# Should robots replace human workers?

Discussion in 'Intelligence & Machines' started by thecurly1, Jul 6, 2001.

Not open for further replies.
1. ### thecurly1Registered Senior Member

Messages:
1,024
Before I start, I have to credit for the main idea of the post to Cris. I was wondering if this is a good idea... A person could purchase a fairly intelligent robot, send it to work for the company that the owner used to work for, while the owner collects all of the money made by the robot. If allowed, robots could begin by trading jobs with humans in assembly line type of jobs, or in manual labor. Later on as robots become more intelligent robots could work side by side with humans, in advertising, accounting, medicine, developing people friendly computers and games.

Have fun.
Cris

15. ### Chagur.Seeker.Registered Senior Member

Messages:
2,235
Oooops!

Your referring to 'keyboards' tripped the thought train:
Writing ->Typewriters -> writers who aren't comfortable with computers and still use typewriters (some even use lead pencils).
Oh Cris ... I really think you should get out in the real world a bit:
1) Unless you'd want to your robot to fly your Cessna 152 or Piper Cub (doubtful since that's the fun: flying it yourself) all it would have to do is 'plug' in! Almost all new commercial aircraft are equiped with 'glass' cockpits and 'fly by wire', as do the latest helicopters;
2) Most electronic instruments, including pianos, using MIDI could be directly connected to (why do you think the professionals are using computers - and have been for a number of years);
3) More and more autos now days are becoming 'drive by wire' and even have remote sensing (TV to show you want is behind you, night vision enhancers, etc.) so what is the problem?
Yes, I do like to be (rather than 'play') the cynic, but I think you are being the 'lazy' one, Cris, and have a difficult time with someone who, to use C.P.Snow's words, 'Disputes your passage' (You do remember that one: 'Have you learned only from those .... etc.' don't you?).
Dream on dear Cris of humanoid robots - It's so much easier.

Last edited: Jul 7, 2001
16. ### thecurly1Registered Senior Member

Messages:
1,024
There is more to this thread than humanoid or not humanoid...

I still prefer a humanoid robot, because the human body has evolved very well to the natural enviroment, and works nearly perfect in cities. You can walk on a level surface fairly efficently, or walk up or down stairs, or climb walls with little assistance. The design is tried and true, its better than any alternative.

But enough of that, I think that the future will see human owned robots working side by side with people that still want to work. There would be more robots, but people that enjoy their job and don't mind working, (which could be come a delicacy in the future) would do so side by side with their robot companions.

17. ### wet1WandererRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
8,616
Mixing of the populace and robots brings to mind a basic problem. As has been mentioned before here we have enough problems with just getting access for the handicapped to get into public buildings. If robots are made of steel (and you can pretty much bet the first ones will) then close contact will bring a lot of pain to the human workforce. Imagine on of these things stepping on your foot! So we try to mandate those all-public buildings and places of commingling are cordoned off into human traffic and robotic traffic?

In the need to redesign. As for as keyboards go, it would be a dimple addition, not adding on the cost very much to add a usb port or whatever to allow communication with the computer from an outside source for the computer. This was demonstrated to some extent in the movie Robocop where the hero has a spike that is plunged into a port and then communication takes place. Perhaps this is the DSL for the robot to computer link. This puts the human at a disadvantage, as we simply can not perform at such a speed. Neither in input or worse in output. In addition the robotic worker will not need the hours off for sleep. So does the office wait the returning of the human worker to continue on the task it was set at? I don’t think that the company heads will much like that situation.

18. ### tony1Jesus is LordRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
2,279
dreamland beckons

Admirable proposition, but only 40 years too late.

Besides, what would "corporations" do with the hundreds of thousands of existing robots?

Have you considered that those super-intelligent machines might analyze your mind, and decide that it is not worth uploading?

That isn't sarcasm.
Have you considered that?

19. ### tony1Jesus is LordRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
2,279
Where have you been for the last forty years?

Didn't anyone tell you that "I Robot" was fiction?
While it was prophetic fiction, it was fiction, nevertheless.

What makes it fiction is that the details aren't exactly right.
What makes it prophetic is that robots are here to stay, already.

You have apparently confused the fictional with the prophetic.

You expected the details to be true and Asimov's prophetic intent to be false.

Meanwhile, reality marched right past you, with Asimov's vision intact and his fictional details remaining fictional.

Is everyone on this forum living in dreamland?

What do you mean "the first ones will?"
The first ones WERE, decades ago.

And imagination isn't required, just call the families of the people ALREADY accidentally killed by robots.

20. ### CrisIn search of ImmortalityValued Senior Member

Messages:
9,199
I guess we should distinguish between pre-programmed automatons on the factory floor and human equivalent intelligent mobile machines. I think Curly and I had assumed that most here could see the vast difference.

Mechanisation and automation has been replacing people working on many mundane tasks for a long time now, but the introducing of truly intelligent machines poses a different issue for people at work, especially if they have achieved full or partial self-awareness.

The essential issue is one of economics and specifically the distribution of wealth. For the most part of human history wealth distribution has been achieved by trading skills (i.e. employment). If all skills can be effectively and more efficiently replaced by intelligent machines then the basis for our economic society will collapse.

Sharing the workplace alongside robot workers where the robots are self-independent will not be beneficial to humanity or acceptable if payment for skills remains the basis for our economy.

If industry has the freedom to use intelligent machines to replace humans where such machines are more efficient then a new and radical mechanism must be created for wealth distribution.

Capital ownership by individuals of such machines was and is my proposal. Does anyone have a better solution?

Cris

21. ### tony1Jesus is LordRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
2,279
Safe assumption.
However, I had assumed that most here could see the tremendous similarities.

Self-awareness aside for now, why would one need truly intelligent machines replacing workers who perform such mundane tasks?

Back to self-awareness, wouldn't self-aware machines create an artificial version of the same problem that exists now, namely the awareness of boredom?
The failure to program negative emotions into such machines would be tantamount to programming self-awareness out of such machines.
Thus, one is in a vicious circle with self-aware machines.
If one programs self-awareness into the machines then the result is the same as we have now with human workers.
OTOH, if one leaves out negative emotions then, by definition, they are not self-aware.
Either that, or one ends up with a bunch of mechanical Pollyannas, and you know how irritating that is.

No kidding.
That is the precise reason why automobiles cost so much.
Ordinarily, given the economies of scale, autos should cost about \$1000 to manufacture.
The UAW has foreseen the economic effect of mechanization and has negotiated various sorts of job security clauses into their contracts.
That costs money.

No, I think you've come up with the best one.
Unfortunately, "best" does not mean "most practical."

Industry today does not care in the least about self-awareness.
All that matters is ROI.
If self-awareness produces returns, then that is where the money will go.

Furthermore, if you negotiate an employment contract with an employer and your robot shows up on the first day of work, would the employer not conclude that you have broken the contract?

In any case, even if there were legal safeguards along the lines you mentioned earlier, what would prevent employers, or "corporations," from renaming or redefining their machinery so as not to infringe the law in order to bypass the need for dealing with individual ownership of intelligent mobile machinery?

22. ### tetraHelloRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
144
If robots replaced workers, there would be a brief period where everybody is pissed off, but then there would be a golden age where all of the people who would normally be workers have to go through college and do something useful.

23. ### CrisIn search of ImmortalityValued Senior Member

Messages:
9,199
Tetra,

College is useful?