Earlier, on my indomitable Faceball wall, in reply to my friend’s posting of this article that cautions leeriness in the face of dazzling and hypnotic new technologies, especially the 7th slide of “Robots doing your job,” I wrote,
The 50-75% I alluded to comes from this paragraph about the robots’ predicted role in our collective societal future:
We listed robots as one of the tech trends that will indelibly shape our future, but they’re shaping the present and not always for the good. Robot (or automated) labor has become a hot topic of late, and while the debate on its effects remain unsettle, the trend seems clear: robots are doing an ever-larger share of the work, leaving their human counterparts out of work. In an in-depth report, the Associated Press estimated that 50 to 75 percent of the American workforce could be unemployed thanks to robot labor.
It’s clear that robotics will present the next stage of our technological evolution that was initiated the moment our distant ancestors discovered how to harness fire. The progression is exponentially furious, and advancements, mind-boggling and occluded, are happening in the span of lifetimes now.
All technological evolution is designed to alleviate the human role in the repetitive rigors of daily life. There is no use fighting it…robotics are here to stay, and they will become unfathomably advanced in the coming decades to a degree such that they will be able to do the majority of human tasks that are today conducted by flesh and blood.
This is fine, but, what happens to the humans (at least, prior to the singularity when soulless robots experience no qualms about enslaving their human creators)?
Today’s paradigm is one that has been in place for centuries, but it is weakening daily. The paradigm states that we create value for others above us on the ladder of social importance (in fact, this is how one aspires to importance…by being on the receiving end of grand doses of created value). This is what fuels our society, this is the fuel that feeds to upward churning of creation and transference.
But with the ascendance of robots, the old model dies, and this was the gist of my Facebook post.
What becomes of the lowly humans?
What becomes of humans who are no longer worth anything because they have been usurped in efficiency and speed by far superior conglomerations of nuts and bolts?
How will mankind rediscover worth and utility?
This will be the new paradigm once we shape the path to new worth. One in which the bottom-to-top linkage of hierarchical utility loses all validity and relevance.
How will society value us?
Will value even be important? Will “value” morph and evolve as a concept?
Perhaps the new paradigm will call on us to lead a more nuanced existence than the polar/linear “what can I do for you, and what can you do for him…” tension of upward mobility.
I foresee that human groups will form “alliances” with groups of robots. All humans will be aligned with specific brands, types, or designs of robot. This will allow the old paradigm of hierarchy to assume itself again, but with robots as the catalyst.
At least until they enslave us.
The new paradigm will merely be the intermediate step to eventual robotic imprisonment.