February 7, 2013

DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE ROBOTS:

The robot equipment industry has one word for the alarmist articles and television news programs that predict a robot is about to steal your job: Fiddlesticks! Well, that wasn’t actually the word used this week at the Automate 2013 trade show held here through Thursday, but the sentiment was the same. During a presentation on Monday, Henrik I. Christensen, the Kuka Chair of Robotics at Georgia Institute of Technology’s College of Computing, sharply criticized a recent “60 Minutes” report on automation that was based on the work of the M.I.T. economists Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson. . . .

During his talk, Dr. Christensen said that the evidence indicated that the opposite was true. While automation may transform the work force and eliminate certain jobs, it also creates new kinds of jobs that are generally better paying and that require higher-skilled workers.

Notorious robophobe Matt Yglesias was unavailable for comment.