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Posts Tagged ‘Automation’

The Automatons

April 26, 2012 7 comments

Replaced Humans

Every single economic theory or philosophy whether it is capitalism or communism function under one primary assumption, humans are always doing work. In the past 50 years something has happened that puts all economic theories into jeopardy and the consequences are not science fiction, they are already happening. Humans are being replaced by automatons both in physical activity, by robots, and virtually with code.

Capitalism which to date has been the best system for rising quality of life has had an unexpected consequence that no one is truly confronting. Contrary to what idealists may believe capitalism doesn’t have the objective of creating jobs, instead jobs are a bi-product or a side effect of greed. If a CEO has the option of two employees that can do the same job as ten employees, if he is a capitalist, he will choose two. Employees are a huge expense, everyone knows it, but they are a requirement of scale. The system works perfect until you start cutting humans out. The side effect of creating jobs is being cured paradoxically by the very system everyone believes is supposed to create jobs.

Capitalism works perfect until you start cutting humans out.

Unemployment will continue to rise and everyone will continue to look at the traditional reason and this is highly problematic. Governments will dump money into companies who will throw it into R&D to create more advanced systems that cut more humans out.  Most developers are aware that their job usually involves making things that cut jobs. The more efficient the code, the less people are needed. When I write code there is the potential I could be writing an employee that will work 24 hours a day, and be 100% efficient; you won’t stand a chance no matter how nice your resume is. These problems will continue to snow ball and by the time everyone realizes that the biggest competition for a job isn’t a human but a mainframe, it may be too late.

The answers may be difficult, but a place to start is to realize that work generated by automatons at some point, even if it is a percentage, need to be redistributed socially. Since automatons don’t generate revenue for themselves, they can not spend their own work product. Without spending all economies will fall apart. If automatons are not taxed the only way anyone will be able to purchase anything is by enslaving themselves to corporations who will employ people not because they need them but because they can. If this happens it will make both robber barons and the darkest communism look like utopia. Even worse would be the situation that, in response to wide scale loss of jobs due to technology, humans respond by destroying technology and moving the world back in time in order to support dated economic systems.

Robotic Automation (Kiva)

In my post about Humans & Physical Labor I discussed that the need for human physical labor was declining. Amazon has announced that it will be acquiring a company named Kiva for 750 million. Now usually the idea of talking about fulfillment and warehouses would usually be pretty boring but this is far from it. Check out this video below and wait till about the 25 second mark.


As impressive as this is, this is only the first step in what will eventually be an almost completely automated process. From here, packages could then be loaded on to automated trucks which could then make their way to their various destinations with near surgical precision. This does beg the question though, can a human economy be sustained if rudimentary jobs keep getting replaced by Robots or will it require a fundamental rethinking of not only the human economy, but the human condition as well.

Categories: H+, Science Tags: , , , ,
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