Artificial intelligence and robotics stir up a lot of emotions.
Some say that they are created to cut down cost for CEO's and create larger profit margins by reducing staff costs, leaving human lives unemployed and shattered.
Others say it is to create a more sustainable society and relieve humans from hard and monotonous work.
Neither of these statements are right, nor are they wrong.
There are just as many reasons for turning to a robot as there are companies out there. But in the end, any job that can be filled with a robot, should. And we have to create a society where our capacity is valued beyond what we produce for monetary compensation.
I myself can't wait for the day that a robot can do the type of analytics I do today. Eliminating the time it takes to go from hypothesis to finding. is essential if we are to speed up scientific progress. On a personal level, I would love to outsource daily chores to robots, it would free up countless hours a year for creating prototypes and just playing with my kids!
Robots replaced humans in the industrial world, which lead to despair for non-educated routine workers. We knew that day would come yet we didn't prepare, as a society, for repurposing these excellent minds that could be shaped and used in other parts of the industrial world. They were left on their own. And already at an initial stage, robots had earned an unjustly bad reputation. We can't let it happen again. We need to educate the future generation with the future in mind. Our educational reforms have to be about the world they will live in 20 years from now instead of the one we live in now. We can't shape their minds based on the past, send them in to the future and then hope they'll figure it out. I know we're a species with the collective memory of a gold fish, but at least this we should be able to avoid with simple steps.
1) Making coding and engineering a part of the curriculum for ALL students already at age 6. (This is already slowly happening in many countries)
3) Don't wait for technological progress to reach developing countries., spearhead them. Clean water and a basic education are of importance, but we shouldn't underestimate the detrimental impact of digital exclusion.
And most importantly, let's prepare the world economy for it. Perhaps we need to start creating an infrastructure which allows basic salary for all citizens and embracing digital currencies. But that is an oversimplification that deserves a post on its own.
So instead of fearing robots, we should prepare for them and restructure our society to embrace them. Change is happening with or without our consent.
And to all those who fear a Terminator-like apocalypse: my own personal opinion is that a self aware robot would most likely want to build a spaceship and leave us. Go for a more energy-dense planet without the hassle of non-logical, highly energy consuming and unproductive humans. Thus the only fear I have, is that they will realize just how useless WE are.