Is Absolute Automation Inevitable?

The intelligence of today’s robots has famously been likened to that of a lobotomized and mentally challenged cockroach, but even these “stupid” robots are already taking jobs away from humans. Automation technology is improving and becoming more capable every single day. Is it only a matter of time before robots are actually intelligent, and are able to perform practically every job that currently exists?

Ever since the first tool was used, mankind has been striving to make work – and life in general – easier. That is one of the great advantages of robots and automation. Through automation, we are able to get more things done, do them more efficiently, and do them with less effort. Automation is a wonderful thing, and it makes our lives easier.

However, is it possible that we will make life too easy? Will we perfect robots and automation to the point where they are capable of doing anything humans can do, but better, driving mankind out of the job market?

This is an interesting question, and one that deserves real consideration, especially as automation technology continues to improve at an exponential rate.

There are a couple of basic thoughts when it comes to answering this question.

One thought is that automation will take over low-skill jobs that are a waste of man’s time, but the high-skill jobs will be safe, and automation of low-skill jobs will lead to new jobs. Therefore, automation is good.

The other thought is that automation will take over all jobs regardless of skill level. This will render humans useless and put mankind in an unemployed pickle. Therefore, automation is bad.

At this point, there’s no real way to tell just how many jobs will be automated, and whether or not this will lead to mass unemployment for humans. There are clear advantages to automation (the manufacturing industry is a perfect example of how robots have pushed out large numbers of human workers), but it’s also hard to imagine that robots will become so advanced that people aren’t even needed.

We’ll leave the future of robotics to the theoretical physicists and roboticists. You’ve probably more concerned about the present state of your industrial machinery anyway. Give us a call for any of your Indramat needs!