Friday, December 6, 2013

The Robots are Coming. Encourage your Children to Major in STEM Fields

  • After posting this photo on facebook recently a friend commented:  "Thats what they look like already. What is your point?".
    My point is that although they have them at home depot and other places it's not the norm...yet. By the way I hate these. My point was that robots are coming. Soon. Within the next 10 years. And that raising the minimum wage will accelerate it by making it financially more viable to replace labor with automation. You don't need imagination to see it. We are very very close already. Now as I have posted previously, I realize President Hillary Clinton will combat this by simply slapping a tax on the robotic station, the robotic hamburger maker, the Amazon delivery droid, the agricultural robot, etc and use this tax to pay unemployment benefits and food stamps. But my point is why accelerate this pain and higher joblessness by raising the minimum wage? If we were smart the tax President Clinton slaps on the robots would go to train people to work on robots. The universities should be discouraged from training more archeologists and history majors and encourage STEM majors (Science Technology Engineering & Math). Instead, because politicians are always stupid (and behind the curve) and because our university system is full of professors with stagnant skills and tenure, the tax will go to have people lay around in hammocks. Which would be fine if it increased human happiness. But I daresay it won't. It will breed MORE class envy and resentment. 

    My friend said " I hate robots also. These machines are in all of the grocery stores around here. I can see the day when they will take away our drivers license in lieu of self driving cars, etc. The problem we need to solve is that we have hard working people who are working full time and still are on government assistance because they can't survive on what they make. These people can't afford an apartment and food let alone health insurance, a car or classes at the local community college."

    I replied: Yup and it's about to get worse. It will no longer be an option to drop out of high school, or take some schlock major in College. Those on the lower end of the education spectrum will be hit hardest. It won't matter if you work hard. You will need brain power too.

    Momentum Machines has announced the hamburger robot that makes and serves up to 340 hamburgers per hour.  The next version will offer custom meat grinds for every single customer. Want a patty with 1/3 pork and 2/3 bison ground to order? No problem.  Agricultural robots are getting better. Imagine a fire fighting robot. It doesn't even take much programming to point a hose at the bright light and heat and try not to wet down the people. If cities can save a 70K firefighter salary and pension you bet they will. Waitress? I heard Applebee's restaurant is planning on putting WiFi tablets at every table so you can pay your bill or place a desert orderNot to mention Amazon delivery drones.  Taxi and truck drivers? Have you watched the blind guy get into a self driving car?  Sure, it will probably take a long time to make self driving cars legal (they already are in Nevada with a co-pilot).  You can bet professional drivers will delay acceptance even more. But if you're a young person do you think it's wise to become a truck driver? Life is good in America compared to other places.  I hope we become leaders in this field but we are in danger of losing to the Koreans, Chinese, and Japanese. Can you imagine the protests all over the world when truck drivers are replaced? Will that be evil corporations fault? You can't stop it. All you can do is tax it. Business owners like me will be pissed when you do that. But such is the dance of life.

    Google recently announced the existence of a previously secret robot division.  These won’t be robots for the consumer but will be instead focus on automating manufacturing and the supply chain.  The first company they bought was Meka. Look how Lifelike the thing is:

    The next Google purchase company is Industrial Perception.  I find it comical to watch this robot chuck boxes just like a real UPS loader.  It even watches to see where it has heaved them. The box that looks like beer bottles is treated no differently than any of the others. 


    And who hasn't seen the small robots that lift entire Amazon warehouse shelves into location for human packers to ship boxes?  Perhaps a performance of the Nutcracker Ballet will convince you things are getting interesting. 


    OK maybe just one more.  This is my favorite robot video because it sends a chill down my spine to think of something like this used by police to kick down a door.  Those of you who value guns as a last protection against government think about what good your fancy semi-auto assault rifle will do against police equipped with a Wildcat that has a shotgun strapped to it's back.

    So how do I summarize all this?  The future is coming rapidly.   Please encourage your children to learn to program and work on computers, electronics and robots or be left behind as one of the millions who will be put out of work.

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