MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee in their new book, The Second Machine Age (Norton, 2014), look at recent advances in machine capability and suggest that we are going through a second Industrial Revolution, with robots soon capable of taking over massive new areas of human activity.
Their picture of a world with ubiquitous robots is interesting but lacks definition; there is rather too much popular, but fallacious,
economics and not enough futuristic robot wisdom. I thought therefore that I would fill the gap, using their admirable analysis of what robots might be able to do and consider, using better economics albeit infinitely less understanding of robots, what kind of a world this would produce.
The move to a world of robots has been slower than the 1950s expected. On the one hand, Moore's Law, formulated by Intel founder Gordon Moore in 1965 and which says that the capacity and speed of computers doubles every two years, has been fully in operation since that time.
On the other hand, many quite simple operations are in fact very difficult indeed for robots to carry out. For example, according to The Second Machine Age, it currently takes a robot fully 24 minutes to fold a towel. After 10 more iterations, in 2034, the robot will be able to fold a towel in 1/1,024 of its present time, or 1.4 seconds. Problem solved: the towel closet will no longer be a baffling intellectual Matterhorn for the robotic household help. More ....
Martin Hutchinson is the author of Great Conservatives (Academica Press, 2005) - details can be found on the website www.greatconservatives.com - and co-author with Professor Kevin Dowd of Alchemists of Loss (Wiley, 2010). Both are now available on Amazon.com, Great Conservatives only in a Kindle edition, Alchemists of Loss in both Kindle and print editions.
(Republished with permission from PrudentBear.com. Copyright 2005-14 David W Tice & Associates.)