How could we explain our modern world to generations past? Back in the day some thought we could never fly. Colour television was beyond a dream.
Now Google is about to develop robot clones of dead loved ones and celebrities. (Sputnik News, March 17, 2016) Yes, you will be able to preserve your favourite person in full robotic perfection!
"Artificial intelligence experts speculate that in the not-so-distant future people will replace dead relatives with cloned robots installed with downloaded variants of that person's brain," according to a report this year. Vermont's Tersem Movement Foundation is a research institute planning to "transfer human consciousness to computers and robots." The Foundation director Bruce Duncan explained: "It's like when people stuff a pet cat or dog. We don't stuff humans, but this is a way of 'stuffing' their information, their personality and mannerisms." (Sputnik News, March 17, 2016)
Is your mind spinning, like mine? What about a visit to Doctor Robot? Dr Berci Mesko MD, PhD, the Medical Futurist wrote a book "My Health, Upgraded." On his website he wrote: Surgical robots become increasingly precise each day. Man–size robots can lift and move patients and transport them throughout the hospital. I held a PARO therapeutic robot in my arms. It was cute and calmed me. At a conference I once watched how a diminutive robot made an entire audience dance with it.
It only takes the Xenex robot 10 minutes to disinfect a patient room with UV light. A robot called Tug works at hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area. It delivers food and medicine. It picks up waste and laundry. It navigates the halls without crashing into people". (medicalfuturist.com)
But wait there's more! A May 2016 story published by the Sydney Morning Herald reported on medical robots and specifically on doctors. The headline said, "The Robot will see you now."
The Ying Ao sink foundry in southern China now has nine robots replacing 140 full-time workers. In a recent article, 'China's Robot Revolution' the Guardian said: "Across China, factories are replacing humans with robots in a new automation-driven industrial revolution. And the effects will be felt around the world." China is embracing robotics carefully, enthusiastically and systematically.
They have a project entitled 'Made in China 2025'. The aim is to reduce production costs by using more and more robots to improve efficiency and productivity and ultimately to reduce manufacturing costs. One Chinese entrepreneur was very direct. "Young people do not want to work on manual tasks. I'll replace them with robots," he said.
Another forecast said 70 percent of jobs today will be replaced by robots by the end of this century. Doctors, lawyers, architects, pharmacists and accountants are all on the list.
The Taub Centre for Social Policy Studies in Israel issued a report 'A Picture of the Nation', May 2016. They estimated 'about 1 million Israelis (today) work in occupations at risk of computerization over the next two decades." (Study Page 62)
Jobs at risk include tailors, watch repairers, telephone salesperson, data entry clerk, bankclerk. At medium risk they listed economist, historian, teaching assistant, bus driver, financial adviser. Of serious consideration was their estimate in the United States. 17 per cent of the workforce will be affected, in Germany 19 per cent. Similar impact will effect every country, that adopts new technologies.
Are humans becoming obsolete in the work force, asked NBC News. "All signs point to yes," they said. They analysed nine jobs humans are about to lose. Pharmacists, lawyers and paralegals, drivers, astronauts, store clerks, soldiers, babysitters, rescue workers, sports writers and reporters are all on the list of threatened jobs. We are living a robotic revolution.
Marshall Brain, the author of Robotic Nation, on his website wrote: "The computer power we will have in a home machine around 2050 will be utterly amazing. A typical home computer will have processing power and memory capacity that exceeds that of a human brain. What we will have in 2100 is anyone's guess. The power of a million human brains on the desktop? It is impossible to imagine, but not unlikely." (marshallbrain.com)
He also wrote: "People are talking optimistically about fielding a team of humanoid robotic soccer players able to beat the best human players in 2050. Imagine a team of C-3POs running and kicking as well as or better than the best human soccer stars, but never getting tired or injured." (I'm not sure how much I'd pay to watch a bunch of robots at play?)
May 19, 2016 health writer Mike Adams spoke about workers demanding $15 an hour for jobs at fast food outlets. That same day Wendys in America announced 6000 restaurants will be converted to automated kiosks later in the year. (naturalnews.com)
I stood in a queue at a supermarket recently when I noticed the man behind me only had five or six items in his basket. "Hey mate, why don't you pop down to the automated area? You'll be much quicker," I said. "No thanks, those things are only there to take our jobs," he said. Reality check, right there.
So what comfort can we find? I draw on my faith. The Bible describes Jesus as 'the same yesterday, today and forever.' (Hebrews chapter 13, verse 8) He can never be improved. There will not be a 21<sup>st century model that replaces Him.
God also has the power to all that He has promised, we read in Romans chapter 4, verses 21. What about His promises? The Greek text for that word 'promised' describes an action which is viewed as having been completed in the past, once and for all, not needing to be repeated.
The world around us may change, our lives may face turbulence and even Big Brother intervention. There is One who will never change or be obsolete. In this topsy-turvy world, we can rest in Him.
Ron Ross is a Middle East consultant for United Christian Broadcasters (Vision FM). Previously he was radio news editor for Bridges for Peace in Jerusalem, Israel.
His career started at WINTV (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ron Ross' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/ron-ross.html