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Automation To Take 1 in 3 Jobs in UK's Northern Centres, Report Finds (theguardian.com) 181

Workers in Mansfield, Sunderland and Wakefield are at the highest risk of having their jobs taken by machines, according to a report warning that automation stands to further widen the north-south divide. From a report: Outside of the south of England, one in four jobs are at risk of being replaced by advances in technology -- much higher than the 18% average for wealthier locations closer to London. Struggling towns and cities in the north and the Midlands are most exposed. A total of 3.6m UK jobs could be replaced by machines. The Centre for Cities thinktank says almost one-third of the jobs in the Nottinghamshire town of Mansfield, near the Sports Direct warehouse, are involved in lines of work under threat as robots begin to replace humans in the years up to 2030. Jobs at the highest risk of replacement include those in retail sales, customer services, administration and warehouse work.
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Automation To Take 1 in 3 Jobs in UK's Northern Centres, Report Finds

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  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Monday January 29, 2018 @03:51PM (#56029051)

    at least they have NHS!

    • Surely all these people displaced by automation can return to manually plowing fields and manually harvesting? Or maybe they can run teams of horses for the carriage trade? perhaps they can connect phone calls at exchanges? Maybe they can stoke coal in the boilers of steam ships? Perhaps they can go house to house collecting the nightsoil buckets? maybe they can go around lighting the gas street lamps? Can't they act as runners for telegraph messages?

      No need to worry about automation when all the jobs I jus

      • "Give them each a quarter acre of land and let them grow their own food... or starve." is a thought I frequently have.
      • What is worrying is that jobs still available require more and more qualifications... qualifications that a lot of people can't get because of a lack of intellectual abilities. I live in Quebec. Here, there are about 53% of the adult population (between 18 and 65) who doesn't reach level 3 in literacy. What will those people be able to do in a modern society where automation is everywhere?

        Now it's true that in the case of Quebec we have a lot of immigrants. And thanks to our socialist policies, many of ther

      • Surely all these people displaced by automation can return to manually plowing fields and manually harvesting? Or maybe they can run teams of horses for the carriage trade? perhaps they can connect phone calls at exchanges? Maybe they can stoke coal in the boilers of steam ships? Perhaps they can go house to house collecting the nightsoil buckets? maybe they can go around lighting the gas street lamps? Can't they act as runners for telegraph messages?

        No need to worry about automation when all the jobs I just named are currently unfilled.

        But they're filled. In fact you can do the job.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Locke2005 ( 849178 )
      I hear the wait for an abortion is currently more than 10 months...
      • I get the joke (and it's one I'm going to steal, thanks!), but in case anyone thinks you are serious...

        Abortions aren't done by the NHS, the doctor simply refers you to Marie Stopes and pays the bill - your abortion is booked on a time table set by Marie Stopes local clinics.

        • by starless ( 60879 )

          in case anyone thinks you are serious...

          Abortions aren't done by the NHS, the doctor simply refers you to Marie Stopes and pays the bill - your abortion is booked on a time table set by Marie Stopes local clinics.

          Yes, they are done at NHS facilities - although they can also be done at Marie Stopes, typically funded by the NHS.

          Abortions can only be carried out in an NHS hospital or a licensed clinic, and are usually available free of charge on the NHS.

          https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/... [www.nhs.uk]

          • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday January 29, 2018 @05:59PM (#56029903)

            Yeah, that page is wrong (or rather, you are misinterpreting it) - but it was right (or rather, your interpretation of it) up to a few years ago.

            Today, the only abortion referral across the NHS is to a Marie Stopes clinic - they got the NHS contract a few years ago, the NHS doesn't carry out "normal" abortions any more (only more complex cases where there are complications or other factors, and then they are not treated as abortions but treatments).

            My wife is a GP locum (worked across the UK until middle of last year, when we left the UK), she hasn't done a referral to an NHS abortion clinic in several years, they all go to Marie Stopes regardless of where she is working in the UK.

  • Are they training for a new type of job?
    Are they starting their own business?
    Are they going back to school for education?
    Is the company promoting those jobs being replaced and using them for something else?
    Are they moving to a different location?

    Efficiencies including automation has a net economic increase. Now this is being a big old average, so these people who got replaced will lose out, which some support services should kick in, as to lessen the effect.

    • by XXongo ( 3986865 ) on Monday January 29, 2018 @04:26PM (#56029303) Homepage

      Efficiencies including automation has a net economic increase.

