George Graham

Make Way for the Robots


Sofia, an artificially intelligent robot, speaks with Ben Goertzel, AI researcher (left) and Mike Butcher (right), from TechCrunch, at this week’s Web Summit in Lisbon.

As America grapples with perceived problems from the past, the problems of the future loom ever closer. And I wonder whether anyone is paying attention.

It seems, for example, that Donald Trump’s victory was partly fueled by out-of-work factory employees and coal miners. He promised to bring back their jobs.

But, as my brother Bill observed yesterday, any factory jobs that get brought back will likely be done by robots.

It really doesn’t matter whether widgets get made in China or the US. It won’t be humans making those widgets anyway.

(And as for coal, why would anyone bother to dig up the stuff when natural gas is cheap and abundant?)

The media seems blissfully unaware of the extent of the global technological revolution, but every once in a while, some enterprising reporter provides a glimpse of what’s ahead for us.

I just read an article like that on the Inc. web site. Writer Will Yacowicz reports from the Web Summit in Lisbon that:

Right now, artificially intelligent robots are part of the workforce, from hotel butlers to factory workers.

And he says “this is just the beginning.”

Yacowicz quotes Ben Goertzel, one of the summit speakers as predicting that:

Intelligent robots in human-like forms will surpass human intelligence and help free the human race of work. They will also start fixing problems like hunger, poverty and even help humans beat death by curing us of all disease. Artificially intelligent robots will help usher in a new utopian era never before seen in the history of the human race,

According to this expert:

As super-human intelligent AIs become one billion-times smarter than humans, they will help us solve the world’s biggest problems. Resources will be plentiful for all humans, work will be unnecessary and we will be forced to accept a universal basic income. All the status hierarchies will disappear and humans will be free from work and be able to move on up to a more meaningful existence.

To illustrate their point, the summit experts introduced Sofia (pictured above), a human-looking robot with superior artificial intelligence.

The experts at the summit didn’t mention those out-of-work factory employees in the Midwest or the coal miners in places like West Virginia and Kentucky.

And they didn’t discuss global trade agreements and the allegedly job stealing illegal immigrants who haunt Trump’s nightmares.

I suppose it will be up to those “super-human intelligent” robots to figure out what to do about such pesky problems. It certainly is no job for Donald Trump and his ilk.

Perhaps we should elect Sofia as our next President.

Read Yacowicz’s article

More on the new robots

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for