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Biggest Jumps in Productivity?


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I'm 45 and tbh the way work life has changed since i got some work experience as a school kid is unreal...

Back in the day you had a typing pool and they would type up letters and post them out. It could basically be a few days before someone received a letter. Nowadays you write an email, all spelling mistakes are highlighted and it's delivered in seconds. You can then retrieve emails you have received in seconds.

Excel just rules for sorting data and processing information. Imho, excel is probably the biggest boost to science in the last century...

Before mobile phones if someone had to give you a message it basically couldn't be done. If you had to meet someone and they couldn't make it no one could get in touch. People wasted hours driving to meetings that weren't going to happen.

I work in construction and technology rules. I can measure distances to within a few mm using lasers etc. How did the victorians build bridges etc? It's not like they could use a tape measure to measure between two sides of a river?

A modern excavator can pick up a tonne boulder with ease and cast it aside. How did the victorians build roads etc? If you're a Victorian digging a cutting for a railway etc how would you remove a boulder etc if you only have some navvies and a horse? I honestly reckon a modern excavator does the same work as maybe a thousand men with shovels.

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Remember once after a desk move my bosses desk was now directly behind mine with him facing towards me and my screen. Massive leap in productivity then. 

There's just so many areas where productivity has increased massively.  The amount of support staff required for simple activities has decreased. Everywhere you look you see that considerabl

Society as a whole has regressed intelligence due to technology. As is often mentioned on this site, the motion picture, Idiocracy is actually a documentary on what society will look like in the

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Ports used to employ hundreds of dockers.

I saw a programme on Felixstowe and the manual handling was dealt with by two men, one on and one cover, using a computer assisted crane.

Containers were loaded off ships and stacked; then lorries drove up and containers loaded from the stack.

And vice versa.

99% plus efficiency saving.

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17 minutes ago, Great Guy said:

I'm 45 and tbh the way work life has changed since i got some work experience as a school kid is unreal...

 

how much could a navvy dig in  a day ?

A contemporary account stated that an experienced navvy could shift 12 cubic yards of earth a day: that's the same as digging a trench 3ft wide, 3ft deep and 36ft long every day

don't know what their life expectancy was

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1993 in a small business.

All our correspondence with customers for purchase orders was accomplished with a fax machine with a thermal printer. The bosses secretary had an electronic typewriter (we still had a proper old school one at home) with a 24 character monochrome lcd screen approximately 10 X 100 mm. Corrections were made with tippex

Just before I left to go to university, she got a 386 with Windows 3 on it. I had a brief play with the proper Internet about 1989, but first used the World Wide Web in 1995 as a first year undergraduate. Christ, the state and speed of even an academic network then was painfully slow.

Barely more than a decade between that and the iPhone.

Staggering really.

But I have to be honest, I was a lot happier when the only computer I owned was a glorified pocket calculator with no graphical user interface or networking capability, I didn't even own a cellphone, and had to go to a university campus to use the web.

I still flatly refuse to correspond by SMS.

 

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

Ports used to employ hundreds of dockers.

I saw a programme on Felixstowe and the manual handling was dealt with by two men, one on and one cover, using a computer assisted crane.

Containers were loaded off ships and stacked; then lorries drove up and containers loaded from the stack.

And vice versa.

99% plus efficiency saving.

I watched a fascinating documentary on the impact of the introduction of the standardised shipping container.

Sounds boring, was not.

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44 minutes ago, Great Guy said:

I'm 45 and tbh the way work life has changed since i got some work experience as a school kid is unreal...

Back in the day you had a typing pool and they would type up letters and post them out. It could basically be a few days before someone received a letter. Nowadays you write an email, all spelling mistakes are highlighted and it's delivered in seconds. You can then retrieve emails you have received in seconds.

Excel just rules for sorting data and processing information. Imho, excel is probably the biggest boost to science in the last century...

Before mobile phones if someone had to give you a message it basically couldn't be done. If you had to meet someone and they couldn't make it no one could get in touch. People wasted hours driving to meetings that weren't going to happen.

I work in construction and technology rules. I can measure distances to within a few mm using lasers etc. How did the victorians build bridges etc? It's not like they could use a tape measure to measure between two sides of a river?

A modern excavator can pick up a tonne boulder with ease and cast it aside. How did the victorians build roads etc? If you're a Victorian digging a cutting for a railway etc how would you remove a boulder etc if you only have some navvies and a horse? I honestly reckon a modern excavator does the same work as maybe a thousand men with shovels.

Excel. I can do things with that of which my fingers had never dreamt..

