August 18, 2013
Good video from The Atlantic on automation and the concern about Robots taking our jobs.
From the 1800's, when "the Luddites,"--British textile workers--protested the loom to the 1900's where 40% of our nations job were farm workers and now it's just 2%...the question is where does automation stop?
Very likely it doesn't (thanks to evolution)!
As robots can first mimic and then outdo their human developers and as artificial intelligence gets more intelligent, robots are moving from farm to factory to white collar jobs.
Computers and robotics, once relegated to repetitive tasks like on the assembly line, are becoming good at winning Jeopardy and as a surgical platform.
The bar is being raised not just on technology, but on humans to retrain to ever more sophisticated thinking and communicating positions (from software developers and product designers to branding and communications specialists).
People are constantly evolving to think and innovate better and are in turn building ever more capable technologies to replace more human jobs and leading once again to the need for even higher-level human performance.
Progress--a never-ending cycle of outperforming ourselves.
Where does it stop--the attainment of ever-higher levels of knowledge and productivity leading to heavenly bliss here on Earth or perhaps large elements of burnout, breakdown, and potentially self-destruction.
I often hear people recalling and reminiscing about earlier, simpler, and "better times."
The Wall Street Journal (17 August 2013) just had such an editorial looking to bring back the tranquility and idleness of hot summer Augusts, instead now replaced by more work and school.
At the same time, very few of us would really want to go back in time before all the technology-wunderkind that we have now and enjoy (many seem think more like you'll have to pry that iPhone from my cold, dead hands!).
The challenge: Robots may be taking jobs, but we need to stay ahead and to master not only ever higher levels of human knowledge and skills, but also the good sense to reconcile with the technology blitz and be able to actually find the time and inner-peace to sit back and enjoy it all as well. ;-)