Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Robot Revolution

When I was a kid my father used to say...someday machines will do the work that humans do now and there will be no jobs for any of us. It will be the end of civilization as we know it Anthony (he and my mother always called me Anthony).

Well, with all due respect to my father, society hasn't fallen apart yet...but it seems each day there is a new story about a machine or more specifically a computer-driven robot doing a job once done by a human.

Fortunately, computers weren't around during my father's days or he would have predicted the Milky Way was doomed, not just society. Trust me this guy could have written the scripts to the Terminator movies.

A company called Kiva Systems (no, not Skynet) is a leader in robot development. Kiva recently sold Amazon a machine, excuse me a computer-driven robot, that can maneuver around a warehouse and stock shelves.

Yikes! I can hear my father's voice now...I told you Anthony, it is only a matter of time before we're all jobless, living in caves, eating chickweed because of these things.

First, Roomba (built by iRobot) came along scurrying around, cleaning floors and eating lamp wires. And now professionals utilize robots to assist in medical procedures, dismantle bombs, assembly automobiles and more, more , more.

Where will the robotic revolution end...or will it. Is this really the beginning of the end of civilization as my father predicted?

Not according to Lawrence Summers...
Lawrence H. Summers, the economist, former Treasury secretary and former Harvard president, explained that society has been down this road many times before. The rise of the industrial revolution gave way to fears of extensive job loss, as did the automation of agriculture. But, he said, although these “adjustments were in some cases painful,” people always find new work (New York Times).

See Dad, no need to worry...and besides I like chickweed.

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