From the NY Times: The robots are coming! Word is they want your job, your life and probably your little dog, too.
Robots have once again gripped the nation’s imagination, stoking fears of displaced jobs and perhaps even a displaced human race. An alarmist segment on “60 Minutes” was only the most vivid of a recent series of pieces in respected magazines and news outlets warning about widespread worker displacement. Professors at Cambridge University and a co-founder of Skype are creating a new Center for the Study of Existential Risk, which would research a “Terminator”-like scenario in which supercomputers rise up and destroy their human overlords, presumably plotting the whole caper in zeros and ones….
Such android anxiety has a long history. John Maynard Keynes wrote about “technological unemployment” during the Great Depression. In the Industrial Revolution, disgruntled laborers — including the original Luddites — smashed automated looms and threshing machines that “stole” their jobs. In the 15th century, scribes protested the printing press, with a futile zeal rivaled perhaps only by that of modern journalists…. There is something almost Freudian in these robot takeover terrors, which foretell that the technology we fathered will rise up against us, rendering us obsolete or even extinct….