The Other McCain

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Welcome Our New Robot Overlords

Posted on | December 29, 2013 | 24 Comments

As if Instapundit’s weird enthusiasm for “robosexuality” weren’t disturbing enough, now there’s this prediction from two MIT geeks:

 Technological progress is going to leave behind some people, perhaps even a lot of people, as it races ahead. . . . [T]here’s never been a better time to be a worker with special skills or the right education, because these people can use technology to create and capture value. However, there’s never been a worse time to be a worker with only ‘ordinary’ skills and abilities to offer, because computers, robots, and other digital technologies are acquiring these skills and abilities at an extraordinary rate.

Why should this bother you? Well, there’s the insulting self-congratulatory smugness of it. Here are two guys with degrees from Harvard and MIT telling us that “special skills or the right education” are the keys to success. Translation: “Yea for us!”

And as for you hopeless dimwits “with only ‘ordinary’ skills and abilities to offer”? Tough luck. Should have gone to Harvard.

Robots will now replace whatever “ordinary” functions were previously performed by people without Harvard diplomas. We know this to be true because two Harvard graduates predicted it.



24 Responses to “Welcome Our New Robot Overlords”

  1. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    December 29th, 2013 @ 1:09 pm

    There is a yes and no with this. Yes, premiere education still (oftentimes) result in fabulous riches and opportunity. But people who have useful technical skills (the sort of ability to analyze why a oil rig stops working at -20F and get it going again), will do just fine.

    But you MFA and gender study majors, with about $200,000 in student loan debt? Good luck with that.

  2. PATR2014
    December 29th, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

    RT @smitty_one_each: TOM Welcome Our New Robot Overlords #TCOT

  3. Proof
    December 29th, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

    “robosexuality”? That could explain the line of Trojan fuses I saw in Radio Shack last week!

  4. JeffWeimer
    December 29th, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

    Mike Rowe has a bone to pick with these guys. Skilled trades are suffering from a lack of available talent, while many college-educated folks can’t find jobs.

  5. Dandapani
    December 29th, 2013 @ 2:17 pm

    “The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.”

  6. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    December 29th, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

    Guys who can work hard and are self started problem solvers are few and far between and can write their own ticket.

    Slouches who worry about their benefits are sitting around wailing that unemployment is not going to get extended again.

  7. M. Thompson
    December 29th, 2013 @ 3:39 pm

    I am not afraid of robots unless they say, “By your command,” or “Exterminate!” of the own voilition.

  8. trangbang68
    December 29th, 2013 @ 3:43 pm

    Yesterday I had to re-hang a door that was in an opening that resembled a trapezoid more than a rectangle. I pulled the threshold and the floor was caved in under it so I had to rebuild a nailing surface. I had to build a filler for the top that varied from zero to 5/8 of an inch over 36 inches. I used a piece of pine out of the back of my truck and sized it freehand with an electric planer and a belt sander.
    Bring it on robots and geeks.

  9. Quartermaster
    December 29th, 2013 @ 3:55 pm

    We’re already there with Philosophy.

  10. Wombat_socho
    December 29th, 2013 @ 3:55 pm

    MIT and Harvard are not the same. MIT actually produces engineers and scientists who get good things done. You can’t say that about Harvard.

  11. richard mcenroe
    December 29th, 2013 @ 4:08 pm

    Invite those two geniuses over to fix the furnace.

  12. richard mcenroe
    December 29th, 2013 @ 4:13 pm

    MIT for theory; Huntsville for engineering.

  13. robertstacymccain
    December 29th, 2013 @ 4:26 pm

    But once Harvard graduates and their robots have eliminated “ordinary” people, all doors will be perfect, so there will be no need for repairs.

  14. scarymatt
    December 29th, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

    My keen powers of observation tell me that “good work ethic” is not an “ordinary skill” in today’s world.

    I think Rowe is absolutely on the right track for a lot of people, but have you looked at the “contract” he has people sign? I can’t imagine it would look attractive to the typical *-studies major.

  15. Adjoran
    December 29th, 2013 @ 5:03 pm

    MIT is of course the school for those who couldn’t get into Rensselaer.

    I saw a promo for a comedy show on TV, one teenaged girl is saying, “I did get something from some school called ‘Mit’.”

    Other girl: “That’s M-I-T.”

    First girl: “I KNOW how to spell it!”

  16. rustypaladin
    December 29th, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

    Uh, huh… These jokers didn’t think this through all the way. My “ordinary” skills are going to be needed to fix whatever contraption they invent. And, if they are really smart, they will consult someone like me when designing their contraption to make it easier to fix. Lower maintenance cost is a marketplace winner.

  17. trangbang68
    December 29th, 2013 @ 7:44 pm

    You in Huntspatch, Richard? Great city!

  18. K-Bob
    December 29th, 2013 @ 7:51 pm

    These two self-proclaimed geniuses probably are unaware of the incredible number of former high-tech employees that now work in a trade or as night watchmen or the custodial services, all for the crime of “turning forty while being valuable enough to retain through several layoffs.”

    Congratulations, gentlemen. You’ve discovered what has been obvious for several generations of workers: technology is important. Yay!

    Where do they think all these modern, electronic toys came from, media matters?

    What kids coming out of college today need to know is how to protect themselves from career-icide at age forty. In other words, putting all your eggs in the technology basket is asking for trouble. You need to be more like people used to be long ago: multi-talented, and a master of many skills. Technology hasn’t changed that one bit.

  19. Wombat_socho
    December 29th, 2013 @ 8:02 pm

    Wow, I haven’t heard of RPI in decades.

  20. Wombat_socho
    December 29th, 2013 @ 8:03 pm

    In the Blogfather’s defense, he is married to a cyborg. A pretty hot one, too.

  21. Welcome Our New Robot Overlords : The Other McCain | Dead Citizen's Rights Society
    December 29th, 2013 @ 9:20 pm

    […] Welcome Our New Robot Overlords : The Other McCain. […]

  22. Quartermaster
    December 29th, 2013 @ 9:44 pm

    First mention I’ve heard in over 15 years. Places like MIT, OTOH, I’ve heard about repeatedly. Adjoran is just trying to be a pedant again.

  23. Eric Ashley
    December 30th, 2013 @ 12:54 am

    Used to live in Huntsville.

  24. Eric Ashley
    December 30th, 2013 @ 12:56 am

    With sufficient vision everyone is useful, but this requires a flexibility and bravery in facing the undiscovered country that our elites lack. They want to ‘make everything better, while keeping it the same’.