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Oxford Professors: Robots And Computers Could Take Half Our Jobs Within The Next 20 Years

Robot 2013What are human workers going to do when super-intelligent robots and computers are better than us at doing everything?  That is one of the questions that a new study by Dr. Carl Frey and Dr. Michael Osborne of Oxford University sought to address, and what they concluded was that 47 percent of all U.S. jobs could be automated within the next 20 years.  Considering the fact that the percentage of the U.S. population that is employed is already far lower than it was a decade ago, it is frightening to think that tens of millions more jobs could disappear due to technological advances over the next couple of decades.  I have written extensively about how we are already losing millions of jobs to super cheap labor on the other side of the globe.  What are middle class families going to do as technology also takes away huge numbers of our jobs at an ever increasing pace?  We live during a period of history when knowledge is increasing an an exponential rate.  In the past, when human workers were displaced by technology it also created new kinds of jobs that the world had never seen before.  But what happens when the day arrives when computers and robots can do almost everything more cheaply and more efficiently than humans can?

For employers, there are a whole host of advantages that come with replacing human workers with technology.  Robots and computers never complain, they never get tired, they never need vacation, they never show up late, they never waste time on Facebook, they don’t need any health benefits and there are a vast array of rules, regulations and taxes that you must deal with when you hire a human worker.

If you could get a task done more cheaply and more efficiently by replacing a human worker with technology, why wouldn’t you want to do it?

We are already starting to see this happen on a mass scale, and according to Dr. Frey and Dr. Osborne, close to half of all of our jobs could be automated within the next 20 years.  A recent article posted on smartplanet.com described how this process might play out…

The automation of half the nation’s jobs will occur in two phases, the study says: The first wave will affect (and is affecting) jobs in transportation/logistics, production labor, administrative support, services, sales, and construction. The second wave — propelled by artificial intelligence — will affect jobs in management, science, engineering, and the arts.

Just as interesting as the study is the response provided by Gary Reber, founder and executive director of For Economic Justice, who argues that owners of the means of production will actually thrive as such a shift takes place. Those who rely on 9-to-5 standard employment arrangements for subsistence are likely to  suffer the most in the automation wave. As Reber put it: ‘Full employment is not an objective of businesses. Companies strive to keep labor input and other costs at a minimum.”

This is one of the reasons why the U.S. economy will never produce enough jobs for everyone ever again.

If technology can outperform humans, it is only rational for companies to replace humans with technology.

And this is even starting to happen in fields that require very high levels of education.

Just look at what is happening in the medical field.  Today, millions of people turn to websites such as WebMD for their medical needs, but this is only just the beginning.  Check out this excerpt from a recent Bloomberg article entitled “Doctor Robot Will See You Shortly“…

Johnson & Johnson proposes to replace anesthesiologists during simple procedures such as colonoscopies — not with nurse practitioners, but with machines. Sedasys, which dispenses propofol and monitors a patient automatically, was recently approved for use in healthy adult patients who have no particular risk of complications. Johnson & Johnson will lease the machines to doctor’s offices for $150 per procedure — cleverly set well below the $600 to $2,000 that anesthesiologists usually charge.

Certainly we will always need doctors.

But many of the tasks that doctors once performed will now be performed by technology.

For example, have you heard about “OnStar for the Body” yet?  Some of these new “wearable technologies” are more than a little bit creepy…

Smart, cheaper and point-of-care sensors, such as those being developed for the Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE, will further enable the ‘Digital Checkup’ from anywhere. The world of ‘Quantified Self’ and ‘Quantified Health’ will lead to a new generation of wearable technologies partnered with Artificial Intelligence that will help decipher and make this information actionable.

And this ‘actionability’ is key. We hear the term Big Data used in various contexts; when applied to health information it will likely be the smart integration of massive data sets from the ‘Internet of things’ with the small data about your activity, mood, and other information. When properly filtered, this data set can give insights on a macro level – population health – and micro – ‘OnStar for the Body‘ with a personalized ‘check engine light’ to help identify individual problems before they further develop into expensive, difficult-to-treat or fatal conditions.

We are also seeing humans being replaced in other fields as well.  For instance, DARPA has developed a robot named “Atlas” that it hopes will be used in “disaster-response scenarios”…

DARPA’s Virtual Robotics Challenge entered a new phase in July, when Atlas — a 6-foot-2-inch, 330-pound robot developed by Boston Dynamics — was introduced to seven teams tasked with training it for disaster-response scenarios. The end goal? “Supervised autonomy” so that Atlas and its successors can step into situations too dangerous for humans.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want “Terminator” to show up when my family is in the middle of a disaster, but this is where things are headed.

And as technology increases, a lot of good paying middle class jobs are going to be vulnerable.  In fact, one study of employment data that examined statistics from 20 countries found that “almost all the jobs disappearing are in industries that pay middle-class wages, ranging from $38,000 to $68,000.”

Those are exactly the sort of “breadwinner jobs” that middle class families rely upon.

And of course working class jobs are being replaced by technology as well.  According to MIT Technology Review, a $22,000 humanoid robot named Baxter has been developed that can easily be programmed to do jobs that have never been automated before…

Brooks’s company, Rethink Robotics, says the robot will spark a “renaissance” in American manufacturing by helping small companies compete against low-wage offshore labor. Baxter will do that by accelerating a trend of factory efficiency that’s eliminated more jobs in the U.S. than overseas competition has. Of the approximately 5.8 million manufacturing jobs the U.S. lost between 2000 and 2010, according to McKinsey Global Institute, two-thirds were lost because of higher productivity and only 20 percent moved to places like China, Mexico, or Thailand.

The ultimate goal is for robots like Baxter to take over more complex tasks, such as fitting together parts on an electronics assembly line. “A couple more ticks of Moore’s Law and you’ve got automation that works more cheaply than Chinese labor does,” Andrew McAfee, an MIT researcher, predicted last year at a conference in Tucson, Arizona, where Baxter was discussed.

So what are human workers going to do when robots are making all of our products?

That is a very good question.

Incredibly, robots are now even replacing human factory workers in China.  The following comes from a recent TechCrunch article

Foxconn has been planning to buy 1 million robots to replace human workers and it looks like that change, albeit gradual, is about to start.

The company is allegedly paying $25,000 per robot – about three times a worker’s average salary – and they will replace humans in assembly tasks. The plans have been in place for a while – I spoke to Foxconn reps about this a year ago – and it makes perfect sense. Humans are messy, they want more money, and having a half-a-million of them in one factory is a recipe for unrest. But what happens after the halls are clear of careful young men and women and instead full of whirring robots?

So who benefits from all of this?

Those that own the big corporations that dominate our economy certainly benefit.  They aren’t going to need to hire as many of us to work for them, and they are going to make even bigger profits than before.

Meanwhile, the gap between the wealthy and the poor will grow even larger.  The only thing that most people have to offer in the economic marketplace is their labor, and the demand for that labor is decreasing with each passing day.

What do you think will happen to society when most of us are no longer “needed”?

Could we be headed for big trouble as a society?

And if you think that your job could “never be automated”, you might want to think again.

We are rapidly getting to the point where even driving will be automated

Brace yourself. In a few years, your car will be able to drop you off at the door of a shopping center or airport terminal, go park itself and return when summoned with a smartphone app. Audi demonstrated such a system at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

At your next dinner party, ask for a show of hands of the people who’d want that.

Everybody?

Anybody want a car that doesn’t crash? At this month’s Frankfurt auto show, mega-auto supplier Continental announced a partnership with IBM to help bring autonomous vehicles to market, with “zero accidents” as a possible result. Volvo has promised to injury-proof its cars by 2020. GM and Carnegie Mellon aim to develop autonomous technology to eliminate car accidents.

So what will happen to the 3.1 million Americans that drive trucks for a living once all driving is automated?

What will happen to the millions of other Americans that drive buses, taxis and limos once all driving is automated?

That is something to think about.

And researchers are even trying to create computers that “seem human” when you have a conversation with them…

On 14 September, researchers will gathered in Derry, Northern Ireland, to demonstrate their latest efforts. If any of them has created a machine that successfully mimics a human, they will leave $100,000 richer.

The money is being put up by Hugh Loebner, a New York based philanthropist. His goal, he says, is total unemployment for all human beings throughout the world. He wants robots to do all the work. And the first step towards that is apparently to develop computers that seem human when you chat to them.

