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2101 - Nothing New Under the Sun Chapter Four Robotics

Robotics

This is Chapter four. More to follow. This is from the series (book) 2101 - Nothing New Under the Sun.

Robotics

TODAY

Robotics performs much of the daily maintenance of most things.  They are programmed into most life functions such as home repair and cleaning, transportation, personal items, food acquisition and preparation, etc.  One can choose to do those things or allow the programming to complete them.  Some have chosen industrial looking robotics to complete specialized tasks usually requiring more robotics while others have chosen to use more human looking robotics to complete a variety of tasks.

Over time the cost of automation/robotics has been greatly reduced.  Over the last 20 years many robotics and other integrated systems have been available on the secondary market and even those with the most limited resources have robotics to easy the amount of time to complete daily and other routine tasks.

Robotics along with gains in artificial intelligence and electronics can be seen everywhere including transhumanism.  Robotics and automation are often used synonymously.  If there were a distinction it would be robotics are the machines that accomplish a particular process or processes.  Automation is the interconnectedness among robotics as well as the use of AI to integrate routine actions and activities over time that require adjustments in a changing environment, such as humans or other robotics not integrated within the current coordinating system such as humans rearranging the furniture or adding a tree to the front yard.

The economic turmoil of a decade ago has become much better.  People are adjusting to the impact of robotics and how they live their lives.  They also have become more accepting of the way they acquire income and what it means to be retired at birth.  This has challenged the view where we defined ourselves by the work we did to defining ourselves by the values, ideals, and view of ourselves we hold.  We are just now seeing the beginning of the second generation under this social reorganization leading to the idea of retired at birth.

HISTORY

The following two articles will provide an overview of robotics and automation.

Reprinted from Discover, June 2061, The Coming Robotic Revolution.

“The robotic evolution was already well along the way centuries ago.  Tools led the way as extensions of our hands.   Then came improvements to tools to the point we changed the name and started calling them machines.  Following machines came improved communications and computers.  Computer control of machines was the next major step in the robotics evolution.  As robotics developed, so did artificial intelligence.  With the quickening of innovation, the evolution is becoming a revolution.

Look around you, what do you see?  Everywhere you look there is a new automated machine to accomplish a routine task.  Years ago cars became able to drive independent of humans.  More and more tasks are able to be done independent of humans.  Lawn mowing is no longer a weekend chore.  Sweeping and mopping can be done by a mobile vacuum or mop.  Even painting a room or house can be done by a robot.  This is just what one sees in daily living.  But what is happening in industry.

Robotics wasn’t the first to replace human jobs.  Machines of the industrial age were the first, but the desire for living improvements only fueled the need for more and better machines along with the humans to run them.  However, today the number of jobs in industry are being replaced by robots at an increasing rate and these machines, robots with the use of AI, avoid the need for humans to operate them unlike during the industrial age.  According to the International Commerce Alliance, in 2059 robots were over 15% of the global industrial workforce.  They predict that in the next 10 years it will double.  Members of the G11 are leading the way with over 28%.  Even those nations lagging have a robotic workforce of over 8%.  In this same review by the ICA, any growth in new jobs resulted in only 13% requiring a human to accomplish the task. 

What does this mean for the rest of us?  Over the last 10 years the number of jobs worldwide has stabilized while the population has continued to expand.  According to the U.S. Commerce Department, the unemployment rate of 9.2% will continue to rise.  A large and growing percentage of the workforce has already exited the workforce.  The trend in under and unemployment will continue. 

The service sector is not immune to the use of robots.  We all have contacted a business only to have an automated system answer our question or fixed our concern.  Fast food has become more like vending machines.  Receptionists are replaced with automated Nancys and Neils.  Each robot or machine that replaces a human adds to the unemployment trend.  The overall effect on society has yet to be determined.

Robots come in all sizes and shapes and transhumanism also may have some impact.  The most intriguing of course happens to be the robots that look and talk like humans.  However, they are complex and expensive.  More likely you will interact with a less sophisticated robot.  It will be an arm that offers you something.  It will be a slot you place something into and another slot you take something out.  It will look more like a machine then a human.  However, the task they are expected or programmed to do, they do it at least as well as a human and likely much better and at an accelerated rate.

With the addition of artificial intelligence, robots need little human control or management to provide the desired outcomes.  With cradle to grave automation being a new development of an old idea, programmers are programming robots using AI to interface with other robots.  This makes it possible for robots to analyze a new and unique situation and develop an appropriate response to incorporate the new situation into an acceptable outcome or process.  Therefore, robotics can locate raw material, transport it to a specified location, process the material, package it, and transport it to its end user. 

