[FoRK] Making robotics a priority

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Mon Jul 11 20:44:01 PDT 2011


See below.

On 7/11/11 5:15 PM, Joe Reneker wrote:
> Robots can be viewed as just another form of capital investment. From the
> perspective of a factory owner, they are simply more productive machines.
> It's like switching from hand tools to electrically powered tools. By
> purchasing these better machines, the overall productivity of workers in a
> factory increases.
>
> Take, for example, CNC metal working equipment which are essentially very
> dumb robots. Even though they do work machinists used to do, they're hardly
> autonomous. Instead of machinists, many factories now hire CNC operators. At
> the bottom line, factories with CNC machines produce goods at lower cost
> than a factory with manually operated tooling.
>
> While it's easy to argue that technological improvements supplant workers,
> recognize that people have probably been complaining about this since the
> industrial revolution. Recall the plight of the neighborhood ice delivery
> man at the introduction of widespread artificial refrigeration. A good
> politician would point out that workers are being freed to be more
> productive elsewhere in the economy.
>
> I suppose the broader point of the original post is that robots will soon be
> capable of performing most non-creative labor. Whether it's a good thing is
> probably irrelevent, as it's a technological inevitability. It's not like
> some minor government investment is going to appreciably speed up
> development of this tech. Robots are something that society will necessarily
> come to grips with, one way or another.
>
> -Joe
>
> ...This is my first post. I'm kind of new, but I've lurked for a while.

Good one!

...
sdw



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