      Yep. And that economic increase goes entirely to the people who own the robots. Basically: the rich get richer, and the working class gets unemployed.

      • Wrong question (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mi ( 197448 ) <slashdot-2017q4@virtual-estates.net> on Monday January 29, 2018 @04:58PM (#56029561) Homepage Journal

        Basically: the rich get richer, and the working class gets unemployed.

        Imagine for a second, that a magical pill is invented, that prevents any and all illness in humans. It is fairly easy to make and needs to be taken once only at any point after birth.

        Would you be seriously lamenting the unemployment of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff — and begrudging the pill's inventor(s) and/or manufacturer(s) their billions of dollars?

        • Re: Wrong question (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ranton ( 36917 )

          No, but I would be advocating for tuition forgiveness, extended and enhanced unemployment payments, retraining, and public pensions for those who spent 5-10+ years training for high paid and critical fields that have now disappeared. Just like we should be doing now for those displaced in manufacturing and other industries.

          Ignoring tens of millions of lives being ruined, even as a result of miraculous advances in technology, is cruel and unnecessary.

          • by mi ( 197448 )

            No

            Great! So far we agree — even if XXongo does not.

            I would be advocating for tuition forgiveness, extended and enhanced unemployment payments, retraining, and public pensions for those who spent 5-10+ years training for high paid and critical fields

            So, instead of these doctors and nurses, who trained for the now-obsolete professions, it would be the colleges and medical schools, that trained them, that will be millions of dollars in the hole according to your plan?

            Or are you going to use the governmen

            • by ranton ( 36917 )

              You don't have to "ignore" them — indeed, you can help them as much as you can afford. You can also advocate for charity on their behalf. But there is no reason, why these people should be helped by the taxpayers, and I fear, that's what you are alluding to.

              Individual charity does not work on the same scale as collective societal assistance. This is well known, and anyone claiming that individual charity can solve any significant problem is either uneducated, being dishonest with themselves or being dishonest with those they are trying to persuade.

              All significant problems in society need to be dealt with by society as a whole, not by individual acts of charity. There are no exceptions. Individual charity is always a sign of band-aid solutions to address failur

              • Individual charity does not work on the same scale as collective societal assistance

                Translation: not enough people agree with me, that a particular cause needs funding, so I'll use the government's power to confiscate money to compel them.

                It has long been observed, that inside every so-called Liberal there is an Authoritarian screaming to get out. You've just added yourself to the vast body of evidence supporting this observation.

                anyone claiming that individual charity can solve any significant problem is e

                • by ranton ( 36917 )

                  Translation: not enough people agree with me, that a particular cause needs funding, so I'll use the government's power to confiscate money to compel them.

                  No society that grows beyond a single person is going to agree on everything, so it is necessary to often compel those to pay for and even participate in activities they fundamentally disagree with in order to form a functioning society. So yes, there will be times when even a minority of people should be able to compel others to take action against their will if doing so is necessary to run a fair and equitable society.

                  Is that your argument? That anyone disagreeing is an asshole?

                  No, I admitted you could simply be uneducated. There is no way you have carefully looked

            • Yes, absolutely I'd like the government to use its authority to collect a portion of the benefit from the capital class to support the working class they depend on. What the fuck good is government for if not ensuring that the cleverness of a few doesn't enable them to subjugate everyone else?
              • by mi ( 197448 )

                What the fuck good is government for [...]

                The government can — and should:

                • fight crime,
                • defend the borders,
                • enforce contracts.

                Thanks for asking. Charity is not only implicitly omitted, we have Founding Fathers on record explicitly stating, it is not there:

                “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”

                James Madison [goodreads.com]

                if not ensuring that the cleverness

                • That's nice, except it doesn't work. A government that does that and *only* that fails pretty quickly, not least because *deciding the enforceability of contracts* is a much more important function than enforcing them. I don't agree with the way we shifted constitutional jurisprudence to save the country in the thirties, but you'd be daft to think the country didn't need saving, and the reason it needed saving is because our government rather more closely mirrored exactly what you would propose. And you ca
        • Unless that pill also provides all the other necessities you need in life such as water, food, a roof over your head etc. then what would be the point of living - even a disease free existence - when you have no money and can't get any money to live due to the billionaire miracle pill inventors having it all?

      • District 9 here we come!
      • ...and actually, even the rich get f-ed by it too. The middle class mostly gets decimated by this - sure, maybe a bit slower and less harshly, but it loses out all the same. My cosy IT jobs aren't going to get easier to find, neither is all that Fund Management, management consultancy and whatnot either.

