Machine World – Event Horizon Timeline

Machine World

If Martin Ford (The Lights In The Tunnel) is correct about technological unemployment and our future, then we are already quite a ways down the road laid out in this timeline.  It’s not meant to be a comprehensive account of the history of robotics or automation. It’s just my attempt to provide a view of the road we are on.

Keep in mind, if Ford is right, then, there’s an event horizon out there in our future. It’s a point of no return for our economy.  What comes after the event horizon is economic collapse.


Czech playwright and novelist KAREL CAPEK published “R. U. R.” (Rossum’s Universal Robots) (npr article … “Science Diction: The Origin Of The Word ‘Robot’ ”


Isaac Asimov, writes a short story  titled “Runaround”, that includes the three laws of robotics.


Alan Turning developed the Turning Test for machine intelligence in 1950. Turning was also a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence, and he speculated about intelligent machines with sensory capabilities.


First Robot Patent Application


1984 Woz – at Apple enthusiasts meeting

“One Notion Under Jobs Pledge”

– 2000-

Ray Kurzweil’s books about the technological singularity include, The Age of Spiritual Machines, and “The Singularity is Near”. In The Singularity is Near, he predicted the technological singularity would occur in 2045.


Apple uses automation to manufacture MacBook products (YouTube Video)

Martin Ford’s book, “The Lights in The Tunnel”, published in 2009, defined an event horizon, or “tipping point” when the automation of jobs using machines would exceed the creation of jobs for humans, and the economic scales would be tipped in favor of robots and automation.

i09 publishes: “Should we extend legal rights to social robots?” by Lauren Davis


Foxconn – Taiwan based electronics manufacturer with over one million employees (primarily in China) plans to put one million robots in factories.


Michio Kaku looks at the future




Technological Unemployment comes into focus in 2013.


Remote Control of car with iPad


-March 2013-



Parrot Drone controlled by Nvidia Shield


Quad rotor drone acts like bird-of-prey

Technology: MIT developing “4D” printing – Gizmodo




Kickstarter Galileo Project turns iPhone into Remote Controlled Camera


-November 2013-


Estimate: “230,000 robots are now in use in U.S. factories”



The Machines are on the horizon. MWA – Machine World Anxiety (Phase One)

US Election Year 2014



-May 2014-


MWA2 – Machine World Anxiety: Stage Two


-JUNE 2014-



-JULY 2014-


-AUGUST 2014-


  • “Humans Need Not Apply”





-OCTOBER 2014-


  • MEET Amelia – “Cognitive Agent”




-February 2015-


Microsoft Deep Learning System beats humans at image classification

A Driverless Car beats a human race car driver for the first time

Human Error listed as a business risk factor by Goldman Sachs 

-March 2015-

Citi Bank and Oxford publish “Technology at Work the Future of Innovation and Employment”


Rethink Robotics introduces “Sawyer” – “…slimmer and lighter than its well-known sibling Baxter, was designed to specifically to complete mundane and repetitive tasks such as machine tending, testing and inspection in the U.S. and at overseas manufacturing plants.”

Robert Reich points out that we are now at a point where an App on a cell phone or tablet can replace a job role.  ‘If you think being a “professional” makes your job safe, think again.’


-April 2015-


A DELPHI (auto parts manufacturer) driverless  Audi completed a trip across America

China’s Guangdong Province announces a plan to automate 80% of factories in 5 years

Kuka and Microsoft partner in robotics

Possibly First Arrest of a “Robot” – Swiss authorities discovered a purchase of illegal drugs on the ‘dark net’, and they arrested the automated computer system that was responsible for the purchase. Read the Daily Mail story here.


Presidential Candidates Fail To Address – Discuss – Acknowledge
Technological Unemployment or End of Work Issues


-August 2016-


Singapore – On-Demand Robot Taxi Rides available


-September 2016-


-October 2016-



(Humans become aware of their rival for jobs (robots/artificial intelligence/computerization/automation), and a backlash begins.)

-January 2017-

Members of the European Parliament debate proposals regarding robots, including giving robots “human rights”.

-March 2017-

The Tax Robots Debate

A husband of a worker killed in an accident at a Michigan factory files a wrongful death complaint against robotics companies claiming his wife was trapped and crushed by the machinery.






Future Technology – Microsoft in 2019











  • Smart Machines & Smart Systems Required for Safety – Gartner






Ford’s Tipping Point – The Point of No Return (Economic Collapse Coming?)

DR. The World In 2030 – Michio Kaku – Presidential Lecture CUNY Queensborough



2016 Deloitte Study – 11,000,000 English Workers Could Be Replaced By Robots by 2036



Kristian Hammond – CTO of Narrative Science – 90% of news will be written by computers


Kurzweil’s predicted year of the Technological Singularity

  • “By 2045, human and machine intelligence will have increased a billion-fold… 200,000 years worth of human progress” ( Our Final Invention by James Barrat)


-2048 –


Not-so-distant future setting on FOX TV series “Almost Human”







  • By the end of the century the results of Technological Unemployment will be past history. Will we humans pass this existential test?