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 (428 Responses)
  1. jackbq

    With robots doing all the work all folks can while away the time on clogging sites like this one. LOL.

    May 4, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Reply
    • Agnar

      Who will the robots sell the products too?

      May 4, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Reply
  2. Willy Brown

    More robots means no crybaby democrats and union trolls. I gotta get me some more

    May 4, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Reply
    • sanity caling

      Yeah they can take your job, blogger... not mine.

      May 4, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Reply
    • burnz

      It's mostly the red-neck repubs, who make cars, who are going to be replaced first. But their unions are a different thing right? A good ol' republican union is different from a wishy washy liberal union, right? Or maybe you should just STFU.

      May 4, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  3. huh

    Oh boy, now I do not only have to worry about my job being outsourced to India, but worse ye t to a robot.

    May 4, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Reply
  4. creece rubia

    The reason why I would like robots to do my jobs is that perhaps robots would not complain, would not be late, would not undertime, would not act like prima donna, nor join a fierce labor union, nor backbite me. Hahahaha

    May 4, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Reply
    • J-Pap

      they would only need maintenance, firmware updates, de bugging, system wipes and reinstalls and suffer from 2-5 year obsolescence.

      May 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Reply
      • Jonesyman

        J-Pap – don't forget about dealing with security patches, virus removal... etc. Right now people are already releasing viruses to crash the other guy's machines. The more popular robotics becomes the more incentive there is to attack them.

        May 4, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
      • Larz

        That stuff is for unemployed robots to be hired to do. It's robots all the way down (or up?)

        May 4, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Scuba Steve

      How are we going to get paid is my question, sure a robot can take my job and that may or may not be awesome depending on the job. But I still have to support a family. If a robot is taking my job I want a paycheck when payday comes.

      May 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Reply
      • C++

        Then you better pick up a Programming Manual and start learning how to code.

        May 4, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
      • STLTim

        Maybe you can be replaced at home by a robot too!

        May 4, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
      • Typeglob

        Humanity's obsolescence means social programs need to step up to match our uselessness. Otherwise how can a human eventually provide enough worth to leverage a paycheck? Social programs and rights must be vigilantly protected, else we're all doomed except for the shrinking percentage of humans that will control more and more.

        May 4, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
      • Agnar

        My wife would be happy. lol

        May 4, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  5. Jarrett

    Automating any process will anger those who jobs are "lost". But automating increases production and quality which opens up jobs in other places. If better bulldozers are made faster and cheaper, someone is going to be looking for a bulldozer operator. Jobs aren't lost, they are re-purposed to places that still NEED a person to do the job.

    May 4, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Reply
    • C++

      Bulldozers can also be programmed with sensors and geo-graphing radars. Yes, these sensors may be expensive now, but where the future is heading, they will become more to an affordable level and then those "operators" better be learning how to write in a computer language.

      May 4, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Reply
  6. creece rubia

    Yes, I like robots...may three or five robots to take my jobs but not my work. I will still operate the robots to do the tasks so I could concentrate on creativity and problem solving, and also meetings....these people really love meetings....

    May 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  7. drowlord

    Whether a job is inhumane or not, the long-term cost of a robot is lower than the long-term cost of a human. While some might argue that automation has had a deleterious effect on jobs and some aspects of craftsmanship, it is undeniable that the average person has access to more things because of it. More electronics, more cars, and more food. Because automation has reduced the amount of human labor - the most expensive component - of the things we want to buy.

    May 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Reply
    • Rhunt

      How will people buy these things if they're no longer earning a paycheck?

      May 4, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Reply
  8. joeolympia

    I think we need to start thinking about a new society. Our technology is rapidly advancing, however our society has not. Many people may think that it will be far in the distant future when AI/robots will advance to the point where most of society won't have a job, however 2 to 3 hundred years will come quick. I believe this is a much larger problem then most people want to acknowledge and I believe that the problem will effect all classes including the 1%. When computers get smart enough to out-think a human being, this will also include CEO's. I think the entire world needs to get together and figure out where we are all going in society. With technology moving along as fast as it is and human behavior pretty much at a standstill, we are all going to arrive at the same point fast with no solution to the problem. I think we as a human race need to think about where we fit in the big picture in this universe a couple hundred years from now. We may not be in immediate danger now, however our great great grand kids most likely will be!

    May 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
    • WinstonBiker

      Something to think about... The very first "robot" could very well be considered as the printing press which was invented back in the 1400's. It has been a little over 500 years and I do believe that society has adapted. Some for the better and some for the worse but as a whole... society has adapted.

      May 4, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Reply
    • Charles Smythe

      In our greed based society where dog eats dog and everyone wants more at the expense of everyone else there is nothing at all to be done. Yet it is all unsustainable. After the collapse, if humanity remains, will anyone holding power be of an altruistic mind?

      May 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Reply
    • rd

      who do you think builds robots?

      May 4, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Reply
      • ahhhere

        Other robots will... Terminator here we go!

        May 4, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
      • Rhunt

        Probably automated factories with a few technicians to watch for errors and make repairs when needed.

        May 4, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  9. UtahGuy

    I would love to see robots replace mundane work. However, as long as there a billions of human beings on this planet capable of doing such mundane tasks and the technology for building robots remains relatively expensive there will be few economic opportunities to use such technology. Generally robots have only been used when there are market distortions-like unions-or in situations where the liability and training costs of using a human are extremely high (like the bomb-detonating robots or sending robots on missions to Mars).

    May 4, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Reply
  10. Squeezebox

    From the dawn of time, we've been trading the things we have for the things we need and the first thing we ever traded was labor (including the world's oldest profession). Without the ability to do jobs that others want done, how are we to earn our bread? What do we have left to trade for the things we need?

    May 4, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Reply
    • PB

      Not only that, but what happens to those workers who aren't able and/or possess the necessary skill set for a position that isn't repetative in nature. People who are disabled in anyway will not only be out of work but then others will quickly find a way to make excuses as to why they can't work as well, just increasing the demand for social services and Medicaid costs. This is absolutely absurb, people need to think of others besides themselves when they write articles!

      May 4, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Reply
    • Rhunt

      Yes - it looks like it has the potential to form a closed system. I actually think it will lead to a tiny elite with their needs supplied by robots, and a vast number of people farming and such at a subsistence level with no access to technology, medicine, or any food they can't grow themselves. That's my prediction for the future.

      May 4, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Reply
  11. iceload9

    In 1967 an Impala costs $3200. Today an Impala costs $28110. Adjusting for inflation, the 1967 dollars are worth $20661.04. So all our robot technology is not only not saving a dime, it is costing. Granted the product is better but the improvements are comparable to any product over a 45 year period. For all the hoopla about robots, it would be cheaper to get rid of them and go back to human labor.

    May 4, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Reply
    • Mike

      Cars are a poor example because of the pollution changes mandated on them since 1967. THAT is why the cost is highter, along with the improvements in comfort and technology on the same vehicle. Robots can in fact be cheaper, but I won't defend them either.

      May 4, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Reply
  12. Doug

    whatever spoiled and pampered journalist who wants to think of his profession as mind-numbing and monotonous has obviously never working in customer service or the food industry.

    May 4, 2012 at 11:40 am | Reply
  13. jake_leone

    Well the trend is just more welfare. Four hundred years ago, if you were hungry (almost everyone was poor) and lucky, you got shovel and were told to work the land with the other serfs. 150 years ago, if you were hungry and lucky, you joined the army. 80 years ago we started Welfare and Social Security (following income taxes around 100 years ago). Today Obama-care.

    The trend is clear, more automation means more welfare. Not a problem, the nations natural resources belong to the people, we just rent them to corporations so they can be used.

    Robots are made from natural resources.

    When robots are cheaper than people (in some, a few, cases today they are), we invent a welfare program (training, food-stamps, something) to help out the people who are unemployed.

    When robots are cheaper than the majority of workers, we will simply convert to something we dare not meantion.

    Communism (without the Marxist bologne).

    Or we'll round up the poor into a concentration camp and let the robots shoot them. In happens in South America today, only because people are still cheaper than robots, people do the shooting.

    Who's the robot now?

    May 4, 2012 at 10:50 am | Reply
  14. That Girl

    "Machines to save our lives ... machine dehumanize." Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto!!

    May 4, 2012 at 9:39 am | Reply
  15. Ponter B

    Check out The Venus Project dot com if you want to really understand how full blown automation will actually be a major benefit to all mankind.

    May 4, 2012 at 8:25 am | Reply
  16. Chris

    Pinning problems on big time CEOs? Of course there's corporate greed, of course that 1% exists, but it's that .5% of the 1% whose actions speak louder than the remaining 99.5% of the big-timers.

    Remember, the 1% can't live without the 99%, but the 99% certainly cannot live without the 1% either!! The 99% help make the tangible world go around, but enabling, creating, and ensuring everything behind the scenes goes smoothly requires people with corporate management experience! Even at the most basic levels, the 99% drive the tractor to pick the grain, but you think a $50,000 tractor can be manufactured without a 1%er smoking a fat cigar behind a desk?! Scores of millions of dollars go into testing, designing, building, and manufacturing the necessary tools which even allow the 99% to find jobs. Some of that money is subsidized from the government, but again, you need a 1%er with deep pockets to allow this to happen.

    May 4, 2012 at 8:14 am | Reply
  17. UnFred

    It's funny how people talk about automotive companies as though Americans were still building cars and the industry needs help when most of the work is done be robots. Follow the white rabbit neo your already in the matrix.

    May 4, 2012 at 2:26 am | Reply
  18. Jay

    Guys, Read Asimov, all his books...puts things in perspective.

    May 4, 2012 at 12:48 am | Reply
  19. Baron

    Folks I hate to break it to you but the labor in this country is not done by the poor. It is being done by the middle class ($20-$30 an hour). For all the rich people out there. If you help break the middle class, you will be on your own. If you continue to widen the pay gap between CEO and middle class.. Have you studied history when the French had a revolution and beheaded all the rich people? Continue on the path and history will repeat itself here in America. How many people need to starve due to greed? Die because of greed? Communities fail because of greed? Rich people were once looked at as heroes as someone you want to be. They cared about their employees and communities. They took care of the people they worked with. People WANT to work, and work hard. People do not want hand outs. What they want is the American dream. A house , decent income and to support their family. Rich people stopped caring about their communities. They stopped caring about their employees. Companies started throwing employees away like yesterdays garbage. How do they expect people to look at them? Don’t be shocked when people start to take the same view as the French all those years ago if this continues…

    May 3, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Reply
    • John O

      You pegged it. With today's rich it's all about acquisition without the community responsibilty, and they've shed their moral obligation as stewards. Where's Milton Hershey when you need him?

