Will Robots Steal Your Job?
Robots and computers have made astonishing progress at acquiring what we've long considered fundamentally human capabilities. Machines are beginning to understand language. They can listen, they can speak, they can read, and they may even be able to write. They're getting better at visual pattern recognition; computers can tell the difference between your face and your dad's face, and they may be able to look at a biopsy slide and tell the difference between a cancerous cell and a healthy one. Computers might even be able to "reason" the way humans can. Perhaps they'll soon sit in judgment when you appeal your traffic ticket. We've seen robots take over many jobs that require routine activities and manual labor, but what impact will they have on high-skilled workers, including medical professionals, lawyers, scientists, and journalists? Which jobs are most vulnerable to the "robot invasion," and which jobs will the robots be unable to touch? (Hint: not many.) Should we be happy about the robots -- after all, they'll probably make our jobs easier -- or should we be worried? And if the robots are coming, should we try to stop them? At this September 2011 event, Slate technology columnist Farhad Manjoo and a panel of experts explored these questions and more. For more about this event, visit: http://www.newamerica.net/node/57814