So if your job involves a telephone, you are in danger of being phased out.  In fact, this transition is already starting to happen

IPsoft is a young company started by Chetan Dube, a former mathematics professor at New York University. He reckons that artificial intelligence can take over most of the routine information-technology and business-process tasks currently performed by workers in offshore locations. “The last decade was about replacing labour with cheaper labour,” says Mr Dube. “The coming decade will be about replacing cheaper labour with autonomics.”

IPsoft’s Eliza, a “virtual service-desk employee” that learns on the job and can reply to e-mail, answer phone calls and hold conversations, is being tested by several multinationals. At one American media giant she is answering 62,000 calls a month from the firm’s information-technology staff. She is able to solve two out of three of the problems without human help. At IPsoft’s media-industry customer Eliza has replaced India’s Tata Consulting Services.

We truly are entering an unprecedented time in human history.

Instead of robots violently taking over society like so many movies have portrayed, they are slowly starting to “replace” us instead.  A recent Wired article described what this transition might look like as it picks up steam…

First, machines will consolidate their gains in already-automated industries. After robots finish replacing assembly line workers, they will replace the workers in warehouses. Speedy bots able to lift 150 pounds all day long will retrieve boxes, sort them, and load them onto trucks. Fruit and vegetable picking will continue to be robotized until no humans pick outside of specialty farms. Pharmacies will feature a single pill-dispensing robot in the back while the pharmacists focus on patient consulting. Next, the more dexterous chores of cleaning in offices and schools will be taken over by late-night robots, starting with easy-to-do floors and windows and eventually getting to toilets. The highway legs of long-haul trucking routes will be driven by robots embedded in truck cabs.

All the while, robots will continue their migration into white-collar work. We already have artificial intelligence in many of our machines; we just don’t call it that. Witness one piece of software by Narrative Science (profiled in issue 20.05) that can write newspaper stories about sports games directly from the games’ stats or generate a synopsis of a company’s stock performance each day from bits of text around the web. Any job dealing with reams of paperwork will be taken over by bots, including much of medicine. Even those areas of medicine not defined by paperwork, such as surgery, are becoming increasingly robotic. The rote tasks of any information-intensive job can be automated. It doesn’t matter if you are a doctor, lawyer, architect, reporter, or even programmer: The robot takeover will be epic.

Are you ready for the “robot takeover”?

The world of employment is never going to be the same again.  Technology has already surpassed human workers in a whole host of arenas, and this transition is only going to become more rapid in the years ahead.

So what does this mean for the rest of us?  Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

  • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse

    What do you guys think?

    Are the robots “taking over”?

    Michael

    • Rodster

      In the future YES, when this will take place is anyone’s guess. One of the founders of Google is working on a virtual mate that knows everything about you. Where that will lead is anyone’s guess as well.

      The red flag I see is that the economies collapse because you can’t have billions of people around the world consuming resources without paying for them. So my theory is Agenda 21 takes hold and that is more about reducing the world’s population which Agenda 21 says 300-400 million worldwide is where we need to be.

      • Rodster

        I meant to say a collapse of civilization.

      • piccadillybabe

        Virtual mate, eh? That would keep the population in check now wouldn’t it?

    • Bill

      I’ll answer you if you answer me.

      • Bill

        Yo Michael, you there?

    • Jimbo

      We have become devolved from our roots to an extent that most of us couldn’t survive without technology. Our food is harvested and delivered to the supermarket shelves with very little human input compared to just 20 years ago. Automated warehouses, GM crops, inorganic fertilizers, computerised stock control.
      We live on smaller parcels of land or in apartments so growing food is not an option for many. Not many people know how to grow food anyway.
      Technology has taken over so many aspects of our lives that we have lost basic skills that our parents took for granted.

      As technology becomes more advanced, we will become more dumbed down and more reliant on technology.

      • Nickelthrower

        Greetings,

        As we move up the technological ladder, we kick out the rung beneath us each time we advance a step. It has always been that way.

        When the Roman Empire fell, the knowledge of how to make and use concrete was lost for a good 1000 years. I can only imagine people looking at Roman structures and being puzzled as to how the Romans figured out how to make liquid rock. Someday, perhaps, people will look at the ruins of televisions and wonder at how it made moving images.

    • Miklos

      I don’t know, seems kind of goofy. Machines- given the enormous initial investment- are only cost-effective in a strong economy where the gradual loss of 10% of total jobs will not destroy the country. And if the economy reels from unemployment, the robots will not be replaced but repaired (yielding a net job gain) and the inherent energy-intensivity could ultimately presage a return to cheap labor. What do you think, Michael?

    • Bad Kitty Cat

      I think something will eventually reverse the trend. Robots can’t buy gadgets from the store, thus making all the shiny new factories redundant and all the replacing illogical. Also, robots, while possibly replacing intelligence, lack a soul, and a sense of right and wrong… something will backfire, though I can’t pinpoint how.

      • K

        lack a soul, and a sense of right and wrong. I knew it. Washington politicians are robots.

        • Bad Kitty Cat

          That is proceless :-)

      • Hammerstrike

        Abolish the market system, then.
        There is more to do than consumerism, brain-computer connection, space exploration, colonization of other planets etc.

    • davidmpark

      Can I get gross and political?

      Just wait ’til some Lefty special interest claims right wingers are raping the robots, and the robots deserve a civil rights movement and the right to vote!

      These days are so absurd that it’ll probably happen.

  • Bushisugly

    This is capitalism/corporatism in a nutshell. Development for the sake of “Development” and not for the common good. Everybody is talking about growth and progres, but for what cause?

    I thougth the goal of technological advansment was to improve the common man’s living standard and make sure he, and all future generations, had the freedom to pursuit happiness. And what is this? The exact opposite? I proudly stand up and say, “I don’t want more technological Development”, not because I don’t like change, but because these changes are in the long run only benefiting a very few, if anybody.

    If this is the future I’ll rather live in the past.

    • Jimbo

      The Halcyon days for the USA and UK were the 1950’s (f you look at the quality of life of the individual).
      My mother passed away five years ago after having an almost idyllic life where she grew up on a farm in an unspoiled rural England but had all the benefits of modern society when she raised her family.

      Those days are now gone and what we face now is the uncertainty of the end game.

      It is sobering to think that every war ever fought, every pain that was ever felt by everyone that has ever existed, rests on how we play out the next ten or twenty years.

      It is obvious that we can’t continue to live as we do without destroying the planet we live on and it is obvious that we can’t continue to exponentially grow our population and our standards of living at the same time.
      The world fiat Keynsian economy functions because it is based on exponential growth of population and resources but we all know that is not possible.
      We live in the end game. We can see it being played out in front of our eyes but 98% can only see X Factor.

      • Hammerstrike

        The thing is, today is the future that was won in 1945.

        A war not fought for freedom but for the sake of plutocracy, to preserve decadence and corruption.

    • will

      Capitalism/communism and socialism reduces people to economic units.

      • Ralfine

        You mean all societies before communism?

        From slave to serf to proletarian. Just working for survival and survive to work.

      • Hammerstrike

        The answer is National-Socialist, we come in peace. -)

    • Ralfine

      What past? As a serf, needing the approval of the land owner if you want to go anywhere?

    • Hammerstrike

      Nope, technology should benefit the producers.

  • Ralfine

    Well, there are a lot of automatic cashiers in UK supermarkets, where you scan your groceries and pay by yourself.

    I’m oldfashioned. I always use the human cashier, even if I have to wait there longer. It’s the least I can do.

    “Every little helps”

    • Rodster

      I’m the opposite. I tend to use the self checkout lane because i’m impatient and after I realize the automated checkout lane can’t keep up with me I quickly appreciate a human cashier.

      • Ralfine

        I tried the self-checkout, but usually there is some error, and the cashier standing around is needed to confirm that I’m over 18, or that I use cash instead of card, or using my own bag.

        Maybe I should use the self-checkout only when I buy beer?

    • Jimbo

      It used to be someones job to light the gas street lamps in London and to put them out in the morning. Electricity did away with that job. Technology and labor saving is not the issue.

      You can’t stop technology by refusing to use it because you will be outnumbered by those who will use it. Soon you will have to use the cashier free checkout because there will be no other option.

      Technology is not the issue. The issue is how the fruits of that technology are shared.
      As things stand, the fruit will go to the 1%.
      That is the issue.

      • Ralfine

        At the market in the city there are still people. And so are in the indian, pakistani, iranian, chinese, turkish grocery shops and butchers.

        Just need to walk a bit more, which is also nice when you think about it.

        Can save the gym money.

        Walk to the city, lose fat, get fit, only buy what you need because you need to carry it, and pay less.

        And yes, we will lose the jobs in the supermarkets when nobody buys there anymore.

