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Warren Strange
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Identity Management geek living in the Great White North
Identity Management geek living in the Great White North

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A few pics from our latest ski tour. Most of these are taken near the Columbia Ice Field.
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Kubernetes: Why won't that deployment roll?
Kubernetes Deployments provide a declarative way of managing replica sets and pods.  A deployment specifies how many pods to run as part of a replica set, where to place pods, how to scale them and how to manage their availability. Deployments are also used...
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I'm going to start this collection with an article that doesn't have any easy answers. It's about how a factory in Wisconsin is starting to bring robots in. And while it's nominally to fill the jobs that they can't get humans for, it's pretty clear that in a few years, this factory will be almost all robots, or it will no longer exist.

The factory owner at first portrays this shortage as part of a feedback loop: that with industry collapsed in the area, there are far fewer workers capable of doing the job, far more people strung out on opioids, a new generation not interested in factory work. But it's hard to miss that the low wages (starting at $10.50 for day shifts, $13 for night shifts) and lack of any real opportunity for that to improve play a role in this. And as the robots are installed, it becomes clear that they are more than effective competitors: leased for $15 an hour (considerably cheaper than any worker, when you add in the cost of benefits and so on), within a day they are nearly three times as productive as a human who always hit the often-missed quota would be.

The fact is stark: robots do this job just plain better than people do. And given that the job is nothing but performing a fixed set of actions over and over, it's hardly surprising that this is the case.

But now we're left with a hard question. If we want humans to have these jobs, rather than robots, then we have to acknowledge that these are literally make-work jobs: people being put into positions where everyone, including them, knows that the job could be done better if they weren't there. Such a job might provide money, but it seems more like a slightly ghastly form of charity, a charity that's giving people the pretense of meaningful work without any actual meaning.

So we need to turn to a deeper question: Why do we want humans to have these jobs in the first place, and what's the best way to achieve that deeper goal?

This is where I turn to those two basic things that jobs provide people: resources (wages, and so on) and dignity. A make-work job provides the former, but somewhere between zero and negative of the latter. A system like a universal basic income provides the former, but none of the latter.

All of which makes this scene in Wisconsin look to me like the classic example of a situation where there are simply more people than jobs, and we need to ask the key question: How can we, as a society, meaningfully provide dignity that is not associated with a wage-based job?

There shouldn't just be one answer to this; I doubt that any one answer would work for all people. We need an arsenal of these.
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Save greenbacks on Google Container Engine using autoscaling and preemptible VMs
There is an awesome new feature on Google Container Engine (GKE) that lets you combine autoscaling, node pools and preemptible VMs to save big $! The basic idea is to create a small cluster with an inexpensive VM type that will run 7x24. This primary node c...
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Save greenbacks on Google Container Engine using autoscaling and preemptible VMs
There is an awesome new feature on Google Container Engine (GKE) that lets you combine autoscaling, node pools and preemptible VMs to save big $! The basic idea is to create a small cluster with an inexpensive VM type that will run 7x24. This primary node c...
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