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The Robots Are Coming

John Pugliano

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The more predictable and routine a task, the more likely it will be automated.

Today, information is nearly free. Skype instead of dollars-per-minute international toll calls, many free newspapers and news feeds.

A robot is not free, but the cost differential between robot and human factory workers is already heavily biased to automation, and robots getting cheaper every day.

The decreasing cost of goods will be countered by the inflation of govt money to compensate the unemployed. Labour costs will be forced downward as every field yields to automation.

Air Force will replace billion dollar fighters with hundred dollar drones; pilots who cost millions to train will be replaced by ground based drone operators who can be trained for tens of thousands of dollars.

Currently, some 50% of USpopulation receives some form of govt transfer payment: Social Security, Disability, Veteran's benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, housing subsidies and food stamps. A UBI will innoculate against social unrest from mass unemployment, but won't by itself lead to a happier population. (The higher the proportion of population receiving govt benefits, the higher the rate of depression, substance abuse and suicide.)

During periods of extreme technological shifts, income and wealth disparity always increases - the meachanistion of American industry at end of C19 produced the Robber Barons, just as Silicon Valley is producing novel crop of billionaires.

If Stephen Hawkinghad been born just 10 years earlier, he would have been captive to his degenrating disease. But 1985 you could get cheap servo motors to power wheelchair and open doors, rudimentary voice synthesizers were developed, and computing power improved enough to allow him to continue his work on cosmology.

Smartphones are robots that have replaced many other products - GPS, cameras, recorders, calendar, flashlights etc etc. You are pretty happy with the product. People who used to work for the companies that have been obliterated, are not so pleased. And soon, yourjob will be the one whittled away by automation.

It's called Artificial Intelligence and not Artificial Wisdom for a reason. Intelligence is the ability to apply knowledge for a desired outcome. Wisdom is the application of intelligence to reach more abstract outcomes such as a happy marriage or creating art.

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