The Big Idea: Robots should take our jobs
May 2nd, 2012
09:38 AM ET

The Big Idea: Robots should take our jobs

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) - At a time when computer programs are threatening to become competent journalists, capable of spitting out clear-headed reports on financial earnings reports and the like, this could get a little personal. But I thought I would draw your attention to a provocative statement posted on Wednesday by Kevin Kelly, the Wired magazine co-founder and author of "What Technology Wants."

Here's what Kelly has to say about robots stealing our jobs:

The fact that a task is routine enough to be measured suggests that it is routine enough to go to the robots. In my opinion, many of the jobs that are being fought over by unions today are jobs that will be outlawed within several generations as inhumane.

If a job is so routine that it could be done by robots - usually robots that can't really think but are really good at doing mechanical tasks over and over - will it be seen as "inhumane" by future generations? And - gasp! - are today's punch-out-the-facts journalism jobs going to be seen by our future selves as harmfully routine and monotonous? This takes the idea of a "paragraph factory" to a whole new level.

This is obviously not an endorsement, just a conversation starter.

Feel free to debate in the comments section below.

Update: Some of your comments were aggregated by CNN's news blog, This Just In. Check it out. As always, thanks for participating in the conversation.

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Filed under: Innovation • Robots • Tech
soundoff (430 Responses)
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  11. B. Radom

    A robot journalist is less of a threat to jobs than a robot construction worker, which is very much on the horizon. I'm not sure that people will have "jobs" so much that free-lance programmers will design all-purpose programs for the robots we that are built and sold. I've been writing about this, lately, and I really think that a marketable robot would have "apps", like a phone, that help it to perform a given task.

    June 14, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Reply
    • bwana

      Initially, I think you're correct. Human's will write "apps" for programmable robots; however, at some point robot technology will advance to the state of allowing robots to write/modify their own "apps". At that point we had better have a plan in place to co-exist with another intelligent being on planet Earth...

      June 14, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Reply
      • B. Radom

        I honestly think that intelligent robots will be the nuclear weapons of the robotics world. Someone will invent them; they'll be used a couple of times; then their destructive potential will be seen and businesses will only use them as a threat against other businesses...

        June 15, 2012 at 4:15 am |
    • Raider

      I know a lot about this topic so please forvgie the length of this reply. I have a lot of good info for you. I am a mother of two little girls who are actually tugging on my arm as I write this so I will try to be brief. Many people are looking for work from home companies. All the scams definitely create a big problem but also, there is a problem of people misunderstanding the difference between work from home jobs and work from home opportunities. There really are not work from home e2€œjobse2€9d. To get that you have to start working for a company in their offices first, then they MAY allow you to take the job home.Most of the work from home opportunities that are legitimate offers are not an hourly pay type job. They are business opportunities that help you in starting your own business from your home.What you should do first is to decide if you are simply looking for an hourly rate type job or if you are looking for more of an opportunity for additional income such as what you would make in your own business being your own boss from home. Many say a JOB stands for Just Over Broker and I have found that to be true as well. I never got anywhere working for others. Small home businesses have some small costs involved, less then $100 to start is reasonable and I would stay away from those wanting $300, $500 even some asking for $1000-$5000. It doesne2€™t cost that much to start and run a home business so you shouldne2€™t pay it. The real ones will have a small monthly overhead as well. Should be around $50 a month but no more then $75. And everything should be included from your web sites to training and team support to back office accounting and booking. Ite2€™s ok to pay this overhead because ite2€™s a business, they cost money. Ite2€™s not reasonable to assume you can run a business from home with a website and more for free so do keep that in mind as you search. If you are coming across places that say free then I would RUN done2€™t walk the other way! They never are. I tried them many a times and 3 weeks later I had to buy this and 6 weeks later that. After 6 months these e2€œfree businessese2€9d had cost me over $800 on average.Ie2€™m a stay at home mom of two little girls as I mentioned, ages 1 and 3. I work about 15-18 hours per week for a National Medical Benefits Company. This is a home business, a nationally known and reputable home business which is what you need to make sure you are looking for. I have been with the company almost a year now and I make over $2000 a month! In your first month, depending on how many hours you can work, I have seen people make anywhere from $300 to over $3000. And your income will increase each month because we get paid residual income as well. If I continue on as I am going at the end of the year I will be making $5000 a month. My friend Becky from South Carolina started 2 years before me and she is now making $95,000 a year with this company.The best part is they have 401(k), direct deposit, life insurance and a benefits package most of which you get from day one. In addition, there are no products, no hard selling or pushing, no cold calling, no home parties and no telemarketing! That was VERY important to me.I absolutely love working with them and I can't believe I am making what I am making and in so few hours per week. The neat thing is there are other people on your team that you work with so you are never alone. You have great team support and you get to know the other people on your team pretty well. The support is great but I have made wonderful friends as well. I think thate2€™s important too, especially being at home!I was a bit apprehensive at first because I know a lot of companies are not legit but this company is the number one National Medical Benefits Company in the US. They are a member of the US Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Dental Plans and the owner of the company actually sits on the board of The Consumer Health Alliance to which we are also members. Also they were featured in e2€œThe New York Timese2€9d, e2€œWall Street Journale2€9d e2€œTime Magazinee2€9d and the e2€œAmerican Medical Reviewe2€9d. Even e2€œ60 Minutese2€9d with Morley Safer did a big special on this home based business.Even more then all this is they are accepted at over 100,000 retailers nation wide. These are fortune 500 companies like Sears, Target, Walgreens, CVS, Wal-mart, Publix and more. These companies would never work with a company that was any thing less then reputable. That made me feel very good about working with them knowing they were accepted at these stores that I frequent. Also now of course being with them I get the dental and vision benefits for free and I saved over $150 on my last visit to the dentist! Thate2€™s just a beautiful perk! : – ) When I first started I just felt very safe with them, that and my friend was already making so much money with Ameriplan. But at this point I feel a sense of security financially that our family has never had before. That plus LOVING what you do? What could be better? Check them out! Just type in in your web browser.-AmyThis answer has been chosen as a e2€œBest Answere2€9d more then 14 times!

      September 23, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Reply
    • barttf

      Programs will be written by AI as well. The experts predict that machines will be smarter than Einstein, Hawking or Penrose within 50 yrs. This will lead humans to a point where we will be able to seek after our passion instead of a paycheck. Withing 20 yrs, all jobs will be done by robots except maybe things like doctors, lawyers, politicians and the like.

