Robots and the Future

Working Robot

by Ian Mosley

An article on reports: “There’s a BakeBot robot whipping up fresh cookies at MIT; hospitals are now employing medical robots to assist their doctors; and a robot named Baxter can beat any human at the popular logic game Connect Four, among many other tasks. ‘Historically what we thought was that robots would do things that were the three D’s: dangerous, dirty, and dull,’ explains Ryan Calo, professor at University of Washington School of Law with an expertise in robotics. ‘Over time, the range of things that robots can do has extended.'”

“Their abilities will only continue to expand. Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, anticipates that by 2029 robots will have reached human levels of intelligence.”

Kurzweil believes that man can become more or less immortal by injecting billions of tiny robots into his bloodstream that will repair his body cells when nature fails to do so.

The article continues “Many people fear a jobless future — and their anxiety is not unwarranted: Gartner, an information technology research and advisory firm, predicts that one-third of jobs will be replaced by software, robots, and smart machines by 2025. Artificial intelligence and robots are not just challenging blue-collar jobs; they are starting to take over white-collar professions as well. Financial and sports reporters, online marketers, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and financial analysts are already in danger of being replaced by robots.”

“While one camp of experts predict that several unlucky Americans will be pushed out of work in the near future, others argue that this increase in computing prowess will simply eliminate old jobs and introduce new ones resulting in a net-zero effect — or even an increase in jobs. New technology means new products and services, they argue, as we saw during the Industrial Revolution. Experts are calling this movement the “Second Machine Age,” as it is comparable to what we saw 200 years ago with the invention of the steam engine and the machine age that ensued.”

The biggest argument against robots, that we will lose manufacturing jobs, is losing relevancy every year because those jobs have been steadily outsourced to China and Mexico over the last 20 years. Robots could bring manufacturing back to the US, and a large robotics industry could create jobs for designing, building and repairing robots for Americans.

Robots theoretically could produce anything even cheaper than the cheapest labor in India and China. For the long-term prosperity of the US, robots are a necessity.

What about unemployed Americans? If private industry fails to produce enough jobs, the government may need to help private industry make jobs.

Societies have found ways to deal with unemployment before. One proven way to distribute money, create jobs and keep everyone in society busy is to “build pyramids” –essentially a big government project that gets the whole nation busy. For the US, a manned mission to mars may solve our unemployment problem. The important point is a government can keep everyone busy with a job if it cares to do so.


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