        When we say "the rich" in this context, we really mean a small subset of them (shall we say "1% of the 1%"?). The rest of us need some other solution, which as far as I know, no one has really figured out ye

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 29, 2018 @04:36PM (#56029389)

      The North of England was the richest, most industrious part of the world... it was the heart of the industrial revolution, scientific progress and manufacturing globally.

      It was utterly crushed, impoverished and brain-drained by various governments in the UK - and to be fair, shifts in technology. UK governments thought it could be replaced by the service industry - everyone selling insurance and basic minimum wage service jobs.

      Then those were all replaced by cheap 'global' labour.. even the geographically local service jobs were replaced as successive governments opened the floodgates to mass migration.

      Now where do those people go? Which country do they move to?

      You need to also keep this in context - London enriched itself massively during this time.

      And this wasn't some intellectual elite in London climbing to the top of the pile. It was deliberate policies to enrich themselves while annihilating communities that could not move and had nowhere to go. And then sitting back and stroking off about 'let them eat cake, get a new education and move'. Never bothering to explain where this entire population was going to get an education and move to.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Locke2005 ( 849178 )
        In retrospect, British attempts at protectionism were counter-productive. But of course, Trump has never bothered to study history, so he cannot learn from it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Protectionism would have helped, not hurt. Free trade globalism is pure money-theory wankery and in the raw it inflicts misery on people, to benefit the already wealthy.

          That's not to say you cannot have benefits from some globalisation... but democratic governments inflicted poverty on their own people on a nebulous 'global agenda'.

      • To be fair, during the 60s, 70s and 80s, many northern "powerhouses" were instrumental in attempts by unions to dictate terms to successive governments - which is why the 1980s coal miners strike was so decisive, in that the unions involved were utterly destroyed while attempting to repeat a crippling strike they had carried out a decade prior.

        It really isn't all about how London fucked over the North, the North were doing a good deal of the fucking themselves - they simply lost in the end.

        • by Cederic ( 9623 )

          The problem is that this happened in the early 80s and since then successive governments have continued to under-invest in the North and especially the East side of the country north of Essex.

          When the coal mining jobs vanished and industry went overseas entire communities ended up fucked senseless and haven't recovered.

          It's not coincidence that many of these areas voted so heavily to leave the EU.

          • "It's not coincidence that many of these areas voted so heavily to leave the EU." - and its the wrong target as usual so they shoot themselves in the foot yet again
            • by Cederic ( 9623 )

              At least they're clutching at the few democratic straws available. Not sure how long that can last.

      • by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Monday January 29, 2018 @06:10PM (#56029965)

        It was crushed by globalism. Why mine coal in the North of England these days when you can get it shipped over from places where mine workers are paid the rough equivalent of nothing?

        Why employ people to make cloth, when you can get it from abroad where workers are paid next to nothing and shipping costs are insignificant?

        Why employ people to make clothings from that, when you can get it from abroad where workers and paid next to nothing too?

        so all the old manufacturing industries that made Britain the richest country in the world - all the rag trade, wool trade, mining, heavy industrials, they've all gone elsewhere where workers are cheap. This is a net effect of globalisation.

        Now you can say it was destined to happen, and it probably was once the world discovered it could do the same stuff cheaper, but then there was an issue where the replacement work was heavily skewed towards the already-rich, things like financial services, but the powers that be required a large mass of workers to support the rich, and so for some bizarre reason we decided to import large numbers of migrants from these countries so the workers could get even cheaper to support the rich, thus making the underlying problem even worse.

        But the rich didn't care - they were rich, were getting richer, and any social problems won't affect them.

        The question so what to do about it though really boils down to sustainability, so workers would make things here for large cost (think hipsters in Shoreditch selling organic coffee for £10 a cup, or t-shirts for £20 each) but applied to the rest of the country, and a reduction in population so the ability to do this becomes realistic. Minimum wage would have to rise massively, and benefits reduced massively too. And all that would require firm borders that prevent the $1 t-shirts from coming in, or the welfare migrants, or the economic migrants willing to work for next to nothing too.

        And that'll never be allowed to happen, the rich like their workers to be cheap - back when the borders were thrown open in 1997, the cry was that nannies and builders were demanding too much and we needed to make them cheaper so those with too much money got to keep more of it for themselves. And so it'll continue. There's a reason the rich "metropolitan elites" want to remain in the EU so the status quo can continue without impediment.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Stopping globalism would have delayed the inevitable for a few decades at most. The more workers are paid the more money can be spent on automation that is ultimately cheaper. That's exactly what happened in the industrial revolution.