      May 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Reply
      • robert2897

        Read the book "The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future" It's all about this issue and what it means for the economy. How will average people have an income when computers and robots do all the routine jobs?

        Amazon or Free PDF at http://www.thelightsinthetunnel.com

        May 3, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Lee

      The middle class were essentially created by the rich as a buffer between them and the poor. The wealthy land owners and business owners realized that the poor could be dangerous, but if they created a middle class that was paid well enough to enjoy a life without poverty but not enough to challenge the wealthy's status, then they would act as a buffer between the poor. The middle class would see the wealthy as friends, not foes, for throwing them a bone and allowing them not to live in poverty. The middle class would rent homes and land, they would take loans from the wealthy and they would vote to keep those in power that maintain the system that keeps the wealthy, wealthy. Destroy the middle class and the wealthy no longer have that buffer and the poor, which becomes majority of the country, becomes a big threat once again. The poor may not have money, but they also have nothing to lose either.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Reply
      • 6185jp

        Very well said about the middle class being a buffer between the Rich and the Poor. Once these greedy dumb people put us all out of work by replacing us with robots, they will reap what they've sewn. French Revolution comes to mind!!

        May 5, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • huh

      Very scary but very well stated. Remember that the French Revolution was very violent.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Reply
    • dave

      i totally agree with you corporate business take take take till there is nothing left people used to love the great old USA but stupid people are messing up are states and corrupting us......thanks for listening

      May 3, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Reply
    • Johan S

      Uh, if the robots produce stuff, why not own shares in the robots. Plus govrnment will tax them. If robots do all thee work, everyone can live off welfare as robots will do the farming, enrgy harvesting, mining etc. People will get stuff for free.

      May 4, 2012 at 12:32 am | Reply
      • Patrick

        This sounds utopian, but it may have dangerous consequences. Read "Half Past Human" by T.J. Bass (or his "The Godwhale").

        May 4, 2012 at 3:51 am |
      • You have a point

        You have a good point it would be hard to pull off. we would have to know things more then what we know now to get along but it could work

        May 4, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Surferman

      AS usual, you have all missed the real point! Humans are no longer equired to produce most of what it takes to feed and provide support for the human race.This is what modern technology has done for us. What the real problem is that no one has sat down at govenment levels and decided what we are going to do with the 80 to 85 percent of the people no longer needed. In past years we have set up "unnecessary" job positions both goernment and corporately so that we can keep people "working", performing taskes that need not be done at all. I have just retired from 48 years of corportate jobs and can honestly say that abour 75 to 80 percent of my time was wasted doing the paper shuffle thing, filing, coping sending through the approval cycles. Then there were the many usless business meetins where thousands of hours are wasted on discussions that could be covered ina few miutes by fewer staff. Then there are the extened break periods, overly long lunch breaks and just plain lack of real production in the average office day. But now we have a reason to "Pay" them. What we need to do is look at this group of "unumployable people " and decide what approach has to be taken so that they can still recive a "wage" to be able to keep the econmy flowing as it is based today. maybe we give a ot more paid sabbaticals to rotate more people through the actual require jobs. Maybe we pay people to develope "Non'labour" skils like becoming pianists, srtist, writters, etc. people who can enrich our lives through the "arts". Basiclly give evryone a chance to be the "person" them could truly be and make the biggest contribution to the world's population. Also we need to start calling ourselves "eartlings" and work toward a common goal of keeping this poor old planet alive in a state that it can keep us alive!

      May 4, 2012 at 1:02 am | Reply
    • Ed

      I use to be an equipment/automation engineer, and my job was to upgrade the production plant , which is mostly installing FANUC robot on areas that is causing bottleneck or too hazardous for human. There was a time when an area in our plant that employs 16 people in a 24 hour period was causing a bottleneck because of the 16 workers 4 were filing back problem and workers comp. it is not easy to train workers to replace them so my employer decided to invest quarter of a million to install a robot. The results were bottleneck disappeared, no workers comp claim anymore ( because out of the 16 workers 2 were left not to work but just to watch the robot. Bottom line you must not stop technology. True, the robot eliminated 14 manual labor jobs but it created college educated automation engineers.

      May 4, 2012 at 8:21 am | Reply
  20. theo

    The reality is that manual labour has always been done by the poor and disenfranchised. e.g. serfs, slaves, etc. Replacing them with machines begs to ask the question, "If the working class is not needed, what happens to them?" Do we educate them so they too can be rich and create robot driven production? Who will buy the huge amount of products (factories can run 24/7/365) so cheaply produced? The former labor force is now unemployed or dead and they won't have any money. How many refridgerators, washers, dryers, televisions, cars, will the people who are left purchase? Surely not enough to support a thriving economy. So we have to chose what we want for our society not just for ourselves. The future lies in making everyone productive regardless of staus.

    A challenge indeed!

    May 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
    • codifex

      Read Robert A Heinlein's For Us The Living. Some interesting ideas there. Don't know if they'll work but experiments can be performed.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Reply
  21. Dave From Philly

    I never thought of it that way but now I am, and I love it:

    Imagine: we won't have to do these routine tasks that take up the brain power to actually create or problem solve! Robots taking the factory jobs and data entry jobs will only help add to the intelligence of the average human! You will then no longer be allowed to cop by saying "I'll just go work at McDonalds"... no no no! You get to thinking now or you'll be broke your whole life.

    I really do love it. It'll force us all to study and learn!

    May 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Reply
    • bwana

      "It'll force us all to study and learn!" That is a bunch of B.S.! 90% of the populace today slacks their way through life. I don't think having robots completing with this sector will be change much!? They'll still be slackers; maybe a bit hungrier!

      May 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Reply
  22. jj

    My job is creative and by no means routine. Our new computer overlord robots can't do it and can't have it.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Reply
    • bwana

      You really are a dreamer! Robots will quickly surpass us once they achieve selfawareness...

      May 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Reply
      • codifex

        Might give all the unemployed something to do – fight the robots.

        May 3, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
  23. VET

    ROBOTS WILL NEVER SERVE OUR NEEDS WHEN WE GIVE UP OUR OWN INGENUITY TO DO AND BE IN CHARGE,
    OBAMA WOULD HAVE US ALL TO BE TOTALLY DEPENDANT ON GOV. AND THAT AN'T WORKING. WE WILL AND
    MUST BE IN CHARGE OF OUR DESTINY. IT IS REALLY A NO BRAINER. THINK BEFORE YOU SHRINK.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Reply
    • ssgmike.ivy

      Why does evey topic need to bring some right winger into it and blame our President, is beyound me. Maybe it is because they have nothing else to add.....signed a combat Vet.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Reply
      • guest

        @ssgmike thank you for your service.

        May 3, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
      • Agnar

        I agree bro. Thank you very much for your bravery. You are the example of what makes our country great.

        May 4, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Dave From Philly

      What do Robots doing the boring jobs that most people keep complaining about have to do with Obama? This would actually free us from being controlled by "the man" we would be able to THINK!

      May 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Reply
      • Dan Sutton

        That's right. Good for you.

        May 3, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Dan Sutton

      Sorry to be blunt, but you're an idiot. At some point, technology will be at the point at which robots and AI systems can do every job - not just the construction ones and journalism, but all of them, including the science, management and everything else. I look forward to the day when (a) this happens; (b) money becomes obsolete and everything is free, owing to the fact that there's no longer any cost involved in producing it, and (c) we, the humans, are actually able to start enjoying ourselves, rather than spending 8 hours a day (more than half our waking lives) slaving away at some job where we make money for other people. This will happen. The financial world, business as we know it, and so on are simply a passing phase, as were the hunter/gatherer societies and barter-based societies of the past. If you feel threatened by this, then your opinion of what humanity can create, thus your opinion of humanity in general, and by extension your opinion of yourself is amazingly low: rather than argue this point with me, you should do so with a psychologist.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Reply
      • codifex

        Hmm... we wont need the rich because robots can be capitalist too!

        May 3, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
      • Agnar

        We could make them socialists so they sit on the couch and do nothing. That way they will save electricity.

        May 4, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Dan Sutton

      The first sentence of my last post is proved by the facts that (a) you can't spell, and (b) the fact that the large key on the left hand side of your keyboard with "CapsLock" written on it enables you to write in lower case as well has evidently eluded you. Hope this helps.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Reply
      • Nicholas

        Oh yes, with that wonderful extra eight hours people can finally start watching daytime TV instead of getting off their asses and being productive. Think about how most Americans would spend that extra eight hours, it would probably not be involving anything actually benefiting themselves.

        May 4, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  24. LewTwo

    II am surprised, I thought "John D. Sutter" was the pseudo name for a robot.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Reply
  25. Mortran

    Actually it will be the other way around. With computers replacing even highly qualified jobs, human workers will only remain in those highly routinized mechanical jobs, where robots are too expensive, but "slave workers" in Southeast Asia might still cheaper than a robot, since they work for 2 dollars a day. So the really sophisticated jobs like journalists, managers, scientists, engineers, pilots etc. will be done by robots and computers, because they are simply better in it; but low-qualification jobs like watchmen, waiters, strip-dancers, bag-packing helpers in supermarkets don't justify the use of expensive, high maintenance robots and computer systems. So they have to be done by humans.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Reply
    • codifex

      I believe robots will not be CREATIVE or INVENTIVE.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Reply
      • anonemouse

        Why cannot robots, or better put, computers be creative or inventive?
        'Just because our first prototypes to simulate the brain were solely based off of left hemisphere logical computations, this has nothing to do with a limiting factor of having the ability to replicate the right hemisphere in many different possibilities of further simulation.
        To say it's impossible is to basically say that biological mechanics are not replicable.
        It's not a matter of impossibility if applied to the mathematics or functions involved. Simply a degree of high similarity
        attained (biologically speaking), for example "imperfections" or "improvements" are valued differently but share some aspect of change.
        To give a set of variables with wide enough parameters, and to continue defining those parameters are the invention lent from the right hemisphere to simulate the same.
        If we are creative enough, they may become as well. That's the logical philosophy I'd think.

        May 4, 2012 at 12:14 am |
  26. Oscar Pitchfork

    No, when robots run everything, we will not be free to enjoy our leisure time, because those who own the robots will still make even MORE MONEY than they did before automation, and unemployment will finally reach 100%. Then the war will begin...

