Robots Automation and Jobs #robot #globalism Update

A new automated, flying ambulance completed its first solo flight, offering a potential solution for challenging search and rescue missions.

Once survival is assured, there are three things human beings need to be happy: a sense of being

A self-driving car by Google

A self-driving car by Google

competent at something, be it a job or a vocation; enough freedom to feel autonomous; and a community to belong to. Many of us have used our jobs for one or two of these needs, all three if we’re lucky. Then we go home to suburbs or apartments where we don’t know our neighbors.

But what will happen when the robots arrive? American politicians promise to bring back manufacturing jobs, but automation is as much to blame as globalization for the loss. Now robots, in the form of self-driving vehicles, threaten to destroy one of our largest occupations: driving. Especially high school educated men rely on driving for employment, and commercial vehicles are likely to be the first to go robotic.

But many white collar jobs are endangered too. Law is one such profession where algorithms and analytics are replacing well-paid professionals.

What will we all do with ourselves? Governments can, perhaps, tax those lucky enough to generate the GDP so the rest of us don’t starve, but what about competence, autonomy, and community? Are we being freed or destroyed?

UPDATE: The story of automation gets bigger. Later the same day I posted this piece, I read about Amazon testing a brick-and-mortar convenience store without checkouts or cashiers.

Shoppers walking into the store call up the Amazon Go app and hold their smartphone to a scanner as they would at an airport security line. That opens a gate. Then they just pick any combination of products and walk out. Amazon charges them after they leave the store….

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that cashiers are the second-largest occupation, with 3.5 million employed in the U.S.

In my futurism book Glitch a character checks out of a grocery store by pushing his cart through an arch. I got the “no cashier” right but I’m already behind the times.

As the song says, times, they are a-changing.


Glitch – novel by Kate Rauner – discovery in a futurist world

Glitch FINAL May 2014 SMALLER FILE (533x800)To celebrate the first anniversary of my science fiction ebook, Glitch, I’ve re-issued the book with a new cover. Available from Amazon for Kindle for 99ยข; or download a FREE copy from Smashwords in any of the major electronic formats and at Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Flipkart, Inktera, and Versent.

At Spaceport America in the desert southwest, Rob Shay is a mission controller for Xplore, the world’s premiere space exploration company. During routine calibrations on a client’s spacecraft, Rob and his mission crew make an incredible discovery: a glitch in space that opens an impossible path to a star and its planets.

Serendipity led to the discovery and serendipity may prevent its exploration. All Rob wants is to be part of exploring the Helios system, but problems keep getting in his way. The Board of Directors believes Rob found a glitch in the instruments rather than a glitch in space. The control crew must convince them the glitch is real. Only then will international spacecraft explore the Helios system.

Glitch Cover Final 5JUN13

Original retro-style cover

Support and opposition come from unexpected sources. Although the Helios mission is sustained by many subscribers to the universities’ missions, not everyone in the world wants to see humanity travel beyond Earth. Space exploration is a private industry, but governments try to claim control. Xplore is in the business of exploration and business concerns come first. Rob struggles in a world he can’t control, trying to stay with his mission while bigger problems rock the nation. At least Rob finds some sympathy from his once-girlfriend who runs a telescope-for-hire business in Australia.

Rob lives in near-future Spaceport America, a real place just beginning operations in New Mexico. With its distinctive, geeky futurism, Glitch presents a world where you might one day live.

Read an excerpt now: Continue reading