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.