Replacing humans [was RE: Hardware Progress: $319/GF]

From: Stephen Reed (
Date: Tue Jun 04 2002 - 14:31:56 MDT

For the ten years prior to working at Cycorp, I was a programmer and then
project manager at FPL - the large electric utility in Miami Florida. Our
annual business case cycle for IT projects probably is similar to any
large enterprise and I think my experience there is relevent to the
question of job replacement.

We justified an IT business case on two chief merits:
1. would it save money, measured mainly by job cuts.
2. and/or would it make money, measured by anticipated profits from some
new service.

During my ten years at FPL, the company downsized from over 15,000
employees to just over 10,000 employees while holding electricty rates
steady and improving customer satisfaction (and raising salaries
of those remaining). Most of my Customer Services/Billing projects were
justified by job cutbacks. Thus I am familiar with the economic analysis
(net present value of an ongoing expense savings) discussed here.

I believe that evolving AGI will impact government, industry and
enterprises in the manner described, one job at a time and one job
category/skill level at a time. The general effect will be to lower
costs and reduce existing bottlenecks caused by limited availability of
skilled labor.


On Tue, 4 Jun 2002, jg nlb wrote:

> To me that's a very interesting question, since i don't follow everything
> technical in this list.
> I have some current clue about this : for instance just the internet is
> getting better for formation in technical fields. One good web site
> could/might "take the job" of many lecturers/teachers/professors... And
> it's obvious everybody will connect to the best servers, so even the other
> servers will be out of work.
> I think about the medical doctors also (recently they say there is a
> shortage). If more automated devices are used.
> Concerning the food industry, if people start uploading, no need for wheat,
> proteins, etc ?
> >From: Dani Eder <>
> >Reply-To:
> >To:
> >Subject: RE: Hardware Progress: $319/GF
> >Date: Mon, 3 Jun 2002 11:09:05 -0700 (PDT)
> >
> ...
> >Extrapolating to engineering in general, once
> >a function that used to be done by humans can
> >be cost-effectively replaced by computing, it
> >becomes subject to Moore's Law. In addition,
> >the humans who did that function will find
> >themselves largely replaced, just like human
> >manual laborers have been replaced by powered
> >machines.
> >
> >Dani
> >
> _________________________________________________________________
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Stephen L. Reed                  phone:  512.342.4036
Cycorp, Suite 100                  fax:  512.342.4040
3721 Executive Center Drive      email:
Austin, TX 78731                   web:
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