WASHINGTON, February 11, 2015 — Robots and automation are appearing more and more regularly in our lives, and they are likely to increase their penetration all around us.
One new area of increased automation is fast food restaurants. McDonald’s and other chains are looking at replacing workers with robots to avoid the never-ending pay increases required by human workers.
Marshall Brain believes that “automated checkout lines and kiosks that are popping up in places like Home Depot and McDonald’s are the first messengers of this robotic takeover. When the robots start arriving in massive numbers to take half the jobs in America, the effects will be profound.” Brain believes that within a decade, even human pilots will be replaced by automated systems.
Common sense and observation support these beliefs.
While some fear the encroachment of robots, they provide valuable services. Robots save energy, work only when needed and are idle when they are not needed. They can work in the dark and undertake dangerous jobs. Already, robots are helping with bomb diffusement and disposal. Robots never tire, they take on mundane and unpleasant work, and they can self-diagnose problems when the occur.
The progress of the robot must be taken in consideration with the technology of the day. To say a robot is taking over misses the larger scenario, which is that technology is taking over. That has always been the case.
The reason why we now fear this technology is a social issue of today.
Society fears robots and increased automation because it is seen as helping only the elite. There is little belief that robots will make a better world for everyone, or that they will increase the life situation of the average individual.
In fact, we should welcome robots. We should not throw away the belief that any assistance human beings receive for making life easier is welcome. Robots were created to help, to assist, and aide in further creativity and ingenuity.
People often fear change. The fears of the Luddites of the industrial revolution proved unfounded. Instead, we entered a time of colonization and new markets.
What ever the future may be, we must remember that rights are not taken away by robots. They are taken by humans. It is humans who abuse technology, in most instances legitimized by the political machinery. The camera does not put itself in the changin room to snap inappropriate photos; that is the work of humans. Likewise, robots will not give themselves commands to blow up a house, the program put in them – designed by a human – will determine that.
Free speech, to be treated and be given equal protection from laws, the right to believe in what you want, are rights constrained only by human beings. It is never for the good of a common man when a law gives others more rights and protections.
Greater automation, like all technologies before, will bring forth humans who want to control others. Some people will feel the need for tyranny. They believe they must constrain others to spare themselves.
Do not fear robots. No society will last long without being forced to change its economic model to suit the reality of technological advancement, if it creates goods and services. With people having no jobs and therefore no capacity to purchase goods and services, how will it survive? A new economic model means a different mode of existence, with advantages and pitfalls.
We can never allow changes to an economic model to take rights away in whatever name. No economic model has any right to exist that destroys liberty. Liberty is the core philosophy around a just economic system, if it cannot be built around liberty it should be discarded.
The problem is not robots. It is those who seek to stomp on liberty, freedom and a free economic system.