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Are we ready for the Robotic Age

["Walt's World with Walter Jones"]
Walt's World with Walter Jones

Walt's World with Walter Jones

We humans are funny, and I don't mean humourous, I mean peculiar.

If there are two ways to look at something, a dark side or a light side, the majority of people will choose the dark side.

Back when the Industrial Age started, there were headlines millions will be out of work because of mechanization. This wasn't the result, of course. People now work less hours and have more leisure time than they ever had before the Industrial Age.

We are now on the cusp of the Robotic Age and the headlines are similar. Millions will be out because robots will take over our jobs. We will face massive unemployment. Driverless cars will displace all professional drivers - 400,000 truck drivers to be unemployed, transit drivers to be replaced.

The humanoid robot is just over the horizon, shades of Isaac Asimov.

Personally, I loved his series of books on humanoid robots. It has been years since I read him and now that I am old and forgetful perhaps I can re-read the series.

There is no doubt that AI possesses some risk to humankind, so perhaps Asimov and his three rules of robotics are worth considering. I will not auote them, but he mentions them in pretty well all his books.

So, I refer you to your local library or book store.

Anyway my point is, just because technology changes the playing field it is not going to be a catastrophe in fact it may like the Industrial Age improve our lot in life.

In one book of Asimov's, he transfers a human mind to one of his robots. I could go for that!. Seriously though, how about a robot snow blower or snow shoveler. The Las Vegas electronics show was full of robotics, but hey who wants to pay seven grand for a toilet so you-can talk to it? What would you say to it?

Oh well maybe they send you a book of suggestions, of what to say. The self-driving GM robotic car was freaky, no steering wheel, no brake and no gas pedal.

Walter Jones’ column appears weekly in the Amherst News

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