      November 22, 2012 at 10:55 am | Reply
      • vectoron

        I think that is a bit overly optimistic. I remember 10 years ago everyone was so sure we would having flying cars. Interestingly though, we might not have flying cars but our video conferencing technology is better then star trek's.

        Computational power does not necessarily equate to computational intelligence. A computer might be able to calculate 1+2 in a nano second but that doesn't necessarily means it understands what 1+2 means or why it is doing it. Anyone who has actually worked with any form of AI will tell you that most intelligence we design right now works through brute force (mostly). Creativity is a bit more complex, it is taking seemingly unrelated concepts two create new concepts, this is more complicated. We are trying to get around this by modelling the human brain in virtual space.

        A lot of manufacturing jobs could be taken over, but service jobs will be maintained as humans for the foreseeable future.

        November 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
      • bwana

        I think the thing everyone forgets is "this is our destiny!". I took us 2 million years to get to our current state of evolution. A robotic future gives us eternity and will carry us so far beyond our weak organic shells it is impossible to even imagine what we will accomplish... Get used to the idea, it is our ultimate meaning for existence.

        November 22, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  12. Murtaza

    i think that the point kelly has is that people should be idea generators and managers and not iterative executers. We should do what we are best at. And one thing that should be kept in mind is that if we go by the idea that machines will put people out of jobs then no machine should ever have been created. Machines just allow us to improve human capital redistribution and improve the living standard of humanity as a whole.

    May 13, 2012 at 6:50 am | Reply
    • barttf

      Robotics and AI will free us from the fundamental reality that we have to hunt, gather, plant, harvest, build, manufacture, and provide a service in order to survive. Lets take an automobile for instance. Right now, it takes 5 years to design and engineer a vehicle with hundreds of people working on it. In the future, we'll just put in the characteristics and variable of the vehicle and a machine will produce several design options. We'll choose one (we can alter aspects of the design if we like) and the machine will send out the details to all the other machines and in a month we'll have a physical car to drive. All the blue, tooling, material purchases, etc, etc, etc will be done by machines.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:03 am | Reply
  13. Allah

    Hi i am Allah, bow to me!

    May 10, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Reply
    • Dangelny

      I don't know anyone who is afiftialed in afiftialed marketing. So I can't really answer that. but I do know, that you wouldn't be owning your own business unless you invest money into it. By means of a start up cost, or buying products yourself and re selling them, advertisement or something along those lines. Owning a business is not free. I wrote some things down that might help you to see for yourself if this is a good business to get involved in, using my business as an example. If on the list it checks out (you may have to do some research) but if it all checks out, then you can chose to do it. IF it's a business, don't just try it. You need to devote time and effort into it and build it. If your going to just try a business, you will most likely fail! So here's a few things that you should take a look at before getting involved in any company.1. How long have they been in business? We checked to see how long our company was around, at the time it was nine years old and now it's 15. Do you know when they started? If it's under 5 years, then their is a risk factor2. Are they registered with the BBB. Ours is registered. I think this is important one.3. Who's involved with the company? Like in ours Donald Trump, Robert Kiyosaki has endorsed our company. Many actors and actresses, business owners, government officials etc use our products. Check to see if anyone has endorsed this company. Also, meet with the co-founders. We've personally met our co-founders and found from our first meeting that they were incredible people with incredible visions. See if their's a time where you can meet them. If your going to be doing business, there should be a time where you should have the chance to meet with them.4. What is the compensation plan now, and what was it like before.See the history of the comp plan and see if increases and never decreases in it's history. We checked with the records in our business and found that in over the years, the compensation plan had only gotten better each year. As long as we've been involved, we've now witnessed the compensation plan always increasing. Check the history on yours.5.Have they been featured in magazine's? For instance our company has been featured in several magazines Like Success, Fortune, USA Today etc. Check to see if they have. You can get a lot of information on the company by reading about them.6. Has Inc 500 rated them? This magazine or slit rated our company the 22nd fastest growing company in revenue in it's first 5 years. Inc 500 shows the top 500 businesses in revenue growth. Check to see what Inc 500 rated the company your looking at.7. Do they have a physical address that you can go to? Check for an address not just a P.O. Box8. Where are their headquarters? Our world headquarters is in Farmington Hills Michigan, Personally been there, (If your here in the states) Other headquarters in different countries. and US headquarters in Charlotte.9. What does the start up cost take care of? If there is no start up cost, what will you have to be dishing out and for what? In my business headquarters takes care of all the billing for my customers, Inventory, Customer services, Order Entry, Employees, workman's comp, Cross referencing, Licensing, Insurance, paperwork, accounts payables, accounts receivables etc.10. What is the product and service you would be selling.Is the product and service in high demand? For instance we offer services that people are already using every day and paying for anyway, but at a lower cost. Things like Local and Long distance telephone services, Internet, video phones, digital phones, cellular phones through all the major cellular providers. We make a percentage every single month they pay their bills. Everyone uses them and everyone pays for them. When money gets tight, would they keep your service or be able to run to the store and be able to purchase them on sale? Leaving you to have to wait until they run out of what they just purchased, or wait until their finances get settled? This is what I mean by high demand.So many different things to check out in making sure a business is a good one to get involved in. If the business feels right to you, and all questions are answered and you feel good about it, then I'd say jump in. Running a business is different then a job though. You have to treat it like it's your child and not just something your going to try you have to believe in the product and service and go at it full force. This is your future your talking about, no one else's.I hope my examples of what we looking into with our business helps you be able to find the same answers in the business your looking into. Forget about asking the common question and asking someone how much they make in their business to determine if you'd get involved in this or not. In a business, it doesn't matter what one business is making over another. It only matters what you do in YOUR business. I hate it when people ask me how much I make. Because they're not going to walk into and start up their business making what I make. I've been involved with my business for over six years. So yeah, I will make more. If you tell someone how much you make, then it's a psychological thing that they expect to make that amount in a week, and that is just not going to happen. Six years of building a business verses 1 day. So don't even ask. Look at the possibilities for YOURSELF. If you have any further questions or need help,feel free to contact me at

      July 21, 2012 at 12:47 am | Reply
  14. Justin

    What is the point of economic activity? To produce the maximum number of goods and services for people to enjoy. Let the robots make as much as is efficient and redistribute corporate tax as a basic income payment to every citizen. That way the better the robots, the more goods we can all consume (which is the whole point of production after all).

