In the late 18th century our economy has changed, modern machines were rolled out, the division of labour was founded and the people started to work in big factories where they were specialised on different work steps. We called this process industrialization and it changed the way we worked and lived in many ways. Now, nearly 300 years later, we are facing a new revolution which sadly hasn’t got a name yet, so I fell so free to call it “robotalisation” temporary.
I want to introduce you to this post with a law of the famous computer scientist Gordon Moore which says that computer systems are doubling their performance every 18 months, so if we keep on doubling our computer performance at this rate we could theoretically be able to create humanoid artificial intelligence within the coming 30 – 50 years. That’s philosophically speaking – but it’s a fact that there are already dozens of wise folks in many universities and companies today who are doing research on artificial intelligence and new robotic technologies.
But what happens if the artificial intelligence of the machines is developed so far that it could replace the humans? A famous economist once called this situation a paradox and explained this way: if somebody in a cinema stands up he has an advantage because he sees better; but if everybody stands up everybody sees worse. So if one businessman replaces his workers by machines, he will surely have an advantage, but if everybody does it, everybody will have a disadvantage because the businessmen can’t sell their products anymore or rather the people don’t have the money to buy the products because they’re unemployed. The shear between the poor and the rich people would separate enormously and our economic system would not work anymore.
That would be the worst case. But as the old Chinese philosophy yin yang once told us that every shadow also has a sun, there is an enormous potential in this technology, a potential which could not just change our economy but could change the way we live on this earth and how we treat each other and our planet. Theoretically, we got the chance to create a world where everybody has access to all tangible values. A world without poverty, ecological destruction and wars. A world where people are free to decide what to do with their lives. But that’s just a dream, fact is that we have to find a new economic system, a system which is based on brain work and intellectual property.
Also we should not ignore this process because there are already thousands of industrial robots worldwide working in factories at the same assembly lines where the industrial revolution began 200 years ago and where humans worked 50 years ago. So in my opinion the robotalisation has already started by now. After the assembly line workers many jobs of the service sector will follow geriatric nurses, cashiers, charwoman… – all jobs which could possibly be replaced by robots within the next decades.