March 25, 2013

IMAGINE TRYING TO EXPLAIN TO AN ANCESTOR...:

The New Industrial Revolution : A coming wave of robots could redefine our jobs. Will that redefine us? (Jeffrey R. Young, 3/25/13, The Chronicle Review)

What if we're nearing an inflection point where automation is so cheap and efficient that human workers are simply outmatched? What if machines are now leading to a net loss of jobs rather than a net gain? Two professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson, raised that concern in Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution Is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy (Digital Frontier Press, 2011). A recent report on 60 Minutes featured the book's thesis and quoted critics concerned about the potential economic crisis caused by robots, despite the cute faces on their monitors.

But robots raise an even bigger question than how many jobs are left over for humans. A number of scholars are now arguing that all this automation could make many goods and services so cheap that a full-time jobs could become optional for most people. Baxter, then, would become a liberator of the human spirit rather than an enemy of the working man.

That utopian dream would require resetting the role work plays in our lives. If our destiny is to be freed from toil by robot helpers, what are we supposed to do with our days?


...that the great crisis of your times is that you don't need to work.




Posted by at March 25, 2013 7:08 PM
  

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