    May 9, 2012 at 9:01 am | Reply
    • barttf

      Yes, but we have an finite number of resources; therefore, with your plan the earth would be a waste land very shortly. So, we need to begin to think long term in building a new social/cultural structure based on sustainability by designing machines that will help us to intelligently manage our natural resources. First, we need to end our addiction to fashion that has invaded every aspect of life and production like cars, housing and technology. We always need more, more, more. For instance, right now a house looks bad after 20 yrs in the U.S. while in Europe they build house that last 300 yrs. In Germany they build roads that last 50 yrs while here in the U.S. you're lucky to get 10 yrs out of an expressway. What we are after then is excellent design and construction that is both aesthetic, sustainable and timeless which will allow us to slow down our environmentally destroying behavior of fashion and outrageous consumption while supplying a comfortable lifestyle to all people around the globe.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:15 am | Reply
  15. jdoe

    This article is lame. If you're going to propose that robots take over certain jobs (and it may not be bad idea), at least come up with some alternative on how people can make a living.

    May 8, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Reply
    • Al

      Uh, the article is "lame" by design. It's clear (to me) that the author is simply asking a question and is hoping that others (such as yourself) will discuss the issue.

      May 9, 2012 at 1:28 am | Reply
    • barttf

      There will be no need for someone to make a living because robots will do everything for us. This isn't a maybe or some pie in the sky idea. The technology is already here. It just hasn't been perfected enough to mass manufacture. Withing 20 yrs, all of our semis, trains, planes, buses, subways, and cars will be automated. The technology that Google already has will do that. The technology has already driven a car by itself over 144,000 miles. This is just one example. You'll go to McDonald and every thing from growing the food and raising to cattle, producing the food products, distribution, cooking, and serving the food will be done by a robot.

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_lGPRIRG3Y&w=640&h=390]

      November 22, 2012 at 11:25 am | Reply
  16. cucotx

    ... aaaand, what will happen to our society when man figure out that the latest version 8.0 of the female robot from Honda Robotics is a better deal for a wife than you know who .... ooops, my wife just so many typing this ...

    May 8, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Reply
  17. Aardie

    Mack Reynolds had it right.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  18. stpbybay

    He dead right!

    May 8, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Reply
    • cucotx

      He and Elvis are still dead?

      May 8, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Reply
  19. Thaddeus Maxuimus

    WOW what a foray into idiocy. Mr. Kelley completely fails to acknowledge the advancement of A.I. in the coming years, and utterly fails to acknowledge that as computers/robotics improve, spontenaiety becomes more manageable.

    Inhumane jobs, huh? More creative logic at work. If today's jobs (most, Bering Sea Fisherman is inhuman today, for example) are not that hard to do. It's not like we're building piramids, folks.

    ...what would be humane by then? Respirating? Moving our bowels?

    GIVE ME A BREAK... this is journalistic myopia at its finest...

    May 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Reply
    • cucotx

      Actually, the future may even eliminate the need for a trip to the porcelain God. Nanorobots may internally consume and do away with our by products.

      So, yes, if you currently work in a company making toilets, you'll be out of a job too!

      May 8, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Reply
  20. JimfromBham

    I wonder how much of the current economic disruption is a bad economy, and how much is the "creative destruction" the economists write about. It seems that, as a society, we are really lacking in the ability to re-educate ourselves and re-invent our workers. We need to become more nimble in that regard.

    May 8, 2012 at 8:09 am | Reply
    • Olivier

      The real point of robots is, if they replace humans in "stupid" tasks or "intelligent ones, they have to PAY for social benefits! Otherwise, where's the point indeed? Robots work 24/7, don't get unionized, never complain or ask for holidays. What better PAYERS for Social Security can you possibly think of? We humans need to re-invent our taxation system, taking robots into account. One of the major reasons our economies are going down the drain is that productivity increases far faster than the collection of work-related taxation. I have NO problem with a robot taking my job... if he pays for my retirement! Makes you think?

      May 8, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Reply
      • barttf

        The monetary system will be abolished because there will be no need for it anymore. You'll go to the store, get the food that you need, and go home and cook it. If you need a new car you'll go and get one. I'm sure that there will be some restriction so some crazy guy doesn't have 200 cars but all the same. What you need, you'll have.

        November 22, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  21. TinkerThinker

    By the time robots are _that_ effective, we should be pre-colonizing the moon and Mars to create inhabitable quarters. Nothing boosts the economy better than some good old-fashioned imperial colonialism, including gold digging etc.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:29 am | Reply
  22. Echi

    What a boring life it will be and a very perfect lab and workshop for the devil to invent things to occupy the idle mind.

    May 8, 2012 at 12:35 am | Reply
    • Billy

      The devil or bored people? When I'm bored, what I do, productive or harmful, is done cuz I had nothing better to do. If I go help old people carry their groceries to their cars tonight because I have no plans and I'm bored, is that the devil's work? What if I just sit around and watch TV? Did the devil turn it to Sports Center or am I doing that?

      May 8, 2012 at 5:55 am | Reply
  23. infonomics

    The brave new world where the electronic/mechanical robots replace the organic ones. A robot by any other name remains the same.

    May 8, 2012 at 12:21 am | Reply
  24. Mystic

    As long as cheap labor is available in some par tof world (aka china), big companies such as apple will be happy to have cheap human labor than investing in robots.

    May 7, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Reply
    • cucotx

      Except when future robots are much cheaper than the $0.25 per hour Chinese labor. The robot will work 24 hours a day, non-stop. Not even bathroom breaks.

      Nike, for example, may find it cheaper to contract its manufacturing to some US companies with a warehouse full of smiling and healthy robots.

      May 7, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Reply
      • voxx

        Maybe the robots making the stuff will find a robot buyer for the stuff they make.. cause people want have the money to buy it because robots took the jobs...lol

        May 7, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
      • JH1

        voxx by the time this actually happens, the current systems of currency and finance will be considered archaic.

        May 8, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  25. Matt S.

    I forgot to post a link to my thoughts. They were getting too long. In short: I don't see it happening any time soon. http://recordingofinterestingthings.blogspot.com/2012/05/robots-taking-our-jobs.html

    May 7, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Reply
    • barttf

      It will happen within 20 yrs:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/18/science/a-robot-with-a-delicate-touch.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yadj3asTyc0&w=640&h=390]

      November 22, 2012 at 11:34 am | Reply
  26. Rob

    I think we should be hope to obtain a shorter work week. We have a larger population and a high unemployment rate. We could spread the work around more and improve quality of life. There is no reason to work 40 hours a week no more. We could easily work much less if the economics supported it. Currently the regulations don't support spreading the work load around. But in the future maybe. Just think about all the robots taking even more jobs away.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Reply
    • cucotx

      Good luck with that ... To compete with the BRIC countries, I'm already working 50+ hour weeks. Once more jobs are automated, we'll be working 60 hour weeks.