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1 minute ago, dgul said:

There's just so many areas where productivity has increased massively. 

The amount of support staff required for simple activities has decreased.

Everywhere you look you see that considerably fewer staff are required to do a given job.

Except in the public sector. 

Indeed and, at the risk of stating the obvious, what the hell is everybody going to do for a living?

A landscaping company for which I worked some years ago attempted to set up a maintenance division in the UAE. They invested in the latest ride-on mowers and other powered machinery, only to see the local (or, rather, imported) labourers sabotage all the machines by putting sand in the petrol tanks.

The company pulled out of the market and the labourers returned to cutting grass with shears.

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52 minutes ago, ashestoashes said:

how much could a navvy dig in  a day ?

A contemporary account stated that an experienced navvy could shift 12 cubic yards of earth a day: that's the same as digging a trench 3ft wide, 3ft deep and 36ft long every day

don't know what their life expectancy was

The Great Western Railway went from incorporation to completion in under a decade 1833-1841. HS2 has been going longer than that already and the first phase is not due to end until 2029 at the earliest.

With regard to computerisation of ordinary business paperwork much of the big savings were produced decades ago after PCs became available and the use of batch accounting systems etc had become widespread. I am slightly sceptical of the efficiencies produced by the internet. I think much of that relates to the networking of existing computer processes rather than any revolution due to the creation of the World Wide Web.

Many of the recently claimed ‘efficiencies’ are really just due to businesses outsourcing the work to their customers. It should be remembered that people who use online banking etc or self scan at supermarkets are simply doing  work that was previously paid for free.

With regard to the future the NHS seems to be permanently short of staff, beds, hospitals etc if one believes the media so presumably everyone can train to work there.

Edited by Virgil Caine
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43 minutes ago, ashestoashes said:

how much could a navvy dig in  a day ?

A contemporary account stated that an experienced navvy could shift 12 cubic yards of earth a day: that's the same as digging a trench 3ft wide, 3ft deep and 36ft long every day

don't know what their life expectancy was

Bet they werent fat bastards though.

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Society as a whole has regressed intelligence due to technology.

As is often mentioned on this site, the motion picture, Idiocracy is actually a documentary on what society will look like in the coming years.

Aside from a few genuises, the rest of us are going backwards. Ok, well i'm speaking for myself i suppose. As proven daily on here, my spelling and grammer is/are? getting worse. I have purposely turned off any auto correct and spelling aides. I often have to edit posts 2-3 times due to mistakes.

I envy those that are good at Maths. I now understand why my old man made it such an issue. Sadly, the penny never dropped. Sure i can do the basics, and i'm good with my finances (tight Yorkshireman), but anything above basics and i've no idea. Might as well have been written by the ancient Egyptians.

One of my hopes for this year is to retrain my mind. I need to learn to read again. I could sit and read an article from start to finish amd if you asked me 10 mins later what i had read, i'd struggle to tell you and certainly wouldn't have got the gist of it.

I blame the Devil's Dildo™

 

Edited by Sucralose Ray Leonard
Cos i is fick
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1 hour ago, ashestoashes said:

how much could a navvy dig in  a day ?

A contemporary account stated that an experienced navvy could shift 12 cubic yards of earth a day: that's the same as digging a trench 3ft wide, 3ft deep and 36ft long every day

don't know what their life expectancy was

Doing that every day, a bloody long time.

Unfortunately each day they were smoking 48 Woodbines, drinking 10 pints of stout, and lunch was a stale loaf covered in lard

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1 hour ago, Frank Hovis said:

Ports used to employ hundreds of dockers.

I saw a programme on Felixstowe and the manual handling was dealt with by two men, one on and one cover, using a computer assisted crane.

Containers were loaded off ships and stacked; then lorries drove up and containers loaded from the stack.

And vice versa.

99% plus efficiency saving.

Reading the wiki article on the topic of containerisation I did not realise that the concept predated the Second World War. I appreciate computerisation and automation has enhanced the process but the actual model for shipping goods is quite a lot older than the internet age.

I suspect most modern unease about jobs becoming redundant due to technology really originates with people in clerical or service jobs. Those who work in manufacturing etc have had to live with that reality for much, much longer.

Edited by Virgil Caine
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38 minutes ago, Knickerless Turgid said:

Indeed and, at the risk of stating the obvious, what the hell is everybody going to do for a living?

 

Service jobs that people used to do themselves but now are happy to pay other people to do for them or are something new that people didn't realise they needed:

Chore replacement jobs

  • Dog walking and grooming
  • Gardening
  • Car washes especially hand washes
  • House cleaning
  • Service washes
  • Basic DIY - painting, wallpapering, putting shelving up etc.
  • Nursery / child minding

New inventions

  • Personal trainers
  • Life coaches - mindfullness etc.