MIT and USC have working prototypes of automated robotics that can design robots, processes, and systems as well as produce the robotics necessary to produce an end user product.  Thus in the near future, the designers, operators, and managers will also be able to be replaced by robotics and automation.  There are others working to develop AI entities that will be able to predict new needs and desires and direct those automated robotics of the future.”

Reprinted from Government Technology February 2078, Robotics for Today.

“For the last 10 years a growing unrest among the U.S. population has resulted from an explosion in robotics as well as transhumanism that has been introduced into nearly every aspect of life.  With the introduction of robots producing robotics for most of the new needs in work performance and replacing existing human work activities, the acceleration of robotics and unrest run hand in hand.  As more families find no one working or bringing in an income, the gap between the haves and have nots is accelerating.  With nearly 42% of households without a single earner, poverty of the 2030’s looks like near utopia.  The non-partisan Association of Business Entities has stated in 2077 that by 2085, just seven years, as many as 85% of families will not have a single individual in the workforce. 

The non starvation policies of the last seven years is failing to meet the huge demand for sustaining even a minimal living conditions.  This is putting pressure on governments and by extension businesses particularly those at nearly 100% robotic automated.  Even with the move toward more heavily taxing robotics, business owners are the only section of society actually benefiting.  Just as in the late 1900’s and early 2000’s, the rich continue to own even more of the resources and income.  Now the rich, approximately 4% of the population, own or control nearly 97% of all the resources, assets, and annual income.  While the U.S. has the most dramatic inequality, only a handful of countries are not moving toward similar outcomes.  The robotic explosion of the last 15 years is changing the world in more ways then even imagined 25 years ago.  Most of those changes have not benefited society overall.

With the growing daily demonstrations and joining of groups that only a few years ago were unfriendly to each other, these demonstrations can no longer be ignored by lawmakers as well as business owners and therefore the rich.  The tax policy is completely inadequate to address the concerns.  While the cost of goods and services have remained constant or slightly declined over the last 25 years, the lack of family incomes doesn’t allow for families to survive.  This issue has created unique coalitions among politicians and even within the three major parties it is hard to understand which one a given politician belongs to.

A group formed a few years ago under the assistance of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Council of Universities has been working on proposals to alleviate the effects of families without income.   The group is now working with the U.S. Legislative Reserve.  The USLR has been working on this for nearing a decade but the pace has become frantic as they work to develop/design appropriate and acceptable proposals to better address the growing unrest.  They have agreed on principles that any solution will need to consider.  One concept often commented about has been the idea of what would life look like if everyone was “retired at birth”. 

They have ruled out the ideas that a tax policy alone can fix the problems created.  Also ruled out is government takeovers of industries, however the Alaskan model used for distribution of profits from oil has a following.  Ideas that have been considered and offer some possible models are social security and anti-poverty programs.  Cooperatives and profit sharing concepts such as profit sharing with the local community to provide direct payments to local families have also been seriously discussed.  One more serious possibility is the idea of universal basic income.  As of this writing the USLR has not forwarded any proposals for government action.

The one thing everyone acknowledges at this point is that if something doesn’t change lawfully and soon, the people will change things and it will likely not be an orderly change.  As of today, there have been large scale demonstrations with some devolving into riots.  Some states have had to call out the national guard as in other significant demonstrations or riots of the past, but if a solution is not soon identified, cities and states will have more than just a few riots to contain.”

FUTURE

The robotics revolution and the resulting social reorganization has allowed almost everyone to have almost their entire waking hours to pursue their personal desires.  The next several decades will likely help define what self actualization of an entire society and likely the human race will be.  Can the human minds within entire societies keep themselves engaged for 16 to 18 hours per day?  Even with the individual technology of fourth generation holographs, gaming technology, arts, travel, pharmacology, and numerous other possibilities, entertainment and distraction may not be sufficient to meet social and psychological demand of human nature.

As for transhumanism, i.e., new robotics, automation, artificial intelligence, and integration with bionics, within the next century it will become increasingly difficult to determine who is human and who is robotic.  Definitions have continued to be difficult to apply because the variety of humanness continue to grow.  What will be the rights and responsibilities of transhumans that are more bionic robots or more bionic humans?  There has already been many proposals but none have been accepted with legal standing.  

The expected human population reduction over the next 75 years provides a discouraging narrative for the human portion of civilization.  It may well be that by the end of the 22nd century fully human will be something of the past.  Just as we discovered small amounts of Neanderthal DNA in most European people in the early 2000’s, we may in the next several centuries note the small amount of human “DNA” in the transhumans or Bionic Race of our future.

 

 

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Copyright © Copyright © 2019 by Milo Kelley. All rights reserved.

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