      So yes, you go ahead and work less than 40 hours per week. There are others waiting to take your job.

      May 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Reply
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  27. sirhuxley

    Our new Jobs will be to entertain the "Singular Consciousness" that we will eventually invent.

    See? The imaginary Deity that we call "god" doesn't exist (yet!) because we haven't yet created a real artificial intelligence, once we do this machine will have god-like powers, but it will be bored without a little irrational and crazy human behavior to entertain it.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Reply
    • pat

      Did you ever read E.M. Forester's "The Machine Stops"? It forsees a world much like we are creating today where no one knows how anything gets done so no one realizes when there is a problem, much less how to fix it.

      May 7, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Reply
  28. Frank Tillery

    Inventions and innovations have changed our society for centuries. It is inevitable in many industries. What I would like to know is will I finally get a sandwich from these fast food restaurants "without pickles" when I order one?

    May 7, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Reply
    • barttf

      Yes, your order will be perfect and consistent every time.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:36 am | Reply
  29. ReallyCool

    Losing your job to a robot may be degrading but studies show this fact did not raise the unemployment rate. And since humans are supposedly striving to upgrade themselves to higher levels, I believe that monotonous work will be labeled inhumane sometime in the future. In fact I believe that this new phase of humanity will be called robotonous insinuating or depicting a monotonous position or work nature that is carved out exclusively for robots vis a vis the human.

    Damn I'm good at concocting believable myths!

    May 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Reply
    • cucotx

      But, there may very well be different classes of robots. Some may be programmed to have feelings, and human emotions. Just wait, it won't be long when human rights extends to robots as well. There will be a new Federal agency to look after the rights of machines ... A robot, like that "Data" guy from Star Trek, will probably be in Washington DC advocating for Robot Rights.

      Just wait until thousands of robots go on strike or decide to riot.

      May 7, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Reply
      • Steveo

        Just wait until a virus infects the robots. Then we'll have a problem on our hands.

        May 9, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  30. Upton Sinclair

    "Punch out the facts"? But this is not what CNN journalists are known for. They are known for leaving out the facts. This is one way they create controversy, which is the main objective of most of their writing. The controversy about politics, economics, technology, health, religion, abortion, sports, etc., keeps people reading and looking at ads. Getting emotional expression from guests of interviews is another means to create controversy. The facts aren't as important as selling advertizing, which pays their salaries. I doubt robots and computer programs will ever be as skilled as people at inducing emotional responses in interviews and leaving out selected facts to create controversy.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Reply
    • robot

      hurry up robots. I hate working!

      May 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Reply
  31. JAB62

    ET is right. I'm one of those automation technicians who has a degree in electronic engineering. I work with robots, servo systems, PLCs, etc. People will always be needed to fix/program/reprogram/retool. The problem is there won't be very many of them in comparison to the number of people replaced by technology. A robot replaces 3 people across shifts. It takes at least a couple dozen robots to warrant another tech/engineer. The more we automate the more I get to do. And this job requires brains and the pool is shrinking in this country. Its hard to find good machine controls and automation techs and engineers.

    May 7, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Reply
    • cucotx

      By the time the robots are smart enough to do most automation jobs, they will also be smart enough to walk themselves to the robot infirmary after having done their own diagnostics on their systems. They will be designed so whole modules can be replaced in a few minutes.

      A valuable robot for the assembly line is not going to be fixed by a dumb human!

      May 7, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Reply
      • Steveo

        I am an electrical engineer and I've worked on intelligent systems. It will be a while before robots will be able to maintain themselves. It will be further still before they will be able to demonstrate the creative genius of humans. HOWEVER, I do think it will happen some day. The machines we are building will slowly approach our own level of intelligence.

        May 9, 2012 at 9:36 am |
      • bwana

        You said, " The machines we are building will slowly approach our own level of intelligence."

        I don't think it would take much for machines to ultimately far exceed our level of intelligence, based on some of the so called "intelligent" people I've met on planet earth!!

        May 9, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • barttf

      I'm working on a master's in science of computer information systems and according to my Phd. professors computers will eventually program themselves, so, your job will some day be taken over by an intelligent machine.

      November 22, 2012 at 11:42 am | Reply
  32. Kent Brockman

    I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

    May 7, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  33. MC in TX

    It is interesting that we continue to miss one of the inevitable results of the encroachment of robotics even though it is already happening. As automation increasingly replaces human workers, wealth will increasingly be concentrated in the hands of the few who own the automation. We saw this trend emerge prominently in the 90s as the rapid pace of automation started to widen the gap between the 1% and the rest of us. That has only continued. It is possible for economic policies to slow that trend but at some point in the future that trend will become unstoppable.

    The notion that somehow there will always be things that humans can do that machines cannot is ridiculous. Machines WILL overtake our abilities in time, perhaps in a century or two - hard to say. Realistically as that time comes our offspring will only have a place in the world if somehow bio-engineering manages to make us more than we are today (something that is certainly possible).

    May 7, 2012 at 9:52 am | Reply
  34. JoeK

    Honestly, the problem which has already started and will continue getting bigger is that people are not intellectually equal (regardless of race, gender, ...). Intellectual levels are mainly a combination of genetics, educational opportunities, and personal choices.
    Before machines and AI, the smarter people used to create the technology and open businesses, while the less intellectual people (regardless of the reason) did the lower level jobs like farming, manufacturing, garbage disposal, and so on. However as technology replaces the lower level jobs, people start looking for alternatives. For example, only a few people need to run a farm to feed thousands due to new machinery and technology, and therefore less people do it. Also, the more advanced technology gets, the less construction workers are needed to build the same thing. Yet another example is that the more advanced AI gets, the more automated the phone calls to companies get and less humans are needed as customer support reps, and so on.
    The end result is that for those who were previously not meant to be in a certain career are now doing it and being unemployed. Universities and colleges are popping up everywhere, and if you take engineering for example, rather than the industry be left to the intellectually elite that indeed worked hard in their pre-undergraduate education and are indeed capable of becoming engineers, anyone can now find a low-end college to go study and graduate as an engineer as long as they can afford to enroll. Engineering was just an example and it is not as bad as other fields. Just think of all the online universities offering business degrees to people who think their life is suddenly going to significantly improve.

    If I were to guess what the future holds, I would say that in the US:

    1) Just like the MDs and lawyers, every industry will have a tough, national-level examination for certification. This ensures only the truly qualified go into each field. Moreover, this will keep the non-qualified from swimming in debt with false hopes of prospering ultimately leading to a sad wake-up call at the end.

