12th February 2013
Scott Adams is a name-dropper…. and of course Bill was (and is) always right.
I know, I blog too often on the topic of robots in our future. I only do it because, seriously, dude, the future is totally robots. And that future will come at us hard. Our robot future is like an earthquake in the ocean that has already created the conditions for our tsunami. Now we’re just waiting.
Anyway, it feels good to know that Bill Gates agrees: Robots are the next big thing.
Which is like betting on automation in the 1800’s — yeah, it might take a while to get up to speed, but eventually it will happen. The question is … what follows?
Some say robots will take 75% of all jobs. But that is only a problem if the average person who has a job is unable to purchase his own robot when the time comes and lease its services to a corporation, or put it to work directly. The robot will work around the clock and send its “paycheck” to your bank account. In effect, humans will become investors while robots become labor.
I certainly hope that’s true. But I fear that there will be a lot of disruption between here and there.
In one respect I think that Scott’s innate optimism betrays him:
If you hate big government, robots are the solution. Someday technology will make just about every current function of government irrelevant, and the size and scope of government will shrink as a result. For example, when robots start doing all of the medical research, the speed of discoveries will increase a hundredfold. Robots will simply try every idea until someday there is a cheap pill that keeps your body young and healthy. The government will get out of the healthcare field when the cost of medical services becomes trivial, and I think robots will get us there. Your family robot will be more qualified than any human doctor. He’ll also do the cooking and shopping so you eat healthy. And once you are free of the need for a job you might have time to exercise.
Sorry, but as long as there are people who enjoy telling other people what to do, government will not shrink.
One thing that well-meaning ‘progressives’ never seem able to comprehend is that the growth of government isn’t due to complex problems that people want government to solve, but the growth of the number of individuals who see the increasing power of the tools at the government’s disposal as a wonderful toy with which to solve ‘problems’ that only they perceive … such as people not doing things their way. Mayor Bloomberg is the poster-child for this outlook.
Until Scott can come up with a robotic solution to the Bloombergs (and Obamas, and Pelosis, and Reids) of this world, big government will always be a danger.