friday-rant
Wireless Technologies

Evil mankind-hating robots are not the same as automation

I’m getting really tired of the scare stories that scream about “evil robots” and their mass attempt to bring down mankind. Sometimes it’s just our jobs these vile machines are after, sometimes it is our whole way of life… sometimes it’s our souls.

The trouble is the picture gets ridiculously muddled and confused.

Firstly, robots usually suggests something humanoid, and these just aren’t there yet. In fact, they are very hard to build.

Those robots that are available, and in more human form, are either slightly too realistic and therefore creepy or they look enough like bumbling machines to be cute and loveable. They all tend to be good for only one purpose and are nowhere near outwitting us yet.

Secondly, machine learning and the rise of automation may have a lot to do with AI and robots but you can’t wrap the whole lot together seamlessly in one burst of venom. Artificial Intelligence is a broad discipline, of which machine learning is a principle part, which certainly can lead to automation and eventually job loss. Yet none of this is cut and dried. And how this will pan out in practice is far from obvious.

This is not to denigrate the importance of this widespread technological change. It may well be very difficult to live through because of course robots can take human jobs. And so can automation. But the picture is lot more complex than some shouty headlines which are both extremely unhelpful… and frankly getting boring.

 

Also read:

Office 2021: Why robots won’t end drudgery or steal our jobs

Humanity will invent new jobs long before AI “steals” them all

A non-dystopian future of robot co-workers

Uncanny Valley: ‘Emotion’ in robots

“Robot Rights”: The future of robots at work

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