No robot will ever


Ironic that the phrase “no robot will ever” is mostly applied to stuff that people in the dawn of the space age assumed would have been taken over by robots ages ago. We probably could make a robot that mows your lawn, but it would be hard to make it cheaper than the $7/hour you can pay a Mexican to do it, and it probably would not do as good of a job.

This is why the internet loves Randall Munroe.

Yeah. They seem to be largely replacing middle class jobs. I’m totally looking forward to living in world with noting but $7 and hour jobs and a handful of billionaires. Gonna be fun.


Excited to see the Go reference. In case anyone is curious, currently there’re no commercial programs that can best an experienced player. As an amateur shodan, I can win against any of those. What’s referenced are the super-cluster-bots with specialized software (specialized in terms of optimized search-trees, not in terms of who it’s playing against ala Big Blue and Kasparov). It’s likely that soon those large experimental systems will be able to win against even the professional title holders. Interesting times.

No robot will ever be Indubitably, sadly, yo.

Human engage.


P.S. beep-beep-boop-beeeeep

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Humans are still better at programming robots.

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Moments later the Dell Inspiron suffered a system crash and waited patiently until a human could come press the reset button…

If I’m going to get taken over by Dells at least let it be an Optiplex.


I saw a documentary about the manufacturing of solid state memory. The process was necessarily robotic: inside dust-free chambers, robotic arms completed the fabrication. The chips were then sent to Indonesia (?) so someone could take them from a large box and put them in smaller boxes by hand. It was cheaper to ship them half way around the world and pay someone to put them in a package by hand than it was to automate the final step of the process. Insanity.

It’s sort of like taking advantage of a thermal differential. Work is extracted from the system by moving cool goods into hot territory to warm. Then they are shipped back to cool territory to provide heat.

The thing is, there are already several robotic mowers on the market. The trick will be getting the price down low enough to justify buying one vs. hiring a service.

Further, stores are replacing cashiers with self-serve checkouts, there are robotic fry cookers and robotic burger assembly lines, and hell, I know people who make peanuts working as freelance sports reporters who are being replaced by AI. We won’t even need to have assembly lines to build parts someday, just a handful of people who can make repairs to the printers and fabricators…well, until the robots are good enough and cheap enough to replace them.

And the billionaires, busily funding this work to replace labor with machines, demand that we work. Doing what, exactly? And when none of us can get a job, who exactly needs all this stuff that would be built by the robotic labor?

The future is looking a lot more dystopian than I used to think it would be.

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You can imagine the robot industries evolving to just support each other ( a lot of the human economy is just internal support ) the humans would subsist on hard won scraps at the edges of monstrous industrial “cities” that do nothing more than churn away at the landscape and become larger. At which point we will have served our “purpose” of getting nature over a tough place in evolution, and we will be consumed in the planet-wide upheaval as Earth is turned into a hungry and ambitious mining machine and sets out to devour the universe.


As a summer job during college I spent many hours packing chips into plastic tubes, and using a Q-tip to erase the tiny labels on them. However, this was way back in the last century when corporations like AMD still paid Americans to do this kind of job.

I really, really like the previous cartoon:

I think you’d have just as much luck wondering when Shakespeare will last be quoted.

I guess it’s very regional - if you’re, say, a Norwegian with a large flat lawn, a robot mower might be a good choice today. If you’re in the US with a small lawn, it might never be.

(I’ve seen several of them around, there seems to be a market. Also, I am in Norway - land of expensive labor.)

[quote=“GideonTJones, post:4, topic:9526”]
I’m totally looking forward to living in world with noting but $7 and hour jobs and a handful of billionaires.
[/quote]Don’t be ridiculous. CEObot will exploit the working class far more efficiently than any flesh-and-blood plutocrat could.

Or The Beatles.

Oh, phew, I thought you were going to a dark place there, but at least it had a happy ending.

But are we really saying that Star Wars is up there with Shakespeare? Is it that culturally significant?