Co.Create

Inevitable Robot Uprising More Inevitable Than Ever, Already Happening

A new video explores all the many ways you are being replaced by robots and what that will do to the economy and/or Skynet.

The inevitable robot uprising is coming for us all. Mechanical monsters are everywhere already, and they won't rest until they've snatched our jobs with their cold, steel robot-claws. Roomba was only the beginning.

A new 15-minute documentary called Humans Need Not Apply puts robotics into a historical perspective and also looks toward the future. Created by explainer video crew CGP Grey, the film examines the economic incentives of replacing workers with self-checkout stations and barista-robots--and those are just some of the lesser skilled forms of labor machines can do in our place. According to the video, robots are merely extensions of the tools we've been building for thousands of years; only now, just as mechanical muscle helped relieve physical labor, mechanical minds are taking over for the human brain.

In backing up these claims, CGP Grey shines a light on Baxter, a creepy/friendly general purpose robot, and Watson, the Jeopardy-killing IBM supercomputer who is also a doctor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Humans Need Not Apply also takes a rather thoughtful look at what will happen when self-driving cars begin taking over auto-based jobs like taxi and ambulance drivers. This scene, and by extension the whole video, is worth watching because it contains an imaginary conversation between horses from the early 20th century.

Perhaps some day robot scientists will invent robots who are programmed to be neurotic about losing their jobs to better robots.

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3 Comments

  • Saw this the other day, and while I think it's an interesting, even scary idea, I also think that making the majority of the skilled, educated human workforce redundant is a very dangerous thing that the "powers who be" will never allow to happen. It undermines the very idea of civilization and functioning societies and economies, where individuals TAKE PART as active citizens.

  • Dan Gilbert

    I was with you right up to the art bit; noone that has anything meaningful to add to art looks around and says "Hmmm, the market shows a demand for musicians at the moment, so I'll pursue a career in music." I'm guessing you aren't an artist to even think of it like that. Creativity is a compulsion, something you do ultimately for it's own end. An appreciative audience is nice, but they aren't there during those hours of practice and effort, and the promise of them alone will not sustain you to the point that you do anything worth noticing. It may be that computers can create better things than I can, but that's so trivial it's hardly worth mentioning, as there are other people that are better than me out there creating right now, and this fact hasn't put me off. If computers can do all the things that I wouldn't do without the promise of a paycheck and the threat of homelessness, let them. If they can also can do the things I want to do for their own ends, let them.