Published On: Mon, Oct 1st, 2012

Will robots take over the world?

History Future Now frequently writes about automation, in the form of computerisation and robotics, and its increasing impact on the job market.  I have made a comparison to the industrial revolution (see article on 150 years of pain) and the agricultural revolution, both of which saw a dramatic shift in the number of people needed for manufacturing and agriculture, resulting in millions of people being displaced from their jobs for several generations.  And eventually a bonanza of affluence for millions, generations later.

Andrew McAfee, a principal research scientist at MIT, gives a great presentation at TEDx Boston in June 2012 where he takes a very different view to technology and describes how great he thinks it will be for us all. For an up beat view on the future you should have a watch.  His enthusiasm is infectious – life is going to be okay, great in fact.  But a few minutes after watching you will think: is that it?  And then you will proceed to feel completely deflated.

If this is the most optimistic view of the future available, we are in for a world of trouble.

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