You thought Godzilla was scary? Wait until Nextage emerges fully grown from Japan:
Japanese firm Kawada Industries is on the leading edge of a growing industry that threatens to become a major disruptive force in the coming years: automated labor.
At a recent robot expo, Kawada showed off Nextage, a human-shaped robotic laborer the company says is intended to “work alongside” people. In actuality, the robot could end up replacing people whose job it is to carry out menial tasks on assembly lines. And at just 1,500 watts of power consumption while it is working — less than some hair dryers — the device or one like it could one day become a compelling alternative to sweat shop labor.
That much seems to be true for Chinese electronics manufacturer Foxconn, notorious for paying workers a pittance and demanding long hours. The company said earlier this year that it would build a robot manufacturing facility, and that it hoped to replace most of its workforce with automation in the next three years.
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Mebbe, but there’s no way a robot could do what I did for a living. No, seriously, it’s impossible. They might be able to do measurements and narrow down options but what I did for a living requires a kind of thought process that robots will never be able to model. And it takes years to develop any kind of mastery of it.
So, why are so many of us laid off? Beats me.
I can understand if we have robots to do menial work. Theoretically, that frees up a lot of people to do art or dance or take care of children. All that needs to happen is for the culture to adapt to this new technological environment. Cut back on work hours, relocate workers so they are less centralized, reward art, design, music, poetry, woodworking, childrearing, elevate workers who think in ingenius ways. Spread the dignity of working at what you do best and let the robots do the rest. In short, become more like Denmark with a lot of mechanical helpers.
What’s the problem, exactly?