FOXCONN the Taiwanese company that so many in its media coverage from the West identify as a Chinese entity, announced that it has plans to replace 1,000,000 of its existing workers with robots in the coming 72 month (3 years). Now, as I understand it, per the products that they create (iPad, iPhone, various LCD screens, circuit boards, and more ), these robots will looks and act like most of that which we have seen in the manufacturing facilities of the West.
While the headlines look extraordinary, and identical to the title of this post, they actual technology is not. Having stated this, it is not in any way an attempt to downplay the severity of replacing some of the most low paid workers in some of the most populous regions of the planet.
As written in my last article for the World Future Society we are approaching a breaking point with product/wealth creation and human employment. The wide spread civil unrest in the western world, most recently in the UK, France, Greece, and the economic unrest in the US, is a result of a paradigm shift in how we as highly qualitative beings will distribute “fair value” to other beings of the same species in the future. This is (in my opinion) the most important issue of our time, because the ethical regard that we establish for one-another will dictate the potential that we will have to craft AI as well as preserve the majority (+50%) of the human resources on the planet today.
Our old model was to distribute the owned wealth of the world for an honest days work, regardless how ambiguous the word honest is, we transferred value through jobs, in 2011 it is apparent that we’ve exhausted our ability to do that. The difficult philosophical question that spawn so many others, is: Do we have the ability to use another qualitative methodology to distribute similar value?