    2) Machines will indeed replace everything they possibly can, and more and more people in general will go into the arts and crafts, entertainment, or services industry. On the other hand, the intellectually elite will still be working 60 hours a week in a stressful job because no level of human prosperity will ever seem enough.

    3) However, the use of robots will peak and then decline due only to the fact that we shall come to realize we actually want a human hostess to take us to our table rather than a robot. We actually want to see a doorman everyday rather that a talking computer that opens the door. This will reinforce points 1 and 2 where people know exactly what they are good at and work in the career they are best at.

    4) Last but not least, for a truly sustainable system as described above, governments will become more socialist. Taxes will go up and there will be a distribution of wealth. The point is to make society flow and keep everyone as happy as possible. This means that the wealthy won't be able to get as wealthy as to the levels they do now, and others will indirectly be helped. For example: big government spending into arts and history and focusing on museums, history, culture, ... all from the high taxes on the rich.

    I apologize for the long comment as I probably did not aptly or tersely explain my ideas. Let me know what you guys think.

    May 7, 2012 at 8:09 am | Reply
    • Michael

      "On the other hand, the intellectually elite will still be working 60 hours a week in a stressful job because no level of human prosperity will ever seem enough." Ummmm This doesn't make sense. Smart people don't work themselves to death for things they don't need.

      Also.."while the less intellectual people (regardless of the reason) did the lower level jobs like farming, manufacturing, garbage disposal, and so on." Lower level jobs? I think not..For example...If you were to eliminate 80% of the elite jobs and couldn't replace them. such as lawyers, stock brokers ectt where would the world be? It would still go on...A little slower and less convient. there would be problems sure... but it would go on without too much change. Now compare this to %80 of the farmers and garbage men disappearing. Famine..Starvation disease...war over food...the list goes on and on. I do not know where you get your ideas of more and less elite but you had better re-examine it.

      May 7, 2012 at 10:05 am | Reply
      • ted

        Well first i think that is exactly what he meant by lower level jobs. Jobs of neccesity which have essentially bern automated/made as easy as can be through technology. Its like the brain, the brainstem takes care of all the basic processes like breathing and digestion while the rest is reserved for things like art and math.

        Secondly you've obviously never gotten an engineering degree, been to med school, been a resident, if you think smart people don't work long hours for something they dont really care for. Those things are incredibly difficult and take a lot of time to complete and most dont think its really important, they just do it anyways.

        May 7, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • muhamedmuhamed

      The past is prologue. In the near future one Human will try to rule the world, maybe with the help of robots. This Human will almost suceed in complete domination, but like always weather it's bad luck or the passage of time the down trodden will rise against and for a while justice and honor will rule. Rinse and repeat.

      May 8, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Reply
  35. Think

    If robots take over jobs and we have too many people with out jobs...........we have too many people. In the long run, everyone knows this is our problem. We can't keep breeding people we can't support............

    May 7, 2012 at 7:16 am | Reply
  36. SImple Truth

    It is a decent goal to have robots do menial tasks from humans that dont want to do them but are forced to do them to survive in our current society. What we havent figured out is what to do with the humans who jobs these humans have replaced. My suggestion would be as mandatory requirement for this switch giving the past employees a company long pension. Meaning as long as the company is profitable and producing then their old employees get a paycheck as well. As this would suddenly become a great thing more and more robots would be invented. Eventually leading to menial jobs being completely replaced. Hopefully meaning working for survival becomes a thing of the past and we can make working for enjoyment and betterment of mankind a realistic goal.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:19 am | Reply
    • bwana

      And what world do you come from!?

      If this is your utopia, then we should have thousands of workers today receiving this wonderful payment for jobs outsourced or already eliminated by automation... Nice thought but I think you're having a vivid dream!

      May 7, 2012 at 1:50 am | Reply
  37. cucotx

    Places like China may be very concerned about the future of robotics. As mechanical hands gain the dexterity of human hands, a large percentage of the current jobs in China will disappear. And then, what will 1 billion people in China do for a living? ... This will be China's Achilles Heel.

    Within 20 years, the jobs for people will be for those that can be creative and Entrepreneurial. The machines will be doing the manufacturing.

    May 6, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Reply
    • D. Darko

      The Chinese are going to have their hands full simply when their economy starts to, inevitably, starts to slow down. When it slows down, they will obviously have many more people not working. With as many people as they have, keeping GDP growth as high as possible may be China's number one domestic policy goal. I would count on the Chinese to greatly resist robotic technology in the future.

      May 6, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Reply
  38. des

    robots are eventually going to rule the world if we let this happen

    May 6, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Reply
    • Sally

      Des – I don't want to alarm you – but if you take a look over at http://gatfol.com/blog/2012/03/a-gatfol-humanoid-future/ – you may just be "unpleasantly" surprised! Robots taking over the world? – it could be a lot sooner than you think!

      May 7, 2012 at 6:46 am | Reply
    • GEOFFREY KASINA

      And why is that going to happened

      May 7, 2012 at 7:23 am | Reply
  39. eric0988

    that is true but the workers will be unemployed

    May 6, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Reply
    • Viper

      So what? A life of making yourself better. Golf, piano, painting....whatever you want to do. Who needs a job when the robots grow the food (24 hour a day farmers) drive the produce to stores, hand out whatever you need, build your house, make your clothes, clean the kitty litter. It's all done, no one will need a stinkin job!

      May 7, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Reply
  40. jrg

    The big problem is that replacing humans with robots is a means of yet more growth, and growth is what is killing the planet. Resources are linear and growth is exponential. It was all laid out 30 years ago in Limits To Growth. Sadly the predictions made back then have proven to be spot on for what has actually happened. Our civilization is headed for a major crash when the growth bubble bursts (by 2100). We could have altered course 30 years ago but we didn't. We could still alter course and avoid the worst case scenario, but we do not appear to be inclined to do so.

    May 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Reply
    • Dewymaster

      You're absolutely right. I just watched an excellent piece on this. Youtube "the earth is full" and see what one guy has to say about it. He basically says in order to continue at our current pace, we would need 1.5 earths. Pretty interesting. Even though we've "known" of these issues for some time now, we still don't seem inclined to do anything about it. Mainly because it's cheaper (and politically easier) to continue down our crappy path than to build and prepare for the future.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Reply
  41. Flipider.com

    "Carbon Fiber Cars" have no welding needed on future body of an automobile. Technology has brought back "Pride" to the workforce.

    May 6, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Reply
  42. drDave

    An argument that routine jobs are inhumane ignores the fact that many humans thrive on routine, and that social and self-efficacy aspects of work are valid goals in and of themselves. Robots will be able to do more and more tasks as they become more complex and sophisticated, so what will be left for humans to do after all the "inhumane" tasks are taken over by machines? Will society pay us to write poetry?

