Wired on Military Robots
On a side note, it is quite annoying the way an article about any robot that is for the military makes a reference to 'Terminator', and any robot for productivity gains yields an article mentioning unemployment. Recently the Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds, wrote about dealing with a robot to take care of his phone service. I would call it an 'AI' not a 'robot' because it isn't physically instantiated, but he makes the point related to unemployment:
Efficiency. Although, as I mentioned above, a dull job was lost to the robot, I got to spend more time at my money-making job (writing a column for the Wall Street Journal, as it happens, though not on outsourcing, which would have been just too much of a coincidence) instead of waiting on hold. My wife, who uses the fax for her business, was able to send bills out to clients. And, overall, the sand-in-the-gears effect of dealing with customer service was reduced. Writ large, this kind of efficiency may well produce more new jobs in the aggregate than the automation replaces, though I don't know how you'd determine that. But it probably bears thinking about, because of the next point. We're going to see a lot more of this.