DC Residents Now Share Sidewalks with Food Delivery Robots

Robot food delivery in the neighborhood has been chatted up on the news as the cool new tech thing about to happen, being tested and now it’s here.

The flagship robot delivery fleet rolled out on Wednesday in Washington DC.

The robots are doing the deliveries, although human minders will accompany the machines for now.

The little robots […]

New York Times Reports Automation-Fueled Job Loss in the Oil Patch

The automation job wrecker got a rare front-page spot on Monday’s New York Times, where the oil industry was the subject:

Blue-collar worker Eustasio Velazquez, 44, succinctly described the situation of many when he observed, “I don’t see a future. Pretty soon every rig will have one worker and a robot.”

And that one worker will be a tech-trained […]

Martin Ford Interview: What to Do about Robots Taking Jobs

Martin Ford, the author of Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, visited Australia recently for some speaking and media appearances. In a radio interview, he made the point that the old fix of education won’t work this time because the technology is too advanced and continues to move ahead […]

NPR Debates Whether Computers Will Crush Entire Career Categories

National Public Radio has a fair-and-balanced piece about whether automation will put many millions of people out of work: Andrew McAfee, co-author of The Second Machine Age, says Yes and David Autor, an MIT economist, says No. The report is pretty good for less than four minutes of radio.

Obviously my observation is that smart machines […]

“Rise of the Robots” Author Martin Ford Speaks in San Francisco

I just got my copy of Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future delivered from Amazon (famous for its Kiva automated warehouses), and the package definitely looked machine-friendly. It was not an envelope, but two pieces of lightweight cardboard pressed together. So presumably the book about robots taking human jobs […]

Public Broadcasting Notes Smart Machine’s Effect on Employment

The PBS Newshour had a segment on the automation threat to jobs this week, a good sign that the workplace revolution is becoming more widely recognized and discussed.

On the down side, I’ve seen almost no debate of how the economy is supposed to work when human workers are rapidly becoming obsolete, from strawberry pickers to […]

Airline Pilot and Journalist Are Jobs Threatened by Smart Machines

In July 2013, an Asiana airliner from Korea smacked into the seawall at the edge of the San Francisco Airport runway on approach and crashed, killing three and injuring dozens.

After the evidence was analyzed, one causal factor determined was that the pilot wasn’t prepared to fly the plane manually during the emergency. Furthermore, a 2013 […]

Software Is Replacing Financial Workers in Large Corporations

This website has examined the expanded use of technology to deprive Americans of their jobs, and physical robots illustrate that workplace revolution very clearly. However, clever software also eliminates many workers, though not as visually. For example, tax software now performs the calculations that were earlier done by human tax preparation experts.

That transformation is occurring […]

‘Highly Creative Professionals’ Needn’t Worry about Smart Machine Replacement

Fortune magazine has an article reassuring tippy top inventive people that a robot won’t take their jobs. In particular, if someone’s work requires creativity then they are probably secure. It’s the last century jobs using repetition that are at risk — from welder to librarian.

Below, auto manufacturing once supplied millions of middle class jobs for […]

(Mostly) Self-Driving Car Completes Cross-Country Trip

Progress never sleeps these days, and the expansion of machine intelligence is growing faster than most of us civilians can follow. However, one simple metric is the development of the self-driving car, since Google co-founder Sergey Brin forecast in 2012 that self-driving cars would be available for consumers in five years.

Brin is putting the considerable […]

Amazon Explores Next Step in Automated Warehouses -- Bye Bye Human Workers!

In February, I wrote about Amazon’s new “fulfillment centers” that featured increased use of robots: “North Texas: Amazon.com Promotes Its Semi-Automated Warehouses.” Managers assured the public and new local employees that the smart machines “help” humans do the heavy lifting and boring stuff that the workers don’t want to do.

We’ve heard that kind of language […]

OSH Robot Is a Sign of Human Worker Phase-Out

Last October, when I blogged about Orchard Supply Hardware’s new retail robots, their description gave the impression of limited functionality: Greeter Robots Are Unveiled in Hardware Stores. These days, they are called “sales assistants.” Apparently the machines are working out.

Below, an OSHbot helps a customer find a desired gizmo. The smart machine costs $50,000 and […]

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