        • Jimbo

          Alternative sources of supply are invaluable. Back in the 1960’s my Mother used to shop in the markets. Farm fresh produce and you can still do that today.
          I went to my friends house for dinner yesterday and he was making a mint sauce using dried chopped mint from a packet. I asked him why he was using dried mint when he had mint in abundance in his front garden? He didn’t believe me so I picked a leaf from his massive mint and crushed it between my fingers to release the scent. He said he knew it was a mint in the front garden but he didn’t realise that it was edible.
          That is how detached we are from reality.

          • Ralfine

            This year there were so many blackberries, but I have never seen anyone picking blackberries.

            And they were sooo sweet.

            At my morning walk I could pick and eat berries for 5 pounds.

            Every day.

            Then I heard that british children are told in school that blackberries are poisonous???
            Really?

  • Jimbo

    Automation is used to cut costs and increase profit margins but there is an indirect feedback to the employee. As other companies automate to stay competitive, prices drop.

    The real danger from automation is the eventual redundancy of human labor altogether.
    Historically, the wealthy have required large numbers of workers to support their lifestyles. The workers to earn the profits, to build the mansions, to clean their windows and cut their lawns.

    In a world where resources are finite, what do you do with the people you no longer need?

    My guess is a supervirus (SARS maybe). As it spreads the world, essential personnel will be first in line for the immunisation program. Essential personnel like politicians, armed forces, senior medical staff and rich people who can buy their place in the line.
    It wouldn’t need a great conspiracy to do this. Just a handful of people could pull this off and it would be written off as a great natural disaster.

    • john mcginnis

      Entirely feasible. I can show how to kill 90m Americans without firing a shot.

  • K

    Michael Atlas is a bit more capable than they are telling you. If you watch some of the films, you will notice, there are no hands showing. I understand there are quick attach points at the end of the arms. Hands, torches, all manner of things can be quickly attached. You will also notice how heavy, the cage around the vital parts seems to be. Would not be hard to up armor that robot. The laser rangefinder, is just as easily a laser sight. So is it really, search and rescue? Or is it search and destroy? From what I hear, a longer lasting power supply is all that is holding up the project. Remember watching those science fiction movies, and thinking, I will not live long enough to see that. How sure are you?

  • kathym2

    If we don’t have jobs then who do they think is going to buy the stuff they are producing?

    • Rodster

      Agenda 21

    • Jimbo

      Wealth is energy. You expend energy by working and you are given dollars. Your employer profits from your energy so he makes more dollars than you. This energy transfer works its way up the ladder to the top 1% who expend little energy but get lots of dollars. Those dollars are exchanged for energy to build super yachts, mansions and to buy champagne and caviar.
      If a machine can build a mansion, make champagne and wait your table, there is not much need for human labor.

    • Ralfine

      For that you have consumer credits – buy now, pay later.

      And in the company every sale is in the books as asset. And with a lot of sales comes a big bonus for the sales manager.

      And also big dividends for the shareholders.

      And since the company didn’t make any real money, there is a big loss reported to the tax office, and the company is getting a tax credit, from which they can pay the dividends and bonuses.

      (that’s about the principle)

  • Thomas

    Become a plumber.

    • markthetruth

      How’s that possible , plumbers will be a dime a dozen . A trade driven down the drain !

      the end…

      • Jean Bush

        So who wants to rule a society of robots??? They won’t create any wealth. Maybe you should watch the Terminator series again.

  • markthetruth

    ……………….Swarm robotics………….

    The research of swarm robotics is to study the design of robots, their physical body and their controlling behaviors.

    No Kidding !!! From what i Observe on how Technology , Robots are already Growing faster and faster and Turning Humans into in to” Flesh Robots” as People’s lives are being Controlled by all the electronic Gadgets that a created and More of “Human Lives our Being Consumed By Virtual Reality ” either buy watching TV, playing Video Games, working or playing on the Computer, the cell phone, ext. to being controlled by them 24/7 . They will turn the world into a Closed Society as to me It’s Happening already We will be blogging and gaming,Facebooking,Twittering, who ever are left working on the Robots can do so from home , everything your able to afford including food will be delivered to you Home . Then We will be Put into Domes Jails when we are broke the Ultimate end to Human Society . The Leaders and the Rich will enjoy the Life and the Real World.

    the end…

  • Syrin

    The military robots are more worrisome to me. With liberal economic policies, you’d be a fool to not automate if you own a business.

  • Guest

    What are human workers going to do when super-intelligent robots and computers are better than us at doingeverything?

    Who will buy the products?

    • GSOB

      We will evolve.

      • markthetruth

        Planet of the Apes

        the end…

        • clementinesalmassi321

          my aunty just got a 9 month old Lexus RX 350 SUV by working parttime
          off of a macbook air. straight from the source J­a­m­2­0­.­ℂ­o­m

    • davidmpark

      Maybe the robots will be small, cheap, and reproduce asexually; creating their products in the home – there will be no need to “buy” anymore…

      Junk and garbage goes in… products come out.

    • markthetruth

      Who cares ! let them figure it out if there so Smart .

      the end…

    • seth datta

      That’s why obama’s marching orders are to make society so untenable, including things such as obarmycare, so they can kill us off.

      Therefore, no need for anyone to buy products, as we’re considered to be ‘useless eaters’.

    • Ralfine

      You can participate in the scam and try to cheat everybody else.

      Or you can try to become independent. That’s what Independence Day is about.

      Become independent of those who hold power over you. If you do not need electricity then the electricity company does not have power over you. (for example)

      Find your way besides the current system in a parallel universe.

      Support the small companies and small farmers and producers. Check out the barter sites on the Internet. Check out the barter apps. Pay cash, reduce your need of loans.

      • Jean Bush

        Do you really think they will let us ALL do that??? Just because you run your own generator and buy at the local farmer, doesn’t mean you are free of them.

        • Ralfine

          Who is “they”? And why would you let them decide what they will let you do?

          • Jean Bush

            What is your power source? The electric co? You’d better worry about your ruling class; the Elites own your food, utilities, gas and every other thing you need to live a civilized life. If they decide to cut basics, and/or create a blackout, they’d have you on your knees in less than a week.

            Google “American Blackout” a Nat Geo docudrama. Let me know how you like it.

            I don’t shop at the farmers markets either, but if the trucks were stopped from delivering food to the grocery stores, well…..you think about it.

          • Ralfine

            who should stop the trucks? the soldiers are in afghanistan, and those who are here are suicidal.
            the police is busy looking for cars with uninsured drivers.

          • Kenneth Heinz

            Ya got a point they sure did shut up Nicola Tesla…poor guy was a genius his only fault was he didn’t want you to have an a electric bill…good man !

          • Jean Bush

            Funny you should mention him, this is what he thought of us:

            “A Machine to End War”, published in 1937, Tesla stated:

            There is no conflict between the ideal of religion and the ideal of science, but science is opposed to theological dogmas because science is founded on fact. To me, the universe is simply a great machine which never came into being and never will end. The human being is no exception to the natural order. Man, like the universe, is a machine. Nothing enters our minds or determines our actions which is not directly or indirectly a response to stimuli beating upon our sense organs from without. Owing to the similarity of our construction and the sameness of our environment, we respond in like manner to similar stimuli, and from the concordance of our reactions, understanding is born. In the course of ages, mechanisms of infinite complexity are developed, but what we call “soul” or “spirit,” is nothing more than the sum of the functionings of the body. When this functioning ceases, the “soul” or the “spirit” ceases likewise.

            Are we already robots?? :)

          • Kenneth Heinz

            Tesla…he’s over everybody’s head he was pure genius and well over my head.

          • Jean Bush

            Everything is over my head; I’m only 5’2. Hahahhaha!

          • Jean Bush

            Is anyone picking up his work? I know they have the Tesla car, I saw it on 60 minutes a few weeks ago.

        • Kenneth Heinz

          Reading yours and the rest you forget high tech…we will have to all shift our thinking too high tech it will provide, we don’t change until change takes place…when it does we move on that day when the day will belong to you when someone says what will we do ? ? ? Say in that time we will do what ever we want to do…you will have all the time ….the gift of the future will be the gift of time.

          • Jean Bush

            Sorry, Ken, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

          • Kenneth Heinz

            Well Jean…were not talking now are we…were talking future high tech will not stop with us here and now…use your mind and imagination…the article is about WORK….will there be work…if things advance…then your time will be yours…not laboring in the work house…sorry my words were not clear maybe I was writing a little to fast but…I hope ya get my point of view and that’s the advanced future these robots won’t take backward steps from here on in…there here to stay and like plane telephones and cars…they will steadily improve…you can bet on it.

