Woz: Robots won’t soon take over most jobs

“Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak on Monday dismissed the notion that robots will take over most human jobs and lead to mass unemployment anytime this century,” Todd Prince reports for Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“The world has experienced massive technological change over the past few decades and yet unemployment is still low, he told hundreds of attendees at RECon, a real estate expo, at the Westgate Las Vegas,” Prince reports. “‘We have been on this path for a long time,’ he said when asked about the threat of robots. ‘The (lost) jobs always get replaced with new types of jobs.'”

“Wozniak, though, does see self-driving vehicles taking over the roads in the next five to 15 years, starting first with truck deliveries,” Prince reports. “‘I just see it growing, growing and growing nationwide. I think within five years it is going to be very common to have automated trucks from across the country bringing goods and supplies from the nearest warehouse.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: So, the truck drivers will of course have to be retrained and, then, when they’re gone, what happens to the rest of the ancillary industries for human-driven trucks? Think: Truck stops (cooks, waitresses, busboys, cleaning crews, etcetera), CB radio manufacturers, makers of hemorrhoidal creams and donut cushions…


    1. Sorry for the kind of double posting. After writing a comment, WordPress makes you sign-on, of course. But instead of taking you back to your comment for posting, like Disqus functions, WP presents you with a brand-new empty text box, which makes you think that the post you wrote got erased. 😳😖😠

    2. It might be, if AI existed, but in your frame of reference, it doesn’t, and probably never will. Algorithms have been around for a good long while, that is all ‘AI’ is. Sheer computing power isn’t everything. I’m actually with Woz on this one, and that is more of a shock, honestly. Unless you do something that algorithms are very specifically useful for, I wouldn’t worry too much.

  1. Well another thing is trucks can be driven anytime so can drive more often by night clearing roads in daytime for rush hour traffic. Once all vehicles are auto-drive though rush hour jams will be a thing of the past. Auto insurance should plummet as well and kill off a bunch of those jobs (claims adjusters, sales, suing lawyers, etc.).

  2. Robots do not join unions, do not get overtime, do not get benefits or retirement, can be depreciated, do not take vacation, do not require background checks, do not take bathroom breaks, do not go postal and shoot up the workplace, can work in a lights out factory that does not need as much A/C or heating, has no sexual harassment issues, can work 7 days a week, does not need a parking space outside and can be sold when outdated.
    My current car was laser seam welded and painted completely by robot and the fit and finish is better than any other car I have owned. This is why bringing manufacturing back to the US would not necessarily result in a bonanza of jobs. Away from the factory, AI computers can scan and read Mammograms almost as accurately and more consistently than the best specialized Radiologist and the difference narrows each year.

    1. Yes they do,…as soon as such a robot gets a percentage of human DNS, a lawyer is likely to win a case for the humanity in the robot, giving it human rights and Constitutional rights. This means the robot, via the lawyer perhaps, perhaps on its own by then, will sue for all worker rights current worker unions have do dearly won.

  3. I think we are on the verge of a mass extinction of income and by extension the middle class.
    You will be wealthy or poor with a buffer of well armed security in between. The poor will have to fight over scraps, and the security will make sure the wealthy will don’t get affected. at no time in history have we had a great recession when the wealthy can wipe out the unruly lower classes with the press of a few buttons, this will be a test of humanity, and from what I have seen it won’t end well.

    1. What makes it remarkable, Jeff, is that We the People have voted to do it to ourselves. We have allowed our elected leaders to perform slight-of-hand tricks to distract us from the real issues of how to move forward in these changing times to largely fake issues of how to turn back the clock. This is stoking the class divisions that you describe.

      Example: The “American Health Care Act” passed by the U.S. House will cut taxes by $800B over ten years, overwhelmingly benefiting American families with incomes over $200,000/year. It will cut health benefits by $600B, overwhelmingly affecting Americans who are poor, female, or older. It will raise the budget deficit by $200B.

      As a second-order effect, all those folks who cannot obtain preventative care or even treatment for chronic conditions will eventually end up in emergency rooms. That care will be enormously more expensive, and the hospitals will pass the cost through to the public as higher taxes, insurance premiums, or private-pay fees.

      The budget deficit will also translate eventually into higher taxes and/or inflation. In both cases, most of the financial burden will be carried by the people who are still being asked to pay taxes (hint: not the wealthy). That will open up the gap between the wealthy few and the many poor still further, while forcing more of the middle class into the latter group.

      None of this is accidental. It is the result of deliberate policy decisions made by elected officials whose actions could have been anticipated by those who elected them. As all the lower- to middle-class voters who voted for this regime will eventually learn, elections have consequences.

  4. In the case of courier delivery, FedEx, etc., how does the robot truck deliver the individual package to you? Another robot?

    A highly autonomous robot, one that can negotiate stairs, elevators, pathways, building interiors, intercoms, etc.?

    Its a longer road than many are talking about before we see the kind of disruption being envisioned. Woz may be right, but for the wrong reasons.


  5. Wage pressure vs cost of robots (the usual price tag plus Cost of Ownership minus Return on Investment) is the bottom line.

    There is nothing we can call real Artificial Intelligence at this point. We’re way, way past initial predictions of attaining AI. (Sorry Dr. Kurzweil et al.) Therefore, robotic performance remains at the level of a highly sophisticated puppet. ‘Big Blue’ and all the other Gee Whiz Factor ‘AI’ systems are sophisticated ‘expert system’ database traversing devices.

    The Butlerian Jihad has been postponed.

    But robotics are here, systems of interacting hardware and software to perform human actions or more. We’ll gradually see more of them (since they’re already working for Apple making the lamentable Mac Pro) over time performing more sophisticated work at the expense of low wage human workers.

    The cure = life-long education as our human world changes. Making higher education cheap or FREE is an extremely high priority at this time. But good luck convincing the poliTards of that. Countries that provide cheap or free higher education will gradually steam roll over countries (such as the USA) that do not. It’s been happening for ages.

    The other human attribute of extremely high priority is creativity. Robots don’t do that. Countries that enable/encourage/incentivize creativity will steam roll those that don’t. That’s been happening for ages as well.

    1. Making education free does not guarantee creativity.

      Wake up Derek, you’re not as smart as you think you are.

      Points for trying though.

      All of that said, what I just said to you applies to me equally.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.