You've probably read about it, even if it didn't really register. Something about a backlog. Something about unions. Imports and exports. Now the dispute that's paralyzing 29 ports on the U.S. West Coast has the potential to affect all of us—and to empty the shelves in countless stores.
"Humans Need Not Apply" is a mini-documentary by C.G.P. Grey that explores the consequences of an increasingly automated workforce. "History is filled with [instances of] workers who fought technology that would replace them," notes Grey, "and the workers always lose."
In today's comments we theorized about the inner lives of our house-pets, smiled awkwardly at the science behind nervous laughter, and came up with one unlikely candidate for most life-changing invention.
So the Dutch have this experimental television show called Proefkonijnen (it translates to "Guinea Pigs"), where stuff like this happens. The U.S., tragically, has no such show.
Anxiety over the mechanization of labor isn't a new phenomenon. In 1931, Modern Mechanics asked, "Is man doomed by the machine age?" Learn about the dangers of "robot music" and how miniature golf is a catalyst for economic progress.
It looks like our automated creations are beginning to get the best of their meatbag overlords. Two studies show that automated labor is increasingly taking over middle-class jobs and that babies will regard humanoid robots as sentient beings.
For would-be scientists pursuing postgraduate degrees, the lack of jobs within academia is disheartening. This reality stands in stark contrast to the narrative that America's perpetually falling behind in the science game. This excellent essay at Miller-McCune dissects this misconception.