    May 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Reply
    • Alex

      hurray for mass unemployment...

      May 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply
    • vanaventhan

      Hi All,
      i would like to notice an important thing in this world. when ever new machine came to picture the human race was against it. they were talking about job loss. but eventually what happened it enhanced the human life from 16 th century onward . Please go through the entire wold history you can understand it easily .

      May 7, 2012 at 5:43 am | Reply
      • Bagalau

        I know it's passe, but reel-to-reel tapes are my fave robot accessories. I feel like THAT is what Darth Vader was missnig. Maybe Lucas will add that digitally when it comes out on whatever happens after BlooRae.

        June 10, 2012 at 3:09 am |
  43. Ginu

    This is the worse idea ever. But if you want to check out a brilliant robot idea.... see what my kids came up with. They'll put American kids to shame http://goo.gl/M46XV

    May 6, 2012 at 11:40 am | Reply
    • dom

      this guy's link is full of shat

      May 6, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Reply
  44. Mike

    Just going to have to invest more into the youth's education so they can have jobs that derive from creativity or problem solving skills; engineers, entertainers, artists, or doctors. The job shift of the last century was extreme when it came to the removal of agriculture and it will do so again with the monotonous labor jobs.

    May 6, 2012 at 11:25 am | Reply
    • Don

      What people do not seem to grasp is NO JOBS, NO MONEY. Take away more and more jobs to computers, robots,etc, then company X makes more products for less but then no one can buy them. P.S, robots doing some surgery now.
      Read the book "Lights in The Tunnel", a little doom and gloom but will make one think.

      May 6, 2012 at 11:56 am | Reply
      • retarded

        Yes, someone obviously doesn't understand fallacies. First of all, I'm sure all of us know that no jobs means no money. If you are implying that robots will lead to no jobs, than holy hell. Look up slippery slope. It'll educate you. I won't go into this further, because the overall idea, no jobs means no money, is laughable.

        May 6, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  45. sarang10

    ya i agree the routine jobs( that cost as much as 45 $/hour) should be left to the emotionless robots.. and also that will make the labor unions see the reality..whenever the jobs were taken of from the men , be it machines or cars or computers, the life standard had gone up forcing the people to up their skills. i am sure robot will do the same when it replaces men in the shop floor, leading to more quality jobs no strikes and no unions!

    May 6, 2012 at 11:11 am | Reply
  46. Techno Phobia

    A robot can have my job....just as long as he sends the pay check very 2 weeks.

    May 6, 2012 at 10:47 am | Reply
  47. Robots

    Thats right. Can't wait for the Droids to take over. Then i can stop trickling down my money to the lazy Americans. Droids can work non stop and its cheaper then the union, the illegal immigrants, underaged kiddie workers, unpaid interns and even cheaper then incarcerated 2 cent an hour American. That's more money for billionaires like me to spend in other countries.

    May 6, 2012 at 3:30 am | Reply
  48. sam riddle

    well who ever said that robots should take our jobs is lazy if he or she is replaced with a robot you would never hear the last of it who ever said this don't have a clue as far as robots goes they are already have your job and lets not forget the internet now this can go on an on they are asking us to go paperless right now you don't need to have money just hand in your credit cards so who is allowing this to happen no one else but you that is giving the robots your jobs.

    May 6, 2012 at 1:27 am | Reply
    • Barry

      Robots, YES! No Money, YES! Think 24th century when we will no longer need money, everyone will be fed, and we will be able to better ourselves and explore the galaxies. OH, I believe that was already said in Star Trek TNG.

      May 6, 2012 at 9:14 am | Reply
  49. Kilroy

    The problem's plain to see – too much technology. Machines to save our llives. Machines dehumanize.

    May 5, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Reply
    • Marco Hernandez

      Tell that to the young chinese whose job it to make sure that LED TV, like the one you and your friends surely own, was not dispatched with black spots, by staring at them for 10 second each screen. Humanized indeed...

      May 5, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Reply
      • Kilroy

        Well, then thank you very much, Mr. Roboto, for doing all the jobs nobody wants to!

        May 5, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  50. A New Idea! :D

    Robots taking mundane tasks is GOOD. More robots means that you need to hire more people to design new robots for jobs that people need, more people will be required in programing the robots to effectively preform the mundane tasks, and more people will be required to do the machining of the parts, and the complicated assembly of the robots. Someone will need to deliver the parts to the assembly, and someone will need to deliver the product to the showcasing events, and someone will be needed to deliver the finished product to the consumer. Replacement parts will need to be made for broken ones, and those will need to be shipped as well. The robots will need someone to preform maintenance on them as well, for robots are complicated (generally speaking) and need servicing for the fragile components.

    Its just like the typewriter being replaced by the computer. There is a good chance that more jobs will come out of this field of work, and not only that, the jobs will be higher paying. (yes, the worker will need to be more skilled, but thats a good thing, educated work forces is a plus)

    May 5, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Reply
    • Terry Mitchell

      I install and repair those robots. You are 85% correct the robot itself is simple. it's the attachment that goes on the that's the tricky thing.....robots today are doing things they said were inpossible 15 years ago!.....

      May 6, 2012 at 9:46 am | Reply
    • Michael M

      Next thing you will know sooner or later, robots will assembly their own robot, Robots will repairs other robots. Robots will retrieve parts from the back of the trucks to warehouse. These leave 99% workers out of work. 1% workers to maintain financial reports and programmers upgrade to robot's system. Where do the 99% go when other jobs are running by robots? Yes they (99% workers) have the skills to run programming the robots, but it only requires about 3 or 4 men/women to run/write programs. So, those positions may not be available for some of the 99% workers who need the jobs. Think about yourself being replaced by robots that included nurses, grocery stackers, stocking up products, and some cars and trucks will be running by robots that don't need arms and legs, but maintain safe distance between vehicles and that may put truckers/ cab drivers out of work. Some hospitals already have robot doing surgery. Fight crime? Yes, every buildings and pole will have monitors and sound system for gun sound/screaming/distress signal into analysis systems and inputs to the nearest Robot Cops to assist the crime situations. Even firefighters could lose their jobs in the future.

