This video could change your mind about the robotics revolution | Technology Spectator

indexJust like horses were made redundant as a mode of transport when Henry Ford started mass producing cars early last century, there’s a growing fear that humans will also soon face being put out to pasture.

That’s the controversial message at the heart of this viral video on robotics currently doing the rounds on the web. It offers a rather compelling and grim argument on the scale and impact of the automation trend.

It’s hard to miss the ongoing debate around robotics and their impact on the workforce. If you believe everything you read, this one movement is set to crush the middle class, revolutionise work and axe jobs all at the same time. It’s an issue that is being discussed at all levels of society, from the open forums of Reddit all the way to the executive circles of the Davos Connection Hayman Island Leadership Retreat.

The latest video from prolific YouTube broadcaster CGP Grey doesn’t quite hint at an outcome for the trend, but with clever wordplay and pictures he paints the rise of the robots as a negative. And in doing so makes quite a few compelling points, enough to make this columnist think twice about the prospects of a robot revolution.

To put the video to the test, we asked two experts who view the robotics revolution in a rather positive light. Did it change their mind? Well, no.

“The video is mostly accurate in the presentation of the facts, but flawed in its argument,” says senior lecturer in mechanical engineering at University of Melbourne’s Denny Oetomo.

“It is absurd to imagine that the world will stand by as a significant proportion of mankind goes unemployed without reacting,” he adds.

“First world nations, which constitute the major push of automation, will not be able to sustain their economies by investing into technologies that causes a quarter of their workforce to go unemployed.”

Business futurist Morris Miselowski says the creation of new jobs will offset any losses endured by the rise of robotics. About 60 per cent of the tasks we will be doing in the next 10 years do not exist yet, he argues.

“Ten years ago hardly anyone worked in, or made, any real money in the digital and social media space and now there’s hardly a job that doesn’t contain tasks that are influenced by it, let alone the millions of jobs created within it,” he says.

Though, Miselowski admits that new technologies will pose some challenges for humanity.

“The path ahead requires us to cut the ties with many of our past norms and cultural values,” he says.

“It will require us, to re-examine what ‘work’ is, who has to do it, where and when and if that means that not everybody works then how else to people gain income, a sense of dignity and achievement.”

article by Harrison Polites

source

my full response:

Morris Miselowski, business futurist

(Miselowski replied to both questions in one response.)

It’s an age old debate and technology and automation have always been predicted to do away with work — in the ’70s and ’80s populist predictions had us headed to three-day work weeks, paperless office and hover boards.

Much of the video paints a picture of technology replacing jobs and there’s an estimate I’ve heard that by 2030 we will have shed two billion jobs.

To compound this we will add three billion people to our planet over the next 35 years that all deserve to be educated, housed, fed, employed and have quality of life.

There will be a huge displacement of jobs as we move to replace routine jobs with technology and bots, this is inevitable.

But the conversation of the new jobs that are going to be created, and new industries gets little air time.

Many of the jobs that we are going to lose have only been created in the last 100 years, why can’t we do this again and again and again, because through the millenniums that’s exactly what we’ve done.

Ten years ago hardly anyone worked in, or made, any real money in the digital and social media space and now there’s hardly a job that doesn’t contain tasks that are influenced by it, let alone the millions of jobs created within it.

I routinely posit that 60 per cent of the tasks we’ll be doing in 10 years haven’t yet been thought of.

The role and nature of work will change and our interplay with technology will evolve.

My theory on our relationship with technology future goes like this:

Digital data (which we’re drowning in and is readily available at the end of any search engine or semantic exploration) is the raw ingredients from which we will make decision and take actions. Knowledge is what technology will routinely give us as it takes this vast amount of data and crafts it into something specific and useful to our inquiry and at this point humans will step in and take this data and knowledge and add the spice of humanity to it and turn it into true wisdom and purpose.

This like many of our other future issues cannot and will not be solved by a single solution or approach.

Many jobs will continue to require people and artisans to use their wisdom to create and make.

People are herd animals and most of us do want to be around other people.

The choice to purchase items made by robots is a human choice, we have instructed the technology and machines to do it and theoretically if we told them to stop and we’ll do it instead, they would and we could — but we won’t.

The path ahead requires us to cut the ties with many of our past norms and cultural values. It will require us, to re-examine what “work” is, who has to do it, where and when and if that means that not everybody works then how else to people gain income, a sense of dignity and achievement.

Although looking into the eye of the storm, it seems bleak and we question what jobs will there be left for us to do, if technology does replace us on the factory and office floors, I am confident that we will have new jobs, new industries, but more importantly that we will begin to have the conversation that allows for new work styles and practices to evolve; where the notion of work and what we pay people for will be debated and perhaps without returning to a totalitarian, communist or any other word that has populist negative connotations we will begin to explore the very notion of work and its place in our society.

Eye on the Future - Sep 5, 2014 | All, Business, Horizon Trends, Robots, Social, Work
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