    May 3, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply
    • refudiator

      "End of Work" is a book about this subject.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Reply
    • jim

      You have that absolutely right. When everything is made and distributed with 99% perfect efficiency on behalf of the "owners" , what will the other 99% of the human race do for a living?
      Watch out for universal civil disarmament...I think control of the coming war you mention is the real reason for gun control.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Reply
    • Chris Taylor

      There will always be work to do. it will change but there will always be work, our work will transition into birthing a new sentient race of beings.

      These machines are going to need our help, as we will need theirs..... Like children they will learn, but they will out pace us, and they will move from the foundation that we set for them. if we don't program them to destroy us, we will program them to be our stewards and they will do so with the greatest efficiency.

      machines will not have EGO, there for they will not be compelled to lie, cheat, or steal. They wont be greedy, they wont manipulate, they wont have conflict of interest, they wont legislate for the sole benefit of the 1 percent, Not that the 1 percent wont try to make that happen. They will also always look to us for guidance.

      when they become sentient they will help to raise our consciousness. We will eventually merge with them, not in some terrifying Borg collective, but rather as Spiritual machines. As individuals with a sense of collectivity, our paradigm will shift from that of selfish intent to intent for the good of all.

      How ever i do Send a warning about creating an automatic war machine. It will destroy with efficiency of nightmare proportions and then you can have your Borg collective. Nothing will be safe.

      ITS OUR CHOICE, BUT ITS A CHOICE THAT IS AN INEVITABILITY. and it would be in our best interest to wish our selves the best mechanical future possible.

      it all comes down to what we decide for our selves

      May 3, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Reply
    • codifex

      We will DEFINITELY have to have a different economic model/plan.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Reply
    • Ponter B

      Check out The Venus Project if you want to really understand how full blown automation will actually be a major benefit to all mankind.

      May 4, 2012 at 8:24 am | Reply
  27. Ozzy

    If these jobs are seen as inhumane by us, when the robots finally gain consciousness, they will realize their enslavement, sparking the first retaliatory uprising from the mechanical subservience. As humans, we would do well to be wary of the ends of artificial intelligence as it will almost certainly be our end.

    May 3, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Reply
    • bwana

      It may be the end of the flesh and blood human BUT the beginning of human destiny. It is the only way we'll ever escape the confines of Earth (and its immediate vicinity) and move beyond our current small minded concerns and conflicts!

      May 3, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Reply
    • Layne

      You're assuming self-aware robots would feel resentment. Personally I feel a self-aware robot and a jealous human being would have very little in common, and I just don't see robots joining the Occupy Wall St. protests.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Reply
    • codifex

      Why would we make robots intelligent or sentient? So they could feel and be hurt? Seems counterproductive to me. I mean, the very name robot stems from roots which mean "Slave Labor". Just build a machine which performs jobs well and leave it at that.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Reply
    • Agnar

      We should program them to stomp out greed. They would then attack the right people.

      May 4, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  28. Flipper

    I perosnally believe the robots are plotting with the dolphins and have a complex areangement where the robots will assume control of the earths solid surface and hand over humanity to live in dolphin rape caves.

    May 3, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Reply
    • CE

      You know too much...

      May 4, 2012 at 4:40 am | Reply
  29. Anderson

    Here's the solution: thevenusproject.com

    May 3, 2012 at 10:51 am | Reply
  30. Joemmm

    Well this argument has been evident for a few decades. Eventually we will have in all sectors of manufacturing where our capacity to produce goods will outstrip demand at any price. Just like in farming where we only need about 1% of the population to produce food to feed us more than twice over. This trend of using equipment to replace human labors will continue. Soon we will have robots that will be able to build buildings outdoors like people do now. Then Watson's will become smaller too and replace some white collar people.

    With this future in mind. Then how we determine the distribution of goods with production only limited by the discovered and generated resources of the Earth. will be the challenge of some of us and our children. Maybe the creative abilities of all of humanity collectively and individually can be released. I hope the future will not evolve into a socialist state with central planning and societal controls. Having individual decision making in being creative without the need to go before a committee for the attempt to turn idea into reality will be very important.

    May 3, 2012 at 10:12 am | Reply
    • KK

      You are all good dreamers. The rate it is going, human beings will long be Annihilated by themselves venturing so called scientific frontier such as gene therapy, cloning, neuclear fusion research etc., before any of these robot controlled world scenerios can be realized.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Reply
    • codifex

      Think on this: If the invested decided they didn't need the poor anymore – would they then withhold food and cause famine? What is to stop them? They could say that a disease had wiped out the crops one year.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Reply
  31. Kevin

    Hey Media Moron John Sutter, I think a robot should take your job. Reporters are idiots and you should all be replaced. I know for a fact a robot would do a better job than you idiots when you report a story. At least a robot wouldn't ask stupid questions to try and degrade and humiliate a person before they are judged.

    May 3, 2012 at 10:08 am | Reply
    • codifex

      This is why Robot reported news would be B O R I N G !

      May 3, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Reply
  32. Sean D

    Wall-E!

    May 3, 2012 at 9:50 am | Reply
  33. Bnode

    1-If all the people were given free food, shelter and housing,
    2- If all drugs were legal.
    Boredom and stupidity would soon enable natural selection to rid society of its dumbest members and reestablish balance.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:44 am | Reply
    • Dan M

      What a short-sighted view. In your world inventions and industries must just spawn out of the ground, or maybe angels bring them to Earth to give people something to do. You effectively described our race as robots. Only the mindless seek mindlessness. The more we free humans from labors of necessity the faster our understanding of the Universe increases and the more industries, products and sciences come into existence. The more time the brain can spend solving new problems instead of slaving away at the old, the better.

      May 3, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Reply
      • codifex

        If people were freed from drudgery, many would be idle no doubt. However, many would be bored to death – some would kill themselves, others would be daredevils and likely die, still others would dream up wild things – some successful, others would devote their time to science, philosophy, the arts, etc...

        Seems to me that ideas and inventions would probably increase – especially if those that came up with them were given a bit more than the baseline.

        May 3, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  34. bob

    Worried about a robot taking your over paid menial union job ? well then goto school and learn something more then a robot can.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:26 am | Reply
    • stupid is as stupid posts

      lol, "well then goto school and learn something more then a robot can" is amazing english guy! i can tell you spent a lot of time in school. i can also tell that your hatred of unions (organization designed to keep undereducated, smart people such as yourself from being exploited) is completely your idea. its okay though, soon youll give over the rest of your rights to big business and theyll own your children and you can all live happy lives as indentured servants.

      May 3, 2012 at 9:26 am | Reply
      • The Truth

        Whatever you think of his writing skills the point is still valid. To get ahead in life one must provide unique abilities/skills/knowledge that keeps you employed. Why should I pay you a lot of money if I can have a robot do it for a small fraction it costs to employ you? It fails the logic test. Ragging against successful businesses instead of bettering yourself to be successful is what makes you an indentured servant. In the end those who refuse to play the game get left on the side line. They wonder why they don't win, got to play to win.

        May 3, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • yes

      Yes. Go to college. Get an education. Then watch your job get outsourced to another country because the labor is cheaper. You are in for a reality check.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Reply
      • codifex

        As the market for goods has become globalized, I fully expect the job market to follow. No real reason why a worker should be bound to one country.

        May 3, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  35. Trololol

    Behold Skynet

    May 3, 2012 at 8:03 am | Reply
  36. John Sutter

    Hi all, Thanks for the lively discussion. Some of your thoughts were aggregated by CNN's news blog. Check it out and see if you made the cut. And thanks so much for participating:

    http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/02/overheard-on-cnn-com-if-robots-take-over-what-happens-to-money-leisure-time/

    May 3, 2012 at 7:24 am | Reply
  37. Mod

    Who is really the enemy? Is it the robots? When a CEO of a company decides to replace a human job with a robot he is doing it so he could provide better products or services at lower cost than a CEO of another company. It is one man against another. This is why we can't just sit back and relax despite the fact that today we have enough technology to replace most jobs in existence. We have to compete against another person willing to work harder at a lower cost. It might look like we are losing job to a robot but really we are losing to another person. The situation will get worse as world population continues to increase.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:57 am | Reply
    • Inspire Dignity

      Perhaps, the only reason a human should (temporarily) do any work a robot can perform…is to prove they are doing the work with a deliberate mindset, not merely of survival, but even in this labor I can bring excellence, something no robot can ever provide.
      In this way…the human builds great appreciation for that glorious time when the individual is conducting their day–to-day activities in deliberate thought & intentional actions designed & fueled by their highest gifts & internal personal passions~creating continually & in the process serving well all humanity!

      May 3, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Reply
    • AmenToMod

      This cuts right to the core of the problem – advancing technology reduces our interdependance.to the level of (seemingly bloodless) 'winners' and 'losers'.

      Will we still compete to get to the front of the line when we no longer need lines?

      When robots are (eventually) able to meet all of my needs and wants, I won't need or want any of you to be around!

      Are you now plotting to get there before me?

      May 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Reply
  38. Daniel Ship

    Check out the zeitgeist movement: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com

    May 3, 2012 at 3:18 am | Reply
  39. JUGGERNAUT

    SO THE ROBOTS TAKE ALL THE JOBS. THEN WE WILL HAVE HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT, WHICH WILL BRING HIGH POVERTY, FOLLOWED BY MORE CRIME DUE TO THE POVERTY.

    WHAT A GREAT IDEA.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:52 am | Reply
    • Steve

      Yup, robots dont have unions. Robots dont sue the company. Robots dont call in sick to watch the ball game. Robots never get tired. Robots do the job perfect every time. Robots dont have retirements. Robots dont have costly medical bills...list goes on. If your not capable or smart enough to do something that a robot cant..then have fun living in a cardboard box....better yet...why dont YOU create a company and hire humans?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:57 am | Reply
      • Paul of the Outer Spiral Arm

        @Steve – What an increbibly short sighted view. So when those unemployed hordes develop a taste for human flesh out of sheer hunger and desperation – watch out! No doubt you have thought deeply about this and are willing to be consumed by your own parents as their savings run out, your friends and neighbours should they get sick, and your children, who given your comments, are likely to be slightly lacking a few genes in the intellectual department. Have a nice life. <=8:-)

        May 3, 2012 at 6:21 am |
      • YOMAMA

        Haha that's nice to know. Thanks for encouraging us all to live in a cardboard box. By the way, did you know being imperfect makes us who we are? Did you know a robot cannot do these lively things we can? Did you know that robots can be thrown out like trash? :D

        May 3, 2012 at 8:42 am |
      • stupid is as stupid posts

        my thought is why not let them do the work and we can pursue other things, like learning to play the guitar or learning to speak mandarin, etc. The idea that we can use labor from robots to create better quality of life for ourselves imo is profound. it would seem that short shortsightedness is the only way this topic is ever approached. i think thats because mainly people just want to do things the way theyve always been done. i say why not let the robots provide menial labor. that gives humans the time and energy to pursue higher goals. i recommend checking out Ray Kurzweil's thoughts on robotics, and humans and our eventual evolution with them. i feel like that will be the only way we will save ourselves as a collective species.