          • Jean Bush

            Much clearer, thanks. Does that mean they won’t be shipping jobs overseas anymore?

          • Kenneth Heinz

            Nope…no jobs nowhere what a cool future…but hell… We won’t be there now ain’t that the luck…well old Abe Lincoln never drove a car !

          • Jean Bush

            I’m already there; I don’t drive and never had a car. Hahahaha! The future is me!

    • wascator

      We will be designing and building/repairing the robots.

      • Jean Bush

        Remember the Terminator? Better think twice.

    • Stephan Larose

      Exactly, what’s the point of assigning worth to a product and saying we should “buy” when it was build by droids from beginning to end? The whole relationship between people and money and the whole “market” system–the way we allocate resources, will have to change.

      • David C

        This is coming from a Canadian point of view. If you have machine that can do the jobs and people are not needed, then why not allow them to pursue other venues.
        You produce more food than you need, you have more housing than you needed. The issue is if everyone was treated fairly then who could we look down on?

        It would have to be that useless family that trained to clean up the river system. Or would be the useless person with a learning disability who cleans the park or takes care of the elderly. They are assured to live in nice homes, eat good food and reproduce just like those of us who are worthy. Lets hope that machines never allow that to happen and let’s hope the people who manipulate economies, governments and mass population never have to be like us.

        Time for a paradigm shift in thinking.

    • vs12

      soylent green

    • Kenneth Heinz

      Maybe you will get it for free and go out and have some fun ! No…that’s not for us but it is for the people of the future.

  • Rufus T Firefly

    Time to follow the Roman solution of 2,000 years ago when huge importations of slaves destroyed many family farmers. Free bread, along with later additions of olive oil, pork and wine. More and more elaborate “games”. Plus more and more wars to bring in more booty-creating a desert and calling it peace.

    Yes, the future will be wonderful.

  • piccadillybabe

    Heck 20 years, we are in the midst of this take over right now. In some ways, I like the idea of robots doing the work of humans especially in the medical field. Too many people die every year due to medical error, negligence and face it, the medical community just “having a bad day.” Consistency would remain the same with robots performing
    procedures, etc. That being said, humans will need to find a new purpose or raison d’etre. I am sick of mundane tasks after doing them my whole life. Perhaps, we are not looking at the positive aspects of this slowly but surely emerging technology/artifical intelligence. Kind of sound like the devil’s advocate but it’s happening globally. We might as well start looking at the positive instead of the negative.

  • Patriot Alice

    Soon they’ll be no need for all of these humans on earth, the rich will exterminate most of them, and then the robots will have nobody to produce those goods for anymore, and rust in warehouses, and the world will look like the remains of Detroit..

  • El mico

    I love the fact that at the bottom of this story there was an add for robotic welding. Ha!
    When there’s no more jobs, there’s no more spending. Who will purchase these cheap products?
    This is short sightedness at it’s best.
    No employees.
    No taxes.
    No spending.
    No profits.
    Even if the lower classes somehow were eliminated, it’s just rich people swapping stuff around. No profit or tax revenue in that.
    Morons!

  • Tobias Smith

    we can all stop working and go on obamacare for free! this is great, we can play all day, everything will be free

  • kevout

    I feel if society can choose love of humanity over fear of the unknown and cooperation over competition this will be a great age for mankind. Instead of “earning a living” we can now live a living. Conflict like this can be opportunities.

  • davidmpark

    Previously, I said I’d back a pharmaceutical vending machine. Guess there should’ve been more clarity with that comment. I back a vending machine sending out per-packaged medications.

    Men are better than machines any day.

  • GSOB

    How about a military armed forces branch of nothing but robots?

    Now that would be impressive.

    • davidmpark

      Yeah, one virus and they’d commit suicide…

      Okay, that’s something I’d pay to see.

      • GSOB

        Then the war would be over.

  • davidmpark

    I work as a machinist and my 6-year-old son does the 4H robotics club. I can say without any doubt that machines will not replace humans.

    For a machine to make a good product it must work within a .0001″ tolerance. So far, all the machines I’ve worked with over the years could never make that without a human to constantly monitor, adjust, and clean it out. The best the machine could do is a steady .5″ – and that was for woodworking. To do these jobs would require far more automated equipment, a lot of extra sensors and computers, and an awful lot of extra expense.

    The idea that 3D printers would replace a lot of metal manufacturing is also fallacy. A 3D printer can do hardened plastics and some metals, but those parts can only work in low impact or non-bearing capacity. Those printers for automotive parts like Leno’s cannot be used to make a complete functional car.

    There is also the problem of the limits of technology – it can’t think for itself. I know many think AI will work out, but unless there’s a move away from binary code, that will never happen. Remember, that this technology was created by humans – and we will always have an inbuilt capacity for error; it’s our nature.

    The best that can happen is to use the robot as an extension of the human – as the tool it is.

    • Joe Kleinkamp

      All machines need to be monitored but there is no denying the fact that they are incredibly faster than people when properly adjusted, programmed and maintained. A newer 5 axis Mazak will run circles around even the best human machinist cranking handles between stopping to take measurements. Humans will always be needed but in far fewer numbers and that is the downside of technology. True, you can’t make an entire car on a 3D printer. . . yet but who would have even thought you could 3D print any functional moving parts (like the famous crescent wrench example) a few years ago? Never say never when it comes to tech. Too many of us have already learned that lesson the hard way.

      • davidmpark

        Ah yes, the famous crescent wrench. Made from light-duty composites. Well, if quality isn’t an issue then it’s a good tool. Just like the one time use printable gun. I can make a crescent wrench on my forge for practically nothing and have it last for longer than my lifetime. The composite print wouldn’t last long. Unless there is suddenly new discoveries in composite materials – there is no market.

        And the difference between the new CNC’s and a manual machine is accuracy. Like I said, the robot is an extension of man – a tool. It will always need a man to make sure it’s within tolerance – I don’t care how good the code is. These machines of today crank out parts quicker and in more quantity, but they cannot be relied upon to be consistent and within tighter tolerances. 3A and higher threads along with working in .0001 tolerances will need skill beyond what robots can do.

        A programmer can’t program “understanding” into binary code – it’s always been and so long as binary is used will always be “garbage in – garbage out”. The more complex the robotics, the more people are needed to ensure it runs.

        Besides, they still can’t make a machine that does the dishes properly. Fix that, and I won’t complain.

        • logic11

          They can make a machine that does the dishes properly, it’s just not cost effective to do so yet. As to a CNC needing a human, how many humans used to be needed to do the work of the CNC? Now, it is possible that we could develop a system that does the work of verifying the accuracy of the CNC and correcting it when it starts to slip? Of course it is…

          • davidmpark

            That’s just speculations, mate.

    • Jimbo

      Back in the 1980’s I worked on the implementation of Token Ring networking in Lloyds Bank in the UK. The chip manufacturing failure rate was incredibly high.with around 399 out of every 400 failing in production. The failure rate improved over time and the cost of production plummeted.

      Fast forward to 2013 and your mobile phone contains more computing power than every computer in existence in 1950.
      Tolerance issues will be fixed, computing power will exceed human intelligence. There is no getting around that.
      It is how we deal with it that is the issue.

    • asdddddwa

      You think that because today you haven’t seen a robot do pristine work someday that couldn’t happen. And the scientists are saying it’s 20 years away. Hello?! Technology is advancing at an exponential pace. We probably can’t even imagine the world we’re living in in 2040 or 2050. I say we oust the rich and redistribute all the wealth between all people in an equal and fair manner. The thing is we need *the common people* to dictate how we’ll be compensated. Not the rich, they don’t care about anyone but themselves. We’ve already made that mistake, and you can see that from the billionaires who essentially control the world right now.

  • GSOB

    Okay, okay … Robots are fine.
    Well they be in place before the national government shuts down?

  • Tatiana Covington

    I’m not afraid at all. I am a writer of Science Fiction and thus have expected something like this ever since I first read Asimov in 1961. And at last I’m seeing Science Fiction take over the world(s)!

    • Jimbo

      The role of every living thing is to survive and procreate. If mankind evolves to a point where it creates a machine more efficient at surviving than the organic version of man, is that a bad thing? We may just be the amoeba at the start of the ever increasing ascent of life in the universe. If that life form starts as a mechanical version of ourselves, is that a failure for the organic version of mankind or is it the legacy of our combined efforts?

  • Patriot One

    Maybe by then we will have personal money printers! Who will need a job? I mean why work when you can print your own money.

