The universe is not only strange but stranger than we can imagine

Ask not for whom the robot drums…

Another sign of the impending robotization of the workforce. From  Japan (a long-time leader in robotics) comes a robotic Shinto “priest” to conduct low-cost funerals. The robot, recently on display at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center, conducts a ritually correct service for the dead, beating drums and reciting Buddhist scriptures.

This is only the latest addition to the line of robot workers taking over from their human counterparts. Some estimates show as much as one third to one half the human workforce being displaced by robots in the next several decades. Yes, you read that correctly — one third to one half of the workforce.

And then what? What will the billions of unemployed live on? Government handouts? The proceeds of urban farming? Soylent red and green? What will happen to society when the gulf between the rich, the employable and the rest of us becomes unbridgeable? We really had better start asking (and answering) these questions, because the robot revolution is already reshaping our world.

This ain’t science fiction my friends — it’s the real thing.

 

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No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

John Donne

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