Fedex Robots
Wired News: FedEx Delivers New Tech Lab

Fedex has created a new 90,000 square foot research facility called the FedEx Institute of Technology. From the article:In the article Robotic Nation I predict that pilots will be one of the first professions to be eliminated by robots. Customer service agents are already in danger as their jobs move overseas.

The question we should be asking is, "What new jobs will the economy create to absorb all of the pilots, customer service agents and drivers that Fedex will replace with robots/AI over the next 20 to 30 years?" Fedex will be dumping tens of thousands of employees onto the unemployment line, and at the same time every other major company will be doing the same. Right now the economy is not creating high-paying, exciting new jobs at any rate that will accomodate all of the newly unemployed. See Robotic Nation for details.


Consumers and Robots
More Consumers Reach Out to Touch the Screen

From the article:This trend, "heralds what economists see as the eventual roboticization of large chunks of the service sector," according to the article.

See Robotic Nation for where this trend takes us.


Robotic Surgeons
Robots invade the operating room

From the article:Also:Surgical robots are brilliant machines -- there is no denying it. The robot's ability to operate through extremely small incisions helps the patient in many different ways. Because of their many benefits, the use of these machines will expand rapidly for many different types of surgery.

The article's comparison of surgeons to pilots is telling. Over the next 10 to 20 years, pilots will be replaced by advanced auto-pilots and eliminated from the cockpit. In the same way, as robotic vision systems advance, it will be possible to create completely robotic surgeons that will displace human surgeons from the operating room. These robotic surgeons will also train on simulators. However, they will be able to train 24 hours a day and they will have none of the problems with fatigue or illness that plague human surgeons. Once robotic surgeons surpass human surgeons, human surgeons will cease to exist. The same thing will happen across the medical profession -- doctors, nurses, technicians, assistants, etc. will all be replaced by robots and out of work.

In the process of eliminating human beings from the medical profession, medical care will improve dramatically. How much will it improve? I saw an ad at the airport last November. The ad was paid for by the AAOS (The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons). This ad shows a patient sitting in a gown on a table. Using a felt-tip marker, the doctor in the ad is signing his name on one of the patient's knees. The point of the ad is to say to patients, "Before the anesthesiologist puts you to sleep, make sure to have your doctor personally sign the part of your body needing surgery so he/she doesn't make a mistake and operate on the wrong thing."

The fact that this ad exists and was running nationwide on billboards in airports tells you that there is a big problem with human error in the operating room. When human error among doctors is that rampant -- so rampant that you start seeing ads in airports -- you know how big the problem is. Who is going to want a human doctor to perform surgery once mistake-free robotic doctors are available? Robotic doctors will be better, they will cost nothing compared to a human doctor, and they won't be taking out your appendix when they are supposed to be operating on your left knee.

The question is: where will all of the people displaced from the medical profession go once they are laid off? See Robotic Nation for details.

Moore's Law Continues
Intel reports new material to shrink chips

From the Article:As the transistors on chips have gotten smaller and smaller, manufacturers have been able to create chips containing tens of millions of transistors. At the same time, the problem with heat generation has grown. Intel's development will significantly reduce the heat that each transistor generates, allowing transistors to shrink further. Over the next several years, Intel will be able to move from 90 nanometer manufacturing processes down to 45 nanometer processes and fit up to four times as many transistors on the same chip. Within this decade we are likely to see individual chips containing half a billion transistors.

Developments like these explain why Moore's Law has been able to stay on course for decades. Each time we seem to bump up against fundamental limits, scientists and engineers develop new technologies to keep Moore's Law on track. See Robotic Nation for details.


Manna arriving in the Workplace

The book Manna describes a workplace where robots take a larger and larger role in managing employees. In Manna's world, every task that an employee undertakes comes at the instruction of a computer, and every aspect of the employee's worklife -- down to the employee's location in the workplace and pace in moving from point A to point B -- is monitored and controlled by computer.

The article entitled Big Employer Is Watching in this week's WSJ describes the incremental steps we are taking in this direction:Examples cited in the article include:The next step is headsets (or web-based task systems for people who work at desks all day long), where a computer is telling employees what to do on a minute-by-minute basis on the job.


Completely Robotic Factories in Japan
In Japan, as in the U.S., Companies Fear China

From the article:As this article describes, total factory automation is already a reality today. It is only a matter of 10 to 20 years before nearly every factory in the U.S. and Japan is entirely automated. In the U.S., more than 10 million people will lose their jobs and need to find something else.

The problem is that, during those same 10 to 20 years, robots will be moving into the service sector as well. Tens of millions of service sector jobs will also be evaporating. See Robots in 2015 for a discussion.

[See also this article on robotic warehouses.]

Archives © Copyright 2005 by Marshall Brain
Atom RSS

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?