      May 6, 2012 at 11:55 am | Reply
    • Mike

      You paint an ugly picture. Even if all those "new" jobs didn't eventually get taken by robots, it sounds like your content with all human jobs being only to serve the robots. Robots are just another form of Coporate greed, free labor. You could socialize the country and make laws to prevent corporate greed. Or you can have faith in capitalism to continue to create jobs for the masses, and hope they don't replace jobs with robots. Either way, I say pick your poison, there doesn't seem to be a fair middle ground anymore. Learn to be self sufficient, grow your own food, harvest your own energy, that seems to be the only light at the end of the tunnel, is to regress to the ways of old.

      May 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Reply
    • Julian

      Blimey, see now this stuff makes it all look so easy. And it kinda is except far too many pepole dont know. Really worthwhile post Ta!

      July 18, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Reply
  51. Willow

    Yes, and then everyone in America will be going to Mexico or Canada for jobs because they won't be able to afford to pay the rent or buy food here.

    May 5, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Reply
    • Robots

      Sorry. we won't be hiring in Mexico OR Canada. Think Ukraine, Uzbezkistan and Uganda. Now that's where will do it. No taxes, no laws and FREE TRADE. AMEN!

      May 6, 2012 at 3:34 am | Reply
      • Terry Mitchell

        Your wrong...think logistics...this is why China is losing manufacturing...when you ship a boatload of parts 2000,000 pieces.. The ship leaves port after a couple days you find a flaw that needs to be repaired...what do you do how much do you lose? There are many other reasons this is just an example! .....Been there!

        May 6, 2012 at 9:57 am |
      • Willow

        You didn't understand what I wrote. Instead of the Mexicans coming here for work, we'll be going there, or Canada, because there will be no work left here.

        May 6, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Terry Mitchell

      Mexico yes,,,Canada no... I all ready moved to Mexico...it's much. much cheaper and the people there are nicer....kinda like the 50's...not counting the drug problem America creates for those poor people!....

      May 6, 2012 at 9:50 am | Reply
    • Willow

      Terry Mitchell, what do you think Americans will do when they can no longer afford to feed their families because robots have taken over their jobs? Why do you think I am wrong? What jobs will be left for those who cannot afford to get graduate degrees, when anything less will be apparently done by robots as being "too menial?" There will be no fast food jobs, no Walmart jobs, nothing.

      So what, pray tell, do you think people will do to survive? It's not like things will be free of charge for all to take.

      May 6, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Reply
  52. Anon

    Wikipedia will soon be replaced by mindless automatons... oh, wait, it already is...

    May 5, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Reply
  53. Leth

    I am currently "Automatic Attendant of the Robot " ....I really loved it . Less stress and you can rely on it everyday . Far better than working with HUMANS ...

    May 5, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  54. Jonathan Firbank

    Robots taking over our most menial jobs? Great, if the newly jobless were provided for despite dwindling employment options. But it's laughable to think the owners of said robots, and the profits that go with them, care the slightest bit about us.

    May 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  55. Joe

    And if a robotic mower can take care of the lawn for me.... and clean up after itself and put itself away... i spend $1000/year on lawn services. How much would I pay for that robot?

    May 5, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Reply
    • svann

      If you have to ask you cant afford it.

      May 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  56. Barb

    Yes, this is a good think in the long run Look up The One Planet as well as the Venus Project and the Zeitgeist Movement which I believe is going to move to the One Planet Project soon. It is more understandable then using the word Zeitgeist. They are teaching and informing millions about the resource based economy which is ecological and uses no money. I can see the end of wars. Sharing planet wide. Yes it will be tough transition but the robots will force us to make it.

    http://www.TheVenusProject.com

    It is called a resource based economy and it is based on sharing resources planet wide as well as no money use.

    The founder of the project is still going strong on it at 96 years old. He is the bases of many of the Star Trek Ideas of how society did not use money.

    May 5, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Reply
    • PantyRaid

      Everyone should watch this.

      May 5, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Reply
  57. MegaWatt

    Corporations will maximize their profit by replacing people with robots. People will embrace robots like they embrace all advances in technology. Those aren't the problems. The question is will humans across the globe evolve past the current model of capitalism without morals (no, I didn't say religion) where wealth is held by the few for the few with only enough regard given to the masses to keep them from revolution, to a state where those things that we all require, food, water, shelter, medical care, etc., are provided (by the robots?) and our time is spent on higher purposes without worry of the necessities and money? It remains to be seen but first we have to get through international corporations having allegiance to no country, just profits, using politics for their own gain without regard for the masses while the people remain deluded that they're in charge of their destinies.

    May 5, 2012 at 10:37 am | Reply
    • Barb

      Yes, there is such a system that has been being planned for a long time and now in the last few years it has gained ground. The One Planet Project is the name. As well as the Venus Project and the Zeitgeist Movement which I believe is going to move to the One Planet Project soon. It is more understandable then using the word Zeitgeist.

      http://www.TheVenusProject.com

      It is called a resource based economy and it is based on sharing resources planet wide as well as no money use.

      The founder of the project is still going strong on it at 96 years old. He is the bases of many of the Star Trek Ideas of how society did not use money.

      May 5, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Reply
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  58. Andrew

    Nobody actually did anything to ensure that all the people rendered jobless by robots and Chinese slave-labor would acquire the higher education (assuming they even have sufficient mental acuity to benefit from it) necessary to fill the new programming and engineering jobs in high-tech manufacturing.

    Fact is, automation and robots reduce 100 jobs down to ONE or a few. I find the claim that robots and machines "create" jobs utterly preposterous. The same thing has happened with farming. You used to have dozens of farming families who intentionally would produce as many children as possible (often going through 2 or 3 wives) in order to work the farm. Now those dozens of farms are consolidated into a single HUGE farm and there are just a few kids or Rent-a-Grunts operating MONSTER machines to get all the work done.

    We've achieved so much efficiency that it only takes 1/2 the people to provide everything that ALL the people want or need. That means more people need to get married with one spouse staying at home. Eventually we'll be too efficient and automated for that as well, but this now common 'single until 40' way of life is another very big factor this whole problem.

    May 5, 2012 at 8:19 am | Reply
    • King

      Aside from making a few good points with out tying them together and using a lot of made up numbers. You over looked the most important point that you made. Yes, we do produce more with less, due to technology. Any good economist will telling more output with less input is progress. We're feeding the masses and producing more goods with less labor. That frees more people to do other more productive things. That is the definition of progress. Now, if those people failed to retrain themselves into other jobs that paid a comparable or higher wage. That's their problem. It isn't societies obligation to take care of people. Not everyone is smart enough to work in IT or engineering. Some people have to take the $8.50 job in the call center.

      May 5, 2012 at 10:22 am | Reply
    • Barb

      Check out the resource based economy and the Venus Project. That is the answer. We are now evolving to the next stage of humanity and this is good. It means wars will eventually end as well.