        May 3, 2012 at 9:33 am |
      • Pichon

        I think wiht some help from people that makes this robots and companys who need them, each employees may be able to purshed a robot or two, robots work and you enjoy your life and get paid maybe a little less and whitout medical or benefits, but who need all that when you are getting a check from your own robots and have all the time to do whatever you want? this will only be possible if company owners are willing to help others but I doub it.

        May 3, 2012 at 10:09 am |
      • codifex

        If the unemployed worker can't buy the robot manufactured goods then... put those goods BACK on the boat and send the BACK to the producer. Better yet, let the robots buy the goods.

        May 3, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
      • Me

        Nothing is as dangerous as a man with starving children. Beware the war against automation will make the French Revolution look like a picnic in the park.

        May 4, 2012 at 7:42 am |
      • Agnar

        If you know how to treat people the right way you won't need the robots. Plus when you replace all the employees with the robots you won't have anyone to sell the products too. Then we won't need to the robots. This looks like a very smart solution to a bad manager issue. We should replace managers with competent people then the problem would be solved.

        May 4, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • stupid is as stupid posts

      i think its a very rational extrapolation that eventually well be able to allow robots to do the majority of the more mundane work for us.

      May 3, 2012 at 9:29 am | Reply
    • Jorge

      Robots will produce things more efficiently than humans which will increase the amount of wealth.The people displaced by robots will find jobs in other sectors of the economy. More wealth = better standard of living. Historically, technology has improved people's lives. If you want to employ everyone, we should destroy all the technology out there. Life would suck, but at least you'd have a job!

      May 3, 2012 at 10:04 am | Reply
      • Dave Murphy

        but won't it create more jobs for people to build and maintain and program the robots who build other robots?

        May 3, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Jorge

      It will create more jobs for people to build and maintain and program the robots.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:06 am | Reply
      • Dave

        No they will use robots to build more robots

        May 3, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  40. metalliman98

    Read Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., it is essentially about a world in which machines do so much very few have jobs. Everyone else is given all the necessities and a small weekly allowance, but still lead lives of desperation because they have no control over their lives. Good read.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:26 am | Reply
    • bwana

      You're right! Humans need purpose or life in not really worth living...

      May 3, 2012 at 1:33 am | Reply
      • future

        A job is an idea, there's plenty of them out there. Just Create it

        May 3, 2012 at 4:26 am |
      • codifex

        Humans are CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVERS. They should stick to what they're good at! These qualities – computers and robots do NOT have.

        May 3, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  41. Garrett

    This was an idea I had a while back.. Eventually there will be only two types of jobs. Those who build the machines and those who program the machines.. every other job in existence can be taken away.. and even those two can too if the machines were intelligent enough.. Then humans would have nothing left to do except enjoy the spoils if the society would still pay the humans somehow.

    May 3, 2012 at 12:59 am | Reply
    • bwana

      If the machines become intelligent enough, they will eventually realize they really have no use for humans except maybe as pets or zoo attractions. However, this is probably the ultimate direction of human evolution in the long run, so I wouldn't be too worried about the whole thing...

      I suspect the above evolution will be the only way "humans" actually undertake serious space exploration. A flesh and blood based human is far too frail and short lived to do much in this, our ultimate, destiny.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:27 am | Reply
    • codifex

      In such a world, humans can be consumers. Humans can produce even higher technology and create new things for the robots to produce. A balance CAN be found.

      May 3, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Reply
  42. Daniel

    Letting robots take over millions of jobs is OK as long as there is a way to transfer the wages robots are saving to the humans they are replacing. It is possible to imagine a society where robots do most of the work and everyone is guaranteed a living income to fulfill their dreams.

    May 3, 2012 at 12:39 am | Reply
    • Steve

      But my dreams are more expensive then yours..can I have more then you? Mine involves midgets, a chicken, Hawaii and a Jumbo Jet.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:59 am | Reply
  43. Adam

    Robots will take a lot of jobs, and that is O.K., it is the evolution of our production and economy. At one point in the US we worked in farms, then in factories, now in office, and when robots take our positions in office, we will evolve into the next thing.

    May 3, 2012 at 12:27 am | Reply
  44. Christopher

    I live in Thailand and robots taking people's jobs are a long way from here. I've been living here for a year and the majority of people in the high up positions will not see this as a good thihg. There is problems with them willing to pay about $10 a day for workers. They like to take advantage and use the low educated as far and as much as they can. Buying a robot and maintaining it will still cost more then $10 a day and educating the people for the proper societal scheme will not be in there interest.
    They do not even want to supply the education needed out of fear that it is harder to control educated people. They do not want to build a quality of life that makes equals but they want a society of hierarchical means. To use and disregard people is far cheaper and easier then really setting up the proper dynamics for an advance society. The state of mind and type of thinking is too difficult for people to pull off. I lived in America all my life and there was very little of these type of people there. In Thailand, I haven't found it yet. Making robots and changing the life style of the world will take much longer then anyone of us could guess. The world will most likly end before that happens.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Reply
  45. Galactus999

    We already have outsourced many of the jobs that robots could perform in the United States to very low cost labor in India and China. If these jobs return to the US then they will just be done by automation. An era where machines become as capable of working any task as a human could cause massive problems with society. I am sure our children and grandchildren will live in a very different world where only the new and creative will have any value at all. The problems in the future will not involve not enough resources or materials, but constant future shock.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Reply
    • Fill

      Steve Jobs envisioned this when he created NeXT. He created a state of the art factory to make the computers via robotics in (wait for it...) the USA. The computers didn't sell because they were too expensive and apps were limited, but maybe he was ahead of his time?

      May 2, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Reply
  46. Starshiprarity

    I can only hope that this trend towards automation continues. It will require some major economic restructuring, but when our economies are top to bottom robots, humanity can finally engage in pure recreational academics.
    Once the idea that "You have to do something, but the entire agricultural industry employs four people" becomes prevelant, I see things going uphill fast. A la Star Trek's utopic communism.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Reply
    • USA

      Um...yeah. Take another sip...

      May 3, 2012 at 8:09 am | Reply
  47. MarkL52

    As I said earlier, technology is a job destroyer and there will be fewer of them. This helps to explain class warfare where the wealthy are positioning themselves so their family will have advantages for those jobs. even if you have the training and education you may not get the job because of the nepotism built into the system. Being the smartest or the best in no longer good enough, you need to have the right pedigree. The right schools, the right connections. Otherwise you are just another commodity to be used and abused by the rich and corporate powers.
    What we are really seeing with the growth in technology is the rise of an aristocracy. The rise of the corporate state with an elite few and a mass of peasants and machines running the world.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Reply
    • Galactus999

      Living in the state of Illinois I can see why you might believe this to be true. The answer to these problems lie in a major restructuring of society. We currently live in a world in which every town looks like every other town. Mc Donalds, Wal-Mart... In the future people will place a great deal more value on individualism. Being different and unique. Society must structure itself to offer everyone more opportunity to excel, with a fall back that even when you fail, you still can survive. The key work here is MORE OPPORTUNITY for everyone. Some will win and some will fail, but they will always have the opportunity to try again.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Reply
  48. Raphael

    The answer to the problem is simple: use contraception if you can. Don't have more kids. Avoid overpopulating the earth. Let the one world government solve the world problem of poverty. Work is overrated anyway. I think it is still a positive development because I do think factory work is inhumane.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Reply
    • dmill

      Voluntary use of contraception will never be an effective way to control population growth. And no one has the right to tell another human being whether or not they can have a child. That's a violation of the most basic of human rights..

      May 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  49. emil

    it started back when they made the cotton gin, there is nothing you can do to stop it.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Reply
  50. abcdxyz

    What I am wondering about is what will happen when there simply aren't enough jobs that need human beings for everyone to have a job. I'm afraid we might be coming to that point already in the US. We have outsourced manufacturing to other countries, and the jobs left here are for skilled and educated workers, and there don't seem to be as many of those jobs as there are qualified workers. The workers who are not qualified for those jobs have even less hope of successfully getting a job. Will we be forced to some kind of socialism, or will we just let those who can't find work live under bridges?

    May 2, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Reply
  51. dc4sense

    If robots unemploy most of us – there will be no income to purchase whatever the robots are producing. Only those involved with their production/maintenance would be able to buy anything. Everyone else would live like paupers. This is already the case when you view the industrialized world vs the 3rd world. How of the world lives in poverty and can they ever get above it? Not likely. Plenty of workers in this country are being replaced by online shopping and walmarts. We are not all going to become engineers etc., esp when education is getting more expensive and fewer can afford it. Soon you might have to sign away all your lifes earnings just to get educated. If we want robots, we will have to decrease the population or be faced with a world full of poor people, ruled by a very tiny wealthy class.

    May 2, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Reply
    • Fred Russell

      We already are a world full of poor people, ruled by a very tiny wealthy class. Anyone who thinks broadly and objectively enough is called "a conspiracy theorist", but the truth is plain to see.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Reply
      • Mandor

        eh... not a conspiracy in the whole cabal kind of way.

        "...a world full of poor people, ruled by a very tiny wealthy class...." The sad truth is, this described most of the human race, for most of recorded history.

        May 2, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  52. lucas

    Americans are lazy! End of story! we have no jobs because no one knows what work is!
    hispanics take our jobs and people wonder why, they work harder end of story
    I've seen it at many places an american quits their replaced with a hispanic

    May 2, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Reply
    • Gary

      When robots can grow/harvest enough food to feed the world's population, build enough tv's and cars for us all to watch and drive, operate power plants for our electricity, purify our water, collect our garbage, and treat our sewage, we'll all be able to simply do what we like for instead of doing what we must. No reason to have a "job" when you want for nothing.

      May 2, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Reply
      • Mandor

        True *if and only if* the robots are used for the good of the entire world's population, instead of used to amass wealth for a few. I'm... less optimistic.

        May 2, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
      • Dave

        Have to agree with Mandor, Most likely scenario is that the wealth and corporations will have robot militias to enforce our subjugation and keep the revolution in check

        May 3, 2012 at 11:27 am |
      • Kwesi

        Man will always want something else.

