Machines Will Do That

By Deane Barker on January 1, 2013

Better Than Human: This is an essay by Kevin Kelly – one of the smartest guys I’ve ever personally met.  It’s either disconcerting, or redeeming.  I’m not sure which.

In it, he explains that we’re more or less just developing a robot population to do work.

Two hundred years ago, 70 percent of American workers lived on the farm. Today automation has eliminated all but 1 percent of their jobs, replacing them (and their work animals) with machines. But the displaced workers did not sit idle. Instead, automation created hundreds of millions of jobs in entirely new fields. Those who once farmed were now manning the legions of factories that churned out farm equipment, cars, and other industrial products.

He explains that life is a continual process of handing off work to machines.  Things we did before, we have machines for now.  Things we do now, we will have machines for in the future. By then, I assume we’ll have found things the machines can’t do…yet. But, eventually, they’ll do those things too and we’ll be off finding new things and someday passing those too “backwards” to the machines while we forge onward.

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