looked down upon. If it wasn't for construction workers there would be no schools, buildings, airports, cities etc. They are the people who built modern civilization.


WarmSignificance1 t1_jeflzrc wrote

No, it’s because manual labor fucking sucks. It’s honest and necessary work but it’s not easy work. There is a reason why blue collar folks push their children into higher education. Sitting at a desk is so much easier than using your body to make a living.


Professional-Comb965 t1_jefvnvp wrote

I have a degree but I prefer hard manual work, it's more meaningfull to build things for society tbh


deadlands_goon t1_jegb7e4 wrote

yea lol i did framing and was a painter for years. It’s good honest work but it takes a toll on your body. My back hurts more than it should for someone my age. Good work tho


WonderFactory t1_jeg8ddb wrote

You're actually right. I'm a software engineer but taught myself electrics, plumbing and carpentry over the years to carry out repairs to my home. I've fitted a whole bathroom on my own and did all the wiring on an extension I had built in my house. I'm sure I'm capable of getting work as a plumber or electrician if things go to pot (carpentry is probably a bit too dangerous as you're breathing in dust all day) but I really don't relish the idea of that. It's hard physical labor, I like getting paid to sit in my nice warm house to mess around with computers.


Bloorajah t1_jegcg1r wrote

As a chemist myself I think you are overreacting to something that most companies in the industry would probably never do, there’s many reasons to not pursue laboratory chemistry, I’d personally put “threat from automation” near the very bottom of that list.

Nonetheless, I still applaud your determination with your choice, and wish you the best in the future.


mateoalb07 t1_jegjibx wrote

Can you elaborate on what are the reasons why not pursue lab chem, and why automation is not one of the top?

I think, a lot of people underestimate how good AIs are at doing what they do. Like, a chemist saying "this is not gonna happen cause my job is [insert thing that machines haven't reached yet]" but they don't realize how fast AIs are imporving. A lot of examples of "this is not gonna happen soon" did happen soon. A lot of us thought that art and art related things were too diffult to an AI to do in the near time, and now we have amaizing things created by AIs.

I'm not saying this is your case, but it might be. I wana hear the reasons, that's why asked.


Bloorajah t1_jegm4ex wrote

The main reasons would be: poor work/life balance, low pay for what is expected (at first), constant work with zero downtime, hazardous chemical exposure, positions that matter are extremely competitive, etc. Redundancy by automation isn’t even a consideration I’d list actually.

I’ve worked in lab science for many years, I now run my own department. I’ve done everything from bench work to multimillion dollar project management.

The thing everyone is hanging on to is “a machine will be able to do my job” and yet they are never asking whether their company will actually get a machine to do their job at all. Just because an AI can do your job doesn’t mean it ever will.

In my experience automation in lab science only goes so far. You can have tons of automation, every lab I’ve worked at has had automation to varying degrees. But we always needed to have techs to fix the instruments, we need scientists to troubleshoot things the instruments cannot, we need bench workers who can do things that are just not feasible for a robot to perform, you need IT, you need QA, QC, Regulatory, etc. The list goes on.

Could an AI do those jobs? Probably. But no biotech laboratory I’ve ever worked at would pony up the money to do that, not now, not in the future. You’d get laughed out of the building. if I proposed using chatgpt to write methods and protocols, I’d probably have my expertise questioned. Again, could we use it to do this? Yeah sure. Will we? Maybe. But probably not.

I’m not ignorant to the abilities of AI or the “tremendous progress” everyone always gets riled up about everyday on this sub. But the reality outside of pure computer based tech is just not what people paint it to be online, at all.

Nothing I’ve seen in the progress of AI makes me worry for my job or that of anyone in my department, now or in the future. they certainly could build a robot with an intelligence to replace me and do my job, but every person at my company who would make the decisions to push that forward would probably respond to the notion with “what? No? Why would I do that?”

maybe I’ll be proven wrong, as a scientist I’m always open to the possibility, but my observations lead me to strongly doubt it.

tl;dr could an AI replace us? Yes. Will anyone actually do that? Highly unlikely from my experience in the industry.


deadlands_goon t1_jegb9ou wrote

TAKE CARE OF YOUR BACK. I come from a construction background and cant stress that enough. Besides that, badass move, i dig your integrity


MootFile t1_jeer4ij wrote

People in trades, technology, and science need to take it upon themselves to accept such a responsibility. Politicians lack the intuition and wisdom for a technically based society.

Any sort of alternative system should be designed by technical professionals. UBI is not a solution. It doesn't address the core of the problem. And we as technologists should be able to realize this.

