A new Pew study shows that while Americans know the robot job apocalypse is coming, they don’t think the robots are coming for their jobs. Just yours and mine. So it’s settled, we’re collectively in denial about the threat of the Machine Uprising. Not surprising when you consider how many people still believe the moon landings were a hoax or that climate change is “just some bad weather.”
We’ve written a lot about the Machine Uprising on B4J, from the robotification of workplaces, to the predicted elimination of millions of jobs in the coming years. If we’ve learned anything from all of this reading and writing and robot paranoia, it’s that no job is truly safe. How we work is in continual evolution, pushed on by technological innovations and transforming economic and social relations. The point is, predict all we want – we don’t know yet what the world of work will look like in 10 years, or which of us will still be working at what we do now.
And if that didn’t get you down, here are your Friday Five Reads:
Yup, it’s true. 80% of Americans are vaguely aware of the coming robot apocalypse but they aren’t worried for themselves. Respondents said they believe the world of work will “remain largely unchanged and exist in their current forms 50 years from now.” Ha ha, good luck with that.
Mashable raises the possibility of a universal basic income to help alleviate the affects of robot-related mass job losses.
The Atlantic takes a slightly different tack, exploring why so many American workers are convinced that their jobs are safe. It’s not just because we want to believe that everything is going to be ok, it’s that we’ve been conditioned to have strong feelings about robots, and as long as they’re vaguely cute or industrial, we think they’re operating on a principle of first do no harm.
Tech Insider reports that a new study by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers has analyzed the threat of robot replacement based on wages. Those making less than $20/hour have a much higher risk of seeing their jobs eliminated by robots.
Baidu’s chief scientist, Andrew Ng, says the robots are coming for our jobs but it might not all end in disaster. Ng is interested in how AI research and deep learning with improve current technologies and he does argue that a lot of us are facing unemployment. But he’s just not interested in worrying about the sky falling. After all, “worrying about killer robots today is like worrying about overpopulation on Mars.”
And if you weren’t emotional enough, a bonus read: How robots will kill the “gig economy“.