Workmen

A workman shouts to his mate.
An ordered state
With everything
Working as it should.

I enter the nearby wood
Where birds sing,
My dog and I revelling in the spring.

Idly I ponder
Whether the robot will come
And eclipse yonder
Workman’s sun.

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7 thoughts on “Workmen

  1. John Fioravanti

    I found the poem timely and thought-provoking, Kevin. I saw a news story this morning about the Canadian government investing $Billions into AI research. I can’t imagine how many jobs will disappear when that generation of robots appear.

    Reply
    1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      Many thanks for your comment John. In the Chancellor’s recent budget in the UK additional funding was also announced for artificial intelligence research. I think the jury is still out on what changes AI will bring about. There will, however undoubtedly be changes. It is, of course in the interest of those working in the field of AI to “talk up” the sector in order to gain money from private investors. All that glitters is not gold as a wise man once said and some in the sector may “over egg the pudding” to attract capital. None the less the issue is extremely important and was certainly on my mind as I walked my four-legged friend. Kevin

      Reply
      1. John Fioravanti

        Indeed. What bothers me most about this issue is that the people being unemployed by technology often are not capable of retraining in more demanding jobs that remain untouched or are created by the new technology. How long before the outraged chronically unemployed decide to rise up?

      2. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

        You raise a good point as regards those unable to find work as a consequence of new technologies replacing jobs. We saw this during the Industrial Revolution when the hand loom weavers (among others) smashed up machinery in cotton mills. The Luddites could return in modern guise (if that is not a contradiction in terms)! Elon Musk has advocated the introduction of a Universal Income to deal with the possible fall-out from mass unemployment. Perhaps this idea will gain increasing traction across the political spectrum as a means of dealing with large-scale job losses. Universal Income does not, of course tackle the issue of bordom which many experience when out of work. Job sharing and re-skilling (I dislike the latter ugly word) may also go a long way to assist in resolving problems, although I take your point about those who, for whatever reason find it hard (or impossible) to retrain. On a personal note, I have, for many years now employed the services of a cleaner to clean, iron and launder in my home. While I have a robot vacuum cleaner (a Roomba) which can pick up dirt, the machine is not as effective as a human. I have to move cables out of the Roomba’s path to avoid smashed lamps and it can get stuck in corners and not extricate itself. A machine capable of vacuuming, sorting out clothes into the correct piles prior to laundering them, loading and unloading the washing machine etc seems a long way off. One has also to consider other domestic duties such as ironing, making the beds and cleaning surfaces such as bathroom and kitchen. All of the forgoing makes me extremely sceptical about whether we will see an all-purpose domestic robot anytime soon. In the case of AI, it is not always easy to separate the reality from the hype. Best, Kevin

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