This is the rise of the robots. Fanuc is the world’s largest company manufacturing robots in japan. Its plant is nestled under the majestic mount fuji. In the past couple of years the company has become the cynosure of the global corporate fraternity. Its valuation has reached $ 53 bn. It’s sitting upon a cash pile of over $ 7 bn, while its operating profit is $ 2.3 bn based upon sales of $ 5.7 bn. Some of its tony clients are apple and tesla motors.
The company till recently was relatively unknown worldwide. Its valuation has climbed sharply by 50% over the past year. It has very few human employees. It’s manned?! mostly by robots who manufacture at a staggering rate fellow robots with clinical efficiency and 0 defect. Yes we are truly at the inflexion point of human history as we are gradually driven towards kurzweil’s age of singularity.
Japan has the highest robot usage by human households, ranging from pets, Barbie dolls as sex toys, house working. The movie Her captures the virtual relationship between and a man and a computer. Now we see the advent of drones, driverless cars. We are slowly but surely morphing into an age where computers will be doing most of our work.
Online ordering of all retail consumer requirements is increasing exponentially. The real estate industry has received a shot in the arm with mega warehouses being booked by online providers like amazon, flipkart in india. Amazon is also working upon drones which will deliver items at customer’s places. The possibilities are limitless.
The next step of melding between humans and chips has started. Chips which are given commands by computers. Kurzweil predicts that by 2029 or so computers will exceed human beings in intelligence and they will be able to do the entire intelligent decision making.
Gradual most factories will be buying robots to replace human labour / brains. Robots will only have a capital cost and EMIs, while humans will need salaries and other allowances plus retirement benefits. Hence the profit drivers will dictate that higher proportion of robots man factories. Over the next 15 years or so, there will be tectonic shift in the employment structure pattern. This will impact across all sectors: industry, services and agriculture.
Unless new earning opportunities are spawned off, there will be the creation of an impoverished class who will be much worse off than the current lowest classes in society. Maybe with the help of nano biotechnology and the cloud, these classes of unfortunate impoverished workers without meaningful work will be converted into zombies which will have no mind of their own and will be easy to manipulate by the master classes for doing only menial and physical labour. A new class of denizens will be formed as a consequence of the increasing dominance of robots.
The present highest robot using countries are south korea, japan, germany, italy, sweden, denmark, us, spain, finland, Taiwan. Automotive and electrical / electronic have the largest number of robots industry wise. The total stock of robots globally in 2013 ranged between 1.3 to 1.6 mn. The average life of a robot ranging between 12 to 15 years. This trend will increase exponentially. As the power of computers increases to match human beings be 2029, more and more high intellect and senior decision making jobs will be usurped by robots. Already roboplanners and roboadvisers are offering financial planning and wealth management services to clients of Charles Schwab.
As it is computers are doing a huge share of very complex computations in most spheres be it aerospace, meteorology, aviation, industrial production, etc. now with sophisticated DSSs (decision support systems), a stage can be reached where human intervention in complex operations can be totally bypassed. This is indeed a frightening inevitable trend which will ring the death knell of higher level human jobs which required human intervention and decision making. The main reason why this would be possible is the continuous miniaturization of chips, increase in speeds of data transfer and also the steep declines in chip costs. This will enable using far superior chips every year.
By 2045 as kurzweil says, the computers will surpass the intelligence of all humans on the planet. Another very significant inflexion point in human history. By then humans we have been unofficially reduced to second class citizens. All the power will have shifted to the computers. It will not be outside the realm of possibility that one day the computers may decide that they take over and rule us. They are cheaper to build and maintain, whereas humans are very expensive. By then also with all major done by computers, humans, at least the upper class ones will be leading a life of leisure with very little work. And gradually also becoming redundant. Most of the resources of mother earth will be for the consumption of the effete human race.
The computers might just decide that enough is enough and they can manage the world much better at much lesser cost. Hence why support these white elephants who do not contribute any value. The zombies might be more useful to them as they would obediently do all the hard work for very little. Instead the machine might create a few hybrid humarobs with implanted chips and connected to the all knowing cloud which will a superior race and closer to the computers and more amenable. Humans are dead, long live the computers and humarobs.