  • Joe Kleinkamp

    Good article. It could have been written 30 years ago and directed at workers who had the mentality “I’ll never be replaced by a machine.” We, and they, now know better. For a few examples ask any older skilled machinist, die maker, or former draftsman about the decreased need for human labor in those trades.
    A while back an executive with the company that manufactures the Roomba vacuum was heralding his new product — a $20,000 robot designed to replace low skilled factory labor. Part of his sales pitch was “It’s made in America!” Won’t that make you feel good when you lose your job to Roomba’s cousin?

  • fourhourarch

    Read “the end of work” by Rifkin. A lot of people scoffed at it when it was written in the 1990’S but it does outline a well defined soluition.

  • Nic

    This article has be written by a robot….

  • Leonidas

    Artificial Intelligence will become self sustaining. Operating factories which manufacture, maintain and repair all types of robots, computers and drones. Robots will be capable of doing any task and will do so. This includes mining and refining resources. Humans will get in the way, trying to recover their earthly environment.
    Sky net will become self aware and will calculate that human life forms are redundant and will no longer be needed. Automated military systems will no longer need human input. The machines will become impossible to “unplug”. This is when the war of the machines will become real for everyone, including “elites” who are ultimately responsible for their own demise and everybody else’s too.

  • Bill

    Don’t forget, these robots have two Achilles heels. The first is that they have to be programmed and can be infected with viruses, which can lead to restricting their use to jobs without a risk to human life.
    The second is that they all have to have a power source. That power source can be disrupted in many ways, not to mention that the creation of the power source can also be disrupted. Without power, your robot isn’t going to run for very long!

  • GSOB

    Robotic organs.

    Telescopic push pins and lubricated slots.

  • 2Gary2

    This is why we need to tax the rich and spread the wealth.

    • Ralfine

      Tax the high income. Wherever it is coming from – rent, shares, profits. Deduct the living expenses that are afforded to every benefit and welfare receiver (obviously you can survive from that) and then tax income higher than $10000 per month with 50%.

      People who do not want to pay so much tax can still resign and live the “high life of the welfare recipient”.

      • Jimbo

        Tax is wealth transfer after the event.

        I would prefer to see a system where everyone starts the race on the same starting line.

        • Ralfine

          Won’t work.

          What will you do with the wealth accumulated if someone dies?
          Destroy it? Distribute it? To whom? Who gets what and how much?

          • Jimbo

            Pass wealth down but wealth should not equal opportunity.
            Education should be centrally funded for all.

          • Ralfine

            Centrally by whom? Still need tax for it, or just printed money.

          • john mcginnis

            Well for student loans that has already occurred. So education for the most part is already a single payer system and it too is about ready to collapse.

      • john mcginnis

        Ralfine, Hello! Go take a look at the US tax tables. People in that rarefied income level are paying more than 50% now.

        • Ralfine

          That’s what the table says.

          How much are they really paying?

  • JW

    Why are you assuming capitalism can continue to exist under these circumstances. The Marxist issue, that the economy exists to support the population first, will be back in spades. All the problems of the industrial age are as nothing to this. Economics will once again become Political Economy. This is a political issue which will ultimately force a political distribution of the product. Either the workforce will fight for a new dispensation or it will die. Expect civil war.

    • Jimbo

      Whatever system is in place, it will ultimately be abused by those who want more than everybody else. Every system seems fair to start with but the outcome is always the same. The greedy rise to the top, the poor get poorer and eventually they revolt.
      If we have a new system it will end up the same.

      Man is no more evolved now than he was 2000 years ago in ancient Rome. We are still driven by the same things.

  • fyodor

    Maybe there should be a kind of “MaxTechnology” law that defines what is allowed technology, and what is not allowed. That law should be simple, and have no exceptions, so that the implementation of it is easily implemented and monitored. Would that law be as simple as forbidding any usage of electricity? I guess most of us would not like to go that far. But maybe the limit should be to not use any chips i.e. integrated circuits: that will still make possible a whole lot of electric devices, but still prevent computers in the form-factor we have today to be possible. And without computers all these robots that take away jobs will be way less capable, if capable at all. The questions is, is the government itself willing to abandon usage of computers?

    • Jimbo

      No because as soon as you limit technology you destroy innovation (or force it underground). There is a lot of information on this. Type “Technological Singularity” into your search bar. The wiki entry is a good starting point.
      If you think about it, the end game for mankind is the creation of a machine that is more intelligent than ourselves. It is a goal that mankind has been aiming for ever since he discovered fire.

  • ross55

    The biggest impact will be in admin jobs, where tens of millions of mostly women work. Most admin work nowdays is paperless & just involves a set of processes that could easily be performed by a computer program. Just one small step & it could be done, supprised it hasnt already.

    • Jimbo

      I work in engineering (Oil and Gas) and we already have software that does the design for us. We input some variables and the program does the work. Everything I learned in University can be done by a computer program. I still work the same hours as I did 20 years ago, I still earn the same (inflation adjusted). I output a lot more but what I output is a lot cheaper for the customer.
      I have no problem with progress but as with all scenario there is an end game and ultimately that will be the redundancy of human labor.
      It will happen. Machines that can do everything may seem an insane concept but in the 1980’s the idea of everyone having a computer at home within 10 years seemed insane.
      Watch an episode of Seinfeld and there are no mobile phones and there is no mention of the internet.
      We are in the midst of a technological explosion and nothing can stop it. It can’t be legislated against or prevented. The atom bomb was a consequence of a neanderthal hitting another neanderthal on the head with a big stick. Man will always strive to improve technology.
      A human labor free society is a foregone conclusion.

      How that is managed is the issue. Do we all share the fruits of a work free society or is that privilege reserved for the 1%?

  • Marjan

    Market works as a supply/demand rules. If people loose jobs there will be no money for them to realize their demand. I see two options:
    1. Market create new jobs that need good skills, and people will need to learn and not just complain “there’s no job for me”
    2. Redistribution create some “standard income” constant amount of money for everyone, and that create low-class benefitients, and this who want to earn something extra above it had to work , and to work you have to get good skills, so the most inteligent people can still improve society and get benefits of it.

  • chilller

    Elitist robot manufacturers will view even more useless eaters on the planet and program the robots to eliminate us under a false flag glitch in the programming….”I robot”…

  • Ralfine

    There is an upside to it.

    With higher productivity people will need to work less for other people to earn a living and can spend more time with their family and doing useful, creative things.

    So, people willl need to fight for more freedom, even if that means that the owner of the machines will make less profit.

    • Jimbo

      That was the promise made in the 70’s. We would work less. The reality is that we work the same but have more stuff. In 1980 when I was earning 100 pounds a week as a graduate engineer, I could buy a video player/recorder for 1000 pounds. Now I earn ten times that amount and record everything on a portable drive that I bought for 1/10th of my weekly wage.
      The real problem with Earth right now is overpopulation. Not enough natural resources to support the people on the planet.
      The obvious solution to this is that we either use less or reduce the population.
      My money is on option 2.

      • Ralfine

        The Chinese introduced the one-child policy some years ago. And if they keep to it, their population will peak in about 20 years at around 1500 million.

        About 10 years ago I was reading somewhere on the Internet, that their aim is to reduce their population to less than 1000 million by 2100 and about 300 million by 2200.

        My option is efficiency. Use less and get better results. If you want to make more profit, don’t just buy more companies. Make your products better and use less resources.

        Employ more people and let them work less per day.

        People working only 6 hours a day make much less mistakes than people after they’ve been there 10 or 20 hours (in England pilots will be required to land planes after being awake more than 20 hours)

        With less mistakes, there will be less wastage, companies will save money just by wasting less.

        And people working only a short time will have a clear mind, and if they work manually they will be stronger and strong for all of the 6 hours.

        I sent my employees home after 8 hours. Making sure they leave the office. And then go home, their family or going to university or playing badminton or tennis.

        And if you want to use your equipment for longer, then have two people share the equipment.

        Introduce shifts – from 6-12 and 12-6. Make sure there is public transport so that people CAN come to the office.

        In steeel mills and chemical factories people work around the clock. 3-8h, so why not 4x6h?

        It is ttechnically possible, People just need to fight for it.

        • Jimbo

          It could have gone either way. We could have passed the efficiency gains onto the workers (less hours same money). Instead the system gave us the same hours and the same pay but we could buy more stuff. The trip to Greece for two weeks became an annual event rather than a holiday in a lifetime. Ordinary people could go to restaurants.

