[ExI] The Robot Big Bang

Adrian Tymes atymes at gmail.com
Wed Feb 25 07:37:52 UTC 2015

Each of the items on this list can be argued to be true today.

On Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 6:51 AM, Carsten Zander <Carsten.Zander at t-online.de>

> The Robot Big Bang will have the following characteristics:
> - Robots will become very cheap and will spread rapidly around the world.

Relative to how expensive they used to be, and adjusted for inflation,
robots are cheaper now than they have been.

> - All simple activities can performed by robots.

"Simple" is another inexact term, but e.g. there are robots today that can
play chess, and manufacture things if shown how.

> - Most people will lose their jobs to robots.

Look no further than China and India, which together have over 35% of the
world's population.  See how many of their laborers have lost their jobs -
for an expansive version of "lost", including "never had the chance to
gain" - when automation could do it more cheaply.  They may now be doing
other jobs, even manufacturing jobs, but there are some manufacturing jobs
that are lost to them.

Repeat for other developing and third world countries until you get to over
50%, the dictionary definition of "most".

> - All people will need a basic income.

Has this ever not been true, so long as there has been anything resembling
civilization in which to have an income?  Again, using broad definition
that treats even a hunter-gatherer's, let alone a farmer's, food collection
as "basic income".

> - Robots themselves will be produced by robots.

There exist today many factories that employ robots to produce robots.

> - Robots will transmit their skills, knowledge and abilities to other
> robots.

One standard model of general-purpose industrial robot arm is set up so a
human can guide it through what it needs to do, and then the arm can
transmit what it has thus learned to other arms of its same model - by
command of humans, but it is still the robot that performs the transmission.

> - All people will be able to produce most things on their own with the
> help of robots and 3-D printers (3-D printers are like robots).

Technically true today.  As always there are varying levels of access to
the tools: those in the poorest or (especially) most repressed parts of the
world will never be allowed access to manufacture their own tools, and the
reasons why are not what more and better robots would address.  But for the
rest of the world, there exist paths by which they can gain access to and
use robots and 3D printers for manufacturing.
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