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The Future For Mere Humans

on April 30, 2012

Every time I leave class, I feel a little more and more depressed about the future for both me and human kind.  In many ways, I appreciate how our teacher is opening our eyes and getting us to see how things in the world really are, beyond our bubble.  But in some ways because I know a lot more, I am very discouraged at the options open for me.  For instance, Dr. Goldberg spoke about the possibility that any liberal arts education will be considered obsolete/ unimportant in the future and only an education in a vocational/ specific skill would be considered beneficial.  Since I am majoring in one of the many liberal arts programs I am extremely sad to think that all my hard work would not be considered worthwhile or get overlooked.

But as I look more and more into the growing role of technology and how more machines are taking over jobs, I am starting to see that many jobs will not be available to college graduates despite our major.  As companies find more and more ways to cut corners, many have turned to robots/ technology as the answer because machines can do so much more labor for a much cheaper costs and do the work more accurately.  If humans have to not only compete among themselves for the best jobs but against machines too, then I think that the future for humans is dim.  Just by watching the computer beat the humans on Jeopardy, we know that there is no way for humans to win the battle of intellect, skill or labor against machines.  Since machines do not complain or take breaks, vacation or sick leave, technology is looking more like a great and bright alternative to human labor.  Even prestigious jobs, like pharmacists and lawyers, are going to machines instead of humans.   Such a conundrum will then lead us to the issue of treating robots as slaves.

Though we cannot get away from the role that technology will play in our lives, especially its role in our jobs (or the jobs that will be left for us), I think that many people do not realize what we miss when we incorporate technology into every aspect of our lives.  When more and more machines takeover human jobs, that will mean less opportunities for humans, even those with an education, to make money.  But I feel that many corporations don’t care about that fact and only care about their bottom line and the money that can be saved by having one robot do the jobs of 20 people.  With more people struggling to find jobs, decreased spending, poverty and other social problems will only become more pronounced.

I guess if one was to see good news it would be in the article  “How Technology Is Eliminating Higher-Skill Jobs” which states that menial jobs like being a janitor will still be available to people because robots are still not good at that.  Other jobs that are still available (for now) for people are jobs like doctors and nurses, even though more machines are able to do some of their duties like taking blood pressure.  It’s the jobs that are for middle class people like bank tellers, airline check in agents and accountants are being taken away by robots.


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