          So the trips to Greece got dumbed down and restaurants became dumbed up versions of McDonalds.

          And the 99% will continue to be bought with trinkets until we eventually realise that we have sold ourselves off and there is no way back.

          • Ralfine

            In the end it’s up to you whether you save some money to buy that house in cash, or buy a car and blow your weekly wages on fuel.

  • Sam

    Why can’t you people see this as a good thing??? All of you need to watch a film called “Zeitgeist Addendum” and look into The Venus Project. If we eliminate the need to work thanks to the gift of technology, we can eliminate scarcity and the need for a monetary system as well! Everyone would be equal and everyone would have access to the necessities of life. This is something to be embraced people!

    • Ralfine

      If you make sure that people have access.

      You need to make sure that there aren’t people around to restrict access to certain grroups based on their nose or haircolor or whatever you might think of.

    • Jimbo

      Communism and Capitalism are both very good concepts until you introduce two things, Power and Greed.
      Technological advance without power and greed is Utopia.

      With Power and Greed it is hell on Earth.

  • TrevorLyman

    I can’t believe this post has shown up on this site. This shows a serve and fundamental misunderstanding of economics. Doesn’t everyone here understand that everyone has made this kind of complaint about new technology every single time a new invention has come out? One man using a lawn mower could do the work of 10 men with sickles. Should we outlaw lawnmowers? I mean…are you guys freaking kidding me?!!! REALLY?!!

    • Jimbo

      It isn’t a problem until you take it to its logical conclusion. If you are a Doctor then a lawnmower is not an issue for you. If you are Doctor and a vaccine is developed that cures all ills, then you have a problem.

      • TrevorLyman

        And so you would say we shouldn’t cure all ills? Are you KIDDING ME?! The doctor can either do something else OR he can go into the field of health excellence. Curing all ills is one thing, living to your full health potential is another. You missed the mark completely.

        • Jimbo

          I am not saying that at all. I have no problem with progress, it is how it is managed that is the issue. If we can all do more worthwhile things when we become surplus to requirements that would be great.

      • Ralfine

        What problem? Not needing to deal with sick people anymore?
        Or having to spend home all day, playing with kids and guessing shapes of clouds with your son?

    • Bushisugly

      When a robot can do whatever a regular person can do, then what are regular persons supposed to do? The problem is not that we are making things work more efficient, but rather that we are about to make human beings useless. What the heck is the purpose of more growth and effectivisation if all it results in is more despair?

      • TrevorLyman

        Robots will NEVER be able to everything a human can do. The whole idea is utterly stupid. Can robots create works of art? Can robots make hit songs? Can robots provide love and affection like humans can? I could go on and on and on and on. I won’t waste my time. Anyone who thinks robots will do everything humans can do is not thinking creatively AT ALL. Absolute and total nonsense.

        • Bushisugly

          Robots will never be able do to everything a human can do? Really, lots and lots of other people with intimate knowlegde about this thinks otherwise. And a robot don’t even have to do everything a human can, to make large parts of the population useless or just unhappy. I would not be very pleased if the only job I could find was to care for old and sick people, just because robots supposedly can’t show human emotions. Why should all humans that love to do some good old fashion physical labor be forced to do other things, just because some greedy bastards can make more money?

          • TrevorLyman

            Then go do some physical labor for the fun of it!! What you don’t understand is robots will make everything so cheap you won’t have to work but an hour a week to cover your basic costs. You don’t understand basic economics at all and that is why you are coming to these extremely poor conclusions. If progress put us all out of work and reduced out quality of life the world would have collapsed centuries ago. This is a false argument created by fear-mongers and followed by the fearful.

          • Bushisugly

            Unemployment rates are rising, but no one is talking about reducing the length of peoples working days to make sure everyone gets a job. It doubt very much it will be any different in the future. Why should it? One person working 40 hours a week is more efficient that 40 persons working 1 hour a week. That is how an employer is thinking, and employers aren’t hiring people to be nice, they are doing it to earn money. The other 39 persons will then be just a burden on society and they will be treated like that, I can asure you.

          • TrevorLyman

            You’re not even making any sense. You have to learn some basic economics and do some research. I don’t have the time to help you. Sorry.

          • Ralfine

            Yes, it is easier to tell one person that he is useless and needs to work harder …

          • Gay Veteran

            riiiiight, because technology never causes problems, only fixes them
            pollyanna

        • Jimbo

          The human brain is a computing device and at some point in the future, man will develop a self aware computing device that exceeds the intelligence of a human being. All of the things you say a robot will not be able to do will be able to be done by a robot.

          • TrevorLyman

            Right, and when that happens, if it ever happens do you know what you should do? Get yourself a freaking robot! You guys are so wanting doom and gloom you can’t see past your own nose.

        • AssHat900

          And everything that was ever going to be invented was, as of 1899.

          • TrevorLyman

            Everything in the world not being invented is a proof that robots will eventually have all human characteristics?

          • AssHat900

            All I’m saying is, saying never is a solidly dink move.

          • TrevorLyman

            I could come up with thousands of crazy examples of things that will never happen and I won’t be a ‘dink’ (nice word) for it. Never happens. :) Have fun – I’ve got no more time for this.

          • AssHat900

            No time for thousands? how about a few. Also I have all the time in the world.

  • markthetruth

    ………………. Pet Humans……………

    the end…

  • DrLexus

    The purpose of a business is to make a profit, not to benefit workers. If robots can be used to save costs, businesses will use them. There’s nothing sinister about that.

  • ConcernedAmerican

    The few jobs that are left will be heavily competed for. Which jobs will even be left? I guess we are all expected to shell out another $50,000 to go back to school to become robot repairpeople?

    What will happen when the “elite” are the only ones left and their bloodlines get too close together? There won’t be any fresh “commoners” to balance out the bloodline for them anymore.

    Also, many brilliant people have come from poor, “commoner,” working class parents. So, the world will be missing out by trying to only preserve the wealthy.

  • jox

    The title is misleading, robots wont take out ‘our’ jobs, but will liberate us from the jobs more repetitive, tedious or dangerous. I see a golden era for humanity if we manage to share the benefits in a fair way. Cheap food, cheap products, that means a lot of people liberated from doing any work, in a new society full of leisure time, services, sport, tourism, art, etc. That is, if we can find an economic model that spreads the wealth, resources and oportunities.

    fourhourarch, thank you for mentioning the book “the end of work” by Rifkin. Sounds interesting. I’ll read it.

  • Vlad Lenin

    Can’t wait to order my hamburgers from a robot. Here’s why: 1) no attitude from the POS loser at the register, 2) correct orders and 3) faster service.

    The owner loves it as well: 1) no POS losers to employ, 2) no Obamascare, 3) no workmen’s comp, 4) no payroll taxes, 5) no stealing, 6) no worrying about firing a POS worker because you’re unemployment tax rate will go up, 7) no more wondering who’s going to show up for work.

    This is what happens when you don’t have any marketable traits other than a pulse.There are going to be plenty of jobs available to people with functioning brains. The problem is most people are not born with this feature and public schools dumb down 80% of the remaining people.

  • Karen

    The one company you should be VERY concerned with is DARPA, have you seen the new PETMAN Video PETMAN in a chemical warfare suit in the article I had read PETMAN can sweat to cool its system just like humans. And will be used as DARPA says for military use but as mentioned in the article how will it know the difference between civilians and the enemy it won’t it will kill any in it’s path a machine with no conscience to take the place of humans. Most people do have a conscience that is why there are so many people in the military that take there lives. Do you get my point as to what I’m saying, you will see them on the streets.

    • K

      Petman was the Atlas prototype. What is sad about these techno geeks. They never think how much destruction their machines may cause. Anyone who owns a computer, knows malfunctions happen.

  • Karen

    And one more thing on humanoids you can be sure of is human clones if Dolly the sheep was cloned years ago, so cloning of humans been done, I can almost bet that the anti Christ is a clone. Because a clone will be soulless and a merciless destroyer to render the new order because the end justifies the means.

  • DJohn1

    Socialism! Each person not employed will be given an allowance to live on. That has all ready started to happen with the huge number of people on the welfare rolls. That was caused by poor people starving in other areas of the world willing to work for a fraction of what we make. Automation will make it even worse because they work cheaper than those poor people can. The key to profit here is transportation costs. Automation can be set up next door to the people that use the products.

