Look for Smart Machines to Change Work Substantially within Five Years

Recent reports give a near-term picture of how experts believe the automation revolution will roll out. Continuing education to adapt to technology will become more necessary as some careers will “cease to exist.”

There is a minor industry of reassurance — writers who spread the message that the automation revolution is over-hyped and will not create […]

Taiwan Tests Its First Self-Driving Bus

The race is on among tech and automative companies building self-driving vehicles to get their creations on the road. In Asia, a boxy little bus unit has been successfully transporting people around on the National Taiwan University campus since May.

The bus putters along at six miles per hour with a dozen passengers, which developers think […]

Washington Post Notes Rise of Smart Machines (Incompletely)

The Washington Post included a front-page story about automation on Sunday, and it admitted “the surrender of the industrial age to the age of automation continues at a record pace.”

But the cause was mostly laid at the feet of the workers themselves rather than complex forces of globalization that have been accumulating for decades. The […]

Retail Robot Does Inventory -- So Long, Stock Boys!

In St. Louis, a midwestern grocery chain is making news with its test run of an inventory-taking robot, called Tally by its manufacturer. The machine is not unrelated to the LoweBot-type machine that guides customers to desired items in the store which the robot has filed in its database of what and where. The Tally […]

Farm Robot Is Touted as Kinder to Workers

Down on the farm in Salinas California, a new robot harvester uses “water knives” — actually high-powered water jets — to pick lettuce. To hear the industry flacks describe it, the machines end unhealthy stoop labor in lettuce fields. But details in the story suggest that President Trump’s border enforcement is having an effect when […]

Automation: Basic Income Is Discussed as a Possible Solution to Jobless Future

It’s a rare thing for the automation threat to employment come up on TV, so any discussion has to be scored as a plus. In addition, the video segment was shown on the evening Fox News show Special Report a few days ago.

But universal income is a hard sell, with so many ways it could […]

Left Media Admits Automation May Affect Need for Immigrant Farm Workers

It’s nearly summer and that means the time has come for media boilerplate articles about a shortage of immigrant workers down on the farm — so couldn’t Washington kindly arrange for a few hundred thousand to be sent to California?? Right on schedule, a Google News search (which covers the last 30 days of listings) […]

Silicon Valley Newspaper Floats Free Money Idea to Remedy Robot Job Loss

Sunday’s San Jose Mercury had a front-page article (graphic shown) about the possibility of instituting a universal basic income to remedy the huge job loss predicted from automation. As usual, nobody promoting the idea has any suggestion of how the government would finance the trillions of dollars annually required. Perhaps a start would be to […]

CBS Imagines the American Future as Automation Nation

The CBS Sunday Morning show began a special edition focusing on money with a report on automation and its threat to employment now and going forward. The eight-minute video report included tough facts about job loss across the skills spectrum with expert comments by Rise of the Robots author Martin Ford and other involved in the […]

Warehouse Robotics See Advances in Technology

Warehouse robots are a big part of the revolution transforming a growing portion of consumer shopping from stores to online. Amazon led the way by purchasing the Kiva system and then keeping it for itself so other competitors could not spring up easily. (See my 2016 Social Contract article, “Amazon Robotics: A case study of […]

Self-Driving Shuttles Hit Public Streets in California Pilot Program

San Ramon, California is a suburban community of around 72,000 located 34 miles east of San Francisco. The city is the first place in the nation where self-driving vehicles are allowed to function without a backup human driver in the seat, albeit in a limited situation. The shuttles scoot along at a safe 12 miles […]

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 […]

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