          The point of the EU is to create a free trade zone with a level playing field. Where it breaks down is when new countries join and temporarily have much lower wages. Ireland and Spain were like that when they joined, but quickly came up to similar levels to the other members. T

          • " In fact some countries did have just such controls, but the UK decided not to implement them." - correct, a fact lost on brexiters (amongst millions of others) that its the UKs fault and not the EUs
        • by houghi ( 78078 )

          There's a reason the rich "metropolitan elites" want to remain in the EU so the status quo can continue without impediment.

          Except they where the ones who wanted out. Calling the Scots English is bad enough, now you call then metropolitan elites?

      • but they had to tell the working stiffs something while they outsourced their jobs. You can't just run stories like "All your jobs are going to China and you're going to be impoverished". People would see it coming if you did and stop you. So you run stories about how people need to retrain (for skills that were beyond them when they were half their age and for jobs that don't exist anyway).

        There was just a story about a bunch of American kids training to be coal miners. Folks were aghast, because the c
      • To be fair, Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds are actually doing quite well. Also this report is bollocks. Investment banking and its concomitant paralegal services are just as likely to succumb to automation as maufacturing.
    • Amazon sorting centers will hire literally anyone; you just have to be able to pass a drug screening. They didn't even ask to see anybody's resume. $12.50/hr starting wage in the U.S.; don't know how much they pay in U.K.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      They are blaming Romanians and hoping that Brexit will magically give them a better job.

      • Mass immigration was intended to suppress wage growth - Mervyn King said it was policy during the Blair years. [theguardian.com]

        King pressed the case to open the labour market without transition on the grounds that it would help lower wage growth and inflation

        We know that a much increased supply of workers mean employee benefits reduce or disappear because businesses do not have to compete to attract the best workers - in many cases this doesn't just mean wages, but things like training disappear. IIRC McDonalds used to off

        • Business wants its cheap labour. If it can't get it from Bulgaria it'll get it from Bangladesh.

          If those who voted for Brexit thought it would get rid of all the bloody foreigners and usher in jobs, prosperity, and unicorns for all they're going to get a very rude awakening.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          The UK has a minimum wage, and McDonalds just pays everyone the same anyway - no one negotiates their McDonalds burger flipper salary. And actually the biggest thing to push down wages, which were growing during the Blair years, has been zero hour contracts. Nothing to do with immigration at all.

          I accept that immigration does need to be managed better than it has been. Not stopped or reduced, just managed to alleviate some of the short term problems.

          An in the long run, this reduction and Brexit in general w

          • Not quite - ZHC came about because there were so many workers businesses could suddenly get away with them. If there was a constraint on supply of workers, nobody would be doing a ZHC, they'd go get a different job.

            This is the bigger picture view, immigration has given rise to these bad practices, partly due to a massive increase in supply, but also of workers prepared to work for very low wages. An interview with a lady working in hospitality and earning £10k a year said that she was happy beca

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              ZHC are just the latest form of abuse. Before that it wasn't uncommon to see job adverts in the paper like "security guard, £100/week, 100 hours, bring own dog." Then limits on working hours and the minimum wage came in, so they looked for new ways to subvert the rules.

              Studies showed that immigration had at most a very minor impact on jobs in certain areas only. The fact is that most of those immigrants do not come to do minimum wage and long hours. They are young and motivated enough to move to

              • In general it doesn't suppress wages though, quite the opposite.

                Do you have an example of a mature, steady country where a sudden influx of large numbers of immigrants triggered rising wages?

                • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

                  No, because as I said, there are acute problems when "large" numbers come, but at worst it has relatively short term little negative effect (for skilled immigrants, e.g. EU nationals under Freedom of Movement) and in the longer term is a net benefit.

          • "I accept that immigration does need to be managed better than it has been. Not stopped or reduced, just managed to alleviate some of the short term problems." the best thing they could do is stop everyone (with some exceptions) getting anything from the social security system until they've paid into it for 5 years - that should include the british population too - might encourage them to fill the jobs that migrants have to fill
            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              All that would do is put huge numbers of disabled people and people with childhood problems on the streets.

              The system is fine, it's just the politics of anger. Shit like "Benefits Street" that makes people rage at the TV.

              • Thats why i said "(with some exceptions)". i don;t see why anyone else should get out of the system unless they put into it
                • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

                  Where do you draw the line? Should work-shy children who never worked a day in their lives but get FREE education have to pay in first?