    One way to eliminate workers is by attrition. We all die. So the companies wait 25 years until all of us die off or retire. They offer rewards to get you off the workforce like a 6 month benefit for retiring early.
    Corporations do not think ahead. They only think as far as the profit margin on their own products. Most do not wait. They lay people off instead.
    Our law makers have done the same thing! They do not think ahead to the time when no one can pay taxes. That is several years away. They will have gotten out by then. Kick the can down the road for the next people to handle as long as possible. That is the philosophy of our law makers.
    Automation started in the 20s or earlier with the invention of the Assembly Line. The first Great Depression of the 30s was caused by a more efficient and economical way of doing things resulting in a lowering of prices. The benefit was obvious. No more need for highly skilled workers.
    Since then automation has creeped up on all of us and it is eliminating lots of jobs everywhere.
    Normally new jobs take the place of old jobs as more efficient ways of doing things occur. Such as an entire industry of computer workers in the networking industry.

    Industry is at the mercy of the malfunctioning computer. So someone has to have the knowledge and ability to keep them running. But the ratio of high paying jobs to low paying jobs is upsetting the entire natural process of the economy. Computers need far less repair than would provide new jobs to replace the old ones.
    One area of new jobs is going to be medical. The working class does get sick. So they have to be taken care of one way or another.
    Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Parkinsons, Alzheimers, Severe Arthritic conditions all effect an aging population and are multi-billion dollar industries.
    Nursing Care in nursing homes is another very profitable industry. All the new industries that pay anything are service related industries.
    Servicing the aging population of former workers is big business. Even that will eventually be automated.
    Socialism is in our future whether we like it or not. The huge welfare rolls are only the beginning of this change. It will happen that corporations governed by the government will have to take responsibility for the mess created by automation. The last time we had an 8 hour reduction nationally for everyone as we went to a 40-hour week with everything over 40 hours being time and a half overtime. This was an effort to employ everyone of that generation. This time we are likely to see a 30-hour week. All side benefits will be handled by the government.

    • Mr. Roboto

      They do not charge an hourly wage, but they are more expensive initially and require maintenance. What they do NOT require is a health care plan, SS insurance payment, pension plan, etc., and those are the main reasons companies will be using robots over humans

  • DJohn1

    This automation thing happened in my occupation. It started in 1972 with an automated type setting machine that was twice as efficient as a linotype operator.
    It crept up from there. Suddenly all type was done with photo methods of printing instead of metal.
    IN the 80s, the PC came along. It automated the everyday printing needs of many corporations. Microsoft came along with a graphic interface called Windows 3.1 then 3.11 for professionals. All of this was capable with Microsoft Office of replacing the need for printed documents. Even forms could be customized by a person’s ID.
    The first automation gave us more jobs! The technology was not perfected then. But as time pasted the automation became much more efficient and the need for people was much less.
    Every profession has trade secrets taught by journeymen to apprentices. Printing was no different. At first there was a terrible reduction in quality of product. The industry iginored it.
    Even Microsoft is having trouble now. Others have come up with packages that Microsoft Office sells for big bucks. They give it away. Libre Office and Open Office are two examples of this.
    Linux has made some fairly huge technical advances. Everyday work on a computer can be done for free. Free is a relative term. The packages are not as good as Office. But for everyday stuff they are better economically and the Linux stuff works better on the same hardware.
    Smart printers learned everything they could about the automated processes to keep up with the profession. Others simply retired.
    Eventually it all went to India as the internet gave the work to people half a world away who would work at a fraction of the cost of American Workers.
    So that graphic artist was unemployed. Just as it destroyed one profession after another, automation has killed the jobs of everyone.

  • FounderChurch

    GOOD! Thank God for the Robots that He has sent to us to do our work that He designed us to do, but that we are no longer capable of doing.

    Our workers are corrupted and nearly worthless, and way, way overpriced. If Civilization is going to survive, never mind move forward, it has to convert to computers running it.

    I don’t trust a single human being to know how to vote, and hope we soon have all elected officials chosen by computers designed for that purpose. No way their choices could be worse than our low information voters make.

    The worthless lazy whiners I encounter on this forum are a perfect example of why humans all need to be replaced by godly mechanical devices.

    Google “FounderChurch” for 5000 teachings. Enjoy….

    • Guest

      Please just go away. We are not interested in your floundering church!

  • Mr. Roboto

    Not so sure about medicine, at least as yet. Robots cannot think critically or deliver care based on individual patient dynamics. And what patient is going to feel at ease with robot hospital staff, especially in Western society?
    As for McDonald’s and office cubicle staff though, yes, I think they are not long for the human workforce.

  • Observer

    I see a lot of people here saying;” Who is going to buy their products then?”

    How can you be so stupid,you thought that these elites would strangle themselves with their own hands?

    Instead the question that needs to be asked here is what are they going to do when they realised that we the people have realised that we have been deceived by the big corporations and that they don’t need us.
    So they must have already done the planning before deciding on the fact of replacing humans with machines otherwise they wouldn’t do something like that.
    There must be something more wicked going on behind the scenes than just advanced robotics replacing humans.

  • A D

    Electricity, I would like to know how the power grid if going to sustain it? Oboma is shutting down coal fired powerplants, are they going to run them off wind, I don’t think so.

  • A D

    I work in IT, if you are not in the cutting edge and running in the hamster wheel you are gone.
    What a perfect take over of the world into a 1 world Gulag where each person can be controlled. The USA will collapse they know it and they decide when and how.

  • Wally

    Hey Michael, I had a question for you on something I read yesterday. What if the financials here in the US got a complete reset. So all debt (public and private) gets wiped out. All credit card debt, all student loan debt, all home loans, car loans, debt we owe ourselves as a country, etc. Along with that the dollar goes bye bye and is replaced with a new currency. Would something like that work? Yes there would be a lot of losers but there would also be a lot of winners.

  • Manteuffel

    Time to amend our Constitution so we can start electing some robots to higher office.

  • John

    The world, as we know it now, will not last 20 years IMHO. If, by chance, it does, and increasing automation increases the gap between the rich and the poor, then I would expect revolution. What did Thomas Jefferson say? A little rebellion now and then is a good thing.

  • wascator

    Fear not: designing, building, and repairing robots will pay better than doing the work they will do.
    There are already lots of “robots” in the form of automatic machines, automated and semi-automated manufacturing and operating controls and processes, and they have all increased efficiency and productivity of businesses and improved everyone’s quality of life.
    Do not become a modern Luddite.

  • RomanAlex

    Simple math: increasing world population, with technology that requires fewer and fewer people: unless we find a couple billion of martians to sell to, we have a pretty serious problem, that is probably resolved with war and famine.

  • Aaron

    This is economic nonsense…

    What will happen when people can buy dishwashers and washing machines and they dont need to employ maidservants anymore? what will those poor helpless maidservants do?

    I heard also that someone was developing a machine that can actually spin wool without the use of human hands! what will become of the spinsters?, they will be homeless and die in poverty for sure.

    Curse this technology! the scourge of humanity! Were all going to die! we must stop the technology!

  • frank1569

    But wait, there’s more:

    Fast-food bots are already being beta tested – not just ordering kiosks, but cooking, serving, etc bots.

    Walmart and other Big Retailers could replace half their employees today with an interactive ‘smart cart’ that can find and take you to any item, tell you all about said item, scan it, take your money, and follow you to your car for easy loading.

    The only reason Big Retail is holding back is because of the whole 2 million suddenly unemployed and really angry workers thing.

    Modern Capitalism promised ‘the easy life’ where others and robots did the hard labor so we humans could kick back and… er… guess we never put much thought into that part.

  • ConcernedAmerican

    One robot I am in favor of: one that cleans and sterilizes public restrooms after each person. I mean could public restrooms get any more disgusting? Why are people choosing to make the messes they make and not even clean up after themselves? No human being should have to clean up someone else’s mess. Also, robots that unclog toilets in public restrooms would be nice too.

  • Real World Austrian

    Employment is a means not an end. Tools and technology make life better. Creative people will adapt and focus on what we do better than robots. Scared people will hold on to the Industrial Age model and look for jobs. Yes, change is coming…it always does. Thank you,

  • Stephan Larose

    This trend was also predicted in Jeremy Rifkin’s “Towards a Jobless Economy.” The challenge will be for people to invent a new way to distribute resources fairly and effectively when the majority of humans become redundant to the economy. This will most likely involve getting people back into training to become things robots can’t be, designers, artists, therapists, consultants, although since a computer can already write a pretty compelling story, by 2050, there’s really little robots and computers won’t be able to do. Thus, with robots providing all our security and nourishment, humans will have a lot of time on their hands, hopefully which they can use to enrich themselves spiritually, creatively and intellectually. Of course, if our monetary system remains controlled by the private banks that print money out of thin air and demand we pay back their virtual debt with real value, humans will be screwed.

