Robotics

I been there, and done that – back in the Nineties in Silicon Valley.

I worked for the last American robotics company. The Japanese beat us to the punch there. And on the assembly lines that resulted – robots picking up cookies hot out of the oven (for example) – and assembling them into nice orderly packages – there was not an American robot in sight.

They took the place of poor women doing the same thing – but suffering from repetitive-stress injuries. They never showed you what happened when they tried to force their robots to work even faster – and they started throwing cookies all over the place. Even robots have their limits.

But the Japanese missed out on the next breakthrough – the Computer. And now Google self-driving cars – are doing more than the Japanese ever dreamed of.

I stole this idea from The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies – a book, based on idea of exponential progress – packing more and more bits into a chip. I have one of these now – the BeagleBone Black – and am playing with it. It is very clever – but has its limitations. And we should be aware of them.

This book was designed to impress me – and it succeeded at that. But I also noticed some things were not that simple – breakthroughs happened which were not planned. For example – encryption – which is driving the governments of the world nuts.

This gives too much power to the Computer, and its allies, they think – and they want to take that back.

Lots of luck, fellows.

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