January 13, 2015

The robots are coming, the robots are coming...

Wired You might think robotification is something that will happen in the future. Nope. It’s already started. by Rhett Allain

'Scholars might debate the exact beginning of the robotification of Earth, but we should all agree that it has already started. Just take a moment and look around you. How many things do you interact with that were once done by humans but are now performed by machines?

'Here are some examples.
  • The ATM – which stands for Automated Teller Machine. Do not call it an ATM machine – that’s redundant.
  • Robot arms in car factories. Yes. This is what most people think of when they hear “robot”. Actually, these are pretty dumb as far as robots go.
  • Google self driving cars – well, any self driving car. It doesn’t have to be made by Google.
  • WolframAlpha. This is sort of like a robot that answers questions and gathers data. It’s also a lot like Siri or Ok Google.
  • Self checkout at the grocery store. Oh sure, you are doing part of the work – but a machine is also replacing a human at least in part.
  • Watson – the computer. This is the robot-computer that competed in Jeopardy!
'Of course there are also examples of robots that are actual robots.

'Yes. I think eventually, robots will take over your job. If you work in the fast food industry, I think at this point the whole restaurant could just be run by robots. I’m not trying to insult fast food workers – I’m just trying to tell the truth. A robot can make some chicken nuggets and a robot can take your order. Robots can clean up and they don’t make many mistakes.

'Fine, but what about higher level jobs? What about an accountant? I think the days are numbered for accountants. Can a robot read? Yup. Can a robot calculate? You bet. Can a robot follow the rules associated with taxes and payments and stuff? Absolutely. Just look at online programs like TurboTax. What about musicians and artists? Yes, robots can sort of create music already.'

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