Friday, September 30, 2011

Just Trying to Help

Farhad Manjoo has an interesting series of articles on Slate, explaining that even non-killer robots may disrupt our puny human lives, since they're getting better and better at doing our jobs.

We're used to seeing robots assembling automobiles and so forth, which for those of us who didn't once have jobs on automobile assembly lines may seem like a distant threat, but it turns out that robots (a term which, for purposes of this series, seems to include software programs) are also showing potential in other fields, like certain medical specialities, law and journalism.

As a librarian, I've been reportedly teetering on the verge of being replaced by the internet for as long as I've been working, so I certainly feel the potential pain of physicians, pharmacists, lawyers and journalists. Computers do make it different.

For the moment, there are all sorts of things that still call for human interaction, but once robots become charming and personable, as well as tireless and efficient? It's all over.

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