Arnold Kling  

Another Story to Watch

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Bill Gates writes,


How soon will robots become part of our day-to-day lives? According to the International Federation of Robotics, about two million personal robots were in use around the world in 2004, and another seven million will be installed by 2008. In South Korea the Ministry of Information and Communication hopes to put a robot in every home there by 2013. The Japanese Robot Association predicts that by 2025, the personal robot industry will be worth more than $50 billion a year worldwide, compared with about $5 billion today.

...as mobile peripheral devices become more and more common, it may be increasingly difficult to say exactly what a robot is. Because the new machines will be so specialized and ubiquitous--and look so little like the two-legged automatons of science fiction--we probably will not even call them robots. But as these devices become affordable to consumers, they could have just as profound an impact on the way we work, communicate, learn and entertain ourselves as the PC has had over the past 30 years.


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CATEGORIES: Growth: Consequences



COMMENTS (3 to date)
Caliban Darklock writes:

I already have a robot that vacuums my house. There's another available that mops. Like Bill said, they don't really look like robots, so we don't call them robots.

It's interesting to me that when most people whine that they wish they had a robot, and fantasise about what they would do with one, it sounds very much like what they really want is a slave - something with the capabilities of a human being, but no rights or privileges, which can be directed at the whim of its owner.

Ivan writes:

"it sounds very much like what they really want is a slave"

yes.

why would an automaton need rights?

once the robots are smart enough to evoke serious emotional & intellectual responses, their owners will be demanding rights for them. This will be long before the robots are smart enough to demand rights for themselves.

Something similar when comparing roaches to dogs. The former are automatons and don't need rights. The latter don't demand rights but humans do it for them.

Note that Bill Gates is completely outside the loop on robotics. Microsoft is trying to get into the value chain of robotics, and that will hopefully fail. They have less than nothing to offer.

This is a story to watch, but it won't be microsoft's.

Mr. Econotarian writes:

My dogs often demand their rights...

...to my food...
...to sleep in bed with me...
...to eat the birds outside the window...
...to lick whomever comes through the door...

If your dogs never demand their rights, or at least what they think is their rights, you must be Cesar Milan!

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