Kevin Kelly on the future of robots

The energy barrier The main hurdle [to building an autonomous, mobile robot] is actually not its intelligence but its energy, its power. The human body is an incredibly highly evolved machine that runs on very little energy. Our own brains operate on less energy than a light-bulb. There’s no computer in the world that can come close to performing like…

Karl Marx on automation and job losses due to disruption

“In these spacious halls the benignant power of steam summons around him his myriads of willing menials.” Andrew Ure Marx’s rage against the machine Another thought about the rate of change and “distruption,” this time from Karl Marx. I love Marx’s writing and his desire to do better for the working poor, even as I sigh at his wrong economics…

Sprinkler system

Using a garden sprinkler system is a type of outsourcing – to technology, instead of people. The time saved is almost certainly worth the money spent. Whether it’s abdication/dumbing down/opting out/wanton destruction of a perfectly good job or creates the opportunity to improve the garden with new and better work (finding better grass, planting new roses, adding a home-made sundial)…

They’re (not quite) taking our jobs: Tim Harford on robots, spreadsheets and automation in the workplace

These are two great episodes from the BBC’s excellent 50 Things that Made the Modern Economy. Episode: Robot The robots are coming! Sort of. Featuring Baxter and the Jennifer headset.More on Baxter here at WIRED. Episode: Spreadsheet Fantastic discussion of how the humble spreadsheet destroyed over 400,000 American jobs… and helped to create 600,000 more.