It's a common idea that robots will take most jobs and people won't work anymore. This would lead us to either fall into misery or enjoy a life of abundance, according to different views of the future. But this is an oversimplification of robotics. We assume robots are almost-human-machines with emotions and moral thought. That's far distant from reality. Currently robots are just tools with very limited capabilities and lots of technical issues. Except for drones, robots can't get freely around. They are like trees, stuck to a fixed place or requiring human supervision to move between locations. And there is another major problem: machine-understanding of visual content (watching things) is just at its beginnings. For now any image or video, is just a bunch of pixels that no computer can see as we humans do. So there is no way for a robot to process its surroundings in a human-like way. Finally, I think machines with some kind of consciousness will be ready in at least 30 years. Then, The Judgment Day is away. But robotics will have overcome most of current challenges when conscious machines arise. Therefore, perhaps robots will be ready to beat humanity when that day comes.

In 2013 the world economy is going through a crisis that could worsen. Automation is blamed for this and robots are perceived as a close danger for employment. How much of that is true? I searched the Internet and found the opposite: robotics boosts job creation! There is a double explanation for this. First, as I already explained, robots are unable to behave or move like humans. This means any job that requires understanding what's around, walking or simply casually interacting with people, needs human workers. The second reason is that robotics (broadly automation) at factories dramatically increases production. This leads to more distribution and sales forces that only can be met by humans (more jobs.) New technology usually leads to lower prices which allows people to buy other things, which leads to new companies and new jobs. Automation in general does not affect highly and lowly paid jobs but middle level ones seem to be decreasing either in manufacture or services. Then, maybe this is the big concern for most.

After all these marvelous ideas were written, the world economy remains in great turmoil. I searched for causes and found that everything started with banks uncontrolledly lending money in the US, for real state acquisitions that led to a financial crash when people failed to pay their debt. But why did banks follow this trend? Something is still missing. My next suspect was oil price, but I found that in the 80s it was even relatively higher than today. Then come all those gone industries: music-records, film-photography and even the current publishing-books industry victimized by the Internet and people like me at blogging. Have all those gone jobs not recovered? My last suspect is the car industry. The developed world has been spinning around cars and parts factories. But it seems production reached its peak and now people are not so interested in buying more of them. Maybe the technological shift to a more automated world is taking its toll.

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4 comentarios:

  1. Very nice article. I tend to agree. Very clear. I think the problem may be that the financial industry in the US and the developed world has become its own engine driving investment. See Michael Lewis's book, _Liar's Poker_ for an insider's look at the financial industry. It's scary.

    Here are some minor spelling and grammar corrections:

    "Until now robots..." should read "For now robots..."

    "robots can't displace..." I don't like the verb "displace" here. I'm not sure what you mean. Perhaps just "move"?

    "By now any image or video" should probably read "For now any image or video".

    "crisis that threats to worsen" should read "crisis that threatens to worsen". English verbs are horribly inconsistent.

    Those were the ones that I noticed as I read.

  2. Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.

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  4. Displace is the worst of them. It is wrong translation from Spanish "desplazarse" which means move around.