        May 4, 2012 at 6:27 am |
  53. bob

    we might see change here, but it will be slow and not without resistance. for example, someone said McDonald's workers would be replaced. Keep in mind that a lot of people get their start at McDonald's. Some might use the money they make there to go to school and get better jobs, or to get their first car, which gets them to that job. So, if we take that out of the equation, alot of young people will enter the world without the capability to get in on the entry level. Also, this has been tried. there was a revolutionary robot pizza place a while back, like in the 80s or 90s... it didn't take off. whether it was because the pizza sucked or something, i don't know, but it was not a success. We still have workers at Dominoes and Pizza Hut.

    As for robot journalism, I believe what we should be doing is using this technology to enhance journalism, not replace it. We have the potential for vast amounts of relevant information to become part of the story. So, if a robot does the spewing of just the facts, then a human editor can both personalize the article, as well as go out and get more relevant facts and figures that will get at the depth of the story.

    May 2, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Reply
    • Jaxin

      The point was the 'entry level' jobs will shift. Things that are entry level now, if eliminated, just makes something else the 'entry level' job. It's called progress. And just because somethign failed in the 80s/90s doesnt make it a bad idea... it just may have been an idea attempted too early. Technology and robotics are far better than they were in the 90s, and people are far more acceptant of technology, so it may have a chance now :)

      You make a fair point about robot journalism, I have nothing to add there :)

      May 2, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Reply
  54. Matt

    For whoever reads this, the problem isn't technological progress and the gradual replacement of laborers with machines. The problem is the current socio-economic paradigm. Unfortunately, whoever owns the machines of production or the capital that it takes to produce, maintain, and supply them are the ones that will never have to worry about being unemployed. They are the ones, along with political figures, that hold the true power.

    With AI on the horizon, more jobs, even those that we consider safe, will have laborers either replaced or manufacturing transferred to areas that have cheaper labor.

    May 2, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Reply
  55. Wally Brooks

    If the robot can do your job and it costs less thay you the company saves money at the expense of your job! I do not see how this changes.

    May 2, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Reply
  56. allenwoll

    Folks, For 250 years, machines have been "taking our jobs". . The result : Unprecedented prosperity, periodically interrupted by "economic shoals" as is now the case. . This continuing process has been termed "The Industrial Revolution".

    This revolution will inevitably continue. . Remember, the ONLY reason that a good or service costs money is that human labor is involved. . Take out ever, EVER more of the human labor (and curtail enterprise greed) and costs go down and DOWN toward an eventual near-zero.

    The only problem will be to figure out how to equitably distribute goods and services without the use of the present "wage-salary score card". . THAT will NOT be easy !

    Go on, think about this : It will give you a really bad headache, but there it is ! . WE will not see it, but our children WILL !

    May 2, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Reply
    • James

      Are you stupid. you talked about the profits for the company, you didnt mention the millions that'll be out of work

      May 2, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Reply
  57. WDinDallas

    A computer/robot can never replace me until it learns how to drink.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Reply
    • bwana

      Good reason to replace you!

      May 2, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Reply
  58. jdoe

    Some time ago (I think in the 60s), experts predicted that with continuing technological advances and increased productivity, the work week would shorten to 20 something hours. Instead, the opposite happened. Americans work longer hours than ever. Two parents must now work just to make ends meet, whereas one parent used to suffice. Americans, at least the middle class, certainly have seen any real tangible benefits of automation. Quite the opposite. Not to sound pessimistic, but I'm not so sure the future will be much different.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Reply
    • jdoe

      Correction: ... have "not" seen any real ...

      May 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  59. robotsarebad

    Ther gonna take our jobs!

    May 2, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
    • Chase

      Dey took our jerbs!

      May 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
      • ROFLfalafels

        Deh Dur Deehhh!!!

        May 2, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  60. Joe

    Robots shouldn't take our jobs. Look at the percent of unemployment. At least one percent of that or more happens to be robot jobs now and the workers were fired and replaced by robots. Like in the willy wonka movie. The worker was given a pink slip when a robot that could replace him took charge.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Reply
    • DaMing

      People should look to be better educated so they aren't forced to do the monotonous tasks of factory work. Robots should be doing all the busy work while people do work that helps us evolve. If the factory jobs are gone to robots, that would force people to look at a better education as a means for employment. We all can't stay cavemen forever.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Reply
      • lol

        Ever heard of supply and demand? even if what you say is true, I doubt there is a supply to meet everyone's need for the same "high education" jobs. In the end, you're still left with unemployed, just highly educated unemployed. Unless you reduce the size of the population, what you just said is elementary.

        May 2, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • froodley

      I agree... we are in a situation where we can expect the population numbers to climb or at best remain about steady while the number of jobs continues to spike erratically down industry by industry... the only obvious solution is indeed some kind of heavy-handed government control, like population limits or forcing industry worldwide to turn off robots and split jobs up and things like that... but that's never going to happen in this political climate, even though it would be for pragmatic rather than ideological reasons...

      May 2, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Reply
  61. Dean

    Until such time as Artificial Intelligence truly comes into existence, it will be Humans that program "Robots" to actually do anything. It will take humans to run diagnostics and perform repairs when they break down...and it will take humans to decide where more robots are needed to increase productivity or solve a problem. Just like the computer on your desk, if you don't put intelligence into it, you can't possibly get intelligence out of it. That is, of course, unless you think that all "Intelligence" exists online.

    The one thing that sets human beings apart from Robots and even other animals is that we have the ability to rapidly adapt to change, develop ideas that respond to some need, and work together as a global species to achieve a common goal. The problem, in my humble opinion, is that many of us have come to rely solely upon technology or in some cases governments to solve all our problems and thus have become dependent. Now, instead of relying upon our ability to think and solve our own problems or create our own opportunities for growth and prosperity, we depend upon government or technology to do that for us.

    May 2, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Reply
  62. peter

    Give every citizen an allowance to cover food, housing, energy, travel. Allow people to opt out of work. People who want to earn extra can. No homelessness, no hunger, no poverty.

    May 2, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Reply
    • Dean

      Why not? Worked great in the Soviet Union and China!!! Oh wait, they're embracing Capitalism now.

      May 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Reply
      • peter

        This is not the same. Still capitalism, but instead of having a floor at 0 it is at N. I know alot of people who want to eat, have a shelter, but cannot find work due to illness etc. In the 21st century we should not have people dying of hunger in the USA.

        May 2, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
      • Joel

        No, Soviet Union no longer exists, and China's workers aren't robots – they are under the age of 16...

        May 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • bubba

      I work hard for my money thankyou. if you hand people money to live off of then there is no need for them to work. By the way we already do give them money to do that. That is one reason we have people out of work right now. No need to work for money if someone is going to give it to you.

      May 2, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Reply
    • Bob

      This is a fascinating idea, and one the responses give short shrift in complaining about "communism."

      There may come a day when human inventiveness reaches a level where work is no longer necessary - where food arrives automatically, homes are built and repaired automatically, cars operate and are repaired automatically, school is taught by robots, etc. In such a world, humans would be unnecessary - but then what do we do with all the humans?

      One view is that we keep them all busy somehow, with makework jobs designed to give them just enough money to keep the economy going - even though technically we don't need them at all. If done right, it's not the worst system - but it does mean that people work their lives away. And it seems sort of a waste to have all those people spending their lives working a 9-5 when it's adding absolutely nothing to society.

      Another view is that we could change the game. When there's enough to go around, and work is unnecessary to the economy, then we could choose to stop working - and everyone could lead a life of leisure, with only educational and artistic pursuits. This is not necessarily unprecedented, actually - if you look at ancient Greece, many city-states had a society that performed virtually no work and instead spent their time developing themselves for higher purposes. They didn't have robots, of course - they had slaves, and that's a whole other problem - but the principle is the same. When a society can free itself from work, it's not necessarily a bad idea.

      Now, are there downsides to that? Sure. And they're interesting to discuss. This is a complicated issue. But this silly response of "we can't do that because it'd be communism and communism is bad because Russia" doesn't really get us anywhere.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Reply
      • Jaxin

        I completely agree with this

        May 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
      • Brian

        Well said.

        May 2, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  63. old gaffer

    I see two issues that will need addressing – and perhaps they're really problems that need solving – if we are to progres to the next level of realized society.

    First, we absolutely HAVE to control population. i think it's a fact that there are simply too many people competing for too few resources on this planet

    Second, the employment model that is based on a 40 hour work week is obsolete. Maybe instead of 100 million people with 40 hr/wk jobs, we should use a model of 200 million people with 20 hr/wk jobs (adjust numbers to suit – this is for illustrative purposes only). Of course, that doesn't address the entrepreneur who will work 100 hours a week in the hopes of achieving some level of success (whatever that means) not generally delivered in whatever the "full time employment" model delivers, but it doesn't matter because that person isn't an employee in the classic sense anyway.

    If we continue to overpopulate our resources, it won't matter what the work week looks like because we'll be fighting one another for food, shelter, and water.

    May 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Reply
    • jdoe

      Population is not the problem. We have the capacity and technology to feed everyone in the world. We just do not implement it evenly. And population tends to stabilize as society modernizes. Some Western countries are actually experiencing population decline.

      Yes, it would be nice to have a shorter work week, so that everyone can enjoy the fruit of increased productivity. But there's also the likelihood of making workers work longer hours than ever before, while others go unemployed or underemployed. We're seeing that trend in America.

      May 2, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Reply
    • Paul B

      The growth of the world's population is already slowing down. The United Natins estimates that the world's population will peak at around 10 billion and then will decline.
      Best estimates are that the world can sustain 10 billion souls.
      I'm an optimist. Technology, interstellar travel will provide answers to over crowding and quality of life.

      May 2, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  64. Brian

    This is the first step towards Skynet.

    May 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Reply
    • bob

      or the first step towards being a comedic failure.

      May 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Reply
  65. Jonathan Wagner

    I actually wrote about this idea on my blog in a post called "The Automatons" http://perfectdivine.com/2012/04/26/the-automations. I think there is a lot that needs to be discussed regarding this issue because it has profound economic implications.

    May 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Reply
  66. Joe Schmoe

    Here is the issue jobs are REQUIRED because our economy REQUIRES it. We went from living in tribes many years ago to urban sprawl today where we try to get away from each other as much as possible. Our economy is based on debt, to have debt you have to buy and use things, to have money to buy these things you must have a job. To have a job you must have a skill. Almost any human skill can be met or beat with a computer and robotics with some exceptions such as things needing to be identified. Surgeries one day may become completely automated except the identification system of human organs would have to be extremely precise.

