I, for one, welcome our robot overlords

A short essay that got out of hand and became a long essay

Automation is coming. It’s coming sooner than you think. Self-driving cars are getting better every day. Artificial intelligence is getting better every day. Dozens of companies are throwing money at the problem; dozens of different technological innovations are converging. Within my lifetime, and probably much sooner than that, we’re going to see the Apple II of general purpose robotics, and then it’s game over.

It’s no secret that middle class, blue-collar jobs have been bleeding away for decades. For the average Joe, a large percentage of the jobs remaining are either retail, manual labor, or driving. And we’ve already got self driving vehicles. It’s only a matter of time before these are widely implemented, and then you can kiss driving jobs (the most popular jobs in 29 states, the trucking industry accounting for 8.7 million jobs) goodbye.

And what’s left? Yes, there are still actual grown-up career jobs out there. But cashiers and retail salespeople alone make up six percent of the workforce. Throw in janitorial, food service,and warehousing, and you’re up to something like twenty percent.

Keeping that in mind, watch the following two videos and ask yourself how much longer it’s going to be Continue reading