Well, you can’t say we didn’t warn you.
While politicians spent the last several elections cycles debating the threat that undocumented workers represented to American jobs, they ignored the real elefantes in the room. The one that prophet Dennis DeYoung (a.k.a. Kilroy) tried to warn us about all those years ago. If only we’d listened!
Robots are coming to take away our jobs. All of them. And it’s going to be so AWESOME. Or so predicts Wired Magazine “senior maverick” Kevin Kelly in a characteristically gleeful article about the Robot Job Invasion that threatens to destroy you.
From the article:
First, machines will consolidate their gains in already-automated industries. After robots finish replacing assembly line workers, they will replace the workers in warehouses. Speedy bots able to lift 150 pounds all day long will retrieve boxes, sort them, and load them onto trucks. Fruit and vegetable picking will continue to be robotized until no humans pick outside of specialty farms.
“Ha!”, scoffs the white-collar worker, who assumes himself safe from the pending Robot Job Invasion, “That’ll teach them Mexicans to try to steal our jobs!”
“Ha HA!”, scoffs Kevin Kelly, “They’re coming for your job too, Mr. Paper-Pushing White-Collar guy!”
Any job dealing with reams of paperwork will be taken over by bots, including much of medicine. Even those areas of medicine not defined by paperwork, such as surgery, are becoming increasingly robotic. The rote tasks of any information-intensive job can be automated. It doesn’t matter if you are a doctor, lawyer, architect, reporter, or even programmer: The robot takeover will be epic.
Lest we assume Mr. Kelly assumes his own job safe, he even enthuses about the use of Artificial Intelligence to write newspaper articles:
Witness one piece of software by Narrative Science (profiled in issue 20.05) that can write newspaper stories about sports games directly from the games’ stats or generate a synopsis of a company’s stock performance each day from bits of text around the web.
“Ah, Mr. Kelly,” asks The Pessimist, with genuine amazement, “but will those journalist robots also be able to predict the future with alarming accuracy, as Wired Magazine has for the last two decades? Will they be able to accurately forecast the pending disappearance of the web browser (1997)? Or herald the arrival of 25-years of global prosperity (1997)? Prophetically anticipate the era of Dow 50,000 by the year 2010? (1999)”
And more importantly, after they spend decades doing so, will we not finally pick up the phone, call the manufacturer and yell, “You know that future-telling robot you sold me? It totally SUCKS!”
Unfortunately, despite the fact that Wired Magazine has a batting average that even she would’ve been embarrassed by, the Robot Job Invasion is real. (Hey, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in awhile.) How do we know? Because we’ve been warning about it for years. And in our next installment on this critically important story about your pending obsolescence, Despair will be providing you with critical tools with which to combat the pending invasion.
In the meantime, some cold comfort.