As humans we actually don’t like change that much. We like waking up and knowing that we’re in the same jobs and the government is stable and our tools we had before still work and when things change dramatically we resist it at first and then we adapt and then we love the change.
So I remember when my parents first started using email or cell phones saying I don’t need that and now I can’t pry it out of their hands, so it’s like that over and over around the world. The challenge is it’s going to continue to change rapidly.
One example is robotics. Robotics are coming online, more and more capable, driven by artificial intelligence, by much better sensors. In your Xbox you’ve got sensors that allow you to track your hand motions and those sensors are going to make robots far and far cheaper and more capable and there is going to be a day very soon well within this next decade where a lot of menial labor in terms of at the cash register, stocking the shelves start to get replaced by robots or even when your physician starts to get replaced by your Tri Quarter device.
So we’re going to start to see a shift where the jobs that used to be done by humans are going to be done by robots. Now we’ve been to this movie before. If you go back to the mid 1800s two-thirds of America were farmers and we relied as the major workforce, the major job that employed us was working the farm. Now it’s less than two percent of the US are in the agriculture business because the majority of it has been replaced by robots and what we did is we trained up those individuals.
If you went back to the 1800s and said don’t worry, you’re not going to be planting corn anymore, but pretty soon you’re going to be writing HTML code for this website and they go what’s an HTML code and what the heck is a website. So we don’t know what these individuals are going to be doing. What I do know is that we’re going to begin to or I should say continue to merge with technology where technology becomes our friend. The artist who is using Light Room to manipulate imagery that they could not have done before is merging with technology to make that happen. Any of us using Microsoft Office is using technology. You go on Bing to do a search. You’re using technology. All of these things are us merging with technology that we fully accept right now and it’s going to get more and more capable. Pretty soon we’ll start interfacing the brain with the internet and then we’re in for some real magical times ahead.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
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