Why are we so quick to believe computers are taking over the world?

I have just read this BBC News article. The heading, “robots and drones take over classrooms”, and the opening illustration, showing a robot teacher, suggests that this is an article about robots taking away teachers’ jobs. The third paragraph talks about “a world where artificial intelligence and robots threaten jobs.”

But the article itself is about nothing of the sort.

The article is about a London school where students built a virtual reality Ethiopian village, the students programmed a robot to ski, and an Indiana school where students learned to program a drone. Then it talks about Microsoft building software for headsets for understanding the human body. There is a discussion about whether students should be learning this sort of stuff.

Of course it makes sense for students to learn as much about computers as they possibly can, or are inclined to. [Although based on personal experience, the idea that all young people would rather learn how to code than watch YouTube is not true].

But none of this is taking anyone’s job away, if anything the teachers are far more engaged doing this, and far more robotlike if they were reciting the same lessons year after year with no mental engagement at all (fairly common 20 years ago, based on personal experience).

So what’s going on. Is society just really keen to talk about robots taking over people’s jobs? Is this narrative driven by the sort of people who enjoy threating people’s livelihoods? Anyway, its a load of nonsense.






Leave a Reply