                  • I'm just talking about working age from 18 onwards, for me education until 18 is sacrosanct. A lot of brexiters seem to think that all immigrants are on the dole or claiming benefits, getting housing etc from the minute they land and that would completely dispel that myth and it should get those that think they can coast on leaving school an incentive to find work.
      • by elrous0 ( 869638 )

        Hey AmiMoJo, remember how I adopted the sig "The one straight white male in new Star Trek will be portrayed as evil or incompetent" back before Star Trek Discovery premiered? You know, because he was the only straight white male on an SJW show, and so I knew that he would ultimately have to be revealed as either evil or incompetent--because SJW's, as much as they would deny it, really HATE straight white males.

        Remember how an enlightened SJW like yourself corrected my foolish misinformed view back in Octobe

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          What about Saru and Sarek? They are still good guy, competent straight white males. Well, okay, we are assuming Saru is straight, we have no indication either way.

          Do you want to add a 4th arbitrary requirement to your claim, that the character has to be human?

          Stamets is white and male and one of the purest good guy characters in the show. In fact he and Saru are the only two who aren't really tainted.

          I mean, if we are talking arbitrary complaints we could say that the black female character is a criminal, t

          • by elrous0 ( 869638 )

            LOL, you just keep burying your head in the sand, Ami. Keep pretending that all SJW's want is equality, and that they aren't turning white men into the new "dirty jews". Keep telling yourself that even as they turn every popular culture depiction of the straight white male into either a fool or villain (the same way they did with the "dirty jews" in literature at the time). Keep telling yourself that as more and more SJW-infested companies stop hiring white men (hey maybe they'll give a few token spots to g

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              Holy shit dude.

              I just want to be sure I have your argument correct. Your arbitrary criteria (straight && white && male && human) selected exactly one (1) member of the cast, who turned out to be a bad guy (who may also have been instrumental in the good guys winning the war). Despite the fact that many other characters, including the black female lead who is a war criminal, are also bad guys you conclude that this is evidence that Discover is an "SJW" show, and as further proof that

      • And now the Remanians are trying to stop even that from happening ;-)

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      What will all the people who expected jobs do for work? Who entered the UK year after year just expecting to be supported.
      Just keep allowing random unskilled people in the UK every year for the "jobs" that no longer exist?
      Nations are going to have to re think what work is and what robot related skills a few skilled local citizens can be reeducated into.
      If nations keep on adding to the ranks of their unemployed/unemployable generations after generation that will be a lot of support costs and social probl
    • Are they going back to school for education?

      "Back" implies they went in the first place. Having lived in one and visited the others I'd say that's debatable.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Monday January 29, 2018 @04:08PM (#56029167)
    good to see it making the issue into the public consciousness. This has been pointed out a few times in these automation threads but it wasn't all sunshine and kittens when the first two industrial revolutions came. It took decades for other tech to catch up and employ people. During those decades there was mass unemployment, poverty and wars. We're about to do the same thing. Sure, in 80 years it might be all good, but you and me are going to live through some (maybe all) of those 80 years. It would be nice if we learned something from the last 2 revolutions and did something about it.

    And no, retraining doesn't help. It's no good retraining for scarce jobs you know.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Well fine then let's just round up all the unemployed people who we'll now just label as 'undesirables' put them up against a wall and shoot them. Then grind them up into a slurry and sell them as livestock feed, because obviously humans are worthless and obsolete and we've got to do something with them now don't we? Can't have them running around causing wars and crime just because they have this frivolous desire to survive, now can we? It's only REASONABLE to do away with them, like an old car or TV set t
  • AI will take the other two jobs. For example, doctors, lawyers, engineers. They are already been replaced by AI. I saw an AI doctor today for diagnosis.
  • I am really looking forward to the robot version of "All Creatures Great and Small".

  • Perhaps not completely analogous, but the film does examine the situation where technology disrupts both business owners and their workers. One of my favorite Alec Guinness flicks. For those not in the know, the Guinness character invents a new thread that produces clothes that are indestructible and threatens to eventually put cloth weavers and their workers out of business. A typical '40's, '50s British subtle comedy. One of my favorites.
  • To be fair, Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds are actually doing quite well. Also this report is bollocks. Investment banking and its concomitant paralegal services are just as likely to succumb to automation as maufacturing. People have set ideas about automation, imagining robots making cars. There are a lot of easily replaceable 'mouse clicking' jobs in the South East of the UK.

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