 

Each proper job supports maybe a third of one of these across the board; more like a half if one of the services provided is childcare. 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Frank Hovis said:

 

Service jobs that people used to do themselves but now are happy to pay other people to do for them or are something new that people didn't realise they needed:

Chore replacement jobs

  • Dog walking and grooming
  • Gardening
  • Car washes especially hand washes
  • House cleaning
  • Service washes
  • Basic DIY - painting, wallpapering, putting shelving up etc.
  • Nursery / child minding

New inventions

  • Personal trainers
  • Life coaches - mindfullness etc.

 

Each proper job supports maybe a third of one of these across the board; more like a half if one of the services provided is childcare. 

 

 

 

Dont forget caring for the elderly! Still the unloved stepchild compared to the NHS but equally important.

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These lockdowns have accelerated the pace in which further occupations will be automated.  Top of the list I believe is teaching.  

As usual we have teaching unions calling for the closure of schools, driving pupils to online learning and making it the "new normal".  With AI and virtual/augmented reality students can get one to one teaching experience honing in on a student's weakness which couldn't be done in a class of 30. 

Well done unions!

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24 minutes ago, Knickerless Turgid said:

Indeed and, at the risk of stating the obvious, what the hell is everybody going to do for a living?

Regress back to 'the good old days' of a simple life before work enslavement became the only way of living for the masses put through the 'do as your parents and theirs did' programme from school onwards.

Automation and 'AI' (which is really machine learning, which is really statistical based decision making) will make many current jobs more productive by replacing humans for the most part.

Sadly some countries will devolve into a population of mass poverty as the '1%' replace the use of the people with more efficient methods. Even the footsoldier is becoming obsolete so can't even thin the population by war, unless they go nuclear or biological, and to do that they need Musk's starship ready to take them to Mars and beyond to wait it out for a few generations then come back and reclaim the Earth after all the troublesome people are mostly gone. :ph34r:

We are already seeing the new world in terms of mostly staying at home or local to work, online work from home and education, less travel (even holidays will become virtual for those no longer able to afford the high flight cost reserved for the well off, so will use Virtual Reality to go on holiday while staying at home, like a souped up Google Earth), local shops/produce when supermarket international supply chains dwindle as countries keep their produce for themselves and only sell any surplus they can't stockpile.

International trade of goods will become obsolete for the most part (yes even Amazon) when home or local based 3d printing will be able to manufacture all you need without having to ship it across the world from some exploitation driven shithole. Globalisation will be reversed as a war over resources takes hold, from fresh water to food to raw materials.

... or things will go on as they are with people having to find different jobs as old ones are made obsolete, and the magic money tree of cheap affordable debt continues to keep the mirage of modern life ongoing until another major event threatens to derail it.

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2 minutes ago, Virgil Caine said:

Reading the wiki article on the topic of containerisation I did not realise that the concept predated the Second World War. I appreciate computerisation and automation has enhanced the process but the actual model for shipping goods predates the internet age.

I suspect most modern unease about jobs becoming redundant due to technology really originates with people in clerical or service jobs. Those who work in manufacturing etc have had to live with that reality for much, much longer.

 

My experience of those is that they have already lost the simple functionary role starting from when computers became widespread - 1990.  I can't see their reducing further as they are now left with what the computer can't do: dealing with the non-standard or problem issues.

For people who don't know these sort of roles think of it like a DPD delivery.  Maybe 70% of packages will be delivered first time, 20% second call.

Leaving 10% where you have somebody who's never there to receive it, broken or incorrect goods refused and possibly returned, fraudulent issues, drivers being filmed dropkicking the package over the hedge etc. and all of which require human intervention to sort out.

That's the change which has already happened: 90% of the work, the routine stuff, is handled by computers and standardised systems. 

You'll never however get rid of the 10% and that's the current level of staffing in most places that I have worked at that level.

You of course have the performance monitors and the improvement projects running to the side which are necessary to keep up with the competition.

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47 minutes ago, Knickerless Turgid said:

Indeed and, at the risk of stating the obvious, what the hell is everybody going to do for a living?

The economist Maynard Keynes predicted in the 1930s that people would have a 15 hour working week due to advancing technology...

However, I think the public sector dreams of new ways to employ people... a hundred years ago the disabled and old etc didnt really live long. Nowadays a disabled kid could have a whole team of people caring for him... 

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