When the machines first appeared on human radar, we thought of it as a novelty. Recalling the robots of our childhood, robots were cute, somewhat stupid, predictable, and we always could find a way to defeat them when they invaded the planet. No big deal. It’s all good.
The experts have been reluctant at best to explore technological unemployment, and while they may admit there will be a transition ahead, they have tended to see no existential threat to our way of life. Politicians, on the other hand have been oblivious. It’s all so comforting. We are either on a course toward an event horizon that’s essentially a point of no return for our economy, or we are on course for a wonderful new tech boom. This has been the dichotomy.
Then it happened – as 2013 progressed it was clear robots in the workplace and more automation was coming and sooner rather than later. The Machines were on the horizon. They already have us dependent on them in so many areas of our daily lives, and now with all of this technology, machines will be everywhere with their sensors, their cameras and microphones, data warehouses and algorithms. We are doomed.
MWA – Stage One
Eventually the realization sets in that this invasion of the machines is real, and it’s coming soon. The robot restaurants are novelties. Robotic electronics factories and armies of killer drones, that’s real. What’s disturbing, however, is that that this technology invasion is from within. It’s something we have created. We are doing this to ourselves. We are putting our way of life, the continued existence of our human society at risk, and there’s little effort to explore or assess the risks, or understand what our opportunities are.
We didn’t get here by chance. This is the result of decades of effort to create a better world based on the theories, science, and technology emanating largely from our universities. It’s 2014. The Machines are on the horizon, and perhaps now there will be some consideration of issues like technological unemployment. In the MIT Technology Review I see a statement about the possibility the experts might need to “rethink” economic theory and government policy if it is true that the machines are creating technological unemployment faster than our economy can create jobs. I suppose that is progress. Good luck with that.
There’s never a Galaxy Cruiser around when you need one. We are doomed. MWA – stage one. Time to watch some Battlestar Galactica.