Startup Community: The robots are coming. Should we welcome them? – The Post

Startup Community: The robots are coming. Should we welcome them?

Robots have upped the ante from assembly to AI (photo: iStock)
October 30th, 2016 7:00 am| by Thomas N Horsted
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Self-driving cars, online banks, holes drilling themselves and robots to keep you company when you are lonely. A recent Oxford University study predicts nearly half of all US jobs will be replaced by robots over the next two
decades.

Is it time to bow to our robot overlords? Should we believe the fears that machines will put us out of work? Or will they create more jobs than they
destroy?


Maybe we should build a wall …

The signs are there
AI and robotics are among the hottest sectors in the startup community in Copenhagen and the Nordics, and I recently had the pleasure of participating in TechBBQ, Denmark’s largest event of its kind, at the Opera House in Copenhagen on September 20.

The robots I encountered were advanced. No longer simple assembly-line production robots, they are actual thinking robots.

The editors at Associated Press recently claimed that robots already write thousands of articles a year for them. So, do the robots win?

Nothing new
So far in history, technology has always created more jobs than it has destroyed.

And most economists believe the future of work will probably be the same as the past: some jobs will disappear, but others will be created to replace them.

For example, cars killed trolleys, but created hundreds of millions of new jobs. Likewise computers spelled the end for many employees, but created a whole lot more in the long-term.

In each case, technology augmented humans rather than replaced them.

Safety nets and Skynet
Nevertheless, the belief that we will all become highly-skilled and well-paid workers is ideological.

Instead, healthcare support will become one of the fastest growing job sectors as our average age increases.

No matter what, we need to build up the social systems that will enable people to survive and flourish in the midst of these changes.

And finally, we need to pray that rule number zero in the Three Laws of Robotics is upheld: “A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.”

Thomas N Horsted


Thomas (@thomas_hors) is the co-owner and managing partner of Startup Guide (startupguide.world), working to inspire and empower people to become entrepreneurs through in-depth city guides. As an entrepreneur with an academic background in media studies and kaospilot, he understands the combination of praxis, reflection, creativity and theory needed to bring startup projects to life.