2021 : Current state of robots at work.
- Robot Noodle makers in China
- That humans can be replaced by robots that do the job faster and cheaper is an idea that now pervades Chinese employers. “Chinese companies usually start considering robots when the payment for a skilled worker exceeds 50,000 yuan ($8,060) a year,”
- Robot shelves : http://www.botjunkie.com/2009/09/04/video-kiva-systems-makes-working-with-robots-serene-while-filling-orders-4x-faster/
- Robotic Nation : (http://www.springwise.com/newbusinessideas/2003/05/bigtec.html) http://marshallbrain.com/robotic-nation.htm (http://www.springwise.com/newbusinessideas/2003/05/bigtec.html)
- Robots in 2015 : http://www.marshallbrain.com/robots-in-2015.htm
- Robotic Freedom : http://www.marshallbrain.com/robotic-freedom.htm
- Springwise on giant vending machines : http://www.springwise.com/newbusinessideas/2003/03/247convenience.html
- Inserting hair-plugs! - http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/15/technology/15PATE.html?8hpib
- Andy Oram on rising productivity : http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/3812
- JohnRobb says : It also shows that computers are starting to automate the service industry (up until 2 years ago, productivity improvements were limited to a small subset of manufacturing and technology sectors) (http://jrobb.mindplex.org/2003/11/07.html)) Update** 2014 : See what he says on the TurkingEconomy
- More OnRobots
Of course, it depends on the continued availability of cheap energy. (See EndOfCheapOil)
Just read the RoboticNation stuff - wow!! Not only does this scenario vastly over-estimate how close we are to creating robots that could replace human manaul labour (cleaning a house properly from top to bottom is a rediculously complex task that wont be automated for a LONG time). Then the author goes on to re-invent a kind of social welfare system while desparately trying to argue that a government and general taxation are not necessary.
On the one hand he want to eliminate all that wasted money spent on 'poverty' and said something like 'who wants to live on hand-outs from the government' - and then goes on to say that everyone should get paid a hand-out from a central 'fund' so that we don't have to work !! Beautiful .. almost comic !
Ah ... but how exactly does this differ from your picture of "technology" solving society's problems of inequality and poverty? (Ironically put but a serious question.)
I also am quite dubious of his argument that robots will be able to take our jobs really quickly. His argument using Moore's law is simplistic, ArtificialIntelligence is not a question of computing power, and with computers a hundred times faster than today's, we won't be much more advanced in many domains.
However advances in a lot of other domains make his argument plausible. Even if we don't have Artificial Intelligence, robots may still be able to do quite a bit. Not exactly like humans do, the nature of the job will probably change (Planes fly, cars take us places. Not the way birds or horses would, but still.), but it may well result in the same thing.
As far as I know the "robots will take all our jobs" scare has been going on for at least fifty years ... (Note that this doesn't mean that they aren't / won't be taking our jobs :)
I still find RoboticNation very interesting. Haven't read everything yet, but that kind of future is certainly worth considering !
Not that I believe the timeline for the humanoid robots, but the computer-controlled-humans timeline is well underway. See http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/07/19/rfid_gmb/.
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