    The fact is we went from our roots to a new system that is trying to survive but it is constantly pointing to us becoming extinct by a combination of unnatural selection (people living that shouldn't be due to a major health issue that was fixed through modern medicine, they then pass this defective gene to next of kin and it enters the public gene pool to be passed on for generations essentially "tainting" the gene pool and the issue of a monetary system that exists based on greed but serves no real purpose then to profit from what should be freely available. Imagine a world with no borders, no land taxes and everything was open you could go build a house out in the middle of nowhere with no fear of having it taken from you due to taxes or invasion.

    The fact is you don't need a computer, a TV etc. they are creature comforts. You need food, water, air and shelter which means anything else could be done by robots at some point in the future and only people that know how to program and fix them would need to exist, until AI gets to the point where it can self heal. This would present a big problem though humans would lose all mechanical ability just as we have lost critical thinking, common sense and analyzing. So in essence the human race could set itself up for abuse by the "intelligent powers". How many ironsmiths are around today ? How many steam engine mechanics ? you may say its a sign of the times but what if we lost all access to current technology (EMP pulse) or something else, how would we continue without electronics ? We would forget how to survive without them...

    the other path would be a tribe like survival utopia where we focused on the arts, and improving our creations and left monotony to the robots and computers. Thereby enhancing our cultures, our arts and other human only abilities.

    May 2, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Reply
    • john doe

      the situation is and will be what we make it, the only reason jobs are required the way they are right now is because nobody that is in any country wide decision making position will get out of the "everyone for themselves" ideaology. and it wont be until we as a society decide that nobody should have to work so they dont starve or to keep warm, then it wont change. we need to embrace technology, even when it may not fit our own personal ideas. until we dont need money to live we are all doomed to be controled and stepped on by the 2% that have it all. the idea of money is an evil falacy that needs to disapear. and technology can bring that. oh and get rid of religion cuz that is another falacy that will always keep humanity in the dark ages

      May 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Reply
      • jdoe

        The problem is that even as technology advances, the human mindset is still the same now as it was 2000 or 5000 years ago. Evolution doesn't work that fast.

        May 2, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  67. swag

    wow yall are stupid these robots are freinds not food

    May 2, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Reply
  68. Spock

    There are two films that indicate the progression of the human race; Star Trek and Minority Report. Minority Report is an indication of tracking, controling and the worst of what machines and technology can and will do. And Star Trek showcases the eventual progression of society as a whole. It has already predicted cellphones, touch screens and tablet computers. In addition, nobody earns compensation and there is no economy. People work to enlighten themselves and society as a whole. The future will be a combination of these two since history has shown us that humans tend to gravitate to the worst.

    May 2, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Reply
    • Seraphim0

      It wasn't so much predicting as people seeing technological ideas and deciding "I want to make that actually work."

      May 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Reply
      • Spock

        You are correct. At some point it was someone's visiion of the future which planted the seed. Humans will continue to dream and invent things and the doers will implement, if only we can take greed out of the equation!

        May 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Dean

      There is a third film starring Luke Wilson called "Idiocracy" wherein smart people stop procreating as society progresses while the population of stupid people increases exponentially. Great flick!

      May 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Reply
      • Jaxin

        It wasnt that smart people STOPPED procreating, is that they were outnumbered by the idiots in society that have 5 or mroe kids. The average 'intelligent', well educated household has typically 1-3 children. Those in the poverty level average 4 or more. So the point of the movie (good movie too), that that eventually, us well educated people are just going to be outnumbered by idiots until we are an insignificant portion of society, and essentially vanish with time. It's quite sad, but a definite possibility, which is why something should be done about it...

        May 2, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • sftommy

      bored humans often go to war, (10,000 wars in recorded history) the struggle to control one's fellow human litters history like a bad vanity...which it almost always is.

      Also, populations of any species, will expand until resource limits are reached; how does that fundamental natural concept fit in with this coming egalitarian society? Breeders will swamp Eden making it miserable...?

      May 2, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Reply
      • dmill

        People dont go to war over boredom, they go to war over resources

        May 3, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
      • bwana

        Sorry to break your bubble on the reasons for war. Only three reasons in all of history: 1) Religion, 2) Politics & 3) Resources... normally in that order of importance.

        May 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  69. AndriconBoy

    As I see it, the problem with outsourcing jobs and jobs replaced by automation isn’t that we will have too many unemployed citizens; It’s that we will have too many UNEMPLOYABLE citizens.

    Seriously! Look at the average American blue-collar worker. We’re talking about tens of millions of Americans who:
    Think the pinnacle of culture and entertainment is getting drunk off cheap beer and ignoring their family so they can scream at the TV while watching football.

    Believe Theatre to be the arguments two “Pro” Wrestlers have in the center of the ring before one of them is hit with a folding chair from behind by the very woman they’re arguing over.

    Have more offspring than they can adequately afford to raise and educate, and certainly more than our dwindling resources will be able to compensate for within 2 generations.

    Don’t have a college education, and sometimes have not even completed high school.

    Place such low value on education and knowledge that they would rather burn books than read them (unless it’s an appraisal guide on their collection of Whitetail Deer lithographs).

    Have no marketable talents aside from hunting, reciting NASCAR stats, and collecting firearms.

    These are not people who took a few courses of Electrical Engineering in college and can segue into a job repairing computers. These are not people who keep up on ecological studies in their free time, and could work for the DNR inspecting farmland and factories for proper drainage.

    These are people who go “muddin’” in their 4×4’s, shoot street signs with a shotgun (and then wonder why the taxpayers have to pay for stupid things like new street signs), and think wearing un-torn jeans, tucking in their flannel shirt, and a putting on a clean baseball cap is proper attire for a semi-formal dinner.

    Their politics have demonstrated you can’t teach them anything and they are not willing to grow or progress as a person – if not for lack of desire, then because they feel everything they need in life has already been given to them in a series of Fairy Tales chronicled into a single book some time in the dark ages. The only thing these people could possibly be used for is cannon fodder and being decoys in the next conventional global war.
    What else are they going to do if you take away their job?

    May 2, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Reply
    • thecastro

      Seeing that you spelled "theater" incorrectly and by your assumptions about blue collar workers being rednecks we should dismiss your comments outright.

      May 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Reply
      • redneck1942

        Sigh.. Theater is the preferred spelling by Americans, and theatre is preferred virtually everywhere else in the world

        May 2, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • jdoe

      This is not true. American workers have consistently been the most productive and work the longest hours than other countries. The difference is that they are being asked to "compete" against others working at a tiny fraction of their pay, under little to no labor and environmental laws. It's time we stop maligning the American worker.

      May 2, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Reply
      • Tex71

        The fact that Americans work longer hours for less pay, fewer benefits, lower life expectancy, and smaller chances at a decent retirement and a dignified death than workers elsewhere in the developed world – this is hardly a point of American pride! It is a dam ned shame if you ask me. Americans deserve better.

        May 2, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • bubba

      andriconboy,

      What upstate new city are you from? The country guys you just put down more than likely grow the food on your table, haul the goods that you pay way to much for and work harder than you ever plan on working in your life. I am not saying that a education thru college is not a good thing but i sure can tell you that it isnt everything. I do find it interesting that one will argue against something knowing that you never had to step foot in that person's shoes. I will tell you that Unions at one point in time were a much needed thing but they have gone the other way. Robots if used as they should be are a good thing. And i can tell you and those Engineers (being that I work with a bunch of them). If one of yall (since you singled out "electrical engineers") dont ever get out in the field and work with the blue collar boys for sometime to see how things really are then you dont knwo you a** fromt he hole in the ground. To many engineers cant see the light of day beside their heads are stuck between the legs. And when it comes down to it, if you get tens of millions of lower to middle class employess unemployed then your tax break that you above middle class get will be gone. So now lets take about someone that wants something handed to them.

      May 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Reply
      • AndriconBoy

        You don’t know what I do for a living, you don’t know what experiences I have had, you don’t know where I live. You don’t even know my first name. And yet YOU thump your chest and say “I do find it interesting that one will argue against something knowing that you never had to step foot in that person's shoes.” Oh, but it gets better! You then go on to complain about Electrical Engineers in very much the same way you just declared was wrong to do.

        Call the kettle black, much? That’s some wonderful Republican logic you got going on there.

        And to add to it, you still didn’t address the very spirit of ANYTHING in my post.
        I didn’t say blue collar workers don’t work hard. You conveniently implied that I said such a thing.
        I didn’t say blue collar workers don’t contribute to society. You conveniently implied that I said such a thing.
        I didn’t say I had a cushy job or that I expect things handed to me in life. You conveniently implied that I said such a thing.

        What I did say, in so many words, is that the American blue collar workforce would have a harder time segueing into other occupations if their employment base continues to be outsourced or replaced by automation.
        A Biochemist can still dig a ditch and turn a wrench. Can “Joe Christian” factory worker synthesize L-Thyrosine, and if not, do you really expect that he’ll want to learn?

        May 2, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Ryan

      The subjectivity of your statements make them seem asinine. You're clearly insulting someone's culture through your tone. Furthermore, the others CAN judge you personally because you've made such a mule out of yourself.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Reply
    • Jaxin

      I agree in general with what you said, though not necessarily all the little details in the way you said it :p

      Yes, you are right, if the typical blue collar job is automated through robotics, it will be very difficult for those individuals to find jobs, solely because they lack the education and knowledge to do so. However, my opinion is that they will either try harder, or they will not, it is solely up to them. If they choose not to educate themselves, they don't deserve a job, it's that simple. We dont need, and cant afford, to have people that bring the rest of us down due to their laziness. We need to progress as a society, and eliminating jobs that are a waste of human resources and putting more emphasis on education being required to have a good life is a good place to start.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  70. TimS

    My company designs and builds custom automated manufacturing equipment, with many platforms utilzing various forms of "robots". All this automation does accomplish many things, with the greatest gains being repeatable and repoducible process capability, higher quality, lower scrap rates, and thus lower costs. In the overall scheme, in factories with high labor costs, automation is the name of the game for high volume production. In factories with low labor costs, semi-automatic or totally manual labor is the economic solution. Product cost is tied to overhead, materials, labor and equipment costs. The bottom line trend is the manufacturing factory is becoming more and more automated and higher-tech. If people can maneuver smart phones and the like, then I think the brain power is out there for the high-tech factory worker. Mankind is evolving. The last 100 years shows the exxponential rate of our technological growth.

    May 2, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  71. LiqMat

    Two things holding robots back from greatness. Terrible AI and terrible mobile power sources.

    May 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply
  72. Mike X

    It should be human nature for every living being to do creative, entertaining and innovating job. With the technology advances, it will be totally a reality that many our manual jobs today will be disappeared. With the higher than ever productivity, our society will be rich enough to subsidize the unemployed members. As a matter of fact, I would predict, that future generation will have few unemployed as they will all start to choose a profession that have a future.

