The Robot Blog
Even as technological advancement is taken for granted, robots mystify. Are they really going to become human-like? Can they replace humans? Will they be our coworkers?
I cite a number of respected roboticists in a just-completed article. Daniela Rus of MIT and Gill Pratt, who just stepped down as a program manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), suggest that robots are growing steadily in their physical and communicative capabilities but have yet to reach a capacity where they can generalize knowledge-and thus learn. But robots that can learn are in our future- a profound fact for both social and economic policy.
As with so much in economic life, everyone can benefit, workers and businesses, the highly educated and the less educated, millennials and boomers, if we get the policies right. The analysis of one prominent economist suggests that robots can complement labor, taking over rote tasks so the genius of human thinking can make its fullest contribution to productivity, growth, and social welfare. But while we aggressively embrace new technologies, as any smart industrial power should, we need to make an investment in our workforce so that none are left behind and so that the great promise of new technology is fulfilled.