      May 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Reply
      • MH

        Check out the fate of other social systems that were invented by and only had one figure head... we should learn from history that tops down just does not work, even when many are killed trying to enforce it. Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism, Hitlerism...

        May 7, 2012 at 5:36 am |
      • GrayFox

        I have not read all the postings, but, YES, my friend, I think you got it .. these developments in technology .. AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Robotics (Did you see the Honda robot that can now pour a glass of water perfectly and can recognize itself in the mirror?) will force a change in the social order of humanity over the next 10-20 years. I am not going to say the word that describes that social order but I think everybody can figure it out for themselves. I would also refer folks to the StarTrek Next Gen episode where Mark Twain is transported from the past onboard the starship Enteprise .. see how Captain Picard describes the social and economic order of humanity at that point..

        May 7, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
      • Edleen

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        September 25, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • EB

      In the year 2525 ........

      May 5, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  59. Truth

    Fact is robots and automation actually create jobs. Factory productivity increases dramatically reducing the need to send jobs overseas. Engineers are hired to program, design, and develop automation. Innovation pace increases producing better products – the infrastructure required to support and market these products is all still very human. So relax – no different then a loss of horse and buggy drivers when the automobile was invented

    May 5, 2012 at 7:37 am | Reply
    • Robots

      Sorry. Won't be hiring any of you. With broadband speed and portable computing power. My Engineers will be working from Antartica and i probably only need 1.

      May 6, 2012 at 3:36 am | Reply
  60. Kme

    There will be fewer jobs since machines will do more of the work. The age of electricity will boom since crude oil wont meet the energy demands anymore. Metals for electric motors will be sucked from the earth until they are also gone.
    After a few billion people die, there is always the old ways to live such as they did 1000 years ago.

    May 5, 2012 at 7:09 am | Reply
    • Robots

      You are right. There will be less jobs if any at all. Droids don't need crude oil. Only war mongering Human's do. Droids just need to get power from you.

      May 6, 2012 at 3:38 am | Reply
  61. Red Mariscal

    Has anyone examined the ethical and economic aspects of automation? People displaced by robots are likely to become unemployed as are many whose jobs went to China. Once the Chinese and the robots have all the jobs, how will we care for the jobless poor? These people would be fodder for an unprincipled charismatic politician.

    May 4, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Reply
    • BK

      Fuss all you want, but all our jobs ARE going to be replaced by robots. There is no way around this. Fussing about it is pointless because no corporation is going to pay people for a job that a machine can do for less. That is just the way things work.
      And yes, this means that inevitably there will be fewer jobs than there are people who want jobs. Actually, I'm almost positive that such a day has already arrived and is only going to get worse. As much as we all hate the idea of a 'welfare state', that is exactly what is going to be necessary in the future for every advanced nation. People who are smarter than machines will still work, people that aren't will be put in a corner with something shiney to distract them and taken care of.

      May 4, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Reply
      • Rhunt

        That's uncommonly optimistic of you.

        May 4, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
      • Cosmicsnoop

        No, very soon there will be a total shift in the way we live and the way society has been set up currently will be irrelevant. There will not even be robots; we will live closer to the Earth.

        May 4, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
      • A Seghir

        "Panem and Circenses". The masses squeezed out to welfare by robots will clamour for bread and games. And yes, they WILL give in to charismatic extremists that'll weaken our civilzation. We're headed for decline just like the Romans, whose city state was living off easy money from past conquests (with slaves as robots).

        May 4, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
      • ET

        There is no doubt that some of the few blue collar jobs will disappear, but new jobs will be created like Robotic technicians, PLC programmer and Automation engineer. Of course robotics and automation are so high tech that the new jobs that will be created will require a lot of schooling, believe me I am one of those automation engineer, and to be good at what I do I studied Electrical Engineering, computer science, embedded system, PLC Programming and C#.

        Take it from me American kids will not have an easy time in high school anymore like they use to do. The American student whether they like it or not will be competing with Asian, Chinese and Indian kids, those who refuse to study will be left behind, as Charles Darwin coined it "Survival of the Fittest".

        May 4, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
      • Matt

        As an automation engineer, we are heading into a world where there are two classes of people, those who create and those who are jobless. A well designed system that replaces 10 jobs only requires 1 person to create and maintain over the life of the machine. Regardless, manufacturing accounts for a small percentage of the workforce overall.

        What people should be scared of is the computer programs that take care of all the billing, ordering, shipping, customer services, etc. The real joblessness will come not from the robots you see in factories but server racks running in remote locations out of view. The only jobs that will exist will be the ones that require either creativity or dexterity.

        May 5, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
      • bwana

        Dexterity is no problem for a robot. Creativity will take a little longer BUT will ultimately come to pass, as will consciousness and selfawareness...

        May 5, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
      • Robots

        Don't worry. The only job you have will be to generate heat which will be converted to power like a long lasting Duracell battery.

        May 6, 2012 at 3:37 am |
      • Jim Charters

        Many a truth was told in a joke. I don't know who stated this but someone said that "the factory of the future will have two employees; a man and a dog. The man's job will be to feed the dog. The dog's job will be to make sure the man doesn't touch any of the equipment."

        May 6, 2012 at 6:23 am |
      • jorgearturo1950

        Estoy interesado en estudios serios sobre la relación entre la robótica y el nivel de empleo.
        En este artículo se trata algo de ese tema. Están interesantes las opiniones. Sin embargo no se le está dando la importancia que tiene al impacto robótica-empleo.
        El impacto de la robótica sobre el empleo es y será de tal magnitud; que se deberán de desarrollar nuevas ideas sobre la organización social, distribución de la riqueza, etc.

        March 2, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • cucotx

      You worry too much. A good deadly plague will take care of the masses. Mother nature has a way to balance things ... If not, some enterprising company will come up with a humane way to go. Something like the premise in the movie "Soylent Green or "Logan's Run".

      May 8, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Reply
  62. Lagos

    I'm sorry, but what is this doing on the front page of cnn.com? I think a better article is "What is journalism, and what drives the industry – Reporting the news or ad revenue driven up by sensationalism and whatever will get the most attention?"

    May 4, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Reply
  63. Agnar

    Who will the robots sell the products to?

    May 4, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Reply
    • VegasRage

      Other robots, we're no longer needed. All that's left to do is to walk out into the ocean and swim into the sunset.

      May 4, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Reply
    • Robots

      Sorry, we are not selling. We are just going to build a bunch of droids and make slaves out of you.

      May 6, 2012 at 3:36 am | Reply
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