Many of us have been following a variety of press comment on the useful Pew report on the attitudes of “experts” to the Big Question: Will robotics destroy more jobs than it creates? Since the “experts” were split almost exactly down the middle, expertise in this and related fields would seem to provide no clear wisdom on the fundamental question. And that question of course goes way, way beyond there being a net deficit of job creation. If robotics does not result in a whole slew of new jobs, and jobs that can be done by the kind of people who are around, it is likely to destroy much of the employment economy.
There are many reasons why we should see this as an uprecedented situation, at root because in robotics we are creating not adjunct tools to facilitate human productivity but a fresh species of worker.
What is clear is this: From a risk perspective, the implications of one half of the experts being correct are cataclysmic, and should be preoccupying policymakers night and day. But they aren’t.
I raised some hard questions on this theme in my recent TEDx talk in Brazil. And I plan to keep coming back to them.