Documenting the Coming Singularity

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Why We Shouldn't Fear the Robots

NYT - 6/21.14 by Steven Rattner

Let’s go back to first principles. Call it automation, call it robots, or call it technology; it all comes down to the concept of producing more with fewer workers. Far from being a scary prospect, that’s a good thing.
JUST over 50 years ago, the cover of Life magazine breathlessly declared the “point of no return for everybody.” Above that stark warning, a smaller headline proclaimed, “Automation’s really here; jobs go scarce.”

As events unfolded, it was Life that was nearing the point of no return — the magazine suspended weekly publication in 1972. For the rest of America, jobs boomed; in the following decade, 21 million Americans were added to the employment rolls.

Throughout history, aspiring Cassandras have regularly proclaimed that new waves of technological innovation would render huge numbers of workers idle, leading to all manner of economic, social and political disruption.

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