The Robots in Your Future.

Author:Hightower, Jim
Position:VOX POPULIST - Column

With corporations socking away massive profits, and with the labor market fairly tight, why are workers' wages still stuck at miserly, even poverty, levels?

One big reason is that corporate boards and CEOs have their heads stuck in a dreamy future. Nearly every economic sector is actually spending vast sums of money on workers--just not human workers.

While few Americans are aware of it, bosses are quietly investing in hordes of sophisticated autonomous robots powered by a cognitive technology called artificial intelligence. Instead of paying decent wages, corporations are buying millions of these cheap, humanesque thinking machines in order to end a shocking number of jobs.

Accountants, bank loan officers, financial analysts, insurance claims adjustors--all of these "numbers jobs" are already falling to bots that can calculate much faster and more accurately than people.

Journalism? The Associated Press now uses artificial intelligence machines to write thousands of financial articles and sports reports, and Forbes magazine uses an AI system named Quill to pen articles.

Skilled labor? Meet SAM, a robotic bricklayer that lays three times as many bricks in a day as humans can, displacing the jobs of three people. Crane and bulldozer operators are expected to be replaced by robots during the next ten years.

Farmers? The first robot farm is opening in Japan, with automatons transplanting, watering, and harvesting crops. There's also a shepherd robot that can run an entire livestock farm.

Also, the jobs of librarians, pharmacists, lawyers, air traffic controllers, doctors, teachers, hospital administrators, bartenders--and many more--are targeted for massive displacement. By 2021, 6 percent of all U.S. jobs are expected to be roboticized!

Whether you're ready or not, there's a robot in your future, and clearly I don't mean one of those cute little labor-saving automatons, like a "Roomba" vacuum cleaner that scoots around tidying up your floors while you lie back in your La-Z-Boy doing twelve-ounce elbow bends.

Far from saving you from doing extra labor, this new wave of robots is being brought into your workplace to spare corporate bosses and investors from paying you to work for them. You might think, "Not my workplace...

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