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The Bots Are Coming!

Cheridan Sanders

Sunday, June 7, 2015

It all began with a conversation in the car on our way to Montreal. My co-worker, Karen shared with me a terrifying discovery: robot music.
She came across it, the same way I suppose we all do; following a bread-crumb trail of related youtube videos.
The video's tone seemed innocuous even positive, but its conclusion: chilling. As it demonstrated the advances that technology has made, especially in terms of robotics I kept thinking, its okay the robots can do all the boring, hard work and we’ll be left to do fun, creative work. Yay!
Robots will take over the world. The jobs that we thought were uniquely human in nature, for example: creativity, writing, music - yes, a robot can do that. Cheaper.
I initially laughed at the absurdity of what Karen was relating, but later, when I arrived home -there it was again.
I picked up the latest copy of Harvard Business Review, the headline read: Meet Your New Employee: How to manage the man-machine collaboration.
Time to take this seriously.
In this multiple-page spread they talked about how we could navigate the human-robot divide. Note, it wasn’t a discussion about if robots would be a part of the workplace. No. The underlying premise was that your future success depends on how well you work alongside the robots.
All this got me pondering existential questions: in the light of the robot’s (soon-to-be) superior abilities in strength, intelligence, cognition, even in reading emotion….what makes us human? What makes us unique?
And how are we ever, going to survive our robot overlords?
In desperation, I cried out to the heavens: “For the love of all the is good… Pope Benedict tell me the answer!!”
We’re at an impasse as a species. What will we do when large portions of our population are completely unemployable?
Hopefully, we’ll be able to make decisions that promote the common good, and avoid what seems an inevitable Icarus-like fate.
All I can say is, the Church’s message about the dignity of work, and the purpose of life is going to be as important as it ever was!
Cause the robots are coming and all that remains is this: will they be used for good or evil.

The Producer Diaries – Cheridan Sanders, a Producer at Salt and Light Television, reflects on her experiences as she travels the world telling Catholic’s stories.

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