No robot will ever...

Today's XKCD strip, Reassuring, wittily illustrates Kevin Kelly's Seven Stages of Robot Replacement, which start with "1. A robot/computer cannot possibly do the tasks I do" and heads toward "5. OK, it can have my old boring job, because it’s obvious that was not a job that humans were meant to do."

Be sure you go to the original for the tooltip punchline.


Notable Replies

  1. Ironic that the phrase "no robot will ever" is mostly applied to stuff that people in the dawn of the space age assumed would have been taken over by robots ages ago. We probably could make a robot that mows your lawn, but it would be hard to make it cheaper than the $7/hour you can pay a Mexican to do it, and it probably would not do as good of a job.

  2. Yeah. They seem to be largely replacing middle class jobs. I'm totally looking forward to living in world with noting but $7 and hour jobs and a handful of billionaires. Gonna be fun.

  3. Moments later the Dell Inspiron suffered a system crash and waited patiently until a human could come press the reset button...

    If I'm going to get taken over by Dells at least let it be an Optiplex.

  4. The thing is, there are already several robotic mowers on the market. The trick will be getting the price down low enough to justify buying one vs. hiring a service.

    Further, stores are replacing cashiers with self-serve checkouts, there are robotic fry cookers and robotic burger assembly lines, and hell, I know people who make peanuts working as freelance sports reporters who are being replaced by AI. We won't even need to have assembly lines to build parts someday, just a handful of people who can make repairs to the printers and fabricators...well, until the robots are good enough and cheap enough to replace them.

    And the billionaires, busily funding this work to replace labor with machines, demand that we work. Doing what, exactly? And when none of us can get a job, who exactly needs all this stuff that would be built by the robotic labor?

    The future is looking a lot more dystopian than I used to think it would be.

  5. You can imagine the robot industries evolving to just support each other ( a lot of the human economy is just internal support ) the humans would subsist on hard won scraps at the edges of monstrous industrial "cities" that do nothing more than churn away at the landscape and become larger. At which point we will have served our "purpose" of getting nature over a tough place in evolution, and we will be consumed in the planet-wide upheaval as Earth is turned into a hungry and ambitious mining machine and sets out to devour the universe.

Continue the discussion

16 more replies