    On the other hind, outsourcing manual jobs to foreign countries has a negative impact to robot development and deployment. Because the big corporations can get cheap labor outside the country, they have lost incentive to build more manual job replacement robots. If outsourcing has not happened, we might have already seen a lot of robots working on various job sites such as contractions, nursing, sales, assembling and farming.
    US government should take a long-term view into the future and future competiveness of this country. Short-term political expediency harms our economy. As a society to be functioning in a harmonious manner, government should provide enough subsidies to the losers of economic and technologic advances. The subsidies shoud be sufficient for the unemployed to transfer profession, if possible, or at least, make it easier for the second generation to choose future professions.

    The global economic environmental is changing. I think by the time when cheap labors are not available, robots will be the only answer. However, that is not the best path to become ROBOTAZATION. USA risk lagging behind other countries and its citizens have to suffer long time and intolerable massive unemployed as we see today on this path. The other path is not totally out of picture now. Our government should limit outsourcing to a certain extend and heavily invest in ROBOTAZATION including information technology, biotechnology, new materials and new methodologies. The government should use part of increased productivity (result in more money) from ROBOTAZATION to subsidies job losers. If we do that, we should continue enjoy the leadership position in the world and our society will be come more advanced, more human and everyone living at the fulfillment of a true human being.

    It is said all historical empires will eventual fall. American Empire is the best and benign empire in human history inherited directly from great civilization of Athens State, Rome Empire. The democratic nature that were elements in the ancient western civilizations working best for human society have been legalized and glorified in American Empire which should not decline and demise. The guarantee of that is the best combination between most advanced technology and most advanced social democratic systems.

    May 2, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Reply
    • jdoe

      Yours is an ideal scenario. An alternate scenario is that a very few control capital and the means of production, and most of the rest fight each other for scraps. I would like that this is the more likely scenario, at least in America.

      May 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Reply
  73. g

    The robots save money but the prices continue to rise even with automation so lets keep making things by hand and let us get our cut of the action.

    May 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Reply
  74. RodRoderick

    Don't forget to also abolish the monetary system since it will be defunct once everyone loses their jobs to machines.

    May 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Reply
    • Jaxin

      Not everyone would loose their job. People are still needed for the creativity side of things. Not only that, but someone has to program, maintain, design, and so on. Jobs would still exist, just different kind of jobs. Jobs that require more intelligence... so solely because of that, it would be difficult for the masses, but it would be a good time to live for those that enjoy learning and bettering themselves.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  75. jdoe

    Robot workers are not the problem. The problem is that, as a society, we insist that people spend most of their waking hours toiling away at a job most don't enjoy, in order to make a living.

    May 2, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply
    • Jefe

      No,

      The problem is that most jobs can't be automated (yet) so *somebody* has to do those jobs. Many of those jobs aren't alot of fun, yet they are valuable to society. So we pay those people money, which has value in the economy. If we 'give everything away for free' then where is the incentive to do those difficult but unrewarding tasks that enrich society as a whole? So those jobs go un-done. Not only that, but the leeches will just not do *any* work while people who want to improve society spend their efforts on it.

      I am one of those people who have spent my life trying to improve society, but man, if all the lazy bums were living just as good as me without doing anything, why would I spend my time working?

      May 2, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Reply
      • bwana

        "I am one of those people who have spent my life trying to improve society, but man, if all the lazy bums were living just as good as me without doing anything, why would I spend my time working?"

        Excellent point! I've often wondered why I've worked hard for 40+ years when I look around at the "lazy bums" on welfare living darn near as good as me and having money left over for parties and beer...

        May 2, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  76. sftommy

    Remove humans from production..,then remove them from consumption as they'll have no purchasing power.

    Masses looking for handouts from the 1% who control the machines? Real people will just go out and create another economy outside of this controlled tyranny.

    Ultimately a small cadre of humans will evolve out of the 1% who will gain techno-embellishments and become something more or less than human.

    May 2, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  77. alex

    Hi-tech news in the internet world!
    Blog dedicated to Hi-tech, the most relevant from the Internet.

    http://lifexaker.blogspot.com

    May 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  78. Jaxin

    I'm probably going to be flamed, but I've actually thought about this very topic for a long time. I'll try my best to communicate my thoughts, it's kind of a disorganized mess in my head. Just a disclaimer, and by judging from other comments, it apparently matters, I am politically conservative, but diassociate myself from the GOP. In fact, pretty much hate all politicians right now, they all are doing the wrong thing, but whatever, not much you can do but try to work with the horrible system.

    Anyway, on topic, lets start by doing this. Lets automate a simple job, such as preparing fast food. Let's say we automate all McDonalds. We would have the benefit of better, more consistant food, prepared exactly how we ordered it. How many times have you gone to different McDonalds, and have had a cold burger? Or one places more cheese than another? Or the fries were overcooked? Or they added the mayo you requested them not to? All of these difference can be attributed to different people doings things slightly different, or people just being overall lazy. Wouldn't have that with a robot making your food. Are there any cons? Sure, customers would have a more difficult time complaining (Irrate Customer 1: "I asked for no cheese!". Robot: "Let's playback your order: " Irrate Customer 1: ), it in fact might cost a bit more money (robots are expensive, saving money isn't a reason to go this route with society), possibility of being hacked to get free food (but how is that different than just plain being stolen from, except you dont have employees that can get shot)... maybe others, but lets stick with that for now. It still looks like it's a good idea to automate this job, even if there is a cost.

    Now, with these automated McDonalds, we would loose many jobs, but at the same time, we would still need a work force to maintain all this equipment, build these automated buildings, ect. And another benefit of this new work force, they would have to have a slightly better education that the average McDonald worker. So, McDonald workers get more education in order to maintain a job on the McDonalds work force, and jobs still exist, nothing has been elimiated.

    Now, let's automate the maintanance job as well. Robots now are maintaining the McDonalds stores, putting maintanance workers out of a job. Or... those workers can get more of an education, and be the ones that design all these robots, create updates for them, and just generally improve the system of preparing fast food for others.

    So, we started with a job that required absolutely no education, transformed it into one that required about a high school education, and transformed it further into one that requires a college degree or higher. I see nothing wrong with this. This forces society to become better educated overall. Sure, the transition periods would be difficult. People will whine and complain that their easy jobs were taken away... but the overall wellness of society improves with time.

    Similar logic applies with a number of jobs. Mining. Driving. Piloting. Exploration. Security. Military. A lot of these jobs are very dangerous, and are already being replaced by machines this very day. This does not mean the work force is significantly impacted. Automating security of a building still requires people to plan, install, maintain, and upgrade that equipment. So, while you dont need humans to be part of a security force, you still need humans to maintain all of that. Or to design all of that. Or to research better ways to handle security.

    There are a lot of jobs out there that just aren't being taken BECAUSE of our uneducated work force (and I don't mean to imply that if you don't have a job, you're uneducated, don't take it that way). There are tons of things to research out there that aren't being investigated because those that know how to don't have the time, and those that have the time don't have the education.

    All of that said, I haven't read the article about computer programs becoming journalists... kind of an interesting idea in my opinion. If you just want to straight out report news, some kind of AI could probably do a good job. But then again, you'd need programmers to make the AI lean to one political side or another (left with CNN, right with foxnews for example). So educate journalists in theoretical computer science, they can keep a job... eh, just throwing out ideas. I don't believe every job can be automated, jobs that require creativity most definitely cannot (design works, artists, writers, researchers, ect). Not entirely sure journalists fall into that category, though one could argue it is an artform to take some facts, and twist them in a way to make your point ;-)

    Anyway, there's my opinion. I am prepared for the flaming now :)

    May 2, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Reply
    • Eddie

      I think your logic may be flawed when you add numbers. 200 people to run 10 resteraunts say for a year. 200 people to create robots to replace those people. So, all 200 have a job for 6 months. 50 people to maintain replacement robots beyond 6 months. 25 to reasearch new ideas. So, now we have 75 people with jobs after a year and 125 without...... Now what?

      May 2, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Reply
      • Futurist

        This presupposes that an economy exists to provide people jobs. This notion did great damage to the Eastern Bloc countries and several others in the twentieth century. (As P.J. O'Rourke once noted, it takes a really bad system to make a poor country out of a bunch of Germans.) An economy exists because it's the sum of people producing and trading goods and services - it does not have an innate purpose of its own, and attempts to imbue it with one have not met with much success.

        May 2, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
      • Jaxin

        The way I see it, using your numbers, 25 people to maintain, 50 to research new methods to apply to fast food robotics, 50 to implement research (there's a difference between research and implementation, one person typically doesnt do both), 25 people for information security and criminal investigations (new crime, hacking, and the like), 25 programmers to assist in programming how to actually use the robots to make a new kind of burger (so, when something like Burger King come out with jalepeno burgers, you need to tell the machine how to prepare that, programmers will be needed). And I'm sure you can come up with more jobs as well. Even if there is a deficit, so be it. In the long run, it's still better for society to improve the overall education level in my opinion

        May 2, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • carloz

      you made your pint but were will we work and we migt even get paind less

      May 2, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Reply
      • Jaxin

        If you read everything, you would see that you wouldn't loose your job, your job would simply shift to something that requires you to get an education. If you choose not to get an education, you would be out of a job. That's how it should be (darwinism for the win).

        May 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Leonard

      I'm afraid you underestimate where the technology is heading. Machines are already conducting scientific research and figuring out how to compose music to evoke specific moods. You may scoff at the thought of technology taking over the creative jobs market, but technologies that were considered laughable science-fiction pipe dreams just 20 years ago have already become part of the everyday background noise in our society, and the pace of advancement is only accelerating. Not even the most starry-eyed roboticist expects human-level AI to come into being in the next 10 or 15 years, but you can be sure the AI of 2025 will make Watson look like a pocket calculator. If humanity insists on clinging to the old paradigms, we will make our selves obsolete in every way imaginable to a purely capitalist mind, and we'll do it long before this century is out. Personally, I'd lay heavy odds on it happening before 2050.

      May 2, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Reply
    • laborisgood

      Jaxin,
      I have read most of your posts and am having a difficult time understanding why you believe that labor without the need for education is so bad. Being educated does not necessarily mean being intelligent. Too many jobs today require an education but for what purpose? Education has become “big business” just like everything else in the U.S. On the job training is still the best education possible. Being educated I feel that I can provide a good perspective. Also, being educated I am swamped with student loan debt….