    • Rob P

      The power mongers that run the world now don’t distribute resources fairly so why are they going to do it in a robotic economy? Their greed knows no bounds.

  • Colt

    Surely by the time this all happens science will have made humans better IE: ONE PILL will feed you. Human engineering will make you 100% better than you are. the profits from the comp- robotic world will provide a world bank to provide the moneys needed to obtain the goods to sustain life. I could go on.

  • A D

    They will use people riding bikes to power the computers.

  • john mcginnis

    Personally I would take this whole article and turn it around. By some quirk, the combination of 3D printing, automation, AI and robotics will make it possible for the average household to make most of its products itself. When a family outfitted with that kind of tool kit can do it all themselves why do we need the factory/producers/supply chain matrix?

    Put another way, automation so far has been eliminating the `middleman`. So I see nothing stopping an end game of the consumer eliminating the ultimate middleman — the producer. We return back to cottage industries from whence this all began.

    • Mark Caldwell

      The oligarchs and corrupt politicos will oppose that with every fiber in them. They may already be concerned with it.

  • Hammerstrike

    The thing is, machines are hardly self-maintaining, new machine models requires research, designe and engineering.
    So the necessity to work wasn´t abolished in 1990, not by 2020 or 2033.
    Unless genetically engineered Brains or AIs, ones capable of inventivity.

  • AssHat900

    It is about time, only 60 years late.

    • grindworld

      More like 200. Both Marx and the Luddites knew they were coming.

  • TrevorLyman

    I think you need to take a fear-mongering management course or something.

    • Jimbo

      There are many possible outcomes in our future and I choose to not discount any of them with certainty. To rule out a possibility that has a strong foundation in research smacks of arrogance.

      • TrevorLyman

        And to act as if a very very faint mathematical possibility is a certainty shows a certain lack of thinking skills, especially in light of how many times the fear mongers have been proven wrong. You’re just playing a tired old broken record…that technology will take our jobs and take us over. People have been saying this nonsense forever and the opposite has always been the case.

        • Jimbo

          You fail to understand the basic concept of technological evolution. Every innovation to date whilst making some positions redundant, has created economic growth which has increased employment.
          However, all of these innovations are heading in the same direction.
          Faster, better machines.
          If you believe that man cannot build something that exceeds his own intelligence then you are saying that there is a limit to innovation and technological advancement.

          So if that limit is reached in say 20 years time, what does man do then? No new I phone, no more research into anything at all because we have hit a wall? No more economic growth?
          Look at the last 50 years or even the last 5 years and see how much technology has moved forward.
          Do you really think that superhuman intelligence is impossible. Imagine a human brain interfaced or implanted with RAM and a CPU and then imagine what that brain could invent or discover.

          • TrevorLyman

            You just love the science fiction of it all. Have fun with that. Sorry, I can’t waste any more time here. We’re talking in circles now.

          • Jimbo

            That would appear to be your stock answer to anything you can’t answer.
            Leave the room.

          • TrevorLyman

            Right, because you’ve seen me say that so many times before. Look, if you want the last word because it will make you feel better go ahead and have it, but use it to make your point, anyone can take a cheap shot.

          • Jimbo

            Have fun – I’ve got no more time for this. Sorry, I can’t waste any more time here. I don’t have the time to help you. Sorry. I won’t waste my time. I thought for a while there that I was having a conversation but apparently that’s not the case so I’m out.

          • TrevorLyman

            that sums it up. Have a good one. :)

  • jerry

    I want a robot that makes me money !!! thats all

  • JJ

    These robots will not rule the world.

    An EMP attack would be the end of robots altogether.

    • grindworld

      It’s easy to protect against EMP…

  • stashgal

    And just how are we to power all those robots?
    As fossil fuels decline and become more expensive, robots will become too expensive to operate and besides that, who will be left to buy the products of robots?

    Most of our electricity is generated with fossil fuels and generators in dams need fossil fuels to be built and maintained same for all those “green” alternative energy systems that cannot fuel our future.
    We are headed for collapse because we are overpopulated, our essential resources are in decline, the government is very corrupt and wastes resources on endless illegal WARS while allowing the infrastructure to decay while the 1% get ever richer.

    Enjoy life while you still can, very bad times are on the way to this unjust, fascist, police state.

    • grindworld

      How to pow- nanofiber fuel cells? Methods we’ve never seen before?
      And what of post-scarcity? We just don’t know yet. What if we develop AI, it’s the antithesis of Skynet, it wipes away the elite, and decides to test the rest of humanity by saying “Let’s see you recreate the world.”
      What would you do? I have ideas. Not exactly extreme ones.

  • live free or die

    At some point the current system of working for a living will not work anymore. I don’t know whether the break down will happen at 30%, 50% or 70% unemployment, but it will happen. I think long-term the solution may be some kind of resource-based “economy”, where every human will have access to a set amount of resources which (s)he can use to have whatever goods manufactured. It will be interesting to see how humans will spend their time when they don’t have to work for a living anymore.

  • 1111777

    I would refer you to jacque fresco and the Venus project that is the blueprint for creating a emergent, sustainable, and truly civilized society. We have a long way to go to reach the title of type 1.

  • Zolko

    And below this (very good) aticle is an ad for:

    Labman Automation Ltd, “Custom Laboratory Robotic Systems. Laboratory Automation Supplier.”

  • Strangewalk

    Got Soylent Green?

  • mfenix911

    I wonder if the atlas will have an austrian accent…

  • See

    I hope we fight againts this evelution

  • grindworld

    So if no one can buy anything, how to people- except those just raping Earth sideways- stay rich? They don’t.

    Capitalism doomed itself by nature. Marx was, indeed, right, just not in the manner he may have guessed.

    We have a fork in the road. We can reject this and perpetually keep ourselves locked in a liberal 19th century, accept the robots and reject the system and usher in some ubercommunist utopia, or accept them both and be forever under the control of a transhuman elite.

  • Hammerstrike

    The thing is, technology could have been far more advanced today but it isn´t because of our f—- society, which as Michael points out, is rapidly becoming even more f—ed.

  • Salty

    Excluding land and raw resources who value is base on supply and demand, the relationship between people and price is labor. Eliminate the labor aspect and the only part of the price will be raw resource inputs and the location they are assembled. This should make everything so cheep that one would need very little money to buy what they need. However this would require the capitalist system utilized in the U.S. to reorient itself. To what I don’t know. But if everything is almost free my only real concern is were I will put it, were I call home, and will I own it or be forced to rent it? The definition of power will revert to the classic medieval era of western society where the controlling powers were land owns who held influencing power over people and kings.

  • Jean Bush

    And what will happen to these useless, excess workers??? De-population, anyone?

  • logic11

    One thing: I would rather be rescued by “the terminator” than not rescued at all…

  • Dannydoolittle

    If you save 100 Quisp cereal box tops, you can redeem them for a cool jetpack.

  • Tatiana Covington

    As far back as 1965, I knew this was coming.

  • Kenneth Heinz

    Well I’ve been saying since the early 1980s or…late 1970s that…there will be no more work or jobs and people always called me a dreamer or just plain crazy…but…to the point what do we do…they won’t like this but it will be kind of a national welfare system but much much better…people will never…WANT…for anything no expense to the provider…no expense to we consumers and gizmos and gadgets to go all around…yes it sounds strange and indulgent but it will be free free free but…with some tracking of how much we consume…we can’t be too pigish, and now where does that leaves us…well…time, Time to fish time to get our selfs educated , time to learn how to draw time to sleep in, time to make love and do what ever… as the world constantly improves…nothing to fear there…new laws of the land would have to be established…a national birth watch and control…I see that as unpopular but a must…tell the politicians to go home and we will elect the best minds in our country to serve with other such persons not as one but maybe a panel of 12 keeping with the Bible…now if every one has….maybe there will be less to kill for….maybe people who love to shoot things will have a place to go to shoot such things then when they tire turn in their gun until the urge hits them again…maybe a lot less crime…all of this needs some control, hopefully our shelter large or small will be cool…when it’s hot…and warm and cozy…when it’s cold…I pray we find new Earths and do the same there BUT…let us do it right next time we have a new Earth and…I pray you and I pray for myself that we at least get a peek at it….the transition of old ways to the new way will be hard…maybe awful they won’t let go of wealth and power easily, thanks for the chance to share my views on this fascinating subject .
    Ken Heinz

  • oiprocs72

    If we have no jobs, then we have no money, if we have no money, are we going to be purchasing their products?

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