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Our Robotic Future / Open Lines

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Date Host Richard Syrett
Guests Dennis Kambeitz, Open Lines

The coming decade will be defined by the largest workforce transition in the history of humankind. Millions of jobs will be lost to technology, while millions of new jobs will be created. According to robotics expert Dennis Kambeitz, the vast majority of remaining jobs will be transformed, and applicants with robotics literacy and strong tech skills will have a significant advantage. Kambeitz joined guest host Richard Syrett (Twitter) to discuss how a future of robots and artificial intelligence will change everything.

Kambeitz defined a robot as something which has a processor, sensors, and the ability to physically interact with its environment. An example of a basic robotic application could be doors that automatically open for people, he explained, noting how robotics encompasses more than industrial robot arms in factories or humanoid-looking servants from science fiction stories. "We don't think about larger things like vehicles or buildings as robots," Kambeitz added. Continuing advances in robotics and artificial intelligence are already ushering in profound changes.

"We have reached a level of sophistication in our artificial intelligence now where we are going... to see significant societal impact," Kambeitz warned. This includes massive job loss and the accompanying social challenges that come with it. The highest estimates forecast up to 40% of the workforce or 60 million people could be displaced by robots, he reported, adding by the year 2022 a minimum of 54% of adults will need significant retraining to remain competitive and that carries a $34 billion price tag for the U.S. Every industry is going to undergo significant change, so everything about how children are educated will need to change too, Kambeitz suggested. There will be considerable opportunity in the future for those who are prepared, he predicted.

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Open Lines followed in the latter half of the program. Tracy, a truck driver from California, offered reasons why robotic vehicles likely will not replace him and others in his industry. "There are too many factors involved that automation is not going to account for when driving a truck," he explained. He pointed to a self-driving truck that hauls beer from Colorado to Texas which has been in two accidents already. "If that [self-driving] truck is going 70 miles and hour and it encounters ice, what's it going to do," he pondered.

Jersey Doug phoned in to comment on paranormal investigators and psychics. "Why don't [ghost hunters] continue to stay in one place that they know is haunted," he questioned. Doug also wondered why those who claim to have ESP do not use it for material gains. Don in Kent, Ohio, talked about webcam footage from Yellowstone which purportedly shows four Bigfoot pursue a group of buffalo. Don suggested Bigfoot have a cloaking mechanism that allows them to approach animals without them knowing it. "The only reason why we see the Bigfoot on the video is because the cloaking mechanism is only good for so many hundreds of yards," he said.

News segment guest: Tim Binnall

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