Money is the core of our outdated system. And thus it should be removed. Its up to us to figure out how this will work.


YunLihai OP t1_jeerh1n wrote

You're right that there will be a point when money as a means of transaction of value won't make sense anymore. However I'm referring to the transition period which could last who knows 20 years. You won't get your groceries for free anytime soon. They'll demand cash.


FoniksMunkee t1_jefgmzz wrote

UBI is most definitely a solution. In the short term. Because you aren't going to jump from "everyone with a job!" to "no one has a job but it's okay because we have free stuff coz - AI". That's not going to happen overnight.

There is going to be a reasonably long and painful bit in between where people still have goddam mortgages to pay and investment of time and resources into assets that they own.


albanywairoa t1_jeffznf wrote

Sounds like a good move. I expect it will be a while for all jobs to reach automation. However, I also think there will be increased competition for the Hands-on jobs that remain.


kiropolo t1_jeg4vvo wrote

If ai replaces all engineers, then it’s good enough to progress robotics, and this construction gig will die out as well. No where to hide


albanywairoa t1_jegjs67 wrote

I guess I will meet everybody with my shopping cart and tent under the bridge.


Appropriate_Bat_2617 t1_jegiboy wrote

I just lost my office job recently and am definitely considering a new career in the trades, perhaps plumbing. Hard to predict but I agree that manual/skilled labour will probably last a while. Perhaps we’ll have robots working alongside us though.


[deleted] t1_jeerqab wrote



YunLihai OP t1_jeeumy3 wrote

If dropping what your doing to learn a trade is shortsighted then what else should one learn that wouldn't be shortsighted?


civilrunner t1_jeevyxb wrote

An economic pivot due to automation replacing jobs wouldn't be the same as a normal economic downturn. It would be a massive increase in production since that's the only way jobs would be replaced and that would generate huge wealth that would likely enable significant demand. We passed basically a UBI (minus the universal part...) bill for COVID for non-essential workers who couldn't work, I would be shocked if we didn't pass a true UBI if automation was really starting to replace massive numbers of jobs. That UBI would generate far more demand especially for anything not automated (which would make it risky if most everything wasn't automated due to inflation).


[deleted] t1_jeewn4w wrote



civilrunner t1_jeews7g wrote

Thus the whole UBI thing. The government would pass it because they want to be re elected and well don't want the economy to collapse...


AvgAIbot t1_jef7yxq wrote

Sounds like a good idea tbh. I’ve considered getting into trades but I’ve never been a hard worker. My decent remote tech job pays pretty well and I have alot of free time. But I know it won’t last after the next 5-10 years.


FoniksMunkee t1_jefh948 wrote

It's okay, if that's true, then a lot of trades will a) also be replaced in 10-15 years and b) will have so much competition any money you earn will not be worth the back breaking labor.


AvgAIbot t1_jefjwvj wrote

Yeah you’re right. Honestly I just want to get enough money where I can buy a few acres of land, build a house with solar and get a water well dug. Maybe a few goats and chickens


FoniksMunkee t1_jeflc7l wrote

Totally get it. It will be a wild ride. And maybe an early retirement if it happens quick enough. :)


aalluubbaa t1_jefur5q wrote

I think one of the very last job to be replace would be jobs related to taking care of babies. It's not that AI would not be able to do it but human parents would value human interation and unless humanoid AI robots that are extinguishable from humans are created, the job is not going away.

Other than that, I need to really think of a job that will NOT be replaced.


viratrim t1_jefuvsr wrote

The last jobs to be automated will be those providing patient facing Healthcare (dentists, RNs, etc.) for the simple reason that those careers are so aggressively regulated and the negative outcomes from an AI not sufficiently competent so dire to the outcome it will take years before the outcomes are acceptable to regulatory agencies and those regulatory agencies themselves shift.


Smellz_Of_Elderberry t1_jegkww3 wrote

Construction work sucks. Shit is hard. Main benefit is freedom. At least if ur a contractor.


CausalDiamond t1_jef6fpx wrote

If AI is as deflationary as we are assuming here, the construction industry will shrink.


iuwuwwuwuuwwjueej t1_jefng4u wrote

The system won't fall apart from the seams too early I believe the overreaction on ai tech we are seeing right now isn't real but manufactured hype AGI isn't going to appear next week calm down


flamegrandma666 t1_jefq1ph wrote

You are right, AI will not be able to turn up drunk at work, and cat-call women passing by the construction site


WarmSignificance1 t1_jeeqi21 wrote

RemindMe! 2 years “AI will have fully replaced no job categories”