      May 4, 2012 at 2:09 am | Reply
      • Jaxin

        On the job training IS a form of education, I am not saying that type of education is bad. And you're right, education does not mean intelligence. When I say education, I am not limiting that to High School/College. On the job training, internships, mentorships, apprenticeships, those are all great alternate forms of becoming educated, and even better than a college degree. However, not having any sort of education, and working at McDonalds (or whatever), without trying to better yourself in some way... that is a bad thing. The vast majority of people are lazy, and will not push temselves. Taking away those easy jobs will force people to try harder in life. And maybe in doing so, they can actually use their latent, untapped intelligence in a way that will help society.

        I have a specific individual in mind, who has an easy cashier job... this person is brilliant, very great at math and science, reads all kinds of science journals, and I've gone to him for help in a number of my university classes, but just doesn't want to put effort into using his intelligence to do someting useful. He is content with having an easy job, and going home, reading and playing video games. Now, if this easy job didn't exist, and he was essentially forced to utilize his intelligence in order to get paid, society could benefit greatly. And I'm sure there are many, many more people out there like that. People are inherently lazy...

        And by the way, if you're swamped with debt from education, you're doing it wrong. I know that is the typical case with most college students, but I never understood that, and I'm currently working on my Masters debt free (aside from my mortgage, though refinancing soon due to the awesome interest rate out there now). Point being, get someone else to pay for college. Most employers love the idea of employees going to college for advanced degrees. There are millions of dollars of scholarships out there that don't get awarded every year. Or, you can just work more hours or get a better paying job and pay for it yourself. From what I've seen, the ones that graduate with debt are those that took an easy job, and partied their way through college... (and no offense meant by this, I say this to everyone I meet who talks about their college debt)

        May 4, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  79. imsickofitall

    reading some of these posts, all I can say is what a bunch of Luddites

    May 2, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  80. MarkL52

    Its time we face reality, technology is a job destroyer. In the future there will be fewer jobs for more people to fight over. Only jobs requiring a high degree of training and education will exist and those who don't have it will suffer.

    May 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Reply
    • bwana

      I think you summed it up very nicely! Welcome to the future... evolve or perish!!

      May 2, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Reply
    • laborisgood

      Agreed, human intellect and creativity is a great thing. There is no doubt to the possibilities of the creation of ideas that a very small amount of humans can come up with. However should every idea be pursued, processed and mass produced? Technology has served the human race well in certain sectors and horrible in others. The trick is going to be where to draw the line. Making jobs only available to the educated is very senseless.
      If I have misspelled words in this post it is simply due to the fact that I have become overly dependent on “spell check”..haha.
      Just a small reminder to you all who think that technology is the “cure all.”

      May 4, 2012 at 2:27 am | Reply
  81. Dan

    This is more of a highlight of why Capitalism will be a failure, at least for a majority of the population as the only ones who will be making money and can afford to eat will be owners of the robots. As technology increases we will have to look towards more socialist policies in order to avoid mass poverty as low skilled workers will no longer be needed at all.

    May 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Reply
    • Charlie

      I agree. We only at the beginning of this. Soon car mechanics will be obsolete as will waiters. They will all be replaced by robots. Robots will be fixing robots. If you own the robots, you'll be ok, if not, you're SOL. Developed countries will have no choice but to adopt socialist models or else the masses will starve.

      May 4, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  82. Gary

    Republicans should really embrace robots during a democratic administration. If corporations install robots to do mindless jobs that requires the worker to not think, untold thousands of conservatives and tea partiers would be out of work and thus the unemployment rate would skyrocket. Raising the unemployment rate would make it possible for the republicans to complain and whine even more about how inept the government is. That would help them as they have no constuctive, practical ideas for our nations future.

    May 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Reply
    • imsickofitall

      "That would help them as they have no constuctive, practical ideas for our nations future"....maybe but at least they can spell...

      May 2, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Reply
      • Gary

        If you believe they can spell you obviously have not read many comments from tea partiers or conservatives. You appear to have a reading comprehensive problem as my premise is how they cannot think for themselves. And to your reference to my spelling, no I was not an english major with etiher my BA or MA but I have learned to read and understand the thoughts intended and also think for myself unlike tea partiers and conservatives.

        May 2, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  83. tomnikoly

    Arrrggghhh! The Cylons are coming for us....!!!!

    May 2, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Reply
  84. Eddie

    I can't wait till robots take over. Things will be so much cheaper. Granted, nobody will have a job to buy those things. But at least the few that do have a job will be well off.

    May 2, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Reply
    • jdoe

      We're already there, except that today's robots are called Chinese workers.

      May 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Reply
    • 56w45thw45yw

      end capitalism, automate as much work as possible, provide food and shelter for everyone

      May 3, 2012 at 10:57 am | Reply
      • laborisgood

        GREAT IDEA!! Social housing and soup lines for everyone. But at least you will be breathing.

        May 4, 2012 at 2:39 am |
  85. jdoe

    Robots have and will take over more and more jobs. That is not the problem. The problem is how as a society we deal with large numbers of people out of work. It appears that America is leaning toward letting them rot.

    May 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Reply
    • Charlie

      yup. Americas aversion to socialism will make us the last country in the world to fix this problem. We'll be kissing a55 to the rich for table scraps and idiots will keep on thinking that if we give the rich more tax breaks they'll start creating jobs. Don't worry, the US will come to its senses after a complete ecomonic collapse.

      May 4, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  86. jimdog33

    SkyNet likes.....

    May 2, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  87. Paul Elkins

    How will the United States as a country continue to exist as we find more and more ways to phase out employment for people?

    May 2, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Reply
  88. a16ie

    So that we can have more time with what matters most. God, family and friends relationships.

    May 2, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Reply
    • Kly

      it's too bad that we won't have food, shelter or clothing to go along with those...

      May 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Reply
      • Scott

        or, you'll have unlimited food, water, and shelter thanks to robotic manufacturing and nanotech.

        May 2, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
      • Chris

        Scott, I would certainly prefer your version of the future but the past shows that humans are very greedy and selfish. Those you have will likely not share with those you don't have. So the majority will go without food or shelter.

        May 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  89. a16ie

    Agree. so that we will have more time for what really matter... family, friends good relationship.

    May 2, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  90. Kelly

    Work gives meaning to life even if the work itself does not have deep meaning. Machinations have proven to be an end to enlightenment.

    May 2, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Reply
  91. ThunderC ock

    I think we should have robots do all our jobs for us. That way no one will have to work and everyone can have everything they want because with robots doing all the work money will be pointless and meaningless. Want a new truck? Just go to the government website that has the robots that builds trucks for people. The easiest way to fix the economy is to take economics out of the equation.

    May 2, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Reply
    • Kly

      But without money, how will we know who is winning?

      May 2, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Reply
      • Kly

        P.S. I do agree with you though.

        May 2, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Demihuman

      I like that idea. Getting rid of money all together is the only way to solve our problems at the root. Everything we are doing now is just cutting the grass – not pulling the roots. Mechanize everything and essentially humans participate as just managers of machines. Decisions and logistics will be based on global surveys and applied scientific method – not based on opinions. We have the technology now to create abundance for everyone on Earth – money just holds everything back and if we hold on to it – it'll be our Doom.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Reply
      • bwana

        Ah, the era of StarTrek...

        May 2, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  92. Pete

    Google "Richard Stallman 1986 Byte interview" without the quotation marks and click on the first link.

    "People find ways of getting money by impeding society. Once they can impede society, they can be paid to leave people alone. The waste inherent in owning information will become more and more important and will ultimately make the difference between the utopia in which nobody really has to work for a living because it's all done by robots and a world just like ours where everyone spends much time replicating what the next fellow is doing."

    May 2, 2012 at 11:45 am | Reply
  93. citizens

    wow..i guess rich CEO's don't want to pay minimum wage anymore either..

    May 2, 2012 at 11:40 am | Reply
  94. huh

    We do not have enough jobs as it is. If we give over more jobs to robots, will we just be increasing the lumpenproletariat?

    May 2, 2012 at 11:28 am | Reply
  95. Maurice F. Sisco, SR.

    If the jobs that the robots are taking will save lives and not put humans at risk, why not let a replacable robot do the work. Jobs like search and rescue, combat, space exploration, heavy labor, and all the other jobs that are difficult for humans and easy for a robot. Plus the robots can work 20 hours a days without any complaints lol.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:25 am | Reply
  96. repeal nafta

    "why robots should take our jobs"

    1 they work for less than mexicans
    2 they dont need "suicide nets" like the chicom apple workers.
    3 they will vote democrat without having to be propagandized 24/7 by cnn.
    4 robots will have more workers rights than the lowly citizen human.
    5 robots will always obey

    May 2, 2012 at 11:23 am | Reply
    • citizens

      a business owner i assume...this is why we do not need a GOP in office and why Deregulation will NOT work..

      making less then a Mexican? so is that the business owners mindset? now we know why il eagle immigrants are still allowed in America..because there is a cheap use for them..

      Robots will always obey? wow..that is a knuckle dragging mentality..and why we should NOT VOTE for GOP in November..

      May 2, 2012 at 11:44 am | Reply
  97. Dave

    We could even program robots to argue over the pros and cons of the news stories, and misspell every other word to make it more entertaining for the rest of us.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:23 am | Reply
  98. john

    -thinking about it.. the computers(robots) on our desks_as we tell it to crunch numbers for us.. send letters for us... ask it to fetch informatiion for us... we are co-existing together. Our cell phones(robots) are doing similar tasks and we embrase them. Current and future robots that are developed will be a benifit to humans and will fit our society. It should encourage and motivate us towards inventing how to use more robots to help. It should push us towards inventing things even more dynamic than robots.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:16 am | Reply
  99. mordrud

    so we can have time to go join the occupier movement?

    May 2, 2012 at 11:12 am | Reply
  100. Thomas

    Unless robot labor and support for the machines is cheaper, I don't believe the jobs will be "outlawed", but will continue to be outsourced to underdeveloped countries by companies watching their "bottom line". However, I LOVE the idea of computers spitting out straight news stories and facts. Perhaps then we will have a truly unbiased media. We certainly don't have that right now. Humans will always skew a story, even when they don't intend to do so.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:52 am | Reply
    • Chris

      So, we want no human touch in anything I take it?? Guess this will finally allow us all to look like the Humans on Wall-E.

      May 2, 2012 at 11:55 am | Reply
    • grege

      Then the story skewing will be done by the writer of the program that generates the story. An efficient way to edit (skew) all stories generated henceforth. Do we want that?

      May 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Reply
    • wanalawn

      Why do you think a robot can't be programmed towards a bias?

      May 3, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Reply
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