[FoRK] Making robotics a priority

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Mon Jul 11 20:43:34 PDT 2011


On 7/11/11 4:20 PM, Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo wrote:
> So let's see if I've got this right: robots give us the ability to create lots more stuff to consume while, simultaneously, making it harder for us to earn the money necessary to purchase all that stuff (e.g. fewer jobs).  Is that about right?
>
> I'm, in large part, referring to the number one bullet: "Increase the productivity of workers in the manufacturing sector".
>
> In this context, "increase the productivity of workers" means only one thing: put a bunch of those workers out of work.  It does not increase the productivity of workers one bit. What it increases the productivity of is money, not people.
>
> And you think this is a Good Thing?  Good enough to make it some sort of priority?
>
> Could you explain?  In monosyllables, please, so even a dummy like me can comprehend.

How many textile workers do we have in the US?  Shoe makers?  Sports equipment makers? Toy makers? Electronics assembly?
Outside of boutique businesses or startups that haven't bloomed yet, essentially zero.  Those workers that you're worried are going 
to put out of a job?  They already were.  How do you reverse the tide?  Worker multipliers.  And worker multipliers that rely on 
innovation cycles of creativity, technology, investment, stable information economies, nice market, etc.  Now where might that work??

Worrying about obsolete careers and non-competitive worker positions is about as useful as pining for the days where every (middle 
class+) house had a horse to do the heavy lifting/pulling.

Concentrate on the competitiveness of the economy first, then worry about how to keep everyone busy.  Or don't worry about that at 
all because you can't predict it and trying to address it by holding technology back is pretty much the dead end that Communist 
central planning was, and for the same reason.  Figure out the best way to be competitive, determine what problems need to be 
solved, then go for it.

If "we" don't solve it, someone else will.  Singapore, having no land and few people, is making a pretty good run at it.  If you 
have the machines/AI that others don't, you don't need much else to pretty much put everyone out of work for each industry you master.

If "we" do solve it, then we'll share with everyone most likely and, after the dust settles on the Robot Revolution and AI 
Revolution, people with menial jobs will find other kinds of work.  And we'll mostly work less and get closer to a post-scarcity 
world in more senses than now.

sdw

>
>                 ...ken...
>
>
> --- On Mon, 7/11/11, Stephen Williams<sdw at lig.net>  wrote:
>
>> From: Stephen Williams<sdw at lig.net>
>> Subject: [FoRK] Making robotics a priority
>> To: "Friends of Rohit Khare"<fork at xent.com>
>> Received: Monday, July 11, 2011, 1:38 AM
>> Cool.  One of the things that I
>> suggested.
>>
>>  From a message about the 7th Annual ROBO Business
>> Leadership Summit in Boston:
>>
>> Developing Next Generation of Robots
>> As reported on the White House Office of Science and
>> Technology Policy Blog<http://app.bronto.com/public/?q=ulink&fn=Link&ssid=5300&id=4o47kxqiboeunv5aans9furuhelrx&id2=clz1athyo7mtbbifgfd0xsvugtw7e&subscriber_id=aqybpnjdxergefdnduhqhaxlurgmbhl&delivery_id=afrvubmgqvjlqygxsszaehmwgyagbka&tid=3.FLQ.A20W2A.DX4b.L0vp..OibN.b..l.BFeW.b.ThZDag.ThZDag.nvJ_0w>,
>> *the Administration has decided to make robotics a priority
>> because:*
>>
>>     * Robotics can address a broad range of
>> national needs such as advanced manufacturing, logistics,
>> services, transportation,      homeland
>> security, defense, medicine, healthcare, space exploration,
>> environmental monitoring, and agriculture;
>>
>>     * Robotics technology is reaching a
>> “tipping point” and is poised for explosive growth
>> because of improvements in core
>>       technologies such as
>> microprocessors, sensors, and algorithms;
>>
>>     * Robotics can play an important role in
>> science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
>> education because it
>>       encourages hands-on learning and
>> the integration of science, engineering, and creative
>> thinking; and
>>
>>     * Members of the research community such
>> as the Computing Community Consortium and program managers
>> in key sciences have
>>       developed a shared vision and an
>> ambitious technical agenda for developing next-generation
>> robotic systems that can safely
>>       work with humans and augment human
>> capabilities.
>>
>>
>> http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/06/24/developing-next-generation-robots
>>
>>
>>
>>   Developing the Next Generation of Robots
>>
>> Posted by Tom Kalil and Sridhar Kota on June 24, 2011 at
>> 10:14 AM EDT
>>
>> Today, in a speech at Carnegie Mellon University, President
>> Obama is launching the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership
>> <http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/06/24/president-obama-launches-advanced-manufacturing-partnership>,
>> a research initiative that will promote a renaissance of
>> American manufacturing.
>>
>> One exciting element of the President’s Advanced
>> Manufacturing Partnership is the National Robotics
>> Initiative<http://nsf.gov/nri>.  Robots are working for us
>> every day, in countless ways.  At home, at work, and on
>> the battlefield, robots are increasingly lifting the burdens
>> of tasks that are dull, dirty, or dangerous.
>>
>> But they could do even more, and that’s what the National
>> Robotics Initiative is all about. So today, four agencies
>> (the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of
>> Health, NASA, and the United States Department of
>> Agriculture) are issuing a joint solicitation that will
>> provide up to $70 million in research funding for
>> next-generation robotics.
>>
>> The focus of this initiative is on developing robots that
>> work with or beside people to extend or augment human
>> capabilities, taking advantage of the different strengths of
>> humans and robots.  In addition to investing in the
>> core technology needed for next-generation robotics, the
>> initiative will support applications such as robots that
>> can:
>>
>>     * Increase the productivity of workers in
>> the manufacturing sector;
>>     * Assist astronauts in dangerous and
>> expensive missions;
>>     * Help scientists accelerate the
>> discovery of new, life-saving drugs; and
>>     * Improve food safety by rapidly sensing
>> microbial contamination.
>>
>> The initiative will also accelerate progress in the field
>> by requiring researchers to share the software and robotics
>> operating systems they develop or contribute to, and funding
>> the purchase of robotics platforms.
>>
>> The Administration has decided to make robotics a priority
>> because:
>>
>>     * Robotics can address a broad range of
>> national needs such as advanced manufacturing, logistics,
>> services, transportation,      homeland
>> security, defense, medicine, healthcare, space exploration,
>> environmental monitoring, and agriculture;
>>     * Robotics technology is reaching a
>> “tipping point” and is poised for explosive growth
>> because of improvements in core
>>       technologies such as
>> microprocessors, sensors, and algorithms;
>>     * Robotics can play an important role in
>> science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
>> education because it
>>       encourages hands-on learning and
>> the integration of science, engineering, and creative
>> thinking; and
>>     * Members of the research community such
>> as the Computing Community Consortium<http://www.cra.org/ccc>  and program managers
>>       in key sciences have developed a
>> shared vision and an ambitious technical agenda for
>> developing next-generation robotic
>>       systems that can safely work with
>> humans and augment human capabilities.
>>
>> We want to thank the team of agency program managers that
>> worked on development of this solicitation.  We also
>> want to encourage leaders in industry and academia to
>> partner with the Administration as we work to promote U.S.
>> leadership in next-generation robotics and its
>> applications.
>>
>> /Tom Kalil is Deputy Director for Policy at OSTP/
>>
>> /Sridhar Kota is Assistant Director for Advanced
>> Manufacturing at OSTP
>>
>> /
>>
>>
>>
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