Rise of the Robots

Stephen Hawking recently suggested that now in the most dangerous time in the history of our species. His reference is to ‘accelerating technological change’ and the potential for ‘job destruction’ in the middle classes. The potential for widespread automation of roles has raised the question of how we as a society should react. Elon Musk favours a ‘universal income’ similar to that proposed in Switzerland last year. Whereas. this week Bill Gates has called for a tax on robots, to replace public revenue lost from human workers. Whereas this presents a number of practical challenges (for instance, is a computer a robot? What about a smartphone?), there is a serious point about how we should redistribute wealth in an automated society.