When you think of the future, what do you think of?
I think: ROBOTS
That’s right, robots, and machines, that are going to be so technologically advanced that the workforce may not be able to compete with these machines.
According to the New York Times, “Machines aren’t used because they perform some tasks that much better than humans, but because, in many cases, they do a ‘good enough’ job while also being cheaper, more predictable and easier to control than quirky, pesky humans. Technology in the workplace is as much about power and control as it is about productivity and efficiency.”
“We no longer need humans to do the heavy lifting, counting, packing, inspecting and moving of items. In addition, robots work around the clock, on Saturday and Sunday, and they don’t get hurt and sue their employers. They may break down and need a new bolt or chip once in a while, but that sure beats a million dollar lawsuit for alleged discrimination or exclusion from meaningful opportunity. As The Economist declared on a recent cover page about robots, they are the “immigrants from the future.” We may not see it at the end of the corner, but technological replacement and unemployment is around the corner. Protectionism will not solve the problem. Outsourcing, global low-labor costs, and technological displacement are converging at the same time and affecting the nature of work.”
-Allan Ornstein, Excellence vs. Equality: Can Society Achieve Both Goals?. Ch. 4, p. 11
Historically, there is no need to fear as long as people stay rational. During the Industrial Revolution, machines replaced manual labor. However, all we needed was a little more education and knowledge. Machines are just machines, after all. What we need is to use the machines and robots to empower and enhance our work, instead of staying idle and letting technology take over. Yes, the robots are coming…but to be afraid of them is pointless.