Las Vegas Sun

November 28, 2014

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letter to the editor:

Machines taking over the world

We are at war but blissfully unaware of the battle. Mankind is being quietly overwhelmed by an enemy that, like a boa constrictor, is slowly squeezing the life out us. Machines are rapidly taking over from humans.

Machines get our jobs by doing them better and cheaper. My GPS and a hotel-finding application help me on a trip better than humans. Major car makers promise that within seven years, I will be able to purchase a vehicle that will not require my active participation at all and will likely do a better job than me.

The list of lost jobs is large and growing: Utility meter readers and most bank tellers are gone, and store clerks are being replaced with self-service machines.

In our factories, robots largely make our autos and consumer electronics. My favorite carwash has gone brushless and performs better than ever with fewer employees. Garbage collectors would like to automate the trucks and use fewer workers.

A highly visible skirmish is shaping up as fast-food workers campaign for higher wages. They can’t win; if they get higher wages, they can be more easily be replaced by machines.

Worse still for mankind, the machines are getting smarter at a furious rate. We are already outclassed in limited areas such as chess and “Jeopardy!” Because of the rate of computer advancement, we likely have only about 15 years to be the smartest minds on the planet.

As for me, I am eagerly awaiting the new iPhone release.

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