Skip to comments.Robotic Nation (Robots take over by 2050)
Posted on 07/24/2003 7:56:37 AM PDT by dogbyte12
I went to McDonald's this weekend with the kids. We go to McDonald's to eat about once a week because it is a mile from the house and has an indoor play area. Our normal routine is to walk in to McDonald's, stand in line, order, stand around waiting for the order, sit down, eat and play.
On Sunday, this decades-old routine changed forever. When we walked in to McDonald's, an attractive woman in a suit greeted us and said, "Are you planning to visit the play area tonight?" The kids screamed, "Yeah!" "McDonald's has a new system that you can use to order your food right in the play area. Would you like to try it?" The kids screamed, "Yeah!"
The woman walks us over to a pair of kiosks in the play area. She starts to show me how the kiosks work and the kids scream, "We want to do it!" So I pull up a chair and the kids stand on it while the (extremely patient) woman in a suit walks the kids through the screens. David ordered his food, Irena ordered her food, I ordered my food. It's a simple system. Then it was time to pay. Interestingly, the kiosk only took cash in the form of bills. So I fed my bills into the machine. Then you take a little plastic number to set on your table and type the number in. The transaction is complete.
We sat down at a table. We put our number in the center of the table and waited. In about 10 seconds the kids screamed, "When is our food going to get here???" I said, "Let's count." In less than two minutes a woman in an apron put a tray with our food on the table, handed us our change, took the plastic number and left.
You know what? It is a nice system. It works. It is much nicer than standing in line. The only improvement I would request is the ability to use a credit card.
I will make this prediction: by 2008, every meal in every fast food restaurant will be ordered from a kiosk like this, or from a similar system embedded in each table.
As nice as this system is, however, I think that it represents the tip of an iceberg that we do not understand. This iceberg is going to change the American economy in ways that are very hard to imagine.
(Excerpt) Read more at marshallbrain.com ...
Why get Rosarita to clean your house, when a robot will detect any disturbing lint in the room with sensors, keep scrubbing the walls, floors, without quitting until the cleanliness matches their pre-defined parameters.
Why would you get a 16 year old to flip your burger, when a robot can probe it with sterilized sensors, detecting exact temperatures, salt content, etc so you get an exactly identical burger every time you order.
We are seriously going to have to choose what to do. We either pay people with "charity", or those among us with a lower than say 120 IQ are not going to have any work to do that couldn't be done better, other than perhaps sales, or intangible social skills.
That said, there is a line in the Original Star Trek episode "The Ultimate Computer" where Dr. Daystrom claims that "Computers will free man so that man may achieve." That always makes me wonder, "Achieve what? And what about the people who don't want to achieve? What are all those idle hands going to do and who is going to feed them?"
I would. No point in having strangers mucking around in your house, when you could have the job done better, for cheaper.
The key difference I think here though is, what happens when the technology is created specifically to get rid of the lower functioning people?
If we encourage capitalism, industrialization, and free-marker entrepreneurialism, the end result will be a proliferation of machines that do the work that humans used to do. The socialist response: WE CANNOT ALLOW IT! Human must be slaves! They must toil in fields and in factories! The Proletariat is vitally important and we must preserve their grubby way of life!
Socialists do not want to free humans from dangerous or boring work. They want humans to be slaves in a vast, impersonal economic system. What I want:
Really cheap fuel because the machines make it.
Really cheap steel because the machines make it.
Really cheap cars, because the machines make them.
Really cheap food because the machines grow it.
Really cheap books, DVD's, swimming pools -- because the machines make them.
If I can live a life of leisure on $4.50 a year, I'd be happy. Can anyone argue that such a desire will be forever impossible? Can anyone argue that such a desire is inherently anti-Conservative or anti-Capitalist?
And where do I get my annual income of $4.50? Heck, maybe I don't even need that. Automation is bad for socialists -- but good for anyone who cares about freedom.
Add to that an "education" lobby that seeks to dumb-down even smart students and make them unemployable in order to protect incompetent union members and their own wage, benefit and vacation packages and you have the recipe for social disaster.
Increased automation helps in the fight against illegal immigration because it removes the need for low-skilled workers.
But what about lazy stupid Americans who also need low-skill work?
Fewer low-skill jobs increase the incentive to improve our education system to that a higher percentage of American citizens can do the jobs that machines cannot. You see, we can limp along with poor-quality government schools if McDonalds will hire the graduates. But if McDonalds wont do that anyone, we have a problem. The solution is to make sure that the schools churn out people who use the English language well, and can handle math and computer skills. If the NEA stands in the way, they will be swept away.
My bottom line: Free Market, pro-capitalist Conservatives (IMO) should not argue against technical and economic advances which decrease labor costs for major businesses.
. Keep this fact in mind: the workplace of today is not really that much different from the workplace of 100 years ago. Humans do almost all of the work today, just like they did in 1900. A restaurant today is nearly identical to a restaurant in 1900. An airport, hotel or amusement park today is nearly identical to any airport, hotel or amusement park seen decades ago. Humans do nearly everything today in the workplace, just like they always have.
That, simply put, is a load of crap. Information systems have wiped out millions of clerical jobs, to name just one very large change in the workplace. Why must everyone continue to use some sort of static analysis when looking at technological change? As we all know, free market economies are not zero sum games. I hate to break it to the author, but "employment" is merely a means to an end. People work in exchange for money, which is currently the primary vehicle used to acquire goods and services.
In a society of huge efficiencies and automation, the methods of exchange could be altered drastically. "Employment" could become a hobby, rather than an essential aspect of existence. There's just no possible way to assess, on a macro scale, what the future would look like.
Look around. The lower functioning units are already partying day and night. They not only don't know what's going on outside of who is going to be at which party, but they don't care what trip the higher functioning units are on. Keep those gov't checks coming.
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